Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It has been just over one week since I sent out the Beta Manuscript.  I promised myself that I would not edit Pack while the beta readers are working.  To that end, I've given myself one month away.  Here's my reasoning:
  1. Respect for the readers: if I'm fiddling with the manuscript, then they're not reading the latest version, and their time is wasted.  
  2. Fresh eyes: giving myself some time away will let me go back and read with renewed vision.  I'll be able to see the typos and errors better, and gain a new perspective on the story.
  3. Distance: when reader input comes back, I'll have a bit of distance from the project.  I won't be as wrapped up in crafting the story, so I'll be able to consider their feedback with an open mind, and not take things personally. 
Unfortunately, taking time off is proving a much more difficult task than anticipated.  I can't stop thinking about it!  Even though I'm not reading the words on the page, I'm still revising things in my head and second guessing certain decisions I made along the way. 

"Is that scene really necessary?  Maybe I should have taken it out before sending to the beta readers." 


"That transition was too fast, there wasn't enough time between action A and response B." 

I will not go back to edit.  I will not go back and revise. 

The thing is, I was really happy with it when I sent Pack off to be read.  I felt pretty good about it.  Is it perfect?  No, but I thought it was as close as I could get on my own without new insight.  I still think that's true.  Additional edits might have just been changes, and not necessarily for the better.  I need the time away and I need the feedback.  So I will wait, as frustrating as that may seem sometimes!

I'm trying to distract myself with other related projects.  I'm seriously researching the publishing options, reading blogs and books on all aspects of the subject.  I'm revising a short story set in the same world as Pack but 60 years prior.  I'm writing the content for my website and bugging my husband to help me design it.  I'm thinking about the next book and starting on a very rough outline.

All in all, this is still going to be a productive month, but I can't wait to hear what the readers think and get back to finishing Pack!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Second Sight by Sherry Ficklin

I don't give book reviews very often, but this one definitely deserves a mention.

Sherry Ficklin is the author of The Gods of Fate series, a young adult fantasy trilogy, following Grace Archer.  I read the first book in the series, Foresight, last August, and loved it.  So I was excited to read Second Sight as soon as it came out last week.  I'll try to avoid giving too many spoilers...

Grace Archer is the daughter of Pandora and Prometheus, friend to the fey, and demi-goddess in her own right.  In Foresight, Grace learns of her heritage and discovers her powers as a demi-goddess, as she fights to protect her mother's urn.  Along the way she falls in love with Chris, one of her guardians and a fey warrior.  Unfortunately, he's killed during the big battle scene (sorry...trying to avoid spoilers here...but I can't avoid them all...) but she brings him back to life and they live happily ever after...

...For awhile in Faerie.  This is where book two, Second Sight, begins.

By saving Chris and bringing him back to life, Grace stole his soul from Hades.  He was safe in Faerie, but as soon as they leave, Hades returns to collect the missing soul and take Chris to the Underworld.  Grace is devastated.  What choice does she have but to bribe Charon, barter with Hades, and bring Chris home?   Of course, it's all a lot more complicated than that, and Grace is forced to make decisions that change everyone's lives, while narrowly avoiding destroying her own.  Friends and relatives -- people she should be able to trust -- want to use and control her (and her growing powers), and she must navigate the traps and schemes to become the woman she wants to be. 

Overall, I loved Second Sight as much as I loved Foresight.  Sherry Ficklin does a fantastic job bringing together modern, contemporary fantasy with Greek/Roman mythology.  Though the book is being marketed as YA, the complexity of the story, and the maturity of the lead character kept me entertained and turning the pages.  In fact, I felt it was a much more mature novel than some other YA stories I've read.

I highly recommend picking up this series.  But you have to read Foresight first.  Second Sight is equally as good, but it's not truly a stand-alone novel.  Start with Foresight, read them both, and you won't be disappointed. 

(P.S. The final installment of The Gods of Fate trilogy, Hindsight, is slated to be released early next year.  I can't wait to read the completion of the saga!)

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quick Update

I apologize for missing my posting earlier this week.  Things have been a little crazy around here.  So I'm just going to give a quick update on where I'm at.

I finished a second (or is it third?) review of the manuscript, tightened up some plot points and rewrote the ending.  The ending still needs some work, but I'll get back to that.

I've decided I need to write-out a character from the original draft.  She felt like a 2D stereotype and didn't add much to the story.  In fact, she wasn't physically in most of the story, usually appearing only through phone conversations.  I figured out a way to replace her, so I'm going to do it.  But that means a lot of revision, and one more pass on the manuscript before Beta. 

The new ending also beefed up another character for me, and added a new dimension to the story that I have to scatter throughout the manuscript.  I think it will be much, much better this way.

All of these changes have really cut down the size of the manuscript.  I'm down to about 60,000 words, which is a little short for a novel.  If I continue to slice and dice, it could go even lower than that (and might be better for it).  I'm considering calling it a novella now instead of a novel.  There are issues with that, of course, including that novella's are often difficult to sell through Traditional Publishing, but I'm thinking I don't want to go that route...much to ponder before fully making that decision, but I'm thinking about it.

I should have a Beta Manuscript by the end of the weekend.  My Beta Readers are lined up and ready to go.  Then it will be a month-long "break" from the novella.  I have a couple of story ideas that I'm going to start working on during the "break" to see if anything sticks.  I also have a short that I want to clean up and post for free online.  And I'm going to put up my own website soon too, so you can look forward to that.

Well, so much for a "quick" update.  There really is a lot going on!