Tishta the Crystal Orb: That Was Quick

Well. I wasn’t expecting to finish this edit of Part 2: Learning to Trust of “Tishta the Crystal Orb” so quickly. That’s what happens when I get sick. I spend all my time on Tishta, instead of trying to focus on work stuff. On Wednesday, I spent the evening in the ER—stomach pain of undetermined origin—where I passed my time editing. And then, since waves of pain kept interrupting my focus, I allowed myself keep editing during most of Thursday and Friday. If I could afford to work exclusively on the book, I think I would be done by the end of this coming week—only if the stomach pain doesn’t resolve itself and I wouldn’t wish that on myself.

The six chapters in Part 2 are where my characters get to know each other and build up some trust. Again, there were whole scenes that I only vaguely remembered writing—they were new in the second draft—so I had the pleasure of reading them with almost-new eyes.

I consolidated two scenes into other scenes, so the count went to 37 scenes. I still don’t like the way the scenes are split up in Chapter 11: Coltan’s Passion. Some of them are too short, and there are simply too many, at nine. I’ll have to readdress this on the next edit pass.

I guess I’ve been trimming words. The total word count went from 187,965 to 187,155. I was surprised since I have also fleshed out a few places where I was telling, instead of showing. Interestingly, the page count went up by three, but that’s probably due to new dialog—dialog is definitely less dense than when the narrator tells what is going on.

I like Part 2. Criften’s longing to be a simple farmer starts to come through—he never embraced being a wizard—as does some of his relationship with Eido. We learn a lot about Coltan and Gentu’s backstories as they become intimate and share their stories with each other. The children also tell some of the traumas they have experienced. This is the emotional stuff that I like.

Relationships start to solidify here. When someone risks his life to save yours, you start to trust him. This happens between Malcan and Coltan, after the first battle, where Coltan takes a dagger to the gut to protect Malcan. At the same time, Malcan is given a reminder that Coltan is not human. He still doesn’t feel comfortable trusting the vampire.

“Mar trusts him. So does Kano, but…” Malcan said.
When he paused, Criften said, “But?”
“All my instincts tell me I shouldn’t.”

The best part of editing this section was it includes one of my favorite scenes, “An Evergreen Grove.” This is where Coltan and Gentu really become bonded to each other, and their love blossoms. Can you imagine making love to a vampire oozing with that vampy sexual attraction?

“Coltan”—Gentu’s breaths came in heavy pants—“I’ve never done this before… with a man.”
Coltan smiled and stroked his cheek.
“Then I’ll show you how it’s done.”

I still feel like voyeur when I read this scene. In the first draft, I didn’t go into much detail. I was not brave enough. While I waited for that draft to be reviewed by my editor, Anne Bean, I wrote a backstory for Coltan. It’s something I plan to release after the second of The Wolf Dream Books, “Into the Wolf Dream.” In it, I gave life to Eido. It enabled me to write the scenes where Criften communicates with him, in his mind. I also learned to write sex scenes, since that’s what most of the story is about—Eido helping Coltan to separate sex from feeding. It gave me a lot of insight into Coltan that I included in the second draft of “Tishta.” And, I became more comfortable writing fairly explicitly about sex.

I’m excited to get into Part 3: Travels and Battles. As the title indicates, there are several battle scenes. I love battles.

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

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Tishta the Crystal Orb: Part 1 Editing Done (for now)

I was super excited six days ago to announce I had finished the second draft of Book One of The Wolf Dream Books, “Tishta the Crystal Orb.” I envisioned a quick final edit through the whole book—correcting case; adding missing periods and commas; making sure the characters’ voices rang true.

It turns out, even though I thought I had changed my writing to use fewer gerunds and shorter sentences, I hadn’t. Well, not the way I’m writing now. So, the beginning of the book is in a much different writing style from the end of the book. I guess, I should have expected that. I was trying out new writing skills, and that was nine months ago.

I have made some pretty extensive changes in “Part One: Coming Together.” Not to the story, so much, but to the way I tell it. Even spending every free moment (and some when I should have been doing other things) working on these five chapters, it took me six days to finish. I ended up re-recording every one of the twenty-eight scenes. This is the shortest part, at 71 pages (down from 73, pre-edit). I hope, by the last half of the book, that I won’t have so many of these kinds of changes to make. When I finish this edit, I will circle back to do the edits I was planning to do around syntax and whatever.

One of the nice things about going through these first chapters is revisiting the beginnings. Although much of it is very, very familiar, there are things I added in the second draft that I don’t remember so clearly. It is giving me a chance to experience at least some of the story as a “new” reader might. I still like it. A lot. I think this is a good thing. But, I like it even better with the edits I just completed.

This edit is going to take a while—at least a month, if I can manage to get through a chapter a day—but, I am all right with that. Everything about writing this book has taken far longer than I could ever have imagined. I’m not trying to make it perfect, but I want to ensure it is complete. I am much closer to that than I was at the beginning of the second draft. I feel fairly confident that I won’t be adding much to this revision. I hope I don’t need to, because that will mean I found a hole in the story.

When all is said and done, I love to write. I knew this before I started writing in earnest two-and-a-half years ago, but I never found the time to act on it. Now, I know. It’s something I must do. The more I write, the more I write. It stimulates ideas, even if they’re not for the story I’m currently working on. If I could, I would do it full time. I like it that much.

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Tishta the Crystal Orb: Escape and Reunion are the Final Chapters

I am giddy.

I would  have called “Chapter 31: Escape” and “Chapter 32: Reunion,” of “Tishta the Crystal Orb” finished many days ago, but, since they are the final chapters in the book, I went through the editing process I normally do when I review the following chapter—because there is no following chapter. I spent the past few days listening to recordings of the scenes in “Reunion.” As usual, it led to lots of edits, including merging one scene into a later scene, to avoid telling too much, too soon.

I spent a lot of time going back over the previous chapter, “Chapter 30: Tishta,” to make sure everything lined up correctly with the final ones. During my review and edit of the “Escape,” it grew way too large. I split it into two chapters. I’m still struggling with placement of scenes in these chapters, but I might have it close now. I’ll have to listen some more to all of “Part 5: Heading East” before I feel comfortable with the current arrangement.

Part of what happened in Part 5 is I added a lot of stories around the Dark Wizards Baldru and Anakru. They both play major roles in the end of the book. I also added a whole new battle scene, which was great fun to write. It changed the original ending quite a bit, so that took some work to polish.

I let my writing take me where it wants to go. In this case, the Aldashi warrior, Freyl, plays a key role in how it ends. He will now have a presence in the next book, “Into the Wolf Dream.” For me, it balanced out the addition of Keldra, Baldru’s apprentice Dark Wizard. She will take over some roles in that book that I didn’t know who was going to play. I’m not sure yet what Freyl’s impact will be.

Another new character I added was Landru, who is a Dark Wizard that ends up with some holes in his body after encounters with Coltan. I already have some ideas for him in Wolf Dream, as well. It’s always interesting to me when I add a character, and suddenly something in the future resolves itself. I was really excited for this to happen in this book, so there is continuity in the long-range story line instead of creating new characters to fill the roles.

All this character development and world building have take my word count from 87,528 to 187,965. I had no idea. I like it so much better now. The hard part is going to be trimming out the unnecessary words and scenes. Like tearing a hole in the fabric of my soul. It will be a good exercise for me.

I will stop writing about Tishta now, so I don’t give anything away. My next step will be to read the book from cover to virtual cover. I might do this while listening to my recordings. I haven’t decided yet if that will be the most useful way to spend my time, or to simply read it. I might need to do both.

Now that I am one large step closer to actually publishing, there are a lot of other tasks to be completed. I’m just starting to focus on that list, which will include deciding if and when to have my editor review it, providing a vehicle for my Beta Readers to download a copy of the book, getting my cover artist set back up (and getting the artwork completed), drawing maps (which I think I might be able to do on my own, at least for the very first edition), diving more into marketing and brand building, and figuring out how to convert my audio recordings into an audio book. It’s a long list and this is definitely not everything I need to do.

One thing I’ve been struggling with is what name to publish under. Up to this point, I have been using my given and family names. I have thought about the options, including using my initials instead of my given name, but I have always been me. I need to make up my mind about this before I move forward with creating more social media. Up to this point, all the book stuff has been on The Wolf Dream Books social media—@TheWolfDreams on Twitter; The Wolf Dream Books on Facebook; of course, this blog. Many authors are encouraging me to create author accounts. I’m not certain how I want to manage that. Lots to think about.

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.