writing

Vol. 4 Edits Due Back Today!

Getting your manuscript back from your editor is both exciting and terrifying. On the one hand, you’re a step closer to release day, HUZZAH! On the other, the editor’s very job is to tear your book apart and highlight, in red, all of your mistakes. Which you then have to accept. Literally. I have to push a button to accept each and every correction. And there are always a lot. Like hundreds. Despite having read the manuscript backward and forwards. Despite having other sets of eyes on it to check for issues. The editor always finds an obscene amount of errors. Some, as you know, will even pass her careful eyes because…

Some authors will choose to hit the ‘accept all’ button in Word which will take all of the corrections and fix them at once. Not me. I’m a glutton for punishment. I want to know what I messed up. what word did I spell wrong this time, how badly did I screw up my commas this time? Will my editor pointing out my crutch words stop me from peppering every subsequent manuscript with them that she has to cut again? Probably not. Will I ever learn how to use a semicolon properly? Doubtful. Will I ever remember what traumatic past I gave my heroine? Unlikely. But the hope that I will retain the knowledge my poor editor is trying to convey is there. And so I look at each mistake one at a time.

Once those errors are all fixed, I’ll do the final format check for the ebook (I do the paperback upload on release day for marketing reasons) then I’ll upload it to all the platforms so it will be ready for its release day on Feb. 7, 2023. (Ack, that’s two weeks from now!)

Because I now have a pre-order link up for the last volume, I’m trying my hand at some paid promotions. Cause let’s face it, I’m not the world’s best marketing guru. And the competition for visibility in the contemporary romance market is no joke. Even with over twenty titles out, I am a drop of water in the ocean of romance books, so I’ll need all the help I can get!

In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up Vol. 1 and wanted to, it’s on sale for. 99 cents now. Or you can always read the prequel chapter for free right on my blog. It’s only 15 pages but it gives you some insight into what happens immediately before the series starts and gives you a sense of my writing voice.

WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 1 (.99 Cents)
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 2
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 3
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 4 (02.07.23)
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 5 (Pre-Order)

Now that Vol. 4 is basically finished, I will be starting my third draft of Vol. 5 in February to get that ready for its May release.

What am I working on until then? That’s a secret… for now. Hope to have some news to share on that soon. That’s all for now!


Danielle/Dani Bannister, author and maker of typos

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writing

I can see the finish line…

Several years ago, Amy Miles, and I had this crazy idea to write a trilogy together. We wanted to blend my romantic style of writing with her fantasy world building style. A Banshee and a Human forced together in the same world.  How fun might that be? Thus began a labor of love that spanned several years and took many turns.

As we near the end of the edits of Book 2, Hollow Earth, I thought it might be fun to share my typical editing process. Each book is a bit different, but this is roughly how it goes.

Draft 1. The Magic Draft. EVERYTHING I write in draft one is gold. I don’t stop. I don’t re-read. I don’t edit. I push forward allowing the word vomit to fall where it may. I love draft 1.

Drafts 2-3. Oh boy. There sure is a mess to clean up here. The engineer hat goes on and I try to piece together all the thoughts I was trying to formulate in the draft 1 into a cohesive story. These drafts take the longest, and it feels like I’ve ALWAYS got a book in this phase. ha.

Draft 4-5. Self-edit hat on. Okay, this is starting to look like a book. Minor fixes, a few paragraphs added or deleted. Plot holes firmed up. Almost time for the editor.

Draft 6. Print off the manuscript. Dig out the red pen to catch what I miss on the screen.

Draft 7. Transposing the pile of notes I made with said red pen onto the computer.

Draft 8. Run scan for repetitive words, sentence structure, grammar, etc.

Draft 8.5. Send to Beta readers, if I use them.

Draft 9 (ish) off to the editor. Write a new draft 1 of a different manuscript. Happy day!

Draft 10. Reviewing editors comments. Fairly painless usually.

Draft 10.5. Send to ARC readers if I use them.

Draft 11. One last final read through. REALLY hating this book right about now. Please don’t make me read it ever again or I’ll toss it in the recycling bin.

Once Draft 11 is done, I am ready to let it go. Though, from this point on, I can’t re-read the book or I’ll want to make changes. Haha.

For Hollow Earth, we are at Draft 9. Soooooo close to that finish line! That means I can write new words soon!!! Huzzah!

 

Danielle Bannister, author and drafter of all the words.

 

writing

I’d rather be writing…

Work is done for the day. The kids are at their dad’s. The house is quiet. The perfect time to write. Instead, I’m stuck in editing hell. Wait, isn’t that the same thing as writing? It’s attached to writing sure, but it’s the ugly underbelly of the beast.

For me, writing comes in stages. The first stage is the best. When I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just GO. This is the Magical time of writing (as one of my guest teachers at UMO, the great, Monica Wood, shared with us.) During the Magic phase, NOTHING I write is bad. It’s all gold. Every word is birthed from my imagination and as beautiful as a newborn baby.

It’s only when I hold that baby up close, that you start to see some of the kinks in the armour, shall we say? During the second round of edits, I quickly discover that all that gold I wrote is not, in fact, without flaw, and I begin to question if this story can even be salvaged or not. I mean, sure, I typed 55 thousand words, but if 45,000 are shit, is it worth trying to save? Sometimes yes, sometimes not. It’s a painful edit to do because there is just soooooooooooooooo much to clean up. This draft takes the longest for me but it does still have room for more magic to happen. Once I start to clean up the mess my word vomit made, I can see spots where I can add a new scene, or rewrite something a different way. Both sides of my brain are (or attempting to) work in tandem.

The third draft is where I’m at now. The story is probably about 75-80% the way it will be in the final draft. By this round, most of the plot holes have been discovered and either fixed or removed or will be soon. This draft, admittedly, takes less time then the dreaded second draft, but is no less fun.

Draft four is where I start to get bored with my book. I’ve read over the same passages and nothing feels fresh anymore. It all feels stagnate. I start to second guess myself and my skill as a writer. I call this the self-loathing phase, so naturally, after this edit, I send it out to my beta readers. Glutton for punishment.

The fifth draft edits are the ones given to me by my beta readers. This can take a few weeks depending on how many I’ve solicited.  Then, when I’m feeling good about the book, I send it off to the editor thinking, secretly, that she’s not going to find much at all to fix in this book. She’s gonna be so impressed with my awesome writing skills!

I’m wrong. So wrong, every single time. Edits for days! It’s at this point, I really start to hate my book. I’ve read it so many times, and checked and checked for errors and fixed so many things, I’m just DONE with it!

That’s when I know it’s ready to publish. When I hate it. haha.  Publishing begins the whole marketing phase of a book (my lease favorite part), but it gets me closer to the Magic phase again when I can start a new book.

So you see, the actual WRITING phase of writing is just a sliver of what makes up the vast amount of time that goes into my books. The time spent editing it is the real time suck.

If only I could learn to get it to come out right the first time, then I’d be onto something!

Danielle Bannister Author and sometimes editing hell liver.