Never Heroes Chapter 2: New Version Uploaded

Yesterday I posted the updated version of the first chapter of my book, the fantasy/action epic Never Heroes. That chapter represents the first segment of a three part sneak preview. Today we’re posting the second part, our updated version of chapter 2.

Zhyx the Red Dragon meets River

After what was hopefully an exciting chase through his lair, our dragon protagonist has taken flight to track down a pair of thieves who have stolen his favorite treasure. Following a conversation he overheard, the wyrm flies to a Tomb they stated was along their escape route. He doesn’t find them, instead coming across something, or someone, of far greater significance.

This used to be chapter 3, but the original chapter 2 was cut as it was little more than an info dump. Like chapter 1, this part of the book has gone through some of the least amount of changes since I started, containing a lot of my shortcomings as a writer a few years ago. So we went through it again, re-wrote much of the prose, and fixed a few small narrative problems here and there to vastly improve both its pace and content.

We’re happy with how this one turned out and hope you agree that it continued the fun thrills of chapter 1, something that we aim to carry all the way to the final page.

So please enjoy Never Heroes Chapter 2: The Flatlander. Let us know what you think, feel free to point out any pesky typos that may have slipped through, and most importantly have a blast.

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Meet and Greet: 7/29/17

Hello everyone. Pleasure to be back at one of Danny’s meet and greets. I’m an author working on final edits for my first book, a sword and sorcery action epic. After three years we’re finally almost done, and have posted the first chapter for everyone to enjoy. We hope you’ll stop by. Looking forward to meeting other aspiring writers and artists. https://zhyxthenovel.wordpress.com/novel-sample-chapters/chapter-1-the-great-red-wyrm/

Dream Big, Dream Often

dreambigwallpaper-pinkombre

It’s the bimonthly Meet and Greet everyone!! Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times! It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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Never Heroes Chapter 1: New Version Uploaded

Everybody’s day is a little brighter when dragons are involved, which is why I’m happy to share our latest progress report with all you.

As mentioned before, I’ve been hard at work and polishing the manuscript for an interested party. For all newcomers and those who need reminding, my book is Never Heroes. It tells the story of a dragon who becomes an unlikely hero after being blackmailed by a group of adventurers. The first three chapters have been posted on this blog to give a little taste of this book which has been both my greatest joy and the bane of my existence these last three years.

We’re currently working on the new pages for chapters 2 and 3. Currently the old pages still have the previous versions which required a lot of editing. We’re working on fixing those up now and including the illustrations and concept art we’ve accumulated over the last few years.

In the meantime, please enjoy chapter 1. It no doubt has the occasional stray typo because I’m terrible with that sort of thing, but aside from that this is about as good as it’s ever gonna get. It is my sincere hope that it’s enough to entertain you.

So please, without further delay, sit back and enjoy Never Heroes Chapter 1: The Great Red Wyrm.

Thanks for your time and we’ll be seeing you tomorrow with Chapter 2.

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Edit Update: Desired Wordcount In Sight

A few weeks ago I completed an edit on my book, cutting out a third of it after receiving some feedback from one of my query letters. My hopes were to bring it down to 100K from an initial draft of over 150K, the latter of which is not what you’d call a good length for a first time author. I thought the goal was impossible. Now it seems but a skip and a hop away.

My last edit was based more or less on length, bringing my book down to 105K. It was far better than I could have ever expected. Still, I needed to go through the book one more time, checking for typos, plot holes, leftovers from the previous draft and polish up the prose. So how is that edit going?

Since beginning, I’ve lost over 3000 additional words, bringing the edit down to 102K, and I’m still only on chapter 6. The book has 17 chapters total. A few hundred words here, a few hundred more there, it looks like a final edit below 100K is going to happen. But this latest edit I haven’t just been focusing on quantity, but also quality. Since my length is so close, I can really look at the prose and see what parts of it need the most work, and give them the attention they deserve.

Just yesterday I finished editing through chapter 5. I made a lot of small changes to the manuscript, especially in the first two chapters which had remained the most unchanged during my efforts to finish this thing up, but ultimately they became different enough and new enough for them to match the quality of the rest of the book.

I also caught some other references which would have proved problematic, to say the least, had they been thrown in. One of the characters in my book was a dragon deity who I’d clung to for some time. I wanted to keep her in because I enjoyed the design work one of my friends had done for her, and though it would be just too big a shame to lose her. As things wore on, it became clear that in this story, the character was but a talking head, delivering exposition and nothing more. While all the other characters grew richer and livelier, she remained the same in spite of my efforts.

Saar'Jya-The-Dragon

It was a painful decision to cut her out of the book, but as Stephen King says, you must kill your darlings. Maybe in a future story she will have some place, but not this one. It was a decision I came to in the middle of my previous run through, so the first couple of chapters had references to the deity here and there. As if now, all references to the character have been scrubbed clean.

I do hope she’ll come back in some capacity, but we’ll see.

Right now the book has a wordcount of 102,259, a far cry from the 151,861 it was. But the lost words lacked the meaning I was seeking, and their loss makes this story less heavy, allowing it to fly that much higher like I always hoped it would.

Can I Lose 5K More?

Looking at the stack of pages before me, a stack which once contained 152K words but now contains 105K, I wonder if I can trim it just a little more. The query letter from the interested party asking if I could edit my book down to the coveted length of 100K has filled me with hope.

It seems my book would need another passover. I went through chapter 1 once more and was immediatly confronted with some editing casualties.

For one, I’ve really grown to hate my first chapter, not for it not being a fast paced action sequence with some solid character development. I’ve just read it so many times that it has come to lack the freshness it once had. I was even considering rewriting it just to freshen it up, but going over it once more aside from a few quickly fixed issues, I couldn’t find anything really wrong with it.

So I guess that’s less work for me, eh?

Of course this isn’t really easy. There were plenty of references that needed to be removed. One of our characters has been excised from the story completely, so I removed all references of her from the novel, after page 50. Somehow I forgot to get those references out of my first few chapters.

Another change was a subtle alteration of my lead. I thought it would be more interesting if he was more greedy in the beginning, making is transformation by the end more rewarding to the reader.

So what have these changes wrought? Is the book dropping in length? When I started this latest round of edits, the book was roughly 105,800 words long. Now it is 105,200, a loss of 600 words. I’ve got 16 more chapters to get through, more than enough to do some more chipping to make this sculpture more in line with what I want.

While my hatched job was done quickly, I expect this run through to happen at a more leisurely pace. What I aim to concentrate on isn’t length but dialogue, prose, and polishing out what little issues yet remain.

I must say I feel pretty good about now, and I hope, really really hope that this will be the last major run through of this book. It really has become like a child. You love them with all your heart, but that doesn’t stop them from being the occasional pain in the ass.

Oops: A Few Crucial Moments Missing From My Book

As artists, we can’t help but get egg on our faces every now and then. This is especially true with stories. A story is a very complicated thing, and working on one for so long, sometimes your thoughts get a little jumbled. That’s precisely what happened to me since I just found out in my latest draft of my book, I forgot to include a few moments that while small are very crucial.

During my last edit, I got the idea of moving one scene of dialogue into another later moment in the book as it felt more appropriate for the characters. It was a crucial bit of world building that explains a power my lead character has, one that has serious impacts on the story in the final act. Another sequence was cut due to pacing, but as a result it actually diminished a moment in the climax which served as a defining character moment for my unlikely hero.

I honestly did believe I re-wrote the once sequence in the later chapter, and it was only after cutting the latter sequence that I realized how well it set up the scene in my climax. The scenes are not terribly long. Together they at best run about 800 words, but this served as a testament to me just what a few words could mean for a story. Today, starting my (good God please let this be the) final run through of the manuscript, and my first order of business was to put these two scenes back into the story.

Lucky for me the two moments fit well together, one actually serving as a decent transition into the next. They both conveniently fit into one chapter. Makes my job easier for sure.

What did I learn? Well, for one I really need to perk up my organization skills. Obviously something upstairs got jumbled for a mistake like this to happen. Maybe it’s also a sign that I’ve been working so hard on this thing that I need to take a bit of a break. Even during my vacation I found myself at the keyboard, pounding away and bringing my book down to a reasonable level.

Of course there’s something positive to say about all this. I did catch it.

Meet and Greet: 7/14/17

Greetings all at Meet & Greet Saturday. My name is Eric Hanson and I’m an aspiring author editing my first novel. Took some time off to try and bring my word count down after an interested query, but aim to pick things back up here with updates and general musings about the magic of writing and struggles of life. Come visit my blog. Hey. We’ve got dragons. 😉

Dream Big, Dream Often

 dreambigwallpaper-pinkombre

It’s the bimonthly Meet and Greet everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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An Edit of 100K Words In Sight

A few days ago, I finished a round of edits on my fantasy adventure novel Never Heroes, which I’ve been working on pretty much nonstop since the summer of 2014, bringing my work time on it to three years now. I’d completed what I believed was the final draft sometime back in May, only the 2nd or 3rd time I’d believed the book was done.

Just one problem. The book was too long. For a first time author, the word count of 150K was a bit steep, something one of the people responding to my query wasn’t shy about saying. The response I got was the idea interested them, but they wondered if I’d be able to shorten the book to a more manageable 100K, effectively cutting out a third of the book. I began a round of edits, cure I’d never come close to that goal. I thought maybe I’d reach 120K, 115 if I was lucky.

As it stands currently, my book has dropped to 106K words.

All I can say is that I’m exhausted, but also relieved the book is now this short. The fact that it had dropped so steeply in length will make it much more attractive to a potential publisher. This hasn’t been an easy journey, and I’ve thought the end of was in sight more than a few times only to find there was still work aplenty to be done. Effectively I had to learn the art of writing these last few years, character development, plot structure, and now the arduous task of editing one’s work to something at least resembling perfection.

So what did I lose? The answer is I lost nothing of any real substance. I’d a funny habit of overcompensating and overwriting certain parts of the book, including things like unnecessary flashbacks, stretching out scenes to un needed length. The book was even shortened by a chapter, one group of pages crammed full of so much filler it quickly dropped from 16 pages to a mere four or five. I slapped those pages onto another chapter and called it a day.

I didn’t lose many entire sequences. Mostly I’d cut out a paragraph here and there. When working on a bit of prose I’d wonder just how do I make this good? Eventually I’d say if it doesn’t work, just cut it, shaving off a paragraph with another couple hundred of words.

These efforts have carried the book to places I couldn’t have imagined, the groundwork for a trilogy taking root every time I’d mull things over or dance my fingers across the keys of my Mac Book. We’re not quite done yet. Now that the book is shorter, I aim to go through it one last time and fix a few issues that have plagued me, from my flawed first two chapters to various other bits of prose that a shine. It should’t take long. Maybe another month or two. During that time I plan to bring it down below 100K. It’s only five thousand words. I can do it.

Is this my final round of edits on the book? I sure as hell hope so because I’ve developed a kind of love hate relationship with my book. I do believe in it and these characters have done their due to keep me alive and dreaming. But it has been a struggle, hitting the book with the paddles over and over again and struggling to bring it to life.

But it’s breathing, and that alone is an immense relief.

Once this round is done I’ll be posting the updated first three chapters again and linking them. I’d like to thank everyone who stayed with me this far, through all of the false finishes and problems I’ve faced, because your support does mean a lot. I hope it’s been less of a chore to read this thing than it has been to write it.