This year has been crazy busy for me! So many deadlines to meet which is so awesome! Lots of news, too! I’ve written so much already this year. Eight stories and novelettes so far. With number nine to be finished soon. I just turned in the edits on my first novelette sale, to Fiction River’s Christmas Ghosts anthology. So, look for Christmas Interrupted in October. My short story, Heaven Backwards will be published very soon in Fiction River: How to Save the World. And Speechless in Seattle will appear in Fiction River: Hex in the City in December. God, it feels good to be a working writer again!
May 11, 2013 / Short Stories
So, I’ve been spending the weeks after NaNoWriMo doing a little brain-diving into this vast overwhelming world in which I wrote Dragonsend. Some events and directions the book took toward the end felt wrong as I was writing them. Now, after going over everything for the past couple of weeks, I’ve determined that I need to toss the last third of the book. There were tons of missed opportunities, wrong turns, and some things I just plain forgot to include. One character started the book out of the picture after an argument, but now I realize that he was executed by the Crown in the beginning of the book. Tough break for him. Perhaps. We’ll see if he actually stays dead. : ) The most interesting thing was the ending. I realized after some brainstorming that I really had written the Series ending of the book instead of the ending of Dragonsend.
I’ve learned so much from my storyboarding and brainstorming which has been tons of fun. I feel like I know so much more about some events and characters than I did when I started. There are chapters I need to add, others I need to toss, and others need to be updated with some new information. And there are some really fun scenes I get to write that are missing. Can’t wait to write those either.
So, here are the individual book titles for the series:
- Book 1: Dragonsend
- Book 2: Dragonshift
- Book 3: Dragonscar
- Book 4: Dragonshade
- Book 5: Dragonstorm
I’ve got everything mapped out in Trello, so I’m working on a list of missing chapters for Book 1. Soon as I get that part sorted out, I’ll be starting pass 2 on the manuscript. Having so much fun with this! There were some really tedious points in the world-building process that I had to handle, but I think I’ve gotten through most of those. At least for Book 1. There will be a lot more for the upcoming books, but I have the major plot points figured out for each book now, which is awesome.
In the real world, I managed to get all my Christmas cards finished today. Got all my out-of-town boxes mailed and my work gifts done, too. Just need to get two more gifts and I think I’m done.
Back to work for me. Have a wonderful evening!
Well, it’s been a couple weeks since the Novel Dare ended and I’m still brain deep into my novel. It’s a series, so I’m really having to think about a story arc that will cross at least 5 books.
Was struggling a bit until I found a tool called Trello (www.trello.com). It’s a wonderful, easy tool (and free!) that I’ve been using at work to manage my department’s projects. And I’ve fallen in love with this thing! It’s so fluid, like an online sticky-note board, and it’s allowing me to stack up blocks of story and move them around and across books. All while still in creative process! Just love it!! So awesome! And you can export data into JSON format and save it as HTML.
It’s allowing me to see the individual books so much more clearly now. And I don’t have to worry about Bella eating critical chapter points er, sticky notes. This cat destroys every sticky note she gets her mitts on, making a physical board impossible. Thank you, Trello!
Back to plotting!
LONG POST WARNING! Wade in at your own risk.
Okay, so it’s been about twenty-four hours since I typed those wonderful words, The End at the bottom of my manuscript (okay, for me it was # # #). Lots of thoughts rolling around in my head about this book. So, in review, let’s look at the Top Ten Reasons why version 2 of Dragonsend will be much better than version 1:
1. Worst. Ending. Ever.
Definitely wasn’t the ending I’d envisioned I first imagined this story. There should have been some cool revelations and twists revealed at the end. Nope. Stuff just happened. And there was a big, overarching question that ran through the entire book, waiting for a cool answer to be revealed. Nope. It was answered, but like a question on a multiple choice test. Choice C happened. Blech!! No build up to the ending either. It was like a Star Trek 55-minute solution. Oh, shit! Only five minutes left, let’s end this! So lots of work to do there.
2. So. Much. Telling.
Some sections tell stories when they should be showing them. Will probably need to break these exposition lumps into chapters that show events from character POVs. Will give the book a lot more power. I’ve always known that, when stopped writing Dragonsend as a short story, it would be a series of books. I just focused mainly on Kieran’s story in this draft, but with each “history lesson” I wrote in the manuscript, there is a POV character I’m focusing on and a reason for their story. I need to look at all of these voices and see where they’ll fall into the series continuum. And then I’ll know if I even have the right ending (or even the right people present). This world is huge.
3. Too. Many. Damned. People.
Yep, so many people in this book, all telling stories and struggling for places. I need to figure out who needs to be where and when. I see six more books possible for this series, so getting the order of the events correct is crucial.
4. Where are the big, scary bad guys? All I see is the one guy.
All I showed was one bad guy, who is part of a huge group of bad guys. And these guys practice a magic that no one else uses. But I have almost no interactions with he Aegis or the Black Path they walk. So the terrible threat they pose feels forced and imaginary because the dudes aren’t around.
5. So, where’s all the fighting?
There’s a freakin’ war going on! Ongoing fighting at all Mendeval’s borders. Gotta show that.
6. Where’s the Magic?
Magic is the heart of this story, yet I don’t show nearly enough of it in the book.
7. Show Me the Dragons!
Okay, there’s a good reason why we don’t see them yet, but need to do a better job of showing them as integral and increase Kieran’s relationships with them. I want everyone to see him and the dragons as inseparable.
8. Pssst, Silverthorne, your Guardian isn’t doing much guarding…
Jadrian is called a Guardian for a reason, but she seems rather helpless and never strays from her Sacred Grove. Gotta fix that. Which may require me to dial down the viewpoints a bit. And I also need to make the distinctions between all the major players clear. And make it clear what a Guardian of the Paths actually guards. Some of these answers I didn’t know when I started writing this book, but now that I’ve reached some sort of ending of the first “story,” I’ve learned who does what.
9. Give the good guys more screen time
First off, there’s A LOT of good guys. Maybe too many? I need to evaluate all of the good guys and decide who may not need as much screen time and who many need more. Also, the Ebon Ward are the defenders of the Paths. The Sandrine’s army. I need to make the Ward MUCH more prominent, much more involved in this fight long before Kieran was even born. And throughout the book. I think that much of where I went with my ending might be the start of the events that will end the SERIES, or perhaps open the events for the last book. So, I need to spend some time drafting a better timeline of events, etc., and create short, dirty outlines for each book in this series. Each egg’s hatching will be a book.
10. Let the Hero fit in somewhere!
The one thing that Kieran wants more than anything is to belong somewhere, to have a place that feels like home. His was taken from him as very young child, leaving him forever longing for a home and family. So I need to make his joining up with the Ebon Ward and living in the Wardhouse feel more like family. Yeah, they’re a collection of Nor’lander mages and warriors, fighting to protect the existence of their magic. But because their blood links them in very close and personal ways, they’re just as much a family as they are an army. Which is just what Kieran is seeking. But there needs to be some sort of process to joining the Ward because of what’s at stake.
Well, here is your medal of courage under fire for getting to the end of this post. Lots of work for me to do, but it’ll be well worth the effort.
11:43 PM — And with 16 minutes to spare, this puppy is D-O-N-E DONE!! OMG I didn’t think I’d finish this thing, but I did. Final word count is 109,721 words with 11,423 words written today. OMG am I tired…
And big cograts to Brigid! For her 11th hour victory! Knew you could do it.
9:35 PM – Up over 8K currently and typing like mad toward the end. I’m three scenes away. I think. 106K ATM.
A few pages written this morning. Hoping to have a lot more…stay tuned.
Listening to: The October Project by October Project
UPDATE: Just realized that I didn’t count an entire chapter for my word count last night, sigh. So almost 5K for yesterday’s total and 98K for total word count.
11:13 PM — ARGH!! Didn’t get home until after 8:00 PM tonight, so a very late start on the writing. BUT…I managed to get the book moving toward its conclusion. A series of major crises that will culminate in the final showdown in Ahvra. Kieran must save the dragon hatchlings, break the puppet strings the Aegis has on the princess, and then carry the Seer’s magic inside him as he confronts King Sagar. And the Cimmerian Aegis. I’ve almost got him to the Seer. From there, he must return with the Ebon Ward at his side — and the freed Princess — to confront the King. This final confrontation with the King will be resolved, but it sends the flood waters all over Omphalos as the Aegis awakens. A greater threat than what Kieran has already faced. Which becomes Book 2. And that’s another story.
I *think* I can finish this puppy by tomorrow night, but boy is it going to be close. I’m thinking about taking a half day off from work tomorrow, so I can finish this book right. Haven’t had to worry about word count for a week, so that makes things easier. 96K at the moment. Wish me luck!
Listening to: The October Project by October Project
10:28 PM — was absolutely swamped at work today, so no break to do any writing. But…I fought hard to finish Act 2 tonight. And it is done. Only two days to write Act 3. That stinks, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I am notorious for rushing my endings, so this was the last position I wanted to be in for finishing the book. Will do what I can and hope I don’t fsck it up. Guess that’s why they call it a first draft, huh?
Tomorrow will be another busy day at work and then I have an appointment tomorrow to pick up my new CR-V. Yay! A bittersweet moment because I have to surrender my beloved Cougar. If I had a place to keep it, I wouldn’t have parted with it. But it’s time to let go. Never dreamed I’d have this much trouble trading in this car. Of all the vehicles I’ve owned in my life, this one has been my favorite. Yeah, I’m weird, I know. G’night.
Listening to: Whale Meditation by Kamal
10:07 PM – wrote a little on break this afternoon, but got a late start tonight because of a doctor’s appointment/prescription run. Managed 6K for the day though and I’m two scenes away from the end of Act 2. If I can write that on break tomorrow, I may have a fighting chance at actually finishing this book on time. It’s gonna be so close though. A few hundred words from 90K. This book’s gonna run past 100K…argh!!!!!!
Congratulations, Nick, on hitting that 50K mark!!
Listening to: Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan
9:34 PM - ARGH!! So much left to write and I’m just running out of time. Up over 83K now. Sadly, I really needed those three days I lost for the wedding and the accident.
Almost have them at the grove. Probably about 8K away from the completion of Act 2. The realization that the King’s sister is being controlled and then neutralizing it will end Act 2. Act 3 will open with the Ebon Ward infiltrating the manor after seeking out a soothsayer to help them. She tells them what must be done. So they go to Ahvra, the capitol city to set their plan into motion. Which backfires, forcing Kieran into a last desperate act. Gotta leave that for tomorrow. G’night.
Listening to: Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan
9:17 PM – Broke 77K words. Highest word count of the Dare at 6620. That’s it for me tonight. Have a good evening!
8:32 PM - Second Act is in high gear now. Getting ready to send Kieran, Varkus, Vayles, Orana, and Berean off to the Saeweard and the sacred grove to protect the eggs. Along the way, Kieran gets a crash course in magic. They’ll have to fight their way up the World’s Spine to secure the eggs. But things will get ugly when they return to the Wardhouse and find half the rescued Eburnean slaves poisoned and dying. Then Kieran discovers one of the eggs is sick, poisoned by the same forces. Poisoned by Princess Ashawnti.
He must return to the grove to save the egg. When he and Varkus return to the Wardhouse, they have to save the distraught Princess who tries to end her own life. That’s when they discover she’s being controlled by the Aegis and they must fight to free her of this parasitic spell causing destruction. And that will close the second act. If I can get through all of that by tomorrow night, then I’ll have four days to write Act 3. This may actually work out.
Much fun ahead.
Listening to: Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan
3:23 PM – Learned some new things I didn’t know about the plot, so working backward a little bit to add things in that should have been placed earlier rather than later. Slow going. But I’m up over 73K. Still a long way to go.
Listening to: Pandora radio
2:32 AM - Added a new chapter from the bad guy’s perspective, setting some things into motion that I forgot to include. Should make the rest of the second act go more smoothly. LOL, and hopefully faster.