‘Phoenix’ Editing Progress – May ’23 Update for Book Three of Planetoid Trilogy
Seaswell Publishing are pleased to release an update of ‘Phoenix’ editing progress. Final editing of ‘Phoenix’, Book Three of ‘Planetoid Trilogy’ is progressing well. The first part of the 1st Iteration edit has been completed and author, Barrie Cameron, is a third of the way through the second part of this initial iteration. He is confident that the 1st iteration will be completed before mid-June 2023. If his editing progress continues at the present rate, he believes that the third and final iteration should be completed by the end of August 2023.
Cameron undertakes at least three full iterations during his final editing before releasing the book for publication. Each of the three iterations follow the same pattern in order to zero in on a final publishable manuscript.
The first iteration for each chapter has two parts:
- Part One: manual editing of printed text of each chapter with pen on paper of a printout of the developed manuscript to check for:
- grammatical errors,
- improve structure of phrases,
- checking for consistency between chapters and with the time line of the story,
- adding or deleting text to improve dialogue, description, clarity, rhythm, etc.
- Part One (manual pen on paper) is completed on all chapters in numerical order before commencing Part Two (keyboard on electronic text file);
- Part Two: keyboard update of digital text file from the manual edit. This includes a second pass of the marked-up paper copy during which further improvements are made where necessary and/or desirable.
The theory behind this technique is to try and overcome the author blindness to errors and imperfections by taking fresh looks at the text after suitable delays. Cameron usually ensures at least a day has passed between editing the last chapter’s Part One and the next chapter’s Part One. He also allows a few days break between finishing the Part One edit of the last chapter of the book and beginning the Part Two edit of the first chapter of the book. Cameron uses this iterative editing technique on his books because he found it was very successful when he was writing and editing technical documents in his work as a professional engineer.
One of the important features of this iterative process is monitoring the extent to which each iteration alters the text of the book compared with the previous iteration. This is a qualitative as well as quantitative assessment.
For example, if the third iteration were to result in very little change in the book’s text from the previous iteration, and Cameron felt that he could not improve the book further, he would be confident that the editing of the book is finished.
If, however, there were still significant changes compared with the last iteration, and he was not yet entirely happy with the quality of the work, he might decide that further improvements could be made and he would undertake a fourth iteration edit. Thus three iterations is not set in stone. Book One, ‘Star Island‘, of the ‘Planetoid Trilogy‘ took more than three iterations before being published, Book two, ‘Three Fates‘, had three iterations after the initial major edits, and Book Three, ‘Phoenix‘, seems to be headed for three iterations.
Author’s Learning Process and Interruptions to the Editing
Cameron has observed that his first draft writing improved during the course of his writing of the three books during 2020. The ‘Planetoid Trilogy’ first draft (all three books) was written between January 2020 and January 2021. He then undertook some major edits on Book One, ‘Star Island‘, and parts of the other two books during the course of 2021.
After completing these earlier major edits, Cameron began the final editing iterations of Book One, ‘Star Island‘, in the second half of 2021. He completed these by January 2022. He then began publishing Book One, ‘Star island‘, on Amazon in the first quarter of 2022. Cameron also built the Seaswell Publishing website during the first quarter of 2022. ‘Star Island‘ was subsequently released on Amazon in early April 2022.
Cameron’s final editing of Book Two, ‘Three Fates‘, during 2022 was quite slow due to interruptions by unrelated events in that year. His progress with final editing quickened by the end of 2022 and he was able to publish ‘Three Fates’ in May 2023. He is now editing Book Three, ‘Phoenix‘, and is happy with the present rate of progress.
Following the final iteration, Cameron gives the manuscript to two separate readers to comment on the text and to catch any typos errors which may have slipped through his final iteration edits. Both readers bring complementary editing skills to their edit. The first reader receives an A4 double spaced copy of each chapter to check after Cameron has ‘finished’ Part Two of that chapter’s final iteration.
After the first reader has commented on all the chapters, Cameron makes further updates to the edited manuscript based on these comments. He then prepares a mock-up copy of the manuscript in A5, single line spacing, and in final book format. He gives this A5 ‘book’ to the second reader to check.
Following receipt of this A5 copy, duly marked-up, from the second reader, Cameron does a final correction to the edited manuscript. He then re-reads the whole book as a final check before preceding to publishing.
Cameron wrote the first draft of all three books of ‘Planetoid Trilogy’ in first draft in one year (2020). He took a second year (2021) to knock the first draft of Book One, ‘Star Island‘ into publishable shape. He spent a third year to prepare Book Two for publishing. But he expects to only take a quarter of a year to prepare and publish the final Book Three.
This evolution is mainly due to the author’s learning process over the course of writing his first three books, and partly due to interruptions that unduly delayed the finishing of the second book.
However, Cameron believes the forced delay in editing Book Two, ‘Three Fates‘, in 2022 may have allowed his learning to develop further during this period so that he is now enjoying faster progress with final editing of Book Three, ‘Phoenix‘.
Time will tell if this is in fact the case.