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Category: Rambling

Reading Star Wars Novels

Hi everyone,

I finished reading two books this week! Star Wars The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, and Leia by Claudia Gray.

I really only started reading Star Wars books during the pandemic to help deal with waiting for new seasons of The Mandalorian.

My first Star Wars book was Ahsoka by EK Johnston! Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars and it was extremely exciting to read how her story continued after Clone Wars and before Rebels. This was before the last season of Clone Wars premiered and before she appeared in The Mandalorian.

So, that’s where I started. I followed up by reading Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. Qui Gon Jinn has been my favorite Jedi since I first saw him in The Phantom Menace. While my parents definitely had exposed us to the original trilogy, I hadn’t quite clicked with it until watching The Phantom Menace in theaters. It was such a huge event and everyone was so hyped up to see it. My parents made it a whole family event, we went to a premiere at midnight and absolutely loved it. Qui Gon was the coolest and still remains my favorite. Reading the book was actually the time I’d gotten into any Qui Gon material aside from the Clone Wars.

After finishing that I needed something new to get into. I learned that EK Johnston, who wrote the Ahsoka novel, had a few novels about Padme Amidala, Queen’s Shadow, and Queen’s Peril. I actually binge-read both novels over the span of a week. They were so interesting and went into a character I didn’t really know that well. They added so much to her that I had to go back and rewatch the prequels just to imagine how things fit in. I’m really excited to read the next one, Queen’s Hope when it comes out! Also, more recently I read EK Johnston’s novel Aetherbound which was also a really fun read and I can’t wait for another. I really enjoy EK Johnston’s novels, they resonate with me well and I can’t put them down.

At the beginning of the year, these Star Wars High Republic novels started coming out. I’d preordered Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule and blew through it! Luckily they release 3 at a time. I read A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, and Into the Dark by Claudia Gray right after. Not to mention the multiple comic series releasing every month.

Now there’s a second wave a books out starting with The Rising Storm and I just finished it! I took my pacing a little slower this time because it’s fun having something to look forward to reading every night. Now I’ve got the next two novels in this wave to read as well as a manga and audio drama! High Republic stuff is keeping me really busy!

Leia was one I started and finished recently as an audiobook. It’s amazing how much faster the workday goes when listening to a good audiobook. Since this is my third Claudia Gray book, I’ve found that I really enjoy her storytelling as well. I can’t wait for her next High Republic book The Fallen Star…in another 4 months.

So now I’m currently reading Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older. I’m really enjoying it so far! I also just started watching Foundation on Apple TV+ and I am really excited to keep up with that every Friday.

Well, I’m definitely categorizing this post as rambling because I definitely went on and on about stuff. I better go be a little productive over the weekend!

Thanks for reading.

 

P.S. Star Wars Visions was amazing! Go watch it. The Ninth Jedi was definitely my favorite but the Lop and Ocho was also a really close second with it’s worldbuilding. I really want some full length series out of this!

A Little Insight Into My Novel

I’ve purposely not given many details on my novel but I thought I’d make a post on what some of my inspirations were when writing it.

It was 2006 or so when I was recommended reading this book, Maximum Ride, by James Patterson. At the time I was not much of a reader, especially not just for fun. However, my friends were reading it and enjoying it so I tried it. I had never been so captured by a book before. Maybe it was the first-person narrative style, the short chapters, or just the interesting characters. Whatever it was, I was hooked. I read every single follow-up book as they came out.

Maximum Ride, if you don’t know, is a book about a girl named Max that is 98% human and 2% avian. She and her winged siblings were…well angels. This series is what inspired me to start writing. It also helped that James Patterson himself encouraged kids to write their own stories, even fanfiction based on it. I never really got into writing fanfiction but the style did influence how I wanted to write.

The first-person perspective of Max made me feel like I was living as the main character (another series I really enjoyed like this, later on, was The Hunger Games). So when I started writing my novel, I wrote it the same way. The first-person perspective, to experience the story as the character saw did.

The other inspiration I drew from Maximum Ride was the angels. At the time, Wizards and Vampires were all the rage, and Angels felt quite a bit different. However, the angels in my story were actual spiritual creatures and not genetic hybrids created in a lab. Still, the inspiration was there.

Another decision I made when starting my novel was to make the protagonist female. I had strong female role models when growing up and had always been able to identify more with female protagonists. One of my earliest heroes on TV was Captain Kathryn Janeway of Star Trek Voyager. In addition to my favorite series at the time, Maximum Ride and the Hunger Games, I also loved the Studio Ghibli movies like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Naussica. Then I had my wonderful grandmother who’d always encouraged me to be my best.

It was also a rough time in my life. I’d been bullied quite a bit in school, so much so that I hated going. I was depressed, lonely, anxious, and dealing with death for the first time. All of these things influenced my main character and she ended up going through many of the similar feelings I had been going through. She was a way to escape myself while also becoming a way for me to express and work through some of the problems plaguing my mind. This is probably the reason I feel such a strong attachment to her. My hope is that if those reading my novel are going through similar feelings, it can help them work through it as well.

So there it is. A brief description on the inner workings of myself and my main character.

Mid September Update

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since my last post! I’ve been out of town for work the past week and quite busy. While I tried doing some more editing in hotel rooms, I never got too far before falling asleep.

I’ve submitted a few query letters so far, and it’s quite scary. Even though I wrote, rewrote, and revised my query letter, blurbs, and synopsis, I still hope that I’m accurately representing my characters and their story in the short snippets I’m sending.

While this novel is still my primary focus, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to write about next. Especially with NaNoWriMo coming up soon. I’ve got quite a few story concepts that I’ve never fully explored, some new ideas, and even a novella (in great need of a revision, editing, and maybe even a full rewrite.)

There are so many interesting concepts to explore, it’s going to be hard to choose one to focus on. My current novel is a YA contemporary fantasy that loosely starts in my hometown, a smaller city most people haven’t heard of. It might be fun to explore more fantasy ideas based on the area. Or maybe a story using some mixture of two unlikely genres like Western and Fantasy.

Another genre I really want to explore is Science Fiction. SciFi, robots, space, aliens, these are all things I’d love to explore in a novel! I just haven’t found the right story/characters yet to truly bring something to fruition. Maybe that will change!

Now I’m going to go read some of the novel Star Wars The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott. I’ve been slowly reading it and am so close to finishing it! The High Republic series has been amazing so far, I’ve loved every book. I’m excited to get through the next ones I have on my shelf.

Leaving one last bit of information. I was asked for a favorite sentence from my novel in one of the query submissions I sent. There were a few I liked (most were 2-3 sentences), but this was the one that I chose. I chose it because it feels absolutely as meaningful today as it did when I wrote it a decade ago.

The past is an important part of what makes you who you are; you don’t ever want to forget it, but you can’t dwell on it, the future is what we have to move toward, and it won’t wait forever.

Until next time.

Researching Querying and Literary Agents

Hello everyone,

It’s been another busy week, but I’ve been trying to stay productive in my path to publishing! I’ve been learning so much about querying and how to prepare for it. I had no idea there was so much involved when submitting a manuscript.

First I researched Query Letters, reading as many as I could find, and started to build off of that. From what I understood, they’re supposed to be short, concise, and engaging paragraphs to hook someone into wanting to read the book. That sounds easy enough, what’s another few hundred words after writing a full novel? Apparently a lot… It took me nearly an entire day to write get those 300 words to a happy place.

The next project for my literary querying package was my Synopsis. I now know that I had no idea what a synopsis was. A 1-2 page spoiler-filled breakdown of my novel. And I thought the query letter was hard. but breaking down every chapter of my book turned out to be a nightmare.

After a few days of pulling out my hair, I was finished. I had an extremely long synopsis and a messy query letter. After getting some super helpful feedback on both, it was time for a rewrite on both projects.

That’s when I was turned toward this article How To Write a 1-Page Synopsis and the lightbulbs went on. I was able to use it to break down my story into a 1-page synopsis, less than half of what I had previously (1000 words to 480). It was clearer, more concise, and I was actually happy reading it!

Finishing the synopsis first actually made writing the blurb in the query letter a lot easier. Something I will have to remember for future manuscripts.

So now I have a query letter and synopsis that I can start to share and hopefully get some feedback on!

End of August 2021

Hi Everyone,

I’m back again for another update. I’ve been swamped with work and stuff at home. I’m currently on lunch and thought I should post another update before September!

Over the past 10 days or so, I did a quick run through of my 6th draft to catch any errors and hopefully get it to a more finalized form. Maybe not enough to warrant a Draft 7. When things calm down a bit, I’m hoping to do one more full read through and catch any hidden errors and issues I missed in the quick pass through.

Meanwhile, I’m also beginning to research on the next steps. I’ve decided to set my goal to getting published traditionally rather than self-publishing. I’m looking up literary agents, how to write query letters, and trying to come up with how to best represent my novel. It is really kind of scary thinking about sending this out to these amazing people who review and decide which novels are worth the risk. It’s also really exciting to finally get to share it and possibly move onto the next stage. The ultimate hopes are that my characters and story can mean as much to someone else as they do to me.

I’m hoping at some point I can share a synopsis about my novel, but I’ve been holding off sharing too much on it until I figure some of these things out.

For now all I’ll say is, it is a Young Adult, Supernatural, Modern Fantasy novel about overcoming the hardships life gives you, building relationships, and learning to love yourself.

That’s about as vague as I can get… Until next time!

Current Wordcount: 89,582

Completed the Fifth Draft

First of all, I apologize in advance if this blog post is incoherent. I’m really sleepy right now. I’ve been busy all weekend dealing with one chaotic thing after another. It’ll probably continue well into September. Anyways…

I’m a day early, and my 5th draft has been completed. Somehow, I ended up finishing my two longest chapters on the same day instead of sticking to my one-a-day goal. I’m planning on one more pass through my novel before declaring it complete. I’m feeling good at this point at where it’s at. My last draft will mainly be line editing, trying to catch any hidden typos, bad grammar, and so on. The plot, and characters I feel I’ve gotten to a place I’m finally happy with.

I’m so excited for my story to be completed and to move onto the next stage. The only thing I hope is that when I finally do share these character’s story, they are able to mean as much to you as they do to me.

Total Word Count for the 5th draft is 89,724.

Quick Update

Hello again everyone,

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since my last post! I took one day off since completing Draft 4 and have been setting my goal to edit one chapter a day. So last night, I finished Chapter 12! This has definitely been my fastest revision yet. I’ve got three more chapters to go to complete Draft 5. If I stick to my goal, I should be able to finish Draft 5 by Sunday! The next two chapters are the longest in the book, so it’ll definitely be a challenge.

I’m fairly certain that I’ll be doing a Draft 6 as my final pass-through. It’ll be my last round of line editing, making sure plot points line up, and that everything feels correct. I’m really excited to finally be so close to finishing this book! At least this stage of it.

I’ll see you again once I complete draft 5!

Officially Finished Draft 4

I’ve completed Draft 4 of my novel! I’m not sure, but editing might be more work than actually writing. I feel really emotional every time I get through the ending. I really hope that someday I’m able to share these characters and their story with you all, and hopefully, you feel the same emotional connection.

Before I get all sappy, I thought it would be fun to do a quick breakdown of what I’ve accomplished with each draft.

Breakdown of Drafts

Draft 1
My first draft consisted of writing every day for 4-5 months. I finished it with right around 107,000 words. It was full of errors, typos, rambling, broken plot points, and so on. However, it had a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

Draft 2
After letting Draft 1 marinate for a good decade or so, I picked it up and began to line edit. Fixing all of my typos and adjusting the formatting so it wasn’t giant walls of text. Making lots of notes on plot points and storylines that either got lost or didn’t work.

Draft 3
I began revising and reworking elements of the story to fit together better. There were a lot of details that I didn’t need, and some plot devices that I introduced but never used. I also threw out the entire last chapter and reworked the ending. The original final chapter had always bothered me and I didn’t like it. At the end of this draft I was at around 95,000 words. That shows how much fat I trimmed from it!

Draft 4
I continued tightening up the story, and rewriting a lot of paragraphs to make them more consistent. It’s feeling so much closer to completion, but there are still some places I want to work on. At the end of this draft had trimmed it to, 90,070 words! Holy moly, that’s around 17,000 words I’ve trimmed since the beginning. Need any further indicators on how much I can ramble?

Draft 5
I haven’t started it yet… However, I do have a plan. There are a few more plot points I’ve noted that I need to rework and fix up. I’m also planning on fixing my dialogue in this draft so that it is consistent and hopefully flows better.

Draft 6
Oh no, I’m already planning Draft 6. This should be the FINAL DRAFT. I’ll go through the entire novel one more time, trying to catch any typos, grammatical errors, wonky dialogue, confusing plot points, and whatever else I missed during the first 5 drafts.

From that point, I should be done with my revisions

 

Introduction

Hello and thank you for visiting my website!

I finally feel like I’m close to completing my first novel, so I thought it might be a good time to start setting up some sort of online presence. I’m somewhat of a socially-anxious recluse and don’t participate in social media (at least not until now.)

Even though I could write out my whole life story in this post, I’ll save it for my about page. I’m starting this blog (and twitter) to push myself out of my comfort zone and get my thoughts out in the wild. For too long, I’ve hidden away in fear of not being good enough to put any of my work out there. Honestly, I’m still quite anxious about the whole thing, but I’ll never get anywhere if I don’t try.

During the pandemic, I started getting into reading again. It was something I’d put out of my hobbies for several years. The more I read, the more I felt inspired to work on my own worlds. This led me on an adventure through my past literary attempts. Before college, and working full-time, I’d actually devoted quite a bit of time to dreaming up various unfinished fantasy worlds.

The Novel

There was one story in particular that I’d written during a particular rough time in my life. I’d started it during National Novel Writing Month, blew past the 50,000 word goal and kept writing into the the next year to an ultimate 110,000 words. It felt amazing to finally finish a story, and to finish at such a magnitude was incredible to me at the time. Afterwards, I locked it away. Moved on with my life and never wrote anything like it again.

Then the great 2020 Pandemic happened. As mentioned earlier, I started reading a ton of novels. I was reading every night before bed. I finally decided it was time to revisit my creation and look at it was new eyes after so many years. I was instantly swept back into it, as the characters I’d created came back to me. It felt like I’d met up with my long lost family, and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed them.

It was time to get to work. I began by reading through my first draft, which was absolutely awfully formatted and honestly embarrassing. I slowly reworked and rewrote each paragraph to flow better and fix some of my terrible old grammar. Then I worked on refining parts of the plot, character development, and other issues that weren’t very apparent on my first writing

After several months of daily work, I’ve nearly completed my third revision. Currently it is around 92,000 words. I’m planning a fourth revision to tie up a few loose plot threads and fix my dialogue. After that, I believe I will have taken my editing as far as I can possibly take it alone…At least without nitpicking for the next ten years. Maybe at that point I’ll have the courage to start submitting it to some professionals.

So here we go, this journey starts here.

 

© 2021 E.B. Alderson