NewBook Charges On

80,000 words on May 13.   There’ve been some “blank” days on which other stuff happened, and of course lots of other stuff is happening to everybody everywhere.  But NewBook is well past any concern about “Will it gel into a book?”   It’s definitely going to make a book, though “But will it be a GOOD book, a publishable book?” is still up in the air.  I read 70-something thousand words aloud to my first ever alpha reader (the one who read the first Paks pages way back when) because she’s having eye trouble and can’t read right now and SHE likes it and thinks it’s going to make it, but I haven’t yet shown it to my agent.   And my first alpha reader is now a long way away on a secluded ranch–she’s older than I am, has an impaired immune system from cancer treatment, and seriously needs to have zero contact with a corona virus right now.   So I have quite a few words flapping in the breeze with no one to talk to about them.  (OK, I do have another friend who’s read some of it, but she’s also an editor/writer and busy.   I want to get the main draft done before I let my agent see it.

I can’t tell you a lot about it at this point because it’s not even half-baked yet, and because when I tried sharing a previous attempt to write something I got suggestions that killed it.   Until I’m more sure of myself as a writer (I was, now I’m not) suggestions–whether good, bad, or in-between–destroy my own connection to the story.  And *that* has to stay uninjured…I have to feel that I’m competent enough to solve any problems the book has.   Someone can tell me “this part reads slower than that” and that’s OK.   But “You need to change so and so to what and what” is a killer.   Equally so with “Change this character ‘s [sex, race, age, motivation, etc.]”

So what I can tell you is that a lot of it is “domestic” in the sense that it’s within the characters’ lives, but outside stuff keeps impinging on them.  They’d hoped for a chance to settle, think things over, figure out this that and the other, and then head for a desired goal, but life doesn’t wait for them to relax, rest, and then start again.   Parts of it are being great fun to write, which is good for my kind of writing…fun is motivating, even when you don’t know where a scene is going.  (In my experience, if you don’t know where a scene is going…keep on with it, until someone else walks in.  I’m beginning to “feel the beats” again, something that used to be easy, instinctive, so I feel the undercurrents moving even when something looks static on the page.  (Fixable in revision.)   Just seeing the words come out, and the characters generating plot, builds my confidence that I can indeed finish it and then work on another.  For my own pleasure, I’ve included horses in this book again, with many thanks to the You Tube channels of Elphick Event Ponies, Life on the Left Rein, and a scattering of others I forgot to note down when I watched them, for details about a kind of riding, and horse experiences, not available in South Texas in my childhood and youth.

What else?  We’re OK.  Horses are OK and I now let them into the north lot (lusher grass) once a day for a few hours.   At this point they come back into the south lot (far enough R- can shut the gate behind them) when called, as long as I display horse cookies.  As always when a book is rolling I find it hard to find time for other things, but to avoid painful hand, back, and hips, I need to get up and move every hour.  I’m not working on the book on weekends, either.  Well, not much.  The solar system delivered the smallest power bill we’ve ever had while using AC (not a lot, but some because it’s been hot and stuffy some days.)   I’ve made cookies.  I’ve eaten too many of them and gained weight (writing fast, with the hours spent at the computer, makes it easy to gain and hard to lose.)  Like other older (in particular) riders, I”m not riding to avoid accidents that would put a strain on the available medical resources.  Yes, I have a mask and wear it when I go anywhere.

17 thoughts on “NewBook Charges On

  1. It’s great to hear you happy with progress and at least not despondent over the pandemic! Your modesty over the quality of the content reminds me of a Yogi Berra gag: “Yogi, we’re lost!” “Yeah, but we’re making great time!”

    I hope your friend recovers quickly from cancer treatment.

  2. Hi – be confident in your writing – I, and your loyal readers, am confident. While you do get paid for your work, no amount of money can repay the many hours of good writing and good stories. Reading is not an idle pastime.

    Concerning the horses, would you prefer to ride in a buggy or other wheeled conveyance? I know it is not the same, but it might be a lot safer.

    Stay safe and stay sane.

    Jonathan up here in New Hampshire.

  3. Bloody hell, yes, be confident! Elizabeth, I own every book you’ve written, and you’re one of maybe 2-3 authors in my “library” of whom that’s true.

    Trust yourself.

    Glad to hear you’re doing ok and staying safe, and glad to hear the solar power is making a difference. In the words of Citizen Smith (long, long ago BBC sitcom): power to the people!


  4. I too own everything you have written. Also, as I have mentioned, before your writing is immersive enough that I can forget my chronic pain when reading one of your books, and when rereading them, which puts you in a very select group! I am so glad that the book is really a book, even if it is not all the way there yet.

    Good news about the horses coming to your call. I only have experience with training dogs, but that has taught me that while some once trained will do what is asked of them just for the pleasure of pleasing you, most will want a treat if they do something extra, but will do the basics with out treating and a few awkward prima donnas will insist on a treat for doing anything at all. Blinking spaniel!

  5. Glad to hear that the book is progressing. I am very happy to hear that you are having fun with parts of it (and of course the inclusion of horse stuff).

  6. It’s now over 85,000 words and causing me a bit of grief due to my own ineptitude in adding material to the wrong part of the file, and then thinking I’d lost said material, recovering it from what I’d sent to my second alpha reader (which wasn’t complete to the end by the time I made the error, and…I still have both of those lumps in, which makes it look like 88,000+ but it isn’t. I now make my ritual complaint about Word and ritual mourning for lost WordStar which was so much better for fiction writing in so many ways.

    Second beta reader found some of the horse stuff tedious and too much and in this case he’s right. I knew it as I wrote it but I needed to know day by day what each group of characters was doing. Sometimes a writer (including me) will write a dull passage just to get some facts down to have them there for reference and to work with later. Sometimes a lump of that gets left in the book later by accident or because there’s not time enough before deadline to rewrite that bit. Sometimes it’s found in time and transformed into something much, much better.

    1. Take it slow Ms. Moon. Even though many people think that authors sit down and the words just flow, ready for publication and praise, we know that it is in the end just as hard work as any. Iron out the lumps and try to have fun with Ky et al.

      Jonathan up here in sweltering NH.

    2. I just thought about checking in. We’ve had a bit of excitement up here. Kind of like some of the things that they wound up have back on Rafe’s home world.

      I’m fine. It’s much harder, with burned out hulks of buildings, on the south side of town.

      Glad to hear the writing is coming along and you have some good, select, readers. I recall you mentioning for other other books that the editing part winds up trimming several thousand words. So take this as encouragement to keep writing and trust the editing process. It doesn’t all have to get edited down in the first pass.

      1. Sorry about your too-exciting times, and glad to know you’re OK. I will keep writing as long as concussion brain lets me, and it seems to be fine with writing now.

  7. Life has never waited for Ky to “relax, rest, and then start again.” Part of what I love about her is watching how she copes! I’m so glad your confidence is building again, and I’ll be happy to wait as long as needed for another one of your books. They have taught me so much, and spoken to me in so many ways. Thank you for each and every one of them!

  8. I just wanted to say, absolutely be confident in your writing! I am a voracious reader, but my husband makes fun of me because Deed of Paksenarrion is hands down my favorite fiction trilogy, and I have been rereading it when I don’t have another book that I am excited about for the last 25 years. “You’re really reading that AGAIN?” I am not as much a scifi fan, but love yours, and you are on my auto buy whenever you have something coming out. Was unbelievably overjoyed when you went back for paladin’s legacy series (though I can’t say I loved Legacy of Gird, it was well done and even those I have read at least twice). On my first break since COVID started (I am a nurse practitioner on the front lines), I just finished rereading one of my 4 copies of the Deed, and ended up here in hopes you had something new out. Since you don’t, guess I will reread Paladin’s Legacy, but I will be eagerly awaiting this new book, however it turns out.

    1. Thank you for your interest–and for your work as a nurse practitioner. If you just landed here in one of my blogs, you may not know that about 2 1/2 years ago I had another concussion that temporarily disrupted my writing. It’s definitely true that concussion damage is cumulative…none of others had slowed me down much, but this one left me unable to read or write at first. Very scary. It’s been quite a journey to get back to this point where I can write fiction about half as fast as I could before. Luckily I had finished a contract and thus have had no deadlines. That helped. I had just started thinking about the third book in Vatta’s Peace when I got the concussion and I had nothing written down–it was all in my head. That part’s gone for good. I still have some problems, but I’m writing again, so YAY.

    2. Yes, JC, the “Deed of Paksenarrion” is reading for all times, but especially for troubled ones. For these times, Anne McCaffrey’s “Moreta” is another book to turn to, if not too close to the bone for you.

      Would we have loved “Divided Allegiance” if the Deed had stopped short at its end and “Oath of Gold” had never been published? What we now have with the Legacies, despite the long gap in the writing and the two series titles, is a single seven-volume set. Gird’s and Luap’s books are its opening, the stage-setters, and Paladin’s Legacy without them would be like Wagner’s Ring cycle without “Das Rheingold”. (Who was Luap? – somebody who failed to be Dorrin.)

      When Gird argues with Arranha the renegade priest over a slice of cooked bacon, things are said about magelords, non-magelords, taking, giving and the gods. That is the anchor, the foundation-stone for the over-arching story all the way through to “Crown of Renewal”.

  9. Please know that you are a MUCH loved author and have an uncanny ability to develop your characters to a fine and believable point! I too use the Paks group of books as “go to reading” when no other will do! Praying for your health.

    1. Thank you SO much. So far I’m continuing to improve. It’s just slow, and of course there’s the worry that some things won’t ever come back–and wondering how much is age and how much is the TBI. I won’t know until I finish NewBook whether it has “holes” where things I used to do automatically now will have to be done with more awareness. But I have been very lucky, and am enjoying writing as the book continues to move forward.

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