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Posts Tagged ‘sequels’

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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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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Done!

Yesterday I finished the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM one month ahead of my original schedule.

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Here’s the first draft of the blurb. (Which will need considerable work.)

The lightning strike that should have killed him stole all of Gaian’s memories. He can barely remember his own name. And he has no idea what destiny awaits him. The only thing he knows, the only thing he holds onto is the belief that his purpose is to protect others. That, and the certainty that leaving his solitary existence in the forest would cause immeasurable harm to others.

Everyone else believes Gaian died in that lightning strike. But they know what he’s forgotten: that as a son of the Goddess Herself, there’s a chance he could Become a god—the Sky God.

A new prophecy brings Margan, the son born after Gaian’s “death” over the mountains to find his father’s grave. Where he meets Rose, the girl with a gift for dreams who was rescued by a strange man in the forest.

Kaleran, whose world was shattered the day he saw his father struck by lightning, would do anything to get away from his Uncle Cordan.

Cordan, Gaian’s half-brother seized the opportunity to gain power from the worship of the new god, but would rather wield the power without the inconvenience of an actual Sky God.

As the weather becomes increasingly wild and time runs out, can Margan, Rose, and Kaleran help Gaian to remember who he is and what he can be before Cordan’s schemes cause catastrophe?

Now, apart from honing that blurb, I leave the manuscript alone for a month and cleanse my mental palate as it were by working on something else. In this case, that will be the rewrite of MAGE STORM. Then in September I can come back for the revisions and hopefully get it to my critique partners in October.

Oh, and I’ll have to start figuring out a cover for MAGE STORM. I’m determined not to have any lightning this time, despite the title.

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Last post, I was in the middle of Chapter 50 of the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Now . . . well, it’s complicated. I was starting Chapter 56 of what I now think will be 57 chapters. But, I stalled.

That’s usually a sign that something’s gone wrong. So I paused. Did a little house cleaning. (It’s too hot right now to do much yard work.) Played a computer game. Read. And about bedtime last night it came to me.

I just had too many characters around for that moment. It needs to be a more . . . emotional moment crowning the climax. It needs to be limited to a few characters or it all gets too diffuse.

And the reason I had too many characters present was because I’d brought in the cavalry during the fight-scene part of the climax. And that was a problem, too. Because, once the cavalry arrived, everything got too easy for my character who is supposed to be holding off the enemy while the others complete their goal. It truncated the fight scene too early.

So. I now need to go back and do a little more work on Chapter 52 (The Last Defense), remove the cavalry (they can show up later), and make that fight more desperate–and a little longer.

The intervening chapters won’t be affected because they’re what’s going on while that other character is holding off the antagonist’s forces. So then I can go back to Chapter 56 and have the emotional payoff that is needed at the top of the climax. Then Chapter 57 is the denouement and . . . “The End”.

It’s just going to take a little bit longer, but I still expect to finish by the end of July.

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Last post I was just starting Chapter 47 of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Now, I’m in the middle of Chapter 50, but some of those chapters have multiplied on me and it now looks like 56 chapters to the end. So I’m still just as many chapters from writing “The End” as I was. But a couple of those chapters will be short because I split them up to allow for more than one POV character to get their say–or, more accurately, to allow the reader to know what they’re thinking and feeling, but not saying out loud.

I’ve just about got everyone in place for the climax, which looks like being three of those chapters. This chapter and one more short one and then things are going to start moving fast.

Then, of course, there’s still the denouement.

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Home Stretch

I’m closing in on being able to type “The End” on the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Last post, I was on Chapter 44. I’m just starting Chapter 47 of, I think, 52 chapters, though one of those may still fracture into two. Two of the chapters I recently finished have done that.

Including Chapter 47. And when I say I’ve just started it, I have precisely one sentence written. And this is going to be one of those scenes that takes a little more time and thought because it’s going to be the place where two characters who’ve been kind of dancing around each other and their feelings, finally have to come to terms. Those scenes can be trickier than fight scenes, which are hard enough.

But, you know, it’s not really a story without the payoff. So I have to, if possible, nail it. Though, of course, it still is a first draft. There’s room for revisions. But that’s a lot easier if I at least get the bones of the scene right.

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Last post I was on Chapter 43 of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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I am currently on Chapter 44. So, as I said in my last post, this bit has slowed me down a little. In fact, I’m reminding myself–or trying to–that this part doesn’t have to be good, doesn’t have to be my best writing–yet. It’s a first draft. I’m reminding myself of Shannon Hale’s great quote on the subject of first drafts about shoveling sand into a box in order to be able to build castles later.

However, looking ahead, I believe there are only about six chapters left after this one. And I have all of them in my rolling outline. One or two of those could split for various reasons, like a change of POV character. Still, that’s two to three more weeks at recent speed and way ahead of my projected schedule.

And that’s very good news for how the rest of the schedule for this book could go. If I can complete it by the end of July–or thereabouts. Then August becomes the month of rest for this manuscript. (I’ll likely be starting a rewrite of MAGE STORM during that time.) Then September for the revisions. And out to my beta readers in October–which is a very good goal to try for because November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and some of my beta readers probably wouldn’t be available. And December is . . . well, December. Everybody’s busy. That would leave November/December for final revisions and the polishing edit. It might even be possible that this would be published in December, but January becomes a very good bet.

After the sometimes tooth-pulling experience of getting the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING done,

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this one has been really fun. And fast.

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