My Moderately Triumphant Return

*Browses through Internet history*

Hey… what’s this thing in here with my name on it?

Oh yeeeeeeah… it’s that blog I haven’t updated since July!

*Clears throat*

Well, it’s a new year, why not a new blog post?



In all seriousness, I really do need to blog more. Originally, the whole point of this blog was to discuss my journey down that long hard road into the publishing world, but it turned out my first novel was not quite ready to begin that journey yet! Besides that little tidbit, the lack of blogging mostly comes from the fact that it’s often a toss up between writing a blog post or writing / editing one of my novels.

And guess what folks? The novel almost always wins.

Thusly, the last few months have been pretty busy on the writing front. Like I said, FATES was not quite ready for prime time as I had hoped – I desperately needed to cut a chunk of words out of it before querying again. I had tried to convince myself that 180,000 words not too long because the story was good enough to make agents would overlook the massive word count. That’s not how it works, obviously. Ten pages of query isn’t likely to convince an agent a 180,000 word monstrosity is worth taking a chance on. I actually had one of the agents I met with at WDCE say point blank that he wouldn’t even consider anything over 150,000 for a first time author. I was being delusion, and I knew.

So I took the pruning sheers to FATES in October, slashing almost 20,000 words of ancillary story and unneeded descriptions. And the adverbs, oh the adverbs! I love my adverbs, but my god were there too many of them in there. So much passive voice that needed strengthening too. Many ‘that’s’ and “hads”. You can cut a ton of words just by getting to the point instead of have a bunch of ‘she saw’ or ‘he felt’ descriptors before the action is actually described. This is why we do multiple drafts, people.

Unfortunately, all of those cuts weren’t enough. I really needed to get in under 160,000 and I could not find the words to get it there. This was the third big revision for me, and I cut it down as far as I could. I really have become too close to the story at this point and it’s been difficult for me to get beyond cosmetic changes and really take the ol’ hatchet to it. I love this story, it’s been like four years now that I’ve worked on, trying to make it the best I possibly can. The characters – their triumphs and tribulations, their heroism and heartbreak – is part of me now. It’s been very hard for me to cut major plot points, backstories, or *gasp* characters themselves.

A great heartfelt thanks goes out to the incomparable Shauna Granger for taking the time to read FATES and help me see the flaws and places where the could be more cuts that I could or would not myself. She gave some incredible insights into the characters that I couldn’t see because I was too close to the story. I hacked about 7,000 words off the end of FATES thanks to her suggestion and now we’re under 160,000.

Heck frickin’ yeah.

So the final (I really really hope it’s the final) edit of FATES before querying again is still ahead. I plan on starting that this week and it should be done by the end of the month.

I’ve also added another 30,000 words or so to MILADY’S LINGERING SOUL since I last blogged. Pretty much all of October was gobbled up by FATES edits, but November and December gave me some time to work on MILADY’S.

I’m loving the hell out of this story. It’s much different than FATES, especially the MC, Ferris Foust, who is a bit of an unrepentant a-hole compared the the naive and kind-hearted Alexia in FATES. There’s been a few times I’ve wonder if he’s too unlikable to me the main hero of this story, but I read Mark Lawrence ‘s recently, and if a book can be published with an MC as amorally reprehensible as Jorg, I think I’ll be okay. Besides, who wants the read from the POV of a milquetoast goody goody hero type all the time anyways? I’ve always thought that having characters fully inked shades of grey was the way to go.

There’s still another 30,000 or so words to go in this yarn and while I’ve got the main plot points figured out, there’s still a bit of filling that needs to be stuffed in between them. The toughest is the villain’s POV in the story, which I just recently had a breakthrough on, but is still the weakest of the three. She’s kind of isolated from the main action, but that’s going to change soon as the plot threads start to converge and hopefully carry her tale until the end.

Hmmmm… what else?

I joined an excellent RPG troupe called Magetech since I last posted over here. Most of my RPG experience is of the Final Fantasy type rather than the Dungeons & Dragons type, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to hang out with some other writers and make some new friends.

The madcap Magetech misadventures are run by our omniscient but benevolent GM Kristen McFarland and includes myself, the aforementioned Shauna Granger , Kristen’s self-proclaimed Better Half , Agent Extraordinaire Jessica Negron , MC Houle who’s character speaks softly and carries a big wallet, and of course the inimitable Emmie Mears , who hosts our escapades on the Youtube page.

Whew… lots of links in that paragraph, huh?

It’s been a blast, even though our group is probably the most dysfunctional and self defeating band of heroes ever. Lets see… in the few months we’ve been playing we’ve had our headquarters burned to the ground by our enemies who just happen to be the most powerful family in the city and we’ve also loosed a giant crystal spider on said city that we’re supposed to be protecting. Oops. Oh yeah, we also shrunk and/or crystalized two extremely powerful mages that our insane priestess has decided to wear as earrings. Yeah. That’s not going to lead to a huge disaster some time in the future.

Basically Superman destroying Metrolpois in Man of Steel ain’t got nothin’ on the Magetech crew.

If you haven’t checked us out on the SfSW Youtube page GOD WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder how all of our characters haven’t met with a horrifying and gruesome end yet.

So that pretty much the truncated version of the past 5 months. Lots of writing and edits, some new adventures with new friends. Thanks again for stopping by, my dear readers. Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again more often.

2 Comments on My Moderately Triumphant Return

  1. Rob
    January 8, 2014 at 1:04 am (10 months ago)

    I’m really enjoying reading these posts. Most of the time, when I’m reading about either newcomer unpublished authors or first-time published authors, I come away from it feeling that the whole thing is next to impossible. It’s not a feeling that sits with me long — to be honest, I don’t generally “do” depressed, so to speak — but it’s discouraging for a few moments, all the same.

    Your blog is the opposite of that, and it’s encouraging to read, as I’m a few steps behind where you are and trying to get ahead. I come away from it feeling more optimistic and energised, instead of the reverse. So please, do keep writing it!

    • Brian O'Conor
      January 9, 2014 at 6:54 am (10 months ago)

      Thanks so much for reading and replying. Yeah, I’m trying to be optimistic as I’m just starting out on this journey. I know it’s going to be a long and challenging one, but the journey itself has already been mostly positive experience. I’ve met a lot of great people and derive real joy from just the art of writing. I know there’s a lot of rejection and tough times ahead, but it’s not worth getting myself all stressed out and torn up about stuff that’s pretty much out of my control.


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