key to all things

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Yyesterday, I finished the second draft.  June 30th seemed like the perfect day to finish a second draft.

I celebrated with bacon sandwiches (home grown tomatoes and eggs!) and a trip up to a fencing practice.  I got to practice some German long sword, which was especially nice, and got to just fight.  No running anything, just chatting a little and fencing as much as I can.  Despite my hiatus I felt pretty good…I did some very nice movement (though not as smooth as I would like) and was told that I am a fun fight.  I don’t find this an insult, as some would, I *like* being a fun fight.  And I killed this person several times so it’s not like “Hahaha you are so easy!” it was about the joy of the fight.  Which is what I am about.  I am not about the kill, though I will admit, if I get constantly obliterated it’s not so much fun, but for me it is about the joy of the actual fight.  The dance.  The swords hitting each other, the parries, the living.  If I successfully take my opponent, I am pleased…who said I was a saint?  But it’s not what I am there for, and I don’t mind losing as long as I feel I fought well.

And, since there are a couple of sword fighting scenes in the new book, it was sort of an appropriate way to celebrate.

Today, I am forcing myself to spell check — I should have done it as I went through the second draft, esp. since the book is not separated out in Scrivener and I have not figured out how to make Scrivener spell check ALL THE THINGS.  I am consoling myself by listening to Spotify and finding new music to love.  But there is NO sense printing the manuscript unless I spell check it first.

Next, I will try and see if it all works.  I will go through it again and make notes to myself.  “Do we really need this random guy?”  “We should probably name this character.”  This is part consistency check, part making sure that I resolve everything properly.

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Tthis post is part test, part catch up.

I am actually doing really well on The Key to All Things. I love Edward and Avriel, when I am writing, even though it’s the second draft, it feels like reading. I get pulled into the world, and I care about the people in it a great deal. So that bodes well.

Almost at the end of the second draft. That meant that I divided it into Scrivener as I went, so every thing is separated out into movable, findable, pieces. I think I need to sit down and do a motivation map and make sure everyone’s motivations and goals make sense and are sensible and worthy. I.E. not lame.

Mostly, the first part of the third draft, I think, MAY be a print out and scribble on the paper bit. Not sure. I’ve never been this far with a book on Scrivener, so I am not sure. I would like to avoid printing out until the very end draft (you are much more likely to catch all the typos if you read a printed copy at least once) but we’ll see. Very soon. (Which makes me feel giddy.)

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I finally finished the first draft of the new book. I am tempted to email my publisher to find out if slightly over 100,000 words is OK for a book…I think it is…but it might change the price point, so I go back and forth. I want to write an amazing, non-bloated, perfect book that will make everyone happy, so I’ll just look at it in the second draft and weigh and measure everything carefully.

It’s a good book, though. I feel about it like I felt about The Chocolatier’s Wife…it came out so easily, except the end, which I feel is problematic and does not exactly evoke the feeling I want. There will be a lot of work done there, in the second draft.

I don’t know if I ever talked about the second draft process. It’s going to be slightly different this time. When I usually do the second draft, the first part is to print a copy I can scribble all over, hole punch it and put it in a binder. I accidentally printed this one double sided, (I default to double side because I like to try and be decent to the environment whenever possible) so I will probably keep a stack of lined note paper handy, and insert it next to the page. A (very) long time ago I used to write my books long hand, so I have, hoarder that I am, tons of lined note book paper that I would get on sale. See? Hoarding can be useful.

The reading process will combine two things this time. Usually it’s just comments — I say things like “Need to expand this scene” or “Are his eyes always this color?” “Do we need this?” “Do I deal with this later?” “Need to go back and make sure that we mention this in previous chapter so it makes sense later.” So I’ll mark the copy up, ask a lot of questions. That’s par for the course. Then I will lay the binder open next to my computer, open the file, and start answering those questions.

This time, there will be an added step. I’ve been using Liquid Story Binder to keep track of facts about the characters and the world…when I decided to write a sequel to Chocolatier’s Wife I actually read the book and started a file so that everything would be consistent in the sequel. I wanted to make sure that everything was the same, so I created character dossiers, even for the Wind Sprites, and wrote down every detail of the world that I could, so that there is consistency. I know I am going to write a sequel to The Key to All Things so I need to do this as I go this time, get the data down so I can create dossiers. I also may use Scrivener, and split this book up into chapters as I go.

The dossier for CW will be useful, also, because The Key to All Things takes place in the same world…and the Pandroth Empire plays a very tiny part that will become much more important later. I have this odd little network of books in my head that all take place on the same planet. It’s fun, to create the connections in my head, and I think it makes the world feel more round and real.

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So, according to the writing software I use the most, I have 84,678 words on my newest work in progress. I think I will call it “The Key to All Things” though really, I should google it and see if that’s been used or not. I am not sure what the key I am referring to is – love? Stories? Memory? Because the book, while being a swashybuckly murder mystery with airships and fae creatures and the like is about the power of stories and the complicated nature of love and memory.

Ooh, I sound pretentious, eh? But I think all books have themes, but sometimes they get buried. Maybe we don’t even know that what we’ve written has one, because really we are writing the story that we pull from the well of who we are right now.

One of the things I think is interesting is that all my lovers knew each other before they actually start the love part of the story. Andromeda broke up with Alaister, Libby was rescued by Alex, William wrote Tamsin letters. Avriel married Edward, only to have the world change and that fact forgotten. I find that I am going to have to start fighting these odd coincidences.

I thought this would be the easy part of the book, because I have so many words down and the paths look pretty clear and I pretty much know what happens, but I find myself leaning on the brake a bit, worrying about the story. Is the ending too pat, too easily resolved? But I am forcing myself to just trust the story. When I get to the edits, when I know what I need to do better and have a fuller picture of when and where things are heading I’ll be able to fix it all and make it look like this is what I meant to do all along.

Love edits. I really do, because you get to make everything sensible and polished and worthy.

I might even have this book out before the year is out, which would be nice. And then I can maybe see where I messed up on the Chocolatier’s Sequel.

Right now it’s about the end of things/goal reaching. The end of the book. Five weeks until the end of the semester. I have one more event, and then I will no longer be the Captain of the Queen’s guard in Aethelmearc, and after I finish co-autocratting the Queen’s Rapier Championship I’ll have all my have to do’s for the SCA done – I’ll just be a regional marshal, and going where needed. Sometimes when I write about my life I feel a little surreal. Captain of the Queen’s guard. What an awesome thing to be able to say you were. Until you get that people not in the SCA are a bit “Uh, what?” and then you have to explain it and then it’s a 50-50 shot that it still sounds awesome by the time you are done.

And I will be taking two cadets – those are fencing students – so I will basically be balancing having students (which I am very excited about) with trying to rediscover the simple joy of fencing. I love the SCA – and being Guard Captain has been AMAZING. But now that I’m a White Scarf I want to use this as my big chance to rebalance my life so I am getting the most out of everything. I think having cadets will help me with this.

So, yeah, I’m at the ending of things. And that means I will be at the beginning of things, too.

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