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newts
Oct 10, 2012


I've decided to be brave and start posting chapters of my AU/mystery/police procedural/psychic detective novel, tentatively titled The Night City (working title: Sorry, Canada!)

This was my Nano project for the year. And, while I didn't win, I did get pretty far into this.... mess. I'm at the editing stage now, so I think I'll just post chapters as I get them edited and cleaned up.

I do not plan to publish this except in a free format, but I wanted to challenge myself to write a readable, fun, entertaining novel with decent characters. Something you might read at the beach. Nothing too heavy

Anyway, I would love any and all feedback Get mean if you like. I can handle it. Let me know if my dumb alternate world makes no sense or is boring or whatever. Or if my characters suck. Or if my murder plot is dumb, because that's been the hardest part so far. If I get no feedback, I'm still gonna keep posting. If I do get feedback then, yay!

Added my dumb cover:


quote:

A divided city. A killer who stalks the border between two worlds.

Rookie homicide detective Lucia Kowalski has just caught her first case, the murder of a Ďsleeperíóa parallel species of human living side-by-side with our own. And a new partner, Inspector Sam Rush, a sleeper working for the police on the other side of the border.

Despite her fears, Lucia finds herself drawn to her mysterious new partner and deeper into a conspiracy that threatens both of their lives. As a conflict between two peoples threatens to tear the city apart, Lucia and Sam race to stop a killer before it's too late.

Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qQiz3B3n9GJMhI76rjtahbktt0VQLelGDOVmcm_1Aeg

ETA: Hereís the finished novel!

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

newts fucked around with this message at 01:15 on Feb 12, 2021

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newts
Oct 10, 2012


Editing is not fun for me. Also, I've just arbitrarily divided this into chapters. I'm not sure I like where the divisions are right now, but I can always change them later.

Chapter 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1frsVOESwk2gldVdwWNa5CTcmC__7xfv5BdM_0Dt2O7o/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 3: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UQHXQPktoA1Y3SMPCrzSEpUsbHFasdf9_G1disJdCM4/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 4: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IP0U2GzTHBATEI3LQgPIWw4mjsHgesL0DnYcSK9jZ6U/edit?usp=sharing

There is some R-rated discussion of dicks in this chapter.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


I'm going to ramble a little between chapters because why not? And if I'm talking to the void, that's cool. The void is a good listener.

So, this was the point in my writing process where plot stuff got complicated. It became very challenging to decide what questions my characters should be asking and when they should get the answers to those questions. And how to let the events in the story flow logically from one clue to another. All of that matters, of course, in a mystery/procedural plot because the story is basically driven forward by questions and answers.

It's all written, but I'm still not sure if the clues unfold in a natural way. Moving stuff around, so, for example, they realize something sooner rather than later, is hard because that means changing everything downstream from that point in the story to reflect the characters' change in knowledge. During the first editing pass, it became glaringly obvious to me that the characters weren't asking some of the right questions at the right times. I hope most of that is fixed now.

Ugh. Plot.

Also, despite the title of this thread, this isnt really a romance novel.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Good on you for posting!


If you want line edits or more granular feedback, it'd be good if you can turn commenting on in the Google Doc!

Sorry! I thought I had, but the google docs app on my iPad is really confusing. It should be fixed now.

quote:

Anyway, I'll give a range of crits to begin with, then you can let me know what you find the most helpful. So far, I've only read Chapter 1 of what's been posted.
  • Felt like it was a slow beginning, despite the excitement of a dead body being discovered. This is supposed to be an unusual case right? Something that shouldn't normally happen? If so, I could use some more context to hook me in, other than just oh, no, more red tape, which sounds boring and not interesting.
  • There's a lot of characters introduced, and the blurb made me think Stockton was the sleeper cop, before I hit the end of the chapter and realized that was Rush. I think that might be due to the order of how Lucia's internal narration about her partner versus the dialogue about Stockton.
  • The prose reads fine for me, but could use some tightening up as part of your editing pass. Just the normal stuff on checking sentence construction, using stronger verbs and thinking more carefully about where you could be concrete and specific instead of abstract.

Thank you so much! This is perfect.

I agree that the beginning is very slow. I think I've recognized that as a fundamental problem with my plot. I've decided not to change it at this point and just keep it in mind for the next thing I write. This is a learning experience and I don't really plan on doing anything with the book after I'm done.

I think the problem is that I was actually trying to convey the opposite of what you got from the the story: that there's nothing special or interesting about the case, at least at first. The case is a typical boring dead, junkie hooker case, but with extra annoying added red tape because the dead hooker is a sleeper. The only person who's excited about it is Lucia and that's just because it's her first case. Which... still doesn't make the beginning an interesting hook for the reader.

I thought my character introductions were clear, but I'll go back and have another look. I hate infodumps (both reading and writing them) so I've tried to have Lucia just think of things organically. But that might not be working. I'll take another look and see if I can fix it.

quote:

Example of what I mean about the prose below:


[1]: Why begin with the abstract word "sound" when you have all of these much more specific noises later on?
[2]: Why not say Lucia to begin with? This is your opening sentence and it'd be nice to know who "she" is.
[3]: Same with the verb leading to the first instance of imagery. "Opened her eyes" is neutral and abstract, "squinted" is much stronger, or you could go stronger still with some metaphors.
[4]: Here's your first visual. The "room" isn't important, but the "orange glow" and the "clock" are. "City night" feels a little on the nose - could you use more specific description to lead me to this conclusion? When you describe a generic orange glow, I immediately think sunrise, sunset, fire and then possibly neon lights in an entertainment or red light district. Anyway, the quality of the lights is what you're using to signify an urban environment, since you don't have any other sounds going on other than the phone and the rain. The night part becomes obvious when Lucia reads the clock.
[5]: I think you could be more concise here. Also, you've used both direct and indirect thought, though I think the direct style would work better for you here.
[6]: Would also suggest looking at how you use line breaks here. It took me a moment to figure out whether she was addressing the person calling her Kowalski, or whether she was answering the phone with her last name.
[7]: Is this an important or relevant detail, or something that conveys character or backstory? I'm assuming it is on the basis that you've called Lucia and Rush psychic detectives in the thread title. If so, work some specifics of the dream into the opening sentence, otherwise I glaze over it as a reader.

Thank you for these! Very helpful. And, yeah, that first sentence is just terrible.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Okay, I've finished reading the rest of the chapters you posted!

Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to do that. And, first, let me say that I agree with pretty much everything you've written here.


quote:

After getting 4 chapters in, I don't think your plot is actually slow. It's more that your scenes/dialogue are a little longer/blow by blow in some places than they probably need to be.

Your characters are also doing a lot of running around from location to location, which I get is part of the murder procedural genre, though I wonder whether you need to have so much bouncing around locations.

Here are some of the things that made me feel like the pacing dragged a bit:

  • Lucia and Rush always having a back and forth about the next steps. I know a lot of it is characterization about her uncertainty this being her first case and all, though I think we kind of get it after the first few times
  • Lucia heading to the lab multiple times. The second visit with Sam is much more significant, so I wonder about the choice to have Lucia go twice instead of calling the first time
  • The delay in getting Rush into the story. The dynamic between your two main characters and the way they interact is more interesting than Lucia puttering around with the rest of the humans. The tension set up by the fact that she and her team missed stuff that he catches is a good hook, and gets away from the boring red tape part


The way you introduce the backstory of the world is a good balance for me. The juxtaposition between everyone else dismissing the case and Lucia being super excited is good, though it takes a while for her to get going on that angle. Some of the stuff she says later on to Rush when he challenges her might feel more natural if she pushed back on everyone else's dismissal earlier.

I think it's about framing. Since we're in Lucia's POV, if she feels strongly about the case, it doesn't matter that nobody else does. Show us the reasons for why she's excited - and it's okay for those to simply be a desire to prove herself vs the old boys' club. That gives us immediate tension rather than a feeling of going through the motions.

So, yeah, that's a lot. And I think you've picked out all of the things that I knew were issues, but I'd kinda been ignoring until now (Nano project and all...)

But, again, very helpful because it gives me a good place to start working on solutions. Again, I don't think I'm going to mess with the plot a bunch because, yeah. I think I'd rather work on tightening up my prose and my characters. And the plot stuff would require an in-depth rewrite that I don't want to do on this.

Anyway, solutions...

I think the first part drags because Lucia's inner voice is boring. I'm pretty poo poo at writing internal monologues and I think it shows. She's just not interesting enough on her own to make the first part compelling. But, she really needs to be because she's the hero of the story. I'm going to try to give her more personality, even if her personality is basically 'I only care about the job.' I think this will be a big improvement if I can pull it off.

Locations. I'm going to predict that your issues with the location changes are not because there are too many, but because my transitions into and out of scenes really suck. I'm going to try to tighten those up so they don't drag. I know readers don't need to see them traveling places, but trying to include every detail is a hard habit to break. (And, yes, there are some scenes that are extraneous and should be cut, or go too long.)

But, yeah, it's kind of the detective/mystery trope to have them go around and talk to people. Honestly, I hate writing scene transitions so much that I'd happily have my characters sit in the same room the whole time and solve the case through texts.

So, my plan is to work on those two things: (1) inner dialogue and (2) scene transitions, and get Lucia's motivation to want to solve the case established more quickly.

Thanks again!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Bubble Bobby posted:

Good advice: don't start your story with the character waking up.

So, yeah, I agree that's good advice, but sleeping and waking are a running theme in my terrible book. The main character gets woken up a bunch of times by different things during the case. It seemed weird not to start with her being woken up by the call that kicks everything off.

But, I'll think about changing it when I get to the second editing pass. Thanks!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ugh, the next few chunks are going to need a ton more work. But whatever. I cut a ton out of this, and it still needs more cutting.

Chapter 5: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Lvr7GrMXhSJ37pC9h7I0caC8s_NKY246xEZmswq7AgA/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

The latest chapter is much stronger than the earlier ones. Better characterization, done more concisely. Keep it up!

Thanks!

I chopped a lot out of this next part, but it still needs a ton more work. I'm sick of looking at it.
Chapter 6: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-fRSehwiJycclOD1h5kKFQEMqSG92ToIQ9ie8FrOlpk/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Editing sucks.

The next few chunks are all messed up, timeline-wise, because I changed an important plot point without going back and fixing anything. It will take me a few more days to decide what goes where. I'm also realizing I'll need to do some specific editing passes just for:

Character arcs. I think my mains are too friendly too soon. I need them to hate each other a little more. I find it hard to make the main character a racist, though, without making her a loving rear end in a top hat Is that a trope? Self-aware racist?

Conspiracy escalation. That's what I'm calling it, anyway. More hints along the way that they are in peril.

Make the world bigger. More descriptions. More weirdness, etc.

Fix adverbs. I used them a ton as placeholders. Now I need to go back and destroy (some of) them.

Read through for clarity and plot holes.

I have ADD and it's hard for me to focus on one thing at a time without forcing myself specifically to do only that thing, so I need lists.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


I got the worst of the egregious bits, but this is still rough.

ETA: I added back a scene that Iíd removed. Thought it was useless, but I decided later it was important. Warning for homophobia and slurs.

Chapter 7: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c4a6y-zssbbYVVzZ6Y_tya4cMtr1dxjx6AidZHkV4DE/edit?usp=sharing

newts fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Jan 10, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


My characters are all over the place, emotionally. That's another thing I'm going to have to add to my list of continuity edits

Chapter 8: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s2ROkIR2ZLNvaKL5zBbQNSx1h-HFDZOEbdMuu5vVLNQ/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 9: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Pzv_kY24O0nMNG3y2eZ_fCjrzBmHrBIiXqHt9gYJ60U/edit?usp=sharing

newts
Oct 10, 2012


This section feels like it goes all over the place and, yet, nothing happens. I'm already thinking about how to break up their long conversation with more working.

Chapter 10: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kabLi-r3Vq-_-pBG0E37Z41D9QEICUkCK5vdzZMRlag/edit?usp=sharing

I'm gonna keep posting until I've got all of draft version 1.5 up. Then I'm gonna stop.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 11: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-CaQAdMdKWomHpzn6As8HdQZulClg709rTa0XjQlFqI/edit

Everything gets a bit more nebulous after this because this is right around the point where I started panicking that I wouldnít make my word count for Nano. Spoiler alert: I did not.

newts fucked around with this message at 00:59 on Jan 12, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Just alerting you that you should probably change the permissions on these Google Docs so people can suggest in-line changes but not actually edit the original text.

These are not my Ďworkingí copies, so itís all good.

quote:

Also the initial premise of the novel sounds an awful lot like China Mieville's "The City & the City". So you might have people comparing it to that which would hurt because Mieville is hard to measure up to.

Yeah. I think thatís just my blurb? The actual story is pretty different, and not just because heís a good writer and I suck. The style, the plot, even the Ďpremiseí are all really different. Mine is in no way Ďhigh conceptí.

Mievilleís one of those writers whose ideas are super interesting to me. And he can actually pull them offóthe places he writes about feel real and lived in, and old and dirty. But his characters are really opaque to me. I never end up caring about them. The City & the City comes closest to making me care about the protagonist, I think because the story is on a smaller scale and we donít hop around into everyoneís heads, but Mievilleís prose still keeps me at armís length from him, like I canít get invested. I actually went back and re-read this recently to try to figure out why. Donít remember what it was, though.

ETA: And thanks for the edits! I forgot to say that. I know I have a ton of Ďfillerí words. Thatís just how I think, and I was writing as fast as I could for Nano. I have a note down somewhere about searching and replacing Ďactuallyí Ďdefinitelyí Ďití and Ďthatí.

Also, yeah Stocktonís a goner. No one survives to retire in fiction.

newts fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Jan 13, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Cool, I'll keep adding some notes when I have time.

I was chided by an editor recently for putting thoughts in italics. Apparently that's going out of style, and "Deep POV" is supposed to eliminate the need for italicizing thoughts. I've seen it in a lot of books and some beta readers of my own work have wanted thoughts in italics though so it seems to be a matter of taste.

Thanks!

Yeah, I think itís totally down to personal taste. Iíve seen it both ways. Right now, Iíve got both direct thoughts (ĎHoly poo poo!í Or ĎHoly poo poo! she thought.í) in italics. I just need to go through and make sure the italics are consistent. I know theyíre not right now.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thanks so much for the feedback! Really appreciate it.

And, yeah, Iím pretty much feeling all that, too My plan right now is to just finish these first edits and get the whole thing cleaned up. Then go back through to try to fix the momentum issues that are making the story drag. Iím not sure how to make my boring scenes more excitingóitís not a thriller. So, most of the tension will have to come from the characterís frustration/revelations, and the stakes being raised by their potential failure. I think I suck at that part, though, so I guess it will be a challenge. I donít want to write a novel with super high stakes, though. More personal stakes, I guess.

New editing notes based on feedback (thanks again, btw!):

óRaise stakes with each scene (Uh, how? Donít know yet. Will think about it in the shower)

óFocus on character development for Lucia. I think she needs to be more of a racist at the start. Her thoughts need to reflect her real fear of Rush, because her character arc needs her to go from being afraid of and not understanding her partner to accepting him as her friend. Best friend? Since she has none. She has a tragic backstory (sort of) that she hasnít revealed yet, but it needs more foreshadowing.

óTie their quiet character moments to the plot more. The bar scene originally had a bit of dialogue that I felt gave away too much, so I took it out. I might gently caress with it and stick it back in.

óMore tension, more atmosphere, more protagonists vs the system, more weird cultural things.

óI think they learn something new from each crime scene, but I need to make that more interesting, idk how right now but Iíll figure it out

I know when Iím Ďdoneí with this itís still going to suck, but thatís okay! Iím going to keep going and learn as much as I can from it. Sunk-cost fallacy thinking, I guess. But next year Iím going to kick rear end at Nano. When I write the incredibly lovely sequel to this book, yay!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Ccs posted:

Yeah I was wondering why I never saw italics in my favorite authors work even though the characters are written in third person, and it's because of that. Occasionally there will be a tag like "thought" in a Joe Abercrombie book, if it's articulating an opinion after a scene describing setting or something. But the thoughts themselves are never italicized.

You guys are making me rethink my stance on italics.

I donít have a really strong opinion, either way, so I might just go through and take them out. See how I feel about it. I have some psychic speech coming up and that is also italicized, so maybe thatís probably a point in favor of removing italics for random thoughts so it doesnít become confusing for the reader.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A Small Car posted:

As Leng knows, I'm not great at feedback/editing, but I did want to chime in and say that I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your work so far. I'll be a bit of a contrarian by saying that I enjoy the slow burn you've got going on, but that's always been my favorite type of detective story.

Thank you! Iím so happy to hear that. I like slow burn, too, which is probably why Iím writing one (shocker!)

quote:

I thought was a nice bit of characterization for Lucia. I may be entirely wrong, but I read this less as it being her first case and her being uncertain about it (thought that's certainly true), and more as her finally having a partner that she felt she could actually disagree with instead of being forced to go along with whatever they said for the sake of fitting in. I feel like it also has the potential to play into making Lucia more overtly racist early on (maybe Rush wants to go see Asa right away, and Lucia overrides him, which then leads to them missing their chance?), without making her into an entirely unsympathetic rear end in a top hat.

Yeah, it was intentional. Iím glad that comes across. And their later back-and-forth is more of them bouncing ideas off of each other as they get used to working together. And as Luciaís finally getting to do the work she wants.

And, yeah, thatís actually a really great idea! Iíve been trying to resolve the plot hole with them not visiting the doctor that first trip to the NorthSide. I wrote a little fix-it scene in which Lucia just wants to get back to the South and doesnít think the doctor is important, but I hadnít thought about tying it in to her issues. Right now, itís just her being a rookie and screwing up. But, yeah, good idea. I think Iíll change it!

quote:

I look forward to reading the rest of this book, and to reading the sequel next year!

Iíll try. Itís all plotted out, which I know means nothing because plotting is the fun part

Thanks again!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

Here's someone who clearly isĖso weigh our feedback accordingly! (i.e. listen to what's working/not working for A Small Car, and only listen to my comments to the extent that they are helpful)

You have both been very helpful. Thank you!

Work started again so Iím moving slowly now. This next bit also has a big, emotional scene that Iím struggling to get right. I might just leave it and see how I feel during the second round of edits.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


gently caress. Sometimes, youíre just not in the mood to edit a make-out scene. This will have to do for now. Iíll look at it again in a few months.

Chapter 12: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-E-G9DmY6FQkV-Ftq6pGq1eeqJFGILe3hDl8vmNFZmA/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


A teeny chapter. I prefer them longer, but I can only edit small chunks at a time.

Chapter 13: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-M6V8IqrnZiFA9VXwJv6tEOvg1OEQ7gYuKjaNfze6O8/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Warning for suicide

Chapter 14: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-mEZrjBT66CEmTFIy0YsuSc23mH5NtuLMZccDapDB9g/edit

This is the ending of my tentative second part. I wrote this in three big Google Doc chunks because of the slowdown that happens when you try to edit something over 40,000 words or so. That means, Iím 2/3rds done with my first editing pass. Yay, me!

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Needs. More. Something.

Chapter 15: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10t6Kujv9Jw9YeXvRSVc7jTE9RmttVOL-7EePjr4phvw/edit

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng posted:

I like these chapters a LOT more than the previous ones. Can't wait to see how the story ends.

Aw, thanks! Iím almost done.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Chapter 16: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11MhwVjEIlkThbr2B-CEIpCazgw2lBNfaKU8VtGm1QoQ/edit

So. Close. Aarrgh!

Itís about 80,000 words, around 200 pages. Iíve got two more chapters to go. Then I can edit it all over again

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.

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.

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...

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/

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.

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.

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.

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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

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