2019 – The State of Play

Welcome to another year! I was looking over old emails today and noted that I sent my WIP – The Blood of the Spear – out to its first beta-readers back in 2013… time goes by so quickly.

Last year, after extensive re-writes I sent the 7th draft out to another round of beta-readers. I understand this is not the most efficient way to do things, it also gets a bit silly calling people who are reading your book beta-readers when they are more like gamma-readers by now but whatever. I have to say though, that I learnt more about what I need to do to a manuscript before I say, ‘the end’ then I have in the last 5 years of ‘rewriting’ (which basically amounted to me pushing words around).

I have learnt that I need to read the whole manuscript out loud to myself before I show it to anyone.

I need to go through the whole thing and cut (most of) the filter words – I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS A THING! One of the consequences of being self-taught, I guess. But in 2018 I discovered these and now they are on my radar! Cutting these filter words reduced the size of the manuscript from about 206K words to 194K.

It’s only after then that I should hand it out. Although my alpha-reader gets to read it before all this happens. Eep!

I also learnt that my grasp of grammar was much poorer that I had realised. It was pointed out to me rather ungently, but once I’d picked up my fragile self-esteem I was able to see some of the things this person was talking about and was able to adjust my manuscript accordingly. Or at least make it better. I think/hope? Regardless, I learnt that this beta-reader is also not the right fit for me, so silver lining.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to criticism, but when it’s presented in a way that is not helpful it can be hard to take. But, possibly good practice for if I ever get published and someone writes a negative review?

So, what does 2019 hold for me. Well. I currently have folders for five WIPs, all of which are set on Sobia, the world I have been building for the last 27 odd years.

1. The Blood of the Spear, book one in The Eye of Eternity.

Marked once the saviour and twice the destroyer, the Phoenix Lord must know himself before he can be reborn. He must descend before he can begin to rise. He must kindle the flame before he is risen.

This is story of two half-brothers touched by prophecy and destined to save or destroy the world. I am currently finishing self-edits based on beta-reader feedback and will be sending it off to my editor in April.

After that will start to hunt down look for an agent.

As a first-time writer I am somewhat apprehensive that a manuscript weighing in at 197K words will just be a bridge to far for a publisher to take a risk on. Yes, self-publishing is certainly a viable option, but this is a (planned) seven book series (at least) and I want to give it the best chance of being read as I can, so I might put it aside and work on something that I will deliberately make shorter, which leads me to:

2. The Path of Stone, book one in The Hand of the Earth series.

At its roots this is the tale of a princess who had chosen to renounce her royal heritage and swear service to the Elder God of the Earth to become a Guardian of the Emerald Fire. But on the night she is to take her final vows, she is betrayed and exiled into slavery.

This is set about twenty years before events in the Eye of Eternity and is loosely connected.

I am thinking this is a four-book series, and the challenge is to bring them in under 150K words each. Well, at least the first one 😛

3. The Tower of the Stars, book two of The Eye of Eternity.

This is in the very early stages of the first draft. I haven’t even finished the prologue and want to sit down and properly plot this one out (I didn’t do that with TBotS).

4. The Heart of the Grove.

A girl’s quest for the truth, a sorcerer’s lust for power.

This is a standalone and happens in the same time-frame as the events in The Blood of the Spear – again this is linked to the Eye of Eternity series but is not required reading.

5. The Five Dragons.

Set in the Crescent Cities, it follows the bitter struggle between two women intent on taking control of one the world’s greatest mercantile dynasties.

Again, this too is planned as a standalone novel. It is set in the same world as The Eye of Eternity series but isn’t (at this stage) connected to the Eye of Eternity series in any substantial way.

Will I get all of this done in 2019? Roflmao.

No.

But I plan to make a good start on both The Tower of the Stars and The Path of Stone.

I am also commissioning an artist to transform my map of Ath’may, the Broken Continent (where my stories are set), into a map worthy of going into a book. I am excited about this and know who I am approaching, but that will wait until later in the year when my cash flow is more robust.

Oh! And I have plans to get a ‘proper’ website happening, but that is well and truly on the back burner until such a time as I get closer to publication.

Happy 2019 everybody!

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