Ready to Write

The readthrough on the first third of Blood for Blood is finished.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. In the last chapter I wrote before I stopped, there was a hook for a little sub-plot involving a minor character (one who ends up dead in the next chapter, as a matter of fact) that probably seemed like a good idea at the time. In retrospect, it would have been more words for little effect. So I whacked it out.

But other than that, there wasn’t a lot of rewriting –  a few places where my original wording was unclear or not as precise as I wanted it to be. Just normal editing/rewriting stuff that I would have caught and changed when I did the first readthrough after completion.

That final chapter had a slight whiff of the problems that would come to the forefront in the full chapter I trashed when I stopped. Talking about stuff that really wasn’t interesting. In excruciating detail. Things that didn’t move the story forward. That were just words for the sake of words. I trimmed that up in Chapter Ten, while leaving just a little of it in to show the technological savvy of a character.

And I think it gave me some insight into my state of mind when I stopped three months ago. I wasn’t feeling well, but I felt compelled to keep on pushing through and finish the book. So I became very detailed. Even pedantic. The ideas weren’t flowing as well as they usually do, so I worked what ideas I had. Not good.

But that’s all behind me now. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, about two weeks after I stopped, I realized how to get out of that funk and actually wrote the first sentence of Chapter Eleven. But I REALLY wasn’t feeling great at that point, so I decided to let it sit there and be the jumping off point when I got back to it. Which it will be tomorrow.

All of these life changes have changed my scheduling, of course. The novelization of Last Rites is on the backburner right now. I’d like to finish Blood for Blood by late August and get it out in early September. Then on to Crimson Star and the eight-chapter mini that I’ve spoken about in the past. Four chapters immediately before the vampires overrun No-Name City, four chapters detailing Welles’s last days in the internment camp. Which will be part of the box set of the first three (or four) Night and Day books, and also available for free to those who subscribe to the mailing list.

Then on to the next Night and Day book.

I’m also going to build in some downtime –  instead of doing four books a year, maybe three is enough. Even when I’m back in the ”pink” of health, I want to make sure that I don’t burn out again.

So tomorrow…it’s the second sentence and more of Chapter Eleven…

Thoughts-O-Matic Vol 4

Yes, it’s that time again. Little bliplits that aren’t long enough for a full post. I actually do have something to do a full post about, but I can’t remember what it is at the moment. It’ll come to me in time….

Benny the Night Security Guard – Benny’s a minor character that’s been around since Night and Day. We first meet him when Welles has to threaten him to get some information about who’s in the building. The inference is that he’s a relatively new hire, who has never seen Welles coming in and out of the office and doesn’t recognize him as somebody who works there. He doesn’t have a name – he’s just the night security guard. Even after he saves Welles’s life later in the book, he doesn’t get a name.

I rectified that in Bleeding Sky when he gets his name in the couple of “in passing” scenes that he’s in. He’s not in Bandit’s Moon (but then again, Welles isn’t in the office except at the beginning of that one). He’s just popped up in Blood for Blood – and though it’s another small scene, while writing it occurred to me that maybe some future Night and Day book might have more for Benny to do. I can’t see him becoming a major supporting character, but he’s done yoeman’s work there behind the security counter at night, so maybe he deserves a little of the spotlight. Yes, I do occasionally think about things like that.

Crimson Star – The new, improved name of the fifth Night and Day book, the one I was formerly thinking of and talking about as the awful Bloody Star. Or maybe The Crimson Star. I mentioned the title to somebody recently, and wrote “The” in front of the name, and the instant question was “Is The Crimson Star some kind of cult?” Well no, it’s not, but it could be. A cabal of five humans who drink vampire blood (or six, if it’s a Crimson Star of David). Or five humans who drink human blood hoping to become vampires. Or something else. But it’s not. It refers to something else entirely.

Though there’s a chance that the sixth or seventh Night and Day book might have some culty stuff. You know, the one with Philly, the Underpants Man.

Villains – I really try to mix up the nature of the bad guys in Night and Day. Sometimes they’re human, sometime they’re vampires. I, myself, an human (more or less). The readers of the Night and Day series are presumably human (it’s really hard to crack the vampire market – there aren’t a lot of them – yet – and they mostly stay away from each other, so word of mouth is out…) My protagonist, Charlie Welles, is human. The easy way to go, the obvious way to go, would be to make the vampires the villains of each book in the series.

But I can’t do that. Because I have an ambivalent view of the vampires, not so different from Welles’s. Yes, they are inhuman monsters that drink blood. But they were once people, and much of the “people” they were is still there. So they’re good and bad. Some are evil. Some people are evil. Some are misguided. Some people are misguided. Most are a mixture, as are most people. Night and Day had vampire villains. Bleeding Sky had a vampire sort-of villain. Bandit’s Moon had a human villain. Blood for Blood has a human villain. Crimson Star will have a vampire villain. It all depends on the story. People can be monsters too. Sometimes worse than real monsters.

The Short – Still don’t have a snappy title for it, yet. But I have been giving it a fair amount of thought, in between other things I’m thinking about. It’ll be eight chapters long, approximately 30,000 words, half taking place in the last four days before No Name City is overrun by the vampires and Charlie Welles is scooped up/interned, half taking place in the last four days before Welles is released from internment, along with the other half million people in Camp Delta-5.

There have been bits and pieces about the events of those eight days in various series books. But this will be the story. The fall of No Name City. Life in the internment camp. Welles getting together with Joshua Thomas. I hope to get started on it after I finish up Blood for Blood and before I start Last Rites. And I hope to finish before Last Rites is released, so I can release that and the first three Night and Day books, along with the short, as a box set. More as I get closer.

Blood for Blood Progress – I’m about a third of the way through. It’ll be smooth sailing for another six or seven chapters (i.e. I know basically what will be happening). I also know where I need to be at the end. That leaves me 10–12 chapters that are, at this point, a mystery to me. I know some things that will be happening, but what I know won’t fill the 30–40,000 words that will need to be filled.

Of course, I’m sure that at this very moment I am unconsciously planting seeds that will blossom into thousands of compelling words. If not, I’m sure I’ll come up with something before I get to the abyss.