12 August 2012

What I Did In The Summer Holidays

Almost unconsciously I have taken a short break from writing, which has proven to be tougher than I thought it would be. However the job that took over the writing time was no less in need of completion. It was actually becoming more urgent the more manuscripts I had to edit.

It has long been the accepted wisdom that authors should, wherever possible, refrain from editing their own work. In fact there is much truth in this. An author should refrain from doing anything with their work other than produce it wherever they can. This, however, is the age of the self-publisher. If you really have to - i.e. you are poor - you can learn the principles of e-publishing, milling out epubs, mobis etc., producing your own cover art and the principles of same disciplines. You have to market yourself as a self-publisher or pay for the privilege of a professional marketing campaign.

In most of the areas where writers are forced to be there is encouragement and the odd helping hand. No one wants to have to master marketing, typeset in pitstop or make their own cover, but people understand when needs must. In all areas except editing.

Editing is completely beyond the capability of the author, apparently.

Maybe this is true. It's certainly fiendishly difficult for someone familiar with the text to gain some removal from it. Is it impossible to do even a fairly decent job even in a pinch?

Nobody knows, and I certainly hope that it isn't because if it is I have pretty much wasted the last month of my time building something that is ultimately useless.

And here it is:

This is Manuscript. It's not a word-processor.

What it is is an editing application for finished novels. I have built it to my own specification to do the things that I need it to do, currently. I finished it about half an hour ago. So I haven't had much time to try it out. Nor will I for a couple more weeks because I have circa 20k words to polish off on Shadow Cities Chicago III.

Once that is complete I will attempt to edit the manuscripts using Manuscript and see how things go. I would describe the status of the project as being in pre-Alpha testing. Once I am comfortable that the wee beastie doesn't go boom too often I will roll it out to some alpha-testers if such are to be found and we shall see what happens from there.

Watch this space for updates. Now off to swim. Have a nice Sunday!

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