A Moment of Reflection

It has been a long time since I added a post here.  This is not because I haven’t been writing, but because I have been incredibly focused on writing.  For over a year, all my energy and efforts  have focused on completing the second complete draft of the first book in Gods Among Men, At The Lady’s Behest Comes…

At the beginning of October I finished the second draft.  This completed a wrenching experience in which I rewrote much of the book from scratch.  Some scenes I rewrote multiple times.  I edited every page, ever paragraph, multiple times. 

Along the way, my editing skill grew immensely.  Enough that since finishing the second draft last month, I performed a complete edit on every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, and sentence.  I managed to cut over third of pages from the second draft, removing over 200 pages (over 70,000 words) from the novel.  Essentially, in one month I completed a third draft.  

I feel proud of the first novel’s current state and consider it complete, for the moment.  (More on that further down the page.)  All chapters are available for download at http://gods-among-men.com/blog/books/book1.  I invite anyone interested to read what is there. 

What’s Next?

It is going to be hard to get At The Lady’s Behest Comes…published.  It is long for a first novel (over 150,000 words, whereas most first novels are around 80,000 words) and it ends on some major cliff-hangers.  But it is a good story with strong characters, and I have faith that eventually I’ll see it in print.

I have contracted a professional editor to review the novel and provide feedback on what I must do to make the work more presentable and palatable to agents and publishers.  I expect that his suggestions will prompt further changes, and possibly more rewrites.  I use to dread rewrites; now I accept them as challenges that improve my skills as a writer. 

And In The Meantime?

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  Last year during NaNoWriMo I wrote much of the second book, …Demiurge, Unbound,…

I’m late getting started this year, already almost 5000 words behind where I should be.  I plan to focus on writing a hodgepodge of scenes I need for the second and third books.  This will help me flesh out a variety of characters and scenarios better.  I’m hopeful  that by focusing on scenes I’ve thought about for years I’ll rapidly make up the lost time.

By the end of November, I expect to receive some feedback from the editor I hired.  December and January will probably be devoted to incorporating his suggestions and comments.

After which I will look for an agent.  I expect the process of getting an agent and publisher to dominate much on my non-writing/non-work time next year.

And With Regards to Writing Next Year?

My goal for writing next year is to finish my partial first draft of the second book and begin the process of editing it.  As chapters reach the “presentable” stage I’ll post them on my website, http://gods-among-men.com.  

It would be overly optimistic to expect to finish an edited version of the second book by the end of next year.  I think it likely that I will finish a rough first draft and have final edits of many chapters by then.

And I keep toying with posting MP3 readings of the first book on my website.  I think it would be fun to do, but also quite time consuming.  I’ll likely keep bouncing this idea around in my head and never get around to actually doing it.  But I might well try a few chapters and see what happens.

And Your Blogs?

The blogs served an important function for a time.  They forced me to write regularly and focus my thoughts.  Maintaining them like I did helped push me to write often enough that I developed good work habits.  I expect I’ll focus my future writing efforts on my story, and blog infrequently at best.

That said, I sometimes look back over old posts and find what I wrote there interesting snapshots of where I was at that time.  There is value in putting random thoughts in permanent form, insight to be gained from reviewing previous ramblings.  Perhaps I’ll make an effort to add post more regularly, but I doubt it.

Until next time, have fun and party down.

A Moment of Reflection

It has been a long time since I added a post here.  This is not because I haven’t been writing, but because I have been incredibly focused on writing.  For over a year, all my energy and efforts  have focused on completing the second complete draft of the first book in Gods Among Men, At The Lady’s Behest Comes…

At the beginning of October I finished the second draft.  This completed a wrenching experience in which I rewrote much of the book from scratch.  Some scenes I rewrote multiple times.  I edited every page, ever paragraph, multiple times. 

Along the way, my editing skill grew immensely.  Enough that since finishing the second draft last month, I performed a complete edit on every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, and sentence.  I managed to cut over third of pages from the second draft, removing over 200 pages (over 70,000 words) from the novel.  Essentially, in one month I completed a third draft.  

I feel proud of the first novel’s current state and consider it complete, for the moment.  (More on that further down the page.)  All chapters are available for download at http://gods-among-men.com/blog/books/book1.  I invite anyone interested to read what is there. 

What’s Next?

It is going to be hard to get At The Lady’s Behest Comes…published.  It is long for a first novel (over 150,000 words, whereas most first novels are around 80,000 words) and it ends on some major cliff-hangers.  But it is a good story with strong characters, and I have faith that eventually I’ll see it in print.

I have contracted a professional editor to review the novel and provide feedback on what I must do to make the work more presentable and palatable to agents and publishers.  I expect that his suggestions will prompt further changes, and possibly more rewrites.  I use to dread rewrites; now I accept them as challenges that improve my skills as a writer. 

And In The Meantime?

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  Last year during NaNoWriMo I wrote much of the second book, …Demiurge, Unbound,…

I’m late getting started this year, already almost 5000 words behind where I should be.  I plan to focus on writing a hodgepodge of scenes I need for the second and third books.  This will help me flesh out a variety of characters and scenarios better.  I’m hopeful  that by focusing on scenes I’ve thought about for years I’ll rapidly make up the lost time.

By the end of November, I expect to receive some feedback from the editor I hired.  December and January will probably be devoted to incorporating his suggestions and comments.

After which I will look for an agent.  I expect the process of getting an agent and publisher to dominate much on my non-writing/non-work time next year.

And With Regards to Writing Next Year?

My goal for writing next year is to finish my partial first draft of the second book and begin the process of editing it.  As chapters reach the “presentable” stage I’ll post them on my website, http://gods-among-men.com.  

It would be overly optimistic to expect to finish an edited version of the second book by the end of next year.  I think it likely that I will finish a rough first draft and have final edits of many chapters by then.

And I keep toying with posting MP3 readings of the first book on my website.  I think it would be fun to do, but also quite time consuming.  I’ll likely keep bouncing this idea around in my head and never get around to actually doing it.  But I might well try a few chapters and see what happens.

And Your Blogs?

The blogs served an important function for a time.  They forced me to write regularly and focus my thoughts.  Maintaining them like I did helped push me to write often enough that I developed good work habits.  I expect I’ll focus my future writing efforts on my story, and blog infrequently at best.

That said, I sometimes look back over old posts and find what I wrote there interesting snapshots of where I was at that time.  There is value in putting random thoughts in permanent form, insight to be gained from reviewing previous ramblings.  Perhaps I’ll make an effort to add post more regularly, but I doubt it.

Until next time, have fun and party down.

A Moment of Reflection

It has been a long time since I added a post here.  This is not because I haven’t been writing, but because I have been incredibly focused on writing.  For over a year, all my energy and efforts  have focused on completing the second complete draft of the first book in Gods Among Men, At The Lady’s Behest Comes…

At the beginning of October I finished the second draft.  This completed a wrenching experience in which I rewrote much of the book from scratch.  Some scenes I rewrote multiple times.  I edited every page, ever paragraph, multiple times. 

Along the way, my editing skill grew immensely.  Enough that since finishing the second draft last month, I performed a complete edit on every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, and sentence.  I managed to cut over third of pages from the second draft, removing over 200 pages (over 70,000 words) from the novel.  Essentially, in one month I completed a third draft.  

I feel proud of the first novel’s current state and consider it complete, for the moment.  (More on that further down the page.)  All chapters are available for download at http://gods-among-men.com/blog/books/book1.  I invite anyone interested to read what is there. 

What’s Next?

It is going to be hard to get At The Lady’s Behest Comes…published.  It is long for a first novel (over 150,000 words, whereas most first novels are around 80,000 words) and it ends on some major cliff-hangers.  But it is a good story with strong characters, and I have faith that eventually I’ll see it in print.

I have contracted a professional editor to review the novel and provide feedback on what I must do to make the work more presentable and palatable to agents and publishers.  I expect that his suggestions will prompt further changes, and possibly more rewrites.  I use to dread rewrites; now I accept them as challenges that improve my skills as a writer. 

And In The Meantime?

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  Last year during NaNoWriMo I wrote much of the second book, …Demiurge, Unbound,…

I’m late getting started this year, already almost 5000 words behind where I should be.  I plan to focus on writing a hodgepodge of scenes I need for the second and third books.  This will help me flesh out a variety of characters and scenarios better.  I’m hopeful  that by focusing on scenes I’ve thought about for years I’ll rapidly make up the lost time.

By the end of November, I expect to receive some feedback from the editor I hired.  December and January will probably be devoted to incorporating his suggestions and comments.

After which I will look for an agent.  I expect the process of getting an agent and publisher to dominate much on my non-writing/non-work time next year.

And With Regards to Writing Next Year?

My goal for writing next year is to finish my partial first draft of the second book and begin the process of editing it.  As chapters reach the “presentable” stage I’ll post them on my website, http://gods-among-men.com.  

It would be overly optimistic to expect to finish an edited version of the second book by the end of next year.  I think it likely that I will finish a rough first draft and have final edits of many chapters by then.

And I keep toying with posting MP3 readings of the first book on my website.  I think it would be fun to do, but also quite time consuming.  I’ll likely keep bouncing this idea around in my head and never get around to actually doing it.  But I might well try a few chapters and see what happens.

And Your Blogs?

The blogs served an important function for a time.  They forced me to write regularly and focus my thoughts.  Maintaining them like I did helped push me to write often enough that I developed good work habits.  I expect I’ll focus my future writing efforts on my story, and blog infrequently at best.

That said, I sometimes look back over old posts and find what I wrote there interesting snapshots of where I was at that time.  There is value in putting random thoughts in permanent form, insight to be gained from reviewing previous ramblings.  Perhaps I’ll make an effort to add post more regularly, but I doubt it.

Until next time, have fun and party down.

Brant’s NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

Before delving into this post, I want to thank Kathryn for all the posts she wrote during the last month.  She put a lot of effort into picking music and posting about how her choices inspire her.  I for one found her posts and choices of music interesting and thought-provoking.  Great work Kathryn.

My Final NaNoWriMo  Status

  • My Cumulative Word Count: 57,580
  • Average Words per Day: 1920
  • I Passed 50,000 words On: Nov 22
  • Current Page Count of (Mostly) New Material: 211
  • Chapters finished (out of 13 planned): 7 

The short hand of these statistics is that I finished well ahead of schedule and went a long way towards having a (very rough) first draft of my second novel, …Demiurge, Unbound,….

And I get to proudly display the following:

nano_10_winner_120x240-4

And:

nano_10_winner_cert_thumbnail

Don’t bother trying to blow up the certificate.  I printed it out and still can’t read it.  The people at NaNoWriMo need to award a better JPG file.

Final Thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2010

The goal of writing 1667, on average, every day is extraordinarily hard to do on a day-in-day-out basis.  I had a significant advantage in that I had been thinking about my story for a very, very, long time and had a great deal of material in my head. 

What slowed me down, kept me from writing well over 60,000 words in a month were the undefined areas where I had to stop and think about what I wanted or needed to write about. 

That is where I am right now in my story: How do I get from the start of chapter 8 to the end of the story?   I have some ideas, and know what I want in the last paragraph of the book, but in between is a mystery.

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days pushed me to write even when I had no idea what was about to pour out onto the page.  As a result, sometimes when I was struggling, plodding along writing what at first felt like drivel, I would have an burst of insight about what a chapter was really about.   Random and aimless text suddenly became focused and directed.  Meaningless sentences became subtle hints to what was coming. 

In those moments writing became effortless and I was unable to type as fast as the thoughts came to me. 

I am now in a quandary over how best to spend my time.   There is value in editing and refining my first book, and there is equal value in pushing on and finishing a first draft of the second book.  And if I finish a first draft of the second book, why not push on and write a draft of the third through seventh books? 

I think what I must do is create a schedule in which part of my time is spent editing and part of it is spent creating new material.  This is not my normal way of working, and transitioning to such a schedule will not be easy.  But I believe the benefits I will gain from such a shift in habits is far greater than continuing with my usual habits.  For this insight, I have NaNoWriMo to thank.

I also discovered I have way too many subplots.  I simply don’t have room for ideas and characters I thought I needed to fill out a book.  I am forced to seriously consider dropping not just planned scenes and characters, but entire plotlines that I just don’t have the space available to write about. 

This is quite an admission, considering I hade originally planned 7 books x 13 chapters/book x 3 section/chapter = 273 sections.   You would think that leaves an abundant amount of space to fill with all sorts of side trivia, but this is not the case.  Simply telling the core story efficiently is a challenge. 

In the seven chapters (twenty-one sections) I wrote so far, several major characters have gotten very little time and attention, and side characters little to none at all.

As a plotter I have come to understand the value of writing by the seat of your pants. I see know that the most carefully detailed plot misses details not thought of until you put words to the page. 

I watched as the wording of each sentence forced changes on me that compounded on each other until my carefully worked out plot was, to a certain extent, undone.  

In the process a better plot emerged, filled with twists and turns I didn’t really think about until the moment I was writing them down.  And because each sentence flowed (more or less) naturally from the one before it, the scenes I wrote are tighter and more focused than many I wrote while trying to conform to a ridged plot.

I think in the future I will stay focused on the central most story and most important characters for telling that story.  I will make certain that the most important events do happen when and where I need them too, but in-between I will let my words wander and carry me where they will.  The details of the plot I will leave for my (almost infinite) edits.

The End of NaNoWriMo

It is finally here! Brant did an awesome job at 57,623 words on his story, which from what I have heard so far is awesome! I hope to write a little more tonight, but so far I am at around 37,000 words and some change. Not bad, all in all. They goal is not to write just 50,000 words, but to get writers’ behinds in gear and write that story they always wanted to. And I did that. The competitive side of me is brooding, but the creative side is very happy.

I have one final song that inspires me, and I think the title makes it fitting as an end for this process that comes once a November. It is called Dante’s Prayer by Loreena McKennitt, and it is a mixture of love and sorrow that really gets my writing moving. Believe it or not, hardship is my story’s bread and butter (I apparently have a small evil streak, ha ha). Enjoy!

Hopefully soon we will be putting tidbits of the new stories on the blog to wet your apetite for more writing. Until then, write on!

P.S.: I know I didn’t post songs for days 27-29, so if you are interested, these are the ones that I had picked out.

Day 27: Ubi Caritas, which is Latin for “where there is charity and love, there is God.” Used in the creation of my story’s hero.

Day 28: Solace by a-Ha, one of my favorite bands. I actually used this when trying to get into character for my story’s heroine, who suffered a devastating loss. Also I chose The Heart Asks Pleasure First from The Piano, just because I love hearing the simple intricacies of that song.

Day 29: A Stevie Wonder song sung by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Higher Ground is an energetic song that is my action-writing playlist. But, since Brant isn’t a huge Stevie fan, I also chose the 10th Doctor Who’s Theme Song, which I think is a great song for the start of an action sequence. Or to get the blood pumping to your fingers.