Major Writing Report 6/16/13 – Progress, Delays, Kickstarter and Remembering


It’s been almost a month since my last writing report. Sorry about that. I was denied access to my blog for a while, and then I was on such a roll with the novel I didn’t want to break my flow by writing something else. Well, now I’m here, so lets get to it!

Featured quote: “I know that whoever reads this is in another time, and that by the time of reading I will have already survived or perished. Even so, I cannot help but to ask, pray for me. Pray for us.”

Due out: Mid-Late 2013

Word Count: about 99,000

86.09%  99000 of 115000

About: Discovering Aberration is a steampunk adventure story about two professors who discover a map and the adventure that ensues. Featuring violent gangs, blood thirsty scuttlers, tricky scuttleretes, desperate archaeologists and a mysterious island with a nightmarish secret…

Things Accomplished:Short answer… LOTS! I’ll cover as much as it as I’m able.

Writing Progress

There have been a few things in my life that account for my current progress in the novel. First is that I had a fairly significant hot streak while writing about a month ago which lasted a couple of weeks. In that time I was able to draft a significant portion of the end of the book.

And yet, I’m behind schedule. I was actually hoping to be even closer to completion by this point. My goal was 110,000 words, but over the last 3 weeks my writing has hit a near stand still. This is because about 3 weeks ago a very dear friend of mine passed away. He was living in Nashville with his wife where they played music in a band called Spit Shine with two other musicians.

Anyway, my life and the life of his friends and family has been in a bit of upheaval, and I’ve only been able to move forward with the Kickstarter campaign because of necessity. But the writing has nearly come to a halt until middle of last week. Before moving on to other news, it would do me well if you took a brief moment to watch the video below in memory of my very dear friend Nicholas Riddout…

I find myself slipping away when I hear his music lately. He called me from Nashville a week before he died and told me, “If you keep it up, you’ll be one of my top 3 writers.” It was sweet. I only wish I could have gone camping with him one more time, or even just sat in living room while he played a set.

But you probably didn’t stop by to hear that, and he sure as hell wouldn’t want me telling it. So I’ll just move on.

Back to writing…

So I’ve hit many different issues with wrapping up Discovering Aberration. The interesting thing about this novel is that at first glance it seems like a simple story, but as it progresses there are multiple interweaving plot lines and lots of back story to be woven together.

[slight spoilers] First there was Lumpen’s story, but that was done a while ago. Then came a more recent and much more complex challenge: bringing Lumpen’s, Freddy’s, Old Chap’s, and Olivia’s stories all back together while introducing the first scenes with the newish character of Ms Scarlett Bendwell.

So far this has proven to take a lot of careful story telling, and I hope to God it’s working! To bring us up to speed on Ms Newton, I’ve written a lengthy excerpt from her travel log which is written in a style fitting to that format. It has about 6 entries where she [major spoiler's for the rest of the paragraph] explains how the expedition broke down, and chronicles her part there after. I’m especially proud of the scene where she’s convinced she’s gone insane and how that ties into a previous scene with Lumpen.

After that, we are reunited with Freddy who will narrate the story to completion, as long as all things progress as planned. It’s funny how novels can develop a personality as you write them. He comes in contact with Ms Bendwell who we’ve only heard about in conversation. At first they’re scenes together weren’t to my liking. I felt like we needed to get a sense of their relationship more, so I added another “Brief History of…” chapter where we see Freddy’s and Scarlett’s previous relationship (it’s saucy).

That’s where I’m writing now, the back story. Some of it is coming smoothly, but I feel like I’m forcing the words out. Not sure why that is, but it’s not a good sign. What will likely happen is, I’ll write a 15 page chapter and then cut most of it till it’s down to 5 pages. It feels like a huge waste of time when you know that’s where you’re headed, but I honestly can’t think of another way. I guess I’ll just continue spilling out information, and then trim it down into a digestible chunk later.

Anyway, I’ve actually written even further than that. I’m just adding that chapter in now because it was needed. I’ve written all the way to the point where everyone is just barely reunited, and now I’m spending some time cleaning it up, adding and subtracting.

Kickstarter

I’ve finished creating the backer rewards. Hopefully they turn out to be things you’re interested in. There are a variety of levels ranging from $1, for those of you who want to offer solidarity but aren’t able to offer lots financially, to $5,000 for those of you who want to be a patron figure. And for the rest of you, there’s a backer level for every dollar amount in between with unique rewards including posters, bookmarks, invitation to the novel launch party in Seattle, and even getting a character named after you (character name comes at the $500 level).

I’ve also finalized the amount I am trying to raise, which will be $3,700. The majority of the money will go towards paying my editor, a smaller amount (but still a sizeable chunk) will pay for the designer, and the rest will go towards paying off the backer rewards. I’ve stressed high value, low cost rewards in an attempt to keep the amount I need to raise low.

I’ve shared a preview of it with about 20 people, some I know but mostly strangers, and I’ve received nearly universal approval. If you’re one of those people, thanks so much for taking the time to look the campaign over. Your advice has gone a long way towards making this campaign the success I hope it will become.

The last thing I need to do with the campaign is film my introduction video. I hate seeing myself on camera, but it needs to be done.

What’s next?

Now I just need to film that video. That’s my major goal. It’s going to be awkward, but I’ll do it for the sake of my novel. I’ve been meaning to more video stuff anyway. I did one a while back, but I wasn’t happy with it so I put them on hold.

Also, I just need to finish drafting the novel. There’s one more final plot point I want to hit involving the island’s final secret and the notorious scuttler John-Joseph Heller. Then all that’s left is refining again and again until i raise the money to publish.