My Editing Process

Writing Life

As I’m winding down the final edits for Moon Shine (goes live in 12 days) I thought I’d compile a list of steps my draft goes through when it becomes “done.”

1. Draft/Edit: it can feel frustrating at times but really it’s the most fun part of the process.

2. Finish Draft: then put it down for a week to let it simmer.

3. Proof-read + make notes of repetitive words.

4. Make corrections

5. Copy edit #1

6. Proof-read again + fix dialogue

7. Read draft aloud + Copy edit #2

8. Proof-read #3 + find continuity issues

9. Add to fill plot holes

10. Read aloud again

11. Take list from step 3 and use thesaurus. Use the fuck out of thesaurus.

12. Proof-read #4 fixing problems from notes taken during steps 1-11

13. Read aloud #3 + Copy edit #3

14. Give manuscript to final beta reader (Mr. J)

15. Re-read manuscript specifically focusing on using correct names/descriptions/actions/mechanics of firearms (if applicable).

16. Final read aloud

17. DONE

Note: Reading your draft aloud is the best thing you can do for editing, in my opinion. I catch so many grammatical errors and passive voice issues when I read my work aloud.

Note 2: Throughout the editing process I look for A) filter words, B) repetition, and C) passive voice

Note 3: Throughout the editing process I make notes every time I re-read the manuscript. I write down questions I have about setting changes and character development. I also write down/highlight all plot holes and anything I think is boring.

Note 4: I do not spend money on a freelance editor and copy editor. I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I do all my edits myself because I know how (feel free to argue with me in the comments if you’ve read my work) but I do use beta readers to gauge plot pacing, character development, and identify possible sensitivity issues.

Note 5: As important as it is to work consistently on your manuscript (especially if you have a deadline) it is equally important to give your book some down time. I try to take days off whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or when I feel myself over-editing. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. You’re doing something you love, don’t burn yourself out. Also, taking breaks lets new ideas emerge and distance allows you a fresh perspective.

Poetry Audiobook

NEWS

Public Service Announcement: a few of my favorite poems from Lupercalia are now on audio!

This audiobook is available for FREE download on Bandcamp.

There is an option to pay what you want if you’d like to toss a dollar my way but only if you really, really want to. I want you to have my poems more than I want you to pay me for them.

The tracks themselves are decent but they are not digitally mastered or made with any kind of professional recording equipment. I always try to put out the best possible product but right now I can’t afford a microphone or rent a sound booth so don’t judge too hard.

I tried to keep the cat and traffic noises to a minimum.

After I finished recording my poems we had a French drain dug in our back yard and replaced one of the walls in our den so there was too much construction noise to record anything else but there will be audio versions of a few of my short stories coming soon.

LUPERCALIA TRACK LIST

1. Lupercalia

2. How to Build a Nest

3. Wife of Lot

4. Mermaid Songbook: A Boat Alone

5. Mermaid Songbook: The Witch’s Song

6. Mermaid Songbook: Dead Mermaid Singing

7. Mermaid Songbook: Redemption

8. Little Girls

9. Wormwood

10. After the Flood

11. Orpheus

12. Twisted Myth

13. Mirror Angels

14. Home

15. Things Tourists Love

Wander through the nameless city full of rebellion, desire, and viciousness. Jessica Halsey’s Lupercalia guides readers through the ruins of stories as they smash against reality. 

The city is born, slippery and feral, and then it grows, collects and rejects a multitude of denizens that break and reshape the boundaries of mythology. 

These speculative and fantastical poems represent the search for identity and purpose in a world that challenges the endurance of the human spirit. From the fall of Icarus to the loneliness of abandon, these poems represent how every mythological hero and trial are reflections of our daily lives.

HAPPY LISTENING!

The Patron Saint of Unaccountable Muses

Poetry

She was throttled and hung

when hope died

for the second time.

No one stayed around for her

resurrection, no one

watched her catch a crow mid

flight, stick two fingers down

its throat and pop her eyeball

out of its broken beak.

Last I heard she moved

into an alley off Capitol Street.

She feeds the stray cats slightly

green slices off her right

arm and passes out cigarettes

to the working girls.

Writing Advice #5

Writing Advice

Right now I’m scared that all the words are crap and even though I’m meeting my word count goals (mostly) I’m scared they’re not going to count for anything and I won’t have anything I can use for a novel after this.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO WRITE CRAP.

TELL YOURSELF IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT’S BAD NOW.

YOU CAN FIX IT LATER.

IT’S OKAY TO WRITE CRAP.

STEP 1: WRITE CRAP.

STEP 2: MAKE IT BETTER.

GO WRITE. GO WRITE CRAP.

NaNo 2018 Day 3

NaNoWriMo

Word count: 2044

Projects: Havoc’s Moon, The Morning Star

Goals achieved/notes: So I haven’t had much luck with re-naming my characters but I have had some and some is better than nothing. My main character’s love interest in Havoc’s Moon has gone nameless since January of this year. He likes going by his last name but I’m the author and I need to know his first name because reasons. I took a lot of notes today for Havoc’s Moon, mostly about weaponry. It’s a paranormal action/adventure first and a romance second so I feel it’s very important I get the guns and artillery right.

For The Morning Star I think my main character is going to have some sort of psychotic break. I’m not sure. Even though I’m writing The Morning Star in 3rd person I free-wrote some of Echo’s thoughts in first person in the hopes that I can use them in the audio transcripts that are intermingled with the prose chapters.

Total word count: 5454 (Cleared 5,000 words today:))