bookmark_borderStill Editing

When I do the first round of edits, I basically am re-reading the thing. I take out what doesn’t belong (will it kill the story to have this out?) and add clarity where it is murky. I’m not looking for spelling errors or punctuation. That comes later. The hard part is not getting caught up in the story and forget what I am doing. That’s why I let them sit for a few weeks between saying The End and when I start the editing.

Editing To Sleep has so far been surprisingly easy. I already know what bits are getting cut. I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I am on page 22 of 371. And, surprisingly, the word count isn’t dropping. It is actually increasing. I find that odd. The beginning is actually the worst bit of the thing so that’s where a lot of hacking and slashing takes place. I’ve not done that yet.

Meanwhile, I am also still working in Harri’s story, Butch Girls: Stereotype This. It’s not pretty and I keep telling myself to just keep writing it and see what happens. So, I am. Little bits at a time. And it is interesting how it is going. My other attempts to write this had Harri and Liz (the romantic interest) always bickering and getting mad at each other. But this time they are both a little calmer and the conflicts Liz has is all in her head (as in she is thinking of it, not talking aloud about it). I hated the bickering so I’m glad that aspect is gone! Maybe that’s why they feel so flat.

bookmark_borderI Hate Editing, But….

I do. But for some reason, I’m not as fearful of it as I have been in the past.

I started editing To Sleep (aka The Watchers) today. I just could not leave it alone any longer. I feel…alive with it. As if I am actually a writer.

Somewhere, before I started the edits, I gained over 500 words. So, I started the edits with a document of 100,858 words and, after several hours of editing (but only getting to page 13), it is 100,854 words. Ha. Take that, edit demon!

Alas, I am going to cut a huge chunk fairly soon so, I can only waller in it for so long.

bookmark_borderIn Which She Says: The End

That’s right. My SF piece tentatively called To Sleep is done. 100371 words. I aimed for over 100K to try and give the edits some room to hack and slash. I like this story. There’s some bits here and there that ramble and some details to fine tune but overall, this is a good story.

I will let it simmer for a month or so then do the edits. Part of me says to just clean it up, finish the loose ends, and send it off. Errors can be fixed with the official RCE editor (going on the assumption RCE will want it). But another part of me wants to fine tune it a lot, to make it a solid plot with no holes or problems. Then submit it.

I think I will go with the second, of course. I will not let myself fall into the perpetual cat-licking I am doing with Simple Sarah.

bookmark_borderWriting Freely

No, not freewriting. I gave up on that for the most part. Spent more time analyzing than writing.

No, I mean writing freely, just starting with a plot thought and running with it. Like I used to. No going back over it and editing, just….moving along the conveyor belt that is the story.

To that end, I wrote over 3000 words today. Go ahead, say wow. Feel free to toss an ‘amazing’ or two.

What story did I start? Would you believe a brand spankin’ new one? Mostly. Consider it backstory for one of my SFs I got burbling on the back burner. I like it much.

The craft, as it had been for a long time as a scout Class IX Zenith, was on auto pilot. Eventually it and its tortured crew passed beyond the signal wave. It had dedicated most of its power and capabilities to various scientific studies during this time as it had been instructed to do. As power was automatically diverted back to various systems, the medical emergency protocols were engaged as the medical computer detected the intense mental and physical stress of everyone on board. Medical emergency protocols typically were engaged by a member of the crew, not by the ship itself but there were a sub-set of protocols that had been made for such an event where the entire crew were incapacitated. This sub-routine was engaged.

The First Medical Officer was located by the mobile bio-medic. A quick scan indicated the presence of physical pain and a medication was administered followed by the turning on of her internal nanites. Naddoc groaned and rolled over. The first thing she saw was the small bio-medic. It’s presence told her several things before the small robot spoke. It gave her, in a quiet, quick speech, the essentials of the crew as a whole.

“Engage Medical Emergency Protocol. Name: Chaos. Level:…” she paused and looked around. Two crewmembers near her were beginning to move but did not seem capable of much else. “Level: 8. Repeat.”

“Engage Medical Emergency Protocol. Chaos Level 8.” The bio-medic repeated back to her.

“Accepted. Begin.”

By the time she felt well enough to stand, every crewmember except her and the captain had been put into bio-tubes. The tubes would have been connected to the nearest terminals and the basic medical needs of the crew were being met. If any of them were experiencing life-threatening conditions or were beyond the capabilities of the non-medical terminals they were attached to, the pod would be taken to the infirmary and connected to terminals there. The Captain, if she had complied and followed the protocol, would be on a bio-bed in the infirmary. The pods containing the other First Officers would have been moved to the infirmary for her to check immediately, after any life threatening patients were seen to.

Naddoc slowly made her way across the room and into the hallway. Along the way, she glanced at the bio-pods and was pleased to see so many still in place. There were enough terminals in the infirmary for every crewmember if necessary but the more that were in the hallways, the less work it meant for her.

“Doc, about time you got your feathers in here.” The Captain, laying down on the bio-bed, grunted without opening her eyes.

“Speak softly, please.” Naddoc leaned against the bed and pulled the screen toward her. “Condition?”

I know, I know, VERY rough but that’s okay. I like that. I like that raw feeling of just simply writing freely. Letting the words form on the screen.

I call this story Watchers as that is what they are doing.

And I hate coming up with alien names. Because, you know, they aren’t going to be named Margaret and Liz or even Emily. And I won’t do the alien names full of apostrophes either. Like E’that or M’that. So I got Flex and Naddoc and Cam and Beft and Maht. And a lot of red lines in the document since I’ve not started a WIP specific dictionary yet.

bookmark_borderBelievable Angst

Angst is: “An acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom” (WordWeb). But it is also used by a lot of authors to describe the internal emotional twisting for characters and/or the tension and conflict in a book. Not enough angst, and you wonder why the book was written. Too much, and the reader is exhausted or you’ve made the story unbelievable.

With Romance, the tension/conflict is usually “does she love me yes or no” followed by “she said x but I think she means y so I’m going to run now”. If it were that easy, no one would read it. Usually there’s some sort of medical drama (nothing says I love you like wiping blood of your face or cleaning up your puke, right?). Someone pointed out that nearly every lesbian romance has a concussion in it. And a shower sex scene. Most also have sex in an alley.

So I got Nikki. She’s tall and cute and kinda stingy with her money after years of not having any. Then I got Ellen who is short and cute who spends money too easily because she’s always had someone to bail her out. That and she also keeps an emergency fund on hand for ‘justincaseities’ that crop up. They meet, get to know each other, feel the attraction, get together by the end. I can’t come up with any angst for them. There’s the money thing but that only goes so far before it gets to be annoying. And there’s the Yankee vs Redneck thing which, along with the height thing, is more for comic relief. There’s the dead brother thing but that ties into Harri’s book. I just can’t come up with some believable conflict for them. They just get along rather well, actually. I don’t want to do the misunderstanding thing (something I overdid in BGCFA). Oh, there’s the kitchen. They both love to cook and are rather picky about their kitchen space. But again, that only goes so far.

There has to be something I can do. I want to do this book quickly, get it written (again) and get it sent out. I know I know. Nearly exactly a year ago it was supposed to be out but shit happened. Real Life knocked me for a loop (and Mom is doing well, thank you for asking).

There’s the personal space issue. One is a neat freak (Nikki) and the other is far from it. Then there’s Spam, the big huge Rottweiler with his stuffed elephant.

Sometimes I think I think too much.

bookmark_borderStep(s) Forward

The problem with being a writer, well, one of the many, is that you have to write something that makes sense to someone somewhere and hope that special someone finds your work and admires it. The more someones that it makes sense to, the better. There’s things to do to ensure that number is high. Editing, understanding grammar, plot, character development, etcetera. Then there’s marketing and promotion (which I stink at).

I got this story. It’s huge. I have mentioned it a lot since I’ve been working on it since 2004. I’ve finished it three times now. Maybe four depending on how I look at it. Each version is slightly different and, with each, it makes more sense to more people. I’ve had some people read it and they’ve all enjoyed it. Sure, there’s problems. But for the most part, they’ve liked it.

Problem is, I don’t. Yeah, yeah, I am so addicted to this novel I dream of it. But there’s parts of it I just can’t seem to get right.

The book is Simple Sarah (I can hear the groans from here). The problem I have with it is the Bad Guys and Evil and All That Bad Guy Evil Stuff. Where’d they come from? Where have they been? Why are some religious nuts allowed to kill them? Why doesn’t the gov’t step in and say, “Um, you are killing a lot of people.” It just never really felt right. I’ve danced around the issue in several different ways and I’ve discussed it with Lorna (spouses of writers discuss the oddest things at the dinner table).

Gods and Goddesses are odd beings. Where’d they come from? Are they static? Do they never change? Do the peoples that worship them change them in any way? How do those peoples even start worshiping them to begin with?

I realized the deities within Simple Sarah are like the Greek/Roman gods. They walk among the people at times, although they are not all that accessible on the whole. Which means perhaps that they have faults, just like the Greek/Roman gods did. And perhaps they were also influenced by the who and how of the worship directed toward them.

Many times in the Christian Bible we read of how someone sweet talked God into Plan B. Was that God’s intention to begin with or did He/She really get swayed?

Which led Lorna and I to develop a new religion base for the Simple Sarah novels. It actually feels better now. I feel as if I understand it now and feel more comfortable with the entire story arc. One of the things E. said about it when she read it was that while it was a good story (she finished the whole thing), she didn’t feel that anything actually happens. And she is right. Sure, lots happen but really, it was the WHY, not the WHAT that was missing. At least to me.

Evil plays a huge role in fantasy novels. People, things, places, abstract thoughts. Mean dragons or evil wizards or unholy trinkets wreak havoc on the world and someone has to fix it. But why did that dragon eat that village? Why did the evil wizard become evil and why did he stay that way? How did that unholy trinket come to exist? And, if it is oh so powerful, why does a simple blow from just the right hammer or a toss into just the right fire kill it?

I really feel that this is it for Simple Sarah. I really feel that in a few weeks, it will be done. For real. But I am not recommending you hold your breath. Unless you are underwater, then, yeah, go ahead.

bookmark_borderNow, For the Title…

Now I need to come up with a good title for the book.

It started out as Simple Sarah and has maintained that all along. The first version was this huge honkin’ thing and I knew it would have to be broken down into parts.

At that point, when I was sure there would be three books, they were called The Blessed, The Graced, and The Divine. It fit because the first book was about Sarah (the Blessed), the second was to be about Lea (the Graced) and the third was a culmination of the other two and some other stuff tossed in (the Divine). But I am thinking that Lea’s book (which chronologically takes place before the others) would be best saved for after the others are done. But I have another idea that may still fit the title.

If I keep Simple Sarah, I need to come up with something similar for the second book and I can’t, not if Lea’s book is put off (it would have been named Long Lea). Then there’s the naming of the third, which I am drawing a complete blank on in terms of this theme.

Another problem is I know I have enough written and in my head for the second book, but I’m not sure I have enough for a third.

I could go with Simple Sarah and just figure out the other titles as I go. When they are all done, be that two or three, I can update the sub-titles then. I’ve already decided the first book will not say “Book One of the Something Cool Here Series” ’cause that means I’m expected to write more than one more ’cause you don’t have a series with just two books in it. I had considered “Book One of the Castanea Chronicles” but, again, that’s assuming there’s more than two books.

Did I just ramble on enough? Wander about in the thickets of my mind a little too much?

Simple Sarah – with the other(s) getting non-themed titles
The Blessed – with the others getting the other two mentioned above (which would mean Lea’s prequel getting an odd title)
Castanea Chronicles: The Story of Simple Sarah – would make the other books fit I guess. Even Lea’s book would fit. Hmm….

bookmark_borderEdits Done!

Okay, done with that round. It came out to 117,574 words. The pages came to 391 but that is with .5″ margins. With the publisher’s submission guidelines of 1″ margins, it comes out to 501 pages. Whoa! Big difference! Wait, I use Verdana when I type ’cause it’s so big. Changing to Times New Roman….Wow. That shrunk it down. 399 pages now. In comparison, BGCFA final copy (with chapter breaks and other stuff) came to 78,303 words and 302 pages. So after the chapter breaks are put in, Simple Sarah is going to be huge. Coooool.

Anyway, I diverted myself.

Next, off to the beta readers!

Then, edit in their suggestions/changes.

Then, print it out, pull pages at random, edit one page at a time*, and enter those in.

Send it off!

Hope it sells!

*In pulling pages at random, you see just that page. You don’t get caught up in the story. You see the words on the page as just that, words. You can see a lot of errors this way, especially commonly skimmed over errors and sound-a-like words such as their and there and they’re.

Words of advice: make sure you print it out with the page numbers! Made that mistake once….

bookmark_borderEditing Continues

I realized I’d not posted in a while. Not since I went off and ranted on a few things. Nothing like gaining friends that way, eh?

Anyway, edits on Simple Sarah continue. To recap, I printed it all out (402 pages) and went through it to edit. I then started inputting those edits including hacking off bits and chunks. It ended at 121,103 and, right now, sits at 118,457 and 393 pages. I’m at a place where I’m having to pause and think and it will result first in a huge hack of words but then some other words put into its place.

It is going much slower than I thought it would. I had some issues I needed to iron out. And even still, there’s a few places where I have just decided to leave in and worry about later based on beta reader opinion and, perhaps even later if it sells, the editor’s opinion.

My goal is to get this damn thing done by this weekend. My self-imposed goals were not realistic but I learned a lot from them. I still want to get two BG books out this year but I will be happy to get one written and edited and sent and get the other at least written. I’ll re-evaluate that as soon as Simple Sarah is out of here.

bookmark_borderPaper Edits

I finished the edits already. Now to enter them and other changes into the manuscript. After that is done, I’ll send it off to the Beta Readers.

Over all, I really like this book. It has some issues here and there that I think I can fix or I can get good suggestions from the Beta Readers.

Speaking of which, any one want to be one? A Beta Reader, that is?