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.

The Beginning of the Process – The Sword of Justice

I’ve just finished the first read through of the manuscript for the Sword of Justice.

My first impressions?

The concept is solid. A little reworking is necessary, but the general plot itself is solid. This means I can give it the go ahead to continue editing it, and after my faithful beta readers have had a chance to read it, it can be published!

I already have a fantastic idea for a cover and I can’t wait to start working on it.

I’ll give you all more tidbits as I work. Talk to you all very soon!

Quandries and Quagmires

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!

That Occasional Introduction that You Need to Make

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!

A Personal Update

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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The Search For The Unicorns – The search for the books

So a little update on what’s going on. I am currently uploading things and formatting everything.

Technically, the book is available for Kindle, HOWEVER, it has serious formatting issues and I have to fix them, so I will be doing this in the next few days. So if you happen to see anything, please do not buy anything yet. I am learning the ins and outs of uploading files to Amazon, (which is not at all like uploading comics, let me tell you).

For good the news, I just sent away for proofs for the paperback edition of the book, that’s going to take 2 to 3 weeks (barring any issues in customs) to get to me, then I will be reviewing it, likely crying and then making any last minute adjustments.

On a bright note? I am learning what order I have to do this process in and how long everything takes, which is why this book was my practise book. Not to worry, in a year or so I will go back and fix the silly little mistakes I made here as I will have learned more about editing and publishing .

Thanks for listening! I will keep everyone updated as I work on getting everything set to go.

Trying to Find My Way

Most people would take that title to mean that I am a lost soul. Perhaps I am.

But more immediately, I am trying to get an idea of the world that The Search for the Unicorns is set in. I wanted to be able to describe a bit more of the world in the book to help the readers.

The first thing I have to do is to see if he created a map of this world or if I need to create my own. I know that he kept everything in the story fairly vague which is nice because it allows the reader to imagine themselves in the story more. However, I want to add a little description. Just a little. I also want to know where the characters are going. Are they in a forest? Are they in the mountains? Where are they?!

A quick search tells me that he didn’t create a map for this world. What does that mean for me? It means that I am going to take tonight to create a vague map of the world. I am not a cartographer and my sense of direct is terrible. Here goes nothing

Creating the Story


Even though I’ve dropped out of Nanowrimo this year, I wanted to get some writing done.

Apparently it was only a matter of time before the index cards came out. I’m not sure but they seem comfortable. I put scenes, characters and things that points about on. Things that I can layout in front of myself and make connections with. It’s a neat exercise if nothing else.