• CEMurphy

    counting the words

    I’m sure you’ll all be surprised to hear I didn’t manage 5K a day for the entirety of January. I did about 70K, which is quite good, if not my Best Month Ever. ROSES IN AMBER has gone through copy edits and I’ll be putting those in on Friday (tomorrow is a rest day) and hopefully it’ll drop early next week.

    I finished another revision pass on REDEEMER, which I think involved writing about 3-5K but only netted me 1K on the book. It has one more pass to go, then back to the editor.

    This month I’m all about revisions, not just on REDEEMER, but on BEWITCHING BENEDICT, my little Regency romance that I’m hoping to release in May. I’m hoping revising BENEDICT will inspire me to write the synopsis for the next book, so I can get that series really rolling.

    I also have to re-read the Negotiator Trilogy, which, frankly, I’m not looking forward to. They were very difficult to write and I’ve never had any urge to go back and re-read them from the top. All I’ve ever done is look stuff up in them. But needs must, because I’m now writing Patreon short stories set in the aftermath of the Negotiator Trilogy, and I have Ambitions to get KISS OF ANGELS, Grace’s story, synopsized this month and written in March. It will be a novella.

    (I hope to god it’ll be a novella, she said, grimly looking at both NO DOMINION and ROSES IN AMBER, both of which were meant to be 30K & both of which ended up 60K. But I’ve got 40K of Old Races Aftermath stories right now, so if it turns out to be 60K, the collection will be…just right. She said, planning for the kind of failure she usually experiences….)

    All that, and I have two short stories to write.

    I might go take a nap…

    ytd wordcount: 70,000

  • CEMurphy

    atlantis fallen on the verge

    So it turns out that in a lot of ways the ATLANTIS FALLEN revisions instigated by my cover artist weren’t as overwhelming as I thought they would be. I revised two chapters completely, retaining necessary information but basically presenting it almost entirely differently, and a third chapter…almost that significantly. Not quite. But almost.

    Another 5-7 chapters had much less significant revisions, although in fact the last thing I did tonight was flag five of those chapters in a project notes file to make myself go look at them with absolutely fresh eyes over the next couple of days. They do what they *need* to right now, but the result of the early revisions is I feel like I’ve gone a little soft ball on the later ones and that they could be improved to the considerable betterment of one particular character’s development. I’d just done too much work today to try dealing with any more.

    But holy cats, to lend wind beneath my wings, said problem-causing (no not really :)) cover artist sent the rough draft of the ATLANTIS FALLEN cover, and I believe my squee may have been heard around the world. AF is going to be an e-only release at first, the print edition will come later, and I got the cover and went AAAAAH I WANT THE PRINT EDITION *NOOOOOW*!!!!

    Ted saw the cover and said to me, “…are we *sure* we don’t want to do the print edition simultaneously?” I was like THAT WAS WHAT I THOUGHT!!! But no, we don’t, and it’s simply a matter of costs: hopefully the e-book will *pay* for a print edition, ideally before the end of the summer.

    In the meantime, there oughta be a cover reveal before the end of the week, and it’s looking like things are probably on schedule for a mid-April launch. Yay!

  • CEMurphy

    beta readers

    I did something very unusual this weekend, which was send a book out to beta readers. Normally I…don’t do that. Broadly speaking I feel writing a book is largely a closed loop between myself and my editor: she’s the source of feedback that I need, and I generally find adding more people in to that cycle to be very stressful.

    I am, in fact, finding it very stressful, which is totally on me, not the readers: they’re providing feedback in exactly the way a writer wants them to, which is clearly, concisely and specifically, without emotionally laden language or snarky commentary, and by cushioning it with comments about what they did like, too.

    No lie: the absolute worst editing experience I’ve ever had, when a very rough draft book was sent to second readers without my knowledge, I got feedback from one of those readers that said, literally, when I’d gotten something wrong, “AHAHAHAH NO”. I’m still angry about that, on so many levels. The whole process was so upsetting it took me about three months longer than it should have to edit the book because every time I opened the file I became enraged. In fact, I finally had to turn all the comments off, on that project, and deal with the problems as I saw them in the book before reactivating them and taking one last grim stab at it to answer anything left.

    A good beta reader doesn’t do that, obviously. A good beta reader remembers that they’re involved in part of the creative process and that artists tend to be somewhat delicate fragile flowers about their art. And a good artist remembers that the way to improve their art is to listen to feedback about it…which doesn’t stop me from having an Instantaneous Sulk whenever I get a revision letter.

    I mean, for example, the MAGIC & MANNERS revision letter was so light that even I couldn’t get into a sulk about it, which is pretty astonishing. Normally I glance at the letter, then, regardless of what it actually says, think something to the effect of OH MY GOD SHE HATES ME WHAT DOES SHE WANT ME TO DO TO MY PRECIOUS STORY NO I HATE HER I HATE IT ALL HOW DARE SHE and then about three days later, sullenly, I circle back around and actually read it and go “okay that’s not really so bad after all…” This is my process. I recognize that. :)

    But it *is* my process, which means beta readers tend to put me in the OH MY GOD THEY HATE ME cycle for several days while feedback comes in, and, as I said, I find that stressful. It’s worse when the book is on a (hopefully) short turn-around, as this one is, and I have less time to sit and breathe my way through the sulks because I need to get the edits in place and ready to go.

    All that said, though, in this particular case, though, when I’m revising a 20 year old book and I have far too much baggage clouding my judgment of the material, boy are they being helpful. Two of them (so far) have called out one thing as something that needs either clarification or excising, and a third has commented on something that I…well, I wondered about it, which is why I needed these readers.

    Actually, I wondered about the thing the other two commented on, as well, which is probably good, as it means I’ve probably got a clearer picture of the material than I’m afraid I do…but it also means I really needed somebody else to read it and say “no really you do have to deal with this” rather than allow myself to believe that naaaaaaaah it’s fiiiiiiiiiiiine. :)

    Anyway, despite the stress angle of it, I’m glad I’ve done this, as it’ll improve the book in exactly the ways I hope to. Onward!

  • CEMurphy

    heavy lifting: completed

    Oh my *god* the ATLANTIS FALLEN manuscript ended up a mess. I found an entire chapter and a half that hadn’t been in the version I was working from, and a scene that had been referenced but wasn’t in the version I was working from so I had to go find it and @.@. Fortunately it, most of it at least, could more or less slide right in with just a bit of massaging, but ye gods and little fishes.

    The manuscript is 20K longer than the one I started with. I think it’s 5-7K longer than the Previously Revised Manuscript, too, but I don’t really know, there.

    Anyway, that revision pass is done and all that’s left are dangly little bits and NOTES and a few name changes and things to deal with. It’ll take another go to fix those, but that’ll be detail work, not massively mashing two versions of the same manuscript together while also rebuilding the world it’s set in. @.@

    So that’s one more item crossed off my Very Long To-Do List, and the anticipated release date for ATLANTIS FALLEN is, wait for it, waaaaait for it…April Fool’s Day!

    No, really, it is. :)

    It’s going to be an e-release only at first, and the release date does depend on cover art and getting the copy edits done between writing a short story and revising REDEEMER, but there’s (supposed to be) an Amazon boost if you release things every 30 days, and that would be great both for ATLANTIS FALLEN and for MAGIC & MANNERS.

    And because people will (hopefully) ask: there *will* be a print book made available later in the year, but for the short term it’ll be e-book only.

    Revising this book has totally rekindled my love for the story. New things have developed in the revisions, which delights me, and I’m really looking forward to getting it out into the world. :)

    Hm. We’ve just gotten locked in the living room and Ted had to come home to rescue us. Maybe I can sneak up and work the rest of the afternoon and do all those fiddly bits… :)

  • Writing

    a funny thing happened on the way to the revisions

    So I’ve been confused about this manuscript I’m working on, because it appears to be missing Vital Story Bits that I quite liked. I thought I’d perhaps somehow edited them out, for reasons I couldn’t understand, at a time I couldn’t remember, but, y’know, they weren’t there so I had to have done something with them, right? And then I went and looked for them in other files and found them, so that was good, I could at least put them back in, right? Yay and all that.

    Except the manuscript was also shorter, by several thousand words, than I’d *thought* it had been, and it has gradually dawned on me that I somehow ended up doing my revisions not on the latest version of the manuscript (which was, y’know, essentially 20 years old itself), but the *original* version of it.

    Which explains a lot. And is a pain in the ass, because I’ve already done significant work on the Original Manuscript, making going to the Already Revised Manuscript to continue ill-advised. Instead I’m trying to retrofit the Already Revised Manuscript into the Newly Revised Original Manuscript, which so far is working okay in the “this is a real pain in the ass” sense.

    Anyway, I got through seven chapters today, which is massive. Several of them which involved a lot of fiddly detail work and some of which was figuring out how exactly to drop the Already Revised Manuscript chapters into place in the Newly Revised Original Manuscript and then massaging it all so it fits and reads better. I gained 3500 words today by doing that, and only wrote about 500 new ones.

    I stopped when I got to the chapter where the first note I’d left, before anything else in the chapter, said, “DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS”, and when I leave notes like that to myself, 8pm with 8 hours of editing behind me already is not the time I want to start that.

    For Reasons, the book has undergone a title change, too, so from here on out the Heartstrike Trilogy will be ATLANTIS FALLEN, PROMETHEUS BOUND* and AVALON RISING.


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