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Posts Tagged ‘rewrites’

A day late again. And no good excuse this time. Ah well, I’ll get back on schedule Sunday.

Most of my writing time has been thinking, lately. I’ve made a little progress on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

But mainly I’ve been thinking about the right place to start MEADOWSWEET. Of course, the possibility exists that it still won’t be the right place in the final draft, but it’s nice to start as close to the right place as possible. I think I’ve got it sorted out, so I may be switching to that very soon. Or working on both, of course. I am crazy enough to do that, too.

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Very slowly.

I’m still wrestling with MAGE STORM. And this week has been harder than most in the day job.

Mage Storm

I’m probably going to switch over to MEADOWSWEET for a while to let my subconscious work on the problem. That always works better when I’m actively writing.

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from the new portion of MAGE STORM:

Katria jerked upright from scrubbing the floor at the sound of the bell ringing the universal signal for a mage storm. By sixteen years of reflex she turned toward where the trap door to the stone-walled cellar shelter should be. Where it would be if this were the familiar house in Marketown where she’d lived until last month. But this wasn’t Marketown, it was Sawyer’s Oaks and this house had no cellar. She tried to control her breathing. Papa had shown them all where the shelter was, just a little way into the dead stumps of the Blighted Forest on the other side of the . . . you could barely call it a town.

She thought she could find the way. She was pretty sure she could, anyway. If she hurried, she wouldn’t have to worry about that; she could just follow everyone else. But Katria couldn’t just run off. Papa and the older boys had gone to survey the new growth that was beginning to take the place of the burned and blackened stumps of the Blighted Forest. Mama had gone to help Great Aunt Elzy with something and taken Grandfather with her to gossip with Great Uncle Hames. That left Katria in charge of getting her younger sister and brother to the shelter. Rosella would be just outside, hanging up the laundry. Where Natan would have gotten to . . . .

Rosella, ran into the room. “Katria! What do we do?”

Katria scrambled up so fast that she tipped over the pail of wash water. No matter. That could be dealt with later. She turned to her younger sister, trying hard to keep her voice normal. “We’re going to get Natan and go to the shelter Papa showed us on that first day.”

“Mama will come for us, won’t she?”

Katria suppressed a grimace at that thought. Mama was closer to the cave than they were and she’d have Grandfather to look after. And he didn’t hurry well at all any more. Coming back for them would only put Mama in more danger. But that’s exactly what Mama would do if Katria didn’t get Rosella and Natan on the way to the shelter first. “If we hurry, we’ll meet her on the way.” I hope. “Help me find Natan.”

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Decision Time

I have enough feedback from my critique partners now to know that there are problems with the first five chapters of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Now, that’s to be expected in a first draft. But not this many problems. I have twelve markup notes in the first chapter. Eleven in the second. Three or four would be more normal. This likely also accounts for my difficulty in making real headway on this one. Some part of me recognized that things just weren’t coming together right.

My usual rule with first drafts is that they only go in one direction–forward. But those first few chapters are the foundation upon which the story has to be built. And if I ignore these problems, they’re only going to multiply the further I go.

Some of that has to do with the history of this project. The first version was (unintentionally) a middle grade story and I’m trying to grow it up to a more general epic fantasy. The story can be that. But probably not the way I’ve been approaching it. Many–not all–of the problems have to do with the characters ages, which are supposed to be a couple of years older than in that first version. In some parts, though, they act younger. The only solution may be to scrape back down to bare ground and really rewrite it, not just try add new parts and revise the rest.

Probably, I’ll go ahead and finish the chapter I’m currently working on. It’s a brand new one so doesn’t suffer from the problems of the rewritten portions. And then I’m going to have to think hard about just how I’m going to proceed.

And to think, I thought this project would be easy because I’d already written it once.

I may skip over and do a little work on MEADOWSWEET while I think. It’s good to have another project on deck for times like this.

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So, I seem to have mostly gotten over my New Years’ cold. And I’ve started to get back to work on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm I haven’t gotten much further on it, yet. But at least I am working on it.

I’ve also gotten some feedback on the early chapters that gives me some good ideas about what I need to do to make it even better. That’s energizing in its own way. It’s the new ideas that make this writing thing fun and, since MAGE STORM isn’t new, that may have been responsible for some of my lack of enthusiasm. An infusion of new ideas may be exactly what I needed.

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2019 Writing Goals

First Goal: Complete the rewrite of MAGE STORM and publish it.

Mage Storm

In this case, I’m going to state a backup goal, in case I continue to have trouble just moving this along. Write the first draft of MEADOWSWEET.

Second Goal: Begin work on the second book, tentatively titled ROGUE MAGE. (But see above backup goal.)

Third Goal: Housekeeping-type things:

  • Do some work on this website and on my Facebook Author Page to make them more appealing and more professional.
  • Establish some kind of regular promotions.

Fourth Goal: Continue learning and improving:

  • Continue reading and learning about other aspects of the craft, chiefly marketing/promotion and better launch strategies for new books.

And, finally, the back-burner list. Things I am not, at this moment, ready to write, but need that final inspiration or two that pulls them out of the pile and makes them irresistible.

  • One or more sequels to DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The main characters have completed their character arcs, but more needs to be done–probably by other characters–to save their corner of the world.
  • Fairy tale retellings, including Meadowsweet.
  • My much-neglected weird Oz story.
  • Prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series, Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Settelling how the world got into that state: how the Fasallon came to be rulers in Caere and all along the coast and why they try so hard to maintain that position, why the Dardani have such a fear of magic, how the Fasallon and Valson came to be separated, and more.
  • The final book in the CHIMERIA series.ChimeriaBox
  • And that Arthurian-legend, secret-history idea I’ve been playing with off and on.
  • I’m sure others will raise their heads as I go along. In my experience, there’s nothing like writing one idea to cause others to spring up along my path like bunny rabbits.

Happy New Year

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Getting Traction

I’m finally moving forward into new territory on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Well, newish. This is a rewrite and some of what I’m adding is basically just lifted from earlier versions. This is, essentially, a first draft, so as long as it fits the new framework, I can just slide in what was already written for the previous version and then revise it as necessary. Of course, there are entirely new chapters, too. And I read through the parts I just copy in. Sometimes, I revise a bit as I go. Sometimes I put in notes of things that will need to be changed or that I question. But basically, the framework, the structure is going up. That’s the main thing with a first draft.

And I’m about to have two weeks off to work on it. That’ll help.

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Well, almost. The first thing in getting back into the rewrite/first draft of MAGE STORM is to reread what I already have written.

Mage Storm

I’m almost done with that. And then it will be time to start adding to this draft. Of course, in the read-through I’ve found a few things that need to be fixed or clarified. But that’s okay. It’s essentially a first draft, so I just make a note and pass on, for now.

I was very pleased to find that the brand new chapter I was having so much difficulty with last August was actually much better than I thought it would be. Somehow, when something is just harder to write–who knows why?–I expect it to be terrible. And that isn’t always the case.

I still don’t expect to make a lot of progress in the next week or so. But I will make progress.

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