Stormground, update 2

I had to restart plotting Stormground from scratch. My previous plot featured a character who just wasn’t working, just wasn’t fitting in with the other characters and whose actions and plot arc were making everything else difficult. So he’s out. (He may show up later in the series, or get his own series.) He’s been replaced with another character who I think is a better fit for the spirit of the book.

Anyway, I’m still plotting. This is one of the most complicated stories I’ve ever plotted. (Not that I’ve plotted enormous amounts of material.) There are four main characters whose storylines all affect each other’s. I’m giving each character about sixteen scenes, four for each of the story’s four acts. Since each scene will likely be its own chapter, the entire book will have about sixty-four chapters. Each chapter should be around one to two-thousand words, so we’re looking at a novel between 64K and 128K words, though of course I’m going to try to keep it on the shorter side.

So far, I’ve only finished plotting the first act. I’m working on plotting the second act right now.

Stormground, update 1

Woohoo, the beginning of updates for a new novel!

Stormground is my tentative title for the first book in my new fantasy series, Moonrise Ink. I’m still in the plotting phase, which is proving tricky. The plot is more complicated than both The Dark Wizard and the previous incarnation of Moonrise Ink. The last novels I plotted that were this complicated were left incomplete. So we’ll see how it goes. There are four point-of-view characters, all of them teenagers, and I’m guessing this will be more of a YA / adult novel, not middle grade. Anyway, their storylines all weave in and out of each other, so it takes a good bit of organizing to make sure everything fits together. I’m in the scene-planning phase of plotting, which means I’m deciding what each scene will consist of and how they’ll be organized. It’s easy to start imagining how a scene might play out, and it’s tempting to rush through this phase just to get to the writing. I’m restraining myself though.

The Dark Wizard, update 12

Just a small update here. I have almost finished a second draft of The Dark Wizard. I only have a to do a few more passes to make sure I am consistent with some minor details, but I expect I will finally begin querying potential agents this week, perhaps even tonight. Then I will be excited to move on to some other writing projects while I search for an agent. Wish me luck!

The Dark Wizard, update 11

I have finally finished the first draft of my middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard. The final wordcount came to about 42,100, which is just about what I was aiming for. (As I mentioned in a previous post, the midpoint wordcount was 21,000, so I was hoping for the final wordcount to work out to 42,000 and I hit my target rather nicely.)

I still have plenty of weaknesses to work on with a second draft, and a query letter to hammer out, so those are my next steps before beginning another agent search.

The Dark Wizard, update 10

My main struggle in this month of February has been my wildly fluctuating sleep schedule. I just can’t seem to get it on track. My circadian rhythm seems to really want me to sleep from about 9 or 10 AM to about 6 PM, which just doesn’t work. I’m trying to force it back into some range of normalcy by staying up for periods of 24 hours or more, but it hasn’t been working. Not sure what else I can do though.

Anyway, it’s slowed my writing, making it hard to focus on projects that take concentration. So I’m not finishing the first draft of this middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard, quite as quickly as I’d like.

But I’m almost there. The novel’s wordcount is now at about 38,000 words, and I have three chapters left to write. So close, I can taste victory in the air. I’m tempted to rush it, so I’ve been forcing myself to write in a notebook with a fountain pen. It further slows my progress, but it also forces me to take my time and think. You can’t rush art!

The Dark Wizard, update 9

I finally finished the tedious chapter 19 of my middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard, early this morning. It was definitely one of the most difficult chapters to write. Some very important things happen in this chapter, and I really struggled figuring out with what spirit to approach it. After finishing, I continued on and wrote about half of the next chapter as well, so I have about four and a half chapters left to write. The novel’s wordcount (still doing my part to make this an acceptable compound word) is now at about 35,300 words. As I’ve stated before, by aim is for around 42,000 words, if possible, so that’s roughly 7,000 words for four and a half chapters. I think I will at least come close. If anything, I’ll probably get a bit too wordy. But it’s only a first draft. Anyway, I feel like I’m in the homestretch now. The scenes remaining still have their challenges, but I think the most difficult chapters are now behind me. It shouldn’t be much longer until I wrap up this first draft!

The Dark Wizard, update 7

I finally finished writing chapter 16, which was definitely the toughest chapter to write thus far.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t know if it’s only because my perfectionism decided to rear its ugly head, or because it was just difficult figuring out how to approach it.  But finally it’s done.  Whew!

I did some more chapter restructuring, adding a new short chapter and splitting another, so my current plans now call for 24 chapters in total, of which I have finished 16.  (It may end up being 25, because there’s an earlier chapter that I now think would work better split in two.)

The novel now stands at about 28,500 words.  Getting there slowly.  I think I’ll definitely finish this month at least.  Maybe even this week if I can stay focused.

The Dark Wizard, update 6

Progress on The Dark Wizard has been slow for the past month.  At first, I was having trouble figuring out how to approach the chapter I’m on.  Then I fell into debilitating perfectionism, in which it’s hard to write because I’m irrationally afraid that what I write won’t be good enough, and I procrastinate.  And then I got a nasty cold and could hardly focus on anything because I was coughing with every other breath.  And then Christmas and its busy-ness came along.

Anyway, I finally figured out how to approach the chapter I’m on, and taking some time to brainstorm ideas for other stories helped me slide out of my debilitating perfectionism, so I’m slowly but finally getting back into the groove of writing without fear.

I’m currently on chapter 16, and I’m now thinking there will be 22 chapters in all.  The current draft’s wordcount stands at 26,400 words.  Onward we go!

Oh, you’ll probably also notice that I re-themed the blog.  Even if this is a popular WordPress theme, I think it’s refreshing.  The last theme was really starting to annoy me for some reason.  I like this one better.  If I ever make it to a professional writing career, I’m sure I’ll hire someone to design something special for me, but no need to worry about that any time soon.

The Dark Wizard, update 5

Progress continues on my middle grade fantasy novel. I’ve just started the second half. The wordcount currently stands at 21,800 words. Since the wordcount for the first half of my outline came to around 21,000 words, I’m aiming for the final wordcount to be 42,000 words, so we’ll see how close I can get it. Not that it has to be super-precise. But if it’s too far off, the story will probably feel off-balance. I did some chapter restructuring, splitting one chapter into three and fusing two other chapters together, so now the total amount of chapters in my outline is 21, and I just finished writing chapter 13. If I keep this structure, it means I only have eight more chapters to write. The second half always feel like more fun in stories; it’s when things really start building to the climax.