Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Writing and Editing a Fantasy is Hard Work

Writing a book is hard.  I mean, if you want to do it right, you have all this stuff you have to do and remember and juggle so it doesn't get lost and so every single thing makes sense.

Writing a fantasy takes hard to a whole new level.

Let's say you write a book filled with normal people set in the present.  You can pull from everyday to populate your book and color their world.  Then you write a book with not-normal people (paranormal) or set in another time (history/dystopian).  You can still pull from everyday for the setting or your experiences as a human interacting with normal stuff.

Fantasy has not-normal people in not-normal places interacting with not-normal things.  That's a lot of stuff you have to make up in your head.  And it all still has to be believable.

There still has to be rules.  You make a critter that lives in the dark, and it can't have attributes of critters that live in the light.  That sort of stuff.  You make a character with loads of power, they still have to get tired.  Eat a muffin.  Sleep.  Your rules can go against normal rules of physics, certainly, but they need to be consistent.  (An all-powerful magic user would get pretty boring, by the way.)

Anyway, I kind of understand why a certain author takes forever to get his books to print.  Although, one might think he'd have his world down by now so he could easily slip into it and crank out whatever book number he's on.  For the record, I don't read this particular author's books, but I hear people complaining about them and how long it takes.  Perhaps someone could suggest a series bible type thing to make the process quicker.  :shrug:

As I sit trying to make progress on the editing of this book... still haven't nailed a title yet... and find myself looking at the percent meter and barely seeing it move from day to day, I'm struck by how much harder this seems than editing my other books.  I built a world.  And as I was building it, things changed between the beginning and the end, so now I need to make the beginning match the end in all the world-building ways.  

I don't know how many pages of notes I have now.  A lot.  Everything from a comma to 'this needs to be moved over there' to rewrite this scene.  And I'm only at 9% as of last night.  That's like 9000 words out of 97000.  Blerg.  So, I guess what I'm saying is... if you're sitting around waiting for this to be done, don't hold your breath.  This shit is hard.  I'm loving it, but that doesn't make it any easier.  Might make it harder because I want this to be the best book it can be and that's going to take a lot of work.  

But I'll do it.  Sometimes I lay in bed at night wondering why I don't just go back to mystery and suspense.  Give myself an easier task.  But I started this and I am going to finish it.  I'm mulish that way sometimes.  And this will be so satisfying when it's done.

What's a task you've completed that you knew was hard going in but had to complete?  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Nothing New Under the Sun

There really is nothing new under the sun.  I was scrolling through my newsfeed this morning and saw a post by a cover artist I follow of a cover for a publisher.  On it was a beastie who looks a lot like the beastie I was just trying to draw.  (His was way better, of course, but then again, he's a pro and I'm a dabbler.)  

I assume his drawing was to the specifications of whatever author the cover was for.  Which means two authors who've never met each other pulled similar beasties out of their heads at nearly the same time.  

I've been thinking about this a bit.  I mean, look at the commercials - specifically the taglines.  Marketing people have to be running out of new things to say about their products, or they're becoming increasingly stupid.  (Here's one that's still new and fresh - with a cat - but most commercials aren't this smart.)  I wish I could remember the worst one I saw the other day.  It went something like 'Dog food  brand... because you have a dog'.  It wasn't dog food, but the gist was the same.  'Eye drops... because you have eyes.'  Maybe it was 'Skin cream... because you have skin.'  Yeah, that sound closer to right.

Anyway, with mankind having written stuff for centuries now, it's hard to come up with something totally new.  

I've talked about this before - a friend wrote a book, got it published, and then got crap about it on the internet because it's similar to another book that had been published a couple years prior.  I had read the previous book and I read my friend's book when it was still pre-published.  There were similarities in the plot and in some of the devices, but that's where the similarities ended.  One's book was lighthearted, the other's was more serious.  

So, my friend dropped her book.  Which was too bad because I thought it was the better book.  I had a major sad that the previous author did nothing to stop her fans from attacking my friend.  A 'hey guys, thanks for your support, but she didn't steal my work, so cut it out' would've been nice. And even sadder is that both books had a particular twist in them that was similar to one in a popular movie, so there really wasn't something NEW to 'steal' anyway.

How do we, as writers, keep this from happening?  How do we write something NEW when it seems like everything out there has been done already?  No clue.  I guess we write our books to the best of our abilities and hope that what we've created isn't too similar to someone else's work.  

You could, of course, read everything that's already been written, so you know for sure.  Heh.  You could research everything and change whatever seems similar, but you run the risk of 1) changing it so that it's now like something else and 2) ruining your own damn book.  

For my part, it's a matter of read what I can and research what I can and hope for the best.  Yes, I will probably change some basic things about the mistmorph.  (Have to research that name so I don't end up having named my critter something someone else has already used.)  Specifically, the quills running along its spine - which is what makes it exceptionally close to what that artist had drawn.  Other than that, I think I'm safe.  His had a wolf head - mine has a panther head with bat eyes and ears.  His was furry and mine is furless with slick gray skin.  Not really that big a deal.  

I really am trying to write this so that it comes off as fresh and original.  I already talked about having a similar name to another fantasy author which gives me a slight stumbler from the get go.  Nothing I can do about that.  People will think what they want to think whether there's a rational basis for it or not.  

And there's a slight plot device that similar to another popular book, but the actual thing and its mythology is, I hope, adequately unusual as to make that a non-issue.  

Is it any wonder fantasy novels take so damn long?  Maybe I'll talk about that next time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wednesday Words - A Cloudy Snippet

 My friend, Silver, does this thing called Wednesday Words - wherein she takes a prompt and posts a snippet related to the prompt.  Today's prompt was CLOUDS.  Since I'm at a loss for blog material this morning, I thought I'd just share the words I left in her comments.  

To set it up, this is the bad guy... a dark elf intent on destruction... using his magic to control the dragon.

The sun had set by the time Uliph returned to Kingshead.  The snow was lightly falling, covering roads whose earlier layers were decorated sooty-black.  Uliph preferred the black.  It reminded him of the towns after his dragon had done her worst.  Soon, the soot here wouldn’t be from the scores of hearth fires belching their leavings from chimneys, but from fires on the roofs and the walls and the doors.  And the bodies.  Oh, how they burned brightly from the dragonfire.

Licking his lips, he reached out to the beast.  She was already circling over the city, far above the snow and clouds, waiting for his bidding.  At the touch of his mind, a flame jetted through the night.  Not as far above the clouds as I would like. The people might still see her and attempt to flee.  He sent his thoughts up to her.  Rise and hide.  

His mind encountered resistance.  The dragon was hungry and when she was hungry, she became unruly.  Uliph loosed magic in her direction and felt her cringe.  But she did as she had been told and rose above the clouds.  

The attack would come while these favorites of the Lady slept and not a second sooner.  If they saw the dragon now, they would flee.  Or they would try to fight.  The High Lord wanted his victims unsuspecting this night.  Time enough later to taste their fear.  After the shrouds were either destroyed entirely or had been pushed across this land that had once been theirs.  

It's totally first drafty, so be kind.  I'm working on it.  Really, I am.  I started making edits notes, which I will input later.  And I definitely haven't gotten to this point in the story.  

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Sale Starts Tomorrow

Since I'm done with the first draft and letting the words stew a bit before I start editing, I thought this would be as good a time as any to have a sale.  

Starting tomorrow, A Model Curse the trilogy (and complete series) will be available for less than $2.  Sleeping Ugly will be free through Saturday.  Ugly and the Beast and Cinder Ugly will be 99c each through next Monday.  Three books for $1.98.  Woohoo.

When a curse strikes a supermodel, all hell is gonna break loose.

Jeni Braxxon was raised to believe she wasn't good for much of anything but being pretty. Her career in modeling is on the rise until being cursed to turn ugly throws her world into chaos. Now, she has to learn who the culprit is and stop them, if only to get her pretty back. And along the way, she'll discover that what she was raised to believe isn't anywhere near the truth. There's more to Jeni than ever met the camera lens—something her enemies probably should've thought of before they starting messing with her.

They're also available on Kindle Unlimited and in paperback, if you're so inclined.  

They're fun and they're snarky, but they also have a bit of heart and a sniffly place here and there.  

Friday, July 9, 2021

Finished? Yeah, I Guess So

Once again, I wrote this and forgot to post it...  Sorry it's late.


Last night, I finished Untitled Fantasy.  At the time, I wasn't sure I was finished.  In fact, I said something on FB about it being finished unless my brain said otherwise while I was trying to fall asleep.  But my brain was quiet.  Well, other than starting the next book.  That didn't last long, though.  I told my brain to shut up and it did for a change.  Best night's sleep I've had in weeks.

Now I need to let the book marinate for a while.  A week.  Maybe two.  Maybe less.  The story will tell me when it's ready to be edited.  

I guess I really need to find a title for the damn thing.  Everything I think of sounds lame at this point.  No biggie.  Rumor Has It was 'Duke Noble 1' until it was time to make the cover.

From here, I need to wade into the book and decorate.  It needs paint and furniture.  Or frosting and fondant.  Whatever metaphor suits you.  

Anyway, now I can relax a bit.  This story I started in 2011 is finally done.  I'm pleased with it overall.  It ain't perfect, but its imperfections can be sanded away and polished up.  Yay for edits.

Oh, here's another song for you.  This one really speaks to the muse for me.  Bottom of the River by Delta Rae.  Watch the video.  It's totally cool.  I think she's supposed to be a witch being dragged out of her house in the middle of the night and taken to the river.  But she gets them in the end.  Hehe.  Fun.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Music and Words

Recently, I created a station on Jango specifically for this book, which is as close to a playlist as I'll ever get for my books.  I started out with the band Of Monsters and Men then added in The Lumineers and Phillip Phillips and then Delta Rae.  All artists that, for me, say 'fantasy'.

It has totally helped me get in the mood for writing.  Even when I don't feel like writing, once I throw this on, I can sit down and at least knock out a few hundred words.  And this is totally awesome, considering I've had a tough time these past couple years getting the words out.

Last night, I was in the process of knocking out way more than a few words when a song came on that was totally not in line with the mood I was going for.  Oh, it was in line with the general theme of the station, so I wasn't going to give it a thumbs down and have it removed permanently from the playlist.  I was just going to click next and move on.  But by the time I had made the necessary move from Word to browser, I was already hooked on the song.  Then I went to my search engine and looked for the video of it and listened not only to the song, but to the lead-in where the songwriter talks about writing the song and why he wrote it.  (The song was No Piece in Quiet by Delta Rae, btw.  It's pretty and kinda sad.)  

By the time that was finished, I was derailed.  Pretty and sad is fine, but it definitely didn't put me in a place where I could write the next BIG SCENE.  I mean, if the next scene had been a pretty and sad scene it would've been great inspiration, but the next scene is fraught with tension and action.  I need zippier music for that.

In the end, getting derailed was okay because it was after 8 anyway and I did already have over 1700 words.  The song probably derailed me because I was already getting tired.  My writing stamina ain't what it used to be.  I let it atrophy.  Still, I really should've just clicked past this song and kept writing.  Worked on rebuilding the stamina and all that.

What about you?  Does music help or hurt your writing?  If you don't write, does it help or hurt your focus on other things?  Do you ever just get derailed by a song?  

Friday, July 2, 2021


I've been struggling this week, trying to create an awesome climax for this book.  The big battle scene.  What's a gal to do when she's created a baddy so bad that nothing could stop it?  

I knew when I reached the point of actually needing to do something about the baddy that I wouldn't be able to sleep unless I fixed this.  The hamster was running hard on its wheel and not getting anywhere.  And it would continue to run.

So, I stopped.  I got up off my chair and put on my workout clothes.  This is the point where I'd usually go for a walk, but it's so hot and humid right now, I'd probably drop over halfway through.  Instead, I got on the exercise bike.  (Which I've moved into the spare room, positioned so that it looks out a window and I've placed the stereo next to it so I can listen to jams, too.)  Eighteen minutes on that sucker.

I still didn't have the answer, even if I was in a more-receptive place.  

I flopped into my recliner and vegged out while Hubs watch Mountain Men.  (He loves that show.)  And I let my mind wander over the problem.  I was determined to figure this out no matter how late I would have to stay up.  What to do.  What to do.  What to do.


I got right up, grabbed my beverage, and headed into the office where I made magic.  The answer was bloody brilliant, if I do say so myself.  

Plus, I got it all out and finished in time to go to bed at the normal time.  Of course, I was totally hopped up on cold coffee drink and iced tea by then, so while I had hoped to avoid not being able to sleep because my brain was turning over the problem, I still didn't sleep because of the caffeine.  

Time and readers will tell whether my brilliance was actually brilliant, but right now, I'm loving it.  

It looks like I will actually finish this book this time.  The hard part is over.  Now there's the denouement and some additional excitement as there's still a thing or two the characters have to deal with.  (Which actually might be dealt with in edits.)  I'm just over 89K words as of last night.  Maybe another 5K... perhaps 10.  

I do love epiphanies.  I wish they'd happen more often, but then again, they wouldn't be as awesome if they came more frequently, would they?