Three days of hard work

28/12/2013 11:29

Sooooo…

…I may have spent the last three days writing. I’ve met my Nano wordcount (28,000) and am due to exceed it today, which is frustrating. Well, ok, it’s nice. But why could I not have produced that sort of wordcount in that time back in November?

I’m re-writing Shadows, and my strategy of actually plotting things out does seem to be working. I’m on chapter 7 now, where my plot sort of faltered, and I’m now actually having to think about what I’m writing. I’m also at the point where the relationship between Eli and Mike gets complicated, and that’s making me think too. Ho hum.

I’m going to get some time off for the next few days, as we’re down in Devon at the in-laws for New Year – and I refuse to take my laptop. I may take my sewing, but at least I am likely to talk while I sew. 

 

That’s all, folks. Happy New Year if I don’t get on here before the 1st!

Plotting…

18/12/2013 20:07

Ok, I admit it. I don’t like plotting stories. But it looks like I might have to plot one.

I am a character writer. The one story I plotted “properly” (Green Sky) was originally a lovely, standard fantasy story with a girl, a boy, magical powers and a hero…and then I had to rename my ‘Lord’ character, and he became Toru. The name changed things [sidenote: names are incredibly important to me. If I change a name, I change the character – I don’t know exactly how it happens, but the name often shapes how I see them], and he formed himself in my head. He’s one of my favourites – and Catter, my hero, obviously thought so too. As I wrote, they fell in love.

I was pretty astonished when it happened, but looking back, it made the story so much better. It changed the entire course; it led to extra scenes, things having to happen, and a really lovely story. I’ve always used that example as justification for my dislike of plotting, and so far, it has sort of worked.

(I am actually wrong about never plotting: I plotted Ghosts on a train going through China – don’t ask – and that has turned into a good, solid story. But that is most definitely the exception.)

But my current dilemma is with Shadow…

As you know (or you should know – if you don’t, you’re not reading this blog regularly enough! Go and read my last post) I am re-writing Shadows. I spent a bit of yesterday and a bit of today on it, and it’s got to the point where I am throwing my hands in the air and admitting defeat.

I need to re-write it. There is very little I can salvage: even the scenes I want to keep I will have to rewrite from another perspective. I want to weave everything in. I want to include Mike more. I want Eli to be less important. I want to make the opponents more real, more human. I want to show things happening. And I can’t do that within the current story.

Also, a lot of it was written when I was younger. My writing style has changed considerably; Ghosts reflects the 5+ years in between the writing of the two stories, and now it’s even further. I am reluctantly realising that a complete re-write – and proper plot – is the way to go.

I just hate plotting. *grumbles* It kills the spontenaity and my writing style and the characters. I hate writing “this happened then this happened then this happened.” I hate having to explain things.

I think my answer to that is that I’m not plotting in a way that suits me. I need to go back to that train in China, go back to wandering around Hong Kong, and just link a series of outlines together. I need to end up with “this is the basic outline…now go and write the parts in between”.

Wish me luck!

Writing update from nearly-Christmas-time

14/12/2013 16:13

So…I finished Nano, and then had a much-needed writing break. I’ve recently started again, and have picked up an old novel: Shadows.

I have been wanting to rewrite it for a little while (I had some very useful feedback), but obviously rewriting the entire thing is a rather big task. However, I randomly started thinking about it again, and it’s suddenly taken over my brain.

 

I want to keep the basic outline, but I’ve got three major objectives:

– make the city more real. I want to add placenames, maps, names. I need it to be sited in the reality of a city, even if it isn’t exactly an Earth city.

– develop some of my characters. Matt is one of my main characters, and I want to make him more central. I also want to develop Mike a lot more. I hate to confess it about one of my characters, but he’s boring…and he needs to be interesting. Hum ho.

– intertwine more of the plot events. At the moment, I feel as if it is very bitty, so I want to make everything interact with other events.

 

It’s all ongoing, but it’s interesting how things just come back into my head and suddenly sit there. Prepare for more snippets!

 

On a random Shadow-related note…I sometimes get characters taking over my head when I know they can’t possibly be doing that. I’ve just written 8000 words of a relationship that will never go into a book, but oh well. I enjoyed writing it.

 

A fourth story?

18/05/2013 07:23

So. Green sky series. It’s currently at three books, and I might have had an idea for a fourth. It’s still coming together, but…

 

One of the peripheral characters, Jan, comes into the story through a sequence of events that leads to him having to get out of his country rather fast, and therefore joins the group that is travelling to Meton. That’s the point you meet him (and S’ian) in Green Sky & Sparks, but at one point I did write some of the story of what happened before that.

 

(This is all a bit annoying as I don’t want to give too much away, and can’t explain using the characters as you don’t know them yet, but still want to express my ideas…rah.)

 

Anyway. Jan was involved in the rescue of a lady named Lusa, who he then left in Ceane before travelling to Meton. I was debating telling the story of that rescue, and then picking up Lusa’s story after Jan leaves. The reader know what happens to Jan after that (or will do if they have read Green Sky & Sparks), so the book would potentially be a nice bridge between the two stories. The next book, Changing Winds, picks up six months after the end of Green Sky & Sparks, so I could potentially fill that gap. It would also be a nice opportunity to explore some of the city life in Ceane, and bring in some different personalities – including, I hope, a not-so-nice bullying one which would be a good challenge for my writing skills (why do I keep doing this to myself?!)

 

We will see, but Lusa’s definitely in my head which usually means that the character finds a way to come out – somehow!

Reworking an old story

21/04/2013 15:52

I need to find a new title…

 

Anyway. Have a snippet of old/new story.

 

“I thought you were helping the Council.” Marianne said when the children had scattered to their evening activities, leaving the three adults sat at the table. “Has something happened?”

Eeloia shrugged. “In a way.” She pulled a small box out of her coat pocket. “Have you seen anything like this before?”

Marianne took the box, and Drano leaned over as she opened it. Together, they examined the contents.

“You can tip them out.” Eeloia said. “They’re ok to handle.”

Marianne tipped the shining shards onto her palm, and Drano picked one up. It was slightly curved, and tinged as he flicked it with a fingernail. “I haven’t come across anything like this. Ceramic?”

“I wish.” Eeloia said. “Dragon egg shell.”

Two faces stared at her. Eeloia made a face. “Yep.”

Marianne tipped the shell back into the box, and held it out for Drano to drop his piece in. “So are the legends about them true?”

“I think so. They live off magic, that much is true. So I think one must have hatched, and has been slowly using more magic as it grows.”

“It’s been fading for fifteen years, so that makes sense.” Drano said. “Why have you not mentioned this in the Council?”

Eeloia was glaring at the table. “The dragons were all killed. To get an egg, you need a dragon. So where did it come from?”

“Where did you find those bits of shell?”

“In the lava beds to the South.”

“Could they be ancient?”

Eeloia shrugged. “They could be, but they were on the surface. A thousand years usually buries things.”

“How long do they last? How do they hatch?” Drano asked. “Could it have happened naturally?”

“Based on what I know, they get laid in hot places – volcanoes, lava streams, that sort of thing. And then they hatch fairly quickly, a year or so. I admit that there could have been an egg left over that has only just got into the right place.”

“You think someone might have deliberately hatched it?” Marianne said incredulously.

“According to the legend, there were three eggs left over.” Eeloia said, staring at the table. “I went looking for them. I can only find two.”

“Who would…”

“I have no idea. But you see why I don’t want to bring it up in the Council?”

Drano nodded. “You’d be accusing someone, but you don’t know who.”

“I don’t even know if I’m right.” Eeloia said frankly. “I think that’s dragon egg, and I think there’s one missing. But I haven’t found the dragon and I only think there is one because it fits the loss of magic over the years.”