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Switching Back

Originally, the plan was to work on MAGE STORM through August and then switch back to the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM in September.

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But, I haven’t been getting any traction on MAGE STORM. Beyond the initial issues I had–deciding on a ground-up rewrite–I’ve discovered some other things that need to be considered.

See, the original version was conceived as a sort of open-ended series, with each book being a separate story–building on events in the previous books but not creating a greater world-saving arc. That’d work fine if I decided to make this sword and sorcery. But I don’t think that’s what I want. The idea of the rewrite was to make it epic fantasy.

Now, as I said before, this story has an epic problem. But the sort of open-ended series–that doesn’t have an arc building to the epic climax just doesn’t work very well for epic fantasy. That world-saving or world-changing conclusion is as expected in epic fantasy as a happily-ever-after is in romance. Favorite characters can get killed along the way. The quest can even fail. But there has to be that big bang at the end.

So, I’m going to have to rethink, not just the first story, but how all the others fit into a larger, more epic arc. I think I can see a glimmer of how that might work. Or, at least a little of it. But I need to have a better feel for that before I start the rewrite.

Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and start the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM. It’s been three weeks. And, as distracted as I’ve been lately, revision–using the critical side of my brain–is probably a better fit than trying to write from scratch–or nearly–anyway.

And, in the meantime, maybe I can figure out how all the pieces of MAGE STORM and it’s sequels fit together into an epic arc. Or what has to change to make them fit. Or, of course, whether it’s just better suited to being an episodic sword and sorcery after all. There’s actually nothing wrong with that. It’d just mean a change of perspective and expectations for this story.

Stuck

I’m behind by a day. Yesterday, just sort of got away from me. That happens sometimes.

And . . . I don’t have much to post about right now, anyway. The truth is I’m not feeling very creative at the moment. It’s not writer’s block–been there, got the T-shirt. It’s more just that other things–one specific other thing, is taking up all the energy that would normally go into writing.

My good old boy dog is dying. He’s been showing his age–fourteen and a half–for a while now, but he’s really gone downhill rapidly since last Sunday, though he is still eating, if not much else. I’m wrestling with the decision nearly all pet owners have to face sooner or later and I just don’t have the emotional energy left over to put into writing.

Micah was originally Michael, when he came to me eleven years ago. But that’s my brother’s name so, to keep peace in the family–and avoid confusion–I dropped the L-sound and called him Micah. He never noticed the difference. Officially, to the AKC, he’s Ch. Snowrose Flying Without Wings. A Cardigan Welsh corgi. He’s been my Velcro dog, following me from room to room, my agility team mate, my good boy. And, currently, he’s my only pet. It just happened that way as the cats left us, one by one, and then we lost Aliza (Tricreek’s Simply Irresistable) two years ago.

A year ago, I tried to bring another dog in. Micah was quite all right with it, once he had a chance to get used to the idea. But the new dog turned out to be an escape artist, and I live on a busy street, so I had to take her back because I knew I couldn’t keep her safe. The last six months or so, Micah has really needed to be an only dog and so he has been. The house is going to very quiet when he’s gone.

Micah when I first met him:

Michael 2

In his prime:

Digital Camera

With Aliza:

Micah and Aliza

Playing dog agility:

Micah Tire

Pretending to be a Christmas present:

Christmas Present

That’s a good boy, Micah. That’ll do.

Back at It

There’s no chance I could not write. Not for any prolonged period of time. So, I’m back at work on MAGE STORM, now. Just starting the second chapter. It’s going to be an interesting dance between what I can reuse of the old version and what I just have to scrap and do over–or completely differently. But I’m still committed to this story.

In the interim, I think I have a good idea what the cover will be like, when, eventually, I get that far. And I have a much better blurb for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Here it is:

As a son of the Goddess, Gaian might become a god himself—if he can remember to try.
In the conclusion of the Become series, Gaian has no memory of who he is, where he lived, or who he loves. He can barely remember his own name. The only thing he knows, the only thing he holds onto is the belief that his purpose is to protect others. That, and the certainty that leaving his solitary existence in the forest would cause immeasurable harm to others.
Everyone else believes Gaian is dead. But they know what he has forgotten: that an ancient prophecy says that a son of the Goddess could become a god—the Sky God—with the right help.
At the prompting of a new prophecy, Margan, the son born after Gaian’s “death”, comes over the mountains to find his father’s grave. There he meets Rose, the girl with a gift for dreams who was once rescued by a strange man in the forest.
Together, they might have the abilities needed to help Gaian complete his destiny. If they fail, it could end in catastrophe.
Inspired by the legend of Hercules.

Now, back to MAGE STORM.

 

Too Darn Hot

Not much has gotten done in the last few days. For one thing, it’s just too hot–my brain does not function nearly as well in the heat. That, and the unwanted, unneeded excitement of having to replace a section of pipe that started to leak (not in the budget) and getting AAA out to jump my car battery when I tried to go do the grocery shopping.

I did work up a couple of good ideas for book covers for MAGE STORM. But, since I haven’t yet paid for the right to use the images, I can’t show them here. Not yet, anyway.

The good news is that one of my books, THE BARD’S GIFT is free thru Sunday, 8/12/18. It’s part of a Clean Indie Reads back-to-school sale:

CIR YA Sale 2018

Lots of great stories to pick up for free.

When I approach a previously-written story, there’s always a temptation to think I can fix it with more-than-usually extensive revisions. Sometimes, I can. More often it becomes obvious that that just isn’t going to work.

I hadn’t gotten very far in the read-through before I realized MAGE STORM is not going to be one I can just revise. Oh, I could almost certainly keep some parts of the original, with some revision. The first few chapters, likely. And maybe I will.

But for most of it, the answer is going to be to take it down to the bare dirt and start over. And, before I do that, I’m going to have to think a few things through, because they’ll have a major effect on the story.

See, the original version of MAGE STORM was upper middle grade–meant for readers between 10 and 12. Back when I was seriously considering traditional publishing. And, because of that, the story was constrained to be a bit smaller than what I would write for a more general audience. And I kept it to one point of view.

But middle grade is a really tough market, especially for indie authors for a lot of reasons. And I just choose not to beat my head against that wall. For one thing, marketing is hard enough for me (just not really my thing, but a necessary part of the job) without having to market to one audience (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) who buy the books while writing for another audience (ten- to twelve-year-olds) who read them.

This story always had the potential to be more . . . epic. The huge, world-affecting problem is right there in plain sight. So, while the plot line will stay basically the same, there will need to be a lot more depth to it. Some of it will need to be expanded considerably. And I plan to give a couple of other characters point-of-view chapters of their own.

The first thing I need to figure out–and pretty quickly–is how old I want these characters to be when the story starts. Rell (the main character) was fifteen in the original version. Then pushed down to eleven on the advice of an agent. Then fifteen again. That’s not an impossible age. Vatar (of the Dual Magics series) was fifteen when that series started. But it surely will affect how some scenes are handled–things like what the character is likely to be concerned about, how he interacts with his family and friends, how he reacts to a threat, what he’ll find funny (which is important in certain parts of the story).

And I’m afraid that what I ended up with in that last version was a fifteen-year-old who sometimes acts like an eleven-year-old. To some extent that’s okay. Rell is not going to be as mature at fifteen as Vatar was. He’s led a much more sheltered life and he really has no preparation for what’s going to happen to him. On the other hand, there are some significant differences between what a fifteen-year-old will put up with without rebelling and what an eleven-year-old will. And there’s a part of the story where full-on teenage rebellion could easily get him killed, so there’ll need to be a really good reason why he doesn’t.

So . . . the best thing to do is probably to just start over, pretty much from the beginning.

Maybe I’ll go play with some ideas for the cover art while I mull these issues.

 

I’ve started looking at MAGE STORM to plan out the rewrite. First I just skimmed through parts of it to remind myself of the shape of the story, but I’ve decided I really just need to give it a read through before starting any real changes. After all, I think the original version of this was written about 2012.

About that, since it started from a short story titled “Infected with Magic” that earned an Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future in 2011. Which, in turn, grew from a writing prompt in one of my writers’ groups (Hatrack River). That short story is very nearly identical to the first chapter.

This version will be more epic fantasy or perhaps sword and sorcery. Though, it won’t really fit that designation, either. Well, there’s time to worry about that.

I expect this to be about a four-book series. Although it could be more, if more ideas present themselves as I go along, because it will be that kind of series, separate stories, each probably building on the last, but not necessarily coming to some series climax in which “evil” is defeated.

So, that’ll keep me busy for a while, once BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is finished.

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Done!

Yesterday I finished the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM one month ahead of my original schedule.

StormCover2

Here’s the first draft of the blurb. (Which will need considerable work.)

The lightning strike that should have killed him stole all of Gaian’s memories. He can barely remember his own name. And he has no idea what destiny awaits him. The only thing he knows, the only thing he holds onto is the belief that his purpose is to protect others. That, and the certainty that leaving his solitary existence in the forest would cause immeasurable harm to others.

Everyone else believes Gaian died in that lightning strike. But they know what he’s forgotten: that as a son of the Goddess Herself, there’s a chance he could Become a god—the Sky God.

A new prophecy brings Margan, the son born after Gaian’s “death” over the mountains to find his father’s grave. Where he meets Rose, the girl with a gift for dreams who was rescued by a strange man in the forest.

Kaleran, whose world was shattered the day he saw his father struck by lightning, would do anything to get away from his Uncle Cordan.

Cordan, Gaian’s half-brother seized the opportunity to gain power from the worship of the new god, but would rather wield the power without the inconvenience of an actual Sky God.

As the weather becomes increasingly wild and time runs out, can Margan, Rose, and Kaleran help Gaian to remember who he is and what he can be before Cordan’s schemes cause catastrophe?

Now, apart from honing that blurb, I leave the manuscript alone for a month and cleanse my mental palate as it were by working on something else. In this case, that will be the rewrite of MAGE STORM. Then in September I can come back for the revisions and hopefully get it to my critique partners in October.

Oh, and I’ll have to start figuring out a cover for MAGE STORM. I’m determined not to have any lightning this time, despite the title.