Tag Archives: Novel

Scattering these assembled pieces

MINDWRITERS is my greatest work. MINDWRITERS is an utter emberassment.

Let me back up.

I’ve only written short fiction this summer but Ryan Jones, a member of our small writers’ group (you have to be short to get in) has been sharing a novel-in-progress, out of order, and it’s been a thrill to see it develop.

This inspired me to dust off MINDWRITERS. And it’s emberassing. Every other line is superfluous and the language is overwrought.

As slush, I would fail this in a heartbeat. Read More →

The Plunge

In On Writing, Stephen King advises authors to wait until they have a finished product before showing it to anyone. The idea is that this will drive you to finish quicker, since ultimately you want someone to read the work.

It doesn’t work for me. I had a trial period with MINDWRITERS where I showed not one sentence to anyone, no matter how far I got, and eventually my interest in the project fizzled, despite the fact I think it’s an AMAZING story which deserves to be told.

Spurred on by the seeker of a new writing group, I sent chapters 1-3 last week and chapters 4-5 yesterday. I’ve heard just a few stirrings of feedback so far today, and I have never been more energized to write than I am today.

My regime is going to be the opposite of King’s advice. New chapters will be sent to my reader list each Monday until the novel is complete.

If you would like to join this list, please email jason.r.peters@gmail.com, subject: “Join Mindwriters Reading List”.

You won’t be disappointed.

FRAGILE GODS: Part II rough draft complete.

FRAGILE GODS part II is now complete in rough draft form, and I am now going to work on the final section of the novel.

Part II will be available to my alpha readers after a cursory attempt to polish some of the rougher sections.

Some statistics and information so far:

The books three parts have finally been named as follows:

FRAGILE GODS now numbers 190 double-spaced pages at 30,509 words. It is divided into three parts and a total of 27 scenes:

PART I: Rumors of Death (12 scenes)
PART II: Salvation and Glory (15 scenes)
PART III: These Fragile Gods (TBD)

This is extremely short for modern (or traditional) fantasy, but I am aiming for a fast read rather than epic sweeping plots that require a whole trilogy or more to resolve. I’m bucking the trends of huge swathes of description and a cast of characters so large you need an index.

Only time will tell if this effort is worthwhile.

FRAGILE GODS: 50%

Look to the right. (Not if you’re on Facebook or an RSS reader, of course; only if you’re at my actual website.) See the progress meter?

That’s right. 52%.

Beyond 25,000 words.

And almost finished with Part 2 (out of 3).

Bear in mind that this is still very early in the life of a novel. 90% of writing is what?

REWRITING.

This is 50% of FRAGILE GODS’ first draft only.

Nevertheless, it’s a very enjoyable benchmark for me. And the scene which crossed the threshhold was very satisfying to write; not merely plodding words on a page for the sake of the wordcount.

Solved

Rather than try to conjure a whole new title from scratch, I decided that “Mortal Gods” is still on the right track, but it has been used before because it is entirely too predictable and generic a phrase, though paradoxical in nature.

A slight modification produces much the same implication, but in a form I find both more poetic and more original.

The name of this novel shall be Fragile Gods. This carries even deeper implications than the original title, while still remaining true to the story I plan to unfold.

Back to the idea tank

thought_bubbleSo Sunday I meant to call dad and outline (Title Withheld) some more. But Woman’s Best Friend still wasn’t finished, and the last three scenes took me pretty much all weekend to write.

The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

(Sorry dad. We’ll catch up soon, promise.)

I’ve already performed a significant edit on Woman’s Best Friend, and overall I was pretty satisfied. I’ve incorporated most of your feedback in some form or another; even those things I was unsure how to fix, I modified slightly, hopefully making the text even clearer than before.

But I was pleasantly surprised, usually my first full readthrough of a finished draft nets me hundreds of corrections. This time there simply weren’t that many things I wanted to change, even including all the fixes already emailed to me.  I’m sure more will come after you’ve read the full story.

Right now I feel kinda like after achieving a major goal at work or in an online game. I was so focused on this one thing, all of a sudden I have the same level of energy, but don’t know where to direct it. I think tonight I will take a stab at outlining (Title Withheld) so that I can bring dad something more concrete when I do call him.

Finishing a short story is so satisfying, though (especially compared to plugging away on a novel), I’d like to put another under my belt in the next few weeks.

Of all the story ideas I mentioned previously, the one that’s most appealing to me at the moment is the one about the dragon thief. I’m picturing Gone in 60 Seconds meets … well, if there had ever been any good movies with dragons, I’d name one here, but there really haven’t been. Really. Not one.

Another idea I had awhile back was a colony planet thousands of years in the future is isolated. There’s no galactic empire or anything, or if there is, these guys aren’t included. Anyway, sometime before the current residents lived, there was a war out in space, and this planet was targeted for destruction. Only the war is over now, and the evil people who were in power on the planet have been defeated by internal coup, their regime toppled. Problem is, there’s still a giant “blow up a planet” missile headed for this planet at nearly the speed of light. Although it’s still billions of miles away, it’s obviously still a concern as it will arrive in a couple of months and destroy the (now innocent) inhabitants.

Another idea I had way back was for the kind of alien invasion nobody ever does: Tiny aliens, the size of gnats or smaller. They don’t attack us physically (obviously) but instead work on ways to control our brains. But they don’t just target world leaders to wipe out the planet…for some reason, the people they target were people who 1. nobody liked (jerks) or 2. nobody really knew (loners). This behavior, while not exactly friendly, is difficult to be construed as outright hostility, since there seems to be some rhyme and reason to the choice of targets, but what?

Well, I did give a pretty serious edit to Woman’s Best Friend and it’s late. Think I’ll call it a night and mull over what to work on next tomorrow at work.

(By the way, don’t forget to vote if you haven’t yet.)

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Halfway to draftsville

percent-761534By the initial wordcount goal, Woman’s Best Friend is 50% done. And at least half of what’s written so far is already in third revision, because each time I load a story, I can’t help rereading the preceding portions to get back into it’s rhythm, pace, and setting. And when I reread any draft, I can’t help making revisions, most often deleting words.

(Actually it can be quite depressing at first, because the wordcount may drop by a sizeable margin before I get to the bottom of the document to begin adding new content.)

I didn’t write that much last night due to a severe headache, but I’m also proud to say I didn’t play much either. I just didn’t do much of anything.

By the time I went to bed, the remaining scenes kept playing in my head and I couldn’t keep myself from composing the words to tell them.

It’s a fair bet this story will be completed by the weekend, probably by Friday or at the latest, Saturday morning. I’ve hit the groove, man, and the more I work on it, the easier it gets.

Look for a preview of the story soon.

writersmarketMegan brought the Writer’s Market 2009 home for me last night. A little late on my part; like cars for the following year, these actually come out several months before the year in question. Better late than never.

The “bad query” examples are hilarious. To my delight, my favorite from previous years was included in this year’s edition. This particular writer stated he’d spent his lifetime chained to his desk in the basement working on an epic story and, “it can be yours!” The editors, who usually give helpful asides (both for the good query examples and bad) simply wrote, “I’m at a loss for words” in the margin beside that paragraph.

That writer also claimed he was selling a “short story novel” and the editor wanted to know which was it: A short story, or a novel?

Sometimes it scares me that in “get published” guides, writers are advised to know as much about the publishing industry as about their craft. (I’m not a business analyst, I’m a writer, fo’shizzle?) But when I see glaring mistakes like that, it encourages me to think that simply being professional and precise are already big steps in the right direction.

Let us hope so. Looks like I’ll be sending another submission soon.