This is the main character in the story the Crystal Crown which is one of the stories that make up The Tales of Alsban. I’m going to be editing and releasing the stories separately and then I will collect them into a larger volume once I’m done.
I am in a very lucky position in that I can do manuscript unboxings.
I hope that you enjoy this short video.
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.
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;
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.
Yes, It’s been a month since the last time that I’ve posted here. That would be because I was working on other projects. But I’m putting those on hold while I shift back to focussing on writing and editing.
If you scroll back to the last couple of posts, you’ll know that I am currently editing “The Sword of Justice”
I’ll be working on this throughout the months of November and December, if you want more information about this and similar updates, I would recommend signing up for my newsletter.
November is Nanowrimo, which for most people means, time to write novels! I will be taking part, but like everything else, I won’t be doing things the regular way that everyone else is. I’m going to be using Nanowrimo, to help work on scheduling dedicated time in the day for writing and/or editing. That way, I’m hoping that I can just continue after November having that built in that habit. I already do this with comics I now just need to be able to do this reliably with editing and writing.
Now that I’ve done the housecleaning as they say, I feel the need to add something fun to this post, because you guys are here to read…or at least I hope that’s what you are here for….
I’m going to plunk in the passage from “The Sword of Justice” that drew me in and made me decide to work on this novel next:
Tregashin was a large city, as befitted the capital of a nation. It was also a busy place, even dangerous in some areas. The Inn of Hero’s Desire was close enough to the waterfront to be a little unsafe, but far enough away that the truly dangerous people were unlikely to be found there. On an evening in spring, Dharmen the Wizard found himself seated alone at a table in that inn, waiting for his supper, his back to the wall, watching what was happening all around. He was a youngish man for a Wizard, his brown hair greying slightly at the temples, a few white hairs in his beard. His nose was small and slightly upturned, his face broad, and he seemed almost a comical figure until one looked at his eyes. The eyes were hazel-coloured, with something in them which said that they had seen terrible things and felt little fear for mere Men.
There was a man across the room, a large man who looked like a labourer on the docks, who was buying ale for everyone, though he himself consumed little. Dharmen had been watching him and noticing that as the evening went on he appeared to get drunker and drunker. He was probably a spy, Dharmen decided, but it was difficult to say who he would be a spy for. He could find out, Dharmen was sure, but the risk of drawing unwanted attention to himself made it not worthwhile. He dropped his left hand casually to the large pouch at his belt, then brought the hand up again, clutching a thin wrist.
The wrist was connected on one side to a grubby hand clutching a small but very sharp knife, and on the other side to a skinny gangling youth, whose hair would have been blonde had it been clean. His face was thin his nose prominent, and in his eyes arrogance warred with fear.
Dharmen looked at him. “Sit down.”
He released the wrist, and the boy sat down. As he did so, the expression on his face became one of fear, for sitting down was one thing which he had no wish to do.
Dharmen smiled. “Yes, I am a Wizard. And no, you need have no fear of what I might change you into. I doubt if I will even turn you over to the Watch; seeing you safely locked up, with your crime witnessed, and all would require more time than I can spare.
“But can I turn you loose?” he continued, as though musing to himself. “What choice do I make, when even not to choose is a choice in itself?” He sighed, “So. I will take you along with me, hire you as my apprentice and servant. What do you say to that? With me, while you may not always be comfortable, I will promise that when I have food, so will you.”
This is what a manuscript looks like when it has been typed out on a typewriter. I think that by this time my dad had switched over to an electric typewriter.
Also? I have just learned the hard way, not to simply pull a manuscript out willy-nilly as I may have just disturbed an order that it was in.
I’m now beginning to wonder if the Avantir series is the “Sword series” and I’m just butchering the name?
I’m going to have to pull out the rest of the manuscripts to find out.
Either way, I’m having a lot of fun reading, organising and eventually publishing them for people to read.
What are you looking at?
Aside from the sword, you see before you two manuscripts. From the description of the file, I am assuming that these are the same story. One was written in 1981 and the other in 1982.
What is interesting is the title, The Guardian of the Sword. I am already reading a manuscript called The Sword of Justice and now I have to wonder if they are related. If they are, does this come before or after? Is this even part of the series? The only way to find out is to read it after I finish the other manuscript but I am very curious.
For those of you who are wondering about what the Sword of Justice story is about, the most vague description is that it’s about a wizard and his apprentice who must unite the wizard council to stop a tyrant who is plotting to take over the kingdom. Super vague but don’t worry! I’ll get more detailed once I start cursory edits on it.
Also, I’d like to apologise to my assistant who suggested I triage all of the manuscripts before I work on them. You make a good point, except that I really am enthralled by this series and therefore I feel that I really need to work on this series. Yay goals and directions!
So, in the off chance that you are just meeting/landing on this site, let me explain a little bit about myself and what’s going on here.
So, my name is Beth Wagner, I am an editor, writer, comic creator and artist. This website is dedicated to my father and his writing, as well as talking about my journey as I publish the novels that he wasn’t able to in his lifetime.
I not only talk about his writing and announce my progress, I also talk about some of his interests as I remember that also interest me.
I am not him but I want to build the kind of community that he would have been able to build had he lived long enough to do so.
He currently has two novels which have been released to the ebook market. Railroad Rising is his first book and his newest release which is The Search for the Unicorns.
If you want sneakpeaks on what I’m doing then please subscribe to my newsletter!
As I am editing the final proof for the Amazon print copy of The Search for the Unicorns I’m having a moment to reflect on the author, my dad.
Unlike many publishers, I have an emotional attachment to the author and his work because he was my dad, but not only that. As I read over the manuscripts I remember at what stage in his life he was and where I was.
In 1987, I would have been in grade 6 going into grade 7. I also can’t help but think that the main character Carla, had bits of me in there, no matter how small. It is very much a coming of age story and discovering who you are as a person. This is something that I was beginning to explore at that age. So interesting point there.
Which makes me think about his target audience. Was I his target audience? It wouldn’t be that hard to imagine for me as I grew up hearing him tell me stories, sometimes made up sometimes they were from books. Sometimes the lines blurred. I didn’t realise for the longest time that parents simply didn’t just make up stories to tell their kids so that they would fall asleep.
Which brings me to why I’m self-publishing his books. I’m self-publishing all of his novels that I can, mostly for myself and also for his memory. Is it at all about sales? No, it’s about putting out stories that should be out there on shelves and in homes of people. But even if no one buys a single copy of any of these books, as long as I’ve marketed them and have made them as accessible as possible, I’ll have done what I perceive as my job.
Having said that, there are things that I can do that a traditional publisher wouldn’t and couldn’t do. Like a series of pictures based on scenes from the book and like hand leather-bound limited editions of the book. These are the next projects that I will be working on, along with the next manuscript of course.
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