Novel Update: Last Rewrite

For those who are new to this blog: my novel, The People of Akiane, has been picked up by a local small publisher.

But my book was not ready for publication. It needed work. I’ve rewritten it several times. It’s been apart of three different writer’s groups. It was good enough to submit, but not finished enough to publish.

The publisher liked my book and picked it up two days after I sent it to them. But they’re too small to do the work I need done. So I gave my book to a group of story developers. They read it and have just returned it to me.

They said my novel was not something they had to labor through just for pay, but was a pleasure to read. They liked the characters, story, science, and spirituality.

Still it does have problems, but they are easily fixed.

So now I’m working with a story editor.

I thought a story editor and story developer were the same, but no. One reads to say if the book is worth continuing to work on, or if it needs a full do over, or if it is ready for publication. The other helps fix problems.

My novel is 128, 000 words, down from 135,000 words. It needs to be shorter.

The story editor will tell me what to cut out and where to add things like character distribution, fleshing out my characters, backstory, or story depth.

Once finished, I should have an excellent, professional novel that of course everyone will want to read. ;0)

So for the next month or so (hope it’s not much longer) I’ll be rewriting my book again. More like AGAIN!

I was so tired of it on my last rewrite, I was sick of the book.

I could be discouraged that I have to do this again (no emphasis). But I’m encouraged that everyone who has read it, friends and professionals, has liked it. It’s also encouraging that a publisher is patiently waiting for me to finish and get it back to them. And I’m working with a woman who some 25 years of experience and comes highly recommended.

So today, the rewrite starts. Wish me luck. ;0)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

This Weekly Photo Challenge is Resolved. I’m to share a photo, which represents a New Year’s resolution.

So many resolutions have gone to the wayside, but if one doesn’t try, nothing will ever get done. And who knows this one might be the one.

And if it doesn’t, don’t walk away in failure. Reorganize. Reorganize again. And again, if need be, until you get it right. It might be hard work, but you’ll feel great once you’ve accomplished your goal.

The beginning of the new year is a favorite time for me. It ends the old and all it’s problems. The slate is clean. It’s time to start fresh.

Here is a picture of my two New Years projects. Neither of which started on New Year’s day.

My new exercise program started a couple of months ago. It includes biking, light weights and yoga. I stared slow and have been building endurance and strength. Any second now, I’ll start seeing results. Ha.

On the wall is my next novel. My resolve is not to get into the usual writing mess. This time, I’m creating an outline. A few days ago this was a jumbled storyboard with cards sort of randomly placed with thoughts. Last night I rearranged the cards in the order of the story. This morning, I added a few more chapter ideas.

Once the story is all in order, I’ll commit it to the computer. As I’ve been working on the cards, I’ve also gotten scenes and chapters, which I’ve typed up. So far, I have 13 pages. I’m on my way. ;0)

New Resolutions

Constructive Criticism

I went to college for Fine Arts, graduated in Graphics. I did a lot of drawing, painting and photography. Every week, along with the rest of the class, I had to hang a finished piece of art work on the wall for the whole class and teacher to view and critic. After many years, one becomes used to it and learns who knows what they are talking about and who doesn’t. Continue reading “Constructive Criticism”

Update: Finishing My Novel

I’m dangerously close to being finished with my novel. My inclination is to hurry up and be done with it, so I can move on to other projects. I’ve been working on this novel seemingly forever. But the end of a novel will make or beak the entire story. Therefore I must be careful.

One friend said, “If I don’t like the ending, I don’t like the book.”

A memorable ending can be good or bad, but that is what people will talk about. It doesn’t matter how good or bad a story was. The ending can over shadow it.

When the book and movie Sphere, by Michael Crichton, came out, few talked about how engaging the beginning was or how captivating the plot was.

It was the ending that most talked about. They said, “It was too easy.”

The entire rest of the story was lost.

Too bad. It was a good read, but the story was lost because the ending was too easy. After an intriguing beginning, readers expected an intriguing ending, and when it’s not there, readers lose interest in the whole book.

The excitement over a good ending will spill over into the rest of the story so that the reader will recommend the novel to a friend.

When I read Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, I was told, “You won’t see the ending coming.”  “The ending is totally unexpected.”

Such comments encouraged me to read Ender’s Game, which lead to my reading the rest of the series.

Too many times, I’ve read a good book only to be disappointed in it’s conclusion. It’s almost as if the author was either tired of the book and gave up, or the author had sent all their energy on writing the novel and ran out of energy when the end was in sight.

So as I tackle the ending of my novel, I must take a breath and settle the excitement of finishing. I don’t want to rush just to get through it. I want to write an ending that is satisfying to the story and reader so my novel will be thought worthy to be recommended to others.

Do you have a favorite ending or a memorable bad ending?


I’m making a change right here on this post. I originally posted this as the first chapter.

I’ve been debating if I should have this as first chapter or as a prologue. Paul Morningstar has convinced me that if I should decide to keep this, I should use it as the prologue. Paul gave me an honest opinion and I appreciate it.


Here is the prologue for Akiane’s Children. I’d like you’re opinion. I do not bruise easily. If you don’t like it, I’d like to know why not so I can improve it.

Thanks for your impute.

Chapter 1

It the year 2132, it was the international headline of the century. It was to be Earth’s crowning achievement.

World Space Coalition would send three ships, The Falcon, The Hawk, and The Eagle, twenty-light-years away to the Pegasus Galaxy to colonize MK2343, renamed Akiane, Russian for ocean because MK2343 was a planet of mostly water. Akiane was almost the same size as Earth with similar gravity.

The headlines read, “Earth’s First Galactic Colony.”

Instead of each country working on their own space projects, repeating what had already been done and reinventing the wheel, World Space Coalition (WSC) was created where nations pooled their resources and accomplished the impossible.

WSC explored and colonized the Moon, Mars and Titan. The International Space Station (INSS) was the size of a small city, with just over 5,000 people, who lived and worked on the station.

With the discovery of folded space, the next worldwide venture was a galactic colony in the Pegasus Galaxy. The entire world was behind the project.

The Eagle, the first to launch, was robotic. It bought the energy source the colony would need when they arrived. The Eagle was to orbit Akiane and send back photos. It would not land until the colonies arrived and picked a suitable place to live and build their new home.

Then everything fell apart.

Earth had conquered war, but not extreme religious traditions or national pride.

The nine women on The Hawk were married. For some reason, the Islamic extremes thought all women in the Akiane Project were married. The extremists were appalled when they learned not all women were married.

The window of opportunity was closing. There wasn’t time to argue. WSC thought to resolved issues afterward.

The Falcon and The Hawk were launched. The Falcon carried 1,500 colonists. The Hawk brought produce seeds and DNA to breed livestock.

Extremists objected all the more loudly. Their concerns were being ignored. They pull their money out. Not all of the Islamic nations agreed, but the most influential decided for the rest.

China declared they were contributing the most money, but not the most people. Chinese people were in every level from design, to construction, to launch, and crew, but not one Chinese was a first officer or a captain. They pulled out.

With countries like Pakistan and China out, India saw no reason to stay. The project could have continued with out them, but South American countries also began to leave. They felt slighted by not having received as much attention as China, India and Islam nations.

WSC no loner had the funs to continue. Still they hoped to pull the project together once the colonies landed and sent images back of their accomplishments.

The Eagle sent back photographs technical information about the planet and. The land looked good for farming. It sent probes to the ocean. The probes learned there was marine life.

Then the signals stopped. It looked like computer error. The colonies never sent word of their arrival. All communications ceased.

Eleven years later, at the next window of opportunity, WSC did not have the money to hire a crew to operate the next three ships. They weren’t even sure if the first ships had landed safely. At the same time, WSC didn’t want to abandon the survivors. The next three ships were programmed as robotic ships and launched.

The ships were filled with supplies of food and technical equipment. The computers were programmed to return to Earth with any colonizes who wanted to return. The ships were never heard from again.

It was thought all had died. The Akiane Project became a tragic lose and a tragic reminder as to why Earth should not have a colony outside her solar system. No one wanted to send another thousand people to their deaths.

For now it was enough to maintain a space station and three colonies on the Moon, Mars and Titan.


In the year 2428, a young technician, Dave Krieg was testing the newest communication update. He set a message to the moon. Arrival time: 30 sec.

He sent a massage to Mars. Arrival time: 1 min. 15 sec.

He sent a message to Titan. Arrival time: 3 min.

The report filed stated: Success. New communications on line.

As was tradition he sent a test message to Akiane. All technicians sent a message when communications were updated. It was their way of not forgetting the colonists.

Nothing happened. Nothing ever did, but Dave had kept to tradition.

Twelve years later, a new technician, DeeAnn Lee received an off-world message: We are here where are you?

She checked three times before she made the call to her superiors.

The world became ecstatic with joy.

It became the international headline of the century: THE COLONISTS OF AKIANE LIVE.

Why I Won’t Self-Publish

I won’t self-publish out of self preservation, but I admire those who are successful at it.

No matter how may times I reread something, I always manage to find something I’ve missed. Even when my smart friends read and edit for me, they also miss stuff. I would be horrified if I self-published and saw something I’d missed. I need a professional editor to save my hide.

But even before a line editor sees my manuscript, I want a story developer.

Orson Scott Card wrote Speaker for the Dead and gave it to Jim Frenkel who said no. The book was not ready. It needed more work. Orson took his advice and did not publish. He put it to one side and worked on something else.

If he had self-published and not received Jim’s advice, we’d not have Ender’s Game, which became the first of the series. Olsen rewrote Speaker for the Dead, which became the second book. Personally, I think it’s brilliantly written and is one of my favorite novels by him.

A good story developer can greatly improve a story. There are those who have complained how their book no longer looks the same after a story developer is through with it, but I wonder just how improve the story really is from the original idea. A good story developer can make a good book become brilliant.

All my novels have greatly improved because of the advice I’ve received from friends, and my original has changed for the better because of them. Still, I’m looking forward to a professional’s advice.

I’m not naive enough to think all professional story developers are perfect. I’m sure there are those who think they know what they are doing, but should be in another line of business. I’m also sure personality plays a roll in two people working together to produce a great story.

I can’t afford to pay for a story developer or a line editor, but a publisher will provide both for free. The trick is to get someone good.

I’ve met Jim Frenkel. I know how good he is. He would be my first chose, but as I’ve said, I can’t afford him. Besides, Jim works for Tor, a large publishing house. And we all know how difficult it is to get into a large publishing house.

I joined the Midwest Independent Publishers Association because I wanted to know who and what was available in my immediate area. I found people who are good at what they do. They take pride in producing the best work possible.

Because it is difficult to get into a large publishing house, many people are self-publishing, which is smart if they do it well. The next best thing is to find a well established small publishing house with a good reputation.

I say, “well established with a good reputation,” because sharks and wantabes are everywhere. I have a friend who went through a small press and got as far as the finished galley before they went bankrupt. Now she’s looking for another publisher.

If you decide to go with a small publisher, do your homework.

However you decide to publish, if your book goes viral, a big house will come knocking on your door. That’s what I’m hoping for.


This blog was inspired by Richard Leonard. We were exchanging thoughts on editing. He is also an author and is presntly woring on a short story on Story Time.


While browsing, I came across Jennifer M Eaton in “It’s that time of the month to set up your writing goals.” I have goals, but I realize I’ve never shared them with this blog. Jennifer’s post has inspired me to share them now. Stating goals for myself is good, but sharing them with others makes them more real and makes me accountable. If I don’t accomplish them, I have to tell you why.

I also give you permission to keep me on track.

But first explanation to what I’m doing: I have three main points of view in my science fiction novel. As I go through a section of the last draft, I take one person out at a time and place their chapter in a folder under their name. I read through the chapters of that person. After I’ve read and edited all chapters from all three characters from a particular section of the novel, I shuffle them into their proper chapter place in the new draft. Finally, I read the newly assembled chapters before I continue on to the next section.

Smaller goals:

I took 10 hard copy chapters of Adumie. He lives on an Earth colony twenty-light-years away in the Pegasus Galaxy. I planned to read through the chapters while traveling. I deleted one chapter, and edited the others. The last chapter will take more thought so I’m saving it for a time when I can give it my full attention.

I met the goal of editing on while traveling. When I returned home, I make the changes in my computer.

I reread that section again. He is a high priest who has been disappointed by the death of his people and  unanswered prayers. I want to make him more angry and seemingly unreasonable, so people won’t like him. Later in the novel, I will explain in depth the sorrows of his heart and then make him a more sympathetic character.

The post I wrote on Strong Male Characters inspired me on how to make Adumie a better character.

I plan to be finished with Adumie by next weekend and start on another person. Can’t tell you how fast I’ll do a section, but I can keep moving so I’ll meet my summer goal.

Larger goal:

To finish this rewrite by the end of summer or at least by the end of September.

The last rewrite was 135,000 word. My second goal it to eliminate the unnecessary and contain this novel within 80,000 words. I’ve already deleted at least eleven chapters and have been planing on how to combine other chapters.

So far I have 33 chapters and 56,000 words. I will keep you updated.

Publishing Goal:

The new trend is to self-publish, but as I read up on it, I know not to even try. It’s not in my nature. It’s too many details. I hate details. If I could just write the plot and publish, I would.

I have a small publisher in mind. They only publish books about Minnesota, all mysteries and science fiction are set in Minnesota. My main character was from Canada. I asked the owner if I changed my character to a Minnesotan who travels to an alien world would she be interested in reading my manuscript. She said yes. She’s already read some of my other works and like them. So I’m hopeful.

A well established publisher already has experience, a reputation and connections, such as placed to speak publicly and get interviews. I personally do not need to reinvent the wheel. I know there are people who love the challenge of self-publishing; I’m not one of them.