steer between them!, Helm

More of the Story

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One of my most prized possessions... a drawing of USS Constitution by a friend of my grandmother... done in the 1930s when the  historic frigate toured the US coasts and was in Washington's Puget Sound.

Here is a short excerpt from Chapter Twenty, "Yet So Far to Go," from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.

            A stronger gust of wind, blasted cold against his face.  He sipped at his remaining coffee.  Cold!  Damn!  Time to go below for a fresh cup.  He looked around, checking to see that all was normal onboard.  In his current state he sincerely wished that he could spot something amiss to rant about, not so much for it being out of line, but to appease the dark anxiety that gnawed at his being.
            As he realized that nothing on deck would give him an excuse to verbally flog some hapless individual, and as he determined to fetch more coffee, the lookout hailed.
            “Deck there!  Sail to starboard!”
            “Be more specific, Jones!” shouted Andrews, the officer of the watch.
            “Nearly abeam of us, sir!  A point, no, two points towards the bow, sir!”
            “What do you make of her?”
            “Reefed topsails, it looks, sir.  Same course as us, sir.”
            “Very well!” interrupted Pierce.  “Mr. Spencer, you may borrow my best glass.  To the masthead with you, and see what you can make of her!”
            “Aye aye, sir!”
            “Friendly, do you think, sir?” The shouted exchange of orders and information had been heard throughout the schooner. Hands and officers, below in the comparative warmth of the ’tween decks came on deck to see what was about.  Hotchkiss joined his friend and captain on the quarterdeck, habit and duty prevailing.  Pierce honestly thought that his friend would likely avoid him, due to his snappish mood of late.
            But Hotchkiss didn’t act according to his friend’s black humor.  That pacified Pierce somewhat, and he replied with unusual familiarity.  “I would expect so, Isaac. It’s either a merchantman or of the blockading squadron. With the weather they may have stood out from shore and a close blockade. And yet a Frenchie may have managed to slip out.”
            “Very much my take on it, Edward.”  Hotchkiss paused momentarily.  “I’m sure we’ll know shortly.”
            The first lieutenant’s use of his first name, even on the quarterdeck further lightened Pierce’s mood.  “Aye, my friend, we will.”  Normally Pierce was a stickler for formalities while on duty and would have insisted upon proper forms of address.
            “Sir! Sir!”  Spencer’s voice sounded distant as he hailed from the masthead.  The winds worked to blow his words away.
            “Yes, Mr. Spencer?” shouted Pierce in reply.
“She’s altering course, sir, converging on us now!  Setting topgallants as well!”
            “Thank you, Mr. Spencer.  Watch her!”
            “Aye aye, sir.”
            “It would appear we have been seen, Isaac.  I would think it prudent to have our number and the recognition signal ready to run up.”
            “Aye, sir.”
            “I believe it would also be prudent to beat to quarters.”
            “Aye aye, sir!”  Hotchkiss acknowledged.  He turned to give the necessary orders, but before he could, Pierce stopped him.
            “We are in no hurry, Mr. Hotchkiss.  Send someone to check on the progress of dinner.    If it’s close to ready, we will have time for the hands to eat before clearing for action. And we have time yet before she’s near enough for signals.”
            “Aye, sir.”
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 25

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My two books and framed prints of the cover art were available as a raffle prize at a car club event a couple of years ago.

It looks like we might be getting close to ending the discussion dealing with editing.  Last time I mentioned (and will now attempt to answer) the question of, "do I need to spend money to have my work edited?  Like many things connected with writing, there is no one answer, no absolute response.  And the answer might depend upon how you are (or plan to be) published.

If you are or plan to be traditionally published, it's usually understood that you, the writer does not have to pay for editing.  That expense is shouldered by the publisher as a part of the process.  And even before one has a publishing contract in hand, it's possible the agent and the acquistion editor might do some editing, offer some suggested changes, note some corrections, etc, before pitching the work to the next level.  Normally that would be a part of their job to give your work a better chance of succeeding.  In other words, they don't charge for it.

These days it's generally understood that one's manuscript should be a perfect and as clean as possible before beginning the search for an agent and eventually a publisher.  That's why once you've finished the first draft, you need to do as much self editing as you can.  Have as many early readers, critique partners, etc as you can muster.  Folks that you would normally exchange services with, or who will read, critique, or possibly lightly edit without costing a fortune.  If after several submissions and responses that indicate your work isn't ready, you might want to consider hiring an editor.  Again, only if seems to be the only thing left to do.

While I certainly don't want to deprive hard working editors of their livelihood, as a writer I want to spend as little as possible to see my work polished to near perfection.  I would not finish my first draft and immediately hire an editor, saying, "Here, fix this and make it sing!"  Just too expensive, and I find that a lot of the satisfaction in writing is in polishing and perfecting what I wrote.  When I'm at the point where I would consider hiring an editor, I want it to be as a final check, a once over to catch anything I might have missed.  Again, if one is looking to be self-published, it's possible you will not need to pay for editing.

Now if you self-publish, I'd say that you should count on having to hire an editor.  Again, I believe you should do as much as possible before that eventuality.  But no matter how much work you do on your manuscript, it's always possible you've missed something, so hiring someone for a final look see is a good idea.  And we should remember that one of the big knocks against self-published books in general is that they often have more than their fair share of errors and typos.  Often, I believe, a self-published author gets to excited to see his/her work in print and publishes too soon.  Perhaps one more pass through the pages, or having another set of eyes take a look would have been worth the time and the expense.

And yes, I did have both of my already published Stone Island Sea Stories professionally edited, via the self-publishing service company I worked with.  When I sent the  manuscripts in, I thought they were a clean and perfect as possible.  You would not believe how much red showed up on them when I got them back.  And yes, having ready both in the final published versions, I've found errors.  The big thing to remember is that they are far fewer than they would have been.  (And we all hear constantly about the errors that seem to turn up in traditionally published books, even those from well known authors put out by big name houses.)

For the soon to come third Stone Island Sea Story, I hired a local fellow writer and editor who I believe did a remarkably thorough job and who is also helping me set up to publish via a different route than before.

One last thing regarding editing, I hope.  In most cases, corrections and changes recommended by an editor are suggestions only.  You do not have to make the changes or corrections if you do not want to.  (On my first two books I found I accepted or incorporated 90% or so of what the editor suggested.  Sometimes it might be a matter of genre, or voice.  The editor might make a correction to stay with perfect or proper grammar, but you decline because of what you feel your character would say.

The possible exception to the above is when you have a publishing contract and the publisher's editor suggests changes and corrections.  Then it often is a matter of just what is in your contract.  Many times at that point you are obligated to make the suggested  changes.  If you feel an occasional change is not warrented, you need to be able to defend it with some level of logic.  Just saying, "I don't want to change," doesn't cut it.  And sometimes publishers might ask for wholesale changes regarding the story,not just a word or two here and there.

So, next time I'm thinking we'll take a look a t the publishing process and the variations thereof.  For those who celebrate it tomorrow, I wish you all a Happy Easter.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Back At It

So everyday I'm getting closer to publishing Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story.  A fellow member of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, along with a friend and fellow member has helped with the editing and configuring the story for publication.  About the only thing left for me is to come up with cover art for it.  As it turns out, I haven't done much if any painting since I did the cover for the second book several years ago.   (I did two pictures after that last cover art, but they were done within days of that one.)  Otherwise the painting desk has sat unused all this time.  I've finally gotten it cleaned off enough, bought some canvas panels, and last night sat down to see if I still have the knack for it.  Wanted to do something quick, something basic, something that would help me get back into the process.  Anyway, this is what I came up with.  It's not at all related to the story, and in many ways is fairly crude compared to what I know I can do.  Yet it puts me on track, and I hope that with a few more practice runs I'll be up to tackling the scene I envision for the new cover.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

And the Story Keeps Going!

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"Gone Fishing"  Nothing to do with the Stone Island Sea Stories, but thought you might enjoy it!

Here's a little of Chapter Nineteen, "A Perilous Voyage," from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  (In fact, these are the opening lines of the chapter.)

Pierce sat for a long time in the governor’s outer office.  Because it was now well into the southern winter, and as mild as it was at this latitude, a fire burned on the grate.  The room was hot and sweat trickled down his back and pooled on his abdomen.  His full dress uniform was damp, and he felt the carefully prepared crispness of his neckerchief disintegrating as perspiration steadily soaked into it.  At long last the governor’s secretary rose and nodded.  Pierce stepped into the inner office.
            Phillip King simply said, “About damn time, Pierce!  I was thinking that you had floundered!”
            “To the contrary, sir,” Pierce answered politely.  “As can be seen.”
            “And the transported convicts?”
            “On the island, sir, with Mr. Smythe.”
            “Oh come, come, my dear, sir.  That tale of a legendary island is true?  What do you take me for, sir?”
            “I was quite skeptical until I saw it, until I was actually there.  Indeed, there is more to the world, this world than we see or know.”
            Captain King, Governor of the Botany Bay Colony snorted in disbelief. “No doubt you’ve set them ashore somewhere to fend for themselves.  A most callous act if I do say so.  I understood you would make a cursory search for the island to humor Smythe and then bring the convicts here.”
            “If such was intended for me to fulfill my commission, sir, it was never passed to me.  Quite naturally I doubted the island’s existence.  Had we not found it, we would have arrived some two years ago, along with the transported convicts.”
            “And what’s this nonsense, Pierce, here in your report?  Combat with a sloop-of-war?  Reversed colors in the Union Flag?  New nations?  New lands?”  King had gazed steadily at Pierce, his eyes full of amazement as well as condemnation.  “Detained? Most improper, sir!  And most improper, accepting so-called citizenship from another nation.”
            “A nation you believe does not exist.  But if it does, they offered it as a means of obtaining our liberty.  If it exists, and should I find myself there again, I will consider myself a citizen of that nation.  Here, I am, as I have always been, a loyal subject of His Britannic Majesty.”
            “My God, Pierce!  Such admissions might be construed as treason.  It is only due to particular orders I have regarding your voyage that I do not immediately place you under arrest.  Yet I wonder that someone else should command Island Expedition upon her returns to England.”
            “I see no need for that, sir.”  Pierce was now warmer than he had been while waiting.
            “Seriously Commander, I wonder about your health.  It may be that the strain of command and a long voyage are too much for you.”
            “It would seem, sir, that the entire ship’s company is afflicted as well.”
            “How so?”  Phillip King raised a critical eyebrow.
            “Every one of them can and will back what is documented in the report.”
            “Coerced?  Promised something in return, no doubt?  You certainly seem a conniving sort.”
            “Indeed not, sir.  What would any of us have to gain, formulating such stories?”
            “I would not hazard a guess.”
            “But I do agree that the story is beyond the bounds of believability.”
            “You do?”
            “With certainty, sir,” Pierce answered.  “It is only because it is so unbelievable that I insist it is true.  Someone in the highest levels of government, must have believed even a little of the possibility.  Else, why did the mission take place?”
            “I would think,” King responded, “that perhaps there are some in government whose sensibilities might be questioned.  Beyond that, it no doubt proceeded on two levels.  In a practical move, the first was to cause the Frogs wasted efforts searching for the island.
Hopefully they would have diverted ships away from European waters, and perhaps would have tipped their hand regarding resumption of the war.”
            “A possibility I was instructed to watch for.”
            “Secondly, it was to quietly get rid of Smythe.  He was a distraction and a real bother to many in His Majesty’s Government.  Allowing the voyage satisfied all factions.”
            “But what of the freedom colony, sir?  Other than verifying the island’s existence, was that not that the prime reason for the journey?  What about the transportation of convicts determined to have been unjustly accused or unfairly convicted?”
            “Surely it was to pacify Smythe and his odd sense of justice.  It gave him the incentive to leave and quieted his supporters.  No doubt, some in that damned British Island Expedition Organization really believed that aspect of it.  Regardless, you ferried over a hundred undesirables out of England.  That is the prime thing, and depending upon the situation upon reaching England, you may have a chance to bring off more.”
            “Perhaps sir, some thusly removed might be those who make ill use of those honestly in the King’s Service.”
            “Now Commander, do not be hasty in your remarks.  Pray, sit and have a glass of Madeira.  Relax and calm yourself.  If it pleases you, all in the King’s Service often feel ill used by our seniors.”
            “Aye, I’ll concede that, sir,” sighed Pierce
            “While I doubt the details of your report and wonder as to your mental stability, I shall not insist upon relieving you of your command.  I will offer you the chance to resign.  It would not be a violation of my orders to do so.  The schooner, your crew, and you will still be enroute to England.”
            “As offer me a choice, I must refuse and remain in command.  As to water, stores and other replenishment, sir?”
            “We have somewhat limited stores at hand sir.  Do requisition only what is truly needed.”
            “In that case, sir,” said Pierce, “we are well provisioned.  We departed Stone Island only a few weeks ago.”
            “Damn Pierce!  I was thinking to forget your imaginative tales.  Now you mention that damned island again.”
            “I had thought, sir…”
            “Oh, damn my eyes, sir!  Remember not to mention those details of your voyage in my hearing!”
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 24

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In progress photo of the cover art for Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story

A week now since the last time I posted something on Thoughts on Writing.  Must be time to continue with it.

Anyway, the last time we were here, we were talking about self editing.  As I ended, I mentioned that one of the first steps should simplly be to read through one's work, almost as if you were being your own early reader.  And as I mentioned, that's what a lot of the writing advice givers suggest.  Having done so, we've probably identified a number of things that need to be fixed or made better.  Many of those same advice givers suggest that one make several passes through the manuscript, focusing on particular problem areas.

To me, it might mean following the levels of editing we talked about a few posts ago.  First up would be structural or developmental editing.  Here's where we'd look at problems in the story structure, large gaping plot holes, rampant inconsistencies, and so on.  Then perhaps it would be time to look at the actual writing.  Does it flow?  Is there variation in sentence structure?  Is there consistency in your POV, the tense of the story, etc.  Then perhaps a closer look at spelling, punctuation,along with a look for repeated words, unneeded phrases, and so on, and finally a final once over just to be sure you haven't missed anything.

And of course, if you have others doing some critique or early reading for you, you would want to incorporate, or at least consider incorporating their suggestions and noted corrections.

Me?  I can't say I actually do it as suggested.  With the most recent, soon to be published Stone Island Sea Story, I did do a read through once I was finished, but when it came down to the actual editing, I looked for and tried to fix everything that needed fixing.  And if truth be told, much of the manuscript had already been self-edited one or more times.  The process of writing Darnahsian Pirates ended up being a long drawn out experience, and often when I was attempting to get back to the story, I'd go back and read, and of course edit what I had already written.  So parts of it, particulary the earlier parts may have been gone over a number of times.  With the first two books, the actual self-editing waited until the story was complete, but then I didn't do a preliminary read through.  I just started going through it and fixing or changing whatever caught my eye.  In both cases I ended up going through each at least a couple of times if not more.

So at this point our manuscript should be in much better shape than when we first reached "The End" of the first draft.  Now might be time to have one or more Beta readers take a look at it, and perhaps even hire or arrange with a line editor for a final look.  Of course, the big question for many writers, particularly ones (most of us?) who happen to be on a tight budget, is: "Do I need to spend money?  Do I need to have my work professionally edited?  Let's consider that in the next installment, okay?
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

And the Story Continues

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About time for another bit from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  This time a brief look at Chapter Eighteen, "Final Departure."

My painting of a Corvair "Rampside at the Lake" from several years ago.  I imagine that in some places, Stone Island might look a lot like this.

Aboard the schooner, Pierce checked briefly with the officer of the watch and then went below to his cabin.  Folsum, a member of the watch on deck, and ashore only by his captain’s request, went forward to join his messmates.  Pierce wondered briefly just what the young seaman would tell his friends about the day’s proceedings.  By the next day he supposed, the tale would be that he had spurned her advances, and that the lass had clung to him bodily, even as he left the Colony Building.  By the time they sailed, the story would have Folsum as a hero amongst his shipmates.
            Now however, Pierce had something to do.  He had thought of it often in the last days of the voyage back to Stone Island.  Yet he had not been able to sufficiently organize his thoughts and emotions to be able to write the letter that he must write.  The day’s events and the thoughts they had brought forth within him, emphasized that he must now take pen in hand and write a letter of condolence to Leona Jackson.
            He had a difficult time writing that letter.  While she often seemed to dismiss Captain Jackson as an annoyance in her life, Pierce did not know of her true feelings for the man.  Had she truly loved him?  Did he have some emotional hold over her?  Had there been a bond that even their lustful wanderings could not break?  He did not want to trod unbidden into such territory.  He also had to assess his own feelings.  For him their relationship had primarily been a matter of physical attraction and availability.  At times he remembered her with affection, and at times near loathing, especially in light of the trouble their relationship had eventually caused.
            He could not tell her that he had conspired to be the agent of her husband’s death.  Yet the letter had to be written, and written in such a way as to convey his truest sympathies for her loss, and not mention his intention of causing it, or his overall sense of relief at what had finally occurred.
            Shortly after four bells sounded in the evening watch, Pierce finished the letter and signed his name at the bottom.  He sanded it, folded it, and with a weary cramped hand addressed it.  He laid it aside, ready to take aboard Evening Star the next day.  Then he went forward for a somewhat fresh cup of coffee at the camboose.
            As he returned to his cabin, Pierce knew that the night would be one of little sleep for him.  The coffee he carried with him, and the three cups he had consumed while writing the letter would not be the cause of his wakefulness.  No, it would be that in writing his condolences and sending them on to Mrs. Jackson, he had started to think of Evangeline again.  That was always a dangerous thing to do, as it caused interference with his required and desired rest.  He sat for awhile in the dim glow of a single candle, hoping his mind would relax and drift away from thoughts of her.  If it did, and if he could keep it from returning to that subject, perhaps he could eventually fall asleep.
            Every time he realized that he had quit thinking of her, and every time he felt ready to drift into slumber, doing so would bring Evangeline to the forefront of his memory, and once again he would be wide awake.  Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad idea to think of her at times.  After all, in a week’s time he would be departing Stone Island, enroute to his world and her.  With this thought and the realization that sleep would elude him that night, Pierce slipped on his shoes, pinched out the candle and went on deck.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 23

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There's a bit of a glare, but here is the binder in which I've placed the printed version of
Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story
(Yes, at that time I called it ....:One More Stone Island Sea Story)

So the last time I talked about writing, and specifically about editing, I mentioned I would delve a little deeper into self-editing.  Back when I first ventured into the subject of editing, I briefly noted that self-editing was important and that a writer should do as much as possible.  Today I'd like to talk more about self-editing, and perhaps offer up some hints and tips for doing so.  As always, what I offer are my thoughts and ideas, perhaps what has worked for me over the years.  It could very well be that these ideas may not always work for anyone else.  And of course, there are a number of writing advice people out there who also have and promote ways of self-editing.

(At this point you should note that most of these posts are basically in first draft status.  What you see here is basically what comes to mind as I sit down to post.  Thus you are likely to find an error here, a typo there, or the occasional grammatical mistake.)

Most of the writing experts, and I agree, suggest that once you finish your manuscript, that you set it aside for a while.  Get it out of our head.  Get over that ephoria that occurs upon completing what may have been a very daunting project.  Quite possibly, if you try to edit immediately, you will either see it as perfect and not catch all the problems, or you will feel it is terrible and make the whole process harder than it is.  How long you wait is up to you.  It might be a week, a month, or even several months.  If you are like me and write pretty much in story order, almost as if you are reading it for the first time, it may be that several weeks or months have passed since you were working on the opening pages.  Then you might be able to go back to the beginning and start editing at once.  Or, at least sooner than you would be able to go back to something you have just written.  The whole idea is to be able to approach the work as objectively as possible, to be able to look at it almost as if someone else wrote it, or as if you were acting as a first reader for someone else.... except it is your work.

Once again, I agree with most of the experts and believe that the first step in self-editing should be to print out a copy of your manuscript.  It's generally believed that we read closer on the printed page than on the screen.  There, we tend to skim and scan more and thus might not see the errors we look for.  I print my manuscripts out in standard manuscript format, except I print on both sides of the page.  I then put it in a three ring binder which I can take with me to various places.  As I mentioned some time ago, I write on a desk top, so if I'm to do anything via computer, I'm pretty much tied to a single location.  But with a print copy in a binder, I can sit in my recliner where I normally read, and back when I was working, I could take it with me and do a little editing on my lunch hour.

Many of the advice givers suggest that the first step in self-editing is simply to read it, although I didn't do that until working on my latest Stone Island Sea Story.  Be your own first reader, critique partner and just read it.  Switch from being in a writing pace to a reading pace.  This is important, because in a writing pace we tend to restate or repeat information that as a reader we find repetitive.  It may have been several months ago when we first mention it and by now we barely remember.  So we mention the fact again.  But as a reader we may have noted that information yesterday or even today.  And at a reading pace we might also more easily notice plot holes and other inconsistencies.

When making this first read through, don't worry about fixing everything.  Get a feel for the flow of the story and make a note of what needs to be fixed.  Rather than rewriting a scene or a chapter, just make a quick note and perhaps circle or underline the section in question.  "Fix this!" or "Spell this character's name this way!"

Next time we'll get further into the process.
steer between them!, Helm

And the Story goes on

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Well past time for another post, and time for another excerpt from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  This bit is from Chapter Seventeen, "A Deeper Mystery."
"Evening Anchorage" portrays ships typical of a time a hundred or more years earlier than the events related in the Stone Island Sea Stories.

             “If I may be so bold, sir, this is all quite interesting,” said Morgan.  “Yet it does not explain that the Gallicians were not responsible for their frigates giving us chase.”
            “You are so right, Mr. Morgan.”  Cooper’s glass had been refilled, and he drank lightly from it.  “It would take the rest of the night,” he said, raising his glass in salute, “to follow in detail the course of the professor’s reasoning.  Simply put, he understands the Ancient Ones to have pre-dated other early civilizations.  He says that obscure and little remembered legends attribute them with great magic, perhaps knowledge and technologies beyond what we possess today.  He thinks that some believe that knowledge exists on Stone Island.”
            “And we dig ourselves even deeper into a world of superstition and magic,” groused Andrews.
            “But would you have considered the possibility of this world, Mr. Andrews, when we were blockading France in Theadora?  Would Vespica, Grand Triton, or Gallicia have meant anything to you then?”
            “Aye, I do see the point, sir.  Still, I do not understand how all this relates to the chase.”
            “According to Professor Parks, it is quite simple,” said Cooper.  “He believes there are groups that seek that ancient knowledge, just as others work to keep it hidden.”
            “You suggest, sir that one or more of these groups may be behind the Gallician pursuit?” questioned Hotchkiss.
            “I don’t suggest it, sir.  Professor Parks suggests it, and truth be told, by the time he reached that point, we had drained more than a few bottles.”
            Smythe grinned somewhat sheepishly.  “Perhaps the good captain has taken us all on a voyage outside of reality.  Indeed, Captain, was there ever a Professor Parks aboard Evening Star?”
            “Whether the professor exists or not, sir,” said O’Brien, “It’s a damned good tale at that!”
            “Hear!  Hear!” said Pierce.  “A toast to the professor!  Does he not exist, than a toast to Captain Cooper for the most delightful invention of him!”
            After the toast was drunk, and after the laughter died away, the merchant captain regained his composure.  “My friends!  I understand your amusement and lack of belief.  Yet, Professor Parks is real as any of us.  In fact, I have a letter for you, Governor, from him.”  Cooper reached into his pocket, withdrew the letter, and handed it to Smythe.
            “As he traveled aboard Evening Star, he was enroute to study ancient ruins recently found in Western Baltica.  He expressed a great desire to one day go to Stone Island to study any remaining artifacts first hand.  He is a rather quaint fellow who would not visit without first asking your blessings on his presence.  Such, as I understand it, is the purpose of the letter.”
            “Do forgive us, Captain Cooper.  I shall look forward to a visit from the learned gentleman,” said Smythe.  “In fact, sir, as you are accompanying us to Stone Island, I will draw up a letter for the professor, which you may deliver or send on to him.”
            “Excellent!  I would be delighted to transport any correspondence for either of you,” mentioned Cooper.  He saw the expectant look on Morgan’s face.  “Indeed, I would delight in acting as courier for any and all of you.”
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Thoughts on Writing 22

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"Puppy doodle" from a couple of years ago.  Not really my forte, and certainly nothing to do with writing or editing, but thought I'd share it.  If I remember, the original was only an inch or so wide.

The last time here, I posted a little about the various types or degrees of editing.  I mentioned that we had covered or mentioned all but two, and we'll take a look at them now.

Either of these might be seen as a final check, an additional once over to make sure everything is perfect, that no sneaky typo, grammatical error, spelling mistake, or incorrect word as slipped by.  We are talking about copy editing (reading) or proof editing (reading), and yes there is a difference.

Copy refers to the manuscript, what the author is going to submit and that the publisher is going to send to the printer.  It's what the printer will work from to set the type for the printed/published version of the book.  Depending on what era we are in, that could mean physically setting or positioning each individual letter, using a typesetting machine, or today, merely changing the format of the document via computer.  Regardless of how the manuscript gets converted to the published format, it needs to be perfect.  The typesetter/formatter can't be expected to make corrections, but rather is going to try to set it up exactly as it is given to him.

If we are talking about a physically printed book, the printer will generally print off a handful of copies and let the author and others take a look at them.  These initial copies are called "proofs," so in checking them for errors, we are proof editing.  While we would expect a skilled and experienced type setter to not introduce any errors, it does happen. and then again there are those that manage to work there way through the entire editing, rewriting, and revision process.

If the "typesetting" is done via computer, there is still a chance there will be printed proof copies, or the formatted computer document will act as a proof.

At the beginning of this look at editing, I mentioned self-edtiting, but that was about all.  Next time I'll discuss it in a bit more detail.
steer between them!, Helm

More of the Story

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Well here's a scene, an excerpt from Chapter Sixteen, "An Unexpected Intervention," of Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  This is the instant I tried to depict in the cover art for the book, in the painting titled, "Helm, Steer Between Them!"
             He awoke to find the cabin was dark, the lone candle having long since burned itself out.  As he tried to comprehend what had awakened him, a dull flash momentarily illuminated the space.  Lightning?  No, it wasn’t bright enough.  Then he heard the far away rumble.  Thunder?  No, if the flash had not been lightning, then the sound was not its resulting report.  Gun fire!  Pierce sat up, wide awake as the realization of what he had heard and saw became clear in his mind.  More flashes lit the cabin and within minutes the reverberations of a not too distant broadside rang in his ears.
            Pierce got up and struggled into his trousers.  The early morning was warm and he didn’t need his uniform coat.  As hurried as he was, he didn’t make it out the door before there was a hurried knock upon it.  “Yes?” he said, still a little groggy.
            “Mr. Hotchkiss’ compliments, sir,” said Steadman.  “Furious appears to be engaged with an unknown vessel, sir.”
            “Very well, Mr. Steadman.  I shall be but a moment.”
            On deck he nodded in Hotchkiss’ direction, and that individual pointed forward.  Some distance forward of the schooner, Pierce could make out the dim shape of the Tritonish frigate.  The fog was thinner and she was easy to see.  Yet there was something disconcerting about the image, if there was something more.  Flashes of gunfire came again, and now Pierce saw the second ship.  It was beyond Furious, and had just fired a full broadside into the Kentish vessel.
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            Since their initial encounter, Furious and Island Expedition had been on a starboard reach, heading to the south and the uninhabited beach upon which Jackson and Pierce would settle their dispute.  During the night, Island Expedition had purposely fallen some distance behind to avoid a collision if the fog and mist became too thick.  The Gallician frigate had come out of the fog from windward, and had fired its first devastating broadside into the Tritonish frigate from near point blank range.  They paralleled each other, mere yards apart, and made no effort to alter course or maneuver for an advantage.  With more sail set now, the schooner forged ahead and rapidly closed with the frigates.  “Ready the port battery!”
            Aye aye, sir!”
            “Helm, steer as to pass between them!”
            “Aye aye, sir!”
            “Sure madness, Edward!” warned Hotchkiss.
            “But a method to it, Isaac!  When I give word, we must put into the wind, and as our guns bear, concentrate fire on the Toad’s starboard quarter.  Let us then fall off the wind and repeat with the starboard battery.”
            “Aye!”  Hotchkiss nodded with understanding.