You edit again, and then perhaps one more time. In short, the editing process is so long and at times dry and complex that most indie authors do three things, and two of them are bad. They either publish their work to Amazon, hoping readers will forgive the potential minor plot errors and typos. They outsource the work to a friend or relative to edit. Or, three, they take more time to self-edit.
There’s always the fourth option, which includes hiring a professional. But since developmental, copyeditors, and proofreaders charge money within the four-figures, the good ones anyway, that route’s not always workable. Though it’s preferred, if they can afford the cash. However, professional editors also don’t completely know our work, so even they can only do so much.
For someone like me who’s starting off on a modest budget, it means adding rounds to the editing process. Often, it’s three developmental edits, three copyedits, then proofreads. But, after I went two months without looking at Wind Wielder, I saw a plethora of minor mistakes. With minor being the keyword.
However, my goal is for Wind Wielder, its sequels, and anything in the Elementals Universe to look like it just came from a Big Five Publishing House. Therefore, one can never go wrong with extra edits. And just when us indies think the editing process has ended, we need to think again.
Below, you’ll see how I’m perfecting Wind Wielder.
What Jumped Out at Me?
Very minor plot holes. Some authors rushing to publish would probably just overlook them but this is far more harmful in the long run.
Why would we sell ourselves short on something we’ve been working sometimes for years?
It makes zero sense. Even if it means delaying the release – and no, I’m not delaying Wind Wielder, which I’ve set for January 2022.
So I took time to read the work slower, about three-quarters of my normal reading speed. This allowed me to find each minor plot hole, fix them, and move to the next one. As I write this, I’m again going through the editing process on Wind Wielder, and at the 33 percent mark, I’m glad to say I’ve nixed them. We’ll see what the remaining 67 percent holds. But so far, so good.
Another bad habit of mine is that I love for my characters to abruptly change the subject in dialogue, before abruptly changing back to the subject at hand. Sure, this can happen in real life. But after spending an entire year reading over 100 books, I don’t see them often. So if they don’t appear in books I’m reading, they need to be nixed in my own works.
I’m also a sucker for my own, made up jargon for the Elementals Universe. Now, sometimes I’ll intentionally go without explaining something, intending to allow it to emerge in a future scene in the same book or a sequel novel. However, especially with fantasy, it’s not something that needs to happen in every chapter. So I bit my “resist the urge to explain” mentality and provided more in-depth explanations.
Finally, I had to close all loopholes pertaining to the magical systems. J. K. Rowling stressed the importance of this when she created the Time Turner in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Of course, it opened a realm of possibilities, so she destroyed them all in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
For me, I really had to counteract magical wards, or else the entire series, not just Wind Wielder, would collapse upon itself. For this reason, I state several times in the novel and its sequels that elementals at an equal or higher level can break the wards. A ‘ward’ is the term I use to describe a method used to prevent an elemental, or elementals from using their ability.
What Did the Editing Process Find That Worked Well?
While the above showed what I needed to improve upon as an author for Wind Wielder to be the five-star work I know it is as opposed to the two or three-star work it was upon my previous edit, a lot of things worked.
For one, the character development was something I smiled at. Wind Wielder features an ensemble cast of characters, even if Sion Zona is the main protagonist. And it seemed like each character developed well, or at least stepped onto the path for further development in later books.
I also loved the diverse personalities of each character. You got the brash Sion, his no-nonsense girlfriend Liri Viorunen, the insecure yet fierce Hannah, calm and collected Col Eriksson, and the go-getter in Raj, just to name a few. Character-wise, which I hit home with the second I started writing this thing, makes Wind Wielder click.
Besides character development, plot development worked well, too. Every scene held water, and like character development, I hit hard on it during my earliest drafts. Wind Wielder peaked at 103,000 words, and now it sits at 80,500, so I deleted many scenes, parts of scenes, and in rare cases, entire chapters.
There’s also the element of surprise here, especially those involving our antagonists. The trick was to provide just enough information, so you knew who was who, or at least could hypothesize on who was pursuing our protagonists.
Also, omitting needless words meant the pacing for Wind Wielder was top notch. Sure, I had to clear a few typos and further dissect some sentences. But as I’m going through yet another major edit, it’s clear that these typos and needless words are becoming few.
Want to know how I conduct my edits?
Read the following post by Jerry Jenkins: How to Edit a Book in 7 Steps
How Many More Edits for Wind Wielder?
Look, the editing process never ends. Even after I edit the final draft of this thing and take it through about three proofreads, I will continue to do so annually. Meaning each January, I’ll take it through another round of editing without changing the story, obviously, and see if I can spot something that I missed.
Also, I placed a ten percent sample of Wind Wielder on Prolific Works with my contact info in the back. If readers spotted anything in that sample that I missed, it also allows me to go back into the document to correct my mistakes. I also have the book on Prolific Works to qualify potential reviewers. And again, if they spot something my eyes missed, I appreciate an email saying, “Hey man, you got a massive typo at the 30 percent mark!” Ditto for even the most minor plot holes they uncover.
But before I release this thing in January and send ARCs in August-September, I’ll make as many more edits as necessary. And I learn something new to the editing process every time I sit down to edit Wind Wielder, or to put Wind Master through a developmental edit.
I also have a small team of beta readers who also provide feedback, so they too will find things I’ve missed in the past.
What About the Editing Process for Chronicles of the Elementals and Rondure?
These were rather quick edits since they lasted 17,000 and 10,000 words, respectively. Also, I put the short works through nine edits, which I had gotten through in a single day. Unlike Wind Wielder, which is eight times longer than Chronicles of Rondure, and five times longer than Chronicles of the Elementals.
Therefore, the editing process was easier for my reader magnets. But if you join the Readers Republic and spot something, always send me an email and let me know if something needs to be changed. While my mailing list remains small, anyway!
Thank you so much for reading today’s post, and as always, Go Cardinals!