Monthly Archives: November 2012

REVISION is a very scary 8-letter word.

For a first timer like me, Revision is a worrying word. When I started my book, I hadn’t encountered the idea of revision before, and had no idea what it entailed as a part of the writing process.

The internet was less than helpful. Some gems of advice included: “Congratulations. You’re finished. Now burn it. All of it. To cinders. Start all over, and you’ll have your first draft.”

And Holly Lisle’s course (one of my heroes) on Revision goes on for a thousand weeks.

Okay, maybe not a thousand.

I was crushed. And dubious.

I’ve learned that Revision doesn’t have to be such an intimidating concept, depending on your process. On my locked blog, one of my Betas  assuaged my fears pretty effectively by pointing out that each story section had been heavily revised already, and the final draft just needed to be tied together properly. Theme had to chiselled out. Technical engineering had to bolted down. One character needed to be changed to a female, and all of her scenes rewritten to match her new identity; things like that.

Revision is the ‘finish work’ on the new house. Picking out the cupboard door handles, and making sure they match the wall paint. Shutters or window-boxes outside? Argon-gas windows, or refurbishing the old wooden sashes?

Which, it turns out, is a great deal of fun to do. And you need help. You need expert input, and fresh eyes to take a look at it.

But here, I think, is the secret.

You have to finish the rough construction first.

You can’t paint studs. That would be stupid. People would judge you. You can’t nail roofing shingles down into thin air without sheathing. You can’t put in a bathroom  without plumbing.

And that’s your first draft. The bones.

Nothing more can happen until you’ve got that thing poured, fastened, framed, covered, weather-tight, and signed off for inspection.

Right now, that’s where my novel is. In the hands of the inspectors. It’s an agonizing wait (two of my beta readers are young dads; there is no spare reading time to be squeezed from their schedule), and I’m busting to get started on the final draft.

But there’s no hurrying an inspector. It just makes them grumpy.

So, in the meantime, I decided to start work on the next book. Because once you realize you can build a house, you kind of want to build more of them. There are new tricks you want to try, new nuances to play with. New kinds of hammers and nails.

Joss Whedon, Guillermo Del Toro, Lovecraft, King; all the greats beckon with the same advice.

Keep. Writing.

Just keep writing.

To stop (and wait for my hard copies to return), would let my hammer arm get rusty, and help me forget what kind of solder to use on the pipes.

Now, after opening the blank document for the next book, and watching the cursor blink for only about 3 seconds before my characters tapped the back of my head to get their scene underway, I think I get it.

Like any crafts-person, you’re only as good as your next project.

And there’s always a next project.

Onwards, to sequel!

~BC Laybolt.

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Images of Progress. (Or, a Tale of Two Covers).

Super Excited! The rough first drafts of my covers have arrived from my awesome Graphics Designer! Things are beginning to feel quite…real.

The choice between covers is an agonizing one. One cover I desperately want to use, the other is a wonderful result of miscommunication that resulted in an amazing, accidental image. And it offers a really great alternative that I think I have to go with.

Here are the two cover options. Kind of like twins in a bassinet. Go ahead and look. Make silly noises, and pretend they can understand you. I’ll be over here basking, and handing out cigars. Actually, I hate cigars. Cookies, then. But REALLY good ones.

And:

Maybe someday, one of them will run for Prime Minister. Or, better yet, be on Amazon Createspace and Kindle. I think that’s where their fullest potential lies. A far better career choice than politics.

CopyrightBCLaybolt2012.

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Of Indy e-Pubbing, and of legwork profound.

Behold.

Image

The three thick, thump-when-you-drop-them-on-the-coffee-table, fresh-from-Staples copies of the first draft of my book, To Drown in Sand. The pages thump together when you run your thumb across the edge. They smell like fresh, fresh paper.

I carried them out of the Big S as carefully as I carried my two infant children from the hospital. And then, like a new mom, I  had to surrender them for assessment.

Being an Indy author today seems, to me, to demand a quest for quality very much unlike other fields. I have to push my reading team to keep picking at me. I have to have copies of the first draft hand-delivered to smiling friends who have agreed to be ruthless with their criticism. And then, I have to wait while they cut into my creations with the Red Pens I provided them.

Not that I’m complaining. I stepped onto this boat, I have to wait until its back in dock. And the whole process hasn’t dwindled my enthusiasm. I’m from a generation that had to only dream of self-publishing. Now, the tech is at our fingertips, and there isn’t any reason not to chase it.

But it’s about what you do with it once you decide, I think. You can choose to hone it, demand higher quality at every turn, from yourself, and from your team, your artist, and your writing. Because there’s time to get it as right as you can make it. That’s what today’s tech has offered, and that’s what a reader deserves.

My first proofed copy came back to be, scarred by the Red Pen. As I read through Ademir’s work, I laughed at how thorough he was, and how it seemed that he had done more work in editing my novel than I had in writing it.

Forever nudging the bar. True friends will do that with you.

Interesting how writing, the loneliest job in the universe, can make you feel supported. I’m thinking that’s a sign that we’re doing it the right way.

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Bathing in the Realness (Or, Mind If I Show You My Wiki?)

In preparation for the release of my first Indy E-Pubbed military sci-fi novel To Drown in Sand, one of my Betas, Ademir (rocket scientist, relentlessly energetic champion of all things Lunen, and orbital entry aficionado), suggested I build a Wiki for the universe that (tries) to contain the story. We’ve been puttering away diligently, and the framing is up, some sheathing, and even a window or two.

Wikis are great for collaborating on world-builds, and act as an excellent standing reference for any writing project underway. Nothing better for those “Oh…wait…what did I call those little whatzitz again?!?” moments.

So here’s mine. Its the 10th Lunen Regiment Wiki, complete with handy little links and even a few neat photos to set some ambience for the story’s setting.

http://the-10th-lunen-regiment.wikia.com/wiki/The_10th_Lunen_Regiment_Wiki

Feel free to click around, and explore. Just remember that the place is still under construction, so if you fall in any holes, they may go pretty deep, and we won’t be able to hear you to get you out. We’re busy launching re-entry rockets and firing neat weaponry.

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From Bookshelf to the Desk: Moving Closer to the Goal of Self-Publishing.

Excited Greetings!

Welcome to Part 2 of a Master Plan! How does it feel?  Sort of like peeking out from behind a curtain at Cobra Commander’s hideout, and getting to hear his new Plan For Global Domination?

Yeh…I know. Not quite…..

This is the first post to my new Blog; and a milestone in my progress to successfully Indy E-Pubbing one of my novels. My goal for this Blog is to lay the foundation of, and officially begin, my journey as an independently published writer.

My Other Blog is a Porsche:

There exists, in the bowels of the internet, another Blog of mine called A Bookshelf of Convergence, which is the locked, non-public home of my writing projects. Behind a thin wall of obscurity, my team of loyal, starving beta-readers are chewing through my first finished draft of my novel, To Drown in Sand.

It’s the first book of my military sci-fi trilogy, which tells the story of a man’s struggle for retribution as he starts a new career in the naval infantry of his homeworld, Lunen.

And I must admit, I think it’s quite good. And so do my Betas, or else they all would have abandoned me by now, I’m guessing.

So, please join me as we journey forward on the path to getting this exciting project to completion.

I have to say, there have been times when its been quite the lonely bit of business. (Up at five a.m. in the dark, typing frantically to record the movie playing in my mind and all that. Not to mention the hundreds of hours working on something that only exists as an idea, which can be psychologically taxing to the psyche, as well as the loved ones around you).

So thanks for coming along!

B.C. Laybolt.

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