Novels

Revisions mid-revision

Diving back into my latest work-in-progress is not going so well. I finished chapter three easily enough, but that had its own internal flow I found easy to slip back into post-vacation. That chapter possessed a particular ‘short story’ feel. I’m a whole 374 words into chapter four and already decided it’s poop. And in looking at the first 2300 words of chapter two, I see a whole lot of wholesale cutting in its immediate future.

The story itself is not the problem. I know what I want to say and how to get my characters through it all. With the first draft in hand, I’m on target, more or less.

The problem now is I need to change some of the technology being used in chapter two. I want to show how that technology permeates the Shiss society, and let the reader actually see it in use, to set up later terminology and use of said technology. As things stand, the current opening simply will not work. I have decided on the fix, but that will essentially demand a complete re-writing of those first 2300 words. There’s a good chance that word count will drop a bit with a tighter opening. Here’s hoping, anyway.

In chapter four, it’s time to lay the hammer down on the main character, Mother Kreek. She’s the one with the sense of unease, the worry at the back of her mind that the Pheelm are a bad influence for her people. That creeping dread is her motivation to do what she does for the remainder of the story. So it needs to be drawn out. Intensified. She’s already taking a huge risk communicating with a member of a race that openly defied the Pheelm. A huge risk. As is her merchant friend Pench. The letter from her Handresi friend had better well be worth it. (And spoiler: it is.) So the lame opening I’ve penned in those first 374 words is pretty much junk. I’d rather fix that now before digging myself a deeper hole for revision number three.

So, the plan now is to hop back to chapter two and extensively revise. I normally do not do such heavy revision during a heavy revision. This is a second draft that will have substantial changes from the first draft, which I wrote mostly on the fly, with no real planning. I sometimes do that, and it works well for the most part (Earth Cell and A Child of Byne are my two most-recent examples). With a first draft in hand giving me the story’s broad strokes, this second draft is my first chance to narrow down the focus, ratchet up the stakes, and make the consequences, good and bad, for all characters involved far more substantial. Seeing where the current revisions need revising is actually a good sign. It means I’m really buckling down and giving the more subtle elements of the story the deep consideration they deserve.

A Child of Byne cover artEarth Cell cover artWe’ll see in a few weeks how it all turns out.

PS- I jiggered the css for this theme to remove the underlining of links. I’m not a fan of that text decoration at all.

PPS- Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I remains free in PDF format! Click HERE or on the book cover art over there!

So, Earth Cell’s book blog tour continues…

Earth Cell cover artEarth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I has been getting the royal treatment for a couple of weeks now, and will for another couple. So far, there’s been only one review, and it was extremely positive (check it here at Bookish Madness). But I feel so damn embarrassed about the typos in the book blurb I provided. Pash instead of path? Male instead of make? Man! Shoot me. And there’s a typo in whoever typed up ‘Trilogy’ in the title. I’m pretty sure that’s not mine, as I would not have put ‘Book One’ in paraenthesis, or used ‘One’ in lieu of I.

There’s been one author interview, too. You can look at that here, at The Single Librarian. Another few interviews are coming.

Mostly it’s been excerpts. Here’s one at Deal Sharing Aunt. Here’s another at Bookaholic Ramblings.

Finally, I submitted a guest post at Editor Charlene.

In addition, each Friday I made Earth Cell free at amazon.com in Kindle format. And you can still get a PDF copy free here.

So, Earth Cell is getting some much needed publicity. We’ll see if it slowly translates into sales for this book and the rest of the trilogy.

 

Getting Back to Work

So, the Florida trip has come and gone. All things considered, it went very well. My friend got his surgery, got a good follow-up visit a week later, and I had several good dinners with his mother, who also came along. My car especially did its job. 4500 miles. To Florida and back, with some driving up and down the Florida coast in between visiting friends. Had to get an oil change while down in Florida, but that was expected. For its fourth long trip, I’d have to give my 2011 Buick Lacrosse a thumbs-up. I don’t foresee another long drive in the near or medium-term future. Give the wheels an extended break.

With my return home comes my next big event. Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I begins its book blog tour on May 12th. That’s this Monday. In preparation, I have read through the book again, corrected many of the additional typos I found, made some grammatical changes, and added a sneak peek of my next work, A Ghastly Gillion Stars, which I have mentioned a time or two on this blog o’ mine. More importantly, I plan to give away Earth Cell in pdf format for FREE! That’s right—I will give away Earth Cell for FREE! The whole novel! The idea is that readers will enjoy it so much, they’ll invest the paltry amount of dollars and cents it’ll take for them to enjoy the rest of the trilogy. That’s the hope, anyway.

I have also enrolled Earth Cell in Amazon’s Kindle Select and made the Kindle version available for FREE on Fridays for the four weeks of the tour. You can read both the pdf and Kindle versions on your Kindle. If you’re willing to wait, you can snag the Kindle version directly every Friday for four Fridays. Otherwise, the pdf version is available at any time for FREE!

Anyway, this will be my first book blog tour. I am curious as to how it’ll go. It runs from May 12th through June 12th. I plan to post here every time I experience an event. I anticipate those events to range from interviews to guest posts on other blogs to interviews with my characters from Earth Cell to other stuff. If everything goes swimmingly, I plan to repeat the process with my novella Closure. This supernatural thriller has garnered mostly positive reviews on amazon.com. I think it would do very well in a book tour on its own. And publicity like that would make my publisher, Terry Wright, very happy. Especially if the event generates a lot of sales. Which in the end is what this marketing part of the business is all about.

Redecorating!

Hello! I know it’s been a few days since I posted. I promise, I am keeping busy. Still working on A Ghastly Gillion Stars. Finished chapter 2 the other day. It hit the 5K word mark- not sure I want it to be that long. Have to stay aware of the word count, given that I plan for this to be a novella. My last ‘novella’ for this series, A Child of Byne, hit a high enough word count that it could almost be a fourth novel in the series. We’ll see how it goes in chapter 3, which I plan to start tonight at work. This one is going to be an entirely new chapter from the first draft. I’ve already made significant changes to the story from the first draft. This chapter 3 will continue that trend.

Anyway, I wasn’t really satisfied with the look of the blog. One good thing about WordPress is you can tinker and tool around with the appearance of your blog. So I decided to give this look a try. Took me forever to figure out how to change the original picture. Just good chance the colors in my image kinda match the colors of the theme. This one might stick around for a while. Now, I just need to figure out how to get the latest post to show in its entirety…

EDIT: A-ha! Figured out how to show the posts. But in looking at things, not entirely sure I want that. Ih, I’ll let it hang for a bit. Maybe someone will comment on it. Assuming of course anyone even reads my blog.

In other news, I paid off the balance of my planned trip to Moscow later this year. So, except for the Visa, everything looks to be all set. Got the drive down to Florida looming at the end of this month. Not looking forward to expense of that, as I’m trying to save some funds for the Russia trip, too. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I fear. Took an extra week off at the tail end, just so I don’t have to rush home. It’ll be nice to see some friends. Got a small cluster of them down there, oddly enough.

Hope to post more on chapter 3 soon!

Now commencing with the second draft!

Got the first draft of my work in progress done did up. It came out all right. I can see where it needs improvement.

Already started the revisions. The first chapter doubled in size. Added a couple more characters and changed the setting from a monastery to an embassy compound. Added a couple of Shiss warders- which reminds me that I changed witches to warders, because in this time, the Witches Guild has not yet been established.

I also changed the revelations about one of the main characters, little Tybis. I felt that her fate should be revealed with Warder Kreek present, since it’s Kreek’s story, and Tybis’s situation will impact Kreek’s decisions. Those decisions are the driving force behind the story. Kreek sees a grave problem affecting her society and devotes her life to changing things. She doesn’t yet know the cost, to her and her society. I hope to raise the stakes and make this a one person standing against all kind of battle. Conflict drives stories, so I want a lot of conflict in this puppy now.

I’ve stopped my participation in www.theNextBigWriter.com. I did so for two reasons. First, I was devoting too much time figuring out who I owed critiques to and responding to reviews. Plus, I did not feel the reviews I was receiving were really worth all the effort I put into my reviews. And it took so many reviews to get the credits I needed to post my chapters, the process was draining me. Second, I decided with the free time I opened by quitting the site I would devote to my pet project, Medimations, LLC. I’ve been screwing around with that long enough. Time to get that ball rolling, and fast. I mean, I went through three years of college online to get the skills I needed to make my videos. And I accumulated the associated debt. The payoffs from the videos will come a lot sooner than any substantial payoff from my writing. I had to realign my priorities. And something had to give. That something was the critique site. I also flirted with a site called www.fanstory.com. I did not like the way that site was set up and quit it the same day.

I will continue to write. Hopefully I can recruit some beta readers to give me insights. But my writing will now be more for my own personal pleasure than anything else. And with my extra time, I plan to get my videos kick-started into high gear. They will take a lot of effort, but if I do it right, I see no reason why I can’t make it all work out for me monetarily. Got to pay off the student loans somehow.

A Ghastly Gillion Stars update

The first draft of my latest work in progress, A Ghastly Gillion Stars, is coming to a close. I have one final chapter to hammer out, then I can feel good about calling this draft done did up.

There’s room for improvement on this one. I started out without a real map in place in my mind. Sort of winged it. But now that I have this first go-through out on paper (so to speak) I know where I need to dial things up, add a chapter or two, and broaden the cast of characters.

I’m thinking big here. Big and bigger and biggerer. I see now how I can make the central conflict hit at a personal level between the two adversaries, and also at a societal level. I want to ratchet things up, make the stakes huge. So large that the society that loses this battle will have a whole lot of troubles in their future. I figure this will be my final story set in my Ux-Blood universe, so I might as well go for broke. I mean, I didn’t even mention witchblood, or what the ux was, or how it shouldn’t be the Witches Guild here, but its predecessor. And the predecessor of the League of Cells is around, too. I made the opening setting a monastery, but I think I will change that. Have to go back and re-read parts of Earth Cell where I explained some of the early Witches Guild and the League of Cells. I decided now those are going to be creations of the three overworlds after the Pheelm Chaos hits, and in this story I plan to reveal what happens to the Pheelm society that leads up to the Pheelm Chaos.

Also going to add a lot more description of the two primary species. A lot of reviewers who’ve gone through this first draft have made remarks about that lack of description. I know how I can slip it in, too, right in the opening paragraphs of the opening chapter. Should be an easy fix, really. Just have to get what the Pheelm look like squared away in my mind. (See? I told you I didn’t go into this one with things a bit more thought out!) Then I think I’ll be good to go, with this first draft as a pretty solid template on what I want to do.

I recently read a book by a successful literary agent about how to write the breakout novel. I read a whole slew of how-to-write books way back when, a couple of decades ago at least. Reading this new book reminded me of a lot of things I forgot over the years. Boo! But with all that fresh in my mind, I can see now how to punch things up for A Ghastly Gillion Stars. And this will be great practice for my next novel-length manuscript, Dew Drops. Originally I planned to save Dew Drops for January, but after reading that how-to book, I have ideas about that story that just won’t be quiet. I’m pretty sure that’s my mind telling me to get cracking on that novel. So, I’ll put aside the few shorter works I had planned (most of them novella length, truth be told) and throw myself into my next large project as soon as my current WIP is complete.

It’ll be a few more weeks yet with A Ghastly Gillion Stars. I may tinker with the cover idea I have in mind before diving into the revision. Let the finished first draft percolate a bit more in my mental juices. And given how much I can make this story better, I’m looking forward to getting started. I’ll keep you posted!