Author Archives: Adolfo Garza Jr

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!

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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

Busy, Busy, Busy

This past week and a half has been a little hectic with the holiday and also friends visiting town, so I’m late with an update post. Apologies for that.

 

I finished the first pass of chapters 16 and 17 and I’m halfway through chapter 18. Things are going relatively well, though I found I had sort of forgotten about a subplot while outlining, just stopped adding scenes for it for some reason. In my mind, I more or less know where it is going, so I went ahead and wrote in some scenes for it to get the sub-plot caught up to where I am now in the book. I’ll add those scenes and more into the actual outline later. As for the whole process, I’m hoping to get the first passes of chapters 18, 19 and 20 completed and start the next full read-through, all by the end of the month.

We’ll see how it goes.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Read-through/Edit of Book 5, Chapters 1 – 15 Complete

I finished the first draft of chapters fourteen and fifteen. Fifteen was almost big enough to split into two chapters, but I think I’ll leave it as one, as there really isn’t a good place to split it near the middle, and it’s not overly long. I then performed my usual ‘full read-through every five chapters’ procedure. I caught minor grammar issues, spelling, and the like. Started adding in little bits of info along the way for various plot-lines so that, down the road, events/choices/etc make sense. Fixed a minor time-based inconsistency. Changed the names of a couple of minor characters. One, a male, I changed to an interesting name I came across in a National Geographic article. Tweaked a few sentences/paragraphs for pacing and excitement.

It’s all looking good, so far. I’m off to start on chapter 16.

Happy reading!

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Trucking Along, Or Rather, Wagoning Along?

Whatever the appropriate idiom, things are going well. I am two scenes from completing the first pass of chapter fourteen, which makes almost three chapters completed this month, a much better pace than last month. Once this chapter is completed and the next, I’ll do a read-through/edit pass from the beginning.

Back to it, then, and until next time, happy reading!

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That Took Longer Than Expected

Got back recently from visiting one of my nieces and her husband. They just had their second child. Does anyone else freak out at just how teeny-tiny newborns are, or is it just me? At any rate, I just finished the first pass at chapter 11, and I looked back at my posts here on the blog and realized that it took a month to do so. Even with the relatively short trip to visit that itty-bitty baby, I was surprised at how long it took. After all, in my outline, chapter 11 didn’t look that big, but after getting into it, things changed a little. I ended up tweaking a few scenes, adding a new scene, rearranging their order, I also split a scene–putting another scene in the middle, and even added a new scene to chapter 10, all because of finding better ways to do things, better ways to keep flow and pace going.

So off I am to chapter 12. Happy reading!

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Quick Update

It took a while–holidays, illness, and stuff–but I just finished a read and edit pass through chapter 10. Things are looking good, so far. Off to write chapter 11.

Happy reading.

Categories: Dragonlinked, Update, Writing | Tags: | 1 Comment

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