Tag Archive: ideas

Every Direction At Once

I can, with gratitude and delight, report that one of my chief sources of stress and angst this week has been relieved.  This is good because I think it was getting in the way of writing.  Stupid day job. :p That said, good news is a heck of a way to start your weekend.

I should say that, despite all that, I haven’t done too badly, especially as I’m near the end of Possession and trying very hard to sculpt a good ending that sets up the beginning of The Nine. It’s been a wild ride, and I wish I was on vacation to write the end as I was for the end of the first one, but sadly, I don’t have another vacation planned until May.  Oh well. It means I’m having to take this one in manageable chunks, instead of the 6 and 7k days I did to finish DM’s second draft.  I’m still making pace every night, but not much more. That said, I’m fairly happy with the progress, happier with the quality and watching the word count add up. Possession is up to 79,628 words right now, before I start writing for the night.  I think I have 10k or less to go, but we all know I’m a terrible judge of that.  It does mean that, from what I see in my outline and the weather for the weekend (dismal), I may actually finish the first draft of Possession this weekend, way ahead of schedule.

Of course this means that I need to turn to The Nine, which has remained a bit of a mystery.  I know where it begins, I have a vague idea of some of the things that have to happen in it, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to start outlining, and leaning toward I’m not ready for that yet.  I haven’t been thinking about it as much so far, as I’ve been wrapped up in the first two.  I will say that I’m feeling a bit of pressure about it because it’s the close of the trilogy, and I know the kind of expectation that rides on that sort of thing.  But I think I’m up to it, and besides, I’ve already told myself that I’m just going to write the story that comes and worry about the rest later.  I’ll have Possession edited fairly thoroughly I suspect before I set down to write The Nine, perhaps even before I fully outline The Nine.  That was pretty much how the process worked when I was turning to Possession, and it seems to have worked, so I’ll just go with it.

I’m finding that, in thinking about The Nine, I’m experiencing an incredible ambivalence.  On one hand, it’ll be a major accomplishment for me, a person who had never even finished a single draft of a novel until last December, to have written an entire trilogy.  To me, that’s major.  But then I feel like I don’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters. If it was anyone else’s book, I’d say that I’ll come back and read it again, that the end of even the series is never really goodbye, but I have this feeling I’ll be too busy writing another book, reading some of my own favourite authors on the side, to come back and reread my own books.  Also, as I progress as a writer, I suspect I may look back and feel guilty about just how much better I’d be able to write this by then.  So I fear that the end of the trilogy, and certainly after the stand alone, will be a true goodbye for me with these characters, and it makes me a little sad.  I’m going to miss them so much.

On a less sappy and melodramatic note, I do find it funny that, just when I was getting ready to tap on the idea fountain and see if it still functioned (it had been few days), out pops a couple more ideas, plus some detritus that goes with stuff I already had notes on.  I’m still a little up in the air about what I want to work on when I finish the trilogy.  Part of me says that I should do the stand alone that goes with the short story, but that’s not remotely ready (and not likely to become so until I at least have the outline of The Nine done, since it’s chronologically after that book), and the rest of me looks at Devan, Helix and Sketh, all looking like they want to pounce on me given half a chance.  It’s still too early to decide though.  I imagine it will become clear before I reach that point. It often seems to work that way for me.

Oh, I should add that the test readers have now finished with DM and the initial feedback has been quite encouraging.  I’m waiting for full feedback (rather than initial reactions) though before I start breathing again.  Wow, I think I’m starting to see spots… Is that a bad sign? In any case, depending on what that feedback comes in as, I know that I’m getting close to that point at which I have to decide, epub it myself or go with traditional publishing.  And I’m still not sure. It’s like trying to think inside of a windstorm, really.  Every time I think I have it sorted out and decided, I read something else that makes me start thinking about it again and it all gusts up on me.  I swear, whatever I decide, it will likely be more thoroughly thought out than the book itself!

And for today’s picture, here we are.  I had actually pulled two out last time and this is the other one I grabbed.


Ow, Er, I Mean Wow

I’m waiting for the day my brain goes on strike, instead of just adjusting to the new normal every time I push it that little bit further.  Surely it’s going to happen any day now, especially after yesterday.  It’s been a fantastic weekend so far, but I’m not sure I’ll have a mind left to work with on Monday at this rate.  Oh well, it’s only work, right?

I’ll be totally honest, this weekend has been one of those rare times where I feel like I’ve wrapped myself so deep in the story that there’s almost no world outside of it.  Right at the moment, I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, because I desperately don’t want to have to climb out of Possession for that.  The title is starting to feel very… apt. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this involved with my own story.  I’ve felt involved in stories before, certainly, but only with other writers, stories not my own. The very idea that I’m this enthralled leaves me more than a bit breathless.

Before you wonder, no, I don’t think it’s perfect. By now, those of you not new to this blog should know me far better than that. For any new to this party, let me assure you, I’m far and away my own worst critic. There are some parts that are definitely first draft quality, in all it’s warts and roughness, and that I will certainly have to work on when I get to the editing stage (no, we are not yet taking bets on how short a time I will be able to leave this one in the draw :p). But the story itself, the whole, and the way that whole is unfolding in the act of making it concrete… Dear god, I am without words to describe it at the moment.  Hmm, that’s very un-writerly of me. I need more superlatives and the confidence to use them on my own work.  Anyone have some of either I can borrow, emphasis on the second part of the request?

One word of warning, when it comes time for people reading this.  I think that, by the end of this, I’m going to owe Fay something far bigger than an apology for what I’m in the process of doing to her.  I actually feel a little guilty, though part of that is because, due to their relationship, when I do bad things to her, Tavis catches some of it too, and I like Tavis.  Okay, more than like. Totally not the point. 🙂

Okay, now that I’m done mooning over myself, my story and Tavis and Fay (and the rest), let’s get the specifics in.  Yesterday was a new record for me, and I can’t quite believe that I did this, but somehow, I managed to write two chapters, 9 and 10, with a total of 7,173 words.  Yes, in one day.  Would you believe my brain only hurt a little?  Of course, it was a puddle on the floor, so maybe I just couldn’t feel the pain.  For today, not quite as much writing since Sunday is chores day for me. Chapter 11 is in the bag, with 3,657 words written for the day. I might write some more this evening, but that means starting a chapter I won’t be able to finish (and still be able to get up in the morning for work). This brings me to a total for the whole book written thus far of 44,072 words. I think I’m almost or around halfway, but I’m not even sure of that.  It’ll be however long it needs, but it’s fun to watch the total shoot up.

Oh, and, in the middle of all that, Sketh showed up yesterday and whispered a secret to me before slinking off. I missed him, blades, bad attitude and all. And I had a fairly major realization on The Nine, which is actually better, since that’s pretty much what’s up next.  I’ve promised myself that I will finish the trilogy at least before letting any other characters take over my brain entirely.  Trust me, that’s harder than it sounds (Devan, cut that out!)

Finally, to share with you another of my photographs. I have to say, I really do appreciate the comments and support on this aspect. I find it harder to share my photography than my writing. It isn’t that I care about the photography more (There is literally nothing I care about more than writing, which explains the amount of my life I’m dedicating to it these days), but that I have far less confidence in my camera work. I’ve had friends prodding me for a few years to share my pictures, where I require almost no prodding to share my writing. Or to talk about my writing, as you just might have noticed.

Everything Is Cyclical

I had planned to post about this last night, but I didn’t for a couple of reasons.  I had an award post I needed to make.  I hate letting those wait for more than a few days (that’s a personal thing), but it was the first night I had a chance to get to it that I wasn’t tired or busy with the million writer things that always seem to come up in my life, not to mention everything non-writing.  In fact, I probably would have done it Thursday night, but I was otherwise distracted, which I will get to later in this post.  I’ve alluded to it in a couple of comments, but now I get to state it right out.

First, though, an announcement.  It has begun, again.  That’s right, 30 days of writing, my own unofficial NaNo in February.  I was originally planning on waiting until February 15th to start Possession because, well, it’s a nice round date and I’d already missed February 1st, but then we all know I’m not patient enough to wait almost two weeks, not with the outline done.  Besides, it just kind of felt right.  That was the major reason really.  The honest truth is that I’ve been feeling a little trepidatious about starting Possession, in spite of my enthusiasm and how happy I was with the outline on rereading it.  I think some of it is that it’s the second book.  There’s a lot more pressure in many ways.  Dark Mirror was easy, in that everything was possible, it was all free.  With Possession, I am no longer writing in a void.  I have a previous work to reference, existing characters that I cannot reshape on a whim.  I also have another book coming along after it that I am very conscious of needing to set up as I write this one.  Yes, there was some of that part at least while writing the second draft of DM, but that was in isolation from the rest of these issues.  Finally, I feel like I need to raise the stakes a bit in this book, and also to up my game as a writer.  So much going on regarding the book in the back of my mind that it’s been hard to push myself past all of that and sit down to start banging away at the keyboard.

Last night, I went with it though, putting all that aside.  I set my goal, which is the same 75,000 words in 30 days as I set when I was doing the second draft of DM, to be finished by March 3rd this time, and got on it with good results.  It took me until almost 8:30 pm to get my butt down in front of the netbook, and at first I had some trouble slipping in, for all of the above reasons and just a general feeling of expectation of quality I remember from before doing my first NaNo.  I had a long talk with myself, mostly reminding myself how leaving that expectation behind has worked out for me so well lately, and finally got myself grooved in.  For those of you who might not remember, weren’t here last time or have forgotten, 75k in 30 days works out to a daily pace of 2500 words per day.  I did my usual, checking every few hundred words (Am I there yet?) until I hit 2500, and then I kept going.  Longer time readers will recognize this pattern and are probably having a good giggle, knowing generally what happened.  I did 3521 last night, which was awesome, and a fabulous note to start this NaNo on.  Only took me about 3 hours too, which is good, because my eyes were trying to close by that point, so I had to type the last several paragraphs with them closed.  Thankfully, that allowed me to really visualize what I was trying to write, and also, I’m a relatively skilled touch-typist so it didn’t even slow me down.  So, the first chapter is in the bag, and what I remember of it makes me happy so far.  Early, I know, long road ahead, but at least I’ve started on the right foot.  My tracking spreadsheet is open on my iMac to taunt me into sitting down and staying there, and I’m starting to mull what the playlist for this book is going to be, based on themes and feelings I’m trying to achieve.  Yes, there was one for DM and I still have it as I was using during editing.  There will, of course, be regular posting on the progress of this NaNo, as in the past, probably every 2-3 days, or as often as I have something to say about it, whichever comes first.

Now that that’s taken care of, on to the hinted at and alluded to item for this post.  Another story idea pretty much exploded my brain Thursday night.  Devan decided to introduce himself with a truly intoxicating image.  Him, sitting in a tree, staring up at the moon, surrounded by spirits, a little bit melancholy.  I won’t tell you too much about him, partly because I’m still getting to know him and partly because it’s WAY too early for that, but I will tell you that he’s a necromancer, and before you say “Ick, he plays with dead people,” he mostly talks to spirits these days, for reasons I can’t get into because they’re related to the story.  The project, which shall be known as Necromantic and has already been added to the Project Status page, has had my brain frantic since that image showed up, and I’m thoroughly enamoured of both the story that’s unfolding in my head and, well, Devan.  It will be some time before I can write this one, but at this rate, it’s going to be hard to keep focused on the Mirrors Trilogy and finish that first, especially since I was so inspired by the idea on Thursday that I’ve already written the first two pages of the book.  I don’t think Devan’s the patient type… I am also getting the feeling that this is a big story, so we probably aren’t talking a single book here, but that will become clearer as I work my way up to and through the process of outlining this one.  That may happen sooner rather than later, as you’d be amazed the quantity of notes I already have and the way this story is exploding.  I’m amazed, that’s for sure.

The funny thing is that Thursday was a good night all around.  We had the most spectacular sunset that day, and so I couldn’t decide whether to grab my camera or my iPad.  Fortunately I did some of each, and today’s picture one of about a dozen I took.

That’s really what I’d like to tell my story ideas.  Why can’t they at least run around my head in an orderly fashion?  This jumbling about and yelling is very distracting, especially since the choice has been made already.  Yes, I am ready to move on to the next project, have been on it for a couple of days in fact, but hadn’t felt that moved to post about it yet.  I’m reasonably moved now, as evidenced by the fingers on the keyboard.

It’s Possession, by a long shot, and I think anyone (including me) could have called that.  Let’s start with the fact that I’d already begun the outline.  We can move on from there to the fact that I’m already into those characters and that overall story.  And Tavis refuses to let go of my brain anyway.  With what I’m about to do to him, well, that might change.  I’m not sure he’ll forgive me, and even after that, it’s going to get worse.  I’m sorry, Tavis, really, but I have to.  One of the more interesting things I’m finding as I work my way through outlining Possession and making notes for The Nine as things come up that affect that story is that Dark Mirror (not willing to spring the tentative new title here yet, but there is one) is almost more of a character-oriented story.  It’s more intimate (get your minds out of the gutter), less about big events.  That comes later, in the second and third books.  I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, or just different.  DM sets up several of the things that go on later, so I think it’s necessary to tell the whole story, but I’m not sure how I feel about the difference between the one I’ve written and the one I’m working on.  Mulling shall be done about this, though not too much as I’m trying to gain a bit of distance before I  judge DM’s readiness to go to test readers.  And god knows, I’m hands down my harshest critic, so there’s at least a chance that it’s more eventful than I realize, or at least more involving than I think.  I’ll have to wait and see.

The other ideas are still around, still in my iPad and being noted, worked on, all that good stuff, but they aren’t front of mind anymore.  I need to focus more than that when I’m outlining, or I risk mixing up what I’m working on.  I did just have fun dropping a bombshell into my outline, and now I’m playing with the aftermath (insert evil author laugh here).  I’m looking forward to working on it some more this weekend.  I’m not going to push myself on having it ready by a certain date, but it may be there in another week and a half to two.  Then the outline goes in a drawer for a few days before I reread it and see what needs tweaking before I start in on Page 1.

I kind of have a game plan developing in my head, very loosely, for my next several novels.  It’s mostly which one I’ll work on in what order, and it’s subject to being tossed like any other draft should circumstances go against it.  The reason it’s there is to keep me going and maybe get me building toward and practicing the skills I’ll need for a few of my more ambitious projects that I’ve mentioned.  We’ll see where that actually gets me, but it’s nice to have some kind of idea where I’m trying to go.  No, I’m not planning on sharing it here, for a variety of reasons, including the changeable nature of the plan.

Also being mulled is the whole traditional publishing vs self-published ebook.  Really not sure.  Most of me is looking at the second option though, for a lot of good reasons, including a very healthy (maybe excessive) dose of cynicism about the traditional publishing industry.  I’m still working through it though and talking with people about it, then mulling their thoughts.  It’s still early for that, though, as I have no idea how DM turned out or how long it will be before I’m ready to take that step.  And make no mistake, I won’t be half-assing that.  If it isn’t ready, it doesn’t go out the door.  That’s always going to be my theory on publishing, and the control that takes is very much part of what is driving me toward that self-publish option.  We’ll see.

And today’s picture, before I go, is here.  I seem to have a large number of pictures of insects on flowers, and I don’t know why, as I’m not overly fond of bugs.  But they can be fun to shoot, if they sit still long enough.

I should be posting something else, but I know my friend will understand the delay and entirely forgive me, since we would both agree that this is more important.  Amazingly, it’s done.  The edit of the second draft of Dark Mirror is complete. In just a day over a month, I wrote an entire draft, then edited said draft.  Why don’t I feel more tired from this feat?  Oh, right, adrenaline and hot chocolate.  I rewrote the last two chapters almost completely, working in a fresh file and only copying over those bits that could be used with the new ideas, but even that is done.  It’s also a bit longer.  And by a bit, I mean about 8k longer, now weighing in at a not-mind-blowing 81,773 words. Trust me, that’s still pretty short by Fantasy standards.

Yes, I did end up incorporating those tugs and whispers I mentioned before.  It felt like pure laziness not to at least mentally explore the implications of doing so, and when I did, I found that it made the chapter far better, the story as a whole smoother and set up something I’m going to need later, when I go to write Possession and The Nine.  It didn’t take as much extra work as I had feared either, though it did forced the above mentioned rewrites, but even that turned out better, though I’m not entirely happy with the final chapter yet, I think.  I guess I just don’t have a lot of practice at endings.  We’ll see.  It goes in a virtual drawer now for however long I can leave it or a few days, whichever comes first (long time readers of this blog are probably sniggering at that, knowing which is more likely), after which I will read it again all the way through with no editing (though I might stop just long enough to fix actual typos if there are any left) and see what I think, and if I think the new title I’m contemplating for it fits.  I already know it fits better than DM, but that’s like saying a size 10 shoe fits better than a size 12 when your feet are an 8.  It’s an improvement but it still won’t stay on.  That said, I’m at the point where any title would make me happier than DM.

I’m amazed to have made it through again.  And I still like it.  Do I think I can do better?  Sure.  Do I think that there’s still room for me to grow as a writer, both in expression and how I grow my story and characters? Absolutely.  But I think back to the first draft of this, and then even further back to the last novel idea I tried to write,  and I can see the progression, the growth and improvement I’ve undergone and it makes me unbelievably happy to see it, because it means I’m on the right track.  I’m fairly confident that, after reading it through in (probably not) a few days, I’ll be ready to send it out for the opinions of others.  Those people will be warned that it’s on the way once their copies are in the mail though (when it’s too late for me to chicken out).  And then it will be time for another project to thoroughly distract myself and keep me busy while I try desperately not to pester them for word on their opinions.  I really try not to make a nuisance of myself to people who like me and are doing me a huge favour with the gift of their time, but remember what I’ve said before.  I’m not patient.  Never have been, and there’s no point in me trying to pretend.  The involved parties know better already anyhow.

So, new project.  Part of me deeply feels that I should work on Possession, especially since I already have several fairly detailed entries in the outline for that one and I’m getting to have a pretty good idea of where I need to go with it, though the ending still isn’t entirely in focus.  The only problem is that I’m a bit concerned regarding doing that and then having something seriously change once I get comments back on DM and having to redo all that work.  I’d do it (after me throwing out the first draft of DM, you know I will), but if I can avoid it…  And then Helix and his girlfriend start shouting, and I have to tell you, a guy in a leather jacket with a street bike who can do magic is pretty hard to resist. It’s mostly between the two of them, because I’m not sure if I’m ready to face The Ailing Tree, as much as I really want to take a crack at Lorah and Arcalyus.  I really do want to write that one, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a slightly ambitious project for me (long story, not going into it here), and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.  Funny thing is, I have a way more ambitious project that I’m frankly scared of, which currently goes, as a whole, under the code name Generational.  Em and SJ might remember me talking VERY briefly about it and the 5 books it’ll take to write it.  Like I said, highly ambitious, but not really on my radar yet.  Need better skills first and a lot more thought.  Worse, another old idea is knocking on my head, my Tuatha project, but that one will probably take some actual research (agh).  Too many choices for this writer.   Generational entirely aside, any suggestions?

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten that I promised a pic with my next post (which didn’t happen because the next one was an award post). As I really should have gotten off my lazy ass and done one last time, no matter how tired I was, I shall make up to you all by posting two today. 🙂  And on that note, I bid you adieu and good night.  This writer needs to rest her brains (what she has left of them).

Helix and the Editor Go to War

I really would love to explain to some of my story ideas and characters that the best time to start chatting me up is NOT when I’m in the middle (okay, latter half) of editing a completed story.  It makes it hard to get to them because I keep promising I’m going to finish the edit first and these constant interruptions make progress toward that quite difficult.  And frustrating.  So pardon me while I tell Helix how much I love him and his motorcycle and that it’s time to go sit in a corner for a while.  And he can take his girlfriend with him!  She won’t shut up either.  Even in the corner, neither of them will shut up.  It’s making my editor-self scream in fury.  There’s going to be blood in a minute, I swear.

That said, it’s nice to have an story forming up around Helix, because I do love him.  I think he’s the free spirit in me.  He’s not going to like what I do to him, really won’t, but he doesn’t get a choice anyway, and I’m sure it’ll come out well in the end.  🙂

Another few  chapters done in the edit (13/20 done), and it’s still going well, except for one small thing.  There’s this voice in the back of my head asking if that’s really all there is to the story.  I think it is, and I’m trying to find that voice to muzzle it, but… well, it’s elusive.  Part of me wants to be done with this story, to move on to new adventures, new characters and apply lessons learned, while the rest of me chastises that I should make this one the best story it can be before moving on to anything else.  And the part that is trying to insert itself would certainly add to the story and the stakes, but I’m not sure that there would be a point to it, in the larger scheme of the trilogy, other than torturing one of my characters a bit (well, okay, pushing her) and I’m not sure how I would do it.  I really don’t know.  I feel a little lazy for not wanting to even investigate it.  Some of that might be my brain saying it’s at least temporarily had enough of this story.  I need time to sort that out.  Maybe some distance too, but for now, I’m trying to maintain my focus on getting this draft edited.

It’s been a draining day for a number of reasons, and so I’m going to sign off for the night.  No picture tonight as I can barely keep my eyes open, but I’ll try to remember to post two next time, as a bit of an apology.  I do like sharing my work, I’m just too tired to do the conversions I need to right now.

Going Ten Rounds And Winning

As 2 of the last four chapters I’ve edited felt like knock-down drag-out fights, I felt that this was an appropriate title for this post.

So, here’s the good news.  I’m halfway through Dark Mirror now, a little over even, depending on how you’re measuring.  When I finished Dark Mirror’s second draft, it was 20 chapters long.  I have now edited 10 of those, thus halfway.  But the manuscript also sits at 302 pages (so far), and I’m at 166, which would suggest I’m a little over half.  Either way, I’m happy with the progress I’m making.  So far, only two of those 10 chapters have required any sections be extensively changed, and those two are parts I struggled with the first time around (if my hazy memory of those brain busting 15 days is to be relied upon, something I’m not remotely sure of).  I am much happier now with one of those two, and plan to go back to the other one as soon as I’ve done the whole book once through, to see if I can tweak it a little more, to the point where I’m at least okay with it.  Then it will be a quick read with no pen, no editing tools and, unless I am majorly unhappy (doesn’t seem likely at this point), off to my test readers.  I’m hoping that will be in the next week and a half, but I’m not sure, and I’m definitely not committing to that timeline.  There’s a lot going on for me at work at the moment, and some of it might spill a little into home time, even though I hate the very thought of taking the day job home with me, especially when it then cuts into writing time.   Oh well, something has to keep food on the table and a roof over my head.  More importantly, I have to keep electricity running to my many writing devices.

In the meantime, the ideas have been a little slow, mostly I think because I’m focusing so much on the edit.  I haven’t gotten anymore work done on the outline for Possession lately, but I did just figure something out about the goals in the third book, The Nine, which might influence Possession some.  I have to think about that part though, as I’m still not sure if it will be in Possession.  Decisions, decisions.  Also, I think the other problem is that Carol Berg’s new book, Daemon Prism has taken over my brain every moment I’m not working on DM or at the day job.  Very awesome book so far.  I love her writing, her stories and her characters.  If only I was half that good…  And none of you get to argue with me on that, because you’ve never read my writing beyond blog posts, and that’s not even close to being the same thing.  One day, we’re getting there, I think.

I really wish I had more to say, but the past few days have left my brain feeling like a wrung out sponge.  Le sigh, you’ll all have to make due with this and a picture.

This statue/water fountain is in downtown Vancouver.  I’ve shot it a couple of times, because I love the lines and shapes it makes, combined with the water.

After a couple of posts about something other than writing, I guess that it’s time to let you know that I have actually been doing something other than blogging about the awards some very nice people have given me.  Thank you again, though, guys.  Really, you made my weekend with those.

I’ve been steadily editing Dark Mirror, getting through a chapter a day, which puts me at 3 done, plus the one I’m going to be doing today.  I think today I’ll also enter the changes from the ones I’ve done, rather than waiting until I’ve finished editing them.  You never know what you might end up finding/changing when you go to actually work on the manuscript, as opposed to just scribbling notes and crossing stuff out.  I could do more, but I have a lot on my plate and I don’t want to rush through this and miss the obvious or important as a result.  That said, I am relatively happy with it, happy with the story certainly.  It’s still early in the manuscript, but I don’t think there are going to be any major changes, though maybe some additions to some parts, to flesh them out, further develop things I’m becoming aware of for other reasons.

And that brings me to the other things I’ve been doing in the last few days of my nearly-over vacation.  The outline for Possession is going well, though I’m still groping around for the details of the ending.  I know certain things that have to be in place beforehand though, and some things that occur as part of the ending, but the specifics, the where and how are still out there in the murk.  It’s a start, and I’m sure the exact details will come if I can just stop thinking about it for a bit.  I know it will, because that’s how it always works.  I’m doing something else and my story smacks me upside the head with absolutely no subtlety.  Every time, same thing.  One day, my muse is going to give me a concussion and then where will it be?

Further to that, The Nine, which will be Book 3 and the close of the trilogy, is advancing nicely in the notes stage.  Mostly general story stuff.  The beginning and the end of this are as yet proving elusive, but that really doesn’t worry me, for a number of reasons.  For one thing, the beginning will flow out of the ending of Possession, once I have that.  As for the ending, I have time to get there. It’s going to be significant, I know that, and I’m getting some hints regarding it, so I know it’s somewhere in my brain.  That said, so are a lot of things.  I feel like a prospector panning a river for gold some days.  Wait, what’s a toad doing in my pan?

In any case, I haven’t been totally idle on the writing front either.  One of the blogs I follow offers writing prompts periodically.  I’ll be clear, I don’t do them often, partly because I really don’t need MORE ideas floating around in my head.  Really, I don’t.  It’s already crowded and I will never have time to get to them all, even if they stop now, which doesn’t seem terribly likely.  But this one tweaked on one that’s been floating around in there for about a year.  Dawnstriders is an interesting idea, and I love the FMC (Female Main Character, for the uninitiated.  Congrats, you’ve just been initiated, don’t you feel special?), but I only have a general storyline for it, and a beginning that I wrote a while ago that has always seemed awkward, not quite right.  Then I saw this prompt, which had a picture of someone backlit by the dawning sun, and the real opening fell into my brain.  I wrote it, I like it.  I typed it up, so it’s all nice and saved now, backed up even.  I think I figured out part of the problem I was having.  You see, I typically write in a POV (Point of View) called limited 3rd person.  Think of it a bit like sitting on the character’s shoulder.  It’s not first person (I), but you still don’t know more than that POV character does.  There is, however, a small amount of narrative distance.  Dawnstriders, however, seems to fit and flow better as first person.  I’m willing to try it, and I had toyed with making DM first person, but when I started working on draft 2, I kind of forgot that plan and slipped straight into my usual POV.  I think it ended up working for the story, but different stories require different things, and part of me still wonders a bit about how DM would have turned out in first person.  Oh well, roads not taken and all that.  You still have to choose and live with the choice you made.

On that subject, I’m having some fun *does her evil author look* with the outline and story-spinning for Possession.  You see, there are some rampant misconceptions from some characters about others.  It stems from emotional entanglement, forgotten memories and incomplete knowledge (aka the same reasons the rest of us do that), but some of that incomplete knowledge gets cleared up in book two.  It’s going to be fun to write those parts, to see the changes, the regrets for choices that can’t be undone, the words spoken that can’t be retrieved.  That’s the thing with life, and therefor with stories.  Once a choice is made, you have to live with it and all the consequences that flow out of it.  Oh, sure, the author can change their mind about choices, but I tend to believe it should only be when the story calls for it (like when I had to rewrite all of DM because I changed something fundamental.  I couldn’t avoid that change, and the story is infinitely better for the change).  Yes, I know I’m being cryptic.  I don’t want to spoil the story for people, but I wanted to share my thoughts on consequences of choices.  That should be part of telling the story, not just the choices the characters make but also the consequences and them trying to live with those consequences and any regrets they may have as a result.

Oh, and before I go, I thought I’d share a picture from my somewhat vast collection of my own work.  I should start getting it out there at some point, and now is as good a time as any.  I hope you enjoy it.  🙂

I Think I Found My Brevity

So, this is the official announcement.  I did it, the second draft of Dark Mirror is finished.  It’s a lot shorter than I expected.  And by a lot, I mean it’s 73,264 words, while I had thought it would be at least 100k.  I didn’t know I could write a whole story in less than 100k.

For years I’ve known that I tend to, shall we say, over-write a bit on my stories, which tends to bloat word counts beyond what they should be.  This time I tried something different.  I didn’t describe everything down to the last fold of cloth or breath.  It finally occurred to me that it might be unnecessary.  The average reader has a fairly vivid imagination and so I can leave some of the basic stuff to that imagination.  Describing just what was significant or different from normal is a new thing for me, but somewhat liberating.  We’ll have to see what my test readers say when I get this to them.  That said, it gave me more room to write the story.  As much as I’d like to just let a story run as many words as it needs, I never stop being aware that I would like to sell my stories at some point, that this is a business and with that comes certain expectations.

I’m still pondering how I want to go about publishing this, when it’s ready at least, and I’m very torn.  Part of me very much wants to go with traditional publishing, for the support system you’re supposed to get, for the physical object you eventually get, the broader distribution, all that.  And (this is going to sound perhaps really bad) for that stamp of approval that is implied with traditional publishing, that unspoken message to potential readers that it can’t be that bad because an agent and editor(s) have read through it already and were willing to spend money to bring it to you.  And then there’s the costs I don’t have to spend money for up front (money I don’t really have at the moment, to be honest).  But it’s a very uphill battle for someone entirely unpublished for me, and I’m not long on confidence generally.  In fact, I rarely give myself the credit that some of my friends argue I deserve.

There is a definite historical stigma to self-publishing.  I find it in my own attitude, even.  In my opinion, it’s lessening now in this the age of e-publication, but I think it’s still there to at least some extent.  Perhaps it is because you do find plenty of books out there among the self-published that were written by someone clearly delusional about the level of their own talents.  You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that come across as someone’s first draft, with spelling and grammar errors and confused narrative.  And I don’t want to be mistaken for one of those, but I’m aware that there’s a growing tide of those who write very well jumping on this train.

There are several advantages that are definitely starting to make the traditional publishing route look less attractive.  The biggest is control.  I would have control over my work, how long it’s available, where and at what price.  I decide how often I publish a new book.  I can have the cover I want.  It would happen sooner than trying to fight that uphill battle of traditional publishing.  And more of the money is mine (so is the financial risk, but nothing worth doing is without risk), with fewer people being paid a percentage of the book’s sales.  I have to agree with Dean Wesley Smith on this.  He’s talked about it in his blog before.  Actually, he talks about a lot of important business stuff in his blog.  But the salient point here is that I did the work of writing this, inventing it in the first place in fact, spent my time and effort to make it a reality.  They did their job once.  They don’t keep working on the book after it’s published in some cases.  Why should they get a percentage paid to them for however long the book is available?  If I’m willing to learn that business side and find people to do the work for a flat fee, to spend the time dealing with the business end of things, there’s no reason I shouldn’t do it that way.  Actually, the more I write this post, the more I think I’m going to end up going self-publish, e-publish.  I may or may not get rich that way, I may never realize the dream of writing full time, but at least I would get to do it my way.  Besides, even in traditional publishing, being able to afford to write full time is unlikely, as I understand it.  I think it’s time for me to get down to researching and learning when not actively writing.  I have a lot to learn before I get this in people’s hands (e-readers).  And I may change my mind on this.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

In the meantime, as I go through all of this and think about all of the above, what will I be doing?  Digging into another project.  I’m more than a little torn on that.  I want to work on The Ailing Tree, but I don’t think I’m ready.  There’s still a bunch of stuff I’m letting simmer with that one.  I want to work on the second book in the Mirrors trilogy, currently going under the working title Possession, while I’m still very much in the vein of that world, and I’m leaning toward that, working on and finishing the trilogy before moving on to another world.  I don’t expect major story or world reworking to come out of the feedback process for DM (though you never really know), so I could at least start ordering my notes and working on an outline.  I’m also throwing around possible new titles for DM, but not really sure about any of them yet, so I won’t be sharing them at this point.

I’d like to close this post by saying that I’m amazed how much better writing The End feels this time.  It might be because this time I didn’t do it knowing I’d have to do significant rewrites, so it really feels like The End.  There’s still work to do on it, and I don’t yet know how much, but this time it feels like so much more of an achievement.  I like that 🙂

This Is Where I Expected My Brain To Die

There was a plan for this post and a reason why I titled it this way, but that has been entirely derailed by a better use for this title.  Be forewarned:  Loopy, sleep deprived author at the keyboard today.

So, the last couple of days have been good, 6,484 yesterday and a best ever 1-day total today of 7,065 (which is a miracle given my present state) and the draft has reached grand total of 67,837 words.  I’m on the doorstep of the climax, and just finished a couple of major, difficult scenes.  I even think I did a good job on them, but we’ll see what I think on later reading.  As always, I reserve judgement. (and in case you’re wondering, the title originally centred around how bloody much I’ve been writing since I hit vacation)

Now, that said, I hear your question.  Why the loopy, sleep deprived comment?  Oh boy.  Where to begin.

You have to understand, I generally make sure that I stop writing early enough (say 10ish) to spin my brain down for sleep, but that didn’t happen last night.  I just couldn’t stop writing (Where is the Writers’ wing of the Betty Ford Clinic when I need it?) and so it was around midnight when I packed it in, only through force of will, and laid down to sleep.  And rolled over.  And tossed, definitely did some turning.  Got up, went back to laying down, rolled over some more.  See, there was no sleeping done by me until sometime after 3 AM!  Why?  My brain would not go quietly into the night and instead kept world-building and story-building away at books 2 and 3 in the Dark Mirror trilogy.  I was pleased by it’s output (all noted down, thank you iPad that lives within arm’s reach wherever possible) but very very displeased by it’s timing.  I mean, come on, midnight to 3 AM seemed like a good idea to who?  Not this writer, who actually likes sleeping.  As I finally did fall asleep, though, I was comforted by the notion that, as I am still on vacation, I could at least sleep in.  Really late.  That was the plan, I swear, right up until 8 AM when my brain woke up on all cylinders and insisted it was time to write.  That bitch.

I tried to argue with it, I really did, but after 15 minutes and only getting more awake by the second, I gave up and made coffee.  Ugh.  I am amazed I managed to write anything today, let alone have it go as well as it did.   I mean, very little sleep and 7k of what I think may actually be good prose?  Seems too much to ask.  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t seem like crap when I end up rereading at least part of it tomorrow in order to orient myself for tomorrow’s writing bender.

I’m also hoping for more sleep tonight.  If I end up staying up until 3 AM again, I might go postal on someone tomorrow, no matter why I end up awake that late.  After a while, some things cannot be borne without protest.

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