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Posts Tagged ‘Prisoners of the Wailing Tower’

Yesterday was my last day of school before break. The students got on their buses at 2:20 pm and the principal came down the hall at 2:25 telling us we didn’t need to stay. All the teachers burst out of the building celebrating. In a dignified and respectful way, of course.

So I’ve turned off my morning alarms. I look forward to not taking my temperature every morning, and not having a mask on for 6 hours straight during the day.

I also look forward to completing the third draft revision on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I’m literally five pages from the end. I also have one background character that I think I gave two different names, so that needs to be straightened out. Details, details. Then, I have a short story to work on for the time capsule anthology I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The story isn’t due until May, but I’d like to take care of it so I can start working on my next Minstrels of Skaythe novella.

I hope you all get a break, too, in whatever form it comes to you.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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The third draft revision for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, that is. I’ve done my first read-through, where I highlight everything that I might want to fix. Now I’m on about page 20 of 120, going through word by word.

I’ve discovered a few words that I definitely used too much. Some characters don’t walk, they either strut or swagger. Others can’t just look at you, they scowl or glare. When they talk, they all sneer. So obviously I’m working to refine my vocabulary and eliminate those redundancies.

The only plot related problem to work out is the horse issue. (Will the horses run away in the middle of a battle.) I thought I had it solved, with the horse being well trained enough not to trample my protagonist. Then I remembered that the horses were also blinded in the battle. So I still have some thinking to do there.

Over all, I’m pleased with it. With school being fairly intense, I’m only getting through about 10 pages a day of careful work. I still should finish before Christmas, though. I’ll have a completed novella to toast at New Year’s. My expected publication date is in May of 2021.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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First, I appreciate all of you who responded to my question about what makes a good ending. Blogging can be a bit like talking to oneself, so thanks!

I am still, in fact, working on the ending for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. Not the “grand finale” with its running battles, but the aftermath. Those last reflections that show how the characters have changed during the course of the story. To me, these quieter moments of thought are almost as important as the outcome of the plot. And, since this is fourth in a series, there’s also a bit of looking ahead to the trials that remain.

It isn’t perfect yet. However, it is good enough to print out and give to my first readers. We writers get scolded a lot that we mustn’t let anyone see our work until it’s ginger-peachy-perfect. I think that’s a mistake. Writers can’t guard our stories like they’re the Hope Diamond. We have to let them out into the world. Anyway, I can continue tweaking those last five pages without affecting the first readers.

So — Yahoo, the second draft is finished!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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As in, temperatures over 100 degrees for three days in a row. Anything I needed to do outside, I’ve done it as early as possible. That allows me to hunker down inside with the family, and play video games…

Uh, write! I meant write.

Seriously, I have been pushing ahead on revisions of Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I’m just about at the 3/4 mark. Quite often I find myself thinking, “Man, I really went easy on these characters.” Then I remember how I just slammed words down to finish the first draft. I always knew the second draft would require more concentration on the ending.

Anyhow, it looks like I can finish this draft before I report back to school on September 2nd. Woot! However, I still need at least one more draft. Since school is also going to require extra concentration, my hope to publish in November is coming more and more into doubt.

Don’t worry, I have a backup project! And I’ll tell you about that if it becomes necessary.

The other fun thing is that I’ve had a “heat wave” on the next Minstrels of Skaythe novella. (Which will be #5, if you’re keeping track.) Many details remain to be discovered, but at least I know what the core of the story will be. It might not exactly be the concluding volume I had assumed. Either there will be a sixth novella, or… I don’t know.

This is 2020! Why am I even trying to plan ahead?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Something strikes me as I continue working on revisions of my latest novella. The next one will be the the last of the Minstrels of Skaythe series.

Up to this time, the individual novellas have stood more or less on their own. My minstrels have had their separate adventures, trying to fly under the radar of Dar-Gothull’s oppressive regime. That will be much more difficult after the end of Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. So in addition to fixing this draft, I’m starting to gather my thoughts about the next one.

There are already quite a few characters in the four novellas. I need to consider which ones will appear in the finale. Likewise, the evil mages who have grudges against the various minstrels. What will their roles be? Also, there is one specific image, predicted near the end of The Tower in the Mist, that I need to make real.

Most of all, I need to decide the outcome for the total series. Can a rag-tag band really take down an evil empire? If they do, what will replace it? I believe it’s important to be honest with readers. A flimsy, pat ending might be comfortable, but it would also feel hollow. And I’ll tell you now, I’m not setting out to write a flimsy, hollow story with Minstrels of Skaythe.

Those of you who have read these novellas know that I’m not afraid of gray endings. That’s intentional, really. I want to leave space for the readers to think their own thoughts about what will happen in the new status quo.

So that’s what I’m pondering at the moment.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? The decision has been made. The county health officer says school re-openings are not safe, so we’ll begin the 2020-2021 school year teaching remotely. Honestly, I feel optimistic. I have some fun ideas about what the digital environment might look like. If my supervising teacher agrees, I’ll be using a role-playing game as a mechanism for social/emotional learning. Many tutorials await.

What I’m Working On. As previously mentioned, I’m in the midst of revising Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I’ve managed to consolidate a few short scenes into one medium one, but I’ve also added a couple. We shall see if I’m able to reduce the total word count in this draft.

What’s Next? It remains to be seen if I feel Prisoners is ready for publication in late November. But, for obvious reasons, most of the events where I would have publicized a new e-book have been cancelled. I do plan to participate in Bad Moon Rising, a book event hosted by horror novelist Teri Polen every October. So there’s that to look forward to.

Fun and games. Currently I’m playing Animal Crossing as a casual game, and my beloved Dragon Age Inquisition for action, romance and adventure. I’ve also been setting aside time to read in the evenings or work on jigsaw puzzles. I stay up too late with video games.

This week is my husband’s vacation from work. This is kind of weird, since I feel like I’ve already been on vacation since March. But he hasn’t been. At any moment I may be snatched away from what I’m doing to go for a hike or to the lake, but that’s okay. Prisoners and Inquisition will still be there when we get back.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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The end of summer is coming into sight. As a school worker, this always throws me into a frenzy of trying to finish summer projects. This year, though, things have been so weird. I don’t need to tell you why. Yesterday I spent an hour in an online union meeting, discussing what needs to be in our Memo of Understanding for the 2020-2021 school year. Now the bargaining team can get down to it.

Even with all that, I’ll be very surprised if we return to our buildings. I think we should, if it’s at all possible to be safe, but the challenges seem insurmountable. So it’s possible I may be laid off, like half of the rest of the country. It’s like the giant Ah-bi-yo-yo is coming over the horizon.

You have to be of a certain age to get that reference. Sorry, younglings.

On a more pleasant note, I’ve still been able to get in to tend the school garden. Today I thinned about a pound of Yellowstone carrots and donated them to the local food bank. We also got to go to the lake last Sunday, which was fantastic.

In addition to all that, I am revising Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. It’s going well. I hope you’re all able to focus and make progress on your projects, too.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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… With dialogue, that is.

One of my favorite techniques when revising is to bring in more dialogue between characters. After all, humans are inherently social. One might even say we’re nosy. Dialogue is a really great way to draw readers in and show them who the characters are.

Writers can pack in a lot of subtle information through conversation. Who wants something from the others? Who has lower status? Who is being honest and who is being sneaky? Writers should always make our passages pull double duty when we can.

Currently I’m working on Lorrah’s arc, and she is traveling with Badger Squad. Some of you will remember my women warriors from the first volume, The Tower in the Mist. There are six of them. I don’t want them to be faceless minions. So having them chatter — with Lorrah or with each other — is one way to bring them to life.

Dialogue is also great for breaking up long passages of description, or the dreaded info-dump. Why have a character sitting there, pondering a problem, when they could be talking about it with someone?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Yep, I’m down to it. Revisions have begun on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I’ve started with Lorrah’s plot arc, which is somewhat simpler. This will give me extra “think time” on Alemin’s more complicated arc.

Of course, there are issues. I’ve discovered that I repeated myself a few times — and I’m only in the third segment. It seems I was trying to orient myself as I started the new section, but I really don’t need to describe the same camp site twice. So I’ll have to decide where that description has the most impact. This is not entirely a bad thing, since I want to reduce the novella’s total length by at least 10,000 words.

On the other hand, Lorrah’s character was somewhat vague when I started work on the first draft. Now that I know her better, I’m having new thoughts about her situation. These allow me to strengthen and focus her character.

I would say it’s a work in progress, but that would be a cliche. However true it might be!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve been working away on the second draft of Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, and I think I have the plot more in order. Thanks to those of you who commented on my question last time. I really appreciate it. Lorrah’s act of courage does have more impact. However, I’ll probably work that twist in there somehow, for pacing purposes.

I now have a better arrangement of plot events, especially on Lorrah’s arc. Alemin’s still may need work. While I fiddle with those ideas, I’m also making a list of all the other prisoners in the Larder and giving each one a few quirks. Same with the prison guards. There really needs to be more than one guard with a name.

By the end of the week, I expect to actually be re-arranging my printed plot sections so I can start on the second draft. Because so much extensive work needs to be done, I will not be editing the existing text. Instead, I’ll start a whole new document. More typos may creep in this way, but I find the text has a fresh flow when I do it this way.

Meanwhile, I’ll be working on each of the two POV characters separately. This should allow me to focus on making their arcs stronger. In the end, I’ll be able to weave them back together in a single manuscript.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and able to rally some concentration on your writing.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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