Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




I know you don't plan to publish, but I would totally buy this if you ever did! My one burning question is, what was Lucia making? My best guess is a vegetable casserole

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

I know you don't plan to publish, but I would totally buy this if you ever did! My one burning question is, what was Lucia making? My best guess is a vegetable casserole

I just realized I left my readers hanging there! Youíre basically rightóitís vegetable gratin. Super good.

And Iím so happy youíre enjoying this! Iíll probably stick it somewhere when itís all done and organized, maybe AO3, maybe Royal Road. I hate Wattpad for various reasons, so not there. Then Iíll get started working on the sequel.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A short bit tonight because Iím sick of looking at it. I really need to redo the chapter breaks after I get this edited.

Chapter 17: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11N30qP7wV97ezGqYMPQHKU3vJuyp7CKnbI9YWoLfmp8/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 18: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11qvbcYhySvHg3HJ90GZnuoCZeFl4TKNXdqe3lkhMhqU/edit

OMG! Done! Thanks for reading, and for all of the helpful comments. Iíve got at least two more rounds of edits for this. After that, I might just call it officially done. I hope it wasnít too terrible.

Yes, this epilogue thing is more of a placeholder than anything else. I struggle with endings. But, at the same time, I hate reading epilogues that drag on and on. Considering sending my characters farther into the future so I can end with a hook for the sequel, but I kind of like leaving them on the edge of something new.

Iíve got a couple big fixes to make (maybe tonightógot two exams to write so I can destroy my students, kidding!) and then Iíll put the whole thing up in one big Google doc.

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




I loved it and look forward to reading the next one! It'll be interesting to go back and read the whole thing in one sitting, I've intentionally avoided re-reading previous chapters while the writing was ongoing. Well done!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thank you so much! Iím glad you liked it. Iíll link the whole thing soon.

Itíll be interesting for me to read it in one sitting, which I donít feel like Iíve done yet. Iíve made a bunch of tweaks and fixed a big plot hole that no one noticed. I need to add that scene you suggested where Lucia screws everything up because she just wants to leave the NorthSide and get back. That was a great suggestion that fixed a dumb author problem by turning it into a dumb character problem. Then Iíll just sit and read it. Maybe Iíll still like it.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Then Iíll just sit and read it. Maybe Iíll still like it.

First of all, congratulations! You're probably your own harshest critic. Here's a list of things that I liked to help counter that voice in your head:
  • Chapters 12-18 are noticeably better than the earlier chapters in terms of character, pacing, plot and prose. When reading these, it was quite easy for me to slip into reading mode, where I was just enjoying the story instead of mainly looking for things to critique. If you wanted critiques, I'm sure I could go find some, but I would have to make a dedicated effort to switch my brain over into critique mode.
  • The ending: for whatever reason, I had already pegged Jameson or Mac early on as the big bad, though I'd quickly dismissed Mac because he hardly ever appeared on screen. I'd have to go back at look at the early chapters to figure out why, but I'd chalk this one up to you getting your foreshadowing right
  • I found your setting intriguing enough to keep reading even though the pacing of the early chapters felt slow to me. I actually wanted more of the political stuff around the reconciliation vote than you had in the story!

A Small Car posted:

I loved it and look forward to reading the next one! It'll be interesting to go back and read the whole thing in one sitting, I've intentionally avoided re-reading previous chapters while the writing was ongoing. Well done!



newts posted:

fixed a dumb author problem by turning it into a dumb character problem.

This is my main learning from your thread!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thank you! Your comments were very helpful. Iím going to take a closer look at how I can make those first chapters more dynamic. Iím glad my foreshadowing worked. I think there are only, like, six characters so how could it not? I actually had Dr. Chen as the original big bad, but I ended up liking her too much. And I didnít feel like introducing a new ME in the sequel (lazy author syndrome).

Leng posted:

This is my main learning from your thread!

That was all A Small Car, but, yeah. Iím going to use that a lot because Iím never going to get past the dumb author issue.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Hereís the whole thing, after another round of beta comments and a few tweaks. No major changes, but I think itís a little better.

The Night City: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1umcGNrtBcVEEpwWp8RbyETGbsQPu4JEfkIIvheXiK_U/edit

You guys were awesome, thanks! Donít think I couldíve got this done without your help (and thanks, silent readers, too). Iím pretty proud of myself. Thatís one life goal down. Now, I just need to learn a language...

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Nice job! I look forward to reading the whole thing in full. Will leave you any line level suggestions/comments in doc (which, as always, feel free to take or leave). Congrats again!

If you want to turn this into an actual ebook, there's a download to epub option from Google Docs directly but I don't know how well that plays with eReaders, since my experience with the Google Docs epub formatting wasn't great. I did a write up here on making an epub with Calibre and its plugins if you're interested/want to tinker with the epub that Google Docs spits out - since you have it all in one doc you could just use Calibre's built in ebook editor without needing to install plugins.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Nice job! I look forward to reading the whole thing in full. Will leave you any line level suggestions/comments in doc (which, as always, feel free to take or leave). Congrats again!

Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to do that. I was planning to let this sit for a week and do more tinkering, so these will come in handy.

quote:

If you want to turn this into an actual ebook, there's a download to epub option from Google Docs directly but I don't know how well that plays with eReaders, since my experience with the Google Docs epub formatting wasn't great. I did a write up here on making an epub with Calibre and its plugins if you're interested/want to tinker with the epub that Google Docs spits out - since you have it all in one doc you could just use Calibre's built in ebook editor without needing to install plugins.

Also, thanks for this. I was thinking about going through the whole self-publishing thing and just throwing this up on Amazon for the experience alone. ďIt will be fun,Ē she said. But, yeah, I have no idea where to start or anything.

Also, youíve helped me out a lot and I always offer my beta readers something in return. Iím decent at crits. Or, Iím also a published artist. I canít do cover design because I suck at all things graphic design. But I can do artwork for whatever, or as part of a cover. Iíve even done paid work for a pretty big author who shall not be named. Iíve got some work up here: https://bluefootedb.tumblr.com/

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to do that. I was planning to let this sit for a week and do more tinkering, so these will come in handy.

This week is a bit crazy for me, so I've only done comments up to Chapter 4. Some are on an anonymous account because I was working from a different laptop.

newts posted:

Iíve got some work up here: https://bluefootedb.tumblr.com/

this is top notch amazing stuff. I'm working on a very different type of creative project and would love to get your thoughts on that. I can see you don't have PMs but you can reach me on the gmail account I'm using to comment on your Google doc.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

This week is a bit crazy for me, so I've only done comments up to Chapter 4. Some are on an anonymous account because I was working from a different laptop.

Youíre doing an incredibly awesome job! Thank you so much for taking the time.


quote:

this is top notch amazing stuff. I'm working on a very different type of creative project and would love to get your thoughts on that. I can see you don't have PMs but you can reach me on the gmail account I'm using to comment on your Google doc.

Ha, thanks! Sure, I can take a look and try to give an opinion. Although, Iím pretty much useless unless Iím critiquing fiction or biology. This week and the next are going to be hell because of work, but Iíll reach out to you after that.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


So, Iíve decided to try the publishing thing just to try it. Learning experience, etc... I think I will hold off until the sequel is ready, which is going well so far. I can write fast when Iím procrastinating on other things.

I made a couple of covers. Actually, I made a bunch of covers, but most of them suck a lot more than these. I am really loving terrible at graphic design and picking fonts. Itís also hard for me to follow genre conventions when Iím not exactly sure what my genre is. Thatís my fault, btw, mostly because there isnít a traditional romance in the story. Not yet, anyway.

But if you search for Ďparanormal mysteryí you get a lot of hot, naked guys, because romance is assumed, or cozy covers with sexy witches and cats. ĎPsychic detective/mysteryí is a little closer, covers are generic mystery/thriller thingsóspooky setting, color-tinted usually to red or blue. And then you get the more literary covers for the more literary books, like The City & The City.

My take on a generic mystery cover (no one in the story wears a hat, so Iíll need to find a better picture):



Artsy-fartsy cover:



Meanwhile, editing is hell and I hate it. Iíve had some beta readers take a look and the comments have been really helpful. I just... donít want to look at the book for a while.

Leng, I canít seem to send you an email from Google docsóthe link is there, but itís not working for me. But I can take a look at your project if you want. Canít guarantee Iíll be any help, though.

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




For what it's worth, I prefer the second cover, largely because it pulls something that was actually in the story itself with the bee. I'm throwing out whatever random crap knocks around in my head at this point, but what about doing a cover where you see the split city, and the nocturnum side all lit up, and the bee has been turned into a constellation? Or is that just dumb?

I will eventually get around to going through the complete story, things have just been pure chaos here lately, sorry about that!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

For what it's worth, I prefer the second cover, largely because it pulls something that was actually in the story itself with the bee. I'm throwing out whatever random crap knocks around in my head at this point, but what about doing a cover where you see the split city, and the nocturnum side all lit up, and the bee has been turned into a constellation? Or is that just dumb?

No, itís a good idea. And I like the second one better, tooójust not sure itís following the genre conventions or will get people to look at the book.

Iím terrible at covers. Iím terrible at fonts. I just suck at graphic design in general, so I have no idea what Iím doing. Iím not going to pay anyone to make me a cover, so it will have to be something I throw together. Ugh.

quote:

I will eventually get around to going through the complete story, things have just been pure chaos here lately, sorry about that!

No worries. Itís just sitting there. Sometimes I poke at it and change a few words. Iím going to finish the sequel and then go back and make some bigger edits.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


A Small Car posted:

For what it's worth, I prefer the second cover, largely because it pulls something that was actually in the story itself with the bee. I'm throwing out whatever random crap knocks around in my head at this point, but what about doing a cover where you see the split city, and the nocturnum side all lit up, and the bee has been turned into a constellation? Or is that just dumb?

and also that is an awesome idea.

newts posted:

I just suck at graphic design in general, so I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not going to pay anyone to make me a cover, so it will have to be something I throw together. Ugh.

I'd suggest playing to your strengths. The artwork you linked is amazingĖwhat if your cover had more illustrated elements? I think as long as you get the right tone promises across in the cover you'll be ok.

newts posted:

Leng, I can't seem to send you an email from Google docs

All good! The email is "<my SA username>sa<my SA userid>" AT gmail DOT com - let me know if that works, as I can't find an email/contact for you on your tumblr and Google won't let me email you from Docs either.

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




Leng posted:

I'd suggest playing to your strengths. The artwork you linked is amazingĖwhat if your cover had more illustrated elements? I think as long as you get the right tone promises across in the cover you'll be ok.

Agreed, this is an excellent idea! I don't know where you live or how comfortable you'd feel doing this, but what about wandering around where you live at night taking pictures/sketching/whatever, things that you think capture what you want on the cover, and then just drawing your whole cover based off of that?

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

Agreed, this is an excellent idea! I don't know where you live or how comfortable you'd feel doing this, but what about wandering around where you live at night taking pictures/sketching/whatever, things that you think capture what you want on the cover, and then just drawing your whole cover based off of that?

Thanks to both of you!

I would draw my own cover, but... I was trying to do the self-publishing thing and everyone says make sure your cover follows genre conventions. And, well, illustrated covers do not fit with any of the possible genres this book might fit in. Also, Iím way behind on commissions and donít have much time to do something personal right now.

But, I might tinker around a bit. The face silhouette on the second cover was drawn. Iím terrible at buildings, tech, cars, anything non-organic. So, a city setting is hard for me. Iíll give it a shot, though.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


This thread is pretty much my writing diary now, so I get to write whatever I want

Started writing the sequel to this. I had a plot for it all laid out, got bored with it, got a great idea in the shower, and changed a bunch of stuff, and now Iím happy again. It wonít be ready to share for a long time, but itís fun to start a new thing. (Also, I always write the good parts first.)

Anyway, writing a sequel is a little like watching season 2 of your favorite show: the sets are all slightly different, the actors are older, and theyíve got new haircuts. I find it a little hard to get in the groove, especially because Iím writing it from Samís POV. Heís a really different character than Lucia, plus heís got, like, an extra sense, which is hard to keep in mind all the time while writing.

I have also not decided if my main characters get together or not. One of my beta readers was super disappointed that did not happen, and was angry at the teasing. They have a point. I love a good tease, but not everyone does. Maybe Iím just weird, and Iím indulging in my unresolved sexual tension fetish. But now I need to make a decision. It gives me angst.

Iím going to work on this book for a little while, then go back and do another edit of the first one. Iíve already made a few kind of major worldbuilding decisions and Iíd like the books to be unified on that front. Like, Iíve now decided they mostly drive electric cars, and use a lot of wind and wave power. Also, thereís a big wall around the whole city and the area outside is very sparsely populated. I need to think more about Canada, too, and what those evil jerks are doing up there. The first book needed more bizarre details anyway, but they have to make sense. I donít want to write myself into a corner and have to backtrack later. Plus thereís the whole Ďdo they or donít theyí thing.

One thing thatís become obvious is that the new book will have to have a lot of telepathy (duh!) which is going to be italicized. But also texts, which Iíve also italicized. I will go back through the first book and make sure I donít have italics for random thoughts, unless theyíre Ďout loudí thoughts, which I remember there was some debate about in this thread before. Ugh. I just have to keep it consistent.

Hereís part of the first chapter (or what will probably be the first chapter unless I change something). Just wondering if the combo of italics for both text and telepathy works, or if itís too confusing. I think itís fine, and I think Iíve made it obvious, but I know whatís happening. Yes, it sucks and is boring right now.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/156zVqCizNbaxs1wfLdFxeIXtgUQpsIizKDCr1jyIR5Y/edit

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Yay, a sequel! I'm so happy that you've kept writing. And I love the switch in POVs as well. Good choice!

newts posted:

One thing thatís become obvious is that the new book will have to have a lot of telepathy (duh!) which is going to be italicized. But also texts, which Iíve also italicized. I will go back through the first book and make sure I donít have italics for random thoughts, unless theyíre Ďout loudí thoughts, which I remember there was some debate about in this thread before. Ugh. I just have to keep it consistent.

Hereís part of the first chapter (or what will probably be the first chapter unless I change something). Just wondering if the combo of italics for both text and telepathy works, or if itís too confusing. I think itís fine, and I think Iíve made it obvious, but I know whatís happening. Yes, it sucks and is boring right now.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/156zVqCizNbaxs1wfLdFxeIXtgUQpsIizKDCr1jyIR5Y/edit

Don't be so harsh on yourself; this chapter picked up the sequel at a good point for me. The conclusion on the first one was quite short so it's nice to see how things are settling in.

On the italics thing, I used italics both for deliberate internal thoughts as well as telepathy in my NaNoWriMo project, which seemed to work fine. For texts, I've seen other strategies like using a different font. Sanderson uses italicized small caps in cases of special mental communications. You could also play around with indents, etc: https://cmosshoptalk.com/2020/03/10/formatting-text-messages-in-fiction/ and https://www.artfuleditor.com/blog/2019/6/12/how-to-use-modern-tech-in-your-novel

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Re: italics. I did look through your Nano project and noticed you used them for both regular and magic thoughts. I didnít have a problem with it. Maybe I should just trust my readers? Because they are smart and know how to read poo poo?

Hmm, good thought on a different font for texts. Iím wondering, though, how that will work with ebooks? Iím trying to keep the formatting as simple as possible because I have no technical ability at all to troubleshoot formatting issues. I always thought readers could change the font of ebooks? Never tried it myselfóonly changed the font size because my eyes suck. I will have to read about it.

drat, Iím sick of reading about self-publishing.

Thanks for sticking around. Itís great to get an outside opinion on stuff. And, yeah, Iím pretty much always writing. Usually itís terrible, smutty fan fiction but I can behave myself occasionally and write something thatís more fit for consumption by decent human beings.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Re: italics. I did look through your Nano project and noticed you used them for both regular and magic thoughts. I didnít have a problem with it. Maybe I should just trust my readers? Because they are smart and know how to read poo poo?

Once you set up the convention early on and your readers know what to expect, I think most people will be able to infer which it is from context. I made a point of using different dialogue tags for telepathy (e.g. "sent" instead of "said" or making a note that a character would relax a mental shield first before the mental communication happened, or that a different character's voice was sounding in someone's head, etc) vs internal thoughts (which usually got something like "decided" or just "thought" or it was in a paragraph that consisted solely of introspection and nothing else).

newts posted:

Hmm, good thought on a different font for texts. Iím wondering, though, how that will work with ebooks? Iím trying to keep the formatting as simple as possible because I have no technical ability at all to troubleshoot formatting issues. I always thought readers could change the font of ebooks? Never tried it myselfóonly changed the font size because my eyes suck. I will have to read about it.

The way I understand ebook files is they're basically packaged up HTML and CSS files. Any e-reader software is basically a kind of web browser that interprets the fonts. The way CSS styling works, more specific rules trump more general rules. Some e-readers (Kobo, Nook) will allow a reader to substitute the e-reader's stylesheet instead of the one that comes with the book for fonts, etc.

See: https://ebooks.stackexchange.com/questions/864/can-custom-fonts-be-embedded-in-mobi-or-epub-books-targeting-eink-readers

If you really want to make sure the readers can't do anything, see this: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2019/03/fun-with-fonts-getting-ebook-typefaces-right/

But it's generally more trouble than it's worth.

What you CAN do, is specify the font-type of texts to be a different one to the font-type of all your other text (e.g. maybe everything is in sans serif except texts which are serif or monospaced fonts). This won't help if the reader is very particular about how they like to read their ebooks, but they'll be a minority.

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




newts posted:

Re: italics. I did look through your Nano project and noticed you used them for both regular and magic thoughts. I didnít have a problem with it. Maybe I should just trust my readers? Because they are smart and know how to read poo poo?

Personally, I've got no issue with how you have things set up now, and it's clear to me what's a text and what's telepathy, so if that makes things easier from a publishing/ebook standpoint, I think just go with it.

I'll second the sentiment that I'm very glad to see a sequel! It may be short so far, but I'm still finding myself drawn in. As always, I look forward to reading more!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

Personally, I've got no issue with how you have things set up now, and it's clear to me what's a text and what's telepathy, so if that makes things easier from a publishing/ebook standpoint, I think just go with it.

I'll second the sentiment that I'm very glad to see a sequel! It may be short so far, but I'm still finding myself drawn in. As always, I look forward to reading more!

Thanks! Iíve actually got about 20,000 words so far, but itís a big mess of random scenes right now. Iíll start posting chapters here once Iíve finished a 2nd draft. Work is killing me and I donít get a lot of free time to write lately, but it shouldnít be too long.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Dear writing diary,

Writing going well now that Iíve worked out some plot kinks. I now know more than I ever wanted to know about both fishing boats and oyster farming.

An issue that bothered me while I was writing the first book has come up again, and I think I might be forced to confront it before I can move on. I know itís generally in bad taste to depict a bisexual character as sexually promiscuous, or having relationships with multiple people. As a bisexual person, myself, I know itís an issue in media, butóto be honestónot one that has ever bothered me much because I honestly donít see it a lot in the media I consume. Still, I know why itís problematic because, duh.

So, yeah. My bisexual character is implied to have lots of casual relationships, sometimes simultaneously. Iím basically writing the trope. Which, ugh... But!

Heís constantly seeking a connection because heís terrified of the emotional intimacy that comes with relationships and afraid of losing his identity in the process because heís an empath and blah, blah, blah. Casual relationships are Ďsafeí because theyíre casual. He canít get attached. Or be controlled. I mean, I think itís clear from the narrative that heís not a stereotypical sex-crazed maniac. He enjoys sex, and likes to have sex. He uses it sometimes as a distraction, or to disarm. He tries never to be a dick about it, or mislead anyone.

And!

Polyamorous relationships are the norm for his species, basically. Which he is also terrified of because then heíd be at the mercy of multiple people at once, etc, but itís like the family ideal or adult life goals which are hard to get away from. Also, Ďbisexualí is not really a thing for them, itís just kind of one of three defaults: people who like men, people who like women, people who like both.

Iím debating whether any of that matters in the end. Am I still just perpetuating a stereotype?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply