From Demons to the Scoured

The first novel I wrote using Scrivener was Her Demonic Majesty, my 2011 NaNo Novel.  It was really the first thing I ever started from scratch in Scrivener, and it was a great experiment for me, because I was learning the software as well as learning how to lay out a story.

The thing I loved most about Scrivener then was the Corkboard, which was a virtual way of taking note cards that represent the chapters and pinning them up in a sensible order.  This was an easy way to outline a story, to set up metadata to keep track of when things were suppose to happen.  I spent two weeks getting the novel outlined, getting pictures set up for characters, developed small bios on characters, even laid out pictures within the binder of places where chapters took place.

You were a great learning experience, love.  I'll never forget you.

You were a great learning experience, love. I’ll never forget you.

A year and a few hundred thousand words later, I was ready for my 2012 NaNo Novel, Kolor Ijo.  It wasn’t as large as Her Demonic Majesty–it was about seventy-two thousand words, compared to eighty-six thousand for Demonic Majesty–but in a lot of ways it was a far bigger story.  It was one of my Indonesia horror stories, which meant it took place in another country.  There was research on weapons and people and creatures, and I needed to get a good idea about the look of the city of Makassar.  It also covered a much larger time frame:  almost a month of time, where as her Demonic Majesty took place over a three-day period.  The one thing I learned how to use this time around were embedded websites that accessible from inside Scrivener.  I hooked up Google Maps to a text file, and when I needed to look streets in the city of Makassar, I’d do a split screen and start looking about in the other side of the world.

My meta information was getting a bit more detailed:  I was keeping track of time frames within each chapter.  There was more happening, more action and interaction.  In short, there was a lot more story even if it wasn’t as long as my last NaNo Novel.

This is what happens when you start dealing with demons on the other side of the world.

This is what happens when you deal with demons on the other side of the world.

By the end of May, 2013, I’d already decided I was going to write The Foundation Chronicles:  A for Advanced, but there were thinking I knew I’d need to work out before I started working on the story.  It was going to end up a big story, with a large cast of characters.  I was also going to move away from the idea of doing a single card and writing information under it as a chapter; I was going to break up my chapters into different scenes, something I’d done with my novel Transporting.

But Transporting was a retro-fitted novel:  I’d begun writing that in Word about twenty years before, and never tried writing something like that from scratch.  I needed some practice to get my new NaNo Novel in shape without having to learn while writing.  I was going to write something before hand, do it as part of The Foundation Series, and play with characters I already knew.  I could write about a part of school history that was never thought out in detail.

This is where I stepped away from the Corkboard and moved into Outline mode in Scrivener.  One of the advantages of Outline mode is being able to see your story laid out, top to bottom, and that allows for a lot more precision when trying to plot out things.  When I did The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring, I wasn’t using time line software:  it had the time line within my outline, laid out on each chapter/scene card.  I was also able to laid out a lot more information on each section and chapter/scene, and see it all at once should I require.

This is what testing looks like when you're writing.

Some call this testing–some call it a bit of insanity.

There is a lot of information there:  dates, times, people, even weather conditions.  When it was all over my Camp story, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring–which was meant to be about twenty thousand words total–ended up a fifty-three thousand, one hundred word lead-in novel.  I love what I wrote, though I had one person tell me I need to cut the first two sections of the story because it didn’t “move fast enough” for her, and she wasn’t interested in hearing that if I cut all the information, the rest of the story wouldn’t make any sense, and another person told me the battle was “too long” and “they’d never read any batter sequence of twenty-five thousand words”.  But those are stories for another time . . .

This is what helped me reach the point where I could write my current work in progress.  And by the time I was ready for NaNoWriMo 2013, I had other software I could use as well to get work my story into shape–

Of Late I Dream of Multiverse

We are under Snowmageddon III:  This Time It’s Personal, watch once more.  People were speaking of the upcoming snow storm as if the undead were about to rise and we needed to stock up on food and prepare our Lobos.  A very high level of melodrama around the streets today–which, by the way, are quick frozen with cold.  I should have filled up last night, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere in the next couple of days.

The dreams were getting crazy last night again.  I seemed as if I joined in with a group of people and opened a business at an amusement center, but I have no idea what the business was, and it seemed as if no one else knew what we were doing, either.  People who came in from the outside were incredibly rude to us, and it seemed like other businesses didn’t give a single shit if they went out of their way to make us feel unwelcome, and to even do their best to drive away our business–which we didn’t have because we didn’t know what our business.

Oh, and there was a massive pickup accident in there, too.  Go figure.

Last night was another thousand into the scene, which is running longer than I imagined.  There’s a lot on Annie’s mind, and a lot for her to go over when it comes to showing her own selfishness.  She’s being honest–but then she’s speaking with the school seer, and it’s hard to BS a woman who might just drop something like, “I’d watch your third child,” and leave it at that.  What, are they going to follow you everywhere?  Are they going to become a serial killer?  Will they be named Carl and never stay in the house?  Stuff like that in a school of magic will play your ass for many years.

My mind was also playing with other things.  I like to call the work I do part of my “Multiverse”, and that’s because somehow everything I write is, in one way or another, connected.  Sure, maybe it’s because there are characters in different stories who find they are also related to people in other universes.  For example . . .

This current work in progress really stared with an old role playing characters, and then evolved into an idea I was considering for the characters from my novel, Her Demonic Majesty.  The idea was that my main sorceress, the lovely and sweet Jeannette Hagart, she from one universe dumped into the body of someone else in another, would end up meeting the characters from my current novel, and have to deal with the mind-bending realization that she’d dealt with these characters in her own world, but as fictional characters in an online role play, and not as actual people–which also leads her to wonder if the people who played them were in her universe as well, or if her characters was a living person in her new world, too.

"Make it stop!  Make it stop!  It's a war crime to make a person's head explode!"

“Make it stop! It’s a war crime to let a person’s head explode!”

That’s how my crazy mind works:  even when I’m in the middle of a project, I’m thinking about other things that might just tie into the project I’m working on and how they might affect each other.

I’m telling you, there are easier ways to make a living, but none nearly as much fun.

It’s No Game

There has been a lot of playing around the last couple of days, and some yelling on the phone as well.  Why would one be yelling on the phone?  Because there’s someone on the other end who isn’t listening, that’s why.  That’s all short-term nonsense, however, and I expect things to go back to some semblance of normal by the end of the week.

Or a black hole will open and suck me into another dimension.  Anything’s possible at this point.

There’s been a lot of thinking going on between writing.  Most of said thinking isn’t about the new story, because I know what’s happening with that, and since I’ve mind mapped the story and I know the ending, all that is required is getting the middle parts written.  I’m into the sexy bits now, and while I’m only doing a thousand words a night, it’s fun getting into that stuff.  Right now I don’t feel like doing more than a thousand a day, but the end is already in my head, and I’m guessing that the totally erotic stuff happening now is going to be good for another three, four thousand words.

There’s the nagging feeling that I want to get into another story, a different story, soon.  I know I want to edit Replacements so I can get it ready for publishing, because the writing’s complete, it only needs a cover and some polishing and then it’s off to be self-published for fame and glory.  Sure, that’s why I’m a starving artist, don’t you know?

Beyond that–well, I’m thinking of getting Couples Dance out and starting the work on that as well.  Despite my emails I’ve heard nothing from the publisher that wanted a look at the manuscript, and I have to guess they’re either not interested, or they’ve went belly up.  Now that story, it’s a strange one.  If I can get that published alongside Replacements and Her Demonic Majesty, that’s three out of the four titles I set as a goal for this year, and it means there is still the possibility I can make Number Four happen before the end of the year.

There is the feeling, though–I want to do something science fictiony again.  Yes, I have science fiction stories that I could either write or edit for publishing, but I want to get back out into space.  I want to do something that is adventurous.  I don’t know why I’ve had this feeling kicking me about the back of my mind of late, but when I’m looking at the desktop of my computer I see my 3D rendering programs, and I want to get into one and start playing about with ship designs and the such.

I want to jump back into the sci fi game.  I want to do something that’s fun–maybe a bit of space opera wrapped up in some seriousness.  I want to do it and keep it “short” and see if it touches my mind.  I even have a character that would be perfect for this sort of story–

Maybe it’s time to pull her out and give her a run at the readers.

 

Where We Last Left Off

Sounds like I’m coming back from a cliffhanger of an episode, doesn’t it?

In many way publishing is episodic, and can turn into high drama when you least expect things to go sideways.  My experience has been very minimal to this point, as there are only two stories in my collection, but with Her Demonic Majesty being such an endeavor  it was bound to hit some snags.

Snag One:  the novel loaded to Amazon Kindle Direct without issues, and late Sunday night I was told it was live and ready for download.  Only one problem:  every time I tried to go to the novel page, I was getting a 404 message, saying the page didn’t exist.  I let that go for Monday, but by Tuesday the situation was the same, and I was having a not-so-good feeling taking hold in the pit of my stomach.

Snag Two then showed:  all of my work on Smashwords was rejected for Premium submission.  Going Premium on Smashwords means getting set up on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a few other distributors.  What happened was this:  I’d altered the name on my Smashwords account to reflect the name on my new cover, but that was a no-no, because the cover names on my other works didn’t match, and all hell broke loose.

So I switched the account name back, and therein appeared Snag Three:  Her Demonic Majesty was rejected for Premium submission because, it would seem, my Table of Contents links were bad.  Could be they were pointing at the wrong thing, could be they were formatted wrong, could be there were hidden bookmarks–  Oops.  Yeah, I remembered that I did that during the creation.

With that in mind, I set about getting things right.

First, I created new accounts on both Smashwords and Amazon for Cassidy.  Then, I pulled up the Smashwords version of the uploaded document, removed all the bookmarks and hyperlinks, and started over, making sure there were no hidden bookmarks this time.  Put them in, linked them, checked the links–everything was super.

Then I uploaded again.

The novel processed in two minutes, because I watched as it ran through the meat grinder.  Everything came out fine, and the novel was at a new home with a new ISBN–yes, I couldn’t use the old one, because that one was assigned to my other name.  Another thing to keep in mind.  Right now the novel is going through review for Premium submission, and I’m hoping that all is well this time though.

What next?  Tonight I’ll pull up the Kindle version of the novel and redo the Table of Contents as I did with the Smashwords version.  Then, once that’s done, I’ll upload it to the next Amazon account, wait for the word that it’s been published, and look to see if it is, indeed, ready for selling.

Then I’ll get the world out.

Of course I could end up with errors I haven’t anticipated, but I’m hopeful that the current snafu came about because of the accounts, and not because the book format was sucky.  After all, the meat grinder told me all was well, and why would it lie to me?

I’ll be right here, keeping my fingers crossed.

Over the Finish Line

Her Demonic Majesty is a done deal.  Yesterday morning I started to prep the novel for upload to Smashwords.  When I mentioned to a friend that I was “thinking” of uploading the novel just to see if it made it through the Meat Grinder, she was like, “What’s keeping you from doing it?”  And she was right:  there was nothing holding me back.  As she told me, “Girls shouldn’t fear!”  Which is good advice to anyone who is fearful what they are doing is shit, but it struck a chord with me, because . . . there’s always fear.

Without further ado I set up the file and uploaded it, once again expecting the meat grinder to take a long time, and gaining great surprised when I was through the process in less than five minutes.  So here it sits on Smashwords, waiting to get sent out to other selling locations.

What about Amazon, you say?  Good question.  In the afternoon I started the upload to the Kindle Store, and just like with Smashwords the novel and cover were through the conversion process in about five minutes.  I’ve received notice from Amazon that the book is “live”, but when I try to find it, nothing appears.  I had this happen with Kuntilanak, where it took about a day before it started showing up on the Amazon pages, so I’ll wait until tonight before sending off messages to the Amazon people.

So here I am, three stories published, and this being my first novel.  I feel–well, relieved, actually, because I can move on to other things now.  I was thinking up a building design last night, one I need for a story, because while I’ve seen the building in my mind, I haven’t actually seen it as it should be.  It’s something I want to get done, even if I’m not starting on that particular story for a while.

What I need to do is get the word out about the novel.  I need to pimp it a bit.  I’ve done a bit of that already, but I want to get more going. I don’t expect it to become a best selling, but a few dozen would be a gas.  It’d be even better if it were a few hundred.

We’ll see.

One thing I’m going to do is do a give away, and there will be an interview.  When I mean “interview”, I mean something probably strange and unusual, since I myself am strange and unusual.  Also, I want to have fun, and I think I can come up with something that’ll fit that bill.  I’ve done the author’s interviews many times before, and while they were good, they seemed . . . well, they could have been a little more light hearted.  So something to else to put into my sights.

It’s finished, and with it a year and a half of my life that started at a minute after midnight on Nov 1, 2011.  All because someone told me I should try NaNoWriMo, and that if I did, I’d be able to finish–

And look at me now.  Top of the World, you know?

Plugging In and On

Saturday was a long day for a number of reasons, which was mostly due to me getting up at five-thirty and not heading off to bed until almost eleven.  Lots of running around, lots of drama, lots of things happening.  It was the sort of day that seems to go on and on, and it just sort of ends with one falling asleep in their chair–which is exactly what I did.

Through all that I had one goal to complete:  getting the Table of Contents created for Her Demonic Majesty.  I created a copy of the novel as a Word document for the Smashwords upload, and started getting all the bookmarks set up, ran thought it looking for errors (of which I found three), and then began linking the chapter headings to the bookmarks.

In all, a solid two hours of work, getting the document ready.  But it’s ready.  Finally.

It remains for me to do the Kindle version today, but that won’t take as long because I don’t need to do a review of the manuscript, just create bookmarks on the chapter headings, and set up the links to the bookmarks.  I may do that after I upload the first document into the Smashwords meat grinder–that checker of all epublishing checkers–and wait to see if any errors return.  I don’t believe it’s going to kick me, but you never know.

This is where I stand this morning:  all ready to go, covers and everything.

I’m nervous as hell.

I remember when I uploaded Kuntilanak to Smashwords, and after reading all the warnings about how long the programs may take to check the manuscript and the possibility of errors forcing me to make additional edits to the story before it could become a real ebook, everything turned a bit anticlimactic when the story uploaded in two minutes.  The day and a half I’d spent getting everything in order paid off, and the week or so I’ve spent with Her Demonic Majesty will, I’m certain, pay off in the long run, also.

Still doesn’t keep me from getting all shook up and nervous.

Oh, and I need to get an ISBN number, which is something the Smashwords upload allows.  You just tell them you need a number, and there it is.  At least I think that’s the case:  I need to check . . . yeah, just ask for a Free ISBN and you’ll get it.  I should look into getting a copyright on the novel as well, because it’s really, really mine then.

So much to do, but not really.  It’s the final crossing of the lines to make sure the novel is truly finished.  Then, once it’s up, I can sit back and watch the money roll in.

Ah, yeah.  If only that last part were true.

If nothing else, I’ll have this novel published this year.  There is more I want put up as well, but this is the start.  And it only took two months to go from the point of “I’m starting to work on this,” to ” It’s up and ready for you to buy!”

Once this is out of the way, I guess I can get back to writing.

The Foundations Upon the New

Lets get this out of the way right now:  Her Demonic Majesty is finished.  I received the finished edited manuscript yesterday afternoon, and I had it ported into Scrivener, and chapters updated, by five-thirty in the afternoon.  (Or as my friends in the rest of the world would say, 17:30.  Audrey and Cytheria would say that, too, just because.)  Today I write the dedication page and start getting the Table of Contents in place, and all that remains is the upload and publication.

So this part of my writing life is almost over.  Though, really, it’ll never be over,  because this will become my first published novel, and that’s something you sort of look at with a bit of nostalgia   “Remember when you published Demonic Majesty back in ’13?”  “Oh, yeah:  that thing was a bitch to finish.  Pass me some caviar. . .”  Just kidding:  I don’t care for caviar.  I’d probably be drinking some European beer instead.

I’ve already had someone ask when I’m going to have the book up on Kindle.  My reply was, “Soon”.  I want my accounts in order, I need to run it through the Smashwords meat grinder–there are still a few steps remaining, but it’s going to be soon.  Before the end of the month, I think.  If not next weekend, then maybe Memorial Day weekend.  But soon.

Which means, I’m already on to the next thing . . .

I’ve not started writing yet, but I’m doing a lot of thinking, and not a bit of world building.  I have my erotic cabin story to start setting up–yes, I’m still doing that–and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this new world I’m creating, one with all the strange things that really happen in the world, but no one knows about.  Scoff and say it’s been done already, but I don’t care, it’s a world for a couple of my favorite characters, and I’m going there.

I began looking at the layout of the interior of Cape Ann, and under satellite it doesn’t look too bad, but when you switch over to a terrain map–geez, oh, is it rough!  It’s not a simple expanse of level ground; it’s rocky and hilly, and a perfect place for people with unusual skills to have built a place of higher learning.

Now I’m getting into the things I like, because making maps of places is something I dearly love, and once I begin getting ideas about how the Institute should appear, I’ll come up with some very interesting things.  At least I hope they’re interesting:  I’d hate to put a lot of work into this stuff, then have it ignored–

Ah, who cares?  It’s what I want to do.  World building is something every writer should do now and then, and have a blast throughout the creation.  And if you manage to root it a bit of reality, then it becomes an even greater world, because you’re interfacing the possible with the maybe-impossible, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

So much to do, so little time to get it done.  You’d swear I do this for a living.