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And lo, word came down from on high

Or rather, through a blog post. As some of you may remember I had submitted a short story for the anthology “Thunder on the Battlefield.” This was around the beginning of January. I didn’t hear back on if it was received, but I hoped for the best and went back to working on my novel.

A little background, the anthology is being edited by James R. Tuck — author of the Deacon Chalk series. I follow his blog and yesterday he sent out a small update on what he’s been up to. In that update he mentioned they’d chosen everyone for the anthology which will be a two volume set.

Having not heard anything directly, I think I’ll take that as my rejection letter. Which as rejection letters go, I think it’s a pretty unique way to hear about it.

So what’s the next step?

I had to cut the original story down to 10k words. Now that it’s back in my hands so to speak, I’ll go back in and flesh it out to its original story length. Which would have been around 15 to 20k. After that I’ll shop it around again, keeping the 10k version for places that don’t want anything above that. Should I have no takers, I’ll throw it up on Amazon and Smashwords and see how it fares.

In the end, I want to thank James R. Tuck for the chance and putting the anthology together. It gave me the excuse to develop some fun, interesting characters that I can pull out for future work. Good luck with the anthology!

Novel Sneak Peek

I’ve been working on my YA novel now for over a year and I haven’t said much about it. The bulk of my posts are about the process of writing in general and my experience with self-publishing. Now, for the first time I want to share a little something I cooked up.

Wil's diagram of the Five Pillars of Science

The Five Pillars of Science

Our little hero, Wil McEnroe, is something of a science nerd. With a little creative spark, he’s put together this diagram. It shows how he sees the Natural Sciences, and how they relate to one another. I may still tweak it some. But I thought my first crack on it looks pretty sweet.

The series is SciFi-Fantasy with a dash of Horror. So while Wil relies on the power of Science, his enemies fall back on the Weird world of Magic. In the coming days I may post the antithesis to this diagram. We’ll see how I feel.

In the meantime I’m going to keep editing my book in order to hand it off to my beta readers. They’ve been anxious to read it.

That would really be a breakthru

I finally did it. I had my breakthrough! So far editing my novel has been a very trying and interesting experience. What has been one of the more frustrating aspects is that I’ve done plenty of editing before. Every time I’ve passed a short story through my writing group, I’ve taken their notes and reworked the story.

But for some reason jumping into the novel felt entirely different.

On the surface it seems like it wouldn’t be any different. Just more words and a bit more time. Both of those are still true, but what I found was that changes I wanted to make began a “butterfly effect.” I would start the change and it hit me just how much it affected the rest of the book. It would spread out like oil, causing other parts to need a change which would cause other parts to change, which would make my brain asplode.

Needless to say it was rather paralyzing. I would sit down with my laptop and all I could see were the webs of change looming out in front of me. So I thought about it for a couple of days and considered options on how to tackle the book. I looked for help from outside sources, but really only found everyone saying, “Now that your book is done, starting editing!” OK, that’s great but what are some methods? “Get rid of adverbs and passive sentences!” Great, thanks. Because I haven’t heard that before.

Basically what I discovered is a lack of solid ideas on how to tackle editing a novel on a plot level. Not just rephrasing sentences, but how to remove characters, add scenes, remove scenes, all while keeping you sane.

Which brought me to the point that I had to develop my own method from scratch.

I looked at my problem and this is what I came up with. First, I did another outline based on my first draft. Chapter by chapter I listed what major plot, character, setting moments happens. This way I could re-familiarize myself with the high level concepts of the novel. It helped me step away from the minutiae of each sentence.

After that, I made a copy of that outline and named it Draft 2 Outline. From here I went through and made changes based on what I wanted to accomplish. These were written in bold so they stood out. Now I was able to work through ideas in a big picture method. See how they effected things down the line and make sure those changes were written down.

This method has been very liberating for me. After finishing it up, I felt comfortable with where I was going and instantly jumped into writing a new scene and making the changes to proceeding scenes without fear of the unknown.

I’m certain I’ll still have remnants of the first draft still floating around that don’t mesh with my edits. But at least now I know the big major shifts. Those minor points will be easier to spot and squash.

For the first time, I’m excited about getting this book edited.

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