A Gift of Time on Amazon

A Gift of Time on Amazon


It’ll be free on Saturday, December 21st and Sunday, December 22nd. If you’re happy to contribute to my coffee fund, I am of course delighted if you buy it. (Not to mention that purchases help way more for the Amazon algorithms that let other people see it.) But if you can’t afford it, I’m totally sympathetic to that, too. Pick it up on Saturday.

And please tell your friends! (If, you know, they might like a fast-paced, quirky, romantic ghost story.)

(x-posted on Wynded Words. Which seems lazy of me, but yeah, so it goes. It’s been a long week.)


A Gift of Time

A GIft of Time-Cover-Nov2013

Natalya Latimer’s ability to see the future has been as much curse as gift. Knowing that she would someday find his dead body destroyed her relationship with her best friend and lover. But when it finally happens, nothing turns out the way she expected it to and suddenly she’s flying blind, with no gift to tell her where she’s going.

And done.

I went on an editing binge. Completely stiff from not moving for hours in a row, hungry, cranky, voice worn out from reading aloud.

But I clicked the Amazon publish button twenty minutes ago.

(x-posted at Wynded Words)


I am comforted today by the fact that I’ve used the word “the” 5441 times in a A Gift of Time. Although I suppose some of those occurrences could be in words like “theater” or “theme,” it still makes me feel so much better about the 91 uses of “just,” each and every one of which I have looked at and determined is worth keeping.

Today’s goals: less ambitious than yesterday. I got nowhere close to a whole pass. Too many things that warranted revision, thinking about, cross-checking, etc. So, two chapters this morning before yoga, four chapters this afternoon before my evening meeting. That’ll put me halfway through my copy-edit. Tomorrow I’ll try to finish, and Saturday I’ll start an actual proofing pass. With any luck, I’ll be done by Sunday. Later than I hoped, but that’s sort of been the way of things with this book all the way along. Why should it change during the end game?

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a working editor was that perfection is not possible. There’s no such thing and the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t make any sense. As an editor, you have to make choices about what you can accomplish in your available time. Smart choices. Ones that make your pay rate something you can live with and on. Doing it all myself makes those choices so much harder and less clear.


Word choices

I started my proofing pass yesterday and nope. Two chapters in, I went back to copy-editing.

What’s the difference, you ask? (Okay, I imagine you asking.) When I’m copy-editing, I’ll make substantive changes. I’ll decide that an entire paragraph is unnecessary or that sentences need tightening. I’ll reword phrases that seem awkward. I’ll make global decisions about word choices. I’ll do dialog passes where I look at the word choices of an individual character and make sure that all my characters don’t sound the same.

A proofing pass, on the other hand, is for minor errors. Misplaced commas, extra spaces, spelling errors. I proof by reading aloud. It’s time-consuming and hard on the voice and when I’m done, I want the changes to be so small that I don’t feel like I have to do it again. If I make any change larger than a single letter, I’m likely to re-read the whole chapter with the change aloud again, in order to make sure that my change doesn’t cause a ripple effect with repetitions or logical issues.

So yesterday I started reading aloud and within the first two chapters, I’d already made about twenty changes, including some that were major (deleting entire paragraphs that bored me) and some that were global. Gray vs grey, anyone?

Today, therefore, it’s back to copy-editing. My goal: to finish one solid pass, make some more big changes, and maybe manage to get in a couple of hours of reading aloud before bedtime. I suspect it’s going to be another long, long day.

Some of yesterday’s catches:

“kind of” vs “sort of” vs “type of”. They really don’t all mean the same thing.

The aforementioned “gray” vs “grey”. One’s American, one belongs to the rest of the English-speaking world. Which to use?

“A little” — 94 times! I used “a little” 94 times. I’m down to 34 today and I think I can probably live with that. And it’s definitely added to my stylesheet to check on in future books.

Starting to proof

I finally finished the major revisions to A Gift of Time. I ran through all of my stylesheet questions and edit notes and reviewed all of my beta comments again.

This means I’m ready to start proofing. Whee!

Well, not quite. I need to add a title page and copyright page, plus acknowledgements and dedication. Plus the author note (aka call to action) which I just hate writing. I get the reasoning for it — my mailing list currently has eight people on it which is not exactly enough to sustain a career. But still, I hate asking people to do things. I should probably work on that in therapy someday. Ha.

Beyond that, I’ve also decided that books should include their description on the front page, right below the title, right above the copyright. I say this because I’m tired of trying to guess what books are about from their cover in my ereader software. So it’s time to work on the description.

The current version is: Natalya Latimer’s ability to see the future has been as much curse as gift. Knowing that she would someday find his dead body destroyed her relationship with her best friend and lover. But when it finally happens, nothing turns out the way she expected it to and suddenly she’s flying blind, with no gift to tell her where she’s going.

Thoughts? It doesn’t reveal a lot about the story, but I might be okay with that.

Serious motivation issues

Well, not literally serious. Serious is death and divorce and illness and all the myriad struggles of life. This is more like, “Ugh, I have to do something with this and I just don’t want to.”

So Chapter Ten… the right thing to do is to start over. Maybe not completely, but pretty close. Originally, it was a scene with three major characters. I revised it once already and got rid of one of those characters, because his presence made plot complications that I did not need. But my revisions were patchwork. The reality is that his absence means that the scene can and should be dramatically different. The conversation that Akira is having isn’t the right conversation for her to be having with Colin. It’s the right conversation for her to be having with Zane. Instead of it being an interaction between two people who know each other intimately, this is an interaction between two people who barely know each other but are predisposed to like one another, and, even more importantly, strongly suspect that they might or should someday become sort of relatives. In-law in-laws–the “my brother-in-law’s wife” relationship. It’s an entirely different conversation.

And I can see that. But ugh. I just haven’t felt inspired to write it.

I need to remind myself that writing isn’t about inspiration, it’s about putting the words one after another on the screen until the magic number is reached. At the moment, though, I seem to be searching for inspiration.

Home from Seattle

…and ready to make some fresh starts.

Well, not quite ready. Or perhaps not quite fresh starts. I’ve finished one round of edits on A Gift of Time. Mostly, it was the easy stuff: the simple notes that I and some of my beta readers made while reading. Sentence tweaks, punctuation changes, word fixes, a few line edits, and some minor revisions to fix continuity issues or small plot holes.

I still need to rewrite Chapter Ten. Also I need to review one of the earlier chapters to see how and if I can implement a substantial change. Then I’ll go through most of my beta reads again. I’ve got ten or so, some with substantial comments. I have a tendency on my first review of set of beta notes to reject some comments that on a second review make me think, “well, maybe…” So I’ll do that. Then I’ll start the copy-edit. I need to go back and dig up my last style-sheet, from A Gift of Thought. It’s basically a list of words to check: I look at every “that,” every “ly,” every “was,” plus a whole bunch more (just, actually, some, a little, quite), and decide if they’re needed, if they could be replaced, if I could find a better way to say what I was trying to say. Hmm, planning out what I’m going to do is making me tired. I think I’d better stop planning it and just start doing it!

Onto Chapter 10. And back, I hope, to my daily posting here. It may not work for everyone, but the daily posting helps me stay focused in a good way.

Goals for today: work on 10. Probably not finish it, because I’m jet-lagged and in the wrong time zone, which isn’t the most conducive state of mind for writing coherently, much less well. But at least make some initial attempts at finalizing it.