Writing Process

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Writing Process

Postby JTass » Tue May 05, 2020 10:33 pm

Hi Mr. M.,

I'm curious, do you ask friends or family to read and provide feedback before sending a story to your publisher, or is your first draft untouched by anyone besides you until your editor receives it?

I just started assisting a friend of mine as a beta-reader and copy editor. Up until recently he was profoundly reluctant to let anyone read any of his work until he felt it was "a polished jewel ready for publication."

He recently self-published his first novella, and received a bunch of negative comments from readers about spelling, grammar, and syntax errors that the Editor function in his word processor didn't catch. His wife talked him into recruiting several of their friends who majored in English or journalism (including me) to provide a fresh set of eyes before submitting his next effort.
Considering the principles involved, what are the odds that Murphy's Law is named after the wrong guy?
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Re: Writing Process

Postby lmodesitt » Wed May 06, 2020 3:38 pm

For better or worse, with two exceptions, every book I've written has gone straight from me to my editor. However, I don't recommend this for most writers. At the time when I wrote my first novel, I'd been publishing short stories [and getting lots of rejections] for seven years. I'd also been doing a great deal of professional political/technical writing and editing, and had strong academic training in writing. I was also fortunate that my first and long-time editor, David Hartwell, was willing to spend time actually editing. The other background aspect is that the secondary school I attended emphasized technical and grammatical excellence in writing. My secondary school English classes required 2-3 short in-class essays every week, and a longer critical paper at least every other week, and every single grammatical or punctuation error was a point off the final grade. History classes were similar. I had also had four years of Latin and four of French before going to college. Very few writers today have that kind of training.

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Re: Writing Process

Postby JTass » Wed May 06, 2020 4:41 pm

As always, thanks for your response.
Out of curiosity, what were the two exceptions you mentioned?
If I were to hazard a guess, I'd think you might have asked for your wife's input on music theory or the technical aspects of being a vocalist for The Soprano Sorceress.
Considering the principles involved, what are the odds that Murphy's Law is named after the wrong guy?
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Re: Writing Process

Postby lmodesitt » Wed May 06, 2020 5:10 pm

Your guess is absolutely correct. My wife read The Soprano Sorceress for two reasons. It was the first book I wrote entirely from the female perspective, and it had a great deal of music in it. She had no problems with my handling the of the female perspective. Shall we say that I had to make more than a few changes dealing with the music.

The other book was Archform:Beauty and the sections dealing with Luara Cornett, primarily for some of the technical aspects of the music.

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Re: Writing Process

Postby JTass » Mon May 18, 2020 6:59 pm

Hi again Mr. M.,

I have another question about your usual writing method:
Do you typically create an outline and/or diagram your story before you begin writing?
Considering the principles involved, what are the odds that Murphy's Law is named after the wrong guy?
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Re: Writing Process

Postby lmodesitt » Mon May 18, 2020 7:11 pm

Yes and no... For a fantasy series [since so far I've only written series in the fantasy genre] I start with the first book with an outline of the magic system,the society, and the pertinent history, along with a rough map. For later books, the prep work is less time-consuming. I have a mental idea of the plot arc of the book, but I don't physically outline it.

For SF books, I usually don't do maps, unless they're really rough sketches, but I do go through pretty much the same process.

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Re: Writing Process

Postby JTass » Mon May 18, 2020 10:51 pm

lmodesitt wrote:[since so far I've only written series in the fantasy genre]


So you don't consider the multiple-book SciFi story arcs that you've written to be series?
Considering the principles involved, what are the odds that Murphy's Law is named after the wrong guy?
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Re: Writing Process

Postby lmodesitt » Tue May 19, 2020 9:36 am

In my own mind, I think of a series as more than three books. The Forever Hero was written as a duology, but my editor felt that it would be better as a trilogy, and he was right. The Ecolitan books are two duologies set in the same universe, while the Ghost books are a trilogy. Archform:Beauty and Flash are separate books set in the same future, while The Parafaith War and The Ethos Effect are a duology of sorts.

That's the way I see them, anyway.


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Re: Writing Process

Postby JTass » Tue May 19, 2020 11:08 pm

Speaking of your SciFi works, do you think you'll ever revisit the Acord/Terra/Fuard/Matriarchy setting again?
Considering the principles involved, what are the odds that Murphy's Law is named after the wrong guy?
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Re: Writing Process

Postby lmodesitt » Wed May 20, 2020 10:58 am

I can't say "never," but at present, I think it's highly unlikely.

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