Researching — June 21, 2012

Researching

Not the most imaginative title I’ve ever come up with, I grant you. But it’s on my mind and it’s such a boring topic that really there’s no better fit.

I’m currently in the throes of researching for the next book I was planning to write. And it’s killing me. I mean, a slow, painful death at the hands of the driest words to ever have been crafted (save for perhaps Heart of Darkness, Wuthering Heights, or The Great Gatsby).

Every so often I pull this story idea out of the dust bin and attempt to do the research necessary for plotting the story. And when I do I’m immediately reminded of one of the many reasons the idea was shelved in the first place.

When I was working on Lodestar (thought I’d never mention that one again, didn’t you? Ha!), I never had this much trouble getting into the research. The research for that one was actually quite interesting. I mean, researching the Air Force, astronomy, and NASA. And really most of that research on NASA and the Air Force got cut in subsequent drafts because it was bogging the story down.

Now I’m researching and it’s draining me. And weighing on me. I’m nigh to shelving the project again, only this time burning all the materials so I can never go back to the idea.

I think what’s hardest for me in all this research is what I’m researching. The sequel and the sequel’s sequel won’t be much better. Why? Because I got this crazy idea in my head that instead of dealing with the cultural history of the West (Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome through to Britain and America), I’d deal with the cultural history of Scandinavia (book 1), Russia (book 2), and Japan (book 3). (Book 3 also at one point was supposed to deal with Ireland, but then I changed my mind.)

Someone take away my parenthesis privileges.

The problem with that? I have no base line of knowledge that I’m starting with so diving into any book I might pick up in the name of research means I’m lost from word one.

Not fun.

I think I’ll just go retreat into my fantasy worlds where I control the shape and landscape of everything. And I know all the history because I created it.

WiP Wednesday 7/27 — July 27, 2011

WiP Wednesday 7/27

How is it Wednesday again?  Anyway.

Lodestar:

I finished the final major revision.  I had the manuscript printed and coil-bound on Monday and am using that for final proofreading and to help me with the synopsis.  (More on that in tomorrow’s blog post.)

It’s exciting and unnerving at the same time to think that I might be sending this darling into the world as early as sometime next week.

I continue to revise and tweak my query letter.  Hopefully I’m close.  Once the main synopsis is done I’ll have to set about contracting it to one page, two pages, and maybe even five, depending on how long it starts out at.  My list of agents to query have varying requirements on the length of the synopsis they want, if one is asked for at all.  So that adds an extra challenge to the process but I’m up for it.

Mirror, Mirror:

Well, first off, CHAPTER 5 IS DONE!

Ahem.  Sorry.

Secondly, I have to come with a new (working) title.  See, I discovered that a pretty popular author has already used this title for one of their books.  I know you can’t copyright titles, but I’m just not going to go there with this one.  So, I’m back at the drawing board.

I decided over the weekend that I needed to re-design a palace and city that my characters are headed for in the next chapter so that’s stalled me a little as I sit stumped at my computer trying to figure out a layout for both that will both be realistic and serve the needs of my characters and story.

WiP Wednesday 7/20 — July 20, 2011

WiP Wednesday 7/20

Lodestar (Adult fantasy WiP):

Revisions have begun in earnest.  I’m hoping to get this polished and querying within the next couple of weeks.  Fingers crossed.

This round is going pretty smoothly so far.  But inconsistencies breed like dust bunnies.  Going through the manuscript and highlighting (in a different color for each) the spots where my inconsistencies are showing up and/or where I need to address that element of the story has been very illuminating.  (Pun not intended.)

I started off with one color.  There was an inconsistency in whether these characters have a way of communicating over any sort of distance.  Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.

That grew into 13 different colors for various issues.  Some issues with the science behind the fantasy (using science in a very loose meaning), some random issues that only crop up in one or two spots, and then my crutch mannerisms.  (Eye/eyes/eyed/eyelid, variations on smile/smiled, shrugging, and shaking of heads.)

Yeah.  It’s gonna take some time going through this and getting nitpicky.  Oh well.

YA fantasy WiP:

I’m still stuck in chapter 5.  This chapter will not end, I tell you.  Soon.  But not soon enough.  This will be my biggest nightmare chapter when it comes time to revise.

The writing itself is going a little slow.  I feel like there’s something off with the book and so I think that’s stalling me a little.  I keep getting the urge to write a new chapter 1.  But the new chapter I’m seeing in my head will drastically effect the rest of what’s already written and that’s putting me off making the change.  I mean, I’ve written no few words on this book already and the thought of having to start over now makes me freeze.

I know, easier to restart now than after I’ve written 80K words.

Oh, and also?  I decided on a title.  It’s a working title for now, but it works.  *drumroll*

Mirror, Mirror


We’ll see how long it stays but I needed the file to be named something more than “Draft 1” for locating purposes.

How are your WiPs going?

A Day Late — July 7, 2011

A Day Late

And many dollars short.  Hee hee.

Sorry for not getting a WiP update to you guys yesterday.  I’ve fallen into a funk.  There’s a lot going on in my personal life right now that is really dragging down everything else.

I’m plugging away at chapter 5 in the traditional fantasy WiP.  This chapter has turned into a beast of a thing.  It won’t end right now.  It just keeps going.  I’m either too much a slave to the rough outline I wrote out for myself or I’m throwing in too much unnecessary stuff.  Or both.

Revisions on the contemporary fantasy will commence when I’ve finished beta reading for two friends.  Which I’m hoping to get done by the end of the weekend.  (I’m sorry, guys.  I’m a total fail at beta reading right now. 😦 )

Fortunately for me, the muse seems to be really focused on the current project.  I haven’t had an SNI hit me yet in this project.  *knocks wood*

How are your WiPs going?

WiP Wednesday 6/29 — June 29, 2011

WiP Wednesday 6/29

Yay for progress update day!

Short story:
FINISHED!  As of yesterday, this story is done.  I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll attempt to get this one published.  It ended up being just over 13K.  Wordy for a short story, yes, but that’s how all of mine seem to go.

YA fantasy:
I finished chapter 4.  But haven’t written past there yet.  I focused heavily on the short story this week because I wanted to get it done so the creative energy could be concentrated on the YA.  I discovered during the process of writing that story that I can’t have two first drafts going at the same time.  It just doesn’t work.

Lodestar:
Still sitting, waiting for revisions.  Which will start probably in the next week or so.  Just to prove to myself I’m able to revise and draft at the same time.  (Preparing for the eventual day when I hope to be writing under contract.)

How are your WiPs going?

And, please, if you missed yesterday’s post on the Stories for Sendai Anthology blog tour, read it and put this anthology on your buy list.  All proceeds are going to aid survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan back in March.

WiP Wednesday 6/22 — June 22, 2011

WiP Wednesday 6/22

Let’s see.  Where should I begin.

Lodestar is still sitting pretty waiting to be revised.  I have excellent (at least I think they are) ideas for where to go from here.  I’m eager to jump back into the revising ring.

My YA high fantasy is trucking along.  I’m in chapter 4 and and it’s going remarkably smooth.  The plot is still throwing some surprises my way, which is entertaining.  (Mostly it’s character stuff that’s cropping up but those character things are having some impact on events of the plot and how things unfold.)

Over the weekend I had a couple of scenes from a brand new story pestering me so I started writing it.  This one’s just a short story.  I’ll probably cap it somewhere in the 8K-10K mark.  Currently it is titled Blood Blessed though that might change after I finish the story.  (I just needed a placeholder since I already have a story on my hard drive named “New story.”)

How are your WiPs going?

WiP Wednesday 6/15 — June 15, 2011

WiP Wednesday 6/15

High Fantasy Draft:

I still have no title for the book I’m writing.  But that’s okay.

I’m loving this story.  It’s kind of fun, trying to write a YA high/traditional fantasy.  I’m worried that my MC isn’t sounding teen enough, but it isn’t like she’s a contemporary teen.  Her struggles will be the same, but I think I have a little room to play with the voice.  So, yeah.  We’ll see.

I’m in chapter 3 right now.  I know, slow progress, right?  But the thing is this book only has 15 planned chapters.  (Thereabouts.)  So, there’s wiggle room for adding chapters.

I’m writing this one longhand, off-computer.  Which has its plusses and minuses.  I’ve also decided not to type out what I write until I’m done with the book.  Or when I’ve filled a notebook full of written material.  I think I’ll make that final call when I get there.  But I think I need to fill about 3 notebooks, minimum, to have the book at a decent word count when it’s done.  Maybe four so there’s room for making cuts that will be needed.

Lodestar


This book is in “let it sit” mode.  When I finish the first draft of the above book, I’ll return to revising this one.  I had an excellent brainstorming session with a dear writer friend and now have some very good ideas for what to look at and change in the book.

It’s weird, but I think I’m kind of excited to attack this round of revisions.

How are your WiPs going?

WiP Wednesday 6/8 — June 8, 2011

WiP Wednesday 6/8

Hello again!  I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week of productivity when it comes to writing.  I know I have.

Lodestar:


I’ve begun doing just minor edits, all very surface level.  I think I’m avoiding dealing with the major issues for some reason.  I know I can fix these issues but at the moment they’re looking to be more work than writing the book in the first place.

Untitled fantasy WiP:

I finished world-building.  Finally.  My pantser brain was throwing temper tantrums at me every five minutes when I sat down to writ out my plot synopsis.  I wrote the plot for the entire series, starting in Act 0 (as my Shakespeare professor liked to refer to the stuff before the play actually started) and through to the end.  Twenty-one pages later I had the series start to finish.  There’ll be times as I go that I’ll stray from that plot synopsis, but at least it’s there and it feels cohesive.  It feels like I’ve taken care of the major plot holes.

Except that plot holes have a funny way of breeding like rabbits when your manuscript is in rest mode.  Sigh.

I looked through the synopsis and marked where the most natural breaks occurred.  Turns out I’ve got a trilogy on my hands.  Which is great because when the idea first hit me, the muse was telling me it would be seven.  I’m so glad it was only three.  Then I simplified my synopsis into an outline for each book.

I started writing book one.  Not terribly far along.  But I am also refusing to set a word count goal for this book.  I’m just going to write until the outline tells me I’ve hit the end of book one.  Which my planner brain is railing against but whatever.  I can only please one side, pantser or plotter, at a time and this is not planner’s time.

How are your WiPs going?

WiP Wednesday 5/25 — May 25, 2011

WiP Wednesday 5/25

Wow, that time of week again, huh?

Updates:

Lodestar/When the Star Fell:

Still in total title flux.  Can’t decide on anything in this regard.  I’ve finished and printed my revision outline for the next round of revisions.  That will happen after the book comes back from beta.  (For more on my process of revision outlines, see this handy post compiling all such items on outlining.)

Truth or Dare:

Well, it’s finished.  I’m still not sure I’ll ever revise it in earnest and submit it anywhere.  Not necessarily the genre that I want to start my career in so we’ll see.  Maybe someday with a pseudonym and different title.

How are your WiPs going?

Lodestar Soundtrack — May 24, 2011

Lodestar Soundtrack

I’ve posted about soundtracks before.  I’ve even posted a soundtrack for Lodestar.  (Or When the Star Fell. We’re still in title flux over here.)

Looking back over that soundtrack, and thinking about the soundtrack as it stands now, I’ve realized something.  These soundtracks aren’t so much what you’d hear if the books were turned into movies.  These are tracks that when I hear them I think of one of my books or of a character.

So here’s the updated soundtrack for my contemporary fantasy, Lodestar.

“In Her Eyes” by Josh Groban (pretty much how the MC thinks of his predicament and of how one character views him)
“Untouchable” by Taylor Swift (whenever I hear this song, there’s one scene in my book that comes to life in my head as I sing the song, so vividly I sometimes want to cry)
“This Time” from the August Rush soundtrack (the first lines evoke one of the scenes at the end of the novel for me, the chorus evokes some of the internal conflict for the MC)
“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban (basically how the MC feels about being thrust into this world he had no idea existed) *slight pause in soundtrack building to get lost in Josh Groban’s voice*
“So Close” from the Enchanted soundtrack (pretty much every interaction between the MC and his primary love interest as there’s a physical reason they can’t touch, not even to hold hands)
“To Where You Are” by Josh Groban (evokes really the way the MC feels about the primary love interest, and a little bit of the emotion toward the end of the book) *pausing again for that gorgeous voice*
“Open Your Eyes (to Love)” from the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack (there’s a scene between the primary love interest and another character that is basically this and I think about this scene when hearing this song)