Rough Diamonds

I’d hoped to have finished editing An Undying Quest, the fifth novel in the Incomplete States series by yesterday. Only two chapters, forty pages remained three days ago.

Issues were encountered. The chapters suffered from being the last ones written. As the final chapters, they’d not been polished, edited, and revised as the others had. They were raw, beta chapters. They needed work.

Among the issues encountered were a brief POV change and a few matters of grammar and punctuation. Dialogue needed tidying, but most critically, details were needed.

I love reading details in novels. I think they often add immense value. That’s how I tend to write, then. Not in the beta draft, though.

In writing’s first rush, I capture scenes and action, coloring in broad, fast strokes. It’s an intense rush. They’re here, they’re there, they did this, and then that, which resulted in this, but unexpectedly —

The writing is bang, bang, bang, bang. Even when they’re action scenes, more is required after that first rush to help the scenes breath and flow together. Sometimes changes are required to adjust to the characters’ past, and sometimes continuity matters exist.

I instantly realized that I’d not polished the chapters. The difference was clear because the reading cadence was mildly askew. That realization tempered my approach. I read both chapters completely before doing anything except fixing the most basic errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Everything else was left untouched until I knew the entire picture. After reading them, I’d established strong ideas about what to addressed, and then began reading, revising, and editing the chapter again.

So, An Undying Quest isn’t fini yet. I’d hoped to complete it by Christmas, and then by the end of the year. That may still happen today. I won’t rush it. I don’t want to be hasty or lazy. Number one, I enjoy the process. Number two, I don’t want to sabotage myself for such a silly, random idea as a self-imposed deadline.

Time to edit and write like crazy, at least one more time in 2018.

Still Having A Ball

Forty pages remain to edit in the Incomplete States series’ fifth novel, An Undying Quest. I’m still grinning with enjoyment as I’m reading and editing.

Just forty pages, I think. I should finish tomorrow. Then I begin writing the sixth book, The Final Time, with full-time energy and focus. I’m looking forward to it, because as I’ve been working on it on the side while editing, new, exciting, interesting ideas occur to me. The series gains complexity and textures as novels one through five progress, and what’s shaping up in book six spins my head.

I look forward to people reading the series. I know several friends and fans who will absolutely love the series. I can imagine them reading them and laughing as they realize what’s going on. I can imagine the final pause of thought after they close the last book. That ending is gaining substance in my mind, but there’s so much to write to get there. Each of the first five books have their intense chapters, but what I feel rising in the sixth book is such an intensity that my body feels like it’s thrumming like a guy wire in the wind as I contemplate it.

I caution myself, well, you might just be crazy. True enough, but WTH, I’m happy in my craziness, at least for today. It might be different tomorrow.

Deep breath. The coffee is gone, the fog is gone, the sun is out, and I’m ravenous. Time to stop editing and writing like crazy, at least one more time.


I remain in my editing process, working on Book Five of the Incomplete States series. I’ve edited sixty percent of the book, An Undying Quest, but I wasn’t pleased with what I was reading and editing yesterday. In fact, I found myself dissatisfied.

That was ironic, because the chapter’s title is Dissatisfaction. As I read it, I found myself pausing to frown. The coffee shop was empty except for me (the baristas were in the back room), so I went back and read the chapter aloud, trying to feel the flow and understand what seemed wrong.

Too wordy and cumbersome, I concluded. Some cutting and editing is required.

I began reading it again to identify what bothered me, but it just bogged me down. Let me tell you, it’s not reassuring when you, the writer, finds that what you’ve written makes you wince. I gave up for the day, but continued thinking about it.

I thought, well, one, it’s just too wordy. Two, I’m re-hashing what’s already been said and done, so it’s not advancing the story. That’s also killing the pacing. I think I need to cut and perhaps write a brief summary – one, two short lines – to capture the sentiments.

With that in mind, I came back to it today and began anew. It wasn’t simple, but doing this, I’d discovered that the writing was passive. I told, and then told again. Little showing was there. Ugh.

And, interesting, it was too wordy for the character’s perspective. The series is told via several perspective. Each character has their own voice, and this character, Kanrin, is spare in thinking and speaking. He dislikes complicated, rendering things to basic and simple conclusions, and here he was, in convoluted thinking about what was going.

Now seeing how the complexities were entwined and the issues understood and clarified, I could process and edit more thoughtfully. Took time, though. All of today’s session was about reading and editing that chapter.  No summaries were required, just cutting and editing to reduce wordiness and tighten the pace.

I feel I need to edit it again, and will tomorrow. I’m too deep into it now to clearly perceive it. Then, I’ll see what happens on the next editing go-around, planned for the entire series has been edited. For now, it’s been another good day of editing like crazy.

Time to re-join life.

Time, Energy, and Patience

Incomplete States is a science-fiction infused historic series of possible futures. Book Three, Six (with Seven), now in editing and revision, also focuses on another intelligent species.

They are much different from Humans and the other species encountered in this historic series. Their culture, mores, and social structures aren’t like Humans or the rest. This makes editing them a powerful challenge, which translates into time, energy, and patience. Clarity, coherency, and consistency is demanded. This is the fourth day of editing and revising this thirteen-page chapter.

Time, energy, and patience has become my new editing and revising motto. I used to race through writing books and then become impatient with the editing and revising phases. I’ve developed a more acute respect for how editing and revising fit into the writing and publishing process as I’ve written more books.

The other aspect that’s found new respect in me is reading . On Sunday, a friend asked me, “How do you know when you’re done writing the novel after editing and revising it?” I told her, “That’s when the reader takes over. I write what I enjoy reading. If I, as the reader, am happy, then I’m done.” Of course, that’s when the professional editors take over.

Thinking about my answer later increased my appreciation for how reading helps writing. If I’m writing for a reader, me. I want that reader — me — to keep expanding their appreciation of what they’re reading. As I do, what I read and enjoy permeates the reader/writer/creator membrane. So expanding what I read, enjoy, and appreciate improves my writing and creating skills.

I like casting a wide net over my reading choices. I have favorite authors and genres, but enjoy exploring. I just finished reading Red Shirts (John Scalzi, 2011). Now I’m beginning Less (Andrew Sean Green, 2017, Pulitzer Prize). I’m still reading The Order of Time (Carlo Rovelli, 2018). That last book requires many pauses to think about what I’m reading, and revisiting parts of the book.

Of course, I’m also still reading Six (with Seven). I must read it to edit it.

Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

Suddenly —

Suddenly, it seems, I’ve completed editing and revising the second book, Entangled States. Suddenly, it’s time to begin editing and revising the third book of the Incomplete States series, Six (with Seven). 

You’d think it wouldn’t seem sudden. I work in MS Word. I have the navigation panel open. I always knew what chapter and page I was on, and how much remained. It all seems sudden because I was underwater in the process. Finding no more to edit and revise, I surface and suddenly, there I am, done with another, ready to begin the next.

It’s an amazing feeling of joy and satisfaction. Suddenly, the sunshine seems brighter, the sky is bluer, and the future seems brighter.

Time to end another day of writing editing like crazy.


Editing and revising the second book, Entangled LEREs, is about ninety percent completed. I’ve come to a challenging chicane where the disparate stories and characters are brought together to race into a new direction, which is where the third book, Six (with Seven) begins.

I find that as I edit the beta draft, creating the first draft — something other humans can read and comprehend, rather than streaks of coherency marred by stretches of babble — that I refine my quest about what I want from the story. In the beginning was a concept. Characters jumped out. Ideas jumped in. Arcs were spun. Lives and plots were developed and explored.

Now I’ve sharpened my understanding of what I wrote from the morass of thoughts, energy, and application that we call fiction writing, and I crystallize goals about what I’m exploring, and think, this is what I want to do with this book, and this is what I want to do with this series. As I’m just reaching the series midpoint, that might change again. Unlike other times that I thought things about the series and books and documented them in Epiphany.doc to help me understand, I understand enough that I’m not impelled to write this up. Incomplete States is moving from imagination-ware to a concrete state. Its becoming tangible. Recording isn’t required.

Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.


The Ascendancy

Once again, none of my novels were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Naturally, I was distraught. It almost put me off of my coffee. Almost, but not really. It’s their loss.

Despite that oversight, my spirits are rising. Nothing to do with anything tangible; it’s just that time of my cycle. It’s beautiful weather, and seems like a wonderful to day write and edit.

As part of my lazing about this AM, I read a 2011 Paris Review article, “Catch-18”,  by Erica Heller about her father, Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22. Several passages interested me, but I want to highlight two.

At one point when Dad was writing Catch-22 (he wrote it for nine years, which turned out to be something of an average gestation period for his books), only once and quite late in the game do I remember him becoming discouraged, fed up with the writing process and how long it was taking to finish. This brief, uncharacteristic bit of self-doubt caused him to actually set the book aside and try to find distractions. I recall seeing him watching television in the evenings, but his boredom and exasperation was immediate. Within a week, he’d become so sullen that soon he was scurrying exultantly back into the waiting arms of Catch, telling my mother that he honestly couldn’t imagine how anyone survived who didn’t have a novel to write.

It is hard to imagine not having a novel to write. That’s my primary survival/coping mechanism. Computer games help, along with coffee, wine, and beer.

When Catch was finally taking off, about a year after publication, my parents, who had now moved us to a much larger, far grander apartment, would often jump into a cab late at night and ride around to the city’s leading bookstores in order to see the jaunty riot of red, white, and blue and the crooked little man—the covers of “the book,” piled up in towers and pyramids, stacked in so many store windows. Was anything ever again as much fun, I wonder, for either of them? They would come home giddy and very late and go to sleep with their heads still full of the potent magic of a dream poised right on the cusp of becoming true.

That sounds fun and real, and is the kind of thing that I dream of doing, cruising places looking for copies of my books and evidence that my dream is becoming true.

Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.



Unabashed Pleasure

Yes, I’m reading my baby, but I’m enjoy what I wrote almost two years ago. My baby in this matter is the second novel, Entangled LEREs, in the four book Incomplete States series. I’m often surprised as I’m reading it, thinking, “I wrote that?” I impress myself, but I was writing to me, and I’m easily impressed, so I wouldn’t be impressed that I’m impressed, if I were you.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve posted something like that. *shrug*. My observation about my writing pleasing me also belies how my writing process works. I usually stream scenes through me. “Release the muses!” I shout, and then write like crazy. Writing scenes are often like encountering a tsunami and being swept away. I know what I wrote and can give you the details, but I don’t recall thinking about it much. I think about it before I start writing and after I stop, but I rarely think about it during the process.

The point is, those words are a first shot at writing the scenes. Editing follows, and polishing, and more editing for continuity and pacing, and polishing and editing. I’m an organic writer, so that scene is often edited to help fit a later narrative that emerges. I learn the characters as I go, so their thoughts and interactions in these scenes are revisited and modified to suit their personalities, motives, and agendas. It’s a long way from the first stream of writing to even the beta draft that I’m editing into a first draft.

It’s also a little scary. As I read through these scenes, I wonder, do these things get sufficiently resolved? I won’t know until the entire series is edited.

I’m not worried about being scared. I suspect that I missed some thins when writing the beta draft of the series. That’s why I edit and revise. If I find that my fear is correct, I’ll edit and revise again, continuing that process until I’m satisfied that I’ve answered the questions in a manner and to a degree that will satisfy the reader, moi.

In an aside, as I’m reading and revising, it’s fun to re-discover how I’ve integrated friends and family’s names and segments of their lives into my fiction. For example, a comet that breaks up and destroys a planet is named Santella-Klements. The first is another part of the extended family and includes cousins close to me growing up while Klements is a friend’s last name.

Okay, time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

A Good Day

Today was a wonderful editing and revising day, mostly because there was little of either required. It’s a good day, I thought.

Having a good day feels like a reward. The bad days must be endured, and they often end up being productive. I mean, by a bad day, a day where I feel tired, depressed, and flirt with thoughts about not writing ever, ever again.

I know, though, that the writing on good, bad, indifferent, and mediocre days isn’t likely to be any different. Bad days mostly refer to my attitude before I start writing, editing, or revising. Once I start and my focus is on my writing, my attitude doesn’t matter.

For all that I know, what I read, edited,and revised today could have been written on a bad day. There’s a good chance of that being true, because I covered almost seventy pages today. I generally write one to two thousand words a day, which typically amount to less than ten pages, depending on dialogue and density. I probably covered a week to two weeks of writing, so there were probably some bad days in there.

Now I’m done writing like crazy editing like crazy. Time to go do other things, like eat.

Grounding Myself

Here we go, more self-indulgence. What’s new? This is a vanity blog with a primary purpose of understanding myself and my thinking through writing and coping with my writing efforts, with secondary purposes of entertaining myself and sharing ideas with others.

I struggled with how much to share today. I’m telling what the series, Incomplete States, is about. I decided that I typically don’t have many visitors, so I have little to worry about. I expect this post to get eight views and five likes, and perhaps two comments.

I was thinking about all of this in connection with where I stand with editing and revising the second novel, and by extension, the series. I felt a need to ground myself about where I’m at in the series, where it is, and where it goes.

To begin, consider three questions.

  1. Do you ever feel disconnected from your life, as though things have happened that you don’t remember or understand?
  2. Have you ever thought, didn’t I already do this?
  3. Is there ever a time that you feel like you’re a completely different person, resulting in a struggle to fit in? Perhaps you think, I was a male, and now I’m a female.

If you feel that you’ve experienced these things, it’s possible that you have an entangled LERE. A LERE is a Life-Experience-Reality-Existence. Entangled LEREs are caused by Chi-particle issues. Chi-particles are imaginary quantum particles that are lack mass and energy and travel faster than light. As they slow, they acquire mass and energy, becoming a fundamental quantum particle before devolving into some aspect of classic physics. Chi-particles exist as isotopes and variants just as elements often exist as isotopes and variants, which affect their behavior.

This is the situation that my characters experience in the four book series, Incomplete States.

I was exploring and thinking about the series as I walked this morning. Specifically, I thought, oh my God, what have I done? 

No, that’s not true. That was inserted for comedic effect. It’s sometimes true that I think this, but that wasn’t the case today.

Today brought a more rational review of the books and the story arc. I’d conceptualized, what if there is only now, no past, no future, and no cause and effect? What if the arrows of time are a convenient commodity we use to explain our existence (including our Universe) because it fits with our organic biology and creates a simple framework for being?

When I think about this, I’m forced to think about multi-verses, but also to challenge the ideas that our Universe is expanding. We believe we observe its expansion through light shifts because that cause and effect is the prevalent belief of our existence, along with the arrows of time that go from the past to the future, shooting through now. In my reality, E = mc2 is a fallacy that we cling to because it fortifies our foundations of being.

We hang onto the concepts of a greater being in the same way.

None of these things are easy to lose. Grappling with not accepting them and actively rejecting them is hard to keep in mind when you’re writing. I kept wanting to return to cause and effect and our universe’s foundations.

As I played with those concepts, I introduced characters who were undergoing the symptoms expressed in the opening questions. Unlike you, they often also remember what else happened. They remember other worlds and other lives that they lived and then come to a grudging grasp that they’re still living in these other worlds and lives.

All of this is told through their stories. Throughout, the things that happen to them cause gaps in logic, cause and effect, and expectations. They endure twisted memories and confused understanding, resulting in a knowledge vacuum.

Humans dislike vacuums. We always want to explain what’s going on via some mechanism. That mechanism can be via magic, religion, science, and technology. Those are the broad categories. People also suspect they live dream existences, but struggle to understand which part of their LERE is the dream existence, and which is the reality, coping with the possibilities that maybe both are dreams, or maybe both are realities. They struggle with plots to explain what’s happening to them, plots that involve governments, conspiracies, virtual realities, and other intelligent life forms.

The existences, experiences, and coping become a huge matrix, but the matrix is different for each of the six main characters. The delta between their matrices fluctuates.

That’s where the tension resides, evolving into wonder about which theory filling the vacuum is correct, and how the stories will resolve.

I had several writing rules I employed while writing these four books. Chapters were addressed as episodes. Cause and effect can be perceived, but readers can’t depend on it. Consistently inconsistent logic would be employed. Life — or reality — is a vacuum, and our search for understanding and explaining it all is a farce. What we interpret as life through our experiences forms a reality that’s a slice of existence that doesn’t linger.

don’t treat my science as junk science. I treat it seriously in the novels. I don’t expect it to hold up to scientific reviews or validate string theory, loop quantum gravity, or the theory of everything. I offer no math to support my science, although I’ll point out that in my concept, anything anyone offers to support or tear down my science is wrong because of the inherent observer’s bias held by being in and part of this universe.

Yeah, it’s fun. It makes me laugh. That’s what writing’s all about, innit? Entertaining ourselves.

Hopefully, after reading the series, the typical reader will think, “I see.” And then they’ll wonder, “But what is it that I see?”


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