July News

Eep! I really meant to write in here sooner, but at least I can say it was for a good reason that I haven’t.
I’ve been working on the outline for the manuscript for The Sword of Justice. Yes, the manuscript has already been written, but it needs to be reworked and that means starting at ground zero and rebuilding. I’m keeping most of the story, but I am going to be smoothing out the pacing and writing out some of the scenes which were glossed over but needed telling.
My current worry? That this may mean the book will be unwieldy and that I will have to break it up into smaller books. But that is getting ahead of myself. Right now? I just need to get the outline finished.

The Sword of Justice – A Work in Progress

This is the journal dedicated to ideas based on my Dad's stories.
This is the journal dedicated to ideas based on my Dad’s stories.

I recently bought this cool journal dedicated entirely to story ideas based on my dad’s books. I want to be inspired to write in it so I wanted it to be very cool and a joy to write in. (and it is!)
Basically, I have just begun my journey on the rewriting process. Mine is slightly different than most as these are not my characters. One of the things that I am learning is that these characters must become mine. I need to take charge of the story and get it in order because there is no one else to do this. I want to be faithful to what my dad would have wanted. But at the same time, I’m feeling that I want to put some of my own thoughts in here. This is where the balancing act is.
There are some aspects of The Sword of Justice that are gentle and subtle but part of me wants to accentuate them and make them more bold. I’m worried that may ruin part of the story though. For example, the fact that I am dealing with a story that has a lot of magic users but frankly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of magic use. That bothers me….a lot. I want to go more in depth with this society and go into how much magic there is and why. Also, I want a more defined magic system or magic systems. But what if in doing this I break the story?
I tell you what happens, I go back to the previous draft and start again. For now, I will listen to the wise words of my editor and just write.

Summer/June Update

Hey everyone! I’m back again and so are the recommendations from my editor. What did she say? I have a lot of work ahead of me.

So for the foreseeable future, I will be toiling away to whip the manuscript for The Sword of Justice into shape so that it can be the best book that I can make.

As I work through the story, I’ll try to give quick updates to let you know where I am in the story, along with other interesting tidbits that I run into as I go. But I figured that I’d give you all a quick update to let you know what’s going on.

Update!

As I am working on formatting manuscripts (basically getting them so they are in English rather than computer OCR gibberish), I’ve come across several scenes in the stories which are triggering memories.

I remember hearing my father tell me some of these stories as bedtime stories when I was young.

I also remember being absolutely terrified as my father told me about the evil werewolves in one of the stories.

A werewolf of Alsban.

What Am I Up To?

It’s the end of January and February is about to begin. What am I doing right now?

At the moment I am about to start unboxing another manuscript. This is a literal unboxing. I’ll show you what I mean in a quick video. The name of this story is called the Chronicles of Avantir I have no idea what it is about (mom, don’t tell me, I’ll find out as I read it).

But wait! Wasn’t I working on The Sword of Justice manuscript before Christmas?
What’s going on?
Well, I am getting the manuscript ready to send to an editor who I am hiring to help me make sure that I am on the right track with my edits.
As I have more updates on this manuscript, I’ll let you know.

It does seem like I am skipping around a lot on projects, but also bear in mind that these have all been written for the most part. Some of them just need more work than others. Also, as I’ve stated in a previous post, my process will be different from a writer. It will be more like an editor for many of the stories with the occasional writing foray into some of my father’s worlds. The work is just beginning.

Welcome to The Curmudgeon!

With the new year I have decided to do a quick mission statement post to introduce (or reintroduce) people to this blog.

Who am I?

My name is Beth Wagner, I am a comic creator turned editor and publisher. My father, J.P. Wagner, was a writer. He was a published journalist and his first novel was officially published a few months after he died. But his last words to me were to protect his books. Which I took to mean, publish them.

What is this blog?

Basically, this blog is me rambling. But more specifically, it’s me rambling about writing, editing and things that I think my dad thought were cool. I try to write things in a way that I think he would want things to be written on this blog.

I will also write about my thoughts and feelings as I edit his manuscripts. For example, I would write about what I remember going on in our lives at the time he was writing a specific manuscript. Or, if I find something interesting that I think my dad would have liked.

What this blog is not.

This blog is not an indelible shrine to my dad. It is not a solemn, gloomy place and if it ever gets like that, then it’s time for a holiday.

What are my plans for this blog?

My plans for this blog is to entertain you with interesting stories and my unusual process in editing and publishing my dad’s books as well as to inform you when his books are being published.

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to another year of entertaining you;

Beth Wagner

A Process Post

Most editors follow a similar process. Reading through slush piles, reading the manuscript, marking up the manuscript and then waiting for the author to respond.

My process is much different.

I have the slush pile that are my dad’s manuscripts. Some of the manuscripts are submission-ready and just need some fine tune editing while some manuscripts are nothing more than a few notes scribbled down on a scrap piece of paper.

Before I can even begin to edit the manuscript, I have to convert it into a format that I can edit it with. My father used numerous different word processing methods from writing to typewriter to electric typewriter to computer. With the computer he used numerous different programs including WordPerfect and AppleWorks. I’ve had to hack into these files because they don’t directly load into modern software. They first get loaded into a text editor before they get copied and pasted into my final editing program (in this case, I’m using Scrivener).

Then I need to fix all of the formatting errors that crept in due to incompatible fonts and things that the text editor couldn’t read.

Then I mark up the manuscript and then I need to let it rest for a couple of weeks before I do the revisions. I try to think, not about what I would put into the story, but what would my dad write. What did my dad want to say. I’m not going to lie, I have had some one-sided screaming matches while editing the stories. It’s a process.

My final stage is to get crits and beta readers to go over the manuscript for a final review.

The process is a little more like being an archaeologist than an editor but it’s not your average editing process, that’s for sure.