Editing is what separates the grown ups from the kids. You can't be a good writer without becoming a good editor, ESPECIALLY if you're an indie author. Sadly, indie authors are judged on a different scale than published authors. While published authors have the luxury of great editors combing their books and making wonderful suggestions, indie authors are on their own. Deal with it.
Learning to edit is harder than learning to write. It takes lots of patience, experience, and some tough love from readers who aren't afraid to hurt your feelings. As an example, I will post the original prologue to Psion Beta that was eventually cut out. I showed the first several chapters of my book to my brother-in-law who give me very good, non-watered-down advice.
Recently, in a conversation with a publishing company, I was told that one of my favorite authors no longer edits his/her work. The author delivers the scripts, asks for proofreading, and nothing more. This not only shocking but sad. No wonder the author hasn't written something I enjoy in so many years. I suppose that what happens when egos go unchecked.
I can't imagine ever reaching a point in my writing where I think I got something perfect on my first draft. I also think my fans deserve better than a half-yewt effort. (Yewt is the word I use to replace a swear word, by the way.) As I said before, editing is where you take something okay or good, and make it great or wonderful.
So, before I get too long winded, here you go. Without any changes since 2006,
The magnificent air rails that brought the world together into a global community, linking continents together with fast, cheap, and clean transportation also brought the world to its knees. In 2036 a new strain of the flu was discovered in rural Thailand by local medical examiners that immediately caught the attention of the Southeast Asian Institute of Health. A family of farmers was found scattered around their home, rigor mortis had frozen their facial muscles to reflect the excruciating agony they had endured before death had relieved them. Their bloody and raw fingernails had gouged the floors, walls, and even their own skins. Highly acidic bloody feces and pools of vomit were found everywhere. Virologists announced to the world that the disease was a mutated strain of a flu virus that caused horrific pain as it ate away at the intestines while cholera-like diarrhea laid waste to body. The virus had quickly traveled to the lungs, bringing rapid respiratory failure and the blessed relief of death. The doctors’ worst nightmares were confirmed when they discovered the virus had an airborne life span of about fifteen minutes.
What the doctors found out too late was that the virus had an average latent period of two hundred hours before symptoms began to manifest. By then, a neighboring Thai businessman had been to Beijing and back with his wife for celebration of their 20th anniversary, unknowingly carrying the deadly virus with them. The first reports of flu-ravaged hotel employees in Beijing came in over a week after the farming family had been discovered. Within seventy-two hours, Los Angeles, Omaha, and New York hospitals were reporting similar occurrences. For a period of about two weeks, the epidemic was thought to be contained within the Asian and American continents, but one month to the day the Thai family was found a case turned up in Madrid. At that point the flu was virtually uncontainable.
Naturally, pharmacies raced to find the golden cure, a vaccine or treatment, which they did, but production was costly and took time, and the quantities were woefully inadequate. Panic and hysteria broke out taking the face of mobs and riots on pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. When people heard that there was something to protect them from the next global killer they stormed the plants by the thousands. Larger corporations were forced to buy private armies to guard the plants. Finally, fourteen months after the “Thailand Epidemic,” the smoke began to clear. The great plague killed over six billion people, roughly sixty per cent of the world’s population.
In 2038, the first anomalies occurred. Abnormally high numbers of fetuses were discovered in vivo missing vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, or pancreas. Others had increased cranial diameters or webbed feet and hands. However the most dramatic “anomalies” did not manifest themselves until puberty.
The first of these was in the case of Ivan Drovovic, a thirteen year old boy who had, up to that point, displayed no signs of prodigious intellectual capabilities. Almost overnight, Ivan developed an interest in mathematics, and was devouring information on nonlinear dynamical systems, systematic/chaos hybrid functions, and harmonic analysis. When his teachers noticed the drastic change, he was given IQ and mental aptitude tests. Upon finding that his intelligent quotient had suddenly leaped 75 points, he was sent to some of the most advanced brain clinics in the world.
Not long after the case of Ivan other forms of anomalies were discovered. Normal teenagers suddenly went comatose and were never able to be revived. Others became dangerously psychotic.
Of all the varying forms of delayed onset “anomalies,” none were as fascinating as the case reported December 2054, in Wichita, Mid-American Territory. At a public high school a fight broke out between a boy and his friend, both ages fifteen. The boy in question, later classified as NWG-***** Anomaly 14 Alpha, was angry at his best friend over a girl. According to the official reports, blows were exchanged until some other friends arrived on the scene, and attempted to break the two apart. They grabbed 14 Alpha from behind, and him pulled away from the young man he was fighting. Then, without any physical contact, 14 Alpha knocked the young man backwards down the hallway nearly six meters. Fortunately, the victim only received a minor concussion and bruised back muscles. 14 Alpha was also taken immediately to Wichita Hospital. Three witnesses verified this report to local police, but upon later questioning each of them vehemently denied their testimonies. The story could never be confirmed again.
Over the next thirty-one years several other incidents of similar scenarios surfaced. A young woman, attacked at night in a park by an armed man, mysteriously blasted him five meters into the air. He was later found by law enforcement officers with severe head and chest injuries. A sixteen year old soccer player was racing down the field for a game winning goal, bowling opponents over without ever touching them. Each person disappeared shortly after…