Friday, November 30, 2018

Treat this as a diary.

I guess I need to just treat this as a diary, which was my original intent. Not much of marketing tool, that's for sure.

Wrote another chapter of "Ruby Red and the Robot." This is a purposely light book, pretty much a young adult novel.

I've arrived at a very simple, straight-forward style. I think there is nothing wrong with this--in my rewrites I often want to add more, but I'm wondering if that is necessary. Clear up some of the continuity problems but leave the writing mostly alone.

Or maybe I'm just lazy. I do know I enjoy the inventing, the telling myself a story.

I'm not feeling any urgency, and I think the seriousness of purpose I had those few few years probably propelled my writing. Now...I'm just enjoying it, dabbling in it to some extent, so the pace has really slowed down.

I have books lined up for publication, so it's not like it's a problem.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trying to get some momentum.

I'm hoping you'll help me out on "Deadfall Ridge," so I can get some momentum.

See, the way it works--and there is no reason you should know how it works, but here it is--whatever your beginning sales determines your sales arc, because if you can get a chunk of sales in advance, you enter the charts higher, and the higher you enter the charts, the more people notice you, and so on.

At the beginning of my writing, I was pretty aggressive, asking people pointblank to buy my first book. I think you can get away with it the first time, because you are genuinely proud and people are intrigued enough to help.

So I started off with a relative bang and was able to keep that going for more than year, because putting out a book every 3 or 4 months is what you have to do to keep momentum. You can literally watch the charts and see books dropping after that time period.

So for the first year, that was good, but then my publisher went MIA. I had other books written, but didn't plug them into the four month slot because I didn't want to step on the publisher's toes because he said he was going to do it any day.

So the chart drop happened and kept going and publisher didn't put out the next book for a year.

So that was the first time it happened.

So I started all over with another publisher, was aggressive again for my first book, and again there was great momentum for two books, and then that publisher decided to go mainstream and a year went by while they set up, and again, I watched the momentum fizzle.

So then I started again with a third publisher, who was already set up to be mainstream, and he seemed excited and had done some great promotion on books very much like mine, and again I asked people to buy the book, and it started off good.

And then that publisher decided to step back. Pretty much without any warning.

Momentum lost. I have 3 new publishers. I don't know why, but I do seem to be lucky that way.

One of the publishers, Crossroad Press, is being very proactive, and they are behind "Deadfall Ridge," so once again I'm asking all of you to please buy this book, so we can try to get some momentum on it, which then will pull up all the other books.

If you were ever thinking of buying a book of mine, now is the time. This is a thriller, for those of you who don't read fantasy or horror or science fiction. It's based in Central Oregon, and I think its an enjoyable read.

So there you have it. I'm asking. Please.


For the pre-sell on the ebook, here's the link:

If you'd rather read the paperback, here's the link:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Deadfall Ridge Paperback

"Deadfall Ridge" will be available as a paperback next week, which is somewhat unexpected. The ebook version isn't due until December 18th. Not sure how that works.

Anyway, I'll have it in my store soon.

It's a thriller, set in Eastern Oregon, about a wilderness guide who is being hunted in the winter mountains by ruthless mercenaries.

My publishers are being very proactive--covers, editing, ebooks, audio books, and paperbacks. It's nice to see.

What I'm hoping is that they'll be rewarded for their efforts. If any of you read me regularly, please give me a little support here and buy a book for Christmas. Maybe as a gift?

For once, it's not supernatural in any way--straight ahead thriller.

I feel really responsible for my publishers--that I want there to be a good show for them, that their efforts on my part will be rewarded. I'm grateful for what they're dong.

Anyway, here's the link if you're interested:

Monday, November 26, 2018

"What about Stan Lee?"

Worked at Pegasus yesterday.

Couple of bright eyed guys come in, "What about Stan Lee!"

I shrug.

Not the reaction they expected. I'm either the Comic Book Guy, or I'm a disgrace to my profession, or both.

What's really fun about me being there once in a while is that people seem genuinely happy to see me. It's very gratifying. And I'm happy to see them (even if I sometimes can't remember their names.) I often see grown up versions of people I saw as kids.

All my grumpiness is gone, I'm as fresh as a daisy; I suppose the day to day aggravations are now Sabrina's.

I'm like an institution in downtown--or I should be in one.

The store is at a peak, really. It's always interesting after a big weekend of sales how the store looks as packed as ever. Book sales are good, taking up some of the slack from the comics drop off.

Looking to re-up my lease. It's nice that the store has found an equilibrium that works.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Addicted to storytelling.

Ruby Red and the Robot.

I've decided to forge ahead. Make notes of the changes I want to make, but keep the story going forward. The quick pace and the lightness are what I'm after. The problem with making revisions is the danger of being bogged down. Plus, I've learned that some revisions aren't necessary when all is said and done. Some aren't even beneficial.

It's another SF story, so it has to be logical, which is not my strong suit.

As to why I'm even writing it...

I'm just addicted to storytelling, I think. If for no one else but myself. It's a bonus that Linda always seems to like what I'm doing.

Art for art's sake, I suppose.

As Stephen King said, (I'm paraphrasing), "Fuck reality."

It is possible in this day and age to live in an alternate reality if you so chose, if you can just manage to get food and shelter taken care of.

Saturday, November 24, 2018


"Ruby Red and the Robot."

5000 words winging it, which is the freedom you have when you start a story. But now I'm realizing I'm going to need to plot this out a bit more. For one thing, I have only two characters and that's not enough. For another, there is an action scene in the first chapter, but none in the next two chapters, which means I need to concoct a couple of scenes.

Plus the motivation. I have a general idea that Ruby's robot companion, Antony, is the McGuffin. The thing everyone is looking for. But meanwhile, I have Ruby find a computer disk early one, which she uses as an excuse to go looking for the fabled place her father talked about.

But since the computer disk was picked up at random from a dead guy, why would it be significant? What would be the odds?

So as a red herring, it might work, but why would Ruby need a red herring? Perhaps she knows more about Antony than she's willing to admit (hard to do when it's first person narration) and she's trying to protect him.

And so it goes...

When I first came back to writing, I had a hard rule not to change anything until the book was finished. But I'm allowing myself some mid-course corrections these days. Dangerous, but...

Friday, November 23, 2018

Sunk Costs in writing.

I'm already over 5000 words into "Ruby Red and the Robot" in two days and I'm realizing a couple of things.

1.) That I'm having a lot of fun.
2.) It's good the first draft. It won't require a whole lot of rewriting. I'm getting pretty good at doing this.

So if it takes just as long to rewrite something that doesn't work as it does to write something that does work, why would I do the former?

Sunk Costs.

“The sunk cost effect is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavor, or continue consuming or pursuing an option, if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it,” says Christopher Olivola, an assistant professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the author of a new paper on the topic published in the journal Psychological Science. “That effect becomes a fallacy if it’s pushing you to do things that are making you unhappy or worse off.” Time Magazine.

It is incredibly difficult to give up on something I've spent years of my life writing. I have hundreds of thousands of words--at least ten novels--that I should just give up on. But damn...
Started a new story  yesterday called, "Ruby Red and the Robot."

Like "Eden Returns" it's just me keeping my writing going. I just like being in the middle of a story. I'm not going to do any stretching or heavy lifting. It either comes to me or it doesn't. Have no idea how long this story will be, or even what it entails.

Post-apocalyptic, starring a young woman, with lots of robots. Heh.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

I've gotten my Big Idea for my Big Fantasy. It's such a basic idea that I'm sure it's been done before, but I've decided that doesn't matter. My version is likely to be vastly different.

I can either make this an alternative history, or use the real history as an analog to my fantasy, changing names and events, but using it as a template.

I've come up with an opening scene, but I just jotted down rough notes, purposely not writing it more fully. I'm going to try hard just to think about this whole story instead of sitting down and writing it. There is no hurry. I want as much of this thought out in advance I can.

I may even write other books in the meantime. At the very least, re-write some books. If I don't start this book for a year or two, that will be fine.

I've got a number of books set aside for research for this project. There are many more I could get. It's a big enough idea that I think I can play with it in my head for awhile.

The problem in the past has been--I think of a scene and feel like I need to write it before it's gone. Especially if the words start flowing. So the trick is to write down the essence of the scene, but not let the words flow.

It's a bit like the trick I learned early on: instead of sleepless nights, when I'd get an idea while going to sleep, I'd just say to myself, "Tell me tomorrow." And sure enough, usually that worked. I just needed the kernel and I could extrapolate from there.

I'm going to let this be wide ranging in characters, time, and distance. Either with a lot of flashbacks, or make it multi-generational.

Or--I may try to have one main character enter the story fairly early on, and follow him or her.

The whole point of planning this out in advance is to figure these things out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I finished the rewrite of "Faerylander" and I believe it is vastly improved. Moving it to the sidekick's POV was the right thing to do. It makes the main character a little more mysterious and powerful.

When I got to the end, I realized that the ending I'd been pointing toward, adding another action chapter to the already three ending action chapters, wasn't necessary, because Parsons was now the POV character, and his being hurt was more impactful, which explains Cobb's renewed strength to win the battle.

I have no idea if this books works at all, but I do believe it's better than it has ever been before. I have to decide what to do next.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Much of what I'm doing with this rewrite of "Faerylander" is removing all the overlying crust. It was as if I had a painting and I kept trying to fix it by adding more layers of paint, and now I'm removing those layers.

I think I was trying too hard to imbue the story with emotion and depth, and most of that doesn't work. Most of it should remain unspoken. Let the story tell the story.

There's a simple solution to bad writing: You don't try to fix it, you just remove it. Then if there is information that needs to be saved, you rewrite it from scratch. Most of the time, you find out you don't need it. That's why it's bad writing.

Managed another 10 pages. Again, I cut almost a full page of stuff that was false drama. I'm getting pretty bare bones. What's clear to me is that my writing is more evocative now than it was 6 years ago, mostly from practice, from learning to let myself write. I have the time to set this aside when I'm done, and come back to it, since I have at least 3 books lined up to be published.

I'm either going to tackle a rewrite of "Takeover" or of "Zombielander" next. Probably take me most of the rest of the year. The first third of "Takeover" was a narrative and POV experiment, that didn't quite work, especially compared to the last 2/3rds, which is a standard but comparatively well-written thriller.

Then do the rewrite of "Eden's Return."

I never know what I'll be in the mood for, so after that it's murky. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

I'd hope to finish the rewrite of "Faerylander" by the 15th of Nov. I'd also hoped it would be the last time.

I'm still committed, though it is hard to get myself to sit down and do it. Harder the farther in I get. I figure I have 3 or 4 days at this pace left.

The word for this is: I'm grinding it out.

This doesn't mean it's not good, necessarily, just that it is something that requires self-discipline. I think it's a warning sign that any rewrite of an early book isn't going to be easy.

I feel like what I've done is made the narrative better and taken out all the clunky parts (and many of the clunky parts came from previous rewrites.) But this version might be something that would benefit from one last go-over--- if--if--I can find the right voice.

What's happening overall with my writing is I'm letting things get in the way.

For the first two years I wrote, nothing but nothing got in the way. I was certain I wouldn't have much time, that I needed to get all the creative energy out on paper. The third and fourth years, I was still pretty damned disciplined. The last couple of years I've let things get in the way, whether important or not.

I'm ahead of the game, really. I've got books lined up to go, and other books that won't require the massive effort I just put into "Faerylander" to get ready.

I'm about to sit down and grind out another 10 to 15 pages. I'm at page 200 of a 235 page book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I'm not completely happy with some of the writing in "Faerylander." I suspect that I'll have to completely rewrite from scratch at least a couple of chapters.

But for now, I'm just working on getting all the technical details right. Get the right POV, put the chapters in the best possible order, work on the motivations and descriptions of the characters.

When and if all this is in place, what I need this is a good solid voice. A little bit of art.

I have a book, "Deviltree," that I wrote in my first career. It came oh, so close to being published. I won't go through all the details, but it was little bit heartbreaking.

Anyway, in my struggle to answer publisher critiques, I made the book technically good. But when I read it now, I think I took my own voice out of it. (Part of this was letting another--professional--writer have at it. He took out all the quirky stuff.)

But to me, it reads dry now.

So anyway, I'm just struggling to get this book all together--THEN I'll worry about the tone and the mood of it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Spent most of yesterday on "Faerylander" changing tenses. I moved a couple of chapters starring Cobb and Lillian up, and then changed them to 3rd person and then went back and changed all the Cobb POV's to 3rd person.

So the book is now being told almost completely from the 1st person point of view of Parsons, which should be easier now, because Parsons is in almost every chapter from now on.

I don't know if any of this works. I don't think I'll know for sure until I've set it aside and come back to read it later.

Reading"Deadfall Ridge" again was an interesting experience. Enough time had passed that I could actually read it the way a reader would read it.

I think I've got so much material written at this point that I can have this luxury with every book.

I really need to be patient. The last version of "Deadfall Ridge" was the one I should have presented to the mainstream publisher--the two versions I sent before weren't ready and just by sending two of them, I probably burned my bridges.

Just as well, probably. I think Crossroad Press, who seems to be genuinely supportive, is a much better fit for my writing.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Owning a comic shop, one of the things you learn is that "universes" are complicated. They're extra complicated because every time DC or Marvel tries to "fix" those universe's continuity, they just make them more complex. Things tend to boomerang back to the way they were, with yet another extra layer added on.

Sort of like "Faerylander." The original concept was probably relatively complicated, especially since I probably didn't have it completely clear in my own mind. At the same time, it was relatively shallow.

I've been trying to fix it ever since. And every time I try to "simplify and deepen" it, I think I just make it more complicated.

I finally broke the book in half it was getting so unwieldy, but that created its own set of continuity problems, which I tried to fix by adding new material.

So the whole book is awkward. At the same time, the world building has continued until it's pretty clear in my mind. The weird part is, despite my dislike of rewriting, for this book I seem to be willing to do it again and again.

I like this world, and I like the characters. Each of the 30 versions or so was an incremental improvement in world building and character motivations. Some of the writing is improved, some becomes "over-written" which I then try to fix on the next version.

But the structure has become--as been for some time--awkward.

I know what's going on, but I'm not sure I'm getting that across to the reader.

I keep moving things around, explaining the moves by new transitions, and the book gets even more ungainly. 

It's a gordian knot that I'm unwilling to slice.

"Kill your darlings?" It's all darlings.

I'm up to page 137 out of 215 pages. With only five days left in my original writing period. I'll probably go a few days over. But, spending 20 days on this book still feels like a good thing to have done, even though I may end up setting aside--yet again.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Crossroad Press sent me the PDF of "Deadfall Ridge" to check over.

They're going to offer a paperback version for sale in advance on Amazon and also submit it to Bookbub, which shows some faith on their part.

Really, the book is pretty good. I was a little surprised. This is my first all-out thriller, nothing SF or Fantasy or Horror about it.

Especially reading it in book form. What's interesting is that it was the last draft that came together. I mean, almost by definition the "last" draft is what people see, if done right. But for me, it's always interesting to see how draft one has 80% of what's needed, draft two has 80% of what's needed, but only overlap by 60% and draft three takes the best of both versions and gets 90% of the way, and then some last minute revisions get's it all the way.

Which means most of the advance readers and even editors don't really see the complete version.

This book especially came in strong at the end, and I think it's because I gave it time. Combining the best of the three drafts created the best book.

I guess I've been far enough away from it that I can now read it like a book, and it comes across very well.

It's strange. Every time I almost lose heart, I'm reminded that I'm not all that bad.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I think there is a chance to make "Faerylander" a good book. So I may spend more time on it than I thought.

For one thing, I think there is some better writing in some of the earlier versions--simpler and clearer. I'd like a chance to pick the best writing out of all the different drafts. That would take some time.

I also think I need to make Cobb's journals into 3rd person, so the only 1st person narrator will be Parsons. That should clear away some of the confusion.

I'm thinking I might be able to figure out an action first scene--the aftermath of which, Parsons shows up to pick up a drunk and unconscious Cobb.

Hold the Edgar Allen Poe chapter until after they visit the black elf. "The first of the writers who started him on his quest for the Dark Realms."

Hold the Tolkien chapter until later--or save it until the next book.

All right. Worked all day on the beginning, moving the Edgar Allen Poe chapter from the first and starting the book with a short action scene.

I'm trying to make this reader friendly.

None of this may work. I'm going to finish the rewrite, but I might set it aside yet again.

As Martha said, this has been one long soap opera for the last 7 or 8 years. I can't seem to let it go.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Worked through the technical problems I had the previous day. It's all about keeping Parsons POV as much as possible. The book is still unwieldy, but having a consistent narrator should help.

I'm up to 110 pages, so if I can manage an average of 10 pages a day for the next 9 days, I should be done by mid-month, which was my goal.

There is a lot of bad writing in this book that I'm trying to fix. Lots of good ideas, some good scenes, some real invention. I like the premise and the characters. The plot is too full, with too many things that stall the momentum. This last problem is the one I've always struggled with the most. Putting in suspense when there was very little suspense.

I keep figuring out some basic things, things that would have been nice to have as part of the plot from the start.

Oh well, it's a chunky book, but it's got enough really good things in it that I still want to try to save it. I can't tell at all if it's any good anymore. I lost that perspective around the 10th version or so.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Had a rough time on my rewrite yesterday. Did a few pages but it just didn't feel right. So I broke off and I'll try again today.

Part of it was that I was called into town to unlock the door for Sabrina. Just as well, I probably needed a break anyway. Took the opportunity to visit the Open Book and Big Story, to buy a few books. (I never leave a bookstore without buying at least one book.)

Saw my old friend Jerry Opie at the Sole Shop while I was getting a battery for my ancient Seiko watch. (Woke up this morning with it being an hour off--so I may have to finally get a new one.)

Going to focus on writing again today, at least until dinner time.

Do I dare watch the news? I doubt I'll be able to avoid it.

The main thing, I think, is to continue to be in Parsons head. As long as I can manage that, I think the book will work. It's been a real challenge, but there is always a solution.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Managed another 15 pages in the rewrite, so I'm up to 95, or almost halfway.

It's a difficult thing I'm trying to do, plus--to be frank--some of the early writing just wasn't very good. I was trying too hard. I've been spending half my time just trying to fix that.

Meanwhile, I'm kind of being forced to push Parsons to the forefront, which means really rewriting certain parts of the book. I was hoping I could slip Parsons POV in sideways, but it is actually requiring me to completely rewrite parts. The book will be better for it. And I can spend an entire day to do 15 pages, I can still get it all done in two weeks. 

So I'm going all in on the Parsons POV, which requires completely rewriting the rest of the book, instead of just adding a few transitions here and there. Wrote an entirely new scene that will make the ending of the book go down easier. I'm contemplating another whole scene later that will do the same thing. (Have Cobb pulled into Cthulhu for a few minutes--see his brethren flying toward him.)

The bulk of the material is there, though, so it isn't impossible. If I can manage 10 pages a day, then I'll be on track. Hell, I can write 6 pages a day in original material, so I should be able to do that. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

As you can tell from my blog, I analyze the shit out of things.

I had a friend in high school who told me I was wishy-washy. But that ain't it. I mean, yeah, I change my mind a lot but only because I have a new thought or new information. (OK, so maybe I'm wishy-washy.)

This has served me well at the store. I constantly monitor things, make changes, tinker, try again, change course, go back, change my mind again--because in this process I eventually arrive at the best answer.

Personally, I think the most important attribute of a small business owner is to think for yourself. Absolutely follow your own intuition and reasoning. Yes, pay attention to what others are doing, but be sure that you arrive at your conclusions on your own.

So I do this with my writing too, obviously. But these days, instead of doing it within one book, I'm changing course from book to book.

"Faerylander" is more like the way I used to write. Constantly changing things--it drove Linda crazy when we tried writing "Sometimes a Dragon" together. I ended up screwing up that book so much it's probably never going to see the light of day. Same with "Bloodstone" and "Changelings of Ereland." Both those books were fiddled with until they weren't viable, and meanwhile I wasted way too much time on them.

This is why I've had a hard and fast rule this time around. Finish the book before making changes.

That one rule has saved my life.

At the store, I constantly disrupted the business model, constantly got myself in trouble, constantly overreached.

But you know what? I think ironically, that kept us in business, because I was constantly scrambling trying to save the business I learned to think for myself. (The biggest problems I had with the store was overexpanding even though my instincts told me that sports cards and comics were exploding way too fast. Yep. After that, I knew better. Great Recession? Saw it a mile away. heh)

I tend to be a loner, and ironically that has made me a little bit immune to group think, which I think is the downfall of so many businesses. Everyone tends to make the same mistakes because everyone is making the same mistakes, if that makes any sense.

Of course, with writing it's not a matter of survival, except in the sense that I want to keep my creative urges intact. I love writing, I'm addicted to writing, and what the fuck happens after I'm finished with a book simply isn't up to me.

So I try to satisfy myself with every effort, and I never quite get it all the way right, and I take what I've learned and apply it to the next book. 

I like what I've written through 80 pages.

Looking ahead, I'm a little more worried. I just have too many disparate elements I'm trying to throw together. This is the basic structural problem that has been there from the beginning.

I've ameliorated this problem somewhat in the first 80 pages by having a consistent viewpoint character.

It's going to be much more difficult from this point on to have Parsons be the POV.

So that is the challenge. Can I find ways without twisting myself into a pretzel of having Parson continued to be the main narrator. The longer I can do this, the more willing the reader will be when the story goes in different directions.

So that's the challenge.

That challenge also makes writing the book more fun.

One thing I learned early in writing is that when I'm stuck, it's often because I don't have the right POV. Sometimes just switching the POV is all a scene needs.

However POV only works if the character is there. So I either have to change the story so that Parsons is somehow present, or explain how is POV is still there. I have him being able to read minds, which is sort of cheap trick, then again, I am talking about Faery here, so it's not that outlandish.

But I don't want to stretch the credulity too far.

So that is the big challenge. I need to take just one chapter at a time and see what I can do. For instance, the next chapter is about Cobb meeting the guy who originally hired him to look into a murder. In this chapter, I insert how the two of them originally met.

So to keep Parsons (who is on a bus going somewhere else) as the POV,  I'm going to include him in the flashback scene, before it goes the present. So it at least keeps Parsons involved to that point. So yeah, I think that will work.

Just have to keep trying to get Parsons voice in there.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Third day of rewrites. Managed to do 13 pages, most of this time spent on the first five pages. I had to take two chapters of material that no longer worked and completely redo them into one chapter. So that wasn't easy.

But--it is more or less the last roadblock to finishing. Now it's just a matter of changing some of the material from 1st to 3rd and other parts from 3rd to 1st POV.

I'm pretty sure the organization is right for the rest of the book--which has always been the hard part. The first third of this book is like a hard, thick kernel that has to go down in order for the rest of the book to happen. So what I've done, in a sense, is tried to lubricate this hard kernel so it's easier to take. (Ouch, that sounds terrible.)

But the hard, dense kernel is kind of what makes the book interesting, so the trick is to keep it and just make it more palatable. Heh.

The rest of the book feels relatively loosey goosey, which is my usual style. So it's more like a normal rewrite, where I set a pace of about 20 pages a day. I'll be done well within the two weeks I gave myself. Then I'll jump right into "Zombielander," the second book in the series, and finish that off in about another two weeks.

Wolflander and Ghostlander will take more work, but I'll tackle them soon. Still undecided whether I want to write a fifth book, Cthuhlulander (for which I have a cool cover.)

I'm pretty stoked that I've managed to save this series, which I've always been extremely fond of.

A story worth the frustrations.

Rearranged chapters of "Faerylander" again, ended up going through another 25 pages, which puts me 67 pages into the story. Or about a third of the way.

I'm pretty committed to this lineup. I'm calling all bids in. This is it, no more messing around.

Basically what I've done is made Parson, who is main character Cobb's sidekick, and made him the narrator of the story. It's been amazingly easy to insert Parsons into chapters where he wasn't, and then to use his mind-reading ability to have him relate chapters he isn't in.

In short, Parsons is the framing device, and as such his main job is to creates smooth transitions between the various parts of the story.

I had a lot of parts in this story that worked well on their own, but didn't flow. That is, putting them end to end simply didn't create any forward momentum. Each was well written and interesting, but didn't connect really well with the chapter before or the chapter after.

Especially the famous writer chapters. The conceit of the book is that Cobb is suspicious that Earth is on the verge of an invasion from the Dark Realms, and he's convinced that authors such as Tolkien, and Robert E. Howard, and H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allen Poe, and others have seen these Dark Realms, so he goes to interview them.

I loved writing these chapters, trying to get the essence of the authors and melding it into my plot.

But every time I inserted one of these chapters into the narrative, it stopped the story cold. And yet, they are too good to leave out.

So Parsons' job as narrator is to smooth the transition between the flow of the story and these informational chapters. It's working well, I think.

This is not going to be as easy a read as many of my books, but I think it will reward the persistent reader more.

I like the density of this book. By rewriting so many times, I've worked out the mechanics down to details that I normally skip. It in some ways is what I always figured writing a book was like, reworking and rewording and rearranging until you have the best possible combination.

Ironically, my storytelling is much more intuitive, as it turned out, and I'm very focused on the pacing and flow and having interesting things happening, and not so much in world building.

So "Faerylander," as frustrating as it has been, has been a valuable experience of what it is like to slave over a book. Again, I'm not convinced this produces a better book in most cases--most likely I'd quit before I got there--but this story had enough continuing interest for me to go through all the frustrations.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Finally, finally, FINALLY: a fix to "Faerylander."

I do believe that I have finally, finally, finally figured out how to "fix" "Faerylander."

This book is some ways my magnum opus. I've written four books in the series, and outlined a fifth book. It's a fully developed world, with characters I like.

But it was the first book I wrote coming back to writing full time. The first draft was weak in all the ways beginning books are--and I compounded the problem by forcing an ending because my main goal at the time to freaking finish. I was pretty sure, after all the false starts I'd had over the years, that if I didn't manage to finish my first big effort, I might not continued writing at all. 

I handed the first draft over to a couple of friends, who were lukewarm in response, including the comment, "All the characters sound like you." Ouch.

Anyway, I went back to this book again and again, until I have 30 versions in my computer--and those are only the versions I kept.

I rewrote the first book in the series so much that I finally split the book in two, using most of the new material for the second book.

Which still left me with the weaker writing in the first book.

I did improve the book, but there were structural problems I just couldn't seem to overcome. Frankly, even this newest draft has some structural problems, but--I do believe I've figured out a new way to tell it that will make the problems less noticeable.

A while back, I figured out that to really make the book work, as well as the other books stronger, and which would really set up a good ongoing series, I needed to have the narrator be the main character's sidekick, a sort of Watson to Holmes.

It seemed impossible. Might as well write a new book.

But the other night, I started asking myself how I could do that. And I was still coming up with ideas at four o'clock in the morning. I woke up the next day and dove in and didn't look up until late that night. I'd transformed the first 40 pages.

It finally feels like the book it should be.


I had to work yesterday, so the momentum was broken, but I'm going back to it today. I'm extracting a strong chapter out of the second book and using it, because I'm pulling out all stops to make this first book work. (I'm not worried about the second book, which has a basic workable structure and more mature writing. I can fill in the part I took out.)

I may still run into some roadblocks. There is a large chunk about halfway through that doesn't nestle comfortably in the flow, but every trick I've tried to break it up or position it somewhere else has only made things more complicated, so the hell with it; I'm just plunking it down there.

Not a perfect book--it was never going to be a perfect book--but a nice readable story, given a little leeway by the reader. Heh.

I'm not sure why I didn't just give up on this book, but there are parts of it I love and I just can't quit it.