The writing blog of novelist Tim Capps. Psychological crime thriller JUDGING ANGELS draws deeply from the author's career as a death penalty defender, while incorporating unexpected elements of urban fantasy. Published by Hope and Life Press. OUT NOW!
I could not be happier to see TWO more nice five-star reviews tonight from readers who have been entertained by my genre-bending first novel Judging Angels! Of course, reaching 20 unbroken 5-star reviews is a nice little milestone for any first-time author, but it's more than that. Honestly, I think I took a lot of risks to give people something very different. Everybody seems to agree the risks paid off in something they didn't expect but sucked them in as a thought-provoking page-turner. I am so happy that people are losing themselves in the long and twisty tale of George Able and his plucky family.
Come for the smokin' guns and redheads, stay for the amateur casuistry, Thomistic table arguments, and mordant humor!
This novel was a shot in the dark for me. I bought it based on the writings in the author's blog. I rarely read novels and when I do, they do not have lawyers as protagonists. I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely did not expect what I got.
Nobody ever does, do they? Especially from authors who think they are Bears.
I found the first chapter disjointed and disorienting.
Mission Accomplished. Welcome to the disjointed and disoriented head of our protagonist.
At chapter end I thought "what the blank is this?".
Funny, my same reaction after writing it.
Except I didn't say "blank".
Neither did I.
Chapters two and three made sense of chapter one quicker than I thought possible.
Yeah, I figured people would be entertained by disjointed and disoriented for only so long. Thanks for sticking with it.
From that point on it was difficult to put down. As I approached the end of the book I kept wondering how the author would resolve things.
I am at 83,600 words, which is respectable novel-length already. The Scrivener program is really proving its worth in a novel that is a lot more complex than the original Judging Angels. The biggest difference in writing this one is the difficulty of maintaining "the big picture" with more characters, more plot, and more settings. It isn't easy to find the right mix and rhythm. Scrivener lets me see an overview of of scene summaries, characters and their goals/motivations/conflicts, so I can regulate pacing, keep characters true (and developing) and catch my tendency to wander before I waste too much time.
From a marketing angle, this second in the series avoids the confusion of genres of the first book, although as with much urban fantasy, there is a fine line between genres. Overall, I would still call it that with some good old-fashioned horror elements. It relies far less on the "capers" and philosophical ruminations of the first. There is a bit of cleani…
Well, lookee me, surprising myself by fast writing. Fifty-three thousand words.
Now I'm in the groove, rotating character-groups, keeping things moving. With the new writing, it is clear that I am going to have to bring things to an end sooner than I expected. In other words, I am not going to be able to finish the story intended for Book 2 in Book 2. So, I'm going to have to perform some radical surgery, and quite a bit of nip tuck, too.
That's great news, because it means I'll be done sooner than expected (God willing).
But if Book 2 of the Rubricatae Chronicles is going to be a stand-alone novel, as well as the next installment in the series, I need to decide what part of the original Book 2 story will fit, and plot the landing point of the characters' natural trajectories.
Book 2 of the Rubricatae Chronicles Back on Track, Different
I surprised myself when I checked my progress today. Thirty-seven thousand Forty-nine thousand words, more than half of where I was at when I nuked the previous draft. And that does not count a lot of words that will still work from the first draft. Most of the 37k 49k words are new, so I'm ahead of the game despite the nuke.
Sure, I'll lose some during the dewrites, but that's how I roll.
My wife agrees that this second novel is very different from the first one. That follows from the different characters in this one (don't worry, the story still revolves around the plucky Able family) and the rather dismal situation at the end of the first book. To say it is darker than a novel that begins with a drunken man setting out on Christmas Eve with a revolver in his coat pocket is not something I would want to admit.
I don't think it's true, either.
The first book portrayed the cozy demolition of one famil…
The Difference Between a First Book and a Second Book
Or, my second book, at any rate.
I started writing my first book, Judging Angels, for myself. It's about things in my psyche and has a large dose of crime and law, because my career was as a criminal defense lawyer.
After many rewrites, it became less about me. When I just wanted to get it the Hell done with and to the publisher, I had exorcised even more of my own ghost from it. The whole process was cathartic and therapeutic for me.
Which is good, because, of course, you don't give a damn about me.
I had long ago tried to sell my publisher on the tagline, "Like The Brothers Karamazov, only funnier." (It's true, though.)
She was not amused.
So now whose laughing, huh? If you want to make an author insufferable, put "Dostoevksyan" somewhere in a review. I shall now be known as Timothy "Dostoevsky" Capps, a.k.a. St. Corbinian's Bear. I'm already ordering a new monogramed bathrobe with the initials "T. Dostoevsky C."
Can I get a "Chestertonian?" Please?
But seriously, that is high praise, and if it is deserved to some small extent, than I am actually humbled and more than gratified.
The State of Reviews
Every review that has come out for Judging Angels has been highly favorable. Every Amazon review is Five-Star. The problem has been a matter of getting the word out and having written a novel not even the author can explain in three or four words.