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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


wizzardstaff posted:

I think the main thing that confused me about the scene was that it was tied to Lorand's flight from Mollit, so I thought the "convenience" of the leg break must be related too. Like I thought that Lorand was expecting a beating from Mollit's crew and that maybe they'd show mercy if he was already hurt. But I guess knowing that he could easily be Healed might just make them more aggressive.

Ah! Yep, that's a totally valid way of reading the sequence as written that I hadn't considered.

wizzardstaff posted:

You are probably not looking for giant rewrites at this stage, but here are some random unsolicited suggestions for alternate scenes:

-Replace the essay-writing scene with Lorand searching for his cow and getting injured in the process. (Hey, you wanted humor, how about slapstick?)

I love this suggestion! I don't even think it'd necessitate a rewrite specifically, just the addition of a new scene between the end of Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2.

Slapstick, when done well, is hilarious for me. My two favorite examples:

1. Sanderson - the scene in Bands of Mourning where the main cast is fleeing New Seran (Bands of Mourning, Chapter 16). It's a payoff after two and a half books of character set up and one specific chapter (Bands of Mourning, Chapter 10). Chapter 10 is hilarious in itself.

2. There's a very old movie called 雞同鴨講 (translates roughly as "Chicken and Duck Talk") made by Michael Hui, one of the greatest Hong Kong comedians of all time. The entire 90 minute film sums up Hong Kong in the 1980s in pure, glorious slapstick. You might be more familiar with Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer which I'd say was highly influenced by Michael Hui's work. At about the 1 hour mark, we get 1 minute of setup immediately followed by the most memorable 3 minute slapstick fight/chase sequence of the film, complete with an instance of wire fu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4lt1iBeiEs#t=3604s


Based on the current rate of my writing (35% through the target word count but only 25% through planned chapters), I think Enchanted Hat was right in saying that I probably am going to hit 50k words well before I finish the story. That means I don't know if I will have time left over to write this but I'll put it on the radar as a fun stretch goal!

Leng fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Nov 10, 2020

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wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




I finished chapter 3 today. It felt very grim, between Talitha being intensely aware of all the men in her life sizing her up and Lorand seeing taxes devastate his farm. Not to mention an ailing grandmother. I definitely did not leave the chapter feeling upbeat.

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


wizzardstaff posted:

I definitely did not leave the chapter feeling upbeat.

Mission accomplished then

Let's hope Chapter 4 makes you feel better.

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER FOUR (5189 words)

Day 9 (11/11/2020): 218 words on a non-writing day, though I did do some more detailed outlining
Day 10 (12/11/2020): 1331 words, on a planned writing day that turned out to be incredibly non-productive because I was super distracted all day and had serious Blank Page Syndrome
Day 11 (13/11/2020): 3640 words on a non-writing day. The words started flowing once I got past the first few pages of this chapter


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapter:

Leng posted:

Chapter 3: A ticket out of Widdertown
Convincing Lugal to let him tag along with Talitha
Lugal sends along a letter

Chapter 4: Gan Garee
Registering for training
Exploring the Guild House
Delin and Solthia make an appearance
Rion cameo?
Exploring Gan Garee
Jovvi cameo

The more detailed outline from Wednesday:

quote:

4.1: Lugal
  • He contemplates a letter from the Seated Blending (? or the current High Master?), his own death, legacy and the future of the Guild and the Empire. Camil's words hit him harder than he let on.
  • Talitha shows up to hassle him about her results–her score is a high enough score to get the scholarship
  • She tries to convince him to sponsor her to Gan Garee
  • Lorand runs in to beg to join her
  • He agrees and sends a (sealed?) letter in reply (? along with them)

4.2: The Guild House
  • They travel by public coach (they have to work part of the fare or something?)
  • The capital city makes a stunning first impression. It’s a mish mash of old and new, divided into five concentric rings, connected by radial paths and gates. Each has a dedicated defensive or other purpose with one aspect dominating each ring: Water (the lake), Fire (continually burning bonfires on the watch towers), Air (a very high ringed walkway?), Earth (massive fortifications) and Spirit (contains the palace, a miniature microcosm of the aspects with five-point symmetry) at the centre
  • They find their rooms in the Guild House and drop their gear
  • They get lost while trying to find the dining hall and stumble into somewhere they’re not supposed to be and overhear/see something they’re not supposed to see. Something related to the competitions and the possibility of them being called early?
  • Hestir/Elmin encounter?
  • They beat a quick retreat and go out to explore the city

4.3: Gan Garee
  • They got in late, so they go to explore the entertainment quarter.
  • Contrast what they've heard from the guardsmen passing through Widdertown to what they see. Reality is both more amazing and less amazing than they expected
  • Spirit magic in action, somehow. Bubbles of influence?
  • What kind of experimental practical applications of magic work

Other than 4.1, I did...none very little (because ok, I technically did show the first bit of the Water part of Gan Garee) of the actual things slated for Chapter 4 (from either of my outlines). Is this what discovery writers feel like?

Leng posted:

The first two scenes wound up much longer than I expected so last two high level plot points/3.3 are getting pushed to Chapter 4. Which is probably a good thing anyway, because I had a quick skim to remind myself of what's planned for Chapter 4 and while there are a lot of points listed, they feel quite fluffy so there should be room for Lugal's scene in there.

I am a very bad judge of my own outline, apparently. Maybe it's a good thing though, because Chapter 5 didn't exactly have a lot in its outline.

Link to Chapter 4: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-1Ivw0Tbo6QIzH9FSAHwvIk1oZiza22SKe3N9eRNQnc/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • For anyone from the Let's Read who was as frustrated as I that Green never showed what a Search was after dropping it on us in Book 1 Chapter 1, this one's for you
  • I had a lot of trouble getting into Lugal's POV. I don't think my old man is very convincing
  • The final part of this chapter is about as slice of life as I plan to get. I may need to do some Tamora Pierce rereads to prepare for the next few chapters
  • No Rion or Jovvi cameos, but I surprised myself with a Vallant cameo instead. Somehow, when we're not in his head and get to hate him vicariously through Lorand, I don't hate him as a character so much
  • We've now officially crossed the threshold into the unknown! Hopefully Lorand's little reversal is more convincing than weary old Lugal, and now we understand his motivations a bit more about feeling like a hick
  • There are things that I've just thrown into the chapter that I have no actual idea what I'm going to do with, mostly because they ought to be laying groundwork for a Rewritten Book 2, if I ever get around to doing that

Canon References/Easter Eggs

Leng fucked around with this message at 14:02 on Nov 13, 2020

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER FIVE (5747 words)

Surprise chapter release ahead of schedule! Mainly because I've been so panicked about my output per hour that I cranked up the writing on unscheduled days.

Day 12 (14/11/2020): 799 words on an unscheduled writing day, which is very low output thanks to 4 hours of crippling Blank Page Syndrome
Day 13 (15/11/2020): 797 words on a non-writing day
Day 14 (16/11/2020): 4151 words on a non-writing day. This is my second highest word count in a day and a whole bunch of it happened during unscheduled nap time


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapter:

Leng posted:

Chapter 4: Gan Garee
Registering for training
Exploring the Guild House
Delin and Solthia make an appearance
Rion cameo?
Exploring Gan Garee
Jovvi cameo

Chapter 5: Training–overview of their schedule
Group training on universal abilities
Aspect specific training
Combat training

The more detailed outline:

quote:

5.1: The Guild House
  • The capital city makes a stunning first impression. It’s a mish mash of old and new, divided into five concentric rings, connected by radial paths and gates. Each has a dedicated defensive or other purpose with one aspect dominating each ring: Water (the lake), Fire (continually burning bonfires on the watch towers), Air (a very high ringed walkway?), Earth (massive fortifications) and Spirit (contains the palace, a miniature microcosm of the aspects with five-point symmetry) at the centre
  • They find their rooms in the Guild House and drop their gear
  • They get lost while trying to find the dining hall and stumble into somewhere they’re not supposed to be and overhear/see something they’re not supposed to see. Something related to the competitions and the possibility of them being called early?
  • Hestir/Elmin encounter?
  • They beat a quick retreat and go out to explore the city

5.2: Gan Garee
  • They got in late, so they go to explore the entertainment quarter.
  • Contrast what they've heard from the guardsmen passing through Widdertown to what they see. Reality is both more amazing and less amazing than they expected
  • Spirit magic in action, somehow. Bubbles of influence?
  • What kind of experimental practical applications of magic work

5.3: First week of training

(not a typo, the detailed outline really does just kind of trail off there because I still have no idea what that looks like. At this stage I don't even know whether I'm going to try and flesh it out at a detailed outline level or just dive into writing it, because while the more detailed outline seemed to have helped in writing Chapter Three, it did nothing of the sort for Chapters Four and Five)

As with Rewritten Chapter Four, I kind of did stuff that sort of but not really matched up to this. Perhaps I need to cut myself some slack from not slavishly following the outline, I mean not even Sanderson manages to do that perfectly. I had trouble understanding what he meant by him having to go and rebuild his outlines when he gets too far away from them and now I know.

Link to Chapter 5: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1atVqcrQcwKlNCK37a7DNVgdyo1jkEZHi8UA4p0FQjM4/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • I forgot to mention in the notes to Chapter Four that I apologize to anyone who knows stuff about sailing and ships. At this point, I'm also going to apologize to anyone who knows anything about architecture. If nothing else, this exercise has taught me that the only thing I feel like I can write convincingly about is accounting, because the stuff about Lorand's farm and taxes in Chapter Three was by far the easiest detail to write.
  • The biggest thing that felt off about Green's Empire (and my reimagined one too) is how...homogenous its people are. Not a history student, but I always had the impression that empires covered massive amounts of territory and therefore counted a diverse range of peoples as its citizens. There should be distinct cultures and things...that in my struggle to just get words out I haven't managed to detail. This would be the biggest thing I'd work to address in second draft. My yardstick for this is how Sanderson manages to convey the cultural diversity of Roshar in Shallan's first POV chapter when she arrives in Kharbranth. The way he gets so much of his world building across at the same time as establishing character is amazing.
  • Conveying character through description is tricky. I felt like Lorand, being a landlocked farmboy, wouldn't have any clue what mother-of-pearl is or what violins/stringed instruments/an orchestra sounds like so I avoided using specific terms like that.
  • A super interesting thing I came across in the Fiction Writing Advice thread, was Steven Erikson's annotation of his opening scene to the Malazan series, where he discusses what he terms "elliptical narrative" and the concept of ringing a bell. I'm fairly certain that he would term every example of when I've tried to do this as "crude" but it's been a helpful exercise because he's right when he says keeping that bell in mind helps in staying focused on the scene/chapter.
  • I struggled with trying to make description interesting, because my outline basically boiled down to "write about a cool city" which does not specify any conflicts, whatsoever, and therefore means boring. I need to keep a better eye out for this going forward. The solution here was to have Lorand cause an accident, which helped with continuing to build on his fish out of water feeling from last chapter and keep on drawing on the contrast between how he's handling things and how Talitha is doing.
  • During my lazy rewrite, I had put in a scene of Lorand going to eat breakfast in the Guild House dining hall after he passes his initial test. He basically goes in, tries his best to copy what Clarion's doing so he doesn't commit any faux pas, then sits down at a table with Hat who has fallen in with Pagin and Vallant. It started ok but quickly tapered off after 707 words when I tried writing the dialogue between the four men because I realized I had no bloody idea what they should be talking about, why it was important, how it would convey character or advance the plot, so I abandoned it. When I was writing this chapter, I thought it might fit here with some alterations, which it did. I carried 421 words over from the old scene, so I guess my new word count target is 50,421.

Questions for you guys:
- just the one really: what have I gotten wrong about writing from a fourteen year old boy's perspective?

Canon References/Easter Eggs
  • Driffin Codsent runs a public Healing clinic, just like his canon counterpart (Book 6)
  • Everyone who's an aspirant wears identification tags, just like the five separate explanations we got in canon (Book 1 Chapters 6-10)
  • The only curse Green ever wrote into the canon was "blazing blue hell" and it came from Vallant (Book1 Chapter 5)
  • Canon Ennis was the coach driver who dropped Vallant off for the initial testing (Book 1 Chapter 10)
  • Confusion with buffets happened to Hat in the original canon (Book 5, Chapter 29)
  • Talitha's unapologetic attitude comes from Canon Lorand when he was embarrassed about being a country hick in front of Clarion during the bath house sequence and decided to lean into it for all he's worth to save face (Book 1 Chapter 14)
  • Passing your second level masteries gets you a bracelet, which the Let's Read will have the pleasure of reading the same explanation five times when we resume going through Book 2
  • The amphitheatre features in Canon Book 3, when Green finally gets around to showing the competitions
  • Canon Jovvi tells Tamrissa about how she was "discovered" by an agent for a courtesan residence (Book 1 Chapter 24)
  • Regensi is the proprietor of the dress shop that Canon Jovvi, Tamrissa and Beldara were tormented in (Book 1 Chapter 20)
  • Canon Tamrissa and Rion go to buy glass figurines of animals in Book 2, Chapter 40, and I have never worked out whether Green deliberately worked in a glass menagerie reference or not (I kind of have to assume it was deliberate because it's Tennessee Williams)
  • Canon Jost is a horrible excuse of a human being that is the captain of the Nolls' private guard (Book 7)

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




Leng posted:

Questions for you guys:
- just the one really: what have I gotten wrong about writing from a fourteen year old boy's perspective?

I was going to say "needs more awkward horniness" but then I got to Jovvi's introduction.

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


wizzardstaff posted:

I was going to say "needs more awkward horniness" but then I got to Jovvi's introduction.

Well then, I'll have to dial it up for Chapter 6. I just finished the first scene and hopefully it hits the mark.

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER SIX (5418 words)

Day 15 (17/11/2020): 1674 words on a writing day, as I had carved out some writing time to do detailed outlining time.
Day 16 (18/11/2020): 1077 words on a non-writing day, around other appointments
Day 17 (19/11/2020): 1980 words on a writing day, lower than what I would normally get on a Thursday. I blame this on the fact that Rhythm of War is out and a very bad morning. I have been staying away from the Sanderson thread because carving out 15 hours to finish the book when I've got a word count to hit seems like a bad idea. The book will still be there after NaNoWriMo and I'm gonna reward myself with one chapter every time I finish 2k words.
Day 18 (20/11/2020): 687 words to finish the chapter, so I can get straight into the next one.


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapter:

Leng posted:

Chapter 4: Gan Garee
Delin and Solthia make an appearance
Rion cameo?

Chapter 5: Training–overview of their schedule
Group training on universal abilities
Aspect specific training
Combat training

Chapter 6: Slice of life
Talitha's in theoretical lectures and hating it
Solthia's doing well, but subdued
Lorand is embarrassed
Talitha and Solthia go out, they invite Lorand but he says no
Lorand writes a letter home

The more detailed outline:

quote:

6.1: Lorand
  • Talitha’s already left her room, he presumes that she’s gone early for breakfast (in truth she went to go investigate the address Jovvi gave her)
  • He bites the bullet, tries to apologize to Delin about damaging his furniture
  • Delin spends the whole time making fun of Lorand for being a country hick
  • Lorand gets mad and throws what he heard about Delin not being a Lord–maybe some stuff about the worldbuilding on how nobility works here?
  • Delin’s a much better player at this game than Lorand is, so he comes out of the exchange the winner
  • Solthia catches the tail end of it and uses the opportunity to build rapport with Lorand on their way to class

6.2: Establish social dynamics in their intake
  • Rion is their instructor! He’s on a temporary home assignment after a turn at the Astindan front. He’s adopted and Delin makes sure that everyone knows it.
  • Unfortunately for Delin, he’s no match for Rion in any regard. He takes it out on Lorand instead
  • Lorand and Delin are both kind of upset at how Talitha and Solthia are into Rion
  • Irritatingly, the only classes they have are combat classes which are almost free for alls–the education on magical theory they got as Middles is supposed to be sufficient for them to start researching their own thing
  • Explain some stuff about what the written component is–it’s part civic duty part academic research thesis. Collaboration is permitted but comes with its own risks
  • Lorand decides to use what he learned from Eslinna and research how to heal or prevent burnout
  • Talitha is super frustrated because while Decay is her thing, its applications are typically boring and straightforward, or involve killing a lot of people. The texts in the Guild library are very dense and obscure and the only one who can make any sense of them is Delin, and he isn’t helping anyone
  • Build in something about Drowd’s model of power and talent or one of the Five Fundamental Theorems

Is it a good or a bad thing that I keep over outlining? I guess it's probably neither good nor bad, and just a thing. I now totally understand how Sanderson starts out planning a novella and ends up with a novel because I guess I'm basically in the process of doing the same thing.

Link to Chapter 6: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1d-HdQ7oM3oQemWDgWxyJPc3hTEmiCVbbpQDPHc4BOnA/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • This chapter was a lot easier to write compared to the last two and I think it's because the outline is more specific as to the character conflicts. Instead of "characters travel from A to B" or "write about a cool city", the motivations for each character were clear from the start, so it's easier to write because I don't have to worry so much about the world building
  • As you can see, the opening scene for this chapter ended up very different to how I planned it. I'm pretty happy with how it ended up, because not only does it establish Delin's character vividly, I managed to work in a few mysteries about the magic system and use it as a jumping off point for Solthia
  • The hardest scene to write was Rion's cameo. To be honest, I'm not even sure that he's really still the same character as Canon Rion because I've changed his backstory so much.
  • I debated whether to include one more scene of Solthia taking the mental block off Lorand but decided against it due to the chapter length. Besides we kind of already hit those emotional points already so I had a hunch that it'd feel repetitive

Questions for you guys:
- how are we doing now on the awkward horniness quotient?

Canon References/Easter Eggs
  • In the canon, Guild talents are only immune to being affected if they are actively flexing the part of their talent that matches the relevant aspect. I've reversed this in the Rewrite - i.e. they are immune by default unless they consciously suppress it.
  • Linking people's ability to speak to breathing was a thing done by Ebro Syant, a Gracelian Assembly member, but totally in line with Canon Delin's characterization as an insane sadist (Book 6, Chapter 15)
  • There was one instance of a non-het relationship in canon, and it was between Ollon Kapmar and Zolin Maylock (Book 4, Chapter 5)
  • There are multiple instances of Canon Jovvi having trouble blocking out Canon Tamrissa's emotions
  • Monitoring bodily reactions to figure out if someone is telling the truth is also a canon Earth magic ability
  • Canon Rion also gets a letter from Canon Naran, though she delivers that one personally (Book 2, Chapter 22)
  • Canon Hallina Mardimill is related to 3 of the Seated Five (Book 4, Chapter 28)
  • Minor spoilers for Canon Book 5: Canon Rion is adopted
  • Canon Delin always has to rely on his father's authority to get anything done and he hates it (Book 2, Chapter 17)
  • Canon Lorand is also supposedly homesick at one point (Book 1, Chapter 32)

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




You remember how I said the Sanderson influence was strong in your earlier chapters? This one, uh, diverges from his style a bit.

I like the reactions to Spirit magic as invasive and creepy. Purely a personal thing, but that helps address the worldbuilding musing that I was doing earlier.

One minor thing wasn't quite clear to me: what does it mean to "tie someone's ability to speak to their breathing"? The way both you and Lorand describe it sounds very clinical and special, but functionally it doesn't seem different from making someone mute.

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


wizzardstaff posted:

You remember how I said the Sanderson influence was strong in your earlier chapters? This one, uh, diverges from his style a bit.

I'll count that as a success on the awkward horniness quotient!

wizzardstaff posted:

One minor thing wasn't quite clear to me: what does it mean to "tie someone's ability to speak to their breathing"? The way both you and Lorand describe it sounds very clinical and special, but functionally it doesn't seem different from making someone mute.

Spoilers for Canon Book 6:
According to Green's text, an Earth magic practitioner can apparently manipulate neural pathways. In the book, Ebro Syant (an Earth magic High in Gracely) is a short and fat Assembly member who uses his Blending to kidnap and rape a girl he has the hots for. After he rapes her, he uses his Blending on her so that any time she tries to tell somebody that he raped her, she starts choking on the words. She's supposed to have a lot of suitors so she thinks she'll be able to escape by getting married but he's a member of the Assembly so he manipulates things to get suitors to leave, so he can keep raping her at his leisure. She decides that death is preferable so she deliberately chokes to death trying to speak out about his crimes.

Muting someone is less complicated as I think it just involves an Earth magic user futzing with the vocal chords by like, introducing temporary laryngitis or something. Whereas linking two different abilities to each other makes one dependent on the other. I.e. if you want to continue to be able to breathe, then don't talk.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it could be argued that if you're affecting neural pathways in the brain, that really should be the domain of Spirit magic rather than Earth magic. I couldn't remember the specifics of the canon scene when writing this so I might have messed up on that one. So theoretically, Earth magic should be about affecting someone's physical state while Spirit magic is affecting someone's mental state. But I guess since we know physical damage to the brain does weird stuff to the neural pathways, I guess an argument could be made that Earth magic could kind of do something similar, though the counter argument would be that's probably a level of precision that Earth magic shouldn't grant.

So...if I ever go back and do a second pass on this, I would probably just change it so that Delin muted the Acolyte instead of doing something more complicated that he'd probably need Spirit magic help for.

Either way, both of us have spent more time thinking about this than Green actually did!

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER SEVEN (6032 words)

Day 18 (20/11/2020): 1300 words. I had good intentions of doing more, but Blank Page Syndrome was really difficult to defeat this time, with Rhythm of War begging to be read.
Day 19 (23/11/2020): 1855 words on a non-writing day, after a weekend long reading binge on Rhythm of War. It was so interesting to read this time around as I was hyper aware of things from a writer's perspective.
Day 20 (24/11/2020): 2877 words to finish the chapter. I think I'm gonna aim to get another scene down tonight for the next chapter, because tomorrow's schedule is looking pretty bad for focused writing time


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapters:

Leng posted:

Chapter 5: Training–overview of their schedule
Group training on universal abilities
Aspect specific training

Chapter 6: Slice of life
Talitha's in theoretical lectures and hating it
Solthia's doing well, but subdued
Lorand is embarrassed
Talitha and Solthia go out, they invite Lorand but he says no
Lorand writes a letter home

Chapter 7: Specialized training–Healing clinic
Meets Driffin, who is very impressed by Lorand, asks if he wants to earn extra silver in additional after hours shifts
He finds out as much as possible about Grami's illness
Talitha's spending a lot of late nights away from the Guild House

The more detailed outline:

quote:

7.1: Lorand writes a letter home
  • It’s addressed to his mother, care of Master Lugal, but written for both the Coll and Riven families. It’s the only thing he can send them, because he still doesn’t have money, and the only reason he can afford to send the letter is because he’s sending it with the Guild’s normal dispatches to Master Lugal so it didn’t cost him anything.
  • He gives a quick overview of what they’ve been doing: basic combat training with staffs in the first month, progressing to spears in the second month and the last month has been bringing in magic into the mix, but restricted from using their aspect-specific skills.
  • They’re learning to fight mostly one to one, he doesn’t mention that Delin keeps beating the crap out of him
  • Next month they’re supposed to start aspect specific training, and he’s sad about that, because Solthia won’t be there and she’s the only one who can really rein Delin in
  • He asks after news of Grami’s health, sends some information he’s researched in the library, mentions he’ll be doing a placement in a clinic from next month
  • He includes some words of advice to Jeris. He wants to ask his father about whether Ravis is holding up his end of the bargain but decides against putting it into writing because it could make things worse
  • He ends by saying that he misses them all and he’ll try and come home as soon as he can, he just doesn’t know when.
  • He goes all judgemental on Talitha about a few flings she had with some of the other aspirants

7.2: Talitha in the Healing Clinic
  • They’re in the main clinic in the Air district, and Driffin is giving them a tour of the facilities
  • The other three are super interested, she had expected that Solthia would be doing something else but it turns out that Driffin is doing some experiments with mental healing and Solthia is there training under another High in Spirit magic

I had a bunch more points that were supposed to go in the clinic scene but when I got to writing it, none of them fit so I'm gonna shove them into the next chapter.

Link to Chapter 7: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1180IhaZSFfHO9AWQzdeQ98pV5r8hfCOJBVFDLFhNBus/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • I feel like this chapter is kind of repetitive, but I needed a way to do a timeskip with Lorand reflecting on everything so I went with the age old "write a letter home" method that Tamora Pierce used to great effect in First Test (from The Protector of the Small series). I did cheat by checking on how Pierce did it, and I did nowhere as good a job as she did. I feel like too much of Lorand's letter overlaps with information we already got in the previous chapter but whatever, this is NaNoWriMo, so let's just note it and move on
  • Eslinna's reappearance was unplanned. Basically, I couldn't figure out how to end Lorand's scene because the whole letter writing felt like an info dump and there were no other characters he could plausibly run into, since everyone else was supposed to be away. Then I realized I should probably put his confrontation with Talitha in because we're now past the halfway mark, so I did that afterwards.
  • Not a lot happens in this chapter, which is the fault of my outline. It's mostly a world building chapter and focused more on Spirit magic rather than Healing. I guess that's gonna have to fit in one of the upcoming chapters. Luckily, there should be plenty of opportunity to do so, assuming I don't get distracted and go in a different direction again.

Canon References/Easter Eggs

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER EIGHT (5264 words)

Day 20 (24/11/2020): 1249 words, which was a good start for a new chapter!
Day 21 (25/11/2020): 90 words on a non-writing day. Any possibility of writing more got destroyed by a bunch of random urgent errands
Day 22 (26/11/2020): 3925 words to finish the chapter. Pretty good output for me!


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapters:

Leng posted:

Chapter 6: Slice of life
Talitha's in theoretical lectures and hating it
Talitha and Solthia go out, they invite Lorand but he says no

Chapter 8: Specialized training–excursion to the western border? Deep Caverns?
Lorand hates it
There's an accident of some sort; he saves Delin's life

The more detailed outline:

quote:

Preparing for the Trials:
  • Driffin is so impressed with Lorand that he offers him a job after hours at the clinic, because they always need help. Lorand accepts and decides to start immediately
  • Delin’s disappeared off somewhere so that leaves Solthia and Talitha. Frustrated at not having any money and no idea what to do about her Trial, Talitha wants to be anywhere other than the Guild House.
  • Solthia takes her for a girls night out somewhere unexpected and they have a Deep And Meaningful Talk
  • They talk about Lorand and the Trials, two topics that Talitha wants to avoid.
  • Talitha is super frustrated and worried about her Trial of Duty, which is the written component: part civic duty part academic research thesis. Collaboration is permitted but comes with its own risks. While Decay is her thing, its applications are typically boring and straightforward, or involve killing a lot of people. The texts in the Guild library are very dense and obscure and the only one who can make any sense of them is Delin, and he isn’t helping anyone
  • Solthia gives Talitha some advice about Drowd’s model of power and talent or one of the Five Fundamental Theorems
  • Talitha brings up Delin and what she overheard Solthia’s mother saying on the night before the first day of classes.
  • Solthia confesses that she hates the role she has to live up to; she just wants to be a Healer but her family won’t have it
  • At the end of the night, Solthia goes back to the Guild House and Talitha goes to find Jovvi

Specialized training–excursion to the western border? Deep Caverns?
  • Lorand decides to use what he learned from Eslinna and research how to heal or prevent burnout
  • Lorand hates it
  • There’s an accident of some sort; he saves Delin’s life

Continuing with the trend since Chapter 3, the second half of that outline involving the Deep Caverns completely didn't happen so it's getting shoved into the next chapter.

Link to Chapter 8: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10AWawzS1LW2nocUBZ2PbfHd18II5z0sDbSfHLXeWTMo/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • Chapter 7 ended with Talitha in a bit of a funk, and since we've already had a POV from her before, I felt like we had to kind of address her issues, especially since she's been more proactive than Lorand as a general rule.
  • I am pretty conscious that it's Chapter 8 and we still haven't made it to the Deep Caverns. This chapter was originally titled "Deep Caverns" and then I got like 4000 words in and still wasn't done with Solthia and Talitha on their girls night out, so it clearly wasn't going to happen.
  • That aside, writing this chapter was weird. I didn't really know how I was going get there, but I had in mind a very specific moment between Solthia and Talitha, to show them actually becoming really good friends. There was no room for it in Chapter 6, since that was entirely from Lorand's POV, and chronologically it had to come later anyway, so that became the key moment I was trying to build up to.
  • I'm still iffy on whether or not there's too much introspection. I feel like the chapter starts off very slow. Things only pick up when the two characters start talking, which means I have like four pages of introspection that I'm a bit ho hum on whether it's needed. I feel like if I was a more experienced writer, I would be able to do better here.
  • There's 4 more (very vaguely) planned chapters left and only 4 days and just a little over 5k words to go. Between now and the end of NaNoWriMo, I only have 1 real planned writing day left and I will be lucky if I can finish a whole chapter in that time. I don't mind if the last chapter gets wrapped up in the first few days of December but that's all the time I can spare for the project.
  • So realistically, that means the last 4 chapters need to be condensed into 2 chapters, with the aim to write Chapter 9 before the end of November to hit the target word count, and then Chapter 10 to wrap up the story so we can get back to the Let's Read and normal life. That means I'll probably spend an hour or so rejigging of the remaining outline to figure out how to close off the story properly.

Canon References/Easter Eggs

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER NINE (6124 words)

Day 23 (27/11/2020): 1655 words, another good start for a new chapter! I had hoped for more, but writing time was eaten up by rebuilding the outline time, which is fine and good, especially when I can see the finish line in the distance.
Day 24 (28/11/2020): 1295 words on my buffer writing day which turned into a non-writing day due to last minute plans. Some words happened first thing in the morning but the rest was done late at night.
Day 25 (29/11/2020): 3174 words to finish the chapter.


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapters:

Leng posted:

Chapter 8: Specialized training–excursion to the western border? Deep Caverns?
Lorand hates it
There's an accident of some sort; he saves Delin's life

Chapter 9: High exam–first attempt
Magical spectacle! It's a crazy maze
Talitha passes
Lorand fails

Chapter 11: Qualifying–Lorand's last attempt
Overcomes his fear of burnout
Finally passes

The more detailed outline, which included rejigging some of the original points so that I could finish off this rewrite in two chapters:

quote:

9.1: Lorand
  • Spring is here, and they’ve finished their aspect specific training. Lorand basically stuck with the clinic after a few other day excursions elsewhere and has submitted his paper, though he’s still waiting for news from the Seated Five
  • The rest of his intake tried other stuff: Talitha weirdly went to work in the Treasury, hunting down counterfeit coinage–as far as Lorand knows, she still hasn’t started on her Trial but she’s been very tight lipped about her plans, Delin passed his Trial of Duty early on the strength of whatever research he did, and Solthia went into law enforcement with her uncle and also passed her Trial of Duty.
  • He notices that Solthia has been acting differently towards Delin, and Delin himself has been tormenting him less and less because he’s developing some sort of fascination with Solthia
  • He’s thinking about all of this on his way to meet Mardimill at the very top of Gan Garee to be taken to the Trial of Mastery
  • As he passes through the palace, he inadvertently takes a wrong turn which takes him to the Earth Advisor’s office. He overhears a conversation between Delin and his father, who warns him to remain in control to not risk another scandal. Delin’s father is cold, manipulative and horrible to Delin to the point where he finally gains some empathy for him

9.2: Talitha
  • Mardimill flies them there–this time the Trial is located near an abandoned section of the Deep Caverns, a network of caves underneath the Tondron Peaks
  • Legends say all sorts of things about the Deep Caverns: that the Four used to do all sorts of horrible experiments down here and they stumbled into unknown magic that corrupted them, that the Five thought they had killed the Four in the uprising but the Four were protected by some evil power and their still living bodies were entombed somewhere in the Deep Caverns
  • It’s a gigantic 3D maze where the walls are thirty feet high and made of different elements. The top is sealed off after the Aspirants are dropped in at random points. They have five hours to attain two goals: 1) find the center and 2) collect 2 keys along the way
  • Basic competence in all 4 abilities (at a Middle level) plus combat is required for survival in the maze
  • Advanced aptitude (beyond Middle level) in at least 2 of the abilities is required to get 2 of the keys. You can keep whatever keys you earn through multiple attempts but you always have to start from the edge of the maze.
  • Like the tests for Middle, cheating (either via linking or cooperation) is prohibited. Interference is not (since it’s too easy for accidents to happen), but it is frowned upon and if determined to be deliberate, carries a heavy penalty
  • They swear an oath under Spirit magic to maintain secrecy

9.3: Lorand
  • He tries to use his Earth senses to navigate, but the maze is shielded, and there are so many people and things using magic that it’s kind of blinding.
    His strategy is to rely mainly on Healing and Encouragement, his two strongest skills, especially after honing them in the clinic for weeks, which means stealth mostly.
  • He’s not as good at shielding as Talitha, but she’s been coaching him: he layers on three shields - one against Earth magic in general, the most familiar and the most solid, one against mental attacks and a general shield made of power, which won’t entirely protect against the other elements but should weaken their attacks
  • The hardened Air on top has blurred out the sky so he can’t navigate using the sun. He picks a direction at random, trusting that he’ll be able to use enough Decay to blast through obstacles
  • The first one he runs across is an artificial infinite river. Turns out it’s sentient and tries to engulf him. He gets out by churning up all the dirt and turning it into a sludgy mud pit and filling it with plant life, then growing himself some ropes to climb out. When he finally does, a wall that looked like a cliff parts and sends him into the next part of the maze and drops a key
  • There’s a chime that lets him know the first hour is up. He runs deeper into the maze

9.4: Lorand
  • There’s an hour left to go. He still doesn’t have his second key. He begins thinking that trying to rely on Healing was a bad choice–just like it was for the first exam–and can’t solve the puzzle for how he demonstrates it.
  • He had made it to the inner part of the maze by following first Talitha and then Solthia. Talitha had basically wrapped herself in shields and brute forced her way through the maze, basically blasting through or disintegrating every single wall she came across in a straight line to the center. The last he’d seen, she was trying to fight a sandstorm, at which point he decided to backtrack and find another way.
  • Halfway through the allotted time, the maze itself shifted and he lost his sense of direction. But he glimpsed Solthia riding past on a massive ice dragon that breathed ice around to shatter things in its path–it was animated by a combination of all five aspects and she had taken control of it. He follows them but gets attacked by a ravenous pack of flaming wolves that were setting everything on fire as they chased him. He tries Persuasion on them but can’t manage the split concentration to do it, and managed to use his combat skills to fend them off enough to escape
  • He follows a trail of destruction. At the end of it is Delin, losing his fight against a rock golem, right before the final gate. It crushes him and stomps off somewhere else. Lorand rushes over and he’s somehow still alive. There’s not enough time left to Heal Delin and get to the center of the maze, but he decides that he won’t leave Delin behind like he left his brother. He finishes the Healing the moment before time runs out. It’s enough to get him the second key but he’s failed.

At this point, I have reconciled myself to the fact that the Deep Caverns are just not gonna happen in this rewrite. That's fine! That means there's a worldbuilding detail for Rewrite Book 2, if/when that happens.

Link to Chapter 9: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RZjj-N4cb4DtUS2jhoKrlf7nLkBNGQ9H6Y5HElZkuiY/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • I tried to Pomodoro my way through the opening scene which kind of worked and kind of didn't. Even with a super detailed remaining outline, I ended up vomiting far more words onto the page and jumping around a lot, but the word count didn't get as high as I was hoping. In some ways, the draft ended up far messier than usual because I was forcing myself to get words out faster than I had finished thinking, so I ended up having do quite a bit on a self-edit pass. I'm not really sure I save much time overall this way, but it was good to try anyway.
  • This new method actually led to me having a false start on a scene for the first time since Chapter 2. I originally started Talitha's POV in this chapter when they were still waiting for Lorand and Delin. It got deleted because I was like ahhhhhhhhhhh this is taking too long to get to the Trials.
  • Action scenes are soooooooo hard. SO HARD. I don't know about the suspense level here guys, I really don't.
  • I also don't know about the progress and the pay-off in this chapter. Lorand's the protagonist and based on the tone promises, we kind of know that he's gonna make it from the start.
  • My detailed outline actually had another scene that I had to move into the final chapter because I knew halfway through writing this one that I wasn't going to make it. I thought about whether I should relax my general guideline of aiming for chapters of around 5-6k words, but eventually decided that it was more powerful to end on this note
  • That means there's only one chapter left and my detailed outline has two scenes in it. I feel like they're going to be big scenes, so I'll see how I go fitting everything in. But I have a good hunch about this!
  • EDIT: forgot to celebrate - with this chapter posted, it's a NaNoWriMo success!!!

Questions for you guys:
- how did the chapter leave you feeling at the end?
- did you buy the "twist"?
- did you feel like there were any plotholes or stuff that came out of nowhere?

Canon References/Easter Eggs

Leng fucked around with this message at 06:39 on Nov 29, 2020

A Small Car
Aug 24, 2016




I don't have much to add (I'm rubbish at editing), but I will genuinely miss reading your chapters when this is done. Every one of them has left me wanting to read the next one to find out what happens (and this one is no exception), and the characters all feel like actual humans, a very welcome change from Green's writing. I hope you'll continue to rewrite her trash!

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


REWRITE: CHAPTER TEN (5645 words)

Day 26 (30/11/2020): 174 words. During a horrific meeting that I was desperately trying to pretend was not happening.
Day 27 (2/12/2020): 606 words.
Day 28 (3/12/2020): 4865 words to finish the chapter and the book!


Planned outline for this chapter, including overflow from the planned outline for the previous chapters:

Leng posted:

Chapter 10: Return to Widdertown
Discovers Delin's done something to the agent
Lorand visits Grami Riven, heals her, discovers Talitha’s not here
Conversation with Lugal/his father/Elmin/Hestir?

Chapter 11: Qualifying–Lorand's last attempt
Overcomes his fear of burnout
Finally passes
Runs into Solthia instead; they have a deep and meaningful conversation
Turns out Talitha's a working girl at Jovvi's exclusive high end pleasure house!
Massive, massive fight

Chapter 12: Confrontation with Delin
Set up next book for competitions

The more detailed outline, which included rejigging some of the original points so that I could finish off this rewrite in two chapters:

quote:

10.1: Lorand
  • Advanced aptitude (beyond Middle level) in at least 2 of the abilities is required to get 2 of the keys. You can keep whatever keys you earn through multiple attempts but you always have to start from the edge of the maze.
  • He decides last time he got too bogged down in fighting everything, so he goes for speed this time and copies Solthia’s tactic of finding a mount–a massive hunting cat made of air. It can’t fly but it can phase from solid to gas quickly and do insane jumps
  • Mounted on the cat, he can basically outrun most things in the maze. It becomes a navigational challenge and he came prepared. Instead of heading through the dimmest parts of the maze to avoid trouble, he aims for the brightest parts, because that’s where other aspirants are fighting to get through. He dodges past everything on the cat and gets to the center, presenting his two keys
  • The last challenge is a Spirit magic challenge. He walks through the gate into mists and emerges into a familiar cornfield, alone. He’s wearing his brother’s clothes and boots and he’s hiding from the Astindans. He tries to avoid them, shielding, but he has to attack them.
  • They’re too tightly shielded for him to affect them directly, so he has to go for a quake. When he does that, he breaks their link and they circle him. He sees a snake in the cornfield–it’s a poisonous one–and the Water magic talent doesn’t have a shield against physical harm so he gets the snake to strike, paralyzing them. The Fire talent starts lighting up the crops to burn him out. The Air magic talent senses him though, so he ends up fighting them for the ability to breathe. He doesn’t have enough to stop himself from being strangled but the Air magic talent has dropped their shield to focus on strangling him. So he takes in more power and stops their heart–hoping that Lorand will have found help. He can’t control the power though, so it burns him out.
  • Lorand returns to himself and finds that he’s made it out of the maze. Adept Hestir is there to give him his master’s bracelet–his other essay was accepted by the Seated Five. Fresh out of the vision, he asked her what really happened that night, whether what he saw was what happened. She tells him that the parts that mattered were true and welcomes him as a High.

10.2: Lorand
  • After he passed as High, he got assigned new living quarters. Delin and Solthia both went back to live with their families. Talitha came to say goodbye when he packed his things–he assumed she was going back to Widdertown but she’s not, and she’s disappeared. She asks if he can bring Grami to the clinic
  • After collecting his first pay, he takes a flight with Mardimill out to Widdertown (Mardimill is passing through on his way to Quellin)
  • First things first, he goes to Heal Grami, using what he learned from Eslinna’s experiments and his own experiences at the clinic. It works but not as well as he hoped; her cough and symptoms are gone, but she’s weaker than ever.
  • Next he goes to find his father, tells him he’s going to find Ravis and make him give the deed to the farm to his father. He says that he’s decided to stay and work as a Healer in the Gan Garee clinic, not at the battlefront, as per his Duty. He promises to come visit periodically and help with the farm as needed. Camil passes the word on that Ravis has been unwell
  • He shows up at Ravis’s house and finds Ravis bound, gagged and bleeding. Of course Delin turns up, tosses him the deed to the farm and says they’re even
  • Lorand threatens to report him and Delin laughs, gloats about the fact that Lorand made it through the Mastery on sheer luck and he’s not actually stronger than Delin, and good luck stopping him when he becomes the Seated High upon winning the competitions next year. He’s discovered what he needs to know with Ravis anyway, and he walks out, saying that he’s not going to bother to Heal Ravis now since he knows Lorand will do it.
  • Lorand decides he needs to enter the competitions next year so he can stop Delin.


Link to Chapter 10: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KfPG4vSaI1hTF16Yet2xJrM26QGgRjw8PCJanZggQJs/edit?usp=sharing

Self-crit/Commentary
  • This final chapter was really hard to write. Really, really, really, hard to write.
  • I didn't really know what I was going to do in the general outline, so fleshing out the detailed outline took a while.
  • I had in mind a couple of things I really wanted to bring full circle with the last chapter: I knew I wanted to have Lorand return to Widdertown and realize he's changed; I wanted there to be an extra element to the Trial of Mastery, other than just going through the maze–there needed to be an extra degree of something that warranted setting somebody with a master's bracelet apart from everybody else; Lorand's issues with Mildon's death and his own sexuality were still unresolved and we needed to kick up the antagonist relationship with Delin to the next level
  • Conceptually and structurally, I feel like the ending is fairly by the numbers but hopefully I did enough work on the promise and the progress throughout the rewrite so that the payoff feels satisfying

Questions for you guys:
- now that we're at the end of all the rewrite chapters there's only really one question that matters, though it has two parts: what would you rate my rewrite out of five and did I do better than Green?

Canon References/Easter Eggs
  • Canon Lorand really wants to keep a large, dangerous hunting cat as a pet (Canon Book 6, Chapter 28)
  • The go to attack for canon Water magic talents is to drown people by surrounding their heads with globes of water
  • There is a brief "battle" scene where enemy magic users are dropped into a deep pit and attacked by indirect means (Canon Book 5)
  • Canon Books 2 and 3 are filled with BDSM fetish scenes because of the introduction of the noble antagonists (some are sprinkled through Canon Books 4 and 5); the Let's Read will probably get to them soon in the new year
  • Canon Book 4 has a character burn out onscreen
  • Canon Oplis Henden is the Air magic talent for one of the High Blendings that sequel series spoilers babysit the Empire for the main crew while they're off gallivanting about Gracely (Canon Books 6-8)
  • Canon Lorand also has a reunion with Canon Camil and they actually hug (Canon Book 5)

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:

I don't have much to add (I'm rubbish at editing), but I will genuinely miss reading your chapters when this is done. Every one of them has left me wanting to read the next one to find out what happens (and this one is no exception), and the characters all feel like actual humans, a very welcome change from Green's writing. I hope you'll continue to rewrite her trash!

Thank you so much for the kind words!

The fact that the rewrite has been entertaining enough for you to follow along and post is really rewarding. Hearing that you–a random internet stranger–enjoy my writing actually means more to me than hearing it from friends or family (mainly because I feel like they have to tell me nice things).

I'm going to deliberately refrain from re-reading anything from the rewrite for a couple of weeks, but will likely return to do an overall reflection some time at the end of the year when my brain's had an opportunity to refresh. And then, well, I guess we'll see what happens!

EDIT vvvvvvvv:

wizzardstaff posted:

The US Thanksgiving holiday and family life in general has really done a number on my schedule so I am something like 4 chapters behind now, but I want to echo the kudos. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and there's no question that it's better than Green's stuff. I think it's different enough to stand well on its own, not just in reference to her work.

Thank you!! This is amazing praise, far beyond what I had hoped for when I started so I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed (in a really good way).

Leng fucked around with this message at 04:24 on Dec 4, 2020

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




The US Thanksgiving holiday and family life in general has really done a number on my schedule so I am something like 4 chapters behind now, but I want to echo the kudos. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and there's no question that it's better than Green's stuff. I think it's different enough to stand well on its own, not just in reference to her work.

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


WRAP UP: Making an eBook!

Given the number of projects and other pieces of work I've got going on, it's unlikely that I'll do another pass through what I've written so far. So I thought it'd be fun to wrap things up by taking a look at the production side of things and put everything together in one package!

Designing a book cover

(note: do not do what I did if you are seriously considering self-publishing a book; pay an actual designer to design a good book cover, because the wisdom of the self-publishing thread says that your cover and blurb matter as much as your book)

Looked at the Amazon Kindle store for best selling fantasy ebooks. They all have expensive illustrations of characters wielding swords or magic or both, or focused visuals on an important object (e.g. a crown) or badge or symbol of some sort. As I don't have the skills to pull anything like that off (and it's more time than I have to invest on a fun thing), I spent an hour on Canva.com and Flickr searching for free/creative commons licensed images of "magic" and "glowing", messing around with fonts and random font effects.

I repeat: do not do what I did; this is not a good book cover!!

Creating the Epub file
I use Calibre as an eBook library manager and it has a built-in eBook editing function. Because I wrote each chapter as a standalone Google Doc, I needed to also install the EpubMerge plugin to compile everything into a single book.

The default "Download" option in Google Docs allows you to download an EPUB file as well as a HTML file. Since ebooks are basically fancy file packages of HTML, either technically should work. In addition, Calibre has a built in ebook format converter so you can import a DOCX or whatever and it'd still be able to output an EPUB. Amazon Kindle accepts the MOBI format.

I downloaded all of the chapters as EPUBs, imported them into Calibre, and then used EpubMerge to smush them together in a single file. At this point, you need to confirm the meta data for the book, which technically includes the blurb. I am bad at writing concisely and blurbs are a heck of a lot of work, so I just did a single sentence blurb. I will attempt a proper blurb later, probably after doing an overall reflection.

By default, the cover page and title page are created for you, so all I had to do was edit it. A few sections had to be added in manually: the map, table of contents, acknowledgements.

At this point, the book will look terrible. Like, really, really, really terrible. Mainly because whenever you export out of a word processor software into HTML it produces terrible code with in-line CSS everywhere. It will stick all of the general CSS into one <style> tag within the <head> section like this:

code:
<style type="text/css">ol{margin:0;padding:0}table td,table th{padding:0}.c0{color:#000000;font-weight:400;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;font-size:12pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-style:normal}.c1{padding-top:0pt;text-indent:36pt;padding-bottom:0pt;line-height:2.0;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}.c3{padding-top:0pt;text-indent:36pt;padding-bottom:0pt;line-height:2.0;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:center}.c2{font-size:12pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-style:italic;font-weight:400}.c5{color:#000000;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline}.c4{font-size:12pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-weight:400}.c6{background-color:#ffffff}.title{padding-top:0pt;color:#000000;font-size:26pt;padding-bottom:3pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}.subtitle{padding-top:0pt;color:#666666;font-size:15pt;padding-bottom:16pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}li{color:#000000;font-size:11pt;font-family:"Arial"}p{margin:0;color:#000000;font-size:11pt;font-family:"Arial"}h1{padding-top:20pt;color:#000000;font-size:20pt;padding-bottom:6pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}h2{padding-top:18pt;color:#000000;font-size:16pt;padding-bottom:6pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}h3{padding-top:16pt;color:#434343;font-size:14pt;padding-bottom:4pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}h4{padding-top:14pt;color:#666666;font-size:12pt;padding-bottom:4pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}h5{padding-top:12pt;color:#666666;font-size:11pt;padding-bottom:4pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}h6{padding-top:12pt;color:#666666;font-size:11pt;padding-bottom:4pt;font-family:"Arial";line-height:1.15;page-break-after:avoid;font-style:italic;orphans:2;widows:2;text-align:left}</style>
Apparently the fix is to use Calibre to convert your EPUB file to another EPUB file, because the Calibre converter has some menu options that will strip out all of this crap and stick it in a proper style sheet. I ended up with 10 duplicate stylesheets because of my ten separate files so I had to delete 9 of them and then link all of the HTML files to the same stylesheets.

This is before we even factor looking into the ridiculous nested tag nonsense around the actual text. Like this:

code:
    <p class="c1">
      <span class="c0">Lorand held his breath as footsteps approached his hiding place inside the barn. Unfortunately, the small sack next to him happened to wriggle at that moment. The soft rustle of straw drew the heavy footfalls closer, until Mildon’s new boots peeked through the narrow gap in the foundations of Lorand’s bale fortress.</span>
    </p>
...why??? Just why? Why does all of the text inside the paragraph tag need to be inside a span tag, with both of those tags having different CSS classes? Why not just generate some clean code with a clean stylesheet?? I wasn't sure if that was me being crazy so I used Calibre to have look at the code inside the non-DRM copy of Dawnshard that I got as a Kickstarter backer:

code:
<h2>1</h2>
<p class="img"><img class="logo" src="../Images/icon-rysn.gif"/></p>
<p class="breakfirst"><strong>Some people might</strong> have considered it boring work to select a new trade expedition. To Rysn, it was a thrilling chase. Yes, she did it sitting in a room surrounded by stacks of papers, but she felt like a hunter all the same.</p>
<p>Among these reports hid so many interesting tidbits. Details of goods for sale, rumors of ports with needs that the war was making difficult to fulfill. Somewhere among all of this minutia was the perfect opportunity for her crew. She sorted through it like a scout creeping through the underbrush, quiet and careful, seeking the perfect line of attack.</p>
Annnnd yep, it's very clean! (also lol at that classname, at first I read it as "breakfast" and went, yep that makes sense, The Lopen is a main character in this novella)

The next two hours were spent using regex expressions to strip out all of the unnecessary span tags, replace the relevant ones with <em> tags for italicized text, then centering the section breaks and cleaning up other weird stuff. I either stuffed up one of my regex operations or the original output from Google Docs was terrible, because there were italicized direct thoughts that were completely messed up, with the wrong bits italicized.

I had to add a few special classes to format the song Talitha sings in Chapter 3, Lorand's letter in Chapter 7 and the scroll he receives in Chapter 10 nicely. Then because I felt like it, I added some more classes to make the chapter headings and chapter titles look nicer, plus drop caps because why not? I don't know if the drop caps will come out nicely on other ereaders but hopefully I've written code that degrades gracefully so even if it doesn't show up properly, it won't look too weird.

The EPUB looks pretty nice in the Calibre viewer:


And terrible as a MOBI (granted I haven't actually tried looking at this on my Kindle yet, maybe it doesn't suck so much on an actual Kindle, but wow does it look bad in the Calibre viewer as a MOBI file):

(why does MOBI split the title page across two pages? I don't know!)


(yuck, default ul list formatted bullets)


(oh those drop caps didn't work here)

The AZW format seems to land somewhere in the middle, so if you're using a Kindle, that's probably the better format to download.

After doing all of this, I can totally see why someone would want to pay US$45 for Scrivener or even US$199/US$249 for Vellum. There is no way that I would be spending any more time than this hassling with this annoying crap. And I'm speaking as someone who is an amateur level front-end web developer. If I had to do this by hand, I think I'd write in a HTML editor because of the agony of formatting the ebook file afterwards, though the writer side of my brain thinks that would be a horrendously bad idea because wow, is thinking about the correct HTML tags to stick in while I'm trying to get the flow and tone of the scene down the worst thing ever (besides Blank Page Syndrome).

Download the eBook!
(assuming you enjoyed this enough to want to add it to your elibrary)
Available in AZW (Kindle), EPUB and MOBI (also Kindle, but uglier) formats.

Well, this was a fun exercise in discovering just how annoying the ebook production process is. If/when I get into self-publishing, I will definitely be springing for Scrivener at least. No way am I going to repeat this exercise in self-flagellation; writing the book was hard enough!

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




The ebook was actually very helpful, thanks! I am on a mobile device rather than a computer most of the time, so popping it into my kindle app helped me get through the last four chapters rather than dealing with google docs. (The default iOS Books app completely choked on the epub, by the way. It only displayed the first and last two pages of each chapter.)

Maybe it was because I was reading them all at once, but these chapters felt like they went by a little fast. There was a lot of “two weeks later....” that I felt like I wanted to dwell on more. I know one of your common criticisms of the original is that Green zooms in too much and describes day-by-day action in excruciating detail, and I felt like this may have swung the pendulum a little hard in the other direction.

Finishing the book just reinforces the opinion I had earlier about this being a significant departure from Green’s work. You’ve taken the basic idea and put your own twist on it until the plot is entirely your own. I’d call it a success. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo!

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


wizzardstaff posted:

(The default iOS Books app completely choked on the epub, by the way. It only displayed the first and last two pages of each chapter.)

Hrmm, looks like the Books app doesn't support certain HTML entities!
code:
“error on line 14 at column 155: Entity 'lsquo' not defined”
“error on line 16 at column 283: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 11 at column 223: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 11 at column 270: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 12 at column 22: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 14 at column 210: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 12 at column 73: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 11 at column 192: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 13 at column 39: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 11 at column 225: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
“error on line 11 at column 174: Entity 'mdash' not defined”
And as I use a lot of em dashes in my prose, it's no wonder that the whole thing choked! Alright, so it turns out that there's a "Fix HTML - all files" option in the Calibre ebook editor and I should have run that. It converts all of those HTML entities into the actual ASCII characters. I've uploaded a new version of the EPUB at the same Google Drive link and this one should look nice in Books:


(I'm...bizarrely happy about the fact that the drop caps work, though also pretty annoyed that for some reason the width of the text won't resize accordingly with the window. WHY)

wizzardstaff posted:

Maybe it was because I was reading them all at once, but these chapters felt like they went by a little fast. There was a lot of “two weeks later....” that I felt like I wanted to dwell on more. I know one of your common criticisms of the original is that Green zooms in too much and describes day-by-day action in excruciating detail, and I felt like this may have swung the pendulum a little hard in the other direction.

This is 100% on point. There was so much stuff that I had planned but didn't get to. Here's a list of everything that was in the outline that I didn't get to:
  • Lorand and Talitha overhearing Hestir/Elmin discussing something related to the current Seated Blending that they're not supposed to hear
  • The seed of rebellion that Lugal heard about and the missing Guild High Master
  • Entire Trial of Duty subplot: going more into what it is, what each of them were submitting, some of the magic system mechanics that got seeded in Chapter 2, more hints of what Delin was researching
  • Eslinna's subplot around the yellow lichen and the cure all potion
  • The Deep Caverns and whatever weird business is going on there
  • More of the training sequence, particularly around Lorand and Delin's interactions, some of the group fight scenarios alluded, showing what linking looks like from the other end
  • A deep and meaningful character moment between Solthia and Lorand to round out that relationship
  • Would have been nice to get a bit more of "slice of life" in how Lorand's intake interacts with other intakes and the wider dynamic in the aspirant group

The most obvious reason for why all of that got cut was simply because of time constraints and trying to keep the project from blowing out too much beyond the end of NaNoWriMo. The secondary reasons were: some was cut because I basically hadn't figured it out and didn't have any bright ideas in time; others got cut because I was like UGH fight scenes are hard and I don't know how to write them. The worst offender was probably skipping over the Trial of Duty. It's the second half of qualifying as High and was hyped up to be super hard and then I made it happen all off screen.

I now understand why Will Wight writes the way he does. I've got a lot of writing to do in order to improve my economy with words. During this project, I was super conscious of the fact that most of my sentences only do one job when ideally, they should be doing two or more jobs at once. That means every time I change location, for example, I end up with a LOT of description to try and convey a concrete sense of place using more than just visual cues. I've been quite conscious of trying to use that to convey character at the same time but it's hard to do, especially when trying to juggle character growth on top of it.

Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure is under 50k and covers the titular character's entire eight year journey from page to knight. Somehow she still manages to convey a very detailed sense of Tortall. Probably because she's just very economical with words.

wizzardstaff posted:

Finishing the book just reinforces the opinion I had earlier about this being a significant departure from Green’s work. You’ve taken the basic idea and put your own twist on it until the plot is entirely your own. I’d call it a success. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo!

Thank you! And thanks for giving up your time to not only read it all the way through, but to take the time and thought to give such insightful feedback and critique.

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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


WRAP UP: Reflection

Good riddance 2020! You've been a rubbish year overall, though I can say in all honesty that my NaNoWriMo win is the one good thing I'll take forward into the new year. May 2021 be a significant improvement on the total dumpster fire that was 2020 (though that's not really a high bar to clear, much like my original stated goal of writing something better than Green's mess).

Speaking of, let's check in on those goals:


Overall goals

Leng posted:

The goal is to write a better version of the story Green is trying to tell, while improving myself as a writer. I know I need to work on the following:
  1. Develop a habit of consistently writing
  2. Discipline to finish, rather than endlessly revising the first half of a story
  3. Prose
  4. Writing distinct, memorable characters
That sets some specific constraints on this project:
  • No reusing any chunks of prose from Green’s original work
  • No major changes that would otherwise alter the overall theme or what Green’s story is about (at least not beyond what normally happens in film adaptations as an example). That means: a) retaining the core premise, main conflict, resolution and key events, but b) combining/cutting characters/subplots as needed, c) keeping the fundamentals of Green's world building and magic system, though ideas and concepts may be utilized differently to fix plotholes and I might fill in missing details, and d) using different scenes to achieve the same intent/purpose where necessary
  • Focus will be on fixing the key flaws: 1) overall structure of narrative (which includes eliminating the repetition), 2) flat characters, and 3) contrived conflicts

In order:

1. Yes, there was definitely consistent writing going on during NaNoWriMo. Turns out what works is having a tangible word count, some public accountability and blocking time in my calendar. It makes me feel like I've got a real commitment, instead of a vague "here's a cool thing I want to do" intention which is very easy to let go of.

2. Yes! I think this is the first creative project I've embarked on for a long time that I can stick a fork in and call "done".

3. Yes. I did a reread of the whole thing in one sitting and it was a surreal feeling. While it's plenty flawed (a few too many timeskips, some important stuff happening off-screen, tone issues, some very unsubtle highlighting of themes in chapters, reliance on obvious writing structures) and could use a heavy line edit (things/words I do/use way too much: have characters counting things, the word "now", writing in past perfect, the word "actually", multiple characters "scowling", some random inconsistencies in tenses that slipped through unintentionally, a few egregious examples of bad sentence construction, tendency to default to the same sentence structures, etc), I would rate the prose significantly better than Green's original and better than the lazy rewrites I attempted this time last year. So on that baseline, my writing has improved. Yay!

In more detail:

Leng posted:

REMINDERS/SELF-EDITING CHECKLIST
On that note and in no particular order, here's a list of reminders for myself before commencing writing and on self-editing days:
  • Proportion: Aim for introspection (internal monologues) to be no more than 20-30% of the text, with dialogue, description and beats (action) taking up 70-80%
  • Description: don’t forget touch, taste, smell and sense magic, in addition to seeing and hearing.
  • Dialogue: dialect, vocabulary, inflection, tone, subtext, word choice, phrasing, sentence structure, syntax
  • Beats/action: blocking, incorporation into dialogue tags, how does this reveal character? (motivation, proactivity, liability, express flaws, competence)
  • Introspection: what is the key takeaway/arc? (accomplishment, decision, insight)
  • Beware: telling instead of showing, infodumps, being way too high on the pyramid of abstraction, repetition (info, content, character, sentences)

Proportionally, I think I ended up within that 20-30% range for introspection on an overall basis, though there were certainly some chapters that were pretty heavy on introspection and others that were much lighter on it. Touch and taste is really freaking hard to remember to do. If I were going to do subsequent passes through the same work, I think this is one of those focus areas for me in revision. Same with writing distinct dialogue for the different characters: it's really, really hard and I suspect is something that will take me a while to get good at. Despite my complaints about writing fight/action scenes, on balance and in hindsight, I think writing beats/action came more easily than other things: once I knew what the different characters' goals were in the scene, it was easier to extrapolate what would likely happen and therefore easier to write (the problem then came down to word choice and sentence structure, rather than trying to figure out what would happen). There are definitely a few places that are infodumpy–hopefully nothing too cringeworthy though I think Chapter 7 with Lorand's letter home comes close to that.

Long story short: I don't immediately hate half of what I've written, which either means I haven't put enough time/distance between me and the output, or I don't know better yet (with a narrow chance of the thing being not bad). This is a pretty toxic view to hold about one's own work, I know, but I feel like it's a mostly universal thing (for example, Sondheim hates his own lyrics for West Side Story, believe it or not, and Will Wight posts often on this subject including the day before his last released hit #1 for several days on the whole of the Amazon Kindle store, so I'm probably in good company).

4. I don't know about the characters being memorable (they're all a little trope-y), but I feel like the named characters were distinct from each other, in that you couldn't just randomly interchange them for one another, and they each had their own personalities. Let's call this one a work in progress, which is a result that I'm satisfied with.


The creative process

Leng posted:

From past experience, I know my process goes something like this:
  • Spend ages meticulously planning and outlining
  • Stare at blank page, also for ages
  • Make somewhere between 5-10 false starts
  • Go lie down in despair
  • Panic about my deadline
  • Crank out words upon words
  • Realize only 50-70% of my outline made it in, with the rest being written on the fly
  • (Optional, depending on complexity of project) Berate myself for wasting all that time on the outline / Curse the need to rebuild the outline because I've written myself into a corner
  • Finish right on the deadline and hand in a first draft that's about 10% longer than the estimated length at the start
  • Cut 20% in subsequent rounds of editing
This more or less works but the yoyo stress levels and writing crunches are a killer for bigger/more complex projects. As a result, I'd like to work on making my process a little more balanced and sustainable.

Still quite accurate, though I'm pleased to say that I felt like it was much more balanced and sustainable during NaNoWriMo than usual, so this is a net win.

I spent roughly 2 weeks–okay, a little more than 2 weeks, because I started thinking things over in my head once I knew I had committed to this project–planning stuff out, as this very thread attests to. Said planning turned out to be insufficient for me, because I also spent plenty of time struggling with Blank Page Syndrome–all of which was caused whenever I ran into a section of the outline that was too vague (e.g. "Gan Garee is a cool city") or needed research (e.g. what kind of plants grow in summer).

There were only two real false starts–once at the end of Chapter 2 when I couldn't figure out how to wrap things up from Lorand's POV and once in Chapter 9, when I was trying to force myself to write more words per hour using the Pomodoro method. I don't think it works for me; I much prefer front loading my thinking so that writing time is just writing time and I get clean drafts at the end of it. The thought of writing 30k words to figure out what I'm actually writing about is terrifying (and I am currently coming to that realization about my major project which I have gone back to now that NaNoWriMo is done and in denial about the need to throw out half the work at the moment).


Length

Leng posted:

I've written about ~1300 words of outline and the same bit from Sanderson's Skyward outline is about ~4200 words. Since Skyward is about 2.7 times as long as my 50k word count and I've used point form, hopefully this is about the right amount of story. There's 23 bullet points right now and I was planning on 16-20 chapters, so maybe I overestimated and 1-2 bullets per 3000-4000 word chapter is ok, or my chapters are gonna be longer than I planned. I guess we'll see what happens! Maybe I'll have to come back and mess around with the plot more later.

Leng posted:

How long is your story?

Apparently there's some sort of rule of thumb:
pre:
Length of story = (Number of characters + Stages) * 750 words * MICE threads
                  -----------------------------------------------------------
                                             1.5
Solving this equation for 50k words gives me 10 characters in 3 locations with 3 MICE threads. Yes I was using this formula in my previous post on planning.

If my main plot is the 25th year (Event) and my subplot is the conspiracy (Inquiry), then that last one must be Lorand's arc as the protagonist (Character) since I don't want really want to write 50k words about the journey from Widdertown to Gan Garee (Milieu). That said, I could also shuffle off that conspiracy plot into Rewrite Book 2, which might be a better fit since that is planned to be more relationship heavy anyway.

In that scenario, I'd cut a character and add a MICE thread so all of Act I would be a travelogue (Milieu), Act II as "how do I qualify?" (Inquiry) and then Act III as an Event (individual competitions), with the whole story anchored by Lorand's journey from farmboy to powerful High practitioner. It just means that I'd end nesting the plot like this:
code:
<c><m></m><i></i><e></e></c>

I ended up at close to 57k words (56,810 to be exact), with 11 characters (whom I'd count as: Lorand, Talitha, Delin, Solthia, Camil, Grami Riven, Lugal, Rion, Hestir, Mildon, Mollit; the rest, in haphazard order–Phor, Allia, Raina, Ravis, High Lord Advisor Moord, Jovvi, Elmin, Ginge, Bensia, Driffin, Gerdol, Eslinna, Jeris, Vallant, Palafar, Vish, Ennis, Idroy, Refe–are basically cameos or window dressing), 9 locations (Widdertown–including the Coll cottage, the Riven cottage, the town itself and its surrounds, Gan Garee–the island and city in general, the Guild House, the Healing clinic and the palace training yards, and the maze) and I'd say 4 MICE threads (Lorand discovering who he is <c>, Talitha discovering who she is<c>, leaving Widdertown <m> and becoming a High practitioner <e>, nested as <c><c><m><e></e></m></c></c> since we see him return to Widdertown to complete the Hero's Journey).

Plugging that into the formula, I should have written ((11 + 9) * 750 * 4)/1.5 = 40,000 words yet I went 42% over that, thus supporting my intuition that I am not a very concise writer or possibly because I am bad at doing maths because if I put my original estimate into the formula, I get 19,500 words or maybe the formula is way overrated because I feel like I tried to keep the scope of this story pretty small still ended up way over the projected word count despite not even getting to a long list of things that I had seeded in earlier chapters and then didn't write about.

Whatever! The key takeaway is I now have a better handle on what feels like a natural length in a chapter for me (answer: somewhere between 5000-6000 words) and exactly how much plot I can achieve in a chapter and therefore how many chapters are needed overall.


Themes/promises

Leng posted:

I feel like everything I've outlined is...adequate but I can't tell if what I'm doing is good or bad and I don't know how Green's themes of control are going to get worked in. Maybe that's just going to be something I keep in the back of my mind as I write by focusing on how characters are controlled and try to control others. This doesn't really surprise me though - I have found that I rarely approach storytelling by consciously thinking about themes; my themes tend to emerge during the writing process and only become obvious later.

Leng posted:

Effectively, the story in Rewritten Book 1 is: "A young man leaves home to become a powerful magician in an attempt to save his family’s farm from being seized by a corrupt agent of the nobility. He discovers that the seeds of corruption are widespread across the Empire and vows to change that by becoming part of the next Seated Blending."

I think what I ended up writing was "A young boy tries to save his family from destitution by attempting to fill his dead older brother's shoes. The only way he can secure his family's future is to become a powerful magician in service of the Empire by challenging a deadly Trial." At the end, Lorand doesn't so much as vow to become part of the next Seated Blending, but rather to stop an insane Delin from becoming more powerful, setting the scene for a potential sequel.

While I ended up with themes for each chapter, I didn't start out with these planned (the only thing I planned, as you guys saw, was the key plot points), so no wonder I didn't manage to stick to Green's themes of control. But I suppose that themes are something you have to feel passionate about as an author to embed in your work and I'm not as obsessed with the idea of control as Green is, so here we are.


What next?

With NaNoWriMo concluded successfully, it's back to the more ambitious creative project I was stalled on last year (an original musical). I spent the second last week in December reviewing everything that had been written and did a very honest assessment of the status. This rewrite gave me some much needed distance from the project as well as a better grasp on storytelling principles.

The conclusion was pretty depressing: there's 26 songs that have been written and I thought I had another 10 or so to go to wrap up the show (for comparison: Rent has 43, Hamilton has 46, Avenue Q has 21, Book of Mormon has 16, Wicked has 19, In the Heights has 23), and of those 26 that have already been written, there's 12 that work (mostly), 8 that need revising, and 6 that just plain don't. And what I mean with regards to whether a song "works" or not runs the gamut from "this song does not advance character/plot" to "this song is in the wrong place in the show/sung by the wrong character" to "this song is not hitting the right emotional notes" to "this song just plain sucks and doesn't fit with the rest of the score" to "I love this song but it doesn't fit in the show so I really don't want to cut it but I can't leave it in because if I do it ruins the show".

Most of the issues go back to "book" problems with character arcs, keeping a focus on the key themes and the promise/progress/payoff alignment.

Welp.

It won't be the first time that I've thrown out at least half of what's been written, but it sure does suck doing it again. First thing on the list is doing a new outline and making sure I've got my bloody characters and the promise/progress/payoffs RIGHT before I forge ahead with doing anything else. I found Sanderson's outlining method worked well for novel writing, so let's see how I go using the same method on a musical. Writing a show is a lot more involved than writing a novel–for one thing, songs are way more complicated–so I'm giving myself most of next year to finish the musical.

In the mean time, I'll be turning my posting attention back to the hate-read of the canon books over in Book Barn. This thread will stay open for crits and other general discussion. I really enjoyed doing NaNoWriMo in 2020 so in all likelihood I'll end up doing NaNoWriMo again in 2021. Whether it'll be a rewrite of the sequel or something else, I don't know and can't commit to at the moment, but if I do decide to go ahead with a rewritten book 2, I'll pick up the project in this same thread.

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