Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

And now it’s July! (Lookie! I’m actually posting this on the 1st!) That means it’s time for another Infinitas Publishing Status Report!

I’ve highlighted the projects that had changes in blue.

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Starless Night CoverStarless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). On hold while finishing The Trial of Bells and Blood.

I’m hoping to add in the missing scenes and make revisions from my notes in July. After that, it’s either ProWritingAid notes or a first round of beta-readers for content feedback.

Changing Tides: (Book 4 of the Distant Horizon series). On hold with a rough draft at 50,000 words.

The Glitch Saga (Distant Horizon spin-off series): Goal is to eventually create a new cover and print edition for the complete collection edition. (On hold).

Galina’s Saga (Deceived) (Distant Horizon spin-off series): During our trip to Missouri, Isaac got a chance to read through the current version of Deceived #2. Most of his feedback has involved easy changes, with the exception of a couple scenes. I’m planning on making those changes in early July before continuing edits on Starless Night, and possibly sending out Deceived #2 to beta-readers while making the Starless Night edits.

Also, I’m still considering adding in a book six, though I’m not sure yet. I still have plans for a possible book cover update as well. Got all the pieces in place, and now need to set them up in Daz and render them.

Still need to decide on the series title update.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off/prequel novel) On hold. (Has outline).

Sky Runner: (Multiverse novel). On hold. (Has outline)

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. (Needs edits).

Little One: More notes need to be added into the manuscript before starting revisions. On hold.

TWB 4: (Book Four of The Wishing Blade series). Needs rough draft written. Needs updated outline. On hold.

Runes and Ravens (Stone and String 3): Needs outlining and revision. On hold.

The Secret in the Shadows: (Prequel novella for The Wishing Blade) On hold.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure Facebook Group: Ro’nor-Zynia cross-over is on hold. I’m hoping to have time in July or August to read through the current rough draft and make revisions so I can get this started up again in the Facebook group soon. Possibly August?

The Wind Mage and the Wolf (“Livena (The Wind Mage of Maijev”) & Nuaka (“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear”) cross-over / A Legends of Cirena short novel) : The Joran short story project is on hold.

SBibb - The Trial of Bells and Blood CoverThe Trial of Bells and Blood (Hahven (The Cursed Halls of Kalecen) & Alia (The Scars of Her Past) cross-over / A Legends of Cirena novella): I’ve updated the manuscript based on feedback from the writers group I go to (Hi, Writers of Warrensburg!) and given it one more reading pass. After a pass in ProWritingAid, I sent it out to beta-readers.

I’ve gotten beta-reader feedback, and I’ll be applying that in the next few days before uploading the final manuscript to the different retailers.

“MOG”: On hold. (Needs revisions)

Changeling: (Huntress #2) Needs formatting for print. On hold.

Huntress 3: Needs rough draft completed. (Currently at 25,000 words) On hold. Depending on how much time revisions take on Deceived #2, Starless Night, and Legends of Cirena #9, I’m hoping to at least begin looking over the rough draft for Huntress #3. Seems more likely that I’ll start working on this in August, though.

Game Design: On hold. Not much new progress this month. We still need to polish and finalize the card art for our elemental game, as well as continue further testing of the game mechanics.

Future plans in game design involve taking product shots of the updated Phalanx board for The Game Crafter, and possibly preparing a print-and-play version of Battle Decks.

Space Adventure Comic: On hold until both of us have time to sit down at the same time and finalize panels for episode one.

Emberverse (Working Title):  Revisions on hold. Needs title. Needs outline for “Season 2.”

Marketing: The weekly ebook promo highlights have been set up for this month. Last month I focused on three promos, and this month I’m focusing on four. A little bit of experimenting, since it did seem that showcasing them multiple times (rather than in one single newsletter) increased the amount of traffic to those promos. We’ll see if that trend continues.

In the meantime, I didn’t do any paid promos (aside from the usual ones through BookFunnel), and sales dropped drastically. The plan now is to assess the previous promos to see which ones did best. I plan to utilize paid promos again this month, particularly regarding the Legend of Cirena series since there will be the new release (The Trial of Bells and Blood) later in the month.

Future goals: As with the past few times, I still plan to revise the Amazon Ads I’m using. I’ve got one new ad I’m testing with Huntress. One thing I’ve been trying to do is read more books related to the ones I write, and I’m planning to focus on comp titles with those ads. Not sure how well it’ll work, but we’ll see if it has a better response (provided I can get the ads to show in the first place).

I still want to overhaul the book categories and keywords for the different series, and do the usual business ledger upkeep.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: On hold. (Needs revisions and restructuring).

Other Stories: The YA SciFi Alien Invasion/Dystopian Conspiracy short story revisions are on hold. Also have a necromancer/villain problems short story I want to write at some point.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Eventually I want to update the Infinitas Publishing website banner, but that’s on the back burner for now.

For presentations, I got to participate in a Novel Writing workshop with the Writers of Warrensburg. My topic was “Crafting Your Fictional World.” I had a blast, and I might have had a little too much fun putting together the worksheet for it. (If you’re curious, you can find it on the Writers of Warrensburg Resources page). Took me the whole day to finish it after creating the outline (with testing to try to get my corresponding presentation time down to 45 minutes… somehow I succeeded), and I submitted it at either one or two in the morning. (To be fair, it’s not entirely uncommon for me to go to bed then, but I digress).

Anyway, I’d kind of like to explore the world-building topic further, and I know I only barely touched on some of the topics in the presentation. If that’s something you’d like to see more of, let me know.

Daz PA: I submitted one prop and pose set and got feedback on it. Hoping to resubmit that once I make a few tweaks. I have another pose set that’s almost done. I need to make the promos, and then I’ll submit it. No new releases last month (though I did have a few products in the temporary PC+ for a Day sale), but it looks like there’s a good chance of having a couple products come out relatively close together in the coming month or so.

I’m thinking after that I’ll probably work on finishing the female variant of the Diverse Worlds head morphs, but there’s at least one other pose set I’d like to complete, too. 

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Happy writing and reading (Or 3D rendering if you’re into Daz)! 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

I’m not quite sure where the month went… it feels like I got a lot of stuff done, but I’m not really sure what. I think there was a lot of planning involved for summer. And fighting with UV maps.

A lot of fighting with UV maps. (3D modeling learning curve).

And revisions. There was that, too, though that involved less glaring at a set of lines and trying to figure out why they weren’t lined up correctly on the texture side of things.

Still, we’ve switched over to June, which means it’s now time for the Infinitas Publishing Status Report!

I’ve highlighted the projects that had changes in blue.

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Starless Night CoverStarless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). My goal for May was to finish the first round of revisions on Starless Night. To achieve that, I set up a project on the NaNoWriMo website (because you can make projects that use the goal structure at times other than November and the camps–sweet!) for editing 100,000 words. That ended up putting my par at roughly 3400 words per day (took about an hour to achieve if I wasn’t stopping to research something).

Good news is that I completed that goal! The first pass of revisions is complete at 125,000 words (97,000 words since the last status report a few days into May).

I managed to write everyday until I finished the goal, so I sort of did it daily (though the site doesn’t show it since I stopped after the goal was achieved before the end of the month), and I also reached my par every day with the exception of one, which was the day after I got my second covid shot.

There are still pieces left to revise: at least three scenes that need to be written and added in, areas that aren’t quite getting the right tone/characterization, and sections that need minor tweaks or research. I left myself notes so that I could find them again and fix them in the next pass.

After that’s complete, I plan to send this out to beta-readers. (It might go through ProWritingAid edits first… not sure yet).

Still, it’s in a pretty good spot. My initial focus in June is going to be polishing The Trial of Bells and Blood. After that, I plan to work on the second pass of Starless Night revisions. I expect that to be a little spotty, however, due to summer vacation and various events. I’m expecting to get more of this done in July.

Changing Tides: (Book 4 of the Distant Horizon series). On hold with a rough draft at 50,000 words.

The Glitch Saga (Distant Horizon spin-off series): Goal is to eventually create a new cover and print edition for the complete collection edition. (On hold).

Galina’s Saga (Deceived) (Distant Horizon spin-off series): Mostly on hold for the moment. I have a few scenes I know I want to add and adjust in the books I’ve already drafted.

However, the real news here is that, while revising Starless Night, I realized there were some things that should have happened in the Deceived series that would effect how Galina’s group interacts with Jenna in Starless Night. Started plotting what that was so I could keep it consistent…

And I might have come up with an idea for a sixth book in the Deceived series.

I’m not sure yet if this one will be written or if the series will stay complete at book five, but I do plan to outline it to make the next round of Starless Night revisions easier.

Other than that, this series is temporarily on hold while finalizing The Trial of Bells and Blood and revising Starless Night.

In yet other news… I think I might have finally struck on a book cover design for the series that I like and should also be on target for the genre. (Woot!) Hopefully I’ll get that updated sometime this month.

That said, I’m still debating on what the series title should be.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off/prequel novel) On hold. (Has outline).

Sky Runner: (Multiverse novel). On hold. (Has outline)

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. (Needs edits).

Little One: More notes need to be added into the manuscript before starting revisions.

TWB 4: (Book Four of The Wishing Blade series). Needs rough draft written. Needs updated outline. On hold.

Runes and Ravens (Stone and String 3): Needs outlining and revision. On hold.

The Secret in the Shadows: (Prequel novella for The Wishing Blade) On hold.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure Facebook Group: Ro’nor-Zynia cross-over is on hold. Current rough draft needs revisions and then I’ll continue with the story in the group.

The Wind Mage and the Wolf (“Livena (The Wind Mage of Maijev”) & Nuaka (“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear”) cross-over / A Legends of Cirena short novel) : The Joran short story project is on hold while completing the Starless Night revisions and polishing The Trial of Bells and Blood.

SBibb - The Trial of Bells and Blood CoverThe Trial of Bells and Blood (Hahven (The Cursed Halls of Kalecen) & Alia (The Scars of Her Past) cross-over / A Legends of Cirena novella): This was on hold in May while getting the Starless Night revision pass completed. However, finalizing this is my primary goal for June.

“MOG”: On hold. (Needs revisions)

Changeling: (Huntress #2) Needs formatting for print. On hold.

Huntress 3: Needs rough draft completed. (Currently at 25,000 words) On hold. Hoping I might have time in July to finish the rough draft.

Game Design: Isaac really ramped up progress on the card art for the elemental card game. We figured out an art style for the back of the cards (one which uses a mix of 3Delight rendering instead of Iray, paired with Photoshop filters to get an illustrated effect). He got quite a few of those rendered and the illustration effects applied. Still plenty more to do for this, but a large chunk has now been knocked out. We also managed to get in another test run of the game, and the new rule (limiting the amount of shards per card) made it finish in a much more timely manner. Needs more testing, but we’re hoping that’s a step in the right direction.

Plus, after watching an online panel at ConQuest 52, he got some ideas for how he might update the cards for a legacy game and a few different abilities that might work better than what’s currently in use.

Future plans in game design involve taking product shots of the updated Phalanx board for The Game Crafter, and possibly preparing a print-and-play version of Battle Decks.

Space Adventure Comic: On hold until both of us have time to sit down at the same time and finalize panels for episode one.

Emberverse (Working Title):  Revisions on hold. Needs title. Needs outline for “Season 2.”

Marketing: I never did get the weekly book promo highlights set up last month for the blog. (Though they did make it into my newsletters). I did, however, get them set up for this month. I decided to limit the amount of promos I participate in this month more than I usually do, with the idea I can showcase each promo twice (once in each newsletter). We’ll see how that does.

I only did three paid newsletter promos last month, smaller ones, and did see a drop in sales. Not sure yet which ones paid for themselves, but I plan to update the records and examine the results this month so I can decide which ones I want to continue doing and which ones I don’t want to bother with. So far I haven’t set up any new paid promos for this month. That may change once I look over the records.

Future goals: Revise Amazon Ads in general (trim old, non-performing ads and decide whether to start any new ads), update book categories and keywords for the different series, calculate how book promos are doing, and update the business ledger for book royalties (I did get part of this updated).

LitRPG / GameLit Story: On hold. (Needs revisions and restructuring).

Other Stories: After watching a ConQuest 52 panel about anthologies, I’m really wanting to write a short story to submit to a magazine or anthology. I realized I might be able to take a couple story ideas in which I have an idea, but not a full-length novel or novella, and explore it that way, especially since those ideas aren’t part of an established universe yet.

Not sure when I’ll try writing those stories, but I do have a parody/humorous dungeon villain scene I’d really like to write…

In the meantime, the YA SciFi Alien Invasion/Dystopian Conspiracy short story revisions are on hold.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I’ve updated the imagery on this blog! Not sure if this is going to be the final version, and I still want to update the side bar, but the new look should be a little more on par with the brand and focus more on the author/artist aspect rather than just SBibb’s Photographic Illustration (which I have geared more toward my Daz PA art).

I’d still like to update Infinitas Publishing website banner, but that’s on hold for the moment.

As a side note, I also got to do a “Success in Creative Writing” presentation with Rebecca Frost, which was fun, and this month I’ll be doing a “Crafting Your Fictional World” panel at the June 12 Writers of Warrensburg online novel-writing workshop. (If you’re interested in writing a novel or honing your writing craft, check it out; it’s free!). Both Stan C. Smith and I will be presenting, and he’ll be talking about time-saving tips for novel writing as well as marketing a series, while my presentation will focus on world-building and incorporating world-building details into your novel. (Writers of Warrensburg is the Missouri writers group I’m part of, that I’ve been able to join in again while the meetings are online).

Daz PA: No new releases from me last month. That said, I have a pose/props set that I’m finally getting close to completing. It’s had some rough learning curves, especially regarding some really problematic UV maps. But I think I got them mostly sorted. I got all the smaller props made now, all the poses and expressions made, and now I have one prop morph to make, thumbnails, expression dials, and promos.

It’s getting close. 😀

Additionally, I also have the female variant of the Diverse Worlds head morphs that I’d like to complete, but it’s on hold for the moment while I finish the larger project. 

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😀

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Happy writing and reading (Or 3D rendering if you’re into Daz)! 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Outlining Results (Cyberpunk Snow White) and New Release

Last year, I wrote a post on outlining a novel with the goal of reaching between 50,000-60,000 words in 12 days (a condensed version of NaNoWriMo). This was for a cyberpunk Snow White retelling.

The goal was met, I did a bit of editing on that project, handed it off to a beta-reader, and then sat it on the proverbial back burner.

Though I was busy with other projects, I occasionally thought back to that cyberpunk fairy tale but didn’t do much with it until several months later, when (in classic fairy tale-style fashion), I had a dream that I was busy editing the cyberpunk story.

Later that same day, the beta-reader who’d read it contacted me to ask if I had a cover for it yet or if I had made progress.

I took that as the “go-time” flag to get back to work on that project.

(I’m not kidding. I really did have a dream about editing the story before getting contacted out of the blue on the same day by my beta-reader. Coincidence? Probably. But still a great story to tell about the writing process of a fairy tale retelling).

Anyway, I proceeded to make revisions, sent it out to another round of readers, polished it, did a read-aloud for errors, and then proof-read.

The book… now dubbed “Huntress” (and the first in a series), released on Sunday. 😀

*Happy-dance*

If you’d like to see how it turned out, grab a copy!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

From now until Sunday, December 9th, you can grab it for 99 cents (or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited).

And, of course, you can get an idea of what the original outline looked like (and what changed) by reading the original post here).

Without further ado…

Huntress

A YA Cyberpunk / Dystopian Retelling of Snow White

SBibb - Huntress Book Cover

Her touch is poison.

Verdi is a huntress for Koenigin Corp. She’s augmented. Perfect.

Determined to earn her dear president’s favor and finally have her voice heard, Verdi agrees to target Maria Snow, the favored candidate of the Society for Natural Progression, in an acid attack.

After all, once Maria is no longer so lovely, surely she’ll accept the nanite-based technology that can remove her scar—thus branding her as a traitor to her cause.

But when Maria Snow refuses treatment and Verdi catches her secretly meeting with an enhanced, sapient bird, she realizes Snow might be the one woman who can forge an alliance between the technology-loving corporations and the nature-oriented Progressionists.

Forced to choose between loyalty to the corporation who raised her, and falling in love with the woman who could finally unite the two factions, Verdi’s decision will change the face of the city.

Buy Huntress today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

I hope you enjoy the book! 😀

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(Note… I don’t plan to keep Huntress in Kindle Unlimited forever. The first three months are a test run, and then, depending on how it does, I plan to eventually release it wide across other retailers.)

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In the meantime, I wrote the rough draft of the sequel for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I used a similar process, creating an outline (though I diverged more from it), and writing 50,000 words in ten days instead of twelve.

Now it needs editing, but the start of the story is there. 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Outlining Challenge (Cyberpunk Snow White)

Dec 5th 2018 Update: The result of this project has been published! Click here to read the post about the completed book. 🙂

Warning: This is a really long post. But I wanted to include everything in one place rather than trying to split it up.

A while back, in the November Infinitas Publishing status report, I mentioned that, for my NaNoWriMo project, I had a goal of reaching 50,000-65,000 words in 12 days, writing in a world I hadn’t written before. I achieved that goal (completed at 50,316 words), and today I want to go a little more in depth about that progress.

(I’d been meaning to get this blog written for a while, but as you can probably tell, it’s been a hectic couple of months).

A Bit of Background

I have used loose outlines before, but I haven’t really tried a heavy-duty outline for a world I haven’t written in. My most detailed outline was for Messenger of Gaia (rough draft completed, but not yet edited), a novel that clocked in at 77,000 words and was written during Camp NaNo. That one, however, was based on a role-play that my husband ran, so I already knew the basic story and how everything fit together, and I put together a summary outline that reminded me of each scene. This was the process I wanted to emulate, but I wanted to try it with a completely new story.

The New Project

I’ve had an idea percolating in my head for a while regarding a fairy tale retelling in space, but as the time came closer to November, I wanted to figure out how that world got to where it was, so I could better set up the factions and character motivations. The result ended up being a completely different, cyberpunk fairy tale… a retelling of “Snow White,” but from the point of view of the huntsman (or, in this case, the huntress).

There are a few books I credit with how I developed the outline for this project (Click the links to see my Goodreads reviews of the books):

Janice Hardy’s Planning Your Novel, which helped me develop the Three Act Structure for this story, and further developing the main characters.

Libbie Hawker’s Gotta Read It!, a short ebook explaining pitches, which is excellent for crafting the basic concept of your novel so that you can keep it on task when developing an outline.

Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants, which further explains concepts from Gotta Read It! and gives another form of outline to work from, as well as explains the idea of the “ally” character, and puts a strong emphasis on the greatest weakness of your main character. It is this “greatest weakness” aspect that I found to be extremely helpful when crafting the outline for this particular story.

Developing the Main Characters (Using the Take Off Your Pants Method)

To start with, I tried to develop a sense of the main character. (Note that this is just my initial concept, and I changed some of the main pieces once I started outlining.) While writing this, I made notes to myself of anything I would want to check or explore later, and at this point, I haven’t actually named the Huntress or the Queen (other than knowing her last name will be Konigin).

The main character is Huntress, a loyal bounty hunter for Konigin Corp. She sees the advantage of a nanite-enhanced society, especially since her parents were killed when a plague spread through the metropolis and killed both her parents at a young age. She was taken in by Konigin Corp, who provided funds to take in the numerous children left homeless. (Why were healthy adults targeted?) However, as one of the most loyal to the company, she is privy to information that others are not. She knows that the plague was the result of another company (ZiTech–check to see if that name already exists) messing with a virus and accidentally infecting their scientists with a dormant virus, which then spread. Konigin Corp stopped it from being a worse disaster, but she understands how a balance between nature and science is necessary for their survival. She hopes to gain a say in company matters (and the increasing tensions between progressionists and technologists) by getting closer to Queen.

Looking back at this, after having written the rough draft, I can already say that the plague of the past plays a much smaller role, and only warrants a brief mention. It may end up being cut altogether if I find a stronger explanation of her backstory. The important part was that the main character sees the “queen” as a mother figure, but also understands the concept of balance between nature and technology.

Per Take Off Your Pants, I also jotted down the external goal of the main character.

Do favors for Queen in order to gain more power for herself (become the Queen’s ear), so she can rise in the ranks of Konigin Corp and eventually influence internal company politics and avoid some of their “nastier” practices.

Next, I have the Antagonist listed. (Note: the order I’m talking about these elements is not necessarily the order of development that I came up with the ideas, just how they’re presented in the long run. I highly recommend reading Take Off Your Pants for more details about how to develop each of these elements.)

Queen – the founder of Konigin Corp.  Vain, she sees beauty as the ultimate sign of perfection and healthiness. She uses nanites to enhance her beauty, and is furious that Snow maintains her beauty without any augmentation. Augmentation and uplifts (sapient animals… check to see if I can use that term) are the only way she sees humanity surviving against the constant threat of war, environmental disaster, and disease. She wants all her “daughters” (company workers) to be augmented.

Snow –  Queen’s half-daughter. Her father broke up with Queen when she insisted on augmenting their child shortly after birth. After the divorce, Snow was raised to see augmentations as a danger to humanity. (Progressionist Lobbyists). Technologists threaten to remove everything that makes them human and upset the natural order of things. She is a favorite ambassador candidate of The Society for Natural Progression, (The SNP, or Natural Progressionists). She has a beautiful singing voice, and is known for her sheer (natural) beauty.

I’ve included both of these characters as antagonists, though which one is the primary antagonists switches as the story progresses.

Then, per the Take Off Your Pants method, I wrote a basic concept of what The End should be.

Huntress must betray Queen’s loyalty and reveal Queen’s secret practices and upset the line of power she’s fought so long to control, thus allowing Snow to assume the corporate throne. She gains Snow’s love, and Snow’s ear. She is able to act as a voice of reason, suggesting they allow Queen to leave Earth for a colony planet with her uplifted army, rather than executing her for her crimes.

This is what I originally envisioned. However, by the time I finished writing out a fleshed out outline, the ending was very different.

The Queen never leaves for a colony planet. She has a different (ironic) fate, though we do see the Huntress try at the very last to give her a chance to redeem herself. Also, whether or not Snow and Huntress actually get together is left vague (Due to some of the atrocities that Huntress commits in the Queen’s name, I haven’t decided if Snow would ever truly feel comfortable around Huntress), though it is clear that Snow now respects Huntress, and there is a chance for a happily ever after. (Because me trying to write a romance? Well… it looks like that challenge has not yet been successful).

Lastly, I decided on these three pieces of information to keep in mind while developing the outline:

Flaw: The huntress is loyal to Queen, even when Queen is obviously in the wrong.

Ally: An uplifted wolf? A hunter for a different corporation (Something??? Inc.), he represents balance between the technologists and the progressionists.

Theme: Balance is important (All things in moderation)

Once this was complete, I diverged a bit from the Take Off Your Pants method and started first with creating an outline from the Three Act structure, so that I could easily see the overall arc of the story.

Now, this is not the final story. I did make a few changes as I created the outline and progressed with the rough draft, so I don’t mind sharing this (since it’s not exactly as spoilery as you might expect).

Opening Scene: Huntress is fulfilling a contract, dragging in a progressionist. She suspects the man is innocent, but turns her back on him and his being experimented on due to her loyalty to Queen.

Inciting Incident: Queen learns that Snow has just been voted the most beautiful, despite her daughters all being healthy and gorgeous (and augmented). Queen orders Huntress to leave Snow with a scar that can only be fixed if she accepts augmentation.

Act One Problem: Snow reveals herself to camera with scar, refuses to get the augmentation, and people still see her as beautiful (she has poise and determination). Queen furious.

 

Act Two Choice: Huntress seeks way to bridge gap because she realizes she’s falling in love with Snow, but wants to remain loyal to Queen, who raised her. She has secret meeting with Snow, and begins to investigate Konigin Corp’s secret practices (mind-wipe tech, to be used on criminals).

Midpoint Reversal: Queen orders Snow to be killed, and for her lungs and liver to be removed, so she can regrow a version of Snow for her own purposes, a daughter she can train as her own. Huntress suspects that Queen is going too far, but following her orders is the only way to rise in power. (She attempts to bend Queen’s ear, but it fails).

Act Two Problem (Dark Moment):  She tries to kill Snow, but fails when she hears Snow’s singing voice and her passion for her philosophy. Huntress questions if she’s as loyal as she should be (and if that’s even a good thing)

 

Act Three Plan: Plans to face Queen and try to convince her to give up her secret experiments and help her bridge gap… which she has the power to do. She argues with Snow for Queen’s exile, rather than execution, which Snow reluctantly agrees they can try.

Climax:. Queen refuses and sends her hordes of uplifted/augmented armies to attack Huntress and Snow’s men.

Resolution: Huntress reveals to the armies the treacheries Queen has caused, but instead of working with her, they turn against Queen and kill her (using the mind-wiping tech Huntress discovers earlier). Though disappointed, she is able to be with Snow, and argue for some measure of balance, and she is appointed as the new leader of Konigin Corp.

Next, I took my three act structure and filled in the gaps with a short description of every scene that was intended to take place in the story.

At times, I ended up adding new scene while writing the rough draft, because something would feel natural or because I felt like something was missing, but this is what I referenced whenever I continued writing the rough draft.

These are my notes from Act I. (Note: Verdi is the Huntress, and words in all caps were stand-ins until I came up with name for them.)

*Verdi stalks a man from the shadows. He is passing information to another informant… at least, that’s what she’s been told. She suspects he is just trying to get extra food, since food is scarce. But before he can complete his contract, we see her attack the other man using some kind of modified weapon tech, and then capture the innocent man. She will do her duty to Miss Konigin.

*Verdi drops off man at an underground station. Heavily modified workers take him in. He begs her to let her go, screaming that all this is unnatural, but she ignores him. (Complains he’s not accepting the gift Konigin has given them). As she heads down a secret labrynth of halls, she overhears a pair of scientists discussing the miner-protocol mind wipe, and she hurries past the area where she knows special bodies are being grown/built for the mining procedures. This is a necessary part of Miss Konigin’s plans. For now, anyway.

*Queen is pleased with Verdi’s progress. Invites Verdi to one of the company meetings as her personal bodyguard. Verdi is delighted. This is one of the few times she’s been invited in directly. If the other corporate leaders get used to seeing her, maybe they’ll begin accepting her thoughts and opinions.

*However, when one of them suggests stepping up the capture of SNP members, she is immediately shushed when she tries to point out that capturing innocent people is liable to hurt them. She is chastised. Perhaps it is for the best. Konigin knew what was best when the SOMETHING plague went around, anyway.

*Standing guard within Konigin’s personal quarters (which she is familiar with, and has memories from as a child), Konigin reminds her of just how important technology is to them. How they mustn’t give in to the lure of a natural, Darwinian “only the strongest survive world.” Besides… this world is so much more beautiful. Verdi is beautiful, and Konigin seems very pleased with her. Verdi agrees, though she thinks Miss Konigin is the most beautiful of all. Konigin laughs, good-natured, and says they shall see tonight, when the results of a  POPULAR MAGAZINE comes in with the votes of the people. She suggests “that one of her other “daughters” (her company workers… all “beautiful”) may manage to beat her out this time.

*They are eating dinner with distinguished guests. Verdi stands watch in the corner. Konigin is horrified when the newscaster reports that  SNP candidate, Maria Snow, has been voted the fairest of them all by the people. Verdi is stunned, because she thinks Maria is indeed very beautiful, but Konigin storms out of the room, ranting about the blindness of the people.

*Verdi hurries to follow her, afraid she might do something rash. But, in the silence of her private quarters, Konigin gives her a new mission. She must leave Snow with a scar that can only be fixed if she accepts the augmentation of Konigin’s nanites. She gives Verdi some kind of acid weapon and orders her to leave that night, and not return until the deed is done.

And that’s the first act. My total outline was 3,200 words.

Finally, here is a scene that was spawned from that outline. In specific, it’s the one where the Queen invites Verdi to a board meeting. (Note: This is the rough draft, unedited.)

A soft buzzer sounds from the door. I pause in the middle of stretching. “Agnes?”

President Konigen is here to see you. Should I let her enter?

My eyes widen, and I quickly straighten the black robes I’m wearing. I should have worn something a little more colorful. Black is striking, but there are more beautiful options in my wardrobe. “Of course! Please, let her in.”

As you wish, Veridian.

I smile brightly as the door lock whirs and then the door swings open. President Konigen stands in the doorway, poised with her chin up and her shoulders back, and she is, as always, gorgeous. Her long, wavy black hair has been pinned back at the nape of her neck, likely with a gold barrette. Her skin is pale, almost white, her lips as red as cherries, her cheeks rosy. Her eyes are a bright blue. She wears no makeup, but she doesn’t need to. That’s what she has technology for.

I quickly bow at the waist, and gesture for her to enter. “To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

President Konigen comes in and laughs, her eyes twinkling. “You don’t have to have such formalities around me, Verdi.”

I pop back up, self-conscious. “I know, but you deserve them.”

She chuckles and shakes her head, amused. “Always so polite.” She sits on the edge of my bed, still poised gracefully.

“That’s how you raised me,” I say, my heart skipping a beat. She’s not my biological mother, but she took me in as a child when one of ZiTech’s products took a downhill spiral and went from a well-planned product to a deadly virus. Konigen managed to find a cure, but not before the damage was done. That’s why the lower city is so sparse. There used to be more people living there. Though the virus is no longer contagious, few want to visit the area.

But Konigen had recently lost her own daughter, so she took a few of the orphans in and raised them herself. She made sure we were healthy. She ensured we were beautiful.

She smiles at me. “Then I must have done well.”

Heat rushes to my cheeks. Everything I do, I do for her. I owe her my life. If it wasn’t for her, I might be living in the streets, unaugmented, afraid of technology just because of one company’s mistake. Or I might not even be alive. I might never have received the vaccination which prevented further outbreaks.

“Thank you, President Konigen.”

Though I long to call her mother, and though she raised me as her own, I don’t dare call her such. She’s more than that, and I can’t delude myself into thinking that she is as base as the people who died on me, the people who refused to augment themselves against the virus. She is… President.

President Konigen straightens her knee-length skirt—a lovely forest green that shimmers under my bright bedroom lights. “Verdi, I just wanted to say how proud I am of your recent accomplishments. You have brought in far more of my corporation’s threats than any of the other huntresses, and I hope to see your work continue.”

I puff out my chest with pride. “Thank you, President Konigen.”

She claps her hands together, then presses the tips of her fingers to her rosy lips. “As a reward, I would like you to accompany me to tonight’s board meeting. We will be discussing the future of Konigen Corp’s operations, and hearing tonight’s matters might benefit you going forward.”

My jaw drops. “Seriously?” She’s never invited me to one of the meetings before. I’ve stood outside the room, keeping watch, but she’s always had a senior hunter or huntress accompany her within the room. It’s a critical job. If one of the members turns out to be a traitor, we have to be ready at a moment’s notice to protect her. “I’d love to! Yes, thank you.” I bow again.

Beyond the honor of being to the meetings, if the other board members get accustomed to seeing me with President Konigen, they’ll begin to trust me. I’ll have their ear. Maybe, finally, it’s not just what I do that will be important to them. What I say will be important to them, too.

“Good.” President Konigen nods curtly. “Be ready in half an hour, and make sure you’re wearing your finest. Let’s make a good impression on them with your debut, shall we?”

“Yes, President.” I smile, my stomach doing back-flips. I have to decide what to wear…

It needs to be practical, but stylish. Strong, but not scary.

Beautiful?

Always.

All that’s left is the regular editing and revising process, which might be a while since I have several other projects ahead of this one.

* * *

I hope that this helps explain a bit more of my process, and is helpful to those of you considering writing from an outline.

Have you tried creating a detailed outline for your stories? If so, how did it go?

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NaNoWriMo 2013

Hello everybody! We interrupt this week’s usual cover reveal (Next week I’ll be revealing the details behind a new cover, don’t worry), to remind all you writerly-inclined folks out there that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. A couple days away. As in, I really should finish reading through my current manuscript (Distant Horizon, book 3, part 1) so I can be ready to start writing part 2 of book 3. Anyways.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s National Novel Writing Month, which just so happens to be set in the busy month of November. You set out to write 50,000 words in one month, racing against yourself to crank out the rough draft of a short novel. (Or, if your like me and some of the other rebels out there, starting your word count as of November 1st to finish a current manuscript). The goal isn’t to have a complete, polished manuscript, it’s more to motivate yourself to keep writing, not get hung up on going back and re-editing, and simply get that idea that’s in your head down on paper… or in computer hard drive space.  The computer works a lot easier for that word count check in the end.

There’s no punishment for failure, it’s all in good fun. I’ve participated in one year previously (2008, that nice, reasonably quiet freshman year of college). Though I ended up trunking that particular novel, a few of its characters have snuck their personas into my other works. As have a few ideas. Even if you don’t use your story later (I didn’t even try editing that one), you may still find some good from it. Plus, it’s fun to watch your word count slowly heading for the 50,000 mark, and if you want a writerly community there to cheer you on, they’ve got the forums, too.

So, what are you waiting for? Got a novel in mind? Always wanted to write but never had the excuse? Want to get that pesky first draft done? Then check out NaNoWriMo’s website to get started. 🙂

http://nanowrimo.org

So, anyone else out there participating this year? 🙂

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