Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The writing life: an update

WritingLife

I just thought you might like to know how things stand as we head into the back half of July.

Wow, can’t believe how fast the summer is going.

Anyway! KERI is going pretty well. I’m no longer working on the SF space opera thing, though it’s in excellent shape to pick up, I know way more about the next several scenes than I used to. But I’m dying to wrap up this rough draft of KERI and that’s my only real focus now.

Yesterday afternoon was frustrating, as I had 84,000 words when I turned on my laptop, and hours later, I once again had 84,000 words. I suppose I should be grateful this two-steps-forward-three-steps-back thing hasn’t happened more often with this project. Shoot, I *am* grateful that hasn’t happened more often! But it was still frustrating. I got over that hump later in the evening and wound up nearly making my minimum 1500 words for the day, so it was basically fine.

This is one of the few books I’ve worked on where I am not over in terms of length. Often at this point I’m cheering when I cut words, but not this time. I also don’t think I will have a huge amount of junk pages to cut at the end, which will make a nice change. I’m pretty sure this one will come in at roughly the 350 pp my contract specifies — if anything, it might be a little short — well, I probably shouldn’t say that, as in fact every single scene takes more pages than you expect. (This is an ironclad rule, in my experience.)

I am indeed expecting to get the full rough draft completed by August first, and get the first beat-it-into-shape-for-Caitlin revision done in the first week of August. It will help (a lot) that I take off the last week of July and the first two weeks of August (the summer session is winding up, and classes don’t start for Fall till August 18th, hence the break). Caitlin then has the challenge of turning the manuscript around in time for me to revise again before the September 15th deadline. Caitlin is great about helping me meet deadlines, plus I usually revise fast, so barring acts of God, this should not be a problem.

I would take a significant break while waiting for Caitlin’s comments, except it seems a shame to waste all those days off, so I will most likely work on the KEHERA revision — lots to do on that one, it’s a mess, but it’s a great mess and I’m looking forward to getting back into it. THEN when school starts, I will take a break. Except for going on with self-publication projects. Whew, quite a year, really looking forward to what I hope will be a slower pace next year.

Meanwhile! I’m trying to come up with possibilities for a real title for KERI.

My favorite title so far, by a mile, is SPUN SUGAR MAGIC. Alas, it honestly doesn’t fit the book. The baking thing does go through KERI from front to back, but it’s such a minor element that, well, no, just can’t see it. That would be a fabulous title for a MG story, though, don’t you think? Anybody who has a MG manuscript out there and wants this title, feel free.

My other favorite at the moment is THE WYVERN KING. The actual Wyvern King in the story is an important figure looming in the background through a lot of the book — actually, I need to go make him loom more in the earlier part of the story. That will be part of my first revision. In fact, a few days ago, I invented a child’s counting song about him, and I’ll need to go work that into the earlier part of the book so it doesn’t come out of nowhere in the last bit, and let me just say, writing a child’s song is fun, but way more work than writing the actual story. I don’t like one line, may have to change it eventually.

Anyway, my main characters are juuuust about to meet the Wyvern King in person, if not today, then certainly this weekend. After that I will know a lot more about him.

I think I know the rest of the plot. No guarantees, even at this point. The reason my outline matches my story is that I change the outline ALL THE TIME, but I do think the endgame is shaping up and is not too likely to make any sudden left turns. From my perspective; I hope readers will find some of the upcoming events startling!

So, yeah. I also need to pull some of shoulder-high weeds in my yard, especially the ones setting burrs because burrs + spaniel ears = bad news and I’m getting tired of having to brush all the burrs out of the dogs’ ears twice a day. You’d think they’d have run out of burrs by now, but evidently not. I know the plants must be along the fenceline and in with the shrubs, so I should be able to find them all — I just need to go out there and do it. That’s my other priority for the weekend.

I hope all of you have a great weekend, productive if you’ve got stuff to do or relaxing if you have time!

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2 Comments The writing life: an update

  1. Cheryl L

    Great to know that KERI is shaping up so well. I can’t wait to buy it!

    Personally, I’m much keener on THE WYVERN KING as a title than SPUN SUGAR MAGIC. SSM sounds a bit too much like those innumerable novels about fairies that girls aged around eight seem to love so much!

  2. Rachel

    Hi, Cheryl — well, good! Yes, the sugar title does seem to fit a book for younger girls.

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