Update: pivoting to INVICTUS, again

You know, I’m kind of trying to remember how many times this year I’ve said, “At last! Now I can get back to revising INVICTUS!”

Have I been here just twice before this year and this is the third time, or have I picked up this project three times previously and this is the fourth? I’m starting to lose track.

Well, last time, looks like I smoothed out a lot of minor (mostly very minor) stuff, got to the top of chapter 10 in the second book, discovered it said “Turn this summary into action,” and left the project sitting there while I did other stuff. No wonder. Who wants to do that much work, right?

Well, this past weekend, I finally turned the summary into action and moved on through chapter 10. A huge discontinuity error waited for me in chapter 11, which I vaguely remember I ought to have expected after changing stuff in the previous couple chapters, but I certainly blinked when I got to it. That character’s still on the bridge? I said to myself. Pretty sure he left the bridge in the previous chapter? I checked, and yes he had, so I took the character out of chapter 11.

Then I got to chapter 12 and once again, at the top of the chapter, I had put a strikethrough through the first paragraph and a note: [Take out this summery and turn it into action.]

SO I DID, and I sure hope I do not hit another bit like that because what a total pain in the neck. Also, when I pick up and put down a project and pick it up again and put it down again, repeat repeat, then I’m probably either (a) repeating something I actually clarified in an earlier chapter, or (b) failing to notice that something I’m doing now is inconsistent with an earlier chapter. BUT I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK AND READ THE WHOLE THING. Do you realize how much time it takes to go back and re-read the whole thing again, and then again, every time you pick up a project? Worse, that is a great way to procrastinate and waste a whole morning. I would rather introduce problems as long as they are SMALLER problems and easy to fix. What I want to do now is get through this revision! THEN I can re-read the whole book from the top.

Probably I will need to read about five chapters from Book 1 and then all of Book 2. Which is fine! As long as I am finished with the part of the revision that says [Take out this summary and replace with action]. I am definitely ready to move on.

I think I’m through that part. As far as I recall, I’m through that part. That means the rest of this revision should be both faster and less annoying.

I’m about to hit the climactic scenes, meaning the climactic scenes of the plot. I can then enjoy reading through the denouement, which involves sorting out all the relationships. And, considering that it’s the 19th and a third of this month still lies before us, I do think I can tie this duology up with a bow by the end of the month, which means that it’ll be ready to send to first readers while I do final, the very final, polishing of the Tuyo World Companion and TASMAKAT.

I’ve also been proofreading TASMAKAT on my phone this past week, by the way. I’ve found three semi-dire continuity mistakes but almost no typos. A scattering of phrases I might revise a touch, but there’s not very much to do at all. I’m really happy with how clean the draft is at this point.

By the way, do you realize a hardcover published via KDP can’t be over 550 pages? I had to drop TASMAKAT to Garamond 10 to get it to fit in that limit. Sorry. It doesn’t make a lot of difference to me personally, since I need reading glasses for TNR 12 anyway, so whatever. But it’s going to be small print and that’s the way it is. The paperback will have slightly larger print because for some reason the page limitation is not nearly as tight for paperback as for hardcover.

ANYWAY, barring unexpected disaster, I should for sure be ready to tackle SILVER CIRCLE by the time TASMAKAT drops on July 15th. BUT, I’m thinking I might take a couple weeks off at that point, read a lot of books, whatever looks enticing , clear out of my head everything I’ve been working on during the first half of the year — my God, where has the year gone? — and prepare to reread the back half of the Black Dog series and pick up SILVER CIRCLE in August. August/September/October/November, that is four months, which is a generous amount of time to finish a draft, especially since I have a pretty clear idea what I’m doing in this book. I mean, I actually know the ending and everything! Even adding in final revisions and proofing of INVICTUS, even taking a fairly relaxed pace, I ought to be able to get through the draft of SILVER CIRCLE by some point in November.

I must say, I’m looking forward to getting away from one revision after another and into a new draft.


Weather has been fairly nice here — I mean, disregarding the pretty serious drought, at least it hasn’t been super hot — so I have been taking the dogs over to the arboretum fairly often. Haydée LOVES going over to run around in the fenced acre and a half, as you might expect. She has also discovered that running in front of me to try to tackle my toes is possibly not the best idea, though fortunately she did not get kicked very hard.)

I now take her over to the arboretum on leash, though not yet on a brace or group lead. She would almost certainly follow everyone else; Cavalier puppies have a strong follow instinct. But they are a little more independent at 12 weeks than 10 weeks, so a leash, just to be sure. But a long individual leash because I don’t want to frighten her by letting her get pulled.

Her Uncle Conner is teaching her to enjoy Turtle Hysteria.

I think Conner is responsible for Leda and Morgan also joining in Turtle Hysteria. (This is Leda poking her nose at the turtle here, blurry Naamah in the foreground.) He’s so enthusiastic that he pulls the younger dogs into his obsession. He can actually flip a turtle over and pick it up, then carry it for long distances — he has a special technique, honed over the previous six years.

No, I do not let him settle down and really get into chewing on a turtle. I don’t want him breaking a tooth, or the turtle’s shell — you may know, the shell is actually the turtles ribcage, not exactly okay to break it. I have seen a Cavalier punch a hole in a hickory nut, so I know they have more bite strength than you might expect. So I take the turtles away and put them outside the fence, to everyone’s extreme disappointment.

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4 thoughts on “Update: pivoting to INVICTUS, again”

  1. I love these Monday updates and can’t believe all the work that goes into writing a novel. I guess I thought you all just sat down, made a plot outline and it all just flowed into your laptop. Strong work!

  2. Totally random comment: Robin McKinley’s “The Door in the Hedge” is on sale for $1.99, Amazon Kindle. I love the story “The Princess and the Frog”.

  3. Thanks, Carol! I love several stories on that collection and definitely suggest everyone who likes McKinley picks it up quick.

    Alison, ha ha ha, sob, no, not quite that easy!

    Robert, yes, I imagine the turtles are happy not to have their lives repurposed as dog chew toys!

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