Rewriting Part 1

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I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on rewriting, as this is my first project to be rewritten, but bear with me, my friends, and we’ll get through this thing together.

The first thing I had to do was reread the original novella. It didn’t take long, as it was only 26k words. It was interesting in some ways, because it was almost like reading something that someone else had written. It’s been so long, that I’d forgotten some of the details, and it was like reading it anew.

The next step for me was to decide what I wanted to keep. I made a sort of list in order to make sure I didn’t forget. It went like this:

  1. Characters. Almost all of them, obviously my two main characters, plus Mai-hua (my main character’s foster sister), her brother Jie-kang, the Emperor, Elder Breena, the Huo-long prince, etc.
  2. Premise. The two nations of the Shui-long and the Ceffyl Dwr are at war. Mai-hua wants to put an end to the war.
  3. World-building. What I had, I decided to keep. Both the Shui-long and the Ceffyl Dwr are somewhat amphibious beings that live on both land and water. There are five dragon nations.
  4. Tone/mood
  5. Some scenes from the original story.

Then, I decided what I wanted to revise. Another list. Can you tell that I like lists? I’m generally not a very organized person, so lists are good for me.

  1. Character roles: In the original story, Xin-jian didn’t know Mai-hua’s plans to make peace with the Ceffyl Dwr and only found out when she nearly died. In this story, I made them both a part of the plot, and made it so that Jie-kang’s entrance into the story is also rewritten, because in the original, he is only very briefly mentioned.
  2. Narrative arc: the whole story changes, with the exception of a few scenes that I think I will keep. Some scenes I want to keep, but am not sure how to fit them in to the new narrative arc.
  3. World-building: needs a vast amount of improvement. The original had a facade of world-building, but wouldn’t hold up under pressure or a more detailed examination.
  4. Length: this story needs much more room. It will probably span at least two novels.

There you have it. As I go on, I will definitely let you know more of what’s happening with that. Also, if I finally finish my dev edits, you will be the second to know (the first being my publishers/editors).

Thanks for tuning in!

Across Borders Take Two

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THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKE

Hello all,

I have yet to finish my dev edits. Such is my shame. However, I am starting yet another project, which some of you may have already read about in previous posts.

I am going to do a complete rewrite of Across Borders, which is the first novella that I ever wrote for Less Than Three Press as part of The Bestiary collection. It’s since gone out of print, and I thought it would be cool to revamp it and resub it to the same publisher. For some reason, it was a fairly popular novella, even if it didn’t get the same ratings as some of my other work. 

Here’s what it looked like on its first go around:

bestiary4across

This cover was done back in 2012. Back then (in the olden days), Less Than Three Press didn’t do separate covers for every novella, so every novella in The Bestiary volume 4 had the same cover. Some of you probably remember, even! I was fresh out of my BA, and was ready for anything. Ah, my youthful idealism. 

Anyway. That’s the first cover art I ever received, and I can tell you that I was thrilled with it. Nowadays, LT3 has all sorts of lovely cover art and talented artists. We’re spoiled, really. But as a newbie author, I was happy with it. You can even see the little kelpie symbol in the top corners. 

I still do like my first published work, the original Across Borders, which was a romance between warriors of two warring states, but it is, admittedly, a juvenile work. One thing I can improve on in the story I want to write is world-building as well as narrative story arc. I’m looking forward to it.

These are my characters Xin-jian and Tiernan. The art was done by V. Rios for the 2012 publication.

across borders

My characters from Across Borders

As you can see, the two of them are shifters, one is a Chinese dragon shifter, and the other a kelpie. As a few of you probably realize, Celtic Ireland/Wales/Scotland is pretty far away from China. I also didn’t really think of time periods/historical accuracy. I just wanted to tell the story of two people who are from vastly different cultures falling in love. I think it’s the love story that carried it, because the story-telling needed improvement.

Not to say that I wasn’t a good writer in 2012. My action scenes are pretty epic, and continue to be one of my stronger points to this day. 

The long and the short of it is that I think the story I want to tell needs to be fleshed out more. I’ve already outlined what is probably going to be two novels, and it’s turning out a lot different than the first one. But the core remains, that is, the love story between two cultures is still there.

I will keep you all updated! I’m doing the first rewrite I’ll ever do, and it should be a fun journey for me. I’ll probably release another blog post on rewrites soon!

Until then!

Dev edits

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Hello everyone,

My dev edits are currently driving me up the wall. Dev edits, or developmental edits, are supposed to help you with the structural aspects of the story you are trying to tell. My story, Yaliana, is a sci-fi lesbian romance. I love this story, but right now, it’s making me crazy.

First of all, I have an issue of nomenclature. I am talking about a different planet with different animals and plants. They are not really named, and my editor tells me that I need to come up with a system of naming these things. The main problem is that these characters have no frame of reference for these animals and plants. My characters have never lived on earth, and most of these animals are dangerous, so my characters’ main concern is not calling them by a name, but rather, staying alive.

Secondly, I have a character who I created who contradicts himself with his actions and words, and this was not done on purpose. I have to rewrite dialogue and different scenes in order to make him more consistent.

Thirdly, I have two stubborn characters who need to either show or reflect on their feelings for one another more openly. Right now, most of the story is focused on the action, whereas romance readers are concerned with the relationship. I need to get them to talk more to each other and more to themselves about their developing love story.

Those are my three problems, and as you can see, they are rather extensive and systemic problems. I’m pretty sure that I can fix them, but it requires a lot of time and energy. Dev edits are really important for worldbuilding, especially in sci-fi and fantasy worlds. I hope to ensure that my novella makes sense by the time I finish.

Still working on it!

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I didn’t get my dev edits done by the 19th. 

But such is my life. I’ve been writing my thesis and marking for an engineering class, which I am finding extremely challenging. Good news first: I have finished the first draft of my thesis. It is done, and now all I need to do is revisions. Bad news: marking is taking up all of my time, and March is probably a write-off in terms of getting any revisions done. 

What does this mean for writing?

I get nothing done for writing for a very long time. Perhaps not even until summer. This makes me very sad, but there is nothing that I can do about it. Hopefully one day, I will be working less on my schooling and more on my writing. It would be nice, at least. 

My dev edits might take a while to figure out. Some of the things that need fixing are structural things, which means very carefully revising some sections so that the world makes sense again. I’ll talk more about dev edits later in more detail.

I accidentally started writing something new. It’s supposed to be a short story with no worldbuilding. It’s a contemporary story set in my hometown, so it’s more of an ode to where I grew up than anything else. I hope that I can get across to my audience what Prince George is like. I don’t know whether I will publish this novella or not. I guess I’ll ask beta readers about it.

Ace aro dragon story is still stalled.  Who knows when I’ll get back to that one. 

One day I’ll do a poll and see what people think I should actually finish and submit to a publisher.

I guess we’ll see what the future holds. Right now it’s not really clear.

2018 Plans

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Hello all,

I only have a few more dev edits for my Yaliana novella, and I think I can get them done by February 19th. At least, I’m hoping I can get them done by then. It’s been a long slog when it comes to my thesis, but I’m coming upon the time when I’m completely finished my first draft of my thesis. That means that there will be a lot of back-and-forth edits between me and my supervisor. In between revising my thesis, I will be able to finish my creative writing projects.

My first project to finish is obviously the Yaliana project. That is the f/f sci-fi novella about two black protagonists which I have been trying to complete for nearly a year. Yaliana is about two women trapped in a death jungle trying to find their way out together.

Next, I want to finish my Far Patrol project. I have a full novel completed called Far Patrol, which is my ace/aro dragon project. I also have about 1/2 of the next novel written. It is meant to be a trilogy, and I would like to have the full trilogy written before submitting it anywhere. This is because of the unpredictable nature of my schedule, which might require me to do academic stuff before writing stuff.

I also have another novel in the works, which was originally supposed to be for the bisexual anthology Enchanted Soles. I have two chapters out of like 10 written, but I’m really excited to work on this novel, because it has middle eastern influences and is a fantasy novel. My main character’s name is Rajih, and his love interest’s name is Kadar.

My next project I’m working on is to revise two of my past publications. I want to do revisions on both Across Borders, which was a fantasy shifter story with a dragon protagonist and kelpie love interest and also Rangers over Regulus, which was my Rainbow Award runner up novel featuring a space vampire cowboy and a cyborg sheriff. If possible, I would like to get these two projects beta-read, and to see if anyone would like to suggest revisions on them before I resubmit. Beta readers would receive a print copy of the final product sent to them by mail. 

Those are my current projects that I want to get squared away for this year.

Thanks everyone!

If anyone is interested in being a beta reader for any of these novels, please email me at aa.powell.author@gmail.com

Winter is coming…

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Hello everyone,

So I’m updating my blog even though I have accomplished pretty much nothing writing-wise. I’ve finished two chapters of my thesis for my English MA, but I haven’t finished editing Yaliana even though it’s been since August that I was supposed to have finished them. 

I have a new Tumblr blog? I just created it after sadly deleting my fandom blog. If you want to go follow me on Tumblr, you can find me at alex-powell-author

I’m working on trying to finish the Yaliana edits today and tomorrow. Sorry to my Less Than Three Press people who are working on edits and wanted them back ages ago. I hope I can finish them soon.

As for my depression, it’s had its ups and downs. I was basically useless the entire summer because of fatigue, but hopefully I can finish some projects.

I hope everyone is getting their own projects done! Good luck!

End of Summer update

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Hello all! I’ve been MIA for a bit, and I want to explain a bit.

I’ve been having a hard time with chronic exhaustion, which as of yet does not have an explained cause. I’ve been to the doctor, had numerous blood tests and even undergone a test for sleep apnea. The doctor is still trying to diagnose me with something so that we can treat my tiredness. Just so you all have an idea of how this is affecting me, I haven’t been able to concentrate or focus on anything for any length of time. I’ve been missing work, haven’t been able to do any of my Masters coursework and haven’t done any writing or editing since late July. It’s been very stressful and frustrating for me. I’ve been slowly trying to do some work again, and I hope by September I’ll at least have a doctor’s diagnosis for my problem.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to more happy news.

So, a little while ago I put out a call on Twitter for artists to do an art exchange with me – my writing in exchange for art. To my surprise, someone actually answered me!

Reiko Meyer was interested in doing an art exchange with me, and nothing could make me happier, because I’m actually terrible at art. There’s nothing I want more than to have amazing fanart of my characters, but my artwork is laughable. So, in the hopes of finally having fanart, I made a call, and Reiko answered.

Ta-da! This is Yaliana. Reiko did an amazing job. I love it an incredible amount, and I hope to do many more art exchanges with her in the future!

Yaliana

This is also a call for any other artists out there who would like to do an art exchange. I’m a writer who is willing to write from pretty much any prompt in exchange for artwork.

If that’s something you are interested in, email me at aa.powell.author@gmail.com

And lastly, I have the final cover art for Yaliana! I’m really excited about it as well, because as usual, LT3 Press has outdone themselves with their cover art.

Here it is!

Yaliana final

So I’m still doing my best to get the editing for Yaliana finished so that we can get a release date for it. I’m getting it done slowly, but it’s been difficult, as outlined by my tiredness issues above.

I hope that next time I talk to you, I’ll be able to tell you that I’m back on track!