Tag Archive: The End


My Version of a Vacation

So, after getting up and having coffee, I sat down at my computer and did it again.  Yup, the first draft of Possession is now done, in the books, archived, backed up and set for editing.  Not that I’m going to dive into that today, or even tomorrow.  I’m going to try to leave this for a week, maybe two, depending on what I have to do that might keep me occupied and how long my supply of LifeintheFarceLane’s patience as well as my own self-control hold out.  I don’t think I’ll make it that far, from past experience, but I’m going to try.

The manuscript weighs in at 82,682 words, 338 pages of manuscript format.  It’s close to the size of the first book, but this is only the first draft. If the last one is any indication, I tend to underwrite and add about 10% in editing, so this may end up in the 90k+ range when I’m done tuning it.  I am not entirely happy with the ending (thus the struggles of the last couple days), so I know that will be rewritten eventually, and almost certainly end up longer. That is exactly what happened with the ending of DM in the second draft, so it doesn’t surprise me.  I’m still new at endings, and apparently it takes me a couple tries to get them right.  I wonder how long I can get away with that excuse.  How many does it take to become experienced at them? 5? 6? Gulp, 20? I’ll have to let you know when I get there. 😀  I will say that my overall level of satisfaction with this draft is good, at least, and I don’t foresee the need to toss the draft and rewrite it all like I did with DM.  But then, I made an error in something completely fundamental to the world in the first draft of that book, which is why it had to be entirely rewritten, and those kinds of things are supposed to be worked out before you get to book 2 ideally.

I am going to give myself the rest of the day off from writing, except in the case of spontaneous surprise attacks by ideas.  I always brake for those, because they’re worse than hitting full-grown deer.  They always total the writer’s brain when you ignore them.  One way or another, they get their own back on you, even if it’s that perpetual feeling of having had something great only to find it slipped through your fingers. I’m actually going to try to take a few days off, given how hard I’ve been pushing myself for about four months now, but we all know my ability to walk away from writing even temporarily is nearly non-existent.  I think some reading, maybe some gaming (which I haven’t done in a couple of weeks), is in order.  I’d go out and get myself something special for dinner tonight to celebrate, but the wind outside is making an attempt to blow my apartment building over, and the buzzer for my apartment doesn’t work, so delivery is out as an option.  Damn. Maybe tomorrow I’ll treat myself to lunch out at my favourite fancy burger joint.

Devan’s been back around last night and this morning, whispering. A lot.  I swear, he knows when The End is coming on whatever project I’m working on and pounces.  I wonder if that’s a necromancer thing.  But in any case, he’s making noise again, whispering more secrets, surprising me even further, even though I pointed out to him that I still have to write The Nine at least before it’s his turn. He needs his own supply of patience.  That said, I’m looking forward to it being his turn.  I was rereading my notes for Necromantic and I forgot how much I like (love) him, and the story shaping up around him.

I think that’s all there is to report. I hadn’t actually expected to be making this post until tomorrow, but somehow I thought I had more ending to write than it turned out.  Maybe that’s part of why I’m not happy with the ending, the feeling that it’s missing something.  Oh well, that’s something I can mull while I’m NOT editing that beast, and then work out when it’s time to tackle the task.  In the meantime, I’m off to give my brain a much needed, deserved break.  I will say, though, the thrill of writing The End still hasn’t gotten old, even though I’ve done it 3 times now in fairly rapid succession. I doubt it ever will, though.

I’ll probably take the opportunity tomorrow to catch up on a couple of other posts that I need to take care of, but have been too busy writing to get to. I have 2 awards and a tag to deal with.  It all piles up when you’re busy banging away at the keyboard for other things.

Before I forget, let me leave you with another picture. I think I may do up a page for these, collect them into a gallery of past ones, maybe.  It’s getting harder to remember which ones I’ve posted already. I’m going to need to figure out a system of some kind.

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.

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).

I Think I Found My Brevity

So, this is the official announcement.  I did it, the second draft of Dark Mirror is finished.  It’s a lot shorter than I expected.  And by a lot, I mean it’s 73,264 words, while I had thought it would be at least 100k.  I didn’t know I could write a whole story in less than 100k.

For years I’ve known that I tend to, shall we say, over-write a bit on my stories, which tends to bloat word counts beyond what they should be.  This time I tried something different.  I didn’t describe everything down to the last fold of cloth or breath.  It finally occurred to me that it might be unnecessary.  The average reader has a fairly vivid imagination and so I can leave some of the basic stuff to that imagination.  Describing just what was significant or different from normal is a new thing for me, but somewhat liberating.  We’ll have to see what my test readers say when I get this to them.  That said, it gave me more room to write the story.  As much as I’d like to just let a story run as many words as it needs, I never stop being aware that I would like to sell my stories at some point, that this is a business and with that comes certain expectations.

I’m still pondering how I want to go about publishing this, when it’s ready at least, and I’m very torn.  Part of me very much wants to go with traditional publishing, for the support system you’re supposed to get, for the physical object you eventually get, the broader distribution, all that.  And (this is going to sound perhaps really bad) for that stamp of approval that is implied with traditional publishing, that unspoken message to potential readers that it can’t be that bad because an agent and editor(s) have read through it already and were willing to spend money to bring it to you.  And then there’s the costs I don’t have to spend money for up front (money I don’t really have at the moment, to be honest).  But it’s a very uphill battle for someone entirely unpublished for me, and I’m not long on confidence generally.  In fact, I rarely give myself the credit that some of my friends argue I deserve.

There is a definite historical stigma to self-publishing.  I find it in my own attitude, even.  In my opinion, it’s lessening now in this the age of e-publication, but I think it’s still there to at least some extent.  Perhaps it is because you do find plenty of books out there among the self-published that were written by someone clearly delusional about the level of their own talents.  You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that come across as someone’s first draft, with spelling and grammar errors and confused narrative.  And I don’t want to be mistaken for one of those, but I’m aware that there’s a growing tide of those who write very well jumping on this train.

There are several advantages that are definitely starting to make the traditional publishing route look less attractive.  The biggest is control.  I would have control over my work, how long it’s available, where and at what price.  I decide how often I publish a new book.  I can have the cover I want.  It would happen sooner than trying to fight that uphill battle of traditional publishing.  And more of the money is mine (so is the financial risk, but nothing worth doing is without risk), with fewer people being paid a percentage of the book’s sales.  I have to agree with Dean Wesley Smith on this.  He’s talked about it in his blog before.  Actually, he talks about a lot of important business stuff in his blog.  But the salient point here is that I did the work of writing this, inventing it in the first place in fact, spent my time and effort to make it a reality.  They did their job once.  They don’t keep working on the book after it’s published in some cases.  Why should they get a percentage paid to them for however long the book is available?  If I’m willing to learn that business side and find people to do the work for a flat fee, to spend the time dealing with the business end of things, there’s no reason I shouldn’t do it that way.  Actually, the more I write this post, the more I think I’m going to end up going self-publish, e-publish.  I may or may not get rich that way, I may never realize the dream of writing full time, but at least I would get to do it my way.  Besides, even in traditional publishing, being able to afford to write full time is unlikely, as I understand it.  I think it’s time for me to get down to researching and learning when not actively writing.  I have a lot to learn before I get this in people’s hands (e-readers).  And I may change my mind on this.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

In the meantime, as I go through all of this and think about all of the above, what will I be doing?  Digging into another project.  I’m more than a little torn on that.  I want to work on The Ailing Tree, but I don’t think I’m ready.  There’s still a bunch of stuff I’m letting simmer with that one.  I want to work on the second book in the Mirrors trilogy, currently going under the working title Possession, while I’m still very much in the vein of that world, and I’m leaning toward that, working on and finishing the trilogy before moving on to another world.  I don’t expect major story or world reworking to come out of the feedback process for DM (though you never really know), so I could at least start ordering my notes and working on an outline.  I’m also throwing around possible new titles for DM, but not really sure about any of them yet, so I won’t be sharing them at this point.

I’d like to close this post by saying that I’m amazed how much better writing The End feels this time.  It might be because this time I didn’t do it knowing I’d have to do significant rewrites, so it really feels like The End.  There’s still work to do on it, and I don’t yet know how much, but this time it feels like so much more of an achievement.  I like that 🙂

There are no words to describe how I feel right now. An odd thing for a writer to say, I know, but it’s true. I’m sitting here staring at my NetBook’s screen, seeing the magical words I just typed and all I can manage is a kind of stupefied amazement. I did it. I wrote it all, beginning to end, it’s all there. I made it to The End. Dark Mirror, first draft, is complete.

Wow. I mean, just… Wow.

It’s been a busy few days since November ended, officially ending NaNoWriMo. I’m still tagging this post for that, since it’s only a few days into December, and Dark Mirror is still very much a creature of NaNo in my mind. Life, as always, tries to get in the way and I came home and wrote anyway. Last night was the most mind-boggling yet, mostly because I wrote the major climax scene and sat there beforehand telling myself, “it’s all been building to this, don’t screw it up”. Way to take the pressure off, huh? But I wrote it, and I think it’s pretty good, not that I’ve really read it much. Today was wrap-up stuff, which I found harder. A character I hadn’t anticipated added himself to the story only a few days ago, and he ends up figuring heavily in the wrap-up, so I had to completely revamp that part this morning. I’m not completely happy with the ending, but it’s first draft and that’s allowed. The important part is that it’s done! 107,454 words and complete

So, the question is, what will I do with all this free time I now have, with the first draft done? Well, I still need to do some rewriting on the first half (thanks Tavis) so I may at least assess how bad that is and, if not too daunting, I may do that before sticking Dark Mirror in the drawer to age a bit. And if I don’t do that, or afterward if I do, there’s another idea kicking around, that I’ve been making some decent headway with, and I may start outlining that. The Ailing Tree has some serious promise, and the characters are starting to make themselves clearer to me every day. I’m looking forward to that one, possibly more than I’m looking forward to editing Dark Mirror.

I want to again thank you guys, everyone who reads this blog and my friends and family on Facebook. You guys were a big key to getting through this whole first draft, to writing every day and getting it done. There was something about having an audience and a place to report my progress that was very motivating to me. On the nights that I didn’t feel like writing, what got me pounding away at the NetBook anyway was the thought of having to confess to you guys that I hadn’t written, or hadn’t hit my goal for the day if I felt like quitting with less than 1667 words for the day. I don’t think I would have managed without that. It would have been too easy to tell myself that I’d catch up later and get into the habit of letting it slide, then not succeeding. Thank you for helping me keep on target.

So now I give my poor brain a little bit of a break, just notes for a couple of days. I think I deserve it. I’ll update you guys when I get started editing this beast. I’ll need some place to cry about it anyway. :p

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