Tag Archive: Dark Mirror


Every Direction At Once

I can, with gratitude and delight, report that one of my chief sources of stress and angst this week has been relieved.  This is good because I think it was getting in the way of writing.  Stupid day job. :p That said, good news is a heck of a way to start your weekend.

I should say that, despite all that, I haven’t done too badly, especially as I’m near the end of Possession and trying very hard to sculpt a good ending that sets up the beginning of The Nine. It’s been a wild ride, and I wish I was on vacation to write the end as I was for the end of the first one, but sadly, I don’t have another vacation planned until May.  Oh well. It means I’m having to take this one in manageable chunks, instead of the 6 and 7k days I did to finish DM’s second draft.  I’m still making pace every night, but not much more. That said, I’m fairly happy with the progress, happier with the quality and watching the word count add up. Possession is up to 79,628 words right now, before I start writing for the night.  I think I have 10k or less to go, but we all know I’m a terrible judge of that.  It does mean that, from what I see in my outline and the weather for the weekend (dismal), I may actually finish the first draft of Possession this weekend, way ahead of schedule.

Of course this means that I need to turn to The Nine, which has remained a bit of a mystery.  I know where it begins, I have a vague idea of some of the things that have to happen in it, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to start outlining, and leaning toward I’m not ready for that yet.  I haven’t been thinking about it as much so far, as I’ve been wrapped up in the first two.  I will say that I’m feeling a bit of pressure about it because it’s the close of the trilogy, and I know the kind of expectation that rides on that sort of thing.  But I think I’m up to it, and besides, I’ve already told myself that I’m just going to write the story that comes and worry about the rest later.  I’ll have Possession edited fairly thoroughly I suspect before I set down to write The Nine, perhaps even before I fully outline The Nine.  That was pretty much how the process worked when I was turning to Possession, and it seems to have worked, so I’ll just go with it.

I’m finding that, in thinking about The Nine, I’m experiencing an incredible ambivalence.  On one hand, it’ll be a major accomplishment for me, a person who had never even finished a single draft of a novel until last December, to have written an entire trilogy.  To me, that’s major.  But then I feel like I don’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters. If it was anyone else’s book, I’d say that I’ll come back and read it again, that the end of even the series is never really goodbye, but I have this feeling I’ll be too busy writing another book, reading some of my own favourite authors on the side, to come back and reread my own books.  Also, as I progress as a writer, I suspect I may look back and feel guilty about just how much better I’d be able to write this by then.  So I fear that the end of the trilogy, and certainly after the stand alone, will be a true goodbye for me with these characters, and it makes me a little sad.  I’m going to miss them so much.

On a less sappy and melodramatic note, I do find it funny that, just when I was getting ready to tap on the idea fountain and see if it still functioned (it had been few days), out pops a couple more ideas, plus some detritus that goes with stuff I already had notes on.  I’m still a little up in the air about what I want to work on when I finish the trilogy.  Part of me says that I should do the stand alone that goes with the short story, but that’s not remotely ready (and not likely to become so until I at least have the outline of The Nine done, since it’s chronologically after that book), and the rest of me looks at Devan, Helix and Sketh, all looking like they want to pounce on me given half a chance.  It’s still too early to decide though.  I imagine it will become clear before I reach that point. It often seems to work that way for me.

Oh, I should add that the test readers have now finished with DM and the initial feedback has been quite encouraging.  I’m waiting for full feedback (rather than initial reactions) though before I start breathing again.  Wow, I think I’m starting to see spots… Is that a bad sign? In any case, depending on what that feedback comes in as, I know that I’m getting close to that point at which I have to decide, epub it myself or go with traditional publishing.  And I’m still not sure. It’s like trying to think inside of a windstorm, really.  Every time I think I have it sorted out and decided, I read something else that makes me start thinking about it again and it all gusts up on me.  I swear, whatever I decide, it will likely be more thoroughly thought out than the book itself!

And for today’s picture, here we are.  I had actually pulled two out last time and this is the other one I grabbed.

Measurements, Goals and Progress

It’s almost kind of funny that I ended up posting this after the incident of Wall vs Writer. I had planned this post even before I did the one for the VIB award.  I ‘m not sure whether this is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy or the kind of coincidence that you never find in fiction.  But I promise you that this post is not actually a result of yesterday, really.

You see, I was thinking the other day about how we set and measure both our goals and our progress toward them.  More specifically, I was thinking about how I do these things, because by now you all know I never claim to be the wise old expert on anything.  There are definitely different ways one can measure progress on almost anything, but I find that there are two major ways with writing in my experience.

The first, the one that so many of us use, is word count.  Word count is nice because it’s one of the few quantifiable things in a field that is generally highly subjective. Word count is relatively absolute, especially when writing a first draft NaNo-style because you’re supposed to just keep blazing forward, and then the counter coughs up a number.  If you’re keeping track on a daily basis, then it’s a simple calculation to know how much you have accomplished.  Then you have something to measure against that quantified goal for that period of time, so you can tell readily if you are on track for your goal.  Of course, I never know for sure how long the story will be on first draft, because I always think you let that draft be as long as it needs, regardless of any other considerations, so it would be hard to give a percent to completion expression of this progress. But I definitely know how far I’ve come in a day.

While this is a great way to feel accomplished (I won’t lie, I love seeing the giant numbers), it does ignore the fact that writing is about far more than just writing X number of words, so very much more.  As I said, it’s a subjective field, where “good” and “right” and “correct” get tossed around a lot but mean different things to everyone.  For a while during university, I worked in a book store (lit major working in the fiction section, there’s a no brainer).  When customers would express that they felt like they should be reading certain types of fiction, usually literary, because they were under the impression that those types were automatically “better,” I would point out that we have so many different types of books and authors because there is such a variety of taste in books, that no type is better than the others. I might be a little biased because I’m a committed reader of fantasy, mystery and to a lesser extent, science fiction, but I do stand by the statement to this day.

So, if this is a subject field, is there a way of making goals and tracking them that acknowledges that and works with it? This is what I was thinking about the other day that made me want to post about the subject as soon as I had my thoughts on it straight.  Despite my saying that this post wasn’t caused by my afore-mentioned little difficulty, I do think that the wall and the fallout from it has helped to clarify my thinking on the subject, making it easier to write this post than I had expected. You see, I didn’t feel bad so much about hitting a difficulty, because those happen, but I felt (and still feel) a little bad about not making my word count goal yesterday. The only thing that stopped me from trying despite the way I felt was the realization that anything I tried to write at that point would be a pure waste, that I’d just be deleting it as soon as I had the problem sorted in order to move forward in the story. That leads me to think that purely number-based goals put undue pressure on us to perform even if we know we’re writing drivel.  The number of times I’ve seen in the NaNo forums that someone just had to go through their whole book from November and put in all the contractions that they deliberately left out during NaNo purely for higher word count, or something similar in the name of word count, well, it drives me a little nuts.  I mean, it’s good to hit the goal, don’t get me wrong, but what’s the point when you’re only writing it to add words you know, for sure, you’ll be taking out later?  You’re  making more pointless work for yourself, really.  This is not the same as editing, where you might be tweaking to better express something. I’m talking words put in the manuscript purely for the count’s sake. There has to be another way, I thought to myself, something that lets me feel accomplished without driving myself batty on a rough day, or just a day that didn’t have a high number, but got me through something important. This thought led me to where I’m leading all of you.

You see, I do think there is definitely a more fluid, qualitative way to judge progress, though it’s far harder to set concrete, achievable, measurable goals. This would be measuring it by general progress through the story itself. Note to all the pantsers out there, this probably won’t work for you because you’re still discovering where your story is going, so it would be impossible to judge progress toward the end.  But for those of us who plan and outline our way through the story, and then draft it, this is perfectly possible, if somewhat unpredictable.

I’ve done this method before. Because of the way I outline things, I tend to be able to say that I’m doing events A, B and C today. Those would be then 3 of a set number of events as laid out in my outline.  Some of you who were reading this blog as I did the second draft of DM might remember me referring to entries in my outline, how many I had and how many I had completed.  That’s basically what I was doing, trying to judge my progress by the amount of the story I had written, but in a fairly qualitative sense. The reason I find this subjective is that there are a number of factors at play in the length of draft an entry or event will turn into, including importance, intricacy, how much I need actually describe, things like that. Some of you might recall me first worrying that the second draft of DM would be too long, then that it would be just right, and in the end, it was about 30k shorter than I had anticipated. This is what I meant about it being unpredictable. But it feels like a way of measuring that is more fair to myself and the story. Why? Well, as a reader, I rarely care how long a story is, unless it’s either fabulous or crap.  If it’s crap, well, I probably put it down before the end anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter then either.  When it’s fabulous, I don’t notice word count, but I do notice that I don’t want it to ever stop.  🙂  In other words, what I really care about is the story, so shouldn’t I, as a writer, be judging my work based on that same yardstick? I mean, I can’t be the only reader who views books this way.

I’m still not sure, given the unpredictability this method, how I would set about creating, maintaining and judging progress on goals in this fashion. All I’m certain of is that I have had days where I’ve struggled to put as many words on the screen as I feel I should, but when I look back at the section I did write, I felt accomplished anyway because it was either important or intricate to the point of requiring careful work on what words I used.  That should count for something. Maybe there’s some hybrid of the two methods possible, if I can ever learn to maintain a sense of perspective and not drive myself into the ground wanting to eternally go faster and do more.  Hmm, it’s a thought.  I’ll probably be mulling this over still when I get to the point of setting the goals for The Nine.  Maybe I’ll even post further thoughts on the subject if I have them.

Before you ask, I did get some writing done tonight. I have the problem licked, I think (edit stage will have the final say on that), and even managed to hit pace tonight. It’s not nearly as much as I had been doing, but it was important to me to climb back on that horse, and to feel out the solution. Green lights all the way. Now to rebuild the momentum, as I told someone else once. 🙂

Also, feedback on DM continues to be good. I’m thinking that the pace it’s being read through is probably a good sign.

And, before I go, I did promise a picture, so here it is. My mother loves growing these things, has had one at every house they’ve owned. I love the way the light plays across the leaves in this one.

Of Roadblocks, Walls and Realizations

It’s never a fun feeling as writer when you run head first, at full sprint, into a wall.  Okay, I did start to notice the wall yesterday, but today was the impact.  Ow, I think I need a chiropractor now.  It sapped me more than a little bit of energy tonight (especially when coupled with several non-writing things, which are probably more a cause of this than the wall), but I think I have the problem figured out.

You see, I’m at a point in my outline where I had a bit of difficulty figuring out how I was going to handle a particular event and the lead up to the next one. And now that I’m trying to write that section, I’m feeling a tremendous amount of resistance in my own brain to writing what I had planned. This is a sign of a familiar problem. Without getting into specifics, the wall I just hit confirmed what I vaguely remember thinking when I wrote this part of the outline, that I had made the wrong choice for the story, that I was trying to force it in a direction that it shouldn’t be going in.  As I said, it’s not the first time this has happened in my writing history, but that means I know what I need to do to get back on track with Possession. In fact, I’ve already done it. I’ve gone back, evaluated what wasn’t working and why, both in the outline and in what I wrote in the draft, which led me directly to what I think will work.  It’s late and I’m too tired to actually sit down and start writing it, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.  I’m currently over 20k ahead of my pace. I think I can afford to give myself the rest of the night off after I’ve made a few more notes on the solution to my problem. It isn’t as if I haven’t been working on it tonight, just not in the manner planned.

No, this is not the post I had planned to write today.  That will probably come tomorrow after work, maybe first thing Saturday if I get totally wrapped back up in writing tomorrow (and I won’t complain about that one bit).

In the good news column, initial test reader feedback on DM is encouraging.

And no, no picture tonight. See above comment on being tired.  I don’t care if it’s only 9:15, my brain thinks it’s midnight.  I think I’ll call it a night early now.

I titled this post this way for a reason.  I’m really waiting for that, for a speeding ticket for working too fast on my writing.  I’m sure there’s a cop around somewhere that handles that. Of course, if he’s cute, I might not mine. 😀 But now on to business.

My test readers have already been informed (one almost came through the internet to grab for the file I suspect), but I’ll announce it publicly here.  The edit of Dark Mirror is finished.  I’m done tinkering with it for a number of reasons, including that I think I’ve lost perspective on it.  No, that doesn’t mean that I think it’s awesome.  For me, losing perspective means I worry that it isn’t any good at all.  Yeah, I know, too hard on myself probably, definitely pessimistic, but what the hell else did you realistically expect from me?    No one has ever accused me of excessive optimism. In fact, I don’t know that I possess any at all, let alone a large amount of it.

I did try a new thing with this edit, one that I found tremendously helpful.  I read it out loud.  Thank god I don’t mind my speaking voice (unless you record it and play it back to me, at which point I promptly loathe it).  339 pages is a lot of reading, but it’s actually faster now than it was before.  I made fewer edits, but caught more repetitious language and what I would refer to as partial edits that got messed up.  By this I mean where you can see that a word you should deleted when you first edited a sentence got left, things like that.  It was an interesting exercise, one I would suggest for anyone who wants to try to find every little nit in the manuscript.  I had actually test-driven the read aloud thing with the short story, but doing it with a novel is a whole different thing, I found.  Still, I’m very glad I did it and I think that will become part of my regular editing tool kit.

The book currently stands at 83,333 words (I swear, that happened by accident), 20 chapters.  I’m not going to look at it while it’s with my test readers, because I don’t want to tinker with it while I wait for their comments.  Instead, it’s time to work on something else, time to dive back in again.  Yes, I’m referring to Possession.

Part of me is a bit nervous about starting the sequel while the first book isn’t technically finalized in case something important changes, but I have to keep busy, and that outline is begging me to turn it into a manuscript.  So is Tavis, for that matter, but I think that’s just because we get to see things from his POV for part of the book this time.  Okay, I got to on the first draft of DM too, but that got cut in the interests of being able to tell that story right.  This time, I don’t think I can do it without him.  Yay, more Tavis!  Sorry, very unprofessional of me to have a crush on my own character, I know, but… Maybe, if I’ve done a decent job on the first one, you might get the chance to understand why I like him so much.  I haven’t decided when I’m going to start, but it will be another write-a-thon (aka NaNo) for sure when I do sit down to write the first draft of Possession, probably mid-February.  It may take me all 30 days (or more) this time because it’s the first draft (as opposed to take 2) and I won’t be on vacation for half of it.  I’m reviewing the outline now so I can make these decision. I clearly don’t know how to take time off from my writing, even when I’m sick (like today). At least I can do all this while downing Citron Tea and laying in bed, so I’m sort of resting.  I’m only a workaholic with writing, I promise, and one day, you might thank me for it, or so I dream.

Beyond that, it’s time to start at least giving some serious thought to the plot structure for book 3, The Nine, so I’ll be ready to start working on the outline when I finish writing Possession.  Seriously, I might need help… Maybe I’ll just do some reading, before my head totally explodes.  Hmm.

No, I haven’t forgotten picture time (but you knew that because it always comes at the end of the post). I don’t remember where I shot this, other than somewhere in Toronto, but I love this picture for it’s combination of colour and texture.

Done and Begun

So, those are the words for the day.  Those who are following along with the home version of this game (wait, do we have one of those?), please mark down the following:

Outline for Possession: Done

Editing of Cost of Duty (Short Story): Done

Editing Dark Mirror v2.1: Begun

So, that’s the basics, now for the details.  As I said, I finished the outline of Possession this morning, having done the climax last night.  Oh my god, I really can’t wait to start writing this one.  But I am going to make myself wait.  I know, I’m not patient, but I need to try to learn some, I swear.  I can’t live my whole life on fast forward because of it.  This outline is longer, for sure, than the one for DM, both in number of entries and how detailed some of them are.  And a lot happens, which is also good.  But for now, the outline goes in the mythic Drawer for a few days or so, at which point I will go back through it, make sure I’m still happy with it, and then open a fresh word document.  Fair warning, I’ll probably do another write-a-thon for this, if only because doing so seems to work so well for me.

Cost of Duty spent a few days in The Drawer and came out for reading this morning, after I finished the outline for Possession.  It aged well, I still love it.  I made a couple of very very minor word tweaks.  I’m now trying to decide whether to put it up for crit on the writer’s forum I spend a lot of time lurking and a little time posting on or start submitting.  It’s being mulled.  I have decided against trying to e-pub it, because I just don’t think there’s much market for a single short story (and I really don’t write them often).  I’m also too lazy to do a cover.  🙂  Hey, at least I’m honest.

Moving down the list to editing DM.  This is a little funny.  I had read somewhere recently that you should use the tab key in your manuscript.  This being news to me, it was all through the 333 pages of DM.  Grr.  So, after reading through and editing the first chapter, I set about deleting them all from the manuscript so I don’t have to worry about it.  Stupid lack of find and delete all function in my word processor.  So, there I am scrolling through and deleting them manually.  That was going along swimmingly until about a quarter of the way through, when I suddenly realized I was reading my book instead of deleting tabs.  For the last 4 pages. Whoops.  This happened several times in the process of getting them all out there, so the process took almost 5 hours.  Way too long.  I have learned, though, that being engrossed in the book I wrote, where I know everything that happens, is probably a good sign for the book’s quality, relative to my being still definitely a rookie at this.  I’m trying to see it that way, at least, instead of seeing 5 hours spent on a task that likely should have taken only half that time.  Fortunately, with that completed, I can move on to the real task of doing the actual edit.  I’m hoping that it won’t take as long as the last one, that maybe I can get this done in a week.  That would be a good time frame actually, because I’ll be ready to start working on Possession at that point (seriously obsessing about that now).

It’s like they’re all working out in a mystic order that I didn’t prepare.  Perhaps the writing gods are smiling on me… Right, that’s right before they drop a safe on my head in the form of something major changing, isn’t it?  Of course, both of the above points suggest that I need to start percolating on the overall plot in book 3, but to be honest, that’s doing itself already, I’m just writing it down as it comes and keeping, well, my version of semi-focused, which means doing a dozen things at once.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something.  I’ve added two pages to this blog that weren’t there before, though they are subject to unannounced revision whenever I bloody feel the need.  One is my About Me page, which I finally got around to doing.   I really hate doing those, but I can only hold out so long on that kind of thing before the peer pressure gets the best of me.  The other is my Project Status page.  I have a lot of stories on the go, and I mention them only when I have something to say about them, as far as blog entries go, so I thought you might want a quick reference, in case you miss something, or are curious.  This is not an exhaustive list, but they are the ones that are sort of front of mind for me in some form or other.  It’s also there for me to keep track of all the crap I’m in the middle of.  Yes, I really do think I might need this kind of help.  Among other kinds of help.

And, last but not least on today’s hit list, the picture of the post (I can’t say day, because I don’t usually post every day).  I love this one.  It’s one of the framed prints up on my wall.

The Ice Giveth Way!

Okay, so I know that I’ve said that I was making progress on the outline for Possession, and I was, but it wasn’t much, and it often wasn’t that pretty, requiring some pouring over and work even after the entries were in the outline.  That all changed tonight.  I finally got them on the road to the climax, and have at least a base play-by-play in my head for the rest of the book, including the things I need to wrap up in this book, and what I need to leave loose still for the grand finale, The Nine.  Yay!  I think I’m about 3/4 of the way done the outline now, which is awesome.  I’m just about willing to bet money that this one will be longer than Dark Mirror, definitely more intricate, and a bit more event driven (though still with much character development, and well, what one might call character abuse.  I’d apologize to them, but I’m not really sorry, and I refuse to get stuck with their therapy bills).  These are good things though, in my opinion, so I’m going with them.  I’m now starting to really get revved up to get on with writing it, but there are still steps to go through, things I’ve learned I need to do so I don’t have to throw out the whole first draft (hopefully) this time.  Once the outline is done, I need to let it sit and reread it.  This should go fairly well, partly because of all the rereading of it I’ve already done in my struggles with the parts I was just going through, but not to be skipped in any case.

Also, I don’t want to lose the thread of DM in my rush of excitement with the new book.  I know two people who will kill me if I don’t get it to them at some point in the near future, and no one wants that, especially me. My plan is to do my next pass of editing (which I’m already thinking about and planning out) while the outline for Possession sits in the mythic aging drawer, and then see where we are, but I think that will be the final pass before printing and mailing to above mentioned test readers.  Then to keep busy and not pester.  I think I can manage that, though some days it will likely be difficult.

And then there’s the short story, currently going under the title Cost of Duty.  The whole not patient thing reared its head (please, don’t laugh in total lack of surprise, just cause it’s true).  I read the story on Tuesday, then sent it to my test readers.  My, did I ever hear back quickly.  And in the good sense too.  No, no comments that it was perfect because, well, nothing ever is, but also nothing major wrong.  It was minor stuff, which I’ve already acted on.  It’s now in the drawer for a few days or so (depending on my patience and how busy I am this weekend with a training session on Monday to prep for, and the above writing tasks sitting on the front of my brain).  I may not get to rereading that until sometime next week, which is fine.  More time means more distance, and I can then view it with a clearer eye.  But I feel very good about this.  The question, then, is what to do with this one.  I’m of several minds (no, this does not resemble multiple-personality disorder, as much as it sounds like it should), but I will probably submit it to a couple of short fiction pro markets (defined as paying at least 5¢/word, some pay more), partly because I don’t want to do a cover for 3500 words, really don’t.  And I don’t know how I would price it as a self-pub e-story.  That might be because I can’t imagine buying a short story as a one-off, though.  I think research will be in order on that one.

Beyond that, I will need to keep The Nine on my brain as I move into the first draft stage of Possession, because I will probably start outlining that one as soon as I finish Possession.  I don’t think I plan on stopping at all, ever.  Too many ideas, really, not enough time to write.  Besides, I like being busy like this.  It keeps me happier.

Ah, yes, and picture time.  Really enjoying this, and I’m glad that others are too.  It feels good as a photographer to share some of my work, and only partly because the response has, thus far, been favourable.  Pictures should be shared, it’s just part of their nature, in my less-than-humble opinion.

So I had a good night tonight, very productive, which means I feel better than yesterday, where I would have gladly died.  Headaches should not be allowed to travel in either packs or series’.  I started yesterday with a migraine and when I got that under control, I found out that a massive pressure headache was waiting for me behind that.  So unfair.  So I spent yesterday alternately passed out and trying to die, in spite of comments made around WordPress.  I was trying to distract myself from how wretched I felt.  I must say, terrible way to spend a Sunday, feeling that god-awful.

But in better news, as I said, better night tonight.  I didn’t work on the outline at all (yet, the night is still relatively young here on the west coast), but I wrote a short story.  I cried while I was writing it, which is entirely abnormal for me.  I’m normally much more dispassionate when I’m writing, but I couldn’t help it.  Let me say that again, I made myself cry, with my own writing, even though I knew exactly how things would turn out.  Is it sick that I feel good about that?  It’s certainly a major step for me.  The short is 3400 words approximately, and involves a couple of the supporting cast from the Mirrors Trilogy.  You’ll all meet Keari one day, when DM is out, but I wish I could give him his own book, especially after writing that short story tonight.

The funny part is that the idea for writing the short really only came this morning, as I arrived at work.  I jotted down a couple of notes, not nearly as much as I wanted to because I had to dive into work, and was promptly too busy to think about it all day.  I looked at my paltry notes when I sat down at home, nearly cried thinking it wouldn’t work, said what the hell, hauled out the netbook and opened my manuscript formatted template.  I didn’t stop.  I wrote the whole thing.  It was all there.  It was amazing, almost like when I wrote my first short story, when it felt like it had been waiting for me, but better, mostly because I think this is already better written on first draft than my first short was (I know more about writing now, and I’m more practiced).  It’s going in a drawer for a few more days before I read it again to see how it is, what it needs.  I’m of two minds about sending it to my test readers before they get DM, because it will spoil a bit of a reveal in that book, but again, not patient, and I love how this one feels. We’ll see how it holds up in a couple of days, and by then I should have reread DM itself.

On that subject, I’ve been thinking about DM (damn multi-tasking brain that can’t seem to leave well enough alone) and I think I know something that it will need work on before I send it to test readers.  It needs more description, but not on just everything.  I’ve been thinking about perception, how to use it as an author and where I need to accent the importance of certain things.  I think that is something I need to do more of, using the characters’ perceptions to show the important things, the details that either make the character who they are, or the things that make them stand out from run-of the-mill nobodies who, lets face it, are practically scenery in the real world.  I find that’s the way I tend to view the world, seeing the different, the important, though I do it with almost everyone I see, picking out something distinctive about them as I find and perceive them.  It’s an interesting tool to play with, as I’m thinking about it, and it’s making me ask myself some good questions.  That said, I don’t think it’ll take me that much work to do this, as I know I’ve done some of it naturally through the process of writing and editing the book already.  Mostly, I’m thinking about places where I need a little more, or some oomph to it.  That will likely be the task for next weekend, and part of me fears to think how much it will add to the book’s length, not that there isn’t room to add.  Besides, if the book needs it, then it needs it.

I’m feeling very happy and mellow right now.  I swear, the more time goes on, the more I think that writing is my version of Prozac.  Worse things could be said of me though, I’m fairly sure, probably have been in fact.

And, to top it all off, picture time.  This one came from the Musical Gardens in downtown Toronto, which I have visited a few times.  I’m already thinking about some summer trips I might take around downtown Vancouver, places I want to shoot, even if it will take some time away from writing.

That’s really what I’d like to tell my story ideas.  Why can’t they at least run around my head in an orderly fashion?  This jumbling about and yelling is very distracting, especially since the choice has been made already.  Yes, I am ready to move on to the next project, have been on it for a couple of days in fact, but hadn’t felt that moved to post about it yet.  I’m reasonably moved now, as evidenced by the fingers on the keyboard.

It’s Possession, by a long shot, and I think anyone (including me) could have called that.  Let’s start with the fact that I’d already begun the outline.  We can move on from there to the fact that I’m already into those characters and that overall story.  And Tavis refuses to let go of my brain anyway.  With what I’m about to do to him, well, that might change.  I’m not sure he’ll forgive me, and even after that, it’s going to get worse.  I’m sorry, Tavis, really, but I have to.  One of the more interesting things I’m finding as I work my way through outlining Possession and making notes for The Nine as things come up that affect that story is that Dark Mirror (not willing to spring the tentative new title here yet, but there is one) is almost more of a character-oriented story.  It’s more intimate (get your minds out of the gutter), less about big events.  That comes later, in the second and third books.  I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, or just different.  DM sets up several of the things that go on later, so I think it’s necessary to tell the whole story, but I’m not sure how I feel about the difference between the one I’ve written and the one I’m working on.  Mulling shall be done about this, though not too much as I’m trying to gain a bit of distance before I  judge DM’s readiness to go to test readers.  And god knows, I’m hands down my harshest critic, so there’s at least a chance that it’s more eventful than I realize, or at least more involving than I think.  I’ll have to wait and see.

The other ideas are still around, still in my iPad and being noted, worked on, all that good stuff, but they aren’t front of mind anymore.  I need to focus more than that when I’m outlining, or I risk mixing up what I’m working on.  I did just have fun dropping a bombshell into my outline, and now I’m playing with the aftermath (insert evil author laugh here).  I’m looking forward to working on it some more this weekend.  I’m not going to push myself on having it ready by a certain date, but it may be there in another week and a half to two.  Then the outline goes in a drawer for a few days before I reread it and see what needs tweaking before I start in on Page 1.

I kind of have a game plan developing in my head, very loosely, for my next several novels.  It’s mostly which one I’ll work on in what order, and it’s subject to being tossed like any other draft should circumstances go against it.  The reason it’s there is to keep me going and maybe get me building toward and practicing the skills I’ll need for a few of my more ambitious projects that I’ve mentioned.  We’ll see where that actually gets me, but it’s nice to have some kind of idea where I’m trying to go.  No, I’m not planning on sharing it here, for a variety of reasons, including the changeable nature of the plan.

Also being mulled is the whole traditional publishing vs self-published ebook.  Really not sure.  Most of me is looking at the second option though, for a lot of good reasons, including a very healthy (maybe excessive) dose of cynicism about the traditional publishing industry.  I’m still working through it though and talking with people about it, then mulling their thoughts.  It’s still early for that, though, as I have no idea how DM turned out or how long it will be before I’m ready to take that step.  And make no mistake, I won’t be half-assing that.  If it isn’t ready, it doesn’t go out the door.  That’s always going to be my theory on publishing, and the control that takes is very much part of what is driving me toward that self-publish option.  We’ll see.

And today’s picture, before I go, is here.  I seem to have a large number of pictures of insects on flowers, and I don’t know why, as I’m not overly fond of bugs.  But they can be fun to shoot, if they sit still long enough.

I should be posting something else, but I know my friend will understand the delay and entirely forgive me, since we would both agree that this is more important.  Amazingly, it’s done.  The edit of the second draft of Dark Mirror is complete. In just a day over a month, I wrote an entire draft, then edited said draft.  Why don’t I feel more tired from this feat?  Oh, right, adrenaline and hot chocolate.  I rewrote the last two chapters almost completely, working in a fresh file and only copying over those bits that could be used with the new ideas, but even that is done.  It’s also a bit longer.  And by a bit, I mean about 8k longer, now weighing in at a not-mind-blowing 81,773 words. Trust me, that’s still pretty short by Fantasy standards.

Yes, I did end up incorporating those tugs and whispers I mentioned before.  It felt like pure laziness not to at least mentally explore the implications of doing so, and when I did, I found that it made the chapter far better, the story as a whole smoother and set up something I’m going to need later, when I go to write Possession and The Nine.  It didn’t take as much extra work as I had feared either, though it did forced the above mentioned rewrites, but even that turned out better, though I’m not entirely happy with the final chapter yet, I think.  I guess I just don’t have a lot of practice at endings.  We’ll see.  It goes in a virtual drawer now for however long I can leave it or a few days, whichever comes first (long time readers of this blog are probably sniggering at that, knowing which is more likely), after which I will read it again all the way through with no editing (though I might stop just long enough to fix actual typos if there are any left) and see what I think, and if I think the new title I’m contemplating for it fits.  I already know it fits better than DM, but that’s like saying a size 10 shoe fits better than a size 12 when your feet are an 8.  It’s an improvement but it still won’t stay on.  That said, I’m at the point where any title would make me happier than DM.

I’m amazed to have made it through again.  And I still like it.  Do I think I can do better?  Sure.  Do I think that there’s still room for me to grow as a writer, both in expression and how I grow my story and characters? Absolutely.  But I think back to the first draft of this, and then even further back to the last novel idea I tried to write,  and I can see the progression, the growth and improvement I’ve undergone and it makes me unbelievably happy to see it, because it means I’m on the right track.  I’m fairly confident that, after reading it through in (probably not) a few days, I’ll be ready to send it out for the opinions of others.  Those people will be warned that it’s on the way once their copies are in the mail though (when it’s too late for me to chicken out).  And then it will be time for another project to thoroughly distract myself and keep me busy while I try desperately not to pester them for word on their opinions.  I really try not to make a nuisance of myself to people who like me and are doing me a huge favour with the gift of their time, but remember what I’ve said before.  I’m not patient.  Never have been, and there’s no point in me trying to pretend.  The involved parties know better already anyhow.

So, new project.  Part of me deeply feels that I should work on Possession, especially since I already have several fairly detailed entries in the outline for that one and I’m getting to have a pretty good idea of where I need to go with it, though the ending still isn’t entirely in focus.  The only problem is that I’m a bit concerned regarding doing that and then having something seriously change once I get comments back on DM and having to redo all that work.  I’d do it (after me throwing out the first draft of DM, you know I will), but if I can avoid it…  And then Helix and his girlfriend start shouting, and I have to tell you, a guy in a leather jacket with a street bike who can do magic is pretty hard to resist. It’s mostly between the two of them, because I’m not sure if I’m ready to face The Ailing Tree, as much as I really want to take a crack at Lorah and Arcalyus.  I really do want to write that one, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a slightly ambitious project for me (long story, not going into it here), and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.  Funny thing is, I have a way more ambitious project that I’m frankly scared of, which currently goes, as a whole, under the code name Generational.  Em and SJ might remember me talking VERY briefly about it and the 5 books it’ll take to write it.  Like I said, highly ambitious, but not really on my radar yet.  Need better skills first and a lot more thought.  Worse, another old idea is knocking on my head, my Tuatha project, but that one will probably take some actual research (agh).  Too many choices for this writer.   Generational entirely aside, any suggestions?

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten that I promised a pic with my next post (which didn’t happen because the next one was an award post). As I really should have gotten off my lazy ass and done one last time, no matter how tired I was, I shall make up to you all by posting two today. 🙂  And on that note, I bid you adieu and good night.  This writer needs to rest her brains (what she has left of them).

Helix and the Editor Go to War

I really would love to explain to some of my story ideas and characters that the best time to start chatting me up is NOT when I’m in the middle (okay, latter half) of editing a completed story.  It makes it hard to get to them because I keep promising I’m going to finish the edit first and these constant interruptions make progress toward that quite difficult.  And frustrating.  So pardon me while I tell Helix how much I love him and his motorcycle and that it’s time to go sit in a corner for a while.  And he can take his girlfriend with him!  She won’t shut up either.  Even in the corner, neither of them will shut up.  It’s making my editor-self scream in fury.  There’s going to be blood in a minute, I swear.

That said, it’s nice to have an story forming up around Helix, because I do love him.  I think he’s the free spirit in me.  He’s not going to like what I do to him, really won’t, but he doesn’t get a choice anyway, and I’m sure it’ll come out well in the end.  🙂

Another few  chapters done in the edit (13/20 done), and it’s still going well, except for one small thing.  There’s this voice in the back of my head asking if that’s really all there is to the story.  I think it is, and I’m trying to find that voice to muzzle it, but… well, it’s elusive.  Part of me wants to be done with this story, to move on to new adventures, new characters and apply lessons learned, while the rest of me chastises that I should make this one the best story it can be before moving on to anything else.  And the part that is trying to insert itself would certainly add to the story and the stakes, but I’m not sure that there would be a point to it, in the larger scheme of the trilogy, other than torturing one of my characters a bit (well, okay, pushing her) and I’m not sure how I would do it.  I really don’t know.  I feel a little lazy for not wanting to even investigate it.  Some of that might be my brain saying it’s at least temporarily had enough of this story.  I need time to sort that out.  Maybe some distance too, but for now, I’m trying to maintain my focus on getting this draft edited.

It’s been a draining day for a number of reasons, and so I’m going to sign off for the night.  No picture tonight as I can barely keep my eyes open, but I’ll try to remember to post two next time, as a bit of an apology.  I do like sharing my work, I’m just too tired to do the conversions I need to right now.

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