Darklight hits its climax

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

February 1, 2013

Courtesy of http://franckernewein.com/

I just finished writing the last climax scene for Darklight, and it sure feels good! I have hit 65,000 words. I just have six final scenes to wrap up the resolution of my novel. But it’s not all done. Not yet.

Adding a subplot

I have about ten more scenes to add into the story, spread throughout the plot building action. You see, one thing I discovered from my beat sheet work a few weeks ago, was that my total story was coming in a bit lightweight, and also, that some of my scenes were a little unfinished.

I didn’t want to wave some unfinished threads away, so I edited my beat sheet to add another intertwining subplot. To my satisfaction, the extra scenes not only rounded out my plot points, but also brought the estimated word count up to my target.

Lately as I have been hacking away at these latest scenes, my total estimated word count has been hitting 82,000. This is a lot better than when I got underway, and the estimate was only 49,000 words. But a feel a real big “yeah!” as I wrap up the main thread of my story, because this is something I have been thinking about for years.

Looking forward to criticism and feedback

I’m sure when I FINALLY have the last scene written up, I will feel even happier. Because then, and only then, will I truly have a completed manuscript. Sure, it may be filled with typos, grammar mistakes, missing words, and some bits of sloppy writing, but what manuscript doesn’t? As I send it out to my beta reading team, I will be eager to hear their feedback. Feedback can be rough, but since I already published two technical books with scores of criticism, I have come to understand that getting your manuscript marked is really a good thing, and to not fear it but welcome it.

In the James 1:2-3, it says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

The message of this passage of the Bible says “when”, not “if”, you meet trials, we are to celebrate them. Because those trials are what grow our faith and produce maturity. I can feel those words applying to my writing as well. Because no writer can grow until they produce some manuscript, send it out for criticism, and then process the results. There will be mistakes. There will be corrections. There will be passages that readers don’t understand, because you flew through it too quickly, or didn’t write enough visual detail and dialog for them to grok your concepts.

Already flagging my own mistakes

I just created an edit document for myself. While writing this novel, I began to notice certain words and expressions getting overused. I would catch myself starting a sentence, “As Snitch did blah blah. As Gavin did blah blah.” When I glanced back at a section and saw two consecutive sentences starting with “as” I cringed. I realized that I overused that idiom, and need to check my document for too much of that. I also see certain words overly used, and have been trying to reduce it since. But I know they are there.

Thankfully, I feel pretty comfortable on having a consistent usage of numbers. I initially was using the traditional “spell out numbers less than 10” but “use digits for 10+”. I don’t remember where I read this, but it has been a tradition in my tech writing career. But when it comes to a novel, I didn’t like the look fo it, so I looked it up. It turns out that many novel writers spell out every number. In the end, it’s important to be consistent, so I simply converted everything to spelled out form (except times, like 8 a.m.).

Hopefully, a good read will scrub out lots of mistakes.

Happy writing!


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