A Quick Note

The Leeth Dossier is a sci-fi/fantasy series about an unusual girl, set in our world about 50 years from now: and 25 years after magic unexpectedly returns. It opens with the book Wild Thing (2015), and continues with Harsh Lessons (2016), Shadow Hunt (2017); then (Violent Causes) (2018?), Lost Girl (2018/19?)....
Find Wild Thing with Google

Monday, 25 April 2016

Harsh Lessons progress (Vol 2)

I now have a date for the launch: but instead of being a single book launch for Wild Thing, it's now going to be a double book launch, so a launch of the series, The Leeth Dossier. Because I underestimated the effort required to get the 1st volume (near?) perfect -- 6 revisions! -- and also underestimated how much effort remained in attending to the second half of my editor's original critique, I've been focusing 90% of my energy on revising volume 2. This meant that the book launch I had hoped to arrange for February didn't start being organised until April, and the first available date was June: about the time I'd be preparing book 2 for publication! So it made more sense to delay the launch by a month and do a launch of the series. It will be at Gleebooks on the afternoon of Sat July 9th, 2016. But stay tuned for that: it's still being organised.

Harsh Lessons now has the cover designed, once again by Mirella de Santana:

You can find Wild Thing as an ebook (on Amazon) or as a paperback. Use this search to find it via Google from a local bookseller, and avoid having to pay for it to be shipped from Amazon in the US.

I'm pleased to say that the MS for volume 2, Harsh Lessons (it was going to be Shadow Hunt, but that will be Vol 3), is now with my editor (ThEditors). He's already warned me that at 156k wds it's almost certainly too long; and I'm at a loss at present for what would cuts would improve it, so I'll just wait and see. Maybe a small adjustment to the margins might reduce the paper consumption? I can't drop the point size for volume 2: that would be horrible for people who like to buy series. So, we'll see. There is, after all, a chance that the pacing and everything may be okay!

It still seems a bit surreal to me: that the MS which I'd already split in two to become volume 1, and which was 160k wds, I think, got split in two again to make a 143k wd Wild Thing and the (currently) 153k wd Shadow Hunt Harsh Lessons. And I still haven't revisited the 2nd half of the MS from its original split: I'm not even sure that will make it into volume 3 4 (Lost Girl)!

After reading a note from my editor about a pacing problem, I was worried about that; and discussed a couple of fixes. He quite liked my idea of a short "mean girls" episode. Which I think came out very well, but which did grow to be something longer than either of us expected, I'm sure. So, did I fix the pacing problem? I don't know! But I was quite worried about it, and of course the overall length, and that ended up with my invention of what I call the "oomph analysis". Here's what it looks like for the original Vol 2 MS:

The idea is that the author works out the categories that best capture what he or she feels are most important for his or her book, and then, reading it chapter by chapter, gives each chapter a score from 0 to 5 in each of those categories (in a spreadsheet). It takes a few minutes thought at the end of each chapter, so it's not that hard to do. I also added a one-line summary of each chapter. Then out pops a colour-coded graph. I've written about it a bit over on my other blog, A Toe in the Ocean of Books, but I'll summarise what I said there: for my book, the categories I decided on were: Pace (action), World building, Character development, Plot development, Emotion (moving), Humour, and Tension. It's partly objective, despite being subjectively-based. I basically gave myself a 5 for humour if I had several laugh-out-loud moments in the chapter, or on where I really cracked up; similarly, if I cried a fair bit, I gave that chapter a 5 for emotion; and so on. I hope the fact that I think it varies means there is some variation there to be seen! The formula I invented to show the patterns balances chapter length (longer chapters reduce oomph, but very short ones don't overly boost it; and high scores are exaggerated, because high scores have much more impact and are harder to get). I plan to write more about this; and also to do the same analysis for Wild Thing.

Anyway, I'm now updating and working my way through my list of (currently) 33 things to do for publication and book launch. And praying that my editor won't have more than a month of work I'll need to do, when I receive his critique!