j_cheney: (End of the Road)
Ever do something, and then think "Why did I do that?" only to discover that you couldn't take it back?

A couple of months ago, I entered the ABNA contest. I didn't actually study it and write a special pitch or anything, I just cut and past from my query letter that's been going out to agents. After reading more about it, I discovered that there was apparently an art to doing all these things, and that people spend a lot of time preparing, etc. Couldn't pull back, though. Oops.

Well apparently, my query was good enough for the reviewers, as Dreaming Death has advanced out of the 10,000 to the top 500. The next step is, I think, the paring down to the top 100, which official judges are going to do by April 15.

In the meantime, if you want to read my first 18 pages, they're available for free download at Amazon. It's available here, including two reviews which say 'I don't normally read this sort of thing, but...'*

The reviews were nice, which is good. ;o)

"The writing in this excerpt is definitely above par, and the period details are well handled. The setting is sold convincingly without being belabored. Dreaming Death is off to a good start."

"The writing is well done, the plot seems to be wonderful and the excerpt leaves you wondering what else is in store for this unusual girl."

Not much I can do at this stage but hope I'm one out of five, I guess. It would be cool to reach the top 100....

____________________________
*Actually, one of them says "I have to admit that this is the sort of fiction I typically read..." but you can tell from the context that they meant don't typically read....
j_cheney: (Sword)
I'm trying to have discipline in certain areas, although the miserable cold hasn't helped. So far so good, though.

Things I'm working on for the next month:

These aren't so much 'goals' as what I'm planning to work on...

Dreaming Death
I'm going through my mss scene by scene (planned at 1 chapter a day) and making certain that each scene has enough setting detail. This is a weak point for me that writing short stories has not helped much. I'm not naturally big on setting, and often in my own reading, I skim through setting sections.

The problem here stems from the fact that one of the POV characters is blind. That is not the real challenge, BTW--I've sold blind characters before. The challenge is that I tend to forget that in the scenes with the other POVs....and waste a chance to put in lovely visual details. That's what I'm looking out for. (Also, I found a typo in the first 32 pages. Eep! As many times as this mss has beeen combed, I should have caught every one.)

Ah, well. I'm hoping that in the next novel, I'll remember to write each scene with lots of setting. That way I don't have to do it later (it's almost always a 'second draft' thing for me).

Iron Shoes
I'm working on the re-write of Iron Shoes as well, one section at a time. I'm through section 1 (which had the most massive changes) and will start 2 today.

Devil in the Details
I'm hoping to have both of the above done by the end of the month so that I can start on Feb 2 on the rewrite of DitD. So right now, I'm thinking about DitD. Like with most finished rough drafts, I'm thinking about the story arcs and how to make them 'land' properly. One of the things that I had trouble with is that Kirien's original motivation is lost, replaced by another....which leaves something to be desired in the 'reader satisfaction' area.

Today while I was in the shower, I finally figured out the connection between the two motivations, which should allow me to restructure some of the plot details nicely. Woo Hoo!
(OK, it doesn't sound big, but it makes the difference between a weak plot and a solid one.)

Anything else?
No, not really. If the plot bunny throws something my way, I'll bite, but right now these should keep me busy.
j_cheney: (Sword)
This year I've decided not to stress so much over the whole writing short-stories thing and to get back to work on novels, starting with the sequel to Dreaming Death. Well, to work on the sequel, I have to go back and re-read the first book.

I'm not any good at reading off the computer, so I'm actually reading the penultimate copy....the copy before I made the last edits before sending the novel to Baen's. I'm tripping over mistakes made in the last version (corrected with purple pen), and then making some new notes in silver on things to change if I ever do get the blasted thing published.

Having not read DD in almost a year, I'm relieved to find that I'm still enjoying it. I need to clean up one scene (because some of the dialog feels redundant) and I've noted a few places where I need to put in a sentence or two to describe a character.

The primary (and initial) POV character in this novel is blind, though, which makes description a challenge.

Anyhow, I'm pleased that I still like the book, displeased that I can still find things wrong with it (which shouldn't surprise me), and ambivilent about making edits while it's actually lurking in a slush pile. Then there's the looming fact that I probably need to find an agent this year. ::shudders!!::

Not looking forward to that at all!

Title Help

Jun. 25th, 2007 04:07 pm
j_cheney: (Default)
I have a terrible time with titles, but in the Spring Issue of the Bulletin, found this ray of hope: Lulu Titlescorer.

According to them...
The title Dreaming Death has a 79.6% chance of being a bestselling title!

I feel better already! (A disclaimer says this is not an exact science, but I'll cling to the hope.)

ETA: The King's Daughter doesn't fare nearly so well....must consider changing...
j_cheney: (End of the Road)
Touching the Dead now has an illustration! The artist--due to a lack of visual information, no doubt--has chosen to do a still life, which in a way relieves me greatly.

Click here: Touching the Dead to see the illustration. I'm not certain if I can just copy it off and paste it in my blog without permission. I'll have to ask.

Anyway, the artist chose blood-stained gloves, a bloody knife, and a sheet to illistrate the story. Yeah, I'm all about the corpses.

Since I'd been dreading someone drawing a blonde-haird blue-eyed English girl for the story, this was a great relief. ;o) Yay!

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J. Kathleen Cheney

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