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Last Year’s Goals

Well, it’s time to assess how last year went, at least as far as my writing goals are concerned.

First Goal: Publish BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.becomeblue This means:

  • Finish the first draft.
  • Figure out how many books there actually are in this series and where the break points are.
  • Let it rest for about a month.
  • Run through a couple of revisions.
  • Get it critiqued.
  • Another round of revisions.
  • Polishing edit.
  • Format for publication.

Well, I did finish the first draft. And I think there are two books in the series, plus the prequel novella. But now I’m concerned about the length of the second book. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten on that goal. My best guess right now is that I’ll have BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING ready for publication in May 2018.

This story fought me. Overall, long-term, that’s a good thing. I will have learned things from this one that will make me a better writer. Short-term it’s . . . not so good.

Second Goal: Get restarted on the rewrite of MAGE STORM. (No cover, yet, though I have a couple of ideas.)

Eh, I’ve done a little, some of which will have to be redone. But basically this story has languished in 2017.

Third Goal: This one was about all the other stories that I want to get to eventually.

  • MAGIC AND POWER: Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, but centering on another set of protagonists. (MAGIC AND POWER might end up being the series title.)
  • A couple of fairy-tale retellings buzzing around the back of my mind. One of them might end up in the MAGIC AND POWER world.
  • My weird Oz story is always out there. I actually wrote about ten chapters of it some time ago, but it wasn’t working. Partly because I’d left my protagonist completely alone for too long. I need to figure out how to give her an unhelpful, but talkative sidekick that will fit in this more dangerous version of Oz.
  • The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series, though I don’t think I’m quite ready to go back to that world yet.
  • Someday, I’m going to have to go back and write the third book in the Chimeria series. That is a fun world to play in.

The only thing that’s happened on any of these has been me occasionally opening the ideas file and jotting down a few notes on new ideas.

Fourth Goal: Get better at marketing. The only way that’s going to happen is if I make a plan and devote some attention to it at least every month, not just around book launches. It’s just not nearly as much fun as writing. But it has to be done.

Yeah. Don’t make me laugh.

A couple of  things that weren’t on my list of goals last year, but that did get done (at least partly):

  • Taking my books from Amazon Select (and Amazon exclusivity) and distribute them wide. I accomplished this, but some of it is going to have to be redone in the new year because Pronoun (the distributor I used for most of my books) is closing in mid-January.
  • Amazon’s x-ray feature, which, theoretically allows you to highlight a word or phrase in the book and get a definition. Cool idea for fantasy. But it means I have to actually enter all those definitions. I’ve enabled it for the individual books in the Dual Magics series, but I haven’t gotten any farther.

Here’s to a better–and more productive–2018.

I have already written the first chapter or so of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

The End

Yes! I finally got to type those words at the end of the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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Now, that manuscript rests for about a month before I start a couple of rounds of revisions.

Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to start the first draft of the sequel. And I’ve found something else to worry about. Because, one thing that is true about writers is that we have to find something to keep us spinning on our hamster wheels.

The first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING came out at about 88,000 words, which is a little on the short side for epic fantasy. And I don’t have a really good feel for how long BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is going to be.

So now I can torture myself over whether I should wait and publish it as one volume in two parts. (It has to be two parts because there’s a significant time gap between the two.) Or stick with the original plan. Maybe, if I can get a good start on the sequel during this month or so, I’ll have a better idea of how long it’s likely to turn out. I sure hope so.

Well, onward.

One More Chapter

That’s right. I have only one more chapter to go to finish the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I am ready to confidently predict that I will have this draft done this week.

Then, while this draft rests so I can look at it with fresh eyes, I will likely dive right in and start on the sequel. Which, I fervently hope, will go more swiftly and more smoothly than this one.

I’ve even started playing around a little with possible cover art for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

Downhill Slide

I’m definitely on that downhill slope toward The End on the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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This is the point where things really start to speed up.

I’ve got one scene to write in the current chapter and then there are only four to go. Two of them will be short (I don’t like to spend too much time in the antagonist’s head, but what he’s up to right now is really important.)

I don’t know that I’ll get to type THE END before Christmas, but I’m confident it will be before New Years. And then, while this ms. cools a bit so I can look at it more critically, I’ll likely start on the sequel.

Oops

I very nearly forgot to blog today. I plead my messed-up schedule (which, thankfully, ends in a couple of days, so I can go back to mostly normal.)

Since completing that pivotal scene in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING a couple of days ago,

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I have finished that chapter, completed two more, and started another. This definitely feels like the downhill slide toward THE END, at least of the first draft. Things are rapidly falling into place.

Then, of course, there’s the month or so of letting the manuscript rest. I’ll probably start the second book during that period. Then a couple of rounds of revisions to whip it into shape. Then another month or so for my beta readers to look it over and tell me what works–and what doesn’t. (During which time I will probably get more of the second book written.) More revisions and a polishing edit.

Yeah. THE END really won’t be the end. But it will be a whole lot closer.

I Did It!

Not finished the first draft. Not yet. Don’t get too excited.

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But that pivotal scene I’ve been working toward that I always seemed to approach without ever getting there. I wrote it last night.

I ended up not using alternating POVs in that chapter. It was even choppier than having a couple of short, really short chapters.

And I’ve already reorganized the chapters that follow a little bit. I think I’ll likely need to make one more change to that sequence. But there are only a handful more chapters to THE END. (Seven, plus finishing the current chapter, if nothing else changes as I go.)

With any luck at all, I should be able to finish this draft before the end of December.

Slow but Sure

Well, progress on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING has slowed down, temporarily.

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Mostly because I have a weird work schedule for this week and next, which is messing with my usual writing time.

Maybe also a little because this chapter makes me just a little nervous, for a couple of reasons.

The minor one is that I’ve decided I need to split the POV in this chapter, telling part of it from the main character’s POV and part from the antagonist’s. Normally, I use a chapter break to change points of view, but that would make this awfully choppy. And I don’t want that. It’s not that I haven’t split points of view in a chapter before, either, but always before between the two members of a couple. These two definitely are not that.

That’s just a little odd, though. Nothing to be really nervous about. What I’m about to do to my main character, though. And making it work. That’s going to be interesting. Also, I see some research into lightning in my immediate future. I chose that title and the cover art for a reason.