Goals

Revision & Creative Gestation (or Indigestion)

Good morning Archer’s Aim readers, and happy Monday. Every book an author writes is different, a unique work that is custom in every way. My firm belief is that every book is approached uniquely because it is simply required. At least, that’s been my experience.

When it comes to my current book which opens a new series code-named Reformed Mage, I’ve taken a very different approach than my last several books. Much of what I wrote for The Bow of Hart Saga began several decades ago, and while there was an update to the writing, the characters and world-building, the work was well known to me. Reformed Mage began just a few years ago and quickly grew from a kernel of an idea into a full manuscript.

There were several demands on me when I really began writing this book during 2017. At the time, I was out work and wrote a fifty page sample for an agent. Later in the year when both An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow were completed, I began work on Reformed Mage, moving as quickly as possible. My intent was completing the book because I was out of work at the time and, in addition to keeping me busy, it was the next project in line.

The following year began better with a new job, but I continued writing Reformed Mage and finished it within several months. Because I never stopped to do much world-building, the draft was very rough, and even rougher because I dictated which can be challenging for a fantasy novel without some extra effort put into developing the software profile regarding pronunciations.

After that was completed, I also completed the initial draft for another book which begins another series which I refer to as Black Glove. This second book is currently waiting its turn and I hope to get back to it very soon since I enjoy it as much as the current one. I ran both of these through a fast content edit, while skipping the world-building for later. However I knew these books needed a content review by my editor so I sent Reformed Mage to her.

My editor is very good at what she does and has quite a lot of experience developing a wide range of projects for a traditional publisher back in the day. I’m lucky to have this editor so when she returned the manuscript to me with all of her notes, I paid close attention. I’ve learned over the last several years not to take my editor’s critique personally. On the contrary, I’ve always felt that my editor’s professional background is worthy of me paying close attention to her insights, especially since I’m paying for the work.

In this case, my editor gave me some very valuable information. Because Reformed Mage is such a long draft, she suggested I split the work into three books. This suggestion was something I was considering anyway due to the length. Additionally, she gave me suggestions about reorganizing the flow of the events and I agrees this would fit the organization into three books very well. I took these into consideration and quickly reorganized the manuscript along these lines.

This high-altitude view of the book was an easy adjustment, but other observations proved more challenging to me creatively. I suppose many authors might simply crawl into a fetal position at such challenges and wonder if their book is even worth the effort, but I don’t. Content edit requires a critique and a thick skin. But the suggestions and the questions were real and challenging. The reasons why this proved to be more challenging is because I had not stopped to do more world-building and character development. The answers needed needed more of these elements expressed. This meant going back to the drawing board and beginning work to reassess everything about the book which was now three books.

I quickly determined that I needed to focus on the content intended for the reorganized first book which was simple enough. But then began a period of questioning myself about the characters and the world. My editor had done an excellent job in asking me a lot of questions which pointed where the holes in the story hid in the proverbial high grass. At this point, I entered what I like to think of as creative gestation (maybe indigestion?) about the work.

The process began with letting the manuscript lie by for a while and making notes on ideas to the questions as much as possible. From these notes, I began putting together more information about the world and characters that make up this fun, new fantasy series. Over several months, I began to put together quite a lot of formation and take time to learn more about all kinds of details which had not been part of the original work.

The months have gone by and a sense of frustration set in and, I suppose, this has turned in motivation. At this point in time, I find myself coming up with quite a lot insights about my characters and the story which were not evident several months ago. These new details will greatly enhance the book and the series far beyond what it was previously. So this time of creative gestation (maybe it is indigestion) has been very useful and will more than likely add a great deal to the book, making it even more fun and entertaining to read. I’m even at a place where I can begin to share some of details with readers as I talk more about the book itself. I know, I know, I should have done all the work long ago but the book needed writing immediately and it’s my task to revise it accordingly. Books to arrive in their own, unique way.

Look for more information about Reformed Mage in the coming weeks and months. I hope you will continue the journey with me as I build toward book. My only wish is that I had some artwork to share but that will arrive soon enough.

Thanks for reading the post today, please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll get back with you as soon as I’m able. If you’ve enjoyed the post today about my creative process, please share it on social media or even reblog it so others can read it too.

What’s New for 2018 Part 1: This Site and New Groups

I’ve been taking my time assessing last year and planning for this year, partly because I’ve been sick but also because I’ve been assessing what directions I need to focus my efforts for 2018. Today, I’m addressing changes to my website/blog and tomorrow, I’ll get more detailed about my writing plans for the year than I did in my previous post.

Site Plans for 2018

I have a number of goals with this site that I’d like to address this year. I have previously posted a lot about Scrivener on my blog which has been great. However, since I’m contributing over on Story Empire with similar content, I’m going to post most of my new Scrivener tips there, leaving my site for more content around fiction – mine and whatever I run across.

As far as the site, I think I’ve outgrown the current free-hosted model so, as the year progresses, I’ll likely migrate toward a self-hosted site. I simply need the ability to do more with this site than in previous years which requires the flexibility to work with more plug-ins and widgets than currently available. WordPress’s free-hosted model has been an incredible help for almost 4 years now but it’s time to grow and develop the site further.

Regarding content, my plan is to offer more news about my writing as I have several projects in the works (more about them tomorrow). Additionally, I want to post more commentaries about my published books and other fun tidbits around them. I plan to post these types of blogs on Thursdays much like this one though with some variety. Also look for plenty of posts from my feature, “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” as I am able to find guest posts or interviews from other authors or people related to speculative fiction. I hope to have a few starting this month as time allows.

On Tuesdays, I want to take some of my short stories and post them as serials for readers to enjoy. I have a number of stories just lying around doing nothing and gathering digital dust so they may as well be brushed up and posted to be read which is what was intended for them. Look for one to begin next Tuesday.

I’ll continue post the Fun Friday feature where I’ll mix in some polls, writing ideas and a few, fun oddball notions otherwise.

Other Developments

Also this year, I’m starting a couple of groups for readers to join for preview content of books and even some ARC opportunities. One group is under development on Facebook. I’ll announce that as soon as I have it ready to go.

The other group is underway as a Q&A group on Goodreads which I posted about last week. This is a place where anyone can join and ask me questions about The Bow of Hart Saga. I’ll host Q&A’s several times this year as there are new developments with books and releases. If you are interested in the current on just click the button on the right for more information.

Additionally, I may host a more private group on Goodreads like the one on Facebook where readers can enjoy alpha/beta content, provide feedback and receive ARCs and other freebies.

Overall, the year should be busy and fun with a number of new developments with my website, blog and groups. Join me tomorrow as I reveal my specific writing plans for the year. Thanks for reading today. Feel free to leave you questions and thoughts in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

The Year That Was & The New Year to Come!

I’ve been sick for the last several days so I haven’t posted much during that time. I thought I’d go ahead and share a review 2017 and a look forward to 2018.

The year started well enough with The Bow of Destiny being named the 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews. What a wonderful surprise that was, especially with my single novel. I was more determined than ever to publish the next book, An Arrow Against the Wind. I was also invited to join Story Empire which proved to be a lot of fun and a privilege to work with all the authors on that ongoing project.

But little did I know what the year had in store for me. By February 1st I was caught in a work-force reduction with my employer and found myself out of work. I thought it would be no trouble but I started work in earnest to complete An Arrow Against the Wind as soon as possible while I was out of work.

The job search stretched much further than I expected but I was highly motivated and released the book in late April. After that, I figured, as long as I still don’t have a job, I’ll work on the next one and see how far I get. So, I began work on The White Arrow – from scratch. Somehow, the job search just kept going but I finished the third book and released it in early October.

That made for a busy and exhausting writing year with a lot of stress about the job loss. Because of all the pressure to publish two books this year, I never had the time I needed to really set them up with releases that I felt good about. Money was limited and time was short so I made do with what I could do and still saw pretty good sales.

During all that, I ended up signing with a literary agent and started two new books, each the first book of a new series. Those two books are well underway and being pitched to publishers. I was thrilled to work with an agent and I’ve seen more writing opportunities as a result than I ever though possible.

This end of the year has rolled around much faster than I anticipated but it looks like I’ll be going back to work in just a few weeks (finally, though it’s temporary contract)! That will change my writing schedule but I’ll keep up the work on the books I’ve started and plan on one or two more. But The Bow of Hart Saga has been completed and I am moving onto new writing projects.

I have no idea what 2018 will bring considering how 2017 started. An Arrow Against the Wind has been nominated as Book of the Year again so it could very well start the year off very well. Some of my writing opportunities through my agent could come through or not. My new contract job might last all year or just a few months. After last year, I make no predictions about what will happen, nor do I place any big expectations on what I believe will happen.

I’m rolling up my sleeves to market the series more effectively as soon as possible. With more income, I’d like to release all the three of the novels in print and there might be opportunity with audio too. Otherwise, I’ll keep up the work on my new projects and see how far I get with them, hoping to release at least one book during the year. I’ll announce my print or audio plans as those develop as well as when I expect to publish anything new. Stay tuned, it should be an interesting ride if nothing else. I’ll soon share about some lessons learned in 2017 and finally get to a post about on of the settings for An Arrow Against the Wind. Until the, I hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas will have a Happy New Year! I’d also like to thank everyone who has read the books this year, I would be this far along without all the fans!