Ice Monster Prologues and Try-Fail Cycles

Anne C. Miles > editing > Ice Monster Prologues and Try-Fail Cycles

So. Working through my story grid worksheets and various and sundry other editing helps. The videos from the Writing Excuses guru Dan Wells were on my menu this week. I started to watch them months ago and got sidetracked. So this week they got cast to the big screen and dissected with the Man, my husband and best friend, Rod.

Dan Wells’ Seven-Point Story Structure

There’s a good summary as well as the first video embedded at the link above. Check it out.

And the Man had a seriously good point to make with me yesterday, after ingesting it all. Not only do I need beta readers who don’t know me at all, but I don’t have my villains out front and center like they should be. I know they are working and what they are up to, and so does he because I’ve talked to him about it. But when he actually read the first draft, they weren’t on the page. All of my conflict right now on the page? It’s internal. Yes, I likely need an ice monster prologue. He went into the nitty-gritty of how I deal with Sara and her storyline. I need more conflict, more stakes, more try-fail cycles. And an Ice Monster prologue.

He gave me honest feedback, a lot of it. (which for a husband is a super brave thing to do.) But then, he is super amazingly brave.

It only took him 6 months, but he did it. Grin.

That said, he’s learning along with me and I don’t think he had the tools to express what was missing without watching the videos I’ve subjected him to.

Anyhow, I have a lot not on the page. This edit feels more like it might take years rather than months. But you know what? I won’t quit till it’s the way it should be. And I can do it. It will be ok. Might be my penance for my merciless judgment of Mr Rothfuss. Okay, I admit I’ve been hard on him. But I haven’t really been hard on him about his editing, other than my tasteless remark that he could hire Brandon Sanderson to finish Doors of Stone. That was harsh. I admit it and apologize. But I digress.

Finished isn’t enough for me. I have to get it right. No matter what it takes, as long as it takes.

Other important things. This week I listened to the Mark Dawson podcast, the guest was Ernie Dempsey. His story is inspiring, but what I took from it was the idea that I need to get up earlier. Day job and being sick has been kicking my butt. But I can get up earlier and write. Going to start trying that. Then I found a really good method for reaching out to get reviews and I’m going to use it. It’s called Book Review Banzai.

When I’m not writing book 2, editing book 1 or working the Day Job, I’m working on a full marketing plan. I’ve noticed that if I don’t work on the books enough ┬áthen I have a hard time with the day job. I hit weird roadblocks or can’t focus.

Right now I’m planning to Indie publish. I don’t see trad publishers liking my work. I think I got confirmation of that, seeing what was on the Tor editor’s MSWL. It was enough for me to say, well. I’m out. I could be wrong about that, there could be different ideas at other publishers, but I’m not holding my breath. I think if Robert Jordan submitted his MS right now, he’d be rejected just because it’s good vs evil epic fantasy. In a world where Disney thinks it’s a good idea to remove the faith from a Wrinkle in Time because “We’ve progressed beyond it,” (never mind how offensive and evil and bigoted that very comment is) I do not hope to enchant major publishers with my weird tale about gnomes and gryphons. So be it.

That and I am not super certain I even want them to publish me. Indie publishing is very attractive. The profits are better, and since publishers don’t do marketing for authors anymore, the only benefit I see is the foreign market sales, book store distributing and then bragging rights. I gotta tell you. I’m sure there’s a way to deal with all of those and I’m not a braggart.

I’m not going to stay with my current cover design. I’m going to rework it. I’m also going to use the Banzai method to get beta readers who don’t know me. Then I’m going to use the Banzai method to work on reviews. I’m going to follow Mark Dawson’s strategy for building my list and for advertising the book. After I have enough reviews I’ll do Book Bub, if they accept me. And I’ll pray a lot. But the idea that being a full-time writer (my dream) is going to take a lot of marketing has finally taken root. I’ll have to look at it as part of the job. For me it isn’t so hard. I’ve done it for 17 years in my business. I’m lucky. But just because I understand the ins and outs of the process already doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn. Every product and service is different and takes trial and error to get right. That’s why I have taken the deep dive to try to learn.

Anyhow. That’s the update.

Still fighting Resistance daily and it’s gotten more intense, but Stephen Pressfield’s course on the War of Art keeps me going, along with a lot of practicing my faith. But I am hopeful that the trials will end and the joy of finishing will come if I’m patient and don’t give up. I’m also somewhat encouraged by all the trials. What I’m doing must matter, the dream must be a good one. I believe it’s worth fighting for.


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