DinoLand has been reposted, and it’s better-looking and more navigable than ever.

Good news! John, the editor over at Geek Eccentric, saw my post from a few days ago about DinoLand getting taken down for the holidays and, because he’s awesome, gave me a present: even though the rest of his site is dark for a while, he put my chapters back up.

Not only that, but he tarted them up and made them easier to navigate; you can now click from chapter to chapter by using the links on the left. My fiction has rarely looked so good.

The latest chapter was posted last week, so check it out.

Thank you John!

Jurassic World looks uncomfortably close to the plot of my book.

Well, this is awkward.

I just saw the trailer for Jurassic World. I’ve talked about this before, but I feel I need to say something else, especially in light of my latest chapter.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been publishing a serial novel about a dinosaur zoo over at Geek Eccentric this year. It’s a project I started drafting eight years ago as a NaNoWriMo project.

I was obviously influenced by Michael Crichton (I read Jurassic Park and The Lost World as a kid and loved them), but the real inspiration was a dream which featured the basic points of the plot. It was different enough from Jurassic Park: I envisioned a mid-level amusement park that was already open, with resident dinosaurs that were no more of a threat than any wild animal in any zoo. In fact, the real threat in my book isn’t even a dinosaur. The real problem is owner’s penchant for genetically modifying animals.

Which is why, after seeing the trailer, I feel the need to write this post, because certain plot points I wrote are also in Jurassic World.

It’s funny, because I deliberately don’t pay attention to entertainment news in order to keep myself from being influenced on certain projects. In fact, I didn’t even think there would be another movie in the franchise, not after Crichton’s death, and certainly not the year my serial novel was running. (It’s not the first time I’ve been surprised on this project: a few months ago I learned that Disney actually has an attraction named DinoLand USA.)

There are still plenty of differences between my park and the one in the movies. Mine isn’t as fancy as Jurassic World; it’s basically Six Flags with dinosaurs, while Jurassic World is the Magic Kingdom with dinosaurs. It’s not a man-versus-nature story: my story is told from the point of view of someone who grew up with the park, and in fact the story is really her story.

Here’s the thing I want to get out there: I wrote my book a long time ago. The outline I’m working from was created almost a decade ago, and although I do tweak it when I write and edit my monthly chapters, I more or less know where the story is going and you know where it’s not going?

Anywhere close to Isla Nublar.

Chapter Two of DinoLand is live at Geek Eccentric today!

Picture 1It’s the first Sunday of April and that means that DinoLand’s second chapter is online today at Geek Eccentric.

This month’s chapter features a new point of view character, a brachiosaurus with a problem and a possible business deal that could cause even more problems for the people at the park who love the dinosaurs. Oh, and a child disappears.

Head on over and check it out, sci-fi and dinosaur lovers.

 

Chapter 1 of DinoLand debuts today!

Chapter 1 of DinoLand is live over at Geek Eccentric right now. DinoLand, Ch. 1I’ve just run around the house yelling “Ahhhhh, it’s alive” and now that I’m settled down, I’m posting here while I can sit still.

If you like dinosaurs, sci-fi, or thrillers head over to Geek Eccentric and check out Chapter 1. If you really like it, return on the first Sunday of each month for a new chapter.

(FYI: I’m going to be changing this page today so that you’ll be able to access the latest DinoLand chapters right from the menu at the top.)

I really, really, hope you enjoy this. Rawr.

 

Things I’m learning from my first foray into serial fiction.

I posted a little while ago about DinoLand, my sci-fi novel which will be serialized, starting this Sunday, over at Geek Eccentric.

photo credit: Scott Kinmartin via photopin cc

photo credit: Scott Kinmartin via photopin cc

Well, it’s almost dinosaur time and I’m as nervous as an attorney staring down a T-Rex in the rain. Since this is a brand new  process for me, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I’ve been learning so far.  Here are some of my first take-aways:

 Starting out with a lot of material doesn’t necessarily mean you have less work to do.

I started this project with more than 200 pages of DinoLand, written over a period of two or three National Novel Writing Months, including a ridiculous amount of backstory. When I started importing all that into Scrivener, I realized that unless I write a prequel, I’m not going to use all of this material. Also, the work that I am using needed several rounds of edits. So while I have six months of DinoLand written and outlined, months 3 through 6 still need edits and work. (Chapter 2, for April, is already edited and turned in to the artist.) Speaking of which…

Working with an artist is an incredible experience. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by that.

Working with Max Farinato has been my favorite part of the DinoLand project so far. It’s amazing to watch his sketches develop, and even more amazing is the way I’ve seen the world I invented taking shape in his art. Every time Max sends me a sketch, I gush uncontrollably about how much I love his work, which is true, but maybe not helpful to him.
There should be some sort of guideline for working with an illustrator, because I suspect that I haven’t been easy to work with. For example, I probably should have sent him rough ideas of what my principal characters look like so that the art and my prose will match. I forget that I haven’t described everyone on page one of chapter one. I should probably also ask more often what he needs from me to make his job easier.

Oh my god. The comment section. Oh my god, the comment section.

Despite the fact that I’ve been blogging for a long time, it has somehow just occurred to me that people will be able to comment directly after reading my chapter. It’s not like I haven’t gotten comments on fiction before — short pieces of mine have been published in journals with comment sections — but I think of novels as something that are put out to the public as a whole. If a novel receives criticism, it’s in the form of a review on another site, not in a comment section. So despite the fact that I consider myself a Big Damn Progressive Child of the Internet, I’ve still been thinking about fiction and novels in a very old-fashioned way.

And lastly, Does serial fiction work differently from a novel? I’m not sure.

While comment sections are relatively new, serial fiction is not. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two years reading novels that were originally published as serial fiction: Anna Karenina, The Count of Montecristo, Bleak House, Great Expectations. I don’t know if anything was changed before they were compiled into novels, but it seems to me that there has to be some repetition if a novel is released serially. If you’re releasing a chapter every week or month, you need to remind your readers of certain things that they can’t just flip back and check if they’re holding the book in their hands. Of course, now we have links – I can just link chapter two to chapter one – it’s the one thing I can do that Dickens could not, Still, every chapter should be able to stand alone, right? That way, if someone stumbles on chapter three before reading one and two, the reader won’t be totally lost. How do comic writers do this? How do television writers do this? Am I overthinking this? I might be overthinking this.

Those are my thoughts so far, at least until Sunday, when the fictional dinosaurs stampede out of the gate at Geek Eccentric. I’m sure I’ll have more to say then.