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Big news on Book 5

14 Aug

TWSH-coverIt’s Sikarra … and Failean

A great big thank-you to everyone who made a choice in my poll to decide who to bring back in The White-Silver House, the fifth and final book of the series The Day Magic Died. Timbal was a surprise to me in third place, and Nana finally got one vote.

But tied for the lead – and both certainly coming back – are Sikarra, the lively, talkative 6-year-old from the farm north of the village, and Failean, Karia’s mom.

I’ve already figured out what I think is a great way to bring Sikarra back into the story – it advances the plot and fits her character just right. In fact, I’ve drafted those chapters.

I’ve also drafted the chapters in which Failean makes a reappearance. I am not as satisfied with those, or with how well they fit into the storyline, so I’ll reexamine that later.

Even Timbal is sneaking back in, it seems …

Connecting chapters written

In addition to writing those chapters about Sikarra and Failean, I’ve drafted the six “connecting” chapters that I needed to take The White-Silver House where it needs to go.

In fact, I was able to use Sikarra’s reappearance as one of those connectors.

Outline reviewed

I’ve reviewed my outline for The White-Silver House, and I think it’s good to go. I’ll most certainly adjust it as I revise the book, but it’s what I need to get me started.

And it’s started

I’ve begun the process of revising The White-Silver House. So far, I’ve finished the first two chapters.

Out of an anticipated 125 chapters.

Hey, it’s a start!

Now that I’ve gotten to this point, I need to set a goal for finishing the revisions – a date when it’s ready for the next step. And from there, I’ll be able to estimate when it will be available in paperback and for Kindle.

Still to come

So here is what I still need to do before The White-Silver House will be ready for release:

  • Revise the remaining 123 chapters (Oh, is that all?)
  • Deliver the semi-final draft to my team of critical readers for proofreading, editing and review
  • Revise the draft based on the team’s input
  • Perform one more round of proofreading and editing

Now that I’ve gotten this far, I should be able to make good progress. So if you know someone who hasn’t started the series yet, this is a good time to point them to the first book, The House in the Old Wood

Progress updates

9 Aug

Yep, updates. I am simultaneously working on three books …

TWSH-coverThe White-Silver House

My revision calls for five or so new chapters to be written, in order to set the story moving in the direction I want it to go. I completed the third of these this morning.

What’s next?

  • Write the other two “redirectional” chapters
  • Work through the book from front to back, insert the new chapters and generally working to keep the tension high and building

Why do I want to keep the tension high and building? This is the final book, the climax of the series. This is where it all comes together. I want you to rush along with Karia to the ending, swept up by the circumstances and situations, duty and responsibility, just as she is.

I want you to enjoy the journey, all the way to the end.

Haven’t read the series? Start here

the-man-with-two-eyes-kindle-coverThe Man with Two Eyes

This is the second Nascent Payne novella, and the second book in the Hunt for the Wallaby series. To tell the truth, I’m fumbling with this a bit. I need to get the storyline straightened out, then try to move right on through this book. Because this needs to be done before I finish …

The No-Good Book

I’m making great progress on this one. Writing this has helped me get my mind off The White-Silver House, so the seeds of that story can germinate, while keeping me writing. I think you’ll enjoy this third Nascent Payne Mystery, and the third book of the Hunt for the Wallaby series. This book also introduces a character I’m thinking of spinning off, Detective Chief Inspector Broderick Lake of the Interstellar Marshals Service. Oh, and an evil, evil mobster by the name of Gero Zikata. With reappearances by two other characters — besides Flynn and Fiona — from the first Nascent Payne novella, The sort-of Murder of Fiona Galloway. I think this book is even better than the first one. So I really have to work on the second book, not just to get it done, but to make sure it’s up to the quality of the first and third books.

This series starts with The sort-of Murder of Fiona Galloway (The Hunt for the Wallaby) (Volume 1).

5 reasons to read more novels

4 Aug

It’s better to be entertained than amused: Although most people think of entertain and amuse as synonyms – and they’re even presented that way in many dictionaries and thesauruses – they’re actually different concepts. Amuse comes Greek words that literally mean, “without thinking.” That’s an apt description for what happens when you watch TV or movies. Your brain just sort of turns off and takes it all in. There’s not a lot of thinking involved. That’s not a good thing. But when you’re reading a book, you’re entertained – it holds your attention and gets you thinking. Thinking is good. Novels are good for your brain.

Novels are cost-effective: If you go to the movies, you pay $10 each for a couple of hours of amusement. If you want something to eat or drink, that’s even more unless you sneak it in. A $10 novel gives you eight to twelve hours – or more – of reading enjoyment. And that $10 covers you and anyone else you want to share the book with. (You can share my ebooks – which are well under $10 – the same way.) Oh, and the bonus of reading a book wherever you want to – like in a comfy chair at home – is that you never have to sneak food in. Unless you’re on a diet. How’s that for cost-effective?

Novels can be re-enjoyed: I’ve bought a few movies on DVD. But I almost never watch them. I find that I really don’t enjoy most movies the second time around. On the other hand, most books contain such a wealth of clues, cues and foreshadowing that reading them a second time is a whole new experience. The third time through, when you are reading with the depth you gained the first and second times, is thoroughly enjoyable. And any book you read three times is like an old friend you want to come back to and enjoy again and again.

Novels inspire us: I read the other day that some foundation is going to spend millions trying to figure out how to make their documentaries more effective at prompting people to take action. I’ve worked on documentaries, promotional booklets, short stories, articles, novels – I think that just about everything you can write, I’ve written. (Though it pains me to admit it, the first piece I ever sold was a poem.) And I can tell you two things: First, a story is more effective than the facts. And second, people react very differently to movies and video than to books and other written stories. Movies and videos primarily impact people emotionally, but they seldom make people think. (See the first point.) Books and other written stories make people think. And if the story is powerful enough and written well, it hits people emotionally too. That combination of emotional impact and thinking is what spurs us to action. Novels inspire us.

Novels remind us of real life, and that’s good: Television is lived out in half-hour and hour segments, usually with a happy ending, or at least a conclusion to the story. The main characters can’t die, unless it’s the end of the season and their contract isn’t renewed. It’s a series, after all. These days, a lot of movies want to leave things open for a sequel, or a continuing series, so you have a pretty good idea going in what is going to happen. Not so novels. A lot of novels are also written as a series these days, but characters can still come and go. (It’s easier for an author – you have no contracts with your characters.) But more importantly, the timespan is greater and more flexible. The author has eight to twelve hours of your time, or perhaps even twenty hours (if the book is compelling) to take you through the story. OK, but how is it good that novels remind us of real life? They remind us to persevere; to pay attention to the details; and to enjoy the journey.

So crack open a good book and enjoy the journey! I wouldn’t mind in the least if you try one of mine …

The House in the Old WoodKaria's Path

Oh, and remember to vote so I know which characters to include in Book 5, The White-Silver House.

Who will come back in Book 5?

2 Aug

TWSH-coverHave you ever finished a book or a series, then thought, “Hey, what about so-and-so? I wonder what ever happened to him?”

You know what? That happens to authors too.

We write a character, and they play their part in the narrative … and then they’re gone. And like our readers, we kind of miss them. Sometimes we wrapped up their story in our backstories, the narratives that don’t make the cut. Other times, we don’t know either.

But the big difference is, as an author, I get to decide who comes back into the narrative. I get to decide whose stories get wrapped up in the final book of the series The Day Magic Died.

But all that power is going to my head, so I need to share it with you.

Here’s the deal. Book 5, The White-Silver House, is drafted. The ending is almost set in stone at this point. So are a lot of the plot points that Karia needs to pass through to get from where she is, to that ending.

But a lot can happen in between. There’s room for some characters from previous books to come back. And you can help me decide who.

There are five characters who could reappear in Book 5. Let me tell you a little about them, to jog your memories. And then you can tell me who you want to see in The White-Silver House.

Failean: Mom to our heroine, Karia. She played a big role in the first and second books, The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path, but virtually disappears after that.

Visili: Sorcerer, illusionist and deceiver, who considers himself the most honest person around. (Maybe he’s fooling himself.) He came to the fore in Karia’s Path, but has also mostly disappeared from the narrative.

Nana: Grandmotherly figure to Karia. Prone to cut right to the heart of the matter with witticisms such as “Don’t go pouring dumb on top of stupid.” One reader told me Nana was her favorite character, but Nana hasn’t appeared since the second book.

Sikarra: The red-headed, freckle-faced farm girl who thinks Karia must be her cousin because she doesn’t know anyone else with red hair and freckles. Like any six-year-old, prone to take in everything around her, only to have it come spilling out of her mouth at the most inopportune times. She sort of has a cameo appearance in The Dwarf’s Legacy, but otherwise only showed up in The House in the Old Wood.

Timbal: Ah, Timbal. Not much I can say without it being a spoiler. He played a big role in Karia’s Path, but hasn’t been heard from since. But astute readers of The Dwarf’s Legacy likely expect to see him in the final book.

Which of these characters do you most want to see make a reappearance in the pages of The White-Silver House? I’ll likely include more than one of them.

Never say never

1 Aug

TWSH-coverA couple of weeks ago, I said I never used outlines in writing my books.

Another author and I were talking about our methods, and we both agreed that outlines just don’t work for us.

This is not a new phenomenon for me. In school, when the assignment was to write an outline, then write an essay based on that, I would always write the essay, then put together the outline from what I had already written.

I just can’t chart out what I’m going to write. I have to let it happen.

So I said.

Well, I’ve been having trouble keeping everything moving properly in Book 5, The White-Silver House. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, a lot of story to tell, characters to develop …. In short, I was feeling like I was in danger of losing track of things.

So I made a list of all the settings in which things take place. I shared many of those with you earlier this week.

I made a list of all the plot points – all the things that have to happen to bring the book to a good, satisfying conclusion. That includes wrapping up some of the sub-plots.

And I listed out the characters and described what happens to each of them in the course of the book.

I’ve let that set a while, so I’m about ready to come back to it in order to make sure I’ve got everything I need written down. And after that I’ll write each of them on an index card, and fill in more detail on each plot point. Then I’ll sort of mix and match until they fit. (That also gives me liberty to move things around if something doesn’t seem to fit as I’m working through the rewrite.)

And it dawned on me: Isn’t that an outline?

The settings are the main points, and the plot points are the secondary points, with the details being sub-points. (The character sketches sit outside that, but you get the point.)

Well, I guess I do use outlines after all.

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