Epsilon update – musings on how to release the monster…

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As you can tell, the writing work on Epsilon has slowed a bit the past several weeks, largely because I’ve been trying to work up a backlog for Awakenings (and succeeding).  This has also given me the chance, however, to have the first few chapters of the first book of the Epsilon series vetted by the folks at Critique Circle (much thanks to Freyr and Seagull, who have been critting every offering without fail) and to think a lot about what they’re saying and how I’m feeling about the piece.  The feedback has been amazing and mostly has been catching the small typographical stuff.  Folks are also weighing in a bit on the title question.  I had originally almost settled on Sins of the Father, but another thought train has grabbed me by the neck and I’m hanging on for dear life.

Part 1 of Epsilon‘s first book is already 44k+ words long, not including front material, dramatis personae, and the like.  There are a few sections where I could probably add a chapter or two, bulk it up a little to 50-60K words, and release it to stand on its own.  That would save me from the awkward three year gap that takes place in the middle of the novel.  This would mean rewriting huge chunks of what’s currently Part 2, but I’d be okay with that–and with the pressure of a Book 1 already unleashed upon the world, I’d have to dedicate myself to pushing out the second book (and so on) as fast as me and any of my editors can get it done.

Sins of the Father, however, wouldn’t make a good title for Part 1 at all, not the way it’s written right now, and that’s not really going to change.  I did have a suggestion from a longtime friend, though, for a title based on the very first few pages of the book, which I foisted on him one day when he was complaining about being bored at work.  The title was Broken Stars, which definitely describes Aaron William Taylor and his new-found friend and cohort Lucas Ross very well.  I’ll have to get some friendly friend types to weigh in on this…but with some input from Erik, I’ve mocked up a cover.

Looks pretty neat if you ask me!  If I do end up going this route, depending on the editing of the project, it would probably end up being released as an ebook by the end of September, maybe, probably at a pretty low price point ($0.99-$2.99) through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords (since if I do this right, Smashwords will then distribute it to the Apple Bookstore, Kobo, and others).

 

Volunteer editors wanted; comment here, contact me on Facebook, or shoot me an e-mail at doc (at) embklitzke (dot) com (or the usual hotmail address, if you’ve got that one).

 

 

Update: per several suggestions (including the one below), I’ve done a fresh mock-up of the cover with darker lettering.

 

Epsilon/UoC update – It’s official, they’re going rogue on me.

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Like the title says, it’s official: Caren Flannery, Aaron Taylor, et. al. are going rogue on me.  This was in the wake of a plot revelation that came to me last night as I was laying down to go to sleep, which prompted me to roll out of bed, turn on the light, and scribble said plot revelation on the whiteboard next to my bed that used to contain paragraphs for my thesis (which is now on the shelves at Kresge Library if folks are curious) and my work schedule at the store.  More plotbunnies attacked this afternoon, which led to a partial re-imagining of a darling I thought that I’d killed off.  C’est la vie, it is as it is and will be what it will be (which, in this case, is interesting to say the least since I think the re-imagined scene will work a lot better for the narrative as a whole).  However, this turn of events is causing me to reconsider how long Epsilon will actually be and what’s actually going to be happening in Book 1.

That is to say it’s probably going to be longer than the predicted 90,000 words.

On another note, a friend of mine from GVSU, Jessica, has sort of volunteered to maybe try her hand at some book covers for me–we’ll see how that works out!  I’m grateful for the offer, since I’m not much good at the artsy stuff (other than writing, sewing, and jewelry, that is).  She’s currently got some drafts of stuff to look over so she knows what she’d be getting into and I’m looking forward to her feedback.

 

As for me, tonight is dinner and Captain America with Mike.  A grand time shall be had by all!  Critiques on the Epsilon book 1 draft at Critique Circle continue to be positive and only hitting on small things, nothing glaring, huge, and ugly.  Chapter 3 starts getting critiques next week (I was only able to post the first half so far, though I may try to post the second half in the same week if it’s possible).  Tomorrow, back to the writerly grindstone.

Projects update for 22 July 2011 – Awakenings and UoC/Epsilon book 1

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You know that you’ve made it with your webfiction, I guess, when the spambots start to leave comments for you along with the real people leaving actual comments for you.  Thank god for Akismet.

Awakenings has gotten surprisingly long already, and I’m sort of shocked at its length!  I’d originally planned to release the whole first year as one ebook, but if I wait and do that, it’s going to be one monster ebook, so I’m starting to reassess my thought process on that one.  To give you an idea of what I’m talking about…Awakenings is already over 60k words, and I’m still in week 2 in story time.  Of course, things will be a little more spread out (no one day is going to take more than two chapters now, I don’t think, unlike Day Zero, which took five and a prologue), but there’s still a lot of time to cover, and a lot of time equals a lot of words.



Epsilon
book 1, in the meantime, clicks along rather well, though the second and third chapters of Part 2 have been giving me some minor issues with pacing and what I want to have happen.  It’s a major rewrite from previous drafts, especially with regards to how a certain narrator regains her memory (again, linked to a major metaplot about a certain other narrator’s father).  This, coupled with the murdering of a few darlings (sorry about the writer’s terminology, if anyone’s unfamiliar–basically, it’s getting rid of story elements that you as an author may have liked but don’t really push the story forwards in effective or beneficial ways) means that it’s a very, very careful rewrite.  I’m feeling really good about the draft, though, in general, and it’s going well.

Book 1 may actually only end up being two parts, the first with Aaron narrating and the second with Caren narrating — time and story flow will tell, though I think it will end up around the 90k word mark.  After I’m done writing this update, I’ll be returning to it to start writing Chapter 15, in which Caren will probably be reacquainting herself with an old friend (or three).

Some other writers at Critique Circle have impressed upon me the need to have a Dramatis Persona, especially considering the number of secret agents with aliases that I’m working with.  Here’s a preview of the work in progress.


 

Dramatis Personae

 Epsilon Alliance SpecOps field officers

Aaron Taylor (Avatar), alias Wil Terrel – Class of 2257
Caren Flannery (Renegade) – Class of 2257
Haley Brink (Star), alias Trey Connelly – Class of 2257
Marc Carter (Avenger) – Class of 2257
Melissa Cordare (Ice), aliasTabitha Lane– Class of 2257
John Kathe (Shiner), alias Harmin Rise – Class of 2257
Omar Krishna (Ash) – Class of 2257
Matthew Lawless (Doom), alias Kyle Rezek – Class of 2257
Michael Reale (Fire) – Class of 2257
Hannah Smoke (Raven) – Class of 2257

Epsilon Alliance SpecOps Command Staff

Jackson Hunter (Longshot), Commander of SpecOps – Class of 2232
Cornelius Traverse (Jaguar) – Class of 2244

ESF Officers

Lieutenant Commander Casey Flannery, fleet operations
Lieutenant Mackenzie Desantis, flight operations
Dr. Benjamin Mowry, Medical Corps
Lieutenant Allyn Cyne, Intelligence division

Civilians

Dr. Lucas Ross, regional lead for the Resistance
Samantha Cooper, member of the Resistance, later regional lead for the Resistance
Jack Mallek, retired Alliance Marine and member of the Resistance

Drilin Imperium personnel

General Adonis Taylor, Special Projects (deceased)
General Daniel Taylor, Special Projects

 


And now it’s back to the writing salt mines before I head off to the actual salt mines for an evening shift followed by tomorrow morning’s open. Joy.

Uoc/Epsilon update for July 19

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Progress on Epsilon book 1 continues to go very well, despite a few concerns over the past few evenings regarding whether or not a reader might feel “cheated” based on a particular occurrence during chapter 13.  I’ve been assured by a few people that it should work out (thanks, Brandon and Krinny) so I should worry a little less.  As of this writing, I’ve gotten no new critiques of Chapter 1 at Critique Circle.  Chapter 2 is due to go up tomorrow and I’ll get the first half of Chapter 3 queued up to go after that.

In the process of writing this draft of Epsilon, I’ve ended up killing off a lot of “darlings” (thanks again, Krinny).  They were things that, in hindsight, didn’t do nearly as much as I thought to progress the story.  Then again, the addition of some new characters in this draft has eliminated the need for some of the old darlings (ie, I used to need a way to get Caren and Aaron out of the Borderworlds and back home to Varice; later I’ll need them to go to Epsilon.  Lucas Ross provides a fantastic reason for that to happen).  Of course, the decision to chop the originally planned novel (which would have been incredibly huge) into several smaller chunks means that some of the metaplots won’t actually be resolved until much later on in the narrative (Aaron’s relationship with his father comes to mind, though that is and will remain the most important metaplot in the whole Epsilon arc).  Either way, it’s going to be a very interesting ride.

 

In other news (but in the same universe), my short story Falling Stars has been appropriately chopped and sent off to the person organizing the anthology.  The good news is that it’s done.  The bad news is that the anthology is really looking like it might fall through, though that’s through no fault of his or mine.  If that ends up being the case, I’ll probably collect Falling Stars with a few other UoC shorts and release them as a low-cost ebook as a precursor or companion to the release of Epsilon book 1.  I don’t have any ideas on when these will be released at this point, but stay tuned for updates.

After all, I still need a name for Epsilon book 1 that isn’t simply “Epsilon, Book 1.”

Writing update for July 17

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Progress on Epsilon is coming along very, very well at this point, though the fact that I’ve been working on it so hard lately has caused a bit of concern amongst some of my friends (who have since been reassured that I am not, in fact, going completely off my nut).  Book 1 is past the midway point and the critiques I’ve been getting at Critique Circle have only pointed out one or two things, which is good and makes me that much more confident about what I’m doing.

I have quite a bit more work to do on The Last Colony, however, but I think I can handle that–and if I can’t, well, the only person that gets hurt is me.  Awakenings is doing okay, though hits are down the past week or so.

I’m under deadline to get the short story “Falling Stars” prepped for a possible anthology.  If the anthology itself falls through, I’ll probably expand it slightly and then release it through smashwords as a 99¢ short story ebook, probably with a preview of Epsilon book 1.

If anyone’s got ideas on a title for Epsilon book 1, please leave me a note to that regard.  At this point, it’ll probably be three sections, two from Aaron’s point of view and one from Caren’s point of view, bringing everything up to the beginning of the Unification War.  Book 2 will probably deal mostly with the Unification War, leaving later books to deal with later conflicts.

From the Annals of Xerafeln Kindaer

From an untitled fantasy project in an untitled fantasy world (the same world as Fate and Second Chances).

            For more than two hundred years, Felicitiana Solonastarn-Kindaer Verrel has ruled Kel Carridal, the shining jewel of Valellen, the sacred city amidst the ancient trees, capital of the Elven Kingdom of Valyn in centuries long since passed.  It is a city, a nation that she wrested from the grip of fel powers such as the devil Grendalis and his minions, who had held the city for more than a thousand years.
            The fel powers would never forgive her for it.
            In the past centuries, the forces of Kel Carridal—drawn largely from the exiled elves of Kel Dannan, who lost their home to similar powers and civil strife within a decade of the recapturing of Kel Carridal—had crafted lasting peace, especially after they liberated the subterranean city of Tyr Evlanarnon from the same fel powers that had held Kel Carridal.  That was nearly a century ago.
            Fifty years ago, the Wraithien came.  Sentient undead, they poured from the blight that has since come to be known as the Spawn Lands, nestled in the heart of the continent, far to the southwest of Valellen and Jalanthe, far to the southeast of Port Valens and the Dravenwood.  The Spawn Lands have only grown since the first of the Wraithien emerged from it.  They overwhelmed the nearby settlements, forcing their way out of the Spawn Lands in every direction, laying waste wherever they went.  Some places withstood them—the Dravenwood thwarted them, halting their advance toward Port Valens; they never managed to press further north in that region, not much past the highway that wends east-west between Port Valens and Jalanthe.  Still, the road is a dangerous one; many travelers have been overrun by the Wraithien each year, disappearing into their camps and settlements…most never to be seen again.
            The furthest north that the Wraithien have managed to press is up across the northern mountain ranges, through the region northeast of Valellen.  Kel Terradoc fell not too many years ago and has since become a stronghold for the Wraithien in the north.
            In Kel Carridal, they’ve known of the Wraithien almost since their first appearance—citizens of Valellen were along with one of the first caravans to be attacked by the Wraithien.  Seven were killed, a bare handful returned home from that first fateful encounter.  Few who are captured—and only a bare few are captured, most usually die before the Wraithien can take them—ever return.  No one knows what becomes of them.  Queen Felicitiana, however, has urged caution; she is unwilling to commit her nation to a war when so much is still unknown about the Wraithien threat.
            Of course, the Wraithien have already declared their war.  Still, they do not range too closely to Kel Carridal proper—their noses have been bloodied one too many times for that.  In the years since their rise, despite her reluctance to wage all-out war against this new enemy, Felicitiana has authorized the creation of a standing militia.  This militia, largely consistent of elven rangers and the like, have been counter-raiding against the Wraithien, and this has largely discouraged encroachment.  The last handful of years have seen even more extensive counter-raiding, to the point of destruction of some Wraithien camps.
            What horrors they have seen.  By the gods, what horrors they have seen.

— From the Annals of Xerafeln Kindaer, brother to the Grey Lady, Queen Felicitiana of Valyn

 

Copyright 2007-2011 Erin Klitzke.

Strokes of brilliance?

First off, the Awakenings part of this entry–I’ve written the ending.  I know, right?  I’m probably months away in writing and years away in posting from the end of the whole story, which will quite frankly probably span about fifteen years of in-character time (much more compressed in the writing, I promise!  I really have no real intention of having days take up as many chapters as Day Zero did, I swear.), but I’ve already written the ending.

The ending, of course, sets up everything for the eventual sequel (which I may or may not start writing long before Awakenings has ended), Ambrose, which is about Lin, Thom and Marin’s son, and his eventual adventures in the world that his parents witnessed the birth of.

In essence, Awakenings is about not only survival, but witnessing the return of magic and wonder to the world–the reawakening of preternatural things that modern science could not understand and had almost managed to destroy.  It’s about figuring out what kind of power your inborn affinities hold and about how you can affect the world around you through the strength of your will.  It’s about friendship and love and starting over at the end of everything.  It’s about not giving up even though you want to, and the power of love.

I know where the first year will end, too, but the road to getting there is going to be fun (and maybe depressing, sometimes), to say the least.  I’m partway through the writing of Chapter 8, which will be hitting the site throughout July (it may run into August, but we’ll see what happens there).  I’ve got notes on things that happen throughout the storyline at large, but not everything has a set time frame.  Things will happen, I imagine, as the muse instructs.

I hope it keeps talking and doesn’t run off with Katie’s inner child to Tahiti, because that would be bad (though oddly fitting, since it’s conversations with Katie that made me write Awakenings in the first place).

 

Other random bits…

Finished reading Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks.  If you have not read the Night Angel Trilogy, read it.  Then read this Durzo Blint novella.  It was simply awesome and I read it in…probably about two hours, all told.  Maybe three, but I was distracted by people.

Evil people.

 

And finally….this. (Mostly for you, Bits.  Consider it payback for Iridescent. Which is pretty much Thom’s song for Marin, by the way.)