Talk about neglect! Since my last post, I’ve written the draft to the first volume of the War Stone books. Moonstone is a story about young man and a princess linked through a magical Moonstone. The Moonstone is an ancient artifact that a mage originally created to communicate over long distances with it’s siblings: Sunstone, Bloodstone and the Purestone.
After an ancient war that destroyed the Purestone, a villiage simpleton dredges the Moonstone up from a pond, hidden in a boot. That act begins the story.
I just got through with another rewrite pass for the Brull novel. It’s now ready for professional editing. It now stands at just a hair over 100,000 words. I ended NANO at 88,000 words and it’s about right at the current length. More feeling and more description, but the story still moves along smartly and I still like how it ends.
Now on to my next project while this sits for a bit.
I had a cold before Thanksgiving week that later developed into a mild case of pneumonia, so I didn’t feel much like writing and after NaNo, I guess my creative synapses were a little burned out or diseased or whatever. So no productivity to speak of.
I done some re-writing on the Brull novel and am halfway through my second rewrite. I’ve developed two other projects, a non-fiction book that I’ll publish under another name and a new quartet of novels based on a single world where magic exists. Four epic fantasy novels. Initially, I’m calling the books the War Stone Novels. I’ve done treatments on three of the four, based on older short stories I wanted to do something with. The first three stories trace three different main characters. They are wizards, but with varying backgrounds and live in different countries. In the final novel, all three will unite in various ways to fight against the Dark Empire whose emperor wields the Dark Stone. There will be some history and prophecy interwoven to bind the four books, but you’re basically looking at three standalone novels and one to bind them all. (LotR reference).
My goal is to have these books out by the end of the year plus one more. That doesn’t include publishing the Brull novel. So, hopefully six books out in 2013 plus a non-fiction. I guess I’d better get those fingers caressing the keyboard.
I finished the first draft of my Brull novel on November 12th. 81K NaNo words and 88K of total words. The experience was intense, writing the words in just 12 days. At the end, my goal of 120K didn’t make it. The plot played out before my eyes and it changed from my scene outline. I think the book came out better than planned, but I’m hardly the one to judge at this time.
So now I’m into rewrites. I’m already embroiled in the first one, which is a clean up after drafting the novel. Lots of typos and awkward phrases will be eliminated. I’ve planned out an eight step writing process that I thought I’d share. Rewriting is not something I enjoy, but it’s still part of publishing a novel.
- Initial Scrivener Draft. This includes Characters, World Building, Outlining, etc.
- First Scrivener Rewrite – get gross typos fixed, come up with plot expansion/fixit list generated on a different file as I rewrite.
- Second Scrivner Rewrite – Take plot expansion list and add description and feelings
- First MS Word Rewrite – Take the manuscript and run it through the grammar checker
- InDesign Conversion – Apply interior graphic design.
- First InDesign Rewrite – Focus on Polish and description
- Proof: Second InDesign Rewrite – Order an actual printed book and do a proof on the book and then input the marked up changes. (Cover and Book Interior then sent to CreateSpace for publishing)
- e-Book Conversion – Transfer manuscript to MS Word and modify it for e-book publishing
You can see from the workflow that I use three writing platforms. Each one has it’s own benefit (and disadvantages). I use Scrivener because it’s a great drafting tool. MS Word because it has the only grammar checker and is used as the input format for Amazon, Smashwords and Pubit (B&N). InDesign because it’s simply the best available (to me anyway) desktop publishing tool for precise control over a printed book.
This is my first formal attempt at this flow. I used it with some variations for my last two novels: Daughter Disinherited and Daughter Betrayed. Slipped in there is an editing phase which happens after the MS Word Rewrite, but that’s an external thing so I didn’t include it in the above. The editors/reviewers use MS Word track changes
Four days in and I’m up to 30,000 new words. It’s been an interesting four days. Two 6,000 word days (weekdays), and 8,000 word Saturday and a 10,000 word Sunday. My outline has been torn to shreds. Well, not completely torn to shreds, but around the 20% mark, the story took an unexpected turn. Now there is a new character, who is more interesting and will now have a greater impact in the overall story arc than I had originally imagined. This takes the book from heroic fantasy to epic fantasy… a bigger scope. So we’ll have to see what happens, especially in the the 50-75% area of the book where I think I was going to run out of gas. Now I have to plan for another element to the book and the implications for the ending now has much higher stakes.
The unfortunate thing is that I killed off a character much earlier than I thought I would, but this new character will substitute and make the story stronger.
I consider myself more of an outliner than a ‘pantser’, but sometimes you have to go what’s coming out of your fingers. When that happens, writing actually becomes more fun, but at the same time, for me, more challenging since I still have to turn the story around back to the basic ‘bones’ of the story in order get the story where you want it to end up.
Now we’ll see how I do next week. I should eclipse the 50K minimum Thursday or Friday.
As mentioned in the previous post, I’ll be participating in Nano, just because there is a word tracker and that ends up motivating me. I’ve got 6,000 words written already, but I’ll just deduct that from my totals and go from there. I’ve got Brull laid out in scenes, but I’m not into the story yet. I suppose I’ll have to write my way into it. Too much time spent with Miss Featherwood.
So here goes. Wish me luck. 113,000 words in 30 days.
My four week process that I talked about on Oct 25, turned into a four day process. Putting in a ton of hours, I got CasiePress to publish Daughter Disinherited and Daughter Betrayed. They will soon be up on Amazon as ebooks and trade paperbacks and will eventually be on all of the e-book platforms. That gives me eight ebooks and seven trade paperbacks produced (my salable WIP, whipped into shape) in 12 months. My final 2012 goal is to get the Brull novel done. I hadn’t intended to do NaNo, but I’ll track my progress through the NaNoWriMo.
I’m waiting for the end of the year before I gather my wits about me and figure out how to market. I’ll do that and have a schedule of novels to complete next year… it will be five or six including sequels to my current output.
The cover art (which I did myself) for Daughter Betrayed is to the right. The entire series of three books is over 700 pages – nearly 270,000 words.
When I’m putting a novel together, I create a list of my ‘children’, just like the Dramatis Personae in a play. I also forget spellings as I write. So that’s my first step. The list grows as I create a scene outline and as I do the creative part and write my novel. I refer to the list throughout my writing experience. When I’ve done NANOWRIMO (national novel writing month, which is a November thing to get writers to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month), the list is indispensible due to the high draft speed.
For my main characters, I also write out little biographies and personality sketches. It’s like building a personal world for your characters. The more you know the character, the easier it is for you to write about that person consistently and build inner conflict within the person, because you know them better. If I do a good job at that (and sometimes I do better than at others), I can go on autopilot with the character and that personality will come out the way I want. That’s the ‘face’-remembering part and that’s important to creating a believable character.
Creating a character sketch can also help you write interesting twists in your work and get a better reaction from your character. It’s not just about the character, but how he/she reacts to the plot and other characters. The better you know your character, the more he/she/it will contribute to your story.
Just a progress note. Both Daughter Disinherited and Daugher Betrayed are in the Proofing stage. That means that they will be published within the next four weeks with Daughter Disinherited ready for release by the end of October by CasiePress.
The three Shattuk Downs novels have taken some time, but their progress was delayed by my manic attention to getting my other works in paperback form. That took all of August and September and half of October.
Soon my attention turns back to the much-awaited Sword of Spells novel. My goal is to have that out before the end of the year… still.
Meredith Mansfield, who’s been a great help as a critiquer of a number of my books has published one of her own, Blood Will Tell. It’s on Smashwords and Amazon. I’ve read the book (as well as a version of the sequel). If you like mash-up of romance, heroic fantasy and urban fantasy, you’ll love this story.