Revisions on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY are going well.
In fact, I’m just about at the halfway point. It really is mostly downhill from here. Most of the revisions for this round were in the first third or so of the book. I’ve been picking up speed over the last couple of days after I passed that point.
With any kind of luck, I should be able to finish this round by mid November, maybe sooner. Which means, I’ll feel comfortable (I think) putting it up for pre-order on Amazon. Watch for it.
There’ll be a celebration of some kind at that point.
I also now have a good idea what I need to do to make the tie-in short story, “Modgud Gold”, ready. I think it’s doubtful that I’ll be able to publish that next month as I’d originally hoped. More likely sometime after the first of the year. I already have a good idea what the cover art will be.
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Well, not all plans work out. I last posted about my plans for chapters seven, nine, and what was then ten (now eleven) of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.
Chapter Seven worked out pretty well, I think. Chapter Nine didn’t. I followed my plan with the mini-flashbacks and still just wasn’t in love with the result. So, I went back to the drawing board.
Chapter Nine had three main parts (which were not necessarily separate scenes). The last, which is now a separate chapter, allows one character to reflect on what had just happened and reveals to the reader a few things this character knows or suspects that he hasn’t–yet–shared with the others. That stayed. It had to be a separate chapter because it needs to be in his POV and the rest of the chapter isn’t anymore.
Right before that is a discussion of the current problem, along with a magical experiment to test a hypothesis. That has been revised a bit, but basically remains intact.
The first part, though, was mainly a retelling of something that had happened in the first book, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.
That part is what needed work. The mini-flashbacks helped liven it up, but just not enough. So the next thing to do was decide just what I needed out of that part.
Now, because this is book two of a four-book series, sometimes I need to include things that aren’t immediately important, but will become important. (Like Harry Potter had to go through Professor Lockhart’s Dueling Club in order to learn the expelliarmus charm that he would ultimately use to defeat Voldemort.) But, you know, I don’t necessarily have to spend pages to establish it.
I’d already added a short “The Story So Far” at the beginning of the book. So, the information is there for anyone who needs a refresher–or who didn’t read the first book. What I chiefly need that part for is to expose an unusual magical gift that Vatar possesses and that he hasn’t had a reason to bring up before now. (Like Harry doesn’t think it’s unusual to be able to talk to snakes, until Ron and Hermione tell him.) And I found a way to fold that into the second part above. So the whole retelling can be cut to just the parts where the retelling is interrupted by one of the listeners for clarification. Much better.
Now it’s on to Chapter Eleven and what can be cut from there. I suspect a great deal can be included just by a quick reference later, rather than drag the reader through it.
The point is to get to where things really start moving quicker.
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Remember THE IGNORED PROPHECY is at its heart a mystery.
Strange things are happening with Vatar’s magic for more than one reason. The story starts with this and ends when the last part of the mystery is finally unraveled.
The main problem with the first part of the book as it’s written, is that after the mystery starts, the characters do a lot of talking about it. To a degree, this is necessary. Each of them has part of the key to getting to the bottom of it. They have to talk it out in order to solve the mystery. But . . . well, it’s not exactly epic. In fact, I can see where some readers thought that section was pretty slow.
The plan to correct this goes like this:
- One part of the mystery was resolved much too quickly in the last draft. I’m going to put that off now. The characters will actually propose the (correct) solution and then discard it until much later.
- There’s enough action (I think) in the first three chapters that essentially expose the mystery, but then not much (as currently written) until the first major plot point in Chapters 12 and 13. (No, I’m not going to tell you what that is.) To correct this:
- I’m going to expand a minor (but important) incident in Chapter 7 and make it much more exciting. Hopefully, it will also serve to increase Vatar’s level of fear about what’s going on. (I actually wrote this scene yesterday.)
- In Chapter 9, where Vatar relates a part of what happened in THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, I’m going to add a few mini-flashbacks of the more exciting parts.Then, well things start getting really interesting around about Chapter 12.
- And Chapter 10, which mostly just serves to set up Chapter 12 and to account for the unexpected arrival of another character . . . well, I’m getting out the pruning axe for that chapter.
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Revisions on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY are proceeding well.
The first thing I did when I started this round of revisions was make a plan. It started with going through the various critiques I’d received (three and a half–one person didn’t finish) in detail. I marked up each comment in my master manuscript. (Well, except for the ones I addressed immediately, like the few typos.) I also put some thought into the more extensive comments made at the end of those critiques (partly in response to some questions I’d posed, partly volunteered) and marked those up either at specific places in the document or at the top. I asked one of my critique partners some clarifying questions.
Now, as I proceed through the revisions, I have three main goals.
- Clarifying. This is especially the case for those critique partners who had not read the first book, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. This involves mostly minor revisions, often just a sentence or two, to provide a little background to those readers who didn’t read THE SHAMAN’S CURSE first, or who might have forgotten certain aspects. This will mostly be in the first quarter or so of the book. One or two scenes that I’d deleted earlier may make it back into the book.
- Tightening. Especially in the first part of the book, I may need to just cut a bit more, move the plot along a little more briskly. In fact, I’ve just gotten to one chapter in particular that I need to look at seriously for this. This goal, of course, is slightly at odds with the one above. That’s the way it sometimes goes.
- Upping the Central Conflict. The first two will likely be completed in one pass. This one is more likely to require two passes. The heart of this book is essentially a mystery concerning the magic. Something (actually some things) happen that either aren’t supposed to be possible or are very disturbing to the main character. This is, in fact, where the issue of the Dual Magics comes out into the open. There are probably at least two things I’ll need to do to fix this. In some places, I’ll need to just make everything scarier. Others I’ll need to drag out for longer. (I allowed part of the mystery to be resolved too quickly. Need to fix that.)
That issue with the conflict is also the reason for the title change. I think some readers just had the wrong idea about what kind of conflict they’d be getting in this book. Of course, there are quite a few supporting conflicts that demand the use of magic–and sometimes spears–too.
When I feel like I’ve got a good handle on these revisions (possibly after I finish the first pass), I’ll put THE VOICE OF PROPHECY up for pre-order. This will be my first experiment with pre-order on Amazon, so I’ll be interested to see how that goes.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing for the next month or so. I also need to do the same thing for the related short story “Modgud Gold”, which needs some work before I can publish it.
Posted in writing | Tagged characters, conflict, e-publishing, fantasy, Goals, revisions, sequels, series, short stories, writing | 2 Comments »
As I start on the revisions to THE VOICE OF PROPHECY,
I stumbled on this series of posts about character arc and suddenly the whole thing becomes clear. It gave me the key to some issues I was wrestling with. I now know what needs to be emphasized.
The linked articles outline a version of the three-act structure which actually breaks the character arc into four parts. Coincidentally, DUAL MAGICS is a four-book series and fits this structure remarkably well.
I love serendipity. Moving forward with more confidence now.
Posted in writing | Tagged characters, critiques, e-publishing, fantasy, inspiration, Learning, sequels, series, writing | 2 Comments »
I’m ready to really dive into the revisions on The Voice of Prophecy, now.
I’ve got all of the comments from my critique partners marked up in the manuscript. The beginning needs to be tightened–a lot. Maybe a little more action added in. The world building needs to be filtered in much better.
Meanwhile, I’ve made some really good progress on my new office space.
Not nearly done yet. But I predict much better productivity than in my previous cramped space.
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Want a sneak peek at the cover of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY (which used to be called THE IGNORED PROPHECY)?
Here it is.
Love that feeling of a wave about to crash (as opposed to the lightning strike on the first cover). Both are very apropos for the character’s experience in those books.
Look for a possible pre-order on Amazon as soon as I have a good handle on the needed revisions.
Meanwhile, I’m busy going through my beta readers’ comments in detail and planning the revisions to make the story even better.
Not surprisingly, some areas need to be tightened up. Some may need a little extra attention. The main thing is that I need to do a much better job of reintroducing the world, the cultures, the locations, and the people (just in case someone picks up this book first)–all while not bogging the story down for people who did read THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. Okay, that may not be as easy as I just made it sound.
Also, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE
and FIRE AND EARTH
are both on sale for only $0.99 thru the 11th.
Posted in writing | Tagged Cover Art, critiques, e-publishing, fantasy, revisions, sequels, series, world building, writing | Leave a Comment »