Tag Archives: Survivor

The other magnum opus, in progress for 2 years. Psychological horror at its finest.

Update on everything.

Yep.  Thought it was time for an update, so here goes.  I’m on page 86 of 257 pages.  So far, I’ve rewritten the bulk of it from scratch, and I believe I might be almost done with that.  And then it should move quicker.  I hope.  My deadline is December 1st.  Which is approaching quickly. We’re pretty much into fall now.  Soon, it’ll be November and Thanksgiving and my deadline.

Health-wise, I’m doing okay.  I have good days and bad days with my eye.  I have an appointment with my neuro next week, so we’ll see what he wants to do.  I’m also a bit sleep-deprived these days because I had to change my schedule at work which requires me to get up at 6:30am.  Yeah, not real fun.

Been reading like a fiend.  Will do another WWW Wednesday soon.

In anthology news, I’m just shy of 50 downloads.  It is still free, and will remain free indefinitely.  The link is here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/349458

I’ve also been giving some thought to what project comes after Grave Touched.  I want to say Darklight, cuz it’s the most logical one, but I promised myself a whack at both the Flamebound Rewrite and Survivor.  And there’s Fey Touched book #3, Ever Touched.  I’ve also been thinking about how many books I want to write for the Fey Touched series, and I think I will cap it at 5 at the most.  Because that’s about 5 years and it’s a good run.  And I don’t want to beat it into the ground.

Covenant has been tugging at me, as well as Queen of Wolves (formerly Alpha Female).  It’s just a matter of finding the time and getting it done.  And that’s only a sliver of my Priority List on projects…

Also been trying to relearn French, which is something I challenged myself to do.  It’s been going pretty well, for someone who was really fluent in it, lost about 90% of it, and is older and it is sticking a lot slower than when she was young.  Um.  But it’s been a lot of fun.  I’ve been immersing myself in it — free classes, apps, games, podcasts, an audio course.  I think it’s really important to keep the momentum going, so I decided to do some type of studying every day, even if it’s just going through flash cards or verb conjugations.  I’m still working on present tense.

So, that’s what’s up with me.  How about you?

2012 in Review and 2013 Goals: Year of the Crazy

This year has been nuts, and it feels like a whirlwind. But I managed to accomplish a lot, so it’s all good.

Let’s go over my goals for the year, shall we?

Finish Fey Touched and eventually self-publish it (includes lots of revisions and lots of blood, sweat, and tears). It’s currently at 58.5k. Goal is 100k.Ding, ding, ding! DONE and published August 1st.
~Continue Flamebound revision, hopefully move on from lesson 8! Ding, ding, ding! DONE. I’m on lesson 13.
~Write a novel (to be determined later. Current contenders are Survivor Rewrite, Darkweaver, and Fey Touched 2)Ding, ding, ding! Began Grave Touched, book 2 in the Fey Touched series, and it’s currently at 73k. While I wanted to get something new rolling as well, it appears that I work best with only one book at a time.
~Get unstuck on Alpha Female (note I didn’t say – finish Alpha Female – this one I think is taking its sweet old time)Nada. However, I did give it some thought and have a possible new direction. Still in the thinking stages, though.
~Write more poetry (nebulous, yes. That’s all I’m willing to commit to)Ding, ding, ding! DONE. Wrote a total of 6 new poems for the TDP Blog Freebies. Not as much as I’d wanted, but it’s a start.
~Take more pictures (photography has been sooooo neglected and I miss it so much!)Hit and miss here. I’ve taken some, but I still haven’t been able to get out there and rock and roll due to my health. Soooooo, we’ll see what I do for next year.

~And lastly, WORK ON GETTING FREELANCE EDITING JOBS. I had a few opportunities this year but they didn’t work out, although one was a very close call. Not only do we need the money, but my long-term goal is to make enough money to leave my day job. Scary, yes. Impossible? I don’t think so, if I do this right. And I know this won’t happen overnight — in fact, it could take quite awhile – years, maybe. But, as long as I’m moving forward, making progress, that’s enough for me. I want to believe I can make this happen. But if I never start, how will I ever know? Ding, ding, ding! DONE. I have an ongoing proofreading job with a writer friend, so that’s a nice start! Would love to do more, though!

So, I’ve accomplished almost everything I set out to do. The biggie was getting Fey Touched finished and published, and I did that. It was a very educational experience, and I’ve learned some things about promotion/marketing. So it’s all good.

I did participate in NanoWriMo, but unofficially with a goal of 30k. I managed 29k, just shy of my goal. But I’m totally happy with that.

Also, I wrote 100k+ words this year, which is awesome!

So what’s cooking for the new year?

~Finish, revise, and publish Grave Touched tentatively for August 1st release
~Continue work on the Flamebound revision, hopefully finish!
~Reread Survivor and make notes for rewrite
~Start a new novel? (Contenders: Darkweaver and Soul Touched, Fey Touched book 3)
~Redesign website so it makes sense
~Get on a regular blogging schedule
~Continue to look for more freelance editing/proofreading jobs

Annd that’s all I’m declaring for now. Here’s to a healthy, productive new year!

What are your goals for next year? Share them in comments.

Missing: One Muse

I’ve got a big problem.  My muse has up and disappeared.  I’ve been working on stuff for Darklight, waiting to start until I felt like I had enough done, and I  feel that I do.  Except my muse has been absent.  And I’m getting to the point where I need to either start this thing or go off in another direction.

Darklight hits a lot of my buttons: conspiracy, the dark side, mind control, an alternate reality, memory loss, possession, a dead goddess, love between enemies to name a few.  So I’m jazzed about this.  I’ve even got a hint of a voice for the main character.  I have an idea of the first scene and the 3 “disasters” that will help move the plot forward.  I’m struggling with finding the right name for my MC. I need to have it at least sorta right before I start, or it won’t work.  (Survivor, oddly enough, is the exception.  I slapped two names out of thin air for the twin MCs and they grew into their names).  This feels really important to me.  I’ve gone through so many names: Tempest, Dasia, Annalisse, Terlyn, Emiliana, Elizabeth, and now Ellia.  I think Ellia might be it, but I’m going to let that settle a bit before making the decision.  It’s like naming a baby: it needs to be right.  It needs to invoke what I need to invoke.  As an aside, I am using the name Tempest for another character, and it fits perfectly.  I’m also considering Velia.  There’s a cool meaning there that I can’t quite remember, but I do remember when I read up on it, something clicked.

As for my muse…well, I suspect she’s feeling a little intimidated.  This would be my first serious foray into the horror genre and if I offer it up to Turtleduck Press, I’m going to have a tight deadline.  I believe I can do it, but it’s a bit scary nonetheless.  But I need the practice writing to a deadline so I think it would be good for me.  If I can just start the thing.

So I’ve decided that if she doesn’t come back by the end of this weekend, I’m using brute force.  Gonna put whatever on the page.  She’ll want to poke at it, and that should get her interested.

But if you see her laying on a beach sipping pina coladas, tell her that she’s urgently needed.  I need her back like yesterday.

Update and future projects

Been sicky for the past few days, so not much has been accomplished.  However, before getting sick, I’d broken 11k on Alpha Female.  And, yes, I’m admitting it — this is kind of a rewrite/edit/revision.  Because I’m basically doing everything at once so I can send it to critters once the “draft” is done.  I say “draft” because I’m not really sure what to call it. 

That’s my crazy process for you.  It took me two false starts to get it right.  Put me behind, but I’m doing okay.  I’m not really worried.  I guess I’ll start worrying in two weeks when I need to have it done. 

I’ve been doing alot of thinking about future projects.  I’m definitely going to take another whack at Pirouette once Alpha Female is done and submitted.  That’s the top priority.  Next, the big question is, do I want to do a mini-NaNoWriMo in November?  I can’t do the full NaNo anymore (50 in 30 days) because of my wrists, but I’ve had some success with doing a 25k “mini-Nano.”  I’m tempted to start a new novel.  It’s one that’s been patiently waiting for oh….I want to say at least 5 years.  It was going to be my 2006 NaNo novel but I changed my mind at the last minute.  The story has been haunting me for five years.  A lot of it has changed — for example, the main characters were all vampires (“vampira”) and now they will most likely be a type of Dark Fae.  A few days ago, the phrase “a battlefield of souls” popped into my mind, and at first, it felt like a seedling of a new idea, but when I probed it deeper, I discovered that it could work with this novel, which is called Darkweaver.  A few weeks to a month ago, the first line — hell, the first damn page — came to me, again out of nowhere.  At work, no less.  I was even going to type it up before I forgot (I haven’t).  So it’s been really strong in my head.  Muse says it’s about damn time.  I’m trying to wait, because I have three unfinished projects that need to get done.  But then again, what would 25k hurt?  Of course, it’ll take another month of work out of the equation, and will leave me with a hanging manuscript, but I just don’t know.  I’m completely and utterly torn.  Broken could use another 25k (it’s sitting at 12k at the moment).  Flamebound needs a revision and most likely a rewrite. 

How does one choose?  Lately I’ve been going according to one, the market (which I heard isn’t the way to go, but hey — I don’t want the paranormal market to die while Pirouette sits for another 5 years) and where the project is in the process.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to finish my unfinished projects and get them submitted.  So far, Pirouette’s 3rd draft got done last year, and Survivor’s first draft last year as well.  Speaking of Survivor, there’s another one that’s haunting me.  It needs a rewrite.  I am toying with the idea of making it a trilogy.  Again, market considerations.  And the sheer time would be massive.  So that one is probably going to have to wait, probably until I sell something.

What to do, what to do?  There’s just not enough time anymore, you know? 

Soooooo I guess we’ll see what happens.  I’ll decide….later.

Progress?

Lately I’ve been well…..wangsting over my lack of publication.  Stupid, I know, right?  The Inner Slave Driver seems to feel that I’m not working fast enough.  18k so far on Alpha Female + 70 or so notecards done for Pirouette in one month?  That’s slow?  As Alisia would say, mercy me.

Okay, so I’m just a wee bit impatient.  I’m very competitive, and when I hear about writers being successful, I always feel a little sick inside.  The whole, well, why the hell aren’t you there yet? Huh? routine.  And I’d like to make it clear that I am happy for those lucky writers–I’m sure they worked hard for it — and feel no ill will against them.  However, it always shines the spotlight on what I haven’t done.  And that just blows.

And I’ve been working hard, not lollygagging around here.  I just feel so…..inadequate.  Like I should BE there by now.  But one thing I keep reading everywhere it that every writer’s journey is different.  Some get lucky.  Some actually have more time to devote to it, and thus progress faster than me.  Others struggle.  I think I’m in the middle.  I know I’ve improved alot over the last 6 or 7 years, and I struggle with tendonitis on occasion, which makes high wordcounts impossible.  My progress is more slow and steady.  I might be slower, but my wrists don’t die and maybe I won’t need to pull out the Dragon again. 

Furthermore, I have other things as well — full time job, chronic illness, a husband.  A family.  Relaxation (what’s that?) or reading time.  I’ve learned that even I need breaks occasionally.  Even I need to back off, which has been tough with Pirouette because my every instinct is screaming at me to get back to it, fix it, polish it, get it out the door, and I know that it needs time to gel more.  I’ve got a ton of ideas, and they’re all documented.  Notecards are in progress.  I’m constantly thinking about it.  But it needs time.  And that’s time I wish I could be querying it, but as I’ve said before, it’s not flippin’ ready yet.  And that’s the biggest bug in my butt here.  I can’t send out an inferior, crap manuscript.  Can’t do that.  So I gotta cool my heels and wait till I can make it better.  Sometimes I just wish I could work faster.  But it is what it is.

I’m still hoping to make my one HUGE goal of submitting something this year.  Will probably be Alpha Female, which is going okay, except that the story got away from me and may no longer fit with the antho I was looking to submit it to.  Oh well.  It’s one of my rules: I go where the story takes me, even if I outlined it a certain way or had a different idea in the beginning.  I can submit it elsewhere if need be, so this isn’t wasted time.  And I’m getting good practice on writing on a deadline. 

This whole go where the story takes me thing is how Hereafter went from comedy to friggin dark fantasy and how Survivor turned into a rich, complex story about several key characters versus the few I wanted to focus on.  It’s how Pirouette went from practically fanfic (and no, I’m not proud of it at all, but it did start the whole thing in motion…gulp..5 years ago) to its own world and own characters and its own plot and worldbuilding and such.  But if I hadn’t followed the story for the 11 months it took to write that critical first draft, Pirouette would not exist as it is today.  I’m positive about that one.  So, Alpha Female changed a bit.  I like the changes.  I think they are strengthening the story.  I’ll make a ruling after I’m done with the first draft whether or not I’m going to try to revise it to the antho specs, or just revise/polish it and send it elsewhere.

So I haven’t been sitting on my butt moaning my fate.  I’ve been productive.  I just need perspective, you know?  I need to believe, now more than ever, that I can succeed at this.  It’s been my dream since I was a little girl.  It’s what I am.  And I want so desparately to get my stuff out there, and maybe make a living doing it.  Just got to wait my turn.

Why I love pantsing. Why you should do it, too.

For those of you not familiar with the term, “pantsing” refers to writing “by the seat of your pants” or “winging it.”  Some writers, like me, use a rough outline while others will not use one at all.  I actually considered myself a hybrid between pantser and outliner because some of my outlines can get detailed, whereas sometimes I’ll just have a vague idea of where I’m headed but nothing is EVER in stone.  EVER.  If a change I come up with on the fly serves the story better, than I’m all for it.

The thing with pantsing is that there’s so much discovery.  In my first drafts — especially those — I discover, literally, the story as I’m writing it.  Sure, I might have a rough outline that says “Susie gets married” and “Jenni goes to the store and meets someone there” but then maybe it’ll mutate and become something different, but something similar.  Usually, when I’m doing this, I’ll subconsciously (almost magically) combine things differently than the outline, but the result is usually pretty close.  Other times, it’s completely different, and that’s okay.  Now alot of writers need an outline.  They have to have that security — and that’s okay.  Hell, I feel pretty solid if I have some ideas of what I’m doing.  For Broken, I’ve got a pack of notecards with possible scenes on them that aren’t even in order.  They’re just ideas.  I might use them, I might veer off.  But I would hesitate to call it an outline.  And that’s okay, because sometimes, that’s the way I like it.

My characters work best as they hit the page.  I’ve done alot of prework on characters in the past, and in Survivor, that prework was invaluable.  However, I consider that to be the exception.  Because with all my other projects, nothing I did ahead of time stuck.  Alisia in Pirouette was supposed to hate her magic and herself.  Huh?  She doesn’t, although she does take pains to conceal it from everyone for different reasons.  I’m not entirely certain how it would have worked if I’d forced that part in.

So my characters show me who they are as we go.  The reason for this post is part of a revelation about Claire.  The main one touched down a few days ago and it left me stunned.  But today, going about my day, the reason why — which had eluded me so far — hit me.  And it made perfect sense.  As if I’d friggin planned it.  And that, my friends, is the power of pantsing.

I believe that the Muse (or subconscious) knows all.  She may not let you in right away, or never, or she might toss up hints here and there and then lightning will strike.  I learned about this in Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways class and I am a total believer.  In one of her lessons, she talks about things that you’ll be compelled to write that you don’t understand at the time but then later, it all makes sense.  It’s kind of like that.  My muse knew what the deal was, and tossed me that clue, and BAM! Today it came together beautifully.  I couldn’t have planned it better.

So now I know something fundamental about Claire, an elusive, enigmatic character.  And I didn’t have to do up any character sheets, or questionnaires, or anything.  Not that that’s wrong or bad, but as I’ve said, my process doesn’t seem to work that way.  And it worked well and almost too perfectly.  i can’t recommend this method enough.

If you’re an outliner, and you’re stuck, try this.  If it doesn’t work, fine, but maybe you’ll discover something you never knew before.  Maybe you’ll find out that this works, too.  And no one says to give up outlining — but sometimes writers need to be open to new things.  Hell, the idea of having a conversation with a character stuck me as odd, but now?  It’s one of the first things I do when I’m stuck.  Or freewriting.  That’s another cool trick I discovered just by being open to new things, new ideas. 

So that’s why I love pantsing.  Broken is at 9k currently and there’s very little that I know for sure, but for me, that’s where the magic is.  Where the story lies and where it leads.  It may take some twists and turns and detours, but I’m always amazed at what I can come up with on the fly.  It’s really amazing. 

So, pants it.  You’ll be glad you did.  😉

Writing theme songs

All of my projects have at least one theme song attached to them, be it the whole book or an aspect of it.  I thought it might be interesting to list what they are and why.

Pirouette – all drafts (3rd draft in progress now):
 “Space Dye Vest” by Dream Theater.  I used this as Alisia and Lucien’s main “fighting” song.  It’s sad and torturous, and it brings up all kinds of heart-wrenching images in my head.  It just seemed perfect.

“Walk in the Shadows” by Queensryche – Raelan and Alisia’s theme.  In the last third of the book, [something spoilery happens] and for a time, Alisia and Raelan (who’s the villain) are….aligned.  This song, which talks about walking on the dark side of life, giving ino the darkness, fits the feeling of those scenes perfectly.

“The Killing Words” by Queensryche – Alisia and Lucien’s theme.  Just screams tragic, love, betrayal, heartbreaking stuff.  Sniff.

Flamebound (currently in revision):
“Take Hold of the Flame” by Queensryche.  The entire story is based on the song — or rather, my interpretation of it.  So many things tie to the world and story.

Survivor (recently finished first draft):
Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche.  Yes, the entire album.  The book pretty much wrote itself to this awesome, magnificent album.  Since alot of the themes ran parallel to my story, it was almost eerie how the entire thing seemed like a metaphor for Survivor.  Some of it, like the brainwashing and mind control, were literal.

“Eyes of a Stranger” by Queensryche (on Operation:Mindcrime) – Amber’s theme.  Amber is the main character, and as she goes through some painful, traumatic stuff, she’s kind of transformed….and thus truly has the “eyes of a stranger.”

Requiem in Blue (2007 project)
“The Hands” by Queensryche – Meredith’s theme.  Meredith, the main character, is saved by someone.  “The Hands” makes me think of that, and salvation in general.

“Suite Sister Mary” by Queensryche – Some of the story was inspired by this song.  Especially one part about two people joining together to “make it through the night.”

Broken (currently in progress):
“Broken” by Lifehouse.  Also the why of the title, at least for now.  The song talks about being broken, and Amara, the main character, and the antagonist are both broken in a sense.

“Unbreakable” by Fireflight.  New band that I just discovered.  Totally Amara’s theme.  I realize that the songs seem contradictory, but it works, I swear!

Eowyn (perc’ing project for future):
“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran.  Theme of the book.  Because we’re dealing with quantum mechanics and alternate universes, and a “home” universe, it seems appropriate.

MindBound (future project):
“Lightning Field” by the Sneaker Pimps.  I saw a video of it and HAD to have the song, even though I’m not into that type of music.  Went on a wild goose chase and finally just today got ahold of it.  It’s THAT close to what this story is to me.  It (the story) has to do with an empath and pain and brainwashing, and the song is so perfect.  First words are “Strike me down…”  Can we say perfect?  Literal or figurative, it works. 

Soulfire (The Nano That Never Was):
“Lady Strange by Def Leppard.  Liana’s theme.  She’s the main character, and she isn’t exactly human and has non-human goals and wishes and such.  She’s a bit offbeat in her own way.

“Baba O’Riley” by The Who.  Book’s theme.  Completely encapsulates the dystopic future-Earth setting and the insidious reach of the New Regime.

Hereafter (Nano ’08):
“Women” by Def Leppard.  For no other reason than it gave me some compelling images inside my head, and somehow spawned plotty things.  This one I don’t really understand, but don’t question it, either.

At the moment, that’s all I can think of.  Will add more if I remember anything.

2009 in review and 2010 goals

This year hasn’t been the best as far as emotional stuff is concerned.  The family drama that started in mid-October is still ongoing, and kind of derailed me a bit.  But, I persevere!

As far as productivity goes, I did very well.  I started and finished Pirouette’s five One-Pass Revision, got it out to critters, and have been rewriting the draft, implementing suggestions, cutting, adding, and hopefully making it better.  I’m almost halfway through the draft.  I hope to be done with it early next year.

It’s taken me longer than anticipated, which is okay, but sort of screwed up my schedule.  But it is really okay, b/c I’ll take however long it takes to make it submission-worthy.  As such, no query letters were sent.  I’ve decided to wait till the draft is done and critted.  The story, while essentially the same, has been morphing in interesting ways.  Hopefully in good ways.

Flamebound is on its way towards being totally revised, using Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel class.  I have high hopes for this.  I want to get Flamebound revised, critted, and submitted somewhere next year.  I can do this.

I planned on participating in Nanowrimo and writing a new novel.  Unfortunately, life had different plans.  Two days in I ended up quitting.  The book was to be Soulfire.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the timing just wasn’t right on this one.

I finished Survivor, which was a HUGE goal.   I hope to rewrite it in the next few years (depending on if I sell something, etc).

I don’t think I broke 100k on new words, but that, too, is okay.  Because I said I’d do some serious editing and finishing unfinished projects, which I accomplished.

I submitted my poetry chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, to a publisher.  Did not bite, but that’s okay.  I might try again next year.

For next year, I have a few more projects besides Pirouette the Third and Flamebound.  I have Unforgiven, which is a personal challenge to myself for various reasons.  I also have MindBound, the next book set in the Flamebound world.  And I’m seriously considering pulling out Darkweaver and starting work on it.  And then there’s Pirouette book 2 (Blood Dance). Ambitious, I know, but want to aim high.

I think the biggest goal for 2010 is to get something submitted somewhere, be it Flamebound, Pirouette the Third, or something else entirely.  I need to start moving forward with my goal of getting published.  I’ve been working like a madwoman, but I need to focus on that more.  So, hopefully I can do something about that next year.

So, to all, Happy New Year (a few days early!) and reach for the stars.

Not quite there yet.

The final scene of Survivor is partway done.  590 words to be exact. Then I got sick.  😦  That killed any hopes of finishing tonight.

And, besides, I’m not entirely certain I like what I got.  That’s never stopped me before–after all, that’s what edits and rewrites are for–but this feels monumental, and I wanted something at least somewhat good.  Something I don’t look at with disgust.  Of course, it could be my Inner Editor talking.  But, as it is, I think it needs more.

So tomorrow, if I feel okay, I’ll attack it again.