Mon 04 February 2019

James Jackson - Introduction to Writing - Part 4

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Next Gen Writers and tagged with TeamTerran, Introduction to Writing, Learning Writing, Novel Writing Process


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Introduction to Writing – Part Four: My Writing Process

This post introduces the audience to my writing process where I briefly explore my Editing & Proofreading and Revisions.


 TeamTerran with James Jackson ready for his speech at the MRA 2017 ConferenceEditing and Proofreading

This is another critical step in becoming a successful author. The best story in the world, will fall flat on its face if it is poorly edited. There are some glaring anomalies to this, but they are the exception, and not the rule.

The step is tough. I hand over my draft, my baby, to an editor. This is sometimes done in segments, to ease their workload. Their job is not only to look for mistakes, but to Americanize the work. There are many things to consider, flashlight / torch, parking lot / car park, hood / bonnet, trunk / boot, and the one that many know, flip flops / thongs! I made this conscious decision for a couple of reasons, firstly, I live in America, and I believe in the phrase, 'when in Rome!' Secondly, my single largest audience, is America, and I did not want to alienate this audience by using Australian lingo. I do have a multinational task force in my novels, which allows me to have some fun with various cultural differences. I know I could play on this a lot more than I do, but the potential is there!

If a writer cannot afford an editor, then approach family and friends. The more people who read this first draft, the greater the chance that all mistakes will be caught.

What works for me is two editors, and then two or three proofreaders. But even with five people reviewing my efforts, mistakes are sometimes missed. Anytime a person approaches me and states that they have found mistakes, I politely ask them to tell me where, that I may fix the problem!



When I get the draft back, I can tell you, it's full of red marks, notes, suggestions, and sometimes smart ass comments, such as; "What are you trying to say, I'm not in your head!" There are a lot more notes, many of which are not repeatable in public.

I then apply the edits, most of them anyway, some I ignore and try to sneak by the second editor. This usually fails, as they catch a lot of additional things. It's amazing what a fresh set of eyes can find!

Once both people have reviewed the story, we three sit down and discuss it, in depth! We make sure the end result, is what was intended, and has not diverged too far off track. Slight variations are okay, that's simply the story evolving.

Finally, I print a few copies for a select group of test readers. It is amazing the feedback I get, and the little things they catch! Okay, sometimes big things, but not too often!

I can't implore enough how important it is to get multiple people to read and review the work, before it is published. This is critical.

This process has taken years to develop, and as I mentioned earlier, is still evolving as we constantly try different things in the quest to produce the highest quality work possible.


This brings us to the end of Part Four!


Take it easy mates.

James Jackson