Tag Archives: WIPs

The In-Between Time

It’s that strange time between Christmas and New Years when it doesn’t feel quite like a holiday, and yet, the new year hasn’t officially started, so you’re just kind of wafting around wondering what to do and how to act. It was a great, albeit strange holiday for me. Ari (aka LionCat) is doing well right now, but because of the severity of his heart failure, that could change at any time. I cherish every moment I have with him and do my best not to stress over it. With the Adenomyosis, I’ve been experiencing panic attacks and anxiety, something I never had to deal with when my hormones were normal. My OBGYN was kind enough to prescribe me some Xanax, so that’s helped considerably, but it’s still been a rough go of it in spots.

 

A good chunk of the ‘rough go’ part also has to do with not getting any writing or writing work done. It’s a vicious cycle of ‘worry, exhausted from being worried, then recovering from worrying’ wherein writing work gets set aside, then stared at, then fallen asleep on, only to wake up and realize that nothing functional got done. This includes everything from writing new stuff, to working on things I have for a critique partner. Then I have to temper my frustrations and remind myself that I’m dealing with a dying cat whom I love dearly, and most of this pertains to him and just enjoying what time I have with him.

 

But we had a wonderful Christmas, and I firmly believe this will be the start of a great New Year!

Overdue… as Usual

Things have gotten crazy, as they tend to do, so not only am I very behind in writing blog posts, but I’m also behind in actually writing anything at all. Since I’m what I would term an ’emotional writer’ meaning that I exact immense pleasure from creating stories, and go at it from a passionate perspective, rather than an analytical ‘I will write 2,000 words today on these sections of plot’ sort of writer, I can be greatly influenced by whatever is going on in my life. If it’s not good stuff, my writing can suffer.

Recently, the ‘not good’ has had to do with my beloved LionCat, Ari. Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will know this already, as I’ve been posting updates on his condition. *For now* he *seems* to be responding positively to current treatment. I remain paranoid and dubious of celebrating overly, as his condition is quite serious, but I do embrace and cherish every moment I have with him. Hence the overabundance of photos and updates on Facebook. With LionCat comfortable, and happy for the time being, I was able to crack open a WIP last night, and write a whole 5 sentences before Old Lady Cat demanded I hold her. When a cat that’s somewhere between 17-19 years old tells you to hold her, you freaking hold her. But still, I got about 5 sentences written, which is more than I’ve written in the last five weeks. So I’ll take it!

I’m writing this at work, and have just been handed a new inventory sheet to go count, so I’ll leave off for now. But I’ll leave you with yet one more photo of my dearest LionCat! 10888580_822774041111343_8231584626364553956_n

Two Questions And An Excerpt

It’s NaNoWrimo again, and predictably, I’ve put up a novel with the intention of pounding out words, and instead I’ve started a new WIP, and ended up working on a novel from last year, and a prequel to Catskin, in addition to working on the one for this year.

I’m a multi-WIP girl, and I usually have at least two of them going at the same time. Whether they end up finished depends on the individual project. Sometimes, I just write until another WIP takes over the lion’s share of my brain pan. Other times, I finish a project entirely. The good part, though, is that nine times out of ten, when I go at a WIP this way, even if I don’t finish it, I’ve also cobbled together an outline (sometimes purely just so I can keep track of my own characters and their goals) and I’ve gotten immersed in the story enough that I can easily go back and pick up writing on it later. So even though these WIPs aren’t *finished* I don’t consider them to be toss-asides, either. They’re just ideas waiting in the wings. This also allows me to dabble in whatever genre or style the story requires. For example, my NaNo novel for this year, Grimalkin, is an adult fantasy, with cursing and sex. The one I’m working on from last year, Pohickery Girl, is a paranormal YA, clean read, and the new WIP is a magical realism/fantasy set in reality YA, which I *think* will be a clean read, but I’m not into the characters enough to be sure of that, yet. The prequel to Catskin is, of course, a contemporary YA, clean read.

So, writers, are you a single-WIP-at-a-time writer? Or do you just line up your ideas and attack them at will?

This leads me into question number 2, and that is, do you sit down and decide ‘I have a story idea, and it will be a ‘clean read’ or it will contain cursing and/or sex/sexual situations’? Or do you start outlining (or writing) and only decide the tone AFTER you’re into the book and characters? I, myself, don’t ever give much thought to cursing or sexual content, I just write the book. The only exceptions would be like the prequel to Catskin, which I’ve titled Astray. Obviously, I knew that if I wanted to write something to be published with Clean Reads, it needed to be, duh, a clean read, so naturally, it is. And anything I write with the idea of submitting to Clean Reads in the future (and I’d LOVE to keep publishing with them forever, even if I also publish elsewhere) will also be written clean. But what I changed within Catskin didn’t take away from the story. I didn’t settle with Catskin, the book naturally fell into a clean category. Or clean enough that all I needed to do was crop out a few curse words or references and it fit. I didn’t compromise any characters or personalities by changing them. This is one of the things I have always sworn, and will continue to swear, that I would never/will never do. If I have to change the fundamental nature of a character or book to fit, then I won’t publish it through that venue. Anyway, my point is, I don’t plot books, as a rule, to either be clean or contain stuff.

Do you intentionally plot your books to either be ‘clean’ or contain cursing and/or sexual situations? Or do you write them as they come out of you, and categorize them after the fact?

 

I’ll leave you with a little excerpt from my new WIP, Blooded. It’s contemporary, but with magical elements, and contains subjects I’ve long adored. Namely, faeries, and the Wild Hunt. Also, it was inspired by a Victorian era Opal ring I found in the trash. Here are the first three pages. Because I have numerous poems on the subject, I thought it would be fun to have them as chapter headers for this book, so each chapter hosts a short poem that hints as to the contents of that chapter.

 

The Veil

Hoarfrost gilds the feral land
Crystals cast with an artist’s hand

Cryptic rooks in place of gemstones be
Feathered clots of ebony

Perched high above in treetop crowns
Fluttering over the heaths wild gown

A world of frigid beauty of ageless mystic grey
A world beyond our reckoning held in faery sway

The dirt of a place can lodge itself inside your blood and bones just as surely as it can pack beneath your fingernails and settle into the cracks of your skin. That’s the way it was from the first moment I set foot on Veil Mac Tíre. I was only six, but I still understood, maybe better than any adult could have, that I belonged to that land. At the time, I didn’t even know I was standing on Veil Mac Tíre. My insides, though, they recognized it like a homecoming.
We had just moved into a little stone cottage that was tucked up into the curving northern edge of the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts. Though it wasn’t far south of Boston, and all the little townships and cities seemed smushed together in a never-ending riot of civilization, our cottage and the bit of land it was on, abutted the three thousand untamed acres of Veil Mac Tíre. The estate, in turn, ran along – and was indiscernible from – the some six thousand acres of the Blue Hill Reservation. For a child who was terrified of crowds, and strangers, and cities of any size, moving into that secluded cottage was a life-saving change for me.
Now, almost twelve years later, crowds and cities are still enough to bring me into a full panic attack, but I always have Veil Mac Tíre to come home to. And once I’m finished the last two classes I’m required to do into order to graduate high school, I’ll never leave the Veil again.
Ma is in the sunroom when I come downstairs. She’s always up as early as I am. You’d never know she wasn’t raised on a farm, and that she loves the roar of downtown Boston. If it wasn’t for me, we’d probably be living there right now. Just the thought of it is enough to make me shudder. It’s a sin, I’m sure, to be so glad that we have Toad Cottage, seeing as how my uncle died in order for us to get it, but I’m glad, just the same.
“Di, will you bring the pot down here and refill me?” Ma calls from down the hall.
“No, I can’t,” I call back. “Both my hands have just fallen off.”
Ma’s replying cackle of laughter echoes off the hardwood floors. I cross from the stairs into the kitchen. It’s not a large room, but it’s my favorite, with a wide hearth designed for cooking two hundred years ago, and a hug porcelain farm sink, stone counters, and an ancient wood cookstove which was wired for electricity long before it was the popular thing to do. The coffee pot sits on one counter, still mostly full. Daddy was on duty last night, so he’s not home yet. There’s always more work than there are firefighters.

 

 

The Beginning of An Era. Hopefully…

My Critique Partner, Christi Corbett has been after me to set up and actually maintain a WordPress site since sometime around the passage of the last ice age. Like many of the dinosaurs, I almost didn’t evolve enough to survive that ice age. I was clinging to Blogger, which, I’ll still continue to lurk and follow people there, but it’s gotten impossible to deal with. Often half of the few comments left on any posts I manage to write are from spambots, and often I’m forced to fight with managing blogs I follow because they randomly filled with hundreds of fake spam posts from fake spam blog accounts. So, here I am!

On my Blogger blog, I wrote posts which covered a little of everything. Since I was still in the throes of trying to ‘make it’ as a writer, I felt like I needed to have a lot of filler posts to make up for not having a ton of book information to put out there. Now I have one book contracted, and due out next year, and several WIPs I’m working on which have a future. At least, I’m looking at them now with different eyes than I’ve looked at WIPs in the past, when I had no idea if they’d ever see daylight. Now, I’m looking at my WIPs from the perspective of they will get out there. I see them as pieces of work which are completely marketable until they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that for some reason they aren’t marketable.

With my WordPress blog, I intend to focus more on writing, and instead of trying to get posts out constantly, my goal is to put one post up a week. A little recap, if you will. Anyone who knows me, or has followed my other Blogger account, know that there will inevitably be animals, and farm antics involved, too. I can’t help but let a little daily life creep in alongside the writing life. But my primary goal is to focus on writing. I hope you’ll join me on this new venture!