the final stretch – finishing a novel

I am over 90% finished with Blue Crystal revisions, as of tonight.

It’s kindof boggling. I’ve been working on this novel for over two years. Three full blind drafts. Test readers have pointed out things that need to be edited, of course, and I’ll need it to be polished, typos spotted. For instance, I have the hilarious tendency to write ‘kill’ instead of ‘kiss’. Hmm. Subconscious logic there…

It’s midnight now. I have exactly ten days to finish before NaNo comes around, and I think my test readers might not forgive me if I delay the last chapter for a month. So, for accountability… Every midnight, I’ll try to post a short post on my progress. It’s not a great read, I know, but I react very well to support. I’ll probably need it.

how do you prepare for nano?

Personally, I’ve been haunting the fantasy forums and coyly posting whenever I see some opportunity to show off (at least I’m honest?), then wondering if I could be writing out a detailed plot. Notes on the church bulletins during the announcements, daydreaming situations… really, though, I think the best way to set out a tone is to write out bits and pieces.

I had an idea for a scene and tone that I liked a short while ago. I can’t write for nano yet, but so long as I don’t use my samples for my wordcount, it’s all good.

Here’s something that I came up with:

“You’re going to spar, Miss Soarin?” Leo asked, and forced a smile. He stepped carefully away from Merrily, hands held behind his back in what he considered a respectful pose.

“Yep!” Merrily hoisted up the hem of her lemon-yellow gingham skirt. “I’ve got trousers on. See?”

Her trousers were brown, the sort of stiff canvas that the Soarin boys wore about the yard. The garment fit her so well that the cut suggested tailoring. He could imagine a healthy Misses Soarin laboring by lamplight with measuring tape and needle… Leo stopped his imagination there and tried not to think about Merrily’s legs. “But… why not just wear trousers? You might take off your skirts…”

Merrily’s smile turned at once, and she sent him a pointed glare, dropped the hem of her skirt, and marched off toward her brothers and their sand bag targets.

Leo fumbled, grasped for something else to say. He certainly hadn’t meant it as an insult; he needed to make it better. “… Mechanics wear trousers!”

That probably wasn’t it.

So… anyone else doing NaNo want to write snippets along with me? Comment with a link; I’ll post them on my site.

nano plan

It’s a bit early for it, but with National Novel Writing Month a bare month and a half away, I thought that I’d outline my project and a few of the details. Anyone participating in NaNo is welcome to add me to their buddies list– [my profile].

The Artificer’s Angels
POV: Third person omniscient. Currently out of fashion, but nonetheless holds promise.
Rating: PG – PG13. I’m in the mood for something lighter.
Genre: Fantasy.
Sub-Genres: Magical-steampunk, action/adventure, romance.

Most grave robbers take the jewelry. This one stole the body.

On a tour of a mechanist’s laboratories– her brother’s workplace– Merrily Soarin wanders off, peeks into an ajar door, and discovers a boy in a glass tube. Just before Merrily is caught, she could have sworn that he looked at her. As if he were still alive.

Enter master artificer Maxwell Gallows, once famous, now infamous. He’s been looking for his son’s corpse for a long time, and meeting Merrily Soarin was the best thing that had yet happened for his search. But there are a few problems.

Maxwell Gallows would rather kill Merrily than repay her for her help. The mechanist is an old enemy, and won’t back down from a fight. Resurrection is illegal, and protocol dictates that the recipient be destroyed. Leo, the artificer’s son, is so damaged that his next death will be his last no matter how brilliant his father. To make matters worse, in an attempt to steal some of Maxwell’s old projects, the mechanist accidentally activated one.


Major Characters:

Leo Gallows – Leo has a good, level head on his shoulders, and unlike his father, he has a strong conscience. He’s unbearably shy around girls, and doesn’t take well to Merrily’s constant hugs. He’s on his way to becoming an artificer in his own right.

Maxwell Gallows – Manic, driven, brilliant, but also self-centered and elitist. He doesn’t take well to being helped by a farming family, much less a religious one. He’s killed Leo twice in lab accidents.

Merrily Soarin – Cheerful, impulsive, accepting, and the bringer of hugs. Merrily spent half of her childhood working on the farm, a quarter taking stupid dares, and another quarter trying to resuscitate injured animals. The family has a little graveyard beyond the garden where Merrily buries the ones that don’t make it.

Paul Soarin – One of Merrily’s five older brothers, Paul bears the nickname of ‘Shadow’ for his tenancy to conform and follow.

Abraham Gennyson – A strong mechanist, Paul’s boss, and one of Maxwell’s old rivals. Abraham is brilliant at clockwork, but does not understand biological engineering or magic.

Uriel – The prototype Maxwell used before he tried to rebuild his son after his first death. Maxwell pulled Uriel out of a hospital morgue, but in the process of resurrecting him, erased his memories. Maxwell thought it was ironic to give him the name of an angel.

checking in

By tonight, I’ll be at or above 35,000 words on my novel, roughly 1400 from where I’m standing now. I’m frequently a bit below par, but I blame that to writing late at night, past the midnight line. I’m not dead, just very, very focused. Sorry I haven’t been around a lot!

I’ve said this before, but I think I need to say it again. Complete rewrites are beautiful, wonderful things. They’re a lot, a lot of work, but the improvement to the plot and composition are fabulous, and well worth it.

Since I’m finally very happy with my plot and the balance between characters, I’m going to keep up my NaNo pace through December (I’ve heard of a NaNoFiMo– National Novel Finishing Month– next month). Depending on how long this new draft takes me, I’ll be done a little before or a little after the new year.

So, based on that, January through March are going to be editing and revising months. I’ll start agent-shopping this April.

Wish me luck!