Thursday, March 12, 2015

After a week of surgery

Who doesn’t like talking about their book, their writing, and their revisions, right? :) After several days of surgery (on my book, not me, just to be clear. Did my blog title trick you?), I just wanted to sit back and do some writing that didn’t require thought, so I’m updating my blog on my Rabbit in Red journey.

First, I can’t thank my friends, new and old, enough for their support. Several of you have liked and some have even shared my author page. That’s how, I’m convinced, all creative works initially become successful. THANK YOU.

My week started by cutting nearly 5000 words from the first six chapters. In fact, I slashed two chapters completely. It hurt. I bled a little, as did the manuscript. But it needed to be done. I needed to get into the story quicker. So six chapters became four, but then I rewrote as well. Revision, as all writers must learn, is not about proofreading. It’s about rewriting and rewriting again until you get it right. I’m closer than ever before, and that always feels fantastic. It’s like after cutting apart the story, I get to enjoy some morphine.

Pictures from Springdale Cemetery, where I walked, March 2015.
 My writing process, which I would highly recommend to other writers, works best when the weather cooperates. I like to write for a couple of hours, take a break, and go for a walk outside. Before I performed surgery on the ending of my tale, I paused, took an hour long walk through a nearby cemetery, cleared my mind, and simply thought about things. I didn’t listen to music like I do when I exercise. I just walked and thought. However, I did take my phone out several times. Here’s a nice tip: use a note app on your phone (of course you already do if you’re a writer, right? Those random ideas can pop up anywhere at any time, and you absolutely have to make a note of them. I still wake up after a nightmare, quickly take out my phone, and text a memory of my dream if I thought it would make a good story. Those are fun to unscramble the next day, by the way). As I walked and thought about my ending, I’d take out my phone only to make a note about something I needed to change, add, or cut. The fresh air, the exercise, a little increased blood flow throughout the body and brain: all of those things help me return to the story refreshed. I can then write for another couple of hours, and generally speaking, the writing after a little walk in the fresh air is typically better than whatever I first wrote that day. 


It’s been a week of playing an odd game of Operation on the novel. I’m amazed at how much this book has changed from the first draft I completed last summer. But that’s the thing about writing: it’s a journey and you have to circle back around quite a few times before the trip ends. Author Terry Pratchett, who sadly passed away today, said, “The first draft is the story you tell yourself.” That makes a lot of sense, and I loved my story from the inception. But after the first draft, you have to learn how to tell the story to others.

My publishing team has been working on the back-of-the-book blurb too this week. Shall I share a possible draft? We’ve also been working on the short tagline. Maybe I’ll share the short version for now, and save the full back-of-the-book blurb for later :)

“Enter the Rabbit in Red challenge: A one-of-a-kind game for horror enthusiasts. Launched head first into a bizarre competition, players solve riddles and even fight classic horror villains. But when some of their numbers go missing, they discover they must battle for their very own lives to survive this twisted game.”

Thoughts? It’s still very much a work in progress.

One of my writer friends thought it sounded like Ready Player One meets Battle Royale. I totally dig that comparison.

Next on my list was to begin book two in the series. It’s odd to be working on book two before book one’s edits are 100% finalized, but it’s fun feel like you’re in demand. I’ve been told the publisher would like to release each book in the series in six month installments. That’s crazy exciting to me.

Here’s the opening to book two. I’ve already made one small change (if you follow my Facebook page, you’ve already seen it). Super rough work in progress draft here, but I hope the opening lines of book two will enhance your excitement to read book one.

“His forehead glistened with sweat from a feverish nightmare plagued by a single image: that of the rabbit soaked in blood, a constant reminder of his warped past and a harbinger of a crumbling future.  Each day he’d look in the mirror and the reflection that stared back at him frowned in agony. Until he thought of evil. Only wicked thoughts could make him smile now, so he’d contemplate sweet revenge and grin at the possibilities.”

Thank you again to those friends who enjoy these updates and like to cheer me on. As a teacher, I’ve always thought that was the best thing I could do: Be a cheerleader who encourages and applauds their efforts. I can’t tell you again how nice it is to have that feeling reciprocated. And I can’t wait for you to read Rabbit in Red.

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