Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Plans

New month, new goals!

I fell out of counting my writing hours these past two months. In June I had other goals (and probably worked more in hours anyway), and in July I needed some space from writing demands. But now I'm feeling the need to get back in the swing.

August is going to be a challenging month for finding writing time. The Son is done with camps, and I'm facing down a solid month of having to play Cruise Director. All things considered, I think 30 hours is a reasonable goal.

My non-time based goals are to finish my query and synopsis, and also to do yet another final edit for TOB. I've had two out of five beta readers give me crits so far, and they've both been incredible helpful in their own ways-- even though they sometimes disagree. I think having five readers was a good move, because if five people all point to something and say, This is a Problem, you know it's probably not just a matter of taste.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Next Big Thing

So let's talk about my next book!

What-- too soon?

I do plan to return to Eleven Names within the next six months. But before that, I'd like to get a rough draft for the other series I've mind-playing with. This decision is partly practical (if I don't get anywhere querying TOB, I can refocus my energies on developing a story in a different world/genre) and partly visceral (I'm just more jazzed to work on it than EN).

I've blogged about this project before. The pieces of it had been floating around my subconscious for years, and finally coalesced into a story last fall: Fantasy meets Alternate History meets polyamorous Romance. Set in an alternate New England c.1850, with magic. A four-part series... so, a tetralogy, I guess, but what an awkward word.

I worked on it for six weeks in late 2014 and got:

*fairly detailed character profiles for my quartet of main characters
*the beginnings of the alternate Bible stories I need-- basically, just Genesis and Jesus
*a phase outline of the first quarter or so of the first book
*a broad strokes sketch of the series
*some preliminary research: read a few comps, gathered some info on New England native peoples

My plan (which I will talk about in great and gory detail in a later post) is to begin official storybuilding/prep work on Sept. 1. Until then, I'll work on completing my submission packet for TOB, and farting around with whatever I feel like doing on the new project. I probably have a minimum of ten books to read for research to even write a first draft, so I should get hopping on that, too.

Series name: The Sacred Talents
Title of the first book: Mender

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TOB Progress Report

TOB has been out with beta readers for nearly two weeks. Once the crits start rolling in, I'll be doing some editing, I'm sure.

Query v.13 has gotten some good comments, and now I'm letting it marinate. It makes me chuckle, because the thing is bleeding red with comments, like a paragraph on each line-- and then the poster invariably ends with "but I think you're really close!" Thank dog for them. As confusing as it can be to get a lot of feedback, queries are such a tightrope act, and it's so difficult for a writer to see what's confusing about their own work, that I'd be screwed without perspective from other writers who've been though it.

I've been working on my synopsis, following the plan in Writing the Fiction Synopsis by Pm McCutcheon. The first few steps were surprisingly helpful in showing me things I need to add or highlight more in the MS itself. Today I made a bullet list of all the scenes in the book, and just that is 500 words. Ugh. Getting this thing to no more than two pages is going to be hard.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Query v.13 Done

An hour was enough to get a new version of the query done. I've posted it up on AW and have already gotten some great feedback. I made it a deliberately stripped-down version, so I have space to spend a few words clarifying the things that are still confusing. But I think it's close!

Tomorrow I'm going to get started on the dreaded synopsis. Cue the ominous organ music.

Back in the Query Trenches

My brain has had its little holiday. I read a few books, took The Son to Boston to enjoy an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and had my biennial fall on The Parent's bloodthirsty driveway. Not to worry-- I broke the fall with my face. I look like someone punched me in the nose.

Today I'm getting back to work on the query. I've written approximately 12 versions of the thing, each one a bit better than the last. Then I posted it for feedback on Absolute Write, and realized it still kind of sucks. So I'm working on a major overhaul. My plan is to work on it for an hour a day until I have a new version to post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Done! Sort Of. For Now.

The Owl Bearer is in the hands of beta readers! It took me longer than it should have to complete the final read-through and line edit. I wasn't able to work on it for a few days, and then when I tried to go back to it my mind was just like, NOPE. But I got it done, and now I get a blessed few weeks in which I don't have to think about it. I should be working on my query and synopsis, but not this week. I need a break.

Knowing that actual people are reading it is a weird feeling. No one's read my fiction since grad school, lo these twenty years ago. I want beta readers to give me feedback because I've reached the point where I don't know what else to do to make it better. I want to make it better, so I want the readers to tell me what's wrong... but at the same time, it's hard to let go of the cringing embarrassment of letting people read something I know is not perfect. It's a weird mix of feelings: the relief of having gotten this far, the vulnerability of exposing all my writing imperfections, and the gratitude that five people have agreed to spend a little chunk of their lives trying to help me make this book all it can be.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Almost There

In true Excavating the Relic fashion, I will be a few days late finishing the fiddle. I've been working on it, but I think I'm fried from the push to finish the draft, because I can only read it for an hour at a time before I can't focus on it any more and I need a serious break. I did the first third of the book, and it took me so much longer than I thought it would to read it and make notes. But then the type-in took much less time, and I didn't have any trouble at all focusing on it. Weird.

My goal for today is to finish reading the second third of the book, and then, if I have time, start the type-in.