Short Stories in the Appendices are Fun

I have recruited two authors to write short stories for my next novel ‘Claymore’ (one of them is a maybe). I also sent an invitation to Gavin Parish but it is too soon to know if he accepts.

With my last novel ‘Baktu’, I had three short stories added to the book’s appendices, written by independent authors. These stories focused on back stories for minor characters. I gave the credit to the author at the top of each story. It was a lot of fun for me and I thought the stories were great and added a valuable dimension to the book. So I decided to do the same with ‘Claymore’.

I expect it to take four to six weeks for all my planned illustrations and short stories to be done (by freelancers). The novel itself is done except for grammar edits. In parallel, I need to start planning the book cover.

The second chapter to have an illustration is Chapter five. I plan to post on this blog each Monday or Tuesday until Claymore is published and include a chapter illustration with each post.

chapter-5

In this illustration, Claymore is presenting his bill to the legislature of the Azten Empire. He is pushing for more resources for government law enforcement agencies to take the pressure off citizen vigilante work and to create reliable justice. Good luck with that Claymore.

Navinos and Claymore

I am on my last rounds of editing my next book ‘Claymore’ (except for purely grammar edits). I am focusing on minor details like plot details, characterization and descriptions.

While I am at it, I hired tizianafruiu from Freelancer.com to illustrate some of the chapters. I am not illustrating all 49 chapters, just one-fifth of them. I already have three of the planned ten completed. Here is the illustration for chapter one: chapter1

Claymore is the one wearing blue (or is it purple?). His race is ‘navino’. Claymore is eating with his niece and her friend.

Claymore has had subtle connections with Tomek in the Negative Zero and Baktu novels and now he gets his own book.  The novel, Claymore, will start before the Negative Zero novel and end after the Baktu novel and investigate some background mysteries from both of those books.

Below is a previous illustration I had drawn for the same chapter one, except a misunderstanding made it a landscape orientation instead of the portrait orientation I wanted. This was a different artist and you will see her opinion on the chapter 1 meal and what a navino looks like.navito-7

Just for another opinion on what navinos are from another artist, below is the published illustration from my first novel ‘Negative Zero’ of a navino:

Navino 1b Tint z

Claymore and Content Editing

Hello. It has been a while since my last blog post. I have been working on my next novel, tentatively titled Claymore.

A preliminary bit of news is that my published book ‘Baktu’ is now available in audio format.

In my last post I claimed that my last book in the Tomek series was all planned. Well, things change. I decided the plans were too big to fit comfortably in one book, so I planned three books. With the current plan there will be a total of five novels in the series. I have finished the first (sharable) draft of Claymore last Saturday. That does not mean I am ready to publish it. However I am excited by this milestone because it means I can start dragging in help in the form of content editors.

I have been noticing fiverr.com, and decided to try a sample of the service from two specific content editors that are sellers there. For a sample I submitted my first chapter of Claymore to each of them.  The chapter is between 1500 and 2000 words. One cost me $10 and the other was $20. Both of the editors turned out to be good. I want to share one of the results here, in case you want to see what a good content editor does to your draft. Click here: ClaymoreChapter1_developmental_edit_CateHogan

Now I want to sent in my full manuscript for content editing, but I need to fix my chapter 1 first, based on the editor’s input.

When I send in one of my precious documents for editing, I usually go through stages. I don’t know if these stages are typical of all authors (who use content or developmental editing) but I will list mine anyway:

  1. Almost immediately after I submit it, I am impatient to get the results. I monitor my email  several times a day. I am tempted to contact the neighbor girl (when I hire her) or check guru.com, freelancer.com or fiverr.com (if I hired services from there) several time a day, and sometimes I give in to the temptation.
  2. I get the manuscript back and read all the comments and notes the editor made, with feverish anticipation.
  3. And then I feel crushed, deflated. The evil editor found flaws. They have implied that my precious words, that I worked so many months on, of are  defective. You won’t feel that when you read mine because you haven’t given birth those darling  words. I even start feeling rebellious. What to editors know anyway? What is so special about their opinion? I am exaggerating. The editor is usually polite about it, and they do sprinkle in compliments.
  4. I think about it. For a full book manuscript I ponder a whole day on it. I start to understand what they are talking about, and understand why those flaws weaken the story. I start seeing how the book could be so much better if I make specific adjustments to address the various issues they pointed out.
  5. And now I am excited. I can’t want to add all those improvements.

In the specific content editor’s notes attached to this blog, some things you will see are where the editor simply misunderstood. And that is good information too. I don’t want the reader to misunderstand. For example, the editor complained that I had Ramos (the human) looked down to talk to Claymore. Since Claymore has four arms he should be taller, right? No. Navinos have always been shorter than humans in the series. So I need to clarify that somehow in chapter 1. There was another item that was a simple misunderstanding.

Another specific item, and this one is a big deal, is that Claymore is not properly motivated. The reader does not have a sense of why Claymore would take risks, or why helping Phee would interest him enough to make sacrifices. This, I decided was deadly important. Sure Claymore wants law and justice for all (like I do in real life, so I automatically assume the reader has the same feelings). But is that enough? Even if is  a valid motivation, it is not specific enough. (Like she pointed out, there are lots of injustices in the news. What is so special about Phee’s situation?) And even that were his only motivation, I have not properly shown enough of Claymore’s background to show why. I am not sure all of this motivation needs to be established in chapter one, but I think I will try to do it in a prologue + chapter 1.

In any case I am planning on giving this serious attention. I now have planned something very specific about Claymore’s background that I want to write as an exciting prologue, where he loses someone dear to him. And it’s something that not only motivates him to help Phee, but goes beyond that and has specific repercussions in the remainder of the book and the plot. I won’t tell you the specifics of my plan, but I am excited to implement this new idea. The bad news is now I have to write a prologue, rewrite chapter 1, and make adjustments throughout the book. Probably before I submit the whole book for content editing. My schedule slides again, but that’s normal.