Discussion

Hello everyone! No news to speak of regarding Tantalus Depths since my last update, and none expected for the next month or two, but I figured I’d drop a line and let you all know that an interview I did for Writing Bloc is up now. I announced it earlier in a reader update for Proteus, but since not all of you are supporting both books, some of you may not have seen it yet (although, really, you should have all jumped on Proteus by now. No time like the present!)

So here’s the interview. I discuss a little bit of everything, from crowdfunding, to world-building, to my atrocious writing process. We talk about both Tantalus Depths and Proteus, so jump on in and take a behind-the-scenes look at how these worlds came alive!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a huge announcement for Tantalus Depths!

Last week, my development editor, Matt Harry, sent me his notes on my last draft of Tantalus Depths. They were sparse this time and easy to address, so I made pretty short work of them. Last night I submitted my third full draft with the new changes added, and Matt gave this draft his seal of approval. We are officially done with the development edit stage!

 

So what does that mean? Well, for the moment it means we wait. In case you hadn’t gathered by now, the editing process is very much a “hurry up and wait” kind of deal. There is a queue for the copy editing stage, I’ve been told by the Inkshares staff that my copy edits probably won’t start for a month or so.

That might seem like a bummer, but it’s not. Once the copy editing begins, the gears start spinning a lot faster. I’ll be given a full production schedule, and we’ll finally be put on a set time table, with hard deadlines. We are almost at the top of the roller coaster now, and when we get over this hill, we’re going to seriously move.

I’m personally grateful for this downtime, for one very specific reason: Proteus.

I’ve had Proteus’s campaign extended one more time, and it now runs until the end of August. I didn’t want to, but we were down to just under two weeks to go and about 270 orders to go, so there’s just no way I was going to be able to hit that goal without driving myself insane. Fortunately, with the extension, I should absolutely be able to finish funding Proteus on time, and with this gap between Tantalus Depths’ editing phases, I should be able to finish the Proteus campaign before Tantalus Depths goes to the next stage of edits. I’ll finally be able to give Tantalus Depths my full attention during one of the craziest parts of the editing process.

The development editing process for Tantalus Depths was stressful, but absolutely worthwhile. I can’t wait to see what the next few steps in this process are like, or to see the finished product that is steadily creeping closer. Thank you all so much for supporting me this far. I know it’s often felt like nothing is moving anywhere, but fortunately I can say we’ve made major progress getting through this stage.

It’s away!


So, as most everyone was probably expecting, I did not manage to finish my second development draft of Tantalus Depths within one week, as I had hoped. BUT fortunately it didn’t take anywhere near as long as the first draft did. I have just finished my second development draft of Tantalus Depths and turned it into my editor. Only took two and a half weeks!

So once again, we’re all going to have to wait a little while before he’s able to read through it and give me feedback on this latest draft. Unless there are any significant problems left over after two thorough rounds of development edits, though, we should be able to move right from here to the copy editing stage. We’re really making headway!

Once we do officially enter the copy editing stage, the ball’s really going to start rolling. Shortly after that is when the interior page design and the new cover art will be approved (which I can’t wait for). We’ll also get an official release date around that time too, hopefully. We are well on our way to reaping the benefits of all this hard work and finally holding a real-life, fully-published print copy of Tantalus Depths!

One thing at a time, though. As you’ve undoubtedly noticed by now, no stage in this process moves quickly. I’d say we’re closer to the end than the beginning, but any number of things could happen to set us back, so I’m not going to jinx it. For now, we’re back to the waiting game, as my editor pours over this new draft. That means I’m going to be shifting my attention back to campaigning Proteus once again, and boy, I gotta tell you, missing that extra week and a half of campaign time really did not do my campaign any favors.

Proteus hasn’t had any new pre-orders in two weeks, so we have to make a lot of headway in not a lot of time. We can absolutely do it, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work. As always, please tell all your friends about Proteus and try and get as many of them to pre-order copies as you can. We still need to sell more than 400 copies to get that publishing deal, and we only have until the end of next month to get there. If you have it in your heart to order multiple copies and can afford to do so, that would be absolutely invaluable to the success of the campaign. I already owe you all a tremendous debt for the help you’ve offered in getting Tantalus Depths a publication deal, and for getting Proteus almost halfway to one of its own. I can never express my gratitude to you all for what you’ve done to get us this far.

As soon as I have news about this second draft, you’ll all be the first to know. Meanwhile, back to Proteus I go, and I hope to see you all there!


Friends, we have an update!

Two days ago, I received my editor’s notes for my second draft of Tantalus Depths. He was impressed! The story is making serious progress toward genuine greatness. He said it will likely only take one more round of development edits before it’s ready to go to the copy-editing stage.

The last round of development edits I made took way too long. It took me months to get things just the way I felt they needed to be, and by the end of it I kind of just wanted to swan dive into a woodchipper. Fortunately, though, this next round of development edits won’t take long at all. I’ve gone through all of Matt’s notes a couple times now. There are way fewer of them than last time, and most of them are very simple fixes. With this last draft I had to fully rewrite four or five chapters from the ground up and ended up adding about 20k words to the manuscript as a whole. This next round of edits should be little more than tweaking sentences here and there, trimming a few out or adding a few in. I anticipate no significant multi-page rewrites for this one, so it should go a whole lot faster.

In fact *knocks on wood with all the might of Mjolnir* my goal is to finish this round of edits by the end of this week. I’m hesitant to put definitive timers on things these days, since every single step of this editing process has taken me WAY longer to do than I thought it would, but now that I have a better handle on how long it takes me to do this kind of work and knowing that the overall workload for this draft is way lighter than the last, I think one week is quite attainable.

Of course, there’s another reason to try and get this done that fast. As most all of you should know by now, I’m still trying to get Proteus funded. We’ve made slow but steady progress with that campaign, and as of right now it’s hovering at just a bit over 340 orders. We’ve almost reached the halfway mark with two more months to fund it.

Tantalus Depths comes first, though. That’s the book I started first, that’s the book that the most people have supported, and it’s the book people have already waited altogether too long for. So I’m taking a break from campaigning Proteus until I finish this draft of Tantalus Depths and send it in. Obviously I don’t want to lose more campaign time than necessary for Proteus, so hopefully that deadline helps keep me focused on getting this draft done quickly.

It’s going to be a busy week! I’m honestly looking forward to working on this draft, since I’ve already got some interesting new ideas to implement. I’ll send another update as soon as I’ve finished this draft and sent it in, so hopefully you’ll hear from me again really soon!

By the way…since I’m not going to be actively campaigning Proteus much this week, I’d be extra-extra grateful if a few more of you could support that book by giving it a pre-order or two while I edit Tantalus Depths. We can double our productivity that way and I’ll be at least a little less stressed out!

But not that much less stressed out. My body consumes stress for nourishment at this point.

 

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but finally I have a progress update for Tantalus Depths.



I’ve finally finished my first full reworking of the manuscript based on my editor’s feedback, and sent it in. I had intended to get this step of the process finished by the end of last year, but clearly these kinds of edits are a lot more challenging than I had assumed they’d be.

All told, though, I’m happy with these edits. I’ve extensively rewritten several chapters at the beginning and end of the book, but the book very much remains the same story I wanted to tell initially. These changes have helped me make Tantalus Depths a more effective piece of storytelling in the areas that really mattered to me.

At the end of my edits, my manuscript is now about 20,000 words longer than it used to be. Most of that added content was devoted to more fleshed-out worldbuilding, better character development, and better prose in my descriptive imagery. It’s longer now, but I believe the added content improves the pacing and flow of the story to such a degree that it will feel like it’s become shorter.

I originally wrote Tantalus Depths between 2012 and 2014. Since then, I’ve honed my writing skills, and I feel confident that this new draft showcases that improvement in my literary abilities. I’m prouder of this book than I’ve ever been, and I’m thrilled to carry it forward to the next steps.

So, what’s next for Tantalus Depths?

Well, now that I’ve turned it in to my editor, the ball’s in his court. It’ll be a few weeks before he gets the opportunity to read through my changes and send me back any new feedback he has for me. When that’s done, I’ll take a look at whatever other changes he feels I still need to make and then make use of that feedback in another draft. We’ll keep going back and forth like this until we’re both satisfied that the manuscript is as good as it can be. The biggest and most complicated round of edits is done, though, and each step in the development edit process should move faster than the one before it.

Think of the editing process like carving a sculpture out of a wooden log: first you go at it with a chainsaw and remove all the bulky bits you don’t want. Then you go at it with a chisel to get it to the precise shape you want it. Then, finally, you go over it with sandpaper to smooth out all the tiniest imperfections. I’ve just finished my “chainsaw edit.”

So what am I doing now that I’m free of Tantalus Depths for the next few weeks?

Well, until my editor finishes reading through it and sends me his notes, there’s nothing I can do for Tantalus Depths. I won’t be idle while I wait, though. I’m going to jump back into Proteus. My plan had always been to jump back into Proteus as soon as I was done with my Tantalus Depths edits, but I really didn’t think it would take me this long to get through with them, and my campaign for Proteus is almost over. So I intend to ask for one more 90-day extension for Proteus. I still need close to 500 orders to hit my full publication goal, so it’s going to be a lot of work, but during the time that I am waiting for feedback on Tantalus, I plan to devote myself fully to campaigning for Proteus. I’m determined to get both books the publication treatment they deserve, and to firmly establish myself as an up-and-comer in the writing industry.

So, stay tuned. As soon as I have more news for Tantalus Depths, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Meanwhile, I’ve prepared some exciting resources for my new Proteus campaign, and I think you’ll find them pretty interesting.

Hello friends and supporters.

Well, NaNoWriMo has come and gone. It was not an altogether unprofitable month, though it was not as profitable as it should have been. I’m not sure who got the idea that the national novel writing month should be smack in the middle of the holiday season, but it’s not the most conducive of times for reaching lofty goals.

As I said, though, it was not unprofitable. I managed to write two full, reasonably sizeable chapters in Proteus, for one. As far as Tantalus Depths goes, I’d say I’m approximately 50% done with the current draft’s revisions. By that, I mean about 50% done with the changes I plan to make before turning the whole thing back over to my editor to see what he thinks of it. It’s possible he’ll want me to make additional changes at that point before we move to the next stage in the production process, but this draft is the one where the biggest changes will happen.

My current goal is to have this draft 100% finished by the end of the year. I doubt my editor will want to work on it during the holidays, but if I have work left to do at that point, I’m going to do it anyway. I am so ready to move ahead in this process it’s not funny. I really want to get through the monotony and frustration of editing so I can get back to the excitement of actual writing, but one thing at a time.

Hopefully my next update will signal the triumphant wrapping-up of my current draft and the next phase of the process. Stay tuned!

One third of the way through NaNoWriMo and I’ve come to a revelation about myself: I don’t like editing.

It’s a whole different world from writing, and trying to pick apart a story you’ve written already and piece it back together in a way that works better is a phenomenally headache-inducing process. It’s necessary, and the results of the process will speak for themselves in the end, but gosh is it exhausting.

I wish I could say I’ve made a lot of progress on Tantalus Depths already, but it’s been very slow going. Most of the editing I’ve done so far has been in the form of outlining rewrites on problem scenes and trying to boil the entire story down to specific thematic elements so I can increase the consistency in theme and tone throughout. It’s slow but crucial work, and hopefully it’ll make the remainder of the process move much more smoothly.

To keep myself creatively inspired while working through the frustrating and tiresome work of editing, I’ve been doing a decent amount of work writing Proteus as well. Since the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I’ve managed to work through about a bit over a dozen pages in Proteus, and about two full chapters. I’m definitely not up to the recommended word count for NaNoWriMo, but since I’m dividing my attention between writing and editing, I feel like it’s a fair bit of progress.

My plan is to try and get the first half of Tantalus Depths edited by the 20th of the month, finishing it by the end of November. Somewhere in there I’d like to knock out another half-dozen chapters of Proteus if possible, but that remains a secondary priority.

Hopefully my next update will be an encouraging one. Back to work I go!

Happy Halloween everyone!

In honor of the scariest of holidays, I’ve prepared a special gift for you that I hope you’ll enjoy.

I’ve felt bad about the fact that, just over a year after the end of my Tantalus Depths campaign, my many incredibly loyal supporters haven’t yet seen any return on their investments. The editing process moves much more slowly than I’d realized it would, and although I think taking the extra time will make for a much better book, I easily empathize with those of you who are growing impatient waiting for the book you paid for to materialize.

So, to tide you over while the development edits continue, I’m releasing a special treat: a new horror short story, written by yours truly, now available for you to read in its entirety for free right here. I first wrote The House of Chaos in 2012, and after a bit of polishing I feel it’s finally worth reading. As a traditional horror story, it’s very different from Tantalus Depths and Proteus in style and setting, but I’m confident some of you will enjoy it nonetheless.

 

This is NOT the Tantalus Depths prologue that I promised I’d write last year. That is still coming (believe it or not), it’s simply taken a back seat to the editing process for Tantalus Depths.

And in other news, as most of you know, next month is National Novel Writer’s Month! Many Inkshares authors will be working on different projects for NaNoWriMo, and I’ll be among them. For my purposes, though, I’m only working on existing projects this time. My first priority will be editing Tantalus Depths, and I plan to have the full development draft finished by the end of the month. Any time I have left after that’s done will be spent on Proteus.

I plan to send updates once a week during NaNoWriMo to keep you up to date on my progress. I hope to get a great deal accomplished next month, so prepare to be impressed.

Also, best of luck to my fellow authors who are working on their own projects next month. You can do it! We’re all in the same boat, so let’s do it together!



It almost snuck past me entirely, but today marks the one year anniversary of hitting my full funding goal for Tantalus Depths! Things have moved a lot more slowly since then than I’d thought they would, but this remains one of the proudest achievements in my life, and I am still so far beyond grateful for the huge outpouring of help from all my friends and family that made this thing possible. 

No particular news on the editing process to speak of at the moment; I am continuing to work on integrating the feedback from my editor into the development draft and hope to have a new and improved draft for the next step of the process in the next week or two. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on this landmark that got us to where we are today. I can’t wait until this editing stage is complete and you all have physical copies of the book in your hands. It’s been such a privilege being given this rare opportunity to share the passion of my heart with so many supportive people. Here’s to Tantalus Depths, Proteus, and many more such successes in the future!  

My friends, today is a very special day for a very special book.
But not one of mine this time.


Today is the official publication day for The Last Faoii. Some of you may recall I’ve been championing this book from the very beginning, and today, at long last, it is out and available for purchase.

I’d like to ask you all to consider supporting this new book, for a couple of reasons. For one, I helped design that kick-butt cover, so I have to brag about that at least a little. It’s also a really fine fantasy novel, so it deserves to be read for its own merits.

But beyond any of that, I’d like you to support the author. Tahani Nelson has been as big of a supporter for both Tantalus Depths and Proteus as I’ve been for her book, also from the very beginning. She’s been through some of the worst struggles imaginable during the process of campaigning her book and getting it through the production process, and the absolute tenacity with which she has tackled those obstacles deserves every reward. She’s inspired me tremendously on a personal level and has helped keep my spirits up during the various obstacles I’ve faced during my own campaigns and production processes. Heck, she inspired me enough to name a planet after her, so that should tell you all you need to know about how much I respect her.

It’d also just be nice for me to plug a book you can actually hold in your hands shortly after buying it, for a change. Tantalus Depths is coming, but still not any time especially soon. The Last Faoii is out right now (I have a copy on the desk in front of me). So yay for semi-instant gratification!

Anyway, I’d just like to make this the best Publication Day possible for The Last Faoii. The book is great, the author is even better, and they both deserve as much support as we can send their way.

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