Monday, June 29, 2015


Well, I managed to reach what I'll call the "Alpha" version of Tin's story. I'm sure there are still a few typos in there (though I've spent several passes tidying up) and the story is in no way "Finished" but it's at a good enough point that I'm ready to get some additional eyes on it.

The initial feedback I've received has been consistent:

 - story and chars are ok to interesting
 - opening is a drag
 - some questions not answered or expectations not met in the ending

I can work with that.

The opening scene, in which a grizzled old prospector talks of "siftin' dust" was so much fun to write that I made it about 10 pages long, instead of the 1 page it should have been. I know that needs to change as readers won't be patient enough to dig through all that exposition.

As for unmet expectations or unanswered questions, that's a bit more tricky. In some ways, I don't ever think that a novel needs to answer every question or tie up every odd loose end. I _do_ believe that you owe the reader a good story and a conclusion of sorts. And I think I delivered on those. Now I just need flesh out the rest of the story and see if it's still interesting enough.

What I don't want to do, and haven't yet done, is chase a specific genre or demographic. This is not a "Young Adult" novel. Even if the world it's set in is "post apocalyptic" it's just not that kind of novel. But it does pose some much larger issues (class warfare, for example) and right now, those questions are not addressed. Can I save them for another book? Or do I have to tackle them now?

So, I'll rev the novel again and call it beta and look for more victe-- er, I mean, volunteers to read it through.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


It's no secret: I've been having a really hard time with this latest novel. Every time I fix an issue and start to build momentum, it only lasts a short while. Then I'm right back at the "it's broken" phase and I want to quit.

Being honest with myself, I've known the real issue for a while. I "put a bandaid" on it with a quick writing fix a few months ago and then pushed onward. But I knew... I knew it wasn't the right fix, and honestly, I didn't know what the right fix was.

The issue stems around the main character's motivation. She's stuck in a town, working as a slave mechanic and existing at the whim of others. Sure, she's treated slightly better than some of the other classes in the city, but she has no real freedom. She not held captive, either.

It's just that the city is in the middle of a kind of badlands/desert, and she would not survive long out there. Plus there really isn't another safe town to run to even if she had the opportunity.

But she needs to leave the city in order for there to even be a story, and I know where she has to end up.

But her motivation seemed fake, forced. She was going to leave with no real hope of making it out alive. And that just didn't ring true. She isn't the kind of person who would willingly march to her death out in the wasteland.

But I felt almost like having her decide otherwise would be a lie as well.

Then today, I realized the _real_ reason I was stuck. I had written the scene one way, and didn't want to have to do the hard work of rewriting the chapter from the beginning. The minute I decided to give it a try, I felt better.

So I deleted the old chapter and rewrote it from the top. She is young, our main character, and so she would never be brave enough to march off to her doom without any chance of survival.

I won't spoil the key plot point, but I really, really, like the way it played out in the new chapter.

I think her motivation is rubbing off on me!