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Not Yet

It’s about time to switch back to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING to start the revision process.

BecomeCover

But not quite yet. I’m going to finish at least the current chapter in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, first.

StormCover

Actually, that won’t take very long. If the chores don’t take up too much of my day, I should finish today.

The hitch is that I’ve just decided to break what I planned to be one chapter into two. That’s for two reasons:

  1. The chapter is already ten pages long (about as long as I like a chapter to be) and not yet finished.
  2. The now two chapters have slightly different purposes. The first (not actually chapter one, obviously) is where this character is getting his first real impression of who the father he never knew really was. The second is where he demonstrates for the first time that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

So, there’s a decision to be made. Stop after I finish this chapter and start the revisions on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING or stay with the momentum and write the next chapter, too. The chapter after that changes to a different point-of-view character (which always involves a little loss of momentum anyway) and would be a more logical place to pause for a month or so. I suspect that’s what I’ll do.

Almost Time

This weekend it will be one month since I finished the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

BecomeCover

That means it’s almost time to start the revisions, starting with a read-through.

I’ve gotten about 17,000 words into the sequel and intend to at least finish the current chapter first, if I don’t get any farther.

Then it’s back to that completed first draft and start whipping it into shape and looking forward to putting it out into the world.

 

Cover Art

Well, it wasn’t a good week for writing. Things are getting back on track now. But the time wasn’t wasted. Here’s the cover for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, provisionally:StormCover And here are the three covers together:

BecomeSeries

As you can see, the background for the third book turned out lighter than the other two. I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to try to correct that or go with it. I also may need to play with either the text color or placement so that all of the letters are more legible. Otherwise, I love the series branding of these covers.

 

. . . And one back. Sometimes it’s like that.

Monday and Tuesday of this week were not good writing days. Sometimes that happens and I’ve learned to just go with that. If my instincts say I’m not going to get anything worthwhile because I’m too tired or too stressed about something else, sometimes the best thing I can do is just . . . not. And that’s okay.

In this particular case, taking that brief step back allowed me to realize something about the last scene I wrote on Sunday. It’s in the wrong place. The main problem with it is that it leaves one of the characters out of position for the–very much eventual–climax. And no really logical way to bring her to the right place at the right time.

But . . . but if I just change a couple of things, she can be in place for when she’s needed. And that scene–or, well, most of it–can be used a couple of chapters later. So, that’s what I’ll be doing later today.

Also, just because I haven’t been doing any writing the last couple of days doesn’t mean that no progress has been made. I’ve started work on the cover for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM. It’ll be based on this image:

Hand With Lightning Though, obviously cropped. And with the background color changed to better match the other two books in the series. I’m working on that right now and I’ll share when it’s done.

 

Frustrated

Not my writing. BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is going pretty well. I’m going to need to start working on a cover image to use here, in fact.

It’s those nasty little administrative tasks that go along with being an author. In this case, I’m trying to set up a mailing-list newsletter. It’s something I’ve really needed to do for a while, especially since I now have an audiobook version of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

TSC Audio

Here’s a sample:

And it’s driving me nuts. Every step–and there are far more of them than I anticipated, seems to be needlessly complex.

It’s taking away from my writing time, but it has to be done–somehow.

Moving On

While the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING rests so I can come back to do the second and third drafts with fresh(ish) eyes, becomeblueI’ve started the sequel, BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

The sequel is now about 12,500 words and I’m about to start chapter 8. All of the main point-of-view characters have now been introduced. Good progress for only a week or so.

One character turned out more sympathetic than I intended, but I’m still loving that chapter, so I’ll just roll with it. He was always meant to be more victim than bad guy anyway. Another character has had two chapters, but not a real chance to show her personality, yet. That’ll come in another chapter or two.

Excited for this part of the story.

2018 Writing Goals

Time to lay out my plan for next year.

First goal: Publish BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

becomeblue

The first draft is done and resting at the moment. What needs to be done starting in late January or February:

  1. A couple of rounds of revisions. There are things I now know need to be established or foreshadowed. There are always things I need to flesh out–often description or improving blocks of dialog.
  2. Send it out to my beta readers, hopefully in March.
  3. Incorporate any revisions that come out of that.
  4. Polishing edit.
  5. Formatting.

This all indicates that the earliest I’m likely to be able to publish is May.

The only potential issue that could delay this significantly is the next goal. Either way, this one is getting published in 2018.

Second Goal: Finish and (hopefully) publish BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

Realistically, getting this all the way to publication in 2018 is a stretch goal. I’m slightly less than 10,000 words into it at the moment. Even if I keep up this pace, I won’t be to the half-way point before I need to turn back to revisions on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING. And it’s probably doubtful that I’d be able to finish it during March (while the beta readers have the first book.)

That is, unless this story turns out to be shorter than I think it is. And I still don’t have a real good feel for that. If it’s going to be shorter than BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING (which is already on the short side for an epic fantasy), there’s a chance I may decide to delay publication of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING and publish them together. That’s a decision for later, though.

Third Goal: (Re)Start the rewrite of MAGE STORM (which probably needs a new title, as well).

This is a story I wrote several years ago and one I still very much believe in. The problem with its current form is not the story or even the writing. It’ because the first version was essentially an upper middle grade story–for ages 10 – 12. And that’s just a really, really, rough market for several reasons.

But this story has plenty of potential and can easily become an epic fantasy for an adult or near-adult audience, which is a much, much better audience–and more where I want to position myself as an author.

So, what needs to be done:

  • I need to add a couple of years to the characters’ ages. The difference between twelve and fifteen is more than just a couple of years, though. Some things about how they interact with their families, each other, and the world, and what their aims are–or would be if they didn’t have to deal with the big story problem–will also have to change.
  • In the first version, I kept to only one character’s POV. That will also change. As an epic fantasy, there will be at least two and maybe as many as four more point-of-view characters.
  • And, the big one. There is a major, world-sized problem that was more or less in the background of the middle grade version of this story. That has to come to the fore and be made more dire and immediate.
  • I always intended this story to be the first of a potential four-book series of sequential stories that didn’t necessarily fit under a larger story arc. Some or all of those other stories may get more . . . sort of squashed together into a single arc. That’s something I’ll find out during the rewrite.

Fourth Goal: All the little, sometimes annoying, usually time-consuming, administrative-type things:

  • Complete the migration off of Pronoun and either back to Kindle Select (the four or five books mentioned in my last post) or onto Draft 2 Digital for wide distribution.
  • Finish setting up the x-ray option for selected books.
  • Some semi-regular promotions.
  • And whatever else comes up of this general type.

Fifth Goal: The perennial keep on learning.

  • Figure out how to do a better job of marketing. Including how to market audiobooks, now that there’s an audiobook version of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. TSC Audio
  • Keep growing as a writer. Try things that scare me or are difficult (like BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

And, lastly, the back burner list (things I’m not likely to get to next year, but they’re still out there.

  • Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ailsa and Jathan’s story is complete (at least for now), but her homeland has not yet been saved. This series (MAGIC AND POWER) will have a succession of heroes and heroines, each taking their part in the greater story arc.
  • A couple of fairy-tale retellings, one of which might fit in as the third book in the MAGIC AND POWER series–or not.
  • My weird Oz story.
  • The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series.Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set
  • The third book in the CHIMERIA series.ChimeriaBox
  • A secret-history-type story based, in part, on the Arthurian legend.
  • There are several others that are, so far, just a line or two–the beginnings of an idea, but not there yet.