The “Write, Edit, Repeat” effort required many long hours, over many long weeks.
Our editor, Brian “Tigz” LaMotte, performed excellently. His task, herculean in scope, was nothing less than to wade into the stomping grounds of two massive egos, wrestle with some 160,000 words, and shape something out of the chaotic mess. Dave and I were the manifestation of a two-headed Lernaean Hydra (Hail, Hydra!), to which Tigz had to apply repeated doses of cutting and cauterization. Until we both finally got the point, and complied.
That’s harder to do than one might imagine, especially when ego is involved. Yet, reason prevailed, and we realized that the editing process actually had to involve everything, and not merely a few points of syntax or grammar, here and there.
The fault here, in this context, was mainly mine. We had instantiated the project nearly two years ago, and I was, at that time, still mired in my many years of scientific writing. Not public-facing Sagan style scientific writing, either. Hard core, highly technical, journal-style scientific writing. Stilted, entirely too formal, and not at all fun or easy to read for the non-technical audience.
Meanwhile, Dave had long since wised up, and his prose was terse, concise, and fun to read. So the major part of the thematic edits? That’s on me. Took a while to convince me that we weren’t deliberately dumbing down the content.
Yes, my ego actually screamed that at me. Void’s ego = bad.
It’s amusing now, of course, to look back upon the prose I had initially created, and compare it to my end state product. Total sea change. A totally necessary one, too. We aren’t writing for academia. Simple equation there that I had failed to grok. Dave correctly pointed out to me that we weren’t writing for the academic elite, or for scientific journals. We were writing for everyone, and writing for fun.
Once I remembered how to write again, to write as I had written back in the 1990s in my novels, “The Saga of the Seven Stars” and “VoidSpawn”, everything fell into place, and life became much easier.
Now, having finally conquered those particular ego-augmenting demons with a little help from my friends, I think it’s safe to say that there are few discernible deltas between my style and Dave’s style. Which is great, because that’s generally a good thing for co-authored works. In this series of books, it’s now “our style”, not “my style and his style”.
I think that’s pretty darn cool. We hope you do, too.