Tuesday, November 30, 2010

KPP3 and a Snippet Challenge

I am making good progress on KPP3, about halfway through it.  However, it is far easier to write when you have been making progress several days in a row than it is to write coming from a standstill.  For that reason, I need to make sure I keep writing five days a week.

I am starting a writer's challenge in which I post small sections of my work to my blog on a frequent basis.  The rules would be that I must snippet something every other weekday.  It must be of snippetable quality.  And it must come from recent content, dating no earlier than a week ago.  My only excuse would be when I post the next section of the novel.  In that case, the section posting would replace the snippet posting entirely for that day.

Well, them's the rules.  Let's see if I can keep to 'em.

Monday, November 29, 2010


While I am recovering from the holidays, company, and sneak-attack on our dog by a skunk, I am browsing the internet.  I found an interesting blog post about agent myths.  The comments are just as interesting as the blog post.  What do you all think?

By the way, I don't think I found anything as pervasively awful as the smell of skunk.  Dog's been washed twice, but the smell that seeps into the house takes weeks to go away and it will infiltrate every room and cabinet while it is at it.  I can't even stand doing my allergy medicine right now, because I don't want to smell right now.  Body spray, air fresheners, and even fragrant essences like you put on potpourri can do nothing for it.   And eating?  Forget about it.  That will have to wait until I am out of the house.  Gah!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Deadlines and Holidays

I love the sound of deadlines whizzing by, such as the one I set for my nano novel.  I haven't been able to look at my novel for two days straight.  The last few days have been spent in Thanksgiving prep.  And for every preparation you start, two new ones beg for attention.  Hopefully before my family starts trickling in late tonight, I'll have a chance to work on writing again.  But I'm going to have to set new goals.  No shame in that.  As long as I keep moving forward, I have a chance at whatever goal I set.

Anyway, for those celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving.  I'll see you after it is over, if not before.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Short Fantasy Novels

Not too long ago on Query Shark, literary agent Janet Reid wrote that "VERY fast paced high octane crime novels clock in at 55,000 words. Science fiction, and the requisite world building usually start at double that. I assume she would say the same for fantasy. 

Part and parcel of that desire to "take a calculated risk" as outlined in my last post is the consideration of such information from prominent sources like Ms. Reid.  Seeing as how my goal is to write shorter novels whenever possible, I have some unique challenges in store for me.

However, I do admit to a contrary spirit whenever someone says something like this.  Usually that spirit results in a self-dare.  But I have enough on my to-write list as it is.  In fact, an entire multiverse, of which Walker Universe is one node, that is threatening to expand everyday.  I guess my ornery side will have to make do with Walker Novel 2, which I am actively working on to keep under 69k words.  Make do, for now that is.

Writer as an Entrepreneur

Mommy Millionaire author Kim Lavine listed the following as key characteristics of a successful entrepreneur:

  • Persistent
  • Goal-oriented
  • Willing to take a calculated risk
  • Possessing strong vision
  • Competitive
  • Self-confident
  • Creative

Lucky for me, we don't have to possess all of these from the get go.

Why do I bring this up?  Because when I first read it, I saw the strong correlation between being a writer and being an entrepreneur.  And if you choose to become a self-publisher of your own works, that goes doubly so. 

So what do you think, fellow writers?  How do you do according to this list?  Are you like me and have a little ways to go yet?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One and Two: Index.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One and Two: Edit One

Important Caveat:  This novel is being written experimentally--that is, out of order.  I will post the correct reading order as I go on the Works in Progress Page.

Key Plot Point One, Edit One:

Place Holder Number One, Version One.  (For an essential summary of what happened between Key Plot Point One and Two.)  

Key Plot Point Two, Edit One:

Thanks for reading!

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point Two: Edit One.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point Two: Edit One

Important Caveat:  This novel is being written experimentally--that is, out of order.  I will post the correct reading order as I go on the Works in Progress Page.  

If you are interested in reading what came before this point, here are the links for Key Plot Point One's Parts. 
To know what events occurred between Key Plot Point One and Two, read this Place Holder Summary.  Thanks, and enjoy!


Sleep was a bygone luxury my nerves couldn't afford. The stones protected us, in theory, but deep down in my soul seeded doubt bloomed anew each time mist--and night--fell, and the eating began. Something I couldn't see and couldn't really feel kept the mist and the death at bay. How long could that last? Magic never lasted forever. Would I even know it when it fell? Would I be sitting here one night, and the predators swarm right in?

With thoughts like this huddling in my mind as I kept my solitary watch, I was lucky to snatch a few minutes here and there. Horse did better. He did not share in my uneasy vigils, instead sleeping for great spans of time, far more than any horse. Before, I would have taken courage by his seeming lack of concern. What was good for the horse was good for the man. Usually. Except that more than once, when the mist was weak at the beginning and end, he'd forayed amongst the monsters and carnage for dinner. In those brief moments, more one of them than one of us. Even so, he was still part horse, he never went far, would become skittish at sudden movement, and took great care to shake and rub of the ash-like mist once he sought sanctuary with me again. But in those moments, when his demon side would emerge and cavort with his kindred, I never felt more alone.

Walker Novel 2: Place Holder One, Version One

The following summary covers the more important bits that lie between the posted KPP1 and soon-to-be posted KPP2. For those interested in this novel for the story's sake, I hope this summary will help catch you up and not spoil your reading pleasure. For those interested in the writing method, the following hints at the nature of Events Level One method. Either way, this is a learning process. My own plans change from the experience gained by the actual writing process. I expect them to change even further, and many times over, by the time the novel is done. But instead of dreading it, I'm coming to rely on it in order to lift practical ideas from purely theoretical.


Walker 2 Novel: Update on Progress

Healthy progress so far. 
  • Events-Level One outlined--all 10 of them.
  • 1500 words on ELO1--but not done yet.

After I get a few more words on ELO1, I'll take a break and start on KPP2 edits.  Originally, I intended to edit and post the Events right after I write them.  The OCDish part of my brain prefers balance and wants to do edits on ELOs like I ended up doing on KPPs--that is, after all of them are written.  The part of my brain that dislikes so much editing agrees.  So that may work out better this time around.  Consistency.

So that is my new plan--ever-changing, ever-keeping me on my toes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Next Step

The whole point KPP system is that you write the most important parts first of your novel.  And then you fill in around it.  I had seven key plot points.  They are, in order: the beginning, launch, turning point one, mid point or turning point two, turning point three, climax, and ending.  As I am still new to writing out of order, I wanted to maintain some sense of linear progress.  That is why I wrote these in the above order.  I am saving writing completely out of order for a later stage, when my small attention span is under its greatest strain to stay focused to get finished with this novel.

So what comes after the KPP?  Well, it is time to return to the beginning and start writing the Events - Level One (ELO) sections of the novel.  In this sense, events are the next most important sections of the novel to write.  They are sense are as self-contained sections as KPPs are.  They can be a scene or a chapter or multiple scenes or chapters.  They are written in order like KPPs are.  But more importantly, ELOs support the KPPs.  Generally you have one before and one after each KPP.  Of course, the beginning and ending will only have one associated ELO, but generally so will the climax which abuts the ending.  Sometimes there is only a minor event between two KPPs.  If that is the case, that event is not written at this time.

However, I know of the following ELOs for sure:

  • One after the beginning.
  • One after the launch. 
  • One after turning point one.
  • One before midpoint.
  • One before climax.

My outline is not set in stone.  It becomes more focused with these KPP and ELOs.  However, I do feel there must be some more ELOs.  After I finish the first one, hopefully I'll have a better idea.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On Key Plot Point One: Plans Often Go Awry.

If Key Plot Point One (KPP1) were placed in a novel proper, it would encompass several chapters and scenes*. It was all that I felt the Beginning of the novel should contain. Even so, KPP1 did not go according to plan. Originally, meeting the horse was part of KPP2, but it fit better here.

Also, I originally planned on editing each KPP on the day after I wrote it, so I could maintain running edits throughout writing the novel. I had to adjust my plans for nano. For that reason, I am considering posting multiple versions of this novel as it goes through different editing phases for those those interested in the adjusted method for writing out of order.

I also planned on writing the one of the first Event PPs yesterday and editing KPP2, but fixing the formatting errors took longer than I thought on my posts. If you notice any lingering errors, please let me know. I just fixed a stray bold tag. I hope there are no others. But to return to my point, the writing and editing goal will begin today**.

That is all I have time for now. Next posts should include more information on KPP and Level One Event writing.  Perhaps even a posting schedule.



* Key Plot Points were originally called Key Scenes.  While I am not happy with either name, Scene is confusing since I use the term "scene" to denote a smaller, self-contained section of a chapter.  Sometimes a chapter is made up of just one scene.  To avoid confusion, I'm getting away from calling them Key Scenes.

**  As KPP2 is under a thousand words currently, it shouldn't take long to edit and post.  However, before I post, I have to figure how to properly summarize the content that lies in between it and that PP.  It will be spoiler-filled, for those more interested in the reading than the writing, I'm afraid.  That is another problem of writing out of order--it is hard to share your work. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One: Edit One. Index to Parts.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One: Edit One

Important Caveat:  This novel is being written experimentally--that is, out of order.  I will post the correct reading order as I go on the Works in Progress Page.

Phew!  Finally all posted.  For reading ease, here are the links to all parts of Key Plot Point One.  Later on, I will add links to discussions on the technique I am using and how it is working out so far.


Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One: Edit One. Part Four/Last

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One: Edit One

This key point has been divided into several parts for easier loading.

You can find Part One, Part Two, and Part Three here.


Part Four (Last Part)

I didn't intend from the get-go to use the demon horse's stonehenge. It had a distinct lack of appeal, as the creature obviously wanted something from there and would go there when he woke up. He had sent me an image of it, placing me there too. If I could allow it a human level of reasoning, that all spelled one thing: a trap. All good reasons to stay clear and steer toward the woods.

But the nearer I got to the skeletal woods, the less I liked it. At certain angles, the woods looked more skeletal than I liked. Sickly. Diseased. And creepy. I couldn't quite convince myself things were not moving within, including the trees themselves.

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One: Edit One. Part Three

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One: Edit One

This key point has been divided into several parts for easier loading.

You can find Part One, Part Two, and Part Four here.


Part Three

I learned to adapt a soft focus. Soft on target, just to the point where if you looked, you saw something odd, a shimmer like crosshatching of one reality over another but not quite. Ghost like. What it took was time, lots of bumps and bruises and sore egos and sorer patience, to train my eyes to see differently enough. To focus on these different wavelengths of hatching. The clearest, crispiest ones were the ones that I did my best, fastest travelling by, no matter how indirect that route was.

Eventually, I put my hand on the door of the main house and let go of my focus. The illusion slammed back, and no amount of rubbing took away a bit of my headache. I squinted at my watch to figure how long the direct indirect route took me.

What it told me made me seek stronger confirmation elsewhere.

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One: Edit One. Part Two.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One: Edit One

This key point has been divided into several parts for easier loading.

You can find Part One, Part Three, and Part Four here.


Part Two

The schism spat me out, face first, onto a road. As I pushed myself quickly to my feet, I expected an audience and the need to explain matters when I really rather not at best. Or a group of people who cut and took first and asked questions later at worse.

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One: Edit One. Part One.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Point One: Edit One

This key point has been edited into several parts for easier loading.

You can find Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four here.


Part One

It was a beautiful day to be exiled. Our party of eight stood in a schism's clearing, illumed by that giant, restless, iridescent spark. The air didn't suffocate. The sun didn't blind nor boil you. The mid-morning sky was a cheery clear blue between fluffy confections of . . . . Who was I kidding? Pretty or not, they were going to throw me through that schism never to return this reality again, for doing the right thing.

"Does the accused have any last words?"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Behind, behind, behind

I haven't worked on my nano for days.  Why?  You can read why on my Happy Freelancer blog post.  Winning nano this month isn't too likely, even if I get 50,000 words.  Why?  Because these words are out of order.  Even so, I am going to write everyday, but to boot, I am editing my Key Scene/Plot Points.  I only have the Ending left to write.  It will be interesting to edit the Beginning at the same time as I write the Ending, because the two will play off each other.

Anyway, I will not make nano this year, but I will write, at my own pace, and I will edit, at my own pace, too.  And as Sam Wyly wrote in 1,000 Dollars and Idea*, defeat simply means you have a new goal to set.  So, I will set a goal for this month.  To have the edited Key Scene/Points posted on this blog by November 30th.  And that goal and others will help me toward achieving my ultimate:  to have the entire novel posted on this blog** by December 31st.  



* Amazon Affiliate link. 

** That does not mean a complete novel, ready to be sold.  This is merely the first round of editing.  The novel will still have another editing session left.  Even then, I wait until the entire series is finished before I self-publish, and the series is somewhere in the range of 8 to 10 books, not including side projects.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nano2010: Progress - Week One

Most of my real progress on my nano novel is written down on notebook paper.  A couple days back I came up with what my novel was about and I did a ton of outlining and thinking.  I think a novel will let you know what it is about, if you haven't figured it out already in the planning stages.  Knowing what I know now, my Plot Points or Scenes have changed.  For instance, my Launch Point (the point between between Beginning  and Plot Point One) was the meeting with the demon horse, a character that would change Walker's life.  That Point got merged into the Beginning one and now Walker's capture by the evil, magical mist and mist-men is the Launch. 

So, with all of these adjustments, some Points are longer than others.  Launch isn't short, but the last Plot Point--Number Three--that I finished is long, weighting in around 6,000 words.  The one I am currently working on, Plot Point Four, looks to be of average length.  I plan on finishing it during tonight's session. 

But that brings up another point.  My plans for writing one day, editing the next, and starting the next section of writing doesn't working out well when I'm on such a tight deadline of one month, one complete novel.  I'll have to do something about that.  Not sure what yet, but it will mean changing my plans.

But that is all right.  After all, although Sun Tzu wrote "[the] general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought", he also wrote that "according as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans."  Success as a writer relies both on the strength of your original planning and your ability to adapt when needed.

I'm adapting.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nano2010: Day 1 So Far

Project:  Walker Universe Novel #2
Due to his actions in Novel 1 (Nano2009), Walker is exiled, but this supposedly paradisal world has gone to hell--being filled with a hungry mist and even hungrier monsters.  Worse yet, hell is catching, spreading to his home-world too.
Words:  644 words so far.  49,356 to go.
I stayed up late to write them.  It only took me a half hour to write that.  Stayed up till about 1:00 AM to work on my scene outlines.  They are very rough, and I will not be posting them until they are edited.
Plans:  To write Key Scene One today.
I plan on finishing writing Key Scene One today.  Tomorrow, I will start out by editing it and then writing the next Key Scene.  Want to know more about my method of writing and "Key Scenes", read this blog post.  Basically, I write out of order, writing the most important "Scenes" aka Story Arcs first.
Scene Info:  Entrance into the new world and first look at it.