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Posts Tagged ‘revisions’

Done

I’ve finished what I do with the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Now it’s time to see what my critique partners can find that I just didn’t see. And then revise for the problems they found. I’m thinking this one might get published as early as December. If not, January.

And, while I wait to hear back from them, I need to restart work on MAGE STORM, including deciding if it will be epic fantasy or sword and sorcery.  And take care of some housekeeping things, like getting my print books moved from CreateSpace to KDP Print.

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Second Read-Through

So, I’m well on my way through the second read-through of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Catching a few things. Some changes are almost more like a polishing edit, which is premature. But I did catch a small consistency error that I’d missed on the first pass. I wonder how many more my critique partners will find when I pass this off to them. Small errors can be amazingly hard to find in your own work.

Still think this may be the best story I’ve written yet. Of course, authors always think that about their current work, but this time I think it’s true.

I’m even considering the possibility that that’s what was causing my trouble getting into MAGE STORM–a feeling that it wasn’t up to the same level. Well, I wrote the original several years ago. In some ways, I wouldn’t expect it to be.

I may just have to use that previous version as a very long outline and just completely rewrite the story. Ultimately, if I think it’s not as good as BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, well, it’s up to me to make it as good–or better.

Challenge accepted.

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Woo Hoo!

I just finished the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM!

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Well, not completely finished. I still need to do another read-through to make sure I didn’t mess anything up with cut and paste, etc. Probably best if I wait a few days to start that, though. And then it’ll be ready to go to my critique partners–always assuming I don’t find anything else in that read-through, of course.

There was one minor plot thing that I decided to change at the end of the story and a few places where I needed to get deeper into the characters’ emotions. One revision of an unnecessarily complex sentence into two. And a couple of additions that just mirrored something earlier in the story.

But the revision I saved for last was neither of those. In his first POV chapter (Chapter 3), I had deliberately left one of the characters  from the first book anonymous in his first POV chapter. Deliberately because he’s been “lost” so long he doesn’t even remember who he was. In the next chapter in which he appears (Chapter 7), he’s asked who he is and dredges up a name that’s almost–but not quite–right. Then the question emerged: which name should be used in narration until he finally recovers his right name? Especially in his POV chapters. There was a difference of opinion among my critique partners and I had to decide how I wanted to handle it. In his POV chapters keep using the wrong name, or use the right one?

Using the wrong name in his POV chapters felt like highlighting his confusion, but also like it might be overly confusing for readers who might have picked up Book 2 first or just not remember Book 1 all that clearly.

Then I took a look at the chapters. Well, the first time this character gets called by his right name to his face is Chapter 17–and he’s very confused by it. And the first time he actually accepts that that is his real name is Chapter 31. That skates way too close to withholding for my tastes. Withholding is one of my big pet peeves that makes me (as a reader) feel that the author isn’t being honest with me. And that ruins the willing suspension of disbelief. And so, now he’s called, in narration at least, by his right name right from Chapter 3.

I think that’s much better.

 

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I’m working through the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Usually, I more or less go through the manuscript in order, picking off revisions as I come to them. Unless, of course, a revision requires a little more thought. Then I might skip over it the first time and come back to it in a later pass.

This time, though, I find myself skipping around, working on whatever revision seems to appeal at the moment. It’s interesting, but I found myself reading through a sequence yesterday, just to make sure I hadn’t messed it up with a bit of cut and paste surgery I’d performed. I’ll have to read the whole thing through again, of course, when I finish the revisions and before I hand it off to my critique partners.

One of the side effects of this, however, is that I’ve knocked off most of the easy ones and now find myself wrestling with one of the revisions which requires generating more emotional response for one of the characters.

Those are sometimes the most difficult revisions. This one, I’ve decided, can’t be dealt with in a single revision. This is something this character has been avoiding dealing with for a long time. And it’s going to take several scenes, over the course of the whole book to build the pressure on this character and then release it–right at the climax.

This is going to be so much better.

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That went faster than I expected. I finished the read-through of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM yesterday.

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This is just my process, but in a read-through, I’m looking for several things–some of which I can fix as I go.

  1. Inconsistencies. It took about five to six months to write this first draft, with two major breaks in which I worked on revisions to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING. BecomeCover2Sometimes, I described the same thing slightly differently in different places, written at different times. I need to reconcile those descriptions. Some places that was easy and I’ve already fixed it. Others will take a little more thought–and maybe some deletions.
  2. Things I need to reduce or delete. This can be as simple as discovering that, over the months it took to write the first draft, I’ve put some detail in more than once, especially too close together–and one of them will have to go. Or as complex that discovering a scene–rarely a whole chapter–is just not necessary and it messes with the pacing. Fortunately, I don’t think I have anything major this time, but there are a couple of instances of the former I’ll need to deal with.
  3. Things I need to add. My first drafts tend to be pretty spare of description. And sometimes when writing dialog I don’t stop even to put in dialog tags, let alone some interaction with the setting to keep the scene from becoming two disembodied heads talking in a white space. So, in the read-through I mark those. There are other, subtler, things too. Places where I have one tiny action that could–and should–have a tiny reaction in the next scene. Or places where it would be really easy to have a character find an answer to a question–even if it’s not a very important question. Or only important to them.
  4. Places where I need to add a lot more reaction, more emotional depth for one of the characters. Yeah, I have a few of those I need to go back to. Also, places where the POV character’s emotions in the first draft might not be quite right–or not complex enough.
  5. Sometimes even places where I may want to adjust the plot a bit. I don’t think I have any of those in this story, though. On the other hand, I don’t always find all the things that need to be adjusted in the first read-through. Sometimes I don’t even find them until after I get the critiques back.
  6. Smaller details, like showing a particular aspect of the story in a minor way earlier on so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise when it turns out to be important later on. Sometimes just reminding myself that there are other characters in the scene and I shouldn’t allow them just to fade into wallpaper.
  7. Probably other things I’m not remembering right now, too.

So, now I’ve got those things–at least the ones I found on the first read-through–marked up. The next thing to do is to go through and try to deal with as many of those as I can. That can take multiple passes because some things are a little more complex to work out than others. Then another read-through and I think it will be ready for my critique partners to take a look at so they can find the things I didn’t even see because I’m too close to it.

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I’ve started the first revision pass on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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The first pass is usually mostly a read-through, maybe fixing small stuff and mostly getting a feel for what work needs to be done.

However, in this case, the first chapter was a train wreck. Well, maybe not that bad, and maybe no quite an infodump, but very much tell rather than show.

That first chapter had been added on the advice of one of my critique partners who’d read the early chapters. For a couple of reasons:

  1. Otherwise the book starts with a chapter from the point of view of a brand new character never even mentioned in the first book. Now the book starts in the POV of one of the major characters from BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.BecomeCover2
  2. That critique partner felt that it was a good idea to provide the reader with a quick orientation as to where the story left off in the first book, since the first few chapters would be from the POV of characters who weren’t in the first book or were not important characters in that book.

So, I basically rewrote that chapter, adding in a little more conflict. Something I wouldn’t normally do during a rewrite. I’m not positive I’ve got it right, yet. But that’s why the revisions are a multi-step process. I do know it’s better than it was before.

From here, hopefully, the read-through will proceed more normally.

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Originally, the plan was to work on MAGE STORM through August and then switch back to the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM in September.

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But, I haven’t been getting any traction on MAGE STORM. Beyond the initial issues I had–deciding on a ground-up rewrite–I’ve discovered some other things that need to be considered.

See, the original version was conceived as a sort of open-ended series, with each book being a separate story–building on events in the previous books but not creating a greater world-saving arc. That’d work fine if I decided to make this sword and sorcery. But I don’t think that’s what I want. The idea of the rewrite was to make it epic fantasy.

Now, as I said before, this story has an epic problem. But the sort of open-ended series–that doesn’t have an arc building to the epic climax just doesn’t work very well for epic fantasy. That world-saving or world-changing conclusion is as expected in epic fantasy as a happily-ever-after is in romance. Favorite characters can get killed along the way. The quest can even fail. But there has to be that big bang at the end.

So, I’m going to have to rethink, not just the first story, but how all the others fit into a larger, more epic arc. I think I can see a glimmer of how that might work. Or, at least a little of it. But I need to have a better feel for that before I start the rewrite.

Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and start the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM. It’s been three weeks. And, as distracted as I’ve been lately, revision–using the critical side of my brain–is probably a better fit than trying to write from scratch–or nearly–anyway.

And, in the meantime, maybe I can figure out how all the pieces of MAGE STORM and it’s sequels fit together into an epic arc. Or what has to change to make them fit. Or, of course, whether it’s just better suited to being an episodic sword and sorcery after all. There’s actually nothing wrong with that. It’d just mean a change of perspective and expectations for this story.

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I’m well into the polishing edit on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING now.

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Although I did have the interesting experience of finding a place–after several revision passes and two beta readers–where I had a character who doesn’t wear shoes take of his boots. Well, this is why we do one last pass, I guess.

I’m hoping to finish by this weekend, though I’m a little behind right now to reach that goal.

Then I can:

  1. Upload the final version to Amazon.
  2. Upload to Draft2Digital for distribution to other retailers.
  3. Format the print version.
  4. And, finally, get back to work on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

 

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I’m approaching the 90% mark on final revisions to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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Whether I’m done or not, tomorrow–or possibly tonight–I’ll get it up for pre-order with a release date probably near the end of May.

Then, as soon as I have a buy link, I need to start revising the back matter of the books already published before coming back to finish the revisions (if they’re not already done). I’m not going to worry about formatting this round, since I’ll have to upload a final version before it publishes anyway.

After the revisions are done, only the polishing edit remains. Although I’ve been doing some of that as I go on the revisions. And, really, once you’re down to moving the words around and changing out synonyms . . . well, the story’s pretty much complete at that point, anyway.

And then I can get back to finishing the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Progress

I am about 40% done with the final revisions to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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So that’s going well. But getting it up for pre-order in less than a week also means having a blurb prepared. Eep!

Blurbs can be hard. This is what I’ve got so far. Very much still a work in progress.

Son of a mortal king and the Goddess of earth, life, and fertility, Gaian has the gift of more-than-human strength from his Mother. But She hasn’t told him what it’s for. To be a warrior, as his father currently needs him to be? Surely not. To follow his father as king? That doesn’t seem to require the same kind of strength.

There’s one goal he’s had since childhood, since he first learned of the prophecy. To Become a god, like his Mother. But he’s willing to put that one off indefinitely. Not only because he’ll have to burn to death to achieve that goal. There are also the mysteries of that prophecy to solve before the attempt or the burning would be wasted.

He’s certain that his strength has some purpose. But the only thing he knows to be true is what his father told him long ago: The only true purpose of strength is to protect those who are weaker. And everyone is weaker than Gaian.

With that certainty to guide him, Gaian sets out into a dangerous world to find purpose. Unless the destiny of that prophecy catches up to him first.

Inspired by the legend of Hercules.

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