Working on the revision…

Finished revision of Ch1 for Stronger. I’m quite pleased. The first scene didn’t need a whole lot of work except for smoothing out the voice, because it hadn’t changed a lot from the very original scene I wrote in 2002. My voice has evolved quite a lot since then, so it needed to be updated to match.

Other things were that I finally decided to change the city the book is set in. I’d been considering doing so for awhile but when I ended up swapping Alex from male to female — which resulted in most of the primary characters in the book being bi or gay — it made a lot more sense to set it in San Francisco rather than LA. Also, it helps that I actually know a lot of people who either live currently in SF or the surrounding area.

Also descriptions from friends, including some who have been to both, sounds like SF is pretty close to Seattle in tone, which I am familiar with, and LA… is decidedly a different creature altogether.

It’s interesting to see the number of things that change both subtly and not with Lex being a woman. There’s a part of the second scene where she and Aster are arguing about how when it came down to fighting against a rebellion, Lex had just lost a very dear friend in the fighting. Her response to this was to lock Aster in her room to keep her from fighting, because she didn’t want to lose her, too. The undertones are really incredibly different with the gender switch.

And other things have a different tone, too. The rivalry between her and Eric is different — there’s the jealousy that Eric wasn’t chosen to be their leader’s protege, but there’s also resentment there because Lex is a woman, and Latina at that. And there’s doubts that she can lead the Dark Court because she’s a woman.

I kinda expected there would be differences going back and revising, but I don’t think I quite realized how strong they would be! I think the original story was good, but there is a whole different level of depth here, and I’m quite pleased with it.

It’s done!

Stronger than the Night is complete at 108k words. 😀

I am so stoked about this. This is the first full-length novel I’ve completed since 2006, when I finished A Passion Draconic. I had the novel sitting around 80k when I came back to it in mid-July. I didn’t do much on it from mid August to September because of an issue with POV in one scene (and instead of realizing it was POV, I kept attributing not working on it to other things), but… almost 30k in three months. Woohoo! That’s more than I’ve written in the past couple years!

I still have a lot of work to do. It needs a lot of editing. In part, I need to pare some scenes down, because I had this nervous twitch, so to speak, where every scene needed to be a certain length (because I was doing one scene per chapter vs. several scenes per chapter), and I think there are some that are artificially inflated. I also, obviously, have to complete the gender switch for A/Lex and that’s going to be a little more complicated than just changing pronouns. But I have faith it is going to be much more awesome because of it!

However, edits are going to wait! Because November is NaNoWriMo, and I will be doing it. Or at least attempting it. The suicide lesbian zombie story I have been planning on writing for, oh, ten years, is finally going to get written. I’m in the process of outlining it and have some 30-odd scenes. It’s going to be a different flavor of story than the rest of my work, but I’m hoping it will still be awesome. 😉

Current projects

So I actually have been writing lately. 🙂

I finished up revisions on a Shadowguard prequel, Severed Spirits Rising, the other day. I’ve been sitting on it for, man, a couple years now. I had some really nasty crap happen right around when I finished it that resulted in me leaving it be. That, and the fact that Shadowguard has not sold as well as I would like; as much as I love the setting and characters, I can’t justify spending the time with it right now.

I found that it was on the upper end of acceptability for Tor.com, so figured, hey, what the hell? It’s just sitting on my hard drive. So I fixed up the ending and my writing buddy Robert spent all night going over it with me and tightening so it fit the word count limit. We’ll see where that goes. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, since I’m competing with authors like Catherynne Valente here, but hey, what the hell, right? 🙂

As far as other writing, I’m working on Stronger than the Night again. This one has come and gone so many times over the years. It’s in the same setting as the Shadowguard stories but told from a different perspective; where Shadowguard focuses on Arielle and the FBI side of the world, Stronger comes at it from the side of the “monsters”, the paranormal underworld. Initially, I wrote it nearly ten years ago, when I was 17, but I’ve changed and grown a lot as a writer since then. (I should certainly hope so!) I started rewriting it a few years ago but stalled out with all the drama.

I picked it back up again to finish recently. And I made a massive change to the story. I’ve made a somewhat interesting revelation recently, which is that I’ve had a very hard time writing romances, or romantic subplots, with men. It’s not that I have anything against it, but I’ve been wanting to write love stories between women for years now, and I kept putting it off because — it won’t sell, or nobody wants to read it, or I shouldn’t write it because people in my crit group think I shouldn’t.

And I was thinking about Stronger and a thought came to me. What about changing the male lead’s gender? What about making him a woman? I initially disregarded it but it kept nagging at me, because Alex always was a more feminine sort of guy. Feminine man but he’d be a slightly butch woman. And then I realized that it fit in with the rest of the theme of the planned series. The rest of the books? Book 2 is a lesbian romance, 3 is a gay romance, and 4 involves a transgendered woman as love interest. Starting off with a straight relationship didn’t give a good idea of the rest of the series.

Plus, it’s something a little different in the sea of dark broody alpha males. 🙂

I have a couple other things up my sleeves but they’re taking backseat to Stronger right now. I have twelve scenes left and then I’m finished with the book! And then I get to jump into revising the first half of the story, which needs some fairly massive work.

But there is progress! 😀