Blog & News

Book 3 update: First draft research shenanigans

Hey, all! In my last blog post about my latest book, the prequel to VTZH (Cokie’s story), I said I would be much further along by summer, and maybe even have a first draft finished by June.

The good news:
I have been slowly and steadily writing, and have fleshed out quite a bit of the story. But…

The less-than-good news:
As summer approached, I realized I had more a few more holes in the video-game world part of the story (the alternate timeline) that only research could solve. I needed more info about what kind of conditions would cause famine in medieval Japan, and also wanted to research more in depth about historic Japanese religious and superstitious beliefs, as well as more about samurai culture and philosophy, what it means to be a ronin (masterless samurai), and a very specific samurai who intrigued me. I was slowed down pretty significantly by this work. But, I’m a huge nerd, and getting lost in these books was super fun (too fun—hello, procrastination!), and that info truly helped me flesh out details so the video game world will feel more real.

Here’s the huge pile of books I read from April to June. Realize that I also read several e-books, so this pile is by no means complete.

HUGE stack of research books. HUGE.

Since then I’ve been fleshing out more scenes, and editing most of what I already wrote. When I read what I had written previously, I felt good about the current state of my writing: I can see my own growth as a writer. My sentences are cleaner and more precise on the first go. My pages have way less markup than they used to. My feeling is that once I’ve gotten the first draft fully completed, with no more plot holes and time gaps, editing this book might be easier than previous books. The only thing that could counter this assumption is that this book is showing signs of being much longer than my others, so, the additional length might add more editing time, canceling out my first assumption.

Here are pics of my editing. Printing and reading on paper really helps me, sometimes miss stuff on screen. My actual current draft is much thicker than what you see in the binder (there’s lot that hasn’t been printed yet, it’s still sitting on my hard drive), and I really need to write about 10,000 more words to make this book feel complete, with a plot that comes full circle.

Editing with good old fashioned pen and paper

A side view of my binder. A lot more pages to come…

I’m back at writing in earnest, and I’m thinking the first draft won’t be done until winter. It’s not the best news for my fans (sorry, fans!) because then editing will probably take until late spring, and a book release might not happen until fall, but, there it is. It’s realistic. I’m thinking that my readers will want a better book than not, so I think the extra time will be worthwhile. Soon, my series of blog posts about topics related to this book will start going live one week at a time, so look for that.

In the meantime, did you know I had new short story published? It’s a pretty cool feminist retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale, but written as a story about magic and magicians. Read it here. I hope you like it. Truly, it’s one of my favorite stories so far.

See you again soon!