Tagged: Science Novel

Progress Update II: The Progressening

We’re still rolling forward on Grandson of Science Novel. Well, Jen is. Her current scene, and the next couple after that, are our current bottleneck. So Kent’s occupied with comments from earlier in the story.

Eagle-eyed readers will note that we didn’t say “earlier in this book,” and in fact the comments in question apply to Son of Science Novel. The three Science Novels are all one massive story, collectively, and because we embarked on the writing of books two and three back-to-back it has really felt like we’re writing a single 200-kiloword tome. It’s interesting to revisit stuff from the middle book, now that we’ve gotten to know the characters that much better. The ability to do that is one of the reasons we structured the project as we did, so that we could take advantage of opportunities to tie all three books together more tightly.

That’s just one of the ways we try to go the extra mile. We do it for you, to give you a story world that extends beyond the edge of the page.

Forecasting 2018 (In Which Jen Tries to Keep Her Expectations Realistic)

Dire warnings of Bomb Cyclones and blizzards have been echoing around the writing cave, and while we aren’t in the path of any of the really nasty stuff, we’ve been locked in a deep freeze since before Christmas and it’s showing no signs of lifting. Today’s high is supposed to be 7º!

Since the weather forecast blows (both literally and figuratively), let’s see if things look sunnier in the fiction mines.

Grandson of Science Novel is moseying along toward the finish line, and finishing it up is our first order of business. In her secret heart Jen is dying for a deadline, but she’s terrified of missing another one. For now we’re winging it without. She’ll probably declare a deadline when we’re close enough to the end to touch it, and claim that she’s had it in mind all along. And Kent will humor her.

Once Grandson is done, the whole Science Trilogy will be in the can. Our major goal for the year is to publish the first one. It’s been edited a couple of times already, but there are many steps before it will be ready for its debut, and those will eat up a lot more time than Jen expects them to.

While the Science Novels rest between edits, we will devote our time to outlining the novel we are currently calling Sibling of Music Novel. As you may recall, we have the Music Novel, and Son of, written in full, but now we’ve decided that Son is really the third book in the series and we need to plug that hole in the middle.

If, after polishing Science Novels and writing Music Novels, we have any extra time, we’ll get started on brainstorming our Ghost Series.

We currently have no release dates to announce, but when we do, you’ll be the first to know. Check this space for updates!

And Happy New Year to you!

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

December is coming to a close, which means it’s time for our annual Year in Review post, 2017 edition.

At the beginning of the year we rather optimistically predicted that we might finish up both Son and Grandson of Science novel, and at least get a start on the third Music novel. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! We were so fucking naive!

While we did manage to get the last two Divided Man books polished and released, we didn’t even come close to finishing the Science novels. Jen was already frustrated at our lack of completion last year, so just imagine how thrilled she is now that it’s a whole year later and we’re still not done!

So what did we accomplish, if not everything on our wish list?

In January we had a belated launch party for Miss Brandymoon’s Device, and fretted a bit about what we would do once we finished writing our current trilogy of trilogies. February was spent editing various Divided Man books.

March brought the release of Tenpenny Zen. Yay! 

In April we seem to have wrapped up the first draft of Son of Science Novel, and were somewhat disappointed by its size. In the months since, we have added a bit more to it and, you’ll be relieved to learn, it now checks in at just a hair over 104,000 words. That’s still a bit slight, but is much less frightening. It’s now closer in size to its Mama.

Along with flowers, May brought major edits to Elsewhere’s Twin, and an important decision about the Music novels. And some delicious Greek food.

June was full of chainsaws — real ones, this isn’t an editing metaphor. When we got done bitching about that, we diagnosed some of what was missing from Son of Science Novel and finally got started composing Grandson.

By early July we’d already banged out 11,000 words for Grandson, which begs the question of why it’s still not done. Some of the blame should lay with Elsewhere’s Twin, which needed more edits before its release.

In August we took a road trip to attend a concert, and had a wonderful time. The band was great, and we used the car time to brainstorm ideas for the Middle Music novel. We also topped 20,000 words on Grandson of Science.

All we could talk about in September was the release of Elsewhere’s Twin. Have you seen the gorgeous cover? Our first trilogy is complete! We felt quite the feeling of accomplishment. We’re very proud of those books and all the work that went into them.

October had the new novel’s word count at 40,000, which is nothing to sneeze at. It also had us jetting off to Europe, which we didn’t talk about until November because we like to keep you guessing. And as soon as we got back from overseas, we turned right around and ran off to a writing conference.

And here we are again, back in December. Grandson of Science Novel is sitting pretty at 70,000+ words, which many people would consider novel-length. Just not us. Apart from that being far too short to fit in with our other work, we’re nowhere near done telling the story we set out to tell.

Our 2017 was quite successful, with the editing and publishing of two novels, the completion of a third, and a really good start on a fourth. Just try telling Jen that. She needs to recalibrate her expectations to be more in line with reality, and Kent is doing his best to help her with that. Maybe 2018 will be the year she finally gets it figured out.

The Surgery Was a Success!

It took a week longer than we had hoped, but Jen just completed an editing pass on the Science Novel. It had been through the ringer at least once before, and she still managed to smallerize it by 7,000 words. Meanwhile, our current manuscript-in-process, Grandson of Science Novel, has topped 11,000 words, most of them from Kent. It feels really good to have such a solid start on the new book. It feels even better to have a net gain in word count. We’ve added more to this series than we’ve taken away.

While Science Novel lays in the recovery room for a bit, waiting for the bandages to come off, Jen will turn her attention to Divided Man Book 3. It’s called Elsewhere’s Twin, and its release date is on the horizon. We’re hoping to go through the whole thing twice more before sending it out into the world, which means we have no time to waste.

That extra week we devoted to Science Novel makes the schedule a little tighter than we would like. Jen won’t get any downtime between the projects to clear her head. She’s already eyeing up a fresh scalpel. The last time through Elsewhere’s Twin she was still wielding her chainsaw. This time should see fewer huge cuts and much more finessing. Another difference is that this time, Kent will follow along a few chapters behind Jen with his own surgical tools. Having a coauthor means having more eyes on the words at every step in the process. It means a better finished manuscript.

Prosing Has Commenced

Grandson of Science Novel is underway!

As we talked about a while ago, we rainbowed and outlined the two sequels in tandem. The first draft of Son of Science Novel is complete, although we are still tinkering with it. But for the immediate future, our focus will be on book three of the series.

Jen has been a stubbing maniac. She set herself a target of writing stubs up through a certain point in the plot, and this week she attained it. Yay! The word count just for this first wave of stubs is over 18,000. Yowza.

Meanwhile, there were enough stubs stockpiled for Kent to jump in and begin writing actual scenes. He had some leftover assignments in the other two Science Novels, but now all that’s cleared away and the first couple of scenes are in the can.

The trick, at this point, is to get ourselves into a good rhythm to keep cranking the words out. Real life and Netflix have a way of interfering with our good intentions, but we will see it through. As a team!

Giants of Science (Novels)

We passed some nice milestones recently in the auxiliary writing cave. Our base of operations shifted there while we collated and discussed the critique input we collected on Science Novel, and even though we would rather have done that work over the winter (because the auxiliary writing cave has a fireplace) it was still a nice change of scene.

Now we’re back in the primary writing cave, gearing up to dive into the Science series. Maybe “come at it broadside” would be more apt, seeing as we’ll have three books in play simultaneously. Now that the critique info is digested, Jen will begin an editing pass on Science Novel. Meanwhile, Kent will be making additions to the first draft of Son of while Jen lays the groundwork for Grandson by cooking up its first batch of stubs. It’s a form of cookery where all the plates are spinning, evidently.

The last time we tackled three books all at once was when we did the covers for the Divided Man series. Based on how that turned out, we might want to start making a habit of it.

Sayonara (Not So) Sweet ’16

What a year. Politics were shit, and too many cool celebrities died.

But!

It wasn’t total misery! Looking back at our post from this time last year, it seems we more or less accomplished what we set out to do in the writing cave. Son (and Grandson!) of Science Novel are both outlined, and we’re well underway with the composition. Go Team Skelley!

Where we deviated from our plan was basically everything that had to do with Son of Music Novel. It did not get time to rest quietly in a drawer, it did not get a thorough edit. Since the other members of our writers’ group were not at a point where they had anything to share, Son of Music Novel got its critique debut a bit early. It’s been a challenge to divide our attention between the projects, but we’re managing. At least we have each other’s shoulders to cry on.

So how did we spend our year 2016 at SkelleyCo Amalgamated Fictions, LLC?

In January and February we were deep in the outlining for Son of Science Novel. It’s pretty much the only thing we blogged about.

March brought our brilliant scheme to outline both sequels before moving on to prose. We did accomplish that, and as far as we can tell at this altitude, we haven’t fucked it up yet. If we can ever get out of this holiday quagmire and chain ourselves to our desks again, we ought to be able to finish up Son and roll right on into Grandson.

Along with taxes, April brought an end to the outlining, and a trip down memory lane. We cleaned out the Writing Cave and took a look at how we used to do things back in the Olden Days. Then we partook of a different kind of nostalgia, beginning an editing pass on Music Novel, which hadn’t seen the light of day in a while.

May was spent elbow-deep in the guts of Music Novel, editing like fiends. Or skilled surgeons, if you’d rather.

In June we hit a couple of bumps in the road, but our partnership (and marriage!) are as strong as ever.

Come July we were all over the place, working in all three of our story worlds at once, and beginning the preliminary work for self-publishing our very first novel, Miss Brandymoon’s Device.

Happy Anniversary! In August, our chain story reached installment 100! And we were still getting through all the throat-clearing that happens before we actually start writing a novel (or two).

September was mostly spent in the run-up to publishing Miss Brandymoon’s Device. Kent created a beautiful cover for it and both of its siblings. We did all kinds of boring behind-the-scenes technical stuff with fonts and layouts and what-have-you. Jen took care of the final pre-writing tasks for the new novels.

And then Boom! October! Book birthday! We think our new baby is gorgeous, and we hope you love it just as much as we do. Hop on over to your favorite book retailer and pick up a copy of the ebook for free! Or order a physical copy from Amazon. You won’t regret it!

Suddenly it was November. How could it possibly be Thanksgiving already? Please explain to us the passage of time. As we always do, we ignored NaNoWriMo and kept our own schedule, with got us to 20,000 by the middle of the month. Not too shabby, when you consider how many distractions we were dealing with.

Good thing there are no distractions in December, amiright? Despite a very long list of things vying for our attention we’re going to finish up 2016 with about 45,000 words in the can for Son of Science Novel. It’s not as many as we’d hoped we might have by now, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Jen was feeling a little disheartened that we weren’t further along, and as we worked on this Year in Review post she was able to diagnose her main issue. It feels like we’ve been working on this book for an entire freakin’ year! And that’s because we have been. But we took a huge break in the middle to edit several novels and actually get one of them out in front of people. Somehow that part had slipped Jen’s mind. But when you look at things rationally and see that we’ve only been actually writing this book since sometime in October, it feels like an accomplishment to be proud of.

So we’ll say it again, Go Team Skelley!

Next week we’ll talk about our plans for 2017.

Places, Everyone!

r-avatarOur first three novels are set in the same made-up town, which is strongly inspired by a real place. The music novel and (son-of) are set in New York City, which despite what you may have heard is an actual, real place. For the science novel and its successors we have once again invented cities, and the locations that inhabit them.

The science novel’s locale is practically part of the cast. We never considered setting the story in a known city. When it came time to plan its sequels, though, we worked very hard at tracking down a real place that could work. Neither of us can quite say why. Given the logistical constraints of the plot, as well as some crucial geographic and climate considerations, it was proving all but impossible to choose an existing location. Plus, we wanted it to have a cool name.

The desire to name the place was probably the signal that snapped us out of it. So, today we concocted a deliciously Russian appellation for the place where we’ll be making more characters’ lives miserable, and decided where to put its map pin. In this case, “we” means Jen of course, because names are her superpower. Now that we’ve chosen this route, it’s dawned on us how strange it would have been to have books in a series follow different theories of setting and world-building.

As an added bonus, creating a location from scratch allows Kent to stretch his D&D muscles to draw up maps.

Scouting the Locations

r-avatarWe have a habit we’re trying to break, wherein we do online research to discover exciting locations in which to set our novels, write a rough draft of said novel, and only then visit the location. This leads to edits to punch up the atmospheric details, and occasionally reblock scenes.

Last year we were a little smarter and took our field trip before we finished the first draft. We didn’t need to make any changes, and were able incorporate some fun details to give the work more verisimilitude.

This year we were brilliant! We made our pilgrimage before we set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

Son of Music Novel is in the hands of beta readers, and we’re revving up the engines to start composing both Son and Grandson of Science Novel. The location we visited last week is one we’ve been to before — it was our inspiration for the main setting of Science Novel — and we wanted to refresh our memories, get the feel for it again so we can do it justice in the sequels.

Sadly we won’t be able to visit all of our inspiration sites. One no longer exists in the real world, and some of the others are in Russia. We have, in fact, been to Russia, but it’s been a few years, and we stuck to the touristy stuff when we were there. No secret labs or long-forgotten cold war bunkers on our itinerary, alas. But if we ever decide to set a novel in St Petersburg’s Hermitage or the Peterhof Palace, we have a ton of pictures to use for reference.

2015 – That Was The Year That Was

r-avatarIn January of 2015 we wrote up a schedule for our year in writing, and then promptly did not look at it again until just now. Imagine our shock and delight when we discovered that we pretty much stuck to the plan!

  • Novel #5 (aka The Science Novel) is in the hands of an extremely capable agent, and we’re reminding ourselves to be patient as we await a reply
  • Novel #6 (aka Son of Music Novel) is in the can
  • and we have indeed begun brainstorming for Novel #7 (aka Son of Science Novel)

But how did we get here? Let us cuddle up with warm beverages and take a look back at 2015.

January was all about getting to know our new characters.

February saw us chugging through the outlining of Novel #6, and extolling the virtues of writing partnerships.

By March we had most of the kinks worked out of the rough outline we call the Plot Rainbow, and were preparing to move to the next step in our process.

In April we were still in the preparatory phase for the new novel, honing the characters’ voices, and dealing with a (gasp!) disagreement in the Writing Cave.

May brought the actual start of composition. Finally.

In June we were patting ourselves on the back for our deft theme incorporation and thorough world-building.

We spent much of July talking about music. This is Son of Music Novel, so it makes sense. Also, we were 43,000 words in!

By the first week of August that word count had leapt to 72,000 words. Yikes! We talked about our marketing efforts, and also went on a field trip.

Our schedule disruptions continued in September when we attended a writing conference and visited with our good friend and fellow author Reggie Lutz.

In October we were still chugging away on the first draft, encountering only a few minor problems.

November saw completion of the main narrative. We even had time to read through the whole damn thing over Thanksgiving break.

Which brings us up to the present day, December 2015. Son of Music Novel’s first draft is completely complete, ancillary material and all. Sure it’s long, but we’ll worry about that later. For now we’re making plans to see Star Wars again before Kent heads back to work.

Next week we’ll talk about our plans for the upcoming year.

Happy New Year!