Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Heroine

Heroine Revisions:

1) Looking at and tracing motivations from chapter to chapter, flagging where these need help.

2) Adding complexity in notes for each scene.

3) Making sure her voice is consistent.

4) Noting finer details.

5) Writing out the arc to make sure it stands.

(no new text written today, just notes and diagrams and looking at manuscript)

Heroine Tidbits:

1) Her name is Ruby.

2) She wears vintage clothes.

3) She never lies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Work and Reality

The end of July is almost here and I've taken some time to look at how things might go for me concerning writing. I've decided not to look back too much, because creative people have to always look forward if they are going to keep on believing in their work. A lot of sayings are true: "It always seems impossible until it's done." That is so true.

I've also been thinking about my target reader. Yes, I have one. I might write the book I want to read, but I am always aware of whom I want to read it. I keep that reader in mind and well, I have to say, I write for girls and young woman, or readers who like coming of age stories.  My heroines are always going to be 15-18 years old and facing the changes that most young women face at that time. Today, I decided to update my blog to show that interest. My granddaughter helped me, she's three and half years old, but she's smart. I had three graphics I liked. She chose this one. Smiling.


Sleeping Beauty Retelling: I honestly believe if I keep working at the rate I am working now and the family does not suffer another "sick spell" that I will finish the Sleeping Beauty retelling this winter. By winter I mean some time between November 2014 and the end of February 2015, I am going to be finished with THE BOOK. Then it will "sit a bit," before going out to a few readers, followed by another passing draft to tidy it up. FINALLY, it will be sent off to an agent.  So next year, I can safely say, The Sleeping Beauty Retelling will go off into the world to be read, judged, rejected, and so forth. Amen. I will be so proud when I can write. It's done. It's gone. It's off!  (This book can stand alone, so I am not going to be writing a sequel to it at this time.)

The Dragonfly:  In order to best serve this project, which has been an ambivalent one, I want to be able to offer this indie project to everyone I can. I want a print version as well as a digital one. I am so unsure of how to do all this, because I am not a publisher. I am a writer and doing an indie project is one I take as seriously as I do the Sleeping Beauty Retelling. I think the best thing, at this time, is for me to move the date back to around May of 2015. I do not believe I can give this book a proper launch (and still do the work I am doing on other projects) unless I wait until next year to release it. It can wait. It's waited for years, another ten months is nothing.

The Night Queens: Because of what is happening with The Dragonfly, I have decided to put out two novellas and a few shorts this year as digital only. No print at this time. This will let me get my feet wet, so to speak, in the digital world of self-publishing, and I'll be able to learn from my mistakes, too. The project is not new, I've been working on it when able for the last year.

The Goblin Market Retelling:  I am happy to report, and only could report this after a lot of hard work this past month that I am going to be working on my "heart" book after I send off The Sleeping Beauty Retelling. I could not have written this if I had not found a way to make the Sleeping Beauty Retelling a stand-alone novel.  Yes, it can have a sequel, but it does not have to have one, which is something that I have worked hard to do for all my stories in 2014. Last year, I would not have thought this, but after reading so many series, I realized that many readers have series fatigue and a lot of middle books in series are just not that good or the last book terribly disappoints. I just want good books. TGM is my heart book and it comes next.

Update: I think, for the most part, I want to write stand-alone-novels. And I should write my  posts in Word from now on! I've had to edit half a dozen times. Exhausted.

A little thing

GREEN is the color of my soul. It makes me happy. It warms me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Subverting the fairy tale

“A devil, a born devil on whose nature

Nurture can never stick...”

from The Tempest by Shakespeare

Gaspard Ulliel

Sleeping Beauty was never my first choice for a retelling. Reflecting on my notes, I've always considered it one of the more difficult fairy tales to bring into a modern setting, especially if you are a writer interested in subverting the original form, and that was exactly what I wanted to do. Rapunzel was always my first choice and I do have a nice little retelling already completed. The trouble was, I could never see that story as a long novel, and while I was writing that story I became obsessed with a certain character that could only really fit two fairy tales. One of them was Sleeping Beauty. It's not a very pleasant tale, it's about curses and sleep, and bad things that happen during liminality. It also speaks to what nature is and is not. I had a lot of trouble working out how the story would go. It was not an easy plot and when I say that, I mean it, literally. Plot is my strong point as a writer and I reworked this plot not once or twice, but several times. Even after I finished the first draft last year, I knew the plot would change again.

Other things, I not only wanted to subvert the fairy tale, I wanted to subvert several tropes that you find in a lot of young adult fiction. (1) the bad boy (2) the good girl (3) the love triangle. 

Bad boys are always attractive to good girls. I've known my share of them, but in a lot of fiction they are cliched. I don't really find anything wrong with that. There are some tropes that just appeal to readers and there is nothing wrong in pleasing a reader. But I wanted a bad, bad boy,  one that was not typical. I was so obsessed with him that I thought about the character for a few years before I sat down to write the first draft. I knew him inside and out. I knew his history, what he liked to eat, the way he slept, walked, talked, little things. His secrets, his fears, his loves and delights. To be a true bad boy and heroic at the same time is an oxymoron. So there had to be some kind of real transformation that the reader could see and feel and believe. That was difficult. This is not the way I usually come to a story, so I was working against my nature. I was out of my comfort zone. However, I believe I have made him work. Of course, only readers can decide that for themselves. But for me, he's enough.

The quote above is from Shakespeare and it's what I wrote in my journal with this picture. This is my bad boy. His arc is wide and long.  My biggest challenge with him was in the original draft he had no point of view, the reader never knew what he thought. I found that to be a mistake and that is a major part of my ongoing revision, giving him his voice. Also, how I finally made him heroic. So many things changed from first to second draft notes that I thought I was going to lose what I really loved about him. So I had to let the story cool at one point in order to look at his arc objectively.

It wasn't until this year that I really found his ending, how it would all play out. So I needed the time. He needed the time to show me.

P.S. I didn't choose this picture because I thought he was the most beautiful boy. I chose it because I had seen the actor in several films. He's French. My character is French. He's not perfect, he has a scar on his face, he can be vicious, he can be tender, I've seen that in the acting and I remembered it. It came to be useful material.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Dragonfly

I've taken down the information on The Dragonfly, a revised version of an older book that I hoped to self-publish this year.  I've been very undecided on this project due to the fact that it IS a full sized novel of over 450 pages and when news of Kindle Unlimited came out the other day, I began to fully understand the implications of how a 450 page book would work under that program.  This is not another anti-Amazon aka Amazon is evil post. What it is is a personal post on how I feel about my book. In fact, it's about how I feel about all books in general. I do not belong to Amazon Prime, I do not download movies or TV shows through Amazon's program. I buy very few Kindle books. In fact this year, I have bought less than ten e-books. I am pretty much a Luddite and like to feel that a book is a commodity and not just a service. In fact, I like to think of a book as something I can buy, share, give to my friends, loan out, reread a dozen times. I like the feel of paper, the way the font is set on the page, I like smart designs. I like to write in books as I read them. There have always been some books I just could not read on a Kindle device, because I just don't read in the way a lot of people do. It might be old fashioned but I still go to used bookstores and buy books that I want to collect for my shelves.  While it may seem silly to some, the idea (as explained to me by someone who loves the idea of Kindle Unlimited) that an author is paid by the amount/percentage of a book read out of a shared pool of funds is absolutely mind boggling. Under this current condition, an author would be better off producing short stories and novellas priced solely at the optimal price of $2.99, if my facts are correct, and giving Amazon exclusivity, meaning the e-book cannot be sold anywhere else.

On another personal note, the idea of paying $9.99 monthly for a service to read mostly indie authors from Amazon, is not my idea of a good time.  I don't buy books like that. I don't read books like that and I am not sure I want to be part of that service, ever.

So what happens to The Dragonfly. Well, I am not sure at this point. My Neo-Gothic may go a more traditional publisher route, since it is part of an on-going series.