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Story Structure

Three-day weekends really mess up my sense of time. I nearly forgot to blog today, ’cause in some ways is feels like Saturday, knowing I have tomorrow off.

I’ve mentioned before that BECOME has a somewhat unusual story structure.

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The relationship between the brothers is important and I’ve tried to show its development. But that’s given the beginning of the book a somewhat episodic structure. And some of my critique partners who are reading the early chapters have a problem with that.

Actually, I’m coming to suspect that I have more of a problem with it than I’ve realized, too. I think that’s at least part of why I haven’t been making better progress with this story. It’s disconcerting to think that I’m almost 44,000 words in and I might not have gotten to the real beginning of the story, yet.

I’m not quite sure what to do about that other than keep going, hope the pace picks up when I do get to the meat of the story, and then figure out how to fix it–what needs to be cut or moved.

As Shannon Hale said,

Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.

 

Not a human teenager, though.

My Cardigan Welsh corgi, Micah turned 13 today.

Micah and Aliza

Micah is the darker one, a brindle and white.

Digital Camera

Aliza is the lighter one (red and white). Unfortunately, we lost Aliza last May at 15 and 1/2. Micah’s been lonely without her.

Digital Camera

He’s my sweet, silly boy, velcro dog who never lets me walk into another room alone. He’s also the only dog I’ve ever seen sleep in this position. Cats, yes. Dogs, no.

Happy birthday, big guy.

 

So, on BECOME:

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I’ve been a little stuck on that last scene before that exciting one I mentioned in my last post. I don’t really know why, except maybe just being too distractable.

But I did block in the dialog for an important chapter that will follow the excitement this morning. Because it was in my head and the best thing to do when that happens is to get it down so I won’t forget it. So, that’s some progress.

Also, I’ve been using the time to mark up comments for revisions to earlier chapters based on critiques by some critique partners. It’s always good to get a feel for what’s working, what’s not, and what’s confusing to readers.

Aside from that, I’ve been trying to expand my social-media-promotion toolkit. Instead of just using the cover of one of my books, I’ve been trying for a little more. I started this a little before Christmas. Here are my efforts so far:

holiday-stress-relief-dual-magics

new-year-fantasy

new-years-magic

fantastic-new-horizons

 

Still working on BECOME, of course.

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Just one more scene and then I get to work on one of the more exciting parts of this story. Hint: There’ll be a dragon involved.

This is the point where one of the brothers is going to come very close to betraying the other–only to realize that his assumptions were all wrong.

That’s going to be fun. Dare I hope that writing the story will start moving a little faster?

2017 Writing Goals

Since I was a day late earlier in the week, I suppose I should make up for it by posting a day early.

It’s time to decide on my writing goals for 2017.

  1. Publish BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.becomeblue This means:
    • Finish the first draft.
    • Figure out how many books there actually are in this series and where the break points are.
    • Let it rest for about a month.
    • Run through a couple of revisions.
    • Get it critiqued.
    • Another round of revisions.
    • Polishing edit.
    • Format for publication.
  2. That first goal may be close to enough. But I also want to get restarted on the rewrite of MAGE STORM. (No cover, yet, though I have a couple of  ideas.)
  3. I doubt very much that there’ll be a lot of writing time left over. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be jotting down ideas on some of the other stories I have simmering on the back burners.
    • MAGIC AND POWER: Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, but centering on another set of protagonists. (MAGIC AND POWER might end up being the series title.)???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    • A couple of fairy-tale retellings buzzing around the back of my mind. One of them might end up in the MAGIC AND POWER world.
    • My weird Oz story is always out there. I actually wrote about ten chapters of it, but it wasn’t working. Partly because I’d left my protagonist completely alone for too long. I need to figure out how to give her an unhelpful, but talkative sidekick that will fit in this more dangerous version of Oz.
    • The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series, though I don’t think I’m quite ready to go back to that world yet.Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set
    • Someday, I’m going to have to go back and write the third book in the Chimeria series. That is a fun world to play in.Chimeria Box 2
  4. Get better at marketing. The only way that’s going to happen is if I make a plan and devote some attention to it at least every month, not just around book launches. It’s just not nearly as much fun as writing. But it has to be done.

 

2016 Goals Results

Time to see how I did against the goals I set for myself last year. (Results are in bold italics.)

  1. WAR OF MAGIC: Complete first draft, revisions, get critiques, revise again, polish, and publish. Done.warmagicprintcover
  2. Revise the already-published “Becoming Lioness” and publish the new edition. Pull together the tie-in short stories, “Hunter and Huntress” and “The Seeker”. Put them through the same revision process. Nope. Becoming Lioness Cover 2
  3. Publish a boxed set of the DUAL MAGICS series. Done, though I only included the first three books and one short story, “Modgud Gold”.Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set
  4. MAGE STORM: Rewrite this as an epic fantasy. Same revision process as above. Try to publish in 2016 or early 2017. MAGE STORM ended up being pushed back in favor of BECOME.
  5. BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING: Get a first draft done. Still working on the first draft.becomeblue
  6. Planning, world-building, etc. for some of the other stories on my back burner: Some planning, but no other progress.
    1. Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING.
    2. A set of fairy-tale retellings I’ve been playing with.
    3. The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series that explain how the world got that way.
    4. The sequels to MAGE STORM.
    5. My Weird Oz story.
    6. The last novel in the Chimeria series.
  7. I would dearly love to be able to get to a writers’ conference somewhere in there, but that will depend on both time and finances. Nope.

In summary, the most important goal was met. But it took longer than I’d hoped and basically pushed all the other goals back a bit. Still progress. I’ll take it.

 

A Day Late

Forgot to blog yesterday. Probably because I barely touched the computer all day.

Unsurprisingly, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done on BECOME during the last few days.

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But now, most of the distractions are behind me and I hope to get a lot more done before I go back to work on January 3rd. The most distracting thing I have planned for today is laundry.

But, you know, sometimes these little delays work out all right. In this case, just this morning, I found some very interesting perspectives on the relationship between the two brothers in my story here.

Back to work.