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Weaving Plots

I'm coming back to PsyCop 6 after not having looked at it for several weeks. I've been finishing up Sympathy, my Halloween story, and the Sweet Oblivion series, and dealing with the plagiarism thing. So I was eager to get back to PsyCop and see what was going on.

I thought there were multiple themes to weave together, but the more I journaled about it, the more most of the themes seemed to be a subset of the "A" plot. I see now that my "B" plot isn't developed enough. I think once I feel just as confident about the B plot, I'll be able to rock on -- so in other words, more journaling needs to happen. And/or a walk. Maybe I'll suggest a walk to my SO today.

And I also see I'm 25% through my word count goal but probably not 25% through the story yet, which means I'll either go long or I'll need to edit down. I don't suppose either one of those would be the end of the world. I would love to get a nice hunk of word count in today!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)
A nice hunk of word count would be good. For you and us.
Oct. 16th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
600 words of PsyCop this morning - YAY
Even better, I figured out my B plot - YAY
Then turned in my printers' proofs on Hemovore - YAY

And it's only 10:19! I must be working fast because I know I have the dreaded Saturday shift at the day job tomorrow :(

I love your YAY icon!
Oct. 16th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Can I vote for going long? :) Hey, I'm just happy to hear you're back in the Pyscop verse. Camp Hell ROCKED. I'm anxious for number 6. In the meantime, I'm savoring that I still have the last two of the Sweet Oblivion series to read. I'm hoarding it like candy until I get the right moment to enjoy. Happy writing!
Oct. 16th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
OOh, I'm happy to hear you're reading the last two Oblivions together. They go together.

I have a new novelette coming out on Halloween too. I worked on it last night. I'm really in love with it, it's full of sweet, sad hope.

I think I'm with you on going long. After all, it's not like a longer ebook "costs" more to produce. (Well it'll take my editor longer to go through it, but she'll go through it a dozen or more times regardless.) And if I have to add a dollar to the paperback price, whatever. It would probably take me more time to agonize over what to cut and then I'd miss whatever's on the cutting room floor with a profound sadness.

There's cutting for "oh, this part's not right" and cutting for length. I'm fine with the first, but the second? Yuck.
Oct. 16th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! Boy, do I hear you on that last bit - shorter is fine if it's to improve the quality of the project, but shorter just for the sake of shorter??? *insert raspberry here* I happily pay a little more for the longer ebooks, anyway. Multiple-novel series or longer novels (like 'Hemovore'!) give me more time to really get to know the characters. So ... go nuts with the word count, yeah? We can take it. :)

Count me on board for the Halloween novelette. I think I've managed to snap up most of your work to date; I'm not about to start missing out now. :)

BTW ... it's really a pleasure to 'meet' authors who are this enthusiastic about the craft of writing. I think it makes me appreciate the final product even more. And makes me what to do non-politically correct things to glib plagiarists. But that's a whole separate story ...

Cheers in the meantime, and thanks for taking the time to update us and to reply.

Oct. 18th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
I never suggested cutting down the novels or novellas I worked on for length. I loved so much the way it was. You've changed certain things (a few things) when I put in my perspective from the research I did, but you'd already done so much research on various aspects of each book.

The paperback for Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary has been the easiest proof so far. I kept it a good while so I could go over it many times, but each story in it had already been proofed by two proofreaders and a line editor by the time I saw it, and I know that the other line editors are really good. I think it also helped that each story was about as much as I could proofread at a time.
Oct. 16th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
I'd vote for long, too. :)

How much pressure is there for series to be of roughly equal lenghth? Will a publisher compare past to present? How similar in length are PsyCops 1-5? (Yes, I have all in paperback *g*, so supposed I could go look or should remember, but I figure you know that as well as you know the recipe for morning cornflakes).

Am writing a three book series (which, honestly, will not likely ever see the light of day) - am rolling into the finish line of the second, and find myself automatically comparing the word count to book I. And as I outline 3, I think in terms of how to keep it at a similar length. I wonder why I do this. Reader expectation, I suppose. Familiarity.

Don't answer this. Go write. *sorry* :P

Yay! On figuring out subplots and getting all charged up. :)
Oct. 16th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how much publishers care about books being the same length as one another, though it does make sense to have them all be in a similar ballpark. With epublishers, they often have "lines" that they want to place your stories in, so they might have you shave words out or pad words in to meet a certain price point. I have heard some epublishers who occasionally go to print force the authors to edit the work down -- why? -- because you pay PER PAGE for print-on-demand, and too many pages would either cut into their per-book profit or force them to raise their price and look overpriced compared to other similar titles in the market.

In Camp Hell's paperback I kept the price down by making my text block more dense. I think I wouldn't go quite that small in the future, not that I've had complaints.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to try to keep your stories to similar lengths, because it might save you grief later. It's hard to explain with PsyCop, "books one and two are in Partners, books three and four are in Property, and Camp Hell is its own." But when I was initially writing the series, I was aiming for a particular line at Torquere Press that had a certain word count length and if I wanted to keep them all together in the same line, I couldn't go over it. Then Secrets (#4) was where I began self-publishing and it's significantly longer, about double the size of Among the Living. And Camp Hell is triple.

Anyway, if I got a do-over, they'd all be the same length so I could publish each one as its own paperback.

Occasionally I get the criticism that Camp Hell was too long and convoluted, but just as often I hear it's someone's favorite, so while I did consider scaling back and simplifying the final two books, I decided to write the stories in my heart and not worry about if someone decided they were too complicated. So many readers tell me they read the books over and over again that it seems like a shame to dumb them down for the sake of enabling someone to gulp them down in one night without having to think about it too hard.

Ideally I wouldn't look at reviews and comments at all, to be honest, and just keep striving to tell the best story I can.
Oct. 16th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Hey, that's interesting info on how some of the behind the scenes stuff works, with the lines and e-pub vs. print-pub, etc.

Oh, but stick to your guns and never dumb things down, please! A well written, COMPLEX longer novel is golden. That's the kind that you go back for re-reads because you always find something new in the layers. If a one-night-gulp is the plan, then I'd stay up all night for something as good as Camp Hell.

What I liked so much about the five Phycop novels so far is that each one built on the other, fleshing out the characters and the 'verse over the course of the series. It's been a wonderfully paced reveal, IMO. Kind of the way you get to know RL people you spend a lot of time with.

I've heard other e-published writers say that they have mixed feelings about the immediacy of the comment/review process on-line. Especially those that were posting fanfic or novels in serial chapter-by-chapter form. Some thought the readers would try too hard to drive the story; others appreciated the chance to discuss the work while it was in progress.

Anyway, even if you are looking at comments and reviews, I don't think you have to worry about delivering your best. You seem too strong minded to be swayed much by public opinion. At least, looks like that from here, which is good for us. :)
Oct. 16th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
One would think it's easy to ignore a crappy comment if you get ten good ones to counterbalance it, but they really do stick in your head. And people think nothing of saying, "Oh, I really don't like Channeling Morpheus nearly as much as Psycop" or the other way around. As if I'd walk up to them and tell them their top was unflattering and they should go home and change.

For Zero Hour, which I am posting serially, I really do have to stick to my guns and keep everyone doing what I've set them in motion to do several chapters back.

Thanks so much for all the kind words :D
Oct. 18th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
Camp Hell was fairly complex as far as having several plots going at a time, one of them mostly in flashbacks. The plots all came together at the end, and I really don't think I would have liked it to be simplified too much. I think the great majority of your readers really enjoy the kind of challenges you can give them. My take on it is that you can find more facets to appreciate if you read the books again.
Sep. 19th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
i don't know if this is the place to ask, but it seemed like an appropriate thread....

i have only just discovered the psycop series. vic and jacob are instantly appealing. i enjoy jacobs protective instincts and i like that vic is able to accept (and even revel in) his importance in his partners life.

what i would like to know is when/if we can expect another vic/jacob book in the series?
Sep. 19th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy you're enjoying the series--thanks for letting me know! I'm working on book 6 right now, though I don't have an estimate of when it will be finished. I plan a total of 7 in the series.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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