Project Two Begins

Officially, on December 30, 2019, amidst busy holiday activities and the search for a lit agent, I began the second book, though it has two previous beginnings which I’ll cover below.

For those of you following the creation of Tildy’s story – and I thank you for that! – we now travel hundreds of miles north, to the borders of the Frozen Blight where lives Tildy’s brother in the ice fortress of Yrrengard.

Similar to his sister, Samor was also presumed dead but smuggled from the capital city of Evereign. Whereas she was lost in the wild, he escaped under a dead child’s name to be raised by new parents who will always see him as a reminder of the son they lost. To add to their bitterness, they are raising the heir to the throne, a weighty duty that overshadows any affection they might feel toward the baby.

Tentatively entitled:

SAMOR LASTNAME and the WARLOCK OF NEVERMORE.

Obviously, considering I have a placeholder surname for my protagonist, it’s a working title. But it’s one I’ve had in place for two years or so, which leads me back to my point about beginnings.

As with all the books in this project, I’ve been writing out scenes and character notes, capturing location and people names, and other miscellany since I started working on Book 1. It’s one of the reasons the first project took four years: I needed to understand where I was going, who lived in my world, and why things were the way they were.

For the Prince’s first book, I’d been more focused on some of these details because his story is often a compare/contrast version of Tildy’s. So, as I made a major decision in her life, I would often jot down a complementary plot point for him. Or have him make the opposite decision. It’s a bit “nature vs. nurture”, but it will be a subtle thing and certainly written without the conscious intent to prove that one is more influential than the other.

I also used his book to recycle some scenes, characters, and storylines that didn’t fit in Tildy’s story. It taught me a valuable writing lesson.

You don’t have to put everything in the first book.

…although, at 188,000 words, it might feel like I did.

Anyway, back to the point. The Prince’s project goes back even further than Tildy’s . Nearly twenty-five years back, to be specific. I had more than a hundred thousand words before I set it – and my fledgling writing career – aside. It was a difficult decision, and it weighs on me still, but I chose family stability over what I considered a gamble. Fortunately for me, every few years I made sure that the text was converted to the latest word processing software…because I still thought I had something worth getting back to.

And as of December 30, I did.

Here’s to a successful New Year for all of us, and for me, the return to Samor’s story, one that is filled with Dragons and threadwolves; blizzard demons, Ogren, and warpallahs; and history, myth, and magic.

Good luck with your writing in 2020!

Mike


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© Michael Wallevand, January 5, 2020

 

Author’s Journal – 12-20-19

It’s been a lazy writing week since my last post, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on the project.

1. I got kicked in the face by the flu. Knocked me out for two days, and it’s about the only thing that keeps me from putting any thought into my work. Through the fever and lethargy, I did manage one related thought, however: I wonder when my print order will be complete?

2. Turns out, it was done in a day. I work for Thomson Reuters, and our Copy Center gives us a nice deal on personal printing. I ordered six copies of the 373-page manuscript and had them spiral bound with plastic covers. They’re now taking up considerable space on our table as I prepare some mailings.

Wonder Woman pushes buttons

3. I connected with a Trusted Reader who’s in the home stretch. He’s now reached the chapters that I split in half, based on his direction (read more here: Difficult Choices #1).

4. Did some more lit agent research. I’ve had two friends send me agents to look up, which is much appreciated. Now that I’m on my holiday break – from the office job – I’ll be spending more time on this….

5. ….and a smidge of time on the next book. This will likely result in updates to this website since information on Samor is scant.

6. I upgraded my WordPress account, which I’d been considering for a while. There was a sale – in December, what? – so I finally pulled the trigger. Primarily, I did this because of the ads my site displays. My pages look different when I’m logged in, and it’s jarring when I open the site when I’m logged out. So, I’m taking some control over the appearance of ads. I have zero expectations of income. I Just wanted fewer ads greeting a visitor.

I write posts like this to illustrate that bringing a book to life is more than just writing. Are the things I listed above requirements for success? I have no opinion based on experience, but I’ll guess “no”. Every writer’s journey is unique, even if we follow similar paths for a time. It’s the effort that’s important, and only each person can evaluate whether tasks like these are adding value to their project.

Mike


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© Michael Wallevand, December 2019

Eight Seconds To Sidewalk – Writing Exercise

As I prepared to write about hitting 100-post mark, I stumbled upon this other post from three years ago: Flash Fiction: An exercise in editing. If you’re unfamiliar with the style, the post will give you a quick understanding. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait here.

In the post – which you may or may not have just read – I’d promised to share an example. Now, three years later, here it is. It’s about 550 words and a quick read.

Eight Seconds To Sidewalk – 2009

Tom opened his eyes. He saw the top of the skyscraper falling away from him as he plummeted backwards toward the street below.

He was falling. Falling! He only had a few seconds to figure out why. He wouldn’t have time to be angry. Or regret the things he hadn’t done. He wouldn’t even have time to panic, though somehow he didn’t feel like he could if he wanted to.

He was always logical, figuring things out. His brain told him to sort this out. He needed to know why this was happening. It mattered. For some reason, it mattered. And it was mattered that he knew who was responsible.

Continue reading

Author’s Journal – 12-11-19

As I mentioned in my post The Book Is Done, I completed the final edits and locked the book. It’s as final as it will be until I connect with a literary agent.*

Here’s what’s happened in the last week.

Tildy Silverleaf and the Starfall Omen1. *OK, so when I said I “locked the book”, that doesn’t mean I can’t add the updated title treatment or move the page numbers to the side margins (this saved me six pages, which will add up when I pay to print it).**

2. Upon posting that the book was done, I received dozens of congratulatory messages from family and friends, which was fantastic. I also received one apologetic note from a Trusted Reader who was embarrassed for feeling like he wasn’t qualified to provide feedback. He didn’t hurt my feelings and I told him so, basically what I wrote in That Time I Shared My Writing #2.

3. Bought some supplies for a mailing. Tuesday night I did some testing of the materials. I’m going to be vague because it’s part of a surprise for a few Trusted Readers, but there’s a tease on Instagram.

4. I’ve done some other blogging: Let’s get kids to love stuff talks about encouraging kids in the things they love, and in 100 posts already? I talk a little about my goals for the website and share links to some of the more popular topics.

Busy week; lots of good stuff happening.

–Mike

**NOTE: Writers promise they’ve locked the book all the time.

John Mulaney stand-up "New in Town" (2012)


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© Michael Wallevand, December 2019

 

100 posts already?

That’s like, a hundred little stories, which feels like a nice way of restating it.

Congratulations on writing 100 posts on The Lost Royals!

This notice surprised me in my WordPress app the other day. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve written that many posts or sent some 50,000-words into the Internet ether.

That means I’m posting about every two weeks, which is more frequently than I expected (although when I look at the history, my schedule is more erratic than that). And I’m getting 30 views per post, which isn’t much if you’re a commercial website, but for a guy who’s just creating a little content to give people a peek behind the writer’s curtain, I’m happy with the results.

Data and metrics are fine and all (is this guy an English major?), but I went into this website project with different goals:

  1. Updating people on book’s writing progress
  2. Marketing the project
  3. Giving myself another creative outlet when the manuscript needed a break

To these ends, the website has succeeded. Beyond that, it’s been fun, which is often a better motivator than anything else.

However, it can be challenging, too. The writing style is different, and unlike the manuscript, it needs to be polished now. Well, polished-ish. None of that writing and rewriting for a year stuff I’m doing in the book. Similar to the book, some days it feels like work; on others, it’s a pure creative pleasure.

What’s he been writing about?

Continue reading

The book is done

…well, the first one.

Fingertip sketch - greenIt’s been four years – almost to the day – since I sat at my keyboard and began bringing Tildy to life.

Four years since my finger drew this simple sketch on my phone to imagine what it would be like to see a girl with wings.

I had few goals, and some quantitative ones were unmet. I more than doubled my target word count and it’s taken twice as long to complete as I wanted. But these are less relevant to me than Continue reading

Author’s Journal – 12-03-19

On Writing

In his book On Writing (which I highly recommend), Stephen King talks about a question he’s often asked. I’m going from memory, but the gist of it is this:

Question: How many days a week do you write?

King: Every day, except holidays and my birthday (btw, that’s a lie because I write those days, too – but no one would believe it).

And while I’m nowhere as dedicated as King, yeah, I write on those days, too. Here’s what happened over my Thanksgiving vacation.


1. I finished up some editing and the last of my punch list items. The punch list was a series of questions I had around consistency, timing, and other details I’d lost track of. The editing centered around plot holes or other things I discovered during my complete read-through.

I’m down to one last fix, and then the draft is final. I spent a few hours on that last item and I think I’ve nearly conquered the problem I identified. Continue reading