Slow and steady writes the book

Slowly but surely, my novel is coming along. I’m in the final lap of the first draft. 

I began it on January 17, and I’ve worked on it a little bit each day. Some days I wrote a lot, maybe a few thousand words, other days I only wrote a few hundred, or I reread and edited what was already written. 

I don’t have exact word counts because I hand write everything with a fountain pen before I transcribe it to computer and incorporate it into the story.
It’s April, almost May, and as I said, the end is nigh, or the climax and denouement are nigh, yay verily.

Sorry.

I’m currently at about 71000 words and will probably be around 80000 when all is said and done. Not bad. I tend to write short and then have to go back and add more detail whereas some authors write long and then have to trim and cut.

This is an accomplishment for me. Usually it takes me many, many months to complete a novel. Years, in fact, and here I might have this WIP done in less than five months. Or is January to May only four months? See? This is why I’m a writer and not a mathematician. 

I think this version of my MC is better fleshed out than his predecessor from my trunk novel. That other one, I tried to give him a few human weaknesses so he seemed more real, vut i moght have gone overboard. I gave him a ton of flaws: he was shy, out of shape, ate poorly, seemed somewhat unaware of the feelings of those around him,  was a drinker and got drunk at least once, smoked cigars, was a wisecracker and never took things seriously, yet he was full of anger and had rage issues against his father, and so on.

The new version simply has ADHD. Period. Although that can cover a range of faults, I have tried not to be excessive about it and when he’s on his meds, he’s fine.
It’s when he’s off his meds that the trouble and fun happens. Imagine being a sorcerer who can’t focus long enough to create a spell, for instance. I hope it makes for some interesting situations. 

I also think the romantic angle where he runs (literally) into a faerie and they have a growing relationship has more depth and emotion than the previous story where that MC fell for a werewolf.

I’ve also eliminated werewolves and vampires from this story, since they’re overdone at the moment. Although I won’t rule them out in a future sequel.

Instead I have kraken and a troll, and of course, the antagonist, which is an ages old dragon. He was red before but I made him orange this time, because aren’t all tyrants who want to enslave mankind orange?

Have a good writing Wednesday.

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Unpacking my trunk novel

I set aside a novel several years ago. Not because it was a bad story, on the contrary, I really liked it, specifically the Main Character (MC) and a few other secondary characters. Plus, the main plot, I thought, was interesting.

I still do. But I became disillusioned after receiving some 60+ rejections from literary agents.

During the revision process,  which happened after each rejection — “Maybe they didn’t like this.” or “I bet they wanted a different beginning.” despite not receiving any feedback indicating any of those changes were needed — I had the novel Beta-read by several writers and editors. 

They all liked it, except the last one who said it was a good story but it was so poorly constructed only a complete rewrite from scratch could possibly help it. Yes, instead of listening to the majority, I keyed in on that last critique. At the time, I couldn’t see how I could rewrite it without rewriting it exactly as it was already written.

So I trunked it. I gave up.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was a novel, in the urban fantasy genre, that had started germinating in my mind back in 1993 or so, before I even knew there was an urban fantasy genre. It was the 90th anniversary of Harley-Davidson and Milwaukee was filled with the sound of rolling thunder. The excitement influenced my creation of a character, a sheriff, who rode a white pearlescent Harley. He became involved in a situation where demons were released into our dimension. I also created a secondary character, based heavily upon an old time radio character Chandu the Magician as well as the Marvel comicbook character Doctor Strange, a sorcerer who becomes involved and together the two characters join forces to battle the demons. The problem was, I couldn’t think of enough personal story to flesh out the sheriff to make him a three-dimensional MC and I had yet to create any backstory for the sorcerer to make him one. So I set it aside.

Years later, the story idea morphed into something closer to the novel I ended up subbing. Now the MC was the magician, both stage and real, who is called in by his friend on the Police force (no Harley) simply to identify occult symbols at a crime scene and everything took off from that point. 

It took me two years to write the novel and a couple more to edit and polish it to where I thought it was submission-worthy. 

I liked the MC and other cast of characters so much, I even wrote a complete sequel to the first novel, and started writing a third.

Over the next five or so years, I subbed the novel to agents, rewriting and editing after each rejection whether I got feedback or not, until that fateful critique when I trunked it for several more years out of frustration.

Recently, I started writing a new idea completely unrelated to the trunk novel about an ordinary guy who runs into (literally) a fairy, injuring her, and takes her home to nurse her back to health. It is a romance, of sorts, and the story has slowly taken shape in my head and on paper. Then one day, I had an epiphany. 

I could combine the two stories using the main plot from the trunk novel and this fairy story as a subplot. I could resurrect the MC from the trunk, making a few changes in his backstory, keep him a widower with a daughter, keep his Police friend, and get rid of the rest. The demon plot would provide the action and suspense while the fairy story would provide character development. 

So I’m writing that story. I’m writing most of it from scratch, too, except on occasion, I’m snatching snippets of dialog or scenes from the trunk novel and with minor edits fitting them seamlessly into my new work-in-progress.

And I’m excited again. Even more excited than I was when I first wrote the trunk novel, because the subplot is providing the missing piece of the puzzle that I think the trunk novel was lacking — the human interest part.

I am writing and I’m actually enjoying it.

Write, Ferret, Write!

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Teaser Tuesday

The following is an excerpt from my urban fantasy novel, Road to Rune. (I borrowed this idea from Karen Duval, another urban fantasy author.) I’ll try to post a random excerpt every Tuesday.

We reached an area cordoned off by police tape. Police photographers snapped away while other investigators made extensive notes and measurements. Still others made casts of things on the ground. Footprints maybe.

The ME passed us and shook his head. “You’ll be sorry,” he said.

Bill stopped him and asked, “How long?”

“Best guess is 24 hours.” He looked at me. “You’ll swear off meat after this. Maybe even eating altogether.” The ME chuckled to himself as he walked back to his car.

Cops have a rather morbid sense of humor. Having seen some of the things I’ve seen, I can somewhat relate. It’s a way to release the tension or horror of the moment.

As we crossed the line of tape my scalp began to itch. There was something supernatural about this area; I couldn’t tell what it was, but it was strong, palpable, and cloying. It felt like I waded through something thicker than air. I had to stop a moment to acclimate to the residual magic.

Bill misinterpreted my hesitation as apprehension. “You OK?” he asked.

I nodded even though I wasn’t. Something made the hair on my arms tickle as though ants crawled on my flesh.

He led me to an area that looked as though someone had dropped a weather balloon filled with red liquid on the spot.

It was blood. The whole area was covered in it, smelled of it. It hung in the air like an effluvial mist, so overpowering that when I swallowed I choked against the thick bitter coppery taste that filled my mouth. That struck me as unusual since the ME had said the deaths had occurred nearly 24 hours ago.

In the center of the splash was a small flatbed trailer, the type I imagine old man Koepsell hooked up to his tractor to haul bails of hay.

Only there wasn’t any hay on this trailer, instead there was a body, a human body. Or at least what was left of one. I squished as I walked through the ring of blood and gore. I didn’t have to look down, didn’t want to look down, to know that without the footies my shoes would have been ruined.

The body, naked and tied spread-eagle to the trailer, was that of a girl, maybe 15 or 16 years old. I moved closer and looked at her face. It was frozen in an expression of horror; I’d seen that expression before on other teens that had messed with forces beyond their control or comprehension. I found this somewhat disconcerting, after twenty-four hours her facial muscles should have relaxed, yet her eyes were open and pleading, her lips still contorted in a silent scream of fear.

Was it her psychic scream I’d heard yesterday?

Despite the fear-distorted features, I could tell she had been pretty. Most likely a virgin, I guessed, because the scene had the look of a sacrifice and really, what else are virgins good for? There was a gaping knife wound in her chest, just below her left breast.

I glanced further down at the rest of her, or what was left of the rest of her. I swallowed again and this time the copper taste made me gag. Her chest cavity looked as though something had scooped out all of her internal organs and broke several ribs in the process. All that was left below her ribcage was her spine. It looked like an obscene tail.

It reminded me of the carcass of the roast pig my family had at my Uncle Mickey’s birthday picnic one year after most of the flesh had been stripped off of it and all that remained on the bones was some hanging strips of flesh and skin. I immediately regretted that thought. The bile rushed up and I put my arm to my mouth as I struggled to keep it down.

Bill had the common decency to not say anything as he waited for me to recover. I cleared my mind of all unrelated thoughts and once I had myself under control, I continued with my observations as dispassionately as I was able.

Her hips and legs were further down on the trailer torn from her body and twisted in natural ways. White bone pierced the torn flesh of one of her thighs. I didn’t bother to look around for her guts; I knew I wouldn’t find them. They were most likely a snack.

“That’s not the only one,” Bill said. That surprised me because generally you only need one virgin per ritual. Bill held a handkerchief against his nose and indicated something on the other side of the trailer with a tilt of his head.

We squished through the blood as we moved around the trailer until we came upon another body. This one was a man and if I had to guess his age I’d say in his thirties. His face didn’t have a look of horror on it like the girl’s; instead it had one that was a mixture of fear and surprise, as if what had happened to him had been unexpected. It probably was. Demons often don’t follow the scripts we lay out for them, especially the powerful ones. And if my suspicions were correct, this one was powerful and I’d met it yesterday several times.

Like the girl, he too had his torso ripped open and the internal organs scooped, or maybe sucked, out. His legs were askew as though he had died in mid-step and collapsed like a meaty marionette whose strings had been cut.

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What Sort of Writer Are You?

I found this over at Papercuts and stole it.

Ahem. Borrowed it.

It’s one of those on-line polls everyone gives that incorrectly guesses your emotion, psychological makeup, or tells you what kind of tree you are. In this case, it’s what kind of writer are you.

In Nichola’s case, it gave her a completely bogus answer, which just goes to show, you shouldn’t use these for analytical purposes, only for entertainment.

In my case, it was right on. In other words, as my Economics professor always said, “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”

It pegged me as a writer of Sci-Fi. I’m not, strictly, but I do write fantasy, urban fantasy specifically, and I have dabbled in Sci-Fi, primarily in the Space Opera category.

Although, many years ago, I was into reading hard core sci-fi, I’ve never had enough of a scientific mind to make my sci-fi respectable enough to the real techno geeks out there. I tend to play fast and loose with verifiable facts and simply write an action/adventure story placed in the future with spaceships and rayguns and in the case of one, these vehicles I call flyvers that fly via magnetic propulsion.

That’s it. That’s as hard core as I get. In my current urban fantasy, I have time travel, but it’s magic based, not quantum mechanics based, so again, play fast and loose with the facts.

But it’s all good, clean fun and with luck, very entertaining. And as a writer, isn’t that should be expected of me and my work. Satisfying entertainment? I think someone termed it Bolognium. And that’s precisely what I write when I attempt sci-fi — boloney facts. After all, if you want real facts, pick up the latest issue of Scientific American or Mechanics Illustrated.

So anyway, here’s the poll, have fun.


You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer


Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you’re from.

And while you may have some problems being “normal,” you’ll have no problems writing sci-fi.

Whether it’s epic films, important novels, or vivid comics…

Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

One interesting thing about that is the photo. It looks like me from high school. No. Really. I’ll post it as soon as it’s scanned.

Huh? Huh? Whaddaya think?

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