A Novelist’s Special Team

A team of people can range in number and style for the needs of a project. I learned early on, like most of us in this world, in school you can’t get any class project done without your teammates. For most of my class work projects that consisted of two to four other classmates, I was shunned by the small group. Because of this, I nearly failed a few projects in History, Science and Social Studies.

I worked best by myself after that. Finding I learned faster on my own and completed projects, when mostly done by yourself anyway, I excelled at the project put before me.

As I began writing my first manuscript from September 1995 to May 1, 1996 I worked alone, of course. I continued to work alone for my second, third and fourth manuscripts that followed. I thought I learned all that I could with all the ‘how to write fiction’ books at my disposal and all the YouTube videos of fellow writers teaching what they learned along the way. I thought I had it all figured out. That I didn’t quite need a team.

I wasn’t exactly wrong, per se. More like I was afraid of being shunned again by fellow writers of the adult age group. I didn’t want to go through the shunning experience again. Yet, it finally came to it that I needed someone to help me critique my work.

My three beta readers are part of that ever growing team that were the starting off point. A few years later, Mike found me on Reddit and the rest is history at this point. He’s one teammate so far in my writing journey for the technical part at this stage of Draft 3 book 1. Critique Partners are so vital to find the developmental problems in a story that the author can’t see for all the words on the pages.

The thing is, all the writing classes in school over the years, English classes, how to writing books and YouTube videos about the process of writing and revision (reshoots I call it), none of them call the Critique Partner, Beta Reader, Editor and Literary Agent and Publisher the following – Quality Control.

Quality Control is when a team works together to check each other’s work on a project. Every nook and cranny of nuts, bolts, panels, electrical wiring, windows, sealant, carpet, etc has to be checked and double checked. Only until the airplane has gone through hundreds of quality control checks and signed by each team manager and that area’s quality control manager, can the airplane go down the next line of manufacturing. Any mistakes found, the process of that section of mistakes starts over again until it is all checked out correctly and signed. I learned this while working for a short time at Boeing.

The same rigorous quality control must take place down the line for a book. No matter how many passes through quality control team members take the manuscript until it is finally ready for publication. Without quality control, which seems to be lacking in the publishing world on all fronts, reading a book can and will bother its target audience. The reader will pull it apart finding basic or crazy mistakes in continuity, grammar, pacing, etc. This will aggravate them to no end because they were hoping to have a nearly flawless prose to read to their heart’s content.

Here’s what I learned at each early to current stage of my writing process.

Early Years – From September 1995 to May 1, 1996 I hand wrote in three black lined notebooks in school during study period, lunch and after my work was done for any said class. I even wrote in the school library sometimes. And when I had time to myself in my bedroom when I got home to write. During this time, once I thought it was ready, I type it all up on the school computers in Computer Class onto hard floppy disks and printed it out at the library.

I wouldn’t go back to this first manuscript again until 2005. I picked up where it left off on chapter 18 but typed it up instead of the painful hand written prose from years before. Once reading it through and giving it to my mother and a friend to read, beta readers to be exact, they both told me the harsh truth that I needed – Mom said, “Honey, I can’t go any further.” She had read up to 150 out of 350. “There’s nothing going on. I can’t even tell if there is a story here or not.”…Then my friend said, “How old were you when you wrote this?” he had read up to page 50. Replied, “Sixteen.” He said in return, “Oh, that’s just as bad as if you were writing it while drunk.”…Shortly after that, I gathered the typed edition and three notebooks and trunked it. I knew even by myself it wasn’t to be edited through. This manuscript was a test to see if I could tell the story to myself while writing it. I am now, however, able to salvage a few chapters for later.

New Stage Early Years – October 2009 to December 2015 was busy and full of turmoil with family and an abusive marriage. Here, I had an affair. Someone to touch. Someone to hold. Someone to talk my grievances to while I cried myself to sleep most nights in my marriage bed. The affair only lasted a few months, but to me that was enough. It was during this time, shortly before the affair started, that I had a slight story concept.

The first character that came to mind was David Geraci, but I had put him up as Ynycornus from years ago from the first manuscript and from the confines of my subconscious trying to comprehend the abuses I endured for most of my life. Something in me saw a story about my ‘spirit guide’. If he was once alive, if at all, what was his life like? What did he go through? In my mind he kept telling me, “Are you sure you want to know?” I hammered him for more. I wanted to know. I wanted to understand his side of the story that lay far out of reach to me.

He told me all he could as I wrote it down as fast as I could in notes here and there in three hard bound black book of shadows. In this process the concept took shape. Even sketching him when he was at first Ynycornus from manuscript one I drew him as best I could. Slowly, with each chapter, the story of Vivian’s journey to the ‘other side’ with the imposter Ynycornus taking her on a road trip across the country to his home in Lowell, Massachusetts. It all began to take shape.

The first draft was 24 chapters and 140,000 word count. With some help from a friend, who had originally read the first manuscript a few years prior, he helped me widdle it down to 120,000 words. For his help, it was mostly brainstorming ideas when I was stuck. Little did I realize until the fourth draft of manuscript 2, that he had convinced me to put him into the story. Since then, going back to an original draft three level for this part, I’ve erased him from the story. It had no purpose to the story what so ever. Slowing things down and all.

March 2013 I filed for divorce from my abusive husband. I then had to make a horrible choice since I had no other place to go – move back to Tennessee to live with my elder parents and brother. I won’t get into that nightmare of a situation of two years, but I will at least say this – got that second manuscript published for a one year contract in 2014.

Oh, the lessons learned from that small publisher. Damn. Won’t go into details, but when she gave me an editor and this editor pointed out problems in the first chapter and then said, “Look through what I edited in the first chapter. Go through the manuscript and find similar issues and fix them. Once you’re done, get back to me.”…Uh, what? I half assed my efforts cause I didn’t know any better, but at the same time, I thought an editor was to help you along the way? Not leave you to the wolves like that. The book was published, but there were loads of mistakes which now I have cleaned up greatly and cut nearly half the book apart to flow better. I was under an unrealistic deadline with that publisher to get the edits done in a month. That’s not how traditional publishing works. Overall, it was an experience and I sold fifty copies at least digital and paperback. I have three paperback copies myself. One of which is full editing marks in pencil and pen as study for future full on edits.

In December 2015 I dropped the contract. By then I had moved back to Washington state in late September 2015 by train. All I had on me was one very full roll duffel bag, one large roll luggage bag and one small roll luggage bag. All inside the bags were the most precious of belongings – manuscript one printed copy, two of the black notebooks of the original handwritten, how to write fiction books as many as could fit, watercolor art supplies and paints and some cloths. Along with mailing my art portfolio bag of art, Robert Forbear unicorn poster and the antique oval mirror. I was panicking when about to leave my family behind. Being threatened to be killed due to my mother’s delusional mental illness and my brother’s mental illness of threatening the same to me, I had to leave.

Midway Years – From January 2016 to 2019 I was ready to continue the story of the Geraci mansion and Vivian’s adventure of facing her pain. I had added many more characters in the now third manuscript. Before I had left Tennessee in fall 2015, I was in the early stages of at least five chapters into the third manuscript. I kept getting interrupted from my family. It was like I was the adult in the house having to maintain three adult children with childish behaviors and demands due to mental illness, Alzheimer’s Disease (my mother), alcoholism (my dad and brother) and drug use (my brother). I was the truth telling; amateur psychology doctor maintaining a mini asylum. All the while trying to write a new manuscript to continue the story.

I had come back to Washington state a mental mess. My mild PTSD, mild anxiety and mild depression running rapid in me like it dialed up to level 10 at least. Thankfully my psychiatrist Dr. K. back in TN was able to help me figure things out before I left. I was at his office at least every week to every other week depending when he had an opening. Knowing of my own mental illness, which is far more manageable than what I could dare say about my father, brother and mother (which they need far more help then I, which should have been given to them way before I was ever born)…Since I could not concentrate on my love for writing, I had to at least take a break for almost two years.

By late summer 2016 I started working more on the third manuscript. I found my zone in my writing. This third manuscript took maybe six months tops. I then dived into the fourth manuscript in the spring of 2017. I at least got 68,000 words down for manuscript three and 40,000 word count for manuscript four. Both needed far more details fleshed out and I knew this would take time. Both these manuscripts, not to mention manuscript two were FAR, FAR from being looked at by a critique partner. I at least gave these two manuscripts to three Beta Readers in 2017 since one of them had bought the first publication of Soul’s Little Lie when it was in print back in 2015. Having these three Beta Readers helped me set up an editing (reshoot) mindset later on.

Current Phase of Writing – 2020…Oh, my God. It started out just fine. I was rolling along for draft 3 of manuscript three and four nearly at the same time here and there. Mostly was working on manuscript three from January to early March. Then, all shit hit the fan for the world. Covid-19 virus.

Concentration went out the window. Concentration took her bags, jumped out of my soul and heart, leaving my brain in shock and flew the coupe! I was a mess like everyone else who had a hard time looking into working on their current or near future projects in writing, painting, animation, music, etc. We all halted to a stand still in shock.

I tried. Damn did I try to get the motor running in my manuscript editing work. I even started cataloging my writing process of what parts I was working on and how many hours worked in a bullet journal since January 2020. I was set and ready to tackle all three manuscripts to Soul’s Little Lie books. I was pumped, but ya know, 2020 year was a dumpster fire times a million percent!

I set up my bullet journal like a basic calendar that would last me a whole decade of logging. Had to do this since my favorite writing log app WriteOMeter on GooglePlay had up and disappeared no longer with updates to it. It was a sad day for everyone who used that app. It was the best.

After months of fiddling about with chapters here for edits and chapters there and note taking and author bible fixes and updates, I bit the bullet in early October. I posted my need for a critique partner on Reddit. All I was looking for was POV issues. What Mike, my critique partner, found was so much more. He’s currently on chapter 13 of manuscript three and has two more chapters to go.

What Mike found was astounding. I had already suspected as much of shifting chapters and character pieces over to manuscript four, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. My suspicions continued to be correct by Mike’s findings that with one character’s story arch shifted over to the other manuscript, it made the whole new first book flow much better. This then lead me to break down manuscript two even further to find it needed to be at the end of manuscript three which bulked up areas that were flat or missing completely.

This now made the new book one a total word count of 138,000. I can chop that down nicely since I already went through the first publication attempt knowing exactly what to eliminate. Then I saw the problems with manuscript four and how the shifted character arch to be placed at the beginning of this manuscript. This too, made its story bulkier and more connected to the drama in the story with a new location for scenes. It kept two characters closer together to complete both their story arches.

All I have to do now is fill in the blank areas of Vivian’s abuses of her husband in Act I that blends into Act II. Act III, which is manuscript two, will have to be cut a lot to make it fit, but I think I can do it. It will make four books turn into three books instead. A trilogy which is far easier to put together. Once all these ‘reshoots’ are done on my end, I go back to finding a new pair of eyes and fresh mind for a second Critique Partner – teammate #5 to the group.

In retrospect, if I hadn’t gone about swallowing my foolish pride in finding a Critique Partner, I would have sent off the manuscript 3 to querying prematurely. This would have caused set backs due to rejections. With each stage of development in the ever changing Quality Control tactics, I’ve learned far more than ever since only ten years ago. In such a short time of three months, I’ve learned exactly how Developmental Edits are done. Why that first critical step in edits, no matter how daunting it may look at first, is far more important than the piddly edits I attempted on my own.

To have teamwork to build a project as complex as a novel will propel you further toward your writing career and dream coming true for publication than you ever thought possible.

So far, 5 Beta Readers and 1 Critique Partner. The team is growing and will keep growing as the Quality Control moves along down the conveyer belt of production for future publication.

Possible Hail Mary…

I got my 10th rejection letter a few days ago. Later I went hunting in my email account in search for my previous rejection letters and found only two. The others, about seven, had been deleted or I haven’t searched for them effectively enough.

Posting them online on my personal Facebook page I got a few encouraging replies. One of them was a run down of what each of these rejection letters meant. This is what she said:

Actually the rejection from DAW is excellent news. They said even if that particular book wasn’t right for them, they asked you to submit again in the future. So that’s actually GOOD.
The second is just standard confirmation they got it. It doesn’t mean anything and it’ll take 30 days to get back to you. If they don’t *shrug*
The third is an actual rejection. Pay no mind.
Getting rejected is a part of life, and actually a mark that you’re in the writing club now. Many people never get the courage to submit, or give up after one go. Almost no one EVER gets accepted right out of the gate. Stephen King has been rejected hundreds of times. A buddy of mine only has ten works in print and 200 rejections. The object is not to quit. So don’t quit. 💗
I actually printed and framed my very first one. It’s a badge of honor marking that I’m a real writer now.”

10thRejection

Seeing this breakdown of what each one meant, even though I already understood a while ago, it was review for me to fully understand. This got me to thinking and talking with my boyfriend, who is trying ot help me see the  mistakes in my work. Then it happened…Jon saw a slight difference in the first chapter that I had not seen before or thought about. A light bulb went off in my head as I rushed to write down the notes in Volume 2 Journal, but was slowed down by him as he carefully walked back to the computer room with a full cup of coffee being sure not to spill it.

“Hurry! Hurry up!” playfully egging him forward, excitment in my voice, “I need to write this down before I lose it to the winds!”

The hail mary play was this – Jacob Umari still finds these old hand made parchments signed by David Geraci. He does a search for the name online and it leads him to Strong Waters Asylum, now named Strong Waters Rehab Center in upstate New York. While there searching more information about this long dead patient from the 19th century, he hides the files he’s found, along with the parchments and other files from that long lost case file, calls his friend Frankie needing his help and where to find them. Then something terrible happens to Jacob and his friends and family find he’s now kept at Strong Waters for medical evaluation.

Letting this new first chapter of book one steep in my mind for a day or so while going through the first draft or two in my head in story order and I realize something – Scarlet Elwood, Brandon’s wife, wouldn’t have such a heavy role to play. I can take her out and clear up fifteen slow chapters throughout all 3 books.

This also means this frees up time movement to go much faster and the possible shrinkage of book 2 cut in half and more easily mesh with book 1. Frankie would still move forward in book 1 to buy the Geraci mansion to build his story arch and Brandon would still leave Scarlet to presue his story arch as planned, but it would flow much smoother throughout all three books.

Then there’s Davon Tucker, he’d still go to the Geraci mansion with his two bandmates to film the music video. He’d interact with Frankie just as before in book 1 and still have a feel for the mansion as he goes into book 3. This would mean Jacob, Frankie, Brandon and Davon would all still be introduced in the first few chapters of book 1 and span out through the rest with ease. This would give Josh, one of the bandmates, more room to do his dirty work toward Davon instead of having Scarlet be the ‘ring leader’, which seems so out of place. Amy Tucker, Davon’s older sister, is also in on this scheme.

Having fully realized this, this means I can not take off any vacation or special events of any kind.

20th Class Reunion in August – Nope

New Kids On The Block concert in June – Nope

Gem and Rock shows this summer – Nope

Might be able to take a break for the Arlington Fly-In event since it’s right behind the house at the Arlington Airport and the noise of classic airplanes and racing planes would never let me work on my writing as they flew around for three days. Yeah, that’s my only break time. Not to mention, I’d still go out with my man to the movies.

How I work on my manuscripts is I treat it like a retail job of the schedules I used to have. I’m so used to such schedules for nearly 20 years in retail, finding it works great for writing.

2 hours writing/typing, 15min break, 2 hours writing/typing, 30min lunch (or an hour), 2 hours writing/typing, 15min break and 2 hours writing/typing until it’s nearly bed time at around 1am or 3am. This would give me a full 8 hours of work. I’d start at 3pm once my boyfriend is gone off to work and not finish until 3am or sooner. Shoot, maybe its a 10 hour shift. Damn. I can do this easy.

To add, a blank page on the screen never scares me considering how many notes I have on this whole project.

(Below are my 1st and 5th rejection letters)

1stRejection

5thRejection

Back to Washington state

I have moved back to Washington state. Family life had gotten disturbed and a family member betrayed me. I will not go into details. At least here, living with my beloved Dave, I can continue writing my novels in peace and quiet. Things here are a bit hectic to get things in order for my computer spot and in waiting for my computer to get back to me. I’m using Dave’s laptop to produce this entry tonight. I’ve been back only 2 days, after taking the train for four days, that I miss my computer something horrible. I miss my beloved coworker. A writer does not become an author, again for a second future time, without their computer.

Until then, I shall wait patiently as much as it hurts me to wait for my computer to return to my side. My loyal companion in my written creations.

Author Take Over… Rebel Ink Press Readers Club

At Rebel Ink Press Readers’ Club, once you join you’ll get to see all the fun we’ll be having starting this Monday at 2pm EST for the Take Over, Nick and myself and other RIP authors all this month. I will be doing a giveaway or contest prize, don’t know which yet, of these two scrapbook pages I made. The character profile drawings are made by Noiry from DeviantArt: http://noiry.deviantart.com/ I colored the printed sketches with Copic Marker and used all the extra goodies that I had stashed away. Both pages are signed and dated on the back and are in a clear scrapbook sleeve.

There will be a QnA, Ebook giveaway, behind the scenes of my books, and more.

One lucky winner will receive these. I can’t wait to find out who. So, please come join the fun, ‘Join’ Rebel Ink Press Readers’ Club to get a chance to win these pages.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1660579664153917/

50% Off sale at All Romance Ebooks this weekend

All Romance Ebooks 50% Off Sale this weekend for all Rebel Ink Press published books!

Stop by the store and have a look. Type in Rebel Ink Press LLC in the search to find more authors.

Soul’s Little Lie –

Vivian Warren has been practicing magic all her life and has found herself face to face with her spirit guide at her front door. The sorrow in the man’s eyes compels her to go with him on a journey to his home in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Hot on their trail, Detective Jacob Umari must uncover the link between this mysterious man with Vivian and a cold case file.

The Soul’s Little Lie series is a psychological soft horror mystery complete with love, fear, and a glimpse into the inner workings of a broken heart.

Psychological soft horror romance adventure.

Book In My Hands

2015-05-29 11-20-01.353

My first novel is now in my hot little hands!

My mother ordered the first one and it came today. I feels surreal to old my first work like this. I’ve dreamed of this day since I was little. I’m calm, but happy. I’m calm, but ready to work more into book 2. (having some writer’s block, argh) I want to get outside in this beautiful weather and dance and party with my dear friend Robert. Robert…oh dear Robert! It was you who pushed me to talk to Eden Glenn. It was you who kept insisting that I hook up with Rebel Ink Press. It was you who pushed and pushed me into the right direction to see my dream come true.

To my Parents – Thank you for reading thousands and thousands of novels in this family home over the years. For reading all kinds of genres – Romance, Military, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Mystery. Thank you for keeping as much of your book collection as you could every time we moved around the country. Thank you for putting up with my emotions as I pushed to get what I always wanted – my dream to come true!

To my MPHS classmates – you know who you are! Thank you for believing in me and thanks for tolerating my first manuscript back in school. (THAT piece will never see the light of day) Thank you for being my cheerleaders as I kept writing. Thank you for the party to jump start me out of there. I miss you all so much!

To Dave – Thank you for being there for me throughout this whole experience from 2003-present. Brainstorming with me. Believing in me. Pushing me to write. Being my archival guy. Being there when I cried. Being my first reader and mild editor. For being there for me throughout it all.

To Robert – Thank you for pushing me toward Eden Glenn Thank you for giving me the courage to talk to her on FB. Thank you for helping promote my work and being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for putting up with my fears and doubts.

To Eden Glenn – Thank you for pushing me toward this goal in the beginning publishing process and throughout. Thank you for being my mentor, for teaching me the basic noob learning curves. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for answering all my questions, and there will be more.

To my Publisher – Thank you for believing in my writing, in this story and the stories to come. Thank you for being patient with me even when I may have been confusing at times. Thank you for teaching me how it all works. I love learning this business! Thank you for believing in me. Thank you from the core of my heart and soul.

 

Now, to relax a bit, dance a bit in the glow of my happiness and re-read book 2 to get back on the ball again.

Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers In The Hall coming soon.

 

 

Paperback Celebration

Join me on my author FB page to help me celebrate the arrival of Soul’s Little Lie in paperback next weekend May 8-10. You’ll get a chance to win a free signed copy of the book. I’ll be sharing exclusive commissioned art works with everyone, too. Along with a hint into book two ‘Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers In The Hall’ Gather your book loving friends and come on by. Hope to see you there.

Just a little promotion…

With the wonderful early present of my official reveal of the book cover on Dec. 3, 2014.

With the hope that the official release date for the book is Feburary 2015, this is my year for my future as a full time author.

Not much else to tell you. I’ll keep everyone, whoever reads my journal, updated.
You can find me on all these sites to keep up to date on everything new about my novels.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/soulslittlelie/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/PaintGoddess101

DeviantArt:
http://mythian.deviantart.com

Tumblr:
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/mythian

It Is Official

https://www.facebook.com/soulslittlelie?ref=hl

On October 4, 2014 at 12:13pm EST I signed my first 2 year contract with Rebel Ink Press to get my novels published.

The link above is my official FB page for my announcements for anything to do with my novels.

You can also find me here:

DeviantArt – http://mythian.deviantart.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0AxGJcj820Ap8q7KJg3rVg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaintGoddess101

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/mythian

I’ll mostly post directly to my WordPress site, which will then send out to all other outlets that are listed above.

If you haven’t added me to your following lists, please do so. Things are starting to change around here and I think it would be fun if you watched the show unfold as my fans.

Thank you.