I had amazing feedback from my Early Readers and was eager to dig into the second edits for Weavers. Basically I had three things I needed to incorporate in my edit:
Things I had already decided to change after my own re-readings.
Common items in the feedback. If something was mentioned a few times it needed a critical look.
New ideas spurred by questions from the Early Readers.
So I started planning how to incorporate all of that. Much of it was as simple as a nip here and a tuck there. Some of it would need to be bigger. Perhaps much bigger. I have missing scenes and quite a few missed opportunities. The “magic” system needs better explanation.
And that got me to thinking about the magic system and how to explain it better, and how to introduce those explanations into the story. And how to tie the differences together over three different ages.
Which got me thinking about the physics behind the system. This is possibly unreasonably important to me. I can totally immerse in a story when the magic (whether it’s fantasy/sci-fi/horror/other) makes sense once you figure it out. If I can’t figure it out it absorbs me and defeats the storyline.
This was a problem. I had a logical hole. I had defined two basic systems but they didn’t actually cover everything I wanted to do in the full story. The first draft of the story had unintentionally deus-ex’d over a third system that needed to be there.
So that’s why I haven’t been very active lately here. I’m rolling new thoughts through the entirety of the series, and figuring out how I need to express them in the first book. Plus things that needed to be there to show continuity between the ages. And so many missed opportunities to tie the different ages together.
I found myself with 4.75 drafted novels that were pretty good. Readable, enjoyable, nice stuff, quite entertaining thank you.
Or I had 4.75 pre-drafts for something fucking amazing.
I’m going for fucking amazing.
TL;DR: I love my Early Readers!! Much rewrite happening!
So obs my current planned schedule is completely voided. I’m back rewriting Weavers now and will be reworking the rest of the Ages schedule with the remaining reworks in mind.
Some questions I was asked frequently during my recent trip to the Great Surprisinglygreen North:
When is it coming out?
I am not quite sure. Since this is my first time publishing there is a lot of new stuff I have to educate myself about as I go. The writersphere makes that much easier than it would be otherwise but it’s still a lot of learning. I am hoping to take as great advantage of y’all as I can in order to avoid mistakes.
All that said, here is my current loose launch plan for the first four books:
Weavers, March 2016
Ninja at Law, May 2016
Unseen, July 2016
Makers, November 2016
Can you just send it to me? Can I have it for free?
These were generally said jokingly, but yeesh it was distressingly frequent.
There will be opportunities for ERCs and ARCs for each book. Early Readers help after the first draft by giving basic feedback on the story, plots and characters. Advanced Readers give an honest review of the pre-published manuscript. Both groups receive a free digital copy of the manuscript as well as my thanks.
I will also be trying various marketing tools and promotions. It’s pretty likely that some of those will be free.
Will it be printed?
Maybe? This is a whole big ball of question for me at the moment. I know I will commission at least a limited run for myself and to promote the books but whether they will be generally available in print depends on things I am largely ignorant about now.
Early reader feedback for Weavers and Ninja at Law have started trickling in and it’s both extremely promising as well as mega frustrating. The promising part is because both books are getting high marks for readability and the storylines themselves. The frustrating bit is because the feedback is excellent and I want SO BADLY to go start fixing the things that are being pointed out.
But I must stay strong! I must resist this fell compulsion! I must NaNoWriMo!
I must also admit that part of the urge to go edit is because Unseen is coming along so much more slowly than those other two. I haven’t been able to fall in love with the protagonist yet and I’m worried that means others won’t either. The genre is also one that’s new for me to write in, for multiple aspects. It’s post-apocalypse and I’ve never done a story for that. It’s also a buddy adventure and I’ve never done one of those. Lastly, the world isn’t fully developed in my head the way the other two were.
When I was a kid I devoured science fiction. L’Engle, Asimov, Bradbury, Chalker, Heinlein… I could fill up an entire post with these names but I think you get the picture.
Something that was very common with those older works but is rarely seen now was chapter art. I loved these little greetings, these foreshadows by woodcut.
I am planning to have chapter art in each of the Ages of the Seed books, and the style of it will vary by the genre of the books. Weavers is a fantasy setting and my illustrator (the incomparable Mareta Pettigrew, who still needs an artist’s page so I can send people her way when I brag about her) is doing pencil/ink drawings reminiscent of those old timey woodcuts.
Below is the art for the first chapter of Weavers. I love the feel of it and how it sets up the scene so well.
What do you think of chapter art? Do you miss it as much as I do?
To my very great relief I’ve recovered my Scrivener file and all of that crunchy metadata. The compiled Weavers (Ages of the Seed, vol 1) draft is out for Early Reader Feedback.
Technology is grand again. Yay!
ERFs aren’t editing or reviewing. The purpose is to give the author feedback on strengths and weaknesses so they can properly target portions of the story that need work during the 2nd (editing) draft.
Weavers is a 16k word fantasy/adventure novelette introducing the main characters and world of the series’ 3rd age. If you are interested in participating in the ERF just send me an anything (email / comment / contact form / IM / carrier pigeon) with the email you want me to send it to.
Isn’t technology grand? I can track the progress of the cable I ordered right to my door. This is the cable that (fingers crossed) will allow me to recover my Scrivener file and all of the juicy metadata for my books and get back to NaNoWriMo-ing.
Back in the old day I would have been content to patiently wait for it’s delivery. Instead I’m obsessively refreshing web pages as if the driver could feel me poking her.
Doesn’t technology suck?
In other news, I received a new cover proof from the incomparable Mareta Pettigrew showing the title text enhancement. It’s perfect – no more text fade with the dark background and it looks floaty the way I wanted. Once she paints that in I will have completed cover art.
So I have gone back to my draft of Weavers, to refresh myself in preparation to incorporate a bunch of dialogue written separately. When I finished the draft a month ago it was the best thing I’d ever written. Somehow in the weeks since then it became a pile of suck.
I am beginning to see why they recommend letting draft 1 sit for a while before you go back to it. I see so much in there that needs fixing that I didn’t recognize while writing it.
Now I’m trying to resist editing the whole thing while I work in the dialogues.
Just got an update from my illustrator, the amazing Mareta Pettigrew, and the cover for Weavers looks fantastic. I’m still amazed at how well she picked up on what I wanted. Same with the chapter art – she’s doing woodcut style pictures for those.
I should be picking up the finished painting for the cover this Saturday. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on it.
Should I give a sneak peek? Hell yeah, I should give a sneak peek. Text will be changing a bit but otherwise, here it is:
I’m editing and I can’t stop. NaNoWriMo is about getting new words on paper – not so much about fixing them. But I’m in a weird spot for the Seed project overall.
I started a new book for NaNo as they encourage but I finished it yesterday. For the project goals I need to return to the first book of the series (Weavers) and get it finished to 1st draft so I can get Early Reader feedback and get my illustrator the story she needs to create chapter art. That requires incorporating about 6.5k words of dialog (that is already written) into it so I’m editing and getting no word credits for NaNo.
My choices are start Unseen (vol 3) and smash through NaNo or keep on with Weavers to drive that to publication.
I was stressing about this over my coffee this morning and then it hit me. For the first time in a decade I have so much to write I don’t know what to write first.