There Be Mature Content Here
Please be advised that the following is intended for mature readers only.
Let’s start with the debrief:
- Start date: October 30, 2020
- Finish date: October 29, 2021
- Total words: 105,000*
(*I was trying to keep track of the word count as I posted the serial, and obviously I did a crap job of it.)
How do I think the story turned out?
Like By a Hare, I think this is okay for a first draft. I did my best to follow Gwen Hayes’ Romancing the Beat to give the story structure while I, basically, attempted to pants my way through it.
Pantsing is a writing technique in which I have zero aptitude. Those who are Master Pantsing Storytellers can pull the narrative, characters, setting, conflict… all of it… from their subconscious (i.e. ‘the seat of their pants’) as they write. Me? I need some idea of where this train is going before I get onboard. This is why I write, what I affectionately call, my SFD (a.k.a Shitty First Draft).
For The Velveteen Tortoise, I had some sense of my starting point. Luna and Pyx were already introduced to the readers, so I didn’t have to create them from scratch. But I still had to figure out their backstories and quirks that would emerge as their ‘No Way, Love Is Not For Me’ initial motivations. I gotta say, discovering what ultimately became their personal ‘No Ways’ was at times frustrating, but I’m very thrilled with what developed.
So, overall, I consider this draft to be Not Broken (yay!) and something that I will have a blast revising.
I do want to say a word about how I start a story… and that word is ‘poorly’. I just don’t have a feel for the characters’ motivation (what’s at stake, what’s the underlining theme, what are their quirks) until around the third chapter.
This ‘rocky start’ makes writing a serial kinda hard because I really believe that I’m not giving the readers something that will capture their interest. However, I suspect that the first 10 to 20% of the story will read differently once it’s published.
Yep. I was dropping threads all over the place. In this story, it was mainly the threads that would’ve been developed into subplots. I think I did a great job pulling Gary and Howie through the story. But Bracys is a low-tier villain without a clear evil plan. Benny was much easier to develop because he was transparent. Bracys will have to be rewritten because I need to drop more breadcrumbs hinting at the series arc involving the Akupara. The problem? I don’t have their entire conflict plotted yet. But, I’ve more to say on that later…
I want to order character art sooo bad! But I can’t because… I have NO IDEA what my characters look like! I completely understand why authors build Pinterest boards, etc., while writing. I’m a dialogue-heavy writer. What characters are saying manifests in my mind first before visuals, like appearance or scene location. It’s just how my brain works.
But, I really want character art. So, including descriptions will be a ‘Must Do’ item on my revision list.
This story is plagued with continuity issues. I have one chapter where Gary says that he’s lost his sense of smell. A few chapters later, he’s smelling War-wolf dropping… So, yeah. Need to fix those.
For me, the most glaring inconsistency was poor Pyx’s POV (point-of-view) scenes. I found that once he started to pull back from Luna–which is what he should be doing in the third phase of the story–I couldn’t keep his tone/voice in-character. I wish I could say that was me letting Pyx’s angsty-ness flow… But, yeah. His POV scenes started to read very ‘flat’ to me. Eventually, I added Ryorin because I’m supposed to be writing a romantic comedy, and it wasn’t very comedic during Pyx’s POV scenes.
I’d encountered the same issue when I wrote Bane. Keeping Therion in-character all the time kinda broke my brain. But what I found was that I’d infused his POV scenes with his personality when I wrote the second draft. I hope that I’m able to do the same with Pyx. I love being able to write stoic heroes, like Zver, Atrates, and Kinixys. But I also love my insane, goofy heroes like Therion, Nikolas, and Pyxis. I just need to remember that the goal of the first draft is to have a whole story with all the main parts and no impossible-to-patch plot holes.
So, look for changes in the back half of the book when I revise Pyx’s POV scenes.
This was my first time writing first person, present-tense point-of-view. Honestly…at times it was fine. At times it was great. At times it was a dumpster fire. There were parts where I’d spent too much time in the POV character’s head. And although I thought Luna and Pyx were delightfully odd–and that having access to their minds was fun–at times, it did drag down the story.
The problem I’ll have is self-editing those parts. Because, like I said, I found them fun.
So, what’s next?
Oh! Oh! I can answer this one!
I’m moving right along to the next book in the Slow & Steady series: Let Down Your Hare. Eeek! This will be Joia and Ryorin’s story. Also, it will be my NaNoWriMo 2021 project and not a serial.
Why not a serial?
Well, for a few reasons…
I started the Slow & Steady serials in 2020 because, during those early days of quarantining and social distancing, I needed something light and fun that also kept me writing. As I wrote By a Hare, my purpose for the serial changed. See, I’ve never written an entire series before. My three books with The Ladyships have taught me that I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. I decided to use the Slow & Steady series as a ‘proof of concept.’ This is why, even though Rez/Kin and Luna/Pyx have completed serials, I do not plan to publish them as books until the series is complete.
I want to be able to edit all of the books for consistency. Such as, if I find something isn’t working in book three due to something I wrote and published in book one, well… You get the idea.
But Bex, this still doesn’t tell us why Let Down Your Hare won’t be a serial.
Oh. Right. Because of word count.
I wrote 30,000 words the last 30 days of The Velveteen Tortoise because I finally knew exactly where the story was going. For Jo and Ryorin’s story, I want to do my typical writing process: plot/SFD, write a first draft, then second draft, etc… I also want to see if I’m able to get more written if I am not spending time doing my best to revise/clean-up scenes so that they can be posted online.
I do plan to post snippets/excerpts as I write. I am not sure where I’ll be doing that… if it will be solely on Facebook or my blog. So, if you do have thoughts about that, please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Ah, yes. Culler. I have not forgotten Dius. In fact, working straight through on my drafts for Slow & Steady should help me with his book. After all, Culler is the fourth in The Ladyships and, as I said, I have no idea how to manage a series arc. Writing the rest of the Slow & Steady books should help me learn.
Thank You All So Much!
Lastly, I want to thank my family, friends, and my author buddies for all your support! Love you guys all so much!
And my deepest gratitude to everyone who read and/or commented. Thank you so much, everyone!
All the best,
October 31, 2021
Feel free to leave comments.
As always, thank you so much for reading!
From Slow & Steady: The Velveteen Tortoise
Copyright © 2020, 2021 by Bex McLynn
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