30 May, 2013

Signs of progress

I opened chapter five this morning to continue my edits and realized something: since 15 May, I've edited 22 scenes out of 54. That may not sound like much at first, but consider that I only allotted one scene per day as my goal, and you'll see that I'm six scenes ahead of where I planned to be by 30 May.

At this rate, I may finish the second draft by the middle of June. That's a good sign, especially since I'd like to publish this story by autumn.

If I do finish the second draft in June, I may for the sake of curiosity query out to agents to see if I can get a response. I am 90-95% certain that I will self-publish my novel, but I know myself well enough to know that I would regret not reaching out to agents to try the traditional method.

For that reason, I've kept an eye out for agents/publishers accepting submissions. I would take some suggestions, if anyone knows of someone who might be interested in low fantasy, paranormal fiction, Steampunk, and/or New Age Adult, please let me know.

28 May, 2013

"That" scene

I'm knee deep into my second draft when I decide to rewrite a scene from scratch. Okay, that's cool. I can handle that considering most of my novel is where I want it to be. A simple rewrite. That's all. Right.


. . . right?

Turns out that little scene turned into a mega scene. To put it into perspective, the word count on chapter four was at 7.4K when I started. Now it's at 12.3K. I wrote a 4,887 word scene, and all I can do is scratch my head at the result.

What do I do? Where do I go with it? How can I scissor that scene so the chapter becomes manageable again? I'm gonna leave it for now, otherwise I'd be beating my head against a brick wall, but I'm wondering how others deal with this type of situation when it arises. Do you plan to cut words during the third draft, change your mind and scrap it, figure out a way to break it up? Some direction/suggestions would be helpful.

27 May, 2013

Insight to the Wappenröcke (a snippet)

Part of the fun of editing is deciding upon adding new scenes. In this case, I took the chance to slow the Wappenrock transition from man to beast down and offer the visual and auditory bonus that isn't as important to other scenes.

And for your benefit, I've included the promised special peek. Be sure to click into this post to view it!

24 May, 2013

Edit Pain Syndrome

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/237142736601212994/
It's close enough to Book Pain Syndrome in that prolonged editing leads to discomfort, specifically of the body and mind.

I'm eight or nine scenes ahead of where I scheduled myself to be, so I feel comfortable taking a short mental break from the editing to write the new scene in Chapter 4. So far I've only added paragraphs here and there, but this one is a complete rewrite of a scene I wrote during NaNoWriMo.

That's the highlight of doing multiple drafts, though. You force a scene during the first draft to get to where you need to go, and then the second draft is for cutting and replacing with something that flows and is cohesive to the overall storyline.

For the record, all of that can be exhausting -- but! the benefits of the editing outweigh the temporary discomfort. When they said editing can be painful, they weren't kidding.

17 May, 2013

Bleeding red (ink)

Moving forward with the edits for the second draft, and I'm on Chapter 2. I'm excited to see the progress of my plot tooling, for the narrative now has cohesion between scenes that wasn't there before.

The characters have evolved from the first draft, too. Not just the main characters, but the secondary characters as well. And my villain -- oh, my villain. The villainous time line has seen improvements, as well as more manipulations from the villain.

I just knew taking that 4 week break to organize my thoughts would help!

Stay tuned, folks, because I might post something extra next update :)

15 May, 2013

Editing the second draft

The first draft is easy, especially if you wrote it during one of the NaNoWriMo events. If you do it right, then the focus is just on making things as wordy as possible but to also fly through scenes with synopsis-like summary if you can't think of the phrasing. At least with that second route, you can get to the next section where you have the necessary verbiage to excel.

The second draft, on the other hand, should be about cleaning up the narrative, tailoring your plot objectives so nothing's left hanging, improving your characters' personalities and their presence, and to cut, cut, cut anything unnecessary to the storyline. It's been nearly four weeks since I completed the first draft, and now that I've gone into the first chapter with fresh eyes again, I can see what's working and what's not.

Namely, there's been dialogue tweaking and improvements in narrative action (re: what the characters are doing). I know that people hark on adverbs and their overuse, so I bought a very important book for myself. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Their examples are great for expressing emotion directly and indirectly in the narrative. Three pages into my edit, and I could already see a major difference in the quality of my writing. I would recommend the book for anyone looking to add quality to their stories.

Also, they have bonus material on their blog that covers more than just emotions.

12 May, 2013

Mapping a world

*gasp* Twelve days into May and I'm just now getting a post up! I'm sure you'll all forgive me, though, since I come bearing a gift.

I've been working on the nitty-gritty details in between drafts, and taking the time to get a map together with some of the areas of interest.

This is Kaiserreich, a state on the eastern coast of North America. Its capital is Göttinesche, which falls on the A-Rail (red). The large port cities connected by rail and aeroport, are noted by the white circle enclosures. Off to the right, there's Nearly Island, which was a stopping point happened upon chance by the Saxons and settled as a shipping port/way station.

Before you ask, yes there are hundreds of smaller cities and towns, but I most likely won't get to those since they aren't essential to the plot.


Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.