Archive for June, 2016

Enthusiasm for the project really does make a huge difference. I was grinding out MAGE STORM. Not because I don’t love that story, but just because it’s not where my heart is right now. Maybe the elements of that rewrite just aren’t ripe yet. That’s happened before.

As soon as I switched to BECOME, words started flowing. And I do love that feeling.

Become 5

And I’m loving the way the story is shaping up now that it feels less episodic.


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On several fronts.

I have the first fifteen minutes of the audio book for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE to listen to–again–and either make suggestions or approve it. It’s really good. But I want to listen again.

TSC Audio

And, now that I have a better idea of the right story structure for this story, I’m making progress on BECOME, too. (Also, I just revamped the cover.)

Become 5

Lightened it up a little. Not quite so dark and brooding. I’ve left the series title off, for now. I need to do some more thinking about that title.

I’ve also started getting critiques back on the final book of the DUAL MAGICS series, WAR OF MAGIC.


The second (partial) critique to come back is from a reader unfamiliar with the earlier books in the series. I always like to find someone who hasn’t read the prior books. Only they can tell me when I truly confuse a new reader. Of course, I hope new readers will start at the beginning. But I have no control over that, so I really need to try to make the opening chapters as non-confusing as possible. By the fourth book, reintroducing (in brief) all the characters and their relationships to one another, and a touch of the previous story (enough for going on with) without slowing the story to a complete stop is . . . well, tricky doesn’t quite cover it. Apparently, I didn’t do as good a job as I’d hoped at the start of WAR OF MAGIC.

So, plenty of things to think about.

I’m also starting to think I need to find some way to take at least a day or two off and recharge the creative well. That’s going to be even trickier to figure out, since the budget won’t get me very far right now. Thinking outside the box may provide a solution.

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Well, by my carefully laid plans, I’m supposed to be working on MAGE STORM. But, now that I’ve (mostly) figured out the story structure for BECOME, it’s clear that’s the only sandbox my subconscious wants to play in right now.


I could try to flog my brain onto the planned track, but it likely wouldn’t be too successful. So, here’s to seeing what I can do with BECOME.

Flexibility. As my (dog) agility instructor used to say, “Be rigid about being flexible.”

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Thanks to some comments in a writer’s forum I belong to (Hatrack River Writers Workshop) about what is–and is not–a flashback and other kinds of story structures that are not linear, I think I finally have a good idea how BELONG needs to flow.


As I’ve said before, BECOME is loosely based on the Hercules myth/legend cycle–turned upside-down. What has intrigued me most about that story is that Herc, at the end, ascends and becomes a god.

Now, exciting as his story is, it’s undeniable that outside of killing monsters and similar feats, Hercules’s life was a disaster. Admittedly, Hera was responsible for most of that, but still . . . what about his life prepared him to be a god of anything (except possibly killing monsters)?

So, Become is mostly about what happens when my character, who has led a blessed and very successful life (upside-down Hercules, remember) is suddenly confronted with the first thing he can’t do easily–become a god. That’s when the story really gets moving. But there’s a lot of story before that, too. Both about the hero and about his near-twin half brother (very like Hercules) who is his sometimes ally-friend, sometimes opponent and who will be the one to try to take advantage of that failure.

I now think I know how to start the story much closer to that key event and then let the earlier story come in, hopefully organically. We’ll see how well I succeed at that.

I have a reading list of a couple of books that have done something similar to look into, too.

Of course, what I really should be working on is MAGE STORM. I guess my muse just doesn’t agree with my plans.

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The first critique of WAR OF MAGIC has come back–earlier than I expected.


And it’s given me some things to start thinking about.

There are some slow spots. Not really surprising. What to do about them . . . well, that’s part of what I’ll have to think about. Some things are necessary to the plot, so cutting them isn’t really an option. Finding a way to spice them up might be possible, but will require thought.

Some things aren’t clear enough. That’s easier to deal with.

And some things might need to be expanded a little.

The climax worked, so that’s a relief.

I’ll let these things turn over in my mind while I wait for the other critiques.


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I haven’t quite finished that problem chapter I’ve been struggling with, but it’s close. I’m making progress on MAGE STORM again.

Sometimes, you just have to give your subconscious a little more time. Hopefully, the next chapters will go more smoothly. There’s at least one brand new one coming up.

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Writers are also working even when they appear to be just staring at the wall–or out the window. And I’ve been doing an awful lot of that kind of working on this problem chapter of mine.

Hopefully, my subconscious will throw me a bone soon and I can start making more measurable progress.

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When I rewrote the original versions of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????and THE VOICE OF PROPHECY,

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I was essentially polishing and tightening a story that was already there. Essentially, just applying the improved writing craft I’d learned since I first wrote those stories.

MAGE STORM is turning out to be a different problem. For one thing, I’m making the main character a bit older in this version. And so, some things that worked before, with a younger character, have to be significantly changed for this version because the character’s reactions would just be different.

I’ve been stuck for days on a particularly thorny chapter near the beginning. Actually right around the Key Event (in the Three-Act Story Structure).  In case you’re not familiar with that, the key event is what makes the hero (who may have been pushing the story problem off for others to solve up ’til this point) becomes personal to the hero. So, it’s not a trivial place in the story. It’s one of those turning points that need to be really, really right.

It’s not that I haven’t been making progress, though it feels like two steps forward and three sideways, some of the time. But some of what was there just really won’t work that well in this version. And they tie to other places, so any change proliferates.

This isn’t going to be as quick or as easy as I was hoping.

Then again, what is? Ever? And what fun would that be?


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. . . and a dollar short, as my father would have said. Oh, well. Yesterday was not one of my best. Time to get back on track.

I have some new ideas for the cover art for MAGE STORM. Nothing finalized yet.

And so now it’s time to dive back into the rewrite. I’ve got a scene ahead that needs some real work. And one (one I really like) that might have to be deleted. Maybe I can find a way to make it work. We’ll see.

I’d really like to get most of the way through this rewrite this month. Ultimately, I’d love to be able to put an excerpt and a preorder link in the back of WAR OF MAGIC when I publish that, hopefully in September.


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