Update

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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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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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.

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New Year Wishes and Quick Update

Happy New Year, everyone, and best wishes for an incredible 2018. I hope everyone’s holidays have been fantastic.

I’m currently plugging away at chapter nine. Fighting off a cold, too, that I picked up somewhere along the Christmas holidays. At any rate, in the scene I’m writing, I’m having to present an event that has happened many times in the series so far, but from a different perspective, and I’m working to make it as fun and interesting (so that’s what it’s like from the other side…) as I can.

I have to get back to writing, now (and grab a throat lozenge), so, Happy New Year, and happy reading!

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Read-through of First Six Chapters of Book 5 Complete

I finished the first draft of the prologue and chapters 1-5 of book 5, and so it was time to do a read-through. I found the same things as usual such as logic errors, plot errors, pacing issues, presentation order tweaks and the like. It takes some time to write five chapters, so plot lines, where people are, what they know, and so on, can get fuzzy from earlier chapters. That’s why I like doing a read-through once I complete around five new chapters or so. A read-through takes only a few days, so everything stays fresh and it is easier to spot those kinds of errors.

Anyway, that’s my quick update. There’s some good stuff going on in there. Can’t wait to get on with the rest.

Happy reading!

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Like Grass in Winter

I noticed something while writing book 4, Of Gods, Trees, and A Sapling, that is happening again. Namely, writing the start of the book takes a bit longer than writing the rest, on a per-chapter basis. In book 4, I thought it was because I was struggling early on to figure out how a god would feel and see things when trapped in a mortal’s body, struggling with how to get it on the page, but that couldn’t be the only reason the beginning chapters took longer to write because it is happening again. I am not certain the same thing happened in previous books, they were written years ago and a lot has happened since then, but I get the sense that I did struggle early on with each book. Why is that, I wondered. Why is starting a book as difficult as getting out of bed in the morning (at least for me)? In this new book, I realized that almost the entire reason has to do with working out specifics.

My outlines help work out and point the direction of the plots, give broad strokes as to what is happening and why. When I get down to the actual writing, however, I need to know exactly why a person feels a certain way or why a person does or says something. Much of that comes from their background. Businesses, agencies, history, and even the environment may also need specific ‘reasons’ for why and how they are in the current day of the book’s setting if a part of a person’s character is based on any of them or if any events are predicated on any of them. Why? So that the person or event makes sense. One of the things I absolutely hate is when a book, a TV show, or a movie throws something at you that makes zero sense. Why would the protagonist do that, have that, or know that? Same thing with the antagonist. Characters can’t just miraculously know, have, or do something at the last minute. Things need to make sense. Incidentally, as I mentioned in a previous post, I kind of broke that rule with a certain lightning bolt, but 1) I made it make sense later, and 2) as a sort of punishment, I made certain there were consequences.

It has been some time since I completed the outline, and yet I only just finished the first scene of chapter five, the beginning of the sixth chapter (if you count the prologue as a chapter). It’s because much like grass growing and spreading its root system during the winter with not much leaf cover being added, I’m having to work out the details of new people, places, and things, as well as add details to existing ones so that hopefully everything makes sense. I’m laying down a nice root system, so to speak, a nice base upon which the plots will rest and grow. I’m confident that as in the past, once that root system has been laid down, once the first few chapters are done, the remaining chapters will follow along a bit more swiftly.

Well, back to writing chapter five for me. In the meantime, happy reading!

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That Feeling When Your Hard Drive Dies

Ugh. I’ve been spending a lot of time recovering from a failed boot drive on my computer. I’m still trying to find out which files I’m going to end up losing, but I was able to recover all files in My Documents (As far as I can tell. Because the drive was failing, some of the files that were backed up may have been corrupted already). I copy my writing work to a thumb dive daily as a backup when I finish for the day, so that’s always safe.

My computer had been acting odd, slow and stuttery, and then the other day as I was turning it on, the power on self test (POST) screen stayed up. It normally flashes by pretty darn quick, but it sat there and I finally noticed a message at the bottom that said a drive (it listed some sort of numerical identifier) was going bad and that I should back it up and replace it. I hit F1 to continue and tried to figure out which drive was failing, hoping (to no avail) that it was one of the ‘extra’ drives. After a lot of research and learning way more about the drives than I ever wanted to (manufacturers, volume ids, serial numbers, physical drive numbers, etc), I found out that it was the main drive where the OS is located that was failing. At least with the warning I was able to backup the My Documents folder before the drive gave up the ghost. I removed the bad drive and spent almost an entire day reinstalling and patching Windows to one of those ‘extra’ drives which is now the main drive. I have to set up my email accounts in Windows Mail again and reinstall all the applications I use like my accounting software, Spotify, Chrome, iTunes, the Adobe apps I use for creating covers, and I don’t even know what all else yet. Right now I’m restoring music, photos, and downloads from backups, but those are from the end of last year, so I’ve likely lost some things that I’ll need to replace, if that will even be possible. But at least I do have everything though that date.

Take my misfortune to heart and backup, backup, backup. It likely won’t prevent you from losing every single file, but it will at least get you back to where you were at the last time you backed up.

You know what the worst part is? All this wasted time! I want to get back to writing. 😦

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