So today Alex and I have traded places... I am HOPEFULLY at his blog today (if NOT, it was my SNAFU—I sent him stuff on Saturday... or thought I did... last night I spotted it in my drafts *dies* but I might be there...)
As for Alex, he is definitely HERE, speaking of, ironically, SNAFUs...
Thanks for hosting, Hart! My goal is to give your readers hope and an opportunity to laugh at my expense.
We all make mistakes with our first manuscript. Some we catch, some we wish we’d caught before another human being read our work. So here, without further ado, are some of my writing snafus.
My test readers were the first victims. After reviewing a couple chapters, one pointed out a small issue with the dialogue. “Your characters sound like girls.” To my dismay, I realized he was correct. My all-male cast of characters was over-emoting, like a pack of thirteen-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. (Do I lose man-points for that?) With some assistance, we went back through the manuscript, adjusted the dialogue, and my fighter pilots were jocks (and wore jocks) once more.
These critical readers noticed a few other items. I’d failed to provide the alien race with a concrete reason for attacking the Cassans. Insert new scene to explain and define their motivation for being invading dill weeds. Another reader reached one of the last chapters and asked, “What the hell is a Darten?” I’d mentioned it several times (and no, it’s not one of the Three Musketeers) but failed to mention it was a smaller, one-seater fighter. Insert a couple lines earlier in the story.
Yes, these guys were picky, but that helped me survive the first two round of edits with my publisher. That process involved adding a prologue so my story would start with a bang. I made the required corrections, returned the manuscript, and review copies were printed.
When I received my copy, there was a note – I needed to address a couple more issues. One was in regards to the press plates that activated doors. In half the scenes, the touch of a hand was required to open doors. In the other half? You guessed it! No touching required – just the wave of a hand over the device (and some dancing.) I liked that idea better (minus the dancing) so I changed all the scenes to reflect motion sensitivity. (Just kidding – no dancing ever!)
The last problem was a biggie. My characters use telepathy, and internal dialogue occasionally had the tag ‘he thought.’ I’d been asked to remove the remainder of that line – the dreaded ‘to himself.’ So, I eliminated them. Or so I thought, until I saw the tersely written note - “No, really – remove ALL ‘to himself.” Yikes, I’d missed a bunch! Okay, I missed almost all of them. Oh, the horror… Somewhere out there is a reviewer who thinks I am a total idiot when it comes to proper grammar.
So, to all the writers out there who feel mortified by your mistakes – just try and top my snafus. I dare you!
Alex J. Cavanaugh
CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
October 19, 2010 Science fiction/adventure/space opera
ISBN 9780981621067 Dancing Lemur Press LLC
To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.
Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.
As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal
Links to purchase:
Barnes & Noble
Also available in eBook format for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and others
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.