Summer is here

Wow, I'm pretty bad at keeping my blog up to date.  I don't think many people are keeping tabs on it though, so I probably have some wiggle room.

Summer has finally arrived here in the U.P. and the weather has been pretty nice for the last few weeks with a few exceptions sprinkled in here and there.  I find that it's a lot harder to make time to sit down and work on stories every night with the weather being so nice.  In the winter it was no problem at all to come home from work and then spend 3 or 4 hours writing.  It became clear right away that I couldn't keep up with that routine once the sun started staying above the trees past 6 PM,  so I've made a more modest goal for myself.  One hour a night dedicated to writing.  Some days/nights I end up working for much longer than that.  Sometimes I get half of it or none of it at all.  I find that if I can sequester myself away from the rest of my family and put on some headphones and disappear into music, I get a lot of work done.  Luckily for me, I have a spare bedroom in my house, so I've converted that into my "author's den".  It's not much to look at--there's a bed, the baby crib (don't really have anywhere else to store it for the time being), a bookshelf full of books, an air conditioner (bet that's gonna come in handy a few times this summer) and a small desk and chair where I do all of my work.  As time goes on I plan to get the crib taken apart and moved to the basement and maybe add a recliner or rocking chair in there too.

Writing Lampwick has been a real learning experience for me.  I figured out that if you don't have lots of good notes and outlines, the story can get away from you pretty quickly.  I had some notes, but they weren't nearly as extensive as they should have been.  That's probably why I scrapped the original story at about 75% and completely re-wrote it.  At the moment I'm waiting for my wife to finish proofreading and editing it so that I can start making revisions.  She's taking a lot longer to do it than I expected, but she's being very thorough and going over each page with a fine toothed comb.  It's probably a good thing that it's taking a long time because I haven't looked at that story in almost 2 months now, which will allow me to look at it with fresh eyes again when I begin the revisions.   My dad is now working on the cover for the book and I've seen some preliminary sketches and am very excited to see the finished product.  It should be pretty neat.

In the meantime, I've been focusing on writing my next story, Among the Shoulders of the World.  I've been writing down notes and character histories since last fall and once I finished the first draft of Lampwick, I focused solely on Shoulders.  I wrote a bunch of chapter outlines and summaries ahead of time.  It made finding plot holes much easier and it was a way for me to "see" the story laid out in front of me.  Just like Lampwick, it's a story that takes place on a different world, so I had to create a new world from scratch, which meant a bunch of notes and drawings pertaining to it.  I can't tell you how nice it is to have a hand written map next to you while writing.  From now on the first thing I'm going to do is either sketch or print a map of the area I'm writing about.  About a week ago I began writing the first draft of the story.  Having the notes and outlines have been a real boon for me.  I'm at around 10,000 words into the story and every time I'm finished with a writing session I feel like I've achieved something good.  That's a good place to be I think.

I'm hoping Lampwick will be ready for e-readers everywhere sometime near the end of July.  My original hope was that it would be released in June, but that's not gonna happen.  I don't want to rush it out there for the sake of hitting an arbitrary deadline.  I want to feel like I put a finished, polished product out there.  Hopefully others will agree!



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