Tag Archives: Darklight

Working hard.

I’ve been hard at work on revisions for Fey Touched.  It’s been interesting and a bit crazy.

After I sent in Fey Touched to my editor April 1st, I had a bit of time to putz.  So, I worked on a loose plot for the sequel, Grave Touched.  I also worked on lesson 12 of HTRYN with Flamebound.

I’m very happy with what I got done.

Now I’m about 3 weeks away from my next deadline, June 5th.  I’m not even halfway through.  I’ve run into a few problems and it took a bit longer than I thought.  But, as of yesterday, I started moving forward again.  \ 0 /

I’m also trying to nail down what I want to do with Darklight.  I have ideas for a second and third book, so stayed tuned for that.

I also got a beautiful review for Without Wings which made my whole week.  Check it out here:

Perfect is the enemy of the good.

This is one of Holly Lisle’s concepts in her How to Think Sideways class.  Something I seem to have forgotten in my quest to get published.

Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts and frustrated with my writing.  Darklight has been stalled, the poems I wrote for Turtleduck Press were like pulling teeth, and every time I sat down to write I was paralyzed by the fear that whatever I write won’t be good enough.  That anything I wrote would be crap and no one would want to publish any of it.  That everyone else would be successful but I wouldn’t be because my writing sucked and wasn’t publishable.

Talk about a head case.  I started thinking more positively, that no, my stuff didn’t suck and yes, I would be published someday, and that was that.  And I remembered how I used to write when I first started 10 years ago (!)  : I wrote with joy.  I didn’t worry about anything on the page.  I kept moving forward.  I didn’t analyze anything to death and I rarely, if ever, rewrote anything during drafting.  But as time went on, this perfectionism crept in through the cracks.  It was insidious.  Just a “that first scene isn’t right.  Maybe you should rewrite it?”  became “wow, that whole first chapter sucks.  Let’s start again.  And again. And again.”  And this is why Darklight‘s first two chapters have been rewritten no less than 5 times.  Head. Desk.

I worried too much about making it perfect — the mood, the hook, the main character — and I completely derailed myself.  I’m not even supposed to rewrite while drafting.  It used to be an ironclad rule.  Now it’s more of an afterthought.

So I decided to bring the love back.  I will write and not worry about anything anymore.  I’ll let the story unfold the way it’s going to unfold, and I will follow my muse.  NO REWRITES.  I can make notes.  But that’s it.

And I will continue to work at getting published.  I’ll edit and revise and rewrite when it’s time.

And lastly, I won’t ever tell myself that I’m not good enough, because I AM.  And I know that deep down.  Sometimes it gets lost in the daily shuffle.  No more.

As Holly Lisle says, write with joy.

It’s going….kind of.

It’s been slow.  Darklight is just shy of 5k, after rewriting the opening scene 3 times.  I also discovered a better way to bring out the creepy so things have changed a bit plot-wise and Ellya might have a brother who becomes very important later.  I think.  The muse and I are still working on that.

I had oral surgery one week ago to remove a wire from my jaw surgery 20 years ago (!) that my body decided to reject.  I’d been feeling like utter crap, dizzy as hell, and a bit spacey, and that is why.  So no writing occurred because I couldn’t fathom it.  So I took a bit of a break, but spent most of my time either reading or thinking about writing, which was actually quite productive.  So now I’m back at it, but slowly, because my muse is still a bit gun-shy.  My quota is 100 words a day and I’m aiming low.  I have the time, and pushing myself or pressuring myself isn’t gonna work this time.  So going slow and building up to more.

I’ve approached Darklight very differently than I’ve approached other novels.  I’ve never tried to write a straight-up horror novel, and I suspect this one will end up with psychological horrors as well.  I can’t help it.  It’s my inner psychologist working on me.  But I am trying for more horror too, so we’ll see.

I’m also telling this story differently.  First person present, a first for me.  Also there will be some journal entries by Ellya, the main character, in this novel and they will take place in a different location than the main action (her relationship with her love interest I think will be told in the journal entries, at least for part of it).  And finally, the chapters have names.  They will all use the format “[something] and the [something].”  And I’m letting my muse come up with them ahead of time and I will try to pull out what I think should go in that chapter based on the limited “plotting” (if you could call it that) I did.  Totally random, totally muse-directed, and I think it’ll be good. This is thanks to Holly Lisle, who has a class (How to Think Sideways) which I took and graduated from where she demo’d a plotting technique.  I sort of adapted it for my chapters.

So I’m living the muse for now, and it’s been enlightening.

I’ve also decided that once I get the comments back on Pirouette, I’ll make a ruling on whether or not I want to pursue getting an agent with it.  And after that is decided, I’ve also decided to tackle Alpha Female again.  Going with my goal of submitting something this year, I think AF is the logical choice as it needs a bit of work and then it might be ready for critique.  We shall see.

On the back burner (can you tell I’ve been thinking a lot about this?) are Darkweaver, which was supposed to be my Nano novel for this year, and my Fae-war romance inspired by my grandparents that suddenly bopped me over the head about a week ago.  Tentatively titled Pixie Queen, but that’s subject to change.

Ugh.  Want to move forward.  And I am, just slowly.

What I’m Reading: Scott Sigler, Fern Michaels, & Maggie Stiefvater

I’m starting a new feature here at my blog: what I’m reading.  Since I’m almost always reading something, I think it would be fun to talk about books I’m currently reading.  I’ll tell you what I think, and maybe turn you on to some new authors.

So, to start off I’ve like to talk about 4 books: Infected and Contagious by Scott Sigler (horror/sci-fi), For All Their Lives by Fern Michaels (romance), and the long-awaited conclusion to Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, Forever (paranormal/werewolf).

I looked up Scott Sigler on a recommendation on a forum I frequent.  I’ve been looking for good horror, which I love, and for research purposes (my next book, Darklight, is horror).  His book Infected sounded really good, so I downloaded it on the spot.

Infected was really, really good.  Not a dull moment, great characters, great premise.  Just all around great.  I totally fell in love with the two main characters and was rooting for them the entire time.

Infected crosses a bit into sci-fi because it’s about an organism from somewhere (we’re never told where, ironically) that plans on infecting humanity and eventually ruling the world.  It’s an interesting take on pandemic-type horror because it’s not a virus or anything.  They’re little seedlings that infect, grow, change, and eventually control the poor victim.  It’s scary as hell, especially what the poor humans do to themselves to cope and get rid of the infection.  I don’t get squicked out very easily, but one scene did it for me.  But, I liked it because it showed just how desparate this poor character was to be free of the infection.

So…it gets worse.  People are brought in (including the President of the United States).  Measures are taken to contain and keep it hush-hush.  The scientists involved have to capture it live which poses a problem.  Meanwhile, the organism is growing and evolving and planning.  It’s really out there, but in a good way.

So I loved this book so much that I bought the sequel without even blinking an eye.  I remember thinking, I have to know what happens to Perry.  I’m going to die if I don’t find out.  Which I know is the point, but still.

Poor Perry is all I have to say.

Contagious was just as good and just as scary as Infected.  Things get more complicated and dire.  I couldn’t read fast enough.  It kept me totally in its thrall.  And the twists?  Out of this world.

In the center of all this is a little girl who’s been infected and sort of becomes a messiah to the others.  Talk about creepy.  That’s all I’m going to say.

Contagious was a thrill-ride and did not disappoint.  The only thing that bothered me was the ending. These poor people take extraordinary measures to destroy the organisms, and they do… or do they?  That’s the big question, and the answer to that is downright terrifying.

I love me some horror. If you’re a fan of creepy, twisted horror, these two books are for you.

Next up is For All Their Lives by Fern Michaels.  Let me preface this by saying that with a few exceptions, I no longer read straight romance.  I discovered fantasy and paranormal and sci-fi some time ago, and haven’t looked back.  But occasionally, at the insistance of my Mom, I will pick up a romance novel and read it.  Take Debbie Macomber, for instance.  I read one of her books — I can’t remember the name, it’s an address actually — and I did enjoy it.  Didn’t rock my world, but it was an easy read and a good story.  No big deal.  Well, Mom just finished For All Their Lives and told me I should read it because it’s really good.  I’ve learned years ago never to ignore my Mom’s recommendations, so I started it last night.

Wow.  I’m only 40 pages in but I’m already hooked.  She does a good job of setting up the characters and situations very quickly without info-dumping or boring the reader.  It’s solid.  I really want to know what happens, so I’ll be finishing this one for sure.

Maggie Stiefvater.  This writer is nothing short of amazing.  When I read Shiver, the first book in the trilogy, I was stunned and hooked.  She has a different, very cool take on werewolves.  Shiver is a love story about a boy werewolf who is going to become a wolf for good (and not shift) and the girl who loves him and tries to keep him human.  Oh my God, this book will amaze you, bewitch you, and hurt you.  It is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read.

So, I read the 2nd book, Linger, in the middle of a move, and it too was nothing short of amazing.

Did I mention that both books made me cry like a baby?

So I started Forever a few nights ago.  I am on page 127 and I have cried 4 times.  Seriously.  I just can’t believe how much Stiefvater can tug at my heartstrings.  I’m not that far into it.  And yet, I cried 4 times already. I also had a migraine starting but kept going until I couldn’t take it anymore.  That’s when you know a book is good, when you’re in pain and emotionally overwrought and you just keep on going because you can’t friggin stop.

Stay tuned.  I’ll let you know the verdict after I finish these two.  By the way, I can read up to 4 books at the same time without getting confused.  It’s a gift.  Sometimes I hate deciding what to start next so I…don’t.  I read ’em at the same time.  I don’t recommend this unless you’re a die-hard or a masochist.

So, what are you currently reading?  Anything to recommend?

Decisions, decisions.

I just got back from vacation.  We camped up North at a beautiful campground.  It was, for the most part, nice.  Unfortunately, it rained a lot, so we spent more time in the tent than out of it.  But hey, a week off work was wonderful.

I go back tomorrow.  Not looking forward to that.

I had decided to try to finish Pirouette this weekend.  No crazy pressure, just a goal to keep me motivated.  I had something like 30 pages to edit, so it was doable.  And I did!  I have a few minor things to fix (a few continuity things) but it’s pretty much done!  Yay!  And I made my goal of finishing it by the end of the month — a week early, no less.  I’ll need to run it through a quick edit, then it’s off to critiquers!

Kind of exciting and kind of scary all at once.

So I’m starting to think about my next project.  I would like to get back to writing.  I’ve done very little all year, and my muse needs something new, fun, and most of all, not editing.

So at first I was thinking Darklight.  I’m pretty excited about it, but I need to nail down a few things first.  I also need to brainstorm a plot — even just something to get me started.  I don’t necessarily need the whole thing, just a springboard to jump off of.  I know that my main character is going to escape her confinement, but that’s it.  I need more than that.

Then I remembered Broken (to be re-titled Oubliette) from last year.  My supernatural thriller thing.  I read it over last night and fell back in love. It’s 12k at the moment, and I have scene cards already made for it.  No actual plot, just ideas.  But that can definitely work.  Both are possibilities for Turtleduck Press, so working on either one will get me closer to self-pubbing.

So….which one?  I’m very excited about both, and considered doing both at the same time, but that’s crazy.  I’ve tried drafting up to 4 (yes, you read that right) novels at once and it was….chaotic.  I don’t doubt my ability to keep things separate, but I’d like to focus on one project.  I think my energy would be better spent working on one.

My gut is saying Oubliette, because it’s already started and I’m really excited about it.  But I suppose I can wait a bit and see..still have that edit to do and 2 critiques I owe some writer friends.  So we’ll see.  Nothing’s in stone yet, but I’m leaning toward Oubliette.

Stay tuned.  The epic battle begins now.

Working hard or hardly working?

I guess it’s a matter of perspective.  I’ve made some great progress on Pirouette.  I’m up to page 107 (of around 281) but that’s a bit deceptive because I ripped out 3 scenes and replaced them with one new one.  I’ve had a few missteps, but I think I have it nailed.  What’s going to be a challenge is integrating the new stuff into the old stuff.  While watching my ever-growing wordcount as well.  I always tend to write long when drafting.  I still have quite a few scenes to cut, but I’m still nervous.

I also have been brainstorming a new idea which might end up being a future Turtleduck Press book.  That’s right.  The explanation is long and complicated, so I’ll just say this: I want to experiment with this and see where it goes.  I’m still looking to publish traditionally and that’s still the goal, but this could be something, too.  I believe in being open to all opportunities.  Anyhoo, it’s tentatively called Darklight, and all I know for sure is that there will be witches and doppelgangers.  I’m leaning towards horror/paranormal, but I really don’t know.  It’s still up in the air right now.

So, that’s what’s been going on.  I might poke at the Flamebound revision this weekend with my pokey stick of doom.  It’s occurred to me that June is only a few days away and it means that almost half the year has gone by.  Which means that I need to hustle.  And work faster while not sacrificing quality.  That’s the whole point of this.  To make these existing manuscripts better, not let them just languish. And hopefully submit them somewhere.

So, I will enjoy my three-day weekend and I’ll see how much I can get done.  Hopefully a lot.