At just shy of 91,000 words, the second draft of Loyalty Betrayed is complete.
There are still some story lines I need to beef up in editing, but I’m working on my next project while I let it rest for a little while. Ideally, I’d love to be able to get it edited and cleaned up in time for PitchWars at the end of September, but we’ll see how it goes. The prologue and first chapter have already been heavily edited, so I have a head-start on that.
My next project, the “Web” of novels planned to take place 8 years after Loyalty Betrayed, is in the high level outline process right now. Twenty-five Novels spread across 6 Independent but Interconnected threads. I’ll make a post on that soon.
If anyone would like to Beta Read Loyalty Betrayed, feel free to drop me a line!
I was reading through Loyalty Betrayed (aka Series 2;Book 1) and I came to a realization.
I had originally conceived of the story as a retelling of Othello, with significant changes to the cast and the overall storyline (its more a political betrayal for the bride of the MC than it is a physical betrayal). But I ended up feeling that I had leaned too heavily on the source materials.
The storyline didn’t flow the way I wanted it to, I shoehorned in certain scenes just because they were in the play.
So, I took the first 2 chapters and threw the rest out. I needed to add a bunch of content anyways because I had removed a secondary plot of about 40,000 words (that’s going to either be a companion novella or Book 2 in the series, not sure which yet).
I spent the last day writing a new chapter-by-chapter summary and just wrapped that up at a little over 7,000 words. Now to get to the actual rewriting process.
But I’ve finally finished marking up the first round of edits for Series2:Book1. This was a “high-level” pass looking for story holes, missing information, too much information etc. I did a little line-by-line editing too, but it wasn’t the focus since I’ll be rewriting quite a bit.
I have to say, it felt good to get this done so I can move on to making the changes, but I’m always astonished/ashamed of the amount of red ink that I lay down in a first edit pass. It’s only a first draft, but I thought it was a lot better when I wrote it. I guess that’s why they tell you to leave a book set for a while before you edit it.
Now I have to go through and apply the changes and then I’ll make a second pass, which will be more line-by-line in nature.
On another note, I’ll developed half a dozen new story ideas (some set in the world of Zaria) that I think will have some promise. They’re WAY down the list, but at least they aren’t knocking around in the back of my head while I’m trying to work forward. =D
The writing on Loyalty Betrayed is complete, but the book is far from ready for queries, so I’m taking my own advice and letting it sit on the shelf for a little while before I pick it up for rewrites and editing.
In the Interim, however, my mind keeps spinning. I’ve decided to take this time to try something slightly different.
As of approximately 1:30 AM Central Time, my new Work-In-Progress is complete!
Loyalty Betrayed clocked in at 118,718 words spread across 62 Chapters and an Epilogue.
The first few chapters aren’t where I want them to be, so the next thing on the list is the arduous task of rewriting the first few entries and then going over the whole thing for complete edits. I plan on leaving this alone for a little while, so in the meantime I’m going to plot out the next story and the short stories built around this main character.
Eventually I’m going to submit this to agents and editors and hopefully get picked up. We’ll see!
Something that I’ve learned as I plot and write the stories of The Ansgari Rebellion, is that stories are more a living creation than a static work.
While the core of the series has remained essentially the same, many of the details have morphed and changed.
Characters have walked into the story from out of nowhere and insinuated themselves as cornerstones of the books in which they reside and those that follow.
Plot points have moved, from the beginning of the series, to the middle, and now to the end.
Even though I am a meticulous plotter, typically drawing up a book’s outline by chapter well before I start writing it, I’ve learned the benefits of being flexible with my story. My style has developed into a sort of hybrid: still heavily plotter, but with just enough pantser to allow for more story to develop and grow on its own.
In production news, The Centaur Incursion is underway! I’ve got 1,000 words written and more ready to come out as soon as I get a chance to sit down. Also, The Hydra Offensive is more than halfway through the first round of paper edits. I plan on putting it through a second round, in which I’ll break the chapters down by POV rather than by chapter order.
I’ll be looking for beta readers soon, so if you’re interested let me know!
So having completed The Hydra Offensive last week, I’ve started my first round of edits. I usually go through 2 rounds of digital editing, get the novel printed and do 2 paper runs, and then finish up with a final digital run before I send it off to Beta Readers.
I’m going to treat my paper runs a little differently than I’ve treated other paper prints. I’m going to get it printed out by chapter rather than as a whole. I’ll read through once in full chronological order, and then for my second pass I’m going to read each POV group from start to end to hone in on any inconsistencies.
Speaking of which (! nice segue huh?) I’m looking for people who would like to Beta Read The Hydra Offensive. I’m definitely looking for people who read The Cerberus Rebellion, but I’m also looking for people who might not have read Cerberus yet. I’m trying to make Hydra as new-reader friendly as possible and I would greatly appreciate feedback on how I did.
No matter how hard you try, your book is never going to be 100% perfect. Hopefully, during the editing process you’re able to fix the plot holes and inconsistencies.
But even after you push the publish button, you’re going to find typos and errors. Maybe a sentence that doesn’t make as much sense as you’d like. You’re going to find something that you want to change.
I’ve spent most of the last week or two cutting back on the overly descriptive prose that I used in The Cerberus Rebellion and adding in a couple of chapters that I really should have included in the first place.
I had a conversation with Harry over at A Way With Worlds that basically went something like:
Me: “Hey, so I’m making some additions to Cerberus”
Him: “Wait, you can do that?
In the past, with traditional paper printing, you’d be pretty much out of luck. Your publisher could print a second run, with the corrections in place, but that’s assuming that your book warranted enough attention and sales to call for a second run.
In the age of digital publishing, the solution is much simpler. Correct the errors, recompile your book, and republish to your selected markets. Amazon, at least, will send an email to anyone that has purchased your book and give them the option to redownload it.
Now, this won’t necessarily turn someone who hated your novel into a fan overnight, but it can definitely improve the experience of future readers.
I know with The Cerberus Rebellion, the overly descriptive text was a consistent theme in the reviews that I received. In the age of digital publishing, the ability to respond to feedback and fix your errors cannot be overlooked as a great tool to gaining readers.
…when you don’t really get anything productive done.
This year, I’ll be working part-time at Best Buy (Black Friday was absolutely crazy) and working full-time at UPS for the Christmas Season.
Unfortunately, my writing is going to suffer and I’ll probably be posting very little.
However, I did manage to finish Battle for Broken Plains and I’m getting ready to send it to a couple of Beta Readers. It clocked in at just over 27,000 words, about twice as long as I originally expected.
My plan is to put Battle up for free across all of the major distributors and advertise it as much as possible to garner readers.
I’m going to try to get more work done on The Hydra Offensive, which is currently sitting at a sliver under 44,000, with the goal of having it completed and published before June. While 2 books a year isn’t the pace I’d like to keep, the rigors of life are such that it’s going to have to suffice.
Below is the Prologue for Battle at Broken Plains, a novella that tells the story of Raedan Clyve’s rise to power as the Baron of Broken Plains. It’s currently going into Alpha Editing phase so I’ll be printing it out and taking the red pen to it. Hopefully, this should be out by the end of the year.
Auberon Strait rung his hands and paced beside the bed of Lord Rendall Garand. He had cast every spell that he had learned in his short time studying as a life-giver, but the Baron of Broken Plains was sick beyond his skills. Auberon doubted that any but the most skilled life-giver would have failed to bring the Baron back from the brink of death, but he still wondered if he could have done more.
The room was one of the largest in Garand Castle. The ceiling was twenty feet above the floor, tapestries adorned every wall and large windows let in sunlight during most of the day. Lanterns burned bright in their sconces along the wall and a fire blazed in the hearth.
Auberon ran a hand through long red hair and rubbed the back of his right ear. He had inherited many of his father’s features, the red hair, the sapphire eyes and the elongated ears. Auberon had also followed his father’s choice of occupation and had served as the advisor to House Garand for nearly two hundred years. He was sad to see the once proud dynasty coming to a close.
Lord Rendall Garand had married the sister of a Frantan Clan-Lord, but she had been barren. As the only son of an only son, Rendall was the last living Garand and would leave his lands to another family when he passed. Auberon had been ready for the death of his lord: he had been studying the family trees of the local nobility for more than a year.
Lord Hadrian Clyve would be the heir to the Broken Plains Barony under the laws of Ansgar; he and Rendall shared a great-grandmother. Auberon had wondered, briefly, whether Lord Clyve would be allowed to take control of another barony. Aside from the North Griffin Cliffs, Hadrian stood to inherit the South Griffin Cliffs when his father-by-law passed. There were some in the Ansgari nobility that believed Hadrian was not qualified to hold two baronies, much less three.
Auberon believed that the Clyves were the best option for the continued existence of the Broken Plains Barony. The Broken Plains and North Griffin Cliffs Baronies shared a border with each other and with the territory of Clan-Lord Jared Terrell, the brother of the late-Lady Garand.
Clan-Lord Jared Terrell had already claimed his right as the rightful heir to the Barony, despite his lack of claim in any Ansgari court. In Franta, the eldest brother of any woman was automatically considered the heir to the territories which her husband claimed if no viable heirs were born of the marriage. He had visited the Barony three times in the last year and had made his position very clear. Auberon believed that was one of the reasons that Rendall’s condition had deteriorated more quickly in the last year than it had in the five years prior.
Rendall coughed violently and Auberbon frowned.
“Steward!” Auberon shouted. A small man scurried through the thick wooden door. He was a small man, he had gone bald years before and his green eyes were downcast. He shuffled across the stone floor with short, stuttered steps that betrayed the limp he worked so hard to disguise.
“Prepare a horse,” Auberon ordered, “and supplies to get me to the Overlook.”
“At once, milord.” The steward bowed and hurried out of the room.
Auberon knew that leaving the barony so soon after the passing of its noble would be risky, there would be no one of authority to command the guards or try to negotiate with Jared Terrell, but it was his responsibility to tell Lord Clyve of Rendall’s passing and inform the Baron of North Griffin Cliffs that he was the rightful heir to the territory.
Rendall began coughing so violently that he hunched over in his bed, then was suddenly silent.
“My Lord?” Auberon moved to the bedside. He pressed his palm to his noble’s chest. Rendall Garand did not breath.
I plan on putting Battle at Broken Plains up for Free, so keep an eye out for links!