The Hardest First Draft Yet

Last weekend, I finally finished my hardest first draft yet – the third installment of the Dome of Souls series, whose so far only published member is Dome Child.

The Dome series is with me since „forever“ and once, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I wrote them all in TV screenplay formats, then revised them into novels, next abandoned them. Dome Child was originally written as a novel only and represents the very beginning of the series. I wrote it „last“ = ended with the beginning, in 2007 and after endless revisions published it in 2011.
After finishing Dome Child, I turned to other things and started several other series, thinking I would not return to the Dome world. The TV script format version represents my 1 million words of crap, or rather 2 million, and for a few years I was determined not to go back to them.

Let me add that the Dome series is spanning many thousand years of future human history and the four parts that I wrote in screenplay format and the one (Dome Child) that I wrote in novel format, are happening in the same world/universe but at different times and each deals with different characters.
Last year though, the Dome bug bit me again suddenly and without even looking again at the original screenplays, I decided to write the second Dome novel (title is yet a secret, let me call it AA) from scratch. That went very well and I am quite happy with the result. AA was easy to write, since everything in it leads to one big, inevitable conclusion.

Without much looking into the finished AA, I decided to write the third Dome novel right after it, again from scratch. Now this one, let me call it JJ for now, is the central piece of the whole Dome of Souls idea. JJ was the first Dome project and from it spawned all the others in the following order, one prequel (AA), two sequels and another pre-prequel, which is Dome Child.
JJ, the central beast, sits like a spider in the middle and throws its threads into all directions. It is the hen and the egg at the same time. The renewed beast had 120,000 words, but then I discarded an entire story line and went back to about 70,000 words and wrote again up to 90,000, which is the current word count of the „finished“ „first“ draft. I have never rewritten anything so heavily yet and have never fought with a story so much. It feels like I wresteled with Shelob herself! A bit exhausted now, I shall let this draft rest and take care of some other books of the plenty I have still in store, before going back to JJ.

The plan is to release the second Dome novel (AA), which flowed so nicely, around the end of the year and it will be JJs turn then next year. I’m thrilled how I will still like it (or not) when I go back to JJ in a couple of months. JJ must be the natural „end“ of what happened in Dome Child and the second Dome novel (AA) and it also must prepare what will happen in parts 4 and 5 and a probable part 6 that spooks around in my head but that has neither been written in screenplay format nor as a novel yet.
JJ has changed so much since its screenplay days. Almost unrecognizable. I deleted and killed entire story threads and characters, other characters are completely re-invented. I am very relieved that for the moment, I think, I managed to tackle the beast and to whip it in shape. Let’s see if I still feel positively about it when I go back to it.

So, an enforced writing pause will commence now in order to review tons of already existing stuff (7, (yes, seven!) novels, which are written, but not out yet). What a pain – since I have another 3 Dome novels to write. Apart from the Dome series, I have another 6 novels in four different worlds in my head! Kyaaaaaaa…. So much to do, so much to read, so much to write and so little time! 🙂

Writing Progress Report – January 2015

What’s going on at the writing front? A bit of a 2014 review and an outlook for 2015:
I am still tired of „marketing“ my books but not tired of writing them.
After disappointments accumulated in the beginning of 2014, I sort of withdrew from the submission circus and have not yet gone back into the gauntlet.
In the meanwhile, I finished my Hagen Patterson trilogy and put out the last one – “Give Substance to a Thought” – in November. Before that I put out the revised version of my first non-self publication „Dark Matters“ under the new title of „The Glow of the Dark“. And before that Dark Quest published my novella „That One Minute“, so actually, quite a lot was happening in 2014 even without the submission and rejection madness.

I also tackled a huge project – going back to my „Dome of Souls“ world. The entire project and world is around since the late 1990ties, was originally written in TV script format and I had sort of given up on it. However, in 2011 I published my „Dome Child“ novel, which was never written in script format but right away as a novel. It constitutes the beginning of the whole „Dome of Souls“ idea. At the time, I thought I end this idea with its beginning and was determined to put the large rest into the drawer and turned to other projects.

I made the bill without the innkeeper as we say in German (to reckon without one’s host?), and now the project has come back massively.
The „Dome“ bug bit me again and I wrote, from scratch, without looking at the old TV scripts, the second installment of this series in novel form. It’s become my longest novel so far, counting a proud 140,000 words at the moment (first draft). I am highly pleased with the outcome and the first beta reader liked it too. Now the job will be to revise this beast and put it out there somehow. I am not sure yet how. Shall I send it into the submission idiocy or just show that part of the business the finger and put it out myself? I don’t know yet.

Some hints as to what’s going on with this series:
The 140,000 words beast is not a sequel to „Dome Child“ and does not deal with the same characters.
The „Dome“ Series is my idea of „future history“. I am visiting pivotal changing points in my version of humanity’s future in this series. Usually the demise of an old system and the birth of a new one.
„Dome Child“ dealt with the demise of the times of Bihindi and its religious sects, and marked the beginning of the times of „Lei Lao“, a guild-based political system.
The 140,000 words beast deals with the end of the times of Lei Lao and takes place 500 years after the „Dome Child“, which is set in an unspecified future of humanity after the „second postmodern robot war.“
What connects all the „Dome of Souls“ novels is of course the „Dome of Souls!“ 😉
While Jove Hendricks was the first „Dome Child“, the „Dome“ has become a more common, if still exotic „gift“ that some humans possess. At the end of the times of Lei Lao there is even a „Dome guild“ where everyone who sees the „Dome“ is registered.

Impatient suddenly, I even started with the third „Dome“ novel, which, in fact, is the central piece of the story. „Jeronimo“ is the book/idea that kicked off the entire „Dome“ series. I’m at the moment in the middle of writing „Jeronimo“ from scratch, without looking at the old TV scripts. Since this is the oldest and most central piece of the idea that’s quite a challenging task.
So, there is a lot more „Dome“ stuff to come 😉
I’m very glad that I went back to this world, I sort of feel incomplete without finishing this big big thing that has been with me for such a long time.

But, I have more in store. At the moment writing work on „Jeronimo“ is resting, since I am, for the 100th time, revising another soft SF project, a space opera, which might also be the start of a bigger series. The problem with this beast is, that it’s written in 1st person and I wrote its first draft before I learned a lot more about the craft and am now struggling with the language.
I still love the story, but the execution and language… sigh… anyway, I already asked Katoh sensei for cover art and it’s excellent as usual and I am eager to get rid of this beast so that I can concentrate on the „Dome“.
I am looking at new ways of distribution and am thinking of publishing this space opera myself via Wattpad. Well, we’ll see what happens.
So, 2015 will, in whatever form, see the birth of that space opera and it will see some action concerning the „Dome of Souls“ novels, plus? We’ll see, since there are even more finished novels in my drawers!

Since I am still frustrated with the submission hell, I guess I’ll just let it burn and consume others, and put things out myself again…
Stay tuned for soft SF pouring out from Regina in 2015 😉