Steelgods vs Shadow Mountain

on Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I've decided to do a Steelgods edit and submit it to Shadow Mountain.

This will be done during my free time at work, since I can't write at work it seems better suited for editing. There are a few edits that  I'm going to do.

- General edit. Language clean up, fixing all the left over "discovery writer" bits that cause the book to be disjointed, and fix sentence structures.
- Plot edit. I can think of an entire chapter that needs to be rethought, as well as significant parts of the plot. This will probably be the biggest edit.
- Language edit. Shadow Mountain is part of Deseret Book, an LDS publishing house, so I'm pretty sure "goddammit" isn't going to fly in one of their books. This will be made it's own file; I plan on continuing to submit the original to other publishing houses unedited.

Shadow Mountain is a small-ish publishing house, but it does have several major bestsellers and authors (Fablehaven being first and foremost). While I know I should start from the top and go down, I don't think this could hurt any.

Plus, I've been itching to edit Steelgods, and now this is an excuse. I plan on continuing to write Effulgent Corruption during the evening (even though I didn't yesterday) but it needs some serious plotting before I can continue.

So that's it. Keep it real.

Effulgent Corruption - Part 3 is go

on Monday, March 28, 2011
I've been a bit lazy; took two days off and only wrote about 1.5k on Saturday. However, I'm getting back into things, plotting this third part more definitively, and trying to gain motivation despite being overwhelmed with life at the moment. So there you go!

This part is considerably different than the last two. Part 1 was an abridged prison story, and one of potential revenge. Part 2 was a slow burn, focusing more on the character relations, before finally revealing what could be considered the ultimate conflict. Part 3 is completely different, because it relies so heavily on the first two. Rook's story (Rook being the viewpoint character of this part) is directly woven into both Drake and Ciara's. Without them his tale would be a bit monotonous. However, I'm trying to discover exactly how to make the "in-between" parts more exciting, which is why I've been brainstorming.

Rook is also in a position leading to a considerable amount of more violence when compared to Drake and Ciara (yes, even compared to Drake), which should be good for the book. Ciara's story was low on the "action" front, so now we have Rook to fix that. Time to kill some people.

That's about it. Still busy with work and other things this week, so hopefully I'll have time to write on my consistent schedule. Also, WHAT THE CRAP IS UP WITH ALL THIS SNOW IN MARCH. WHAT.

Here's the start of Part 3, for you reading pleasure.

“I want you to kill them,” Grax said, the smile running away from his face. “Tear them to pieces. Cover them in corruption. Kill them, damn you, kill them!”
            Rook hunched over his drink like a vulture atop a desert carcass. He had only taken two sips since ordering it, the vile drink reflecting the afternoon sun that crept through a nearby window.
            “Quiet.” He grumbled to his companion, pulling the hood further down to shadow his face. He took another drink; his hand was so large it completely engulfed the cup. The ale was just a putrid as he remembered. “Don’t draw attention.”
            Grax slammed his hands against the table, dark eyes burning. His short black hair bobbed as he spoke, teeth wide like a whinnying horse. “You will listen to me, Rook. You owe everything to me. I own you. And you will kill the boys!”

Effulgent Corruption - 6k in a day will finish that part for ya.

on Thursday, March 24, 2011
After deciding to murder my sanity completely, I pounded out a cool 6k yesterday and finished Part Two of Effulgent Corruption! Yay! Party! Rave!

The best part is that, re-reading it, it actually isn't awful! Unlike what usually happens when I write in huge bursts. There are some definite changes I can already see, but aside from those it seems fairly decent.

That is, it will until writing group gets their grubby mitts on it.

This drops us at a little over 125k, and ready to move into Part Three. Of Six. Yes, I'm going to keep bringing that up because it is daunting.

Point being: Part Two is done! Yay! New viewpoint! New plot! Everything is starting to come together! Magical!

It is also worth noting that over the past week and I half I averaged around 4-5k a day, meaning I wrote about 40k in a week and a half. With work and piano lessons, that isn't half terrible. 

Now I'm going to go read Chuck's book on my Kindle. Hooray for the wonders of technology.

Effulgent Corruption - Planned Editing and the end of Part 2

on Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Part 2 is finally winding down. I'd wager I could finish it tonight, assuming I'm not completely burned out from work and piano lessons. The last final scenes are set in motion, and then we will move to the third viewpoint.
The novel is teetering around 120k currently, but I already have plans for serious editing. So my writing group feels like they are being heard, here's a list of potential cuts from Part 1 already:

- Minimizing Drake's thoughts. They decrease substantially after he arrives at the Maw (literally the chapter after what writing group is currently on), but the number before is still too long, and there are still pieces interspersed that slow it down. My belief is that I was too concerned with writing a character I didn't know enough about, or rather I had an idea for him but didn't know how to present it besides beating it into the reader's head. It'll be fixed.
- Cutting down exposition. There's lots of yammering; most of it works, but most is unnecessary. I also need to find a balance (based on feedback) on what needs to be explained and what can be passed on until later parts.
- Make Drake less dumb. Again, not certain of his character during the original write, but he should know much more than he currently does. That's going to require some serious edits, but it should also cut down on the exposition.
- Explain Drake's "crime." I realized too late that I never mentioned that Drake can't remember his trial or crime that condemned him. So that is just an open question that I never address, which is bad.
- Overall editing/cuts. Lots of filler can be trimmed, especially in the first five chapters. This is the usual content edit.

I also have some reworkings for Part 2, based on my wife's comments (since nobody else has read it yet).
-Changing the focus/goals of the main lead. All are resolved, but due to the way it is presented something that isn't as important is thought to be MORE important. It needs to be played down, and the other instances played up.
- Cut an entire scene. When I was writing this scene, I was thinking "I'm going to cut this; why am I writing it?" Probably cutting it, or at least trimming it down substantially.

I'm excited for Part 3, and then I'm going to probably do some plotting for both it (since I only have an opening and closing scene, and a general idea of what happens in-between) and the remainder of parts in some attempt to keep this manageable.

Point being: It's been going very well. I've been averaging over 3k a day (except yesterday, where I only had about 1.5k) in some attempt to finish this madness. It is starting to wear on me (especially since the end is still so far off), but I'm still going to try to have it done by May (end of May at the very latest).

I'm also ready for a new project. Steelgods edit is probably next, as I am considering submitting both it and Paradise Seekers to Shadow Mountain. We'll see.

Not much else going on. Still writing, have a job, all that good stuff.

10,000 words in three days = not bad.

on Thursday, March 17, 2011
I wrote a ton yesterday, finishing up the "interlude" that I needed to add. It was huge. Much too huge. Editing: I choose you!
I don't have much more to say. I am considering sending some of my YA books (Paradise Seekers, Steelgods) to a smaller publishing house, such as the local Shadow Mountain. It at least would be a rewarding experience, and we'll see where it goes. I still fully intend to continue writing and attempting to market adult books to both agents and the "Big Six," but for now I have a large collection of YA books (including a potential series) that I wouldn't mind seeing some recognition.
Not much more else to say. Work is going well but is busy, but it IS helping motivate me to write in the evenings. I'm feeling relatively confident, but we'll see how long that lasts once I'm on the phones by myself.
Picking up Wise Man's Fear again, with intention of finishing it. It's such a well written book; I'm loving it to death. Even if one could argue the plot itself moves a bit slow, the wonderful narrator and fantastic prose make it easy to read. I wish I could write this good.

To prove I can't, I have an extra long quote for you. This is the end of a chapter that is about three chapters from the end of part 2.

Also, for the record, EC is ~111k right now. If each part is the same length, that would mean the final product would be 333k. That would be both amazing and horrifying, so I'm shooting to make the other parts shorter.


            Ciara was silent, the rain falling harder. Lightning and a blast of thunder accented the already dreary scene, the sound rolling across the valley and causing the leaves on the trees to tremble. Still, she stared at Thomas.
            And for that moment she believed him. As she looked across his set jaw, his determined eyes and rain-soaked hair, Ciara saw someone else. The impish bookworm she knew was gone, the boy replaced by a man. A man refined by impossible circumstances. A man accepting unbelievable realities and still pressing forward.
            The man she had always loved.
            She reached forward and touched his chin, the emerging beard poking through the thin gloves. She turned Thomas’ face towards hers, staring deep into his dark eyes.
            “Thomas,” she whispered, refusing to break the gaze. “Tell me we can do this.”
            Thomas’ lip curled ever so slightly to a smile, and his eyes softened. “I won’t say we can. I’ll say we will.”
            Ciara was swept up in his sudden embrace, strong arms holding her tightly as she pressed against his rain-drenched shirt. Despite the assault of confusing emotions Ciara still did not cry, her fear and worry slowly melting away, pooling under her like the rainwater. Thomas held her to him for a long moment, head still high, hair slicked back from the rain.
            At last the separated, and when they did Ciara saw a smile – a real one – etched across Thomas’ face.
            “I think,” he said, “that maybe we can do this after all.”
            Ciara pressed a finger to his lips, indicating he be silent. “I won’t say we can,” she smiled wide, “I’ll say we will.”

Effulgent Corruption: Back in Black

on Monday, March 14, 2011
A little over 2k today, I'm back in the groove. A few things of note that don't really matter to anybody reading but I'm going to say them anyway because then I'll remember.

- I'm going to have to go back and add a chapter (and add a bit on the front of another chapter) between two others to make the second part flow better. I don't want to make this dumb thing any longer (it's already huge), but it cheapens a rather dramatic scene to not have proper build up, so I'm going to go back and add build-up. You won't even know it happened and that it's all artificially added after the fact. So ha!

- I beat Pokemon White. So I should have a vast increase in productivity. Theoretically.

- Part 2 is almost done. I'm guessing I have three to four chapters total left (including the one I left out). I'll probably go back and add that chapter tomorrow, then close out the part on Wednesday. I'm guessing it'll end at about 120k, making part 2 around 50k. I've said it a billion times but here I go again: this book is going to be huge.

- On that note, I'm already considering what exactly to trim and what to keep. Editing Paradise Seekers was good for me because it taught me that sometimes it is necessary to rewrite entire sections or cut entire chunks of book. The other major edit my books need is the "loose ends" edit. Often I mention things that I intend to bring up later, but since I discovery write the item didn't stick so it there. Paradise Seekers is full of them, and Steelgods STILL has one that drives me crazy that I missed in editing (calling a non-Graffiting hand an "off hand" at the beginning of the book and NEVER USING THE TERM AGAIN EVER). Anyway, the point of all this is that I'll be both cleaning up and trimming.

- On THAT note, the part that I currently think needs the most revising is actually the part my writing group just finished. All I've submitted thus far was rewrites/reedits of what I wrote back in July when I first attempted this thing. Because of this, I've found the prose can be strong but the actual pacing doesn't match the rest of the book. It's slower than the YA, but not THAT slow and exposition heavy. I'm going to attempt (after finishing) another re-edit, and if it still doesn't work I may just scrap it all and rewrite it all dry (much like I did for the first 3 chapters of Paradise Seekers).

- Despite this [Effulgent Corruption] being huge, I still feel like I'm rushing through it. Drake's first part ends a bit too fast for my liking (though in a re-read I may consider otherwise), and Ciara's is just racing like wildfire. I'm sure I'll hear the other end from the readers ("It's too long!"), but I can't shake the nagging feeling there should be more stuff happening before the part's climax/conclusion. Ah well, pacing. I'll figure it out.

- I'm scared to set a goal, but I think I will anyway: End of April I'll need to be in part five at the latest. Part six is the last part, so I want this done by end of May. If I'm super amazing I'll be done by end April, then I'll have a month off (where I'll probably edit and submit Steelgods) before doing a June binge write (just like Paradise Seekers was last year).

I'm glad to be writing again. I also have a feeling my job (which I am taking calls for the first time tomorrow, then actually doing the job next Monday) will allow for a decent amount of free time. I've already decided that I'm going to write at least 1k at work a day, and try to devote all down-time writing as well. We'll see how much I can actually get done.

That's it from me. Time to go critique some writing group stuff.

In other interesting asides...

on Thursday, March 10, 2011
I love video games (already noted) and I follow the industry extensively.
A few days ago I posted about eBooks and how they are causing a scared uproar in the industry, especially for publishing houses. Well, you can see this same thing going on now in the video game industry.
I enjoyed that article, even if it is extremely skewed because Nintendo is essentially presenting on how upset they are that the iPod/iPhone/iPad are stealing their business. Their worry is that people would willingly pay $1 for an underpriced, slightly inferior product rather than $35 for a more polished, retail game mimics many worries stated by full time publishers (that cheap, $1 ebooks will dwarf full retail paper copies at ~$15).
The thing in both instances is that the market isn't going to swing entirely one way, it's going to just level out. Someone mentioned that it's like a Ven diagram. You have the people who always and only buy retail copies of games on one side, and the people who always and only buy cheap iPhone like games. The thing is, the overlap is enormous. People buy BOTH.
The same applies to ebooks if you consider publishing house sponsored ebooks vs $1 kindle indie store books. People buy both. Sometimes I just want to play an easy, good game. So I throw down $1 and buy an indie game on iPod, Xbox's Indie Channel, or Steam. It isn't usually a fantastic experience, but I get my $1 out of it and that's fine.
The same goes for indie books. I tend to skim a few, usually enjoying them because they can be braver on ideas and perhaps not share the quality of a higher end book, but for $1 I got my experience worth.
However, I'm never going to say a $1 indie game is even close to the same caliber of Dead Space 2. Just like I'm never going to say that a $1 indie book is even close to the same caliber of Wise Man's Fear. It isn't stealing, it's overlapping. People who read will read both. People who own ereader devices are avid readers. They aren't going to stop buying big-name ebooks. They are just snatching up the cheap ones because they consume books at the rate of one a day, and a cheaper alternative to fuel that addiction (especially since there is no "library" to check-out ebooks for free) is to snatch up $1 throw-away eBooks.
I'm not saying everything on the kindle indie store is bad, far from it. I'm just saying the mentality is completely different. People freak out because of how well iPhone games sell (or certain indie books) but think about it. It's $1. Your expectations are lower. The price of entry is lower. You are selling the Kindle edition of Wise Man's Fear  for only FIFTY CENTS LESS THAN A BOUND HARDCOVER COPY. At $15, that means I can technically test out FIFTEEN indie books, gamble my money away, and if one or two of those is extremely satisfying I ended up better off. Consider it.
Anyway, I like video games, and I found that article interesting. What is also interesting is that we have conventions where people like large publishers or Nintendo get up and lament about themselves, but you never hear from indie publishers because they can't carry the weight.
Plus, most of them are still out making games/writing books and adapting to the market rather than complaining about it.

Taking a week off.

I wrote Monday, but I'm going to take this week off due to stress reasons (and Pokemon, but that isn't the main contributer). A brief (and a bit personal, sorry) recount of what happened this week:

- I started my new job. I'm in training from 11am-5pm every day for two weeks.
- For above, I still have about 3 hours of training videos to watch at home.
- My car's transmission decided to barf up all its transmission fluid, and before I noticed it had hurt the transmission. There's ~$300 I'll never see again (but I guess it could be worse).
- My youth leader from church who probably was one of the most (if not THE most) influential person on my entire life (save family members) passed away due to a long bout with cancer on Monday. He was 63.

Point being, it's been a long couple of days, and I don't need the self-imposed added stress that comes from not writing. So if I declare it a dead week, any writing I DO get around to doing will make me happier so we'll just take that.

I did churn out 3k on Monday, so even if I hold off until Friday I'll at least have that. I'll probably write tonight - I don't have much left in Part 2 after brainstorming, so it should be a straight path straight on 'til morning.

That's about it. Long week. Going to spend my nights sleeping early and playing Pokemon to try and get into a sort of rhythem.

Also I still hate my car. Grrr.

ALSO: Fun tidbit, the second Effulgent Corruption book was slated to be titled The Dead Six, until I realized Larry Correia is releasing a book called Dead Six this summer. Whoops.

Effulgent Corruption crosses over to 100k, probably is almost 1/2 way done.

on Monday, March 7, 2011
Yes, Effulgent Corruption just hit 100k words, which is the length of a regular book. It also is only somewhere between 1/3 or 1/2 of the way done.
But that isn't the point of this blog post. I will say that I am attempting to cut Part 2 short, but having set up things that must be resolved puts a damper on my trimming. Things like this might be edited out in a future draft, but for now they are going in before I finish it.
In other news, I have ideas for future books. Prepare to be divulged upon.
- A book where a boy shifts between alternate universes. I've talked about this before but too bad for you, because I'm mentioning it again. I guess it would be paranormal urban fantasy YA. Or something. I don't know, genre's are hard.
- Canyon Story, where the entire world lives in basically a huge fissure in the earth because everything else is burned desert and the only water is deep down. I have no plot for this minus it being a canyon and that would be cool.
- An idea I stole from Brandon's class when we were throwing them out, where children are essentially sold (or auctioned, in my interpretation) as slaves where they have to work to pay off the debt. Sort of a forced apprenticeship/indentured servitude. Might be interesting, not sure, it would have to be YA.
- An adult fantasy with a VC being a violinist assassin who also so happens to be the daughter of Death. As in Death "himself." Grim Reaper, whatever you wish to call it. I actually think this could be the most interesting.

All of that as well as Steelgods 2, a Harbinger rewrite, and I'm considering restructuring Lacrymosa to make it YA, if only to practice brainstorming and outlining. Oh, and all the previous mentioned ideas aren't spoilers, because they are so early in the birthing process they aren't even the metaphorical zygotes yet, so you are safe.

I also have a WGMD sequel semi-brainstormed, as well as potential sequel for Effulgent Corruption.


Here is my take on the current ebook indie boom:
- Right now is the time to do it, because it's only going to taper off and normalize. I say this with a high amount of confidence because I've seen several other markets that became exposed to easy "indie" distribution boom and then taper off: iPhone apps, for one. Xbox Indie Games for others, and even the WiiWare channel (though to not as much an extent). Basically these markets boom because suddenly billions of people want to make it rich. During this time people buy a lot because 1. It's a new market and you have a device and want to make it worth it 2. You can buy a book for $1, holy crap so amazing!
The downside is that after a while the market becomes saturated. When this happens I feel several things will take place. 1. People will begin a gradual shift back to paper copies (or ebooks published and actually edited by mainstream publishing houses, so they know they don't get crap). 2. These sales will normalize with indie books (though I'd expect by this point that the bigwigs of indie publishing will get snatched up by publishers wanting a piece of that pie, and insodoing get pushed forward on their careers). 3. People will still buy indie books (hey, people still buy indie games on Xbox and iPhone) but it'll be MUCH harder to sell them and get the word out. The boom will have died, so you'll have to have extensive internet presence, word of mouth, or advertising to get it across.
Basically by that point it'll be self-publishing again, with no down-pay (yay!) and probably similar sales numbers (boo!) except a select few. I think it'll find rise to a few big hits, but again...I also expect large publishers with actual editors to grab them up.
(note that all this is speculation based on a discussion in Brandon's class last Thursday as well as my speaking with a variety of indie authors that both found decent success or none at all. It's also from being semi-deeply engrained in the indie gaming community and seeing that rise and fall in a similar way)

- I'm considering throwing something out on eBooks while it still won't be against me should I later be considered for a real publishing gig (whereas self-publishing can still be considered a black mark), and while the market is still full of people buying. Truthfully, I might have already missed it, but it would be worth a shot.

- If I did throw it, it would probably be Steelgods. Those are the closest to "pulp" novels (as mentioned in Brandon's class those are what sell best and it makes sense), are short and fast, and also (after revising) would hopefully be compelling enough to convince someone to buy five more after the first one. I can also churn a rough out on a monthly basis, so that's something too.

- It would be a no-risk idea, both for my future career and financially. Basically, I'm sitting on a pile of finished books here (5 not counting the children's books I wrote in high school), all of which require maybe a decent amount of editing before they could go up. I've read some indie books from the Kindle store, and I dare say (with all humility of course) that they are at least around the same level of my current writing ability. Basically I'd throw stuff out there and see what happened. If nothing, oh well. If something, that might buy me a hamburger or a dinner at a nice restaurant.


I started work today. For those who missed the memo, I got a job working part time at Nu Skin in the same building my wife works at. It's tech support, primarily from 11-5ish (the schedule can change weekly but will always be within that time frame) and pays well. At the moment it'll consume my life with training, but aside from that I am hoping it will "prime the pump" of productivity and get me writing more.

Speaking of writing, I have yet to do that today and it is late. Best wishes to all, and to all a goodnight.