Weekly Writing Update: February Week 2

It was not the best week I’ve had, in regards to writing work. I took a few too many nights off, telling myself that I have plenty of time to do the work. And I got some critiques that concerned me a little. I haven’t built up that thick skin I’ve been told I need yet. I’m working on it, though, and I pushed past the negative feelings faster this time. My first reaction was to decide that this area of weakness that I already knew I had made my writing bad. And that it was going to take even more work than I expected to get book #2 (“Outcast”) ready to go.

But with a little bit of time and thinking, I remembered my decision to fully trust God with this whole endeavor. That doesn’t mean I’m not still going to try to strengthen this area of my writing, but it means I don’t have to let it cause a lot of stress or, most importantly, depression that would lead me to not want to work on my writing.

So last week, while waiting for a couple of people to read “Outcast,” I worked enough on book #3 (Pursuit of Power) to reaffirm that it’s a huge mess. I’ve done some preliminary work on it, and will get back to it later.

For now, I have had enough early feedback on “Outcast” to go back to it and start outlining new scenes to add to the existing story, after which I’ll be spending some time writing (which I enjoy way more than revising, so it should be fun).

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 1

Two months ago I laid out 3 short-term goals to be working on after NaNoWriMo ended. I finished the first two fairly quickly, and then it took about a month to get to the third one, due to needing a break after NaNoWriMo and the holidays eating my time. When I go back to it, it took me about 3 weeks averaging just over an hour a day on the days I did actual work (which was most of them) to finish goal #3.

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel

2. Update Kindle version of Pithea, upload it to KDP, add Kindle version to Goodreads

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – It turned out to be a bit more complicated than I expected, because instead of simple revision, I decided to write out a minor character. And then I had to figure out the structure of the scenes. This book is far from done, most likely, as I’m still hoping to hit on a way to add approximately 10k more words to the book. But now it’s ready for me to pass it on to some of my most-trusted first readers and get their insight into that, as well as general feedback.

In the meantime, I will be working on book #3, which I currently hope to be able to release very close to the same time as book #2, because both books are important follow-ups to book #1 (Pithea) following different tracks.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: January Week 4

Last Sunday, I said I hoped to be done with the read-through of draft 2 of “Outcast” (book #2 in my series) by Tuesday of this last week. However, a combination of some early mornings (which means early nights, cutting into my prime writing time) and a change in the chapter structure slowed me down.

I will vaguely explain (to avoid spoilers) that this book has 2 main storylines that are being told in an alternating pattern through maybe 2/3 of the book. But where certain scenes and revelations from both of them coincide is crucial. In the first draft, which was a vastly different story, I had a good spot, but the story changed so much, I kept playing with where that spot should be. I thought I had chapters laid out–which scenes went in which chapters–and then I suddenly hit on what I think is going to be the final layout. But I realized that I needed to read it straight through and make sure it flows well.

I’m now 3/4 of the way through (plus I accidentally read at least 1 chapter out of order, so I don’t know if I’ll feel the need to re-read it when I get there). I should definitely be onto a new task by this time next week. I’ve already contacted the people that I think can give me some great early feedback, and I hope to have this draft to them soon. Though one of them still needs to read Pithea (book #1 in the series, which was released just over 2 weeks ago), because when she last read it, it was probably 7 drafts away from the completed version.

Then I’ll turn my focus to making sense of the mess I left book #3 in while I wait to hear back from those who have agreed to read “Outcast.”

Weekly Writing Update: January Week 3

After pushing myself to get back to working on “Outcast” (book #2 in my series) last week, I did not have any difficulty keeping that up throughout this last week. Most days I worked at least an hour on the revision of draft 2. I wish it could be more, but alas, I still have a day job to attend to, not to mention homeschooling to do.

I actually finished draft 2, then spent some time figuring out the order for the scenes. Now I’m going through and reading (sometimes scanning) to make sure that the order is good, transitions are there, and things generally make sense. Then I’ll cross my fingers that the small group of people who know Pithea (book #1 in the series that was released just over a week ago) well enough to help me figure out where to go next with this book have time to read it.

I’m about 1/4 of the way through this read-through, and hope to be able to finish it by Tuesday. Then I’ll turn my focus to making sense of the mess I left book #3 in while I wait to hear back from whoever is able to read it.

Weekly Writing Update: January Week 2

This is my first update in a little over a month, mostly due to holidays and family being in town for a few weeks past that. I did work on a few things here or there throughout that time, mostly minor changes to Pithea before publishing day.

With that done and out now, I need to focus on book #2 all the more. So 2 days ago I delved back into the 2nd draft. I’d left off in a spot that I was struggling with, which is never a good idea. Fortunately, I was able to tackle it and have some ideas for how to end the scene I’m on, add depth to a character that I’m only just starting to use more fully, and avoid having the MC seem like he’s the only one with any convictions.

I’m really looking forward to finishing this draft and getting some opinions on it. I know that this will be miles ahead of where Pithea was by this point, which is good, because I would like to be able to release it a lot faster than I did Pithea (which went through many drafts). I also need to work on book #3, because I’m considering releasing it very shortly after book #2 (I won’t explain why right now though, it’s just an idea so far).

Daily Writing Check-in: May 3, 2019

Words/Time:  3 hours, 42 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

3 hours were spent reading through the first draft of “Vin,” which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. I’m now on page 109 out of 137, deep in the climax scene. This time was spent throughout the day, coming back to reading whenever I could, because I just enjoyed it that much.

When I got to my normal writing time in the evening, I decided that with so much time already on the clock for the day, it was a good day to get some writing practice in, so I pulled a prompt. It ended up leading me to a scene that involves a story I have barely even thought about yet–book 3 of the “Pursuit of Power” trilogy*. It actually led to some small ideas for a story that intimidates me, because it’s been in such darkness for so long. It’s invigorating to have some light shed onto it out of nowhere like this.

I also had a crazy, out-of-nowhere idea for the story I’m currently outlining, “Vin,” that solves one big issue I had, and also adds some serious drama and intrigue. After the free writing, I took some time to write that idea down so I didn’t forget it, and then decided that I had plenty of time in for today.

I don’t know if any of these ideas today will make it anywhere, but I’m really enjoying the organic discovery that’s been happening, after weeks of coaxing ideas for “The Seeger Book.” I know both ways of arriving at a story are valid, and it doesn’t make the plot & outline for “The Seeger Book” any less good or worth writing, just because it took more work to shape it to what it is. But the random, out-of-nowhere ideas are just so much more fun and exhilarating. And considering how light on plot “Vin” is, it’s going to take a lot of new ideas to shape it into a story anyway.

*I’m still guessing it’s going to be a trilogy. I haven’t figured out what the 3rd book will entail yet, or if it will be too much for just 1 more book after the 2 I have planned.

The Pithea Series

Go here for an explanation for this post.

Pithea

This book introduces the island country of Pithea and its citizens’ dependency on Power, as well as their eternal struggle against the Madness. Our narrator, Drear, tells us about his friend Missy and his brother, Naolin, as they attempt to find their places in society, but are met with the harsh realities of life in a series of unlikely events, menacing villains, and both triumph and tragedy. (For a full synopsis, go here.)

Current status: Available for purchase!

Pithea cover, Kindle

“Outcast”

In this book, Drear introduces us to some people who are important to future events, and shows us how they are connected. Natos Morano has been a member of a band of mercenaries known as the Class of Morano since birth. He is faced with a personal crisis, as a woman he’s never met tells him that he is not meant for this life, and forces him to choose between the only family he’s ever known, and his true family that is long gone.

Remiel Azrael finds himself caught between family and his own morality as he attempts to help a woman who is in desperate need. But when her situation turns out to be more dangerous than he realized, he faces a crisis of his own, and is forced to face his demons.

Current status: New draft in progress, one more planned after this one

Outcast

“Pursuit of Power”

Drear introduces us to Alexander Surett, a driven man with a tendency toward obsession if given the right target. In this first book of the trilogy, Alexander’s drive to find out about questionable circumstances surrounding his dad’s death leads him to ignore some of the region’s highest laws, which regulate Power usage. In doing so, he attracts the attention of the leader of the Class of Morano, who wants to recruit him. When he refuses, she takes it personally, and he has to set aside his search for answers about his dad’s death to try to stop this madwoman. The result is all-out war.

Current status: Draft 3 completed, structural changes ahead

Pursuit of Power

“Unexpectedly” *

The small island nation of Pithea has been at peace with its neighbors for hundreds of years. However, when a destructive force rises up from within, the rest of the country has to decide whether to choose sides or remain neutral. What follows is a civil war with a high body count. In this book, Drear tells us about some of the men and women who fought in the battle, on both sides, and the effect the battle had on their lives afterward.

Current status: Outline finished, first draft pending

Unexpectedly

“The Seeger Book”

Jonathan has been given an amazing gift in the form of exclusive access to a highly desired instruction manual written by a master blade smith. When it comes to light that someone has been making copies of the priceless book, tensions rise between Jonathan and the friend who owns the book. The mystery deepens with the death of someone involves, and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect. Drear shares this tale of intrigue in which no one is who they seem to be, and years of trust will be shattered.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

The Seeger Book

“Vin”

There was a time when Missy was plagued by mysterious men who seemed to wish her harm. They spoke to her as if they knew her, and seemed to be connected in some way, but she had no idea how. In this culmination of smaller events from previous books, Drear tells us of the shocking events around the revelation of the mystery that these men created around themselves. He shares glimpses into the mind of a dark, twisted, lost soul, and the final outcome won’t be what anyone expected.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

Vin

“Protector” *

Drear takes us outside of Pithea and the union of nations it belongs to for the first time. Altmoor is a country that has never even heard of the Power, and certainly does not use it in any way. Altmoor and its king are entrenched in a centuries-long war with their northern neighbor, but suddenly learn that there is much more to fear than a mere border feud. When a single man wreaks havoc on the entire region with a sorcery that they cannot combat with swords and bows, it draws the attention of powerful people in Pithea who offer to help, but also open their eyes to a whole new world.

Current status: First draft done, at least first half will need rewritten (purpose of story changed by the end of the book)

Protector

“Ophaela”

The king of Altmoor has the daunting task of trying to bring peace to his region while rooting out the rogue faction that has kept the war going for hundreds of years. Even more difficult will be convincing his people–and himself–that their long-time enemy may not be the devils they always thought.

Current status: First draft finished

*All titles are subject to change up to publication, but this is specifically a working title.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 2, 2019

Words/Time: 49 minutes working on a new list of short-term writing goals. I also spent this time writing up short synopses for 7 different books that are in various stages of development, because I’d like to share a bit about them as I also share my goals related to them. My new list of goals will probably be posted tomorrow. If anyone is interested in the meantime, my story blog has some information that will likely make parts the synopses clearer.

Here is the official list of previous short-term goals, which are now all completed!

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2018 NaNoNovel; put scenes into Scrivener while I still remember my ideas

2. Make Aeldrim not be dead in “Pithea

3. Revise “Pursuit of Power” enough to be readable by a friend.

4. Read through “Pithea” for further necessary changes

Daily Writing Check-in: January 30, 2019

Words/Time: 17 minutes finishing reading through “Pithea” for any changes that later-written stories may force in the book that started it all.

The final final draft of “Pithea” is now done, and I didn’t need to make very many large changes at all. I really did go into this thinking that other stories I’ve written since this first one would force some even small changes here and there. But there wasn’t much more than deleting a couple of scenes that fit better in “Pursuit of Power,” which was the 2nd book I wrote, so not even one of the more recent ones I thought might have caused a problem.

However, I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of calling this THE final draft, because I have pretty much decided that I need to have at least first drafts written of a couple more planned books before I call “Pithea” done enough to look into publishing again. I don’t want to cause trouble down the road or force a ret-con.

I cut my time short today, because I’ve been working heavy hours and need to go to bed early tonight. It’s possible I won’t do any work for the next few days, because it’s harder to get to it when I’m busy, and I don’t have a clear course of action. Because I’ve finished this draft and am not entirely sure what to work on next, it’s very possible I’ll put it off until I’m less busy (or if nothing else, Sunday, when I’m off work for sure).

Daily Writing Check-in: January 28, 2019

Words/Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes reading through “Pithea” for any changes that later-written stories may force in the book that started it all.

I got through about 68 pages, getting me to page 411 out of 482. If anyone is paying attention, they may notice that the book dropped 28 total pages from yesterday to today. This was a decision I made while doing some early revision of “Pursuit of Power” recently. I decided to look at the scenes that intersected these two books and decide which one of them the scene really needed to be in, rather than show the scene in both books, but from different perspectives. It was easier to do that with some of the other scenes, especially since some of them slowed “Pursuit of Power” down quite a bit.

However, I knew that also meant that a more exciting scene that really belonged in “Pursuit of Power” more than in “Pithea” needed to be removed from the latter book, even though it’s been a part of that book since before it was written. However, it will be stronger without that scene, because what happens in it is so far removed from the rest of the theme and focus of the book.

I am now into part 4 of 4, and should be done with this final final draft in a couple days. I just don’t know where I go from there.