More painting, more revision

I meant to post this last week, but it ended up being a super busy week for me and I couldn’t squeeze it in.

I completed a third painting recently. It was fun and I learned a lot, and while I went into it intending to paint the rolling hills and fields of Roberian, I also wanted to paint mountains, so it ended up looking more like my vision of Aldaeon. Both being regions from my Snakesblood Saga, of course.

I want to incorporate more into my paintings in the future. Once I start getting a handle on landscapes, maybe I can move on to including buildings, cities, bridges… some castles would be cool, and would set me on the right path toward being able to paint my own cover art, which would be awesome. So I’m looking forward to doing more paintings, but it probably won’t be until after Christmas.

Aldaeon Valley - Painting by Beth Alvarez

While we’re on the subject of books, it’s a good time to talk about the state of my current projects.

The ninth revision of Serpent’s Mark is almost done. I mean, I guess the ninth is technically done and I’ve started the tenth. It’s very true that the best way to learn something is by doing. I spend a lot of time studying–I read two books on grammar and proofreading last week–but I learn so much more from doing. Lately I’ve found that I learn more from editing than just writing. Halfway through my ninth revision, I found a better way to do something and I implemented it in my editing from the point I hit that realization, but that wasn’t until about a third of the way through the book.

So that first third has entered revision number ten. I’ve worked on this book so long that I have a hard time getting past my frustrations with it, but I also can’t continue to poke at the same book for another decade. It’s impractical, and I have more stories to tell.

Since I’ve been working on Serpent’s Mark all month, I owe Spectrum Blade a little attention once I get that first third of Serpent’s Mark polished up to match the stylistic changes in the later sections. I’d like to add 5,000 words to Spectrum before the end of the year. I’ll probably use the next few days to wrap up the revisions on Serpent’s Mark, then write as much as I can for Spectrum.

The good news is I feel better about the way Serpent’s Mark has come together. I’ll be having my sweet friend-slash-editor Megan look at the book again in January (or possibly February) and try not to worry about it much until she’s done with it. With how many times the book has been edited, I don’t know how much there is to do to it, but at the same time I know every proofreader will find more mistakes. That’s the way it always is, and the way it will be from now until forever.

One cool thing is that as I’ve changed my plans for Serpent’s Mark and have gone back to some of the ideas I cut from the very first draft, the first book has gained a lot. It was about 92,000 words when I first split it and it’s a shade over 100,000 words now. That’s a lot of expansion, and a lot of old ideas coming back. There’s still one section in the middle I’m a little unsure of, but like I said, I’ll wait to do anything in-depth until I get more feedback on the book.

I have a pretty wild writing schedule planned out for next year, but this is getting long, so I’ll stop here and talk about next year’s book plans next time instead.

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