WiP Wednesday 4/20 — April 20, 2011

WiP Wednesday 4/20

I have a severe lack of progress to report at this point in time.

When the Star Fell: This one is going on the backburner.  I’ve been thinking about it, and it needs an overhaul.  One thing thought that had kept coming up in my head, even as I finished that first draft a long time ago (not in a galaxy far, far away, though) was that the book needed to be focused on a different character.  The MC is currently Derek, my normal, non-paranormal character.  The MC needs to be the main paranormal character, Alnair.  Corollary to this change, the book needs to be the third in a series.  Each book would have its own standalone plot, its own character arc for this character, but there would be an overall emotional arc for her.

Truth or Dare: Boy is this one giving me issues.  Who knew it would be so difficult to write?  It’s going to need a lot of added wordage when I get to “The End.”  But I’m not going to worry about that one until I get there.  I am enjoying it, mostly.  When I can get some writing time.  I’m trying to find that balance right now between all the real-life things demanding my time and my writing.  It’s an on-going struggle.  That just became less of a struggle because of some factors not in my control.

Poetry: Nowhere fast.  I go through phases, I guess, where I’m really motivated to work on it.  Then the muse vanishes and it sits untouched for ages.  Failed attempts at getting any of it published probably have something to do with this.  I write poetry from my own experience.  I don’t write about war or politics or weighty issues.  I write about loss a lot I suppose.  But I’m okay with this.  I may someday decide to self-publish my poetry just for kicks.

WiP Wednesday 3/30 — March 30, 2011

WiP Wednesday 3/30

Um.

Well, uh.

Yeah.  I have some sort of Writer’s ADD.

Experimental romance short?  Not liking it any more.  So I’ve stopped working on it.

…Futile updates

This is a poetry collection of mine.  I’ve got four going at the moment.  This one is my sort of pet project.  I really want to get this one completed.  I’m aiming for it to be a book-lenght collection.  (Meaning it’s minimum 50 pages.  That’s at least the average I seem to see when looking at contest deadlines.)  I’d love to see this one published.

And suddenly, I’m considering self-publishing for it.  I know, I’m talking crazy now.  I’m not making any decisions.  The collection is nowhere near complete.  I did add a poem to it over the weekend, but then I deleted one from it.  I moved one poem from section 1 to section 3.  I tweaked wording on almost every poem in the collection and even gave two of them new titles.

Musings updates

This poetry collection (aiming for chapbook length, so 16-24 pages) is at a standstill.  It’s a collection of tankas (think a haiku with two additional seven-syllable lines at the end) and haiku.  It’s entertaining sometimes to try my hand again at the short form, bending the rules of each form while still talking mostly about nature.

Milepost updates

This collection is probably going to go by the wayside.  So far, all the poems are crossovers with …Futile and so I’m not terribly in love with it.

Migrations updates

This is by far the least developed collection.  It has 5 sections, one for each place I’ve spent a significant amount of time.  But it only has I think 3 poems.  Very very rough.  And it might not ever get off the ground.

Truth or Dare (tentative title for a romance novel I’m adapting from a short story I wrote) updates

Started it.  I’m just over 1100 words in at this point.  It’s entertaining, trying to bring out both voices and make internal and external arcs for the characters.  When I wrote the short story, there wasn’t much room for more than the events that brought the FMC and MMC together, drove them apart, and reunited them. I’ll be interested to see how this experiment goes.

But my track record shows that I don’t do so well with experiments or adapting a short story into a novel.

So, yeah, can you say I’m avoiding the real issue at hand?

When the Star Fell updates:
Considering a start-over rewrite.  Basically, characters and main events would remain the same, but all new words.  I’m not really sure of this and I hesitate to do anything drastic with so little feedback on the work as it currently stands.  But I’m feeling rather like a hack at the moment.
2010 Gone — December 31, 2010

2010 Gone

Wow.  Another year gone.  This one’s definitely had its ups and downs.  2011 will be much the same.

In January of this year (2010), I posted a list of my writerly goals for the year.  The post can be found here.

Of those, I only hit 2 of them.  Big ones, mind you, but only 2.  (Finished Oracles Promise and Lodestar with minor revisions to the latter and shelving the former.)

This year, my goals are thus:

1- Revise Lodestar
2- Query Lodestar (At some point in the year.  I’m no fool so I’m not going to set a concrete deadline for that one.)
3- Write 1 or 2 books more.  After all, I want to be an author.  Someday I hope to have deadlines.  I need to for sure get my act together for speeding up my writing process.  I can’t write only 1 1/3 books in a year.
4- Finish 1 poetry collection, of whichever length, and try to get it published, too.

Happy New Year everyone!

Economy…the scariest word of all — November 5, 2009

Economy…the scariest word of all

Are you scared?  Well, good, because you shouldn’t be.  I want to talk about economy.  Specificallly, economy of words.

I first learned this concept in my poetry writing workshops I took in grad school.  Until this point I’d never really seriously tried my hand at poetry.  Fiction was my forte.  Always has and probably always will be.  But I learned something about myself in the process of this all: I am a pretty decent poet too.  I love the challenge of a poem.  Packing so much into so little space.  I very rarely write poems longer than a page.  I live for the economy of it all.

The challenge with economy is to pack that whallop of a blow into each and every word.  In fiction, we tend to have more room to play with this and be freer in our expenditures.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should.  Economy of words can still have a huge impact on the pacing and emotion of a scene or the entire work.

One of those WiPs in the progress bars over there to the right is a chapbook collection of haiku and tanka.  They’re two of the shortest forms I’ve ever come across in poetry.  The haiku we’re all familiar with.  3 lines, 5-7-5 syllables each for a total of 17 syllables.  The tanka is its Japanese cousin.  Three lines of 5-7-5 followed by two 7-syllable lines.

The challenge is in the restriction, but you are so much freer to explore double meanings and even triple meanings because you have to search so deep for the perfect words.

It can be the same in our fiction.  Think of a scene where maybe a character is feeling a bit ostracized.  She goes in her room and closes the door.

Option 1:

She shut the door quietly.  In ten steps she reached the foot of her bed.  The sunlight filtered in through the drawn curtains as she sank to the floor and drew her knees to her chest.

Option 2:

She reached her bed.  At its foot, she crumpled to the floor in slow-motion with eyes closed.

I don’t know about you, but I like the second option better.  It’s word choice and also a bit of tone and such.  But it’s really economy of words.  With the second option, you really have to work to get some of the same impact into fewer words and even sentences.

And so ends our post today.  Q4U: Which option do you prefer?  Do you struggle with economy of words?  Did you stop reading after the post title?  Other thoughts on the subject?  

FYI: If I disappear suddenly from the blog world, don’t worry about it.  Everything’s fine.  Just giving you fair warning that there could come a time when all you hear from me are crickets chirping.  It will be short-lived and it’s nothing dire.

In Memoriam — October 11, 2009

In Memoriam

So, in honor of Edgar Allen Poe’s funeral being held today, I thought I’d share this.

Once upon a noonday bright,
While I surfed upon a site,
I found a link to the past,
A lifeline to a man long gone,

His funeral to be held in Baltimore,
Though no incident upon its shore
Occurred now or before,

Fanatics and devotees
Planned to bow to their knees
In memoriam of slandered fame,

Telltale hearts would beat in one,
Black cats would meow their elegies,
And fingernails would scratch their solemn refrain
From behind the piazza’s brick-laid walls.

Homes would rend asunder,
Ghosts haunt the moors covered
By new-laid mansions who knew nothing
Of the genius who once prowled their streets.

Once upon a Sunday bleak
Poe’s memory buried ‘neath the ground,
No pendulum can slice nor pit can hide
The telltale beating of mourners’ hearts.

WiP Wednesdays 8/26 — August 26, 2009

WiP Wednesdays 8/26

Holy carp where did the month go?

It’s the last Wednesday in August?! And I’m not moved off to a new apartment and/or a new school. First time since I started kindergarten that I am not a currently enrolled student somewhere. It’s a little weird.

Maybe that’s why I feel like such a failure all around, but especially in the writing. I mean, I had days this last week where I didn’t write a single word! Not one!

And it was those days I felt most like a failure. Because I didn’t do anything important that took time away from being able to write. (Actually I just wasted a lot of time. Sigh.)

But I did get writing done. And I’m happy to report that I’m close to halfway through the novel, at least chapterwise. My current outline has Oracle’s Promise at 19 chapters plus an epilogue and a prologue. I have the prologue and 8 chapters written. So that’s nearly halfway. Right? Sigh again.

It’s all bollocks though and will ultimately be scrapped.

But the chapter I just finished writing on Monday has always been the hardest for me to write. This is the second time I’ve written it. But it doesn’t make me cry like it did the first time I wrote it. Maybe it will when I come back to re-reading it months from now. I don’t know.

One more chapter and I’m in uncharted territory. None of the rest of the novel has ever been written in its entirety before. There are two chapters that I wrote but scrapped before completion when going through the writing process the last time. I predict things will slow down considerably once I reach that point.

My biggest struggle right now? The one that’s making me have thoughts of abandoning writing fiction all-together and returning to poetry, which is not really my first love, though I do enjoy it?

Getting my stupid characters to speak real and sound different from one another. They all sound alike and it’s total suckage. Sucktacular to borrow from a friend. My one story that I wrote, I really felt like the characters each had their own way of speaking and it was easy to write their dialogue in unique ways. I still felt the need for the occasional dialogue tag, but not so much in large groups. Unlike in Oracle’s Promise where I really have to put those in or risk my reader getting lost with who is talking.

Gah!

Oh, other news:

Book 2 in the Sunstone Trilogy is tentatively, and I mean tentatively, titled Oracle’s Veil.

Subject to change of course.

As for all my other WiPs, like my poetry collections that I have going:

I haven’t really been working on them. They’re all back-burner at the moment. “…Futile” is the most complete of the poetry WiPs. I only need a handful of poems more before draft 1 is complete. Then I can move in to revisions. But I always struggle to revise my own poetry. I need to find a crit group for that. Triple sigh.

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