As some of you know, I’m currently drafting the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. The weird thing about it is that I sorta think it’s done.
But I’m not sure.
See, my rough drafts are done as soon as I feel I have enough information mapped out in my head to rewrite the whole thing to my computer. This rewritten draft will be the draft that I edit.
Unfortunately, the completion of my rough drafts always creep up on me. I can’t say something like “Only five chapters to go and I’m done.” Instead, I’ll be writing along happily, only to realize that I don’t have to write any more of the story. At least, not yet.
I’ve been getting a hunch for two days now that I’m at the end of this draft. And today, this hunch crystallized in my brain into “Yup. This is done.”
Thing is, this happened much sooner than expected. Almost exactly 20k words in. Okay granted, this is the second time I rough drafted this story. So maybe my brain’s feeling like I rehashed some stuff that I can use in the rewrite. Which means that yes, I probably do know everything I need to in order to write out the whole thing.
But therein lies the rub. Probably.
I have a ton of aspects to the story left unexplored. I know they’re there. I know that I haven’t really figured out how everything fits together. Which means that there’s a very real possibility that I might want to start rewriting early next year, only to discover that no, the story wasn’t as done as I thought. Something like that happening could be catastrophic to my plans.
That said, my gut and my muse says that this is done. That I can turn what I have between the two drafts into a plot and (more importantly) a story.
But at the same time, I just can’t help wondering if my muse doesn’t want to move on just because she’s working to a schedule.
For those of you who’ve missed these posts, Beth Fred and I host a bloghop once a month where people can share their crazy or crazily important goals with us. Mine is, as stated at the top of the blog, to earn $7500 in royalties per month, every month, for a year, by 2018.
So how am I doing with that?
I got set back by a lot this year. At first, issues with my former publisher. Now, my business. The wonderful thing about the business is that it’s taking off in a huge way and very fast. The bit less than wonderful thing (specifically when it comes to my five year goal) is that it’s slowing down my process. By a lot.
I mean, I currently have very little time in which to do edits. Problematic, because I wanted to publish the two YA Epic Fantasy books in my series by 31 October. The problem is that I’m just not happy with the editing to the second one. (As in, I’ve edited a lot, thanks to some awesome critiques, but I’m still not sure that the story is “done” enough to start with final polishing.)
As such, I’m going to postpone the publication date by a month and see if I can make that. I might. I suspect that those extra 30 days will be all I need. That said, it also depends on the editor who’ll do the final copy edits and the cover designer. And of course, given that I’m sending my book out to another round of beta readers, on how long they take to get through the Heir’s Choice. Incidentally, if you’re looking for a crit partner/beta reader/just plain sounding board/help on finding the flaw in your submission, I’m looking for Beta Readers too. Click here for more info.
Oh yeah. I forgot to mention “formatting two books for publishing.” I’ve decided that I’m just going to have to learn this skill for myself, so you’ll probably be reading a lot of grumbly posts on this subject in the near future.
Okay. So let’s look at what’s been done in September:
1) I’ve almost finished the rough edits to The Heir’s Choice. I’m hoping to finish them completely by Monday.
2) Got ISBNs for three books: The Vanished Knight, The Heir’s Choice and Birds vs Bastards.
3) Gave Birds vs Bastards (and both its planned sequels) an awesome name. Which I’ll announce specially when there’s not so much going on in a post.
4) Wrote and edited the blurb to The Heir’s Choice. At the moment, I’m pretty happy with it, but I’ll look at it again at the end of the month.
5) Sent Birds vs Bastards out for copy edits. Yep. This one really is almost publishing ready.
6) Contacted graphic artists to design all three covers.
What should be happening in October:
1) I want to send out The Heir’s Choice to beta readers.
2) I want to do the copy-edits on Birds vs Bastards. (Assuming the lovely ladies helping me with this get the editing done.)
3) I want to critique/whatever the exchange is for someone beta reading The Heir’s Choice.
4) I want to start playing with formatting to learn. Birds vs. Bastards will probably be my test subject for this.
5) Lastly, I want to resume drafting my mystery project, the sequel to The Heir’s Choice, ES1, SS1, P, MDtS and RH. I want to see if I can finish the rough drafts by the end of the year.
6) I also want to get some reading in. I’m woefully behind, but being honest, this is pretty low on my priority list.
One more thing in October:
This cover really is perfect for this time of year, don’t you guys think?
Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets–sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons.
M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.
Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”
Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.
Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of the Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.
Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.
Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust, presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?
River Fairchild, author of the Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.
Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.
Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.
If that’s not awesome enough, check out this offer:
Wow. This was a LOT of news!
How are you doing? Anyone want to beta read The Heir’s Choice?
Hey all! I hope you’re all doing great.
Me… wonderful. Shoe biz is taking off, while slowly but surely allowing me more time to work on the books I want to publish this year.
I’m hoping to finish my current round of edits by the end of the month, but I don’t think I’m going to make my self-imposed 31 October deadline. But that’s okay. I’ve achieved a ton.
That said, I need some help. More specifically, beta readers.
For those of you new to the term, beta readers read over the story and comment on things they liked, or didn’t, or things that didn’t make sense, that sort of thing. In particular, I’m looking for people who can highlight where I still haven’t brought in enough information from the previous series.
And as always, I’m willing to repay by critiquing your work, beta reading, or even searching for and finding what’s making a story not work. (I’ll try my absolute best at this, of course.)
If you’re interested, please leave a comment with info on your book (name, genre etc), what you’d like for me to do in return, and your e-mail address.
Now, the information on my book:
Genre: YA Epic (Portal) Fantasy
Name: War of Six Crowns: The Heir’s Choice
Blurb (still needs editing):
Sixteen-year-old London girl Callan Blair thought that going to the elves would unlock the mystery around her past. Instead, it thrusts her right in the middle of Tardith’s political games. On the one side are the elves and King Keill, her grandfather. On the other, King Aurek of Icaimerith, who also moonlights as the evil entity that has destroyed Callan’s life many times over.
Aurek is on the edge of erasing the elves out of existence. The only thing that will stay his hand: Callan marrying his heir. Not wanting to let her choice destroy a nation, she agrees.
At least she isn’t going into the lion’s maw alone. Quinlan Westenmere, the Nordian commander who had brought her to the elves, swears to go with her. Only he insists she take more Nordians with her. Darrion and Gawain are tasked with rescuing the Black Knight, Nordaine’s last blood heir, and Aurek has him.
Things don’t get simpler as the wedding approaches. Gawain refuses to support Callan’s decisions. She has to betray both the elves and Aurek to help find the Knight. On top of that, her elvish entourage leaves much to be desired.
But nothing compares to her meeting the man she’s to marry.
If you’ve been reading some of my more recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been shifting information from later books in my War of Six Crowns series to the second book. Not info dumping, mind you. Just… enough to make things more interesting all round.
As some of you may know, I’m busy editing The Heir’s Choice at the moment. I haven’t really said much about how I’m doing, but let me just say this:
Editing a sequel is hard.
Especially because the sequel and the first book were two halves (literally) of the same book. See originally, I had this awesome 107k word book that I had to split.
And the approximate split was as follows:
The Vanished Knight: 65k words.
The Heir’s Choice: 65k words.
“Hey wait!” you might exclaim. (It’s all very dramatic in my brain, I promise you.) “That doesn’t add up!”
No. Because in order to make TVK into a book on its own, I’ve had to add about 15k words to the first half of the original book. Which is great.
Except for the bit where every single one of those changes has to be worked into THC. Which is most of what its extra 15k words consists of.
And then I’m not even getting into the real challenge.
As you might know, I’m going to re-publish TVK and publish THC at the same time. There is a very very good reason for this, but I’m not going to go into it. First, I want to see if my plan works.
But if it does work, most of the people reading THC will be doing so immediately after finishing TVK.
So what’s the challenge? (Aside from marketing.)
If I assume that my plan will work, no one will want constant reminders of what happened in TVK. If my plan doesn’t work, everyone will want a TON of reminders. Which leaves me with the unique challenge of striking the right balance between too much information and not enough.
While making sure that all the main strings I left hanging at the end of TVK gets picked up in THC.
Except…. TVK has a lot of strings.
How are you doing? What are you doing at the moment?
Sorry for disappearing yesterday. I came down with a bad cold yesterday, which means I slept through most of it.
Luckily I feel lots better, so now I’m back.
Speaking of “back”, I can safely say I’m getting back into my writing and editing groove. Yesterday I officially finished my revisions to The Heir’s Choice and started sending it out for critique. (Note: done while “dying” of a cold.)
I also edited a short story that’s going into an anthology before turning in for the night.
Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that I’ll be able to draft again! The last time I actually wrote something was back in very early February, and even then, it was only two thousand (I think) words.
So I’m way past overdue. The only thing is that I’ll have to reread my old work in order to pick up all the story strings again. Which isn’t always THE best thing to do when I’ve just come off editing.
That said, I’ll just have to suppress the inner editor and get it done. I really do have too much to do and too little time for me to bend to my IE’s whims.
But as I type this, I’m getting a feeling of what I want to do above all, and right now, I want to start rewriting the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. I had it scheduled for the last three months of the year, but hey, I’ve got momentum right now. I can always do rough drafts later…
Or even at the same time.
What are you working on at the moment?
So the good news is that I’m getting into edits and writing and thinking about writing etc. once more. Which means that I’m probably going to get back to posting a bit more regularly again. But then I have a bit less time than I’d like, so I might not. I am, therefore sticking to posting as and when I have something to write about. In the meantime, I’m trying to get around to visiting more of you.
In the meantime I’m going to draw some inspiration to an experience I’ve had while editing on Friday.
Just to recap: As some of you probably know, I had to split my first book into two in order to sign with my former publishing house. Which means that (even though I now have my rights back), I have to make sure that both halves have to stand on their own as stories.
See, for me to put the stories back into one book would require undoing a ton of work, and that’s just not my style. As a result, I’ve had to form a smaller story arch to carry the over-all story that runs through the whole series.
To a large extent, I did this already for the former publishing house, but basically I was told that the story-line wasn’t strong enough.
And if you read Wednesday’s post, you’ll know that I’ve been grappling with ways I could strengthen the story.
Believe it or not, I published that post, opened my manuscript and made the second change that occurred to me. Even better, I think it works. Better than that, it’s truly an elegant solution. It was a simple change, about 1500 words added in, and ever since, the repercussions of the addition have continued to improve the story.
Bet you want to know what I did.
Lucky for you, I’m awesome, so I’m going to tell you.
I took a bit of information that I’d kept for the big shocker reveal at the end of book four, and I put it:
Of book 2.
Hey all! Welcome to yet another update day! It’s scary to think that next month we’ll be half-way through the year.
I guess I’m doomed to never enjoy simple projects.
Okay maybe “doomed” is a too strong word. I actually like challenges. I thrive on them. That’s why the first book I ever finished was Doorways, and why splitting it into The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice wasn’t daunting.
It’s what compels me to buy the finest canvas for tapestry work, what makes me want to do bridgework on cakes and what makes me want to paint complex things in oils on canvas.
However, it’s the same thing that compels me to look at The Heir’s Choice, know that I need to change something big, and have no idea how to work it into what I’ve written.
And now, as I’m writing this, I’m sort of thinking that I really don’t need to change that thing. Maybe the real change should be something else entirely. Maybe I just wanted to change the impossible thing because it’s a mental exercise for me, and not really what needs to be done.
One the other hand…. this something else is promising… hmmm….
Anyone else editing? How’s it going?