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Archive for the ‘novels’ Category

project update

Conquistador’s Flame, Remember Summer, Dust of My Ancestors — so old that the archived drafts can’t even be resurrected

Not Forgetting: I’d still like to make this good enough some day…

The dragons, Hecate, and all that are trunked. Might come back some day but the main thing I learned from them is that urban fantasy is not really my thing.

Overamped, aka Joey: with beta readers while I work on query and synopsis.

unfinished that I want to finish:

ghost story (exploratory draft)

steampunk (waiting for second draft)

Michael (waiting to be written)

Alien Playground (waiting for second draft)

the genie story (second draft in progress)

the gilded-age story — the one with Chandler — which may turn out to be a ghost story (exploratory draft exists but is way way way off track)

new:

Dragonrider, Joey 2

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So here are the golden chains:

I’ve been working on the ghost story for just about a year, in the gaps of editing Joey. I have an exploratory draft and it sat for long enough while I was finishing Joey, so the next phase is ready to go. On three other novels including one I haven’t finished yet, that stage took 18 months — 14 months for the quickest, 20 for the slowest, a week more than 18 for Joey.

So draft finished by the end of next year, 2011. It will need to sit for 3-6 months, then an 18-month edit pass. That’s two years, end of 2013.

The final edit only took six months. So in theory it would be finished some time in 2014, assuming best case. Since we plan things like retirement, moving, David’s graduation, and a couple of major vacation trips in there, it might not be best case. On the other hand, similar things have happened during the other novels, so the overall time line is probably close.

That raises the question: do I care enough about this story to give it four more years of my life?

With Joey and Nicky, it wasn’t a question. I gave them whatever it took. I think the fact that I’m even asking the question implies that no, I don’t care that much. Another year, sure, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But four is another question.

And there’s also the question, if not the ghost story, what do I care that much about?

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Joey’s done!

I finished polishing Joey’s draft and sent it out to my beta readers today. Wooohoo!!!!!!!!

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this comes as no surprise

It will probably come as no surprise to my regular readers, all five of them, that the ghost story is developing a gay romance subplot…

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11 paragraphs

The Joey edit this week progressed by a whopping 11 paragraphs. Several of them are only one sentence. It’s not unusual for certain sections to give me trouble, but this was different — in the earlier draft, I had several minor scenes with very little tension or drama; they were mainly there to show some necessary events and fill in enough time to get to the next major scene. Obvious candidates for deletion, and the main story flows much better without them.

The trouble is, the reader has to have the information, which means some kind of transitional or flashback scene. In an ordinary narrative, it wouldn’t have presented much problem. But Overamped is in first person present tense, and an ordinary summary or reflection didn’t work. Joey just doesn’t do that kind of long narrative.

I tried putting it in the form of a letter to his brother in jail, but that didn’t work because there wasn’t enough going on. I tried having him tell Alyssa. It was too much like another scene. I tried having him think about it while he was running, which almost worked.

Eventually I got deep enough into his head to figure out the main emotional thread of the scene I was tying into. He’s lonely, he’s horny, and he’s having trouble with the idea of being in an exclusive relationship. Once I figured that out, the scene wrote itself in only a couple of hours. Fringe benefit, it even provides some extra motivation in the next scene.

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In connection with the ghost story, I’ve been doing research into missing persons and the identification of unidentified human remains. A lot of the modern technology deals with DNA identification, obviously. Today I ran across this very interesting discussion of what can be done:

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/10/dnaprint?currentPage=all

Pretty amazing.

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Outlines don’t work for me for planning and writing a novel. But on the other hand, I have found revision outlines to be an extremely useful tool under some circumstances. I’m looking at Nicky (Not Forgetting) now, thinking in terms of emotions and thoughts as Alex suggested, and things look like they might fall into place. I’m not sure how much of the older drafts I’ll be able to salvage as I work through, though. Probably nothing, which would mean another rewrite from scratch. So the question becomes, how much do I believe in this story? Would I be better off taking what I’ve learned and applying it to the new story?

I’ll ponder that in the back of my mind while I write genie smut and finish Joey’s last-pass edits. If things work out well, that will put me at NaNo ready to do something just for fun. A new draft might be just the ticket. But we’ll see.

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