The Downside of Traditional or Epic Fantasy — October 8, 2012

The Downside of Traditional or Epic Fantasy

In re-evaluating the self-imposed deadlines I set for myself, I started thinking about the wisdom of writing the books sitting in my brain.

On the one hand, I feel like there are so many characters and stories in there right now there isn’t room for more, for different. That’s the biggest factor that makes writing these stories right now so appealing.

On the other hand, all these books hinge on Woven and its trilogy getting published. Events that are the crux of the story in Heirs of the Seven Realms inform the events of pretty much everything else. Characters sometimes cross over from book to book, and sometimes one story’s book will have a side or tertiary character whose offspring appears later.

Someone remind me not to ever come up with and entertain so many stories that cross each other again, okay?

If you have a question you’re dying to ask me, something you want me to address either here on my site or over at the Dojo, send it to info(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com 

Comments and other fun stuff can be sent to stephanie(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com

MS Hospital — July 27, 2009

MS Hospital

Ever wish there was a (an?) MS hospital? Elana J’s post this morning got me thinking. And I wanted to do something similar to what she did in her post.

Watch this first:

Now, don’t you feel sometimes that you’re doing nothing but asking stupid questions of your MS or characters and getting nothing but inane, “I dunno” type responses in return?

Ever wish there was a hospital you could send them to where they can be dignosed, treated, and released back to you healthy and robust with all the answers?

Guess what? There is.

It’s your brain.

Working on my characterizations over the last week, and soon moving into plot, has gotten me thinking. I think that I must only use one side of my brain or something when I write because the other side likes to come out and play when I’m doing the most random things. And that side of my brain has all the diagnostic answers. I just have to learn how to tap into it.

The first step is to get the patient delivered over there. And sometimes you really do have to look for somewhere to park before you can get it in through the door. Often that parking spot is a crit group or just that space dividing the hemispheres of the brain. Then the stupid questions start. But you have to start somewhere in order to work yourself up to ceding the dignostic control to the diagnostician. (Cue the theme music for “House.”) It starts with the standard questions: What’s wrong? What have you done to treat it? They take the vitals: viewpoint, length, depth of character, complexity of plot, etc. Then the MS goes into the waiting room.

This is the period of time where we’re supposed to be letting the MS sit and percolate in our sub-conscious while we write the next idea we have swimming in the brain. The wait period seems endless. But we have to go through it.

Then the nurse calls our manuscript back and we wait outside so as not to disrupt the doctors. (You’ve all seen that scene in any medical drama: distraught family member prevents doctors from doing their job so beloved on gurney crashes and is miraculously revived only after said loved one is escorted out.)

Finally, the diagnostician comes in and begins experimenting a la House. Tweak this, try this medication. That made it worse? OK, stop, reverse, try this.

It’s a process. And the stay at the MS hospital can be quite lengthy. But the questions are always asked and you’re always gonna have to figure out the scale and all that so that the doctors can get an idea of what sort of medicine to dose your MS with.

Then you get to go home and start lauding the advice, and telling others what to do whether they want to hear it or not.

And it starts again with the next revision!

OK, so this post was mostly just to put that video up there, but what they hey!

WIPs — July 17, 2009

WIPs

In an effort to make this blog more personable, I’ve decided to discuss my WIPs a bit more in-depth. These WIPs range from poetry collections to novels and are in all stages of development. I’ll begin with the poetry collections.

1- “Painted Silence”: A chapbook collection of ekphrastic poetry inspired by some of my favorite works of art. It’s in the mail for a competition to be judged by poet Mark Doty. (Sent it out yesterday.) The deadline for entries is August 15th and the winner will be announced in November. Prize is $1,000 and publication. This is my only “finished” collection of poetry, but still a WIP because it’s only in submission stage.

2- “…Futile”: A book-length collection of poetry about family, love, and loss. This project is in rough draft stage, with about two dozen more pages to be added to it. Mostly I need to add to the section on family as I’ve pretty much exhausted my store of stories regarding love and loss. WIP status earned because it will need lots more work before it hits submission/query stage.

3- “Musings”: A chapbook collection of haiku and tanka form poetry. Still in rough draft stage with probably a dozen or so (at least) pages to go. This one’s tougher than my other collections because each poem only takes a single page so I have to write more of them. WIP status earned because it needs more pages.

4- “Migrations”: A poetry collection of yet-undetermined length. This work needs many more pages of poetry before I can decide whether it will be a chapbook or book-length collection. This collection will be location-based revolving around the four areas of the world that I’ve lived in. I’m unsure of whether to give this full WIP status since I’ve only got 2 or 3 poems written for it at the moment.

5- “Milepost”: A chapbook collection of poetry about the big events in my life– first kiss, first date, losing my dad, finding out I have a sister who was still-born, etc. With 8 pages so far, this is definitely in rough draft stage. Will need at least 16 more poems, assuming they all come in at 1 poem per page. WIP status earned.

Novels/series:

1- I have the tentatively titled “Sunstone Saga” series that I’ve been working on since high school. I scrapped the project a couple of years ago after meeting Jasper Fforde (or slightly before then perhaps). But a few months ago I struck on an idea to save the manuscript and have now been working on detailed world-building. It’s WIP on backburner at the moment. I’ve written roughly 140+ pages so far and that’s only about half the manuscript for the first book, which doesn’t have a title. I’ve learned a lot about pacing and such since I began the book many years ago and so I am realizing that much of what I’ve written will have to be scrapped. Like, 100 pages of that. I have six chapters of set up that may or may not be crucial to the storyline and in which my main character does not feature. Major problems with pacing and design, I know. But I was trying to show too much of how the other six supplementary characters get to the point of exhaustion that leads to the collective dream they can’t remember that is the impetus for what follows in the chapters after. I’m still going to have to figure out how to work in some of the details from those first six chapters, but I’m going to leave that be until after I finish the stupid book. When I start writing in August at my 2000 words-a-day pace I’m simply going to pick up where I left off when I abandoned the project and let it go from there. Then I’ll rewrite and revise to my heart’s content. WIP status: late end of development stage

2- A new world, a new novel. This series has no title yet. But it will someday. This is the project which I concocted when I abandoned Sunstone. I’ve not done much with it since then. A little world-building, a passage of writing that struck the inspiration chord when I was showering one day. (Isn’t it so weird how that happens? You’re doing something completely mundane and routine and you get that brilliant flash?) Anyways, back on track here. It’s in a much earlier stage than Sunstone is but it will get written eventually. (Hopefully in September. See same post as above link.) WIP status: early end of development stage