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18jan17

“It’s almost… done?”

Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

I had a solid weekend of writing, adding close to three-thousand words to the final chapter of Vivian’s Last Cigarette. The manuscript is now likely within a thousand words of becoming a finished first draft… and the excitement of typing “The End” is building! :-)

The chapter itself has continued coming together nicely. It carried a more serious tone than I had had expected it would throughout the first half, but then the humor began to intensify. Those parts really flowed, and I got some good laughs out of them myself! My work on Sunday night definitely left off with the chapter winding down towards the open ending I want to close the book with.

Barring things unseen, I’m certain that the manuscript will be done this weekend. That’s far from saying the book will be done and ready, however it’s a huge step along the pathway to that!

Next up will be reads and edits. The process is going to be different for me with this piece because of its size. Previously, my editing work has been with short stories (length of a chapter) or novelettes (length of a few chapters). Vivian’s is seventeen chapters. My plan is to send it out in “blocks” averaging three chapters each to readers in sequence. I feel that will be more manageable and efficient.

It will work something like this: It starts with reader “A” getting the first block of three chapters. They review and send their notes back to me, and I provide them with the second block of chapters (4, 5 and 6) on receipt. I revise the first block while they are working on the second, and then send the first block (now a second draft) to reader “B”. Regardless of whether reader “A” is still reviewing the second block or not, that doesn’t affect reader “B”. The process will continue like this through successive chapter blocks and readers until the last reviewer reaches the end.

This method has a number of advantages. First, it fits the style of revision that I’m used to and that has been successful for me. Admittedly, it’s on a larger scale and the cycling chain of reads is new. But in principle it seems close enough.

It should be more immediate and possibly expedient given that reviewers will not have to wait for the person before them to read the whole book… and then wait for me to work in all possible revisions. Lastly, latter readers will have the benefits of cleaner drafts that should edit progressively faster with basic errors already (or mostly) fixed before they even take a look.

It should also be helpful to me as an author by keeping the focus on tight groupings of chapters one at a time, rather than a long revision spanning the whole book between complete reads.

As usual, the dynamic alpha-reading duo of my wife and good friend Jessica will be getting the first look at the novel as the “A” and “B” readers, respectively. From there, I’ve got at least four fellow writers who have expressed a lot of enthusiasm to act as beta readers with possibly more in the wings.

That’s a good number of eyes and minds helping me to polish the book and make the story the best that it can be. And at least seven drafts of work! I won’t be surprised if the editing process keeps me busy until the spring.

At the same time, once the first draft is finished, I need to start work on securing an artist and cover for the book. I’ve jumped the gun on that process more than once with other projects, so I made a vow with Vivian’s Last Cigarette to not speak to any illustrators until the first draft was done. As the subject of the novel isn’t your typical fantasy or even urban fantasy fare, I suspect finding just the right talent might be a challenge. Still, I do have a short list of artists who have been sources of orcy art that has been inspirational to me while crafting the book. I’ll be sending inquires to them first and see what happens.

Excellent covers should be a priority for any book, but I think for my novel it might be key factor helping it to reach an audience. The title is good and intriguing, but I’m concerned that at face value alone it might be mistaken for a punk rock retrospective or modern romance/drama. The cover needs to convey the fantasy aspect, and to a lesser degree, the 1980s setting.

Currently, I’m thinking that something featuring the orc protagonists Viv and Gronk in period clothing might fit that bill nicely. ;-)

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

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