December 20, 2016

A Look into the Creative "Process"

Classes are done, subbing is done, and I don’t work at the library until New Year’s Eve (did I mention I work part-time at a library? I shall have to post about it sometime). As such, I can devote my full attention to book preparation and, if everything goes swimmingly, writing a little series of serials about Delilah’s parents.

But on to the matter at hand:

Remember on my sneak peek post how I said the editing was done? Ha ha ha! No. Well, now it is, but… well, between then and now, I reread the book once more (you can never do this enough, as a writer), and realized that there were one or two things that had just never sat well with me. First and foremost, I’ve never liked how far from the end of the book the climax was, and also I didn’t like that one of the chapters in Team Delilah’s story line came after Team Chiaroscuro’s in the book, even though it should have come earlier, chronologically in the story. Then it hit me: Just move the chapters, silly! They don’t take place in the same location, and there was really no reason to have them structured that way originally, so moving them was no problem. It even made the tonal shift into the climax more gradual, which I like. My book is now closer to the book it was always meant to be, the Platonic form of Outcast Shadows, if you will. That’s why I love editing.

I also tightened up some continuity and changed some dialogue to avoid spoilers (yes, it is possible to spoil your own book within itself.) In addition to that, I renamed a couple of chapters. My thought process went something like this:

Me: I know it’s “Light and Shadow” right now, but what if I changed it to… “Shadow and Light?”
Also me: Brilliant! That changes everything. Yes, it starts on a moonlit night, then ends at dawn, both metaphorically and literally.
Also also me, leaning out from my cubicle: But I kind of like “Light and Shadow”
Me: Hmm… yeah. Me, too. Well, what about chapter 11? It kind of works there, and they’re both flashbacks, so…
Also me (AKA Me, an intellectual): Brilliant again! We can link these two chapters in the reader’s mind while commenting on the tonal shift of the events there-in!
Also also me, still leaning out from my cubicle: So can we call chapter 8 “Shadow Crisis”? I really like “Shadow Crisis”.
Both of the other me’s: Get back in your cube!*

Ah, but, remember how I also said that the cover sketch was done? Yes, well, I took issue with that as well, having asked Claire to draw Sebastian at a pretty impossible angle, in clothing I only vaguely had an idea of, so we decided to scrap it. It just didn’t work. So we had to come up with something else, and were still plagued by how to make it intriguing. We really couldn’t beat an upside-down Delilah drinking tea, after all. So what to do?

Me: “I mean, he cuts stuff with his shadow, but I don’t really like covers with a random fighting guy on front. Like, who are you so mad at, Cover Person? But what else does he do in the book? … He angsts, and braids his hair, reads in the corner, broods… He drinks water, and turns into a shadow, and talks to a teacher—”
Claire: “Wait…”
Me: “Eh?”
Claire: “He turns into a shadow.”
Both of us at once: “OHHH!!!”

It had dawned on us that perhaps the cover should be the character doing one of the coolest things that character does? What a thought! So we also worked on designing his fancy coat, and Claire did a little sketch, and, well, I’m super excited about it. It’s perfect.

So that’s all there is at present. I’m hoping to be able to give you all the Christmas present of a cover reveal next week, but we shall see. In the meantime, here is a little glimpse at the final version of the table of contents:


Chapter 1: Chaos is Calculated

Chapter 2: Awake in Chiaroscuro

Chapter 3: A Hick from Styx

Chapter 4: Lesse’s Moor

Chapter 5: Keeping Up Appearances

Chapter 6: Shadow and Light

Chapter 7: The Goblin Avalanche

Chapter 8: Shadow Crisis

Chapter 9: Love Potions and Soliloquies

Chapter 10: Scales and Archipelagoes

Chapter 11: Light and Shadow

Chapter 12: Last Request

Chapter 13: Unexpected Reunions

Chapter 14: That Way. This Way. Which Way? Here!

*We did go with Shadow Crisis! Ha!

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