Tagged: book

A Tale of Two Editors – Part 2

In my last post on editors, I talked about the last editor I worked with, and my experience with her. There was a lot of criticism – some warranted, some crushing, and some that left me with more questions than answers received.

Now I’d like to discuss the latest editor I worked with, and the night-and-day different experience I had with her.

Networking Works

I met my most recent editor through a friend. My friend, we’ll call him MV, is part of a Catholic Young Professionals group in Omaha. There he met a woman who had self-published two books. Through their conversation MV learned that this woman had her sister edit her books, and through several emails they put the two of us in contact.

I was skeptical at first, but sister of this editor has done exceptionally well for herself and her books are still selling. It helped that her price was a fraction of what most editors charge as she was just getting her editing services off the ground. Jackpot!

The Process

Over a four week period my editor and I worked through my manuscript, first two copy-edits, and the finally an in-depth content edit looking at story structure, flow, identifying plot holes, and strengthening certain points such as one main character’s growth from meek to strong and the culture of the fictional people I am writing about.

My most recent editor was very thorough with grammar and punctuation. She was able to catch quite a bit of what the previous editor and I had missed. My editor was also able to go through and help make sentences and even paragraphs more clear and concise to better get the story across to my reader.

Through the in-depth content edit, my editor identified areas of confusion which need clarification, and areas where the story was weak and need additional dialogue and/or description.

Drawbacks

It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. While my story is now stronger, there were times I wasn’t sure about my most recent editor. In all edits, and especially the last, she gave me a lot of pumping up and “your story is great, you’re a great writer” type of compliments. While this is a stark contrast from my previous editor, I don’t think it’s what I need to hear. I needed a hard, critical perspective and many times it seemed I was being provided too much positive reinforcement in a place where it wasn’t warranted.

Sometimes too many compliments and the like can be debilitating to identifying problems and fixing them, in this case in my manuscript. It can lead us into believing we have a great story when, in fact, we don’t.

With my current editor I had to be even more critical of my work, and bring things up to her and try to have her look at them in different ways. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes she replied with, “I actually feel that’s really good and I don’t feel it needs to be changed.”

Regardless of whether it is actually good or not, she said things like that so often that my blood pressure spiked a little and, after our meetings, I would go back and comb through my manuscript more.

So maybe it was a good thing?

Conclusion

Most recently (within the last two years) I have had two very different editors. One was overwhelmingly critical and, after paying a hefty sum for a single edit, cut off her availability. The other was much cheaper, but the constant positive reinforcement on things I thought were wrong made me concerned about the quality of her edits. The result: I believe I have a completed, ready to publish manuscript. Unfortunately, these, and one other editor many many years ago, are the only benchmarks I have for what editors should be like.

After reading both posts, what are your thoughts on these two editors? What have been your experiences with editors? I’d also like to hear the thoughts of editors/agents in the business.

Until next time!. . .

Communication During the Editing Process

Update: the book is coming along swimmingly.

Part of the reason the recent editing of the book is going so well is the clear lines of communication between my editor and myself. Like any endeavor – writing, military operations, power plant maintenance, family – communication is key. I find over-communication tends to be better (though perhaps a little annoying) than under-communication.

Now I’m not going to write a whole lot on this. I am going to put a lot more into “A Tale of Two Editors – Part 2”. But it has been such a good experience that I wanted to cover it.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Throughout the whole editing process this last month, my editor and I have been in regular communication through phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings.

Some people may think that this could become cumbersome, even annoying. At times my first reaction is just that.

But the high level of communication has allowed us to deconflict issues we’ve had, reschedule meetings without issue, and to verify next steps and expectations.

Talking through things has allowed my editor to have a much deeper grasp of where I want to go with my story, and the background to it. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable talking about all the nerdy stuff in my book. But the more I explain, the more my editor has been able to guide me in a better direction, and my book is really shaping up because of it.

Now Communicate Some More

I’m going to go back to the possibility of annoyance for a second.

I am very straight forward, concise, to-the-point kind of guy. I want the facts, and then to tackle the solution. I don’t need fluff or prolonged discussion.

Usually.

I quickly found that this would not work in this case.

First and foremost, while my editor and I have gotten to know one another better, we still really don’t know each other well. We have both had to learn to understand how the other operates, reads, and understands things.

While I am a straight to the point kind of person, my editor needs more discussion. That, and I found that greater discussion in greater detail was required so that my editor could really grasp what I am trying to do with my book. It was a bit of a mental stretch for me, but once I got past my mental block, my editor has come to understand my book better and, as I said before, has helped me change it for the better.

For example, I wanted to ensure that the culture of the Star Folk, the main peoples described in my book, had a lot of examples without just info dumping. Info dumps make the writing boring and interrupt the flow. At first I tried to describe this and my editor had a difficult time helping me. But once I described the culture more, where and how I wanted to describe it, and examples of info dumps, my editor was able to give me suggestions and help me brainstorm.

Softy

The issue with this kind of communication is it’s a soft skill. It’s more difficult to make it into a procedure, or to document a process.

I have to understand myself and how I communicate, and learn how the other person receives information, processes it, and communicates back. And I have to do this each time with different people, whether writing, at work, or with family and friends.

As many may know, it takes time, practice, and many iterations of trial and error.

Conclusion

Communication through the editing process has been key to helping my book become better. Sometimes the over-communication has at first seemed unnecessary, but I’ve learned it’s required if I want my editor to really be able to help me. Perhaps if I had done this more in the past, my book would be further along that it is.

The book is, in fact, coming along really well! I wouldn’t normally say that – I would say good, or decent, or it doesn’t quite suck. But I can honestly say the book is making some real leaps to something much more organized, professional, and almost ready for publishing. I will have more updates in the weeks to come.

Until next time. . .

Book Review – Decision Points by George W. Bush

I don’t normally wax political on my blog. I attempt to keep my political views out of my love of all that is geeky. This has been made more difficult of late with the current U.S. election cycle.

That said, I do enjoy reading history, both long past and more current. I hop from ancient history circa 500 BCE, to the history of Prussia beginning in 1500 CE, up to present times, and everything in between at a whim. Ancient Roman, and Viking history interest me most.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Within I purchased a copy of George W. Bush’s book Decision Points, and began reading in ernest.

Erenest is a relative term when you have children. It took me the better part of 2-1/2 months to read.

George W. Bush is without a doubt one of the more controversial Presidents of our time. He has been criticized for everything from No Child Left Behind, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was far from perfect, as all human beings are. But, he is a man and leader I greatly respect, with all of his faults. I miss a president, like him, who not only preaches love of America, but lives it.

Decision Points itself is organized by topic, not chronology. Bush chose a series of major decisions in his life, and in his time as President, to discuss. From his decision to finally kick alcohol, to his decision to run for President of the United States of America. It is a deep insight into how he thought at the time, and why he acted as he did.

Once thing that stands out most in the book is his willingness to give credit where it’s due. He generally does not halt at party lines. Whether Democrat or Republican, Bush equally honors those that he worked with and helped him to make, what he sees, as a legislation and decisions that made for a better country, or that kept the country safer. At times he does talk about his work with the Republican Party and strategy meetings for elections. But more often than not he discusses striving to work with both sides of the aisle in congress to pass pass legislation, and to help Americans and others around the world.

He also does two things I see very few leaders these days do. First, he downplays the things he actually did himself. He gives short mention to his slipping past the media and visiting the troops in Iraq for Thanksgiving, or the fact that he cobbled together support from both parties for controversial legislation. Second, he openly admits his failures. I think this second one is more telling of the kind of person and leader George W. Bush is. Few of us, myself included, like to talk about and admit our glaring failures. I’m sure it was difficult for Bush to do the same. But he did in Decision Points. He admits them openly and without reserve. Where he failed spectacularly the reader gets the feeling that Bush is as hard on himself as the media and congress was.

Like I said, George W. Bush was far from perfect. There are things I disagreed with him on during his time in office. But he was also my Commander in Chief for the first part of my military career, and he loves the United States of America. He did good by the troops for the most part, and he backed his men and women 100%. He worked to make what he thought was a better, freer America. Though he was heavily criticized by all sides, he made the hard decisions and drove on to ensure America was more secure.

While reading I did poke holes in some of his reasoning. While he justifies the invasion of Iraq, he completely ignores the genocide of the South Sudanese at the same time. Though he defends bailing out banks and the auto industry, he says himself that companies should be able to fail as the free market and their own decisions see fit – instead Bush pushed to spend billions of dollars propping up failing companies instead of allowing true free market capitalism to reign and, while ripping that band aid off would have hurt, America would have been in a better position, in my opinion.

But he was POTUS at the time, and he was the one who had to make the decisions with the Congress he had to work with. I can arm-chair-politician all I want, President Bush was the “man in the arena.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Decision Points, and it will definitely be a book I reread in the future. I highly recommend this book to any who wish to have further understanding of the Bush presidency and that era of recent history.

Until next time!…

Geekery – My Obligatory Deadpool Review (Minor Spoilers)

Sunday, February 14th, was Valentine’s day. Like so many couples, my wife and I went out to celebrate our love for one another. Now, we love each other every day of the year, but Valentine’s is a great way to celebrate it and show our appreciation for one another.

And get away from the kids for five long hours. It was incredible. You don’t even know!

That night we went out and did the most romantic thing we could think of – go see the Deadpool movie.

Ryan Reynolds did not disappoint.

From the very beginning, blood-soaked hilarity ensued. Even the credits at the beginning of the movie were well crafted for Deadpool.

The humor is crude. There is nudity. At one point Wade celebrates “Women Empowerment Day” with his girlfriend, and she is the man, if you get my drift. The movie is definitely not for kids – and if you did take your kid, you are most likely going to have a week’s worth of conversations on the “birds and the bees” and why Wade, and not his girlfriend, was on all fours at one point.

There are also a slew of jokes pertaining to Ryan Reynolds’ previous role as a poorly done Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, as well as other roles done by Reynolds, such as Green Lantern. There are even a few jokes at the expense of the studio, and their lack of support. There are probably some jokes I missed.

And, of course, the movie wraps up with a happy ending. The bad guy dies. Deadpool gets the girl. There’s a “pull out” joke.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stay until the credits are over. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Ryan Reynolds went on Facebook to thank the fans for supporting the creation of the Deadpool movie. Reynolds may be an actor, but he’s also a pretty cool human being. At one point, Reynolds went dressed up as Deadpool to see a kid with cancer who is a fan of his. Ryan knows that it was his fans, and the fans of Deadpool, that made the movie happen and he has been openly thankful and appreciative of that support. Say what you will about Ryan Reynolds, he’s one of the real life good guys in my book.

If you have seen Deadpool, I hope you enjoyed it at least as much as I did. If you haven’t, take your Mister/Misses/adult-aged-family and go see it. It will leave you with a warm, tingly feeling…or that may be you losing feeling in your stomach from laughing too hard.

Don’t pass out.

Until next time!…

What Does a Technocrat Look Like?

So I’ve been slaving away at the next novel THE TECHNOCRAT. I’m forcing myself to stare at the screen and smash keys to create each chapter as I craft a story that people will love, hate, and obsess over (or so is the goal).

One of the things I’ve been dying to do is reveal as much about the Olympus Mons Technocracy, and the post-Earth universe, as possible. At the beginning of the novel there will be two entries: 1) The names of all current and former Technocrat Houses, and 2) the Military Table of Organization and Equipment for House d’Helion (which is also the basic structure of most Technocrat Houses, with some deviations).

Throughout the novel there will be asterics which will reference the glossary in the back. In addition to a glossary there will be black and white pictures of all of the equipment described in the book, from the Kraken Colossus to the Titan power armor.

The glossary and pictures are still in the works (VERY in the works). But I’ve completed the Technocrat House names (100% complete) and the d’Helion House Guards TO&E (about 75% complete, still tinkering with units/numbers). I’m posting them here for your viewing pleasure.

Aren’t you lucky? 🙂

You may notice that this military is rather small at around 8,000. In my post-Earth universe humanity has just started to recover from two centuries of warfare and the fact that when Earth died there were only about thirty-million people spread between Luna, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter (Ganymede and Callisto), Saturn (Titan), and the asteroid belt (this is roughly the U.S. population in the 1950s). In 2306 the d’Helion District is home to roughly 420,000 people spread over an area about the size of the State of Kentucky, and is the third most populous district in the Olympus Mons Technocracy (the first is House York, and the second is House d’Angers).

So, in the post-Earth universe, a state that can muster what we would consider a single brigade today is a force to be reckoned with.

That said, the Olympus Mons Technocracy can muster 41 such forces (each between 2-8k personnel, depending on the population size of the district, and the penchant of the district’s population to serve in the military). So The Olympus Mons Technocracy has a reason for being the dominant power in the solar system. Its only real rivals are Elysium on Mars (comprised of Elysium Mons, Hecatus Tholus, and Albor Tholus), and Lakshimi on Venus. Lakshimi tends to struggle to compete with the two Martian powers, though, despite its size and population.

Now, without further ado:

Technocrat Houses 

Founding Houses                                Earth state of descent

Cartwright                                           North American Federation (Great Britain)

D’Angers                                            North American Federation (Australia)

D’Helion                                             North American Federation (Australia)

Della-Moretta                                      North American Federation (U.S.A)

Drella                                                  North American Federation (U.S.A)

Tokugawa                                           Japan

York                                                    North American Federation (Great Britain)

 

Founding Houses no longer in            Earth state of descent

existence (Due to absorption/eradication)

Itagaki-Iwakura                                  Japan

(Eradicated, 2144; Warrior Clan Uprising)

Orrick                                                  North American Federation (Great Britain)

(Absorbed by marriage by House Carver, 2245; now House Carver-Orrick)

 

Other Houses

Adunts-Heruny                                   Commonwealth of Independent States (Armenia)    

Bagabzade                                          Commonwealth of Independent States (Azerbaijan)

Bian-Goei                                            People’s Republic of China

Carver-Orrick                                      North American Federation (U.S.A./Great Britain)

Da Silva                                              Brazil

Emankumar                                         India

Glovatsky-Zavylov                             Commonwealth of Independent States (Kazakhstan)           

Himura                                                Japan

Hsieh                                                   People’s Republic of China

Jagr-Korbel                                         Central European Pact (Czech Republic)

Labat-Teixeira                                     Brazil

Lekimeju                                             Kenya

Khrapaty                                             Commonwealth of Independent States (Kazakhstan)           

Malyeshev                                           Russian Federation

Monteith                                             North American Federation (Scotland)

Nguyen                                               Vietnam

Nimeiri                                                Sudan

Ocalan                                                 Kurdistan

O’Faelechoin                                       North American Federation (Ireland)

Pruszkowski                                        Central European Pact (Poland)

Rashidov                                             Commonwealth of Independent States (Uzbekistan)           

Rheem                                                 Korea

Rostovtzeff                                         Russian Federation

Sathyanarayana                                   India

Sarybaev                                             Commonwealth of Independent States (Kyrgyzstan)

Satar Khan                                          Afghanistan

Tetradze                                              Commonwealth of Independent States (Georgia)

Teteriuk                                               Commonwealth of Independent States (Kazakhstan)

Ts’ong                                                 People’s Republic of China

Van Wovalaer                                     Scandanavian Alliance (Denmark)

Wolfert                                                Central European Pact (Germany)

Youj                                                    Korea

Zeimoto                                               Brazil

Zoidze                                                 Commonwealth of Independent States (Georgia)

 

Other Houses no longer in existence  Earth state of decent

(Due to absorption/eradication)

Chazov-Grachev                                 Russian Federation

(Eradicated, 2210; Russ Civil War)

Gergiev                                               Russian Federation

(Eradicated, 2210; Russ Civil War)

Goldhawk                                           North American Federation (Great Britain)

(Absorbed by marriage by House d’Helion, 2298)

Von Trotha                                          Central European Pact (Germany)

(Absorbed by marriage by House Wolfert, 2280)

House d’Helion Military Ranks and Organization

Ranks

House Technocrat Lord (Technocrat Lord Rickard Justinian d’Helion, as of 2306)

Commander

Captain

Chief

Trooper

Organization

Squad/Section – 10 troopers/2Vehicles                 Flight – 2 fighters

Company – 5 Squads/Sections + Support             Wing – 5 Flights + Support

Battalion – 4 Companies + HQ                             Fighter Battalion – 5 Wings + HQ Wing

D’Helion House Guards (appx. 8,000 personnel)

Note: This number includes base support personnel for training facilities, ammunition supply point, movement control yards, etc.

Note: Approximately 1.9% of the d’Helion District population serves in the military as of 2306. 

Headquarters (207 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi (Lord Rickard d’Helion), 4 Kraken Colossi, 2 Lynx Colossi

Alpha Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Beta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Delta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Ranger power armor squads

1st Battalion (207 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi (Lady Celeste d’Helion), 4 Kraken Colossi, 2 Lynx Colossi

Alpha Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Beta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Delta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Ranger power armor squads

2nd Battalion (207 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi, 4 Kraken Colossi, 2 Lynx Colossi

Alpha Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Beta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Delta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Ranger power armor squads

 

3rd Battalion (207 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi, 4 Kraken Colossi, 2 Lynx Colossi

Alpha Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Beta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Delta Company – 5x Titan power armor squads

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Ranger power armor squads

 

1st Armored Battalion (155 combat personnel, 100 support personnel)

HQ – 1x Oracle Colossus, 5x Mars MBT sections

Alpha Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 5x Mars MBT sections

Beta Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 5x Mars MBT sections

Delta Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 5x Mars MBT sections

Gamma Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 5x Mars MBT sections

 

1st Cavalry Battalion (135 combat personnel, 100 support personnel)

HQ – 1x Oracle Colossus, 2x Mars MBT sections, 3x Apollo Light Tank sections

Alpha Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 2x Mars MBT sections, 3x Apollo Light Tank sections

Beta Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 2x Mars MBT sections, 3x Apollo Light Tank sections

Delta Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 2x Mars MBT sections, 3x Apollo Light Tank sections

Gamma Company – 1x Kraken Colossus, 2x Mars MBT sections, 3x Apollo Light Tank sections

 

1st Reserve Battalion (221 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi, 2 Spartan Colossi

Alpha Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 3x Auxilia IFV Sections

Beta Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 3x Auxilia IFV Sections

Delta Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 3x Auxilia IFV Sections

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Scout squads

2nd Reserve Battalion (221 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 1 Oracle Colossi, 2 Spartan Colossi

Alpha Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 3x Auxilia IFV Sections

Beta Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 3x Auxilia IFV Sections

Delta Company – 3x Standard infantry squads, 2 Heavy weapon squads + 5x Auxilia IFV Sections

Gama Company (Scouts/Pathfinders) – 5x Scout squads

1st Reserve Armored Battalion (105 combat personnel, 80 support personnel)

HQ – 1x Oracle Colossus, 5x Hoplite Medium Tank sections

Alpha Company – 1x Spartan Colossus, 5x Mars Hoplite Medium Tank sections

Beta Company – 1x Spartan Colossus, 5x Mars Hoplite Medium Tank sections

Delta Company – 1x Spartan Colossus, 5x Mars Hoplite Medium Tank sections

Gamma Company – 1x Spartan Colossus, 5x Mars Hoplite Medium Tank sections

 

Navy

Leviathan Cronus (4,000 personnel)

Cronus Fighter Battalion

HQ – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Alpha Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Beta Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Delta Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Gama Wing – 5x Flights of Chimera shuttles

Olympian-class Cruiser OMTS Hydra (150 personnel)

2x Wings Lysander space/atmospheric fighters + 2x Flights Chimera shuttles

Olympian-class Cruiser OMTS Elizabeth Judith d’Helion (150 personnel)

2x Wings Lysander space/atmospheric fighters + 2x Flights Chimera shuttles

Hellspawn-class Cruiser OMTS Wrath of d’Helion (100 personnel)

1x Wing Lysander space/atmospheric fighters + 1 Flight Chimera shuttles

Ascraeus-class Destroyer OMTS Isaac d’Helion (75 personnel)

            2x Flights Chimera shuttles

Ascraeus-class Destroyer OMTS Pride of d’Helion (75 personnel)

2x Flights Chimera shuttles

Ascraeus-class Destroyer OMTS Red Rage (75 personnel)

2x Flights Chimera shuttles

Tiger Shark-class Frigate OMTS Crimson Death (25 personnel)

Tiger Shark-class Frigate OMTS Drake (25 personnel)

Tiger Shark-class Frigate OMTS Griffin (25 personnel)

Naval Reserve (60 combat personnel, 120 support personnel)

HQ – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Alpha Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Beta Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Delta Wing – 5x Flights of Lysander space/atmospheric fighters

Gama Wing – 5x Flights of Chimera shuttles

1st Training Battalion (20 permanent training personnel)

HQ – Command/Administration

Alpha Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Beta Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Delta Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Gamma Company – 3 Drill Instructors

2nd Training Battalion (20 permanent training personnel)

HQ – Command/Administration

Alpha Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Beta Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Delta Company – 3 Drill Instructors

Gamma Company – 3 Drill Instructors