GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Ink Well: One writer’s process explained for the reader with Andy Peloquin | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ink Well: One writer’s process explained for the reader with Andy Peloquin

Ink Well: One writer’s process explained for the reader with Andy Peloquin

Writing a short story, novella, or novel 100% free of errors is, I'd wager, COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE! I'd be willing to bet that not even the greats (Brandon Sanderson, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, and G.R.R. Martin) write novels that are perfect. There's a reason that line editors, developmental editors, and proofreaders are a part of the publishing process: more eyes = less risk of errors and mistakes.
But, as a writer, I've learned the best way to wow your publisher is to deliver work that is as clean and free of mistakes as possible. That means ironing out all the:
Plot holes
Character inconsistencies
Time inconsistencies
Grammar mistakes
Punctuation mistakes
Head-hopping (switching POV)
POV mistakes
Anachronisms
and anything else that isn't correct…

The last book I submitted to my publisher received fewer than 20 edits. The editors were amazed at how clean the book was. 
So how did I get my book from rough first draft to clean, neat submission? That was quite a lengthy process, one that involved the steps listed below:

Step 1: Write the damned thing. This first step is always the most important. Simply use your words to paint the pictures you see in your head, and take your character along a journey from "In the beginning" to "The End". For me, it's easier to focus on the story rather than the nitty gritty details of location, so I just include the important details. The color of the palace, the specific terrain, and the other details can be fleshed out later. For now, I just need to tell the character's story.

Step 2: Send the book to alpha readers. Alpha readers are people who read the rough draft and critique the story at large. They'll look at plot, pacing, the three-act structure, and overall character progression. They point out all the mistakes (of which there will be many) in your writing. I give Alpha readers around 6 weeks to slice and dice the book, during which time I'll work on other projects.

Step 3: Draft 2. This is the second draft, the draft that I focus on making as perfect as possible. I'll edit the book according to the notes given me by my alpha readers, and I'll flesh out all the details of location, settings, surroundings, etc. This is the time to tighten up the writing as if I was going to publish it the moment I finished with the draft. I make it as complete and cohesive as possible.

Step 4: Off to the beta readers. These readers also pay attention to plot, pacing, and structure, but I have a couple who focus more on the characters, the grammar and punctuation, the showing/telling, and other nitty gritty details. I've already worked the story to where I want it to be, so now I'm looking for notes that will help me tighten up what I believe to be the final story. Once again, this is about 6 weeks of slicing and dicing, during which time I do not touch the book--instead, I work on other projects.

Step 5: Fixing it up. The beta readers always have lots of comments, most of which are focused on line by line changes rather than entire chapters that need to be excised. I take their changes and comments into account, and make the book conform to their recommendations as much as possible. Of course, I don't blindly do what they say, but I'll talk each item out to find out exactly why they recommended the change. 

Step 6: Read. I mean PHYSICALLY, not on my computer. I'll take my book to Office Depot, print it out, get it all nicely bound in a notebook, and sit on my couch with a pen and mark the heck out of it. I read each sentence to ensure the book flows nicely, with sentences neither too long nor short. I want smooth reading, not choppy or over-long paragraphs. Now that I've printed it out, I see how the book will look in its physical format, and it's easier to spot mistakes that I hadn't noticed on my computer screen. As I mark the book, I'll make the changes to the digital file, until it's as clean as humanly possible. 

Step 7: Submit.
All in all, this takes about 6-9 months of my life, with 4-6 months spent working on just that one book. But, by the time I finally click the "Send" button on my submission, it's been through four layers of preliminary edits, with 6 or 7 sets of eyes going over it and finding as many mistakes as they can. This is how I ensure my editors get as clean and perfect a manuscript as possible. 

The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen
by Andy Peloquin

August 21, 2015
340 pages
A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past. The Hunter of Voramis--a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (The Last Bucelarii--dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature) 

The Hunter of Voramis is no more.
Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared asassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter's journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious.

Andy Peloquin--a third culture kid to the core--has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn't looked back since.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings--along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:
1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
3. I'm a head taller than the average person (I'm 6' 6")
4. Marvel > DC
5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
7. Aliens are real, but it's self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

A Few of My Favorite Things
Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs
Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I'm an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale
Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride
Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it
Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover's Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi
Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones


"Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark...fantasy addicts will love it!" -- Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates -- http://peterjstory.com/

What Reviewers are saying...
"The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you." - Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

"From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!" -- Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

"Oh the carnage! Fantastic bloodthirsty carnage! The fight scenes in this book were fast-paced, detailed and thrilling. I love a good sword fight and there is plenty of that here." -- Ami L. Hart

"One could get lost in this novel for its twisting plots, seemingly endless imagination, dark yet irresistible characters, or the mind-numbing paradox of its simultaneously dark and romantic world. One could follow the long and winding road of the dusky, fierce protagonist and fight tooth and nail not to sympathize with him. One could dance in the dizzying, intricate circles of Peloquin's neo-mythology, or even basque in the black sunlight of a well-crafted gothic novel that both entertains and enlightens." -- Jesse G. Christiansen

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