Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Novel (or Long Novella) Editing

Hiya Peeps!

I'm in the middle of editing my next novel (which will likely end up being a long novella - about 50,000 words), so I thought I would share my editing process. I've already shared how I edit my short stories, and while a lot is similar, my novel (and novella) editing process is a bit more involved. I have 9 stages of revision for my longer pieces. As I've said on all my posts about how I write, I'm mostly sharing this in case you're looking for a few hints to liven up your own routine, though I'm just as happy if you read it out of curiosity and continue doing what you do!

Before I start editing at all, I feel it's important to give the 1st draft some time to cool off. With longer works, the more distance you put between the draft and the editing process, the better. I like to give it at least two weeks, and a month is even better. While you wait, you might start plotting your next book, get a short story written that you've been dying to tell, or simply take a couple of weeks and read, catch up on TV and some movies (or family time if that's your bag), or otherwise decompress if it was a rough draft to write. Everyone is different, and what you need to do to get your sanity back is perfectly fine! Personally, I usually work on a short story while my novel sits and waits for editing.

When it's time to begin, I have 9 steps ahead of me. I currently use my laptop and my iPad in my editing process, and I'll explain how in each step. If you only use one gadget, that's no problem, as you'll see. You could even print out your manuscript and use a trusty red pen for most of the steps. I used to do that years ago, but with printer ink being more valuable than gold, I've since kept it all electronic. So, anyway, here are my 9 steps of revision.

1st Step: This is a quick read-through. I simply want to read through the draft to remind myself of everything and catch mistakes that I can later fix. While I'm writing, I'll often find inconsistencies or things I'd simply like to change, but it would kill all forward momentum I've built up. I have a file labeled "Revision" that I put these notes in, and I keep writing as if I've already fixed the problem. So in this read-through, I'll add on to this file if I find anything inconsistent, or if I have a new idea for a scene, character, setting, or whatever. It's not the time to fix it yet but simply label it. In this 1st step, I rarely even fix grammar mistakes. I complete this step on my laptop because I find it easier to add to my revision list.

2nd Step: This is where I dig into that revision file. While the 8 other steps are a front-to-back read and revise, this step often calls for me to jump around the manuscript. I create a second file, naming it something along the lines of "Revisions This Time" or something similar, and begin copying and pasting revision notes from the first file into this one. I use the word processing program Scrivener, so it's easy to have two files up on my screen at the same time. Of course, you can figure out how to do this with most or all word processing programs. Many of my notes are about a certain chapter, and I will put those into the new file first. For example, in my current work, Metalcore Minx, one of my notes said: "Ch.13, when the young couple asks for autographs, make sure it’s a better metal conversation—meaning they need to call her Mistress of Death at least once, say it’s strange to see her out of her makeup and costume or something." After getting the chapter notes done, I use the more general notes to fix the story. Sometimes this 2nd step could be four or five or more runs through the story until I'm happy that my revision notes have been implemented or otherwise found to not be necessary. I use my laptop on this entire step.

3rd Step: This is another quick run-through from front-to-back to make sure me implementing my revision notes didn't "break" any part of the story. Basically, I make sure the narrative flows once all the heavy-lifting has been done. I use my laptop for this step, mostly because it will begin to alternate starting with the next step.

4th Step: This is where my polishing of grammar, sentence structure, word choice, and other such things begins. I have the story in the linear order I want, so now I want to make it sound good. Unlike steps 1 and 3, I run through this step slowly so as to catch mistakes. I do this step on Scrivener on my iPad, mostly to get a physically different view of it.

5th Step: This is the same as the 4th step, but I'm back on my laptop. Again, this simply gives the eye a different superficial look at the same words. I don't know if it truly helps or not, but it feels like it to me, so I continue doing this.

6th Step: This is the same as step 4. By the time I'm done with this run-though, I'm ready to move on.

7th Step: This is where I use the editing program SmartEdit. I use it the same way I do when I edit my short stories. Feel free to click on the link in the 1st paragraph to read that post. The only difference between using SmartEdit with short stories and novels is time. Obviously, it takes much more of it in longer works. This program is on my laptop, so that's what I use.

8th Step: This is one final polish where I pay close attention to grammar, word choice, and other such fun stuff. I also make sure the story still flows after running it through SmartEdit. I can use either my laptop or iPad for this step, whichever is more convenient at the time. 

9th Step: This is the final editing step. I use a text-to-speech program to listen for typos and other mistakes which are often hard to catch when reading to yourself. I also find it helps me discover how the story flows. Personally, I use the program called NaturalReader, and like with SmartEdit, I talked about it in my short story editing post, so feel free to check it out there. Also, like with SmartEdit, the only difference between short stories and novels using NaturalReader (or any other text-to-speech program) is the time it takes. I use my laptop for this step since that's where NaturalReader is. I couldn't find anything I liked as well on my iPad.

Those are my 9 steps to revision. It takes quite a bit of time, especially the steps where I like to go through slowly to best catch mistakes or find better ways to say things, but it's worth it in the end. The finished product looks (and reads!) so much better. The book still needs to formatted for publishing, but that's a topic for another time!

What do you think? Does this look anything like how you do it? Does anything look like something you'd like to try? Or was it just nice to see how another writer works? I'd love to hear any comments! Thank you for reading!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Disney Halloween Fun!

Hiya Peeps!

My latest collection came out ten days ago, and I don't have anything else planned for the near future, as I'm in the middle of writing my next book, which I'll talk about at a later date. No, today I thought I'd just have a bit of fun! My husband and I headed to the Disneyland Resort yesterday for lunch. We avoided Disneyland itself and headed over to Disney's California Adventure. We weren't expecting to see any Halloween decorations (Halloween is my favorite time of year!) as the season doesn't officially start in the parks until next weekend, but we lucked out, as Car's Land had some neat decorations already out. I didn't take many pictures, but I thought it would be fun to share the six that I did take.

First off, if you've never been, Car's Land is set up to look like you actually stepped into Radiator Springs in the movie. The building placements are very close to spot on, and the first time I watched the movie after being in Car's Land, I was blown away! So these pictures would likely be right out of Radiator Springs if they had a big Halloween celebration!

This first picture focuses on the decoration which runs above the street. Mufflers, tires, and traffic cones make for a neat-looking monster strung across the street.






Here is the famous Cozy Cone Motel decked out for the season! Yes, those are spiders built out of parts you might find in an auto shop. How cool is that?







This is a Route 66 roadside souvenir shop decorated to look like it's in a haunted swamp. I don't know if the pic is good enough for you to see, but there are silly Halloween-themed signs all over the front. 





This undead car pinned down by the tree is outside the shop above. You might be able to sort of see it under the tree on the left side of the above photo. I certainly wouldn't want to run into this guy on a moonless night!





This is a billboard to the left of the souvenir shop and undead car. You can see the bottom of it in the above photo. If you're having trouble reading it, it says, "Get your hex on Route 66."






Here is the other side of the above billboard. "Trunk or treat" and a "scary" Mater. I giggled when I saw it, as I love Mater!










So there you go. Just for fun early September Halloween decorations. Though, to be honest, if Halloween stuff stayed up all year, I'd be happy. And if you're wondering about lunch, since I said that's why we went, we ate in the Fisherman's Wharf food court area. I had a Chinese Chicken Salad in a sourdough bread bowl and a Karl Strauss Mosaic Sessions IPA to wash it down with. (So good and tasty! A big-time grapefruit flavor.)

I hope you enjoyed this just for fun blog post! See you all soon!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Quick Reminder

Hiya Peeps!

We're a week away from the release of my collection of holiday erotica short stories. I wanted to give everyone a reminder! Six Contemporary Holiday Erotic Short Stories will be out September 1st. I have the pre-orders for the ebooks set at both Amazon and Smashwords (click on either of those to be whisked away!), and the paperback version will be available close to then as well. (I didn't see how to make the paperback version available for preorder on Amazon, so I decided to simply click publish on August 31 to have it ready to buy on September 1st.)

As a reminder, each of the six stories has already been published on Amazon, so if you've already read most or all of them, unless you want them all in one bundle (and I'm all for that!), you might want to pass on this collection. I will be charging $2.99 for the ebook on both Amazon and Smashwords, and $9.99 for the paperback, which will only be available on Amazon. I will, of course, have the link for the paperback for you when it's available. I will also change the link for the Amazon ebook when it's published so it'll go to your country's Amazon page when you click on it, rather than just the US version now. 

That's all I have for now. I hope some of you are excited for this release! If you know you want to get it, I'd be thrilled if you pre-ordered. If not, I'll have the links all over this blog, my website, and Twitter, so you won't miss out. Thanks again, everyone! See you soon!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Six Contemporary Holiday Erotic Short Stories

Hiya Peeps!

I've put down my first book for pre-order on Amazon. It's, as the title to this post says, Six Contemporary Holiday Erotic Short Stories. This is a collection of my six holiday stories that I've published over that last couple of years. It will be available as a Kindle book and paperback on Amazon, as well as an ebook on Smashwords and its affiliates (B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc.) I've put it in to pre-order on Amazon on September 1st, the Friday before the Labor Day holiday in the US. (It is a book of holiday shorts, after all!)

EDIT: The pre-order has gone live. Find it on Amazon here!

I will be charging $2.99 for it as an ebook, and a price to be determined for the paperback. (I'll update this when I know.) If you were to buy each short story individually, that would run you $5.94, so the savings is about 50%. This collection will not be a part of the Kindle Unlimited program, as I am putting it on Smashwords, but each individual story will remain in the program. 

Anyway, here are the cover and the description, which lists which six stories will be in this collection. Thank you for reading, everyone! Have a great day/week!

Six Contemporary Holiday Erotic Short Stories

This bundle includes six tales of contemporary romantic erotica.

These stories have already been published on their own, but you can get all six in one handy book at a bargain price!

We celebrate Valentine’s Day with a girl who vows not to fall in love; a Halloween-themed frat-party in June where an innocent girl loses her virginity and soon after finds her true love; 4th of July at the beach where a young woman who thinks a sex tape ruined her life finds the one for her; a Halloween dungeon where pleasure is the word of the day, not horror; a young woman who reconnects with an old flame before her Thanksgiving feast; and a toy-store clerk who finds the true meaning of Christmas in the arms of a handsome hunk.

Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day
The Odd Costume Party Fiasco
Their Own Fireworks
Mad Merlin’s Secret Dungeon
She Thanks His Giving
The Hot Clerk


At almost 50,000 words, Six Contemporary Holiday Erotic Short Stories is the perfect collection for celebrating sexy holidays all year round! These tales are explicit and fun!

His Hard Rockin' Princess: Definitive Edition

Hiya Peeps!

A quick update here. I am removing the Bonus Edition of His Hard Rockin' Princess. Or, more appropriately, I'm removing the original version of the novel and replacing it with the Bonus Edition. This no longer makes it the Bonus Edition, but the only edition. The paperback will be replaced, too.

This means you now can read the epilogue and the three short stories that inspired the novel for $2.99 instead of $3.99. I'm also removing it from Smashwords (and, therefore, their affiliates) so you Kindle Unlimited members can download it for free! 

I will update this post when Amazon has informed me the changes are live. Same for the paperback. I'll also let you know on Twitter! I hope you will come and enjoy Elle and Moth Man's adventures in metal and (reluctant) Daddy-Dom play!

Update: Both the paperback and Kindle book are now live with the changes. Click the cover on the left of the screen to check them out!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What's Going On With Me?

Hiya Peeps!

How is everyone doing? Me? I'm fine. Slinging smut. What could be better, right? Today's post is going to be all about what I have planned in the very near future, basically through the summer months (or for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, winter months). I've been awful about blogging lately, though if you follow along on Twitter, you probably know I don't shut up all that often over there. I think I'm fine with this, only giving you blog posts when I have something to say rather than try to jam something (hey-o!) down your throat every week.

First off, what do you think about my new greeting? I think it fits my personality a bit better than my old "Hello Lovelies." Do you like it? Not? Let me know on Twitter (@ClaraZaynn) or right here in the comments. Also, some of you might have noticed the writing tips/experiences I've written in the past few months. They were about how I use 20-minute word sprints, how I plot my short stories, how I edit my short stories, and about reviews, that one focusing primarily on the erotica-writing and reading audience. I hope you've enjoyed them, either as tips/motivation, or simply as a look into my process. Do you have any more writing topics you'd like me to tackle? Let me know, again on Twitter or in the comments.

Okay, now onto the meat of the post. I'm still occasionally posting new Tumblr stories, quick reads at about 1500 words or so, complete with a sexy .gif or pic that inspired the story. I posted my latest, The Cheer Office, yesterday, so feel free to give it a look. Even if you're not on Tumblr, you can still read it and my other stories, and they are all free, of course. 

Next, I'm in the beginning stages of a new short story which may become a novella. I unveiled the cover on Twitter a few weeks ago, but then became distracted with non-erotic writing, so I had to take a break from the naughtiness. You can see it right here now (that's it to the left!). I'm hoping this story will be available to buy in early August, but since I'm still in the early stages of the first draft, it may be mid-August, depending on how easily the words flow. You'll see more about it, especially on Twitter, when it's closer to release. Feel free to let me know what you think about the cover here in the comments or on Twitter!

And, finally, I plan on bundling my six holiday-themed stories into one collection, a la The Babysitter Fun Series and Six Contemporary Erotic Shorts Volume 1. It will be priced at $2.99 and be available at Amazon in both Kindle format and paperback (though no idea on the price of the paperback yet), as well as Smashwords and their affiliates (B&N, iBooks, Kobo, etc.). The stories are: Mad Merlin's Secret Dungeon (Halloween), She Thanks His Giving (Thanksgiving), The Hot Clerk (Christmas), Happy Anti-Valentine's Day (Valentine's Day), Their Own Fireworks (4th of July), and The Odd Costume Party Disaster (Halloween in June - yes, that one is a made-up frat party holiday, but it fits!). I'll have much more on this as it gets closer to release, which I'm envisioning as Labor Day here in the States (1st weekend of September, I believe). 

So that catches you up on what I have planned for now. I'd love to hear comments about what you think of my two upcoming releases, my new Tumblr story (or any of the older ones), and your thoughts on future writing-based blog posts. Give me your questions/comments below in the comment section, or hit me up on Twitter, either with an @-mention or a DM. I'll be thrilled to hear from you! Have a great day!