There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Keeping the Soul While Ripping the Heart Out April 24, 2013

Filed under: Publishing,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 5:06 pm
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Okay. This is completely not what I meant to blog about this month, and I may be getting a little personal here (har har, me? Never!)… but this is what I’ve been in the midst of lately. Plus, it can’t hurt to drift into the editing/polishing territory here on There and Draft Again, because it’s an important part of the writing process. So please bear with me. 🙂

I’ve been stuck in edits with my upcoming epic fantasy COLDNESS OF MAREK for awhile now, and as much as I love this story, it’s getting to that point where I begin to hate it. For me, once I get down to the nitty gritty, it becomes grueling. I start to question all of my decisions thus far and the text starts to look stupid and gangly.

For any writer, trimming down our words is painful and akin to shaving off pieces of the soul. But for a fantasy writer it becomes even more than that. You’ve created a whole world that reflects you in so many ways — things you think are good, or bitter, or right, or ugly — every facet is something you probably feel strongly about. You’ve spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours inventing this place, and then when it comes time for line edits, guess what else has to go besides pretty words? Yup. Pieces of your world. Anything that feels awkward or just doesn’t need to be there. Out.

If you’re being published traditionally, most likely someone else will be cutting out a lot of this stuff for you, but it will still hurt to see the result. If you’re doing it yourself or have hired someone to do it for you, it hurts a lot, too. Yet it must happen in order to make all that drafting, revising, and revising again worthwhile. It must happen in order to make that novel truly shine.

It’s hard not to get worn down in the process. You need help with this, for sure; you need friends who know how to be uber critical and uber supportive, and if you’re self-publishing, you need a professional editor before you’re done. In the midst it all, keeping your world consistent becomes increasingly complicated. And with all those world details to keep track of and hone, keeping the emotion in the story consistent becomes… well, complicated. You’re going to want to have your Fantasy Bible nearby, for sure.

I discovered there’s something else I need. Something I used to think was just for fun. But as soon as I got here, to this patch of crazy, I realized I needed it savagely. What is it? Emotional props. What for? To help keep myself on the same plane with my characters’ passions and loves. I didn’t have trouble with this in the drafting stage. Not even in the revision stage. But here? SO BAD, I NEED IT SOOOOO BAD!

Mine is a hodge podge pile, but it includes music, movies, youtube vids, outfits, Pinterest boards, other novels (usually completely unrelated to what I write), a font, a friend who understands why Marek and Trzl can’t be together… anything that connects me with the emotion in that story that I am now chopping into a million pieces. You’ll need things that rivet you down to the heart of your story, that strike that chord for you. Keep them handy. Not to influence your editing, but to influence you.

To remind you that there’s something lovely and shiny at the end of all of this. To keep the depth of your characters’ souls fresh and real. To convince you to stay the course tenaciously, to polish fervently and ruthlessly, because that heart and emotion is what all your words will say when you’re done.

Keep it alive.

Rachel

 

First of her Kind release day! February 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — thereanddraftagain @ 6:00 am
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Hi all!

Today it is my pleasure to announce the release of FIRST OF HER KIND (A Darkness And Light Novel) by our very own K.L. Schwengel!

FOHKcover

Blurb

Everyone, it seems, wants to dictate what Ciara does with her life:  Serve the Goddess, destroy the Goddess, do as you promised your aunt. All Ciara wants is to keep the two magics she possesses from ripping her apart.

And that won’t be easy.

Not only are they in complete opposition to each other, blood ties pull her in divergent directions as well. And then there’s Bolin, the man sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the growing attraction between them, but is it Ciara he wants? Or her power?

None of which will matter if Ciara can’t overcome her fear and learn to use her gifts.No one knows the depths
of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control.

Will she lose herself entirely? Or be forever trapped between darkness & light?

First 200 words

“Ciara pulled the hood of her fur cloak over her head and slogged through the deepening drifts up the hill toward the house. The winter wind howled like a maddened banshee, tossing her lantern light across the swirling snow to create eerie shadows that wavered and danced around her. Even with the lantern, Ciara couldn’t see an arm’s reach in front of her. If it weren’t for the fact she’d traveled the path from the barn to the house numerous times every day for the past four years, she could have easily gotten lost. It already felt as if she’d been walking far longer than normal. She tugged her scarf over her mouth and nose, ignoring the ice crystals forming on its edge. Her feet had long since gone past merely chilled to painfully cold, making them harder too ignore. She peered up the hill between blasts of wind and caught a glimpse of her aunt’s cottage — nothing more than a hulking, dark shape amid the churning white wall around her. Then the wind gusted and snow obscured her vision once again.”

Doesn’t this sound great?!

Here is where the book is available for purchase:

SmashWords (ebook)

Amazon (ebook)

Amazon (paperback)

Barnes & Noble (paperback)

You can congratulate Kathi on her blog, her Goodreads page, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Happy release day Kathi!

EM

 

 

Going the Indie Route January 23, 2013

Filed under: Publishing — thereanddraftagain @ 5:30 am
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Your writing will never chase you — you need to chase your writing. If it’s what you want, then pursue it.
~ Chuck Wendig

 I’ve been asked several times since making the announcement, why I decided to go Indie with First of Her Kind (formerly known as BD&L). The simplest answer, and probably the most basic, is that I believe in the story.

That’s it.

No matter how many times I read it, I enjoy it. The second book in the series is well underway, and I even have several scenes written for the third. Each one just gets better and better. I’m excited by where it’s going and I want to share that excitement.

Yes, I could (hopefully) do that following the traditional route as well. Originally, I was headed down that path. I slaved over a query and synopsis, made my list of dream agents and started at the top. I entered pitch contests. I did everything I could to get my manuscript in front of The Agent. The one who would connect with it. The one who would believe in it like I do.

But something happened on the way to the forum . . .

I stumbled upon some articles and research touting self-publishing and the Indie movement. I’d never really paid it a lot of mind, even knowing several authors whom I respect who had gone that route. To me, dare I say it, it was almost like giving up. If I couldn’t make it the traditional route, then maybe I wasn’t meant to make it.

The problem with that line of thought was that I just couldn’t make myself believe it. So I started doing some more research. Here are some of the things that helped shape my decision:

TIME: Finding an agent can be a long process taking anywhere from months to, yes, years. And for fantasy, the unfortunate reality is the list is not as long as some, meaning competition is much higher, and those agents that do handle the genre are bombarded with tens of thousands of queries a year. Once an agent takes you on, it’s more months (possibly years) until a publishing contract comes your way. Even after a contract is signed, it generally takes another year until your book sees the light of day. So, realistically, if I snag an agent now, and they get a publishing contract within six months, the likely scenario is that my book still wouldn’t see a release date until sometime next year.

Call me impatient, but I want it out there now. I’m ready to share it with the world.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Even though it’s not all about the money:  These days, even the major publishing houses are asking for more from their authors in terms of marketing their own books. Some, I’ve heard, are even cutting back on the editorial services they used to offer. Yet the royalties remain the same. Those royalties are about 15%. Compare that to the 70% or more available as a self-publisher and, well, seems to me, if I’m doing the work, I ought to get paid for it.

CONTROL: Okay, maybe I’m a control freak. Self-publishing puts me in charge of every aspect of my book’s success or failure. A daunting task, and not for everyone. But I enjoy it.

VALIDATION: This was a biggie — passing on the sense of validation that comes with being accepted into the traditional publishing echelon. But, really, won’t my readers provide that same sense of validation? If my book is good, the reading public will let me know. If it’s bad, I’ll find that out as well. What better way to grow as a writer?

I’ve written a few posts on my blog that outline some of these points in a little more depth. You can find them here, here, and here.

Does this mean I’ll never try the traditional route again? Heck no! In fact I’m working on an urban fantasy that may just get shopped to agents when it’s done. There’s nothing that says you have to choose one way or the other.

Who knows where the road will lead me. All I can say for sure is, “I’m going on an adventure!”