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I’m a little more than three-quarters of the way through the first draft of Beyond the Prophecy, the third book in the Dual Magics series. I’m at a point where I’m making a lot of notes of things that need to be fixed in the revisions.

This is the first book in the series in which things are moving on two fronts. Not that I haven’t occasionally cut away from the main character to show what was going on somewhere else. But now it’s not something that’s going to impact him later. Now, while he valiantly tries to put a lid on things over hear, they’re boiling over somewhere else. And, being only human (if a magical one), he can still only be in one place at a time.

The thing was, I didn’t have a good way to connect what’s going on in one place with the issues in the other–at least until everything blows up in the fourth (and last) book. That is–until yesterday, when the solution occurred to me.

I also had a couple of characters who’d played a part in the second book, The Voice of Prophecy,

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who had virtually disappeared in this book. I wanted to at least have them show themselves, since they’ll have roles in the fourth book.

And the plan came together. One of those characters is the perfect link between at least part of what’s happening away from the main city and what’s going on in the city.

I’ve backed up to add a chapter. That’s not something I usually allow myself to do in a first draft, but I’m making an exception this time.

 

 

 

I’ve been reading–admittedly slowly because it’s just not as much fun as reading fiction–a graphic design book, trying to improve my understanding of what I’m doing when I design a book cover. I actually looked for a course at my local community college, but they didn’t have one. Graphic Arts, yes, but not Graphic Design, specifically.

I think typography will likely be an area where I need to get into more depth. I have a tendency to just pick a standard font and go with it.

This is particularly apropos because I’m trying to get a start on two covers right now. The one for BEYOND THE PROPHECY, the third book in the Dual Magics series. And one for DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, a young adult fantasy romance that I wrote over a year ago.

I actually have the concept for BEYOND THE PROPHECY pretty well in hand. Not that it will hurt to have a better understanding of the principals of design. But the background theme–blue and red on a dark background–is already well established. The backgrounds advance from lightning, to a veritable storm of lightning, to smoke, and finally to flames. The only thing I really need to choose for those covers is the foreground image. For BEYOND THE PROPHECY it will be a white eagle (or as close as I can get, which may be a gyrfalcon. There aren’t very many images of truly white eagles.) That might, or might not, give you an idea of what happens in the story.

DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING is proving more difficult. I think I may finally have a concept. Something I may try out on a couple of Facebook groups I belong to, to see how it flies. That’s very helpful, too.

Indie authors have to wear a lot of hats.

 

Evolving Ideas

So, that series guide I was thinking about in my last post. It probably won’t be something to put in a future newsletter after all. It might just be right here on this blog, with links added in the ebooks.

There’s already a good deal of information about the world of the Dual Magics series right here under the Worlds tab. Now, that could definitely use a bit of reorganization.

Right now, there’s a lot of the world building information about each of the different cultural groups in the story and a map. And more could be added to it.

Some of that would be new information, like a version of those synopses that have been bothering me, so that anyone who wanted to update themselves on the major events of the previous books could find that information here. Maybe even a brief history of how the Dual Magics world got to be the way it is at the beginning of the series answering questions like:

  • Why do the Dardani fear magic so much?
  • Are the Valson and the Fasallon really related and why did they separate?
  • And, for that matter, where did they come from and why did they leave?

Now, I’m still thinking of writing some prequel stories–possibly novellas–about that history. But . . . well, we’ll see.

And everything could be livened up with some images that show what I was thinking about when I wrote that part. Like, for example, this photo which is what I think Thekila looks like.

© Aksakalko | Dreamstime.com - Portrait Of Young Beautiful Red-haired Woman Photo

© Aksakalko | Dreamstime.com – Portrait Of Young Beautiful Red-haired Woman Photo

I’m liking this idea very much. Stay tuned.

Series Guide

This is a fun idea brought to my attention by fellow writer Donna K. Weaver, based on something she’d seen another author do recently.

Create a little guide, probably .pdf, of the series. It could include extra materials on the world building and history along with images of things that were part of my inspiration. Maybe other fun things, as well, like deleted scenes.

It seems to me that a newsletter would be almost a necessity to distribute something like this. That’s something I keep saying I’m going to do and somehow never get around to. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants I need.

At any rate, I’ve had some fun this drizzly morning looking up and collecting images that reflect what I see when I’m writing these stories. Like this one:

© Prometeus | Dreamstime.com - Aborigine Photo

© Prometeus | Dreamstime.com – Aborigine Photo

That’s a pretty good image of my concept of the shaman from THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. Right down to the raven mask. (But less the heavy eye make up.) So good, that for a while it was a contender for the cover. Might have made it, too–if I’d been able to figure out what I could do with the other covers to unify the series.

That’s not as much of a sidetrack to working on the first draft of BEYOND THE PROPHECY as it might seem. This kind of inspiration can also help to recharge the creative batteries. I may have to do some more browsing later.

Now that I can see the remainder of BEYOND THE PROPHECY so clearly, I’m getting impatient to write the climax. I think it’s going to be good. And take a couple of (hopefully) unexpected twists. And, of course, take the main character’s inner journey further, too. His character arc may sometimes be subtle, but he has a long way to go to complete it in the fourth book and last book of the Dual Magics series.

However, as a discovery writer, I find I really need to write (mostly) in order. I can’t skip around the way some writers do. Oh, I’ll sketch out a future scene if I, say, wake up with it in my head. But even then, I usually find that it changes significantly–or maybe doesn’t happen at all–by the time I get to it.

So, now what I have to do is channel that excitement about the climax into these next few chapters that will get me there.

 

Remember Wednesday when I gave a rough estimate of 58 chapters in BEYOND THE PROPHECY? Well, I decided to rough out what I thought those chapters might be. (I won’t call it an outline, because I don’t do those.) It came out to 46 in the first draft.

That may or may not be accurate. It’s perfectly possible that I’ll discover some events that require more than one chapter. And I’m pretty sure that I’ll be adding at least a couple of chapters in the first round of revisions. (That’s not particularly unusual, by the way.) But, yeah, I don’t think it’s going to be 58 chapters.

That means I might finish this first draft in as little as a month. It might take a bit longer than that, though, because there are at least three fight scenes in the last part and they do take more planning and a little longer to write.

So, I’m definitely making progress and getting more confident with the idea of a September/October release. Though a lot could still happen to change that.

That’s approximately the pace I’m on right now. (Actually, it’s closer to 3 1/2 chapters.) I can see fairly clearly all the way to the end. There will always be some surprises along the way for a discovery writer. That’s what makes it fun.

Now, I don’t have all that broken down into chapters the way a plotter might. However, I’m just about to start chapter 31. And the other two books in the series have run to 63 chapters (The Shaman’s Curse)

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????and 53 chapters (The Voice of Prophecy)

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I think this one will likely be closer to 53 than 63, but let’s split the difference at 58 chapters. At this rate, I’ll finish the first draft in about 8 or 9 weeks.

Now, that’s a rough draft. I already know there are things I’ll need to change or fix. It’ll need to rest for about a month so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. Then  a couple of revision passes before it’s ready for my beta readers. Those tend to go much faster than the first draft. I’m thinking I might get it to my beta readers around June, which usually takes about another month. Then final revisions and a polishing edit.

Beyond the Prophecy might be published as early as September.

Don’t quote me on that yet, though.

In the meantime, I have a Dual Magics short story to prepare for publication.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(That’s on the schedule for that month when the first draft is resting.) I’d hope to get that published sometime in May or June.

I also have another novel which was completed before I started the Dual Magics Series, that I’ll likely go ahead and publish somewhere in that time frame.

And there are at least two more Dual Magics short stories to work in there somewhere.

Busy few months ahead.

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