Author Archives: Adolfo Garza Jr

First Read-through of Book 5 Manuscript Complete

Hello again. In this read/edit pass, as expected, most of the things needing tweaks were in the last few chapters, as they’d only been read once before. Thankfully, no surprises were found, nothing big, like in my last book where I realized as I was writing the epilogue that there was a somewhat large plot hole. Nope, just little things. Did some trims, changed a word here and there for the better, rearranged phrases in a sentence and even whole sentences, and made tiny additions for clarity. Consistency of character (an individual character’s personality whether mannerisms or phrases and such, is something a bit harder to keep an eye on in a large ensemble) and continuity–in a book and between books–are the two things that always seem ready to trip me up, so I have to remain vigilant against them, too.

Things are looking good, though. I’m now going to set the manuscript aside for a few days, think about titles and covers instead, in order to start my next read-through with eyes that have not seen the pages for a bit.

Until next time, happy reading!

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First Complete Manuscript For Book 5 Is Done

Whew. As is typical, a few sub-plots wrap up in the epilogue, and there is a pretty important scene, too, for a couple of characters, so that chapter took a bit of work to get into a decent first draft. But now, book 5 is finished, at least in its initial state. Next comes reading over the manuscript. A lot of reading it over. As in other read-throughs, there will likely be tweaks, maybe deletions or additions to a scene here and there, adjustments for flow, pace, plot logic, continuity (this one is very likely to trip me up), and such. With the book now being complete, however, with its character arcs and various plots being completely laid out, what might need tweaking is usually brought into sharper focus. That might entail a bigger change than a mere tweak, but I won’t know until I do a read-through or two to see how things feel. At any rate, things are getting closer!

Happy reading!

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Read-through of Chapters 1-30 complete.

Hello, all.

In doing the read-through of chapters 1-30, I didn’t find anything major, just some minor edits and tweaks here and there, trimming of a no-longer-needed scene, slight adjustments for continuity due to changes to sub-plots in later scenes, that kind of thing. The last five chapters took longer to get through as this was their first edit pass and there were more little things to fix that hadn’t been caught yet–grammar, word use, punctuation and the like. I did add a mini-scene of a few paragraphs into a scene near the end for thematic reasons, to kind of punch up the scene and add a little drama and to tie together experiences in scenes immediately prior into a nice little package, and hopefully add a feeling of accomplishment.

Next comes writing of the epilogue and doing more read-throughs to tighten, smooth the flow, and other little bits of polishing. Then comes working on a title (one of the harder things to do, at least for me) and a cover. So, still a bit to go, but a lot closer, now, to finishing.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Dragonlinked Book 5 Draft Complete Through Chapter 30

Hello again,

It is time, beyond time, actually, for an update. I finally got through chapter 30, which is the last numbered chapter of the book, and that is part of what took so long. I’ve talked before about what goes into the last few chapters of a book (a lot, especially when you deviate from the outline), so I won’t bore you to death by going over it all again. Next, I will perform a read-through, and when that is complete, I will begin writing the first pass of the epilogue. That will be followed by many read-throughs, of course, but the book is now nearly complete, more or less. So, /ShortHappyDance. 🙂

Until next time, happy reading!

P.S. Thanks for all the supportive comments! You peeps are the best. đź‘Ť

Categories: Books, Update, Writing, YoungAdult | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Next Book Progress Update

Hello all. I hope your holidays were great and hope your next year will also be great.

The last couple of months were busy, busy, busy, but that’s probably the case for lots of people at the end of a year. I spent many days preparing for Thanksgiving, had lots of family over, and it was fun. A few days later, however, I got a cold and spent nearly two weeks with a fuzzy brain. I still was able to get some writing in, but it was slow going. Then came preparing for Christmas, family came over for it, and it was a good time. No cold, though, so super-awesome-golden! I’ve been able to get a lot of writing in, since. I’d hoped to get to and finish chapter 30 of the next Dragonlinked book by this time, the end of January, but I didn’t quite make it. I’m about half-way through chapter 29, at the moment.

If it seems to you that I’m taking a great deal longer to do these recent chapters, you are not wrong. Even discounting how busy the last two months have been, the final chapters of a book always take me a bit longer to write. As I write a book, translate the outline I came up with to the book’s pages, I often-times find better character motivation for some scenes, better plot paths, better characters (than originally planned) to handle certain scenes, and such. Because of those subtle and not-so-subtle shifts along the way, I have a lot to write that wasn’t initially included in the outline, things that need to happen to get those adjusted subplots or character arcs and such to where they need to be for the ending of the book. It’s a bit like what happens when I do a read-through but multiplied by all the tweaks, because all of it has to be resolved at the end. But hey, it’s all to make sure the book is as good as I can make it in a reasonable time, so I think it’s worth it.

So, that’s where I am, and things are looking good.

Until I talk to you again, happy reading!

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Read-through/Edit of Book 5, Chapters 1 – 25 Complete

Time for a progress update on book 5 of the Dragonlinked Chronicles. As the title says, I’ve finished the next read-through. I made a few tweaks here and there—continuity edits, edits for flow and pacing, early tweaks to one of the antagonists for more mystery, and I added a very short scene, also for continuity. I didn’t find any big errors, which is good, and I also didn’t find any logic or plot errors, either, which is also good. All seems to be going well. I did have to rename a minor character, finding that their name was too similar to another semi-related character. That is one of the issues with having a lot of characters in a series—coming up with unique names and making sure that new names appearing in a particular book are not too similar to each other. If you have new characters named David and a Devon, for example, it can be difficult for readers to keep the names separate in their minds when they are just getting to know them. Best to use names that are as different as possible from each other. Anything that detracts from immersion should be avoided, and a reader having to pause and think, ‘Now, which one of them is this again?” because of name confusion, is not good.

Anyway, next up is writing chapter 26.

Happy reading!

Categories: Books, Tips, Update, Writing, YoungAdult | Tags: | 3 Comments

Chapter 25 of Book 5 Complete, Starting Next Read-through

The headline says the important bits. I finished writing the draft of book 5 through chapter 25 and am starting the next complete read-through. I worried that I might not get to this point by the end of this month, though. Primarily because of an opossum.

For weeks, something woke me up all through the night with its movement in the ceiling. A rustle, a rubbing of body against sheet rock, the creak of a two-by-four as something stepped on it. I thought, hopefully, that it was just another rat that had made its way in there, so laid a trap for it, to no avail. Then, one morning at around seven, I was awoken by a great deal of noise. I hurried off and found that the noise was coming from inside the wall of the stairwell. I knew that the other side of that spot was at about roof-height, so I ran to the room with a window overlooking that spot, opened it, and in the dim light before sunrise, a very ugly face stared at me, paused in digging at a hole torn in the siding of my house. It was very dark, though, and I wanted to be certain of what I was seeing, so I slammed the window closed, ran for a flashlight, and came back in time to see a furry butt and a long, thickish, rat-like tail disappear into the hole. It was an opossum. Rats I could handle, but I had no idea how to catch or deal with one of those critters, so I had to enlist professional help. For a week, as we waited for it to squeeze out a one-way door fitted over the hole, I had to shift and then maintain a completely different sleep schedule, getting up four hours earlier than normal to meet the pest techs each morning so they could check various traps and that one-way door. Messing with my sleep schedule tends to interfere with my writing, but aside from the first day, the changeover went well and I was able to continue making good progress. And eventually, the opossum either died in the house (gods, I hope not) or made it out, for it was blissfully silent for several days, and the hole was sealed up by the pest tech guys.

Then, last week, I started fighting off a cold. So far the fight has gone well, thanks to a couple of over-the-counter homeopathic remedies that I have found work well if started in time, and I think I have beaten the cold away. I have to chuckle, though, at all the things being hurled my way by the universe or fate or what-have-you. All I want to do is write!

Anyway, I need to get back to the read-through. Happy reading!

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Progress Update for Book 5

I meant to post this yesterday but was sidetracked, so apologies for that. I’ve completed the first draft of chapters 21 and 22, and I am about three-quarters through chapter 23. Pretty decent, I think, considering that because of what has happened/changed from the writing of these chapters, I’ve had to edit a few scenes to tweak various plots for continuity and logic. I also tweaked and expanded a subplot a bit for more dragon awesomeness, deleted a scene that became superfluous because of the tweak, and added a new scene to lead into the expansion. All in all, things are progressing quite well.

Until next time, happy reading!

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An Update and Some Advice

Whew. I had five chapters left to read over today to complete my read-through of chapters 1 through 20, and I wasn’t sure I’d make it, but I did!

Let me back up a bit and explain why that was a worry.

July was just terrible for writing, so I didn’t progress as much as I wanted toward my goal of writing through chapter 20 in order to start a read-through. So many things took time away from me, some good things, some bad. Visiting family, good, having to wait for technicians (and watch them while in my home), bad. Home ownership comes with so many little, um, joys, like failing parts of security systems, or sprinklers not working, or low water pressure due to a bad city water meter, and, well, you homeowners know what I’m talking about. But the thing that has had a larger impact on my writing than I would have thought, and a negative one at that, is sleep. Or lack thereof.

When I started writing this fifth book, I was determined to go at it for as many hours a day as I could, so I started waking up earlier than I normally do. That added anywhere from an hour to two hours more to how long I could write each day. The thing is, it wasn’t really helping. It seemed I was struggling to get words on the page. I mean, I was doing so, but it just wasn’t flowing as well as I would have liked. But there was another issue which this read-through has made very clear to me. Lack of sleep seems to have made it harder for me to track things as well as I should, and worse, I didn’t notice. I think it was sometime after I finished my last read-through, chapters 1 through 15, when I decided that I was tired of feeling tired and went back to my normal sleep schedule. Why do I think this? Because during this current read-through of Chapters 1 through 15, I found a TON of things wrong (things that I did not catch in the last read-through). Not major plot-breaking things, mind, but lots of little things. Say, something like character 1 being shocked by something said, when four paragraphs earlier, the same thing had been covered in their own thoughts. The biggest weird thing I found was a scene where a character who was supposed to be there, per what happens two scenes prior, was completely missing for no apparent reason. I had to rewrite about three-quarters of that scene, to insert that character who was supposed to be there. Because of all the things I had to fix, it took me nearly three weeks to get through those fifteen chapters. That is why I was so worried that I wouldn’t get these last five done today (I wanted to post an update that I’d completed this read-through by the end of this month). But happily, in these last five chapters, everything was as it should be. There were only tiny little tweaks needed. A slightly different word here, a trimming of a couple of words there. Nothing major, and things were good. So, I was able to finish the read-through of chapters 1-20, and I learned a lesson in the process.

And that is the advice I have to give today: get proper sleep. Any creative out there should seriously consider the impact lack of sleep can have. For me, it is shocking just how much it had, and I will no longer make that mistake.

Now, on to writing chapter 21. Happy reading!

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Cake versus Pie

I’m not sure about other writers, and apparently a lot don’t even do so, but when I read customer reviews, the one- and two-star ones hit me pretty hard. It doesn’t even matter if the review is actually a review rather than an irate spewing on some stance, usually about the ‘gratuitous’ inclusion of gay characters or the ‘promoting’ of homosexuality, as if just telling a story that includes people who aren’t straight, people who are presented as just people rather than freaks or monsters or who-knows-what, as if that constitutes promotion. It doesn’t, and the books actually reflecting just how different people are isn’t gratuitous. Anyway, yeah, seeing people who disliked a book I wrote so much that they go so far as to make the effort to post a review with that few stars…it puts me in a blue mood, no matter the actual reason for the post. I’ve taken to not reading any reviews of a book until just before I put out the next book. And I only do so to see what people liked about the book (an excerpt from one of the best so far which was for book 4: ‘Excellent read; I laughed, I cried, and I was happy at the end.’ I mean, as a writer, it’s freaking awesome to see someone felt that way because so did I as I was writing it.). I also read the reviews to see if anyone posted a constructive negative review that I might be able to use to make my writing better.

Back to the point, though. Reading those ‘bad’ reviews sucks the will to write out of me, which is why I took to only reading them right before putting out the next book, after I was pretty much done writing it. But I recently read a post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, titled Business Musings: Taste (or Blaming The Writer), that opened my eyes. I think in the back of my mind I always sort of realized it, but her putting it out there plainly like that really brought it home. Not everyone is going to like your book, regardless of how ‘good’ it is, how ‘correctly written.’ Everyone has their own taste. Some people like cake, some people like pie. (I, on the other hand, am a weirdo. I love both. Chocolate cake? Oh gods, yes, please. Cherry (or blueberry) pie? Mmm-hmm! Yes, yes, yes.) And because everyone has their own taste and those tastes vary, there will be people who do not like what you write, and there may even be some who despise it. Knowing that it is really people’s taste that makes them like or dislike a piece of writing (or their relying on arbitrary rules of what makes a piece ‘good’), well, it takes a load off my shoulders, so to speak. As writers, instead of trying to check off a made-up list of criteria for what is ‘good,’ we should instead just write what we love. I should write the best darned cherry pies (or chocolate cakes, or Mexican wedding cookies) I possibly can, and to hell with those capirotada freaks (Google it). Other writers can satisfy their cravings, while my writing will attract and satisfy those who like the way I write. Now, obviously, there are some technical rules to learn about, things that make reading and following a written piece possible, dialog tags, point-of-view, and such, but once you know those, you can bend them to your will as you see fit.

Anyway, those of you who write, who are thinking about writing, and even those of you who read written works should definitely read her post.

 

Categories: Reading, Tips, Writing | 2 Comments

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