Oh look, I actually posted another post this year…

January 15, 2019 by

Would you look at that... I actually managed to post a second time here this year. In the same month even. Life's been a bit hectic this week because we added a new furry member to our family.

May I present to you, Little Boy Bleu

He's a rescue pup we got over the weekend, and to the best of the agency's knowledge, he's part Australian shepherd and something else. They're just not sure what. We plan to get a DNA test sometime over the summer to see if we can identify the other bits, but I'm suspecting Burmese mountain dog. He seems to have the right facial and paw structure for it.

Anyway, I'm slowly chipping away at the outline for my next book. It's not going to be in the Nibiru Rising series. By the same token, once I'm done with the draft, I'm going to set it aside so I can work on book 4 of the Nibiru Rising series, tentatively named: Zero Point.

The only reason I'm writing this other book first is that it kept hampering me when I was working on the edits for book 3. Almost the first half of the book came to me while I was doing revisions, so I had to keep stopping and scribbling down notes before I could bring my focus back to actually doing revisions on the draft already been done. On the plus side, I suspect it's going to be really popular when I release it. It's going to be more firmly in the Urban Fantasy genre, rather than in the superhero genre.

I'm planning on it being a series more in the vein of something like the Dresden Files or Hellequin Chronicles type of feel, with the exception of it having two MCs. Another reason why I'm working on this one first is, I'm starting to tweak my workflow process with my writing. Up to this point, I've been a hybrid plotter/pantser. In other words, I would plot out act 1, maybe a chapter or two of act 2, and usually a rough outline for the climax. After that, I'd pants my way to the end. For first books in a series, it works great for me. I can output words at a quick clip and have it be relatively coherent. The downside is, it adds more work to later books in the series. Since I'm not inventing stuff whole-cloth in the later books, and the fact that I have to refer back to stuff, it was starting to slow me down. I basically had to go back and hobble together a rickety outline for the first book so I could get the later books to connect to the story somewhat seamlessly.

To that effect, I hope I've been moderately successful.

Another problem I noticed while writing my Nibiru Rising series is, I never really laid out the characters personalities very well. Because of that lack of foresight, I feel it negatively impacted my characters in book 2 (although I gave it more thought in book 3, so at least I can learn). The biggest thing I've gotten back, feedback-wise, is that Rick seemed a bit angsty and Kaitlyn was a bit whiny. Not how I wanted to portray them, but again, it was part of the weakness of pantsing my way along in the story instead of doing more thinking about the characters themselves.

With that said, I'm exploring the idea of doing a lot more planning and plotting for this side project. If it works out well, then I'm going to roll it into the process when I work on book 4 of the Nibiru Rising series. I already have a basic overview idea of book 4, I just need to get it down on paper. So once I'm done with the draft of this current project, I should be able to flow into book 4 relatively quickly, and hopefully more enamored with the process of plotting first.

I've read a lot about both pantsing and plotting. What I keep reading, time and time again, is that you get a more interesting story when you pants it, namely because if you don't know where it's going when you're writing it, then neither will the reader, which as I said, it great for book one in a series or as a stand-alone project. Its weakness is, when you have later books, it becomes more time consuming to keep referring back to the previous books to make sure you're not screwing something up.

With plotting, what I keep seeing as its primary strength is, once you have the outline down, it becomes rather straight-forward to write out the book. It comes together extremely fast since you have a map to guide you through the story. The main downside I always see is, detractors claim it stunts creativity. While I don't believe that at all, I do have concerns that I'm going to lay out the entire story and then, by chapter 3, be so far off the rails that all of the previous work was wasted. I guess only time, and this project, will tell.

So at this point, I'm already around a quarter of the way through the outline. I laid out the bones in about a week. I could have gotten it done even sooner, but I'm tying my outline into my timeline, created with Aeon Timeline. I have to say, I'm loving that software already, and I've only played with it for about a week now. Already, I realized a weakness in the outline directly because of Aeon, so I feel it's already paid for itself. But like I said, I haven't had the software all that long, so I'm still learning the ins-and-outs of it. Otherwise, the outline would be further along.

So, when all's said and done, if this experiment with changing my process is fruitful, then I should be able to speed up my writing process further, allowing me to write more books a year with no loss of quality. If it doesn't work, then I'll have to sit back and evaluate what when right, what went wrong, and whether there's any merit to pursuing plotting any further, possibly with more tweaks. Either way, once this current project is done, I'll be rolling into book 4 and seeing where it leads from here.

Finally, I got around to installing/activating Akismet on the blog. So going forward, all the spam posts should be cleaned out, never to darken my doorstep again. It also means I won't feel so exhausted checking out comments on the blog. Instead of spending a bunch of time reviewing, and usually trashing, a bunch of junk comments, I'll be able to find real comments and respond to them in a more appropriate timeframe.

For next week, I'm probably going to touch on the self-improvement stuff I plan on exploring this year. There's also a strong likelihood that I'll post my experiences with said programs here as well. Just par for the course since I study all that stuff to help me improve as both a person, and as a writer. Honestly, I don't know if I'd be able to tell stories the way I do if I hadn't studied all the self-help/self-improvement books and courses that I've gone through over the years. A good part of them dealt with how to understand people, how to more effectively interact with others, and how to know yourself better. Knowing how to understand and interact with others is a big part of creating realistic characters. Knowing myself better allowed me to objectively rate my abilities and to realize where I needed to improve.

If it sounds like it might be interesting, then stay tuned. Have a great week.

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