Archive | January, 2014

Off to the critical readers …

26 Jan

The Dwarf's LegacyThe initial proofreading of Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy, was completed in record time, which I hope is an indication I am getting better at spotting my own tendencies, and not an indication that my wife is getting sick of my stupid mistakes.

Either way, it’s off now to my four critical readers, so we’ll see what they say. Plenty more opportunities to catch typos and the like.

I know there are plenty of questions that readers have from The House in the Old Wood, Karia’s Path and The Hall of the Prophetess. Too many to fit all the answers into Book 5, The White Silver House. So you’ll see some answers in The Dwarf’s Legacy.

Book 4 is in its first proofreading

24 Jan

The Day Magic DiedI completed my revisions of Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy, and read through the whole thing.

Wow, it’s a far different book now. I think it’s a lot better. Since you’ll never see the initial draft, let’s just pretend I’m right, OK?

Now my wife, Julie, it giving the book its initial proofreading. She tends to spot not only grammar and punctuation and spelling issues, but awkward sentences and difficulties with the storyline. She’ll taking her time, reading only when she feels like her eyes are “fresh.” But trust me, that’s a good thing.This is the best time to catch this kind of thing.

Updates to come …

 

Closing in on completion

21 Jan

The Day Magic DiedMost of the weekend, I tried to work on the rewrite of Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy.

I failed to make progress Friday evening.

I thought that after spending the day at the Central Florida Highland Games Saturday, and leaving early, I would get some rewriting done Saturday night. I got nowhere.

I took another stab at it after church Sunday, but it was no good. I thought that making noodles and bread for dinner would help, but after dinner the story was no different.

Since I had Monday off, I figured I’d get up at 5 like I usually do and launch into the rewrite. I do my best writing in the morning.

But not Monday morning. And not Monday afternoon either. Just before dinner, as I was resigned to not getting anything to work … everything suddenly clicked.

I’m now 94,000 words through the rewrite. I have 7,500 words from the original draft left to revise.

Sometimes revisions go slower than writing. That’s because in addition to telling the story, you need to be careful about how the changes you make affect what you’ve already written on up ahead. Other times, revisions go quicker because there’s not a lot of work needed.

I was hung up on that transition from one to the other. And that means the 7,500 words that are left fall into the less-work-needed category. Karia’s relationships are stable in this section, and the character I replaced earlier in the book is not in this section. I just have one character who needs to be removed, and that’s working well.

I anticipate finishing this tonight. Then what?

  • I do one more read-through, adjusting as I see necessary.
  • Julie proofreads the book.
  • I fix the typos and anything else she spots.
  • I get the book out to my four critical readers.
  • I go over all their comments and make the necessary changes and corrections.

I’ll also be getting my designer everything she needs for the cover, and then we’re on to formatting, uploading, and making the book ready to be sold and read.

It still appears that The Dwarf’s Legacy will be out in late February.

Halfway there

15 Jan

The Day Magic DiedI’m about halfway through the rewrite of The Day Magic Died, Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy.

And for those of you who are waiting eagerly to read it, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that “halfway” is about 60,000 words. That means the book is probably going to be longer than 100,000 words, and could be around 120,000 words.

What’s that mean? Two things:

  • At 120,000 words, it would be about one-third longer than The House in the Old Wood.
  • With 120,000 words, you are far more likely to find at least 1,000 you enjoy.

The bad news is, I’ve fallen behind schedule on the rewrite. At this point this is simply a first warning that the book might not be ready for a February release. I am still aiming for a February release. I’m just having some doubts. Here’s why:

The main reason I’ve fallen behind is that the book needed far more work than I initially thought. I’ve mentioned before that I had to swap out one major character with another – which is a lot of work to start with. But as I worked through the book, I realized I also had to fix Karia’s relationships. It’s one thing if she’s confused about love; she’s 15 years old. But it’s quite another if she bounces around like a ping-pong ball.

So when I get done with these changes, I’ll read through the book one more time, and it’ll be proofread, and then it will go out to my critical readers. If everything goes well there, we’re right on track.

But I’m not sure everything will go well there. I’ve been moving chapters around and writing new ones and changing the sequence of events. Do you know what that’s likely to cause?

Well, you know those scenes that creep into a movie or TV show where the character is eating a donut, and at first it’s halfway done, then it’s missing just one bite, then it’s almost gone? Those are continuity errors, and things like that happen in books too.

You see, writers get so involved in the moment – in crafting that scene, just like the director crafting the shot – that we might write something that doesn’t really fit. Characters might say something and later contradict themselves, or act or speak in a way that is out of character. An explanation might not make sense with something that happened earlier. Or I might simply forget something important that preceded the scene I am writing at that point – such as forgetting they are outside in winter and that means it’s cold.

For instance, as I was looking over my rewrite, I spotted a chapter where one character who is normally reticent to speak just comes right out and explains something. That’s out of character, and I’ll need to fix that.

Another type of error is simply omission. In replacing one of the key characters, I made a set of notes on what that character needs to say and do. And as I was looking over it, I realized I left one out. If he does not explain that certain something to Karia, there is no foundation for something that happens later in the book. I’ll have to go back and write that in.

The other error is irrelevance. I’ve written three or four chapters in which Karia interacts with other faeries, and I’m quite fond of them. A number of people have commented on how much they like Generality, so I wanted to give people a look at more faeries. (Yes, they’re apparently all a bit like him.) But as I’m looking back over those chapters, I have to ask myself: Do they do enough to advance the story? Are they relevant?

So it’s likely that my critical readers will spot issues of continuity or omission or irrelevance that I will not have the perspective to see. That would mean more rewriting, and possibly a March release.

As much as I’d like to just plough ahead and get the book out, I’d rather not inflict sloppy writing on you. I’m still embarrassed by the typos in the first edition of The House in the Old Wood, and I added another layer of proofreading because of that. I’m going to have The Dwarf’s Legacy thoroughly checked over before I put it out, and while I know you want to read it soon, I don’t think you want to read it before it’s ready.

I will keep you posted.

A new symbol for the series

14 Jan

fiery hand_diamond_smYeah, I know, if I had half a brain I would have done this before launching the first book, but then again, I’ve been told that if I had half a brain I would be dangerous, so this should make you feel safer.

The drawing I wanted to use as the symbol for the series was driving my artist batty. She tried and tried, and finally we decided that wasn’t going to work. So she let me use her hand.

Don’t worry, I didn’t cut it off or set it on fire. I took a photo of her hand and Photoshopped some fire into it. If that’s not obvious in the small version, it will be if you click and enlarge it. That’s why I’m going to keep it small when I use it.

(By the way, I hate the red box that this WordPress theme seems to put around any image. Or maybe it’s just WordPress period. Anyone know how to get rid of that?)

I’ll be working with my designer to put that on all the covers to unify them (as well as lightening the cover of Karia’s Path to make it stand out better from The House in the Old Wood).

And of course it’ll be on the cover of The Dwarf’s Legacy when that comes out next month. I’ll have an update on the rewrite of that book soon, and in the meantime, make sure you vote in my poll so I know what you think should come next.

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