Knee deep in revisions…

I’ve made some of the big structural changes that I hope, really hope, will improve the book. For example:

  • Vidar’s removed from several middle scenes so now his plot happens sooner and complicates earlier. To achieve this, I had him win an argument with his father (Odin) that he’d originally lost.
    • I’d done it that way b/c I wanted conflict between the two of them & I wanted to make Vidar achieving his goal more difficult.
    • With the rewrite I’m wondering if I’m forcing the confrontation to go in Vidar’s favor. I’ll have to let that one stew for a bit.
    • I haven’t yet written the new complications for his slightly expanded plot line.
      • The problem here is that the back-end’s timing is fixed and it works. So, I have to make the beginning part longer AND cool.
      • If it drags or introduces pointless stuff just for the sake of complicating, then I’ll know, the reader’ll know & it’ll suck.
  • Hyrrokin’s POV is gone from the book, but I’ve left her in as a non-POV character within Vafthrudnir’s POV.
    • I’m leaving her in b/c I need someone (a scout) to report on seeing “something” in Utgard’s hinterlands. It might as well be Hyrrokin since she’d been doing that anyway.
    • And, she makes a necessary appearance in BK 2, so the continuity will be good.
    • I haven’t written Vaft into any of her former, existing scenes or written new ones for him. Sigh.
    • Similarly, all the scenes Vaft was in (with the Skrymir and Loki) now have to be rewritten to make the Skrymir more active. Sigh #2 enters, stage left.
  • Odin & Frigg: I’ve been trying to improve him while also tweaking their relationship. Early days on this, but it’s progressing.
  • The past ~9 hours of writing has been focused on rewriting…and rewriting…and rewriting…a single scene in which two of the POV characters (Odin and Frigg) meet with the other Jarls (all non-POV now) to discuss the 2 major plot events and 2 related plot elements.
    • I think it’s the latter 2 elements that’s giving me trouble. Both are there to tie events together for the reader while confusing my protagonists. They also foreshadow events in future books.
    • Writing them in efficiently, though, is proving to be a real struggle. They were already there in the initial draft, but this entire “talking” scene had bogged the book down, so I’m trying to improve it’s pacing while still preserving/heightening the dramatic irony.
    • I may just need to table this for a week & make progress elsewhere. Some time away will probably help.

And as I’m working on all of this, a little voice in the back of my head is counting down to my deadline…42 days…41 days…. I’ll have still have more revisions after the line edit’s done (late January), but at that point those should be words & language not plot, pacing and character development.

It’s official…

I now have a publishing company: Fensalir Publishing, LLC.

The abode of Frigg, Fensalir means “Marsh Halls” or, alternatively, “Fen Halls.” In his dictionary Simek writes, “the question whether the name indicates that a cult of springs was associated with the goddess Frigg (Edzardi) must remain unanswered.”

That doesn’t hold for me, though, since in my fictional universe I will absolutely associate a cult of springs with Frigg. Eventually. So much groundwork to lay before I get there.

So, you might be wondering, why did I choose “Fensalir”?

Several reasons:

  • An acronym of my initials, my wife’s, and our kids’ initials didn’t work b/c it didn’t make a pronounceable word.
  • Fensalir has a ring to it that I really like.
  • I was afraid to invoke/use Odin’s name in my company’s name. If you’re wondering why, then read Egil’s Saga. And remember Hamlet’s words.
  • Is Norse w/o having a crazy spelling or sounding really Norse
  • My wife liked it.

Having gotten back my editor’s comments on how I’d made Frigg the central character, hindsight suggests that perhaps the Norns were involved in the selection of my company’s name. Kindly Norns, not the wicked ones we fear.

A corporation is not strictly necessary for a self-published author. I went with one for several reason:

  • Forming one now will avoid/simplify intellectual property concerns should I publish something now and then form a company later — I won’t have to transfer rights from the existing work to the company.
  • It offers some liability protection, but that wasn’t a driving concern since I’m unlikely to get sued. But, hey, in today’s world you never know.
  • Should I ever choose to publish under my real name (Matt Bishop’s a pen name!) and/or become a real publisher by acquiring authors, etc., I’ll have a framework in place should I choose to use it.
  • Financially the LLC offers some benefits (better explained by my accountant), but at this stage I’m not expecting any profits for at least five years (if ever). Some revenue would be nice, though 🙂

In other news, my revisions are progressing and I’m trying to ignore that voice in the back of my head that’s saying “you’re not going to finish by deadline” and “there’s too much to do” and “my god I need to rewrite ALL of this.”

 

 

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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Talk to one if you’re thinking about forming a company. I did. Speak to an accountant, too.

 

 

The feedback’s back

As it stands, my book’s a “solid, entertaining read.” So says my editor. Great. Excellent, even. But, it can be better. So, it’s time to give a hearty /golfclap and refocus my efforts. I’m looking directly at you, WoW: Legion.

In addition to a host of general comments, my editor’s specific suggestions on how to improve the book can (in part) be summed up thusly:

  • Heighten the dramatic irony: Rather than try to obscure the book’s climactic event, I should twist the screws on the tension created by the readers knowing more about what’s happening than the characters do.
  • Work on pacing: Some parts are still sluggish. Other parts are too quick. I was going for a faster-pace than the typical epic fantasy, but it seems that I instead delivered “choppy and fragmentary.” Oops.
  • Narrative arc: Overall, she said, “I’ve done a fantastic job of injecting a central narrative into this mythology. The writing and storyline are strong enough to keep readers moving along.”
    • Sounds great, right? Here’s the but…
    • I really only nailed the inciting incident. All of the rest — main conflict, raised stakes, turning points, blackest moments, climax, — were there but muddled. They need clarity to give them more oomph. She recommended moving scenes around, removing some and combining others.
  • Characters: Overall, I did a “wonderful job of bringing the characters to life.” Awesome. Except…
    • Frigg: She said that Frigg was the central character — the pivot point b/c her “concerns and reach span the entire story and touch all the other major players.”
      • Wait, what? I thought I’d done that with Odin.
      • Not that I’m upset — Frigg’s awesome — I’m just baffled as to how I did it — even after my editor explained what I did to make Frigg that way.
    • Vidar is the “runner-up” for main character. Which is great since that’s what I’d intended. Still, I need to streamline and clarify his internal arc.
    • Odin comes off “at best as a secondary character or at worst as an immature, egotistical, irresponsible man who resents the need to come home and take care of business.”
      • Ouch. Especially b/c I’d absolutely no idea that I’d done that. I thought I’d done the opposite, but…nope!
      • So, Odin needs some improvement.
    • Hyrrokin: “I’m not convinced Hyrrokin plays a part in this book.”
      • Yikes!
      • Honestly, though, I’m not completely surprised. I had a feeling.
      • I did share my rationale for including her in the book. My editor’s response was basically “uh, yeah…no.”
      • However, all’s not lost! Deleted scenes are great fodder for the Web site and/or a short story, novella or even her own  book. And she still has to make an appearance in BK2.
    • Vafthrudnir: The upside to cutting Hyrrokin is that Vaft has to become more active so that I can still show many of the things that Hyrrokin’s POV allowed. The downside is that I have to rewrite a LOT of scenes. But, hey, writing is rewriting.

All of the above is exactly why I hired an editor. Not only has the process given me some confidence that I really was right to think the book was good, but she’s shown me where the flaws were. And I absolutely needed that b/c I couldn’t see ’em.

But now I’ve got a direction — and a deadline: Dec 5. That’s when I submit the rewrite for a line edit. Tick. Tock.