Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Seventh Chakra - All But in the Can

At long, long (long) last, I'm pretty much (almost) done working on The Seventh Chakra.

I finished up the layout today (a grueling and not very fun process which took me about ten straight hours), and now that that's done, the guts that go into the book itself are just about ready to get sent off to the printer's.

There are a few more things I need to do, like write my epigraphs and stuff, but that's simple. The novel itself is pretty much done, now, and oh, god, that is the biggest relief ever.

According to my notes, I began writing this book in early March, 2007. That's over two and a half years of trying to get this puppy done and finished.

My hope is that the work will have been worth it, and that folks will enjoy the end result.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Final Countdown

The Seventh Chakra is slated for layout this coming Saturday.

Which gives me a few days to make any last-minute changes I want to make.

Initial editorial feedback on the manuscript itself has been very positive. Here's hoping I can get it all together the way it deserves after all this time.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Seventh Chakra - Revised Draft Completed

So, after last night's scotch-enhanced writing session, I did indeed complete my revised draft of The Seventh Chakra.

For those of you who might be interested, I'll explain what this effectively means.

Back in March, I finished my first initial draft of the novel. That draft took me about two years to write (for those of you doing the math, I had begun writing it after I'd written Thousand Leaves, but before it was published; there will be much less of a gap, this time). I then sent that initial draft out for editorial feedback, sat on it for a couple of months and worked on some other projects in the meantime, and then came back to it to work on it over the summer.

This revised draft can, in some senses, be considered a "second draft" by some people's reckonings. The first third of the book was heavily rewritten, a great deal of it from the ground up. My main goal there was to quicken the pace, better establish the characters, and general tidy up a bunch of crap I wrote two years ago that just wasn't up the standard of what I could write now. This is the portion of the novel where most of the actual events change.

The middle section of the book is probably the least "changed" in the sense of "things happening differently." A lot of what I did here was just editing and polishing and fixing errors, making things sound better and flow better without altering the events that actually occurred, for the most part. I did still change a few things, narratively, but compared to the earlier section of the book, I did much less of that.

Finally, the last third of the book, including the climax, dénouement, and resolution, ended up in the middle ground between these other two sections. I rewrote a whole lot of the dialogue in the conversations that took place, not altering the gist of what was said or the information given, but mainly just focusing on making it sound less staged and theatric (there was one character, in particular, who had this problem quite grievously). There were also a number of points that I needed to fiddle with due to logical consistency issues, as well as to match some of the changes I'd made to earlier parts of the book.

(Oh, and finally-finally, I went and did a search for my "comma-then-comma" and "comma-though-comma" structures that I overuse like the dickens, and took out about 95% of them.)

But yes, so what does this all mean?

Well, the manuscript itself isn't "done" yet. I have sent it out for another, final round of editorial feedback, which I hope to get back shortly after I'm back from my trip to Seattle later this month. This feedback will feed into what will likely be my final round of revisions, the last changes I make before finally putting this thing to bed and saying, "Okay, it's done."

The types of changes still to be made are likely to be ones of stylistic choice, ones where I fix more logical breaks I didn't spot before, and otherwise trim and pretty things up. The narrative itself will probably remain unchanged in most respects.

So, yes, this is the last little spurt that needs to be made before I get to say, "I've finished The Seventh Chakra. Also happening now is all the stuff for the art for the book. I can't say much about that, yet, officially, but I'm very excited about some of the stuff that's going on there (and I'll hopefully be able to tease you all about it soon).

In the meantime, I rest my brain. I'll probably poke and play with some short stories that have been sitting around on my computer and in my head, and will put some more focus on some roleplaying campaigns I'm doing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Seventh Chakra - T-Minus One Furcon (and Counting)

I have reached what is effectively the "endgame" stage for my manuscript of The Seventh Chakra.

My aim is to have my edited, rewritten draft of the novel done before I leave for Rainfurrest--which effectively gives me three weeks to finish up what I'm doing. Work and other life things set me back on my own personal schedule, but now that I'm working with an actual editorial schedule, it's time to get my rear in gear.

While I'm not worried that I won't have enough time, I am going to have to spend quite a few evenings dedicated to working on the book, so most nights in the coming weeks that don't involve prior commitments are probably going to be nights that I focus on writing and editing. It's kind of exciting, in a way, knowing that I've hit what's pretty much the "home stretch" of novel writing. It feels different than the first time, too, but then, the entire novel has felt pretty different, for what it's worth.

I've seen in-progress art for the cover (which looks like it'll be gorgeous, by the way), and the wheels are turning for the interior illos, too. All in all, this really is the stage where, whether I'm mentally prepared for it or not, the book is going to be done, all tidy and ready for its January 2010 release.

So, yeah, I'm excited. I hope that the book turns out well and that people out there like it. From a writer's standpoint, my hope is that it can be a better novel than Thousand Leaves in every regard; from a personal standpoint, I'm just happy to have another story out there to tell that folks can hopefully enjoy.

Following Rainfurrest, of course, begins the period where I get to aggressively self-market and promote myself in the months running up to release. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dusting Things Off

It's been a while since I've updated this writing blog, but at the same time, it's been a while since I've done much of significance, writing-wise. Due to a three-week business trip (which actually went really well), my editing and rewriting on The Seventh Chakra had to go on hiatus, but as of this past weekend, I've finally gotten back to it.

I'm past the halfway point of the actual manuscript, but we'll see how much of it winds up the same. The first third of the novel got reworked a fair bit, but so far, the second third has involved more "polish" than actual outright change. If you look at the novel in a three-act structure, I guess that makes some degree of sense, though part of me worries that I just can't quite tell what should and shouldn't be messed with.

I've set a (tentative, unofficial, personal) deadline of September 30 to finish this editing pass, after which point I'll probably make a few more tweaks and send it it for some final editing stuff. I'm nervous and hopeful all at the same time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Author Page on

So, I've got my own author page on now!

I'm, er... not exactly sure how thrilling it's ever going to be, though. Right now, the only book I've got listed for my authorship is an anthology that I'm a part of (my own actual novel isn't listed by Amazon, so I don't even have that on there).

I'll play around with it a bit more in the upcoming days, though. See if it gets more interesting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Darlings, and the Subsequent Murdering Thereof

So, I've been doing some work on editing The Seventh Chakra for about a month or so, now. It's not going nearly as quickly or as smoothly as I'd like, to be honest, though finishing up by the end of the summer shouldn't be (too much of) a problem. I had originally had my birthday set as my target date, but I'm not sure that's quite as realistic, honestly.

By this point, the earliest chapters of the novel are ones that I wrote over two years ago, and it really, really shows as I'm re-reading things. I'm looking at sentences and thinking, "Wait, what does that even mean?" And when I'm the one who wrote it, that's a bad sign, and so out it goes. Honestly, some of it is pretty embarrassing and cringeworthy.

Character consistency has been one of the main things I've noticed. I'm looking at how all my main characters come off in these earlier chapters, and I'm alarmed at how, well, out of character they are. Again, you might think, "But if you wrote them like that, how are they out of character?" Well, just trust me: after writing the rest of the novel, I've got a much better grasp on what sorts of people these characters are, and in the early chapters, that's not who they're being. In some cases, it's actually enough to make my jaw drop, seeing how poorly-characterized some of them are ("Why does Il-Hyeong keep chuckling and smiling?!").

I also hit one of my little editing milestones yesterday: the first complete and total excision of a character from the narrative. It was just this minor side character who showed up once, was never mentioned again, and whose inclusion only served to slow down the story as I introduced him. So, instead, I conflated him with another minor character who already had a very similar (and small) role in the story anyway, and nothing of value was lost. So, yeah, minus one random skunk. Sorry, skunk-lovers. (Incidentally, the first character I stripped completely out of Thousand Leaves had a Spanish name, and so did this aforementioned skunk. I know for a fact that it wasn't intentional, on my part, but I find the coincidence kind of funny.)

Rewriting things, as I've mentioned, has been going slow and spotty, though. Chapter One got a complete overhaul, and I'm really happy with my new version. Later chapters, though, have had less sweeping changes and more just tweaks to fix poor characterization and bad writing. There's not a lot I'm cutting out, which is worrying me, because I can't tell if the stuff I already have in those cases is pretty good as-is, or if I just can't see anything wrong with it. But then, this is why I have editor-friends to look things over, too.

In the meantime, I'm starting to (annoyingly) get ideas for other stories to write, which threaten to slow down the editing process. Gah! I'm really bad at multi-tasking when it comes to writing, but I'll need to check my schedule and rate of progress before deciding anything for sure.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Back to the Grindstone

Today I finally brushed the dust off of my first draft of my manuscript for The Seventh Chakra and I have begun the daunting process of rewriting.

For starters, I'm basically overhauling the majority of the first chapter (i.e., rewriting it from scratch) in order to better establish the sequence of events that follow for the next 300 pages--which, naturally, I didn't have a great grasp on before I wrote the book, first.

I've got a lot of energy and drive to do this, though. Hopefully, after two years of dragging my butt to get the first draft done, I can get the edits and redrafting done by the end of this summer.

Wish me luck!

(Also, this marks my 50th post to this writing blog. I'm actually surprised it took me nearly this long!)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Intra-Hiatus Hiatus

So, earlier, I had mentioned that March was going to be my "month off," with my intention of returning to revising and rewriting my draft of The Seventh Chakra on April 1st.

Well, I tiny side-project I started on ended up taking a lot longer than I'd intended, and so not only did I take up all of March, but I took all of April, too.

Long story short, that's all done, now, and as of May 1st, I can get back to the novel thing, finally.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Planning for Phase Two

So, after finishing my first draft back in February, the remainder of the month was full of things like vacation time and, well, work as usual.

March has been my "month off" when it comes to The Seventh Chakra. Once April hits, I intend to begin my revisions and my first round of edits, with the intent of getting a full second draft done by the time summer is underway. Considering that the first draft took me about two years, I'm really hoping I can work a lot quicker on the second.

I've been quite excited, though, actually. Since completing my first draft and letting my brain just forget about it so that I could focus on other things (I'm working on a short story that I hope I can get finished by April!), the novel itself keeps coming into mind, offering me various hints on how I might want to consider improving it, and that's a very good sign.

I am, shall we say, cautiously optimistic, at this point. If nothing else, I don't hate the book with a seething, fiery passion like I did for a whole long time back there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Draft

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009.
1:49 AM.

121,361 words.
17 chapters, 1 epilogue.


My brain goes on hold for a month or so, now. Then the real work starts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I'm partway through the writing of the climax scene of The Seventh Chakra.

To my surprise, there was a major change in one of the Big Moments that had been in my mind since before I'd even written the first word of the draft. It's not a change in what happens, but rather, a change in how it plays out.

In one sense, it's only a slight change, but in another sense, it's a change that completely changes the tone of the climax of the story, and one that I'm happy to have realized.

What comes after this remains to be seen. I look forward to it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The very next scene I'm slated to write for The Seventh Chakra is the book's climax.

I'm kind of jittery just thinking about it. I've written all the things that build up to this scene, and this is where they all come together and the big, epic stuff happens and people finally get their answers as to just what the heck has been going on (people who have read early parts of my draft have said it had a frustrating, Lost-esque tendency to dump questions on top of questions without ever answering earlier ones).

But here I am, fingers perched on the keyboardy doorstep of the Big Moment, and I'm really happy that I made it this far. Happy, yet also nervous, because I don't want to "mess it up," even though logically and intellectually I know that I can go back and change and fix things afterwards.

The other thing I'm not quite sure of, yet, is the dénouement. It's looking like that might be a little on the long side, but hopefully I can make it interesting in its own right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hunnerd Kay

Last night, while out writing at the neighborhood Starbucks with my fellow writer-friend, I finally managed to hit the vaulted 100,000 word milestone on my draft of The Seventh Chakra.

Already, this makes it longer than my first draft of Thousand Leaves, though I suspect that it might still end up shorter than Thousand Leaves did in the end (around 121K words); it may reach that length, as I think of it, though I doubt it'll be much longer, if at all.

As for the finished product, I find myself wondering how long that will be. I ended up cutting and stripping out huge chucks of my first draft of Thousand Leaves, and yet the final rewrite still ended up being 25,000 words longer. I can see something similar happening with The Seventh Chakra, for some reason.

I also feel compelled to point out that, by this point in the narrative, every major character has been shot at least once (not always on the actual page, but there you have it, all the same). Just to give you an idea of what sort of things you can look forward to.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Progressing Towards the Finish Line

I mentioned previously that one of my resolutions for 2009 is to have my first draft of The Seventh Chakra completed by the end of March. Now that a week of 2009 has passed, it's looking like that should be an actual realistic goal.

Back when I was working on my first draft of Thousand Leaves, during the Spring of 2006, I was stalled around the 50,000 word mark. Then, one day, while I was at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, I had this beautiful epiphany where I suddenly just knew where all my plot threads were going and how they came together to reach the climax of the novel. To this day, it's one of the most amazing things that's happened to me as a writer. From that point, it took me just about a month to finish that draft (another 50,000 words or so).

With The Seventh Chakra, I've stalled several times, and I haven't had any more magical epiphanies (that'll teach me to rely on fickle inspiration!). At long last, though, I'm only about a chapter away from the book's actual climax, and from where I am now, I can see how the rest of the book plays out.

Well, for the most part. Today, on my way back from lunch, I actually had an idea for (what I hope is) an awesome scene with one of my characters. It's actually the very next scene in the sequence I'm writing, which goes to show how far in advance I don't plan things, sometimes. Despite having only just decided on this scene, though, it feels right, and I'm quite excited to write it.

That's the thing about being a writer that always gets me: surprising myself. It happens way more than you might think.