Tag Archive: mechanica awakening


Writing Projects

Right. So. Been having a tiny bit of trouble with the writing lately, as I have mentioned. Flash fiction challenges are going some way to getting me back into the swing of things, however, flash fiction is not my novels, and I probably should be working on those.

In the continuing interests of picking back up writing in a proper fashion, I am going to list (read: ramble on a bit) about my current writing projects, which are all my novel projects. I do this in the hope that actually listing out what I could be working on will help my brain to transition back onto working on them. That, and given that I have quite a few projects on the go, this isn’t a terrible thing to do from an organising point of view either.

 

LightningArchmage

1st Draft – Completed.

Story has been split into 3 parts (It might turn out to be a trilogy, it is getting to that length)

2nd Draft – Part 1 Completed. Part 2 Started. Part 3 As yet untouched.

So, Archmage. It’s a beast of a thing at the moment, and I did a lot of work on it during the first couple of months of the year, but then I finished re-writing the first part, and sort of never got into the swing of re-writing the second. Well, there’s like 5,000 words in there. What I think I need is to find a suitable beta reader (or poke my beta reader into actually reading the first part) and then so some blocking out of what happens in scenes and then tweak them so rather than just editing each chapter as I come to it, I edit the higher level structures of the book. I’m pretty sure Part 1 is going to need another re-write, so that seems like the sensible idea. It’s just hard since I’m a pantser, not a planner, but the story will be better for it.

 

black wingsBlack Dawn

1st Draft – So terrible it was abandoned

1st Draft (Take 2) – Started

So Black Dawn was the novel I wrote for my first ever NaNoWriMo. I’ve learnt a lot since then, and I can safely say that what I wrote back in, 2011 (man, old feeling) is a pile of crap. But, the characters were there, and the setting had something, so it went into the drawer for a while, and now I’ve got a shiny new plot and setting tweaks and I think it can work now, I just need to write it. I’m, let’s see, a couple of chapters into starting this. It’s been a very on off sort of project.

 

magnificent_mazeEidetic

1st Draft – In Progress

This was last years (2015) NaNoWriMo project. And it was going well, I got to 75K words, it wasn’t too hard to write. Except, then November finished, and I haven’t even really looked at it since. Not entirely sure why, but, I think I started to see holes. I know what I want to happen in the second half/ending, but, there’s a few holes between where I got up to and that point, and I’m not sure if it’s a satisfying story, and I just seemed to lose the point of it a little. I’m certain that actually it’s not as bad as I think it is, and there is life in the novel, I probably just need to re-read it, and then think about the plot in a little more depth before I continue writing it.

 

MechanicaMechanica Awakening

1st Draft – Completed

1st Edit – In Progress

Another NaNoWriMo book. To be fair, I do a lot of writing in NaNo, it’s only this year that I have seriously started to concentrate on stuff outside of that month, from editing to new material. This one, I wrote the first draft and it’s the first one where I feel like the 1st draft isn’t going to be a million miles from the last draft. It felt complete, rounded, and sure it needs some editing, but the story is there. (Personally, I have a distinction: Re-writing is when there are still plot holes and major writing left to do; Editing is for when the story is there and only minor tweaks need to happen. Mostly at the moment I am re-writing rather than editing, but, that’s because I know most of my stories aren’t finished yet) I did start, was working on it last summer, but again, fallen on a back burner a little bit. I was also doing this editing by hand, which was probably a mistake. I think it’d be easy enough to pick up again.

 

fantasy-pharmacyQuiet Poison

1st Draft – In Progress

One of the few novels I have not written in NaNo. Actually, I only had the idea for this one at the start of the year, so it’s the newest idea that’s actually been written down. It’s going in scenes at the moment. So I find a bit of the book I want to write, write that particular scene, and then when I’ve got enough of them I’ll work out how to string them all together. It’s a very fun project, with intrigue, assassins, relationships, death, and an awesome setting I’ve been crafting with my sounding board. He’s great. This is the one I should be writing, or at least the one I feel I should be writing, because there’s a kickstarter I backed where you can have your words printed on a scarf and this is the project that might actually come in under the limit of 40K (I’m a fantasy writer, novels run long for me typically) but I do actually have to write it up to that much. It’s on about 25K at the moment.

 

Supernatural

Draft – ???

Bit of an odd project this one. It’s the first novel I ever wrote, when I was 14. It was, complete trash, as might be expected of a first ever novel attempt, let alone one written at a young age. But, the main character never went away. There’s, well, there’s ideas and scenes, but nothing that I would call a solid plot, so it’s hard to count this as anything resembling an active project, but she’s always there, in the back of my brain.

 

And that’s it for active projects. Or, you know, projects on the backburner. I have a lot of other ideas for novels (Court of Ice, Firebird, Shapechangers) and other projects that keep me writing but aren’t novels (mainly fanfiction type things, or me fluff writing about my characters in various games. Werewolf, princess, D&D). It’s been good to remind myself of them. Maybe now I can actually go and write something on one of them.

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So, now that I’ve finished with the 100 theme challenge, I find myself at a bit of a loss for go to posts when I notice I haven’t posted anything in a while. Bear with me for a little while whilst I work out what kind of things to post up on here and work out some sort of schedule for it all. And yes, I will be trying for more dragons on Thursdays.

What have I been up to with my time? Still trying to get through more books for reading. Slow but steady is how I would describe that, but getting there. Yellow book is now done and finished, so green is next on the list. And after those three, I’ve got several more on the list to read. Deciding what to read next is often as hard as finding the time to sit down and read them!

Mostly, I have been working on two things. 1 – My Master’s degree. This is not what this blog is about, but I am just going to say that I am loving my database module. 2 – Writing

JanFebMar

Yes, I have a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are awesome.

At the start of the year I signed up to a 365K club. This means that I have signed up to write 1,000 every day, or, as it more usually goes with these things, 365,000 words in the year because some days you write more, some less, but it all averages out. There are quite a few of us in the club, which is a sub-section of a bigger writing group and is internet based which is highly convenient, and we have chats, motivations, question times, it’s all a big support group for writers, and I have to say, it is excellent.

And signing up for this challenge, to really push myself and get that daily habit of writing, is probably one of my better decisions. If you look on my spreadsheets, you can see that so far I haven’t missed a day. Sure, one day I only wrote 27 words, but that’s still two more sentences than I had at the start of the day. Right now I am approximately a day behind, so less than 1,000 words behind my target. And that is counting today, which means that I still have the rest of this afternoon and this evening to catch up on that. And, overall, I’ve written ~72,000 words since Jan 1st. Some new stuff, some editing stuff, but the point is I am writing. Last year, I basically only wrote when it came around to NaNo, so this? This is a HUGE improvement, and I’m loving it.

What am I working on? I’m the kind of person who likes to have several projects on the go at once, so, currently I am working on:

  • Archmage – This is my epic (Maybe a trilogy? It’s certainly looking long enough for that) fantasy novel that I am currently editing. It’s developing along quite nicely, although part 2 is going to need a major overhaul, and part 3 definitely needs work. It’s probably more like re-working it than it is editing, since there’s tons of plot holes to fill, arcs to develop, characters to delete or add, all the high level stuff. It’s fun, but it is a lot of hard work. The blurb for the book(s?) is that in a world where magic is regulated and structured, an underage girl bursts onto the scene with magic, wild magic, unlike anything that’s ever been seen before. Can Rana prove that her magic is just as valid as the old ways, or will society always treat her as an outcast?
  • Quiet Poison – This is relatively new. I had the idea late Jan/early Feb, and it has been so insistent and prominent in my mind, that I’ve been writing it out. It’s a story about a new guild of assassins, trying to carve out their territory against the bigger, more established guild. Lots of politics, intrigue, assassinations (of course), and all sorts of seedy underground things. Magic is around in the setting, but very much in the background. It’s a break apart from my usual genre, but I am loving the characters and what they are getting up to, and it’s quite nice to write something down and dirty, as it were.

Typed-Writer

Those two are my active projects. But I certainly have others which may or may not come up:

  • Black Dawn – This is novel I wrote for the first year I ever participated in NaNoWriMo. It is, in a word, terrible. So, I’ve given it a shiny new plot, and it’s sitting there with it’s first chapter salvaged, looking at me, biding it’s time, just waiting until the time is right to spring back into my head and get written. It’s there, I’m not ignoring it, but at the moment other novels are in front of it. Basic premise: Angels and Demons have been warring since time immemorial, with Earth as the battle ground, seeded with their human descendants, the Cambions and the Nephilim. However, a threat is rising, one they wish to stop before it ever happens, and it might just be enough to make them forget about their own war. Unless the threat is already more than just a threat, and she’s been waiting to wage her own war on them.
  • Mechanica Awkaening – This really is a book that just needs editing. I really think it’s the cleanest first draft I’ve ever written, and I was working on it last summer. But, like most ideas, it’s hit a bit of a lull, and whilst it’s still there and I’m not ignoring it, other things are in front. But it really doesn’t need as much as any of my other projects. So maybe it’ll come round soon. this is the one about Rose, who can talk to machine spirits, and her family trying to prevent another civil war.
  • Eidetic – Still working on the first draft. Sad to say, I haven’t actually touched it since NaNo last year. I just, got a bit stuck. I think I can get unstuck, but I do need to sit down and have a think through and work out where it’s going. Still got, I would say, about a third of it to write? Labyrinths and ancient magic and trying to get away from a society that doesn’t let Sage be the person she is because she’s a women. Need to work on it.
  • Other Ideas – There’s a few of them hanging around. Old ones, new ones. ones that still need time to brew whilst they work themselves out. Willow is an old one, actually she’s the MC from the first ever novel I wrote (novel as opposed to short story, fan-fiction, etc) which, again, is terrible, but she’s not. She just needs the right plot and setting, and I’m getting closer to that. Very slowly. Firebird is a new one, lots of aztec/shaman magic crossed with vampire hunters. It’s a good idea, but it need ‘brewing time’ as it were. There’s a fan-fiction in my head as well, which I might write when I really want to indulge myself.

There is never just one project. But that’s how I work. And I do like flitting about, it’s just how my brain works. They’ll all get there in the end, as long as I am working on one of them, then that’s a step towards the goal of being an author.

So, as well as the A to Z challenge, which was very successful, I was also trying to complete a Camp NaNo during April, because all these things happen in the same month, and I am some sort of sadist for trying to complete everything at once.

I set myself what I thought was a reasonable goal, half of the normal word count, 25,000 words. Because during NaNoWriMo in November I can easily hit 75K plus, so 25K when I’m doing another challenge sound reasonable, right?

Yeah, didn’t happen so much.

desk_head_bang_gif_by_nino_umaka-d5xdbjuTurns out, editing takes a lot more work that writing the first draft. At least, that’s what I am experiencing.

See, when I write a first drafts, I am pantsing it. I spew out words onto the page, make things up as I go, occasionally write down brief notes when flashes of inspiration hit or I really need to remember something for a future part of the book, but mainly it’s my fingers on the keyboard, and away I go.

Editing I have to keep stopping. Keep thinking. Keep going over to google and finding facts. Making it realistic as well as imaginative. Double check that everything is consistent. It’s actually far more work, thinking about characterisation, setting, plots. Do I need to keep this scene, this paragraph, this line, can it be rewritten, what does it add?

It’s hard work!

I only ended up doing 7,759 words this month. Which, you know, is way more than I started off with. I’ve gone from page 6 to page 25, not even half a chapter to chapter 3 and a bit. It’s a very slow work in progress.

Excruciatingly slow. And yeah, I could sit down and chain my butt to the chair, and I probably should at some point, but editing is really hard mental work, and I’ve actually got a fair bit of that going on at the moment. Doesn’t help that this week has been the worst. Not monday of course, the bank holiday was excellent, but the Monday masquerading as Tuesday and today have been fairly awful. So all I want to do is go home and put pets in tiny cages to battle for my amusement. Don’t worry, they’re all digital. I’ve been catching pets like a mad thing in WoW.

But I’m going off track. April was an excellent month from the blogging point of view, not so much from the editing one however. Let’s try again this month, and next month, and several months for the rest of the year, until it gets done. Anyone joining me in the editing slog?

P.S. I did treat myself to this awesome t-shirt from Camp merchandise – it’s super soft and lovely! It’s a compass, with all the points pointing at the word WRITE.

camp_15_shirt_main_2

Not unusually Rose was standing behind her desk, two people were standing in front of her and the telegram machine was clicking away.

“I need the menu changed to fish, salmon if they have, rather than the chicken, and when the flower arrangements comes please inform me as they should be here this afternoon and I need to get people in to set them up. Renard, thank you for the financial reports, I’ll be looking over them this afternoon and making my decisions then, please pass that onto Madam Adelaide, I know she’ll be waiting to hear back from me.” And all the while she was talking, she was skim reading the telegram that was printing off.

“Yes my lady.” Renard and the other servants bowed to her, and then left the room. The door had barely closed when it swung open again and Esme walked into the room.

“Are you still working?”

“I have a lot to do.” Rose replied, as she looked at the telegram, fingers hovering over the buttons to make a reply.

“And some people say that noble’s do nothing but drink tea with their time.”

“I would love some tea right now.” Rose said, absentminded as she started her reply. Halfway through the sentence she looked up, and the door was closing on an empty room. “Esme?” There was no reply, and Rose sighed and bent down to the telegram again.

She had just hit the send button when the door opened again and Esme walked back in with a tea service. “For you dear sister, one pot of tea.”

Rose sighed with relief, and gratefully took the steaming cup as she sat down behind her desk. “I remember doing this for father when he used to work too hard.”

“Do you also remember telling him to not work so hard.”

Rose smiled. “Of course I do. However the tasks I am trying to complete are not hard, it is only because I am multitasking and trying to accomplish them all at the same time that it is taking this much effort.”

“So don’t?”

Rose shook her head. “It all needs to be done in time for the gala tomorrow. Don’t worry, after then I shall have very little work to do.”

Esme looked over the stack of papers and sampled and other items stacked in neat piles around the desk. “Better you than me.”

The mask pressed into her face as she descended the stairs, carefully holding her skirt to allow her feet to skim over the steps. Even masked and unaccounted, she still caused a ripple of silence out as she made her entrance.

Rose picked up a glass of champagne from a passing tray and sipped it as she moved through the crowd. None of the usual small talk or chatter was going on around them, as everyone sought to hide their identity from each other. There was an almost electric thrill running through the air as people met and parted, never quite knowing who they were.

She spied a black and blue mask, elegantly crafted and fitted to the face, which she recognised even with it’s masque on. The man gave her a smile, and his companion in a green mask behind him gave Rose a cheeky wink as they walked by, hand in hand.

She was just taking another sip of champagne when she noticed him. His mask blended seamlessly into his top hat, and his eyes were fixed on her with a determination that she had rarely seen. Reaching her, he stopped in front of her and they looked at each other. Rose could feel a thrill run over her skin as his eyes look down at her own cream, brown and gold ensemble.

He reached out, not quite touching her hand as he took the glass from it and placed it on a passing tray. Then he held out the hand, offering it to her.

Rose felt another flush of sensation pass over her as she looked at this man, no spark of recognition occurring in her mind.

But she laid her hand on his, and then he swept her onto the dance floor.

Mask9155His hands were gentle, barely pressing into her back as he held her and they moved around the dance floor, automatically following the steps of the dance as they concentrated on each other, fixated on the masks they were wearing.

Never before had Rose felt like royalty as she dance with this mysterious man. She was sure that she wasn’t dreaming, but she wasn’t sure when she had fallen into a fairy tale.

46 – Family

Another fireball arched over the city and slammed into the side of one of the towers, shearing through some of the pipes, spraying steam across the air above them.

“Stop destroying my city!” Danna screamed in the direction of the projectile.

“Calm Danna.” Esme said.

“The point of a coup is to have something left to rule at the end of it all! I couldn’t understand destroying the gates, but the city? Leave off! I’ve worked too hard on this place for you to come in and destroy it!” She screamed as another fireball flew over the edge of the city.

Rose ignored the banter between her sisters, focusing on the square building in coming into view around the curve of the street.

People weren’t flocking outside of it, running instead for cover, flitting between building, looking nervously out to the sky, as Rose ran past them all, up the front steps into the low building.

There were some small groups of people huddling together. rose looked round and found someone wearing a uniform with the colour of the city across the blazer.

“Have you seen a women, Daphne, pass through here?”

The man’s eyes were wide, and looked up at her as if she was speaking a different language.

“The Paragon of Light? Is she in the building?”

He gave a shaky nod.

“Which way?”

He raised a trembling hand and pointed down one of the corridors. Rose clipped down the corridor, peering into every room, until she heard noises coming down from one end, a babble almost.

Running up to the door, she opened it, scanning the room. Not noticing the many people all gathered round a scale model of the city, she only had eyes for the tall blonde women standing with one hand on hip, frowning at the map, her one gauntleted hand tapping out a staccato rhythm on the table.

“Mother!”

Rose flew forward, wrapping her arms around her mother, and burying her face in her shoulder.

“Rose, I’m glad to see you safe. Are your sisters with you? Ah, there you are girls. Danna.”

“Mother.”

“Excellent. I will need your help. Rose, dear, could you let go of me please?”

Rose stepped back, letting her arms drop from around her mother’s figure.

Daphne looked over at her daughter, then touched her face. “I am happy to see you cherie. Truly I am, but we have a situation at the moment. I need to protect the city before we can have a proper family reunion.”

Editing

8353367421_aeccd25e82_zI finally did it.

After waiting out the year, reading my books on novel crafting, and, let’s face it, putting it off because people say that gaining distance from your novel is a good thing, I finally did it.

I made a copy of my novel, called it draft two, and opened it to start editing.

And I’ll admit, I am nervous about it. Frankly, I think that’s a good thing. Being nervous means I care, but considering I’ve only ever finished one novel before, and that’s in editing itself, I’m really not experiences at this whole editing lark, and I’m worried I’m going to fall into the trap of doing the wrong sort of editing.

Having just learnt about the different types of editing (Content Editing, Line Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading) I think that it would be very easy to fall into the trap of doing it ‘backwards’ as it were. Indeed, with Archmage, the second draft I did contained a lot of Copy Editing, and not nearly enough Content Editing.

It’s easy to look at the small scale stuff, to look at the lines, word choices, grammatical errors and so forth, but having just refreshed myself with all the knowledge contained in my bookshelf, it really is the thing that you should be doing last. Or at least, not first. First you need to look at the story, plot holes, character arcs, thread, tensions, pacing, consistency, and all the other big picture things. Before you work on the little pieces, you need to make sure that the whole makes sense. And it is hard, at least I find it hard, to make myself focus on doing that instead of nitpicking at the word choices in sentences.

But it does make sense. You need to fix the big things first, and having just opened up my novel for the first time in a month, it does need fixing on the big scale. I’ve already marked the first scene for deleting because although it’s nice, it does nothing and really is just filler. The one good conversation from those four pages can kick the book off instead, and I really do need to work on the first line. It’s rather weak. And all this is from just ten minutes of reading the opening chapter.

automatic-scalpelBut you know what? Even if it is hard, I’m actually looking forward to doing it. Because it means that I care about my novel enough to beat it into shape. To go back and murder it in places to make it the best that it can be. And it is new, and exciting, and nerve racking, but I really do think I’ve got something good going on here. It can be better, but that’s basically what editing is.

Any thoughts, feeling or tips that any of you want to share about editing? Whether you, like me, are very new to it, or an old hat, I’d love to hear about it.

The End

And that’s it. November is finished and over with. No more NaNoWriMo for another year. Well, I say that. There are camps. And I did it. I managed to accomplish my dream goal of penning ‘the end’. I managed to finish the first draft of a novel, from beginning to end, in a month.

Of course, it’s not really the end, is it?

2011-8-9-question-e1354132999763

Just the end of step one.

The thing is, I feel good about this novel. Good in a way other writing hasn’t made me felt. I feel confident it in, I think it’s a complete first draft, not chapter missing, no sections skipped. That draft is finished, and, in my opinion, some of my best work. Good enough to send a copy to my boyfriend, which I have never done with a novel before. Never have I ever sent it to someone else. The other novel I had finished is in editing, but is still classed as my eyes only. It’s in a bit a shamble at the moment, that’s what the editing is for.

And I downloaded the free eBook called “The End, Now What?” by Steven Spatz which is available on the NaNo site, and I am avidly drinking it in as he talks about the next steps from having a manuscript, to getting it out there in the big wide world.

And you know what? This is the one.

Maybe not the one that is going to be a best seller. Maybe not the one which is going to make my name as an author. But It is the first book which I feel confident in to take to the next step. There is of course going to be some editing, but then I shall be looking towards the big wide world of publishing (I’m pretty sure I want to try going down the traditional route with publishers), with my little book in hand, seeing if anyone wants to take a chance on me and my novel.

It’s scary. But it’s exciting. I can already feel the little knot of anticipation building up in my stomach, even just writing this.

Of course, I am as of yet unpublished, so if anyone feels like giving an aspirational person some hints, tips, or advice that would be welcome.

What did other people get up to in November? And big plans for December? (Mine involve a lot of editing, I can tell you that. And Christmas shopping of course.)

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WINNER!

Okay, so there are still two days left, and I haven’t technically written the end yet, but I hit 100K. And I called that good for a validation point 😀

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Hopefully, in December, things will stop being as hectic, and I’ll be able to keep this blog up to date. Of course, there is christmas, so we’ll have to see. But I haven’t forgotten all you you, my lovely readers! Thank you for bearing with me (or without me, as the case actually is) during this month of extreme novelling.

Anyone else celebrating a NaNo victory? Or any sort of victory at all?

75K!

I hit my original goal of 75K today! On day21!

Yes I do know that I could have done better, but there is this little thing called Warlords of Draenor that came out, and besides, I want to have room to beat myself next year!

Look at this shiny thing!

Screenshot 2014-11-22 at 15.17.03

So I still have nine whole days left.

Screw it, let’s try for the big 6 figures, 100K. It’s not like I’ve finished the novel yet.

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