Writing And Academic Progress

It’s hard to write when all of your job interviews seem to get you two to three interviews, then “we’re looking for someone else, thank you for applying.”

Or variations on that theme. It’s made my dreams at night very surreal in a bad way and that hasn’t helped my mood any.

I’m looking at going back for my full, formal, four year degree. I didn’t realize just how many classes were online in the California State University system and if they can keep that going for Spring and Fall in 2022…I can finally finish up my degree program and get that sheepskin with a four year degree on it. It took me a while, but better late than never.

Actually managed to get past one of the first writer’s blocks moments on The Winter Solist and that’s been good.

And…looking at some kind of screen or divider so that I have a visual barrier between me and the family room. That way, I’m not watching Anderson Cooper pretend to be human when he comes on CNN.

Fingers crossed that the latest run of fires and disasters calm down soon. But, I’m still chugging away, one writing project at a time.

Getting Back Into My Character Headspace

So, I had this thought…not quite a revelation, but definitely a “I’m curious!” set of thoughts.

I’m going to let people ask questions of my cast and crew from The Last Solist and if I can answer the questions, I will. Preferably in character, but I will try to answer them.

Why? I am needing to find some additional headspace for these characters, and if I don’t get my thoughts into place, I’m going to feel so very lost soon.

Comment here, and I’ll try to answer as I get a chance.

Thank you!

Coming Up On December

Well, it’s 11/30 and I’m going to have to talk about December plans.

Got in a fight with my psychiatrist-I went back to my old medication choices and started falling asleep and staying asleep without issue. We’re going to talk about this on Wednesday and hopefully it won’t be another medication disaster like the last two or so weeks.

I’ll be registering for a certificate program at my local JC (Marketing, btw) next week, so I can finish in May and start really looking for a new job. I am tired of mostly entry-level jobs and I think that 2021 isn’t going to be good for those kinds of jobs, either. Such is the nature of things, and marketing not only helps me with employment, but getting more books sold.

I hope.

In general…everybody’s down, even more than usual. The news is depressing, there’s nothing new that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists in sheer frustration, and it’s not going to be the most exciting or interesting of holiday seasons this year. And, after the “excitement” of the last year, I would prefer a quiet ending. So, if anybody is reading this is planning on releasing zombies or any of the other cliche ways to make things worse, please don’t. Do something new and original-like turning 1% of the COVID-19 survivors into futa catboys and catgirls. Something like that.

On the book and publishing front-

  • The Winter Solist-Coming into spitting distance of the first proper draft, where I assemble all of the completed chapters into a single document. I think I’ll have to extend and revise at least the first third, as a lot of the extra plot padding was cut from there. When I get the book up to length, I’ll be doing the final editing, working on the Daz3D cover, and starting to plot out the third novel, A Solist In Rome.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-I do have a rough “series” title for this book. I’m currently calling it “The Ethical Succubus,” and there’s a definite isekai flavor to the story I’m telling. If this does get out into the wild, I’m seeing a four to five book series.
  • Other Projects-No changes on the other projects, but I hope to see SOME kind of progress after the first of the year.

Back to writing and hopefully getting some more work done.

The Process Of Major Revision Work

Just to explain where I’ve been so far…

Before I published Solist At Large, I was (at a rough estimate) about a quarter of the way through The Winter Solist, and I had the major plot beats going on. Then…then, I published Solist At Large, and in the glow of “I’m done!“, I realized that I had made the book far too dense, plot wise. And, The Winter Solist was just as dense.

Clearly, Something Had To Be Done.

I decided that I was going to do two things-

  1. I was going to trim one of the plot elements in the novel that was going to be a snarl, because I wanted to have at least three trains of plot running into each other…and, I could not for the life of me figure out how to slam them together.
  2. I was going to add at least one more book to the series, tying of a plot line from the first novel and expanding on a plot point that I have been nursing through the first book and this one.

But, this one particular plot line? It will. Not. Leave. Me. Alone. The woman in it is hold on for dear life in the writing, and I can admire her tenacity. Still doesn’t mean that I’m not going to get rid of her ASAP. Maybe use her in another novel, I’ve kept notes.

And, that’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.

Book Writing Information For This Week

After celebrating my birthday this week and managing to get…sixty to sixty-five percent of what I wanted from this year, I got back to work on The Winter Solist. Right now, I’m de-cluttering the plot of the book in a way that Marie Kondo would be very proud of. Before I had over-done the plot in my last book, I was up to 16 chapters and hit several stuck points. I think by the time I’m done, I’ll be down to twelve or so chapters, unstuck where the plot wasn’t working, and sadly going to have to get rid of one little side plot that I was really enjoying working on.

But! I did save original copies of everything I cut, so I can maybe use it in the future. Probably not, but I’m still hopeful.

The de-cluttering also revealed something that I hoped I wasn’t going to have to do. Since I’m going to have to stretch out the book some more, the original eight book plan (covering a semester of Adelade’s life in high school) is probably going to have to be eleven or twelve to finally tell the whole story.

Damn.

The good news is that I know what the title of book #3 in the series is. The title is A Solist In Rome, and we get to see Adelaide have fun with some of her peers and find out how much deeper the rabbit hole goes. A Solist In Rome is currently in the plotting phase right now, and I do know that it’ll be one of those odd hybrid first/third person books like The Apocalypse Codex, since we’re going to have to see the story from a number of other perspectives. And, it’s set in Rome and the Vatican City, so I have to do a lot of research on those as well. Mostly for the final dance number (i.e. final big confrontation of the book), have to place it properly.

Well, back to the writing work. Wish me luck.

The Point Of No Return

There’s a point of no return on some projects. Where you have hit the button and you’re committed.

I just hit that point today, for KDP. Solist At Large is in the KDP publication pipeline, so sometime by Monday or Tuesday, I’ll be wondering if I’ve done something right or wrong or something to that effect.

Fingers and toes crossed, ladies and gentlemen.

And now…writing up The Winter Solist.

Maybe I Should Take Up Pickle Farming…

So, I’m in the process of formatting Solist At Large for KDP (having a serious debate about Kindle Unlimited vs. straight KDP, I’ll have to look at if I can do both or something), and I’m looking for problems as I go. Because, of course I can. I was saying earlier “I think I’ve gotten most of the big bugs out of this novel.” And, this is pretty much my version of Storm Front-a freshman novel that I’m hoping will let me work out all the kinks in my stories, survive the crushing blows of Amazon Review comments, and give me a touch of additional income. Enough to make it easier for me to write The Winter Solist and go through the revision process.

(If I sound down on myself, maybe 70/30-it’s a mixture of “I want a successful novel, but I’m afraid of being a one-hit wonder/series that really doesn’t go anywhere” and “I don’t want to have this novel be a version of Empress Theresa, that exists as a massive internet meme to be lampooned.”)

I get through about a third of the formatting process and I catch some minor bugs, a few things that could be phrased better, that kind of thing. And then, I catch that a “B-” plot that I pulled out of most of the novel (it’s been moved “off screen” for some purposes and later in the story)…has a major segment still in the book. Despite using search to try and find these things.

It’s a freshman novel, I know. First time I’ve gotten this far with something other than fan fiction. And as long as you’re not involved in the shipping wars, most people will be kind about your mistakes in fan fiction. But, this matters to me more, I don’t know why. Maybe the money, maybe the risk, maybe just the sheer crazy of it.

I’m going to use my first full amount of money from this books for a Scrivener purchase, because I think I’ll need that for the next novel. I’ll keep working on it (and, I might have to redo the entire first few chapters, as it is not working how I’d want it to come out), but if that helps…

Still on schedule for finishing on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Coming Close To Publication

I’m hoping that I’m not going to jinx myself by saying this, but…

I did one final look-through for Solist At Large and if there are any soft spots in the novel, a freshman author like me can’t find them. This means I just need to do the last little bits, assemble and prepare for KDP, and put it up for sale. I’m aiming to upload it on Amazon on 9/20, so I can make it past the self-imposed deadline of having published something before my birthday.

I have to thank Sarah Hoyt for creating the cover-

And, of course, the title blurb-

Adelaide Taylor is the newest Solist to have gained her powers. A magical warrior of the ancient and lost Dawn Empire, she moved from California to New Jersey in secret. Enrolled in a very Catholic high school, she has to find her Companions-five teenagers that will help her to defeat magical threats to the human race. But, in the process of becoming a Solist, Adelaide has to hide the truth of her past from everyone else. Including the five people that she needs to trust the most.

And, there are secrets that Adelaide still has to discover about herself and the world she has become a part of…

And, who she truly is.

So far, so good…and fingers massively crossed…

Date on the calendar set for next Saturday for me to finish everything up.

And, after this? I’m probably going to junk and redo a good quarter to third of The Winter Solist, the sequel (the plot outline isn’t translating into story the way I wanted it). Learn how to use Daz3D to make the next cover. And…survive the harsh indignities of Amazon reviewers.