Bringing a Story to Life: Draft Finished – Now What?

677240Note:  Article is long.

The time after finishing a first draft is always interesting for me.  What do I do next?

  • Get to work on the next novel?
  • Work on post production tasks (i.e. book trailer, cover)?
  • Write a post?

Always a good way to keep the writing cells warmed up

  • Do housework?

It’s bad if I’m considering housework.

Write or Rehearse?  Since book 10 is with the beta reader, and the cover and trailer are well on their way to completion, I decided to work on Book 13.

The last installment in the Metatron’s Army Series!

There’s just one little problem.  I’m exhausted.

This is what happens when you have a family of coyotes living basically outside your bedroom window who think night time is party time.  There’s also the joy of being woken in the wee hours to the sound of feet scurrying across your roof followed by the flapping of a predator’s wings.  Somehow, I don’t think the little critter escaped. 

This has gone on for several nights in a row, leaving me feeling a bit hollow-eyed.  This isn’t the first-time sleep has eluded me.  I’ve learned to take my mind off how tired I feel, by turning to something fun.

Metatron’s Army!

I’ve come to really enjoy the process of creating the story.  As an added bonus, I got feedback on Bind:  Book 9 in the series, which was released February 1.  It definitely put a smile on this tired face.

  • Well, I must say, you know how to leave a reader hanging. The ending was like WHAT??????????
  • It was a fun read, seeing Christine coming into her own is cool. The play between her and Verix is just fun.  I’m really excited to see where this leads.
  • I can’t wait for Book 10.

Thank you for the awesome feedback!  I’m very pleased you are enjoying the journey!

Book 10 is well on its way to being ready for an April 1, 2019 release.

I’m still getting used to writing 2019 instead of 2018. 

The feedback [about Book 10] from the beta reader has also been positive.

It’s nice to hear what I’m doing right, what someone likes about the story or the characters.  It helps me know if I’m meeting my objectives, especially if the feedback matches what I was trying to accomplish in a scene, with a character, etc.

Ready to write? Not quite.  Fun aside, I’m still dealing with fatigue and yet if I don’t do something, I’ll start to go a bit stir crazy.

I may start doing housework!

Set?  Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma.  REHEARSE!

This is the process where I run scenarios as a mental movie, watching how various scenes might play out.

Rehearsing is very relaxing while being productive at the same time.

Win-win.

In this particular case, I’m enjoying a new twist to it.  One I gained perspective on thanks to the reader’s feedback.

  • I  have to say you are true to your quote: “My characters are strong independent people who steer their own destiny, with a little help from love.”

I love writing character driven fiction.  I love getting inside the heads and hearts (and souls) of characters to see what makes them tick.  This has been especially true of Verix, who is one of the original characters from the story’s inception.  He appeared on the scene as it were thirty-five years ago this month!

Literally.  The image that inspired him was on February of a 1984 calendar of hot guys I got as a Christmas gift.

As I’ve written previously, he was originally an antagonist.

Big time bad guy.

This came from the expression on the model’s face.  He was handsome but his eyes lacked passion or emotion.  No anger, but nothing positive either.  It was easy to think of him (Verix) as a bad guy, albeit a gorgeous one, when the model’s gaze suggested challenge and trouble.

Perhaps the point for the model – “bad boy.”

Not long after mentally writing a scene that appears in Pin: Book 8 of the series – written in the late spring of 1984 – I was “informed” that I misunderstood his stoic demeanor.

“He is not evil.”

I studied the calendar image through the filter of the new information and tried to understand his role given he lacked emotions I would have found familiar.

What helped shape Verix’s role in the story was comparing his personality, such as it was, to those of the other original characters, Christine, Corus, and Ryella.

There was another original character, but he didn’t play a significant enough role to help out with the exercise.

When I sat down to write Bishop Pair, I had to think about why Verix was so stoic.  I had to go back to that original mental screenwriting and replay the movie.  Because I’m visually oriented, and I’ve lived with this story all these years, it was easy to bring to mind the images needed.

To recreate the environment which taps into the emotion and thought process of the moment.

I pictured the February model, the way my bed and dresser were positioned, all the NDE interpretation stuff covering my walls at the time.

To get ready for Verix’s entrance into the story, I spent a day rehearsing and pondering.

  • How had he become so jaded?
  • Does he resent Corus or consider him a friend?
  • How can someone who appears to lack emotion have such a passionate love deep in his soul?

Go!  As I turn my attention to Adjudication, I know how to best start the process.

Start up some music and launch Free Cell.

The repetitive nature of the game lulls the mind into a meditative state ideal for creative thinking/daydreaming.  The music is tailored to match the series and the various characters within it.  I have two separate Verix play lists.

Rehearse!

Let the movie play!

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