Tagged: Son of Science Novel

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!

It Counts as Research

It’s been a while since we talked about the music we listen to when we’re writing, but it’s still an important part of our process. Especially this time of year when all of our neighbors renew their passionate love affairs with their lawn mowers. It’s been an especially noisy spring around the writing cave. A few weeks ago we rode out a pretty severe storm, and ever since we’ve been treated to practically daily concerts by the chainsaw chorus. And as I write this post, the people across the street have a cement mixer beeping and chugging away in their driveway. They’re in the midst of a never-ending construction project of some sort, and I can’t imagine what they need the cement for, since yesterday it was all nail-guns all day, putting up siding.

Both Jen and Kent skew pretty hard toward the Introverted/Antisocial end of the spectrum. In order to keep our sanity we need a buffer from the leaf blowers and hedge trimmers, the shrieking kids and teens on skateboards, the yodeling beagle and that weird guy who walks the streets in the dark, singing.

No, I’m not tense. Why do you ask?

Music is our respite, and lately it’s also been research. We’re in the early stages of plotting out our third Music Novel and it’s really helpful for us to swim around in songs that we love in order to get in the right headspace.

Last weekend we went to an out-of-town concert. We used the drive time to hash out some character details and brainstorm some plot points. Once we got there, we put that part of our brains in neutral and simply had a helluva good time. Of course, being writers, we were observing everything, soaking in the atmosphere along with the secondhand pot smoke. The ride home was filled with talk of fun details to work into the two extant Music Novels.

Now that we’re trapped in the writing cave again, we’ve taken to choosing songs from our collections that we feel exemplify the sound of the various bands in our novels. Interspersed with that are stretches where we listen to nothing but the Red Army Choir. Son and Grandson of Science Novel feature Russian characters and settings, so it really helps to set the mood.

Sometimes instrumental music is called for, especially during editing sessions. At those times we gravitate toward classical guitar or piano

What do you like to listen to when you’re writing? Let us know in the comments.

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.

The Home Stretch

The end is in sight for two of our current open projects, and it feels damn good. Tenpenny Zen has been resting quietly in a drawer, awaiting its publication date later this month. We’ll pick it up this weekend and give it one final read through to make sure our last round of edits didn’t introduce any embarrassing typos, but other than that the manuscript is ready. Kent spent most of this week’s work sessions hammering out the back cover copy. It’s a completely different style of writing, and we haven’t had a lot of practice with it yet. Kent persevered even when Jen wrinkled her nose at some of his early efforts, and we’re quite pleased with the result he arrived at.

With all those pieces falling into place, expect the cover reveal next week. It’s gorgeous!

While Kent was toiling away on one type of nonstandard prose, Jen was intent on another. Two nights ago she finished writing the stubs for the rest of Son of Science Novel. Up until now the ending was basically “stuff blows up.” We knew who survived and who didn’t, other big picture things like that, but now we know most of the details. Not all, obviously. That’s what the actual writing is for. But now we have the finale broken down into beats, and we know whose point of view we’ll experience those beats through. It’s a complex series of events, and having this roadmap will make the writing go a lot faster.

With any luck (and fewer distractions now that Tenpenny Zen is all but finalized) we’ll be in a good position to sail through the rest of Son of Science Novel’s first draft.

Either of us working on our own would not be able to accomplish nearly as much as we do working together. We find having a writing partner invaluable. How about you?

Predicting the Future – 2017 Edition

It’s time for everyone’s favorite activity: Strategic Planning!

What do we plan to accomplish in 2017? And how hard will this post make us laugh when we dust it off and look at it at the end of the year?

Kent, Jen, and Lady Marzipan took a nice long walk yesterday, and in between long, lingering sniffs of all the mailboxes in the neighborhood, we talked about how we hope to spend our time in the writing cave this year.

First and foremost, we’re planning to publish two books this year, sequels to Miss Brandymoon’s Device. Tenpenny Zen will be out in March, with the third novel to follow in late summer or early fall. There will be a lot of busywork involved with prepping those, which will keep us distracted from actual writing. But it’s kind of necessary if we want to release a quality product. Which we do.

Our second highest priority is knocking out the first drafts for Son and Grandson of Science Novel. We’re currently something like halfway through Son, and we’re planning to just steam ahead and write them both back-to-back (interrupted only by the fiddly stuff needed to release Tenpenny). We’re notoriously bad at predicting how long it will take us to write a novel. Jen seems to think that if we really knuckle down it should only take one long weekend, whereas Kent is more realistic and assumes it will take forever. Hopefully we’ll land somewhere in the middle and finish up by summer. Maybe.

After that, well… After that it gets a bit scary. With the Divided Man series published and the Science series resting comfortably as a first draft, that leaves only the Music series. We like the elegance of trilogies, even if we try not to officially label things that way – who knows when we might feel inspired to tell more stories set in our various fiction worlds? Currently the Music series has two completed novels, which means it needs at least one more. We have a few notes about what that third story might look like, and yesterday while we were out getting lunch and taking care of a friend’s cats we talked through those ideas and expanded a few of them. We don’t know yet what form the third Music novel will take, but we have no doubts that we’ll figure it out.

But then what? After we wrap up the Music series, we run out of map. We’ve been living with these three story worlds for a long time, and it’s unsettling to think that we might be done with all of them as soon as this year.

That might be catastrophizing a bit because it’s highly unlikely we’ll finish three novels in one year, and even if we do, there’s still all the editing.

But. But! We’re still sailing off the end of world.

So, if we’re smart we’ll devote a couple of lengthy conversations to exploring what comes next. Road trips are a fruitful time for that, which means we’ll need to plan a few of those. Where will the new year take us?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sayonara (Not So) Sweet ’16

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


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.

Keeping Busy

r-avatarA quick progress update from the writing cave.

In addition to the ongoing prosification of Son of Science Novel, this week we began a read-through of our next release.

Tenpenny Zen is scheduled to come out in March. It’s book two of the Divided Man series, following Miss Brandymoon’s Device. (which was released last month — did you get yours yet?) The manuscript has been edited a few times already, but we feel it needs one more polishing pass before we put it out there. The first step is to reread it, so it’s fresh in our minds. Once we complete that, we’ll have to park Son of Science Novel to focus on revisions to Tenpenny Zen.

And we’ll take this opportunity to wish you Happy Solstice!

Russian To Our Assistance

r-avatarWhile we’ve been writing Son of Science Novel, and even when we were still in the rainbows-and-outlines stages, we’ve also been learning Russian. Our interest in it is primarily due to the numerous Russian characters in the book. It’s in English, but knowing what the stuff inside the characters’ heads sounds like is quite useful.

It does consume a certain number of hours in the writing cave, but we feel it’s time well spent. Studying a new language gives writers a better understanding (and maybe even a newfound appreciation) of their native one.

And the wordcount is happening. We’re closing in on 40k, which, as we mentioned last time is not as far along as we had hoped to be by now. But it’s not too shabby. Protagonists are imperiled, in ways they realize and in ways they don’t. Events are conspiring against them, as are villains in a variety of festive colors.

Pro tip: when choosing a writing partner, you could do worse than the person you’d enjoy studying Russian with.

Like a Swiss Clock

r-avatarSon of Science Novel may not be progressing as quickly as we would like, but it is progressing smoothly. Everything is lining up just the way it should.

Jen whipped up a dozen or so stubs before actual writing began, and when we started to run low she was able to leave the prose composition in Kent’s capable hands and get the next batch of them ready. It takes a little bit of planning to map out which of us is going to write which upcoming scene, but as usually happens with a novel, each of us has gravitated toward certain characters. And, due to good planning at the outlining stage, point-of-view scenes for each character are somewhat staggered which has resulted in us seamlessly passing the baton back and forth. Wow, that’s a terrible metaphor.


This week Kent was working his way through a complicated scene while Jen did her best to confuse Google with her research topics. She got the answers she needed just in time for Kent to need to do some research, which meant one of us was always adding to the word count.

Having a writing partner brings some challenges, but this past month has really demonstrated for us what a useful thing it is to have one.

Captain’s Log

r-avatarThanksgiving can’t possibly be next week, can it?

It can? Oh. Well. In that case, it must be time for a progress report.

Here in SkelleyCo Amalgamated Fictions’ world famous Writing Cave we recently passed the 20,000 word mark on Son of Science Novel. 20,000 words is a great start, but we feel a little guilty over not being further along. With two of us writing we should have reached this milestone a while ago, but we do have a fine array of excuses. Between contracting the plague, suffering through election angst, spending time with visitors, and the occasional surprise trip to Philadelphia, we haven’t been able to spend as many evenings in the prose mines as swift progress demands.

Jen has been lamenting the way our writing schedule worked out this year, which precludes curling up in the Auxiliary Writing Cave during the dreary winter months to brainstorm and plot our next project. We still have to write most of the first and all of the second novels we planned out that way last year. It would be technically possible, though foolhardy, to pause the writing and spend the dark months detailing our future exploits. Instead we’ve devised a scheme that should allow us to relocate our compositional endeavors to our cozy annex at least part of the time. We have one laptop, and with the kids away at school we can co-opt one of the desktop machines left behind. A little bit of creative furniture arrangement, et voila! As long as we can get Kent to spend at least as much time focused on the keyboard as on poking the fire with a metal stick, we’ll be golden.