Monday, November 25, 2013

Follow the Script

I expressed a while back that I wanted to end Act II of this next book sometime in December. Well, December is almost upon us, and although there are only three chapters left in the second act, they are plotted as being dense.

I’m now on chapter twenty-two. Started it over the weekend. Chapter twenty-one was short, very fun; and just as much a palate cleanser—time off rather—for all that’s going on in the larger arc of the Fable Avenue Saga. It could be considered a short story, following a minor character into a task. It took time to write, even though it was short. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t too cliché or silly. I ran through many scenarios on how the chapter would take place, settled on one, and then went about presenting it in as much of a non-cliché way as I could. The ending is what makes it, and it was something I re-wrote after taking a look at the whole chapter. I added a few more lines, and then it came together.

Now, chapter twenty-two. Our main characters are back on stage, front and center. There’s a lot of action in this chapter, and it builds on the relationship between the main male and female character, and the magic they share and use. There’s also a good deal of the epic poem that runs parallel to the story. I have a page count budgeted for this chapter, but I’d like to run under that count. The great thing now is that all introductions have been made. All characters, heroes and villains, have been strategically placed on the board to make the proper moves toward conflict. Some characters have just been mentioned and not seen, but the setup for their entrance is there. This all plays out within the last chapters of act II, culminating in a rough and gritty showdown.

Finishing act II sometime in December might be wishful thinking at the moment. Early January, definitely. But this all depends on how much I can buckle down and do the writing. One reason I’d like to knock out act II over the coming weeks, is because I can then send them to the editors and start on that (which will happen in January, regardless).

But there is good news. In fact, I’d like to think there’s great news. The rest of the book has been outlined. I now have something to follow besides handwritten notes scattered through different notebooks, and my memory. I’m very excited about that. It almost feels like the project has been completed…but I’m not getting delusional. There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of writing. The outline now has to be fleshed out into proper, narrative prose.
The remaining acts, including act II, are not as heavy in their outline. The beginning squares away a lot of business. Now, it’s time to get down and gritty into the magic.

b write black

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heavy Weights

Just finished chapter 20. It's no small chapter, but it's read is smooth. It takes place over four days, and documents each day with an appropriate length. Although it's long, chapter 20 is written in a way where the reader won't feel bogged down. I made a decision that a moment written for chapter 20 would best serve another part of the story, happening three chapters from now. So, I cut and pasted the text into a separate Word doc, and it's now tucked away for later use. The scene is only three pages long, and was supposed to run into another before I decided to have both scenes take place later in the book.

There was also a bit of a lesson in humility with chapter 20 of Book II of Fable Avenue. When it came to the final pages of chapter 20, I decided to borrow from a sequence I had written for an unfinished manuscript that's 15 years old. The manuscript only has about 60 pages (and some change) written for it. But the scene wasn't going to be a simple copy and paste, and to be honest, I used the direction of the scene, not the entire scene itself.

Anyway, I started reading this old work and I realized how far I'd come in writing. Yeah, it's arrogant, but I gotta give a small pat on my back. Good God, did what I read really suck. It was okay, but it suffered from the amateur, juvenile mistakes that plague aspiring writers (and some established ones, I gotta say. And I ain't talkin' about YA writers.). There was a good amount of narrative, but there was a lot of expository narrative. The dialogue was often cringe-worthy, but there was little expository writing. Too many characters trying to be 'cool' with quirky one-liners. It was heavier than an after school or Saturday morning cartoon, but the juvenile writing was present none-the-less.

In my defense, it was at a time when I was writing to write. I had ideas, and it was about putting them down. Quick. I did know the writing wasn't tight, but, fifteen years later, I'm surprised at how far I've come (and still learning). Even in my final work, there's stuff I go back and read and say, "Okay, we can avoid that for the next project."

But I'm grateful for the guerilla writing I did all those years ago. Now I can pull from them, as well as writings I did far before that.

So, what do we got now? We got the next chapters of this current project. Chapter 21 is short and fun, a nice break from a storm of thick, heavy weight chapters to come before Act II of this piece concludes. I've already begun outlining what needs to happen in Act III, and it looks like it won't be as long as I've feared. I'm sitting at 334 pgs so far, and hoping, at best, that 220 is all that's left. Again, at the most.

Other activities going on at the moment are a design for the book cover, and there's some scripting for videos for the book. will also get a makeover, and the ball on this is already rolling.

Most likely, the end of December will see the beginning of the third act. I hope to finish the book around late May or early June, which gives a good amount of time for editing. A first round of edits will begin in January and run parallel with wrapping up the book's writing. As things come along, there will be some teaser videos for the new book, a title reveal (when it can be more than just Fable Avenue Book II), and book cover reveal.

Writing this series continues to be an amazing experience. 2014 will be big.

b write black