WIP Forever Fantasy Online series

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by TravisBach, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Well, Forever Fantasy Online isn't going to be a WIP much longer. Book 3 is out of my hands and into Rachel's, aiming at a November release (until we get our copy-edit timeline that date is still very much TDB.)

    It's cool and strange to think that I'm about to finish my first series. Even though it's been 3.5 years since I started seriously writing, it doesn't feel like the FFO series took that long. That's probably because I love it to pieces, even those really hard conversation sections I had to rewrite a million times each.

    In other news, I'm playing around with a bonus novella for FFO that's tentatively called FFO DLC: --spoilery tittle to be revealed later--. It depends on if I can actually write a novella or not quickly (max of 2 weeks for 1st draft). My pace of story-telling tends to be very hard for me to change so I can see a future where my "novella" clocks in at 90k. @__@ I guess that's not so bad if it happens cause then it's just a book...
     
  2. Ian Mitchell

    Ian Mitchell Level 15 (Guardian) Roleplaying Shop Owner LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Congrats Travis! That is an awesome achievement.

     
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  3. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Thanks!
     
  4. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Update, sooooo the DLC novella is..as I predicted...rapidly turning into a book. I'm 20k words in and the basic plot will probably need 60k to play out. Then it'll go to Rachel for her additions which will definitely put it in the 80k-90k range. So I guess there's going to be a bonus novel to the series?

    I feel like this is a crazy thing to do as I'm totally off the rails with it business-wise (there is no plan, no cover, no intended packaging). I'd be more concerned but this book is so much fun to write that it's only going to take about 2 weeks to complete the first draft. It could technically come out this year even. That said, if I do finish it and it is novel-worthy, then I'm going to get it all ready to go and put it in the can for a next year release. That'll buy me 4-6 months more time to work on my first solo series.

    It could be awesome! Or it could be a disaster and I trunk the whole thing. We'll see!
     
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  5. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    The whole concept of finishing in 2 weeks, but not releasing for another 6 months just boggles my mind. Especially given you intend doing 40k words in 14 days, which is a steady 3000 words a day.

    Why the extra 6 months?
     
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  6. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I would be happy to answer.

    So first draft is going at about 6k words per day (writing for 8hrs a day) but it has to be edited by me, which adds another 2 weeks at least. Then it goes to Rachel for her edits and additions which is 5 to 8 biz days more.

    Then off to 2-3 months of post production (copy edits, proofs, cover, etc).

    So if Rachel gets it into post by mid-august then we wont be ready to launch till Nov.

    FFO3 is slated for our november launch slot though. As ffo dlc takes place after ffo3...i can't launch it before hand.

    I dont do december launches cause i hate battling for position vs big holiday advertising budgets. Jan, everyone is broke so no launches in Jan.

    That leaves February 2020 as the next viable target.

    Which is fine by me. I can send ffo dlc into post production mid august and then spend august to jan getting book 1 of Reborn to Die written.

    If I get all the work done on time then my 2020 could be

    Feb: FFO DLC
    May: Reborn to die 1
    Nov: Reborn to die 2

    2021
    Feb: Reborn to die 3 (final)

    Etc....


    That is a fantastic launch schedule IMO and I would love to land it like that.
     
  7. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I forgot to mention that I'm trying to stagger my launches with Rachel's. She should have 2 books coming out next year so our combined release calendar might look like.

    Feb: FFO DLC
    April: DFZ3
    May: Reborn to die 1
    Sept: New Rachel series book 1
    Nov: Reborn to die 2

    Edit: All these times are subject to change so please don't take them as launch date announcements. ^_^ Ultimately, the books will be done when they're done and they're not done till we think they are great.
     
  8. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I dont know who Rachel is, sorry, but ok.

    I guess it works for you.

    I find 6 books a year is the minimum for a decent income. I seriously don't get how 6000 words a day only equals 3 books.
     
  9. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Oops, sorry. My wife is the author Rachel Aaron (rachelaaron.net if you're interested ^_~). I used to talk about her a lot when I first joined these forums, but now I've gotten lazy. I didn't mean to be confusing.

    I certainly don't draft 6k/day straight to the finish line and hit publish.

    There's always some scenes or chapters that have to be thrown out and/or rewritten, a 120,000-word novel (my more typical length) takes about 200,000 words of actual writing to finish. That's about 240 hours of work just for the first draft. Which should really should include planning time for vital tasks such as world-building, character development, and plotting (a minimum of 40 to 80 hours for anything good.)

    I edit about half as fast as I write, so editing 120k words is another 120 hours. So just getting a barely readable manuscript takes about 230+80+120 = 430 hours or about 71 business days for me since I also have to spend a few hours a day on pure business stuff. This all assumes I don't have to throw another round of editing at the book due to story problems. Still, we're looking at 3.5 to 4 months for me to write a book. That should be 3 books a year even when counting as business days, but things don't always go as smoothly as that. FFo2 was a 230,000-word monster. FFo1 was 180,000 words. Our production schedule scales poorly with size (copy editing for 230k words @__@).

    Post-production I don't count, since it's the copy-editor's time not mine, but I do have to spend several days (total) on managing post-production tasks like copy-edits integration, proof integration, beta readers send & receive, working with the cover artist, blurb writing, networking with reviewers, print layout commissions, and so on.

    It all adds up to a reality of about 2 books per year. I'd like it to be three, but the push to get there is really tough. I'm not willing to ignore my son, compromise on quality, or burn myself out to get there. Sales are fine so I have no complaints about our process. Just gotta keep writing and keep learning how to make better books.
     
  10. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    It's interesting how different we all are.

    My books never get smaller with editing. They get bigger. So if a shorter book like I'm doing at the moment comes in at 60k, it will most likely be 65k on release. And my fans are telling me my pacing is really good.

    I simply cant fathom how 200k becomes 12ok. But I assume our brains don't function the same way.
     
  11. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    What I meant was that it sometimes takes 200k worth of writing to get the finished 120k.

    For example, if i have to scrap a 10k chapter and replace it with a better 10k chapter- i wrote 20k words but the final manuscript is still the same length.
     
  12. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I scrap a sentence here and there, but I dont think I've ever scrapped a chapter.

    I also don't do 10k chapters. I think my average is about 1500. Been as low as a single sentence, and as high as about 4000. But that 4000 was in one of my early books. When I was editing my co-author's work, I used to add chapter breaks in all over the place.

    I've just been reading a series where the author does very few long chapters. But in each chapter, she sticks a change marker in 2 or 3 times. For me, those are chapter markers. As soon as the scene changes, or the focus shifts, that's the chapter done. It doesn't worry me if a battle goes over 3 chapters, because the chapter change reflects the way the battle shifts.

    I find my fans like the shorter chapters too. I think this is something to do with the short attention span of so many people these days. They can handle 2k chapters, but any more than that, and it has to be totally compelling for them to keep reading. I've noticed it myself. I tend to break at the end of chapters, and if the chapter is too long, I just stop mid sentence somewhere where my mind wonders off. And the danger there with a new book, is you don't go back. I recently deleted a few books where I'd done that, tried again, dropped out again, and never gone back. Have to keep the Kindle app culled after all. But books with short to medium chapters break me at logical stop points, and I go back without any problems.

    What was I saying? ........Attention span, yeah. :)

    What I'm wondering is, if you wrote in shorter chapters, you might write them better in the first place, and not need to scrap any at all. Just a thought.
     
  13. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I scrap chapters for reasons like mischaracterization, they are boring, they took the plot in the wrong direction, they weren't on theme, etc... These are subtle, powerful problems that take 5k to 10k words to emerge usually. Shorter chapters won't fix this IMO, I'll just be dumping 3 chapters instead of 1 then. The work will remain the same.

    Keep in mind that I'm writing epic fantasy, which is a genre famous for monster-sized books, lengthy descriptions, and huge chapters. The fans want these things even. Short, fast epic fantasy doesn't sell well (not epic).

    With all the manga I read, you'd think I would favor smaller chapters too ;) In practice though, I do not enjoy very short chapters as a reader [of books, not manga]. When things happen too fast, I feel like they lack gravitas. Every book I've read which had such chapters felt...it's hard to explain...it felt either rushed or like the conflict didn't matter. I'll admit that this could be a flavor/taste issue.

    For the sake of discussion, I gotta seize on these words though,

    "and it has to be totally compelling for them to keep reading."
    My immediate reaction is - why is 'totally compelling' not a base-line requirement for every scene in your book? I rewrite and cut a lot because I have an intolerance for lackluster scenes.

    All that said, you're in KU. I'll totally download one of your books and give it a try. The proof is in the pudding, maybe I'll like your style.
     
  14. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I guess because what I find compelling will bore someone else. And vice versa.

    A lot of military readers won't touch Nathan Lowell, and yet his Solar Clipper series are compelling reading, even though nothing really happens if you compare to normal Space Opera and Military. The military readers think his books are boring. They're anything but boring, but you need to enjoy reading real life to appreciate them.

    My books tend to be 'life in space', and boring is what happens between exhaustion and the next battle. But battles are sometimes far apart, and life goes on while you wait. And life has its boring bits. You cant be compelling all the time.

    Cutting the boring bits though, also cuts out a lot of the good character development. One has to wonder how many mary-sues would not be if only the bathroom scenes were left in, and the eccentric way they brush their teeth was shown. :)
     
  15. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I disagree. Sure there's flavor differences, which is why we have genres and sub-genres, but books shouldnt have boring bits. We are writing entertainment. Everything should entertain.

    I think maybe you are limiting yourself by thinking of non-battle/conflict as boring. Reader investment and curiousity in characters climbs as they read and thats what makes characterization scenes compelling- they are payoffs to buildup, just a different kind of buildup.

    The opposite is when readers dont care about the character, then even the coolest characterization sequence is boring. Hell, battle is boring if the reader doesnt care sufficently. I have skimmed many many battle scenes for this very reason.

    For my money, even a pure slice of life scene about teeth brushing should be something the reader is wanting for when it arrives and it needs to serve the story by doing one or more of,
    1. Revealing useful information.
    2. Advancing the plot.
    3. Contributing to tension.
    (All the same can be said for exposition and infodumps.)

    Speaking of character development, I do not believe that lack of characterization makes the mary-sue. The mary sue is a character whose existence is nonsensical in a way that demolishes immersion, believability, and/or tension.

    Ever read a book where you realized that the MC was always going to sure-win everything? Did it feel suddenly pointless and boring? Imo that's a great example of a mary sue in action.
     
  16. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Actually, it's the opposite that annoys me. I keep reading books where the tough MC has to continually pull rabbits out of his arse in order to win, after having been introduced as the 'superior' person. To me this is lazy plot. Likewise the plot where a group is suddenly totally out of character, in order to have casualties to make things appear worse than they are, to build tension which shouldn't be there in the first place. This sort of thing bounces me out of a story a lot faster than anything else.

    What I want is a person to stay in character. I don't expect Superman to lose. And the whole kryptonite thing I view as stupid, because its an artificial 'stop someone being all powerful' tool, which is too easy to abuse as a writer. Superman is an interesting character to write, because 'losing' is not about how the situation is resolved, it's about the cost involved. Superman should always win, but the cost of doing so is where it becomes truly interesting, given the choices he makes during the fight.

    This is one of the reasons I wrote my Spacemage books the way I did. A lot of people complain my OP is overpowered, but that was the whole point. The story was about how an overpowered person dealt with it all internally.

    The only reason overpowered and always going to win is boring, is if that is all there is. Dare I say it, but plot driven will be boring, while character driven will be compelling. It's why I write in first person so much. It's not about brushing your teeth. It's what's going on in the MC's head while brushing teeth. Plot is brushing teeth. Character is using brushing teeth to be something to do while you ponder the imponderable you dont have enough data about yet.

    I actually think we're saying the same thing, but coming from totally different directions.

    Question for you: Back in high school when asked to write a page and a half, how much did you write? Me, normally a paragraph. :) I suspect you did 3 pages?
     
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  17. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I get ya, and I agree. I was saying "sure-win" above but perhaps "too easy" or "without having his views or decisions challenged" or "without making mistakes or paying costs" or "without growing" would be more accurate. I have nothing against the hero winning, in the end. Their struggle just needs to feel real and/or meaningful.
    I love that you brought up Super-man. IMO he's the perfect example of a physically unstoppable character...which means the central conflict of his stories really should be about something other than combat, cause he's gonna stomp the yard every time unless, as you said, shit gets contrived (re: kyrptonite). ^_^

    I wrote the minimum lol. But I read all the doorstop books like Wheel of Time, David Eddings, Battlefield Earth, etc... Now, as a writer, there's a certain speed of narrative that I dislike dropping under because it feels like the emotions and decisions (and prices paid especially) are moving too fast. And fast emotions feel cheap to me. Fortunately, my readers are also epic fantasy readers, so they have similar tastes.
     
  18. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Here, here!
     
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  19. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Err..... Contradiction? Or typo?

    You like speed, but dislike fast emotions and fast decisions? The latter are a function of the former. The faster the narrative, the less considered are the decisions, and the more raw and spontaneous the emotions.
     
  20. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Whooops. Yeah. That's me misspeaking. I don't like emotions and decisions to fly by too quickly.

    Edit: Big emotions and decisions. There's plenty of small ones that don't deserve a lot of words. Not trying to navel-gaze here.
     




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