Writing Update (September, 2022)

It’s been a busy past month in my writing.  I attended my annual writing retreat just after my last update, and had a really great weekend.  As a group, we made some progress on our collaborative fantasy romance, as well as digging deeper into our next project, a planned collection of sci fi stories.

The sci fi stories center around a group of characters on the run (via spaceship), with each author taking ownership of two characters.  We wanted to explore how the group got together, so we played out the origin story in a loose D&D game style.  They all meet while separately robbing a museum on the same night, so we drew up a map of the museum and moved our character figurines through it as we invented the story in real-time.  It was a LOT of fun, and we ended up with an extremely detailed outline for what I think will be a very cool story.

I also made some progress on my revisions of Thorns I, and finished this latest revision pass about a week after the retreat.  I sent it out for second-round beta reader feedback, and will see how that goes.  A lot of changes happened in the revisions, so I’m curious to see how it reads now.

Since sending Thorns I off, I’ve been working on a higher level to outline my Thorns series more clearly.  I’ve come to the conclusion that what started as a short story is now going to be a five book series.  Book 1 is almost done, Book 2 is drafted, and I wrote a big bulk of Book 4, Penelope’s novel.  So now I’m outlining Books 3 and 5, and also looking at some revision plans for Books 2 and 4.  It’s complicated!  I hope to have some really solid outlines by the end of the month.

In between outlining, I wanted to do something a little less complicated and more around actual writing, so I’ve been doing daily writing prompts – sort of bouncing between doing a prompt each day, or doing some outlining.  I’ve been using the prompts to explore the characters from my series in more depth, so it’s been a good support to my larger writing goals.  And just been fun!

So just for fun, here’s a bit from a prompt about making grilled cheese, which I decided to use to explore my new sci fi characters.  Enjoy!

I got to work on my grilled cheese, using the super fancy stove in the commissary.  Seriously, I’ve seen navigation controls with fewer buttons.

That may have been a problem.  I mean, everything was going along great at first.  The bread was all toasty, the cheese was all melty, the butter was all buttery and I had a fantastic grilled cheese in process, when suddenly it exploded.

I don’t know how it happened.  I didn’t think cheese was explodable, but maybe there’s some nuance I missed.

All I know is one minute everything was fine, and the next minute there was smoke and blobs of cheese and smears of butter everywhere.  I blame the stove.

I would blame the AI, seeing as he clearly had it in for me, but if it was him, he did a really good job of simulating distress.

“There is smoke in the air and butter on my countertops and—and—my sensors are picking up cheese!  On the ceiling!” the AI howled.

Writing Update (August, 2022)

My writing had been going along with slow but steady progress for the last few weeks.  I’ve been almost exclusively focused on revisions for Thorns 1, and am about 3/4 of the way through this pass.  I’ve been paying particular attention to Terrence’s character, and the character of the chief villain of the story, his brother Gregory.  There’s been a few new scenes, and some tweaking of existing scenes.

I’ve also found a few opportunities to do more with Penelope, the heroine of my unexpected additional novel.  She’s still a small character in this book, but Terrence and Rose wonder about her a little more, and worry a little more when she leaves the scene (events that lead her to her own book).  Here’s an excerpt from an added scene featuring her.

Penelope always seemed to have a wall up that Terrence didn’t know how to get past.  Someone else might find a clever way around, but the best he could think of was to just fling himself at it.  Because there really had been something on her face, when she’d looked at him just then—  “Are you happy here, Penelope?  Do you…miss where you grew up?”

A long pause stretched out, as Penelope continued with her embroidery, and he thought she wasn’t even going to answer.  But at last she said, “The castle in Relnyra was close enough to the shore to hear the waves, especially at night.  I do miss that sound.”

That was a more personal remark than he’d ever had from her before – but it didn’t answer his first question.  “That sounds nice.  It must be hard, to be in such a different place,” he said carefully, not certain they were actually talking about waves.

Continue reading “Writing Update (August, 2022)”

Writing Update (July, 2022)

Writing projects are continuing along at a good pace!  At my last update, I was going through beta-reader feedback on Thorns 1, making quick edits and putting more complicated comments into a combined document.  I ended up with a document with about 95 comments – some my own, some from readers – noting needed revisions.

I took a step back from the story after sorting all that out and did a read through of my WWII/Phantom story, making some notes on some fairly significant revisions I eventually want to do there.  This was a NaNo project that I thought I had outlined pretty well, but now that it’s mostly written I see some changes I’d like to make, especially in the flashback sequences, which will feature Erik and Meg (some fifty years after my Guardian trilogy!) Continue reading “Writing Update (July, 2022)”

Writing Update (June, 2022)

Writing has been less intense since last month, with the unexpected novel I ended up drafting!  My focus has been spread out to a few different projects ever since.  I made some revision notes for future reference for that unexpected novel, which may end up being Book 3 in my growing Thorns series (or possibly Book 4…)

After that I worked on some revisions for Thorns 2, which I did a full first draft on a couple of years ago – but I wanted to substantially rewrite the last several chapters.  So I did some of that work, made more notes for the future, and decided I was better off holding on that until I did more final revisions on Thorns 1.

Which brings me to what I’m currently working on – my beta-readers returned feedback to me recently for Thorns 1, so in the past week I’ve begun sifting through that for revising.  So I have one book in Stage 3 revisions, another in Stage 2 revisions, and a third that’s drafted and waiting for Stage 1 revisions, all within the same series.  Oh, and I have ideas for an additional two books in the series, probably Books 3 and 5, but I haven’t actually started writing them.  It’s gotten complicated! Continue reading “Writing Update (June, 2022)”

Writing Update (May, 2022)

I’ve been having an unexpectedly busy past month in my writing.  On my last update, I mentioned revising Thorns 2; I was focused on that until mid-April, on track to finish this particular revision pass by the end of the month.  And then very suddenly I got hit by an idea for a companion story–probably a novella.  I thought I’d just jot down a scene or two…and it completely overtook my brain.

Penelope is a minor character in Thorns 1 – she’s married to Prince Gregory, Terrence’s brother and one of the chief villains of the series.  She’s sent away from the castle halfway through the book, which was fully a plot device for Rose and Terrence’s story.  But I started to wonder about Penelope, to wonder what had become of her when she was sent away.  And once I started wondering, she took up residence in my brain, with apparently no intentions to go away until I wrote her story.

The “novella” kept getting longer, turning into a full novel.  And with Penelope more or less shouting at me (even though she doesn’t shout in the entire book), and bringing along a few new characters to join her, I ended up writing a 60,000 word first draft in three weeks.  That’s the most I’ve ever written in three weeks, and the fastest by far and away that I’ve ever completed a first novel draft.  She just really, really wanted her story told! Continue reading “Writing Update (May, 2022)”