Ending Beginnings and Beginning Endings: Saturday was a Page-Turner

Is it just me, or does it happen to others that some days everything hits all at once after the nail-biting waiting games? Yesterday, Saturday, a handful of print copies of Solaray Dawn arrived in my hands. Happily, the scrambled pages are in order (first thing I checked), and it’s now up to me to grind through that third book to release it before Halloween ends for The Guy in Kentucky. To add to the bon voyage book party, I got the first typewritten draft of the Cryptid Series, ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part, completed at about ten at night.

Well, it’s Sunday, the end of the week for some and beginning of the week for others–depending on what kind of calendar-believer one is. My calendar generally consists of: “What day is this?” I definitely admire people who know what day it is. Oh, I used to know, when I listened to a pretty entertaining talk radio show in my previous incarnation as a writer in Southern California. On the half-hour, I got the date and even the day of the week repeated to me every weekday morning. It worked as I prepared for the day. Weekends were more of a scribbly affair, which were anchored to Friday as “Friday +1” and “Friday +2”. This is unnecessary expository. Moving on.

So, Solaray Dawn is going to be handed off to a reader even as I’m reading it, myself. I’m not sure if my test reader will finish it before it gets tossed out for sale, but at least it’s better than Beneath a Sunless Sky. It is about 1.5 times as long as the first book yet apparently flows instead of stumbles and bumbles along. I really busted my backside to make sure every sentence was complete and was not a runaway run-on. I definitely had a bunch of “What the Hell was I thinking when I wrote this?” sentences and sections. Happily, since I needed to reduce weight on that third book, I slashed and cut and sliced away at those parts.

Moving from high tech to low tech did even more to cut the babble in this new series, which was initially drafted digitally. So, the evolution follows thus:

(1) Seven books from the Cryptid Series were drafted on the computer. Rough story notes and character backgrounds for five more books were drafted on the computer as well. Polaris is crap. It ate a lot of my story freezing up as it did. The only praise I can give it is that it trains one to save all the freaking time. I love libreoffice for my digital input, and I had quite a few tantrums and tears wailing that I missed libreoffice while I was being held hostage by Polaris.

(2) ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part was rewritten by hand in two composition books. Yes, the ones that are used in elementary, middle, and high schools around the nation. I buy them during the massive school supplies sales, because dirt is more expensive then. College-ruled, not wide-ruled, because I have small-enough handwriting to use it. No giant pouffy letters and hearts over my i’s here. The downside is that I still have calluses where I held the mechanical pencil. However, the pain of handwriting did help with keeping the book concise.

(3) The composition books were then transcribed onto pink paper. I bought it from Staples because it was the closest brick-and-mortar location to find colored paper. It’s the house brand of pink pastel paper, and I bought a single ream of 500 sheets in order to keep the book to a reasonable size. This draft is 325 double-spaced typewritten pages of 12-point Courier font on that (not-natively) pink Olivetti Lettera 32 (European keyboard and made in Barcelona, Spain). The drafts even have one-inch margins all around. This, as I was once told, gives essentially a 250-word-per-page count. That settles me in right about 80,000 words, which is considered pretty good for a modern pulp novel.

(4) The typewritten pages will be transcribed into libreoffice in December, to prepare it for its first reading as an entire e-publication by my test readers. This shouldn’t take so long, because I’ve been known to knock out 100K words in a couple of weeks for NaNoWriMo.

(5) Some time between the middle of December 2014 and end of January 2015, the Cryptid Series will be kicked off–hopefully with an entertaining blurb about the first book, which I have yet to write.

(6) Starting some time in December, Book Two of the Cryptid Series, His Brother’s Keeper, will be hand-written in a couple of composition books. It’ll get typed up on paper in some charming pastel hue related to pink (Salmon? Lavender?), appearing as wounded as the first draft (I went through two white correction tape dispensers writing ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part). Then, when it’s gotten the test-reader seal of approval, it’ll be tossed into the digital arena to be ignored like my other books.

So, that’s how the Cryptid Series is getting written. My goal is to have a three-month to four-month turnover for the first four books in the series. My projected publication calendar is December 2014/January 2015 (Book 1), March/April 2015 (Book 2), July/August 2015 (Book 3), and November/December 2015 (Book 4). These aren’t guaranteed release dates.

And as a slight spoiler? The first book has a lot of hints for what’s coming in the rest of the series. So if it doesn’t entirely make sense why it’s mentioned in Book One? It becomes an issue later in the series.

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