Jeanne: February Progress Report

Until I read Nancy’s accountability post yesterday, I’d completely forgotten I was due to report in–so thanks for the nudge, Nancy!Success symbol

I don’t know how accountability works for you, but knowing I will be reporting my status really helps my focus and productivity.

So here we go:

February’s goals:

  1. Finish Book 2, The Demon’s in the Details, and send it out to my beta readers.

Status: Book completed. Due to some changing priorities over when my editor, Karen Dale Harris wanted to see the manuscript, I was only able to get it in front of one beta reader, who is reading it now.

2. Get a proof copy of the cover.

Status: Completed–and I love it. I’ll be sharing it here at Eight Ladies Writing when we get a little closer to the release date, September 1.

3. Send Book 1, The Demon Always Wins, to my copy editor.

Status: Sent and returned with 2500 recommended changes. Yes, you read that right–two thousand five hundred edits. They fall into several broad categories:

  • Missing commas
  • Improper capitalization (in both directions)
  • Improper hyphenating of words (and failure to hyphenate)
  • Use of pronouns vs. proper names (e.g. “She” vs. “Dara”). One of the techniques for deepening point-of-view is to stick with the third person pronoun as much as possible, but if you have two people of the same gender in a scene, this can create reader confusion. So I”m going through and deciding, in each of the cases Arran marked, whether I need to call out the character by name. Mostly, I’ve decided I do.
  • Using an em-dash (—) instead of four period for dialogue (internal or external) that dies away before the character completes their sentence. There are only a handful of these, but I like the idea of having a style rule to follow.
  • Inserting the word “that” into a sentence. Example: Kelsey filled her cup so quickly <that> she slopped coffee on the counter. This is an area where Arran and I disagree. I think “that” is a dead word that is unnecessary most of the time, so I’m rejecting most of those edits.

At this point, I’m down to about 750 edits left to process.

4. Brainstorm the acts, turning points and scenes for Book 3, The Demon Wore Stilettos.

Status: In mid-February, I was invited to join a writer’s retreat down on Kiawah Island for a week. It was in the upper 70’s/low 80’s and sunny every day in that part of South Carolina, while it rained non-stop in Ohio while I was gone. That makes the trip a win regardless of what I got done.


The other writers at the retreat were terrific about helping me brainstorm, so I made some solid progress. I’m still a little iffy on everything after the first act, but I do have a solid understanding of my characters and their motivations. So, as usual, I’m behind but satisfied with my progress.

Goals for March:

  1. Get The Demon’s in the Details through developmental edit.
  2. Get a draft of the cover for The Demon’s in the Details.
  3. Complete the scene list for The Demon Wore Stilettos.
  4. Complete 15,000 words on The Demon Wore Stilettos.


2 thoughts on “Jeanne: February Progress Report

  1. Great job! And so glad that writing helped you escape icky weather!

    About the em-dash — I think I was taught that it was an interruption of speech or thought (it could be an interruption by the character’s own new thought that isn’t expressed. For example, “I was going to do –” and she stopped. “Wait a minute. If I do that, what are you going to be doing?”)

    (Note: in my example, I don’t know what to do about punctuation and space after the em-dash.)

    The ellipses is for a dying out of a thought or idea, or so I thought. Or a slow pause (maybe for the character to think about a word choice). “She’s a very . . . interesting girl.” However, “She a very interesting girl — a bubbly girl — a girl of exalted powers!”

    (-: But as long as it makes sense to you and your editor, that’s the important thing.

    Whoo-boy, accountability. I love it when I’ve done something, but feel guilty and shamed when I haven’t. And I haven’t quite made that leap to, “If I don’t get this done today, I’ll have nothing to report next week! So do it for your future self, so future-E.M. doesn’t have to be shamed!” Maybe that should be my goal for March: future glory for April-E.M.!

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