I’ve been posting a lot about reading and books lately because I’ve been indulging in some summer reading. But that’s not all I’ve been up to! I’m now working on my second big edit of Sunburner, the sequel to my debut novel, Moonburner.
Some Sneak Peaks of Sunburner:
If you’ve read Moonburner, you know that in the epilogue, the moonburner oracle tells a new prophecy: “And in the reign of Kailani Shigetsu, daughter of Azura, there will be a great war. A war of gods and men. For Tsuki and Taiyo are displeased with the lands of Kita and Miina, and only one side will remain standing when it comes to the end.”
As much as Kai wishes that this prophecy was a dud, it’s not! When Sunburner opens, one year after the end of Moonburner, the lands of Miina and Kita are in trouble. They are suffering through a terrible drought and famine, and a new disease has cropped up–a spotted fever that seems to have no cure. Kai, Quitsu, Hiro and the rest of Kai’s friends and allies have to figure out if these deadly conditions are really the result of the gods’ displeasure, and how to stop them.
I’m excited about several aspects of Sunburner! First, there are some new characters, including Colum, a mercenary-adventurer (remember the guy who worked the dirty-tavern song into the steps of the moonburner treasury?) and Jurou, a sunburner historian with his nose buried in a book. We get to visit new corners of Kita and Miina, including the Misty Forest, the high Akashi Mountains, and islands in the far south of Kita (palm trees, anyone?). You’ll learn about what really started the Burning War all those years ago and finally understand the magic of the seishen. You’ll even get to meet the seishen elder himself!
Sunburner is told from two points of view, Kai’s and Hiro’s, which is a big change from Moonburner! I’ve been having fun figuring out how to write from a male POV, and will be blogging on that in the coming weeks. Kai and Hiro’s relationship has evolved from googly-eyed infatuation to more mature love as they try to figure out how to balance the running of two countries and their different cultural backgrounds. Is Hiro man enough to handle a relationship with a strong woman in a position of power like Kai? We’ll have to wait and see!
How’s the Editing Going?
In case you’re curious about my process, I thought I’d share how things are going in writing this second book. I’ve streamlined the process a lot since I wrote my first book, which involved so much trial and error.
I don’t outline much before I write my first drafts. I know generally how things will start and end, but there is a lot of discovery in the middle as the draft gets written. So I’ve learned that it’s very important for me to take a good hard look at plot and character after that first draft. I now write an outline with one-sentence summaries of each scene, to help me get a sense of plot and pacing of the whole book. I don’t write in chapters anymore, just scenes, waiting until much later to put the book into chapter form.
I also do character sketches of my main characters at this point. I identify their internal and external character arcs and motivation, likes and dislikes, mannerisms and key traits. These are helpful for me to keep in mind as I’m doing my first edit, and allows me to be consistent as I’m working through the draft.
Then, I identify what big picture items I want to change. Big stuff, new scenes, plot points. I resist, AT ALL COSTS, line editing or correcting grammar or punctuation at this point. It is so hard to ignore these easy-to-fix glaring errors, but the fact is, I might end up cutting that scene tomorrow, so why should I spend an hour line-editing it today? It’s not until the book is in roughly the shape I want it to be in that I start worrying about such things. This was also a big lesson learned from the six months it took me to edit Moonburner.
I made some significant changes to Sunburner after my first draft, and basically rewrote the entire final battle and closing scenes. I am now feeling good about where it is, after having completed one whole edit! On my next edit, I’ll be focusing on making sure every scene and plot point has a purpose and moves the plot forward at the pace I want. I’ll also be keeping a careful eye on my characters, and adding more backstory if needed to make them feel robust and well-formed.
My goal is to finish editing Sunburner by the end of October, so the book can go to beta readers in November (If you’re interested in beta reading, send me an email!) I am aiming to finish two more complete editing passes by that point. I have a new book idea in a totally new world, called The Confectioner’s Guild, that I want to write in November through NaNoWriMo.
For you authors out there, I highly recommend the following three books for editing your manuscript. All have been invaluable to me in my learning and editing processes!
The Story Grid, by Shawn Coyne
Manuscript Makeover, by Elizabeth Lyon
The Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain
Featured photo by Claudia, cc license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
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