Dome Child – Revised and Abridged

It’s almost five years since I released my novel Dome Child into the harsh world out there. Back then I thought Dome Child would be a stand alone and that I would not go back to the Dome of Souls world, which has been with me since – OMG – around 1997 (!). I wrote the Dome of Souls stories in screenplay format and only the Dome Child, which I started in 2007, was originally written as a novel.
Dome Child Cover small
After the release of Dome Child, I thought I was done with the Dome of Souls world, but before long the bug bit me again and I decided to rewrite everything from scratch and this time in novel format.
I wrote four TV series, the first is called Jeronimo (the J is deliberate), the central piece of the Dome of Souls world. Next I wrote a prequel to Jeronimo called The Anatomy of Anarchy, then the two sequels of Jeronimo.
Things stopped there because I was turning away from screenplay format and wrote the pre-prequel of Jeronimo: Dome Child as a novel. A sixth story always spooked in my head but has so far never been written down.
Rewriting the Anatomy of Anarchy from scratch into novel format was much more fun than expected and it changed quite dramatically compared to the screenplay version.

The Anatomy is now finally ready for release and will come out in July (I hope… I’d like to bring it out in June already, but I will be on a longish international business trip plus some holidays that will interfere with the publishing plans)
Taking the release of the Anatomy as a trigger – five years after Dome Child, I took up the Dome Child again and revised it.
I was very pleased that I am still fully behind the story, the plot, and the characters of Dome Child, but the revision was very necessary, since I’ve learned a lot about writing the past 5 years. I reduced the Dome Child from from 397 to 371 pages, deleting some scenes, shortening others, revising wording. None of the shortening affects the overall plot. These are my greatest problems, I think, over-wordy sentences (I blame my German mother tongue for that) and repetition. I suffer from the phenomenon: some things are so “awesome”, they need to be said a couple of times in other words…
I am confident that the revised Dome Child is more compact and flows better now, but the process made me kinda wonder just how much I would throw out if I were to repeat this revision process in another five years? 😉
Anyway, to prepare for the release of the Anatomy – here is the revised Dome Child.
I am contemplating whether to open another Wattpad account (I have one for books published under a pseudonym) and whether to make the Dome Child available for free in that format… for the moment that decision is postponed to July when I’ll be back from that longish business trip/holidays.

All in all I am very happy with having revised the Dome Child and am determined to finally “finish” the Dome of Souls series. Jeronimo is already written anew from scratch (and it changed even more dramatically than the Anatomy), its two sequels that already existed in screenplay format are not yet done and the last novel, the never yet written book, also awaits. Even if I manage to release one Dome of Souls novel per year, it’ll be 2020 until the thing is done! And how knows, maybe number 6 won’t be the last word? You never know with the Dome of Souls.
For now – here is the revised Dome Child and the Anatomy will see the light of day in July 🙂

The “Out of the Box” Myth

In my day-job I am again and again confronted with the wish for „out of the box“ thinking. Oh, how all those managers wish and starve for their subordinates to „think out of the box“ and produce fresh and new ideas.

But!

1) If you do think out of the box and it goes wrong – oh how big and bad is the blame! As a result, the person who dared to think out of the box, will never do so again, since he or she does not want to hear the blame and accusations again.

For an „out of the box“ culture you need a framework of: mistakes are allowed and OK. A framework that exists in the fewest of places, I dare say.

2) Much deeper than the „mistakes are OK culture“ goes the problem that you cannot demand of a „monoculture“ or of people who have done the same stuff for many years, to suddenly think „out of the box“ – they don’t know how to do it. They will only come up with the same ideas that they are familiar with and that they have used for years. They simply don’t know how to think out of the box and how to transcend what they know.
That’s not their fault, how the hell are they supposed to think out of the box if they never learned it, and if it is not really, truly allowed.

The other aspect, monoculture, does the same thing: It limits you. A homogenous group of e.g. Japanese men over fifty will only generate what a homogenous group of Japanese men over fifty can think of. If there is no stimulus of whatever sort, different gender, generation gap, different nationality, etc., there will be no new ideas but again only all those ideas the Japanese men over fifty have produced over the past twenty years already.

There are of course failed diverse teams. That failure generates mostly from being unable to accept each other as equal partners after all. The older person might still think the younger person is „stupid“ because he/she has no experience yet, even if the older person does not say so aloud and is friendly to the younger person. Diverse teams only function and bring a task forward if they truly embrace each others diversity and accept each other as equal human beings – and hell, that’s difficult.

I am amazed as to the stubbornness with which the cry for „out of the box thinking” remains without ensuring the per-requisits: a “failure is OK” culture, enough time and space to generate new ideas, and functioning diverse teams.

But – where does the cry for „out of the box thinking” come from? Pressure from business and society to gain market share, to „stand out“ in order to be noticed in the „sea of choice“ that we face these days.

This goes back to writing or rather to trying to market your books. Everybody wants to stand out from the crowd and be noticed… in doing so, we are all the same = a monoculture.
I don’t know what the solution to this is and, for example, how I shall manage to make my books stand out from the crowd and be noticed…

But there is another (frustrating) aspect that I realized just last week.
Were you/are you aware of the fact that in 1960 there were only 3 billion people on the planet? And now, only 55 years later, there are over 7 billion? See Wikipedia – world population

No wonder the individual doesn’t manage to be heard anymore and does not manage to stand out from the crowd without a ridiculous amount of luck. No wonder everything’s been invented already and every book has already been written…

Well, but that shall not stop me from keeping on writing, since I get huge personal satisfaction out of it! I just started reviewing my second Dome of Souls novel (part 1: Dome Child) yesterday after letting it be for half a year and damn! It’s good! I’ll publish it this autumn or so.

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

It’s time for a little update concerning my writing activities.
I would like to be thoroughly occupied with writing the second Dome of Souls novel (the first one was Dome Child) but things are getting in between.
Currently I am at 90,000 words with Dome of Souls 2 SciFi animal. That sounds as if the novel was finished, but far from it. The demise of the Lei Lao system, 500 years after the Dome Child ended the times of Bihindi, has epic proportions and therefore also epic book length 😉 I expect the Lei Lao upheaval to require another 40,000 words or so. My target is to keep the thing under 150,000 words 😉 The beast is huge and I like huge beasts! 😉

That One Minute
The much smaller beast of “That One Minute” – a fantasy horror comedy novella as I like to call it – is “officially” out already since 31st of March… but only in paperback form. Dark Quest is just not coming around to getting the kindle version ready and I am refraining from any “big” announcements as long as the thing is not available in e-book form… sigh…
This is my second title with Dark Quest by the way after “Lord of Water” and I love Katoh sensei’s as always great cover, which is for the first time not a pure “painting” but combinations of several photos (of the lake and mud) plus paintings of the gray hands and the staircases to hell ;-). So, the waiting for the kindle version continues… a painful three and a half months already……………….

Hagen 3
I got the beast back proofread last night (thanks Tom!) and now have to go through it one more time (therefore I cannot continue with Dome of Souls novel 2…) and then start the Createspace process. I already received the magnificent – send shivers down my spine – cover from Katoh sensei. It’s a worthy cover for the last book in the trilogy.
I suspect/hope the beast will come out September/October or something like that. I find the prospect to have to go through it now a couple more times rather unthrilling. I have moved on! I’m now back at the Dome of Souls! Hagen stuff is finished, done, completed! lol…

Then there is the bunch of other novels which are already written but I’ve done nothing with them yet. There are three at the moment, all of them potential starts of other sets of trilogies or series. One is “brand new”, just written half a year ago, and I’ve never sent it anywhere yet, but the other two have gone through the agent gauntlet – unsuccessfully.
I am suffering from a continuing “marketing block”. I just wanna write, not do all this stupid crap of query letter bullshit… I am so “anti-marketing” at the moment that I’m not even working much on my homepage, nor have I even looked yet at the video I took of me reading from Hagen 2 = To Mix and To Stir at Hal-Con in April.
I am tired of being nice and taking all that idiotic, arrogant crap from the publishing industry.
There is just too much stuff out there that goes by unnoticed… mine among it… and too may hopefuls that too many people try to take advantage of you.
I have very limited time for books due to job and the rest of life. Do I want to waste that time doing something I hate = marketing and sliming and being nice and hoping and being punched in the stomach again and again? Or do I want to use that time for doing something I love: WRITING?
2014 is clearly a time of I don’t want to waste my precious time with marketing bogus. Maybe I get my marketing desire back in a couple of months or so, maybe not.
As long as I am only suffering from marketing block and not writing block I am not worried 😉

Oh… there is another book in the pipeline, high fantasy novel with Dark Quest (first real long novel with them)… but considering their speed I am inclined to believe that it’ll become 2016 before that novel comes out…

Short fiction? Sorry, nah… At the moment I have zero desire to write short fiction. I want the big, epic, long, lavish stuff where you have time to construct and destroy whole worlds and where you spend some time with the same characters. Epic is the order of the day 😉 I wonder when I will be able to finish the first draft of my 2nd Dome of Souls novel? Some time around autumn? We’ll see.
Now off to Hagen 3 edit duties.

Writing Progress Report

So, what’s happening on the writing front?
Quite a lot (as always):
1) Revised version of Dark Matters. After giving up waiting for Edge SF and Fantasy to re-issue the revised version of Dark Matters (they sat on it doing nothing for over a year), I managed to get the rights back and am putting the revised edition out myself now. I’d very much like to have the book ready before the Hal-Con which happens on the 12th and 13th of April. Yuk! That’s in four weeks! It will be quite a race 😉 Let’s see if I (or rather CreateSpace) manage… The new Dark Matters has a new title: The Glow of the Dark and it has grown from 33,000 to 45,000 words.

2) That One Minute – my second novella with Dark Quest Books – is finished, the galley proofs are checked and now it’s up to Dark Quest to release the book. I don’t know yet when that will happen. It’s all a waiting game in this business (pained smile). Here is a bit of an excerpt from what I like to call a fantasy horror comedy 😉

3) Hagen 3: It’s finished, last revisions are happening, the cover is already commenced to the great Katoh sensei and I’m excepting to get it around Japan’s Golden Week at the end of April / beginning of May. The actual book which concludes the weird adventures of my favorite alchemist will probably be available sometime around July or August.

4) My first full length novel with Dark Quest, the beginning of a high fantasy trilogy, is also in the making and it will probably see the light of day some time in 2015.

5) Two more novels are finished for quite a while already: A space opera and a historical fantasy/sf hybrid. Since I am currently pretty tired of traditional publishing attempts, I am contemplating whether to go the indie-pub route as well or whether continue to submit the beasts. With lottery-like odds it is hard not to get frustrated. I shall read some more Dean Wesley Smith advice and decide later.

6) Another contemporary fantasy I have written at the end of 2013 is now in the revision process and I’m intending to submit it to the Odyssey critique service and then again the question what to do with it once it had gone through final revisions. Try the traditional publishing lottery or forget about that and go on my own.

7) Since the books under points 5 and 6 can all stand alone but could also be the beginnings of series, I found myself at a loss as to what to write next now that the Hagen trilogy is finished. Which series to pursue? The answer is apparently none of them!
Instead I have big plans… it’s back to the Dome of Souls, ladies and gentlemen. It just does not leave me alone.
I don’t know yet if I will really write it all again (all that stuff originally written in TV script format (some hints about that here)) but at the moment something is foul in the state of Lei Lao.
It’s the year Lei Lao 898 and thus of course no characters from the “Dome Child” are around anymore. But the Dome of Souls is going strong and messes with the lives of Lei Lao’s, Jove’s, Vana’s and Shavendra’s successors in the conglomerate of Tonasa.

I’m not even looking at my old TV scripts, I’m writing the novel from scratch out of sheer memory, following the main plot lines and letting it have a new, reborn life of its own. It was just vexing me too much to have “Dome Child” as the only “result” of the ten years I have already spent constructing my future history of mankind, which spans many hundred years and which is held together by the Dome of Souls.
It’s amazing to now revisit the characters of the second leg in this (so far) six-legged monster, my hapless heroes Floyd and Marusar, and to let my lovely villain Master Darnar pull the strings again.
I don’t know yet how long it will take me to write this beast anew and how epic (= long) it will be, but I expect it to see the light of day maybe in early 2015? Let’s see how the Dome of Souls and I will be getting along 😉