Monday, August 30, 2010

[Blog] Novel Writing; The Rewrite

Every writing project has it's phases. The draft, the first edit, the second edit, the third edit with the help of your spouse, parent or friend, the fourth edit with more help, the fifth edit, the re-write where you toss out half of what you started with in the first place, the oh-my-god-when-will-this-be-finished-edit, and finally what you call your "finished work" before the the publisher tells you to make it 20,000 words shorter.

I'm in the re-write. I have 120,000 words, but no ending. Which technically means I've got enough wordage for my first book and half of my second book, since 85,000 words is what I'm aiming to submit. After all, it'll be my first-time novel publication, so I can't expect to get away with 110,000 words or something like that. Not unless a publisher falls deeply in love with my writing. Which would be nice... But they can fall in love with it at 85,000 words just as well. It's only a first in a series no matter how I slice it.

I've "re-written" the first 110 pages thus far. (110 of my 193 pages total.) I've added an important plot twist which I believe makes the story much more dynamic and interesting. An obligation as well as a deep claim on the heart of the main character, Eshana.

I just need to come up with a good conclusion to a few of the subplots and create the ending for the first novel. I have my mother (a grammatical whiz) reading and editing. My husband promises to read and help me revise as well. All considered, and at the rate of the re-write, I can expect to have my "finished version" complete within a couple of months. Then my writing focus will turn to query letters, although I'll continue working by working on the second novel, which will already be started since I've already established I need to end the first novel before I finish the re-write of everything I've written thus far.

Tiny teasing snippet (which hasn't been reviewed/edited by anyone and is subject to change):

Instead of the expected crystal-light posts that generally lined a street, there were trees with yellow-light crystals shedding a pale glow on the white marble street. I approached the nearest one and touched the the yellow crystal gingerly. It was inlaid into the tree's truck several inches. I wondered how the tree felt about that.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

[Blog] Chosing To Be An Author

It's been hard for me to settle on any project in my life long enough to complete it. As I briefly outlined in my "About The Author" page, I have been writing my entire life. I remember that my first serious attempt at writing a story was a 30-page hand-written bit of creative garbly-gook about two characters; silly #1 and silly #2. They start off in a cave and take an adventure in a boat. That's all I actually remember. This story, incidentally, was written in markers. I was five or six years old at the time.

But with just as much seriously I went about watercolor painting, and building gigantic castles with blocks. And if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, "I want to be a mother."

Well... I'm 21 now... Not exactly ready for the whole motherhood thing yet, despite being married. Thanks anyway... But I have to commit this bit of peaceful time in my life to being creative... Before responsibility clatters onto my shoulders with a resounding crunch of my bones...!

I hope you were not expecting anything too serious from me. I tire of the ol' drama llama inside me and inside you. It's... well, tiresome. So we ought to throw tires at drama llamas now! That should scare them off.

I became deeply interesting in art during my first year old high school. I had a very good art teacher who tasked us with drawing something in pencil each week as homework, due on Friday. I liked this for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was fun. Secondly, it was consistent and easy to remember to do and get handed-in on time. Thirdly, I learned tons. Nothing like being graded on the level of shading and care you took with an artwork to get you motivated! Well, at least, it motivated me. Many of the other students were much less enthused.

During my freshmen and softmore years of high school, I was primarily an artist. I had abandoned my long-winded attempt to write a novel from ages ten to thirteen and embraced my creativity within doodles, sketches and drawing. I also developed some graphic abilities for creating basic websites.

In 2006, I began my second serious attempt at a novel. It was a great story idea, but unfortunately the scope of my plot and range of characters was too far beyond my own experiences and I was unable to convey it very well. I got lost in drawing my characters and developing my plot ideas and didn't spend nearly enough time trying to refine the writing itself.

As a couple examples of such, here is one of the main characters from that story;

And here is a clipping from a massive genealogy chart I created for that story;

click to see full size

The original attempt at this novel that began in 2006 topped out at 85,000 words in 2007 before I realized that I just wasn't getting anywhere. I went back and reread it and realized that I was trying to juggle too many characters for my level of ability to give them each a unique point-of-view. So I began a rewrite where I just completely rewrote the story, even starting in a completely different point of the story that hadn't even happened yet in the first attempt.

The rewrite topped at 35,000 words in February of 2008, which was the last time I worked on it. The idea was just too large, the characters too plentiful, and my ability to describe them was still too underdeveloped. I began to think I wasn't cut out to be a writer after all.

I ended up becoming much more focused on becoming an artist after that. I began learning how to digital paint when I was seventeen and had the sudden realization that I was capable of being a professional artist. Before then, it had never occurred to me the little ol' me could be a professional at anything, except perhaps as a writer, which I had decided I couldn't be.

I came to the conclusion that I'd like to illustrate fantasy book covers somewhere along the way, and dubbed myself a freelance artist. I found it easier to find jobs for illustrations for people's websites however. Which is fine.

When I first began writing Moons of Blood I went in realizing that I had to capitalize on my strong points while improving my weak points along the way. I decided to focus on simply developing one main character, instead of a handful of them as there had always been in my previous attempts. It was a good thing I did, because I learned a lot from that first start.

I ended up drifting away from the project for a while as I mention in this blog entry and writing another 85,000 word start on yet another novel.

I returned to Moons of Blood a few months ago and realized that what I had started was an inspired work. I found that after rereading it after all that time I was entrenched in my own story, anticipating what would happen next. I asked my husband his opinion on whether or not I should go back to the project, and he told me he thought it was an excellent idea.

And thus, I began the overhaul on Moons of Blood. Truly, I feel like I've finally reached a point I've been striving for all of my life. Deep into a creative project where there is no limitations on my imagination but the ones I put on myself; creating something marvelous and intricate to share with the world. It's satisfying.

*cough, cough*


When I'm published... You'd better buy my book so that I can continue writing without being a starving artist!

Am I being too pushy? It's okay to say so. :p

[Blog] Grand Opening

I'm writing a novel. I'm nearing the completion of this novel after several years of going on and off from it. It started as a Nanowrimo project in November of 2007. I wrote 51,000 words in that month, and "won" the challenge. But after that the inspiration slowed. I was in the midst of a dying relationship of two years at the time and was a bit heartsick.

I started writing another novel which wasn't fantasy-based. It was a real-world novel about a fictional doppelganger of myself and her love-life issues compounded by psychological issues. It was an interesting read for friends and family, but a bit depressing and one of my friends even pointed out that it "treated the reader poorly."

After becoming happily married this year I discovered that I loved the story I had started back in 2007 and began to undertake a massive overhaul on the novel. I'm confident that it's shaping up to be better than much of what you'll find in the fantasy section at your local book store.

Hence, I've started this site as a place to post updates and buzz about the project. To learn more about the story itself, read the About The Book page.

My Supportive Husband & I

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot