I'm in the trenches of editing right now, with at least 3,000 words in the books within the last week. I've moved, added, shuffled, cut, you name it. Everything that gets the axe is moved into cloud storage in the event it eventually gets put back in the MS..
I can't stress the importance of multiple versions of your novel. I found two scenes that are now included in DAYBREAK RISING from drafts I hadn't touched since Christmas 2014 if not earlier. I love editing because it gives me a chance to really shine. I take risks, more than I did in the original MS. Scenes spring to life that I would have never included, thanks to CPs and betas. For me, I am going to be honest here--I edit while I work, which is so time-consuming. I rarely free-write during edits, often skipping all over the place to address in-line comments from my editor. It's never a chapter-by-chapter thing for me. I just kind of go where things take me.
I added some backstory that really ups the ante on the things Celosia has experienced. Before, it was heavily alluded to, with the reader having to imply what had gone wrong at Daybreak. Now, the events that day are experienced through Celosia's eyes in a flashback scene. (I know, some people hate them. Sorry!) Celosia has PTSD and depression as a result of Daybreak itself, so there really needs to be a solid explanation of what happened to her to cause this. Simply put, things didn't go as planned. I of course won't spoil it, but within editing I've managed to address the horrors of what happens when a protagonist fails--rather than winning.
I've also managed to add more banter. Fun scenes that make the characters more than soldiers. Through editing, everyone is finding a more refined voice. My characters were already unique personality wise, but it's interesting to see how they interact with one another.
What I should be doing other than editing: [because reasons]
When I haven't been editing, I've been working (I have the absolute blessing to be able to write professionally as a freelancer, and am paid well for it) or packing. If you haven't followed me on twitter yet, I'm moving to New Zealand to be with my fiancee! Whoooaaaa. Big move from over here in the US. I have another week and a half to finish packing and call the moving company to pick up my boxes. No pressure, right?
Really though the pressure is that my mom's coming up to help me the 5th, and I can't have it look like I've been doing nothing. (I've not been, I packed/sorted 3 large boxes and a ton of clothes!) I also have a doctor's appointment the 1st so there's a lot to get done there by the 2nd. Suffice to say, I'm busy. I also have class. It's finals week, and I'm hoping for another set of B's in my capstone courses of my senior year. NO PRESSURE RIGHT?
Somehow, I'm not completely freaking out yet.
Anyway, here's one of my favorite new!snippets I wrote during edits:
“I can handle whatever you dish out. Trust me.” Celosia chuckled, conjuring a bit of flame as bravado got the best of her. Ianthe raised her eyebrows, frost weaving over her hand as she extinguished the fire in Celosia’s palm without as much as a wince. She hadn’t seen Riva walk up behind her until it was too late, so focused was she on Ianthe. The technology elementalist’s magic caused Celosia’s datapad to begin playing a rather trite love song from when Celosia had been a teenager.
Ianthe burst into laughter as Celosia glared at Riva with an expression that could have stripped paint. Riva snorted, their amused laughter echoing down the hall.
“It’s too easy to play tricks on you, Brennan!”
See you all next week, which will mark 1 week left until I see the rest of my family for the first time in a year and a half. Again, NO PRESSURE.
I'm thrilled to announce that my debut novel now has a new name. I'd been calling it EMBERS for as long as I can remember. To some, especially my beta readers--it might always be EMBERS. That being said, a lot goes into the name of a book.
In the end, Celosia's story is about overcoming the odds. When you've lost everything and your own mind works against you it can be hard to find the motivation to keep on going. Despite the deck being stacked against her, Celosia pushes through, living with PTSD, anxiety, and depression while tackling her responsibilities head-on. Leading the Ember Operative is no easy task.
Some days, it can be hard to get out of bed. To do basic things. I know this feeling all too well, because much like Celosia, I live it. I do my best to manage my depression along with my anxiety--though my PTSD still blindsides me with events from when I was still an age ending in 'teen.' sometimes. It's not easy. Writing this book was one of the hardest things I've done to-date this year. I had months where I couldn't look at it, to tell you the truth. With a lot of encouragement from my fiancee, my beta readers, and my CPs--I made it through to finish the second draft of the book last week.
This is a story about what you can accomplish when everyone around you is telling you to give up. When your mind continues to whisper traitorous things in your ear at night, saying you'll never amount to anything. When every turn is met with someone else that hates you for things you can't change. Celosia is called Daybreak, an insult added to injury--for failing at a military operation of the same name. It's hurled at her like a weapon, used to disarm and discredit her when she's at her lowest point. Seven years later, people still sneer, "Daybreak." at her to remind her of her failures.
Despite all of that, Celosia became the leader of the Ember Operative--poised to take back control of Esonith from the Council, with a lot of help (and a bit of love) along the way. The citizens of Esonith, the Council, and the Eighth Decorum all thought that Daybreak had fallen, unable to face the horrors of the things that she had done.
They thought wrong.
Without further ado, I present to you my spring 2016 debut novel--DAYBREAK RISING.
With great thanks,
Kiran Oliver is a 32 year old author residing in New Zealand with their wife, their cats Ember and Alastor, and their puppy Teddy.