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Posts Tagged ‘critiques’

My rule about first drafts is that they only go in one direction–forward. Creating the first draft and revising/editing it in subsequent drafts are two very different tasks that each require a very different frame of mind. Writing a first draft all the way to “The End” requires that I resist the urge to let myself get into the editor frame of mind.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that I can’t go back and make a note. I almost have to since I discovery write and sometimes I discover something that will require a change to something I wrote earlier or, more often, something that will need at least a touch of foreshadowing–you know, like the fact that dragons exist in this world if a dragon or two are suddenly going to show up in, like, Chapter 30. (That’s a reference to another story I need to circle back to sometime, MAGE STORM.)

I also belong to one writing group that reads a few chapters at a time every month or so. This works really well. It lets me know what aspects of the story are working and which need a bit more work. As per the rule above, I incorporate ideas from these critiques as notes and move on–usually.

However, right now, as I’m trying to rebuild momentum after a couple of unplanned stops pauses, I’m thinking this might be a good time to break that rule.

In this particular case, my critique partner wanted more emotion about a particular past event that isn’t directly shown, but only referred to. I agree, in general. Particularly because this event is the cause of one of my main characters . . . what K. M. Weiland would refer to as his “ghost”. Something he believes, that isn’t really true, that holds him back, at least temporarily.

The problem is that this particular place in the story–at the start of a battle–isn’t the place for soul searching or a lot of emotion that doesn’t have to do with not getting killed or letting too many of his men get killed, either. I had actually toyed with the idea of deleting that paragraph or two for just that reason. But I need to get the information in somewhere and I’m not sure where else to put it. Plus, it ties into his motivation in that moment.

What I can do is have him firmly repress that emotion and memory because this is not the time or place for it. But then I still have to figure out how to get that emotion in somewhere else. And I can see pretty clearly how and where to do exactly that. And it would be adding not editing.

So, this feels like a good time to break that first draft rule, just a little. Hopefully, it’ll even help me build momentum for the story as a whole.

 

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BECOME: BROTHERS finally has a cover:

Brothers

Ta da!

Also, that new scene I was working on has been finished. (I teared up a little when writing it, so at least I think it’s good.) My critique partner was so right about needing that scene.

Now, it’s on to:

  1. Tthe blurb, which I’ve started.
  2. Finish the revisions.
  3. I might need to write one other new scene.
  4. Polishing edit
  5. And publish!

Then, I can get back to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

Also, I’ve finished going through the spring refresh of my novels and boxed sets. There’s a handful of short stories and one novella still to go, but I can take those at my leisure. Though two of them may need some remedial work on the covers, too.

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Well, I re-enabled page flip on my DUAL MAGICS series.

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set

Page reads are still zero. Wide distribution is starting to look more and more likely for me. Getting everything out of Kindle Select to allow that to happen may be a bit tricky. I need to look at the term end dates and make a schedule.

Meanwhile, in better news, I think I’ve finally got a good demo for the cover of BECOME: BROTHERS. One step closer. Also, I’ve started that scene I decided I needed to show the main character’s vulnerability. By started, I mean I’ve written one sentence, but I do have a pretty clear idea of how the scene needs to go. I’ve just been busy with other things.

And I’m also working on getting the new covers up for the Chimeria series.

ChimeriaBox

That involves changing them for the paperbacks, too.

So, yeah, busy. But mostly in a good way.

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So, the last few days have been spent on that formatting issue that’s supposed to help with that page-flip glitch. And not much else. Sometimes, things just work the first time you try. More often, they don’t. Especially when they involve learning a couple a new software applications.

Despite a couple of online sets of instructions, it wasn’t nearly as straightforward as depicted–and it hadn’t looked that simple to start with. But . . . a former boss once observed that, with me, he needed to watch where he aimed. Because once I get my teeth into a task, I will rarely quit until I’ve succeeded. And, finally, last night, I did.

THE SHAMAN’S CURSE has been reformatted, though there’s one (relatively small) thing I may still need to go back and fix.

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The upside, aside from hopefully fixing that glitch, is that the formatting of the ebook should actually be improved.

So, one down, sixteen to go (counting boxed sets and short fiction). But, from here, it should be easier. I hope. I just . . . don’t really feel motivated to start on that list again today. Maybe a day of rest from that battle is warranted.

Meanwhile, I’m going to also get back to revisions on BECOME: BROTHERS. As well as working on cover art for it. Oh, and a blurb. (Just like writing queries–not my favorite part of this process, but necessary. Without a good blurb, the whole page-flip battle will be useless.)

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So, the critique for “Become:Brothers” has come back already. That’s an advantage of it being a novella–doesn’t take nearly as long to read through and comment on. The verdict is good. It works as a story, though, of course, there are things that need to be changed or added to make it work even better.

I’ll be getting started on that soon.

But now it’s time to start thinking about cover art. I had a demo all worked up, but, the more I think about it, the less I think that the images convey the correct genre. So, I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board on that one. Plus, I need to make the cover as nearly consistent with the cover I’ve already done for BECOME as possible.

becomeblue

But the main thing is that it looks like this will work as a story. I’m always a little nervous about that with anything shorter than a full novel. Perversely, novels seem to be easier for me to pull off than shorter fiction.

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Cause for celebration: The prequel novella to BECOME: To Catch the Lightning is now in the hands of one of my critique partners.

becomeblue

While I wait to hear back on that, I’m reviewing what I’d started on an entirely different epic fantasy, currently titled MAGE STORM.

 

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So, on BECOME:

becomeblue

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

 

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