Writing Wednesday: Plans Revisited

Before I went on a writing retreat in mid-September, I put up a list of writing goals.  I didn’t get to most of them on retreat, but I’ve been working away at projects since then.  I thought it might be fun (and good for me to keep things straight!) to come back and see where projects stand now.

Here was the list…

  1. Finish revising Guardian III for beta-readers – I completed this on retreat, my main goal!
  2. Guardian II revisions based on second-round beta reader feedback – This got done as my first project when I came back.
  3. Guardian I revisions based on read-aloud review – I started this on retreat, and finished it within a few days after.
  4. First-round revisions for Thorns I, Part Two – This is my next project, and planned focus throughout October!
  5. Beta-read a friend’s novel (due by mid-October) – I sent this off to her at the end of September.
  6. NaNoWriMo prep for Thorns I, Part Three – Closely related to #4, this is my other October focus, especially as NaNoWriMo gets closer.
  7. Continue drafting short stories for planned “Bookstore Anthology” – My main project of late September, I made some good progress on my story of a ballerina falling into Leroux’s Phantom.
  8. Stonehenge Circle Writers’ biweekly blog prompt short story – Well, this is ongoing…

So that’s five out of eight complete, which is a nice feeling.  I don’t usually have quite this many things going all at once in different stages. 😀  It’s been interesting, but I’m looking forward to being more focused again…

Writing Wednesday: Down Once More?

I’m having a bouncing-around kind of period for my writing right now.  Until I dive into NaNoWriMo, I’m working more casually on a number of smaller projects.  One of these is my short stories for a planned anthology, in which characters magically enter books.  I wrote about my plans to send a character into Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera before.  I wrote roughly the first ten pages some months ago, moved on to other projects, and now have circled back to write a bit more.  Because obviously the weeks before NaNoWriMo should be spent writing!

Michelle has been at the Opera overnight, and in the morning is ready to hunt for the Phantom.  She just isn’t sure exactly how to go about that.


I thought about trying to find a way below the Opera—if I descended enough stairs, would I find the underground passages the Phantom had led Christine through?  Could I eventually find my way to the Phantom’s rooms?

Somehow I doubted it.  After all, it couldn’t be that easy, or the Opera Company would have found the Phantom long ago.  Unless that was authorial suspension of disbelief.  Maybe Leroux’s story just wasn’t that plausible.

Yeah.  It was weird being in a book.

Writing Wednesday: Cover Design

Despite finishing up this round of revisions for Guardian III, I’ve still been deep into the trilogy so far this week.  I’ve made some minor edits to Guardian I and II, but also got rather distracted from more pressing matters by a sudden desire to play with cover art.  I’m working on coordinating covers for the three books–and happily, some time ago I found available stock photos of a ballet dancer who looked like Meg to me.  Photo shoots with multiple images of the same model are the best when dealing with covers for a series.

Cover reveals are a long way off,  but here’s a glimpse…a closer view than the one that’s been lurking in my blog header for quite a while now!  I like her expression a lot–though I had to do some Photoshop magic to hide a tattoo on the model’s arm.  Not very 1881, that detail!

Writing Wednesday: Plans Abound

I finished (!) my big, complicated revision pass through Guardian III last week, and started again the next day in Chapter One.  Happily, this simpler revision pass is going even faster than I expected—always a pleasant surprise when that happens.

My goal was to finish revisions to prepare the book for beta-readers by the end of this weekend.  The tight timeline seemed doable originally because I am going on the Stonehenge Circle Writers annual retreat this weekend.  We get together Thursday to Sunday, do writing workshops and spend a lot of time writing.

Now that Guardian III is going even faster than I expected, I’ve started thinking about other projects to work on during the retreat.  I have an…ambitious list.

1) Finish revising Guardian III for beta-readers
2) Guardian II revisions based on second-round beta reader feedback
3) Guardian I revisions based on read-aloud review
4) First-round revisions for Thorns I, Part Two
5) Beta-read a friend’s novel (due by mid-October)
6) NaNoWriMo prep for Thorns I, Part Three
7) Continue drafting short stories for planned “Bookstore Anthology”
8) Stonehenge Circle Writers’ biweekly blog prompt short story

I know I won’t do ALL of it…but it’s nice to have plans!  Realistically, I’ll be happy if I complete 1 and start 2, I’ll probably do some of 5 for a change of pace, and I may do some work on 7 or 8 as a different kind of change of pace.  We’ll see what develops.

Writing Wednesday: Closing Things Out

I’ve been working my way through Guardian III for what feels like forever, but I’m so, so close to the end of my current pass-through (so I can start the next, hopefully much faster one!)  I’ve been expanding my final chapter, which was originally written on the last day of NaNoWriMo 2016; there was a definite element of, “just throw something down and finish.”  So there was some work to do!

In the biggest change, I added an extra scene that I should have realized I needed years ago.  But it’s there now, so beta-readers won’t yell at me 🙂 that a crucial moment is missing.

For people who like to read the end of a book first, here’s just a glimpse of that newly added, nearly at the end scene.


He stood on the stage of the Opera Garnier, the largest stage in Europe, and looked out over the rows and rows of empty seats.  They were barely visible in the shadows, with only a few safety lights burning.  It was still dark outside, though no light ever penetrated here anyway, and it was quiet in the Opera.  His mind filled in what his eyes couldn’t see in the dim light—the glowing red velvet of the seats, the gleaming gold of the decorations, the glittering, newly-hung chandelier hanging above, the sun in the sky of the Opera.

Friday Face-Off: From Page to Screen to Page


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: A cover that is a movie tie-in

I know I default to discussing The Phantom of the Opera, but it seems especially appropriate this week.  I decided to see how many tie-ins to different movies I could find, while limiting myself to Gaston Leroux’s Phantom.

Here we see the Lon Chaney Phantom, one of the more famous images of the Phantom.  I’ve also noticed that, unlike every other movie Phantom, he’s virtually never shown with his mask on.  (Here’s an image, which might suggest why!)

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: From Page to Screen to Page”

Writing Wednesday: Trust and Arguments

I did heavy revisions on another scene for my Phantom novel today.  Like some I revised a few weeks ago, I wrote this one early in the process of writing the trilogy, although I’ve been able to keep most of it as it was.

Even after years of working with these characters, they still surprise me sometimes.  In this scene, Erik and Meg have the kind of argument that starts about one thing and turns into something else, and probably is really about a third thing entirely.  The funny part is, I don’t think I properly realized until I revised it this week that it’s actually about trust.  At least, that’s a bigger part of it than I realized–along with two or three other things!

As I reworked the scene, some of the original lines of dialogue just didn’t ring right anymore…and pretty soon Meg was coming out with new things I hadn’t quite known frustrated her.

Erik, obviously, was even more unaware than I was.

Here’s an excerpt. 🙂


“Did you trust Christine?”  I demanded, a question I had never dared even think let alone ask, but that I had always, always wanted to know.  “More than you trust me?  Because you obviously don’t trust me.  Not enough to tell me your plan when the mob was coming, or to tell me you were still alive, or to believe the best of me when you overheard something that sounded bad.  You’ve never even told me what happened when Christine left, and I trust you enough to ignore all the stories saying you killed her!”

“Stop saying her name!”

That was the important part in what I had said?  That was the only part he heard?  Anger that had started red hot had turned into a cold fury that was even harder to control.  “I am not Christine,” I said, my voice seeming to come from outside of myself, even and steady.  “I don’t sing like Christine, and I’m not as beautiful as Christine, and I would never betray you like Christine.”