Archive for June, 2018

I’ve already posted that my goal is to finish the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM by the end of the first week in September.


That’s fine. But, you know, when you set a goal like that it’s really easy to think you have plenty of time and then suddenly discover that you . . . don’t. At least not anymore. At least, it often works that way for me.

So, it’s useful to break that big goal down into smaller ones that are more easily tracked.

As of last week at this time, I had eleven weeks to meet that goal, give or take a day or two. And I was on chapter 33. The first book in this series, BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNINGhad 51 chapters.


So, at a guess, say that there are roughly 20 more chapters to go in this one. That means I have to complete two chapters a week. (Actually 1.8 chapters, but that’s awkward to measure.)

It’s early days yet, of course. But by that measure I should be finishing Chapter 35–which I actually did last night. And I’ve got a decent start on Chapter 36. So, at least for now, everything looks to be on track.

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What is now BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM started life very differently.


Several years ago . . . . Let’s see, a little digging shows that I started the first version of the story in 2008. Ten years ago. It was, if I remember correctly, the third novel I wrote. It was very different than it is now.

That first version was titled Dreamer’s Rose–and Rose was the main character. The same Rose (well, mostly the same) who makes her first appearance in the final book of the Become series. That novel was finished, revised/rewritten a couple of times–and tabled. It just didn’t work–or not in a way that I wanted it to.

It took me awhile to figure out that Rose just wasn’t the most interesting character–Gaian was. (Though his name was different in that first version.) And more time to fully develop Gaian’s character and background–which also changed beyond all recognition from that first version. In fact, about the only things that haven’t changed are the map,


and Gaian’s parentage and . . . more or less what happens in the end–rather less than more in some ways.

I wasn’t idle during that time, of course. But this story never really went away. It was always somewhere on a back burner waiting to be ready. I always did picture Gaian as Hercules-like in some ways, but it was when I realized that there were parts of Hercules’s story that could really be built into this one, in an upside down kind of way, that it really started coming together.

love this story the way it’s turning out now.


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Oops. Forgot to post yesterday. All I can say is that it didn’t feel like Wednesday. The last week of school is always a little nuts and yesterday was no exception.

But, as of about noon today, school is out for the summer! Two and a half months. Time to buckle down and really get some work done on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.


I’m on chapter 33 and about 62,000 words. The goal is to finish this first draft before school starts up again in September.

However, it’s already been a crazy week. I strongly suspect a nap may happen first.

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Only a week ago, I posted that my rolling outline for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM stretched six chapters ahead of where I was at that point.


Well, now I’m down to two, counting the one I just started. Well, three, but only because I added another new chapter before the one that returns to Kaleran’s POV.

Sometime in the course of these next three chapters, I’m going to have to extend that outline to cover what everyone does next. Of course, I know that in a general way. I need to get a little more specific about how and why.

Margan and Rose, currently at the heart of the story, have to figure out what it is they need to do–and whether they have the courage to do it. Oh, and how to do it; that would probably be useful, too. Kaleran has to make a choice, which won’t end up exactly the way he thought it would. Gaian has to start becoming what he was always destined to be–but that won’t be easy or comfortable.

And, of course, we can’t forget the antagonist. What’s Cordan up to while all this is going on? I’ve left him a very good source for finding the others before they can achieve their goals. But he can’t do that quite yet. Come to think of it, I need a Cordan chapter soon. He’s had a set back, but he’s a long way from giving up.

Discovering the story is half the fun.

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Over the last couple of days, I’ve whipped through two and a half chapters of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, including a fight scene.


All right, granted, one of those chapters was very short. Sometimes the short chapters are harder to write. (Not this time, though.)

Writing is a lot of fun when the story comes as easily as this. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen all the time, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Onward to getting my characters even more confused before they finally start figuring out what they need to do–and the stakes go up.

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I’ve explained before that I’m a modified discovery writer. I don’t outline the entire story before I start writing–though I do know the end I’m trying to reach and at least a few of the major points in between. I also do tend to have a sort of rolling outline of what’s going to happen in the next few chapters–usually three to five. But sometimes that estimate is off.

BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is turning out to be no exception.


So, the chapter I mentioned in my last post ran longer than expected. Not really unusual, especially with a lot of dialog. Generally, I prefer my chapters to be no longer than ten pages. It’s a personal preference. As a reader, I appreciate a stopping place so that if I need to stop for a bit, I can easily find my place again. Scene breaks work, too, but chapter breaks are better. Some chapters are, of course shorter–even much shorter. A few just have to go longer.

But very often, there is a place to break and start a new chapter. And sometimes, that’s also a good place for a change of POV character and a slightly different outlook on the situation. So, that’s what I did with this chapter, switching from Margan (previously referred to as Impatient in that previous post) to Rose (the Neighbor).

But what was to happen at the end of the original chapter needs to be in Margan’s POV when he realizes something no one had suspected–least of all Rose. It just won’t work from Rose’s at all. So that means a third chapter, possibly fairly short, in Margan’s POV.

One chapter just became three. To be followed by the chapter in Gaian’s POV that was always intended to follow that little episode in Margan’s POV. Though, because something else has been delayed that would have happened before that.

And only then, the thing that action which was delayed, probably another chapter in Margan’s POV. The delay of this chapter helps to fill that plot hole I was worried about earlier. And, at the same time, helps to set up some action–actually a couple of pieces of action–that will occur later in the story. So win-win.

But that one chapter (which, I can see now, was always going to be too long) is now four chapters.

And all of that will be followed by another new chapter as other characters cope with what Margan and Rose got up to. This chapter will also nicely set up some later action. And then back to the original plan with a chapter in Kaleran’s POV

Not counting the finished chapter I started off from, that’s six chapters ahead. Assuming none of those decide to multiply, of course.

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I am an unrepentant, but slightly modified discovery writer. I know I’ve said that before. I am not about to start outlining–I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me. Either, after about Chapter 3, I spend way too much time updating the outline to what I’m actually writing or I just ignore the outline. Either way, it doesn’t help to get the story onto the page. I do, occasionally outline, in a way, about three to five chapters ahead. That works fine for me, mostly.

So, as I launched into the current chapter of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM,


I decided that the best way to catalyze a needed discussion was to bring another character, who has been in a nearby location, in. Fine. But, then, if she’s coming, maybe this other character would come with her. That worked fine for the first scene.

Then I move on to the next scene. If that second character is present, she is definitely going to come along when my least patient POV character goes over to ask a neighbor some questions. And then she’s going to want to go along when that neighbor offers to help. And . . . that ruins everything.

So, surgery on that first scene to remove the extra character and assign her lines to someone else.

Forward to the next problem, which will be to give Impatient and the neighbor a good reason not to come back–without creating a plot hole.

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A post I more normally make in January, I suppose. But in this case I’m thinking in terms of very specific goals–just down to this one manuscript.

I’m at or near the half-way point in Become: To Ride the Storm.



And I wrote most of that in the space of about two and a half months–the first part during the month I let the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING cool before starting revisions and the rest during the six week or so that that book was in the hands of beta readers.



At the end of this month, the summer break starts–two and a half months. Now, there are plenty of other things I also need to work on during that time. Things around the house and yard, mostly. But my time will be my own to schedule.

So, my goal is to finish this first draft by the first week in September. It’s perhaps a stretch goal, but I’m going to do my best. Then, again, it will have to cool a month, go through a couple of rounds of revision, go out to beta readers, another round of revisions and a polishing edit. But the first step is to get the first draft done.

Mage Storm (or new title to be determined), the start of a brand new series, is already on deck for that cooling period and the time when BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is in the hands of my critique partners.

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