Ohio 4 process and deadlinesThis is more major writer neep, but any readers who are waiting for the books to come out might find this interesting, too.

I’m giving myself 3 days (including today) to outline and write PACTS (protagonist, antagonist, conflict, setting, twist) sentences and figure out how to work in REDACTED#1 and REDACTED#2. (The redacted stuff is two big plot elements that would be spoilers if I use either of the two words that define them.)

Both of these were supposed to be in Book 3, but a something bigger pushed them out. So Book Four has to start with them.

 

WORK SCHEDULE:

PLOTTING: (today,) Friday July 9 through Tuesday, July 13th

 

BOOK MATH
90,000 words
1250 words per day
72 working days
5 days a week

FIRST DRAFT STARTS Wednesday, July 14

Working Monday through Friday, and taking off both my own birthday and Matt’s, which fall inside the writing of Novel #4…

13 days in July

21 days in August

22 days in Sept

20 days in October

ESTIMATED FINISH OCT 29th

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In the little image above, you can see the blue-outlined box with OH-3 CUR1stD in the middle.

Below it, a gray box with a blue text icon and Ohio #1-4.

Enigmatic, maybe, and not very informative. Until you see them in context and understand what a big deal this is.

If you’re a non-nerd reader waiting to read the Ohio Series when it comes out, you can read just this bit and get the good stuff.

OH-3 CUR1stD in the image above stands for Ohio 3, Complete Unrevised First Draft. It’s moved next to its two siblings (show in the big image below this section), where it will wait until I revise the entire pile of five novels in ONE pass.

Immediately below it in the image above there now sits a new blue document link. Ohio #1-4.

I’m building a NEW outline for that book today, because I broke all the old outlines when writing Ohio 3.

I’m hoping to start writing Ohio 4 on either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

 

!!!NERD ALERT!!!

Seriously nerdy writer process and software discussion ahead. 

If you are a reader or writer NERD… keep reading. From here on out, I’m talking about the BIG picture, from which I grabbed the little picture.

Here’s the big picture.

Screen Shot 2021 07 09 at 7 55 44 AM

This is the current organization of my fiction process and writing documents, aided by FREETER, the software that makes all the spiffy boxes, each of which is a link to a folder, a document, or something that I have to do each day, like go in and edit my newest blog post.

In the big image above, you can see two rows of stuff that I’m using to build the Ohio Novels. (Or will be once I’m that far.)

My link to my series storage folder, top file. Inside that folder, I have all the worldbuilding, all the notes to myself, all the character development, the books… everything.

Then there’s OBJ1- which is my list of objectives for the first five Ohio Novels (“first” assumes they will do well enough to warrant a second series. If they don’t, there will not be a second series).

A list of cover artists I might be able to afford when the time for cover art comes. Then a cluster of ideas (at the moment) for freebie Ohio stories I’ll write once the series itself is complete, revised, and with Matt for editing that folks who sign up for my pseudonym’s mailing list will receive.

The one-click link to my blog — it’s faster than typing.

Stuff for my UrbanFantasyGirl email list (empty at the moment — that list doesn’t get much love until all five books are done and revised, when I can start sending out teasers and goodies).

The series calendar… built around a real calendar (and a real year) so that I don’t make stupid date mistakes, so that I can track time and pay attention to changing seasons… stuff like that.

Also so that (SERIOUS NERD ALERT) I can make sure that I get sunrises and sunset times correct for specific days — which is important, but saying why would be A) a small spoiler, and B) massively geeky. (Warned ya. Hah!)

In general though, and not giving anything away, each of the books in the first series takes place over a couple of weeks in one month, and each book contains one complete adventure, as well as a couple of bigger stories that will only be complete within the five-book series.

The OHIO S1 W&C is my complete list of world conventions and the characters in the book. It’s very, very easy to just keep throwing new characters into new books. It’s much harder to keep track of existing characters and make sure they remain in all the books and experience changes and growth, and don’t just vanish into the ether because you forgot to write them.

(VERY easy. I have not yet forgotten the sting of forgetting to write Danrith in the rest of Fire in the Mist, or at all in Bones of the Past and Mind of the Magic.)

Romance beats are one form of story structure. Hero’s Journey is a second.

I’m working with both.

Finally, the three (YAY, THREE) completed first drafts, and then the last two novels, and their hero’s journey outline and Line For Scene outlines.

But of which are going to have to be redone before the writing starts, because while I’m writing, I constantly play “beat the outline”, trying to build something better in the story than what I already figured out.

Which means all the old outlines for later books become useless.

You’d think I shouldn’t waste time writing them  then, right? It’s logical.

But if I don’t have the vision of an entire story from book one through book five sitting in my head, complete with pretty good ending, and a lot of nice twists… there’s nothing for me to beat.

So all the work I don’t use has a real and essential purpose. If I don’t have “pretty good” and “not too bad” staring me in the face as I’m writing… I don’t have anything to fight, or anything to beat.

END NERD ALERT

Time to start outlining.

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Today was a good day. I had to delete one whole chapter, and I ended up writing about three times as many words as what shows, because of that giant chunk of deletion.

But I landed the next to last chapter, and retrofitted the last chapter to fit the new stuff today.

The last chapter — it had originally been written as a middle chapter, but it had that perfect last line that, when I read it this morning, made me laugh and cry  — didn’t need much. I made it match the new next-to-last chapter.

And then read it again. And laughed and cried at the same time.

So. Book 3 of the Ohio Series is now done in first draft. And like nearly all my first drafts, it will probably get longer in revision. BUT not today, or tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I’ll read my raw outline for book for, and make that fit what happened in book three.

That might take a few working days, but best guess, I’ll start into Ohio 4 on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Today though?

Happy Dance!


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I am very pleased to report that the rethink on what had to happen to end Ohio Novel #3 worked.

Worked like crazy.

So did the revelation I had last night that I remembered to write down in my bullet journal yesterday, which was just this:

“B” tells “T” to carry the walking stick.

(Names disguised because all identifying details stay under wraps until the pseudonym goes live and the books are in print.)

But…

“B” tells “T” to carry the walking stick.

Is that a big nothing of a line, or what?

It doesn’t seem to have anything important in it. No promise, no wonder, no conflict… NOTHING.

And it didn’t have any promise to me last night when I wrote it down, except that my muse said, “Do it.” So I did it.

But this morning, it was magic. The final conflict in the story rolled out of that dumb line, wrapping into one solid scene a secret from a lost past, love of home and all its places, monsters and violence… and a couple of surprises I can’t even hint at…and it rolls perfectly into tomorrow’s work, which is to write the right scene to go before the LAST scene.

The last scene — my Book 3 Perfect Ending, is already written. It was a scene in the middle of the book that failed to fit or to mean much of anything until I saved it and just dragged it to the end of the book to save, where it revealed itself as THE RIGHT ENDING.

So… to sum up…

HOLY CRAP, today was amazing.

I’ll finish Book 3 tomorrow, and Friday, I’ll re-outline Book 4. (That might take more than just Friday, by the way.)

But, wow… my muse was on a roll last night.


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I had no clue what I was going to write today. 

I knew that yesterday I’d pulled well away from my line-for-scene outline, getting something better by far than the story sentence I’d written… but I had no clue what was going to happen next.

I had the advantage of having the perfect ending for this book already written, and already moved into position at the very end.

So I just asked myself, “What has to happen now to get me from where I left things yesterday to where things end up… including that perfect last line for the mid-point novel?

And what came was scary, and dark, and dangerous, and completely unexpected, torn from memories of my MC’s grandmother that “T” has been dragging around since childhood — memories that came together with an artifact that is going to have to be retrofitted into Book 1 in the five-book one-pass revision…

But… DAMN.

Talk about adventure. 

And I’m only halfway through the scene. Getting out the other end of it is going to be bloody.

But that’s tomorrow. 😀


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Today I brought a lot of myself into the story — and managed to make one of the more embarrassing incidents in my own childhood into an incredibly embarrassing episode for my main character.

Rule of thumb — all the cool shit you ever did gets to go to your other characters. The places where you took a header into the mud, though? Your main character gets to keep and be humiliated by all of those.

Got the words, closing on the ending, and re-set my objective for the the wordcount on this novel, as well as the finish date, which I’ve shortened considerably.

Had a lot of fun today.


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Next Monday, all hell is going to have to break loose in Tori’s world, but today was… nice. Relaxing. She and someone who is going to be important in her life from now on got the chance to meet each other after a long and harrowing ordeal in finding each other.

I was grateful that the writing went so smoothly — and doubly grateful that I woke up early this morning and knew most of what I wanted to accomplish when I started.

I managed to surprise myself a couple times. Discovered a bit of fun I hadn’t anticipated.

And I left myself in a very nice position to pick up next week.


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So again, here’s where I started:

Pre Removal  Book Four Scene  2021 07 01 at 9 02 31 AM

At this point, I think I have a reasonable chance of actually finishing the book in 90,000 words rather than 110,000, so I reset my counter back to 90K, reset it again so that I was starting at zero words from the new target, and started writing.

And this time, the story stayed weird, and funny — but in the dark and dangerous way that I need for the ending of the middle book of the series.

I still have all those other words over in my Book Four Scrivener document, and while I have them in there as the first two chapters, I’ll probably end up doing a new first chapter, and bumping them down to two and three.

With all the math fiddled and fixed, I got better than my planned words for the day, have a much better focused scene that drives me toward the already written ending of this novel without sidetracking…

And after a compelling and important meeting between between my main character and the person who will become primary to her in the last two books, this chapter had an equally important meeting my main character and one of nearly equal importance.

As things that need to happen at the pivot in a middle book, I’m really pleased with how this is now working.


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At least, they don’t fit in the way I need them to. 

I have the pieces of the story that I need in them, but writing on which I spent 8022 words, four scenes, and two chapters needs to be small and tight and avoid (in this book, at least) — one scene, not four — the introduction of five new named characters.

I can handle one… and that one — who may or may not be critical in one of the later two books (or who may be a main character in a second series or a stand-alone for me if the first five books do well — is going to have to summarize the concept behind what he’s doing.

Here was today’s lovely starting word count.

Pre Removal  Book Four Scene  2021 07 01 at 9 02 31 AM

 

Here is the unchecking of two chapters that will have to be dropped into the Book Four manuscript as soon as I post this.Compile Magic  2021 07 01 at 9 01 34 AM

And below is the wordcount following the removal of those two chapters to Book Four.

Post Removal  Book Four Scene  2021 07 01 at 9 03 02 AM

 

There is a bright side. I have a wonderfully funny way to start Book Four now, and a hefty chunk of words I’ll get to count the instant I open THAT manuscript.

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So… yup… today I ran over my planned length.

It’s okay. I wrote a fair amount of new stuff, debugged a few small issues from yesterday’s work, and I figured out an optimal word length for the book that will, if I can stay under on on my word budget (which is around 1800 to 2000 words for each of the remaining chapters, allow me to finish the book on time with 110,000 words total — which is still within acceptable objective standards for delivering the same reading feel as the first two books.

I made myself laugh at one point, and made myself cry just a page or two later.

And dealt with an issue that has bugged me in so many urban fantasy novels (including ones I’ve really loved) in a way that I have not seen done before.

By doing it, I limited characters’ power creep issues, where in some series I’ve read, the heroes keep gaining additional powers in every book, until by the time the series is over, they’re not people anymore. They’re gods.

I want my people to stay human. Today, I set the parameters to make sure that happens.

Anyway, I like what I got, and I have two more chapters mostly written that I will just read through and adapt to make sure I don’t contradict the rest of the book — and then five big blank chapters in which, in bites of 2000 words apiece, I can write toward the finished final chapter.

I could conceivably finish reading through and touching up both existing chapters tomorrow, and maybe even get started on the first blank one the waits after them tomorrow.

If I can do it, that would be cool.


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