Monday, September 16, 2013

Where Is The Awakening II?

A few people have asked me where The Awakening II is. Which makes me happy because it means they must have read The Awakening. It's been about two years since the first book was published, so I thought I should answer the question.

Right now, it's on my dining room table. That is, the first draft of it is. A second/third draft (I rewrite in pieces) is in the laptop. 


I should add that, actually, first I outline, which sometimes takes longer than the first draft. So I basically write from point to point in my outline, in sort of a mad dash to the end. Rather than get distracted by the Internet - not that I ever am, of course - if I need to research something I put a bolded note in brackets to check it later. For instance, when I wasn't sure what the national language for Turkey was, I used "Turkish," then in brackets said [check this]. (Turns out it's Turkish.) 

This approach to first drafting means I spend a lot of time rewriting.  I start with the various plot lines. I did a Find in Word for Ray -- Tara's biological father, who has a small role to play. I read each scene involving Ray in order, skipping over everything else, to make sure his story fit together, then did that for the other characters.

I'm now pretty much done with the main plot and sub-plots, so my next step is to look at the overall order of scenes. Sometimes I wrote all the Cyril scenes (yes, he's back for those who loved/hated him) in a row when really, looking at the time line, other scenes belong in between. Then I'll rewrite from beginning to end on the laptop, experimenting with point of view and asking myself what the viewpoint character sees, tastes, smells, hears, and feels (both tactile feeling and emotion). Finally, I'll look at the lines and words themselves. This includes lengths of sentences, lengths of paragraphs, lengths of chapters. Also actual words - is the same word used too many times on a page or in a chapter? Can I say anything more succinctly? As in, can I use fewer adverbs like "succinctly"?

Then I'll print the whole manuscript out, wait a couple weeks, then read it. I'll particularly look for any scene where the characters are sitting and talking or sitting and thinking. Or standing and talking. I don't cut all those scenes, but if there are a number in a row, or one is very long, I try to find something more active that could get the same point across, or intersperse the dialogue with another scene that involves action. In each chapter, I ask myself if the stakes can be raised. I also look for too much action. Sometimes a reader needs a break, a moment to just breathe and be with the characters. After I've made those changes, and I feel like I'll throw up if I look at it one more time, I'll send it on to first readers and/or take part of it to a writing workshop. (That's Mr. Bird reviewing some of my writing. I don't always takes his suggestions, but don't tell him, he's very sensitive.)

So, short answer (which, as you see, is hard to get from a novelist), The Unbelievers (Book II of The Awakening series) is on its way. I'm hoping it'll be ready by Christmas, more likely it'll be somewhere between Christmas and Easter.

In the meantime, if you'd like to be notified when The Unbelievers is available, please click here to join my mailing/email list.

Happy Reading!