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Archive for March, 2013

Happy Easter

Then, let me draw your attentiong to new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL that are up on Wattpad.

So, maybe it’s the time of year, but I seem to be taking different directions on a couple of projects. I’ve already blogged about “Magic and Power”, most recently here. There’s another story that I think is going to take a major direction change, too.

When I first got serious about writing, the very first novel I wrote was called THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. The second was a sequel called THE IGNORED PROPHECY. TSC suffered from a great many beginner mistakes, so I set it and TIP aside and worked on other things, but I still love these characters and this story. And as for world building, well, most of those entries under my “Worlds” tab are for this story.

A year or so ago, I pulled TSC out and tried a rewrite of the first third or so of it as a middle grade fantasy. MAGIC’S FOOL. I actually rather liked that version, but then I found out that a 13-year-old protagonist was a non-starter. He’s quite literally an in-between–too old for middle grade and too young for young adult.

Next I tried another go, taking my protagonist up to 15 and making it young adult. That’s not working out as well as I’d hoped.

Well, now I think what I’m going to do is just rewrite it without trying to fit it into any premade mold. It’ll probably still be young adult–at least the first book will be. The character will have “aged out” by the sequel, but so be it. If it turns out to be something that no agent will be interested in, well, the publishing world has changed and there’s always e-publishing. I can live with that.

There will be a few plot changes, I think, in addition to just better technique, but the story will be basically the same. It’s a good story and I’m sticking with it.

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And I don’t mean for the Easter bunny.

Easter postcard circa early 20th century

Easter postcard circa early 20th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m afraid the characters in my current WIP, “Magic and Power”, have been leading me astray. Well, not exactly astray, but not on track, either. That’s the problem, really. There never was a sufficient track laid out for this one.

I’ve posted before about being a (modified) discovery writer here and here among others. I’m perfectly willing to embark on a short story on the basis of an idea and faith. If it doesn’t work out, I haven’t lost that much time and no writing is ever wasted. It’s all practice if nothing else.

But I approach longer works a little differently. I want at least a minimum amount of milestones to keep me from going off into the weeds. The reason for this is experience. The second book I wrote after getting serious about writing (which doesn’t count that thing I wrote back in college) is the specific reason.

I was literally writing the last page of a 100,000 word or so novel when I looked up and said to myself, “But, it’s not a story.” I instinctively knew it wasn’t a story, even though there were characters, who changed, a setting, and things happened. I was a much less experienced writer then, though. It took me half a dozen attempts at fixing it to figure out why it wasn’t a story.

It wasn’t a story because it didn’t have a strong central conflict. There were conflicts. They were resolved. But the ending didn’t feel like a resolution of the whole book because there wasn’t one dominant problem that drove the whole story forward. Once I fixed that, it became a story–one that I was even happy with.

And that’s–sort of–my problem with “Magic and Power”. This was supposed to be just a sweet little love story. Maybe 15,000 words tops. Just something to work on while I prepared to write my weird Oz story that needs more development. At least, that’s what I thought it was going to be. And for that, the conflict of the main character’s choice between her magic and her love was sufficient. I just passed 27,000 words. That’s not enough to sustain the story anymore.

So, once I finish the current scene, I think it may be time to take a step back and do a little plotting. There are some elements that are candidates for greater conflicts that can intertwine with the love story. I just need to pick one as central and go back and weave it in more firmly. Two steps forward, one step back is still progress.

 In other news, new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL are available for free on Wattpad.

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My current WIP (working title “Magic and Power”) took a turn of it’s own about a week ago. This turn leads me into unfamiliar territory–the first time I’ve ever written a love triangle.

Well, technically, it’s not a true triangle, because there’s no relationship between the two love interests. That added relationship, where it works into a plot, can add another layer of conflict. That’s just not going to work out in this story, though. It’s okay, my main character has other issues to add to the conflict. Plus some conflicts external to the whole romance element.

I didn’t plan this story, originally, to have a love triangle, but this second character popped up and said he loved my main character, too and to give him a chance. It’s not where I intended the story to go, but I think I like this new twist better. Still, it’s a little outside of my comfort zone, so making it work is going to be interesting. We’ll see what my critique partners have to say on whether or not I pulled it off.

I also hadn’t planned for this story to be this long. I thought it was probably a novelette (between 7500 and 15,000 words) or maybe a novella (between 15,000 and 50,000 words), which is why I was willing to dive in without more planning. I just passed 26,000 words, so it’s definitely at least a novella and might even decide to grow into a full novel. If I get to–or close to–50,000 words, I’ll have to give serious thought to expanding it to a full novel.

Well, meanwhile, I’m having fun with this story.

In other news, new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL are up for free on Wattpad. Take a look!

Also, although I missed out on Pitch Madness, I did get a partial request for THE BARD’S GIFT out of WriteOnCon’s Luck O’ the Irish Pitch Fest.

 

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It’s part of life. It’s certainly part of a writer’s life. Some days, you just wonder why you keep beating your head against the same walls–time after time.

I’m frustrated today and I’m just going to have to work through it. That’s a skill you’ve just got to learn. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t get you down every now and again.

Right now, nothing seems to be working out how I’d planned or hoped. That doesn’t mean that they won’t work out–eventually. One way or another. 

Even my current WIP has decided to grow a will of its own and take off in an unplanned direction. But there’s the bright side in all of this. Because I’ve decided I like the new direction better. It works. Does that mean I’ll have to revise some of the 20,000 words I’ve already written? Sure. But I was going to have to do that anyway. I’ve never yet written anything that was perfect on the first draft. That’s not what first drafts are for.

So, I’ll keep plugging away at the stuff that is working–and at the stuff that’s not working yet.

And, on that note, check out Wattpad for new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL. And, if you like what you read–or even if you don’t–leave a little comment, please. Right now, in all aspects of my writing, I’m hearing mostly crickets, which is just a little discouraging.

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 First, let me say Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

 Saint Patrick

And fingers crossed for a little of the Luck of the Irish. (I am part Irish, after all.) I made it in to The Luck of the Irish Pitch Fest. We’ll see what, if anything, comes of that next week. And I have to wait a couple of weeks to find out if I make it into Pitch Madness. In both cases, I’m pitching my YA alternate history, THE BARD’S GIFT.

Next, a small announcement:

Chapter 2 of FIRE AND EARTH and Chapter 5 of BLOOD WILL TELL are now available on Wattpad. It’s free, so go check them out.

Now, back to the topic, stories taking on a life of their own:

I just passed 20,000 words on this story I’m working on now–and it’s starting to veer off in an unexpected direction.

This was supposed to be a short story or maybe a novella. I picked it up to fill the time (productively) while I figured out which of my novels-in-waiting to take up next and do a little more prep work on the chosen novel. This one is looking more and more like it might decide that it needs to be a novel, too.

That’s–I won’t call it a problem, let’s say interesting (as in the Chinese curese “May you live in interesting times”)–because I deal with short stories and novels a little differently.  I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I’m a discovery writer by nature and a modified discovery writer by experience. I’m willing to freestyle (fly by the seat of my pants) with a short story or even a novella. After all, it’s only a few thousand words. If it doesn’t work out, well, no writing is ever wasted. Hopefully, I always at least learn something. Maybe I try something that I’ve never done before, like first person or a different genre. Short is the place to experiment.

But when I plan to start a novel, I do at least a little planning. I want to know the inciting incident (obviously), the central conflict, and if possible the try/fail cycles. I don’t outline, exactly, but I do usually have a separate file with a paragraph or so about key points that the story will hit. Most importantly, where the story is going to end. I have a plan.

I had an idea where this story would go, but it left a lot of room to explore. Well, now I’ve introduced a new character who has decided that he’s going to be a second love interest. I’ve never written a real love triangle before. Not as in there’s real doubt about who she’ll choose in the end. Now this new character is turning out to be maybe the better choice. Which wasn’t in the plan at all. Stinker.

Oh well, I better fasten my seat belt. I’m already on this rollercoaster. There’s nothing to do now but ride it to the end–and hope.

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You know the rest. I don’t even have to say it, do I?

Well, as for steps forward, the fourth chapter of BLOOD WILL TELL is now up on Wattpad:

BLOOD WILL TELL, Chapter 4

In addition, the first chaptr of FIRE AND EARTH is now up there, too, with this (provisional) cover. (I may tinker with it some more, but you get the general idea.)

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

My next task in figuring out this promotion thing is to gather myself together and explore audio books. For a long time, I was thinking I could do this myself. Well, maybe I can with one or more of the shorter works, but I simply don’t have a trained voice to do a full novel. Know your limitations. So, I need to go over to ACX and see what I can do there to find someone better equipped to do it for me. Now that FIRE AND EARTH is in the mix, maybe I’ll use that one. It only has two POV characters.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing on an (unplanned) project. When I picked this up, it was supposed to be something short that I could work on while choosing my next project. Like so many of my stories, it had a mind of its own. It’s going to be at least a novella–and quite possibly may want to grow up into a novel. The world, I think, is rich enough. I’m just starting a love triangle, which is something a little new for me.

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This and That

A little bit of miscellany today.

The first three chapters of BLOOD WILL TELL are up on Wattpad:

Here’s a look at my very first chain mail project:Helm Pattern Necklace

The pattern is called Helm.

In other news, I’m still working on the “little” story I decided to play with before starting another novel, “Magic and Power”. It’s closing in on 15,000 words and maybe half done, so we’re solidly in novella territory. If it gets to 50,000, I’ll have to decide that it really does want to grow up to be a novel after all. Meanwhile, I’ve had another story idea scratch at the back of my brain while listening to Irish music in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. That one hasn’t quite clawed its way out–yet.

Tomorrow (Monday) the submission window opens up for the Luck of the Irish Pitch Fest, so fingers crossed that I get in on that one with THE BARD’S GIFT.

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