Kismet…or something

After all the worry, stress, and anxiety, things fell into place in a way I never expected.

Followers of this blog might know that I’ve been working on a little thing called a book series, and that I’ve been agonizing over deciding between self publishing and traditional publishing. I was so nervous about the decision that I couldn’t even consider when or how to start the submission process…so imagine my surprise when I got an offer this morning from a friend in publishing for Book 1!

Things are still in the works, but I’m ecstatic. I’m not going to get too excited though, because I still have a ton of work to do on the manuscript. I’m only halfway through on the adverb issue, and I also have the POV problem chapters and the telling and… yeah. Can’t let my head get too big just yet.

I almost–almost–wish I wasn’t at my first out-of-kingdom event. Almost. I’m ready and raring to dig in to revisions. Get this puppy started. Well, not started. But closer to finished.

Finished… and published.

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The long road ahead

Got my critique back on Book 1 of my series….*sigh* Lots of work to do.

I knew I had a lot of “telling,” exposition, wordiness, and adverbs, so those comments weren’t surprising, but I still don’t quite know how to fix the issues. Some pacing issues that I was kind of aware of as well, some that I hadn’t noticed…and a few chapters of different POV that I thought necessary but the readers, not so much. So now I have to also figure out how to convey that info–which my main character has no way of knowing until the end–without switching points of view. Fuck.

It’ll all be worth it in the end, I know, but damn. I’m kind of overwhelmed. Some of the “problems” are part of my personal style, so I have to get into a different mindset to write it “right,” but some of them are things that flustered me to start with and are just beyond my current ability–or maybe just my current confidence–to fix.

The POV thing is really bugging me. I tried to throw in some politics and intrigue and plotting but now what do I do with it? Chuck it all? If I do that, the ending makes no sense. None. It comes out of left field without the snippets of the antagonist’s POV. Hell, the antagonist comes out of left field without them. Although apparently the ending needs a lot of work, too….

There’s a lot of rereading and revising and rereading and brainstorming and crying and tearing my hair out and revising and cursing and… Yeah. It’s like that.

Well, maybe I should take it in stages. Chapter by chapter? Issue by issue? Do I attack the exposition first then the adverbs then the pacing? Ugh. So much all at once. With Whispers of Death, not only was I self-publishing but I was also getting critiques a chapter or two at a time. So it was much less overwhelming as far as fixes go.

I can do this. I have to tell myself that. I can do this. It might take a while, it might take a lot of work, but I can do it. I also have to remind myself that I’m way ahead of schedule as far as where I wanted to be when I made my “new year’s resolution.” I thought it was a reasonable goal to have the first draft of Book 1 finished by the end of the year. Now it’s 2/3 of the way through the year and I’m on like draft 6 or 7 or something crazy like that, plus draft 1 of Book 2 with a few ideas on where to go with Book 3. So I have that going for me.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this….

As I ponder, bright and cheery

Yeah, despite the hour (it’s 4:15 in the morning where I’m at right now), I’m actually in a pretty good mood. I woke up during the night but went back to such a peaceful sleep that I almost feel like I don’t need the coffee I made. (I know better–the rush of a decent night’s sleep will fade once I get to work).

It helps that recent events have given me a boost to the ego. I did well in rapier tournaments at the last two events I went to–well for my experience level, at least–and I even got selected to fight in the finals of last weekend’s tournament despite being eliminated. It was a shock to hear my name called as one of the finalists, but it still felt damn good. No, I didn’t win–but considering I was up against fighters with years of experience compared to my five months and considering I was using a sword length that I’d never used before, I think it’s an accomplishment worth noting.

I’m also enjoying revisions on Book 1 of my series. I should have feedback on the last revision (yeah, I couldn’t resist–I revised before getting my feedback) soon, and it’s exciting to think I’m nearing the next round of edits before I move on to–you guessed it–more revisions. I want this as polished as possible before I work up that last bit of nerve necessary to brave the world of manuscript submission. (I’ll take a rapier fighter with twenty years of experience on me over a query letter any day of the week.)

My industrial piercing is angry at me but otherwise healing well. I often forget it’s there, and I’m super excited to get my sword barbell put in at the end of next month. Because c’mon, swords kick ass…quite literally, in the right hands.

I’ll also be doing more artwork in the coming weeks and months, which will be a boost to the spirits as well. I’d felt like I was in a rut artistically and almost kind of gave up on accomplishing anything worth looking at. I can’t show off the things I make here, but I know the recipients will love them and that’s what really matters.

So there you have it: a good morning. A rarity for sure, but welcome nonetheless.

So a-mused

Finally! After months of next to no real inspiration on the novels I’m working on, I was blessed by my muse with nearly 1000 new words of prose (even with quite a bit of cutting) that I think add depth and clarity to the story. Things that I’d gotten some constructive feedback about, mostly in areas that weren’t clear enough, now seem better and the flow is improved. It feels great to be back at it.

Except…the new inspiration comes at the cost of other things I need to do. Yeah, I’ve got Talk Nerdy With Us work to catch up on, sewing to do, social media stuff to tinker with….I should probably be chiding my muse for her terrible timing. Haha.

Still, I’m glad to have her back. I guess even muses need a vacation every once in a while.

Squirrel!

What to do, what to do? I want to draw; I want to practice calligraphy/illumination; I want to sew; I want to embroider; I want to write … Making up my mind should be a simple enough thing, but this morning it’s just not happening.

I woke up early with a rumbling stomach. Guess I didn’t have enough for dinner. I ate a snack and drank some hot chocolate to try to calm my restless mind, but the longer I was up, the more I wanted to get done…and the less I actually accomplished. I started one sewing project by cutting the pattern pieces, then decided I should put that aside for another sewing project. Then I decided I wanted to try drawing some illumination designs. Then I decided I didn’t want to do either of those. Then I tooled around the Internet for a while. Got hungry again. Made more food. Printed out some designs to try to embroider (those are still on the printer, because I then decided I wanted to write).

Guess my Creative Attention Deficit Disorder has kicked in again. As soon as I set my mind to one task I’m flying off to another, and it’s terribly nonproductive. I’ve gotten my hands dipped into too many creative ventures/projects, and now I’m in creative overload.

Maybe I’ll skip creativity for more practical activities. I have a couple of articles to write–maybe by the time I get those done I’ll be better able to decide what the heck I want to do.

The age-old dilemma

Once again I find myself waffling on an important writing decision: Do I self publish, or do I attempt to publish traditionally?

Not that I’m exactly ready for either kind of publication–I still have a ways to go on book 1 of my dystopian/sci-fi series–but I need to prepare myself for whichever decision I make. If I’m going to self-pub, I need to start looking at cover designs and the like. If I’m going to try to submit to publishers, I need to figure out how to write a query letter. First thing though is to make up my mind.

The idea of going through an agent and publisher is still terrifying for me. I have no idea why exactly, but it’s a definite road block. Is it fear of rejection that’s stopping me? No, I don’t think so. I know that rejection is part of the process. I think what really bothers me is the uncertainty of when/if I’ll get published. I have stories that I want to tell, and I don’t want to wait years and years for a publisher to pick them up. On the other hand, if I self publish those same stories are going to go largely unread because of my inexperience in marketing. How do I get more sales? I sure as hell don’t know. Granted, if I were to traditionally publish I’d still have to work at the marketing aspect, but at least then I’d theoretically have someone telling me what to do. On my own? Yeah, aside from telling all of my friends who would listen and tweeting the link for my novel, I am clueless as to how to get word out there.

I’ve taken to Twitter to ask what my writer/publisher followers think. I need some kind of input/feedback on which is the best choice. I know that self publishing is the easiest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the best. I have enough author and publisher followers that I think I can get at least a push in the right direction. Sure, the publishers are going to say to traditionally publish (because why would they tell a potential client to fend for themselves?), but the information in their responses could be more informative than they realize.

My first novel, which I self published, did I guess relatively well, given that I didn’t advertise outside of telling friends and family that I’d published it. I had several friends and family members buy it, but sadly the best it ever did in the Kindle rankings was the first time I had it up for a free promotional period. I got all the way to #6 in one genre, which totally blew my mind, but of course it was free so that helped me a bit. I doubt it would have made it that far without the free promo.

I’m hoping that, regardless of which method of publication I choose, the fact that it’s a series will give me a leg up. People seem to enjoy stories that continue on to further books, and potential publishers might like that as well.

Which to choose, though? Do I stay patient and wait for a publisher to realize what a great story I have, or do I plunge in and self-pub it just to get it out there?

Heroes and Villains

cat typing gif

Now that the stress of impending preapproval is lifted, I can focus more on novel work. I’ve fleshed out the first batch of protagonists and “primary secondary characters” (in my world that’s a thing), so now it’s on to the antagonists. I already know much more about my characters than I did previously, including details that may not even make it into the story. I’ve heard that doing this can help make the characters richer and more “real,” but we’ll see. If anything, it might inspire me to make some tweaks that could enhance things.

Is this a stalling tactic to avoid actually working on the story? Possibly. I am still waiting on a critique/edit from a friend (who is doing it pro bono, which is totally cool and worth the wait), so having promised that I wouldn’t make changes to book 1 before getting her feedback back I have to be patient…but that also means I have to be careful how much fine tuning I do to book 2, because I don’t want to “perfect” it only to have to go back and make sweeping changes based on her notes. The last thing I need to do is have to go through a book and a half of story to make things fit and flow.

As it is, there are already changes looming on the horizon. Some of the characters decided they wanted certain aspects of themselves to be recognized, so I’ll have to see about getting that done. Luckily they’re small changes, but they’re changes nonetheless.

I’ve also gotten new ideas for book 3 and possibly book 4. Some of the characters I’ve devised don’t even appear until 3 or 4, so it gives me confidence that I’m moving in the right direction story-wise. If I had gotten to the point I’m at without books 3 and 4 brewing on the back burner, I’d be worried. Book 2 leaves off on a cliffhanger, after all…can’t have that happen without knowing what comes next!

It feels so cool to have a whole series blossoming in my head, especially for a girl who once thought she’d never have more than a short story’s worth of idea. Now I have one novel under my belt and many more to come. It’s an awesome feeling.

But enough about that. It’s time to get off my butt, sit down, and get cracking.