Against All Odds / Crossroads

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–4

Time for a monthly update on how I’m doing with my WIP, Against All Odds, Book 3 of the Crossroads trilogy.  After a lot of input from you-all, I decided on a variation of the first tagline suggested last month:

A friend must be killed. An enemy must be saved. Even if Xhosa does both, her people may not survive

Close…  but I still have lots of time to tweak.

If you’ve ever played Vulcan Kal-toh, this month felt like that. Harry Kim (a primary character in Star Trek) describes Kal-toh this way:

“The object of the game is to turn this jumble of rods into a perfect sphere.”

In Kal-toh, you get nowhere until a seminal rod finds its spot and then everything snaps into place. Tuvok (another Star Trek character) says this about the strategy behind this quintessential Vulcan game:

“”Kal-toh is to chess as chess is to tic-tac-toe. [It is]…not about striving for balance but about finding the seeds of order even in the midst of profound chaos. [It is] as much a game of patience as it is of logic.”

Raise your hand if that’s what writing feels like–that if you can find the right placement of emotions, characters, and story, the balance between dialogue and narrative, the world will recognize the genius of your novel. Or maybe just you will–that’s not important. What matters is that you’ll know you’ve finished and done your best. Star Trek aficionados like me know this game doesn’t exist but I seem to channel it as I seek the perfect words and phrases. This month, so far, no seminal rods.

Here’s my rewrite of the summary for Against All Odds:

What should have been a long-awaited new home becomes a battle to survive. Despite Xhosa’s resolute refusal to quit, she may lose.          

OK. I now realize that’s not really a summary. Back to work…

Here’s what I have done the past month:

  • Wordsmithing as I channel Kal-toh strategy… Move words around, replace some, unreplace others. Umm, that’s it.
  • The cover on this page is a placesaver. I’ll probably contact my cover folks in a month-ish.
  • Still planning to do Diana Peach’s PowerPoint book trailer idea. I’ve also seen this done using the free Canva.
  • Ideas for Book 2 in Dawn of Humanity keep bouncing around in my brain, as do ideas for the sequel to Crossroads. Hmm…

How are you doing on your latest? I’d love to hear!

More on Against All Odds

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–3

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–2

How I’m doing on Book 3 of my trilogy


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Fall 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

#StarTrek #Kal-toh #amwriting

79 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–4

  1. Pingback: How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–7 | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–6 | WordDreams...

    • I often found my outside-the-home work gratifying so I can see that would be wonderful. It’s amazing how much you have written and published in such a short time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m raising my hand. Yes, writing and figuring out the setting/characters/plot/on and on is a lot like playing Kal-toh. I don’t usually have the patience for games like that, but am much more patient with myself and my stories, thank goodness. You are coming along so well, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, the Vulcans are certainly well-organized and intelligent beings, so you fit in well. I’m more like Kirk – jumping into chaos too often probably and thinking by the seat of my pants (or more likely by my heart).
        My next book is going w a y t o o s l o w l y. I’m still recovering from publishing Molly Finds Her Purr and all the promotion (have been giving a number of presentations in the Boston area as well as the SF Bay area). Three more presentations to go in the next two months. Then… full steam ahead on my flash fiction anthology.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good news to know you’re progressing on your next book! Wow. Just a thought for your tagline, how about more active verbs? Kill a friend. Save an enemy. Even if Xhosa does both, her people may not survive. Santa brought me Office 365 for Christmas. Loving the PowerPoint. So much easier to narrate the slides than my old one. So much fun too even if there was a bit of a learning curve. Now get back to work!!
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for that, Janet. I’m mulling it over as we speak! Office 365–love the constant updates. No more getting out of date with mass changes in the software.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sure those puzzle pieces will fall into place, Jacqui, perhaps when you least expect them too. I can’t wait to find out more of Xhosa’s story. Must get more into book 2 before book 3 is out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kal-toh. I like that! It IS what writing feels like – a giant puzzle where the pieces have to fit together just right in about twelve different dimensions. Lol. You seem to be making progress, Jacqui, drilling down deeper into the nitty-gritty. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jacqui, I have a small problem with the first sentence of your summary (What should have been a long-awaited new home becomes a battle to survive). Take it down to bare bones and it says “What should have been a new home becomes a battle.” It seems to need another noun, like “arrival” or “settling into” – What should have been arrival at a long-awaited new home becomes a battle to survive. I know that’s getting too long, but it’s not the home that becomes the battle.
    This is always such a hard thing to sort out. You’re getting there. Just a bit more tweaking. Good luck with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jacqui, it seems far less than a month since your latest update … when will time slow down! I love the new tag line and what a terrific analogy of Kal-toh with writing – I can relate to that feeling! Good luck with your next month’s work on the book!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love the tagline, sounds both sad, yet exciting. Good luck getting your current book finished and published. You sound like a terrific writer and I can’t to read your new book, but while waiting I’ll be sure to purchase the previous novels to get caught up. I’m so glad I didn’t miss you’re message update. I can’t wait to read all of them, as I love to read. I can’t lie though, I’m ashamed that I have not read them wired to now.

      Liked by 2 people

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