Best of Editing – March, 2020


It has been a busy couple of days working on revising and editing The Last Gladiator! Here’s a few of the better edits (or perhaps, needed edits/revisions). The big take aways for me, as usual are…

  1. Passive Voice Vs Active Voice
  2. Show don’t tell
  3. Massive (one of my beta readers noticed this, I did a find/replace search, and ended up with 22 uses of the word in just 39,000 words. Eek!

Read on to find some more not so elegant pieces of writing of mine.

Continue reading “Best of Editing – March, 2020”

Laurel Emperor Off to the Editors!


Laurel Emperor is off to the editors, culminating an eight year journey with the Steam Empire Chronicles. I won’t lie, I was exhausted finishing this book. It’s topped out around 94,000 words, with two brief epilogues. Beta readers were generally excited to see what was happening, although my readers will probably want to brush up on the events of the fourth novel – Steel Praetorian – to ensure they understand what’s going on!

Now begins the preparations for Cover Art (already under way!) and Kickstarter goals to get illustrations added to the novel! I’ll have more on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, here’s to the (temporary) end of the road!

– Daniel

Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More

Five great tips for self-publishing support staff – editors, illustrators, small publishers, etc. Keep your sanity while keeping your clients happy and coming back for more!


By Daniel Ottalini

You want to have all your bases and operations covered!
You want to have all your bases and operations covered!

Hi all, this is a companion piece to my earlier article on how to make sure that your freelancers/self-publishing helpers do their best for you. But what about the flip side? What can you, as a freelance/small business editor, cover artist, etc., do to make sure that you give your customers what they want, keep them coming back, but also make money and keep your dignity in the process? Continue reading “Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More”

The Realities of a Steampunk World

A quick look at making your story match the technology and things within it.


So I went to see the move John Carter yesterday. We shelled out the extra money to see it in IMAX, not because we really wanted to see it in IMAX, but because our local movie theater doesn’t like to show movies starting around 9 pm (It likes 8pm and 11 pm, but little in between) After being deafened and blinded in the previews, we were treated to a real spectacle of a movie. But I digress, this post isn’t a movie review, but rather how I saw a ton of amazing ideas that I COULD use in my novel, but will most likely choose not to.

The most challenging thing about a steampunk world is that you have to remain true to your specific subgenre. For example, Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) includes undead, guns, airships, etc. But it stays true to roots without using ray guys, rocketpacks, or technology that is beyond what the locals *could* realistically have designed.

When I saw John Carter, the thing that stood out to me the most was this…

Yes, one of the coolest designed airships I’ve ever seen. And I would have loved to somehow make mine (in Brass Legionnaire) as cool as those. But I won’t for a few reasons.

1.) Believability – My Romans are still running around using steam power. Those are definitely not running off steam power.

2.) I don’t want to copy someone else’s idea. Could I take a few pointers from how they look and add descriptions to my story? Sure, but I don’t want to just blatantly take an idea and throw it into my story because it’s cool. That’s a bit too crude for me. Ideas and a story have to match.

3.) It would take my story in an entirely different direction than where I want it to go. I want my books to show technological process and advancement book by book. I don’t want it to be a ‘oh, look, in the last two months we developed this awesome airship that doesn’t rely on hydrogen, helium, or steam power and it works perfectly. By the way, we armed it with these artillery pieces.’

I guess the point of this post is simply to make sure that your technology matches your story. I’m not saying you can’t – or shouldn’t! – be outlandish, but I’m one of those people who get’s thrown out of the story when the main character pulls out a weapon that doesn’t match the rest of the world or story and just pulverizes the enemy.

It’s like the green skinned aliens in John carter who run around with spears, swords, and projectile guns, but aren’t lugging around the alien equivalent of the RPG – they aren’t up to that yet. If your steampunk story has guns, then give them guns, but they shouldn’t have an M16 while everyone else has a muzzle-loading rifle. Technological progress doesn’t move in that way. If one country or place has it, soon enough everyone else will beg/borrow/steal/take by force that technology.

A good book to read is Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Great read on a topic of technology among cultures.

Ciao!

PS – book editing is halfway done, hopefully it will be ready to go by May!

Brass Legionnaire: Update


So I’ve finally managed to finish the entire Brass Legionnaire Novel! Hurray! It’s about 60k words, and it’s going to the editor come February! Found some great people at Scripta Editing Services to help out and others at Streetlight Graphics to help me format it and make it look beautiful. I’ve also found some help for funding these at Kickstarter, something that I hope will pan out!

 

For those of you who missed it, download the PDF of the first chapter (Edited, revised, and wonderful!) below!

 

Warmest Regards

 

– Daniel

 

Brass Legionnaire Chapter 1

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