The Latest from My Editor

Featured image done got stoled from Kawaii Warrior Princess.

In another forum, my editor L. Jagi Lamplighter had this to say:

And do you know what else is hilarious? Your book! I was reading sections to John last night … when I could read over the tears of laughter … and we were both so amused!

The John here is Lamplighter’s husband John C. Wright, the prolific, Hugo-nominated and Dragon-winning author of such works as The Golden AgeOrphans of ChaosIron Chamber of Memory, and my favorite, Somewhither.

However Jake and the Dynamo fares when it goes to market, I know it has at least brought mirth to two people, and for that I am humbled and gratified. Producing tears of laughter is its only intended purpose.

‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Update

Although I’m way behind where I’d like to be in producing volume 2, things are moving along in the process of formally publishing volume 1 of Jake and the Dynamo.

I recently got back in contact with Roffles Lowell, our illustrator, who’s busy producing the internal illustrations.

I also squared things away with my editor. I didn’t want to mention it in a post before things were definite, but I can now say that the editor is L. Jagi Lamplighter. She’s the author of the Prospero’s Children series and the YA Books of Unexpected Enlightenment. Her editing services come highly recommended by writers in the circles I run in, and she’s edited several respected books including Brian Niemeier’s bestselling and Dragon Award-winning Soul Cycle.

So far, she has this to say:

I finished all the previous projects and have started on yours.  I cannot tell you how hard I laughed when I got to the dark queen questioning the lighting.

And the fifth grade thing is so horrible and funny!

A few chapters in but really enjoying it so far.

Although my original plan was simply to self-publish, there are some small-press efforts I wouldn’t mind being a part of, so exactly what I’m doing once the editing process is complete is still up in the air, but I’ll keep you informed.

Progress on Jake and the Dynamo Volume 1

I have to apologize for my absenteeism, but the combination of work and school has left me little time to sleep, let alone blog.

We’re approaching the middle of June, which means it’s soon time to ship the current draft of the first volume of Jake and the Dynamo to my editor. At the moment, I am thinking I will change the title of this volume from Down and Out in Fifth Grade, which sounds like a Beverly Cleary novel, to The Wattage of Justice, which sounds more like a goofy superhero story.

The bonus chapter is drafted, though a reader in my writer’s group wants me to change some details, and I intend to comply. I’ve also just about decided that the bonus story will be a novelette entitled “Eye of Fire.” It’s set in the universe of Rag & Muffin, but I think it makes for a nice capper because of the way it ends.

Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting my illustrator, and I’ve put off dealing with the cover art partly because I might need the book dimensions first. We’ll make all this happen, but I can’t give an ETA yet.

I’ve been toying with catchphrases and blurbs. I originally was thinking,

The universe is out to get him … but the universe didn’t count on her.

But that sounds kind of … what’s the Internet term? Beta male? I mean, the cover art is almost certainly going to feature a little girl standing in front of a much larger guy, and I don’t want this whole thing to end up like Joss Whedon’s profile picture.

Really, Joss?

I started this project in the first place because I wanted to see if I could create a magical girl’s male sidekick who doesn’t end up looking like a total wuss. So now I’m thinking,

He’s a teenage boy. She’s a preteen powerhouse. They fight crime.

I like it because it’s silly.

The Days of Hiatus

I hate (ahem) to pause the party, because my traffic indicates that our ongoing series of hate—burning hate—for Cardcaptor Sakura is my most popular posting, ever. As they say, hate sells. However, I’m sending my computer in for some maintenance, so I’m going to be offline for a few days.

As anyone reading Jake and the Dynamo knows, hating someone passionately takes a lot of energy. I therefore give you permission to love, honor, and obey Cardcaptor Sakura at least until the weekend.

The hate will continue once morale has improved.

Tomorrow …

I’m getting pinched by school projects as we’re coming to the end of the term, and I wasted too much of my Easter weekend writing that gargantuan post on Shugo Chara! instead of writing my reports.

Nonetheless … look for Chapter 26 (finally!) of Jake and the Dynamo tomorrow. I don’t think I better make a definite promise, but … look for it.

Notice it, senpai. Notice it.

Sailor Moon S!

All right, this review is taking me more time than I expected, and it’s getting pretty long. It’s like I’m writing another frickin’ novel over here. But I’m not done: there are a lot more things I want to say about Uranus. A lot more.

(Adolescent snigger.)

I didn’t get this done on time, and I got stuff to do tomorrow, so I’ve got to call it quits. Expect a discussion of Sailor Moon S to go up tomorrow night.

Art + Update

Featured image: “Mahou Shoujo Cotton” by Maruuki.

I just finished working through my final pass of my upcoming novel, Jake and the Dynamo: Down and Out in Fifth Grade. I was waffling on the bonus chapter I had previously written for the end, but I think I’m going to expand it slightly and keep it. It’s not long enough to be sufficient bonus material, so among other things, I’m going to spend today working on a short story that will also go in the book, the working title of which is, “Young Rifle Maiden Plays It Safe.” That story, like the bonus chapter, will not be available on the blog.

I think I have things worked out with Roffles Lowell. He’s interested in doing the interior art. Right now, he’s just waiting for me to tell him what size, dimensions, and format he needs to work in, and whether I need black and white as well as color. He also offered to produce pictures for the chapter headings and section breaks, and I think I’ll probably take him up on that to give the book the appropriately gaudy YA novel look.

So things are coming together, albeit slowly. In my most recent pass over the story, I expanded a few sections, revised others, and fixed the inevitable typos that slipped through the earlier editing (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few on this pass, too). Also, because of the way I’m writing the story, posting as I go, a few inevitable inconsistencies have crept in here and there, so I’ve taken the opportunity to correct those as well. They mostly involve minor issues like the length of T.B.’s hair, Tsubasa’s threat competency rating, or how much access Marionette has to her own computer code. These are the same kinds of things you’ll notice in, for example, long-running web comics, even ones by creators who make more careful notes than I do.

The initial drafts go through my writer’s group and also get about three go-overs from me (once before going to the group, once after, and once in hard copy) before they go online, so what you see when the story updates is what we might call “upper middle draft,” as opposed to rough or final. Now that I’ve given the novel version my own edits, I think I’ve done all I can without someone else’s eyes on it. I haven’t lined up an editor yet, but hope to have that underway in the near future.

Presumably, after the editor has given it a go-over, it will need some rewriting.

A few years ago, it crossed my mind that it would be fun to write a light novel series, so I guess I’m living the dream, though Down and Out in Fifth Grade perhaps does not qualify as a light novel, since it’s about 95,000 words, whereas light novels generally run 40,000 to 50,000. So I guess I’m writing a novel series that’s light-novel-ish.

And if you’re following the series online, we’re already six chapters into volume 2, which presently has the working title of Jake and the Dynamo: Dead to Rights. It will probably contain approximately twenty chapters and around 100,000 words, just like volume 1.

Jake and the Dynamo Update

Featured image: “A Magical Girl” by AngusBurgers, which he describes as “a magical skeletal with correct anime proportions.”

I know activity’s sporadic here, but my free time is limited. I did finally make it all the way through the recently released, uncensored first half of Sailor Moon S, and I have a lot I want to say about it, so look for that in the near future. Since I approached the Sailor Moon franchise first through the manga and then through Crystal and then through the Nineties anime, all in rapid succession, I’ve been enjoying making comparisons between the three. It’s particularly interesting to see how Sailor Moon S diverges from its source material more completely than Sailor Moon or Sailor Moon R did. As usual, I sometimes like the changes and sometimes don’t. Uranus is way less annoying in the animated version, mostly because they found a way to give her an internal conflict that isn’t stupid like the manga’s version.

Speaking of crossdressers in magical girl stories, the rough of chapter 25 of Jake and the Dynamo is complete. That’s what I’ve been dedicating my spare time to. It’s got a scene in it I’ve been looking forward to writing for quite a while now, and we’ll see the return of a character that some readers have asked about.

Jake and the Dynamo Coming Soon

Featured image: “Snowwhite and Hardgore Alice” by KaishaScire

I’m busy at the moment with an assignment I have to have completed tonight, but if I can get this wrapped up, I’ll make the final pass on chapter 24 of Jake and the Dynamo. Check back here tomorrow, as I hope to have it up.

‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Update

Featured image: ?

Just to let you know, in spite of my very busy schedule, I have just finished the draft of chapter 24 of Jake and the Dynamo and sent it off to my writers’ group. I’ll see about doing my first pass on it tonight.

As usual, I had twice as much material as I could actually fit in, which means I was able to end it on the cliffhanger I wanted to end on two chapters ago. Ha.