Tag Archives: manuscript
Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Like Should Pull You In, Chew You Up and Metaphorically Beat You to a Pulp Before it Spits You Out, Ready for the Next Ride
Around a year ago, I was busy penning the fourth book in a sequence of sci-fi/fantasy novels known as The Rising Tide Series. A third of the way into the book, I felt I needed a break from the fantasy world I had created. Putting the brakes on the fourth novel, I embarked on a standalone sci-fi novel that would eventually send me down a trail I had never traversed before — time travel.
I will have to admit that making such a drastic change in the middle of a new manuscript was a bit unnerving; nonetheless the right way to proceed. The title of my newest novel came easily. I chose a character from one of my earlier novels (Eden’s Wake) named Dalon Con with a possibility of the subtitle Essence of Time.
The first obstacle I found myself having to overcome was an immediate about face from one novel to the next. I then discovered the challenge of creating a new world and the characters to fill it in short order, save for Dalon Con, who had occupied no more than a few pages and no background on the character in Eden’s Wake. It took a little longer than normal but I eventually found a cruising speed and settled into writing in this new world, Burrus Plax.
I’ll have to admit, for whatever reason, this manuscript wrote at a slower pace; possibly it was the new adventures I had poured into myself and the new experience I had under taken.
Most certainly a good bit of the problem was a fall I took prior to the halfway point of the novel. I fell approximately five feet and landed on my head. I had three brain bleeds which slowed the progress on Dalon Con significantly and for a while sent me into uncharacteristic thought patterns making it impossible to trust my writing especially any rewrites or edits. This fact was more than once brought to my attention by my wife and my caregiver/assistant.
It took a bit to complete, but Dalon Con is at that point and in the hands of my editor. As for the fourth book in The Rising Tide Series, it once again graces the virtual paper on my computer screen and works its way a bit closer each day to completion.
I’ve been writing seriously for twelve years. Things tend to cross my mind that will make me stop and say to myself, “Where did that come from?” Case in point: All the letters I use when I’m tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard, what happens when one or more of them need to be deleted?
Do they fall into a used letter bin, land in letter limbo, disappear, with a poof into nothingness or perhaps become part of a massive recycling program?
While we’re on the subject, what do we do if our computer comes to the point where it runs out of letters? Is there a way to refill or can your CPU become so antiquated that it is no longer supported by the standard refill program? If you find yourself able to install the alphabet into your desktop, must you install a compliment of all twenty-six letters or can you select the letters you use the most.
For instance, R, S, T, L, N would certainly be among the most often used, whereas B, G, Q, X, Z would most likely never need to be refilled.
In short, it gives us something to think about. You’re on a tight deadline and your publisher wants to see the first draft on Monday. It’s Sunday afternoon and you run out of R’s. See where I’m going with this? I could be saving the collective world of writing from total disaster, not to mention that card to your sweetheart you were unable to finish. At least, give it some thought. The page you save may be your own!
I am working diligently on my latest manuscript. I write mainly in the science fiction and fantasy genres; however, this is the first time I have delved into the concept of time travel. Now, there’s a lot of things one can do bouncing from this time to that time, time after time. I suppose one could smack one’s own self upside the head if one had a notion to do so.
My manuscript, I must admit, has a tendency to drive me a bit crazy. If there were only a few characters this would not be the case, but keeping even a moderate amount of imaginary actors in their correct timelines can be a daunting task. It’s extremely easy to add another layer of difficulty to the mix when you write as I do. Some authors outline their entire book chapter by chapter before they begin writing. Me, I fly by the seat of my pants. It gives me more freedom to take off on an undetermined tangent which brings my book to life. In this way, along with my help, the book writes itself. So the next time you look at your watch, wall clock or sun-dial, imagine yourself in a different time setting even if it’s just relaxing in front of the television later that night. Me, I just may end up on a peaceful island reeling in a plethora of exotic fish. We never have enough time so use it wisely.
If You’re Fortunate Enough to Get There, It Ain’t Gonna Happen Fast. So Get Ready For a Long Slow Ride
A thought entered my cranium this morning. If I could change anything over the years of writing, what would it be?
The many short stories I penned with the intention of submitting them to magazines? Having published works would give me more credence in the eyes of publishers and agents once I completed my first novel.
Learning how to write the perfect query, so my pitch would not be trashed before the first paragraph had been read?
Maybe the thousands of emails I sent to perspective agents, even though literary agents received thousands of queries each year, accepting less than 1% of what they choose to read?
The endless search for a small press, who would accept unsolicited manuscripts?
Perhaps the writing of a novel along with the endless rewrites and edits taking more time than the writing of the original manuscript?
Then there are several rounds of rewrites and edits once it reaches the publisher.
There’s artwork to consider, back matter, acknowledgements, dedications and finally a finished product.
And now the work begins and I can sum it up in one word: Marketing! This, in and of itself will require your constant attention as long as you continue to write.
Looking back, is there anything I would change? . . . Nah!
Ifin I had my druthers, I’d write all of the time. Alas, knowing this is a virtual impossibility, I’m bound to taking care of all the other stuff that pops up. Of course, I’m speaking within the parameters of writing and its many aspects.
I spend an enormous amount of time on marketing. When I published my first novel, I didn’t realize this milestone was the easy part. With a thousand or so new titles jumping out each day, how do you get your work before the eyes of the public without this valuable tool?
All right, so I know I have to market . . . what does this mean? Sometimes I wonder if there are as many ways to market a book, as there are books? I know I’m being a bit facetious but there are many methods to employ into your marketing scheme.
My day goes something like this: In the morning, I’m ready to play. What’s the first game? Marketing for Money. I try to limit my time to several hours in order to promote my books each day. What’s the next game? Depending on the day, it could be “What’s my Blog” or to keep my website interesting there’s always, “Name that Newsletter.” Every once in a while I’ll slip in, “Support my Short Story.” Then comes the time of day I actually get to work on my latest manuscript. I call this, “Recess.” When done, I usually find I’m satisfied with the day’s work and fired up for tomorrow.
I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block…
Imagine acquiring a literary agent. This agent quickly finds a publisher for your first book. You’re given deadlines to complete various parts of your manuscript. Things are going fine until your well-oiled machine slams into a concrete wall. Sound familiar?
Oh no! You’ve run into that immovable force known as writer’s block. This will send the average author screaming toward the hills.
Are you picking up what I am carefully placing down for you…?…Okay, good, let us continue.
What once was on schedule has now begun to slip behind. No big worries so far, but pandemonium may lie in the future if this problem is not corrected…sound familiar yet?
Guess what kids? We’re now in the future which has been carefully renamed the present. Your publisher with much foreboding is insisting you complete the remaining pieces of your manuscript. You assure said publisher the remaining chapters are complete and will be sent next week after your final edits.
Your next move is to write the remaining few chapters.
Next week has come and gone and your publisher is threatening to cancel your contract. Your agent is also threatening cancellation and possible law suites to follow. Now, I ask again, does this sound familiar? If it does, you’re in a world of trouble and should have paid more attention to your deadlines.
As for me, I’ve been unable to coerce an agent so far. I have come close, but we know that close and three dollars will get you a cup of coffee. Until that day I’ll rely on small presses; they’re wonderful to work with.