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vyv_15feb17Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

A lot of progress was made on book edits to Vivian’s Last Cigarette this week! This is in part thanks to a series of winter storms that’s kept my wife and I at home a couple days from work because of unsafe conditions. Although the missed work hurts us in the wallet, I was grateful for the two bonus days to write beyond my weekend. The second half of the book’s first act needed the attention.

As I mentioned last week, my wife Kim, who is also my first reader, got chapters five through eight noted and back to me on February fourth. With the extra time available to me, I was able to finish the revisions on those chapters by Saturday afternoon on the eleventh.

It was a surprising amount of work. The majority of chapter six had a problem in that it simply dragged. I ended up editing it line by line and rewriting about two-thirds of it. If any of you recall, back in August I got frustrated on my first attempts with chapters six and seven. I did a big overhaul back then: making cuts, revising tone, and reworking the sequence of events between the two.

Although seven enjoyed significant improvements from those changes in August, chapter six was left pretty rough due to oversights on my part. In a nutshell, its beginning and end were good, but its central half was slow and uninteresting.

Thus on Super Bowl Sunday I rolled up my sleeves, cranked-up the Iron Maiden, and got to work fixing it. It took days, but on Thursday I finished its big revision. The chapter seemed much improved to me, and sharing it with Kim again she agreed. After the revision, I think it finally found its “voice” and transcended from being mostly a narrative bridge between the events before and after it.

Chapters five, seven and eight also got cleaned up and given some revision before Saturday too. But all combined that work was not as involved as that which was given to six.

While I was busy with all of that, Kim forged ahead and finished reading the book! :-) Actually, she’s read it twice now, as she reads a chapter once for pleasure and then a second time to annotate and proofread.

She loved the story, and even surprised me with a cartoony doodle she drew between chapter reads of Viv and Gronk!

I love how Viv is flipping us off. “Oh, Viv… you hooligan, you!” ;-)

Art by Kim… I love how Viv is flipping us off. “Oh, Viv… you hooligan, you!” ;-)

I got her notes for chapters nine to twelve on Saturday and segued directly into them. By Sunday evening I had finished that round of editing, and by doing so gotten the book over 70% of the way to a complete second draft.

Monday was yet another snow day off from work, with a blizzard shutting down a good chunk of the state. Kim used it to compose her notes for the last five chapters and gave them to me before we spent the remainder of the afternoon digging out from under three feet of snow.

As of today, I’ve got plenty of editing to do for the rest of the week. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the remaining 30% of novel to a second draft state by the weekend.

Then work on the third drafts will begin.

As with last week, my second reader’s schedule has been tight. But her detailed chapter feedback has begun to roll in. If she can maintain the new momentum, I should have all of her notes for the first act by early next week. While that compiles, I’ll get acts two and three revised into second drafts and ready to hand off to her.

In non-Vivian news, coming up this Saturday I’ll be sharing new fiction on Aethereal Engines! My short story Ounta has spent a few weeks on Adventure Worlds, and this weekend the tale will premiere on my own story blog.

Ounta is an action packed fantasy yarn in a prehistoric setting. I wrote it back in December, submitted it to a contest where it did well, and also used it to kick off Ben Van Dongen’s “Fifth Monday” chain-serial. The setting was something that I’d never tried my hand at writing before, but also one that I had wanted to explore. I ended up liking the brief worldbuilding experience to craft it. The story was both fun and satisfying to write, and I think it turned out to be a good read as well.

I may very well write more in the setting, and I’m happy to be adding this one to my online story archive.

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

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