Tag Archives: dean wesley smith

Novel three underway, novel two passed in.

glass baysmbig sur cover sm

Once again I’ve been caught up in the writing and forgetting to post. I think that’s a good thing.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking Dean Wesley Smith’s three novels in three months challenge. Heading into the last three weeks now, with the third novel well underway.

I completed the second novel – Glass Bay – and got it turned in on time. It turned out to be the second of my Emily Jade thriller series. It’s been a couple of years since Big Sur came out and I was starting to wonder if I would find the next book in it (my thriller Taken by Surprise, from last year) has an appearance from Emily, but it’s more like a side book, with a diff103339c0684d4020197c34075c956ca076bdabdcerent lead character (I just noticed that on the cover of the two Emily Jade books I’ve got “Author of Taken by Surprise).

Once I have Mr Smith’s first reader notes back I’ll get it underway with fixes and tinkering and underway to a copyeditor. Hope to have it out before the end of the year.

And a funny thing has happened. Not only have a learned a whole lot about writing, but I’m having fun writing a novel a month. Wondering if I might try to keep it up as a challenge for the rest of the year. That would be fun too.

The Verdict Is In

glass baysmIce HuntersThe three novels in three months challenge continues. I’m nearly done with the second novel, Glass Bay, and wondering what to write for the third novel to carry me through August.

Part of the deal with the challenge is that Dean Wesley Smith will give feedback on the novels. What I guess I forgot was that Mr Smith won’t pull any punches. Won’t give any quarter. He does offer caveats (which I think all first readers should), that it’s just his opinion, his view and his taste. I know that some of the authors he enjoys reading, I find difficult and not at all to my own taste.

What he does bring to the table is decades of experience as a professional writer, with millions of copies of his books in print. Yeah, I should listen, even if it bruises my poor little ego.

The points he made about what didn’t work in the novel are basic things that frankly I should know after all the time I’ve been reading, writing and studying writing.

Being in the character’s head. Depth of setting. Appropriate imagery. (to paraphrase his comments). Probably, easy fixes, for the most part.

Right now, I’m taking those comments and making a big cycle back through the current novel (Glass Bay) and creatively looking for where I’ve made similar errors and deleting sections, or writing new sections. Yep. Glaringly obvious now.

Of course fixing is one thing. The really interesting test will be when I write the third novel and keep those concepts in my head the whole time.

Frankly, ego aside, that feedback was, if not like a complete writing course, the crystalization of writing courses, where all those concepts suddenly seem much clearer.

As Mr Smith would say, onward.

 

Glass Bay image © Claudio Arnese | Dreamstime, Ice Hunters image © Algol | Dreamstime.

Three novels in three months: Novel number 2 update

glass baysmAs I’ve mentioned, I’ve taken on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge to write three novels through June, July and August. I completed the first novel late in June and, somehow, I’m already nearing the halfway point in the second novel.

It turns out that this new book is a sequel to my 2015 novel Big Sur – and Emily Jade thriller. I’d wanted to write the next novel in the series, but have been distracted by, you know, writing science fiction (insert self-deprecating grin here.

Draft cover here – image © Claudio Arnese | Dreamstime. I don’t know if that will be the title even, but it’s kind of got the look I want.

Important thing to point out: this challenge is fun. Really. It pushes me along. It gets me focused. It gets me in the chair. And whenever I’m focused and in the chair I’m definitely having fun. I hope the fun comes through in the book.

Novel number 1 completed

Ice Hunters.jpgAs I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m taking on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge to complete three novels in three months. I’ve finished the first novel. 41,000 words.

A shorter novel for me (usually I hit around 60,000 words), but it’s still kept me busy. (Hence fewer posts).

The rules allow me to bank up to half the novel from the previous month (I wrote 12,500 words in May, so that was a good start). I’m now working on the second novel, banking words for July. It’s still fun, even if a bit intimidating.

The first novel turned out to be hard science fiction, a series book in the same universe as my book Asteroid Jumpers from earlier this year. The image is a draft cover for the new book – illustration by Algol | Dreamstime. I plan to have the book out later this year.

The second novel is looking like a thriller, in my Emily Jade series.

 

Novel challenge: 3 Novels in 3 months

keysSo, I’ll admit it. I’m one of the crazy few who have taken on Dean Wesley Smith’s novel challenge. The challenge? Write a novel a month for June, July and August. There are a few others taking on the challenge too.

I’ve written a novel in a month before. Plenty of people do a novel in a month for NaNoWriMo. This is not a new idea. The estimable Mr Smith does so frequently (which is why he makes a good coach for taking on such a thing). He even writes novels much faster.

There are rules. The novel must be at least 30,000 words. At least half of the novel must be written in the month in question – so there’s a little bit of an escape there (I got 12,500 words done on the first novel by the end of May: that’s a good start, I figure). The third novel must be completed by the last day in August. These are all artificial constraints, of course, but they will challenge me. Challenge is good.

I’ve written a whole lot already this year – averaging around 50,000 words a month (which is a bit shy of my usual novel length – mostly my novels come in around 60,000 words). Part of that has been while traveling, where my daily average was a bit lower (more like 1100 words a day). It’ll still be a push to get through 60,000 in a month.

It should be a blast. I’ll give updates as I go.

On writing Athena Setting

Athena Setting (1)Back in mid-April I commented on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post about choices. I realized that actually my comment fitted with my own blog and, in fact, could stand expanding.

When I was a teenager and wanting to be a writer and writing lots, I also drew covers for novels I would write someday.

It was kind of self-encouragement: in those days I had no idea how to write a novel. But it was cool to have a pretend cover with my name on it. In the intervening years I might have learned a couple of things about how to write a novel and I’ve practised plenty by writing a fair number of them.

So in January of this year, wondering what to write next, I remembered about that teenage dream. You know what? I sat down and wrote one of those novels. Now I have a book for my cover. Athena Setting. About a space mission gone wrong, a trapped crew about to plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere while the would-be rescuers struggle to come up with a workable plan.

I will, of course, write a more attractive blurb for the release.

Naturally, I also have a new cover for my book (that pencil scratching would look out of place, and it seems is in fact long gone). A wonderful image by Mik3812345 sourced from Dreamstime.com. I’ve tinkered with that a little. I think it helps tell the story. I do think I’ll update that tagline too – maybe “One hundred hours till rescue, ninety hours till impact” which kind of sums it up a little better.

The novel should be out around the end of May (maybe early June) as both an ebook and in print.

But after saying all that, let me tell you, I had such a fun time with the writing of the story. I got to be that kid again. It might not be my best novel, but I hope my sense of fun and adventure comes through. The kid in me can’t wait to hold the book in his hand. And try out writing another one.

 

Changing Modes

DSCN2859b small Last night I finished the draft of my first novel of the year.

That’s change mode number one. For the previous twelve-plus months I’ve been focusing on short stories so have mostly been writing in the 3000 to 10,000 word range.

Writing a sustained story that’s 60,000 words long takes a different kind of process. Glad I did Dean Wesley Smith’s Pacing Workshop (non-affiliate link!) over summer. That gave me a whole new way to approach a novel.

Change mode two: once I finished the novel I got started on a literary short story. Each year in New Zealand there are a couple of big literary contests and I make sure I enter both. One of them has a prize of $10,000 – seriously! I guess my chances are about 1/10,000, but that’s better than that Lotto thing and I still get to send off my story to other markets when it doesn’t win (one of last year’s entries has just been accepted for Takahe, a NZ literary magazine, yay).

So I went from the validation at the end of that sixty thousand word hard sci-fi novel to the opening of what will be a 3000 word piece focused on language and character more than action and wonder. I hope I can pull it off.

And, yes. I got started on the story as soon as I finished the novel. I saved the file called “pirates 25 2 2014” and created a new file called “the accident 25 2 2014” and began typing. Some writers apparently take a week off after finishing a novel. Nice for some, I guess. I want to capitalise on that momentum and carry on with writing. Anyway, I have a daily word count goal to hit.

Oh, that busy bee in the sunflower? Just last week in the garden. Summer is really giving us a scorcher for the moment. I know most of you are practically snowbound at the moment – I hope the pic gives you some cheer.