Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

The other morning, I had worked at getting several hundred words into the fifth White Dragon Black novel, which, alas, still has no name. ~looks pointedly in Muse’s direction~ I decided to use some of my time in the afternoon to finish up the first draft of a short story. I opened the file and began to skim it, to re-familiarize myself with what already existed.

That didn’t take long, because there was only a couple of paragraphs – short ones at that. I felt my stomach drop, even as my mind went into wild bird in glass box mode. My brain bounced from one thought to another as it tried to reconcile the fact that it was sure there was a lot more to this work than was on the screen. My gut said I had somehow lost all the work.

I searched the computer, opened files incase it had been saved under a different name somehow, I stuck my thumb-drives in to make sure it wasn’t there. I even opened my email to see if it ad magically moved itself. All for naught.

Then I looked to my left and saw the small pile of pages ripped out of a notebook which had been sitting there for well over a month. I opened the fold over pages and read the first line.

Yeah. It was the majority of the story. Soon as I read it I remembered I had written it in the summer, waiting in my parents van for the delivery truck to bring the baby chickens. I just never got around to transcribing it. I honestly had no recollection of writing it that way until I unfolded the paper.

I have no idea what I thought those pages were but I do have note pages of all sizes, all over my tiny desk- story idea’s, quotes to put in current projects when I get there, jotted down interesting facts I might be able to insert in a story, all the usual writer’s stuff. Still, I felt pretty damn silly.

Now I’m putting the chicken scratch of my writing into the computer, so I can try and wrap this one up before working on the other two calling out for my attention. Because writing three short stories and a novel would be silly, two on the other hand…

I wrote some more in the fifth novel this morning. Several short snippets of scenes ranging across the time line of the manuscript, now exist.  I put # tags on either end of these snippets, and hit the return button a few times. This works for me because I can see generally where in the progress of the novel they will fall, but keeps them self contained. I can add to the scene within the # and when two scenes finally mesh up, join each other in the time line, I simply remove the #.

However to assume that this means I know the plot in it’s entirety would be a mistake. I know the general flow. I know–at this stage in the manuscript–the main plot points. I know the over all how and why but the vast majority of the details simply are not there. Tat’s what the snippets contained in the # are—the small moments of detail shown to me by my Muse.

These scenes, these little details, begin to give me a wider view, as more moments happen, I can beginning to understand how the story must travel to get from A to B. Eventually I can see it all, but still the words, dialogue, conflicts, they can be sheathed in secrecy until I actually write them.

I trust it to all work out in the end because this is just how I write. Now, if I keep getting unwieldy manuscripts that are, in the end, too incoherent and leave my editors with headaches and stacks of empty red pens, I may have to reign this in, but until that happens I trust and write and enjoy.

With all the edits that I had in my lap completed, and waiting for the next round to come from my beta-reader, I had the choice of doing nothing, or getting back to writing the fifth novel.

As I am a writer, I chose the second option. I had already been a bit disappointed in myself for allowing it to fall to the side of my attention. Continuing to allow it to wallow in activity would simply be wrong. I would very much like to see it finished this year, though I realize it will probably take longer than that – especially with all the edits yet awaiting me.

So, with putting it off not really an option, I turned my mind back to it. It had been awhile since I wrote in it however. Could I really just plunk myself back in? I figured I might have to take the time to reread what I had done- not the first time I’ve had to do that with a novel.

There was one scene though, that I knew – that I had seen in my mind – right at the start of this project which I hadn’t written yet. I decided to just write it. It didn’t matter if it was in chronological order. I already had scenes written out of order. In fact, it seems I am almost completely incapable of writing any other way now.

I jumped in and, with just over a thousand words, wrote the scene. It already has grounded me into what this novel is about. It sparked a lead-in scene, and I think I can continue to flow int the work from here.

Too many distraction are about to come my way, I really must anchor myself in this story and release bits every morning. Dedication to my goal might just counter distractions from my routine… I hope.

 

Just got my short story ‘Charon’s Obol’ back from Xchyler Publishing to give it the final look over before they start to assemble the actual ARC of ‘ Legends and Lore‘  this fall’s paranormal anthology. I hate this stage because it means reading it as cold as you can to detect any hiccup in the works. I find this to be a very difficult thing to do with m own work, as I have already read it over countless times. It is hard to divorce yourself from your own words far enough to spot the niggling little things.

Luckily, once they have compiled the work together we will be able to read each others stories and not only get a sense for the thing on a whole, but help spot errors in each others work.
This part really causes my heart rate to go up. Seeing the other stories that will share space with your, getting the feeling of the antho as a whole, and sensing the magic the editor’s have woven to take separate stories and making them into one book.

ShadesAndShadows_Cover_full-resI have no doubt that, on October 18th, a fantastic anthology will be available for you all to read. How am I so certain? Because last years collection was simple amazing, and I was proud to be in it.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, put ‘Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology’ on your to buy list and grab it the same time you get ‘ Legends and Lore’  – Don’t worry, I’ll give you the link to that collection too, just as soon as it exists.

If you liked Tomorrow Wendell’ both these anthologies have White Dragon Black short stories in them so you can get your Jonathan Alvey fix.

 

Pearls are made by many layers after layer of nacre being added to one grain of irritating sand. Good stories are not so different with the rough original tale being coated in layers of edits. Yes, I know. Usually the reference is to a polished gem. Cutting away tiny amounts and buffing it just so, until it shines. I see it as layers, for although edits often do involve cutting bits, I feel a story reaches a smooth beauty only by layer after layer of strong edits are added to it.

I’ve finished the ‘new’ short story I was working on, and even gave it a fitting, if not entirely original, title – ‘The Ties That Bind’. Of coarse by finished I mean, I wrote all the words I think belong to it, gave a it a once over, then did a round of edits. Which means it is far from actually being finished. I have sent it on to my editor, so another round of edits it guaranteed to be needed. Then my beta-reader will get her hands on it and will point out all the errors I made while working through the comments my editor made. Once I’ve corrected them, there are further steps because this one already has an outlet to go to. So, another round, or two, of edits will happen as it passes through the skilled hands of the editing team at Xchyler Publishing.

So if anyone tells you writing isn’t hard work….. It just happens to be hard work that I love! There should be no other reason to write, if you aren’t writing because you love it, and can’t think straight without putting those words down, your not a writer. I ‘m not sure what you are, but it isn’t a writer.

Having ‘done’ the short story, I was able to get some fresh words into the fifth novel this morning, and let me tell you, that felt good. I have realized that this novel is going to take a bit of a different twist/direction than I first thought. That’s fine, and I think it will work well. Another plus, is that it will change up the style/format of the novel from the couple before it just enough to be distinct.

I have a number of chapters from ‘Bindings & Spines’ back from my beta-reader and can’t wait to work through them. Partly, I confess, because I’ve got to another bit of a rather rough spot in the other edits of that novel and are not entirely certain of just how to proceed. I can still work on B&S, if I go through the post beta-reader chapters, and feel I’m making process, while I dodge the tough stuff for another day or two. After that, I’ll have no choice but to buckle on my armour, draw my sword, and wade into battle, screaming ‘Damn you, ME! What were you thinking!’