First Revision Pass Complete & Other Thoughts

Posted on December 31st 2014 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Self-Publishing Woes, Writing

I have finally finished going through my printed out rough draft with all my horrible purple marks. All the changes — plus a whole lot more that occurred to me as I read it through again — have made it into the digital copy. Lots of new material ended up getting added in to flesh out a few points more fully. A little magical theory here, better explanation for the scissors there, you know, that sort of thing. The important point is that its finally ready for someone else to take a look at. Being able to click “share” on the Google Doc before the end of December was my goal and I met it (barely). Woot!

It’s a pretty cool feeling, actually, being done with a pass of revision. This is especially true given the way I usually work (write five chapters, then revise the hell out of the first two pages and never get anything else done). Now, this doesn’t mean I’m done  with the revision process. I still have to get feedback from the person I trust enough to be my content editor (yup, that’s what sharing the Google Doc was all about), and don’t even get me started on copy! My grammar isn’t particularly bad, I don’t think, but one should never attempt to judge one’s own comma splices. So, that fun still lies ahead.

While the second draft is getting another purple ink bleed-out (actually, I have no idea what color ink will be used) I shall have some time to get the main website up and running (ha, you thought I forgot!) and start thinking about what the heck I’m going to do for a cover. What really stinks is that I know exactly what I want but don’t really have the artistic skill to pull it off. I can swing a pretty good landscape with oil paints, but dragons and princesses are a little outside my skill level. Finding an artist I can afford to bring my vision for the cover to life is probably going to be outside my self-publishing price range. If anyone has any suggestions to share on that front I’m all ears.



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Writing for Fun

Posted on December 20th 2014 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Writing

Only a month and I’m already falling behind on this blogging thing!

So, I’m currently in the middle of taking a break from editing Saving the Dragon to get out some ideas for the sequel on paper and I find myself thinking again something that came to me often during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. This is so much fun. It strikes me as completely outrageous and tickles me absolutely pink that I had so much fun writing STD (yes, I know, very funny, the book’s initials are STD). Why? Because for the first time I was writing the story just because it was fun and I wanted to see where it took me.

I have a bad writing habit. Maybe habit is the wrong word. Desire. Yeah, let’s go with that. I have this strong desire to be the next George R.R. Martin, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, you-name-it fantasy author (I’m sure I missed about a dozen amazing authors in that short list). I tend to think BIG. Grandiose, even. The scale of the stories in my head are enormous with plot lines spanning generations and continents.

I never finish them. The closest I ever got was a laundry basket full of paper written on a typewriter (I’m not really old enough that typewriters were ever really common in my experience, I just love typewriters). It was full of story-text, world-building notes and hand-drawn maps. What happened to that laundry basket? Ask my mother. On second thought, don’t ask, she’s tired of me bringing it up for going on seven years now. (more…)

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Finding My Villains’ Words

Posted on December 1st 2014 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Writing

As I begin adding the changes marked with the Purple Pen of Doom I find myself giving quite a lot of scrutiny to my villains. Let’s be frank here; Villains are bad people. Antagonists can be – and often are – not-so-bad, even good, people who have goals that just don’t jive with the protagonists. Thus, conflict is born. But villains… Villains are the nasty, conniving scum of the Earth (or whatever world your story is set on) who are practically begging for a hero who can defeat them.

Sometimes we love villains. Let’s face it, they’re often much more interesting people than our dear heroes. Then again, there are other villains who are just so vile that any hint of a redeeming quality is lost in the mire.

Bad people, as a general rule, tend to say bad things. This is something I find myself struggling with. Unless you’re writing a dark comedy where the bad guy is a sweet-seeming grandma or a ten-year-old kid (then again, maybe not in that case) chances are good that once the villain’s cover is blown she’s going to say some naughty things. How do you handle that? (more…)

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