Finished the Novel and Synopsis. Yay!

I finished the synopsis for Quaternity and have sent the manuscript and everything else off.

I did it, guys, I finished it! What a long journey this has been. I feel I wrote the novel I wanted to write and told the story I wanted to tell.

It wasn’t like anything else I have tried before, but I honestly feel I was successful in reaching my goals to tell the story I wanted.

Welp. Now what?

Time to think about the next project I will be working on, of course…. 🙂

 

 

 

Coasting Downhill

I finished reading my new novel Quaternity aloud.

This exercise was very helpful. Not only because I found some little mistakes, but I found places where it didn’t “sound” right. So I made the appropriate changes.

Truman Capote once said he wrote for the ear. There’s some truth in that, I think. Hearing the words read aloud brings the story into a new perspective for me. I’ve done this with parts of short stories, paragraphs, scenes. Never the entire novel. But this was something I decided to do a long time ago when and if I ever finished writing the novel.

I felt it was something necessary because I knew from the outset this would be a difficult novel to write. Since that was the case I figured I would have to go an extra mile to make sure it “sounded” right to the ear.

And, from what I can tell, it does.

All I have left is to write the synopsis and send it in to the publishers. Then I will read through the novel one last time, but that shouldn’t take long at all. It’s all downhill from here.

Whew!

Pictures of My Border Trip to Ruidosa, TX

Once you drive through Presidio and make it through the Chinati Mountain Pass on Farm Road 170 the next stop along the Mexico/Texas Border is Ruidosa.

I wanted to stop because my latest novel Quaternity takes place outside the town for a chapter or three. It’s always beneficial for a writer to see a place first hand if you can, I think. Google Earth helps a lot, but you can’t beat seeing it with your own eyes if possible.

Ruidosa has an interesting history in the west. In the 1800s convicts used to be stationed here so they could fight the Native Americans. The land is stark and dry and you are surrounded by mountains on both sides of the border. Chinati Peak towers over the landscape.

Here are pictures I took around Ruidosa. I think there used to be a little community store years back, but it looked closed now. I didn’t see anyone about. There was an occasional motorcycle on the road, however, mostly sight-seers like myself.

Ruidosa Sign

Ruidosa Church

Adobe Church

Ruidosa Road

Mountain Range

My “Working” Trip to Rio Frio

While staying at Rio Frio last week I began the final edit on the Haxan prequel novel, Quaternity. I began making notes for the novel when I was staying at Palo Duro two years ago. I might as well cap off the work while camping alongside a western river in Texas, right?

Meanwhile, I also took pictures.

These are a few from the first day I was there. Hope you like them.

Cabin

 

Inside Cabin

 

Water

 

I thought this tree provided an interesting contrast against the sky.

 

I thought this was a pretty reflectiona and tried to capture it.

Writers with Angst Line Up Here

I am headed to the Frio River this weekend for a camping trip. Well, I’m staying in a cabin, so it’s sort of like camping, right? I will be starting the third edit of the new Haxan novel, but I may start the new novel as well. I’d like to get a chapter or two under my belt and see how it shapes up.

There is a lot of research to do for the hobo novel, but I am eager to start dabbling.

I have been a little put out lately with myself. I feel I am not getting enough done. I am a little haggard due to some sinus trouble, but that seems to be passing. I have big plans for the year and I’ve gotten some of that done, so I should not be so put out with myself. I can’t help it. Sometimes writing is like that. The only person who can hold you accountable is yourself. No one else cares. You have to do it. I really am making steady progress. I have to learn you can’t do everything in one day. I need to learn a lesson from that. You’d think I would have by now.

This trip is a chance for me to decompress and rest. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll play with my new camera and with luck I can find Internet access and post updates for you. Depending on how I feel I may try a quick trip south to the border for a little more research opportunity. I’m also taking my guitar so I can practice.

Catch you on the flip side!

Yes, I am going to write The Great American Hobo Novel

I have finally decided I am going to do this for my next big project.

I have been interested in this idea for some time. A bit tongue in cheek, but I have called this idea The Great American Hobo Novel for some time. Mostly as a place holder name. I feel there’s a lot of potential here in this subject that hasn’t been mined. Yes, there have been other novels and films about this subject. I think I have found a way to approach it from a different direction and perspective. I have a plot in mind that may be workable.

That’s the problem. I have a plot. I don’t have a story. Not yet.

Writers will recognize this Catch 22 right away. Usually, we come up with the story first and the plot unfolds from there. This time, I came up with the plot first. But a plot is not a story. It’s a framework of a house. The story is the roof that makes the house.

This can be analogized by a simple plot: A boy finds a dog. He comes to love it. The dog saves his life.. Later, the dog catches rabies and the boy has to shoot the dog.

That’s a plot. Admittedly a recognizable one, but it serves our purpose of illustration. That’s a plot.  It’s  not a story.

So where’s the story in our example? Here: A boy grows up to be a man. That’s the story. The plot can be any framework that reveals the elements of that story. Maybe it wasn’t a dog. Maybe it was a hamster. See? Plots are not stories, and stories are not plots.

Thus, my dilemma.

I have the plot. I don’t have the story. Therefore, these are uncharted waters for me. I believe the story will reveal itself over time as I dig deeper and do more research. But I want to make sure I have it within my grasp before I get too involved with this project.

Meanwhile, it’s not like I’m lying fallow. I am getting prepared to attend several SF/F conventions this year, write more short stories, schedule readings at local libraries, and get more stuff out with Argo Navis Publishing.

A full plate by any standard. But times have changed and writing isn’t only writing anymore. Today writers have to be editors, publishers, marketers…God help us. I don’t like it, but I can’t pretend it’s unnecessary.

All the same I am getting excited about this project. I have been thinking about it for over a year and the idea has held up under scrutiny. That’s not always the case, either. Sometimes I will have an idea and after I study it a while I determine it’ s not worth the attention. I’m very picky and choosy about what I do and do not write nowadays. A lot of that comes with experience, a lot of it is having the belief in yourself to make the right judgments.

Because of the time frame you might expect there to be flappers, a particular subject I am interested in and have blogged about before. I don’t think so for this novel, however. It isn’t coming together in my mind to be that kind of novel. Not yet at any rate.

But it’s early days yet. There is a lot of history and culture which I need to start digging into.

Which is why I need to get started now. 🙂

Chopping Out the Undergrowth of a Story and Revealing Gold

Today I will start the third (and I hope) final big edit of the new Haxan novel, Quaternity. I plan to read the novel out loud, as I mentioned before in this blog, and am eager to see (hear?) how it sounds.

I’ve been a little stuck on another short story I finished editing, though. After the initial big edit of this shorter piece (which I finished last year, Editing should be more than taking a hatchet to your story!that’s how long it has been sitting fallow) I saw it could again be edited one of two ways. I could change the whole meaning and structure of the story if I cut out some pieces. I don’t know if I want to do this. Yes, if I go that route I think I can probably find one or two magazines that would publish it, no problem. But if I leave those parts in (mostly heavy dark fantasy) then I might have to do a little homework to find a good place for it.

Which is fine, I have no problem doing that. What interests me most about this particular short story is how I can change it so dramatically by careful editing. Which, come to think of it, is probably always the case with any story I write. It’s just very blatant in this case. At least to me.

That is why I haven’t finished the final edit of this particular and as yet unamed short story about Magra Snowberry from Haxan. It could go either way. My philosophy about this has always stayed the same. I want to present the best story I can. That’s why I am on the fence as to which way to edit this thing. Even my instincts, which I always trust, says it could be a coin flip.

I think I am leaning toward keeping the very dark fantasy elements in it. The new Haxan novel Quaternity works variations on some of those familiar themes without the elements I use in the short story. So that is good.

I am probably over thinking this as I often do. But this is something I have to get past because it is hanging in the background like a flag demanding attention.

Thus, writing.

There might be blood. But then we’d have to swab it up and who wants to do that?

I am finishing the second big edit of Quaternity. This morning I finished fixing some pieces in the story that had been bothering me. I think I mightCurve be reaching a point where I am starting to do more harm than good. Too much editing can have a negative impact on a manuscript.

I am not saying the manuscript doesn’t need work. It does. But I am becoming aware I am reaching a point where I have to be careful. There is always a cost-benefit analysis you have to be aware of when editing. It’s an asymptotic curve. You get closer to the point but you never reach it. There comes a time when you have to cut your losses.

Meanwhile I am working on a short story and completing a list of the conventions I want to attend this year. I’ve got a lot planned for the year and I am curious to see how it all pans out.

Big Day of Edits

Late roundup posting but I was busy today. I got up before 3 a.m. and I did 150 pages of edits on the new novel. It went pretty well. The novel isn’t perfect. Well, I guess no story is perfect when you get right down to it. Though some classics come awfully close and I would argue probably do reach that bar. Anyway, for me the story is coming along. I have nothing to complain about.

Which is not to say there are not problem areas. But the fact I recognize them as such gives me hope I can ultimately correct them. Botis’s sermons are a little too long and they need to be tightened up and relate thematically to one another. This is one problem I have with electronic manuscripts. It’s easier for me to see separate pages from the manuscript when they are in paper form. That way I can jump from one to the other and compare each page in either hand and find the themes I need. I find it quicker than scrolling through a manuscript and something about bookmarking a manuscript doesn’t feel right. It feels clunky to me.

Such is my burden. So I might print out those sections and take a look at them and hand edit them for clarity.

The day wasn’t entirely spent on edits. I practiced classical guitar for about three hours, broken up into individual sessions. Mostly worked on “Malagueña” and arpeggiated Emi and Ami chords to build up my fundamentals.

Hope to have news about writing conventions I will be attending later this year. Keep tuned for that.

Off to bed.

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