I’m at an awkward point where I’m working on three manuscripts. Was I able to keep work between the Evolution’s Hand Book 2: Dying Breath, Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target, and Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus straight? I hit one major stumbling block this week: what was it? Let’s get into the details after we look at the key indicators.
Progress Report 2022 Week 37 By the Numbers
A lot happened on Book 4: Blind Exodus this week!
The infographic focuses on the world building I did for Blind Exodus. Between the new sets I built and the new characters I added, I’m really close to sketching out the plot. The characters’ voices are become more clear in my imagination. I’m beginning to see the major events. My hope is to start writing before the end of September. But I have a couple of things I need to do before that. I want to talk next about the most time-critical of the two.
Proofreading Book 2: Dying Breath
No One is Perfect
I’m trying to decide between Reedsy and Fiverr for my editorial services. I’ve one one fantastic experience with Reedsy and one terrible experience. With Fiverr, I’ve had two fantastic experiences and one good experience. This week, I bid out the job to proofread Dying Breath, and I think Reedsy might just have convinced me never to use them again.
Maybe I’m overreacting. When I submit the bid, I had to include a chapter from the manuscript. One of the five editors I submitted to explained to me that the manuscript was in such terrible shape that it wasn’t ready for a proofread. Instead, I should pay him to perform “creative line editing and copy editing” before proofreading. Oh, and if I needed him to explain the difference, I should let him know.
Now, I’ve been editing material for about forty years. I ain’t perfect by any stretch. But I’m not sure I need someone to interact with me like that. So I asked for some justification. He returned the three thousand word sample all marked up — including changes to the double-quotes and removing capitalization for Worker, Professional, and Executive. When I pointed out that conditions in the book’s world made Corporate terminology proper nouns, he pointed out that I was remiss for not including a style guide. And besides, there were so many other errors, he was sticking to his first assessment.
Sure, I’ve been editing for forty years. But what if I’ve always sucked at it, and no one told me? That’s the real cost of these exchanges. Now I have to deal with these questions anew instead of focusing on writing.
Though Some Are Closer than Others
Look, I have the emotional sensitivity of a cinder block. But if I took that tone with anyone, I would expect them to be angry with me. That’s just not the way to talk to a customer. Let’s say for the sake of argument that my work sucks that much — and honestly, I’m not saying it doesn’t — there are ways to approach the topic without that tone.
On, and the Fiverr editor? She responded within an hour and with a reasonable bid. Guess who I’m inclined to hire?
Heck, I worked with a Reedsy editor on Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action. He pointed out that I had major structural flaws in two of my character arcs. But he was so professional and courteous that I was ecstatic. His manner helped me focus on the work to be done, and he materially improved the manuscript. So it’s not like I can’t take criticism. I just prefer it to be professional. What I consider professional, anyway. I’m the customer, after all.
And isn’t that the bottom line? I’m the one whose money the company wants. If they want my money, they have to at least be polite. Or maybe I’m over-reacting. What do you think?
Preparing Primary Target for a Beta Read
The second thing I want to do before diving into Blind Exodus is to go through Primary Target to get it ready for beta readers. I think it’ll take me two weeks to perform a manual edit and put it through ProWritingAid. I’m second guessing myself more than usual — after all, a professional editor, based on reading a three thousand word excerpt., declared my work incompetent. And really, that’s the real problem with that kind of thing: it diverts my attention and encourages the self-doubt I’ve been working hard to ignore.
Maybe that explains the intensity of my reaction.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting feedback from the beta readers. Feedback on Executive Action and Dying Breath was very positive. Fingers crossed that happens three times in a row!
Progress against Last Week’s Goals
Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:
- Use Scrivener to generate a Word document suitable for sending to a proofreader: Done!
- Use Fiverr to select a new proof reader (I want some more data points) and send them the manuscript: Done! (well, mostly)
- Continue work on the plot for Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus: Done!
Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 37
- Ship Evolution’s Hand Book 2: Dying Breath to a proofreader (probably Fiverr’s)
- Complete set design for Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus
- Begin second draft of Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target
What Do You Think?
Have you had to deal with difficult editors in the past? How did you decide what was and wasn’t acceptable feedback? I’d love to know your experiences. Feel free to let me know in the comments!