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Archive for September, 2013

Story ideas need time to ferment and grow. That’s just one reason why it’s not recommended to follow the newest shiniest idea right away. It needs time to germinate and build–usually in the subconscious.

The idea for my Weird Oz Story started a year ago, but I’m starting to question whether it’s really quite ripe yet.

On the other hand, Adventures in YA Publishing this week reminded me of something else:

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” 

That’s just about as far ahead as I can see right now–if I drive really slowly. Usually, that’s enough for me.
 
So, I’m not ready to give up and put this away for a while yet. However, I am likely to start splitting my writing time. Maybe start working on some revisions.  That might be just a bit tricky, because I’ll be switching between third-person narrative and first-person, but I think I’m up to the challenge. And if I’m not, maybe I need the practice.
 
Hmm. I haven’t read BIRD BY BIRD yet, but it’s been on my list for a while. Maybe I need to move it up.
 
In other news: Another new chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is up on wattpad.
Or, of course, you could just buy it for $2.99 and read it all without waiting a week between chapters.
Blood Is Thicker Cover
 
If you haven’t read BLOOD WILL TELL yet, the promotional combined edition will be out in just a couple of weeks.
http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743
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It hasn’t exactly broken the log jam, but stopping for a couple of days to begin reading David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES in hopes of finding a way to get my Weird Oz Story flowing has helped some. It gave me the chance to see one of the problems I was struggling against–and how to at least ease it a bit.

See, I threw my character into the Jurassic Park version of Oz all by herself. Well, except for a dangerous-looking animal that keeps following her around. I want to throw her in the deep end and force her to start swimming–start figuring out how to avoid trouble or deal with it. Fine. But having only one character in a strange landscape can only work for so long. At some point, she needs other characters to talk to, work with, argue with. You know, engage.

I think I’ve about pushed the limit of how long I can keep her isolated. I need to move up the point at which she gets some allies and maybe a contagonist, someone who wants to pull her off in another direction. Time for some interaction.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep reading MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. And explore my stack of ideas for what might be my next project.

Here’s to occasionally taking a step back to get a better look at the whole.

 

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m a discovery writer. Actually, I consider myself a modified discovery writer. Modified because I did once manage to write 100,000 words that didn’t come out to be a story. (I’m embarrassed to admit how many tries it took me to figure out why it wasn’t a story and fix it.) So, now I like to have at least a few stops along the way to my destination.

I’ve heard the idea floated that even those of us who claim to write by the seat of our pants are actually outlining; we’re just doing it in our heads instead of on paper. I think there’s something to that. Of course, if we’re holding the outline in our heads, it’s not as detailed or extensive as some of those written out. And it’s also more subject to change. That’s just the nature of the two methods.

I tried outlining a couple of times early on. Once, I spent way too much time revising the outline–time I could have been spending on writing the story. The other time, I wrote the outline and then never looked at it again. I think the story diverged from the outline in the first five chapters and never came back again. I haven’t made a serious attempt at outlining since.

However, every story is different. And even I–confirmed discovery writer that I am–am starting to think about outlining. I’m still only on chapter 7 of my “Weird Oz Story” and that’s partly because the story is just developing that slowly in my head.

So, maybe it’s time to drop back and punt. Open that copy of David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES on my kindle, and try a different method. Maybe this is a story I need to outline. Learning a different way is always good, even if I never use it again.

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I had to get up in the wee hours this morning to make a couple of notes on my Weird Oz Story so I wouldn’t lose them. That’s actually good.

The times and places where ideas strike can seem strange. In the shower, washing the dishes, walking the dogs. A big one for me seems to be driving. That’s when the idea for my Weird Oz Story first came to me. Waking up with an idea is another good one. These are the times when my subconscious throws up the new ideas and solutions to plot problems that fuel (and sometimes) fix my stories. For me, these ideas will only turn up, though, when I’m actually spending some part of my day writing. If I’m not doing that, I can walk the dogs all day without turning up any ideas.

I learned some time ago to take inspiration when it comes and always write it down (or record it in some way) as fast as I can so I don’t lose it. I can always decide whether or not to use it later, but only if I remember what it is.

Last night, among other things, I think my subconscious gave me a piece of the puzzle. Maybe one of the things that’s been holding me back from making better progress on this story. Here’s hoping.

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Last Sunday, I posted about how much trouble I was having starting my Weird Oz Story (real title to be determined). Well, I’m still not exactly burning rubber but I think I am beginning to build momentum. I think it’s clear that this is just going to be one of those stories that takes a little longer, for whatever reason.

That happens. Every story is different. BLOOD WILL TELL just poured out of me in about a month. THE BARD’S GIFT took about six months to write. Most stories fall somewhere in the middle. Just because one story is slow coming out doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. Some stories are just like that. And you can’t really rush the ones that want to be slow and steady.

Some, like BLOOD WILL TELL, appear fully formed like Athena in my head and all I have to do is open the floodgates and let them out. That’s a wild roller coaster ride when it happens, but they’re not all that way. Sometimes I just have to let a story take a little more time.

It also doesn’t mean that I should worry about my productivity. It bears remembering that this is actually my third project for this year–so far, not counting  revisions.

  1. I completed MAGIC AND POWER (likely to be retitled DESERT ROSE) earlier this year. That’s the one that was supposed to be only a novelette or novella, but turned out at 85,000 words.
  2. I completed a rewrite of one of my earliest novels, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. It still needs work, of course, but that’s what revisions are for.
  3. And now I’m working on Weird Oz.

Well, that’s still pretty darn good for a single year, especially when you add a revision/partial rewrite of MAGE STORM and the revisions to BLOOD IS THICKER to get it ready for launch next month.

Note: A new chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is now available on wattpad (or you could just buy the whole thing.)

Blood Is Thicker Cover

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First, I said I’d post a link to my author interview on Clean Romance Reviews.

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

So, I’ve been devoting a fair amount of my time over the last couple of days to pulling together everything for a blog tour I’m hoping to schedule for BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743

I may have to move up the release of the combined edition (above) to make it available earlier. That’s easy.

I’ve also got to go ahead and create a book or author page on Google+. My computer and Facebook just aren’t getting along. I have no idea whether it’s my internet connection, my old operating system (Windows XP), my layers of virus protection, or some combination of the above. Or, for that matter, none of the above and something else altogether. Either way, the best way to keep my blood pressure from skyrocketing as I try to get my computer to respond to me again after a brief glimpse at Facebook seems to be to just stay away. Right now, I just post from a distance, like by using the share button at the bottom of this post.

Meanwhile, I begin to feel like I’m making progress on getting my Weird Oz Story started. So that’s good.

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Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality. I’m working on so many different things at the same time (well, not at the some minute, but you know what I mean). And that doesn’t even count, you know, my ordinary life.

Querying MAGE STORM, trying to promote both FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD IS THICKER, getting feedback on DESERT ROSE (MAGIC AND POWER), and trying to write the first draft of my Weird Oz Story (no title, yet).

I wonder if that’s why I’m having a hard time getting started on Weird Oz. I’m only on Chapter 3. (Here’s a teaser, Chapter 3 is titled “Pixie Spiders”.)

Could be that, or it could be that this is a bit of a departure for me. It’s the first novel I’m attempteing in first-person point of view. I’ve written a couple of shorter pieces (“Heart of Oak” and “Becoming Lioness”) in first person, but never a novel. It’s also a very different story to what I’ve been writing recently.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t completely built this world in my own mind yet. I’m a discovery writer (somewhat modified), so I’m generally okay with that. I can fix anything in revision (except the empty page I’m staring at right now). And sometimes the only way the ideas will start to come is when I start to write.

It’s also occurred to me that this may turn out to be a middle grade story instead of young adult, as I’ve currently envisioned. Well, I can fix that, too. But only if I get the story down first.

Well, once I get it well and truly started, hopefully it will start flowing better. Forward, ho!

In other news: Check out Clean Romance Reviews on Tuesday, September 10th for my first ever author interview. I’ll try to post a direct link on Wednesday. She did a very nice review of FIRE AND EARTH.Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

Also, a new chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is up on wattpad. Or, you could just buy the book.

Blood Is Thicker Cover

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