Thursday, January 1, 2015

What have I been up to?



Today, I’ve been working on something that I started a few weeks back. I currently have the unenviable task of re-editing book one in my Helheim Series. After doing the comic con “Armaggedon” in October, I had a great opportunity to supply my books to a bookstore in Melbourne. Before that could happen though, I had to make sure my books were perfect. 

When you write a book and you edit and re-edit then edit some more, reading the thing gets a little tedious. Having a fresh set of eyes on the text really helps, and if you can’t afford to pay someone, or don’t trust someone enough with your literary baby, just leaving it alone for a little while can help.

This is what I’ve done. I’ve not read “Half Blood” in a long time, but these holidays I picked it up again and was horrified to find typographical errors as well as editing and spelling errors. You can image my surprise to even find these things as the book had been edited and proofread and sent through a gamut of beta readers – not one of these methods picked up any problems with the text.

“Half Blood” originally had a smidge over 80,000 words.
The current word count: 76,600 words.

I know as authors we can get hung up on the word count, but at the end of the day, if you’re just throwing in words to beef up your final number, it’s better to leave the fluff out. You’re not doing yourself any favors.

Here’s a before and after of a scene that I’ve since re-edited…

ORIGINAL

The sound of beeping woke Indi up. Irritated by the noise, she swung her arm out to turn off her alarm clock, but when a small pinching sensation near the crook of her elbow turned into a scream of knock-it-the-fuck-off, Indi’s eyes cracked open to see what the problem was. With her heart in her throat, she opened up her other eye just to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.
Bringing her fingers to her arm, she lifted the edge of the thin opaque tape hugging the huge needle sticking into her skin, deciding that it wasn’t a dream as she thought, but something very, very real. Panic formed a lump in her throat. With her eyes, she followed the small tube that came out of the needle up to a baggy of clear liquid hanging from a metal pole above her head.
When the beeping became a little faster, she looked to her right, finding the machine responsible for all the noise. A new wire snaked down over the blankets to her right index finger, ending in a plastic peg-looking thing. The lines on the monitor’s screen were jumping in time to the thumping of her heart.
Against her will, she forced her eyes to look down the rest of her body. The snug-fitting blankets around her torso felt like they’d been dipped in acid and made with sheets of sandpaper. Her heart started pounding harder, making her deaf to everything else but that sound. Pure fear made her sit up while every nerve ending was firing, begging her to get out of there, to save herself. Licking her dry lips, she pulled the tape off her arm quickly and ripped the needle from her flesh. Her whole arm began to throb as blood pumped out of the vein she’d just unplugged. It oozed from the huge hole in her arm, dripping down onto the white blanket.
She pulled the plastic peg from her finger, and when she did, the machinery went berserk. Alarms were sounding in her room and out in the hall. With sluggish movements, she threw the blankets from her body and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Someone was yelling out in the hallway, but the buzz of their words was at war with the machines in her room.
Breathlessly, she lowered herself onto the ground, grabbing onto the side of her bed to stop herself from collapsing when her knees gave out suddenly. She was wearing a johnnie, her back exposed to the recirculated air from the air conditioning. Her teeth chattered as she surveyed the room, the alarms still ringing in her ears.
“Indigo?”
Indi turned to find a man wearing a white coat approaching her. He wrapped his hand around her upper arm and helped her up although she was trying to fight him off.
“No,” she murmured, her head spinning like she’d just jumped off a malfunctioning tilt-a-whirl.
He looked down at her arm. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath. His head swung around towards the door he’d just come through. “Nurse! Nurse!” He turned back to Indi. “You need to get back into bed.” He pushed her shoulders back to emphasise his words.
She pulled against his grip, but she was weak. She couldn’t fight him. “Let me go,” she demanded in a small voice.
“Now!” he told her, raising his voice. Another hand came up under her arms and lifted. She was pulled back into the bed, her legs swung back over and covered with the itchy blankets. The doctor pulled her arm away from her body and looked over the newly-made wound. She tried taking her arm back from him, but his fingers dug in to hold her still. She could smell her blood escaping her body too quickly. A flash of an image she couldn’t decipher seared her frontal lobe before black fuzziness started to eat her vision.
“We’re trying to help you. You’re bleeding out too quickly. We need to stop it before we’re slipping in it all over the floor. Relax, okay? You’re in good hands.”
Indi’s eyes darted around the room. There were more people in there now with plastic-gloved hands and serious expressions. Her anger didn’t like it. It wanted to protect the body. The cat inside raked its huge obsidian claws against her ribs demanding her to react. It told her to find the main danger and get rid of it.
Her eyes fixed on the threat. A wad of gauze was being held against her skin while another needle was being lined up for her other arm. She couldn’t let this happen. She wouldn’t let this happen. With her fist bunched up, she swung out, hitting the male nurse trying to do the slip-and-run on her arm square on the jaw. He went down like a ton of bricks, hitting the floor with a fleshy slap.
“Can we get a sedative in here please!” the doctor screamed over his shoulder as he tried to hold her down by her shoulders. Another pair of hands was at her ankles, holding her to the bed, but only just. Indi’s instincts to fight were running at one hundred and ten percent as she fought every single pair of hands reaching for her. There was a sharp pinch on her thigh before all the lights went out.

RE-WRITE

The sound of beeping woke up Indi. Irritated by the noise, she swung her arm out to turn off her alarm clock, but when a small pinching sensation near the crook of her elbow turned into a scream of knock-it-the-fuck-off, one of Indi’s eyes cracked open to see what the problem was. With her heart in her throat, she opened up her other eye just to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.
Bringing her fingers to her arm, she touched the edge of the thin opaque tape anchoring a huge needle into her skin. Panic formed a lump in her throat. With her eyes, Indi followed the small tube that came out of the needle up to a baggy of clear liquid hanging from a metal pole above her head.
When the beeping became a little faster, she looked to her right, finding the machine responsible for all the noise. A new wire snaked down over the blankets to her right index finger, ending in a plastic peg-looking thing. The lines on the monitor’s screen were jumping in time to the thumping of her heart.
Against her will, she forced her eyes to look down the rest of her body. The snug-fitting blankets around her torso felt like they’d been made with sheets of sandpaper dipped in acid. Her heart started pounding harder, making her deaf to everything else but that sound. Pure fear made her sit up while every nerve ending was firing, begging her to get out of there, to save herself. Licking her dry lips, she pulled the tape off her arm quickly, then yanked the needle from her flesh. Her whole arm began to throb as blood pumped out of the vein she’d just unplugged. It oozed from the huge hole in her arm, dripping down onto the white blanket.
Indi pulled the plastic peg from her finger, and when she did, the machinery went berserk. Alarms were sounding in her room and out in the hall. With sluggish movements, she threw the blankets from her body and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Someone was yelling out in the hallway, but the buzz of their words was at war with the machines in her room.
Breathlessly, she lowered herself onto the ground, grabbing onto the side of her bed to stop herself from collapsing when her knees gave out suddenly. She was wearing a johnnie, her back exposed to the recirculated air from the air conditioning. Her teeth chattered as she surveyed the room, the alarms still ringing in her ears.
“Indigo?”
Indi turned to find a man wearing a white coat approaching her. He wrapped his hand around her upper arm and helped her up although she was trying to fight him off.
“No,” she murmured, her head spinning like she’d just jumped off a malfunctioning tilt-a-whirl.
He looked down at her arm. “Shit,” he said under his breath. White Coat’s head swung around towards the door he’d just come through. “Nurse! Nurse!” He turned back to Indi. “You need to get back into bed.” He pushed her shoulders back to emphasise his words.
Indi pulled against his grip, but she was weak. She couldn’t fight him. “Let me go,” she demanded in a small voice.
“Now!” he told her, raising his voice. Another hand came up under her arms and lifted. She was pulled back onto the bed, her legs swung back over and covered with the itchy blankets. The doctor pulled her arm away from her body and looked over the newly-made wound. Indi tried taking her arm back from him, but his fingers dug in to hold her still. She could smell her blood escaping her body too quickly. A flash of an image she couldn’t decipher seared her frontal lobe before black fuzziness started to eat her vision.
“We’re trying to help you. You’re bleeding out too quickly. We need to stop it before we’re slipping in it all over the floor. Relax, okay? You’re in good hands.”
Indi’s eyes darted around the room. There were more people in there now with plastic-gloved hands and serious expressions. A wad of gauze was being held against her skin while another needle was being lined up for her other arm. She couldn’t afford to lose consciousness again. With her fist bunched up, she swung out, hitting the male nurse trying to do the jab-and-run on her arm square on the jaw. He went down like a ton of bricks, hitting the floor with a fleshy slap.
“Can we get a sedative in here, please!” the doctor screamed over his shoulder as he tried to hold Indi down by her shoulders. Another pair of hands was at her ankles, holding her to the bed, but only just. Indi’s instincts to fight were running at one hundred and ten percent as she fought every single person reaching for her. Then there was a sharp pinch on her thigh before all the lights went out.

-\/-

As you can see they aren’t major changes but I’ve done a fair bit of editing throughout the entire book. I’ve also taken all the books down from Amazon and other platforms while I work on them. I’ll upload and release them one at a time as I get them done. Right now my focus is on getting “Half Blood” finished and ready for “Supanova” which is happening mid this year.

I must admit that I’m really embarrassed about finding these errors. I can’t believe I sold a stack of copies – e-books and paperbacks – with all these errors. I’m truly sorry to anyone who bought a copy and had to deal with the mess. <sigh> Onwards and upwards though…

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