It never rains…

Over the weekend, I finished alpha-reading a science fiction novel.  Alpha-reading is… different.  The manuscript was quite clean, but I still had to fight to keep myself from commenting on the handful of minor punctuation glitches or making an occasional joke with a movie quote — it’s what I do, after all.  (Yes, the jokes are part of the standard proofreading/editing package you get if you hire Mercenary Proofreader. 🙂  )  Limiting my comments to topics such as the flow of the story and whether the characters’ motivations were clear/believable was not easy.

This morning, my clone informed me that he wants me to do one round of editing on The Madness Engine before we send it off to our beta reader.  I prefer to do this — I was quite nervous about letting anyone, even LR, see it before I had a chance to check for dropped words, comma splices, and whether or not Geoffrey sounds like himself — but I wish I’d known sooner.

The reason this came up at all is because I also found out this morning that a blogger I follow is looking for an editor for her science fiction novel.  I love her blog posts, and I would love the opportunity to edit her novel, but I won’t have the time, which is why I’m not applying for the job.  No matter what else comes along, my first priority is always editing my clone’s writing (including his non-fiction writing, so sometime this spring I’ll be proofreading another thesis prospectus), and he is so close to finishing the draft of his WiP.  There’s one thread that needs a couple more scenes, another that needs a few foreshadowing details added to earlier passages, and then…


Y’know what’s really awesome?  There are strangers eagerly awaiting the publication of The Madness Engine — the next Tebrey novel, as they call it.  LR may be our first reader (*mutters something about moving rocks*), but he’s not our only reader; his brain is not the only one that I look forward to exploding with the plot complications and Big Reveals of this latest book.  I know LR will like it, but nevertheless, I’m nervous.  Have we shown our hand too soon with certain elements of the story?  Do the multiple threads, tightly connected though they are, give the novel a bit of a scattered ‘kitchen sink’ feel?  Will Geoffrey seem believable as a normal person from the reader’s perspective?

(Seriously, WordPress spellcheck, what the fuck?  An entire paragraph underlined in red?  Has someone been at your programming again?  At least you can spell your own name now — that’s an improvement.)


About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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4 Responses to It never rains…

  1. Alpha-reading is certainly something else. I’ve done it for some fellow writers (they called it “beta-reading” but the amount of mistakes was so staggering, I assumed it was a first draft, to not insult them even in the privacy of my own mind). I would die in agony if I’d have to alpha-read as a job. *shudders*

    Thanks for your interest, Thomas. 😉 I totally get it that you’re busy. I’d prioritize editing for my clone (if I had one) or myself over any sort of other engagement.

    GOOD LUCK (to both) with The Madness Engine (what an awesome title!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. milliethom says:

    Editing sounds like great fun – at least the way you do it! I bet you’re a great editor, Thomas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Have we shown our hand too soon with certain elements of the story? Do the multiple threads, tightly connected though they are, give the novel a bit of a scattered ‘kitchen sink’ feel? Will Geoffrey seem believable as a normal person from the reader’s perspective?”

    Concerns NOT limited to SF manuscripts. I’m constantly wondering whether I need to move a plot development from where I put it! Aargh! This writing thing!

    Fortunately, the results don’t show the struggle it was to get them there (assuming you do). Only the final polished prose. Whew!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Fortunately, the results don’t show the struggle it was to get them there (assuming you do). Only the final polished prose.”

      Exactly. Writing isn’t a performance art; the audience sees only the end result.

      I’m lucky to have a beta reader who has a good instinct for pacing and plot development (substantial editing), so if something doesn’t make sense or needs more detail, he’ll let me know.


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