A Fear of Compromise

I love it when a project starts to near the finish line. I love it even more when all my plot pieces start falling into place and I begin to understand how the story wants to end. You can tell I end my novels in Pantser mode, right?

I haven’t been able to be as full-steam ahead on this book as I’ve wanted, but I’m still quite pleased with the results. I think this first draft should be done in March if not earlier. It’ll also be nice to have a standalone novel out in the world once I polish it out a bit so it shines.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
2/13 – 810
2/14 – 786
2/15 – 1,803
2/18 – 530
2/22 – 3,245

Current Word Count: 53,123

Progress:
Some horrible scenes followed by a crazy choice. But will the right choice be made?

Next Up:
We find Mother.

Commentary:
Sometimes you have to jump when an opportunity presents itself, even if it isn’t a perfect fix and even if you know there will be limitations. Compromise is always more difficult because it means you have to willingly accept loss. Generally there’s this idea that you’re supposed to fight, fight, fight until you win, but that never works. Over and over again history shows that compromise is the key to real prosperity, not railing blindly against your enemies. Nothing good ever came from completely refusing a compromise.

And omggggg, 2/3 of the way through! The ending is rushing up though, so this might not make it entirely to 80k words, but that’s okay for a YA novel. 😉

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Creating a Habit

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in a workshop with fellow authors. It was there I learned something that I had always known deep down in my heart, but it was somehow different hearing it from people I knew and respected. The only way to become a better writer was to write. Not just a little bit of writing a day, or every so often, but routinely, every day. This meant anywhere from writing 2,000 – 10,000 words a day, which honestly had me chuckling to myself. I can knock that out during NaNoWriMo months sure, but all the time? Is that humanly possible?

The more I thought about it, I thought, why shouldn’t it be? During NaNo months I train myself to do it for a full 30 days, aiming for that 50k finish line. The first few times I did this, most of my manuscript turned out to be trashed, but the more I’ve done it the better I’ve become with drafting. I’ll do some edits while I go through, I’ll make notes of things I know I’ll need to change down the road for continuity, but overall I already know what I’ll be editing when I finish this draft and move to the next stage. It’s just actually going back and making those fixes. So why shouldn’t I be able to knock out 2k/day or so?

I’m a big believer in the fact that we hold ourselves back. We build things up to be bigger than they really are in our minds, and when confronted, those barriers tend to come down fairly easily. I believe that our creative limitations work the same way. Sure, I don’t expect to be able to write 2k words a day every single damn day, but I’m going to try. I want to have about an 80% rate of succeeding in that word count goal because I know I can do it. It’s just building it into a habit and sticking to it.

And so far, I think I’ve been pretty successful!

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
2/11 – 2,229
2/12 – 2,116

Current Word Count: 45,949

Progress:
This book is a series of safe relief moments followed but utter terror. I really like that tbh.

Next Up:
Just when you thought you had gotten the hang of what to expect, suddenly something entirely different comes out at you.

Commentary:
Moving up towards that 60% mark, steady and surely. I’m really proud of being able to pick up the pace on this piece again and to really let it keep going. I think I’m really figuring out what makes these characters tick more and more and it makes me so pleased to see their journey spread out onto the pages. This is definitely going to be a roller coaster ride of a novel when I get done, so I’m sorry about that dear readers, but you know, you kind of expected that didn’t you?

Next up: coming to terms with some pretty terrible stuff yet again, and figuring out what to do with it. Will it be a hindrance or can it be used to an advantage? We learn that not every Gray Person is the same.

Tough Decisions

A few weeks back, the weekend before KamiCon in Alabama, I found out that a good friend of mine had passed away. I had been friends with her for over 10 years, but we still kept in touch. We would encourage each other on writing and talking about work that we loved. She had fallen in love with my work in progress, The Seeking, that she even offered to beta read it for me. Outside of my close family, I had never had someone offer that. It really gave me motivation to continue and I kept her in mind whenever I struggled with how to proceed in the novel.

When she passed, my work on The Seeking came to a halt. My work on it came in fits and bursts, and I just couldn’t get anywhere with it. Thinking of the novel made me think of my friend, and I struggled with working through the already complex plot line.

Today I finally sat down and forced my way through. I wrote through the tough scene that I had been struggling with for weeks and finally got the plot moving again. It was hard. The words didn’t want to come, and since it had been weeks since I worked on it, the characters and their motivations weren’t as clear in my mind as they had been before. I thought of my friend’s disapproving face at allowing her death prevent me from writing a novel that she knew would be good, and I just kept going. It’s just a draft, I reminded myself. If it’s down on paper, I can at least work with it. And I knew I wanted to finish it. I had to finish it now. She would have been horrified if I had stopped writing on this because of what happened to her.

Here’s my progress today, and I think she would have been pleased with where it’s going.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written: 2,155

Current Word Count: 41,604

Progress:
Escaping the Safe House. Sometimes the monsters outside are safer.

Next Up:
It wasn’t easy getting out the door, and the next steps won’t get any better.

Commentary:
I finally got past the halfway mark for this novel! I can’t believe it. It’s got a long way to go before it’s done, but I think it’s going to be quite an interesting ride for our characters. I don’t even know how they’re going to get to the ending yet. As a part planner and part pantser, I like to let the story dictate how it finishes itself toward the end.I have an ultimate goal in mind, but other than that, the characters get to decide.

I’m grateful for my little book of monsters. I think it’ll be very useful moving forward…

Sexism in Survival Situations

When snow falls in the Southern U.S., everything closes. It’s something that the northern part of the country complains about, but then they close when temperatures dip over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So I guess it’s not terribly different.

My work closed today when we got about 2-3″ of snow outside. A section of the interstate was also shut down earlier this morning. You can imagine how glad I was to avoid that! So instead I curled up with kitties by the fireplace and wrote for a while. It had been a few days since I found the time to write anyway. Once again this story didn’t disappoint.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 38,933

Progress:
What do you do when your safe house isn’t really that safe? Find ways to escape, even if at first it seems dangerous as hell.

Next Up:
Escape plans. Ludicrous? Maybe, but possibly better than the alternative.

Commentary:
One of the scenes I absolutely loved writing in this was having my protagonist’s girlfriend explain in detail what the ramifications were of staying put. Let me just say that it isn’t pretty, and I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of discussion ever take place in a novel like this.

Bisa is a woman who speaks her mind, even when it makes other people uncomfortable. Unlike some folks, she’s very comfortable in her skin and she has no qualms about telling shit like it is. I do love her, and I think it’s important to have characters like her shown in solid, happy relationships too. Normally when topics like this are brought up, it’s as a joke, like when Dr. Hammond turns to Dr. Sattler in Jurassic Park and says he ought to be the one to go risk his life cause he’s a male and she’s female. Which of course she replies with “We can discuss ‘sexism in survival situations’ when I get back.” She’s affirming that she should be seen as more than her reproductive capabilities. When you drop two women who are in a loving relationship into a similar situation, especially with someone like Bisa, you can be certain she’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong with your perspective.

Story Unlocked: Against Our Better Judgment

I’m pleased to announce that my Instagram followers have just unlocked a new story!

Against Our Better Judgment

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A vampire and a werewolf meet in a New Orleans graveyard to settle an old score. Then things go horribly wrong. When their scuffle is interrupted, the two are forced to put aside their differences and try working together for once. The results are a mixed bag of action, deception, and a sprinkle of humor.

Read the new Story Unlock: Against Our Better Judgment

Story Unlocks

Congrats to my Instagram followers for unlocking the first story in my Story Unlocked series! Check out the link in my Profile page to read it. 💖

What happens to stories that are lost or forgotten? Sometimes they can be picked up in a reprint anthology, but most writers will tell you that unless you are a huge name, that is not common. For those quirky stories that don’t fit cleanly into those anthologies, they get lost to time. Out of print means that the book isn’t even printed on demand any longer, and the only sellers are the ones who have copies of their own to sell. So the price goes up, and the chance to read those stories goes down.

I don’t like that. I want my work to be accessible to as many as possible. Even my older stories which may not be as refined, but are just as fun. What about if I mixed it with new stories, ones that are homeless and don’t quite fit what editors are looking for? That’s when my Story Unlocked series was born. The more milestones I hit in Facebook and Instagram (my main hunting grounds), the more stories I’ll post. What are those milestones? That part is a secret. You’ll know once they get hit. 😉

Part game, part unearthing, part sparkly and new, I hope this series is as fun for my readers as it is to put together. Eventually I’ll probably collect them into an anthology, but who wants to wait for that?