Tag Archives: Chronicles of the Sentinels

From Writer’s Block to Creative Outpouring

Hi everyone,

On release day of The Sword of Dragons, I began telling the tale of how this epic story came into existence.  This is part 2 of that tale, the first part can be read here.

Four Years of Writer’s Block

The path to writing the first 12 chapters of what was still called Sword of the Dragon was a slow but eventful one.  I rewrote the first chapter about 3 times before I was satisfied, and then moved on from there.  At the time, my system was to write a chapter, and then go back and proofread it before moving on to the next chapter.

Little did I know at the time that this was a mistake for me.  It slowed down the flow of the story, and stifled my creative outflow.  Wow, it sounds so technical when I put it that way…

College-GraduationIt was right around the time that I graduated from college in 2007 that the dreaded writer’s block hit.  And it hit hard.  From 2007 until 2011 I wrote two chapters of the novel, and maybe only 2 short stories.  It was the least productive time of my entire writing life.

What caused it?  A multitude of things.  But a big part of it was uncertainty in my life.  I was graduating with a Bachelor’s of English, but I was dissatisfied with it at that time.  I was already on course for switching to IT for a career, but was unable to secure a job right after graduation.

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.
Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

My life became chaos.  I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing, and my writing suffered for it immensely.  I did eventually find a part time job that then led to a full time job, but even as I changed jobs and began to make incredible progress in my IT career, my writing continued to suffer.

Breaking the Chains – Inspiration Strikes

I’ve been told that pulling out of writer’s block is one of the hardest things to do for any writer, and until this had happened, I had no idea just how hard.  But I did.

It wasn’t instantaneously, though.  I began writing short stories again, but didn’t complete any of them.  I had some false-starts on chapter 14 of Sword of the Dragon, and I went back and rewrote chapters 12 and 13 a couple of times.

What finally seemed to do it?  I moved to Colorado.  And my inspiration soared!aspen_colorado

In many ways, my move to Colorado was the best thing I could have ever done.  I was unhappy where I was in New Mexico, I was unhappy in my job, and I had a lot of painful memories there.  I was stuck in the past.

So I found a better job in Colorado and ran away from New Mexico.  There was more to do where I moved to, better quality of life, and a job that didn’t require me to work 12 hour shifts.  Massive improvements.

Within months, it started.  I finished chapter 15.  Then 16.  Then 17.  On and on it went.  And before I knew it, Sword of the Dragon was completed in 2012!!

Changing the Title

So why did I change Sword of the Dragon to The Sword of Dragons?  Because it’s such a cooler title?  Actually I think I lucked out on it, because I was dead-set on the original title.  I like The Sword of Dragons better :)

But the reason behind was simple: The day I decided to start querying for an agent, I did a search on amazon, and found a novel subtitled “The Sword of the Dragon.

Image Source - http://www.authorappleton.com/
Image Source – http://www.authorappleton.com/

While published long after I first came up with Sword of the Dragon, I am not despondent nor do I believe the author knew about my novels, how could he?  And the description of Scott Appleton’s novel sounds really cool, I fully intend to buy it and read it :)

Never-the-less, this required me to change the title of my series.  It took me about 5 minutes of thinking (the first 3 of which was me getting over the fact that I couldn’t use my title) to come up with the revised The Sword of Dragons.

Rejections, Redirects, and Self Publishing

With the title changed and all references in the manuscript changed, I began the arduous process of writing query letters and synopses.  After each rejected query letter, I reworked it.  Checked out some awesome helpful websites (Agent Query Connect is the best!  :D)

But no hits.  This didn’t deter me.  While I worked on finding an agent, I completed book 2 of the series, Burning Skies.  Compared to book 1’s six-year development, book 2’s year-long development was insanely fast!

I took a break from the series when I came up with Chronicles of the Sentinels, but that was yet another incredible outpour of creativity: I developed, wrote, and completed 2 rounds of proofreading on the novel in 3 months!!!!  It is safe to say that my writer’s block is really over, heheh.

But when a potential agent for Chronicles fell through, something sparked in me.  I realized how annoyed I was at the whole process.  And I kept thinking about Lindsey Stirling, who was rejected (quite brusquely) by the panel of “America’s Got Talent”, but through social media, was able to make a name for herself!

lindsey-stirling-celebrity

The key was when I asked my girlfriend one question: “Do you think I should self-publish?  Do you think I can even do it?  Can I make it as a self-published writer?”

Her unequivocal “yes” was that last boost I needed.  :)

The result of that decision so many months ago?  Well, you’ve all seen it.  The Sword of Dragons :D

Cover by Christian Michael
Cover by Christian Michael

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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Women in The Sword of Dragons – Strong and Self-Reliant

Hi everyone!

Image Source: http://alicechan.deviantart.com/
Image Source: http://alicechan.deviantart.com/

It seems like it was once a staple in fantasy stories, or at the very least a cliche: the damsel in distress.  Often the prisoner of some gruesome, horrifying monster or villain, the proverbial (and sometimes literal) knight in shining armor must rescue her, and often falls in love while doing so…

I can’t write women like that.  Flat characters who are incapable of saving themselves, who need someone else to ensure their life and livelihood, who have no depth, no real personality.  All of my short stories and novels I’ve written, up to and including The Sword of Dragons, have featured strong and self-reliant women.

Strong women are becoming much more common-place in fantasy stories.  While I’ve not read A Song of Ice and Fire, I have heard that Martin writes female characters well, and there is a famous quote from him on this topic.  When asked how he writes female characters so well, he replies, “You know, I’ve always considered women to be people.”

Image Source - Google Images
Image Source – Google Images

Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter,) Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games,) Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time,) Merida (from Brave.)  These are only a sample of complete, well written women in fantasy or sci-fi stories, and are some of the best characters I have ever encountered on screen or in books.

Another fact about these characters I like: they are not there for eye-candy.  They are complete, 3 dimensional characters, with dreams, fears, and a place of their own in society.

Too often you see fantasy art depicting women (especially elves, for some reason) wearing skimpy ‘armor.’  Breastplates that only cover the breasts, maybe a shoulder pad, and a skimpy little chainmail thong that makes Leia’s slave outfit look conservative.

Image Source - harrypotter.wikia.com
Image Source – harrypotter.wikia.com

While meant to attract men to the artwork, or video games, or movies, more often than not scantily-clad women are not well-developed, and will not stand the test of time.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the name Hermione Granger will be remembered long after “random scantily-clad elf #3” will be.

That is why I made the women on Halarite, the central world in The Sword of Dragons, 100% equal to men.  There is no limit placed on what they can or cannot do in society.  It is neither a patriarchal nor a matriarchal society.

river-song-profileOddly enough, I couldn’t find a word in the English language that describes such a society.  The closest I could find was Egalitarian, but that is not an accurate description of Halarite.  Egalitarian describes a society where all people are equal.  On Halarite, Mages are usually more privileged than non-magical people.  Oh but that is to be explored more in later novels.  As Professor River Song once said, “Spoilers…”

The Women of TSOD

Since I will be publishing The Sword of Dragons later this year, I thought now would be a good time to post some character profiles.  What better way than to start off with the prominent women of book 1 :)

Also, when I posted profiles of characters for Chronicles of the Sentinels, I included pictures of people who look similar to how I imagined the characters.  I received a very positive response to that, so I’ve done so here again.

Image Source - Google Images
Image Source – Google Images

Sira Reinar:
Sira trained all of her life to become a member of the Warriors’ Guild.  Her prowess as a Mage was evident from childhood, but she started at a disadvantage since neither of her parents were Warriors, so she entered as an outcast.

In The Sword of Dragons, Sira has become a respected leader in the Daruun Warriors’ Guild, her outcast status long-forgotten, overcome by her strength and leadership.  She carries a white-dyed claymore that has been her signature weapon since the day she graduated from training.

Although she considers her loyalty to her friends one of her greatest attributes, it does sometimes land her into trouble.  Never-the-less, it is that loyalty that ensures she is where she needs to be to help save her kingdom.

Image Source - geektyrant.com
Image Source – geektyrant.com

Kailar Adanna:
Once a powerful member of the Warriors’ Guild, Kailar abandoned her position when she became convinced that the Guild had strayed from its original mission.  Since then, she has sought a means to stop the Guild and to unite the four kingdoms under her banner.

Cunning, skilled, and possessing a keen intellect, she is a formidable opponent who will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals.  However, she does not trust anyone, and will only work with others when absolutely necessary.  Otherwise she spends her life completely alone, living in the wilderness, always on the move.

When she learns of the Sword of Dragons, she becomes obsessed with finding it, knowing it has the power to help her achieve all of her goals.

Image Source - wallpaperest.com
Image Source – wallpaperest.com

Elaria:
A Dareann Elf, Elaria is an explorer who wanders from one world to the next.  She has an insatiable curiosity, but has learned to be cautious, and has an uncanny ability to hide herself.  When necessary, she uses her two curved daggers to defend herself with great effect.

When she senses the growing power of the Sword of Dragons, she comes to Halarite to seek out the source.  But when she approaches Kailar, the wayward Warrior uses her powers to manipulate Elaria into helping her.

Now she must overcome Kailar’s grip on her will, before she destroys Halarite’s only chance for peace.

—————————————

Thanks for reading everyone!  I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into The Sword of Dragons :)  Stick around, because there’s more to come!

-Jon Wasik

Fan Fiction – Not an Evil

Hi everyone!

Over 20 years ago, I had a brilliant idea: why not write my own Star Trek story?  I could start a new series, make millions, and live off of writing.

Okay, so I was in 5th grade and didn’t know any better.  But I wrote a Star Trek story any way.  All of my classmates became characters in it.  I even turned one classmate I had just had a big argument with into the villain.  Until she read it and pleaded with me to not make her evil.  So in the end, she becomes good again :)

And that was the very first story I wrote.  I loved it, I love writing it, I loved letting my classmates read it, and getting their feedback!  I still have the hard-copy, too, and I turn red in embarrassment every time I read it, heheh.

What I didn’t know at the time was that I had just ventured into something that, if it wasn’t already known as such back then, would one day be known as fan fiction.

Image Source - www.d2tomb.com
Image Source – http://www.d2tomb.com

Dun dun duuunnnn!  That evil thing known as fan fiction!  What so many professional writers and publishers turn their noses at and detest.

…Except it isn’t evil.  At least, I don’t believe it is.

Writing that first story, that first fan fic, sparked within me a passion that burns stronger than ever over 20 years later.  It opened up a whole new world to me.  And it wasn’t my last foray into it either.

I’ve hinted at my fan fiction before, but I’ve been hesitant to really go into details here, for fear of legal reprisal down the road, should I ever make it big.  But in reality, fan fiction isn’t looked down upon like it used to be, and big name companies, including Paramount, aren’t as anti-fan fic as they used to be.

Furthermore, fan fiction has a huge benefit that I think a lot of people overlook.  I’ll explain in a bit.

Star Trek Dragon – 7 years, 70 stories

In 1999, while looking around this really cool thing called the internet (on dial-up!) I found a website called Star Trek The Adventures of Argus.  I was shocked: Star Trek stories I could read online?  For free?  What is this…??

Image Source - http://www.ussargus.com/
Image Source – http://www.ussargus.com/

That was the first time I read the words “Fan Fiction.”  I learned that it was fans, normal every day people like you and I, writing stories not for money, but for pure love of Star Trek, or any other number of franchises!  In some cases, such as Argus, people were putting in countless hours and incredible efforts to create these websites and write these stories.

This was how my own fan fiction series, Star Trek Dragon, was born.  I wanted to make my own mark.  I wanted to tell my own Trek story.  I didn’t care that I could never, ever make a single dime from it.

stdragon.com
stdragon.com

However, there was more to it.  By 1999, I knew more about how publishing worked, and how difficult it was for new writers to get into the industry.  I also was very much aware that my own writing style was in dire need of polishing.

So STDragon became my test bed.  It was where I could hone my skills, test out new ways of writing, and get feedback from readers.  Readers who eventually became fans.  Including fans who were never shy about telling me when something needed work, heheh.

For 7 years I wrote Star Trek Dragon, each ‘episode’ becoming longer, more detailed, and better written than the last.  Each story building upon the previous, leading up to a finale that had my inbox overflowing with fan mail!  …okay so that’s a bit of an exaggeration.

It had fulfilled it’s purpose.  I finished Star Trek Dragon in 2006, and began writing what would eventually become the novel I am now preparing to publish, The Sword of Dragons.  A novel that might never have been realized, or at least not be good enough to sell, had I not spent so much time and effort honing my skills.

Advice and Cautions

With all of that in mind, I now and forever will be a fan of fan fiction.  It is an amazing tool, a great medium for content-hungry fans, and free advertisement for the franchises that spawned them.

So much so that I seriously hope someday people will write Fan Fictions about The Sword of Dragons or Chronicles of the Sentinels!  I’ve even had the pleasure of already having fan fiction written about my stories: a follow-on series of Star Trek Dragon was started by an individual named Daniel Balding, called Star Trek Peacemaker!

peacemaker.stdragon.com
peacemaker.stdragon.com

However, there are some pitfalls to be cautious of.  First and foremost, there are legal considerations.  Intellectual Copyright permits the owners of intellectual property to control content of and relating to their series.  That means if an author or company tells a fan-fic writer to stop publicly posting and distributing their fan fiction, they have that right, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees with it.

On the plus side, writing and publicly posting fan fiction can be a real boon for aspiring writers!  And I’m not just talking about the practice we get out of it.  Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’re developing readership!  You’re creating a name for yourself.

Image Source - http://www.vtwproductions.com/
Image Source – http://www.vtwproductions.com/

I hadn’t even thought of it that way until I talked to a guy today named Wayne, who runs a podcast on the website VtW Productions.  He’s a pretty cool nerd, and he and I talked for a good long while about all of this today.  He helped me realize that there’s no need to hold back, and to tell the world about my fan fiction :)

So no matter what you might hear, if you’re a fan fiction writer, or you want to become one, don’t be shy.  It isn’t the evil taboo that some of the big names have claimed it to be.  Yes, there are fan fics that are all about fulfilling someone’s…desires.  But that is only a small percentage of fan fiction.  There are a ton of quality fan fictions out there!

Remember that, and if you decide to write one, make it one that’s really worth reading.  After all, this is your work, and that means it’s a representation of you :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Time and Space

Hey everyone!

No, the title isn’t referring to time travel or Doctor Who (although I DO love that show :D )  In this case, I’m talking about the value I’ve learned in setting down a project for a while, and coming back to it with fresh eyes several weeks or even months later.

Image Source - http://www.fumozar.com/
Image Source – http://www.fumozar.com/

I’m sure a lot of writers have heard that before, I know I have, but recently I’ve discovered the true value in it.  You see, back when I first started this blog, which was also when I first got the idea for Chronicles of the Sentinels, I set aside book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, Burning Skies.  In fact my first blog post about Chronicles, here, was on June 14th, 2014.

Now I’m gearing up to write book 3 of the series, and to get myself motivated and back into the characters, I’ve gone back to re-read the first two novels.  Little did I know how much work I would need to do on both of them, but especially book 2!

I’m only 80 pages in and the pages are covered in red ink!  Why?  Was I really such a horrible writer when I wrote and edited it at the beginning of 2014?  Well, no, not exactly.

But for starters, having taken a step back, I’ve forgotten a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ thoughts to each page, each character, each plot element.  That means that when I read it now, I’m reading it more like any other reader would.  And I’m finding the plot holes, and the sentences that don’t make sense.

That I believe is the true value in stepping away from your work as a writer, and perhaps in any artistic endeavor.  You created the work, so you know what you intended it to be and to mean.  But the reader doesn’t.  The viewer of your art doesn’t.  The audience of your music doesn’t.

So do yourself a favor and step back for a while.  See your work as intended, through the eyes of an outside observer.

Never Stop Learning

I have also learned so, so much in the past seven months!  In fact in taking stock of what I did in 2014, the second half was a year of incredible growth for me in writing.

Image Source - RMFW.org
Image Source – RMFW.org

The most important beginning for me was going to the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference, for two reasons.  First, I learned so much from the workshops and classes there!

Second, and I think this is the most important part: I started attending a writer’s critique group hosted by RMFW.  And while I’ve only taken my own work to that group a couple of times, I’ve participated in as many of the meetings as I could.  I’ve read other writers’ pages, critiqued them, and most importantly, heard others’ critiques.

So now, with all of that accumulated (and still accumulating) knowledge, I’m finding so many ways to improve book 2!  When I’m done with it, I know it’ll be better than ever :)

I also realize that my journey in becoming a better writer has not ended and never, ever will.  I’ve always believed that a person should never stop growing, never stop improving themselves.  I want to make sure I always apply that philosophy to my writing, too.  I can always outdo myself, all I have to do is try :)

The best part is that as long as I can do that, readers will always be able to expect each new story to be better than the last!  :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Writing Critique Groups

Hi everyone!

First I want to apologize for how long it has been since I wrote a blog entry.  Two weeks to the day!  :-\  It has been a very busy couple of weeks, and a bit of a roller coaster.  Okay more than just a bit!

But, on the bright side of things, I have completed the revisions to Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy, and only need to finish up a query letter and synopsis, and then I’m ready to send my pages to Ms. Diver!  I’ll post the manuscript’s stats at the bottom of this article :)

On to the subject matter for today’s article!  And this has a lot to do with becoming published and/or finding an agent.

The Other Half of the Job

Now before anyone says anything, no, I am not down-playing the importance of writing skill.  No matter what, you must have a quality piece of writing in order to have a chance at either mainstream publication or making your self-published work sell.

Having said that, I have learned this year just how important it is for a writer to get out from behind the pen and actively work on getting your name out there, or going out and meeting other writers, meeting publishers and agents face to face.

In general, writers are by nature introverted to some extent.  (This is not a universal truth, however!)  And I used to have the naive impression that all writers had to do was write, and then leave the rest up to the ‘professionals.’

I was wrong.  I’ve been learning all about what a writer should do beyond writing this year, and honestly is part of the reason I started this blog, and started my facebook page.  Whether you’re self-publishing or going main-stream, it is chiefly the writer’s responsibility to promote themselves and their work, to get their name out there.

Image Source - RMFW.org
Image Source – RMFW.org

Beyond even that, however, is the ‘mingling’ part.  And yes, RMFW’s Colorado Gold Conference and my experiences there is a big reason behind tonight’s blog!

If you haven’t read it yet, read my blog that details my experiences there!  I met so many different writers, which in and of itself was incredible!  More than that, I got to meet editors and agents, and pitch to one, which led directly to finding an agent interested in my work!

The lesson learned there was that my one weekend at the conference was far, far more productive than cold-mailing query letters out.  Now of course, there is no guarantee that you’ll have any success going to such conferences.  You really must have a good product to sell, be a person an agent or editor wants to work with, and have a good pitch!!

There’s also something else that I am going to highly recommend all writers do…

Writing Critique Groups

kevin-wolfWhile I was at the conference, I was encouraged by Kevin Wolf to join a local critique group hosted by RMFW.  I’ve now been to two sessions, and I have to say that it is an incredibly helpful resource!

Not only do you get to meet and collaborate with other writers regularly, but you get multiple eyes on pieces of your work, which allows for a wide range of view points, opinions, and suggestions!  Plus if you’re lucky, you’ll have published writers in your group that could potentially give you advice in other aspects of the industry!

Having said that, I should caution that not all critique groups are alike.  I was lucky to have found a great group my first time out, but I’ve heard horror stories.  So I would recommend checking around, and if your first venture into a critique group doesn’t go well, look for another one, but don’t give up!

I know that those of you who live in a small town might not have such a group.  I have two recommendations.  First, there are online critique groups, so just do a search on the internet!  Second, try to create one in your area!  I would be willing to bet that there are at least a few writers even in the small towns :)  And even if that’s not the case, it can’t hurt to try!

So what do you all think?  Are there other resources ‘out there’ that you would recommend on top of this?  And if you do go out and find a critique group, or are already part of one, I’d love to hear about your experiences with them!  So please leave a comment below :)

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy Revision

So as promised, here are the stats for the revised version of Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy, now marketed as an Adult Modern Fantasy novel :)

Word Count: 75,237
Page Count: 231

Photo Source - http://mainlineoptix.com
Photo Source – http://mainlineoptix.com

It’s a marginal increase, not the 80,000 words I was wanting, but I was grateful for the opportunity to flesh it out without worrying about making it too long.  I feel like anything extra added to the story would be arbitrary at this point.  This increase doesn’t come from big chunks tacked on here and there, either, every single chapter has been modified to some extent, little modifications here and there.

This includes fleshing out Alycia’s character more, so I am very pleased with that :)

I’ll be sure to let everyone know when I finish my query and synopsis and send it out!  Thanks for reading.

-Jon Wasik

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Stellar View

Hi everyone!

Today’s excerpt is a little special.  As I’ve been going through my latest revision before sending 30 pages to Ms. Diver, I’ve started running the NASA HDEV in the background, to give myself a great view while reading.

Tonight I caught a sunset while reviewing chapter 12, and thought I’d share it with you all, while at the same time giving you a full page of an excerpt :)

In this scene, Emmi is in her cat form, which I have posted an excerpt from before.  This is after that scene.  She is exploring the Sentinel facility, when she comes across a most curious section…

(Click the image for the full-size)

excerpt-nasaI hope you all enjoyed this!  It’s definitely more of an excerpt than I usually give, with the bonus of some eye candy ;)

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish my revisions today like I had hoped.  I came down sick on Friday and ended up doing next to nothing on Saturday except lay in bed :(

But that’s okay, it’ll give me a chance to finish this, write up a query letter, and get that query letter reviewed by a critique group I’ve started attending!  :D  (more on that in a follow-up article later this week)

I hope you all had a great weekend!  Thanks for reading :)

-Jon Wasik

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Target Audience

Hi everyone!

As many of you read in my last article, agent Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency asked me to send her 30 pages and a synopsis after my pitch at the Colorado Gold conference!  I’m still so excited!  I also promised to tell you all more about what happened in that pitch, so here we are, as promised :)

The story actually started the day before my pitch to Ms. Diver.  Saturday, when I attended a class she hosted called “When is it YA?”  I discovered something: in my attempts to write a Young Adult novel, I had actually written an Adult Fantasy.  (She recently posted her presentation on her blog, check it out!)

Before anyone gets the wrong impression (too late?) I want to clear up some definitions here.  In the publishing industry, an adult fantasy does not mean it is a sexually-oriented novel.  That would actually fall under erotic literature.  Adult fantasy means the fiction is targeted for an audience 18 years or older.

As I sat in the class, one thing started to become apparent: Chronicles of the Sentinel was not, by the industry’s definition, a YA story.  The most obvious reason was that the 3 main characters are 22 years old.  While a 22 year old person is actually considered a young adult, in the publishing industry, YA ends at 18.

University of Colorado - Denver campus
University of Colorado – Denver campus

More than that, it’s also what the story covers.  While Chris, Emmi and Alycia are college students, the majority of the story does not take place at school.  In fact you only see the college campus in chapter 1, and that’s it.  They are very much college-age individuals dealing with personal and interpersonal issues you might expect from college students, but these issues also easily bleed through into the post-college realm.

After discussing this with Ms. Diver during my pitch, I was surprised when she told me that marketing CotS for adults rather than YA was a good thing.  It has become difficult to sell YA Fantasy in the current market, but Adult Fantasy is selling.  In other words, it would be easier to get CotS published as an Adult Fantasy at this time.

From Just Right to Too Short

This has one unfortunate side effect: at just over 72,000 words, CotS:Legacy was just the right length for a YA novel.  But for adult fiction, it falls short of the generally accepted minimum of 80,000 words.

That means I have some work to do.  Ms. Diver pointed out that it could still work at 72k, but if possible to expand on it before sending her my 30 pages and synopsis.  So that is what I have set out to do!

For starters, I’m reading through the novel chapter-by-chapter and, where I feel it is needed or appropriate, I am enriching the language.  While I’m only 4 chapters in as of last night, I’m already realizing a mistake I had made: thinking that I needed to keep the language super simple for YA readers.

Image Source - lordsofanthair.com
Image Source – lordsofanthair.com

The fact of the matter is, young readers read up in age (a fact I learned at the conference.)  I know I did, I was reading adult-targeted fiction since before I even started writing.  I remember reading Lord of the Rings at age 11, and while I found it excruciatingly boring in parts (which I still do, even though I love it!), I devoured it and finished very quickly!

I should have never written down in the first place.  So in all honesty, going back through CotS:Legacy now, I’m really glad to be able to make the small changes and additions.  I don’t know that doing so by itself will make the novel reach 80k words, but it’ll be worth it, and so far in 4 chapters I’ve increased the word count by about 500.

Alycia’s Development

Photo Source - http://mainlineoptix.com
Photo Source – http://mainlineoptix.com

One thing I’d like to do is increase Alycia’s character development.  Like Emmi and Chris, she does go through a change in book 1, but it is much less pronounced, and I felt in the end that I hadn’t given her as much attention as I should have.

So that is something else I’ve been doing as I’ve gone along.  I’ve given her more attention, let her come alive as all good characters do, and this will be an additional focus throughout the novel.

I do not want to add anything arbitrary, but I want readers to have the chance to fall in love with her!  So instead of massive sections here and there that would ruin the flow of the story as it stands, I’m adding tidbits here and there, little character nuances to give her life.

Deadline?

Ms. Diver did not give me a deadline for when I should submit the pages to her, but this is my life, and just as I did while I first wrote CotS, I’m treating it like a 2nd full-time job.  So I’m giving myself a deadline of completing this revision by Sunday.  I don’t know that I’ll actually succeed, but it is an attainable goal.

I’d like to try to then read through the novel one more time, to ensure I didn’t mess up the flow.  Right now, it seems like it flows very well, and beta readers seem to agree with that!  I don’t want to sacrifice that flow just for an extra thousand words.

Final Thought – I’m Relieved It’s Not YA

Some of you might be surprised to read that, but honestly I’m glad to be writing in Adult and not YA, for one important reason: as I’ve started developing book 2, I’ve realized that fitting that story into a YA-length novel would be difficult at best.

But with 80 to 90k words to work with, I think book 2 will fit the bill perfectly, and will leave me room to develop all 3 of the protagonists as deeply as I want :)

As always, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik