Just got through reading through the editor’s version of my prose version of The Stars Came Back. Or at least, the first half of it. Pretty darn good. A modest but very effective rearrangement of the end parts. It needs a few tweaks is all, but they are really pretty small. Cover Art is getting titled, so it should be out soon. Second half also done soon. The sequel, “Insanity’s Children” is aiming at six weeks-ish.
No word on the YA prequel, but it’s shorter and I’d had more practice when writing it, so I hoping it might be getting done this year.
Later Edit: To be clear, the series will be called “The Stars Came Back.”
Book one: Back From the Dead (first ~half of the original screenplay format book)
Book two: War on the Edge (second ~half of the original screenplay format book)
Book Three: Insanity’s Children (Sequel, all new material)
Book Beats-the-heck-out-of-me: Komenagen: Slog (all new YA prequel) No release date set.
Book 0.0492(?): Lost Crew (maybe?) A novella: Early Armadillo mission, similar to “Shakedown Cruise” in Riding The Red Horse. Title not certain. No release date set. But totally written.
The prototype dust-jacket description is “16 year old Skaffington White has problems – not understood at home, stifled at school – and he didn’t think things could get worse than being suspended for a fight he didn’t start. He was wrong. Very wrong. But the darkest thunderclouds throw the brightest lightning to illuminate the path… if he can survive the storm.”
I’ve pretty much finished another book, called Komenagen: Slog. It’s a “Young Adult” (YA) SF book targeted at boys 12-18, and it takes place in the same universe at The Stars Came Back. It’s somewhat in the same vein as Heinlein’s Tunnel in the sky. I’d like to get some feedback about it from actual 12-18 yo boys. If any of you readers out there are such, or have such a beast in your household and would like to give it a read -on the condition that you give some substantive feedback and write a review when it’s finally published – I can email you a copy in MS Word format. You can convert it e-reader format with Calibri and provide feedback in paragraph form, or have the sprout read it as-is and provide feedback using the review feature in word and add comments or corrections in-line. If you want to read it, email me or make a comment to this post.
Also, a bleg from any YA readers: after reading this book, suggestions for other Komenagen challenges to write about in future books are most welcome.
I set out to write a short story for a SF mil-fic anthology. I decided to write about one of Armadillo’s early missions, a traumatic one. I figured I could whip it out in short order. It’s totally self-contained, and now at more than 12k words, expecting it to hit ~15k or so. Let’s just say it has a cast of characters that are rather unlike those in TSCB.
Vox said 16k words is more suited to a stand-alone novella. I should finish it this week, then editing (should go fast) and cover art, but no telling how long that will take. I’m also trying to figure out a good title.
Anyone up for being an alpha reader?
I got interviewed, sort of, by a former Campbell Award nominee Lawrence M. Schoen. He’s got a blog, Eating Authors. A character of his is very into food, a gourmand. He’s trying to bring attention to new authors, including specifically Campbell Award nominees. His vehicle for doing this is to ask them to write about a memorable meal, or something food-related in their life. My first thought was “that’s not a path I’d ever think to go down,” but some people have that sort of focus. It sounded like something that I wasn’t really interested in writing.
After thinking about it for a while, and exchanging several emails trying to figure out where what he found useful and what I was interested in writing crossed, I had an idea, cranked it out, and now it’s live on his blog.
Not completed, but done enough to have an editor give it a first pass read-through to look at inconsistencies, plot holes, places that need fleshing out or alterations, etc. Roughly 122k words. There are a few places I’m not really happy with, but not sure exactly what to do about them. Paul thinks it’s fine, but then he doesn’t know what all has been rolling around in my brain (likely a good thing). So, for the moment, it’s >95% done, and I’m letting someone that hasn’t a clue where it’s going or what I’ve cut or how I’ve switched it around thinks about it. No idea how soon I’ll hear back, but some people are very fast readers. Might be a day or two, might be a month. Then I can talk it over, see what I need to tweak, then we can do the serious nitty-gritty editing.
In unrelated but significant news, I got a long-term subbing job at a local middle school, teaching math and science. That is GREAT for income (I made about as much from TSCB, in total net, as I make from two months teaching), but it also means less time to write. So I’ll be rather busy, and not making huge leaps of progress. But I also plan to keep picking away at “Komenagen: Slog” for a while, and it might be finished by the end of summer.
Working on getting the next things together. The current plan is that the prose format will be release as two books. The series name will be “The Stars Came Back.” The first book will be “Back from the Dead,” and the second “War’s Edge.”
The next book will likely be titled “TSCB: Insanity’s Children.” With any luck and a bit of hard work, I’ll soon be far enough along in planning and writing that I can start posting it serially, like I did originally.
I think “editing” can be defined as: The act of rearranging mistakes and replacing them with new ones elsewhere, in an attempt to make things better. But gradually, like sand blowing in the wind and carried in the rivers that gradually wears down giant boulders, typos and mistakes disappear. Nearly done.
I uploaded it to Amazon, put in all my information, and am now working on tweaking the formatting of things while awaiting final replies from a couple of proof-readers before I go live. Getting graphics right, bullet points, all the rest, will be interesting. Once I get these replies, and the formatting looks OK on their previewer (which, no surprise, doesn’t quite look exactly like it does on my discontinued model Kindle after going through a Calibre conversion into a MOBI file), I’ll let people know. Continue reading Flinging format
I have concluded that using a professional editor is a very good idea. That said, I also think it is important to keep your editing goals in mind, and make them explicit. I have determined that my goals are not literary, but commercial. Brilliant phrasing and eloquence and perfection in word selection are great if they happen to happen, but spending endless time aiming for them gets in the way. All I desire is Clear, Correct, Consistent, Concise, and Done. Brain-cycles spent doing more than that, for me, are wasted.
Clear: Is it easy for the reader to understand what I am saying?
Correct: Does it follow proper conventions, and did I say what I meant to say?
Consistent: Does the style and format stay true to itself, so the reader doesn’t get goofed up on things that are not really a part of the story?
Concise: Aim more for Hemingway than Rand, but don’t be obsessive about it, because–
Done: Without this, the rest is wasted. Don’t play ivory tower, think Larry the Cable Guy, and just git ‘er done.
Your choices might be different, because you might have different goals… just be clear what your goals are.
I’m experimenting with a tip-jar. Sometime soon there should be a “Donate” button from PayPal on the sidebar, where you can through in a donation for the hyper-localized poor writers fund if you think the story The Stars Came Back was worth more than the $2.99 Amazon price. It’ll also be helpful when I get set up to sell the story via other outlets, and if it goes big then then I have branded swag, too. That may be a while, though.