Reading and Writing and Writing and Reading

I turned in the copy edits for Three Shots to the Wind yesterday. (Look for a celebratory giveaway at the end of the post.) It’s always exciting and a bit nerve racking because I’m hoping I caught everything. I did find a big mistake that I’d thought I’d fixed before I sent the copy edits in. It had to do with the timing of the plot. Chloe goes to see someone and becomes one of the last people to see that person. Yet Deputy Biffle doesn’t show up to question her for thirty-three hours! Oof! That can’t happen.

I realized I either had to move scenes around which didn’t seem like it was going to work very well (I was afraid I was going to have one of those days that seemed endless) or come up with a really excellent reason why it takes Deputy Biffle so long to question Chloe about the missing person. So there I was tap, tap, tapping my hand on my desk while I went back and forth about what to do. Then I played a couple of games of spider solitaire which didn’t provide me with any insights.

Although, not long after that I realized I had come up with a solution. I opened a new document, cut and pasted a scene, and then rewrote most of it. Then I used the read aloud function and listened to the scene. It worked, probably even better than what I thought I did originally. Whew.

Here are some examples of what my copy editor does for those of you that haven’t ever seen copy edits before. I’m the Microsoft Office User– the copy editor is rlg.

Oops! I forgot to check the lists of characters from the last two books and reused the name Blake. Blake became Garth.

Above I was doing a little sentence smoothing and fixed something that didn’t work well with another scene.

Here is a sneak peek at the first couple of sentences in Three Shots to the Wind:

Today I went back to writing the fourth Chloe Jackson book. It’s still a mess, but I’m kind of in love with the story. I just hope it stays that way, but I’m sure I’m going to hit the despair “this is the worst thing I’ve ever written and everyone is going to hate it” phase of writing soon. It happens every single time.

Readers: To celebrate sending in Three Shots to the Wind, I’ll give away a copy of either From Beer to Eternity or A Time to Swill to someone who leaves a comment. Do you get to a “I hate this project” phase when you are creating things? Or just say hi!

65 Thoughts

  1. I hate it when I have to move something around, because I know it will break five other things! But we always get through it, don’t we? I can’t wait for the next installment, Sherry.

  2. That’s so true about catching something late in the process. It’s like the butterfly effect, I think. One small butterfly-sized adjustment can change so many other scenes and plot points. I always end up skimming the whole manuscript just to make sure I didn’t miss something related to it. Love the title of Book Four, by the way!

  3. When working on any project there are points where I get to a level of frustration. Some examples are when making jewelry and I find the finished project is too small or too big or just doesn’t fit the image I had in my mind’s eye. I can only imagine the frustration you must feel when you get notifications of deletion notices.

  4. Some of my projects can be quite tedious and frustrating when I have difficulty putting the pieces together. I buy antique charms and make my own charm bracelets for special occasions for gifts such as baby showers. It’s fun finding the charms. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  5. If I’m having a particularly hard time trying to create a review of a book or CD, I do at least temporarily get that “I hate this project” feeling. It’s less involved, I’d expect, than trying to create books or albums, but to me it is still a pain.

    I had that feeling when trying to write an article that doubled as a tribute to a singer who had recently died. Because I was such a fan and the circumstances of his death, it took me a long time to finish the piece because I had to let it sit in order to put things together in a coherent manner.

    Of course, I have the “I hate this project” feeling more often when I’m doing projects at work. But that’s a different beast.

  6. From Beer to Eternity would LOVE to have A Time to Swill join it in my TBR queue while I continue bailing the now 10,293 unread emails.

  7. Three cheers to turning in your copy edits, Sherry! That’s always a big accomplishment. I’m usually sick of my manuscripts at my third round of revision. By then, I’ve reread the story so often I want to send it to the editor and forget about it for a long while!

  8. I’ve been taking a ceramics class and, not being a patient painter, frequently make flub ups. I get to that “I can’t stand this piece” point every time, but I persevere and always end up liking it at the end, flub ups and all lol! Maybe we just need to be more forgiving of ourselves?

  9. I don’t exactly get to “I hate this” but I do get to “This is horrible and I’ll never make it work.” But it always comes out in the end.

    I had a similar situation with HARM NOT THE EARTH. My proofreader emailed me and said, “You’ve bribed a dead person after they died.” Oops.

  10. Congratulations on getting one step closer on “Three Shots to the Wind “!

    Think we all get frustrated in projects and ready to throw up our hands. Sometimes it just takes stepping back and forgetting about it for it to all come back into focus. I know for me there are times that the more I concentrate on how it should be the more elusive it becomes which just adds to the frustration. In the long run, taking ones time (even if that means time outs) and doing it right is a lot better than rushing through only to have to redo over and over again or not being happy with the end results.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of either “From Beer to Eternity” or “A Time to Swill”! Shared and hoping.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  11. I’m not sure I’ve ever hated a project but I’ve had plenty that were frustrating at some point.
    sgiden at verizon dot net

  12. Thanks for sharing the arduous task of editing. This gives me a deeper understanding of those behind-the-scenes interaction…until you deem it prefect. The irony is that all we, the readers, have to do is enjoy the fruits of your labor! Kudos to you and all writers. I am a creative person by nature, and find that my drawings, paintings or other creative projects always end up different than how I envisioned them in the beginning, but I can say that I am satisfied in the end, so hard work pays off. Never think we would ‘hate’ anything you write! I admire you and all writers, and am grateful to be allowed into your worlds!!

  13. What an intriguing look at how you edit, thank you! I have read your first two books, so please do not enter me in the contest. I could not pass up writing about that opening sentence with Chloe and the whine of the airplane in book three as it brought back memories of my childhood growing up near an airport. I am so looking forward to Three Shots to the Wind and happy for you to be starting on number four…yay and yippee!

  14. Love all your books, and knowing what goes on behind the scenes, makes them even more appreciated.

  15. Thanks for a peek inside of your process. I have 12 bags of crochet projects that are in “time out” at the moment. I go back to them every once in a while. I am, at the moment, working on 3 of those projects. Some I finish but some I rip out and just start a new project or give away the yarn.

    1. I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to crochet but I’ve never been brave enough to try it. I did try knitting once but at the time didn’t have the patience.

  16. Gah! I’m hating two projects simultaneously – the WIP and edits on the previous WIP. Gah! Thanks for this post. I feel the solidarity.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing the “inside look” at copy editing. And the opening lines of the next book. Now i have two to wait for!

  18. I am in the midst of reading over the first pass of my first book. It’s nerve-wracking and also difficult not to want to keep tweaking. Copy editors are rock stars.

  19. Glad you fixed that timeline issue! 🙂

    Although I’m surprised that Spider solitaire didn’t solve the problem for you. Maybe the police were too busy playing solitaire to come interview Chloe. (And now you know why I don’t write stories.)

  20. I am my own worst critic so yes, I get there. I will second guess myself with my floral designs as well as my artistic endeavors. I’m sure your book will be as good or better that the ones before it! Congratulations on sending it in.

  21. Yes, I can be an excellent procrastinator when I don’t like a project. And I’ve found in beta reading that after looking something over so many times it just seems right. You’re so familiar with it you know what it should say and then – wham – something jumps out. Love this series. Can’t wait for Blake and Blake – or Blake and Garth!

  22. When I get to the “I hate this project point, I usually put it up for a couple days and then try it again. This usually works most of the times.

  23. I absolutely understand the “I hate this thing” stage and have accepted it as part of my process. Now I’m at the “omg people are going to read it?!” phase, lol! I still am flabbergasted when people say they like something I’ve written.
    Interesting to see other creatives above have the same feelings with their projects!
    PS Loved the Sarah Winston series and sad to see it go! This series is definitely on my TBR!

  24. Hi, I would like to know, Do you have a Title for your book before you start to write it? I love, Love your book titles . This summer I had 2 storage shelves to put together and less then 2 weeks ago, I put together a 6 plant pot plant stand, well, on the 3 of them something just wasn’t going right, as much as I wanted to stop in the middle of putting them together, I did not quit, it just made me keep on at it and find out what I was doing wrong, and I figured it out , so I just went ahead and put them together, and I was glad I did. When I start something I have to finish it, I will say some choice words, but I don’t give up. Have a great weekend and stay safe.

    1. Way to go with the plant stands! Putting things together can be so challenging. I always have a title but they often change. I always have titles but they often change. When I turned in the proposal for the first three Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries they titles were Tagged for Death, Marred Sale Madness, and Murder As Is. Tagged for Death was the only one that stuck. The fourth Chloe book is getting a name change from too — it’s gone through several.

  25. I have that moment at the beginning of projects. I get overwhelmed by the amount of work, have no idea where to start, so I don’t. 🙃

  26. Hello. I get to that point a lot anymore. Thank you for sharing. I love the cover, God bless you.

  27. Yes, when I create quilts, it’s fun to start and then I get to the part where I don’t know what to do and how could I make this design work, and I want to toss it all away. I do what you do, step away and then a new design pops into my head.

    BTW, I play the following: Solitaire, TriPeaks, Spider Solitare and FreeCell.

  28. That was interesting to see the editing process, but I have to say that I’m glad it is not me having to learn how to use the program! LOL! That’s cool that it catches name repeats and all that.

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