Music and Mysteries

651px-Biber_mysterien by Frinck51

Photo by WikiCommons user Frinck51

With the release of my third Music Lover’s Mystery less than a month away, I thought I’d share a bit about the music mentioned in the first two books. I’ve also included links to the music on YouTube.

For those who don’t know, the main character of the series, Midori Bishop, is a professional violinist and amateur sleuth. In the first book, Dead Ringer, Midori is feeling blue at one point and starts to play the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the piano in an attempt to improve her mood. While it doesn’t work, because an injury prevents her from being able to continue playing, I thought that the Moonlight Sonata would be a natural choice for her in that situation. I personally find the first movement to be very peaceful and calming, and I always enjoy listening to it. It’s also a very well known piece, so I figured many readers would know the music.

Here’s Ottavia Maria Maceratini playing the movement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhEey0Zeyic

Also in Dead Ringer, and in that same scene, Midori plays Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer with her best friend, JT. Again, this is a well-known piece that many people recognize by name. But I also chose this piece because who wouldn’t feel cheered up by a bit of ragtime? 🙂

Here’s Cory Hall playing The Entertainer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9gzZJ344Co

In the second book of the series, Death in A Major, Midori takes comfort in playing Méditation, the intermezzo from Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs. I played this when I was in orchestra in high school and it’s a piece I never get tired of. While perhaps not as many readers would know this piece as with the Moonlight Sonata or The Entertainer, I think many classical music fans would know it, and it was a perfect fit for the scene in Death in A Major.

If you’d like to listen to this piece, here’s a video of it played by Sarah Chang on violin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss1URTJYlfQ

Dead Ringer and Death in A Major are both available in paperback and ebook format. The third book in the series, Deadly Overtures, will be released in June 2016.

Dead RingerDeath in A MajorDeadly Overtures

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Editing: First Draft to Final Product

All's_well_that_inks_well by Chris Wightman

Photo: “All’s Well that Inks Well” by Chris Wightman

I’m often asked about the process of taking a book from a first draft to a published novel. In a previous post I talked about my drafting process, how I go from concept to manuscript, particularly when writing mysteries. This time I thought I’d talk about the editing process for traditionally published novels. Every writer, every publishing house, and every individual editor will likely have a slightly different editing process, so the following is based on my own experiences and might not be the same for everyone.

Once I have a complete first draft I like to dive right into the first round of editing. Since I don’t like to stop and go back while I’m drafting (so I don’t lose my momentum) I instead make notes along the way of things that need to be changed or added as a result of the new pages I’ve written each day. So my first round of editing involves incorporating those changes and then reading through the entire manuscript and filling in plot holes and changing whatever else needs to be changed. Typically, I’ll go straight from the first round of editing to the second, maybe with a few days in between.

After I’ve gone through two rounds of editing, I like to put the manuscript aside and let it rest, preferably for at least three weeks. Putting the manuscript aside for a while allows me to go back to it with fresh eyes, and I tend to see things that I would have missed without that time away. The break also gives me a chance to send the manuscript to one or more critique partners so I can incorporate their feedback during the next round of editing.

Depending on my schedule, I’ll turn the manuscript in to my editor after three or four rounds of editing. The next stages really depend on the preferred process of the editor. However, so far in my own experience the manuscript has either gone through one or two rounds of editing with my editor before being sent to copyediting.

My editor goes through the manuscript and uses track changes to address things in the document, and I usually get some notes by email as well. Generally, the first round focuses on bigger issues, like the plot. Then my editor goes through it again and either approves it to go to copyediting or does line edits, focusing on more detailed things like repetitive use of certain words, trimming sentences that aren’t necessary, and addressing any sentences or paragraphs that might be awkward or unclear. Sometimes I’ve had these line edits combined with the big picture edits for one round of editing before copyediting, but it depends on the editor and the state of the manuscript.

From there, the manuscript goes to a copyeditor, who focuses on the technical details, like getting the manuscript to conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, or whichever style they use. In my experience, any changes that are made are done with track changes so I can see what has been done. After copyediting, I get the chance to review the changes. So far this has always been the last chance for me to make any changes, but sometimes authors get to review a proof, at which point they can make some limited changes.

Before turning in the manuscript for the final time, I get my Kindle to read the entire document to me with text-to-speech. I can’t stress how important this step is to me. I like to feel that I’ve done everything I can to make my book as clean as possible. Even after going through professional editors, there are always a few typos and other issues that remain. Writers and editors are human, after all, and it’s easy to miss a few typos, especially tiny ones like a missing “a” or “as” here and there.

Since my Kindle doesn’t have a human brain, it doesn’t read what it knows should be written, but what is actually written. Every time I’ve gone through this step with a manuscript I’ve found at least a few little typos that otherwise would have made it into the published book. The text-to-speech round can be tedious and it takes a lot of hours, but it’s a step I hope my schedule never forces me to skip.

Once I’ve turned in the manuscript for the final time, it’s out of my hands, and I can work on other projects while looking forward to the publication date! This is where I am with both Deadly Overtures (releases in June) and The Crêpes of Wrath (releases in September). 🙂

Social Media Pages

I now have author pages on both Goodreads and Bookbub!

My current books and my next two releases are now up on Goodreads, and I’ve also linked this blog to my Goodreads author page.

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