Steelgods, eBooks, more

on Wednesday, December 28, 2011
As much as I think J. A. Konrath is kind of a massive jerk, there is no denying the man has made a crapton of money off his eBooks. As one of the early adapter of the Kindle market, he worked hard, got his name out there, wrote quality thrillers (and wrote consistently) and is now reaping massive amounts of rewards from it. Like I've said, I certainly respect him and it's totally awesome that he's pioneering this new way to write books, and the numbers can't be ignored (I'm just saying he has a tendency to be...blunt about his opinions).

My only beef with the whole "eBook Revolution" is the successful people still have a tendency to ignore the thousands of eBook writers (good writers, mind) that still sell next to no copies. It's easy to say "I'm successful, and look, here are two more people that are successful! So clearly this is the best option for everybody!" but what about all the other people who were taking it totally seriously, working on getting their name out there, and still didn't see more than a hint of success? It's easy to dismiss them as "oh, they didn't try hard enough" but the fact of the matter is that luck is still part of the equation. Just as it is with traditional publishing, luck on being accepted and selling a novel (and it doing well) is still prevalent in the eBook world. The only difference (and one of the appeals of eBooks, if you are the kind of person who likes this) is that your failures are completely your own in the eBook sense. With traditional publishing, you first have to gain approval of an agent, then approval of an editor, then (often times) that editor's boss, and then once it's out there you have to gain approval of the readers. The eBook scheme skips directly to the readers, but also puts all the work squarely on the author's shoulders. Also, not having a physical product can decrease the amount of exposure (a book will be on a bookstore shelf, even if it is hidden away in the back). You can't really schedule signings for an eBook (unless everybody brings their Kindles).

Granted, I know lots of the responsibility of representation still falls on the author when he/she is published by a publishing house, but at least you have a hint of a leg up.

Anyway, the point of this is how I personally will apply this to my business model. I've already put Paradise Seekers out and squarely fallen in the 98% of Kindle publishers: I didn't even make enough to pay off my cover artist. Steelgods is currently seeing the most success with agents and editors of all my work so far (I'd like to think it's a better book, but honestly I'm thinking its the query that's improved), but the looming stormcloud of impending rejection still hovers overhead. Also, unlike Paradise Seekers, Steelgods actually has a second book finished (and a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth plotted), so if Steelgods falls off the bus, it's taking the rest of the series with it (unless it gets a total re-structure and re-submission in the future).

The fact of the matter is that I write really fast (don't use this last month as an example; it has been on/off with regard to word count). Both Steelgods were single-month projects, and I intend to keep it that way with the rest of the series. Death's Aria, which was unfortunately positioned on the same month as Christmas and New Years, will be finished in two months at the very most. Paradise Seekers was also a one-month project, though I will admit it was more of an experiment than a "greatest hit" of what I've written.

If all the Kindle market needed to be successful was a blitz of book-flooding, I could probably pull that off. I've decided to design my own covers from here on out (I know Photoshop and Illustrator as well as the next person, and there are plenty of free public images just waiting to have a boatload of effects filters thrown over them) should I take the Kindle route, to cut back on costs. I'm still not sold on that being my main source of publishing (or if I'm even going to go back to Kindle publishing), but it's interesting considering it.

That's it for now. Merry Christmas and all that, and have a good 2012. Maybe I'll make a New Years Resolution post. Maybe not.

Merry (belated) Christmas!

on Monday, December 26, 2011

Why I own a Mac: Adventures in Windows

on Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Disclaimer: While I do prefer Macs, I (usually) have nothing against other OSes. I don't consider myself a Mac elitist, I just prefer them. I have duel-booted Windows and OSX (and sometimes Linux) on all my Mac computers, because I like being able to play games. I do own an iPhone, but I also own an Android tablet (Kindle Fire) and am perfectly satisfied with it as well. Really, it's an operating system, I don't understand how people get so upset about what other people like to use on their computers.

However, this anecdote was far too entertaining to not share, so here we go.

You wanna know why I own a Mac, even if it means taking crap from everybody? Well, here you go.
Bec bought Office 2010 from work, because she's been using Office 2003 since...well, 2003. A few years ago we upgraded her from dumpy 32-bit Vista to better 64-Bit Windows 7. We had to do a clean install, so she was able to install her 32-bit version of Office 2003 just fine.
Skip ahead to now.
Bec buys the software. She tries to install it after a lengthy 2 GB download. It gets to about 75% when it throws up an unknown error and crashes.
We re-download it and try again. Same error. I manage to navigate MS's KB articles and find out this random error is actually because they gave us the 32-bit version, and instead of checking compatibility before installing it just installs and crashes with a random error. Remember: this is first party software from a first party distributor. All this is Microsoft owned.
I check back on the site. After logging in and confirming a purchase we manage to find a faq. In the middle of the faq, under a tiny bullet point, it says they only sell the 32-bit version. Note that you can only get to this AFTER purchasing the product; I tried on my computer without signing in and it was inaccessible. Oh, and as a bonus? No refunds.
So now I have to PIRATE a version of MS Office 2010 so that we can use what we paid for. Fair enough, I pirate a 64-bit version of a straight disc rip. I have to install Alcohol 52% and mount the ISO like a fake disc, wasting more of my time, but at least I have it.
I go to install it and…bam, throws up an error before even getting to the setup screen. It seems that in order to install the software I have to DELETE the installer left behind by the OLD 32-BIT VERSION that was put on in secret. Ok, whatever, I delete it. Of course it forces a restart. After it reloads I try to install again. ANOTHER error. This time, it says since Bec has a 32-bit version of Office 2003, in order to install the 2010 version that is 64-bit (and the only version that’ll run on her OS), I have to delete that. Ok, fine.
I go to install it using control panel. Again, first party software installed on a first party OS. I load it up. It “prepares to uninstall” for about a minute. It then “gathers resources to uninstall Office 2003.” The box goes away.
Nothing happens.
I try it again. Same thing. Crashes. First party software with a broken uninstall.
No biggie, Norton does this all the time and they have installers. I google “Office 2003 Installer” and find MS’s Official way to uninstall it. Look that over a minute, if you find it. See how it has like ten steps? Great. So it links me to a site to download the uninstaller. I get to that page and, guess what? There’s about a billion language updates, but no uninstaller. Fantastic. Again, this is the official Microsoft site. For first party software. On a first party OS.
So I finally find a link on their site and click it and…it takes me to the Microsoft Office site where it tries to sell me Office 2010 but has no uninstaller. Yes, really. I google the software name: same link, same thing. Either the file is too old or their links are bad, because there is no way I’m getting this damn thing off.
So I have a last thought. I go into our closet, drag our massive tote of technology stuff out, dig to the bottom and finally find the Office 2003 32-bit disc. I shove that puppy in and hit “run setup.” It opens the file in explorer instead of launching the executable. So I open the Setup.exe. It takes about two minutes before getting me to a menu, where I FINALLY can Uninstall Office 2003. To my incredible surprise, five minutes later after it’s gone it doesn’t require a restart.
So I go to install it again. Another error. Apparently, Bec installed an add-on to Office 2003 that allowed it to read Office 2007 files (ex. .docx vs .doc). Instead of just deleting this when we uninstalled, say, the ENTIRE OFFICE SUITE, it decided this should hang out and Office wouldn’t let me install until it was gone. I go into control panel (because this doesn’t have a disc if control panel breaks the uninstall) and…it deletes. But it requires a restart. Even though the software it was tied to is gone. Awesome.
So FINALLY, after downloading Office twice legally, pirating it, installing a third party program to run it, uninstalling three separate programs, and digging out an old disc, the software finally installs.
And Windows forces an update restart in the middle of the installation process.

Let’s compare this to when I updated Pages to the latest version, which is the Mac’s version of Word. And, to keep things fair, my original Pages install was on Leopard, and I’m currently running a 64-bit version of Lion, two OS levels up. Here is what I did.
-       Opened the App Store
-       Bought the update.
-       Hit “update.”
-       Waited about five minutes. I played VVVVVV while I did this.
-       It was done. No restart, no nothing, no deleting the old version. Ran perfectly on launch.

Say what you want, but THIS, dear reader, is why I own a Mac. 

When Infodumps Go Right

This was the second image I found when I Googled "infodump." In retrospect, I'm very grateful SafeSearch was on. 

Infodumps. We all know what they are (but here's an infodump about infodumps anyway). Basically, it's when somebody in the story (either the narrator, another character, or the main character him/herself) buckles down and blabs about everything the reader needs to know. I put emphasis on reader here because a common stigma (and problem) with infodumps is they dump stuff the characters already know. Essentially, it's a paragraph, chapter, or section that focuses on explaining things that will need to be known in order for the rest of the book to progress. Usually this entails a bit of foreshadowing, a lot of expository dialogue, and loads of text while people don't do things.

A classic example is the chapter The Council of Elrond from The Lord of the Rings. Basically, Tolkien needed his readers to be up to speed on the world's events, the significance of the ring, and the exact details regarding the quest. Unlike the movies, The Fellowship of the Ring didn't start with the backstory regarding Sauron getting his finger cut off and the importance of the ring of power. While Gandalf does provide a bit of information to Frodo back in Hobbiton, it's more of a mini-infodump to tide him over until he's in Rivendell and can get the whole thing.

Growing up I hated this chapter, especially on re-reads. I already knew everything Elrond was saying, and the chapter is really really long. There is very little in terms of actual story progression: basically we are getting a history lesson that is capped off by finally saying what everybody should do. You'll note that in the movie (as mentioned above) they essentially broke this scene into two pieces: gave the history as a prologue, explained what needed to be done during the actual scene. This helped the movie flow faster.

So how do we "fix" infodumps? Well, there's several ways. The first is to just forego them completely. A clever enough writer can explain everything the reader needs to know about their world, characters, and magic through scenes and dialogue. This way the action keeps flowing without heavy explanation. The Way of Kings, despite being an incredibly wordy book, does this fantastically. The Name of the Wind, despite having several scenes set in schools and with instructors, never falls into the trap of straight infodumping: something is always happening that caused the infodump. It's that other trope scene we all love: where Luke is being trained by Obi-Wan or Yoda, and they are actually teaching the audience lots about the Force rather than just Luke.

It's worth noting, however, that doing this wrong can make your book extremely difficult to read. Many readers like having it told to them straight; it gives them the big picture and makes everything fall into place. Having to extrapolate everything from scenes and dialogue can be difficult, especially if you are trying to cater to a younger audience, so you might have to throw in some little, more concrete infodumps as a foundation for your explanations set through dialogue and scene.

The obvious trap to avoid (as I've said already) is to just spout information about your world for a chapter without anything interesting happening. Sometimes it's necessary, and if your world is interesting enough it's easier to forgive. If you are doing it as a long dialogue, having characters interject or ask questions can also keep the pacing and make it less of "storytime for the sake of the reader." This seems to be a common problem with new authors. You have this awesome world, awesome magic, and you are just dying to let that cat out of the bag. You've waited five chapters, dropping hints and subtle references, but now you can't hold out any longer. You explain everything in great detail, your awesome ideas and fantastic world down to the minute detail, and your audience all puts your book down and goes back to playing Skyrim.

Last point: determining what goes into an infodump. Eventually, no matter how good you are, you'll probably have to give in and explain some stuff eventually. Tolkien did it, so that means it's totally legit. What isn't legit is over-explaining, or giving too much information. As stated above: fantasy writers often are planners, with grandiose visions of worlds and magics and races and all sorts of things. It's hard to restrain yourself from just explaining everything at once (after all, you are doing an infodump anyway, what could it hurt? Right?). Don't. It's a universal rule to only tell characters (and the reader) exactly what they need to know right then, and then trickle down the rest of the details throughout. Provide the foundation for the house, and maybe a few walls, but don't furnish the whole thing in one go. Give only what is needed, and the rest will come throughout the rest of the story.


The only reason I brought this up is I'm in the middle of an infodump chapter in Death's Aria. I usually hate writing these. I'm bored by infodumps, and so writing them is doubly painful. However, I'm really enjoying it this time around. Questions I've had about the world are being answered (this might be the fault of discovery writing, to be honest), a stage is being set for the rest of the novel, and after the infodump is dropped the second act kicks in full swing. It's an exciting time (especially since the characters dumping all this info are interesting), and it's (finally) getting me pumped to write this novel.

The first chapters are still awful, in case you were wondering, but we'll get back to those later.

Write on, write on.

on Thursday, December 15, 2011
I apologize for my blogging absence this past little while. Life, it seems, is insistent on keeping me busy. There are a few interesting things that have happened recently, however.

First off, I had a birthday! So I'm old now (or older). It was a pretty low key affair, with both my wife and I taking work off to basically hang out. I got the oil changed on the car (woo), had a good time just maxing and relaxing, and had a great homemade sweet n' sour chicken dinner.

As for presents, I got a copy of Gears of War 3, a buttload of Nutella, but the best present was this:

Aw yeah
My wife was researching older TVs because a while back I mentioned our retro games would probably play/look better on an older television than on our LCD. She looked it up and found Sony Trinitrons are unanimously the most popular older televisions for retro gamers. She was going to buy one online but their prices were a bit high ($50+), so we ended up going out and looking at thrift stores on my birthday just for fun. Lo and behold, in the first store we looked in we found the exact one my wife wanted, and for extremely cheap too. We snatched it upand brought it hope and you can see it there, attached to the NES, SNES, and N64. We borrowed some furniture that wasn't being used by our upstairs neighbors and set the whole thing up. And there it is! Now the writing room has an added bonus of being packed full of retro video games to further distract me from writing.


Speaking of writing, Death's Aria is going decently. I've taken a few days off writing due to general stress and it being my birthday, but I'm getting back into the groove now. Not much to report other than that; it's going pretty quick and I'm shooting for a usual 2.5k/day goal.

That's  it from me for now. Expect a review of the Kindle Fire shortly. I jailbroke/rooted mine and put a bunch of emulators on it (as you can see, I already own the retro games, so I don't feel guilt about this :P) so I'm liking it a bit better now.

Kindle Fire, Yo!

on Wednesday, December 7, 2011
For those who know (or don't know), I work a part-time day job doing phone tech support at NuSkin (where my wife also works). Anyway, it's a pretty decent job if you don't mind doing call center stuff, but what makes working here AWESOME is when Christmas rolls around and they throw presents your way. NuSkin had a record year this year, so as a reward (in addition to a few bundles of cash) everybody got a Kindle Fire!

Yep, this thing. 
Now both my wife and I got original flavor Kindles last year for Christmas (and I promised a review but never gave one, but here is my new review: THEY ARE AWESOME YOU SHOULD GET ONE THEY ARE ONLY $80 NOW DUDE), so I'm left wondering what the crap I'm going to use this thing for. So how about I compare it to the original Kindle and write a review?


See, I just got this thing yesterday. For those not "in the know" about Kindles, most of them use eink technology, which basically means it reads exactly like ink on paper. It's fantastic, and as somebody who stares at screens all day at work (then at screens all night when either writing or playing video games or whatever), it's a HUGE load off of eyestrain. It really is just like reading a book, which is why I think the original Kindles are fantastic and any book lover should grab one.

This thing, on the other hand, is essentially a stripped-down Android tablet with a full color screen and glass on the outside and all that. Basically a cheaper iPad, complete with apps, movie watching, etc. This means no eink, despite this still being heavily marketed as an ereader. So...does it work?

Well, I'm going to read through a few books on it before giving my final review. Out of the box? I don't like reading on it, frankly. Movie watching is great (I'm a Prime member so I have both Netflix and Prime's video library to pull from) and apps are...there (I have enough of them on the iPhone and the iPhone is more portable so...). Internet browsing is pretty good but I hate their keyboard (it doesn't register taps as correctly as the iphone/ipad does, despite it being bigger than my iphone). It runs pretty smooth but I have had a few missed taps already, especially with trying to hit the tiny gear "settings" button in the corner.

So yeah, that's my new Christmas toy. Expect a review when I get around to it. Currently I'm preferring the original Kindle, but hey...who knows. Let's finish Reaper Man on the Fire and see how that turns out.

Killing Darlings: First Chapters

on Tuesday, December 6, 2011
You gonna die. 

As any follower of my blog is probably aware, my biggest difficulty with editing is my attachment to the original manuscript. Often times I'm fully aware a manuscript has problems, but my sort of fervent devotion to what is obviously crap makes editing more obnoxious than it should be.

This blog post doesn't really have much to do with that. It has to do with awful first chapters.

Brandon Sanderson on Writing Excuses has frequently pointed out that the first chapters are what tend to go through the most rewrites. As a discovery writer, I can echo this sentiment whole-heartedly. First chapters are often considered the most important part of book with regard to hooking readers. After all, if you can't get 'em in the first 10 odd pages, a reader will probably set a book down for something more interesting. So as authors we sort of get attached to our first chapters, wanting to be certain they are the best ever, and so when we produce something that seems to fit the bill we latch on.

When, in truth, we should kill it.

I can honestly say that every book I've ever written has an awful first chapter, and some of those extend to first scenes or entire first parts. For me, I swear this issue seems compounded with the discovery writer issue: when I'm starting a new novel, I usually don't have either the flow of the book or the flow of the main character down when I start. That's something I have to figure out by writing it. How will this character's voice play out? How will he/she react? While I have the general sense of a character's motives, personality, etc. it hasn't really been tested.

Which means my first chapters usually end up like this:

1. The main character (and whatever side characters are around him/her) is completely two-dimensional, acting off my basic idea of how he/she should act. This makes everything they say completely predictable and utterly boring.

2. People act completely off the wall randomly because I've realized #1 and am trying my damndest to not let it happen again HOW IS THIS HAPPENING IN ANOTHER BOOK I'M GOING TO HAVE TO SCRAP ALL THESE CHAPTERS ARGH.

3. Usually the actual plot is fine and interesting, because I need my "hook," but the writing style, pacing, and characters are completely wrong.

4. They all slowly get refined down until a chapter or so (or more, if the book is particularly bad) in, until we finally hit the final product and everything is great for the rest of the book.

So...what does this mean for me? Well, it means I have some editing to do.

I have Gears with an alpha reader currently, and she is very good at pointing out the inconsistencies with Cevan (and everybody else's) character during the first portion of the book. This is also the only part of the book Writing Group 2.3 got through (pity, since I swear it gets better) and the reaction was similar: I had no idea what I was doing. There's plot there, it's interesting, but what the heck is going on with the characters? Who knows.

I'm also suffering this problem with Death's Aria, so much so that, even only five chapters in, I know that I'm going to have to change a good portion of the beginning. While I still refuse to go back and edit until a book is finished, it's like a looming dread over the rest of the book. The first part of a novel is so important and also really exciting. You meet these characters, who will be taken on crazy journeys only a few chapters later. You are introduced to clever subtleties of the world and get really excited to see where things are going. These really have to be good, or else your novel will suffer.

Like mine do. So watch out Gears, Death's Aria, and the rest of you. You may be safe for now, but we are going to "cut a bit off the top" at my next available opportunity. It might take one rewrite or it might take ten, but you are going to behave and you will like it!

Here I go again

on Friday, December 2, 2011
Death's Aria is officially back on track. I finished the chapter I left hanging last month, and am thinking of fun idea. I'm going to be slamming through this book as fast as possible, hopefully with enough time left before the next semester to take a break before tackling Naught but Glass again. I'm guessing that's going to mean I need about 60-70k in three weeks...ish. Easy. Assuming I don't start a new character in Skyrim.

Speaking of Skyrim, here's the main theme! It's awesome!

Listen to that when writing about fantasy and stuff! It'll make it more awesome!

Not much more from me. I'm excited to get writing again, and to get this book finished and sent out. I'm still waiting back on Steelgods (got another rejection yesterday), but the best way to keep my mind off it is just to write more, so there you go.

In completely unrelated news, a new Nightwish album (as mentioned before) came out's ok. I'm actually sort of let down that it isn't really what I expected after waiting almost five years from Dark Passion Play, but it's Nightwish and it has a cool song with bagpipes and METAL, so I guess I can't complain.

Oh hey, here's the theme played by Lara, my favorite youtube person. The Skyrim theme, not Nightwish.

Rejection, hoops, more writing

on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
So I'm in that stage of manuscript submissions where people have requested partials/fulls, and they start rejecting those. Which, honestly, is somewhat more painful then when people just reject queries. When they reject a query at least I can blame the stupid query. When they reject an actual manuscript, that means they read it and didn't like it, which also means the blame falls on the writing itself. That can be a little rough.

There are still a handful out (some with partials, some with just queries) and I've honestly seen more success with Steelgods than any other batch of submissions, but it doesn't make the entire experience of jumping through hoops any less stressful. It also is a stronger revelation on why so many prospective authors turn to eBooks: it's aggravating to have (what you think is) a quality product only to have it halted at the various stages of approval. I can certainly see why this is beneifical: the more people that see it and are allowed to make changes, the (potentially) better the manuscript will become. But the whole notion of having to jump through all these hoops just to get through the door is aggravating, and makes the whole thing seem more of an impossible task than it probably actually is.

Not that I would know. I haven't sold anything yet; as far as my personal experience goes, it IS impossible. But that isn't going to stop me from keeping on trying.

On a more pleasant topic, my NaNoWriMo inspired vacation is going to be officially over on the 1st, and then it's business as usually. And by that I mean a blitz of writing Death's Aria in one month (or less!). I've spent a good half of November not thinking about writing at all (mostly just Skyrim), cleaning the pallet more or less. Now I'm chomping at the bit to get started again. Book number eight will be finished before the year is up, to be sure. I also consider it to be the most "marketable," to be honest, which means I might push up it's editing schedule to get it back out.

Back to a less pleasant topic: the future of Steelgods. There isn't much I've decided on yet (as I said, it's still out with a lot of people, I'm just thinking way ahead) but if nobody picks it up it makes writing the rest of the books in the series pretty much useless from a financial standpoint (unless I decide to epublish them). Because I like the story so much I honestly think I'd still go through and finish out the series, but it is a thing to consider.

That's it from me. Back to killing dragons and sniping mammoths from the top of a mountain.

Slacking off

on Monday, November 21, 2011
When I said that when I got Skyrim I wasn't going to be doing much, I wasn't kidding.

My evenings have basically consisted of two things: Watching QI (Quite Interesting) while playing Skyrim. QI is a fantastic British television show that I highly recommend. Skyrim is a video game that will ruin your life.

I've taken this brief respite to send off more query letters, do some minor editing, and catch up on my reading. My Goodreads currently has like six books in my "currently reading," which I need to finish up. My main read is Steve Jobs' biography, which is absolutely fascinating if a bit long-winded. If you have any interest in how Apple became what it was or how personal computers basically began, you should seriously consider looking into this book.

To be honest, it's good to finally take a break. I've written around 500,000 new words this year so far, not to mentioned essentially rewrote all of Steelgods (so tack another 100k onto that number), so a breather was in order. I also went to four cons this year, two of them out of state, formatted and published a Kindle book, and went to Brandon Sanderson's class. It's been a wild year, and I think this is a breath I need.

That being said, I'm only taking November off. Once December rolls around I'm blitzing Death's Aria, if only so I can have written three books this year. I can't have 2010 have three books written and not 2011 (even if Effulgent Corruption is longer than all the books I wrote in 2010 combined).

So that's generally it from me. Skyrim is incredible. Keep on writing. And here is some awesome music (I listen to this soundtrack a lot with Death's Aria, if only because it gets me in the weird mood)

Variant, Death's Aria, Gears, and Young Adult

on Saturday, November 12, 2011
Go buy this book. 

First off, thanks to all of you who participated in Larry Corria's Book Bomb of Robison Wells' Variant. Everything went CRAZY on Tuesday. Basically Robinson got laid off from his job because he has panic attacks, which left him unemployed. The spark Larry started exploded into a huge Twitter thing, bumping the book from ~#6000 on the amazon listing to freaking #55. Yeah, it beat out the freaking Hunger Games boxed set. The only thing above it in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy YA was the individual Hunger Games books and the new/last Eragon book. They sold so many copies they bought all of Amazon's stock for all versions (except Kindle, obviously). It was awesome.

I actually picked up the Kindle version, and so far it's a really good book! It reminds me a lot of The Maze Runner meets...something else. There's lots of paintball in the book. But it's a fun YA read that I'd recommend to anybody, especially considering it's only $10 (and your money goes to a good cause).

Anyway, reading Variant made me think a lot about the young adult genre, especially since I'm switching gears (pun intended?) and writing another one instead of an epic fantasy. There were a few things about writing young adult I really enjoy, which is probably why I keep finding myself coming back to it.

- The books tend to move a lot quicker, with less descriptions and more dialogue.
- As a whole, the majority of the characters tend to be in the same age group (adolescents; 12-25), which sort of makes them easier to write. They also tend to play off each other a lot more...excitably? than other genres.
- Young Adult books get right to the point, which is usually one major key theme that drives the whole book. In The Hunger Games it was...the Hunger Games themselves (which is why I think the third book was so weak). In Harry Potter it was the wizard idea and then Hogwarts (again, why the last book didn't seem as strong to me). The Maze Runner was about the maze, I Am Not a Serial Killer is about hunting demonic serial killers. They tend to pick an exciting topic and stick with it, which both keeps the focus and makes it easy to follow.
- Romance and crazy emotions. Teenagers honestly aren't a volatile as most people make them out to be (it's a stereotype that they'll never break; adults actually have nearly as many mood swings as teenagers do, we just aren't as loud about it), but it is a time of life where you have tons of options, you are getting control of your life, and you don't like having that sense of independence taken away. It makes for very proactive characters, which helps drive the story. We adults like to sit around and have meetings.
- Secretly, lots of people still wish they were teenagers, though they'll never admit it. It's subconscious, and honestly I think it's why many adults read YA novels. We miss the constant excitement, the romance and the wildness. We miss having open futures; after a certain point things get set in stone and put into routine. It's a form of rose-tinted wish-fulfillment: we don't remember the awful parts of high school, but we'll certain idealize that time of life. Which makes for both an enjoyable read and write.
- My first book was very much actually Young Adult, even though it wasn't intended to be. Honestly, the vast majority of what I write is probably closer to YA than adult. I have adult ADD, and I started writing books because I felt a lot of books were too slow, so I set out to write something I'd enjoy reading. That principle has still applied, which means most of what I churn out is at least paced like a YA novel. In retrospect, maybe I should just write thrillers or something (hey, Jim Butcher made it work with the Dresden Files).

The point is that I'm really enjoying writing Death's Aria, and even though I'm only a small bit into it I'm enjoying reading it too. I'm actually doing a quick re-read of The Gears of Anbar just because I'm in a YA mood right now, and I'm surprised how much I enjoy it. Not in a "tooting my own horn" way, but in a "why don't I read more YA?" way. There's a reason this is a big market right now.

Granted, I'm also fully aware of the pitfall of writing something adult and branding it as YA when, in truth, it's probably an adult novel. While I'll completely agree the third John Cleaver book (I Don't Want to Kill You) sits squarely in YA with following the basic conventions, the second book (Mr. Monster) really...doesn't. I don't want to force genre tropes onto anybody, but YA books have a sort of flow and reoccurring themes that adult novels miss (perhaps the biggest being the fact there is nearly always a love interest, and their relationships usually pan out in the same structure: gradual, but not gradual enough for an adult book).

Rambling. I think the point of this is I like writing YA, and I'm debating how much that will be my main focus. I'm also writing Death's Aria because of the recent Writing Excuses on expanding your genre. Death's Aria is well set in urban fantasy (though not the whole "chicks kicking butt" thing, which I honestly can't stand), which is a genre I haven't tackled. It's still YA, so it isn't like I'm branching out into supernatural romance or anything way out there, but it's still something different. And I'm enjoying it.

Anyway, this is a long blog post because I'm at work on a Saturday instead of writing or playing Skyrim. So thanks for humoring me if you read this whole thing. If you just skimmed it to the end: SHAME ON YOU! But if you skimmed it to go back to playing Skyrim, I suppose that's totally fair.

Wallpapers, Nightwish

on Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Here's a little bonus.

If you liked that wallpaper, you can grab all of my favorites in one 40 mb zip here.

And guess what? Nightwish is FINALLY coming out with a new CD (the last one came out in like freaking 2007). The newest single is pretty good, even if I HATE the music video. Take a gander.

A change of pace; my life is over on Friday

So a few things: this is me officially saying Naught But Glass is on vacation until further notice. I'm considering leaving it for Brandon's class this year (which would start in January) and instead just focus on my current project.

Oh yeah, my current project! I'm switching some serious gears and going back to writing some YA. It's a sort of urban fantasy, but not...really? It's more like something I've been wanting to write for a while.

For example, in my "Misc Writing Ideas" folder (where I go to mine for crap sometimes when I have nothing to do), there is a .docx titled "Violin Death Girl" which only has one sentence: "Tiasa wove across the strings of her violin while Death looked on, enjoying the melody."

Despite that being kind of a crappy sentence, that's all that's in that file. It's actually inspired from some wallpaper picture that magically appeared in my wallpaper folder one day. Still don't know where this came from.

But it's COOL, so I kept it
Anyway, after a couple hours yesterday of me walking around in the cold and brainstorming (and generally clearing my head), I actually came up with a setting, plot, and a handful of characters. It's sort of an urban fantasy idea, for certain YA, and completely awesome.

I also wrote a 3k first chapter just to test the waters, and I'm really enjoying it. It's goofy and a bit dark (and I'm doing my damndest to not rip off Tarry Pratchett) and I think it'll be a fun warmdown write. I figure if I'm going to finish another book before this year ends it's going to need something I enjoy and can write quickly, and this fits the criteria.

We'll see what happens.

Though I'll REALLY just be doing THIS all weekend/forever:


Yep. Skyrim. My life is over.

Alloy of Law, Beard Slap, The Future

on Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I attended the midnight release of Brandon Sanderson's latest novel, The Alloy of Law, which is a sort of wild-west/steampunk rendition of his Mistborn world. They actually sold out of copies, but I was ok with that because I was getting it on Kindle anyway. I still stood in line for three hours to see him and have him sign my Arc of The Way of Kings as well as all my Alcatraz books for my nieces and nephews, who are getting this for Christmas (hopefully they don't read this blog and spoil it). Brandon is fun as always, as is Isaac Stewart  (who does the art and is currently out selling his middle-grade clockwork spider book that sounds awesome). So good times were had by all.

Regardless, I'm excited for this one. Mistborn is my favorite book by Brandon, and mixing that with steampunk can't possibly go bad. So we'll see how this one works out. 


And now, BEARD SLAP. 

Not really relevant to anything, except that I have a beard that kind of looks like that one. Or will in a few more months. It's gettin' bushy.


On a less positive note, Naught But Glass is going "not" anywhere. I haven't written in it for the past couple of days, mostly because I've been entertained by Batman: Arkham City and QI (Quite Interesting), a British talkshow/gameshow hosted by Stephen Fry. I've also just been generally disgruntled with this novel, which is making me think I might give it a guilt-free break for a day or so while I write up a Steelgods synopsis and figure everything out for all the billions of people I'm going to be sending it too.

That's it from my front. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim comes out on Friday, which will officially be the death of my productivity. I'm considering taking this month off; I have some sort of NaNoWriMo stigma that makes it so I can't write in November anyway. We'll see.

Naught But Glass - "Not" feeling it yet

on Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm working on Naught But Glass, but currently I've been struggling with the story. Granted, it's only been three days and I've got a prologue and two chapters, but I still seem to be taking issue with it.

Perhaps it is that the story/book is daunting. Unlike the majority of my books, this one has very little "action" in it. It's a battle that is more inward, focusing more on the politics of a nation and the psychology of a group of former "heroes." While I'm fascinated by this, I'm worried that I'll be able to pull off the delicate details that keep this book both authentic and interesting. Plus, while politics and psychology certainly play an important role in just about any fantasy novel, they rarely are the main point (exception: A Game of Thrones). Often they accent these with battles or fights or other such action using swords and magic to keep the reader interested. Which is why this is going to be difficult.

In truth, I feel like I did when I started Effulgent Corruption last July (and then abandoned it). It was as if it was something that was far too ambitious for me at the time, so I wrote Steelgods and plotted/edited a considerable amount before coming back to it.

I don't want to do this with Naught But Glass, mostly because I need to have finished a third book this year. So I will press onward, even if it proves difficult.

Aside from that, discovery writing has given me a hand: I thought of several good character quirks that fit well with both the characters themselves, the overarching plot, and the magic system. I almost never plan character specific oddities beforehand (I have a general idea of how they react to situations and what their personalities are, but eccentricities are saved for discovery writing) so when things like this come together it's both exciting and delightful. I also like to think it makes appear smarter than I am, but that's up for debate.

And, as expected, I tend to throw my first 2-3 chapters out anyway, for the very reason mentioned above (I don't understand the characters enough yet). So I really just need to brute force my way through this until I "find" my characters, and then things will be just peachy.

This isn't a very exciting blog post, but that's life. My Twitter is constantly being assaulted by NaNoWriMi stuff. Yay?

Keep writing!

NaNoWriMo, Naught but Glass

on Tuesday, November 1, 2011
So it's NaNoWriMo again, and we all know how I feel about that. My opinion regarding it hasn't changed, but yet again I feel oddly compelled to participate.

So I'm doin' it. Hopefully better than last year, where I did it for like a day and fell off the planet.

But as a specification: I'm not actually doing NaNoWriMo, I'm just using it as an excuse to start my book today. I'm going to keep writing until I finish it regardless of what month I'm in, and hopefully I'll finish it before the world ends in 2012 so I'll have accomplished my goal of three books in one year.

In other news, I've been preparing my queries and also am working on both a synopsis and polishing the first chunk of Steelgods 1 to perfection. I'm hoping to start sending those out by next week.

And favorite episode of "Hey Ashe, Whatcha Playing?" Also, I now say "I'm doin' it" in the same way Ash does in this show's fun. Hush.

BONUS: We'll throw the minecraft episode on for fun.

World Fantasy 2011

on Monday, October 31, 2011
So I went to World Fantasy 2011, and got back late Saturday night. The convention actually went until Sunday afternoon/evening, but due to both cost and time we had to cut it a little short. Despite all this, I still got most everything done that I intended. Rather than burn you out on an obnoxious essay, I'll instead present highlights.

- I was able to meet with Sara Megibow, Jessie Cammack, Eddie Schneider (who we always seem to find at every convention) and Joshua Bilmes. We also spoke a little with Liz Gorinsky, Tom Doherty (who we also seem to find at every convention...imagine that) and a handful of other editors from other publishers. Overall, it was a great experience.

- We also got a decent chunk of time with some of my favorite authors (local or otherwise) including Jessica Day George, Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Eric James Stone, and Cinda Williams (which is especially cool since I spent a lot of time talking to her last year, and since then she's had two books on the NYT bestseller list! Congrats!). We also (randomly) ran into Larry Correia on the way back to our hotel from Jack in the Box, which was awesome.

- As part of this I got my Kindle signed like mad. I posted most of them to Google + and Facebook, but if you don't follow me I'll try and put them up here as well.

- I had a tweet re-tweated by Neil Gaiman. Yeah, I know that's a stupid thing to be excited about, but it's cool. Neil Gaiman is also quite a cool person, who bothered to talk to us a little bit despite being super busy the entire time.

- Most of the agents/editors we spoke with said they would like us to send them stuff. I never actually pitched to anybody, but in truth I kind of...don't really try. I'd much rather try and talk to people and enjoy their company then try and sell them something. Maybe I'm missing the point of this "cutthroat" business, but everybody I talked to was both very much human and fun to converse with.

- I actually used Twitter to make some contacts. Oh, and I got an iPhone last week, and it's already been worth it if just for that. :D

So...what about the panels? be honest, most were extremely underwhelming. We actually spoke with Dan Wells about it (since they scheduled him on the first panel of the Con and he ended up missing it) and he made a comment about being burned out of panels and I'm inclined to agree. There were a few notable ones (a panel on feminism and woman's bias in fantasy/young adult, as well as a panel on the foundations of steampunk by...the founders of steampunk [from the 70s/80s before it became this big fad]), but overall I was generally unimpressed.

However, Connie Willis interviewing Neil Gaiman was completely fantastic and a lot of fun. Neil told a story about how he was in a hotel writing American Gods, and the Bible in his room was messed up, so he called downstairs saying his "Bible was defective." Also, when asked about advice for aspiring authors, his main comment was to just keep writing new things. Essentially: "Write something, do a minor edit, and send it to everyone you know while you write your next one. It's an editor's job to help you fix it; don't do it all yourself. Just keep writing and sending and eventually you'll sell."

I thought this was great advice, especially considering how reluctant I can bee regarding sending stuff out before I think it's "fixed" or "finished." While I do think some agents/editors can be extremely picky (they have to be; they sift through tons of stuff) they are all just normal people who like to read and can understand the potential of a work even if it isn't there yet. It helped me gain confidence in my writings, and motivate me to submit it to everybody.

So, even though we were only there for a few days, I had a great time. I also got like $400 worth of free books that I somehow managed to haul home (thank goodness we flew Southwest, which allows two free bags, unlike every other airlines that charges for the first check-in bag), which is one of the reasons I love World Fantasy.

Overall, lots of fun. Next year it's in Canada so I'm still indecisive, but I'm fairly sold on going to ChicagoCon/WorldCon this year. Also, these cons are a lot more fun when you actually know people, and I think it's finally getting to that point.

If you have any questions, throw 'em in the comments. Oh, and I started Naught But Glass but only wrote the prologue. I will be "officially" starting it tomorrow for NaNoWriMo, but more on that later.

World Fantasy and Pitching

on Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So I've been weirdly quiet about this for...I don't know why, but I am indeed going to the World Fantasy convention in San Diego this year with Jason, and we are leaving tomorrow morning. I'm very excited to make contact again with a lot of the people I met at WorldCON, as well as hopefully meet a few new faces. Last year was a good bit of fun, even though we only talked to a few people, and I'm certain this year will be even better.

I even bought a silver sharpie so I can have freaking Neil Gaiman sign my Kindle. So that means I'm serious about this, guys. 

I'm certain most people who read this blog know what World Fantasy is, but if you don't the general gist is it's a convention of authors, agents, and editors that meet together to find new talent, enjoy each other's company, and shoot the breeze. You won't find people in costume (last year's it went over Halloween and even then I only saw one or two costumes) like at WorldCON, and it is a much smaller convention, but it's still a lot of fun.


So in preparation for World Fantasy I've been working on pitches. There's a great Writing Excuses episode on pitches that just recently came out, and I've been using that for reference. To put it basically, you have three pitches you need:

- An elevator pitch (a sentence, quick blurb)
- A slightly longer pitch (two or three paragraphs, just a quick summery or "movie trailer")
- A long pitch that goes into the most detail

Now, I never really thought much about pitching. I always figured that, should the need arise, I'd be able to just spurt something out. However, when I was talking with my wife on the car ride home and failing completely and utterly at even a sentence pitch, I decided I should probably actually work on this.

And I found some good and bad things. 

The good thing is that the sentence/elevator pitch was actually pretty easy. It took about ten minutes at most, and I never really did any substantial changes to it minus a few word choices. 

The bad thing is the two paragraph one is killing me. 

For some reason, this is really tough. Trying to find a focus with slightly more space, while still making something that is both compelling and easy to say is...difficult. It already has gone through more revisions than the actual book has, and I'm still not satisfied. 

I'm not even going to touch the long pitch. I'm going to assume (hopefully not incorrectly, like before) that I'm able to talk about my book for a decent amount of time without failing to hard. 

So now I just need some agents and editors to test this on. Hmmm....


A quick Naught but Glass update: I have yet to start the novel, though I've gotten a good bit of planning done. I also don't have any names yet, which is probably a bad thing (my design document has "the Hero," "the Sidekick," and "the King" in lieu of actual names). I'm hoping to start it tomorrow night before World Fantasy, however. 


Lastly, I'm finally getting to read some of the indie novels I picked up on Kindle (after I finish Hogfather by Terry Pratchett). So expect reviews of The Wars of Gods and Men by Brondt Kamffer and The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III once I finish them. As always, you can track my progress on Goodreads. So far: both books are excellent, and most certainly worth the asking price (Wars of Gods and Men is only $1, and The Black God's War is on sale this week for $2)

That's it from me. Expect a World Fantasy report one of these years (about the time my WorldCON post comes up. Yeah, that turned out real good).

Hollywood Formula, Titles, Next Novel

on Thursday, October 20, 2011
First off, I'd like to drop a plug (again) for Writing Excuses. If you are an author, you should be listening to every episode of this when they come out on Sunday. All the panelists are extremely knowledgable regarding the publishing industry, writing, and nearly every combination of those two you could imagine. They also do well in getting excellent guests that provide even more insight into writing and how to best approach, write, and sell your story. Plus, they've been nominated for a Hugo several times, which means it's quality.

I wanted to make this plug because an episode three weeks ago, The Hollywood Formula, is probably one of the most interesting Writing Excuses episodes yet. Basically Lou Anders from Pyr books does an excellent job in breaking down the basic formula used by Hollywood to pack their stories with an emotional punch. Basically, it's a system that has been found to best resonate with viewers in terms of characters, plots, and pacing. Most movies in Hollywood follow this formula to a degree, but it's main focus is that every story has a protagonist, an antagonist, and a relationship character. These three play off each other throughout the various acts in a certain formula in nearly every Hollywood film.

Point being: it was extremely interesting, but it also made me take a look back on my books to try to figure out who was who (or if the books even had these characters or followed the formula). The general idea is that the protagonist has a goal, and the antagonist (who is not necessarily the "bad guy") plays against these goals.


Humoring my own work for a second, I took a look at Steelgods 1, mostly because it was fresh on my mind. The protagonist was easy: Cevan, our viewpoint. But who was the antagonist?

(note: possible Steelgods 1 spoilers)

Well, Cevan's ultimate goal in Steelgods (and the entire series) can be summed up that he wants to live a normal life. The whole "Destroyer of the World" thing, having to always run away, the troubles with his family; he just wants it all gone and back to how it was before this all exploded. So who is the one ruining this goal?

Well, the book starts with the Peacemakers (the jerks saying Cevan is the Destroyer and hunting him down) kidnapping Devent and Rosemary, Cevan's step-siblings, and holding them ransom for Cevan's life. Cevan ends up training in a secluded town with a smithgirl named April, leaving her and getting into all sorts of trouble before confronting the Peacemaker in an attempt to save his family. Then a bunch of other stuff happens which I won't say because I don't want to go that deep into spoilers.

The thing is, when I tore this book apart, I began to realize something: the Peacemaker might not actually be the antagonist. It's true he is hindering Cevan's goal, but if you really boiled it down, the real ones who are keeping Cevan from having a normal life are Devent and Rosemary. They refuse to let him settle down, even when all three of them are given the offer at the end of the book. Because they are insistant on carting him around they end up getting captured, which also messes up the good thing he had going with April. While they are trying to keep him alive, they are basically thwarting his direct goals. Devent and Rosemary could be the antagonists in Steelgods 1.

This is further accented by the fact they are most assuredly the antagonists in Steelgods 2, but that's a different story altogether (literally).

So who is the relationship character? This is the one that is with the hero the whole time, who helps slowly persuade him/her towards a sort of final conclusion.

My first guess was April, even though Cevan leaves her, because she stays on his mind. But as I thought about it, I realized it could perhaps also be the Peacemaker (either the individual or the group as a whole). They force him to realize who he is, which is something he fights against the entire series. And at the end of the book, Cevan comes to that realization (at least to a better extent than he had at the very beginning). Maybe April and the Peacemaker are some sort of joint relationship character, tag-teaming. Who knows.

Enough self indulgence, but I found that interesting.


With that in mind, I actually structured the general ideas regarding my characters for my next dark fantasy project (which finally has a title) on this three character formula. And, when I did this, I came to a realization: the person I thought was the protagonist was actually very much the relationship character, and the relationship character is the protagonist! It was actually pretty shocking for me, but it fits regarding the plot I had considered. This formula also helped me iron out a good number of details I still had in limbo regarding this plot, which is good.

Oh, and I also got a title for it (woo woo), finally. Book #8 will be...

Naught but Glass

Cool title, right? Yes? No? Well, I like it. It fits what happens, and so we'll take it.

I also realized this book is extremely political. It's a good deal different than any of my previous books (though it might be more in like with Where Gods and Mortals Dance; both have very little magic and focus primarily on political conflicts), especially considering this is my first book ever where the deities don't directly have any influence on the story. Yes, I'm finally going to actually attempt writing a book where some god doesn't play a major role in everything. Granted, I thought Effulgent Corruption was going to be that way (I even killed the stupid gods so they wouldn't show up) and the jerks somehow managed to creep their way back into the story.

I'm also going to try my damnedest to make sure this book stays short; I'm shooting for between 100-150k at the most. The good part about this it it means I might actually finish it before the year ends. The bad news is...I'm going to have to try really hard to keep it short.


Aside from that, I'm currently plotting the basics, re-reading Steelgods 1 and hopefully submitting it soon, getting ready to attend World Fantasy in San Diego, and working. So here's hoping everything turns out for the best.

That's all from me.


If you want to try and get the first 20 pages of your (finished) manuscript edited for free, check out
Also they have a new book, "Writing YA for Dummies," which I will probably be reading shortly. :P

Editing: When a Character Changes

on Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I finished my overall edits for Steelgods yesterday, after about a month and a half. I'm going to go back through it again just to be certain I didn't totally ruin anything, but first I'm going to blab about something that came to mind during my editing process.

For those who already know, I can find editing difficult at times. Not editing sentences or even scenes, to be honest; those are easy. The edits that are the hardest for me, I've found, are character edits. You know, where that one guy you really liked when you were writing the first draft just isn't working, so you have to either completely change or cut him. Or that guy you still like, but everybody in your alpha reader group said you'd better change him or they'll burn your manuscript. Those edits.

And what is surprising is that, for me, this is really hard. 

This is probably more of a personal issue than anything, but I tend to get particularly attached to my characters. Plot? A little, but not enough to know when it needs to be changed. Scenes? Those are easily malleable. Setting? If the story dictates it be tweaked, I will willingly oblige. But when it comes down to my characters, I get stuck in a quagmire. What is it that makes changing a character's personality so difficult? Even if I know full well it is for the better?

Take for example, Cevan, our viewpoint character in Steelgods. In the first book, my idea of Cevan was he was a spoiled little twit with lots of potential. His viewpoint was meant to be endearing in a way a puppy is: always trying his hardest, but he's a puppy so he can't exactly save the world. Cevan made a lot of really, really stupid mistakes in the first draft, but I felt that was a part of his character. It was who he was, and in a series about massive character growth, Cevan had to start pretty low in order to become the "Destroyer of the World."

The problem is, while this works good in theory, in execution it can be aggravating. With the exception of George R. R. Martin fans, readers tend to get really pissed off when their favorite characters (especially a viewpoint character in a first-person viewpoint) makes really, really awful decisions. While Cevan isn't a total moron, he came close at times, making decisions any rational person wouldn't make. His incompetence, while helping to show how much he improved by the end of the book, was more of a literary crutch than an actual character trait.


So now we have new Cevan. He still makes stupid decisions. He still makes rather glaring errors. However, he isn't convinced he's stupid. He still manages to react to situations rather than being a passive observer. His improvement is still obvious, but he now has things he's good at to counterbalance his fallacies. He may be awful at swordfighting and generally being brave, but at least he's extremely determined and can...sing?

The other problem with Cevan in the first draft was he was an empty shell, much like Sam in Paradise Seekers. I'll make no excuses for that: our viewpoint in Paradise Seekers is not very well developed. He fell into "Cevan-syndrome," which basically means he was there to advance the plot, and not to actually be a well developed character in the book. This was something I hoped to remedy after a billion drafts, but it never reached the point I'd hoped. He's halfway there, but doesn't quite reach a point where you care about him.

This has also been changed in the new Steelgods to fix Cevan. As I changed his reactions, that also means it changed how he thought about the situations he was put into. Cevan is (this is not really a spoiler) thought to be the Destroyer of the World but a malevolent group of magicians/lunatics called the Peacemakers. As an added bonus, the Peacemaker's counterpart, The Gears of Anbar, also want Cevan for some reason. So he basically is going to run his whole life, safe nowhere, until he gets captured and killed. Great life, huh?

Well, first draft Cevan never really addressed the stresses that would come with that kind of thing. Well, he does, but it's near the end of the novel. He just never reacted appropriately to situations, which made him both unbelievable, an unreliable narrator (even though the book is technically first-person omniscient), and unsympathetic.

All of these issues were (mostly) resolved in The Gears of Anbar, which is how I knew how messed up Cevan in Steelgods was. The juxtaposition of these two characters was in such contract I couldn't help but see all the problems.

What was the point of all this? Um...what was I talking about before? Oh, right, why it's hard.

So all these edits sound like worthwhile things to Cevan's character, right? I also had to make substantial changes to his stepsiblings, Devent and Rosemary, to make it so they actually had motives and personalities and the reader actually cared about them. The problem was, I've read Steelgods 1 probably 5-6 times since I wrote it. I re-read my novels frequently, picking them apart without actually using a red pen (I read them on my Kindle), digging through them in attempts to identify flaws to address when I begin later projects. This is a good technique, and I stand by it, but it has one fatal flaw: I get really connected to my rough drafts. Even with all their problems, this is the way I now see my characters. So when I go in to change them, I feel like I'm killing somebody I know.

This is a problem.

I swear this had a point, but I totally forgot it. So we'll go with whatever I think up first, which is: changing characters is hard, probably the most difficult part of editing for me. It's amplified by the fact I discovery write the majority of my characters, so they really need to be fixed since usually every character's personality in the first 3-4 chapters is completely off from who they are in the rest of the novel. Still, reaching that distance required from a story is something I need to work on, at least for characters.

Anybody else have this problem? Are character edits harder for you, or other forms of edits? Or are you editing fiends and everything is really easy?