Excellent tips on how to nail that first chapter. Click link to read the post:
What bad writing advice have you been following?
It’s here! My story, Nor’easter, short-listed for the Storgy writing contest is published!
I opened my eyes against the morning glare but immediately shrunk back from a headache. White and black stars pulsed before my eyes; those two words, “Wake up”, a hammer pulverising the side of my face. Wind blew in from the open window, admitting a mean downdraft which pressed me into the bed. I knew, from the smell of rot trailing in on the draft, how this scene was going to end: a storm was coming, and that storm was me.
The voice. It was Dale’s. Uncle Dale, my blood. My savior. I shook my head to let the information slide into place, but my brain rebelled. It crackled with pain, interference. Tenderly, I put a hand to my forehead, as if that would steady the tumult inside, and felt relief. My face, my skin, my head were whole. Only, I wasn’t. Skin…
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Here’s the update on Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to my self-published book, The Purple Morrow. The formatting for the ebook version is finished! The active Table of Contents is complete, chapter heads, and alternating Headers and Footers are working…OMG, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Here’s something about this process that I thought I’d share. Last week, as I was building up towards the formatted version, I realized I still needed help in order to finish the project right. As some of you know, this is an old manuscript: about 2 years old, maybe more. It has gone through so many revisions, rewrites and beta-reads I’ve lost count. I did manage to find a great proofreader. But something inside me still said, “Wait.” Now, I know no book is ever perfect–I’ve found errors in books published by big publishing houses, as I’m sure some of you have. Still, I want to do everything I can to make sure my readers have the best reading experience possible. So, because I can no longer see the errors, even obvious ones, I did something I haven’t done before: I asked for test readers. Three responded: one who read the first book and two who have not. It’ll be interesting to see the results.
Now, there are a few specific reasons I did this. To save time, I’ll just copy the message I sent the test readers, as I think it explains things well:
…There are two reasons I decided to host a pre-release (test) read/review of Wolf’s Bane. The first is for marketing, word of mouth, and publicity reasons. (i.e. I asked them to note sections that might be good for taglines, excerpts, citations, etc. I also asked them write a review which I can then post on my blog/website, press-releases, interviews, etc.). The second is because I also need a little help with the manuscript. I’ll explain: This review version is the version I intend to publish. It has been proofread and I have made the recommended changes, but I haven’t reread the final version. There are two reasons for this: a) I have read the story so many times that, even though I love the story, I just can’t reread it again. By the time I will be able to, too much time will have to pass and I won’t ever get it published, and b) I am concerned that if I reread it now, I’ll start to change things, which, again, would delay the process. As you know, any story, even good ones, can be tweaked until Kingdom come, lol So, should you notice things that don’t follow (ex. words left out, or something that reads as though it might have been added at the last minute) please note them. I’m NOT looking for another proofread or edit, but things that just might read as out of place. Also, if you see any formatting issues I might have missed, please note those as well. After staring at 400 pages over and over, I just don’t see errors anymore…
Now, I might be taking a big chance with this; I don’t know. But, at this point, it seemed like the best way to handle the situation. Once I get the readers’ comments back, I intend to update the formatted version and upload that for publishing. Fingers crossed.
Oh, and once again, my super-talented illustrator sister, Amy Hands, is working on the cover art. See below for the painting of Jeru (main character) that she did for me. She is available for other projects!
The final stage after that, is for my also super-talented and dedicated husband, Samuel, to get to the graphic designing. He’s done both my current covers (The Purple Morrow and The Eagle’s Gift WIP), so if you’ve seen them you’ve seen his work. 🙂
And lastly, here’s an excerpt from Bane for you. In this section from Usurper (chapter 1), we get to know Oren, Kelen’s adoptive father, a little more, and are introduced to a new player in the game. Oren is on his way to a meeting when he pauses to reflect on an event that might tip the scales of fate in his favor…
Though he knew he was wasting precious seconds, Oren could not stop himself from taking a few more to reflect on what had interrupted him. The very thought of it sent excitement and a deep sense of satisfaction through him. Mid-way through his nightly meditations, he had sensed an old, familiar presence, one he had not felt for at least a year. The call had been faint, yet so surprised was he to hear it whispering at the edges of his thoughts, that he had ceased his incantations mid-sentence. Instantly filled with longing as well as a lingering hatred, Oren had thrashed his way through the scrolls and quills and a selection of prized books to the bottom of an ancient cedar trunk where he had found the crystal tuning orb.
Once seated before it, he’d wasted only a moment to consider what he was doing and how many Seer laws he was breaking. But the presence called again, more insistently this time, so Oren pushed his reservations aside and set his eyes on the crystal’s clear, reflective surface. Calling up the appropriate incantation, he whispered the words, and soon, like struck crystal, the voice rang clear. Sweet and alluring to his soul as ab-clan honey to the tongue, it also exuded an undertone of discordant tension. This was fitting, for Oren both loved and loathed the Dark Master. As a moth is drawn towards the flame of his own destruction, he did not have the power within himself to refuse the Master’s call.
Lapi shuffled further out of Oren’s way to allow him a clear path to the door. The sound of his dragging feet against the floor drew Oren’s attention back to the situation at hand. He sneered at the nearly prostrate attendant, grabbed the edges of his crystal-embossed outer robe, and then crossed them one over the other before tying them down tightly with a red, tasselled sash. At the door, Oren twirled out of the room, but not before giving the attendant another withering look. “You are correct, Lapi. I do hate to be interrupted; however, not as much as I despise being late to meet the Naagra-Oni. Something I now must do, thanks to you!”
The door slammed behind him, its ringing most certainly heard throughout the entire east wing of the temple. Oren imagined the weak-minded Lapi trembling from his fury, or better yet, fainted on the floor. And smiled.
(excerpt Dyane Forde Copyright © 2014)
Thanks for stopping by! Have you used test readers before? How are your formatting and self-publishing attempts going? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.