Tag Archives: Obsidian Scales

Manuscript submissions

So I did a scary thing. I submitted the manuscript for Obsidian to a publisher. Took the liberty of changing the title a little, since there is already a speculative fiction series out there with the title of Obsidian for the first book and I don’t want to confuse the two – thus Obsidian has become Obsidian Scales. I am digressing though.

While I don’t expect much – it is my first submission to a proper publisher since I was a teenager, and as a teenager I wrote poetry, not speculative fiction – it’s still a big step for me. Really big. And had I mentioned the scary? Eeep…

On Outlines and Sequels

I have been writing pretty regularly again and have picked up working on the sequel of Obsidian. Ever since finishing the first draft, I realized Obsidian needed a sequel. I have long doubted as to whether two books or three books would complete Stella(my main character’s) story, and for now I am going with three. So I have been working on the outline of books two and three.

The advantage of such an outline for me is that I can start weaving in plot-hooks for later bits in the first draft, instead of in rewrites. Now, I always have to weave in stuff during the rewrites, but if you have a book published, you can not go back and do it. No more adding characters that have always been part of the story, no more foreshadowing, no more establishing a character or a location or whatever else for a later setup. So first off, I wanna be sure that essential things for books 2 and 3 are in Obsidian. Also, an outline will help me to keep the main plot-line of the story clear, will make sure I keep an eye on where the story is going, to try and prevent me from straying too much.

I have been working and changing my mind frequently with regards to the level of detail I want my outlines to include, though. Do I want to be super specific? Or more general? What will best help me write, without me feeling like it cramps my creativity? For now, I have settled on quite general and brief scene descriptions.

For those of you that write and are interested in chiming in, I will pose you the same question as I have asked my writing group:
How do you deal with outlines? What level of detail do you include, and what purpose do outlines serve for you?

Beta-readers

So. My current progress report is that I am at 69157 of 69157 words. Yes, the manuscript grew. This is normal for me when I edit, because my biggest bane is writing too condense.

Doubtlessly, if a professional editor would go over the text, there would be text cut from the manuscript. I have seen the pages of professional authors where they show pages with large red x’s through them. That doesn’t change that when I read through my own texts, I tend to find stuff I tried to discuss in a sentence for which I really should have taken a page. So I work hard to put more air into my manuscripts, so it’s a fun experience to read, instead of a heavy information overload.

I mostly write because I love to write. I love the process of working on, crafting and polishing a story. Of seeing my text and knowing I wrote that. But I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t like for other people to read my stories and enjoy them. Even though, that is the dream, it’s also something I am absolutely terrified off. It’s really scary showing people something so precious, something so deeply personal, something I made and am proud of in a sort of fragile way. Which makes asking people to be my beta reader for a novel-length manuscript one of the hardest and scariest things to do.

However, I feel that if I am going to send my manuscript out to a publishing-house and/or an agent, I should at least have one other human looking at my texts beforehand. Because you know what you are trying to say and you know how your story-world and your characters work. But it also needs to make sense to other people.

Fortunately, I have a partner I love and trust, even or maybe especially with something like this, even though it’s scarier to let the people closest to me read the text than for instance a total stranger. He will read and comment on it, in a useful way.

Maybe I will also approach a couple of friends that like to read in this genre, since while my partner is amazing, urban fantasy isn’t entirely his thing. If I can find the courage :-/ Cause letting my friends read my words…. it remains scary as all hell.

Progress report

So the last few weeks I have been busy editing. My daughter has started napping for one longer period a day, instead of mostly power napping for like 10 minutes at a time, and sleeping a bit earlier. So I am proud to announce that I am at: 48785/66237 words. That’s about 2/3’s done.

I feel proud. And motivated to edit on. So now, for the hardest, and least re-written bit of the book. I am editing on!

An Editing State of Mind

I just spend well over an hour organizing my e-mail. My brain is looking for structure and organization, and by imposing order on the world, it is easier to impose order on itself. A mindset that doesn’t lend itself overly well to writing new things, but which works perfectly well for editing. And reading. Which I have both been doing.

On reading, I have greatly enjoyed Anne Bishop’s new book, Lake Silence, which was set in the world of the Others, but featured a new set of characters. The book really shows off her world-building, something I believe she is one of the very best at of all the authors I have ever had the pleasure to read. The new story is interesting as always, and I like that she has a main character that is both a little older and damaged by the world. A lot of successful books in Urban Fantasy have a young and supremely attractive main character, so I greatly enjoy it when someone breaks this pattern.

Next, I also read the new book by Patricia Briggs, Burn Bright, in the Alpha and Omega series. Every time I wonder how she manages to keep building on her world, expanding the story and the characters evermore, while still drawing from her existing character-set. This is extra impressive because she is a master at information management. She provides her readers with the information relevant for the scene, slowly unfolding the story throughout her books, but generally little more. To the point that if what feels like a side-story or a side-note always ties back into the main story arch, and that I have started spotting upcoming plot-twists by the side-stories taking up too much space…

Outside of that I have gone back to Obsidian, once again. I want to send it to a publisher and an agent somewhere in the next month and a half. I have polished so often, that that should be enough time(I know, I have been intending to do this ‘soon’ ever since I started this blog – one day I will manage).

Afterwards, I want to take a stab at finishing one of my many unfinished novels. In the end, I am more of a novelist then a short story writer. If new stuff comes up, though, I may start on a submission to the Paul Harland-contest, a Dutch contest for speculative fiction. I have been intending to participate again. But I am getting ahead of myself. First thing on the menu: editing Obsidian. Once more into the breach 😉