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.

NaNoWriMo (2018): Book Synopsis(es)

NaNoWriMo

Instead of working on 1 project I’m going to work on 3. Because 2 of them are small and near completion and the other NEEDS TO BE WORKED ON. So I’m trying to kill 3 birds with 1 stone this year.

Going to Work

Everyday Life

Mr. J (opens the door to go to work): Hey there’s a new cat outside!

(We live in an apartment complex with lots of stray cats.)

Me: Yeah.

Mr. J: Yeah!

Me: Yeah (Not the happy, enthusiastic “yeah” but the uncomfortable, defeated “yeah” of a person who all cats know will do anything for them and will ultimately suffer the displeasure of her inside feline overlords because the outside cat made big eyes at her yesterday and she doesn’t know how long she’ll be able to go without paying homage to the outside cat by giving him/her the inside feline overlords’ treats. And once they find out I’m giving an outside cat treats there will be HELL TO PAY!)

Me (again): Yeah.

I Love You (1)

Lupercalia, Poetry

The declaration

is so soft

no one notices and

when our breath catches

in our wine swollen throats

we wonder how

such debauchery

could have snuck in.

For my birthday

I asked for a 12

pack of toilet paper

and a sturdy pair of boots.

The first to fight

the ration shortage,

the second to fight

standing still.

For your birthday

the state of Virginia

banned oral sex

along with all the other

crimes

against

nature so I

sent you a picture

of me

pleasuring

the turkey blaster.

We still manage to see

fireworks even though

they are not

really fireworks.

In some distant

country not yet at war

with us the arches

of a cathedral crack.

I make an altar

out of pilfered bird

bones by the river

you will never see again.

Five tornadoes

touch down inside

the cradle

of a 10 mile radius.

We all raise

our arms

but we cannot

hear each other scream.

Why can’t I write?

Writing Life

Writing as a person who has a “day job.” I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not a business person. I can’t afford to just write and make money off of my writing. I have zero expectations that writing will make me financially stable. But writing isn’t a hobby for me, writing keeps me alive. Writing gives me the strength to go outside my apartment and exist as a human being in a society filled with other human beings. Sometimes being human is scary.

But I’ve found, more harshly than previous bouts of writer’s block, in the last few months I haven’t been able to write. I haven’t found myself capable of putting the ideas forming in my brain onto the page. I have several works in progress and several ideas for how to make them awesome but when I turn on my iPad to write I can’t make the words happen.

So what do I do?

Physical(ity)ly

Poetry, Writing Life

Now I only write numbers.

05 line the 26 day line 2018

My initials are not letters but curves in the road, a roundabout, a punctuated swirl.

I never write my initials the same way twice

But the lab techs and quality know every time it’s me because they

Analyze beautifully

I don’t know what they write I do know

I don’t write words anymore, only numbers

And lines

10 line 04 line 2017 JH

And so on

And so on

With ballpoint pen

I used to hate writing with ballpoints but you can get used to anything if you do it long enough curls in the road like a ribbon, a strand of hair, a stray thought that begins where you are and takes you where you want to be with who you want to be with but if you lose focus you have to error correct and then there are more numbers and more lines

The physical physicality of writing

New Editions with New Covers

NEWS

One of the cool things about self-publishing is that if you aren’t happy with your work, especially your poetry, you can change it without having to argue with an editor or another publisher.

Graveyard and Twisted Myths had been out for a few years now and one of my writing goals back in the summer of 2017 was to pick my favorite poems from both collections and write a bilingual edition with Spanish versions of those poems and call it Martyrs and Other Creatures of the Abyss. In addition to the poems from Graveyard and Twisted Myths, I would publish and translate 10-20 new poems. Well, as 2018 rolled around a lot of my prose/fiction projects were taking up a huge chunk of my writing time and those 10-20 poems just didn’t get written. And then I had the idea that I wanted to translate ALL of my poetic works into Spanish, not just pick my favorites and discard the rest.

With that came the decision that all of my work thus far needed a serious overhaul.

Some of the poems from Graveyard were written back in 2007 and I’ve definitely changed as a person and a writer since then. Also, Riverkill was my grad school thesis and has been through several extreme transformations since 2012. More than anything, I wanted to make for myself an opportunity where I could say HI to my work again and see if any of my experiences in the last decade could deepen or enhance the conversation between the writer and the poems and if new creations could be born from them.

I haven’t made a lot of changes to the content. A few words here and there, a few lines added, others taken away. The biggest changes you will find with these collections are the titles, the order of the poems, the covers, and where you can find the collections now.

1. Graveyard and Twisted Myths are now combined into one edition titled LUPERCALIA (one of my favorite poems from the collection). Riverkill is now titled THE ECHO OF SOMETHING HITTING (a line from the text).

2. The order of the poems from Graveyard and Twisted Myths has been rearranged to make a more organic flow that blooms with the tone and theme of the title poem, Lupercalia. I want you to visit the places in my poems, see their fallen gods and never forget the value of love.

3. The covers! I had a lot of fun with this. As I now have a job that gives me more expendable income, I can have people design book covers for me and pay them. I got the cover for Lupercalia from https://thebookcoverdesigner.com/ at a very reasonable price with prompt and satisfying customer service. The new cover for The Echo of Something Hitting keeps the same skeletal structure of the previous cover but the title (obviously) and color schemes are different.