Restarting My Fourth Novel, Waltzing Matilda Pt. 7

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… and done! I can still smell the smoke coming from that last page.

It feels like ages ago when I wrote that a story needs an ending as much as it needs a beginning. And true to my words on that day, perseverance was the key. Though, it took over a year to get there. But I am there! I am actually there!

It kind of blows my mind, especially with the madness that has been 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic continues its slog worldwide. Protestors fill the streets in US cities pushing for needed cultural change even while others stand in the way. As ‘anonymous’ once said, “little by little becomes a lot.”

Here’s to making cultural change, even if it’s in baby steps.

That sentiment held true for each page of this book, as well. Some days, I dropped a couple of thousand words without breaking a sweat, while other days I eked out a sentence. Those little steps kept the story growing.

And strange things occurred within those little steps. New ideas sprouted up, new questions needed answers and they all pushed the story forward. And all that got that first draft done! This story is literally (haha puns!) the longest thing I have ever written. It’s lengthy enough that it might end up being two books! Can you believe it? Two! No wonder it took me so long to get it down.

When I started this story so many years ago, I initially thought it would be a single book. After that first one was done, my brain said maybe it’s a duology. Then it was a quadrilogy and now it might be a pentalogy (now that is a nifty word).

But you know what? I don’t care about the number of books since the complete story is on paper… well virtual paper.

And I have to give a ton of thanks to my writing group, Wry Wit Writing Fellowship. Getting together and forcing writing sprints got me the jumps I needed. And I really have to thank https://www.lyndsieclark.com/ She pushed me every day for many weeks to get it done. I don’t think it would be completed right now, without that push. Thanks, Lyndsie!

On to the next stage. Editing this one is going to be a beast. I had to change my writing process to get it rolling forward. A good two-thirds of it are not in a connected, linear path, but they do follow particular characters. Piecing that puzzle together into a narrative is going to be… interesting. I am curious to see how the story changes by the final edits.

What happens now? I jump back to book three! I need to get those edits done and Black Matilda out before I can give book four the care it needs. Then I can baby it to completion.

Man, it feels good to have the whole story in front of me!

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Restarting My Fourth Novel, Waltzing Matilda Pt. 6

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The finish line!  I think I can see it.

Wow…  Has it really been over a year since I last dropped an update on book four?  Well no, now I see the last one was intermixed in a post from 2019.  Go me for being on top of things or something… what was I talking about?  Oh yeah!

I only have two more plot lines left to go and my brain is being a brick about it.  So, what does one do in this sort of situation?  Outline the living hell out of it.  And that’s what I’ve done.  The plot points are fully mapped out and I am halfway through the first of them.  It’s not pretty and reads like someone (me) threw words on a page but it’s another step closer to a completed first draft.

Writing these novels has been an interesting experience in different writing starts.  I’ve gone from a minor idea, full-on “seat of the pantsing,” and now to completely outlined down to what transpires in the dialogue.  And, to be honest, “seat of the pantsing” is the most fun.  When the characters take you by the hand and lead you down a bunch of rabbit holes you didn’t know were there is seriously one hell of a trip.  This full outlining is cumbersome in comparison.  It’s like pushing a boulder uphill and realizing you need to build stop gates every six inches.

But I wouldn’t be where I’m at without it.  Every day is a little bit closer to completing it even if I only get a paragraph, a sentence, or an outline down.

Now I can finally see the light!  Man, I hope it’s not a train…

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Rewriting My Third Novel, Black Matilda Pt. 4

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Forward movement!  Progression!  What is that?

I just got some feedback from the latest version of Black Matilda and it was favorable!  Some weak spots were pointed out that I was mostly aware of and some that I wasn’t.  There were some weird formatting issues that I think we’re all caught but I’ll double-check it again.   On the horizon is a list of corrections from the editors that are still in the works.  And now I am even more excited to get this one completed!

I have a lot of notes for fixes and additions to book three but they are all mixed up with notes for book four.  On top of that, I’ve been hitting a wall in Waltzing Matilda though it’s mostly an issue of what the place the characters are in is like (new place, new rules, new characters… oy).  Once I get the big ole edit report, I’ll need my notes.

I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t you have a story bible?”

Well, yes I do but this story has grown exponentially with characters, locations, and motivations since its inception.  This is why my notes are such a jumble and things keep slipping through the cracks.  And now I realize I need to add even more notes and information for this book and the next one.

Do I know what to do, you say?

Clean ‘em up!  Get them all together for each book!  Bring that story bible closer to where it should be!  So that’s what I did!  Well, except maybe the full bible part though it is better.

Is it staring at me again?

Anyway, I am doing all the things to make it better!  And I can feel the finish line!

Image by Daniel Friesenecker from Pixabay

The Fun of Switching to a New Machine

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Is it secret?  Is it safe?

Is everyone staying indoors and only going out for the random grocery run?  That’s what we’re doing here in the bunker.  It’s kind of surprising how quickly we go through milk when we only use it for coffee.  Like, why so much?

But I digress…

Before all this excitement kicked in, I had to order a new laptop.  The old workhorse was struggling daily and its OS is a thing of the past.  She’s still a great machine and kicking right along.  But I’ve read enough horror stories of authors and artists losing all of their work when the machine bricks.  I had a couple scares last year with the old one struggling to boot up and she held a lot of invested time, thoughts, ideas and all manner of other things.

So how is the new one?  She is pretty solid though many of my external accoutrements are umm… old.  Let’s just say I’m glad deliveries are still coming in with the odds and ends I’ve had to pick up to keep close to the same setup.

But it’s all together!  Everything works!  Well except some apps I’ve been using for virtual write-ins and author collaborations.  I’m still poking my toes into that bizarreness and crossing my fingers for a solution.

All in all, a mostly painless switch.  Mostly…

Image by aytuguluturk from Pixabay

Rewriting My Third Novel, Black Matilda Pt. 3

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COVID-19 pandemic has definitely put a damper on everyday life.  I hope everyone is being safe, careful and not touching their faces (it’s a daily struggle, I swear).

But I have good news!

Black Matilda is off to the editors!  Now I get to look forward to all the red ink!

Was it really two years ago that I posted an update on this book?  It definitely feels like an eternity since I last made any headway on it.  I didn’t realize how much time book four had swallowed up.  Never mind getting book two to print.  You know what they say, “Small wins lead to victory in the long run.”

Overall, I am pretty happy with it.  There are still some weak spots but at this point, I need another set of eyes to tell me why (and even where).  It’s been a hard journey for the crew of the Matilda and this book doesn’t make it any easier.  But soon this part of their story will be out and that’s pretty incredible.  A monstrous thank you to my editors and beta readers!  I can’t thank you enough!

Now to change gears and write some poetry, update some backstory ideas for another project and look over a few outlines on a couple of other projects… maybe three.  And, if you’re looking for some reading material, you can find my works here.

Stay safe everyone and stick to reliable sources on how to get through this!

Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt. 12 – Writing

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So many tasks on the mental plate!

I’ve been taking classes on various points in the whole independent author process for most of 2020.  Now I am back to moving forward on the next books plus I have a handful of other projects rolling along too.   It’s moments like these when it sometimes helps to go back to the basics.  And what I mean by basics is the “how-to’s” on writing a book or story.

I’ve already mentioned Nick Stephenson’s videos on marketing, but he also did a set on novel writing and I thought, why not see what he has to say?  A new viewpoint can be useful and that’s how I found his 7 Phase Story Engine.  It has helped me flesh out a few holding points on Waltzing Matilda and also some structural changes to Black Matilda.

It did make me think I should check out other author’s thoughts on writing a complete story.  Luckily for me, (or it’s something that happens at the beginning of the year) another pair of authors I follow just released a 3 Part video series on writing a novel.  Autumn M. Birt and Jesper Schmidt put out their Ultimate Fantasy Writer’s Guide – Starter kit!

I immediately made use of their structure plans on a couple of ideas that have been bouncing around in my skull and it felt really good to have a much better plan in place for those!  Their concise plans on how to quickly set up a storyline with a fast look at who the main characters are and Bam!  I have two 2 story ideas with an actual plot!

Good stuff all around.  I feel invigorated and ready to slay some dragons!

But only bad dragons…

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay