Writing Wednesday 5 -- Still Rough Waters Ahead

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3 Chiming In
Now that I've shown you the "rough" draft, I'm going to show you the ...er... other rough draft. This is the part where I take the scripted version and translate that into prose. The setting and notes from the script become cues to frame what's going on in the actual story. What this usually results in is an action-heavy, introspection-light draft that requires emotional filler.

(Those emotional or introspective parts are like the "contemplative opening" note from the script pages I posted last week. They get a lot of fleshing out in the draft stage.)

I used the script I showed you last week to come up with the following six pages, only to realize at the end that I've written them in 1st (because it makes the introspection easier to me) and the story can't be in 1st. There are some "really big" moments that the MC isn't going to be privy to on a first hand basis. I'm going to have to rewrite it in 3rd person, but that's what second drafts are for. 

So here's DARK WATER chapter 1, but unedited, so don't be surprised to see mistakes in spelling, grammar, tense, or anything else. Read it, if you're so inclined, and drop me a line in the comments if you've go questions or comments.

I was born the first daughter of a first daughter of a first daughter, all the way back for seven generations. When I small, my mother said this made me lucky, but also unfortunate, as the Groundling world resented mortal luck, and did their best to countermand it.
Once, a wicked elf snuck into our house to chew through the power lines, so we had no lights. The Queen of Winter bade her minions fill our gas lines with icicles, so the frost stole through our rooms instead of heat. Changeling beasts arrived at night to devour the food from our cupboards and fridge, leaving them always empty. And a dark enchantment afflicted my clothes, so they always appeared worn and thin. Sometimes, even new things arrived in my closet with others’ names scrawled across the collars and waistbands, but my mother said this was simply a trick of the Groundling world – a fairy creature grown so bold he it was unafraid to sign its mischief.
And so for me, every shadow came with the threat of snatching hands, waiting for the opportunity to drag me away, as Groundlings are known to do with the children they covet. I was sure my mother expected this to happen any day – why else were there so many locks on every door and window? Why would we leave in the middle of the night and live out of our car until it was safe to find a new place to live. Why was my mother so insistent that the kind teacher who kept asking about my life at home was actually a troll planning to gobble me up – not to be trusted?
Eventually, I was old enough to understand her stories for what they were – attempts to hide the fact that she couldn’t afford to pay our bills. I stopped believing, but my mother never stopped telling tales. She still heard the scratch of rats in the wall and called them goblins. Branches scraping the windows in a storm were monstrous fingers tapping to be let inside. Howling wind was the cry of a ghost who’d lost its way between life and death, and the dogs who patrolled our trash bins at night were transformed guardians sent to keep us safe.
All those born of royal blood had guardians, you see, and my mother made it very clear that I was a princess merely hiding in my hand-me-downs. My father lived far away in a castle, but one day, he would come and take us both home.
That one turned out to be partially true.
My father does live far away, and I am going to live with him, but there aren’t any castles involved, and I doubt his house will ever feel much like home. Assuming he even gets here to pick me up. The train was late, and I’m still waiting.
People are starting to stare – my fault, I guess. When I put on my school uniform this morning, it was simple convenience. St. Paul’s emerald green plaid was clean, and it’s the best thing I own, which is supposedly important for taking long trips with people who will never set eyes on me again. Stepping onto the platform here, my skirt and blazer felt like armor, as though I was wrapping myself in my old life to protect myself from the unknown of a new one, but the longer I stand here, the more tarnished I get.
A couple of guys crack a joke just far enough out of earshot that I can’t hear it, but they laugh, and I know it’s directed at me… either that or my mother’s paranoia is rubbing off. Not the best place to let my mind wander. They say that stuff’s hereditary, and that it usually kicks in around a person’s late-twenties or early-thirties. If that’s true, I’m already middle aged.
I’m also fairly certain I look like the orphan child out of some kid’s story. Is it possible to be an orphan when both parents are still alive? If not, it’s at least possible to feel lost and alone.
Maybe I have no sense of direction – it’s possible I got that from my father, assuming he’s the guy in blue jeans making his way up the platform, glancing at the face of each girl roughly my age. When he finally catches my eye, he actually looks relieved.
I was expecting “trapped,” to be honest.
“London?” he asks, jogging over.
I nod.
He doesn’t sound like me or my mother. His accent’s different, twisting the words in his mouth so that they sound like a foreign language spoken in English.
“I’m your… I mean, you don’t have to call me… if it’s awkward, or if you’d rather, you can call me Adam.”
I nod again, tightening my grip on my bag when he reaches for it. Armor – tarnished or not – isn’t much good without a shield.
He straightens up, acts as though he’s going to guide me down the platform with an arm around my shoulders, but I pull back from that, too. I’m not sure if it’s an automatic thing on his part, or if it’s some sort of latent “dad” thing, protecting his kid, or a means of control, or what, and experience tells me that things I’m not sure of are best left on the outside where they can be observed. He still doesn’t look trapped, but frustration and disappointment are setting into his features.
“The car’s this way,” he says, and sticks his hands in his pockets.
I follow when he walks away. I’m a full stride in when I remember this is something I’ve always promised myself I wouldn’t do.
“I got some news on your mom,” he says. “She’s stable.” There’s a bit of a pause or a stumble over that part. It may be him taking a breath, but no one’s going to fault him if it’s not. “Stable” is overstating things. “They’ve flushed her system, but say it’ll be a few days before she’s able to talk, and there’s a mandatory-”
“Seventy-two hour hold, without communication. I know,” I finish for him. I don’t need the primer; I already know the basics.
There’s a small hitch in his stride before he shakes his head.
“I don’t know if I should be impressed that you’re so calm, or horrified that this has apparently happened enough that it’s routine. How many times has she tried to kill herself?’
“This is the first one in a couple of years.”
And the one before that wasn’t a real attempt. She was trying to distract the Groundlings. The doctors didn’t buy it; they just upped her dosage.
“She’s fine when she’s on her meds, but if she forgets a pill, she’ll usually forget the next one, and the one after that, and then the symptoms come back and she convinces herself she doesn’t need them at all.” I grip the handle of my bag tighter, trying not to tear up. “I check to make sure she’s taking them, but I was at a friend’s house for the weekend, and I didn’t think she’d… not in two days.”
“Hey-” He goes full stop – I guess that means he can tell I’m crying. He slides my bag out of my hands, and tries to tip my face up, but it’s not going to happen. I’ve known him five minutes; he doesn’t get to see me cry. “Hey – listen to me. This is not your fault. It’s not even your mom’s fault.”
I’m not so sure. She probably thought she was doing me a favor; that’s why she waited until I was out of the house. If she was off her meds, she’d think she was making sure I never had to deal with her or the Groundling world again.
“You did not do anything wrong, London,” he says, and tries a hug. It’s awkward, and quick, and not tight, but still a nice gesture – assuming he means it. I shrug a little, and he lets go. “I wish she’d sent you out here sooner. This is more worry than a kid needs to shoulder. It can’t be good for you… I’m sorry.”
He stands still, waiting for me to decide we’ve been here long enough. By now, my armored uniform has turned back into cotton.
“Which one’s yours?” I ask, glancing at the parking lot.
It’s best to change the subject quickly when people apologize for things they can’t control or change. Nothing but misplaced guilt, and I’ve heard it before from people who assume my mother is a cause no longer worth fighting for. They’re usually less sorry that she’s suicidal that they are sorry for leaving me with her and not really wanting to get involved so she can’t become their burden, too.
We start walking toward the cars, but he doesn’t give the bag back.
“Is it always so bright here?” I ask as we step out of the building’s shadow and into the full sunlight of a southern autumn afternoon. Aside from the people in business suits, most everyone is in T-shirts or shorts, and wearing sandals.
“Pretty much,” he says, then stops, suddenly staring up the way people do when they’ve remembered something important at a bad time. “I got all the way out here and didn’t ask you where the rest of your bags are. I’ll go and see if-”
“There aren’t anymore.”
Now he looks confused, maybe apologetic.
“London, I don’t know what they told you, but you’re going to be here for a while. Your aunt said she was packing everything.”
“She did.”
“Did you not like the things I sent? Your mom’s never said anything. I would have found something else, or sent a gift card, or-”
“I never got any clothes.”
I haven’t even seen any clothes, but it’s not a surprise. My mother hardly ever passes things along that he sends, even though she usually lets me see what they are. If we take the things he sends, she says, he might believe that’s enough, and one of her rules is that we don’t want things, we want him.
I slide into the passenger seat and reach for my belt.
“You and Shae can go shopping tomorrow. I know you probably have your own license, but I’d rather you not drive on your own until you’re used to the roads – it’s not like a city down here, and they aren’t all paved. I’ll have to call the DMV to check on getting you an in-state ID, too.”
“Who’s Shae?” I ask.
My step-
Nope, can’t say it. The step’s name is Stephanie. If I call her step, I can pretend it’s a nickname.
“My daughter – your sister,” he says.
“Oh. Mom said her name was Brooklyn.”
After all, that’s why I’m London – it makes us both bridges, so we match. It makes sense to my mother.
“That’s where she was born, but her name’s Shaelyn. Shaelyn Selby Caffrey.”
Great. I’m London Selby Caffrey. I guess my mother got one right.
“She wanted to come, but Stephanie thought it might be easier if everyone didn’t mob you on the platform. If Shae had come, there would have been no way to keep Maisie out of the car, and then there would have been no way to keep her out of your hair.”
He stops talking, and I don’t bother to start. I’m more interested in watching out the window, trying to get a feel for how life works after it’s been turned upside down and inside out. That way, I might be able to figure out how to hang on for the ride.

So, there seem to be some questions...

Friday, January 25, 2013

3 Chiming In
... and luckily I have answers.

Yes, lame intros are my specialty - I'm thinking of trademarking them.

ARC's are done and shiny for ARCLIGHT (ARC//ARClight, you don't think this is coincidence, do you?) and the cover's been getting some attention, but it's also generated some questions. So, to that end:


It's my book, didn't we cover this like two years ago?

Oh... that's... not... what... you .. meant...er...
(how embarrassing)

The Arclight is both a place and a thing, and most importantly, it's the major setting of the novel. (And, for those of you in larger cities, no - that setting is not a movie theater.)

Arclight: the novel, is a bit of sci-fi, with some thriller and mystery thrown in. It is, in places, dark and scary and sad and funny, and there's pie. Okay, not pie exactly, but there's cobbler. You like cobbler, don't you? We have cherry and apple, and you're welcome to a slice, but you should be aware that it's vitamin enhanced and likely tastes like Flinstone vitamin grape.

The other question has led to some interesting speculation on my Free Stuff post, so I'll address a bit of it here.

What are the FADE?

Well, the short answer is -- I can't tell you. It's a rather major spoiler, but going through the list of possibilities you guys have come up with, I can weed a few things out.

The Fade are not any of the usual supernatural thingies, so ditch the idea of:
  • vampires
  • were-critters
  • demons
  • ghosts
  • zombies or
  • shadow drinkers (though that's a freakin' cool idea...) 

And that's about all I can say without going into details I don't want to share before the book comes out.

Writing Wednesday 4: The Leg Bone's Connected to the Rough Draft

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 Chiming In
Rough draft -- the part of writing where you get to make all of the mistakes you want, and a few you didn't even realize were there.

Everyone has their own method for doing this step. Some will outline compulsively, refusing to start the "real" writing stages until the outlines are finished, spell-checked, waterproofed, and hermetically sealed in carbonite to give Han Solo some nice reading material for the flight. I am not one of those people. I tend to write in chunks, so I'm going to go ahead and do some rough work on the beginning of Dark Water. (Again, this may not actually end up as the beginning when things are finished. It's the grand irony of writing a novel that you don't actually know where a journey begins until you're looking back at it from the end.)

My rough drafts / outlines also differ in one other very key way -- they aren't prose.

No, I don't mean that I write novels in verse (though, hats off to anyone who can manage to do that); I mean that my rough drafts aren't novels at all. They're (really lousy) screenplays. I use screenwriting software to block scenes, so that you basically get a slugline (the thing at the top that tells you the setting and time) and a lot of dialog with a few visual, sound or action cues. It helps make the dialog flow, but it makes for a really bad novel read.

Coincidentally, it's also a bad screenplay read. If some internal dialog or introspective emotion cue pops up while writing out this stage of the novel, I'll go ahead and write it in like it was action. (big no-no for script writing).

When I'm done, I end up with page after page of something that looks like this:

I usually go on like this for a few scenes, or until I hit a wall I have to figure out how to bust through, but eventually I'll get several chapters confined to 20 or so pages like the one above. When fleshed out, those 20 pages can easily become 50-60. (I averaged it once, and it came to almost 3 novel pages / script page, except for the sections that remained mostly dialogue. That's nearly dead-on perfect as most 300+ page books will end up as 110 page scripts.)

I find there's actually a benefit in doing things this way. It gives you an external perspective that's hard to reach if you're writing in a close POV like first, or even more so - first present. It forces you to get out of the main character's head and figure out what's going on concerning the actual scenery. This step is also a good place to start thinking about the final POV for your novel. Try writing 1-3 pages in different POV's to see which works best. If almost every scene is about your MC, then 1st can work, but if s/he will be absent for some "really big things," leaving no recourse but to have those things told to him/her, then you might consider alternating POV's or using 3rd omni.

That's all for this week. As always, comments are open for questions or anything else you'd like to say, as long as it's not spam.

Finalized book cover and A WINNER!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

4 Chiming In

I got another surprise package in the mail -- this one containing the finalized cover for ARCLIGHT! I tried to get a decent picture, so you could see the flaps, but they're so shiny it's difficult to get a clear shot without reflections.

As you can see, it's the same image, but the tagline has changed, and there's some cool stuff for the inner flaps on front and back.

Now, for the winner of the Arclight ARC.

I ended up with 58 comments, so I plugged that into the random number generator, and the winner was #12.


maggieflynn49 !!!!

Use the contact me button on the right column to shoot me an email with your mailing address and I'll get your book in the mail.

This won't be the only giveaway I do with the ARCs I received, but I'm not sure when the next one will be.

Thanks guy :-)

MORE shameless self promotion

Thursday, January 17, 2013

4 Chiming In
Now with added stalker-girls!



Right now, it's only the hardcover, as we're too many months out from the book release for the e-book to be listed, but IT'S THERE!!!


Writing Wednesday 3 - Brainstorming part 2

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

7 Chiming In

Here's where things get a bit more coherent. It's time to clean up the messy bits and get them organized, so lets break out the cork boards!

If you use Scrivner, then you're used to used to the cork board function being integrated into the program, which is a pretty nifty feature. Unfortunately, if you're like me and your eyes work better when they're presented with non-white backgrounds, then it's a bit more difficult. My color-coded cork board isn't nearly as intuitive as the one with Scrivner, but it lets me get things in order so that I can use the main program more effectively. I'll show you my "Post-It Digital" notes board this time, but may switch to Scrivner later.

Here's the board for the characters I have so far, with their names and attributes.

All of the main characters are there: London, her sister Shae, the two guys which do not a triangle make: Levi and Tavian (previously called Shawn, but that was too close to Shae), etc. "Living Furniture" characters don't really need to be on the board yet, as they're filler and atmosphere more than intrinsic to the plot.

And here's the board for the beginning of the story, taking London from her old life to her new one.

There are sub-notes that add details like the fact that London, while understandably uncomfortable, takes things to the extreme by putting down handkerchiefs or paper towels before she sits on anything (due to how her mother spoke about dad's other family). And that while, also understandably uncomfortable, dad and stepmom make some extreme mistakes, like assuming that London's not eating because she's pouting, when she's actually allergic to what was made for dinner.

Those details are the keys to character and atmosphere. You keep adding them until your characters are real enough that you could believe their lives are actually going on somewhere out in the real world. Determine their likes and dislikes. Give them allergies and phobias. Make them irrationally irritated by people who wear leggings, or give them aspirations that all common sense says are impossible. Give them the tenacity to make the impossible happen, or make them crumble at the sight of the first obstacle while it's still miles off in the distance.

Hopefully, when you're done hanging all of the extra dressing on your characters, you'll have something less like hand-puppets and more like actors in a stage play with you as the director. The next step is to create a rough draft of the beginning, so you want to be working with something as close to a final character as possible. But, that doesn't mean that you can't discover new attributes about your characters along the way.

That's about it for this installment. I'll have more next week.


Friday, January 11, 2013

75 Chiming In
 Yes, it requires an ALL CAPS title, because as I was sitting at my kitchen table, typing away, the Fuzzball of Doom alerted me that the mail carrier was at the front door. (Don't be too impressed, she's been telling me the mail carrier was in the garage all day, and was right exactly zero times.)

Despite FoD's track record, went to the front door, and there was this:


Which had been left, not by the mail carrier, but by someone from UPS who was smart enough not to ring the bell and upset FoD - which is always annoying for everyone in earshot.

So I brought it inside and set it on the doily table (There's supposed to be a lamp there, but someone may have accidentally knocked it off and broken it, but then cleverly hidden it by putting a doily on the table. Also, "doily" is a weird word, just sayin'.)

And what's inside this box, you might ask? (Or should I say, "better ask, if you want free stuff"?)

Oh look! Bright shiny books with my title on them, which is to say, I HAVE ARC'S FOR ARCLIGHT!!! I wasn't expecting the ARCs to be embossed or to have the prismatic effect of the hardback, but guys...GUYS... they're sooooooooooooo shiny!

Anybody want one?

If so, just comment below and tell me what *you* think the Fade (the villains of Arclight) are just based on their name and the Amazon blurb:

The Arclight is the last refuge in a post-apocalyptic world consumed by terrifying monsters called the Fade. No one crosses the wall of light that keeps the last human survivors safe. There's nothing else left and nowhere to go. Or so they thought, until Marina, a lone teenage girl, stumbles out of the Dark. 

Marina doesn't remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. And the Fade want her back. When one of them infiltrates the compound and recognizes Marina, she begins to unlock secrets she didn't even know she had. Marina knows she's an outsider in the Arclight, but she'll do anything to protect those who saved her. Whether they want her help or not.

In a week or so I'll pull a number out of a randomizer and the corresponding comment will win.

And (since I've already fessed up to being a greedy, greedy writer-person in search of more attention) I'd appreciate your spreading the word via Twitter, Facebook, hand signals, whatever.

Writing Wednesday 2 -- Brainstorming part 1

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3 Chiming In
It's Wednesday again - YAY!

(You could at least pretend to humor me and cheer a little.)

To start off, I'll show you my two favorite covers from the ones I posted last week. Both of the girls in these mock-ups have the most expressive faces. There's a lost, haunted quality to both of them that fits the book's atmosphere really well.

(images removed for now)

 I think the first one blends a bit better, and it's the "official" fake cover, but they're both great representations of the MC.

So, last week left us with a title - DARK WATER - and presumably an idea to go with it. Ideas are good, yes?

Yes. Yes, they are. They're the building blocks of novel writing, but slow down, Sunshine; an idea isn't enough. When you get an idea for a story, what you've usually got is a premise, and a premise is not a plot. Plot is what you need because it's what your characters actually experience and accomplish.

Look at it like this:

Premise -- Young boy goes to boarding school to escape his dreary life.
Plot -- Young boy discovers he's a wizard, and goes to boarding school to learn magic so that he can defeat the evil wizard who killed his parents.

When you get your idea - your premise - then you have to start filling in the plot. And the first thing you need is an inciting incident.

I'll start with something simplistic: A teenage girl must now live with the father she's never known.

This will be the catalyst for Dark Water. Tons of stories start with this premise to get their heroines in action, and to get them on location. What you want to do is take that basic idea and expand it with details that aren't like the other versions. And I'll warn you -- this is the part of "writing" that makes people wonder if you're actually doing anything "important" because this is the part where you look like you're goofing off.

Go ahead and daydream. Stare into space and try to picture what's going on with your characters. Give them names and see if personalities emerge to match. And never fear looking silly or getting messy because sometimes that's what it takes. When you're talking about a career path that involves playing make-believe, it's going to involve a bit of immaturity. Don't be afraid to drag out markers, crayons, or anything else that helps you get what's going on in your head onto a piece of paper or into your computer.

Brainstorming can be messy, and that's fine. We'll clean things up in part 2.

To flesh out the premise, you'll need to know the hows and the whys and whats.

  • WHY is the girl going to live with her father?
  • WHY has she never known him?
  • WHY now?
  • HOW is going to get there? 
  • HOW does she feel about this move?
  • WHAT happened to her mom?
  • WHAT is she going to do when she finds out she has to move?
  • And, also WHAT is her name?

Keep going with the questions until you have a solid grasp of your character's immediate state of being at the start of your story. (And, sadly, be prepared for 90% of what you come up with NOT to make it into the final cut.) Beginnings are generally not so much difficult as they are tricky. You have to determine the line between what you need to know as the writer and what the reader needs to know to understand the story. Draw that line and cut everything that falls below it.

Here's my version:

(I told you my brain was chaotic, did I not?)

I'll clean it up next week, in the Brainstorming part 2 post where I break out the digital cork board, but this is the raw data.

Basically, since there's no way you can read that, here's what I've come up with:
  • The MC's name is London, and there's a reason for this. (You don't have to have reasons for the names you choose, and most of the time you won't, but it's actually a detail worth mentioning this time.)
  • London is going to live with Dad because something has happened to her mom (I'm leaning toward forced medical care due to long term mental illness. It's not gratuitous handling of the subject matter, nor is it done without experience. I don't want her mom dead, and I want the MC to have reason to doubt her own perception of things when her world dips into the fantastic/paranormal.).
  • London isn't exactly happy with the situation because Dad has another family - complete with a daughter 3 months older than London. No matter how you do the math on that one, Dad was a bad, bad  boy when he was younger. It's also not a situation I remember reading before.
  • Emotion-wise, she feels lost, powerless, out of place, and betrayed, like she's being swept away with nothing to hold on to. (and no, that's not where the title comes from). She's also harboring fears that her mother's illness is a genetic time bomb waiting to go off in her own DNA.
  • And finally, the move isn't just out of her house, but out of her neighborhood, city, school, and even state. Dad doesn't live close by, so it means a train ride. For London this makes it worse, as the only trains near where she lives haul things like coal and garbage meant for a smelting plant, so she equates trains with shipping off cargo for disposal.
I'll stop here for the week. I know I tend to ramble, and I don't want these posts to get ridiculously long.

Writing Wednesday 1 - Choosing the Idea

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

5 Chiming In

For the purpose of this feature, I'm inviting you into my brain. Sorry it's a little squishy, but pull up a neuron or two and make yourself at home. (If you hear voices, don't worry, it's just a territorial dispute between characters all vying for my attention. If you ignore them; they'll ignore you. And if worse comes to worse, there's a bunker in the frontal lobe wedged between some short term memories and the part of my personality that doesn't get let out to play very often.)

Yes, I'm weird. Deal with it.

Let's get this out of the way up front - I am really - really - bad at explaining things. Sometimes the methods that make sense to me are absolute chaos to those who do not inhabit my head-space. But... I'm going to try. I'm going to attempt to go through my "process" step-by-step to show you how I write the things I write. Maybe it'll work for you; maybe it won't, but there will be charts. There will be illustrations. (There may be funny hats!) If you want clarification on something, then ask and I'll do my best to rephrase it.

First up: The basics. What shall we write?

I write MG (middle grade) and YA (Young Adult) fiction - pretty simple, right? Only one of two choices to be made.

I'll zoom in on the YA side to pluck out an idea, which is where things are about to get complicated.

I don't get "ideas." I get blasts of synaptic fireworks that download fully formed universes into my imagination, and those universes run parallel and concurrently, so that  more often than not, I'm manipulating more than one storyline at a time.  Don't believe me? The chart below is a graphic representation of my current Young Adult folder.(Never mind that PREMEDITATED is now a closed file.)

If you could zoom in on my Middle Grade side instead of YA, you'd see something similar, and these titles encompass everything from Contemporary to High Fantasy and Sci-Fi, to Thriller.

Still with me? Great.

Now I'll zoom in one more time, and I can show you this:

This is what each of those small dots representing a series looks like. Multiple books all centered around a common theme, with additional material like backstories or short stories, and then the tidbits that are important only to the series' creator and will never make it into anything that's published.

When I say "idea", this is what it looks like to me.

All of those dots are in constant motion bumping off and pulling against each other like sub-atomic particles. A choice made in one story will invariably find itself reversed in another. Door A will become Door B or a yes will become a no, because "the road not traveled" will always spawn its own journey that must be taken. It can take a while to sort the information, but for me, it's not as much about creation as it is discovery of something that already exists.

I have no intention of overwhelming you with dots or spots or anything of the sort, so for WRITING WEDNESDAYS, we're going to focus on just one. This one:

Which, is also represented by these images / mock book covers, because one of the first things I do when cooking up a new novel is name it find a way to represent it graphically. (And if there is any chance at all that you might be making your own covers in the near or distant future, you might look into a subscription to a royalty-free stock art site. If that's not a viable option, then hop onto Deviant Art and type in "stock art," which will take you to a list of zip folders you can usually (check the guidelines attached, if the artist has included them) use with attribution.):

(images removed for now)

I know all of the young ladies on them look different, but at this point, mood is more important than physical appearance. I'm also curious to see which of the four ya'll like best. I wonder if it matches up with my favorite. Drop me a line in the comments, if you have a preference. Ditto that if you have any guesses as to what the book's about based solely on these images and the title.

This post is getting longer than I intended, so the next part can wait until next week. Go grab an umbrella and dig out your puddle jumpers, because when Wednesday rolls around again, we're going to go BRAINSTORMING!!!

And feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

A New Thing for a New Year

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

7 Chiming In

It's a new year - YAY!

Specifically, it's the year my books are hitting shelves - DOUBLE YAY!

I'm kicking Blogger the Terrible out of my house, and resolving to (try) to make more regular posts. One - because I am a greedy, greedy blogger-writer and I want followers. Lots of followers. And no one follows blogs that don't get updated. Two - I've always enjoyed reading the blogs of writers I like, and as I hope to be a liked writer, I should probably spruce the place up a bit.

I'll be doing ARCLIGHT and PREMEDITATED related posts as it gets closer to publication time for them, but for now, I'm going to start a new feature here on Wednesdays. WRITING WEDNESDAYS, in theory, will go through the process of writing a novel - from idea to actual writing. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up, but we'll see how much interest it draws.

(The example novel in question will not be related to either of the books actually being published this year.)

I'm not sure what other features I can do - maybe I'll resurrect the ABC's  - but I'll be trying to think of things. (And, of course, there will be ARC giveaways when I'm able to do them.)

Happy New Year, and I hope to see everyone around here!