On editing: Empty Skies & Sunlight alpha-read

En dash listThings I have learned:

  • My editor has a thing about en dashes.
  • My version of word doesn’t like en dashes.
  • My editor has a wicked sense of humour.

Apart from that, editing’s going pretty well!

The problem with Empty Skies (Book 5 of the GreenSky series) was that I knew something was wrong with it; it took me a long time to finish it, and I just wasn’t happy when I did finally complete it. Then the wonderful @vicorva had a look at it and ripped it to pieces, which was brilliant! I did a complete re-write and then sent it to my editor Nick at Red Pen For Hire, and he’s come back with more thoughts.

This has been a major alpha-read, so the comments that came back were a mix of high-level and detail (including the multiple dash replacements). I’ve added a whole chapter, moved two sections backwards, shifted a third forwards, and cleared up quite a few detail-related misunderstandings. The floating islands are pretty weird, so Nick and I had a conversation last week about those (amongst other things) and I’ve added more information.

I’m lucky in that the characters seem to have come out quite well, so no major changes on those. The plot’s apparently comprehensible – it’s a murder mystery but has a lot of bodies, so I was trying to balance sense with the mystery element, and I think it’s worked. We get more of Anoé and Yeo and an additional two people (including Anoé’s daughter Jess), so that’s been fun too.

It’s just gone back to Nick, so I think we’re in beta-read stage! It’s also gone to my alpha-reader (aka my aunt) for another look. I’m a lot happier with it now, and I think it’s a better story for all the deletions and re-writes – sometimes killing your darlings or slash’n’burn really does get better results.

Next: more writing on Book 10!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.