I’ve missed you! It’s been six weeks since my last newsletter and I have all kinds of excuses for not writing, though the number one excuse is pretty valid. I worked like crazy to complete edits on the manuscript for book three of The Devil Particle Series. The manuscript turned out to be a bear to revise with multiple characters’ points of view and a tricky timeline.
But I only asked for two deadline extensions (the first time I’ve ever asked for any extension) and finally sent my manuscript to my editor on Sunday. Yahoo! Now on to writing the first draft of the fourth and final book in the quadrilogy. I hope to finish it by the end of this year.
Writing each of the first three books in the series has had their unique challenges. I didn’t plan on this, but that’s how it’s working out. Maybe I’ve been influenced by Stephen King?
One of the things I like about King is he’ll take an aspect of writing and construct a book around it. I don’t know if he says, “Today, I’ll write a completely plot-driven book,” but that’s exactly what he did when he wrote Under the Dome. Right after I read Under the Dome, I read King’s Duma Key which is almost completely character driven.
In King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy, each book begins with the exact same scene but from a different character’s perspective. And in Dr. Sleep, King creates an antagonist whose goal is in complete opposition to the protagonist’s goal. If either character achieves their goal, the other character will die. This interconnectedness should be prevalent in all stories, but it’s particularly obvious in this book.
As a writer, I love that King takes a writing element and runs with it.
To some extent, I’ve done the same thing. The first book in my Devil Particle Series started as a psychological thriller. Then, for a variety of reasons, I said, “Let’s make this a young adult dystopian thriller.” In YA dystopians, there’s usually some sort of contest, think The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I needed one, too, so I created the Vessel Trials.
Honestly, it was a struggle writing the Vessel Trials. I fought it. I guess I was mourning the psychological thriller draft I’d written, but now the Trials are my favorite part of the book. And the research was a lot of fun, too. Check out my “Editing with the Help of an Escape Room” newsletter for more on this.
The challenge in the second book of my Devil Particle Series was to incrementally change the protagonist as the character’s body and mind acclimated to the devil particles. The changes needed to be subtle at first and then build so the reader would dread what happens next. It seemed like an impossible task as I was writing it, but my editor says I’ve nailed it!
Gaige Devlin, my third book in the series has been the hardest to write with it’s multiple characters’ points of view and tricky timeline. This is why I asked for two deadline extensions. It’s now in my editor’s hands, so, in a few weeks, we’ll see how I did.
And now I’m starting on Jaelyn, the fourth book in the series. I wrote The Devil Particle manuscript, the first book in the series, in nine months. A record for me. The first draft of Carpe Diem, Illinois took me three years. I’d like to complete the first draft of Jaelyn by the end of this year. Three months?! I’ve always liked a good challenge.
What else I’ve been up to:
Teaching – Yesterday, I had a terrific time teaching my “Creating Unforgettable Characters Workshop” to the members of the Off Campus Writers’ Workshop during their Zoom Craft Talk. If you’re a writer, I highly recommend this group. Every Thursday morning from September through May they offer workshops on all things writing from craft to publication.
Babysitting my grandpuppy, Ramona while my daughter and her new husband enjoyed their honeymoon in St. Lucia.
Reading – I re-read Misery by Stephen King. It’s amazing to me how horrible the protagonist’s situation is right at the beginning of the book, and things only get worse. I’m re-listening to Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — for the third time! It’s a perfectly written book. One of my top ten favorites.
What are you reading? Let me know, and I’ll add it to my list.
Watching scary movies – it’s October, after all. So far, I’ve haven’t been scared. Have you? If so, please let me know which movie(s) creeped you out!