Author’s Log: In Which Things Get Complicated (#amwriting, #ROW80, #nanowrimo)




*tries not to hyperventilate*



!!! O.O !!!


Ahem. Let’s try that again, shall we?

What I mean to say is, I finished my rough draft of Blood & Steam 3.

It’s not very pretty. In fact, it might be considered downright ugly, because I couldn’t decide where to put certain reveals, so I put them in more than one place, and it’d be nice to have an aftermath reaction from Lucia after Henry kisses her, and the clues to the mystery are unclear and convoluted. Because–and I don’t know how this is possible–my characters are a hella lot smarter than I am.

Also, it turns out I like complicated plots. I don’t just chase my characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. I put a pack of ravening wolves beneath the tree. And a club-wielding, nose-picking troll (thank you Harry Potter). And then I set the tree ON FIRE.

And then my characters all look at me and say “Well? Now what?”

And all I can manage is “I…well…um, sorry lads. I got nothin’.”

And then I leave them there.

Yeah, I know. I’m a bit of a bastard. But as creator of their worlds, it’s kind of my job to be.

Eventually I get things disentangled, once my subconscious has a chance to work on it in a slapping-together-a-monster-of-spare-parts-and-lightning sort of way. And I can only hope that by the time I return to the tree to put out the fire, it’s not too late for at least some of my poor, benighted characters. Generally they just call me some not-very-nice names to my face and stomp off to get on with doing their jobs of telling the story.

Not to run off with a mixed metaphor, or anything.

But because this is NaNo, and deadlines, and Other Reasons, I’m Sure, I barreled my way through the plot problems like a Carlisle through a certain engineer’s workshop window. (Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to find out what that means, exactly, because I’m not sure I still know at this point.)

But that’s what revisions are for, right?


*paper bag*



Actually, I’m sort of okay with this. When you think about it, movie makers get a lot of film in the can. A LOT. Some of it won’t even reach the light of day, even in the deleted scenes and bloopers DVD extras. And nothing is filmed in order, so very little is consistent at that point. It’s just a bunch of raw ingredients that haven’t yet been cooked. The story only truly comes together in edits (post-production), when everything is painstakingly gone through over and over again with a fine tooth comb. (And anyone who had lice as a child knows exactly the kind of pain I’m talking about here.) So by giving myself more time in Post (as they say in the movie biz), I’m setting myself up to tell the story I meant to begin with.

So I’ve put this away for a few days to settle, and this week I’ll dive into revisions and edits. The plan is to do at least three passes, one each week, and then wrap on Dec 4.

I even have a cover art proof up, though that still needs to be polished as well.

So where does that leave us?

Technically, according to my new Production Schedule, I should be drafting Keepers 4 as of this weekend. Except…I already, sort of, drafted it. Back when I thought I would be releasing it through my publisher. But that didn’t quite work out, so I’m self-pubbing it instead, in January. So I go into Post-Production on Dec 18 (revisions, edits, set up a landing page, scheduling promo, etc). In the meantime, I’ll work on the cover art and jacket copy, because that is now part of my Pre-Production lineup.

This opens me up to increase my drafting on DRAGON’S HEART, because I’ve got some catching up to do if I’m going to meet by goals. Up to now I’ve had two, 90-minute writing sessions on my docket every day. I’ll keep that schedule for now, until I can crack through the approximately 11K words I need to catch up on, which at around 30 wpm comes up to about 4.79 extra writing blocks, give or take. Once I’m through that I’ll ease up on the throttle, and drop back down to one session per day.

Because when you only have about three hours per day during the week to write, you have to make every minute count. So, yanno, Math.

Which brings us to:


1. BLOOD & STEAM 3: Revise.

Time to go all Beautiful Mind on this bad boy and pull it apart, scene by scene. Fortunately, I’ve been keeping track of what I refer to as my “Flags and Tags” as I’ve gone along, so now I can go back and Bag them. I’ll export each scene to Evernote, so I can print them from the Day Job, and spend my lunch hours going over each one individually with highlights and my Pen of Red Death. *insert maniacal laff here*

2. DRAGON’S HEART: Finish Drafting (90k Words).

So I fell behind on this one due to all my mad drafting on Blood & Steam 3. So I’ll keep up my extra writing sessions, keep using Write or Die (because Holy Wow it works), and just keep swimming. Soon I’ll be able to drop down to one session per day, and I’ll breathe a little easier. SO MANY WORDS.

3. KEEPERS 4: Mop Up Pre-Production

So I’ve got covers to both Keepers 4 and the corresponding Origins story for Tess to contend with. I also need to polish up the blurb I used to submit the manuscript to Editor Awesome all those many months ago. I also need to get a decent landing page together for ye old Website, with appropriate links.

So catching up on DRAGON’S HEART is my most challenging goal to meet in the coming days. But even if I miss my NaNo goal in the end, there’s no reason I can’t have a rough draft in the can by the end of December.

Unless, of course, my characters come back to set ME on fire. *knocks on wood*


Looking Ahead:

Dec 4:
Wrap Blood & Steam 3

Dec 18:
Release (eep!) Blood & Steam 3
Begin Post-Production on Keepers 4
Resume Production on Sweet Home #1


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