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Posts Tagged ‘first drafts’

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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. . . 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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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