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Thoughts on Writing – Writing a Rough Draft, One Character at a Time

I recently finished the main draft for book three of The Wishing Blade series (the main draft, in this case, being a little bit more polished than a rough draft, but not quite ready for beta-readers). The process I took for writing this one was a bit different than some of my other books, so I thought I would take a moment to discuss the process.

Normally,  when I write, I write semi-chronologically… for the whole plot. I may skip around at times to write scenes that I feel particularly enthused about, or to bypass scenes that are giving me difficulty until the rest of the rough draft has been written, but I write in plot order.

This time, however, I focused on writing one point of view at a time. The third book (currently untitled) has four points of view, compared to the two in Magic’s Stealing (Toranih, with a few short scenes from Shevanlagiy), the three in The Shadow War (Daernan, Toranih, a few scenes with Shevanlagiy… and technically there’s four POVs because there’s a single scene with Siklana). Distant Horizon and Glitch each have only one point of view (Jenna and Tim, respectively). There’s also Little One, which has three primary points of view and several brief scenes with a bunch of other characters, but I was jumping all over the place when writing that one.

General consensus?

The process for writing each book is going to be different.

That’s okay. Some books are harder, some are easier.

But let’s take a closer look at my most recent experiment… writing one point of view at a time. While I haven’t sent book three out to beta-readers yet, and there may be other advantages and pitfalls that I’ve missed, I have already noticed a few key aspects of the process.

Advantages:

  1. Character goals and motivations are easier to keep track of.
    • Since you’re writing one point of view all at once, you aren’t distracted by the other characters’ motivations. You’re focusing entirely on one character and what that one character wants. Thus…
  2. Character arcs are smoother.
    • Their emotions are easier to follow. You can see when their emotions are shifting, and they aren’t reacting to what the previous point of view character was feeling. It’s easier to isolate them, thus…
  3. This allows you to clearly see what major players are doing.
    • Each character feels more fleshed out because he has his own wants and needs, and is acting with an individual character arc.

However, this particular character-oriented process comes with a few pitfalls.

Disadvantages:

  1. Occasional lapses in timeline.
    • When you’re writing these different characters, you may find that something that needs to happen in the morning happens in the afternoon, or days before or after an event should occur. Having a general outline that shows what each character should be doing, and when, can help alleviate this issue, as can leaving some time frames in which the events’ timing is not solidified to one point on the plot. I was pleasantly surprised at how all four POVs managed to come together for book three… and that was probably because I had a rough outline, which I wrote after one character’s POV was already completely written.
  2. Story flow may not be as smooth.
    • When writing the plot in a linear fashion, it may be easier to see the ups and downs for the reader, not just the character. You may run into problems where the scenes are jarring, with one character coming out of an extremely tense situation into a scene where other characters are in absolute calm. To counter this phenomenon, you may want to look for moments of irony. If one character believes one thing and the opposite is true, this may work in your favor. You can also play with parallels, in which we see how events are lining up between characters more than they know. You can place alternating POVs in such a way as to create moments of tension, in which one of the characters has discovered a great danger to another character (or is the great danger), and we know that the character’s POV that we just shifted into is under a threat they don’t suspect.
  3. Story plot might be forgotten.
    • When focusing on the character, rather than the plot, you may find that the characters have decided to go an entirely different direction than you had planned. This can be good… it provides twists the reader might not expect, but it can also be bad… (On hearing my plans for the plot of book three, my husband asked, “But where’s the Shadow War?” Needless to say, I’ve made a few notes which will need to be addressed in the next round of revisions). You may find that the external plot has shifted away from what your reader expects to read. This can sometimes be prevented by having an outline, or it can be adjusted scene-by-scene once you have the rough draft written.
  4. Your story might get bogged down with subplots.
    • You may find that writing all of the scenes from a single point of view means that you place more importance on a character than you necessarily should. These subplots decide to take over the story and run away like the horses of a wagon in a gold heist… (sorry… my mind is stuck on “frontier” and “mining” at the moment). Once you place them in the story with the other characters’ POVs, you might quickly realize which scenes are bogging down the plot and which ones need to be moved. Beta-readers may also be helpful here, if you’re having a hard time picking out the problem spots.

Overall, though, I found doing each character arc individually to be an effective method for writing multiple points of views when each of the points of views were largely separate from the other. The characters are contributing to the main plot, but what they do doesn’t directly affect the others… yet. Still, readers can see that a larger scheme is unfolding, and what each of the characters are learning should create tension for the other characters, especially as the web of the plot slowly weaves them back together.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you ever tried writing a story from each individual point of view before placing everything together into one, mostly-cohesive draft?

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for a status report! Now that the move to Michigan is mostly complete (and I’ve finally gotten my car back after a run-in with the local wildlife), we’re slowly getting back into the groove of things. Still got a few things to take care of before we’re all settled in, but things are finally getting back to normal. 🙂

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Glitch: I’ve completed the major edits, handed the manuscript to Isaac to check over, and have been working on his changes. Due to the structure of the story, we’re actually considering breaking it into three individual stories, each around 35,000 to 45,000 words long. They’ll rely heavily on being read in order, but should each have their own beginning, middle, and end. I’ve sent the first part to a beta-reader to see what she thinks. If we do split the story into three parts, we’ll most likely release each part around two-three weeks apart, so readers won’t have to wait long to read each book. With luck, we’ll be moving forward with this project sooner rather than later.

Fractured Skies: I’ve made the second round of major edits based on Isaac’s feedback from a year or two ago, and now I’ve handed it back to him to look through. It needs a bit of work in order to match it to the style and tone of Distant Horizon. But this one is certainly in progress.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Book 3 of The Wishing Blade Series: Working on plotting. Once Fractured Skies is out to beta-readers, I plan to start editing what I already have written of this manuscript, then write the other half of the book.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished one formatting project, now working on book covers. Not much new here.

Game Development: Trying to work out the kinks in a fantasy-based civilization building game. We have a few ideas, but we’ll need to test-play them.

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! Also, Isaac and I have a bit of news–we’re moving to Michigan! Not the lower part of Michigan, either: the Upper Peninsula. Long story short, Isaac got accepted into a PhD program. 🙂

So… if there are periods of time where things are a bit slow for Infinitas Publishing, it’s probably because we’re in the middle of the long, slow process of packing. We expect to be moving in mid-to-late June.

However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still see new projects and updates. 🙂

DH Divider

Glitch: I finally finished the latest round of edits meant to put Glitch in continuity with Distant Horizon, and now I’ve got to go back and insert chapter breaks, fix minor errors, tighten the story (I already cut one character’s appearance), and make sure each scene is pulling its weight. Still a little ways to go before it’s complete, but progress has been made.

The Wishing Blade series Book 3 (Title To Be Determined): On hold until Glitch is complete. Parts of it have been written, but I have a big chunk of Shevanlagiy’s point of view to write, along with Siklana’s point of view. Yes… Siklana is intended to be a major character in this one. 🙂

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. The problem with having two writers telling a story–especially a serialized story where you might not catch issues until later–is that both writers may have different ideas of how they want to tell that story, and what story they want to tell. It’s a learning point that we’ve discovered in the process of writing The Multiverse Chronicles. However, we’ve gotten a better sense of what we want this story to be (and where we should compromise on plot points), but we may need to do some revamping of the first part of the story to really make everything cohesive so The Multiverse Chronicles can be the best story it can be. We’ll likely need to review the story and make adjustments from beginning to end before we release any new episodes.

Webb City Library Summer Reading Kick-Off: Isaac and I went to the Webb City Public Library (Missouri) to help with their summer reading program kick-off. We set up a table with our books and games, as well as a lot of the “in progress” pieces to show how we go about making them. I had an early proof copy of Distant Horizon on display, and we had sketch art and concept pieces from all the games. We enjoyed talking about the process, and even sold a couple of books (Distant Horizon and The Shadow War), which was a bonus, since we weren’t specifically trying to sell anything. 🙂

Isaac at the Webb City Public Library Summer Reading Kick-Off

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I now offer formatting services in addition to book cover design. And I’ve finally gotten the FacebookDeviantArt, and Flickr pages updated with the book covers I’ve posted on this blog. 🙂

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Speaking on Panels

In my previous blog post I mentioned that I was going to be on a few panels at ConQuest, and I had a blast! It was a lot of fun getting to speak on panels, connecting with other authors, and sharing writing tips and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to moderate a panel on creating languages (because creating languages is a lot of fun), and I hope to do so again in the future. Of course, I still have a lot to work on in order to be a better panelist and moderator, but I felt like this was a good start. (I’ve done a couple smaller panels before, but this was the first one focused solely on writing that was pre-planned).

If you haven’t spoken on a panel before and are looking for advice, I highly recommend listening to Writing Excuses’ podcast, Season 10: Episode 37. It had excellent tips on how to be a good panelist and moderator. Those tips helped me feel a lot more prepared–and thus more comfortable, on the panels.

Number one tip from the podcast: Allow panels to be conversations (build on what other authors have said rather than “waiting to speak,” and don’t hog all the talking time).

The second tip was preparation. For each panel I was on, I went through and read the description, then made a list of notes that I thought might be interesting to bring up or ask questions about, as well as relevant information. In a couple cases, I had to go do a short bit of research so I could remember the exact details. Having a few of the processes and rules written down made it easier for me to look back during the panel and make an exact quote, rather than stumble over something I suddenly can’t remember. And even though I really didn’t reference the notes often during the panel, it was a great refresher to read through before the panel started.

This was especially helpful for being a moderator, since I was able to form a list of questions that I could use if there was a dead beat… and also to segue conversations and go deeper into a topic once a panelist brought it up in the natural course of things.

Plus, I now have a whole set of notes of things I want to write blog posts about, and how I’d like to connect them back to my own writings (since using examples makes it a lot easier to understand).

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun both being on panels and listening to them. But now that the convention is over, it’s time to get back to writing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you had any experience being on panels, and if so, do you have any tips for authors who want to be panelists?

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! 😀

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Stealth Con: Isaac and I had our books and games at this year’s Stealth Con, a two day event at UCM. We had a vendor’s booth upstairs in the vending room, and we had our games available to play downstairs. This is the first time we had Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel available to sell, as well as its expansion. Though we didn’t sell much of our inventory (3 Magic’s Stealing, 2 Shadow War, 1 “Stone and String,” 1 Distant Horizon, 1 Cloth Phalanx Board, and 2 specialty dice), having the vendor booth did allow us to point interested visitors toward the gaming area. Plus, we got a chance to meet other authors who were at the convention, and visit with the people who had come to look around.

Infinitas Publishing - Stealth Con 2017

Vendor Room Setup for Infinitas Publishing – Stealth Con 2017

We switched up the organization of the table on the second day, to allow different products to shine (put Battle Decks and Phalanx on the ends of the table, and the books in the center).

We also debuted our upcoming game, The Legends of Cirena. For those of you who tried out our games in the gaming area, thank you!

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End of the Day in the Gaming area on Saturday – Stealth Con 2017

The Shadow War: The Shadow War is now available! It’s the second book in the series, available in both ebook and print. It took a month longer than I planned before release, but I’m much happier with the outcome. Soon I’ll be working on the third book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’ve already got quite a bit outlined,.Parts of Toranih’s POV have also been written.

The Legends of Cirena: This game is still in beta, but Isaac has been hard at work developing what will be game-changing expansions and making sure everything in the game works well together. It’s a role-play/adventure board game where you create the map from a deck of cards you draw as you explore… encountering adventures and collecting treasures! It’s also loosely based on the world of The Wishing Blade series.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Still on the back burner, but not forgotten.

Glitch: This is a spin-off of Distant Horizon, and it’s my current writing project. I’m about halfway through the initial reading to see what needs revision, and I have another round of edits I make before I hand this over to Isaac. After that, I expect that there will be substantial revisions, because that’s how this process usually works. But I’m looking forward to getting this one out there, because it delves more into the Camaraderie’s side of things. 😉

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Life as usual, except that I’m going to be making my formatting services available soon.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Hello there! I’ve been super quiet for the past month, but don’t worry, that just means there are plans in progress! (And holidays… that took up a bit of blogging time, too).

So,  here’s the latest news, plus a bit of catch up on the previous month. I’ll keep it short, since I’ve got to get back to editing The Shadow War.

UCM Holiday Market (November 2016): This event went well. We sold a few of our Phalanx boards and a couple of books. It’s a local, one-day event that took place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s a lot of fun, and best of all, the booths are free. A current faculty/staff/student has to sponsor the booth, though, and since Isaac and I have both graduated, we want to give a shout out to Scott for sponsoring us. Thank you! 🙂

Distant Horizon: Distant Horizon has been gathering quite a few good reviews over at Goodreads. Thank you to everyone who has read the book and reviewed it. 🙂

Glitch: This is a spin-off novel from Distant Horizon (it follows Tim as he deals with the Legion Spore… a vessel made from a merging of shapeshifters and technology). Glitch is in the editing phase–tightening up the prose, fixing continuity from the earlier drafts of Distant Horizon… etc. It’s on temporary hold while I finish up The Shadow War.

The Shadow War: Isaac finished reading the The Shadow War and found several plot holes and mix-matched motivations I thought I’d fixed, plus pointed out issues that weren’t flowing along with the plot as I had described it to him. So I went back through and did some major edits, tweaking character motivation and reworking the ending. This is the main reason I haven’t been very active on the blog lately. I’m still making a few changes to the last chapters, but it feels considerably stronger than before. Overall, I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

The downside of this is that I may be pushing back the ebook pre-orders to mid-March. I’m going to see where I’m at in my edits by the end of this weekend, and then I plan to post an update as to what the updated release date will be. I’ve been debating on whether to keep to the original date or push it back, and as much as I want to release on the original date, I’d rather wait a few more weeks and have time to do the fine-tuning and proofreading that will make for a smoother reading experience. The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: Stone and String is now available on multiple platforms, so you aren’t stuck reading it on Kindle if you prefer a different format. Enjoy!

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: Still on hold, but I’m planning on returning to edits once The Shadow War is complete. I’d like to edit one episode a week until all of the remaining episodes have gone through a basic polish, and then I’ll send them to our beta-reader before continuing the release of the series online. In the meantime, the first fifteen episodes are up.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I have been working towards a special edition of the game that we can have available at local events and conventions. We’ve started moving forward with that project, and we’ve got a surprise planned for that as well. I’m really excited about it, and I look forward to revealing more about that as we get closer to Stealth Con.

WIP Game: Isaac has been hard at work creating the art for a prototype version of our next game we plan to release. It’s still in the beta-phase, however. More information on that once we’ve ironed out a few more of the details.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Working on finalizing a book cover before creating a proof for another.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now… back to editing The Shadow War!

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wheee… it’s been a busy month, and I almost forgot to write up a status report. So here we go, an end of the month report! (Which means I should probably try to schedule the December report sometime mid-month. We’ll see if that happens or if it ends up being end of the month again).

Here it is!

Mid-Missouri Artists – Arts and Crafts Show: This was a local, one-day show Isaac and I attended. It went well, and we enjoyed talking to everyone there. We sold 4 copies of the Phalanx game, the cloth board edition, 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing, and 3 copies of Distant Horizon. I still need to run the numbers, but I’m pretty sure we broke even on the cost of the booth, and might have made a little profit, too. (Note: I factor in the basic costs of the individual items when figuring out the break-even point, as well as taxes and credit card processing fees). We also gave away 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing for the show’s raffle. Plus, the local newspaper ran a small article about Infinitas Publishing, so that was neat, too. 🙂

UCM Holiday Market: A local, one-day event that takes place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 30th. We plan to have our current books there, as well as the remaining cloth boards of Phalanx. We’ve gone there before to sell art prints while I was majoring in photography at UCM, but this is our first time selling  our books and games.

Distant Horizon: The book is out and in the wild! Woot! (Seriously, I’ve read through it so many times that I’m glad it’s finally complete).

We did a book blitz with YA Bound Book Tours during the last week of October/first week of November, which helped get the word out about the existence of the book. In the meantime, a wonderful author friend helped us get the word out about review copies through an email form, and we’ve gotten quite a few reviews on Goodreads from that mailer. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed Distant Horizon so far! You’re awesome! 😀

(Note: YA Bound Book Tours still has the request up for bloggers interested in review copies, so if you missed out on the mailer and want to request a free copy of Distant Horizon in exchange for an honest review, take a look ).

Glitch: This is the next book I plan to work on based in the world of Distant Horizon. It’s technically a companion novel, but it follows what happens to Tim after the end of Distant Horizon, and overlaps book two (Fractured Skies) in the series. Since Fractured Skies has major spoilers about the end of Glitch, and Glitch only has minor spoilers about Fractured Skies… I’m going to try getting this one done next. The good news: the first draft has been written and semi-polished for story plot. Bad news: It needs a lot of tightening and edits for continuity. The tone is also a bit different, as well, as Glitch is intended to lean more into the horror spectrum.

The Shadow War: Ebook pre-orders are up, with the release day set for February! This is the second book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’m in the polishing stages. Or… I’m in the polish-and-let-Isaac-rip-apart-the-plot-holes stage. After he’s finished reading the manuscript, I’ll attempt to fix the holes so that we don’t have as many “How It Should Have Ended” moments (which, if you haven’t seen the clips, which poke at the popular sci-fi/fantasy movies, you should totally look it up on Youtube. They’re entertaining and have rather useful points for writers to keep in mind). Anyway, The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: I’ve got a few short story ideas in mind for this particular storyline. I had planned on writing them for NaNoWriMo, but got side-tracked editing The Shadow War. The freebie promotion days on Kindle Select recently ended (we had 13 downloads and 1 review… thank you!), and I’m planning on pulling it from Select at the end of the month. I’m hoping to put it on Smashwords sometime in December, which will open the ebook’s availability across multiple platforms.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: On hold. At the moment I’m focusing on the bigger projects, but I want to return to it at a later date. (Note… if you’ve read it thus far and want to see more, let us know! Nothing like having readers show interest to let us know which projects we should be prioritizing). 😉

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: We’ve got a few ideas of how to lower the base cost of the game so that we can have copies available at local conventions/events. At the moment, it’s only feasible to have it available to order online. More information on that in the future.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Finished one cover today and I’m aiming to finish another cover/formatting project at the end of the week. I’ve been scaling down the amount of projects I have here so that I have more time for Infinitas Publishing projects.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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