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.