The State of the ‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Project

Featured image: “Dazzling Bijou” by puddinprincess.

I have my notes back from L. Jagi Lamplighter, who graciously agreed to provide editing services for Jake and the Dynamo. She tells me that she and John C. Wright both found the book very funny, but she also made some incisive criticisms pointing out how it could be improved.

Writers in my circle had praised Lamplighter for her abilities as an editor, which is one of the reasons I had hoped she’d take me on. The praise was accurate; I had heard with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes have seen. She has an excellent command of story mechanics, and she knows exactly how to pinpoint problems precisely while at the same time framing her criticisms broadly enough to leave the author maximal freedom to work. On top of that, she criticizes in such a gracious style that she short-circuits the “you’re kicking my baby” response, which can be the knee-jerk reaction of some writers, especially newbs. Upon reading her advice, instead of the dismay I might normally feel when having my shortcomings explained to me, I felt an eagerness to get back to work.

Most of the changes she requested are minor, and she said I could probably make them in a single sitting. I think that would be one of her sittings, but it’s likely to take three or four of mine.

I have not had much time to write this summer as I’m currently working while getting a master’s degree in half the usual time. However, my summer term ends in two weeks, and then I’ll have a two-week break from schooling. That’s when I plan to make all the edits, put together a submission package, and get this sent off.

Lamplighter urged me to contact the editor of a particular press I probably shouldn’t name in a post yet. She said she’s already pitched my book there, and that the publisher is interested. That’s no guarantee of anything, of course, but it’s encouraging. I originally started this novel as a lark and expected to self-publish, but if an indie press wants to pick it up, that would be great.

I have my fingers crossed that the as-yet-unnamed publisher might be interested in not only the novel, but also the illustrations by Roffles Lowell—which he is hard at work on and has shown me preliminaries to prove it. I hired Lowell when self-publishing was still the plan, and I’ll be sure that he gets compensated and gets his work displayed one way or the other, but it would be awesome if I could convince a publisher that this is a light novel and thus needs illustrations. Obviously, an indie publisher such as the one to which I’ll be submitting is more likely to be persuaded on this than a big-name publisher, who would laugh contemptuously at any author who submitted illustrations with his written work.

I like working with Lowell, and I like seeing what he produces. We’re both newbs, so if we could break into the market together, that would be cool.

Since I’m now planning to submit to a publisher, I think it best if I put a halt to the web postings of the novel at least until I have publication matters squared away. Thus, the book is now on indefinite hiatus, for real this time.

If I end up self-publishing as originally planned, I’ll go back to posting the chapters here, but if I’m going to be publishing through a publisher, I should stop posting chapters for free consumption until further notice.

I’m not going to take down the already-published chapters (unless instructed to), but I don’t plan to add any more for the time being. Besides, as noted, I have no more to post at the moment, as I simply haven’t had much time to produce them.

On top of that, I’m going to be changing the way I tell this story anyway. My original intention was to write the whole thing and dump it on Amazon Kindle, but having realized that I have multiple novels’ worth of material, I’d like to switch gears. I will be (at Lamplighter’s recommendation) rewriting chapter 19 to make a better conclusion to volume 1, and then I’m going to take stock of chapters 20 and beyond to see how I can better shape them into a self-contained book. Now that I’m doing this as a series instead of one giant novel, I wish to ensure that each volume has its own complete arc, so I’ll probably be rearranging plot elements.

That’s all for now. Jake and the Dynamo is on hiatus, but the reviews and essays will continue until morale improves.

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.