Update on Outline, Thoughts about Publishing

I’ve outlined through chapter 10 in the new version of Substance of Shadows. It looks like 2 chapters will have to be pretty new, and the rest are actually revisable. This should get us through Esme and Errol’s trials. I’m all about preserving the feel of the first book. I’ve come up with some replacement characters that I think will make the plot work very nicely, and I’m looking forward to writing scary old Aunt Isolde. So, tonight my goal will be to add new comments to chapters 1-3, that I’ve received from the workshop, and if there’s time, begin working in earnest on chapter 4. So, I’m on the up of the roller coaster of the writing process at the moment.

I’m craving some recognition for my work, and of course, I won’t be getting it any time soon. 🙂 Writing is a lonely business, one that you need to be intrinsically motivated for if you’re trying to publish.
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My Muse…

…is a balding 40ish science teacher with eyes the color of rainy day heaven and a smile that recreates the universe each time he uses it.

He’s not a writer, but my Bryon is a great plotter, and yesterday, while walking, and talking over my tension problem with my kids in the book, he said, “Well, what about…” and gave me this really lovely idea.

I’m anxious to try it out. I think it will work. Yes, I want to excite your anticipation, but I don’t want to promise great things in case I can’t deliver.



Outlining and Vivisection

I feel like I’m slicing up a baby. Mine. The first version of SoS was pretty good, and I sometimes feel like I’m cutting out the heart of it. Makes me wonder what kind of editor I’ll actually be of my own material when the time comes for publication.

The outlining process through chapter 10 was pretty okay, but I find I’m lacking a tension in the kids’ daily lives. I may have to rethink what I’m doing there, and I’m actually getting an inkling of an idea. Just a spark, so I’m hoping to fan it.

What does this story want to be, now that it’s becoming something different? How can I get it there without feeling like I’m breaking it?



I began chapter 4 yesterday.

Over the last several days I’ve had some plot epiphanies bubble up through the gumbo of my subconscious, and so I’ve decided that my project for this week will be to outline the book. I’m hoping for about 400-450 pages in about 20 chapters. I know that the average first novel is about 350-400, so that’ll be subject to change, depending on what happens in the outline.

Today, I outlined the first 3 chapters that I have, to take stock, and beginning tomorrow, I’ll see what I can do about sketching a time line in the chapters to see how much time I want this book to cover. Once I have the major plot movements located, I’ll fill in with interpersonal details and ideas.

So, how far will Substances of Shadows go? Certainly through the demon trials of Esme, Errol, and Eurydice. There will be family history as well, with some glimpses into the Elaine/Isolde dynamic, and some questions about Geoffrey, Marcellus, Flavia and Melisande. Since it’s a first book, I know I need to focus on making the story as complete as possible, leaving those interesting exploration points unexplored, unless they relate to the movement of this plot.

I think the outline is a wise idea, so it doesn’t just ramble wherever it wants to, specifically since I have some bench marks in this rewrite I want to make sure I hit.

More to come, of course. So far, we have 67 pages. Only 313 more or so to go. 🙂 At least some of them are already written.


Amanda Outtakes Done

Right. Done torturing Amanda, and Errol’s had a little conversation. Only one more outtake to write, and that will be the big climax of the story outtake. I’ll go back to it after I’ve worked a bit on chapter 4, let it stew just a bit. I also have some editing to do for chapter 3.

This week I’ve written another 14 pages, although I’ve made great gains on figuring out Isolde. Some nights it’s a chore to write, but I know I’m on the right track doing it–it revitalizes, rather than wears you out.

So, tomorrow, some chapter 4 stuff, and then back to the ending, then I can give everyone who asked what was promised.



The Amanda outtakes will not die!

The end is in sight, but there’s a lot to write there.

I hope some of this stuff is useable later. It’s pretty cruel, but it’s not poorly written, and could be adapted under miserable circumstances (for the characters!),


Chapter 4 Outline and Isolde

I am about to work on the Amanda scenes a bit more, but before I do that, I wanted to report that I have puzzled out the structure of chapter 4. At the Christmas party, the following must happen:

Moira, Milo, Amanda, and Errol must royally torque Ma’at off, so that he decides they will be the 4 corners.

Stephanus and Shari’s relationship must be established.

We get a good look at the Klarion Scroll chamber (we didn’t get that yet in the other version, did we? 🙂 )

And I will begin the custody fight over Stephanus and Eurydice.

Isolde will be introduced in this chapter, or at the beginning of the next one. She’s my main antagonist, so I spent some time this evening constructively taking notes about the nature of her character and her background, as she’s mostly an unexplored character.

I need to explore some questions about British law and child custody. Namely

1. In a custody battle, is a natural parent preferred for a child’s welfare?
2. What is the role of counselling in the reinstatement of a child to an alcoholic, abusive parent?
3. How does the British legal system look at deviant behavior (deviant religious behavior, for example) in regard to child custody?

I’ll do a little research, but if any of you have any good references, please let me know! Thankees!


A couple of days without writing

Took a day off Monday. Seemed like by the time I finished work and exercise, the umph wasn’t there. Today, I teach all day, so this one will be a no go as well.

I will have a great deal of time to write tomorrow, as Bryon has parent teacher conferences, and I will write. I have been making good progress on the Amanda scenes, and I’ll get that Errol advice scene down. Then I will return to chapter 4. If I could get all the way through chapter 4’s outline tomorrow, that would make me feel as though I had returned to where I wanted to be.


Saturday and Sunday

Spent yesterday and will spend today working on outtake scenes from previous incarnation of story for fans of that version. It’s a lot of Amanda stuff. I wouldn’t mind getting to an Errol scene that’s on tap too, but we’ll see.

The Amanda stuff was pretty adrenaline laden when I first conceived of it, and now my brain is with my original material, so it’s not coming off as well as it would have. Moral of the story? Perhaps it IS a good idea to write these things down when you are first inspired to write them, sometimes, rather than holding them out as writing carrots.

Well, gotta get back to it. See you all tomorrow.


Editing Complete

Have integrated all the changes from the past three months into Substance of Shadows the first two chapters, and into Gossamer and Viridian the first three chapters.

Now we wait on some feedback to chapter 3 of SoS. I have an outtake to write, and then we move on to plotting chapter 4.