Archive for the 'About writing' Category

Writing, Inc.

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

So, Queen of the Skies on LJ asked me how my writing was going, but I figure my answer to her comment would’ve been too long, and I might as well turn it into its own post.

Though few of you out there would recognize the title, or have heard much about it, I wrote Thunderbird (you’d recognize it as Biohazards), polished it off, sent it to my beta readers, and even received feedback through a mentorship with a well-known author in SF&F. The feedback I received was very positive, with encouragement that it was ready for publication, and I submitted it to the rounds. I was also encouraged by the author to write the synopses for the two books that were meant to follow Thunderbird, which I did, but because I don’t want to waste time on something that might not sell, I didn’t write the books themselves.

There was one caveat. The style in which I wrote Thunderbird was very different than the previous books I’d written. It was harder, grittier, with a chopped-up first-person voice that I love, love, love, even now, a year later. But it’s so different and so rough that I can understand this book would be (and was) difficult for my beta readers to get into from the get go. Because I knew it was difficult — because one of my beta readers came back and told me that he absolutely hated the main character, but couldn’t find anything wrong with the character’s motives or actions, he just didn’t like her one bit, even though he couldn’t stop reading because he needed to know what happened next — I braced myself for a very hard round of queries.

Love or hate, the main character is an antihero — not because she’s a bad guy, but because she’s afraid. Maybe in some ways that’s why she’s an easy character to love, or an easy character to hate, because she’s looking in the mirror and deep down in the abyss, and she doesn’t like what she sees, but she keeps on trying because the darkness rising is bigger than her.

The queries aren’t over. I’m not giving up on Thunderbird or the sister books that are meant to follow, but I’ve moved on while waiting to hear back and I’m still writing.

When I can.
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Difficult

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The worst thing for me to do is having to put in some worldbuilding background to help the reader along, and having no choice but to write an infodump.

The difficult part is making it short, meaningful, and not letting it feel like an infodump.

It’s taken me one hour to write less than a hundred words. ARGH.

If someone tries to tell me writing is easy, I will rub their noses in a steaming pile of stinky infodump.

Make it believable

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I know, I know. I should post more. But I’ve been away for a week, and my brain knocked off its keister for another by a snotball storm.

The other not-posting issue is not having anything to post about, but I’ll work on that, I promise.

So it’s 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning, and the cartoons that are on aren’t the ones I like to watch, so I thumbed the remote to Terminator: Salvation on the Movie Network. It was already a quarter in when I started watching it — Marcus had just met Kyle (the actor for whom, by the way, is as perfect a young-Kyle as I could imagine) — and now I’m about halfway through.

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Back soon

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Content will return… I promise.

I’ve been writing, and writing a lot; editing, revising, and rewriting. I am working again on NKNK while Biohazards — now named THUNDERBIRD is out on query.

Alas, it being the heavy-workoad period at my dayjob also means my free time is pinched, and finding time to post is made just that little bit harder.

Like I said — back, soon. Watch this space.

The silence is deafening

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

So where have I been? Writing, writing, writing. I’ve been writing until the words burned into my brain and spilled out of my ears, but the net result was a completed Draft Two of the Biohazard work-in-progress.

Draft Two of Biohazard — which now has an official title, at least insofar as I know what I’ll be calling it when I start querying agents — needs a bit of spit and polish, because there are typos

Typos!

How embarrassing.

I finished this draft just before July 1st and forwarded a copy to my crit partner and to one other person who has no idea about the book whatsoever. I have heard back from one crit partner, who blazed through it in a rather short period of time, called me evil over the ending, and pointed out a few things that I can easily fix.

But now that I’m done, and waiting to hear back from the other two (well, three) people who have a copy of this draft, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Well, that’s not exactly true, but between being out of town last weekend, and being up to my eyebrows in StuffTM this weekend, it’s probably safer if I don’t start something right now, because I hate being interrupted — it drives me batty stopping something when I’m on a roll, or in the middle of something, so imagine how it’s like to not be able to stay awake until I’ve finished writing a book that just wants to spill out. Once the weekend’s over, though, I have things I want to do:

  1. Update the website to be completely WordPress-based, not just the blog, to make it easier for me to update and add new pages;
  2. Write the synopses for Biohazard 2 and Biohazard 3, which also have titles, but I’m not sharing them yet;
  3. Go back to The BookTM, the Maiden Voyage book that made it to the end of the harbour before listing badly to one side, as if it’d been nicked by a stealth torpedo. I intend on taking it apart and rebuilding it, to fix whatever holes there are, so that this time no one will want to say “no” to it.

Those are my three Things To Do this month, and it goes without saying that I’ll be polishing up Biohazard 1 and to put together the query letter to send out.

And at some point, I’ll actually enjoy the summer.

If the sweltering heat doesn’t get to me first.

The End (aka: First Draft)

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I have dragged Biohazards out of the pits of Draft Zero and emerged with a First Draft.

It’ll go through a bit of manuscript formatting before I send it out to a couple of people for the first reading round.

It needs a lot of spit and polish, and some 5K fewer words (maybe more), but if nothing else I’m really happy with it.

Why?

Because when I wrote those last six words at the very end, I thought, my crit partners are going to KILL me.

And when they throw the book at me, that’ll be how I know it’s halfway decent.

Done! Sort of…

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

So I’m just shy of 97,000 words in Biohazard and I’m calling it a Zero Draft. I didn’t exactly finish it, though.

It’s more of a “I’m calling it Quits” than “Finally I can type The End” sort of Zero Draft, and it’s because:

  1. I know how it ends.
  2. No, seriously, I know how it ends.

The actual act of writing the ending is difficult, though, because I’ve hit The Wall. It’s the “I have to fix all the other things before I can write a satisfactory ending” Wall.

It’s the same sort of Wall I keep hitting when I write a Zero Draft, and it happens even if I have an outline. It happens more often when I don’t have an outline, and I have to go back and rewrite more often.

Rewriting is a pain in the [censored]. I don’t hate rewriting. I just prefer to get it right the first time. Or as close to “right” as I can get it. I also hate outlines, because the story never sticks to the outline past a certain point, so I have to continually re-outline. Which is better than rewriting.

Which is, unfortunately, what I have to do now before I can write the ending. On the plus side, I have pages and pages of notes of things that need rewriting. On the downside, I know exactly what needs fixing.

*sigh*

I’ve never met anybody who does that

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Nothing’s worse than having the end in sight — or at least within 10K — and knowing that, once I type “The End”1, I have to go back and cut giant chunks2 to make room for what should be there.

This last week — and every day until I’m done — I’ll be an irritated jumping bean. You just try to fix something at work that insists on staying broken3 when all you’ve got on the brain is The Book. All I want to do is write it. Finish it.

Then go back and put in the bits that need to be in there.

The plan was — finish Biohazards no matter what problems I hit along the way, put it aside for a couple of weeks, rewrite the first 50 pages of NKNK (and get those to my crit partners), then go through Biohazards to rewrite and revise. But I have Biohazards on the brain, so I’ll be pushing NKNK until that’s done.



1 I don’t actually type “The End”.
2 Even if it means cutting darlings. I don’t want to cut them, but if they have to go, they have to go.
3 And has been broken for nearly 2 months now. Broken things aggravate me. Particularly when I can’t fix them.

Contest for Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Writers

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Queenoftheskies posted a link to this contest on her blog (thanks!), and not only am I participating, I am spreading the word.

The “Dear Lucky Agent” contest has three great prizes, where first place is a 20-page critique by the agent judge and a one year subscription to Writer’s Digest. Second and Third places are the same as the first place, except instead of 20 pages, the critique is the first 10 pages.

In order to enter, you:
1. Must have a completed novel-length urban fantasy or paranormal romance
2. Must be willing to submit the first 150-200 words (by email)

No purchase necessary! But first, help spread the word of the contest as described in the contest rules.

If you’re entering, good luck! The deadline is March 14, 2010.

Woops

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Been a while since the last post, so here’s what I’ve been doing since then:

  1. Biting my nails, as I’ll be biting my nails for a couple of months while I wait to hear back about The BookTM;
  2. Painting the basement, with only the bedroom and the corridor to take care of;
  3. Finishing the book that I was reading, the one that I had problems with, that I struggled to finish because there were even more problems with it toward the end;
  4. Working, as I tend to do at the day job, trying to catch up on the analytical requests that had to be put aside while I completed a rather large project;
  5. Critiquing a manuscript for a friend, and I’ll point you toward it when it hits the shelves (hopefully in the near future, because it’s a really good read);
  6. Plotting out Biohazards, which now has an actual title rather than a working title, and I’m rather pleased with myself about it;
  7. Writing twelve pages worth of an idea just so that I could get it out of my system, since it’s not what I want to be working on right now.

Now that my break time is (almost) at an end, I’m reviewing what I’d written so far for Biohazards (and, yes, editing as I go, because I can’t help it) to refresh my memory. Starting Monday, I’ll start working on it again at a rate of 1000 words per day. As much as I’d love to see it done by Christmas, I’m giving myself until the end of January to complete.

For now, I’ll give up a snippet…

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