Tour Nileau

Lealle Meridar, the teenage heroine of A Talisman Arcane, is the daughter of a High Justice of Pavelle. Her father presides over the most difficult matters of law arising in the river town of Claireau. As High Justice, he lives and works in a medieval castle made available to he who holds that office.

I modeled the Tour Nileau after a real castle in France: Montbrun.

Montbrun has been modernized, so that a family of our twenty-first century could live there in comfort. In my story, I’ve taken liberties with many details, so as to make the building fit the nineteenth century milieu of A Talisman Arcane, and possess the working spaces needed by Lealle’s father.

We first see the Tour Nileau through Lealle’s eyes, when she pauses on a bridge upriver from her home.

Our next view is of its central court, when she passes under the raised portcullis. I wasn’t able to find a photo of the courtyard that I could feature on my blog, but if you are curious, check this link.

Here is a plan of the ground floor.

Lealle goes straight up to her bedchamber via the main spiral stair when she first arrives home. But near the end of my story, she has a very important discussion with her father in his chancery.

I’ll be posting more about the Tour Nileau, so watch this space! 😀

 

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I Think I’ve Got It!

Once more, into the breach!

Yes, I dove into brainstorming the title for Lodestone Tale 5 one. more. time!

I figured the reason I couldn’t settle on any of the titles I’d considered was because none of them were right. It wasn’t that I’d asked too many people for their opinions. (Although maybe I had asked too many.) No. It was because I agreed with all of their objections.

To Thread the Labyrinth

Even though the concept of the labyrinth appears again and again as a motif in the story, it is not the heart of the story. Lodestone Tale 5 is about courage and kindness far more than it is about discerning the reality behind tricky turnings.

A Legacy Arcane

Neither is the story really about a legacy. Yes, two legacies feature in the novel, but that’s not what it is about. Furthermore, the word “legacy” has a weight to it which is all wrong for the story, which filled with hope, victory, and rebirth. “Legacy” does not feel dark to me, but it does feel weighty.

Talisman’s Reach

I have come to really like the word “Talisman” in conjunction with my story. Talisman is right! But “Reach” is not. Even if no one would mistake it as referring to a feature of the landscape, it is still wrong.

Yes, each of the lodestones in the Lodestone Tales has a long reach through time, but that’s a feature of the series. This individual story is not about that long reach; it’s about what happens between Ohtavie and Lealle. The scope of “Reach” is wrong.

Innocent Trespass

My brilliant writer friend Laura came up with Innocent Trespass. (Really, she’s been doing too much of the heavy lifting with regards to the title for this book. I should be ashamed!)

For several days, I thought this was THE ONE. The book starts off with teenage Lealle trespassing. Lealle herself is not so sure that she does so innocently, but I think the reader will be pretty clear on that. Later in the story, we learn that Ohtavie has also trespassed, also innocently, if not so innocently as Lealle.

When I wrote this story, I’d envisioned it as a standalone. But all of my early readers have requested a sequel to it. My first answer was, “No. Sorry.” But by the time the 4th request arrived, I found myself having ideas for an entire series. I grew excited about what I might do in Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, and Book 5.

Because Lealle is the daughter of the High Justice of Claireau, there will be an awareness of the law present all the books. (Yes, I am going to write them.) So titles referencing aspects of law would be a fun way to go. Innocent Trespass would follow that theme nicely.

But. But. But. Lodestone Tales 5 is very much a fantasy novel. It is not a thriller. It is not a legal thriller. It is not a mystery, although there are elements of mystery within it. Innocent Trespass does not say fantasy. Reluctantly, I loosed that choice from my grip.

What Is Central?

I revisited this question. I needed to stop devising titles that were accurate, but misleading in their focus on a tangent. The heart of my story is the idea that we redeem each other. Even within our mistakes, there is opportunity for us to save one another.

Is there some thing or place or person in Lodestone Tales 5 that embodies my theme and that can serve as the anchor point for its title?

Lealle

Lealle is central. She stumbles upon the first person she decides to attempt saving, but then through choice goes on to save another chance encounter plus an entire townful of people.

One salient characteristic about Lealle is that she is her father’s daughter. “Daughter” would be a good word to have in my title.

Talisman or Trespass

Place did not feel specifically important to my theme. Yes, setting is always important in a story. The people would not be who they are, if they lived elsewhere. The events would fall out differently in a different setting. But, for this story, place was not nearly so important as the action of trespass and the complication of the talisman.

I had three words that felt central. Daughter. Talisman. Trespass.

Models of Title Structure

I’ve read essays about title structures. There aren’t really as many possibilities for the bones of a title as one might wish. (Or, at least, as I might wish!)

It occurred to me that C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles include quite a few of the possible structures. What if I used them as guidelines?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe The Daughter, the Talisman, and the Trespass
Prince Caspian ??
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Trespass of Daughters
The Silver Chair The Iron Talisman Dark Talisman
The Horse and His Boy The Daughter and Her Talisman Talisman and Trespass
The Magician’s Nephew Talisman’s Magic Talisman’s Daughter
The Last Battle The Secret Talisman The Hidden Talisman

Well…maybe. But, no. I tried a few variations.

The Daughter and Her Trespass. Talisman’s Challenge. The Talisman Legacy. The Talisman Secret. A Talisman Unsought.

Wait a minute! That last was definitely not right, but it had the same structure as A Legacy Arcane. What if I pulled “Legacy” out, and replaced it with “Talisman”?

A Talisman Arcane

The talisman is definitely secret, mysterious, and understood by few. It is arcane. But unlike the weighty word “legacy,” talisman has a lightness to it. It breathes of hope and trust. Lucky pennies are talismans. We keep them for luck, for good fortune, in the hope of a bright future.

Yes! That’s it! My title! This is THE ONE! 😀

A Talisman Arcane.

 

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A Townhouse in Hantida

This week I’d envisioned myself showing you the world of my book that will release in March. The protagonist lives in a cool medieval castle, and I’ve got floor plans and photos to share!

But those floor plans have not yet been transformed from rough sketches into clear drawings that will make sense to someone other than me. I will finish those drawings, but in the meantime…

I’ve been writing the first few scenes of The Sovereign’s Labyrinth, the sequel to The Tally Master. I’m really excited about the story. I feel like I am there in Hantida with Gael and Keir. Hantida is a large city surrounded by rice paddies and near to a river.

I needed a rough sketch of the house Gael and Keir visit in the first chapter. I used the machiya of Kyoto (traditional townhouses from Japan’s Heian period) as my model.

A rough sketch was all I needed, but I grew so enamored of the architectural beauty of the structure that I was beguiled into making my rough sketch into a finished drawing.

Naturally I want to share it with you!

0—The Front Street Most of Hantida’s streets are dirt, but a few are paved with stone. In the shopping district, where the shops are fronted by roofed arcades, there are raised stepping stones at the street corners so that pedestrians can cross above the muck of the road.

1—Front Room If the family kept a shop, then this front room would be the space where their goods or services were offered, and where customers could enter, either directly from the street, or through the entrance courtyard on the side. It’s a private room for the family that Gael and Keir have come to help.

2—Entrance Courtyard A pocket courtyard, graveled, and adorned with pots of bamboo. A tall, sturdy gate gives access to it from the street.

3—Entrance Foyer Visitors to the home remove their shoes in this stone-floored space.

4—Entry Hall A niche off the main reception room. The floor is wood, but your shoes should be off!

5—Reception Room Visitors are received and entertained here. Thick mats of rice straw and woven rushes cover the floor. Sitting cushions (and sleeping quilts) are stored in low cabinets along the walls. A low table makes serving food easy. Sliding screens of rice paper give access to an adjacent room and to an outdoor walkway (8).

6—Private Room

7—Kitchen A long room with a stone floor and clay walls, due to the fire hazards inherent in cooking over a bed of charcoal.

8—Wooden Walkway The walkway is out of doors. It brings light and air to the interior spaces of the townhouse.

9—Garden Storage A closet for the watering can, spades, and other implements needed to tend the garden (10).

10—Garden A small, but carefully-tended pocket of greenery.

11—Bath My Hantidans like to soak in deep wooden tubs full of very hot water.

12—Stone Passage This short passage to the side yard is roofed, but out of doors. A small chamber on one side holds a chamber pot. Another holds a counter where basin and ewer allow for washing up.

13—Side Yard Any particularly messy chore can be accomplished in this graveled space. A few raised plots of earth near the back permit some vegetables for the table to be grown.

14—Storage House A clay-walled chamber where costly robes, scrolls, and ornaments and furniture for the off-season are stored.

15—Yard Storage

16—Steps A walk connects to the back alley, where the night soil cart passes, the refuse collectors, water carriers, etc.

17 Back Alley

What happens in my Hantidan home?

The Sovereign’s Labyrinth opens with Gael and Keir newly arrived in the city of Hantida. They’ve been healing their way across the continent, Keir using the skills she earned in her professional training, Gael learning how to be a physician’s assistant under her supervision. They make a good team.

Whenever they arrive somewhere new, word spreads quickly of the amazing cures they bring off. Hantida is no different, and they are summoned to attend a 12-year-old girl who is badly burned.

En route to the girl’s home, they witness a peculiar, aborted arrest. After they arrive, complications—both medical and non-medical—begin to pile up.

The lodestone they are seeking is present in Hantida, but acquiring it will not be at all straight forward. There’s a mystery at the city’s heart, and our duo will have to solve it to win out.

 

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Writing vs. Publishing

I need to be two people!

One me would write my new novel, a sequel to The Tally Master.

The other me would ready the latest book in The Lodestone Tales for publication in March 2019.

Actually I need a third me, who would write blog posts, create cool visuals to appear in BookBub’s newsletter, compose emails to send to those of you subscribed to my newsletter, and do all the other things involved in communicating with the wonderful people who read and enjoy my books.

Since I have only the one me, I’m attempting to strike a balance each day between these three different hats that I wear.

In the past, I’ve not tried to wear all three hats on any one day. I’d spend 3 to 8 months wearing the writer hat and writing a story. Then I’d move into revising. After that came the publishing mode: proofreading, formatting the manuscript as an ebook, creating the cover, uploading the files, etc. And then I’d blog about the book and try to get the word out.

The thing about doing it that way is that it leads to long gaps between the writing of my stories. The gaps are long enough that I start to pine for the writing.

So, over the years, I’ve worked to reduce the gap between writing stints.

Combining the publishing and communicating modes happened pretty readily and easily. They go together, in my brain at least.

I also learned that I need not wait until my first and second readers were done with my previous book in order for me to start on the next book.

But right now I am attempting to write The Sovereign’s Labyrinth in the mornings, while I work on publishing tasks for Lodestone Tales 5 and marketing Fate’s Door in the afternoons.

It’s a wobbly balance, but I’m doing it!

Some days I don’t get the writing in. Other days I don’t manage any publishing tasks. But it feels great to be writing, and I feel confidant that I will get everything done for publishing on time.

So how are things progressing under each of my hats?

I’m so glad you asked! 😉

Lodestone Tales 5

I still have not settled on a title for this book!

But that is not stopping me. I’m progressing steadily in the very last stage of getting the manuscript ready both to format as an ebook and to create the paperback edition.

This last stage involves listening to my computer read the story aloud.

The computer does a pretty good job of reading, so it’s kinda fun listening. But it’s an essential step, because I find the last teeny-tiny glitches that need to be fixed. In this particular manuscript, there were several instances of ‘though’ that needed to be ‘through,’ and two places where ‘through’ needed to be ‘thorough,’ plus two spots missing a ‘the.’ But they are all fixed now.

I’m two-thirds of the way through this audio proofing, and it is going well.

I’ve also been making a list of phrases from the manuscript that might make good titles. Want to see what I’ve got so far? You know I want to share! 😉

Reaching Refuge False Refuge Strangling Thorns
Rife with Hiding Places Held Breath Choose to Open
Choose to Unchain Not Just Fear Fighting Retreat
No More Doubt Other Doors Worse than Dying
Death by Beneficence Say Nothing of Me Word of Silence
Word of Solitude Before They Kill Me Pinching the Pendant
Sundered Radices Sundering Hope Unblessed Solitude
Fortunate Trespass Benevolent Trespass Honorable Trespass
Trespasser’s Surprise Long Secrecy Bequeath Doom
Approach with Courage Alluring Shadows Push Back the Darkness
Hallowed Beast Hallowed Secret Promises Kept
Promises Unwise Venture Beyond Let the Curtain Fall
Let the Curtain Rise Benevolent Illumination Intriguing Legend
Healing Knowledge Prelude to Friendship Magical Gift
Magical Talisman Occupy the Shadows Occupy the Edges
Enigmatic Magic Enigmatic Hunt Without Even a Knock
A Trespass Most Generous

Are any of these serious contenders? Well, no. But I have another third of the book to read. Maybe the perfect phrase is waiting there for me to find it.

The Sovereign’s Labyrinth

I’m super excited about my new work in progress, the sequel to The Tally Master!

I’m thrilled to be hanging out with Gael and Keir again. And I think the adventure facing them is way cool! I’ve got only the first scene written so far, but my plans for what comes next have me jumping metaphorically up and down in excitement.

Gael and Keir have arrived in Hantida, a city-state far to the west and south of Belzetarn. They’ve just witnessed a very peculiar failed arrest, and it is clear that ALL IS NOT WELL here. 😀

Oh! I can’t wait!

I need to do a quickly sketched floor plan of the house where they are headed to treat a badly burned girl, and then I can get on with writing the next scene. (After I finish this blog post, of course. See what I mean about those three hats!)

Fate’s Door Is On Sale

These days, getting the word out about one’s books is key. If you don’t do it, no one knows they exist. Which means no one buys them and reads them.

::J.M. shudders::

The idea of no one reading my books horrifies me!

I had great success last spring when I put Troll-magic on sale and created an image announcing the sale to appear in BookBub’s newsletter. Lots more readers than usual picked up a copy, and that heightened visibility continued for a full 2 months after the BookBub mention.

Naturally I’m trying to replicate that experience with my other books! But it’s tricky, and there is much to learn.

I didn’t get the same results when I tried this for Blood Silver, which did about half as well as Troll-magic. But I’m continuing to experiment, and now Fate’s Door is receiving its turn in the sunshine. I’ll be able to assess the results sometime next week.

In the meantime, the ebook edition of Fate’s Door is available at a discount on Amazon, so do pick up your copy!

*   *   *

That’s what I’ve been up to lately.

I have a bunch of blog posts I want to write about the world of Lodestone Tales 5. Plus I still want to share some of the Whole30 menus that I devised. Watch this space! 😉

(Maybe I need to be four people!)

 

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Stymied for a Title

I’m still stuck! I need a title, and I don’t have one.

To Thread the Labyrinth

To Thread the Labyrinth was the working title, and it seemed perfect all through the writing of the novel. A physical labyrinth fills part of the mansion’s cellar. A metaphysical labyrinth troubles my heroine. And the allusion to Theseus and the Minotaur is simply fun.

I loved it that I had a good title from the very beginning of writing my story.

But, but, but! My first reader didn’t like the title at all (too languid, no punch). My second reader didn’t think it was right either. (Implication of confusion, choosing, and picking one’s way, when the story is really about courage.) Neither was my husband much smitten with it. With so many against me, I caved.

A Legacy Arcane

Two legacies form the twin hearts of the story. One is a curse, afflicting the woman who inherited it. The other is a blessing, a cultural creation forgotten and abandoned amidst the vicissitudes of history. Both are secret and understood by few. Plus…who isn’t intrigued by the arcane and compelled by the promise of a legacy? Good hook!

I was sure I now had my title.

Once again I encountered resistance to my choice. My husband liked this one, but my first reader felt it was too dark for the golden-summer-evening mood of my story. My second reader felt that the essence of the story is not about legacies. And one very intelligent teen didn’t know what the word ‘arcane’ meant.

I could see all the points made by the dissenting opinions.

Talisman’s Reach

The inheritance that plagues my heroine is a talisman of old, forged by a brilliant inventor, and tumbling down through the ages to trouble all who tangle with it. It reaches through time. Thus we have Talisman’s Reach. My first reader generously devised this one and donated it to the cause. My son liked it. My daughter liked it. I liked it!

My husband thought it sounded like a place name: Howard’s End, King’s Cliffe, Skye’s Reach, etc.

Well, that rather tarnished the possibility for me.
 

Brainstorming

I decided to write down every idea I could come up with, censoring nothing, no matter how absurd. Somewhere amongst the dross there might be gold.

Her Labyrinth
Labyrinth Intangible
Labyrinth of Legend
Defy the Labyrinth
A Twist of Trouble and Truth
The Talisman Legacy
Talisman’s Tontine
Labyrinth Within, Labyrinth Without
Talisman’s Tribute
Talisman’s Travail
Talisman’s Trump
Legacy of Legend
Talisman of Ages
Talisman of Old
Magic’s Legend

There were many more than those I’ve listed above, but all of them failed to evoke my enthusiasm.

Poetry as Inspiration

My first reader suggested I visit the poets of the past for ideas. I’d watched her develop some brilliant titles for her own books using this method. Could it work for me?

Strange Charm
Ghost of an Ancient Legend
Child of Silence
Forgotten Mornings
Legends Old
Fear Made Manifest
Mortal Daring
Ascending Jubilant
Hallowed Relic
Grow Her Wings
Adamantine Chains
In Wand’ring Mazes Lost
This Pendant World
Wandering the Labyrinth
In Secret Kept
Won by Courage
Legacy Forgotten
Let Daylight In
Unbidden Guest
Taught to Conceal
Charm’s Wound
Ancient Alchemy

Well…these were better than my brainstorming efforts, but they were not better than any of the three titles I had first considered seriously.

What to do? What to do?

Images as Inspiration

I decided to play to my strengths. I’m good with visuals, practiced with graphics. And a title does not stand alone. It appears on the book cover, and the impression created by the title is heavily influenced by the imagery of the art.

Now, I have booked a spot with Deranged Doctor Design for my cover. They created the cover for The Tally Master, which a sister author was so kind as to call “magnificent.” I feel confident that DDD will create something equally marvelous for this book…once I have a title. 😀

But, I figured that I could try my top three contenders within the milieu of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites and those influenced by them. Seeing my titles within the context of art might clarify the issue for me.

Where Do I Stand Now?

I’m still undecided. But I have two more resources to consult.

1) I plan to read through the story v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y looking for a phrase in the text that will be perfect.

2) My son is my final reader, the one who gets the story after all the revisons and corrections have been made, so as to give it either a thumb’s up or the reverse. He just bopped into my room to tell me that he’s halfway through and to gush. He’s really, really liking it. And he has an opinion about the title that stems directly and immediately from his experience. That opinion…is carrying weight!

No, I’m not going to share it with you quite yet.

I know, I’m bad! 😉

But I’d love to hear your opinion!

Edited to Add: My son was halfway through when I wrote this post. Now, on the day it is going live, my son has finished his read-through. His verdict? He loved it, and he’s demanding a sequel.

He’ll probably get it, too, since every person who has read the novel thus far pleaded for a sequel. They want more adventures with Lealle and Gaetan. This makes me happy. 😀

 

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Progress on a Work in Progress

It’s rather difficult to report on a book that does not yet have a title. How do I specify the book I mean?

The working title was To Thread the Labyrinth. When I completed my first draft, I thought I might drop the “To” and call it Thread the Labyrinth. (The story does feature a physical labyrinth, as well as a metaphysical one). But my second reader pointed out some cogent reasons why highlighting the labyrinth in the title might not be a good idea.

My next idea for the title was A Legacy Arcane, but my first reader found that overly dark, while my second reader felt that the legacy reference was too oblique.

My first reader then suggested Talisman’s Reach, and I liked it. I liked it a lot! So did my son and my daughter. I thought I had my title! But then it was pointed out to me that the talisman in my story is never once referred to by that word. So now I am cast into confusion again.

Be that as it may, I do have progress to report!

My first revision pass in September was the most extensive, following the excellent feedback I received from my first reader. My second revision pass in October caught some really important details pointed out by my equally excellent second reader.

This week I fixed all of the typos plus a few other telling specifics found by my superb proofreader.

The book is ready to enter the production process that will make it into both an ebook and a paperback!

But I need a title first.

::puts thinking cap back on:: 😀

 

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Meeting and Greeting

The library in my town has a copy of The Tally Master in its Local Voices collection. I’m glad my book is there, and I hope that a few readers have checked it out, read it, and enjoyed it.

Just last weekend, my book’s presence on the library shelves led to something more. The library was holding its second ever Local Voices Book Fair, and I was invited to participate!

The event was held in a large ballroom on the third floor. Two authors gave readings, and roughly forty authors manned tables where their books were on offer.

I was impressed with my fellow indies! They seemed a fearsomely intelligent bunch with professionally done books featuring excellent covers. I gathered enough social courage to walk by all the tables and to stop and chat with every author who gave me the least of an opening. I had some interesting conversations, because of course we talked about their books! 😀

Meanwhile, my son generously manned my table and sold a copy of The Tally Master to the one fantasy fan present. (I was the only fantasy author there, so fantasy readers were a bit thin on the ground.)

I enjoyed getting out of my writing cave, and I learned from one of my fellow authors that bookstores in my town are actually very indie friendly. They are interested in hosting book signings by local authors. Furthermore, even unknowns can actually sell books at these signings, because the local readers like discovering local “hidden gems.” Clearly I should look into this!

I gave away bookmarks (image at right) to everyone who came anywhere near me, and I received two new subscribers to my newsletter.

The next day, the librarian who manages the library’s YA collection contacted me to ask if I would speak on an author panel geared toward National Novel Writing Month. (The manager of the Local Voices collection had recommended me to her.) I said yes!

I’m unexpectedly finding the public author shtick to be fun!

 

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“Twists and Turns”

If 1000 readers read a book, how many will write a review on Amazon or Kobo or GoodReads?

I’ve heard answers to that question that range all over the map. One person will say one hundred, while another claims just one. I suspect we’re all guessing, but here’s a thing that seems to be true: most writers wish that more readers would leave reviews!

The current solution is to sign your book with a reviewing service. I tried Hidden Gems with my novella Blood Silver and was pleased with the results. Their readers are an intelligent, insightful bunch and they really do write reviews.

That was one of my worries…

Of the 30 readers who signed up to read Blood Silver, how many would actually review it?

I needn’t have worried. The tally currently stands at 24, exactly the 80% that Hidden Gems states is their average review rate.

Of course, the other worry is one that is always out of the writer’s control when the reviews are honest. What will these strangers think of my book? Will they like it? What if they hate it? What if they all leave 1-star reviews?

I did get a few 3-star reviews for Blood Silver, and not every review was glowing. But most of the Hidden Gems reviewers seemed to enjoy it.

I was emboldened to sign up The Tally Master for the service. Not as many HG readers selected it to read—just 15—but 11 of them have now written reviews.

“What a creative and unique setting! Tally Master is richly developed with great story arcs…” —Sassette

“A fun unique read…a standout read.” —James Haydon

“As a detective story I think the author did a great job there are so many twists and turns, a zig here and a zag there… The characters were quite complex… The scenery was very descriptive and you feel the dank, dark, oppression of the halls the trolls called home.” —Tricia Schiro

“…wonderfully entertaining. With great character development, and a wonderful and detailed world.” —Z. White

“…the descriptions were vivid like you were there. The characters were really developed and it just brought it all together. A great story!” —Marilyn Smith

“A FINE READ INDEED. CAN’T WAIT FOR BOOK TWO.” —James J Duffy

I’m beaming! 😀

There are more reviews on Tally’s page on Amazon than I’ve quoted above, but I suspect that my appetite for reading reviews is larger than yours. LOL!

 

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When the Pendulum Swings…

Back in 2013, one of my mentors told me my writing was sometimes “thin.” (I had requested his assessment.)

What he meant was that I didn’t include enough character opinion when I described a scene’s setting or when I touched on what my character was seeing and hearing and smelling. He urged me to go all out in this respect, explaining that writers at my skill level—able to tell a compelling story, but lacking the expertise of bestsellers—could not include too much.

At the beginning of his career, my mentor had been at that stage himself. His mentor said that if he felt like he’d gone too far with setting and opinion, then he’d probably hit it just right. 😉

I took his point to heart, and worked hard to filter as much as possible of my settings through my protagonists’ opinions.

Given that the reviews for my books now usually mention that the story world is vivid, the characters lifelike and appealing, and the sequence of events compelling, I think I’ve succeeded in including lots of character opinion in my narrative.

But I suspect I may have gone too far!

in 2013, it may not have been possible to include too much setting. Now, in 2018, I’ve written another dozen titles, studying my craft the whole time. I’m a different writer than I was then.

And, for the first time ever, my revision has required significant deleting!

Yep, you heard that right. I’ve been taking things out, and taking out more than I added in. Up to now, the balance has been the other way: I’ve added in far more than I took out.

The total word count on my current WIP was 77,697 for the first draft.

Then I received some truly stellar feedback from my first reader. (Have I said that my first and second readers are marvelous? They are! I’d be sunk without them.) And my response to the feedback was to cut about 4,000 words.

Oh, I added in a few paragraphs here and there. I replaced some entirely—taking out what was there, and writing new for that spot instead. But mostly I pruned and then pruned some more.

I’ve now sent the manuscript off to my second reader, and it clocks in at a mere 73,633 words. I can’t wait to hear what she says about it!

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to start writing my next novel, a sequel to The Tally Master, and I’m hoping to swing the pendulum back from “too much” to “just right,” because I’ve discovered that cutting snippets here and paragraphs there is very challenging for me when there’s a lot to cut. Writing a new scene to insert at the critical moment is much more fun!

For those of you waiting on To Thread the Labyrinth (which might get a different title—I’m thinking about it), take note: Labyrinth is moving through its revision cycles fairly steadily! I hope to get feedback from my second reader in October, make those revisions swiftly, and then send the manuscript to my proofreader in November. I’ll keep you posted as the process moves forward. 😀

 

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