A section of the world of Irikara

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Busy Editing. Happy Birthday To Me!

On Monday I celebrated my birthday by taking off work from my day job and focusing on my writing. Someone asked me why, of all things to do, that THAT would be my chosen activity. I think you can figure that this person was not a fellow writer, because any writer would understand that almost nothing brings me as much joy and freedom as this!
The pile of chapter edits waiting for me on my writing desk.

But four hours of my day were spent working on editing the manuscript for my book, White Lands Dragon. Although not as joyous as working on new material, it is nonetheless part and parcel of a writer's life. This time it wasn't big stuff. Rather, I focused on the smaller edits: word choice, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Mostly "line edits." Nothing larger than within-chapter stuff. Some of this was from critiques from my writer's group, the Peeps, and some from a go-through of my whole book on my part. And I still have many chapters to go.  After that, I'll go back and focus on the larger issues, like continuity issues of the book as a whole, plotting, and character references.

As you can see from the picture of my desk, all those folders contain printouts that have been critiqued and are ready to edit. Oh boy.

Author Jenna Moreci posted a video that is pretty close to my process. See below for her video on self-editing. I'm what she calls a "fuckit" editor, which is her way of saying you edit as you go. My process involves writing a rough draft of a chapter, then reading it through digitally for obvious edits/additions/deletions. Then I print it and go through it again. Then I move on to the next chapter. At some point soon, my writer's group critiques the chapter. Then, when I'm able (usually when I'm taking a break from writing new material), I'll go through their critiques and make more edits.

I'll follow this process all the way until the first draft is done. Next I go through the entire book several times, first for "big" issues, like plot arcs and pacing. What Moreci calls the "forest edit." At this point I might change large sections, or touch on each plot point where it falls in the book. Heck, I might move chapters around, rewrite, or delete whole chapters, but it's very rare at this point. Then with each pass I'll focus "on the trees" as Moreci says, doing more line edits. And then go through again. Hopefully, at this point, it'll be good enough to send out with a query. But it seems the edits are never truly done. If the book gets accepted by a potential publisher, then the professional editing process begins, which, as I understand, can be pretty grueling.

[Related: Is Line Editing A Lost Art?]

Oh, and I got some great gifts from my family, too, including a copy of Robert Jordan's Eye of the World, the first book in the Wheel of Time series, from my son, as well as a $20 gift certificate for my all time favorite bookstore, Smith Family Bookstore, which I've blogged about before. This, combined with the many books I got at Christmas, has given me some great reading in the weeks ahead.

Cheers and happy reading!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

An Agent Query and the #SFFpit Twitter Event

Today there was a Twitter event:  #SFFpit (sort for Science Fiction and Fantasy pitch).  You can read about it HERE on the pages of Dan Koboldt, who founded the twice-annual event.

The rules were simple: from 10 AM to 6 PM, Eastern time, authors who are seeking agents can post a pitch of a finished novel they wish to market, in the limited space of a tweet, with particular hashtags, including #SFFpit and other hashtags that represent the intended age of readers and the particular genre or subgenre. They can post only one pitch per hour. Anyone other than an agent is not allowed to click "like," but they are encouraged to retweet or comment.

Interested agents can then search for the hashtag(s) to find potential clients. If they are interested in receiving a query from that writer for that manuscript, they will click the "like" button. It's then up to the author to follow up with them for the query.

So, throughout the day, I posted pitches, each slightly different, for my finished high fantasy novel, White Lands Dragon (as well as one pitch for my other finished novel, Chronicles of a Warrior).  One of those pitches -- the very first one for WLD, in fact -- received a "like" from an agent! I was ecstatic.

Here's the pitch:

I won't say who the agent is at this time, but she is with a very respected New York literary agency with a good portfolio, has four years of experience as an agent, and seems very much in line with my interests and works. And, to my surprise, when I messaged her, she indicated she wanted the entire manuscript as well as the query letter.

Words can't express how happy I am right now! (or should I say write now?)

Whether she accepts me or not, I'm just happy to live in this moment. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the book is a good fit for her.

Cheers and happy reading!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Award for Non-Fiction Essay: "Grandma's Tin Pan"

I'm happy to report that I won a writing contest.  First place!  Woot!

It was for a non-fiction essay contest at the writer community, Fanstory.com, for my essay, "Grandma's Tin Pan."

My grandmother Kilgore had this little pan, which was all beat up, but she used it nearly every day. Turns out it was one of her most prized possessions, as it was the first thing she and her husband had bought, back during the Great Depression. For her, it symbolized the love of family and how she provided for them.

The piece also earned the Fanstory.com "Recognized" ribbon for the many excellent reviews that other readers left the piece. I was surprised by the wonderful comments people left. Just go to the link below, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the little "view ratings" button to read them.

You can read the essay here:

Time to submit this to a magazine, I think!

Cheers and happy reading!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

George R.R. Martin on Tolkien's World Building

The world I write my fantasy stories and novels in, Irikara, is as real to me as the "real" world. It is the true main character in my books, I feel.

But I feel I owe a lot to J.R.R. Tolkien for his fantasy world building for his books, the first fantasy author to truly do so, as another fantasy worldbuilder, George R.R. Martin, attests, in the following clip:

The Lord of the Rings series changed everything, due in largest part to the brilliance of the creation of Middle Earth in such extreme detail, including the languages.

Cheers and happy reading!

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Resolution for 2019

Well, another year has come and gone, so now it's time for our New Year's resolution.

I'm notoriously bad at resolutions.  Like everyone else, it seems, I'm hoping to lose weight.  I've outgrown more clothes lately.

But even more important, I resolve to finish my third novel, Footman of the Ether, which is a sequel to White Lands Dragon and the second in a fantasy series.  I'm around 60% done, so this should be an easy goal as long as my everyday life doesn't become even more frantic and chaotic.

Additionally, once I've finished that second book, I figure I'll be in an excellent place to solicit literary agents. In addition to the books, I've got lots of other enticing bits to offer (such as my Encyclopedia Irikara wiki I'm developing, a collection of supernatural/horror stories, and some science fiction short stories).

I've also been busy with social media, creating, in addition to this blog, my author's Facebook page and my Twitter page (@WorldsKilgore).  Please visit and follow/like/comment.  :)

Cheers and happy reading, and Happy New Year's everyone!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas For A Writer / Book Lover

It's a great Christmas. My kids got their first smartphones as their "big gift" this year, now that they're teens. Oh boy.

As for me, I made out well. My wife and kids showered me with books and a new writer's desk, among other things. I'm particularly happy about the writing desk. I no longer have to share the ones used by my kids, which are smaller and sorta messed up. For one thing, they tend to eat on them without cleaning up afterward, so if I'm not careful I wind up getting food residue on my manuscripts. I've also been eager to read George R.R. Martin's Fire and Blood, and I've always meant to read the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and try to understand Taoist philosophy.

My mom also gave me a fantastic pendant by a very talented local artist, Boutique Academia (which specializes in science-based jewelry), which is a little book that unclasps to reveal copper pages. HERE is a close-up.

I've never been to Iceland, but they have a tradition called Jolabokaflod, where they give each other books on Christmas Eve and then spend the evening reading and drinking hot cocoa. I think I'll do the same!  Enjoy!

My haul (with one of my cats, Akela):

Cheers and happy reading!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas.

I think all of us writers can relate to this one...

Cheers and happy reading!

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