Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wrestling with Draft 2

I realize I’m late with my blog post this month (sorry about that), but I can honestly say I had a good excuse (other than visiting Ireland). Yesterday, I sat down at my computer and finished editing the last chapter of my latest novel, Breaking a Thief. This accomplishment marked my first time ever completing a second draft of a novel-length story.

It was like assembling a puzzle without knowing what the picture was or where any of the pieces went. It was exhausting. Frustrating. Dangerous. It wasn’t just red ink that ended up on my manuscript (silly paper cuts!). But it is finally complete, and I shall temporary set aside the story (again) so I can write my next novel, Visionary, for Camp NaNoWriMo next month.

All 272 pages of draft 1.

So, you might ask, what was my process for editing my novel? Well, it was very similar to editing a short story, except 100x longer. After finishing my rough draft, I set the story aside for three whole months. It was painful not to touch the story, and I felt lost as to what to do next. But by the time I came back to the story, I was eager to pick it up again. I printed out the first draft, read it over, and made notes in the margarines and on the back. I also used a ton of sticky notes to indicate the types of editing needed (cut/add scenes or research).

Then I started the second draft, focusing mainly on major plot issues, so there will be many more drafts yet come! I scrapped and rewrote the beginning and the end and reworked plot twists and character involvement. I can honestly say I am (currently) proud of my progress, though I still have many doubts and will probably look back on draft 2 with horror in August.

I went through a whole red pen marking up this draft.
Then the process will begin all over again. Except there will probably be less rewriting chapters and more cutting words and personalizing actions. So there you have it! Draft 2 is finally complete, and I honestly could not have made it without prayer, coffee, and encouragement from friends (You know who you are. Thank you!). 
Now my mind is exhausted. It’s time for a break before I start hectically pounding away at my keyboard trying to write a novel in only 31 days. 
Before you go, here’s the premise to the novel I edited, Breaking a Thief:

One lie can change much, but the truth can change everything. Lorne has learned the fine skills of thievery since childhood, but when she steals an item forbidden to the thieves, she is torn between living a double life: one of thievery and another of knowledge. With the help of a young pickpocket, Thane, Lorne crosses boundaries where even her influential father cannot protect her. 

 What are some milestones that you’ve accomplished lately? Want to read more about Lorne? Stay tuned for updates on later drafts or comment below!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: "In the Palace of Rygia" by L. Nicodemus Lyons

Book: In the Palace of Rygia (The Alliance, book 1) by L. Nicodemus Lyons
Genre: Christian fiction, medieval fiction
My rating: 5/5 stars
One word description: Compelling
L. Nicodemus Lyons creates an enthralling tale set in two warring countries: Rygia and Teman. I read the first book in two days and completed the rest of the series within two weeks (during midterms; yes, I still passed my classes). I couldn’t put the books down, and I would definitely reread them (I have read book 1 twice now).
In the Palace of Rygia captured my attention with the opening line and never let it go. The book had me intrigued, and I and liked the characters within the first few chapters—the conflicted General Corden, the sophisticated and pure Mari, and even the young and determined Paulus. I especially enjoyed how the characters develop throughout the book (and the series).
I also appreciate the design and symmetry of these books.
Lyon’s writing style is easily comprehendible and does not focus on unnecessary details, but it was still easy for me to image everything. Both the dialogue and settings are believable, and the cultures between the two countries Rygia and Teman are distinct. Because I enjoyed this series so much, book 4, In the Eyes of the King, is among my most Treasured Books.
The second book in the series, On the Isle of Caledron, continues the story of Rygia and Teman and develops both the plot and the characters. You can read my review for this book here.
In the Palace of Rygia is fairly clean with little blood/gore, but because of some of the darker themes throughout later books, I would not recommend this series to anybody under age 13. I gave this book 5/5 stars for its memorable characters, well-developed plot, and excellent plot twist. I would definitely recommend In the Palace of Rygia and The Alliance series to those who enjoy medieval fiction, adventure, and romance (and I don’t even like romance!).

Which books would you like to see me review next? Comment below or vote for a genre in the poll on the right-hand bar (it only takes 2 seconds!).