Monday, December 14, 2009

A Long and Dark December

Hey all, apologies for lack of blogness lately. Still reeling a bit from my nano disappointment, I think, which has been reflected in my writing progress (or lack thereof). Feeling slightly more encouraged today, though, and beginning to think that maybe I can get through this weird writer's block or whatever it is.

I'm working on three different things: Seraphine, the not-really-all-that-short-story, the second draft of On Journeys Bound, and notes for an as-yet-untitled project.

Seraphine is at the beginning stages of editing, which, for me, means I've read through it all, made lots of notes in the margin, and am now trying to come up with a game plan of what exactly I want to do to it. Sometimes I know what needs to be done but don't know quite how to do it, which means I get to do lots of brainstorming and ask myself rough questions (like: Why do they fall for each other? and: where exactly is this food coming from???) and scribble things down in my notebook and bang my head against the wall until I can come up with a viable solution. After I figure out what to do, I'll probably re-type the whole story, which forces me to consider every sentence and every word and if I really want to keep it that way or not. My biggest challenges with this story are the middle (or lack thereof—I sorta skipped it), and consistency of details (a result of discovering things as I went along—I wound up contradicting myself a LOT). Overall, I really, really like this story and think it could be quite special if edited correctly.

I go back and forth with digging On Journeys Bound. It's such an old story idea that dates back to when I was twelve and obsessed with horses and Lord of the Rings (okay, I'm still obsessed with LOTR; that was when I first discovered it. I belong to the elite community of fans who adored the books before the movies came out. :-)) and journeys and adventures and mysterious identities and so on, but something about the characters and their stories keeps me coming back to it. Originally a short story of 18,740 words (which was monstrous at the time) penned in '97/'98 or thereabouts, I later expanded it into a novel, and finished the first draft the summer of 2005; it clocked in around 75k.

A couple of summers ago I started working on the second draft, fleshing out characters and inserting scenes and subplots and tightening up the writing and so on. One of my main characters was horrendously boring, and I had to figure out a way to make him un-boring. I think I've managed it. I dunno. There's a lot more story in the beginning of the second draft, which is going to make the finished product at least 100k. I'm currently at 48,914 words, so there's a waaayyyys to go yet. But after I get through the next 10-20k, the changes become a lot less major, so it ought to be fairly smooth sailing towards the end. It shouldn't need much editing after that besides some prose tightening (is that a valid expression?), and then I'll have another FINISHED BOOK. I don't know of course if anyone but me would ever want to read it. I'll have to figure out a way to send it back in time, 'cause it's the kind of story my twelve-year-old self would have adored. :-)

It's basically about Bren, an apathetic prince, and Connor, the bitter slave forced to serve him. Both of them have shadows in their past they would rather leave untouched. Neither of them have that luxury. There are battles and journeys. Tragedy and loss. Regret and betrayal. Fire and death.

It's certainly rather darker than its early incarnations.

At any rate. Currently, Connor has just rescued a little girl from a snowbank, and Bren has narrowly evaded another assassination attempt. Go him.

As for the third project, I'm still in the brainstorming phase, but the idea has me quite excited. It's a love story (go figure), or possibly two, and is set in the same world as The Whale and the Tree and The Silver Crane. It might even have a happy ending. *grin*

And that, as they say, is that.


Anne M Leone said...

Glad to hear you're writing again!

Isn't it frustrating how setbacks can just set you mentally reeling? And then I feel angry about not writing and get even less writing done!

Joanna R. Smith said...

Yep. I think it's the curse of the creative mind... Or something. :-)