Elf Mastery Blog
Holy shnot that took longer than I expected. Edit 8, which I expect (and hope) to be the most extensive edit, is over.
But the editing is not yet complete. Edit 9 will involve me going through each character's arcs and making sure they are coherent. A couple likely need scenes added. Some will be deleted.
Edit 10 will be my sensory edit. This means I will look at sensory details and descriptions and make sure they are 1) short and 2) engaging. I try to use minimal description to maximum effect. Please note that this doesn't mean I'm good at it.
Edit 11 will be an emotion edit. Are characters behaving in ways that appropriate to both their situation and their character?
After that I should finally be ready for proofing (getting the book printed with the cover, and check for more mundane mechanical errors).
Well, I ended up making the picture for the back cover myself. Hoping it turns out okay - my cover designer may still have me make a few changes, and her adjustments will tend to improve it a great deal. However, despite many struggles getting to this point, I am happy with the outcome.
Image is of the flying city of Aeolis, from which Kyla is falling on the front cover. The image will be placed above the text on the back to give the sense she is falling from it.
And here is a render!
Cover art for front cover is done - now just have to see how the completed cover looks. Found a gentleman from peopleperhour.com to do it as the girl who did the first one wasn't experienced with dynamic illustrations. Curious to see how this new one turns out. Debating on art for the back cover - may go without for the initial run, as I don't need back cover art for the digital copies.
Not done editing yet, however. I keep making changes that I think are for the better, but slow me down a bit. One change can have a rippling effect throughout the book so I am on the constant lookout for continuity errors.
Going to post an image of the cover art here for your perusal. This is a working draft, and not the final copy, which is still in psd format. Bear in mind the appearance can change significantly during the process of cover design.
I was using index cards to help organize the scenes as I've been working on coordinating various story arcs and deciding what scenes need to be added, adjusted, or deleted. Covered my whole 4 X 8 foot table three times over, so I decided to purchase a program called Scrivener which is supposed to help with organizing writing and preparing it for publication. Not 100% sure it's worth the money yet but I haven't gotten to one of the most important features yet, which is organizing collections by tags (so I can link together all scenes with a certain character or location, for example, for easy viewing). Is less of a mind-bender to get it all sorted.
Art is commissioned. I found a gentleman on peopleperhour. His preliminary sketch looked pretty good, so excited to see the final result. Will post the rough copy on here before the cover is made, as well as after, so you can see just how much a difference can be made between the original art and the work by the cover designer.
Waffling on doing a picture for the back cover, as I've moved far more ebooks than paperbacks. Artist offered to to a second pic for cheaper but I haven't followed up to confirm.
Not sure if I'll have so much time for beta readers on Book 2, as I've taken so long writing it. I'm itching to get working on Book 3, as I have big plans for it. If I'm being honest I think Book 3 is where most of the tight action is. Books 1 and 2 are almost extensive prologues to Book 3. That being the case, I will try and write Book 3 so it can be read on its own. Not sure how easy that'll be due to the extensive information and number of characters in Books 1 and 2.
Also thinking about making an anthology called 'Elf Reflections' to go into some of the back stories, such as Kyla's mom, Saul's background, etc.
Lots of work, but lots of fun.
I know it's taking ages but I'm getting there. Commissioning the artwork for the cover now, though still feel I have a ton of editing to do. Currently on edit number 4. Just finished a paper-intensive term and am hoping to have more time this term to work on the book. Ideally, will have art and editing done by the end of January, only a year beyond my original plan! On the positive side, much of the planning for Book 3 has been done so that should move quicker.
It's been a busy summer so far - working full-time, taking a course, and volunteer work. I am applying to volunteer at the local hospital to bring in my Virtual Reality equipment for a day each month so people in long-term care can come play with it. Just waiting for the background check so I can do the interview!
Nearing completion of Book 2 again. I basically rewrote the second half. I think it is turning out much better, but with my schedule it still may be a couple months to completion. If I don't finish by September I'll have a bit more free time in Fall to do a full-court press.
Amazon update for Book 1: Basically dead at the moment. It was posted over a year ago and has kind of fallen off the charts. I did get another 5-star rating on Goodreads though, so that's nice.
Have a great summer!
It's been a year since the highlight of my first book: getting in Piers Anthony's newsletter! I'm now on a full-court press to finish the second book. It's taking longer than expected, on account of I got lazy for a couple months. I have certainly found I am more productive in the library than writing at home, where I have numerous distractions.
Readership on Kindle has bottomed out lately. I'm hoping getting the next book out will revive activity. I have also started Book 3, but I keep waffling on how I want the series to end. So many options. I'm also looking for opportunities to add more feels to the story. I don't consider myself an overly sensitive individual, so it doesn't come naturally, but I do appreciate books and movies that can incorporate powerful emotional scenes amid action and comedy. So something to work on.
Went to a FanExpo in Calgary in April. Was a blast. First time going to one of those. If I ever get famous enough, doing those would be a blast.
Well, here's to a new spring/summer! Have a provincial election here in BC so I need to go vote now.
I got a new review on Goodreads that made me very happy so I want to share it:
A Rockstar Book!
I adore this book so much!
Adventurous, entertaining and beautifully written!
Kayla, an elf who is going to be away from her family for the first time and leave for college. She's a talkative protagonist and keeps the reader amazed. To survive in this world, she has to overcome her complex fears and confront the unknown.
I would give full marks to this book because even though it was a YA Fantasy, it had its originality with itself. Twists and turns at almost each chapters keeps you engaged with it. It teaches you a lot. Friendship, Morals everything in a single package. What else could have anyone asked for?
Fluid writing style will keep you bounded to it for quite a long while. Mythological viewpoint of Elf Mastery was one more reason for my likeness for it.
I loved this book at many levels. Its writing style, pace, plot and the characters - all of them was nothing less than awesome. But more than anything else, this book was written in an intelligent manner. One could see the thinking level of the creator of this fantastic project.
Highly developed characters and fast paced story got me hooked with it and there's more. All these characters are seriously related to everyone else I've once or twice interacted. They were so likable.
If there is going to be one book I would read for one more time, this would be it. There is so much waiting for the next book!! This is so not fair!
A Fantasy novel that I'd like to read again and again!
Even though my reviews are still few in number I have been quite pleased that so many have been positive. I especially enjoy ones like this where the contributor goes into detail on how they feel about it. This is true even if they don't like it - I don't learn much if someone who dislikes the book doesn't explain why.
Anyway Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!
I decided to enter Elf Mastery into this context last year. Figured if I didn't win, I'd at least get some feedback. Let's take a look at the results:
Entry Title: Elf Mastery
Author: Bryant Reil
Pen Name (if provided):
Entry Category: Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 3
Production Quality and Cover Design: 3
Plot and Story Appeal: 3
Character Appeal and Development: 3
Voice and Writing Style: 3
Judge’s Commentary*: ELF MASTERY by Bryant Reil is a charming fantasy novel for young middle grade readers. I really enjoyed the character of Kyla Nim. She was immediately likable and fun. Her characteristics spoke loudly on the page and I felt the author did a wonderful job of creating a character for young readers to immediately connect to. Reading more deeply into the story, I liked the world the author created. I liked how the fairies and the elves were the ones behind the scenes making sure everything in the word was running. However, I'd wish for even more depth into this world. Even more description and details to really create bigger scenes. In fantasy novels, it is so important to perfect the surroundings, I always want the world to feel like we are right there at that very moment. So I felt this could have been more developed throughout the novel. As we follow Kyla, I like her journey but it did feel a little slow at times. Her friends brought in a new level of interest, however, the conflict between the evil character comes in too late and I felt this was something that could have been more developed from the very beginning of the story line.
-Judge, 4th Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards.
Well, solid 3's. Not terrible. Not great. I'd feel better if there were more variation among the category scores, but whatcha gonna do?
More importantly is the commentary. The judge liked Kyla as a character, so I was happy about that. Again, people seem to love her or hate her, which I kind of did expect during character creation. Also liked the other characters. The complaint here, that the pacing in the beginning is a bit slow, is one I find valid and have heard more than once. I struggled when writing this book because I would have been happy writing a book just about Kyla in a standard year of school with no real adventure. I was having fun with the world-building and characters. But, when you publish a book, you have to consider what the audience wants to read, not just what you want to write. I had thought of trimming the beginning down a few chapters but couldn't decide what to cut. Oh well. What's done is done.
The comments on describing the world in better detail is one I know I need to work on. I feel like I'm good at coming up with settings, characters, and story lines but I struggle with breathing life into it. I would most welcome a co-author who is good at taking my material and making it more vibrant and captivating. But who would want to put that much effort into someone else's story? As it is, I am trying my best to work on these skills for books 2 and 3. (As an update, book 2 is nearing completion but I am writing the end in conjunction with the beginning of Book 3, to keep elements from conflicting with each other. Also Book 3 is more fun to write, which tells me I need to spice up the ending for Book 2.
I've been doing some online tutorials about framing and lighting so will be reworking a lot of the pictures over time. Here is a contrast between an original and a redo.
First the original:
And the redo with new lighting:
More depth and shadows. It comes off as slightly more realistic, though I did like the cartoony color wash in the original. Instead of replacing the current slideshow, I think I'll make a new slideshow with the newer images so people can see the changes. Good reference for anyone interested in this sort of thing.
I recently finished several years of employment with the Canadian government to pursue a Master's degree. My secret goal is to become a self-sustaining author. This blog is dedicated to the first book I have ever put on the market.