WIP

This category is for discussions of works in progress

Blowing off the dust…

October 7, 2014.

That’s the date of my last post. Yeesh! Talk about neglect! It’s not that I didn’t have anything to blog about. I guess it was entirely a lack of motivation.

I did pop in from time to time, to see if anyone left any comment worth a look. Nothing but spam. And spam comments waiting for moderation. Those numbers ballooned out of control surprisingly quick. That kind of scared me from coming back. But I braced myself, returned with the intent of reviving things a bit, and called up a plug-in that let me mass-delete all the crap that accumulated. So, well, one big fat mess cleaned up. Took less time than I anticipated (had to put the right terms into the plug-in search box to find exactly what I needed) and I feel like I’m back to square one. Now I just need to pop in and post on a regular schedule.

The big thing I want to drop into this post is I am posting the Prologue of my work in progress, Dew Drops. It’s been re-thought, revised, tweaked, workshopped, tweaked some more, and has rounded itself into the shape I think I’m aiming for. For a dinky little opening, it’s absorbed a lot of attention. Guess it has to be sharp, as it opens things for the dear reader. I want it to reach out, grab the reader, and carry him or her along for the four-page (or 2200 word, if you so prefer) ride. Been tinkering with it for a while now, and decided during my bath tonight to post it and see what comments I can garner.

So, Seabrass Productions has had the dust blown off, a new story page added, a bit of fresh writing uploaded, and a spanking new post! What more could a fan ask for (other than the obvious of a bit more attention)?

Dew Drops is now official

As planned, today I hammered out the first chapter of my next manuscript, Dew Drops. 1100 words. Fewer than what I set for my daily minimum, but it’s a complete chapter, so I thought I’d stop there and bask in the warm afterglow.

I did anticipate this. Back in August I knew I’d be working on this new manuscript by now. I had planned to begin writing on the first of September, but the planning stage took a bit longer than I expected. (And honestly, it’s still not done, but I have enough in place to begin the actual writing.) If things continue to go well, I hope to have a finished first draft by the end of the year. Having mapped out the plot and identified how the main characters feel along the way (and more importantly, why) I think the writing of my story should go fairly smoothly. I’m still getting ideas on how to enhance the story as a whole, and small details that should really give this some sparkle−which is why I’m still planning things out. I’m putting Throughline, the index card software program I bought recently, to good use. And I’m still adding stuff to my OneNote story notebook. Ultimately, I think this should all mesh well, and give me a pretty decent little story. (Well, might not be so little. Not sure of what the final word count will be, but I expect close to 100,000 words. And I usually underestimate that.)

I’ve set up WordPerfect to make typing my main character’s name a bit easier. I type ‘LE’, hit the spacebar, and WordPerfect auto-corrects it to Lake-Ellen. ‘LEs’ gets me Lake-Ellen’s. And that works for me. Just have to add those two auto-corrects to my laptop, which I will at work tomorrow night, no doubt. The other character names are simple enough: Tammon Grells, Abbix, Uncle Fross, Mawk. Lake-Ellen has a brother and a sister, but they’re not mentioned enough for me to add them in auto-correct at this point. Maybe by the story’s end, when the brother pays a visit. Anyway, WordPerfect will make this even easier to hammer out. (And I have the latest, WordPerfect X7, of course.)

I’m pleased as punch to have finally started. I put most writing aside a few months ago when I stopped work on A Ghastly Gillion Stars, with my only new writing being what I typed out for my Russia Trip, found here on this blog. I decided that story needed a complete revision from the original concept, and having gotten deep into a second draft (which was also a near complete revision of the first draft), I simply got tired of the whole thing. Don’t fret, fans of my Ux-Blood universe; I do plan to get it out, possible right after Dew Drops is in the bag. I see now the story I mean to tell, between the main character Kreek, her enemy Ugnalith, and poor little Tybis caught in between. If I get it right, it should be a very cool addition to my Ux-Blood stories. But that’s for much later. Right now my devotion and focus is on Dew Drops. And I think I have a right to be excited.

 

Wow. Neglectful much?

So… it’s been over a month since I done posted up anything. Not that the old blog here has been out of my thoughts. Just… I guess the best way to say it is I put the ‘pro’ in procrastination. Where the blog is concerned, anyway.

Still working on getting Dew Drops through the planning stages. Bought a simple little program called Throughline from storymind.com. Just basically re-arrangeable index cards. I’m laying out the plot in a linear fashion. Right now I have it set up according to each of the POV characters−there’s actually only two, the main character and the man hunting her down. I’m putting it all together to see if their stories fit, where there might be a lag, making sure everything meshes. I think I got it down, but it’s good to check. Interestingly, I think the way I have it now, I can actually move whole chapters without much affecting the flow. So we’ll see. I don’t think I’ll know for sure until I have a finished first draft. Then I’ll be able to see the pacing a lot better.

I do still plan to begin writing October 1st. May not have all the plot cards done by then, but I’m at the point now where I want to start things rolling. The good thing is the chapters will be short−shorter than my ginormous chapters in my Ux-Blood trilogy, anyway. I don’t plan to hammer out a chapter a day, but a chapter a week is very doable. Since NaNoWriMo is just around the corner in November, I may apply those disciplines a month early and shoot for a reasonable daily word count. If I stick to that, I should actually have a finished first draft by the end of November. But for this one I’m not in a real hurry. The way I tend to write, my first drafts usually come out pretty clean. And since I’m mapping the plot on this one in some detail, rather than winging it for most of my Ux-Blood trilogy, this should be an even easier write. Not that writing is easy, mind you, but I think you get the idea.

Anyway, I figured it was time I dropped a post. Been a month. Almost seems like I’m just coasting at this point. But I’m not, I swear. Just getting all my ducks in a row for my next big project. And it’s getting me excited.

Oh, I almost forgot! I’ve also been proofing my Ux-Blood stories again. Made a few corrections, cleaned stuff up. The latest, A Child of Byne, has just been loaded to Kindle and sent to my publisher for updating. I’ll let you know when they’re available. Shouldn’t be too long. And remember! The first novel, Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I, is still available free in PDF format!

Microsoft’s OneNote

As some of you might know, I’m a huge user of WordPerfect. It blows Word out of the water on practically all accounts. I would grudgingly say the only thing Word has going for it is its review capabilities, but that’s it. Everything else in Word is unnecessarily difficult. Try to put a graphic image in a certain position lately? With WordPerfect, you can specify exactly where it goes. If you’ve never used WordPerfect, and stuck with Word because it’s what the office computer has, trust me, you’re missing out on the word processor that professional word processors use.

Anyway, I will give kudos to Microsoft for one really cool Office product. OneNote. (And yes, they’ve made it one word.) Right now I’m putting together my next novel, a fantasy entitled Dew Drops. I plan to really dig deep with this one, go more into the characters than I have before. I ultimately intend to map the story out scene by scene. I think I may do more preparatory work than I will writing the book. But that’s how it should be sometimes.

So, OneNote lets me create folders and pages for everything! I have several characters named and identified their place in the story. I’ve jotted down notes on the taglines, the synopsis, the setting, and right now I’m going through the most detailed description of the plot that I’ve done so far. (I’m getting things straight in my head, and I’m coming up with a pretty smooth flow to the story.) I can even list off to the side all the characters that come into play at certain point. I still plan to draw a map of the land in Sketchbook Pro 7 (yeah, I upgraded a couple days ago) and add that to OneNote. What’s even more cool is I can add links to the various parts, so if I need to remind myself how a character thinks, I can link to their description, and Alt-left arrow right back to where I was. At its most basic, though,. OneNote is exceptional in allowing me to keep everything nice and tidy. And that inherent feature is greatly appreciated.

I became aware of OneNote when I went through a three-year online animation program through Westwood College. While I don’t think I actually used OneNote for anything school-related, I did tinker with it one a story or two. But I didn’t really get into it the way I am with Dew Drops. Probably because Dew Drops is my first new novel in a long time (what’s been published has all been heavy revisions of previous manuscripts). So far this experience is turning out to be satisfactory. We’ll see how it goes as I get deeper in.

Corel, the makers of WordPerfect, have a similar program called WordPerfect Lightning. I have it installed on my home computer but not my laptop. Since my laptop is dying and I’ve already ordered a new one (should be here next week-or, well, this week since it’s Sunday morning right now) I plan to install Lightning on the new toy. I won’t use it for Dew Drops but the next one I’ll take it for a spin. Compare it to OneNote. The one huge potential plus for Lightning is I could very easily copy stuff into WordPerfect itself if I need to. Copying stuff from anything Microsoft always involves an extra step- copying without formatting, and letting WordPerfect handle it. Lightning would probably allow me to skip that step.

Been a while since I blogged, so I thought I would drop one in about how I go about doing this writing thing I do. I welcome your comments!

Is this negligence or what?

So… It’s been over a month since I posted. Hrmm. I wouldn’t say that’s typical of me, but in all honesty, I can say it’s not entirely unexpected. I don’t think I’ve really expanded any effort on my current WIP during this time, either.

Since the last post, a few things have happened. I’ve decided to put my current WIP, A Ghastly Gillion Stars, aside. During the latest efforts to make something of it, I decided to take an entirely different course. The original antagonist, the malevolence preventing Kreek from establishing an anchor portal at the Edge of All, just wasn’t going to work in this version. Having that strange thing moved the conflict from between the Shiss and the Pheelm to the Shiss and… whatever. Just didn’t work. I wanted to keep the conflict down on the personal level I established early on. So the Malevolence is out. Which means I have to establish a new set of good guys and bad guys right from the start again. So… yeah. Let’s table the idea for a while.

Second, I done did gone to Russia! This vacation was a year in the planning. It finally came to pass. And I had a very good time. Coming home presented a set of problems. One still lingers in the form of a chest cold that’s more nuisance than anything, but a somewhat very irritating nuisance. Haven’t had a cold like this in a very long time. I’m pretty sure I caught it on one of my three flights home. A couple of other people who have taken long flights like mine recently also reported the crud. It’s been a good week since the flights and my cough sits right at the top of my trachea. Each deep breath is followed by a chest-rattling cough. Not pleasant, but I can deal. At least the sore throat that hit me Saturday morning is gone. Gargling with warm salt water cured that right up.

Finally, I am working on all the pics I took during my trip. Got a couple of good ones already looked at. I want ones I can hang on my walls. That was part of the reason I went- for pics to hang on the walls. As I progress through the days I’m sure I’ll find more. I need to see all of what I have before I really decide what to print at what size and hang where. But stuff for the walls is what I’m shooting for at this point. From what I’ve seen already, I’m encouraged. The weather cooperated, and most of the shots are outside, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t want too many of the same thing.

What this means is I should be posting a lot more, and with greater frequency. I’m going back to work tonight, and that’ll be as good a time as any to get the ball rolling. I’ve hooked Dreamweaver to my GoDaddy account, so now I can load true HTML pages, instead of the PHP pages used by WordPress. It’s nice to have the know-how to do all that. I don’t have pics for every day I was there, but I have enough to make this a couple-weeks-long project. I hope it’ll take me right up to August 1st. That’s when I intend to dive into my next work-in-progress, a fantasy novel about a young lady who may or may not be possessed by a powerful entity known as a devilq. This will be my first true original novel in a long time (my previous publications were revisions of stuff I’d written a few years ago).

Stay tuned!

Something Just Happened…

There I was, at work, writing away on my current work in progress, A Ghastly Gillion Stars. At the back of my mind, I felt something was off a little with the story, despite this being my second big draft. This new version was a bit different than the first draft. I dropped the focus to the two main characters, Kreek and Tybis. I wanted it to be more their story than anything. But in doing so, I trimmed, out of necessity, some of the initial big picture. And that had unexpected consequences, in that the main thrust of the story, the primary conflict, was lost until chapter four.

In looking at that, I realized that just couldn’t stand. I had to bring that big picture to the front. Had to introduce it right away. I’ve constructed it so billions of lives are at stake, as is the future of the entire Shiss race. And only the main character, Kreek, is fully aware of those stakes. It is her story, her conflict. Her decision to do what she thinks has to be done, even though billions of her fellow Shiss might very well die. I think I’ve built that part of the story well enough. Now, I have to make it the main focus.

So. I think my new chapter four may very well have to become the next chapter one. It introduces two of the main characters, Kreek and her friend Pench. It centers around Kreek and her illicit communications with another race, which Pench makes happen. It’s the result of that communication that starts the ball rolling. Adding Tybis into the mix after that process will have a much larger impact. Making it so that Kreek views Tybis as a tool, a thing that allows her to accomplish her goals, devastating as they may be, will only add to the central emotional wrangle. I think I’ve found the part of this story that’s been bugging me quite a bit, and after a night’s thought, I’ve also determined how best to fix it all. And I think this will work.

Now, do I put all these changes into effect immediately, or keep writing this second draft? I’m thinking change, myself. Because if what I envision right now works out, this will be a lot more fun to write. And it will make for a much stronger story. So, change it is. Meaning I’m on to what will amount to be the third big revision. I’ll keep you posted.

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!