Here we go again, right? It’s new Years Eve already and I thought at this time last year and the year before that I was on the threshold of having a dream year. Let’s say that previously I’ve been here and been wrong several times.
Although last year I published Fried Windows and have received a lot of positive feedback from fans and fellow authors, it hasn’t allowed me to write full time, which is my objective. Perhaps that is a longer journey than I expected. It tends to take several books before a sufficient number of readers discover a relatively obscure fantasy author like me.
Yesterday, I submitted Book Six of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Revisions for the entire series continue to move along. I should be finished revising Book Seven in a couple of weeks. As I’ve said before the last three books of the series need the most work, though, and that will slow the pace of revision considerably – especially the rewrite envisioned for the last half of the final book. However, despite the generally painful experience of revision, I’m optimistic that I’ll complete revisions of the entire series sometime before April. I’m including interruptions in my expectations because, somewhere in the process, I will be doing substantive edits and content edits on at least the first book of the series.
Last week was fun. The day at my sister’s house in Palm Harbor was a good change of pace for me. I’m grateful for the invitation and glad I could arrange things in my schedule to take a couple of days off. While there I met someone I didn’t know who has actually read my most recent book. If you;re not a writer you don’t understand what a big deal that really is. It’s also a little intimidating. You never know what a reader is going to say. They might tell you your baby is ugly.
All of us at the gathering were in rare form. You know how you wish you had a recording of the event just so you could capture the spontaneity and high spirits? Yeah…but somehow I think having a camera present wouldn’t have worked as well. People are naturally hams, you know? Playing to the camera would destroy the occasion, making it look too much like Reality TV.
Anyway, lots of laughs shared and good memories for all. Maybe we are supposed to recall such events without the aid of artificial recordings, just so we are kinder to all the silliness that probably – out of a family context – was not really all that funny. Such events tend to be you-had-to-be-there kinds of things, especially when you attempt explaining what was funny to others.
For some reason being around my oldest sister brings out the clown in me – not the scary kind but the playful, joking sort. It’s always been that way. Her clan is pretty much insane by any reasonable standard. So, of course, I fit right in. We each have our foibles, don’t we? It’s good to have a place you can go that you feel like you belong, even if it is just for a day.
I like family get together because I sort of expect things – based on past experiences – but also I never truly know what will happen. This time it started with a dining room table discussion about something that happened years ago – something that was not even remotely funny at the time.
When there is a new member to the gathering a novel dynamic is introduced. More stories to be told and greater depths of experience to be fished for something worth sharing quirk the group. I think back to when I was a kid reaching point of realizing that discovering dirt on close relations is immensely interesting. That is probably the best thing about family get togethers. You discover that your personal strangeness when compared to other family members isn’t really all that bad after all.
Anyway, things progressed and evolved from the stories told at the table to other stories told, retold with embellishment, or outright fabricated. I’ve been known to do some of each but since I’m a writer the latter is where I reign supreme. For some reason memories of childhood remain vivid and clear while recalling what happened last week or even yesterday is shrouded in mystery. That’s how life works, though. And whenever you run out of true stories to tell there is always a chance stretch things a bit. Telling how things should have been is almost as good as how they actually were, right?
Yesterday, my editor informed me in an unofficial way that Book 1 of The Wolfcat Chronicles is next in the queue for substantive edits. That means nothing really except that the process is about to begin. I’ll be working on a list of terms, characters and places that have unique spellings so that a style sheet can be created for editing purposes. Otherwise how would we know that Mt. Kordha is spelled correctly each time it appears, right? I’ve decided it makes more sense to create an inclusive list for the entire series. I started working on that last night and the list is already going on four pages – and I’ve not delved into Book Two yet.
The Wolfcat Chronicles may seem to have a cast of thousands while you’re reading it but most of the names are merely mentioned as memorable faces in the crowd and are not actual participants in conversations. Still, a series with the kind of depth and scale of the wolfcat books has dozens of speaking parts. It’s a lot like going through one’s real life in a way. You meet people all the time. Some of them become friends others do not. However we all have momentary exchanges and those tend to affect us in some way.
One of the crazier aspects of writing an entire series is the total immersion required of the author. It begins with the actual creation of the first draft and continues through each successive revision. It becomes necessary to believe in the fictional world, actually entering it and living there for certain spans, just to understand the characters and their conflicts. I don’t know if it ends once everything is settled into final form and published. We’ll see.
This is one of many series I have created over the years but it stands alone as being the one most nearly complete for all its revisions over the years. It’s hard to think I’ll not continue living in the fantasy world to some extent. After all, with so many characters in the series there are other stories left to tell. I’m considering that as I go through this series of revisions. I know there is at least another book, possibly two. Such books would not be necessary to understanding and following the series but they would be interesting projects for me to flesh out more detail on minor characters. That is, after all, how one book evolves into two and three. The main characters may drive the plot but the subordinate characters that interact with the main characters propel the story into new directions. Soon, a trilogy becomes ten books.
I have confidence in The Wolfcat Chronicles because over the past dozen years numerous people have read it in draft. Each one reported loving this or that character and wishing to know more about their stories. I’ve taken a lot of that into consideration with the revisions. Also, it’s a good sign that the story works.
With recent technological developments in film production many beta readers have told me this would make a great movie – something along the lines of Avatar or Lord of The Rings. I don’t know, though. I can visualize it of course, but then I live in the fantasy world while I’m working on the books. It comes with the territory of being a writer.
#writing #revising #editing #publishing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows