Editing the Beast

While Beast is the title of my book, the title of this blog post is an eerily accurate pun. The first thought I had when glancing over my finally finished beloved (!!!) was uttered in the form of these words.

Who wrote this load of garbage.

Turns out that I did, and as such, it’s my job to turn that garbage into something a little less rotten.

 

The Big Issues

Beast was originally a 27k novella of two parts, cleverly called Books I and II. In my second draft, I added a third part, which is now Book II and the old Book II is now Book III. This poses several issues.

First of all, the second part feels shoehorned in, mostly because it is. Second, there are several details that I added to the book that are in Part II, but not Part I and III.

Another issue is that my new Part II has even worse pacing issues than the book did before. There are several chapters that need to be split up and then expanded. It only has 8 chapters, to the other parts 12 and 13, and an awful lot happens in Part II very quickly.

Overall, Beast has big problems with two main things: pacing and setting. The settings are clear in my mind, but I’ve provided almost no description in the book of places or even characters. Pacing is already a weakness of mine, and Beast needs to have an awful lot of it straightened out. You will probably hear ranting about this in the future.

 

The Hopeful Solutions

Or, since it is May the Fourth Be With You…

 

A New Hope

Most of the editing process will be expansion. Beast is still a teensy 35k, which is still five thousand words away from being the smallest of novels. Most of the bulking up will come from slowing down the pace and adding the much-needed description, as well as breaking down some of the more jam-packed chapters.

There’s also a lot of work that needs to be put into continuity. Specifically, Queen Snow. She was a surprise character (why do they do this to me) and now I have to accomodate her a book earlier than planned. Even in my second plan, Snow showed up as an afterthought in Part II. But now the relationship needs to be slowed considerably and shown more gradually. My worry here is that Adalina’s relationship with the Assassin will feel rushed by comparison.

Which reminds me, Belle’s name has been changed to Adalina. You’re welcome for the head’s up.

It’s going to take many more drafts, and I already dread the work, but I’m glad to finally be done with Draft 1.5 of Beast.

 

What are your recent writing accomplishments? Reading accomplishments? Completely unrelated comment? I welcome them all below! 

The Images of Writing – Part II

This time I come not just with maps, but with character concepts too! (I have maps too, of course, but if you’ve been keeping up with my Tumblr you’ll see that they’re a little different.)

Tale

I’m so happy with how the ref for Belle went. I know that I want Terian to have a Hungarian/Romani culture (which means some name changes for Belle and the kingdom) so I wanted to reflect that in her clothing. It’s brightly colored with designs that are reminiscent of calico. (Note to self- Look up the history of calico.)

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And here is a promised map! In case you were thinking, “Geeze. Her mapmaking skills are way better than in that last image post,” put yourself at ease. I didn’t art this myself. I used an amazing tool called Inkarnate. It’s abilities are rather stunning, although there are a few suggestions that I made.

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Beast

These two are the lovely Tilverune and Kryiol. (As you can tell, I only have a female base right now. Male characters are put on hold.)

Tilverune has a lot of Inuit influence, both in her culture and fashion. Which is really, really fun.

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Kryiol, on the other hand, is a mutt. A little Romani, a little Grecian, a little Super-Futuristic. Inspiration for Kryiol came almost entirely from my friend TRG.

 

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And finally, a map for KISA! This one is a lot more basic, as I was getting frustrated with how large the mountains and trees were. (You can only scale it down so far, which is one of my software suggestions.) So I stuck to icons and rivers, although I now wish that I had kept the land a parchment color rather than showing the ice/greenery/desert. But oh well.

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(Please take time to notice the beautiful little Skelside and dragon off to the right, folks.)

So there’s my images of art update! I’m currently working on concept art for Ella of Tale (Polynesian/Samoan influence), and will get to work on Snow’s armor as soon as I’ve gone over Slavic fashion with TRG! You can expect a research post pretty soon about what I’ve been finding out, because it’s actually pretty cool.

Speaking of expecting things, this is as good a time as any to relay my Devious Plan™. I’ll be posting Book Blab reviews on Fridays/Saturdays, and anything else comes out on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t give myself leeway like that, but we’ll see how the scheduling works itself out.

 

If you enjoy my writing, please hit the follow button or fill in your email for updates. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or you can email me at j.a.apricity@gmail.com. Thank you for reading! 

 

 

 

My Forever Library

My Forever Library

My dad joined the military when I was six years old, and we’ve been moving from base to base ever since. This might horrify a lot of people, but staying in one place for the rest of my life is equally horrifying to me. I can’t imagine being stuck in a single town, in a single state, and in a single country for the rest of your life.

But there are plenty of people who disagree. At one base, we met a family who talked about a “forever home.” It was the house that they were building that they would live in after he retired from the military.

Naturally, I wrote it off as a “Never Home” in my case. If I can’t move again in three years, no thank you. But my mother, as she always does, found a practical application for my life. A Forever Library.

I loved the idea and started right away.

It’s a meager thing now. A couple books sitting along the top of my desk.

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And each one has a story behind the book itself or how I got it.

The Giver helped me learn to see things from a different point of view. From something as simple as the miracle of color or as complex as the possibility of authority figures being wrong.

Percy Jackson and The Lighting Thief was the first book I read that really made me go, “Oh my goodness books and reading are the bestest to ever best.” I used to be a little upset that I didn’t have the series with the lovely covers featuring Percy’s New York skyline, but now I’m glad to have the covers that I grew up with.

That tattered Pilgrim’s Progress was a gift from one of my oldest friends and mentors, Chaplain Gilbert. He gave it to my dad, and my dad gave it to me in turn. He used to read it out loud to us at night.

The Jane Austen compilation was picked up by my parents at–of all places–a Costco. I’d been a fan of Pride and Prejudice, but I really wanted to read Sense and Sensibility. I loved Emma as well, although I still need to read Northinger Abbey. It awaits me in the Forever Library.

Then I have a Reader’s Digest with The Scarlet Pimpernel (one of my favorite classics), Tom Sawyer (one I believe I’m required to like as a Southern Person™), The Good Earth (as suggested by my mother) and Robin Hood (who doesn’t love Robin Hood?)

Next is the obligatory Tolkien tribute. A beautifull illustrated Atlas, an equally beautifull illustrated The Hobbit, and a lovely faux-leather bound LOTR.

Last are two little known books. One is The Secret of Ms. Snickle’s Class, and the other is Zoo School. While considerably younger than my other books, these two helped cement my love of reading. And I so, so wanted to attend a zoo school myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a messy reader. I turn down corners, I read while eating, I turn around the covers of paperbacks to hold more easily when I’m in public. I can hear some of you screaming in agony right now, and I apologize for my horrible treatment of books.

But I do love a nice set of books. And that’s what my Forever Library is for: the immortalization of some of my favorite books.

So what books would you like to have in your Forever Library? Do you already have one? Let me know in the comments, or email me at j.a.apricity@gmail.com!

Pick Your Stereotype – Poetry

Pick Your Stereotype – Poetry

You don’t have to be who they say you are,

We are told when young.

 

See what all you can be,

They say, and they show us

Templates from which to choose.

 

Why be judged for how you are born?

Pick your stereotypes.

 

Because why dare attempt to change a system?

History will cycle on,

Only the players change.

 

Choose your character, they say.

Pick your stereotype.

 

 

When I was younger, I despised free form poetry. But I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more in the past few years. This came to me when I overhead some airmen talking about how he can either choose to be a hood black guy or a white black guy, even in the most progressive of circles. 

I hope you enjoyed this, and please feel free to leave constructive criticism. 

-J.A. 

A Few Thoughts on Typewriters

A Few Thoughts on Typewriters

Most authors adore typewriters.

Even if it’s just a cool aesthetic, typewriters are the trademark of our work. They’re hipster, they’re trendy, they scream “I’m cool, I swear!”

They’re also a pain in my cuticles.

I was blessed with a typewriter of my very own a year ago. It’s a 1960 portable mint-green Swiss Hermes Rocket. It’s small and doesn’t weigh a ton, and is banged up enough that not all of it closes up properly, which I didn’t mind in the least. Which is good, since closing it all up would just mean yanking it all apart again in order to untangle my ribbon.

Which isn’t the last of my woes.

Sometimes, when I start a new line, it will ride up and continue typing while caught halfway through the old line and the new. It has a tendency to crumple one sheet of paper after the other, and even the ones that come out unspoilt are usually crooked. My margins rarely work, and my fingers usually slip between the keys and are torn to shreds when I instinctively yank the precious tools-of-my-trade back up to safety.

Oh how I unconditionally love my little mint-green monster.

For all the drawbacks as compared to a keyboard or pencil and paper, I’ve completely become a typewriter snob. I can’t think properly on other machines now. Queen has been entirely written on my Hermes Rocket, and the majority of Beast before it. And both Curse and The Highwayman will follow suit.

Writing’s a fickle thing. Inspiration is hard to come by, so most successful authors live by the rule “Butt in chair.” But there’s no denying that it’s easier when one is inspired. So on with the treacherous ribbons, traiterous mechanics, and carnivorous keys. There’s a reason most authors adore typewriters.

The Post NaNo Crash (aka Writing Excuses)

The Post NaNo Crash (aka Writing Excuses)

I used to hate writing excuses.

You’re a bloody self-described author! What would you be doing besides writing? You fake-authors. How dare you smear the name.

All well and good to pass judgement. But be warned, younger me: you will also be judged.

Sigh.

I blazed through NaNoWriMo with glorious success. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s where authors take the month of November to be uber-authors and spit out 50,000 words. A mighty feat, for those who haven’t attempted it. I was successful, but the crash afterwards has lasted much longer than the one week I allotted myself.

I’ve touched my NaNo novel exactly once since finishing it, deciding to instead waste precious words on wee fanficlets for DC’s The Flash and The Magnificent Seven. I did perk up a bit when I started KISA and Pi, but what I really need to do is work on Queen.

She’s sitting at a pathetic little 52k, nearing the climax of the story that needs to be at least 80k words, by my estimate. So, I resolve–Christmas hot on my heels or not–to begin writing on December the 20th, tomorrow.

It’s really the perfect time, since I’ve finished up my latest college course semester. To get myself in the mood, I’ll be posting what I do have of Queen (in all it’s unedited glory. #nofilters, I guess.) to Figment. Beast has garnered some recognition there, so hopefully it’s sequel fares well.

Update over. J.A. out!