Some days are slower than others

As some of you know, I’ve been working the last week on turning my rough draft of book nine into my first copy of book nine. (There will likely be four to five versions of this before it’s done and we move to copy edit.  Three of them before my editor sees it, and one or sometimes two versions to take in her suggested changes.) 

I’m trying not to be to anal about this version because I know there will be at least one more, but I like to turn in something that is as perfect as I can get it.  My average weekly page movement at this stage can be anywhere from 70 to 200 pages, but yesterday I was stuck on the same 20 pages all day.  Even better, I’m expecting that I’ll spend the morning on it as well.

It’s a little frustrating, but the chapter has so much dang potential.  When I first wrote it, it was almost an info-dump of a transitional chapter.  Now it’s got some action and surprise, but Al does something despicable, and I’m having a hard time with it.  That I’ve now got some cohesion to the info is great, (I cut about three pages from a 23 page chapter, taking out me repeating myself when a new character walks in.) I still don’t like it.  Al did something I didn’t like, and I have to decide now if I don’t like it because I want to like Al, or if I don’t like it because he did something out of character.  I’m great at justifying things, so I have to be ugly-honest with myself to keep true to the book.  I did this when Kisten died, so it’s nothing new, but it feels like my forward momentum just shifted to low-gear on the middle of the expressway.  Ouch. 

–Kim

79 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

79 responses to “Some days are slower than others

  1. mudepoz

    I DO NOT believe it. I got into a tracking test just outside of Minnesota, in Wisconsin. (Spots are like getting hens teeth, and I only entered under duress, I was planning on agility that weekend)

    I guess I’ll go over to the Arcana site and make a reservation for Saturday. Anyone know of a motel around there or River Falls Wi that takes dogs?

  2. Michelle

    Kim, it’s off topic but how about updating your music page? I love your taste in music (I’ve grabbed a lot of great songs off the list) and there have been a lot of changes and characters added sense the list was made. Please?

  3. Tiffany

    I think Al’s unpredictability is part of why he is such a great character. The fact that he has done some despicable things and yet is a character we can be simpathetic to is intriguing. I can’t wait to find out more about Al and the ever after: like what kind of moral code do demons live by? And how the ever after got to be so desolate and hanging onto time by a thread (if I’ve got that right) and whether that has anything to do with why demons are the way they are?..And I can’t wait to find out what demons and their nature will mean for Rachel!
    I’m sure we’ll enjoy reading ourselves down the path you pick for Al.

    • Tiffany

      Maybe moral is the wrong word in a sentence about a demon’s code…in any case I’m curious about it.

    • Antonio Rich

      You and me both, sister.

      It wouldn’t be as interesting to me if Al didn’t have the ability to choose or understand right from wrong, or (gasp) “grow”…

    • Hi, Tiffany.

      I’ve been trying to get into the ever-after more for a long time. It’s this one that I’m working on that I really get into the culture. At last! I hope you like it. –Kim

  4. Lurker

    I know the feeling. I’ve had days where I’m stuck developing one part of an application….and then doing it again🙂
    As far as Al goes…well. He is a demon, isn’t he supposed to be despicable?🙂 Good luck in working it out, just make sure Rachel wins. She needs a good win, she is losing the war😦

    • That’s it exactly, Lurker. Writing is a big puzzle, and I love my puzzles. Try it this way. Try it that way. Maybe I need a different piece.

      You’re right. Rachel is losing the war. I think she’s figuring that out in this one.

      –Kim

  5. Trust Al to be the one causing the problems😛

    Got a funny video for you regarding spiders. I don’t know if I posted the link in the ‘website’ slot of this comment. If the link doesn’t work, just look up “Spiders on Drugs” – it’s hilarious!! I wonder if that counts as animal abuse.

  6. Niki

    Kim,
    That must be frustrating, especially since Al is starting to grow (whatever that might entail), but we’ll love it–or love hating it–, once your decision has been made. Don’t worry!
    A friend of mine just sent me a short story to look over, after being informed via peer edit that the reader hated her writing style. I gave her my feedback, but would dearly love to borrow one of Jenks’s kids to pix said critic.

    • Hi, Niki. Mmm. If a reader hates a writer’s writing, then chances are that you need a new reader. I don’t like westerns, so even the best western ever penned would get a lack-luster review from me. (Though one would hope that I would be professional enough to find something I liked in it.) It would be my suggestion that she get a second and third opinion before changing too much. Tell her chin-up for me. 😉

  7. marie

    hey kim, i know this is totally off topic and random, but i need to know a name for jenks’ daughters i have Jih, jenny, and Jixy but i need one more. could you help me? thanks! with love:marie ♥

    • Hi, Marie. I just so happen to have my character sheets out this morning, so we’ve got Jhi, Jixy, Jinni, Josie, Jacey, Jance, Jezabel, Jessica, Jolivia, Jocelynn, and little Josephine and Jrixibell. There’s a couple more, but these are the ones who have been named so far.

  8. lemonade

    But but…. Al does a LOT of despicable things! 😀 This is such a huge teaser because you say that Al- the demonic, slave trading, murdering, torturing, scheming, pittiless, soul soiling and stealing character did something even MORE despicable!!! (!!!) Now I’m afraid and I don’t even get to read this for a LONG time. 😀 Best of luck with your speed bumps, hope they flatten out for you soon.

  9. RichardE

    Miss Kim, lets be honest here. Al is not a nice guy. He can be a charming fellow, and he can be funny as hell. But Al is what Al is. I love him as character because I know that at any moment he could just grab Rachel and try to kill her just because he hated the way his coffee tasted. He strikes me as a Hannibal Lechtor kind of guy.

  10. Becca

    I hate posting an “I agree with so and so” message, but here it goes. I know whatever Al ends up doing is what Al was meant to do. He might be likable occassionally, but he’s not a good guy. Think on all the terrible things he must have done to Ceri over the centuries and would still be doing if Rachel hadn’t saved her. And likely would be doing to Rachel if he could.

    As a Hollows pusher, I just wanted to add a few words of encouragement.

  11. Chastity

    Well, we all know Al is a demon and technically a bad guy…even though a lot of us like him, myself included. But seriously, we all expect Al to do something awful about now, I mean…he’s been too good for too long! (Good for Al at least!

  12. Greg

    Haven’t you heard evils is the new good. I’m just saying even when Al’s good he’s still bad. I say let him do what he dose best and stir up trouble.

  13. Phil

    I’m with Mud on this one, Kim. Al staying true to character is, if I have this right, what you try very hard to do (as with all your characters) and so your first instincts are probably right … true instincts. I’m guessing that’s why you like him. Of course, people can change … even demons, okay maybe demons not so much! Demons have to be demons!!😉 So if you go with your instincts it will work out perfectly!🙂

    ~Phil

    • Hi, Phil. It worked out great. I started down about three paths, and I kept circling back to my original idea, so I went with it and included something from each of the other ideas I trashed to make something compleatly new and functional. Writing is funny stuff. –Kim

  14. Bob J.

    Dear Kim,

    If it is just Al bing Al, don’t worry. Ray fix Al, maybe not this book. But Ray will make it right. Al’s job is to be the bad guy that Ray is put to fix.
    The fact that you are having so much trouble is a sign that this will be a great book.

    Best Regards,

    Bob J

    • OMGosh, Bob, you are so right. Once I got past this part, it was like, wow. It’s not going to be on the shelves for almost 18 months, but this is my FAVORITE book so far.

  15. Kim,

    Do what you feel is necessary a the writer. I write whatever I feel and it comes out a lot better.😉

  16. suzannelazear

    I see Al as a bad, bad man, lol. I’m not sure I could even *think* of what would be so dispicable that it’s out of character for him as I percieve him. Lol. Maybe Rachel just needs to smack him, lol.

    This morning on the way to school, the tot wanted to know what life was like for ghosts living in the “dead zone” LOL. (Thank you, Verizon, for introducing that phrase to my five year old) I told her that I didn’t know because once a ghost makes it to the “dead zone” they usually stay there….

    ~Suzanne and the tot

  17. Kylie Ru

    Okay, so Al did something bad? Despite the fact that we all love him, he’s not the nicest guy in the world. I remember you said somewhere, that when you get writer’s block, it’s because you’re trying to make the characters do something they wouldn’t do. Where am I going with this . . . . Um, I suppose if you were able to write it, Al wants to do it, and he doesn’t want you to change it? I don’t know, I’m not a pro writer. When I do write, I just kinda let it flow. Hope that helps.

    Oh yeah, congrats on the international-ness!

    • Thanks, Kylie. 😉 It wasn’t so much writer’s block as getting carried away with a scene and then liking it, even though the motovations didn’t flow. I took care of the motovations, now it fits, and Al’s happy, I’m happy, and Rachel . . . Well, Rachel is kind of busy.

  18. Denise

    OH no! Poor Al! I was so hoping for a more mature Al, but he’s a demon after all I guess. I know you will come to the right decision for that place in the book and when we read it will make total sense.

    • Hi, Denise. If I’ve done it right, you won’t be able to tell where I had the problem at all! 😉 It wasn’t so much that Al did something bad as what he did was jarring to the story flow. And that’s fixed now. –Kim

  19. Jane

    I’m sure it’ll be alright; it is Al, after all. There’s nothing I’m going to say that hasn’t already been said, but just let it flow. You’re really great, so don’t beat yourself up over this part. ^^

  20. Jenny

    Let Al be Al. We aren’t expecting puppies and roses from him.If he did something despicable or contrary to his current behavior, well, that is a demon’s nature isn’t it?

  21. Joy

    Kim,
    Maybe you could tell us what Al did and we could help you out with this problem so that you could move on to more edits😉 Just a quick heads up, when you come to Minneapolis make sure you bring some warm clothes. It is supposed to snow here in Fargo this week!!!! Have a great weekend. Joy

  22. Daniel

    Al is bad. He’s probably the demon most responsible for the general perception of demons as pinnacle monsters. If he does something vile, well, that’s who he is.

    The fact that he still has a more-or-less complete emotional range makes him interesting, but he’s still bad. Let him be bad.

    … or at least, that’s my thought.

  23. Al’s a demon. First instincts are usually correct, always answer multiple choices with the first answer you think of. Never second guess yourself.

    Mud, who is not a writer, but who IS amazed there is a gazillion writer workshops in the area. Hm, who knew. Back to disposing of clams, worms, beans, corn and peas. Supper anyone? The sauce is a fine formalin mix.

    • Antonio Rich

      I’ve always wondered what “are” Demons? I mean, Kim has never tied them in to any kind of religious storyline/inception. If they were called Goblins or Naturi or some other kind of word, I wonder if we would all assume they were irredeemable. They are the last supernaturals standing after the elves,witches,weres,banshees,etc left the EA.

      IS Al (and the Demons) inherently evil?

    • Phil

      Aren’t demons meant to be evil … i mean it’s in their nature and they can’t help it, and they really seem to like being evil.🙂

    • Kylie Ru

      I always figured demons were just another race. Although, the seem to be more okay with doing what their id wants. They don’t try to be “righteous”. They just wanna have fun!

      Okay, did that make sense?

      Also, demons kinda have a reputation to uphold. Despite what Shakespeare said in regards to roses, we still associate certain traits with things. We’ve always been told that demons are evil, argal, we assume that demons are, in fact, evil.

    • Antonio Rich

      Kim has never made any one group “the bad guys” out of hand, even the undead and the banshees. She puts characters into situations, trouble happens, and people respond positively or negatively. Why should the Demon characters be any different?

      Did the Demons come from a 3rd realm of some sort and conquer the EA, forcing the others to flee? Or, were they just the “losers” in a world war? Left holding the bag as impotent rulers of a barren world?

      Because: Where does RACHEL fit into this?

      Is she just “slumming in evil” for a few books, or does the story and her involvement in the EA lead to something bigger?

    • I’m not telling . . . yet. A long way to go before I sleep. 😉

    • Hi, Mud. Spent the day dancing around my first choice, and finally went back to it with a few modifications born in the dance. It worked. 😉

  24. Brandy

    I love your books because the characters are what they are and are unapologetic about it. They all have good qualities and bad, which makes them so believable. i like Al because he is such a good foil for Rachael’s character. I say let Al take you where he wants to go and see where he takes you. I don’t presume to know what he does that is so terrible, but maybe it will help us understand and appreciate Rachael and what motivates her even more.

    • Hi, Brandy. Thank you. I like my characters, too, for just the same reasons you mention. Al did what he did, and I shifted Rachel’s reaction to soften the impact, and we’re good. 😉 –Kim

  25. tattoolady

    good morning kim!
    i think that you will make the right decidion when it comes to Al. he is a demon afterall and they seem to have there own agenda that are not always what you expect/want them to do. i think that if this is what Al is doing in the moment of the story, you should let him. that is half the fun and intrigue of Al. he does exactly what he wants reguardless of how he get to that point and you have no idea of what is going through his head at anyone point. it will be ok. you will work it all out and no matter which way you take things, it will turn out for the best.-tattoolady

    • Hi, Tattoolady. Very true, very true, but I like the forward growth of Al, and if he does something to bad, it will be hard to continue that. So no wiping out of entire cities. (JK) –Kim

  26. Shanda

    When you say Al does something out of character in Book Nine, do you mean as in the “old” terror inducing Al or the newer, mature Al?

    • Hi, Shanda. Out of character as in he’d never done “this” to Rachel before, and it was kind of going against his new, mature outlook and back to his old, but I gave it a tweak, several tweaks, actually, and changed a motovation, and with that, I was able to keep the scene pretty much intact. He is a demon. –Kim

  27. Years ago when I was a newbie writer I asked Catherine Asaro about a particularly difficult scene I had to write. It made my hero look so chillingly cold and manipulative. She told me to search my gut — is that where the character needs to be at the point in the story, and if so, that’s the way it had to be. I left the scene in and it became a turning point in the hero’s emotional journey.

    So if that’s where Al has to live at this moment, leave his action in even if it bugs you. Given he’s a demon extraordinaire, he can be unpredictable on occasion.

    Good luck!

    • Hi, Jana. That’s it exactly. You have to look at it without passion, and decide if you don’t like it because you don’t like what he did, or if you don’t like it because it’s going against the story. Then you write the story. 😉 Continued luck with your work.

    • “…but I found someone even nastier under a rock. I can’t wait for you to meet him.”

      IMHO that’s one of the most rewarding aspects of writing — there’s always something nastier under those rocks.

  28. Antonio Rich

    Do you and your editor talk on the phone or online before you submit your copy to her? I guess i have this tv/movie idea of an editor working closely with the author, reading and suggesting things all along the writing process, but i gather that isn’t the case?

    I’ve kinda been wondering what your going to do with Al…I mean, he’s the greatest Slaver in Demon history for thousands of years, right? You’ve said that you enjoy his “growth”, but i always assumed that indicated an improved but an uneasy alliance with Rachel, not a moral overhaul.

    • Hi, Antonio. Hollywood loves that portrayal of the editor working closely with the writer, and that might be true in some cases, but my editor is _way_ to busy to baby-sit me like that. I do know if I have a problem spot, I can go to my editor and talk about it, and she will be right there, but it’s spotty, not a constant contact.

      What to do about Al . . . That sounds like a title. 😉 The chapter that had me hung up is done, and it’s pretty good. (nods head in satisfaction)

  29. Sometimes a demon like a scorpion just has to sting, its their nature.

    Looking forward to edit 7 when it hits the shelves.🙂

  30. Jemma

    Hey Kim, I’m sure you’ll figure out the Al thing.

    Also, oopsie on the cover thing yesterday. 0:-) Like I said in my comment, I just found it odd that it even came up on a google search. I wasn’t even looking for it and was sure you hadn’t officially released it yet so didn’t know how that person got hold of it to put it on their blog. That’s why I posted it to you. You know I’m a good girl really.😉

    • Phil

      Personally, I think you’re a very good girl for having posted that!!🙂 The cover is awesome and Rachel looks really cool!!

    • Hi, Jemma. Don’t worry about the cover thing. I might take the link down today, but don’t take it personal. (grin) Someone leaked it, and it’s been out for a long time. –Kim

  31. Antonija

    That sounds bad,Kim. I hope we won’t hate Al after book 9 but I’m sure you’ll make the right decision!
    Oh and the translation of The Outlaw Demon Wails is now available in Germany;)
    It’s on the fifth spot of the most bought Fantasy books at amazon.
    Hope that’ll brighten up your day a bit:)

  32. Greg

    Hey kim, I’m sure you’ll make the right call you always do. I love Al to but we all know how shifty he is. Well good luck and have a great day.