This category is for discussions of works in progress


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!

Desktop PCs Update

So, it’s been a while since the last post. Thought I would throw out an update.

The new desktop, my HP Phoenix, is going back into the shop for fixin’. Turns out it’s still under warranty so I’ll get fresh new equipment out of this. That equipment includes a new hard drive and a fix to the motherboard- one of the SATA plugs is loose. (It still works but a good pull on the cable will yank the plug off the motherboard.) In tinkering with the desktop I discovered my Nvidia GeForce 9800GT had also crapped out. So I put the original graphics card back in. I can boot to normal Windows now, with my dual monitors, but the hard drive still throws up an error code 303 and 304 when I run a SMART test. That means the hard drive is on the verge of completely pooping out. I got very lucky in that I was able to pull off all the info I needed while the drive was still alive. I will have to reinstall all of my software when I get the tower back from HP and I’ll never get it back the way I have it now, but that may be a good thing. It’ll give me a chance to clean some things up. And I have a new GeForce 9800GT on its way so when I do get the tower back I should have all my hardware options as they were.

On the Vista desktop I used to recover from my HP Phoenix disaster I found a few loose plugs, stuck them back into the motherboard, and got all of my USB ports working again. And since I downloaded a number of free software tools to diagnose my Phoenix I also ran the Vista through the wringer and fixed some minor issues with that one. It’s working well enough that I am not worried about trying to finish the cover art for my latest book, Witch Warden. I’m writing this from my Vista desktop, as a matter of fact. Got music rocking and everything. My Vista has Maya 2011, Poser Pro 2012, Bryce 7.1, and Adobe CS5 installed, so I’m ready to go where my cover art is concerned. I have three weeks or so to get it done- plenty of time. So things could be worse.

My laptop remains in trim fighting form. The one bright light in all this. As long as I don’t drop it or do something stupid… I’d like to throw in an SSD drive for the OS, but that’s for next year.

A Child of Byne coverOn the writing front I have spectacular news! My author’s proof for A Child of Byne is finally(!) on its way so I can proof it, make corrections, and make it for sale. And Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III is in the hands of my editor. I expect it back from her in about three weeks. Should leave me time enough to incorporate her suggestions, fit the cover to the template (I need a final page count for that), and send it off in time for an October 31st publication. Two books in two months. Makes it look like I’ve been a busy beaver. Truth is I procrastinated on Child most of the year, and then there were issues with the printer. It should have been out for sale by the end of August. Well, we’re coming to the end of that road finally. It’ll be fun to see how things go with Witch Warden (probably embarassingly smooth).

And that will probably be the last book I publish for a while. I have three shorter stories brewing in my head that I want to hammer out. One of them is a long short story set in my Ux-Blood universe. I also want to throw more effort into selling the short stories I do have already written up. Most of those need some good tweaks so I’ll spend time getting those up to speed. The plan is to sell one or two of these before I settle into writing my next novel, a fantasy entitled Dew Drops. I plan to have that out for sale by Christmas, 2015.

And now we’re all caught up!


UPDATE: It’s later in the day now. The box to ship my Phoenix tower to HP came while I was out walking. So I packed up my poor ailing tower and brought it down to a Fed-Ex pick-up spot in neighboring Chaska. The tower is on its way to the fix-it shoppe. I should have it back in all its sparkling glory in about two weeks- about the time A Child of Byne might be finally on sale. Stay tuned for further updates!

First Draft of Witch Warden in the Bag

Well, it took me months longer than the other books in the trilogy, but I finally finished the first full draft of my current work in progress, Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III.

It’s 222 pages, 128,915 words. This is straight prose, of course; no chapter headings, page headers, title page or author information. Adding all that will probably balloon things over 130K, which will irritate my copy editor to no end. I plan to put the manuscript through the wringer and trim the shit out it where I can. But I also want to add some things, too, to make the story more cohesive as a whole. While I hope the additions amount to fewer words after the deletions, I can’t be sure that’ll happen. So a scene or two may have to go or be combined. I think there are a few places where I can accomplish that, but won’t know for sure until I get deeper into the revisions.

I do plan to add more emotional content. I usually wait until a second or third revision for that. Doing so allows me to look at the story overall and see what emotions I need where and when they change. My first drafts are usually all about the plot. Getting that nailed down makes everything easier for me. Readers of both the first and later drafts of my last novel, Witchblood, got to see that process as I posted my revisions. I’m not going through the website theNextBigWriter.com for this manuscript, though I do have two beta readers following along (shout-outs to Jeanie and Janet!). We’ll see if not having a broader audience making comments results in a less-powerful work. I’m confident this story is as good, if not better, than the previous two. But we’ll see.

In any case, I done did up a full first draft! That’s always a cause for celebration! Time for a never-ending pasta bowl at the Olive Garden! Nom nom nom!

Wrote Up a New Short Story!

I was working on my current work in progress, Witch Warden last night. Around 11:00pm, the idea for my latest short story hit me in a flash. I thought about it for a bit, decided it had some appeal, and put my WIP aside for the next four hours. It was good to take a break, really. In the end, I had my latest short story all wrote up! It’s called Crash Site and it’s a science-fiction story of a teenage girl who spots a star which turns out to be a damaged starcraft falling into the atmosphere.

You can read it here! It’s in PDF format, so everyone on the internet and around the world should be able to read it. Tell your friends about it! Tell your enemies! Tell your friends’ enemies!

I’m kinda happy with how it came out. Writing it wasn’t really a challenge- the idea seemed to come to my head fully formed, which is nice. A similar thing happened when I was writing my last novel-length manuscript, Witchblood. I think two short stories tried to get themselves born while I was writing that one. I think I did stop and bust out my novelette Chainsaw, then forced myself to wait until I was done editing Witchblood before writing out a first draft of Closure. Right now Closure is a novelette, too, but when I do the re-writes I plan to add a whole new character which I think will double the story’s size, making it a true blue novella. I hope, though, this isn’t a trend. I’d much rather finish what I’m working on before dealing with something new. Crash Site was a really short and fully formed idea, so I felt it was safe to do so in this case. But those exceptions may be rare. I don’t usually write shorter works. (Though with the number I have now, you might think otherwise.)

Anyway, I had a good feeling all day after finishing Crash Site. It just came out pretty well. It’s nothing spectacular or game-changing, just a little short story. It’ll probably end up in a collection I’ll put together at some point. And I think it’ll deserve its place!

An End to My Long Chapters

Readers who’ve braved my Ux-Blood Trilogy (and I know there’s one or two of you out there) know I went crazy on the chapter size for those stories. Chapters of 20K words (which run about fifty or sixty pages) are not uncommon- and may even be at the light end of the scale. I think the longest chapter might be forthcoming with Witch Warden– chapter 3 at over 24K words. There’s a lot going on in that chapter, but… well. (Though I will say chapter 3 of the novella, A Child of Byne, is pretty stinking long, too.)

Why did I stick to a mere six chapters and an epilogue for all three books (a mere four chapters and an epilogue for A Child of Byne), with the results being ridiculously enormous chapters? This may sound hookey, but it’s due to the structure of the original series, written in the early 1990s, each manuscript also being six chapters long. Now, they weren’t as long. I don’t think a single one of those books breached the 100K word barrier. Those chapters might have been considered long at the time, too, but with the updated versions (which you the reader get to read) things sort of got out of hand. I didn’t really know going in how big (pardon the pun) an issue this would become. For the series, I thought it would be nice to have a certain consistency in the book structure as it did with the cover art. Looking back, though (and looking ahead to the publication of Witch Warden), it’s not something I foresee me ever doing again.

Today, as I embark on chapter 6 of Witch Warden, my current work in progress, I realize that this will be the last ginormous chapter I write. I see it easily hitting the 20K word count. At things stand, the manuscript is around 106K words, so chapter 6 and the Epilogue will edge it into 130K word territory- about on par with the second book in the series, Witchblood. I’d like to trim Witch Warden down a bit, and will have a chance to do so in the revision process. But there’s also tidbits I intend to add to round things out. They might cancel each other out and leave me with a 130K word manuscript after all. But no matter how things turn out, chapter 6 will be the final big, bloated monstrosity of a chapter I will probably ever write.

I don’t regret how these books have shaped out. I think they’re pretty fun stories. I don’t intend to write a series again for a while, though, as it got somewhat stale at the end (even though I think this final book is probably the best where the story is concerned). And as far as the size of the chapters go, I will have more mercy on my dear readers. Lord knows if they’ve read this far, they’ve suffered enough.