After puttering out in the last couple of chapters, I overcame the rut and finally finished Descent, the follow-up to Heritage Lost. Well, finished the drafting part . . . I’m currently neck-deep in revisions. Revisions, however, have always come easiest for me. My drafts are always sparse, so revisions include more fleshing out, particularly descriptions. Like most other writers, there are intensive rewrites, too.
So far two scenes have undergone massive rewrites, and being only 82 pages in, I’m sure there are going to be several more as the story is refined and characters come into their own.
After a productive April and May where I felt on top of the world and was knocking out words, I find myself stalling. Words are still finding their way to paper, and I’m down to two chapters on Descent; however, I’m not where I had envisioned myself being by July, and each and every word is a struggle to get down.
As with all things, I know this will pass, and until then, I aim to just push through. My ultimate goal is to have the last two chapters of Descent concluded by the end of this weekend. Then I hope to catch up on posts here, including a continuation of the Lessons for OUAT series, several book reviews, and more letter posts. I’m also hoping to launch a profile series of indie authors. If you are interested in being profiled, please reach out to me at the below contact form.
Hopefully, I’ll have a happier report at the end of July. Please wish me luck.
“Hard to say that, ma’am. Especially after what we saw last night,” Aquila responded, tone grim. “We may not all be gems, but I like to think what happened to that girl wouldn’t have happened here.”
“The Promise: A Heritage Verse Story” By S.M. Wright
Beginning May 29, a revised version of The Promise, the prequel novella to Heritage Lost that shows Katya’s life on Reznic prior to The Maelstrom, will be available for download on Amazon for 99 cents: https://amz.run/3EdL. This prequel novella will also be available for free to subscribers of my newsletter; simply sign up using this link, http://eepurl.com/g4lYwr, and wait for the welcome email — you might need to check your spam folder.
If you do sign up for my newsletter, rest assured that I will never spam your inbox. I aim to do a quarterly email, with the odd release email sent out from time to time. My newsletters will include exclusive content, news, writing tips, and more.
In addition to the new release, the Heritage Lost‘s e-book will also be on sale from May 27 (starting at 8 a.m. PT) through June 1 (ending at 11 p.m. PT) for $1.99 (normally, it is $4.99). If you’ve been wanting to dip into the Heritage Verse, now is the perfect opportunity to do so!
If you end up purchasing either story and enjoy them, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or wherever you prefer. Reviews are a major help to authors and can keep us going.
For a bit of fun, I thought it would be great to examine the TV series, Once Upon A Time, which, in my opinion, started strong before faltering in quality and becoming laden with oh-so-many plot holes, inconsistencies, disappearing characters, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I still love OUAT despite all its flaws. However, I thought it’d be fun to glean writing lessons from it. Even though a novelist doesn’t have all of the external factors that can plague a screenwriter or showrunner, such as actors leaving before your narratively ready for them to, there are still commonalities embedded in the simple act of telling a story. (Spoilers begin after this point.)
I have previously written about my self-publishing journey: why I opted for this pathway and how I pursued it. Heritage Lost was my first full-length novel release, and as such, there was an immense learning curve that my short story releases couldn’t prepare me for. There are numerous things that I will do differently (as long as I don’t self-sabotage myself) with my next release.
Here are the top four elements of my release that I would do differently, especially now as I reflect about six months later.
No. 1: Better Time Management
I gravely miscalculated the amount of time that I would need to finish up the final polishing revisions, which pushed back the formatting of Heritage Lost and, in turn, the finished paperback cover as an official page count was needed to determine the spine’s dimensions. Yes, there were circumstances beyond my control–a death in the family–that greatly impacted my original plan of having everything wrapped up by the end of my vacation from the day job. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I should have had a larger dent done in the revisions even before my vacation.
She relinquished her grip, recoiling from the creature’s pinched and pulled face filled with sharp teeth that poked out at odd angles [. . .] Their faces (were) somewhat narrow with furrows around their jaws, flat noses. A large amount of body hair. — Heritage Lost, page 27-28
This mammalian species offers brute force to the Magistrate as one part of its elite special forces–often a collection of species with unique abilities. Breks were made infamous by their role in the Re’alle Conflict, which resulted in the utter eradication of a fringe military group on-world, with some accusations of extensive collateral damage by those residing in Re’alle’s Low Country; however, the genocide occurring on the world has led others to view forceful intervention as a necessity.
Breks are built with muscle and are both bipedal and quadrupedal. Hair covers most of their bodies, except for their faces (much like our world’s gorillas). Like the other species who form the Magistrate’s elite special forces, much of what is known about them by the general populace is hearsay; however, they are known to be carnivorous.
Similar to the Oneiroi, the Breks keep to themselves. They have a strong pack/tribe mentality and are extremely loyal to those within it, which are often family members but sometimes outsiders who are adopted in. There are some divides between certain packs, often extending centuries into the past, but the Magistrate has effectively navigated these to turn the Breks into a uniformed fighting force.
Since the Breks are unable to speak worded languages or to readily understand them, the Magistrate developed a clicking code to communicate with them in addition to a form of sign language based on hand signals Breks used prior to contact. In general, though, Breks communicate with each other through a variety of vocal ticks.
Largely trapped at home, save for work, thanks to COVID-19 self-isolation, I did manage to get a lot of writing done during the month of April. I fell short of my 30,000 word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo; however, I did come close to completing Descent‘s rough draft. I am down to four chapters, according to the outline. So despite not hitting my marker, I will count April as a win because I can finally see the light at the end of the tower.
I reached some scenes I had been looking forward to for quite some time. I also got to write some new characters who I adore. I like to think I crafted some really great lines and scenes, but I’ve also had a lot of dark spirals into doubt and impostor syndrome. I try not to entertain such feelings, but it did latch in fairly hard, using the roughness of my draft to mock me. But as always, I know that sensation will pass. It only takes time.Continue reading “A Tardy April Recap”
“Yep, I’m getting a promotion and my own ship. The esteemed members of the Agoranomi and the Magistrate Brass themselves see me as invaluable. Of course, this is something we already knew.”
“Quite the ego.” Akakios exhaled and shifted in his chair. “But congratulations are in store. May your ship serve you well.”
“I’m sure it will. It’s called the Aletheia.” She slanted her head toward Amyntas and Sotiris. “We should be quite content on her. After all, the Magistrate calls, and we answer . . . always answering.”
Kallistrate and Akakios discourse, Heritage Lost
In Heritage Lost, one member of the Oneiroi’s Agoranomi–Kyros Anagnos–is introduced. The Oneiroi, who will be receiving their own entry once we reach “O,” are based loosely off Greek mythology, and so the Agoranomi also have their roots in Greece. They were namely magistrates of the market where they maintained order and policy. Among their duties, they settled disputes, examined of the quality of the articles exposed for sale, inspected weights and measures, collected harbor dues, and enforced the shipping regulations.
Full disclosure: I’m not Catholic, but I could really use the divine intervention of saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists — I am both — to sort out the mess my series notes have become for the Heritage Verse, thus saving me from a madness of my own making.
When I wrote my fantasy series, I meticulously plotted out a series bible for it (a paper binder at the time). However, with my sci-fi novel, I have engaged in rather opprobrious cataloging efforts. I will have people remark when I’m explaining world-building elements that it’s pretty incredible the amount of information I have and they always ask how I keep it all straight. The answer? Very poorly. I’m trusting my brain too much to remember it all, and now as I’m diving into the sequel novel, I am finding that some information is slipping, meaning lost writing time as I have to pause and refresh.
And that is where a thorough series bible would come in handy. For those who are diving into series, series bibles really are essential. When you are world-building, there are so many details to keep track of, and without a series bible, some of those details are going to fall through the cracks. In my own experience recently, I am finding myself going back through my published book more than I thought I would need, and it would just be so much easier and quicker to have a document that tracks everything I need for continuity as it pertains to characters, plot, and world-building elements.Continue reading “Of Francis de Sales, Chaos, Insanity, And Series Bibles”
Don’t forget tomorrow, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, I will be doing live readings at 7 p.m. on my author Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/smwrightauthor. Friday will be chapter one with chapter two to follow on Saturday. If you miss Friday, don’t worry. I will do a brief recap.
Saturday, I will be probably myself a nice glad of wine in honor if my birthday. Bring your own glass.
It should be a fun relaxing night. If you have any questions, ask them as I read and I’ll answer them.