News Progress Post

Progress Report 2022 Week 39

We’re almost to October, and that means we’re only about eight weeks away from Evolution’s Hand Book 2: Dying Breath’s release date. Am I still on plan? How’re things progressing with Evolutions Hand Book 3: Primary Target? Let’s look at the infographic first!

Progress Report 2022 Week 39 By the Numbers

It’s been a busy week — and it taught several important lessons!

Here’s the short version: I finished the second draft of Primary Target and I finished incorporating the proofreader’s edits into Dying Breath. That means I hit both goals for the week! I did so by working some extra hours. At one point, I was editing right up until the minute I rolled into bed.

I don’t recommend that. Not only is it tiring, but in retrospect, I’m sure I missed a lot.

And speaking of missing a lot…

The Importance of Partnering with the Right Editors

Two weeks ago, I talked about a negative experience I had with an editor from Reedsy. Basically, I asked for a bid on proofreading services, and the editor replied that my manuscript clearly was too badly written to qualify for a proofread. It needed a copy edit and a line edit first.

He didn’t come out and use the phrase “maximum suckage,” but it was implied.

Was he right? Maybe. But it wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it. His extreme negativity fed the inner demons I had barely managed to stay ahead for months. By contrast, the proof editor I hired from Fiverr did a fine job. I accepted almost every suggestion she made. She was polite and professional throughout the entire engagement. But there was a problem. Not with her — but with those damned inner demons.

With every change I accepted, I could just hear the negativity. Have you ever had to deal with that? It was like every confirmed mistake was further proof I had no business writing. Every extra comma, every accidental mistaken tense proved that Reedsy editor was right: my writing was simply not up to par. It would be better for everyone if I just packed up and played video games in my spare time.

It’s frustrating enough that errors get through three of my edits and a ProWritingAid pass.

I have to deal with that on some level all the time. I’m sure I’m not alone. My point here is that if I reach out to an editor to pay for their services, I don’t need to them make the problem worse. I want them to make the problem better. That’s why I’m paying them. And for the record, that’s the kind of service I got from the Fiverr editor.

My advice is to not accept that kind of treatment. Insist that anyone you partner with, including cover artists, developmental editors, or any other kind of editor, at least pretends to care about your success. Indie publishing is hard enough without someone trying to sabotage your work — intentionally or otherwise.

Accessibility Tools Help Us Writers, Too!

I’m looking for ways to edit efficiently. Back in my 2022 Week 13 post, Lynn from The Otaku Author left a comment saying he’d had good luck using his phone to read his manuscript back to him. The context was a discussion of how to find typographical errors (and flat-out bad grammar). That idea has been rattling around in my brain ever since.

Incorporating proofreading edits is demoralizing just in principle. I’d really prefer to catch the errors myself and treat the proofread as a formality. So this week, I tried an experiment. I write on Apple computers. One of their accessibility tools is speech-to-text. Basically, from within Scrivener, I highlight the text I want to proof (e.g., a chapter) and hit Option + Esc. Then a voice of my choosing reads the text back to me.

The quality is not going to threaten any human narrator’s income, that’s for sure! But it is enough for an edit. After three manual edits, a ProWritingAid pass, and the input from a professional proofreader, I found five material errors in the first two chapters.

Apple’s done a good job with their accessibility tools.

Instead of diving even deeper into the Pit of Despair(tm), I’m going to analyze those errors and see what I can do about them. I wonder if I’m using ProWritingAid to its potential. It’s AI-based, after all. Still, this means the “reading out loud” tactic is worthwhile. And it means it will delay the manuscript being ready for at least a month. If I decide to process the whole manuscript, it means I’ll have dedicated six full weeks to post-processing Dying Breath. Is it worth not writing Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus or delaying getting Book 3: Primary Target into the hands of beta readers?

One of my goals this week will be to think about that.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 39

Here’re the goals I’ve set for this week:

  1. Decide whether I’ll run an accessibility tools pass of Dying Breath
  2. Continue processing one of the two completed manuscripts
    1. If the answer to #1 is “yes,” continue having MacOS read Dying Breath to me so I can find more errors
    2. If the answer to #1 is “no,” continue the ProWritingAid pass of Primary Target (I started that this week and only got three chapters in)

What Do You Think?

How much proof reading is enough? Do you have any time-saving tricks or techniques? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Progress Report 2022 Week 39

  1. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with saying “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” In all honesty, you could keep proof reading it forever. At some point, however, you need to let it go before you accidentally edit it back to the first draft.

    It’s amazing how hearing the story shows up these errors that should have been obvious with all the previous proofs. I always do an audio check. It’s the last one I do before calling it a day.

    1. You’re right about da Vinci (and now I want to watch Fate again). I have personal experience of editing a manuscript so much that I had to restart the whole editing process. And looking back, the newer version wasn’t better than the older. It was just newer.

      I knew intellectually that reading it out loud would help. But when my computer the first chapter of my third book, for a brief moment, I wondered who the hell had written such garbage! And it was my second draft! It was so stiff and stilted and sententious!

      I’ve also discovered that my first chapters tend to be my worst chapters. So, lesson learned!

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