Editing is hard

Back when I was in college and was actively having to write papers about every damned thing in the Speech Communication field, I usually wrote a paper (some on typewriters!  Others on old word processors!) and just slapped my name on it and turned it in.  In my defense, editing things that came from typewriters could mean having to retype half the paper if you found a mistake or wanted to change something.  Even working with the old word processors – you know, the things that looked like typewriters but let you save and edit your work on a two line LED screen – was a huge pain in the ass.

You young punks have it so easy today! 🙂

Anyway, up until I wrote my thesis (Argumentation Structure and Theory in Collegiate Parliamentary Debate, read by nearly ten people now), most of my papers were done on whatever I could find to turn the words into a block of paper and I never really spent much time editing.  It was just too heinous.  The thesis was written in WordPad on an old Windows 95 box and was edited eight ways to Sunday because it had to go through almost everyone at my college and they all had to make some change somewhere.  It took months to get the damned thing edited.

So, last year, I knocked out Henchmen with largely the same philosophy.  It was rife with typos and logic flow errors and “what the hell was I thinking here” errors.  In short, the first draft was what can only be colloquially described as “a hot mess.”  After weeks of back and forth with my lovely wife editing and me revising, I finally released something that was only a tepid mess, maybe a lukewarm mess in certain places.

This time around, I spent more time trying to catch errors while I was writing, and have been going back through the thing with a fine-toothed comb.  At about 2/3 of the way through, the size has increased to over 88k words as I realize I didn’t bother to explain some things or needed to expand other things.  By the time I’m done, hopefully I’ll be able to release something that’s less mess and more generally hot.

It is a lot of work going through that much story, though, and that’s why my posts have become more and more sporadic over the past couple of weeks.  It’s not because I don’t love you guys, it’s just that I’m eyeball deep in gods and Nazis and monsters.

Working on the cover has also been an interesting exercise.  It’s an iterative process and when I finally settled on something I actually liked it was so far off from the first cover that I had to redesign the first cover to capture the same look and feel as the new cover and the short story over.  The original cover’s redesign is still a work in progress, but it’s getting there.

Does redesigning a cover count as retconning?

So, just so this blog doesn’t become a wall of text, here’s the first sketch of the redesigned Henchmen cover.  The cover for Henchmen: Arise will be up shortly before I release the book.

HenchmenCoverFix

Henchmen 2 preview chapter

When I write, I tend to start with a starting point in the story and just move forward with a basic idea in my head of where the story should go, so it’s fairly linear.  After a story is done, I go back and review and tweak and review and tweak and review and tweak and so on and so forth.  At any rate, during the process of writing, I basically just push the words out and hope they all into some coherent patterns on the digital page.  If they don’t, oh well, I’ll rearrange them once I’m done.

I’m about 3/4 of the way finished with Henchmen 2.  Working full-time seriously cuts into my writing time.  Still, it’s pretty cool to look down at something you started x amount of months ago (back in December, in this case) and realize you’ve dropped 60k+ words into the story and it seems to be progressing nicely.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a raw product, well, look no further.  Here’s a sample chapter from the (eventually) upcoming Henchmen 2: Awesome Subtitle Coming At Some Point.  If you’ve read the first book (somewhat doubtful, email me and I can provide you a copy if you want.  You have to leave me a review on Amazon, though!), you’ll recall the characters all split up at the end.  The first part of the new book is getting them all back together again for another job.  This chapter brings in the final piece, Jessica, who has been hiding out in Mexico running a bar on the beach, shows the agents of the bad guys for the first time, and gives a brief view of the plot line.  There’s also some guns, explosions, a motorcycle chase and a first, quick, kiss.

JessicasBar-EricLahti

If you want this in epub or mobi, you can check my website and grab either version.  The link here is to a pdf copy.

Enjoy