Episode 2

Episode 2: Surviving the editor and a little world building



Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Episode two July the 10th, 2020. How did I survive my developmental edit and where did I begin when I created the In All Jest world? This is the first formatted episode.  The original one was just an introduction, and just as an outline for it, there's going to be two sections for the future episodes.

The first section is going to be called "since last time", which is pretty much what it sounds like what's happened since the last episode. And the second half of the episode will be called "some back story" and I'll explain back story to the series, my writing processes, how I learned to write and everything that goes along with it. So that's the format we're going to use moving forward.

Since Last Time


So what has happened since last time? Well, the main focus of the last few weeks, two weeks in fact, has been surviving my developmental edit and  it's actually been a lot of fun for me.

I've really enjoyed it. So what is a developmental edit? If we step back and look at the editing process overall. When I finished the manuscript, the first draft,  then I had to sit down and started editing it. And the very first process in getting editing done is the author has to edit their own work, has to go through the manuscript. I was really lucky at the end of last year, I went to a fantastic course called Story by Robert McKee, which was in Los Angeles.

On top of other learnings I've done, but it really reinforced that the first draft of a manuscript is really getting all the crap out of your head, getting it down on paper, on screen, whatever you're working on. And that became really apparent to me, as I've been working through all the different levels of editing.

The first draft is a lot of fun. You can get through a lot of work, a lot of words on, on page. I find it pretty easy to get a decent word count every day. Then once its done, you have to go back over it and you have to start shaping that story, and cleaning up the writing.  For me, a lot of the first couple of edits and I'm talking going through the whole manuscript several times, was really about fixing story. Jumping ahead on that we can talk more about how I did it in another episode. But once you get through it, there's different ways that you can get the manuscript edited. And in theory, you would go through a developmental edit, then a copy edit, and then a proofread.  Not everyone goes through a developmental edit,  particularly in the self publishing world.  It could be a cost factor that stops you. If you're an experienced writer, you might not need that as much because you might have a lot of your structures down pat. So you might be doing a copy edit.

A developmental edit is a structural edit. It's a thorough and in-depth, edit of your entire manuscript. It goes through all the elements of your writing from words to phrasing sentences, overall structure and style, and particularly looking at plot holes or gaps, problematic characterization, things like that. That's what I wanted for my large novel.

Copy edits, fine tuning the books, grammar, punctuation, looking at facts, anomalies inconsistencies, and really glaring typos.  It's a line by line edit.  Then proofreading is pretty much what we're all familiar with. Particularly say in a business environment, that's the type of editing we do where we're looking for spelling mistakes, grammar errors, missing punctuation. So I got a developmental edit because of the size and scope of my story.  I really wanted for my first manuscript to get a really good overview of how well I'd done, and not done, in getting that manuscript into a workable story.

And I went through the manuscript four or five times prior to handing it over.   Yet, of course, I couldn't see the wood for the trees for a lot of the manuscript, the things you just miss. So how did I cope with it and where am I at with it? Well, I had a fantastic meeting with my editor Fleetwood.  He presented what he thought. Then he delivered his editor's letter, and he gave me the manuscript back with all his comments in it.

And it, it was really, really, exciting in the end.  I was worried that I might react poorly. I might not handle any criticisms well. There's a whole lot of things that you read about and learn about that authors can get wrong in this process, editors can get wrong in this process. But I was really lucky I chose someone that worked really well with me.

I hope to work with him again in the future because it was just a great experience in looking at the story.

Looking at how I constructed it, we found a couple of really interesting things that he brought up , one of which was a character that I loved very early on in the story, but really didn't have a purpose for,  as the book moved on. And him bringing that to the surface in a clever, experienced, mature way, helped me stand back and look at it, and I was able to actually remove that character.  So where am I at right now since that happened. I'm working on the manuscript and that's going to take up the next month or two of my life, getting through it.    In the coming episodes, we'll be talking a lot more about that.

Some Back Story


In this segment, 'some back story' I want to talk about how did I make the world?  It's a question people have asked me, where do you get your ideas? What do you do?  How did you go about it? And I think that there's many, many, many different ways that people create their story worlds. In an Epic fantasy , we're creating very fictional worlds and some people make, whether it be science fiction or fantasy, in that genre quite elaborate worlds that are not necessarily based on our universe and they have even more creativity.

I chose to try and base it on an Earth-like environment. And so what I did early on was,  well, I initially started with some story ideas that, were a very high level outline of what my story was about. Obviously I had a concept about using jesters. I was looking at the big Epic story side of it, you know,  what are we trying to solve here?

What's  , all the quests going to be aimed towards.  Then from that, I researched a whole lot of gaming information interestingly. There's just heaps of information online about how gamers, or game creators, create their worlds. And I lucked upon a document that I purchased, which talked about the geography and plates coming together and forming cliffs and valleys and all sorts of things and how worlds get created.  How you need to think about hemispheres, and the environment, and the weather patterns, and waterflows and all of the things like that. So I used that to form a fairly good idea about what my world would look like.

And then I sketched it out on paper. I pencil drew the landmasses and then I zeroed in on the large continent, the landmass, which is known as Dharatan.  Which is what book one starts in and finishes in. It's all in that series of realms that live on that continent. So I drew it and over a period of time, I filled in parts of it.

I didn't fill in all of it. I had, you know, mountains and some rivers and those sorts of elements. And then I picked the spot on the map where my story was going to start.

At that point I had spent a lot of time researching. So this is going right back into the first year of writing. And I kind of got to this point that I could spend years creating the perfect world on paper, coming up with mountains and rivers and extending that even further into all of the towns and cities and roads and everything to that detail.

But I didn't have a story at the moment to really make context of that. And I felt like I needed a story to help complete the world. So I stopped the world, building it at that level. I started writing the story and writing through is great because it was fairly localized, how I started and I was into getting the ideas out on paper.

I interestingly killed off my protagonist in the first , few scenes, which changed a lot of my planning. And I'll probably talk about that in another episode. But once I developed the new protagonist character at that point, and it was pretty rough, it was very rough first draft. When I got to the point that that character was moving in the outside world was when I really had to stop and look at the greater world.

So that point I knew it wouldn't work saying, you know, Lani was traveling down the YYY road towards XXX. And there was a pretty good reason because in my mind, I could see things that I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about a, you know, a range of mountains off to one side. And I wanted to describe the land and knowing where she was traveling to.

Knowing what the environment around her was about, was so critical to the story. To that point, I stopped the writing and I went back to the world building element of it, and I completed a much bigger portion of it. All of the town and city names, major rivers, the range. I locked in the  realm names and the rulers and things like that.

I'll talk a lot more about some of the levels  I've had to go to in describing those sorts of things in other episodes. But I thought that was a good way to start, you know, how did I start the world? That's the really important first part of the backstory to these novels.



Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.


Episode 1

Episode 1: Introducing the podcast

Episode 1

Intro Darryl: [00:00:04] Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

 Episode one. July four 2020. Well, that's the recording date. I'm not entirely sure when this will get published. Because I still have a few things to set up with it. Number of things to be done. As we set up a whole new podcast.

I have done a podcast before with a colleague and it's been a couple of years since I've done that. So I've got to get my head back into this. There'll be a few things I have to do to get it published and working and all the material up there and shit. But once it's running, it will be a weekly podcast. That's my intention.

What's it about. Well, the In All Jest podcast is going to be an audio journal about the writing of my In All Jest series. So the  series is an Epic fantasy series that I'm writing at the moment. And as it, , Suggests it's an Epic fantasy.

The jest comes from the central theme or characters in the book who are jesters. And jesters have fascinated me since I was quite young. talk about that a little bit later, perhaps. Where am I at with the journey? Well, it's been four years and right now, I'm very close to getting book one, published.

I've just finished a developmental edit, with a fantastic editor Fleetwood, who's been helping me make the story better.

And that in itself has been a huge learning.  What does it all mean? Well, I'll talk about that in an episode.  What is a developmental edit? What are the types of edits or what sorts of editing go into a book? A lot of people think that editing is a singular thing that happens. But that's not the case.

Four years, it's a long time. I know other people take a lot longer. Some people get it done quicker. For me the four years has had to fit in around a lot of other life and work. As well as the publishing and marketing of two non-fiction novels, which I have out in the market which are going really well.

And then I've learned a lot about  the process. My novels are going to be self published as well. I'm going to take care of that.

I have a background in online marketing and web, and I've really enjoyed that side of the business as well as the writing. So I'm just going to keep that rolling a long and not have traditional publishing delays and issues in my workflow. It doesn't mean the novels aren't going to be treated professionally and published professionally. They certainly will be. It's just the method that I've chosen and we're in a great era where we get to make choices like that.

For many authors in the past, they didn't have those choices. And there are still some authors that don't think it's a choice. For me it's an easy choice.   Other colleagues, I have that do it , making a great living and enjoying their life being a full time published author by their own imprint.

This podcast is going to talk about all of the effort that's gone into the last four years, but not over four years. I'll summarize the things I've learned, what I had to address, and how I've discovered the depth of the craft writing and how green I am about it, and inexperienced. I'm just a toddler.

It's been fun. Four years has gone super fast. I can't believe it's been four years. I know I've spent a lot of time writing because book one is around 200,000 words. Which is about three and a half times larger than your average crime novel. We've cut a little bit from it at the moment. Probably cut a little bit more. There'll be some more going back, but it's a big book and book two is close to 50% written. It's going to be a similar size. So I've spent a lot of time writing, but a lot of other time has been spent learning, and thinking and having to understand what comes next.

It's not as simple as just writing it and having someone edit it.

As an author, you have to edit a lot of it yourself.  There's more to it than that as well.  Particularly for Epic fantasy, you have to develop whole worlds, which is distinctly different to writing in a city that exists in a world that already exists.  You know, if we said the city of London and then a few suburbs of it, and we did a crime novel, we already know who the police force is. We already know a lot about the world that we live in and transportation and all of those things.

In an Epic fantasy series this is all invented by me. Not only is it invented. I have to document it. I have to monitor it for consistency and it extends across everything. Economies, religions, governments, trade, races, creatures. And then of course being a fantasy, there'll be things like magic.

And fantastical elements.

And just in this last editing process, being able to make sense of what you come up with and simplify some of it, enhance other parts of it. There's a lot of effort that goes into all of that. So we'll talk about that. I don't know who the we is I just mentioned.

I'll talk about that as I go along.

I'll talk about what's happening week to week, where I'm up to what I've struggled with, the fun and excitement that I've had that week. And let me tell you for me, it is a lot of fun. This developmental edit, I've had to reprocess some things and I've got a head full of ideas that just must get out of there and onto the   page.

Book two I had to pause now that book one's back from the editor. I have so much of book two world tucked away in the back of my head as well. And you can imagine these little compartments in your head that just fill up constantly with ideas and pictures and movies and stories and dialogue.

And you want to get them out and then you get them out. And then of course criticize them and hate them and love them and want to edit them and change them and make them better. And then you have to get rid of some of them altogether. So there's, there's a whole process that you work through.

I'll talk about that week to week, I'll talk about the challenges I have. , what I learned that week. What I didn't do that week that was supposed to do. That's the idea behind the journaling of this. And I hope along the way that those listening in. Get to learn a lot more about how stories are created.

There are plenty of podcasts that exist for people that want to be writers and produce their books. This is not one of those. This is just me putting down how I go about it. The process in my brain, the process in my fingers, how it all comes together.  The things I get asked , The answers to questions that I'm still figuring out. That hopefully gives you an insight into not only how a written book might come together, but there's similarities in how movies and TV and other creative compositions come together. And we're in an era where we get to watch massive. Episodic TV series over many, many years, that enthrall us with the cleverness of the story and the characters. And it's that massive concept that I love and why I love Epic fantasies.

The threads and plot lines that go into them, the world that exists the character development than we get. So that's all part of it.

Why have I decided to do a solo podcast? Well, the joint podcast I did before was great. But this is a solo journey, writing a novel and a series of novels like this is a solo thing. I have lots of support and encouragement. I have lots of obstacles, but it's all done solo. And so this journal needs to be an expression of that. It's me. It doesn't mean I might not have a guest on from time to time that can add some value, but that's not the intention of it at this point.

A lot of it's for me to cement the process and learnings that I'm going through. And to help me remember the journey. It's so easy to get to this point where you go, oh, I published the book and now I'm writing the second book and you forget everything you went through. And when people become more skilled at something, they often forget how they got there.

And great people in sports, you know, a great golfer, which is similar in a way that it's a solo enterprise. You can play golf on your own. You're playing against yourself and the number.

And you can learn all sorts of things and you can practice and you can still fail at times and you can still have a bad round and you can do things  and forget what it was like on day one and year one, playing that game. And even if you became a pro, you can also forget how you got there and all of the things you have to go through to get there and the processes that helped you get there.

And I think the same thing is true when you do work like this, when you write. I know I'm a better writer today than I was four years ago, but I also know I have so far to go, and so much development to do. In another four years, it will be great to be able to reflect back on this and see what I was thinking, where I was at at that point.

And how I'm feeling now. And hopefully it will be a really good reminder.

I've always read. I've read a lot of books. All of my life. As a young kid, we went to the library every single week, I think. And I used to take several books home every week. Read them. Be counting the days til the next time the library visit happened.

I've loved fantasy, back then there were less of them. I read what I could. Then I read crime and thriller and war stories and all sorts of stories. I love the written word. I love stories. To me, their movies in my mind. And the goal of me writing stories is that someone will pick up my books and have a similar experience that I did from the fantastic people that gave me those experiences through my life. And I still read a huge number of books every year.

A lot of fiction. I read nonfiction.   I like watching movies. I love TV shows that are well crafted, but I still love books more than anything. I love reading them more than I love listening to them, but everyone has their own tastes. For me writing stories is just something I've always wanted to do.

So that's what I wanted to do. I am doing it. I'm living my dream, my passion, my life purpose of being a storyteller.

That's what I want to do, this podcast is going to tell a lot about that. A lot about the process. I hope you enjoy it , as soon as I get this all sorted out and up, then we will get locked into weekly episodes about the In All Jest series and the wonderful world of jesters.  I look forward to you listening in again, sometime soon.


Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.