Archives: The Last of the Ageless

Treat It Like a Business

Oftentimes, you hear the writing advice, “Treat it like a business.” When authors say that, most of the time what they mean is you have to write even when you don’t feel like it. Which is true. As E.B. White once put it, “a writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

But sometimes, people go a little bit overboard. They interpret it as, “Thou must write every day to be a real writer!” and take it to extremes.

 

Sometimes, Even Dedicated Writers Need a Break

Traci and Dorian at the Academy of Science

Traci and Dorian at the Academy of Science

I’ve just returned from a six-week writing hiatus. Zealots of the “treat it like a business” concept might scoff. “I write even when I’m sick,” they’d say.

I’ve heard numerous successful authors say they write even when under the weather, and they can’t tell the difference between what they write while sick vs. while feeling well.

But does that mean we should never take a break? NaNoWriMo encourages people to write every day, after all.

 

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Six-Month Checkup: 2013 Edition

Six-Month Checkup: 2013 Edition

Checking in about my writing progress on The Ageless, a post-apocalyptic novel set in Earth’s future with fantasy elements. I’m a month late on this post, but there’s a good reason!

I’m getting married to a certain fellow named +David Dorian Granruth in October. How do I feel about this? Although writing is still a priority, planning our kickass steampunk wedding and awesome honeymoon takes precedence, of course!

Writing Frequency

Success! (Mostly.)

My plan was to write 4 times a week except around certain holidays and vacation. Up through May, I continued to do so. Then I came down with a really bad sinus infection just before a trip home. For a couple weeks after that, I fell to 3 times a week before returning to 4 times a week.

Three months before the wedding, I dropped back to 3 times a week. Hoping I can keep this up a little longer. The closer we are, the harder it is to juggle everything. I may go down to 2. And of course, during the honeymoon, I’ll just be enjoying myself!

After October, I plan to hop back in to 4 times a week. Let’s see if I can achieve that goal!

Finish The Century 

Success!

My plan was to finish the first draft of The Century by March. I managed to pull that off just barely, although I still had a few pre-chapter blurbs left over to write. I left myself a few revision notes at the beginning of March and moved on.

How to Publish

Success!

I wanted to come to a decision about how to publish both standalone novels by the end of this year, which I’ve done. My idea is to start with self-publishing (after extensive revisions, cover design, editing, and proofreading of course).

With later books, I may sell rights to a small or large publishing house. Later still, I may continue on as a hybrid, publishing in both arenas. Find full details and an explanation as to my reasoning on My Publishing Path.

I also started a short list of who I’d like to beta read The Ageless. If you’re interested, contact me by sending me a private post on Google+ at +Traci Loudin.

Review The Ageless

Complete! Much later than I expected… You can see how I progressed on my Current Projects page.

Once I learned more about self-editing, I realized I needed to carefully review each scene of the novel before making revisions. In some cases, scenes needed immediate triage.

Complicating things, I joined a critique group too early. The group seems to be geared more towards beta reading moreso than alpha reading, so there were lots of hang-ups and false starts. I ended up spending a lot of time revising early scenes before having the clarity of later scenes.

As of today, I’ve reviewed the entire novel and am ready to make my first attempt at a full second draft. It took five whole months of scene audits to reach this point, so that’ll be good to keep in mind for future self-editing.

I’ll estimate 5 full months to complete the second draft, but now that I’m under 4 times a week, it’ll naturally take even longer. Let’s make it a goal to have the second draft of The Ageless complete by February, shall we?

Engage Online

Fail!

One of my goals for 2013 was to engage more on Goodreads, but if anything I’ve become more of a recluse, both online and off. Hopefully this will change after October.

I found some amazing co-moderators to help me with the Speculative Fiction Writers community on Google+. Unfortunately, with the wedding planning, I haven’t been able to participate as much as I had been. Since January, the group has gained 1,100 members.

Read More

Fail in progress.

My goal was to read 20 genre books and a few outside the speculative fiction genre. I’ve certainly fallen behind on this.

Goodreads says I’m doing well, but Serenity, The Emperor’s Soul, and Legion aren’t full-length books. I never actually finished The Lab or Gardens of the Moon, as neither of them kept my interest. The World Without Us was interesting, but I tend not to read “non-fiction” straight through, so I marked this complete without reading the whole thing.

So by my count, I’ve only read 7! Hoping to catch up after the honeymoon, but I doubt I’ll reach my goal.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Traci has
read 13 books toward her goal of 25 books.
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SciFi Conventions

Pass/fail.

Part of my goals were to talk to more people at cons. Did I actually do this? Yes and no. I talked more to people I actually knew, but still didn’t really go out on a limb and talk to anyone new.

As for 2014, so far we’re planning on MystiCon (where my friend Donnie is a guest!), ConCarolinas, and Dragon*Con. I don’t think I can afford a World Fantasy Con in the same year as a Dragon*Con… Though it is in Virginia next year…

If you have any recommendations on fun science fiction conventions to attend, let me know! Leave a comment below or find me as +Traci Loudin on Google+, the perfect place for fans of science fiction and fantasy to hang out.

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Self-Editing: First Pass

Edited Version of First Book

Edited Version of First Book by Joanna Penn | Flickr

As a copy editor in my day job, I know that no one can truly self-edit. However, as a novelist, you also won’t receive the full benefit of a professional editor’s attention if you don’t clean up your work first. Especially if you’re a messy first drafter like I am. This is my first time revising a full-length novel, and here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

Three Revision Passes

I haven’t gotten to the second or third passes yet, so for this post, I’ll talk about what I’m looking for in the first pass. Roughly, I’ve broken down revisions into three areas:

  1. Scene audits (determine the nature, purpose, and necessity of each scene)
  2. Storytelling devices (refine setting, character, dialogue, exposition, voice, and others)
  3. Details (polish sentence construction, cadence, and language)

My ideas for what to include in each pass came from a variety of sources, including Writing Excuses and other podcasts, my coursework at university, Fictorian EraThe Creative Penn, SF Novelists, Magical Words, and other blogs I read on a daily basis.

I’ve just mashed everything together here so as to better analyze what worked and what didn’t in the future. The first pass is going smoothly for me so far. So what do I look for during a scene audit?
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