Introduction to my #EditnFriends Project

So, over on a friend’s blog, is a new challenge. Liz has decided that since March is traditionally editing month for WriYe and the WriMo’ers around the world, she would put out a challenge to those of us (me) who need things to edit. Every week, we check in on social media with the #editnfriends (so mostly twitter). In my eyes, this is a quasi-check in to make sure I don’t get lazy.

Now to introduce my novel, which has a bit of information in my Novels tab:

Title: The Final Rose
: Epic High Fantasy
Word Count: 137,000
Summary: Found here
Series: No

So, throughout this past month, I’ve been rereading the novel as if I were a reader and not the author. It’s hard to do but I’ve tried to separate out my editor/inner critic. With any luck, I’ll have it done and can move onto part one:

Scene Blocking

In which I ask myself: is this scene moving the plot? Is it in the right place? Is it necessary or extraneous? Should it be expanded? Reduced?

To do this, I’m using color coded index cards based on which character arc the scene is for and/or who the POV character is in that particular scene. With luck, I will be able to then make sure every arc has nice progression and conclusion.

Plot Doctoring

Did I skip over parts in the middle? (Probably) Does everything make logical sense and flow? (I hope so) Do I need to add things? Does the plot need tweaking? Is it something that would happen in that setting or have I stretched too far and made it unrealistic? (And therefore unsuspend disbelief)

Revising or Rewriting?

The last part is to choose which parts to just revise and keep and which parts to rewrite. I’ll be marking those with every student’s best friend, the Post-It Flag. Some will be “Major Revision.” Some will be “Minor Revision.” Some will be “WTF?”

What is my end goal?

I want this novel to be set up for its third-ish draft in April. I know where I have problems – there are scenes in the middle that need to be retooled and rewritten. I know that the word count is going to grow (because high fantasy never stays contained) but I have to figure out just where I need to cut it.

And I have this habit of adding in awesome plot ideas midway through writing and telling myself I’ll fix them in the edit. You can take three guesses on whether or not I ever do, and two can be thrown away.

When that is all done? Onto the rest of #Pub2020 to try and achieve that published dream.

How will I report in?

I will report in here every Friday as a separate post with my main post. And then I’ll be complaining on Twitter, as one does. A lovely 280-characters of crying.

But Nine Times Outta Ten I Know You’re Trying…

I wrote a novel a few years ago and passed it around to a few friends to give critique on. This was awhile back (maybe ten-ish years now, as much as I hate to say that). I really did (and do!) love the novel but I received a critique that made me just confused.

Someone did not like the relationship between my main character and her husband. And I read back, having based it partly on my own relationship, to see what was wrong. They were different people – her, headstrong; him, more passive – that sometimes clashed. Their fights were over her job, his job, her “lack of time” at home, his expectations of her – normal, long-term relationship things to me.

My friend didn’t seem to think so. She thought that he was being overbearing, demanded too much of her, and patriarchal.

I found that a little funny. But I suppose that’s what happens when you come from a different point of view. Where she thought it made the relationship ring false, I (and my other critique partners who had experienced the same sort of long-term relationships I had) thought it was all-too realistic.

So that’s what I’m going to ramble on today: making relationships realistic. I don’t write romance primarily. Most of my novels have it in some aspect, from being an aside or part of the main plot. And what I try to do is make these relationships one readers can see in their history (or friends/family/acquaintances).

Do my characters fall into lovey-dovey romance where they never argue? No. Even The Final Rose, which has the “true love” relationship as the main driving force, has the two main characters argue with each other over important decisions and outlooks on the future.

Is there love at first sight? Very rarely. I think that “lust” at first sight is completely relatable – and I’ve used it in novels and stories! – but love at first sight far less so.

Do I have tension? Awkwardness? Embarrassment? Hiding their true selves while they’re in that honeymoon stage of the relationship? Yes. Because those aspects make things a bit more realistic. Those arguments between the long time couple? Realistic. That guilt my FMC feels when her husband starts in on how she’s not home? Not a sign that the relationship is bad; a sign that their relationship is important to her and she realizes she’s failing in it (for good reason!).

When I write, I’ll add the dirty, nitty-gritty, unfun relationship aspects. I think, even if the most speculative stories, adding the common human emotions and reactions help suspend that disbelief just a little bit further.

But if it’s elves? Totally different. 😉

It’s a Thousand Pages (give or take a few)…

Okay, not that long but today’s topic is about novel length, especially in my chosen genre of epic/high fantasy. But if I get the Beatles stuck in your head, I happily take the blame.

So, when I started writing novels (back in 2006), I really didn’t consider things such as word count. I was writing short stories mainly, usually by hand, so I worried more about pages than word count. And whether or not the story was complete, all plot points hit, and if my best friends liked it.

But in 2006, I was introduced to NaNoWriMo by a classmate. She was between majors and had decided that week she wanted to be an author. In early October she told me about NaNoWriMo, and wanted me to join her. Write a novel? Why not?

For those who don’t know about NaNoWriMo (if you exist), it is a challenge to write a novel in a month. And by a novel, they mean 50,000 words. I had no idea what that meant page-wise or paperback thickness-wise so I went with it.

And when I passed the 50k mark in my novel and wasn’t done yet, I panicked. What did I do wrong? Why was my novel not even halfway done and yet I had reached that limit? Everything seemed to be necessary and not extraneous but maybe I wasn’t sure how to read my own writing.

So I dropped that novel. And, when I decided to do more WriMo-related challenges, I actually did research.

Most of my favorite fantasy novels are well over 50k. Sanderson, Lynch, Martin… They write tomes that, when I read, feel as if they are as short as pamphlets. And most of those books are hundreds of thousands of words. So no, I did nothing wrong in my first NaNoWriMo (length-wise, anyway. Stylistic and technical? Eeeeh.).

Which, as I research publishing, leads to a fun little conundrum. Everything you read will tell you that you should submit a first (fantasy) novel that is no longer than 120k. Which is doable, but sometimes hard to adhere to in some of my stories.

The novel I am working on for publication – The Final Rose – is currently at 140k and only will get longer. I could easily see it going to 200k and beyond. Are the words going to be tight and necessary? To the best of my ability. Does that mean it is too long and out of luck? Maybe not. But that’s my problem to figure out. The best I can do is finish, edit, revise, perfect and write an awesome query to hook the right agent.

My other plan, if The Final Rose becomes that long, is to start submitting some of my short fiction to gain publication credits. I know that if the query hooks the agent and the writing is good enough for them to want to take a chance, the word count won’t matter as much. But I think having a few publishing credits under my belt will give them a bit more security in the fact that someone wants to read my writing.

[WriYe Blog Circle] It’s All Romance

This months’ WriYe Blog Circle question is…

Is romance necessary in all fiction? Why or why not?

If you do have romance in your fiction, tell us about your favorite pairings. Why are they your favorite?

I don’t think romance is necessary, but I think some aspect of it does enrich the story. Romance, as a genre, has been around for a very, very long time. Most genre fiction could be considered a subgenre of “romance,” as the original definition was fictive prose in which marvelous and uncommon things occurred.

But I am going to go with this question a bit more commercially and literally. That two-people-in-love romance. That I-will-do-anything-for-you-while-the-world-stands-between-us romance. The connection between two people that most everyone can understand – whether it be romantic or platonic love – that motivates characters to go beyond their ordinary to fight the extraordinary in order to save/maintain that relationship.

As I said before, I don’t think it is “necessary.” But I also don’t think the story will be quite as touching if there’s not some form of relationship there. There are some fantastic novels that really are focused on more platonic or familial love (I’m thinking of To Kill a Mockingbird and Scout’s love for her father) but that love must still be there. That strong emotion.

Do I include romance in all of my novels? I can’t think of one that didn’t have some sort of aspect of it. Have I written short stories without a focus on romantic love? Sure. One of my novellas has romance as a backdrop (Midsummer’s Reflection) and the other it is a passing bit in the beginning and end (Midwinter’s Choice) because the characters are working on themselves. But still, that sort of romance lingers.

And I think that my readers enjoy having it in there.

Bonus: My favorite pairings are the main pairing in my novel, The Final Rose. Task and Ziove are that star-crossed lover pair that the entire novel revolves around. Task is thrown for a loop when he finds that love sneaks up on him… And his entire world changes for it.

Another is Ros and Kyith from Sub Rosa (my first finished NaNovel which will never see the light of day, if I get my way). I like the whole Tough-Girl-Falling-in-Love trope. I can’t help it.


The reason I started this blog, and the reason that I’ve really put a focus on writing this year, is for publication. And because I hate to do things alone, I made a challenge for it.

I introduce you to… #Pub2020.

The plan for the year.

What is it? It’s simple. A group of writing friends and I decided that we would do our utmost to take a novel we’re writing or have finished and edit, rewrite, revise and polish until it is ready to be sent out into the world. At that point, querying and pitching should follow, with the aim of an agent or a smaller publishing house.

It seems like a year-to-two-years may be a small time frame, but my real focus is to get into the mindset that I write things worth reading. That I can fix the problems in my writing and there’s nothing wrong with not having a perfect draft on the first try. Whether that’s a hold over from my past or a mental perfectionist thing, I don’t care. I have to work on it.

So this year, I’m moving forward with The Final Rose to try and get that into shape. It’s a novel that reminds me of a Final Fantasy video game come to literature. I have to work on my comps, but that’ll come after I finish the novel.

I also want to use it for Pitch Wars, so the deadline is giving me motivation.

Do you want to join in on #Pub2020? The main thread is over on WriYe in the Publishing subforum. In this blog, I’ll update when I finish each step.

So far, I am now on: ” Edit First Draft for Content”

Here I go.