A Writing Update


As I posted a few days ago, I’m officially done with the third revision of MEMORY THIEF 2, and I’m very relieved, for a number of reasons. First of all, it was a big endeavor. When I went over the changes my editors were asking for, I initially didn’t think it would take too much to get them done. But as I dove into the rewrite and started mucking around, I discovered some of the changes would require structural tweaks that affected quite a bit more than I expected.

Really, it wasn’t too big of a job. Nothing I haven’t done before. The biggest difference was the deadline. I wanted to get it done before the end of the month, so that the book could stay on schedule. I’m still not sure if it’ll need a fourth draft. I imagine it will, just because I changed enough in the third draft that some elements will need tweaking. Because of that, I wanted to be on track, time-wise, even more. And mission accomplished! That felt good.

Beyond just wanting to be done on time, however, the revision made the book much better. The first third was bolstered significantly, and the last third was very much improved. (I think.) I’ll still wait for the final verdict from my editors, but I’m encouraged for now. If the next draft doesn’t look to be too major, I might even feel comfortable sharing the title with you all. The book takes the magic system I introduced in some pretty interesting directions, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing those directions become more focused as the drafts progressed. I’m mentioned before that I’ve never written a sequel: this was a first for me. So much of my writing has been focused on establishing characters and magic systems and setting. To be able to really explore those characters and magic systems was a fun challenge. I hope I pulled it off.

So where does my writing go from here?

First up is the poor draft of MURDER CASTLE, the book that just can’t catch a break. I think I’ve picked it up three times, only to have to set it aside when some other revision has come along. I dove back in yesterday, and as I reread what I’ve written, I have to say I’m really excited to get into it. This is the first book I’ve written in almost 15 years to feature a female protagonist, and I absolutely adore her. She’s come from a really hard background, and she’s facing some very difficult situations that she’s not well equipped to handle, but she’s got a spine of steel and such a strong drive. I’m really rooting for her, and I’m excited to see how she comes out of it all. I’m very happy to be writing her voice again.

Though of course if a MEMORY THIEF 2 edit comes along again, as I expect it will, I’ll have to set her aside. Again.

Once MURDER CASTLE is done, I’m planning a quick revision of MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET. We’ve had some serious nibbles on it, but they’ve fairly consistently said the same thing: the book felt split between age groups. Parts felt very Middle Grade. Parts felt very Young Adult. So I took some time to reread the book to see if I could see the same thing, and once I did, it was very clear. It’s like I’d taken the tone of the first Harry Potter book and thrown Harry into the middle of Hunger Games. And as cool as that might sound, it definitely splits the audience.

So I’m going to rewrite the book, slanting it more toward the YA crowd. It shouldn’t take much, since most of the Middle Grade stuff occurs in the first few chapters, and then the book is tonally consistent.

After that’s done, I’m hoping to revise UTOPIA. My agent gave me a quick reaction on it a month or so ago, and I have high hopes for that one. It’s looking  like we’re going to try to make it my first non-YA/MG book.

Once those two revisions are done . . . who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to do a real revision of MURDER CASTLE. Or maybe I’ll write something entirely new. This should take me through the end of the year at the very least. It might not be spring until I’m ready to tackle a new project. It all depends on how these various endeavors turn out.

In the meantime, I just tackle things one day at a time, in 1,000 word chunks. Wish me luck!

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