Wings of Malice series

Yes, you read right. Wings of Malice will now be a series.

Let’s first be clear… I’m referring to ‘series’ in the literary world, not televisual. But, possibly in the future that could still happen. Whom knows?

Originally, I had intended to write a standalone fantasy novel, with the possibility of creating two or three spin-off novels, for each of the main characters. Instead, I’ve decided on writing a series (of three books), which will very much complicate things. Essentially, this means dissecting 86,000 odd words, and separating chapters into their respective novels. In summary, I will be writing three novels at once. What fun!

If you will notice, I have updated the novel progress to…

Wings of MaliceIt’s simply my need to constantly make things more difficult for myself, really.

So far, I have gone through my manuscript, and I have begun filtering out chapters, and have been formatting them into some sort of coherent structure. At this stage, Book Three is longer than the rest — the start has been difficult to dissect, unfortunately —  so really I have been forced to work on all three novels at one time, at least for now.

Writing in this particular structure actually opens a door to a spin-off I have been contemplating for some time. One of my antagonists is quite a complex character, who I would like to develop a bit more within the series. But, I would also like to show her off in her own novel, as she seems to outshine the heroines.

At this stage I can’t reveal much more about the project, unfortunately. It’s now, technically, in its ‘early days’.

In other news
I have just finished reading Florence and Giles, by John Harding.

This is an amazing book, and I will get around to writing a proper review soon — I won’t do one in this post.

I will say this though… buy this book now! It is in-your-face Gothic, and in-your-face twists and turns. As the quote on the cover of the book suggests…

Imagine The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe – The Times

…it is indeed very Poe-esque.

I will stop there. As I said, I will leave the review until later.

What’s next on the reading list?
I haven’t started anything new yet, sadly. These last couple of weeks have been quite hectic, and so far I struggled to finish both Wildthorn and Florence and Giles before my deadlines.

As you can see (below), I still have a few to go. I did also recently order another book, Emily’s Ghost, by Denise Giardina — my first preference — but the order was cancelled sadly, so now I will have to find another copy elsewhere. Sigh.

I may also consider The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James now since finishing Florence and Giles. I do have a copy somewhere, in one of my To Be Read bookcases.

Eleanor – Comps, cover letters, and courses

It’s getting to that stage where I will have to abandon my ‘noobness’ and start immersing myself fully into the world of post writing… stuff. For Eleanor’s sake. This will include building a platform (well, more so than I have), writing cover letters, reading comps, submitting to an editor, submitting to publishers, and I’m sure there are a tonne of other things I must do before I get promoted to ‘Competent Author’.

Comps
I have been continuing my read through of comparative works. My aim at the moment is to read one book a week. I’ve finished The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay, and now I’m onto Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett. I’m not certain what will be next on the list at this stage, but right now I’m considering The Goddess and the Thief (reminiscent of The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins) by Essie Fox — if you recall, I bought it fairly recently with my haul of Marie Corelli and Daphne du Maurier books. Also on the list is Beloved, by Toni Morrison, however, since it was published in 1987 it may not make for a good comp. I’m told that it is best to find recently published works. Not sure if this is a strict ‘rule’, still, I will try to stick to more recent neo-Victorian works.

In my search for modern retellings of Frankenstein, I happened upon The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, by Peter Ackroyd. It isn’t exactly the retelling I imagined (as is my understanding, at least), rather it is a story about Victor Frankenstein meeting Percy Bysshe Shelley, so of course, I immediately ordered it from Book Depository.

 

 

So, as you can see, I am accruing books faster than I am reading them and, of course, I have no room for them either. Seems a trip to IKEA for new bookcases is in order!

Cover letters
So, I have to start considering writing a cover letter for Eleanor, for when I submit to publishers. Problem is, I’ve never written one, and I don’t know how. From my understanding, it appears that I will have to discuss comps (which is why I am powering through so many books at the moment), or at least the marketability of Eleanor. But, never fear… because… (now, stay with me here)…

Courses
…I’ve happened upon a course — Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers — run by the Australian Writers’ Centre. I don’t usually enrol in courses like this, but I thought I’d give it a go. I was also excited to learn that Natasha Lester, author of If I Should Lose You and What is Left Over, After and former tutor of mine from Curtin University, is hosting the course. So, that was enough to win me over. I haven’t started the course yet, but fingers crossed I’ll find time this week, because…

and etc
… while all of this is happening (research and reading), I will be attempting to continue my work through Wings of Malice. I didn’t quite realise just how much it was I was undertaking until I wrote it all down just now!

Join me again next week for another update.

Wings of Malice, comps, and Sade

Okay, so I’ve abandoned any and all attempts at having a break, because it’s just not working. Instead, I’m placing all my thoughts, effort, and time into continuing my work on Wings of Malice, a young adult fantasy novel.

I left Wings of Malice about a year ago after hitting a wall, but also, more importantly, to start my National Novel Writing Month project, Eleanor.

Getting back into it after such a long break has been tough. Fortunately, I did leave the project with most of it already complete. At this stage, I’m merely going through and refreshing my memory of the story and plot, and doing my 3rd round of edits as I read. There are of course areas where I will need to write up new stuff. This is just typical of my process. I’ll be onto my 2nd or 3rd round of edits on a project, but then will have a fair few blank spaces or chapters, which I have neglected (and usually continue to neglect, in favour of something easier!) To that I say, “No!”

I know it’s wrong, but I keep doing it!

Of course, after working on Eleanor, I’ve learnt some things about my writing. Most importantly, I’ve learnt how to identify errors that I make. And it is difficult, because I’m relatively blind to my own errors. I’m easily able to identify them in a client’s work, but it is harder to do so for my own. I cannot explain why. I suppose it is simply a matter of having fresh eyes looking at it. Knowing a story so well, and being able to picture every aspect of it, makes me blind to see how it is truly conveyed in my writing.

As I look over Wings of Malice now, I can see some of those errors that I had been making. Some of them appear quite obvious now (it has been a year since looking at the project), such as issues with point of view. Though, I think that was more to do with my inability to decide on 3rd person omniscient or 3rd person limited. Also, each chapter focuses on a different character and so, once again, I had difficulty in deciding whose point of view should be showcased. Trust me, it’s a thing. And I’m working on it! Though, I confess, I still have trouble every now and then with slipping from 3rd person limited to 3rd person omniscient. I’ll blame it on the fact that prior to 2013, I wrote everything in 1st person. There we go!

With Eleanor, however, I had already made the decision on p.o.v, etc before I started writing it.

I can also see how my writing and writing process have developed since last year — even just the little things. I am now able to organise and prioritise my work better. 12- to 14-hour days are a norm now, and my impossible deadlines are starting to become a reality. National Novel Writing Month has made me realise my true potential. I had never thought it possible to write 50k words within a month, and did not expect myself to even finish, but I did! So, the pessimist in me is trying to learn to become more confident in my ability.

Now, where were we?
Ah, of course! To help keep me motivated and committed to Wings of Malice (at least until NaNoWriMo this year), I will be employing the services of Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design once again.

Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design

If you remember, Phoenix designed the deliciously orgasmic cover for Eleanor.

Eleanor by Cadence

I have a few design ideas for Wings of Malice, but nothing set in stone as yet. And this will of course mean rewriting the blurb. It is awful, I know. I’m horrible at writing blurbs. I know I’m not alone in this though… ahem… right?

In other news…
Comps! If you remember, last week I discussed how I would research possible comparable titles to Eleanor. I recently started reading, The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay — a potential candidate for my list. I’m only about halfway through, so I’m not certain I will name it as a comp, but it is a neo-Victorian or, as it’s set in France, neo-Napoleon III? No? Neapolitan, then? Napolitana? Should I just shut up? Okay, will do. 😛

The House I Loved - Tatiana de Rosnay

Speaking of Napoleon III, or at least a Napoleon, I suppose it’s the right time to reveal my NaNoWriMo project idea. I will be writing a piece on the Marquis de Sade. Shock. Horror! I know, I’m quite predictable. I love reading about his life though. And, I thought I’d put my Honours thesis research to use because, quite honestly, I don’t think I have it in me right now to get my paper ready for an academic publication. Not now, at least.

Oh, and there is a link between Napoleon and Sade, don’t worry. I’m not making things up. I’ll let you know more details as soon as I figure them out myself. Right now, the plan is to write about a series of important events in Sade’s life. Each chapter will reveal a different event. I know, right now it doesn’t sound exciting. I’m stuck between not wanting to explain too much of it, and not knowing how to even express it! It’s in my head, figuring itself out (and now casually listening to The Cranberries’ “Zombie”).

You really don’t want to know how my mind works, and why it wanders where it does!

Anyway, thanks for keeping up to date with my work. Join me again next week!

Born of hallowed love – a work in progress

Born of hallowed love.
Tainted and fated
by prophecy;
a higher purpose she wished
to be unburdened by.

Cursed blood.
The key to salvation,
in death only.

Cursed with age.
The envy of her immortal brethren.

Unwilling to continue a sacrifice,
to fight
to die
for another’s cause
and never her own.

She leads her own crusade
in search of herself

In misery feigned
her devotion to her line
and yet accepted
for there was no other way
no other purpose of her being
than to be as a vessel.

For what is one life,
her life, to the lives of man?

© 2017

Going slow…

… but getting there.

Just hit 80,000 words!!! recently (for novel number two, Wings of Malice), but the end feels so very far away. High fives for now though 🙂

I’m aiming for 120,000 words (but that’s not set in stone. Anywhere between 80k and 120k is perfect), and although I’m still technically on the first draft, I have edited the manuscript so many times, it feels as though I’m into draft two or three at least. Right now I’m filling in all the blanks, trying to join chapters together, and get everything all fluid, before getting right into editing (well, more editing than I’m currently doing… It will be the ACTUAL editing process). Dreaditing?

It has been difficult working on such a large document, and I prefer to be able to see everything right in front of me, but printing out pages (or the whole manuscript) is starting to become a real pain, both physically and financially. There must be a better way.

I wish I knew the secret formula for all of this!

Deadline is coming up soon.. eeee! But it’s going to get done. No problem…

Although…

…I’ve discovered the best form of distraction. I’m cat-sitting a little black kitty at the moment, and she demands all the attention. She won’t let me write! I’m calling this, ‘proCATination‘, a rite of passage for all aspiring authors.

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This book writing thing could take longer than I initially thought 😛