I’m lucky to have publishers like Apocalypse Ink Productions.

My editorial notes came through last week. Here’s their header:


It’s possible they know me too well.

Jokes aside, we’ve had follow-up conversations around what I need to do in the next draft. I am looking forward to the challenge – and challenge is the proper word.

I’m sharing those for any other fresh authors who might be tempted to panic on receipt of such a list. These are in the order I plan to tackle them, for reasons described below.

  1. Writing out a character and his chapters. One of my alpha readers commented that a private investigator character took over the protagonist’s role halfway through the book. Other readers mentioned that his relationship with another character seemed “schizophrenic*.” In the end, we decided that the best thing to do would be to write the PI out completely. I’ve not had to do that before for a story of this length
  2. Tense and Voice. On THE FARM, I was lucky to have the indomitable spooky wizard Lillian Cohen-Moore as an editor before Apocalypse Ink saw the draft. I suspect she did a lot of cleanup on my tense and voice issues. This time around, she was only in my corner in spirit. As such, I’m going back to school. At Jennifer Brozek’s suggestion, I picked up and read The 10% Solution by Ken Rand. I’m applying his notes to this blog post, and all future writing. I don’t think this is going to be hard for THE COMMONS. I do think it’s going to take some time. I want to do this early on, so that my re-writes use the same voice and rules.
  3. Firm up motivations and relationships. I mentioned the relationship issue in point one. My editor also felt there were other places where character wants and needs were shaky, unclear, or unstable. As such, I’m going back to my character bibles to redo some foundations. That’s step three, since it will impact many future choices.
  4. Revamp the final four chapters. Between losing a character and re-framing motivations, I’ll need to focus on the ending more than ever. I can’t do that until I manage the above tasks.
  5. Review pacing. My point of view shifts are off from the editorial expectations. As such, I need to add a few chapters and rearrange others.
  6. More of Character X. There is a minor character in THE COMMONS who is a big part of Gordon’s story. As such, she needs more screen time. I’ll be adding snippets and scenes with her.
  7. Chapter intros and headings. My editor would like me to try adding a bit of the antagonist’s POV to the top of each chapter. I will also be heading each chapter with the date, as we did in THE FARM. This helps ground and solidify the telling.
  8. Various cleanup tasks. There are notes in each chapter than need to be reviewed. I’ll be tackling those at the same time as the previous task.
  9. Remove and rewrite the prelude. The prelude as written doesn’t belong in the main book. Instead, I’ll be re-writing it as a stand-alone story. This story will be made available as a download for readers prior to publication of THE COMMONS. Depending on time, more such pieces may come as well.

So … that’s my next month’s evenings planned out in advance. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them.

Especially tips on time management.

– Ivan

* – I do not use the word to denigrate those with this condition, but am quoting a reviewer.