The Zero-Point Awakening series is a sci-fi action/superhero story at its heart. In the last post on this topic, Damian described the process of working through the first draft. Once that was done, that’s where I took over.
Writing Sci-Fi Action Stories – The editing Process
I’m not going to lie. It’s daunting to receive a draft of a story and be asked to edit it. Exactly what that means in the ZZ Adams process may be a little different than some other writers, so let me explain.
Since we are a writing team, one of us has to take the first cut of everything we write. We switch that around all the time, but this one was Damian’s baby (yes, I’m blaming him for that ending, but at least he didn’t just blow everyone up (spoiler alert–there are no story-ending explosions in Siege). The other person then takes that draft and works through it, adding another layer of characterization, polishing dialogue, finding typos (most of the time), and generally making it shine as much as they can. So that’s what I did.
I got to read the first draft the way most of you would have read Siege (assuming you have read it at this point and if you haven’t I highly recommend it. Siege has the origin story for Millicent Cuff, one of my favorite characters in the entire series). I started at the beginning and followed Millicent through her journey, right to the (ahem) bitter end. I did have the benefit of having read more of Millicent’s chapters from when she was older, so I was willing to forgive a lot (unlike one of our beta readers who still doesn’t like poor Millicent to this day!)
Sci-fi or Not?
Editing is a methodical process. I like to read things aloud and see how they sound. That’s my way of doing it. I mostly work on the weekends since I have a day job, so my time is limited. It means I feel a lot of pressure to get things right the first time. Luckily, Siege was very clean first draft. The only issue we had was: was it sci fi enough to represent the Zero-Point Awakening series?
I still wonder whether it has enough elements to keep sci-fi fans happy (please feel free to let us know via our contact page). But ultimately, the story has to start somewhere, and this is where Millicent’s journey began, so we had to tell it this way.
That Ending Though…
Damian handed me the draft with a warning that I wasn’t going to like the ending. He’s said above that it is an impactful ending and I think that’s right, but I do not feel (even now) that it is a frivolous one. It is the ending that Millicent needed to start her on her troubled road. A character like her needs a start just like this.
So there it is. That’s a little bit of insight into what we were thinking when we drafted and edited Siege. Let us know what you thought. Feedback like that is invaluable to writers, especially self-published ones. Without your feedback, we cannot write the stories you want to read.
I’m looking forward to being with you on this journey. We are already up to Episode Five of the series with spinoffs planned, so strap yourselves in. This is going to be a wild ride!