A Story in Any Order

Happy 2022!

Working on Covenant: Prodigal Son has been both joy and challenge.  

Definitely an adventure.

Interestingly, the trick isn’t concern over integrating it into the series so much as knowing this installment is part of a larger story.  

A tale that was originally going to be multiple smaller works.

It means, among other considerations, I need to be aware of the order of events.

The objective is to set up for the next book.

I have multiple sections that could be used as an opening scene and while each would work, each creates a different story.  

It was kind of cool to realize that the different chapters could each be a chapter 1.

I may end up cutting one or more scenes entirely or pushing them to a future book.

As is typical when working on something in the background, I put scenes that grabbed me into files with relevant names.

i.e. Verix rescue**. SonahcorusARS.

Now I find myself looking at the different files and seeing I can integrate them in a number of ways.

And each will work.

To help sort through it all I use mental movies to play out each possibility.

Letting the unconscious mind tell me the story.

I’m always fascinated by the process of watching scenes play out.

As it is similar to a meditative state it can be very relaxing, making it an ideal exercise before bed.

I’m often pleasantly surprised by what pops out of the mental movie vault.

More than once I found myself thinking “Wow, I hadn’t thought to do that.  That is really cool!”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  Nothing about Metatron’s Army has been typical.

Though it’s certainly been educational on multiple levels.

For now, I’m content with how things are progressing.

Even as I’m planning future projects.

Stay Tuned!

**This file contained notes on a plot device that never ended up in the series, instead evolving into something else entirely. Such is the way it goes.

COVENANT: WRITING TO PASSION

Sitting here on Christmas Eve working through the opening scene for Covenant: Prodigal Son.  

Dinner’s a few hours away – Irish stew that’s been in the crock pot – and preparations for tomorrow are such that I have the time.

The trick with this novel is not complex so much as distracting.  

Whereas the holiday preparations – for a change – aren’t.

I might be inclined to be concerned with the slow pace with which this is progressing if it weren’t for the fact that 1) I am making progress and 2) this story kept me up for weeks 1 1/2 years ago.

The challenge, in part, is reconnecting to that level while distracted with holiday preparations.  

Trouble Shoot.  Asking myself what was I thinking – positive mind you – and feeling – aren’t doing it.  So I went at it from a different perspective.

What is the primary element I’m trying to draw out?

For the reader but more importantly, for myself.

As I’ve shared, with readers, passion is a big thing in my world.

What someone is passionate about isn’t as important  as the idea they are passionate – about something.

There are a number of species in the Metatron’s Army series and though most are passionate they exhibit that passion differently.  Ryn, for example, flaunts passion whereas Verix is judicious about allowing others to see it’s there, if simmering beneath the surface.

As one of my aunt’s used to say – still waters run deep.

After careful thought I decided I would take the opportunity with the three Covenant novels to highlight different passions by telling events through the eyes of species who experience and display those passions differently.

Whereas one species might use fighting as a way to leach passion, another may use intimacy.

Making this choice freed up creative energy and the story is once again moving forward.

Though the opening scene is proving a bit like the way old magneto-drives recorded data where the arm went back and forth across the surface repeatedly, depositing data at random.

All in all I would have to say Covenant: Prodigal Son is on track.

Cross posted on elizabethmaxim.com.

Happy Holidays!

From the Edge: 2

Though I will not be posting daily about the development and publication of Covenant I will start with a post about how there’s no such thing as a typical day.

Prep Work.  I’ve written previously that I like to have playlists for the novels I work on.  This evolved from the fact music played such a big role in Advantage and then later Metatron’s Army stories as it became a way of anchoring Christine while she traversed one challenge after another including multiple universes and timelines.

 I posted that Kiss You All Over is currently part of the Covenant playlist.  That doesn’t mean it’s going to stay there.  

I just happen to like the beat.

It’s an older song that has been in my library since I heard it while on the escalator outside Jimbo’s in San Diego.  

I hadn’t heard it since the 70s when I attended a wedding reception.

It originally played a role in Her Sanctuary but I jettisoned it as it was too cheesy for the main character.

I cut the scene that went with it.

I threw together a playlist for Covenant that has a few vocalized songs like Billy Joel’s Pressure along with several instrumental pieces by Hi-Finesse.

I don’t always listen to the playlists while writing but it’s nice to know they can anchor me to the story if I need to focus.  Which leads me to…

I don’t always wake up ready to write.  

I have a number of tricks to get me going in the morning including listening to music that may or may not be on a playlist as well as writing something other than the manuscript.

Typically an email or an Event Horizon session.

I recently purchased a small whiteboard to help me prioritize tasks.  I decided to go this route because I was working on three projects simultaneously.

The Isle of Future Past, Destination Unknown: Explorations of the Paranormal,and  Wine Music & Ghosts.

As of this morning it has the following

Covenant

  • Book Cover
  • Landing Page
  • 2 Blogs

I already posted the blogs so that will come off.  I have rudiments of a cover and believe that will be finished by the end of the week.  As for the landing page…not sure yet.  I typically do them after the final draft is finished.  However, since I have a strong handle on the plot I may do this one differently and write the back of book description before the manuscript is finished.

And Writing?

When it comes to writing, throughout the years one thing has been consistent.  When I get an idea?  I write it down immediately.

I will scramble for paper, napkins, anything I can get my hands on to put down chicken scratch so I don’t lose the thread.

Because of this I actually have a good deal of the book started.

Over 50 pages.

I got to work on it the moment the idea for a future book came into mind which was before, incidentally, the idea for Covenant came into being.

I actually had an idea for 3 future standalone and two additional Chronicles books.

This hasn’t given me a false sense of security.  I know I need to get on the manuscript soon but two things come into play:

Know Thy Style.  I know that once I get into the manuscript I’ll be productive enough to meet any deadlines.

I can kick out 5 – 15K a day when I’m deep in it.

Know Thy Plot.  I’m still working out a few key details, not the least of which is that two of the standalone books are being combined into Covenant which will set up for one of the follow on standalones.

Until I have the details ironed out I’m going to hold back from editing the manuscript I have.

I do have the advantage that the opening scene is going to remain.  I don’t need to redo it.

I’ll spend whatever time it takes allowing the details of the plot twists to surface before hitting the keyboard full force.

This typically consists of relaxing the mind and allowing mental movies to float across the mental screen.

It’s possible that spending so much time in a meditative state is what allows me to feel so relaxed about the process.

I will post more as things are pulled together.

Stay tuned!

Cross posted on elizabethmaxim.com.

Post Note: When I pulled the curtains back this morning the scene (the color of the sky visible through trees that lost all their leaves) perfectly matched the opening scene for this book! I stood at the window and studied it carefully so I can do it justice when putting in the description.

From the Edge: Part 1

It’s quite the undertaking, working on a Metatron’s Army story after all this time.  

Metatron’s Legacy, though it takes place 20 years after the series ends and is a standalone novel, was written in the space of a month before Promotion, Book 11 in the series was even finished.

It was closer to 2 1/2 weeks of manic productivity.

To celebrate this effort I’ve decided to treat readers to something different:  

A Peek Into the Process.

Similar to articles under my Bringing a Story to Life these posts which will primarily appear on metatronsarmy.com, will take readers into 

  • How the story came to be

Different than any of the previous novels in the series

  • How the process is different than that which created Metatron’s Army

Significantly different than how the series was created

  • How I go about Bringing a Story to Life

A glimpse into how I pull it all together

As this is the inaugural piece I will post it to both elizabethmaxim.com and metatronsarmy.com.

Though the follow-ons for Covenant will primarily be on the MA site, I may cross post to elizabethmaxim.com.

Enjoy! 

Without Further Ado.

Another one?  I’m a writer but I’m a reader too.  

I can take out a 250 page novel in 8 hours or less.  I love reading!

I have followed various series, some of which – like bad movie sequels – should never have been done, and others for which I’m still hoping the author will do just one more!  All of this went into the brain pan when considering what I would do after Adjudication, the final in the original Metatron’s Army series.

Metatron’s Legacy was like the steam release on first generation pressure cookers.

Muse Enter Stage Left.  I detail the creation of the Metatron’s Army series in Lessons From the Edge: An Author’s Guide to Metatron’s Legacy so I won’t go into it here.

btw:  I’m listening to Kiss You All Over which is on the Covenant iTunes playlist.  Hey… it’s part of the process.

I was winding down the series when “the dude” who was an integral part of the creation of the series put in an appearance.

He’d already showed up while I was working on Bind, Book 9 in the series, demanding that I solve a mathematical equation shown/given to me during the NDE.**

Like I said – it’s part of the process.  

Elizabeth Maxim, the writer.

The message he brought as I was finishing up the series?

Which began with Promotion:  Book 11, incidentally.

“Take It Back!” 

He all but shouted it at me!

I was confused but this guy doesn’t mince words so I went into soul-searching mode in an effort to understand.

He literally meant the series.  Take it back!

I was able to do so with the follow-up work though the process took a few years and was interrupted by life, ghosts, health issues.

Typical Elizabeth Maxim.

When I released Adjudication I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Not triumph but accomplishment.

I was busy with career decisions and into heavy research for Dragon Core so it was relatively easy to set the series aside.

And then…

Covid was just putting in an appearance when all my creative forces went on high alert.

For a variety of reasons I knew the doo-doo was about to hit the fan.

I went into super creative mode.

I kicked out four books in the space of a few months.  

Part of this was to keep myself sane in a lockdown and part was to give people something to take their mind off what they couldn’t control.  

God knows reading has saved my life during stressful times!  

I lay in bed one night when an image popped into my mind.  I’d shoved Metatron’s Army to the back burner to work on Ghost GamesDragon Core, and Colony, so it was kind of a surprise.

I’d always intended to add to the Chronicles subset for the series so I knew I wasn’t finished with it.

The Kicker.

I try not to work on projects that don’t live in my soul.  

For me, this means they burn as they try to fight their way out and in so doing keep me up at night.

For months.

That this entered into my sphere of awareness as I was in the midst of all this other stuff?  I had a decision to make.

I was in no state of mind to go back to that series.

By now we were in full lockdown with school and work at home and though I’d been working from home for 26 years …

I shoved it to the back burner.

Until…

**I will be revealing just what was in this equation and the story behind it in the future.

Stay Tuned!

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Covenant – A New MA Book

I am pleased to announce the next fiction project in the queue: Covenant.

This book is part of the Metatron’s Army series.

Just as with Metatron’s LegacyCovenant, a stand-alone book, is set 2 decades after the original series ends.  

This installment circles back to the beginning even as it moves forward with old debts settled and commitments fulfilled.

Readers of the series will recognize familiar faces even as they are introduced to new ones while those new to the series will be able to pick up the threads of a saga decades in the making.

Stay Tuned

This was cross posted on elizabethmaxim.com