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01/29/2009 Part 2

Most of the night was spent working on my Drollerie Press blog tour post.  I wanted to show why I call this blog “dreaming in rhyme” — but I wasn’t feeling particularly poetic. 

My favorite thing to do is parody.  Take a famous poem, song, even a Bible passage, and change it into something else (like Story Genesis, which I’m going to have to repost since it’s currently gone after the domain transfer last fall).  Yet tonight, I couldn’t find the RIGHT poem to warp.

I turned to Gregar, my wicked Shadowed Blood Muse, but he was no help at all.  Poetry, after all, is Conn’s area of expertise.  He reminded me of a particularly smoldering rendition of “She walks in beauty like the night,” and viola, I had my poem to warp into a “bio” or introduction.  It should go up 1/31/2009.  I’ll post a link here when it’s up.

I also typed in hardcopy edits in NSR through Chapter Six while watching Tivo’d Hell’s Kitchen and American Idol.  Not sure how many pages that is, exactly, since I printed it single-space to save paper.  Still have a good 40 pages or so to input.

I also revised the page navigation on the website slightly, consolidating the multiple “Series” pages into a single Bookshelf page.  I needed to make room!  Let’s see, I have the Connaghers (don’t know if that’s the “series” name, exactly, but it was a starting point).  As soon as I finish Revision Xibalba, I’ll have a Maya series.  Then there’s the new 7Crows world I’m building.  I can’t have a tab in the navigation for each or it’ll get too cluttered.  I hate putzing around with html tables, though.  I’m never happy with the end result, but the Bookshelf page will do for now.

I’m dreading the Evil Day Job tomorrow.   Loooooong phone meeting.  I’ll be taking Aleve beforehand to help mitigate the headache of straining to listen and track voices of a rather large group (some strangers, so I won’t be able to recognize their voices as easily) through up to six hours of discussion. 

Oh, and if possible, I have a COLD.  Yes, I just finished antibiotics for bronchitis, and now the right side of my nose is like concrete and I’m sneezing my ass off!  I tried Bethanie’s suggestion of Airborne, and promptly gave myself a mouthful of canker sores (not kidding, 5 on my bottom lip alone) from the high vitamin C dose.  Sigh.  I guess I’ll have to do it every other day or so until my body gets used to it.  Off to blow my nose and early bed to make up for staying up until after 1 AM last night.

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Sorry, I ended up getting absorbed in reading an old work last night, and stayed up waaaaay too late.  It’s a pleasure to read something from last year that I’ve written, and I have no desire to change yet.  Usually I want to grab the red pen and shift sentences around, eliminate words, etc. but I didn’t feel that urge.  I’m sure I’ll feel differently once the editor gets ahold of it.  :wink:


On the other hand, I did do some heavy editing earlier, both yesterday before work and early evening after dinner.  I printed out the 52+K version of NSR and made an entire hardcopy pass.  I’ve got half of those edits made back in the main file.  It was a good opportunity for me to put the threads all back in my head.  Sometimes, I can’t see the big picture like I need to.  I can’t see if I’m using too much green, or not enough orange, or if the red has been entirely forgotten for 50+ pages.  I’m very pleased with this revision so far.  It’s tight, the plots weave well, and I left myself itching to hurry up with the next scene already, which is a good thing.

I still need to write something for the Drollerie Press blog tour 1/31.  I haven’t been inspired yet.  Part of me thinks I should use the opportunity to “dream in rhyme” but the right poem hasn’t hit me yet.  I don’t know whether to do a parody, or a hidey-hidey-ho song, or what.  We’ll see what I come up with.  I’m running out of time!

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And great rejoicing was heard all across the land! 

At least here in the house when I *finally* finished the scene from Xibalba.  Gah.  I think those were the hardest 1,158 words in the entire story, and I still have no idea why.  Maybe it’s because this scene acts as a wheel hub.  It brings in one new sub-thread that wasn’t there before, and must spin it into something new with the old thread that’s still there.

In the end, it was like making gold from hay. 

Anyway, moving on, the next scene is existing and only required editing, with some shifting around of chess pieces on the board.  The last line in that scene is a killer, and new, so I’m rather pleased with it.

  1. A whopping 602 words to finish off that new scene.  FINALLY!
  2. Revisions to 1,230 words.  I’d better pick up the pace in a hurry–I’m waaay behind for the week.
  3. Still need to write up something for the blog tour on 1/31.  I wrote a poem but it was stupid.  Need more thinking.


“Where is [the White Dagger]?”

Ruin shook his head mutely. 

She cupped his cheek, her fingers gentle on his face, and she might as well have reached her hand into his chest and stroked his heart.  His gaze locked on her smooth, dark cacao eyes.  “You can trust me with this knowledge.”

Could he?  Staring into her eyes, he wanted to trust her.  Every bone in his body ached to believe in her. 

Jaid nibbled her lip in thought, her hand still on his face, and every muscle in his body tightened with longing, shocking him.  He had not felt such fierce desire for a woman since…

Since his brother had wed the woman he loved, forcing Ruin to watch her as the powerful but unloved Queen until she died in childbirth.

Jaid’s muscles tensed sharply, and then she relaxed so fully she leaned against him as though her knees couldn’t hold her weight.  Her eyes met his and he saw the knowledge gleaming in those depths.  Ah, what a delight this woman proved to be when she contemplated a puzzle.  Gently, he placed his finger across her lips and willed his eyes to speak.

Don’t say it.  Then I won’t have to silence you.

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Firefly to the Rescue

I took a sick day and just bummed and rested.  At last, I watched discs 1-3 of Firefly.  I know, just a few years too late.  I have 1 more disc and then I’m going to watch Serenity the movie, which I’ve been saving until I watch all the episodes.

So far, my favorite is Out of Gas.  But War Stories is a close second.

Oh, I did think about writing, but I’ve got two major problems, one in each story.  Problems I haven’t plotted my way out of yet.  I think I may have to backtrack in NSR a little; I can’t figure out where the best place to start 7Crows is, neither.  So I doodled off and on today, thinking, stewing, and I still don’t know.  I guess I’ll just have to sleep on it. 

With NSR, the problem is:  I have a “dead” shapeshifter who’s recovering, locked in a cell with two women, one of whom has no idea what he is and can do.  The room is wired and heavily monitored by guards.  Now I’ve got to figure out how he “wakes up” without bringing all the guards down on them immediately.  I think I need to get Jaid out of the room first.  Hmm.

7Crows, I plotted out a bunch of stuff tonight, but my gut says it’s all backstory.  There’s no core conflict in it.  But I don’t know enough about what happens later to decide if there’s enough story AFTER a certain point, neither.  So I just keep plodding away through all this stuff I’m pretty sure happens, and trust that eventually I’ll know where I’m supposed to land.  Did come up with an interesting idea today.

Falling is just one flap away from flying.

Sounds like something I should remember in this writing gig, huh?

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I do like Debra Dixon’s GCM method, but it’s not quite enough for me.  Tonight, I think I found the perfect mix.  Referring back to the Emotional Toolbox, I have a notebook page for each character that looks something like this:

Character Name

  • External Goal:
  • External Motivation:
  • External Conflict:
  • Internal Goal:
  • Internal Motivation:
  • Internal Conflict:
  • Fear, which ties directly to the internal GMC.
  • Mask, which is displayed in the external GCM.

I know how the heroine will answer the hero’s fear and force him to yank aside his mask, and vice versa.  Even better, the hero in Seven Crows will be forced to do that which he abhors the most in order to achieve his external goals, at least initially.  Morghan’s (still playing with her name:  Morgan, Morganna, and now Morghan, not sure what I’ll settle on yet) fear/goal, now that I look at it, isn’t quite as strong.  So I’ll think on it and see if I can make something even worse.

To give every supporting character his/her own story, I’ll also take a day or so and jot down GMC for at least two other characters, the Queen and the hero’s best friend.  Perhaps the heroine’s father, too.  Although he won’t be on page at all, he’s very instrumental in setting her goals for this story.

Next:  plotting.  I already have several pages of possibilities jotted as I brainstormed backgrounds.  I’m guessing I need about 20 sections, but I won’t have a good feel for individual section length until I begin writing.  A typical section for me is usually between 4-6 pages, so 20 sections is right for word count.  The POV may end up being first person.  Not sure yet, but I think the hero’s SECRETS will come out better if Morghan–and the reader–are both in the dark.

NSR:  2099 words, all brand spanking new except for maybe a paragraph or two pasted in from the first draft.  The new stuff is happening right at the midpoint of the novel, allowing me to not only worsen things for Jaid all around, but also giving me time to get the two new story threads in the States closer to convergence.  I also went back and dropped a few other little touches that needed supporting evidence earlier in the story (not included in today’s word count).

I’m really liking Jaid a lot.  She’s not the typical kickass sort of heroine so typical in contemporary/urban fantasy.  She’s smart and gutsy, but the worst physical violence she might do is throw a massive tome at a bad guy’s head.

Snippet:  truly first draft.  Knightley is a shady mercenary acting as a “guard” at the compound; Dr. Reyes is from the Popol Vuh Museum in Antigua; Jaid and Ruin I’ve already mentioned.  Some very bad things have happened in the peaceful little town of Santiago Atitlan, and Jaid finds herself trapped between very unhappy Guatemalan officials and the unknown “Venus Star” corporation.

“Sorry, Doc.” 

Still gulping air, Jaid raised her head and stared at Knightley.  He touched a Bluetooth headset at his ear and leveled his weapon at her.  “I’ve got orders to take over this interrogation.”

“You can’t do that!”  Reyes surged to his feet.  The weapon swung over at him and he froze.  “I’m here on behalf of the Guatemalan government.  If you refuse my authority, we will kick you out of our country faster than–”

Reyes’ eyes flared.  Jaid realized the comforting hand had left her back.  She jerked her head around, searching for Ruin.

Silent and swift, he rushed the guard.  Casually, Knightly whipped the gun toward him and fired.

She cried out, clamping her hands over ears, but there was no retort.  The barely audible pop sounded like a party favor.  Ruin went down like an elephant tagged by a high-powered rifle, though, instantly dropped in his tracks.  He crashed into a table that shattered beneath his weight, slinging glass, fresh-cut flowers, and splinters flying.

Crying, Jaid stood to go to him, but the gun pointed back at her.  Ruin gave one last twitch and went still.  He was obviously dead:  the back of his head had been blown away.  She didn’t try to stop the acid boiling up her throat; instead, she aimed it at the guard’s legs.

“Son of a bitch,” Knightley growled.  He cocked his arm back and the butt of his gun slammed into her head.

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I had big results on NSR this morning and lunch, which is really good because the next few sections are going to be BRAND NEW.  *groans*  Cut, paste, and polish is ever so much easier.

  • NSR:  3548 words in revision.
  • SFR:  tons of research tonight, trying to figure out the hero.  No wonder I had problems; I had him allllll wrong.  Turns out I should have cast him as Ken Watanabe.  This image (ETA:  broke old link; try this one instead) is PERFECT, even down to his clothes, although I won’t be using the geisha aspect at all.   
  • SFR:  Then I spent all night sorting through the various dynasties of China until I finally found inspiration in Empress Wu.  From there, the pieces I needed for the hero fell into place.  He’s not based on a real person, exactly, but I found Li Xian’s story very intriguing.  From there, I did a little more research on the Imperial Dragon and the Forbidden City (although it wasn’t built until the Ming Dynasty).
  • SFR:  So then I had a good idea of the hero’s background.  But what were his GOALS and specifically, how did that mess up the heroine’s?  I already had her nailed pretty well, and while I love the world and her story, it wasn’t a romance.  Not yet.  So then I did some doodling on paper and “worst case” scenarios until again, the pieces finally fell into place.  I’m still working through his backstory, but I think I have almost enough to begin plotting the main story!  The hardest part will be deciding where to start.  I have a very clear image in my head of an opening scene that is dramatic and kickass from the start — but I don’t know if it’s truly the right starting place.  The heroine and hero would have already met beforehand, and I don’t like to treat all that like history or flashback.  *shudder*  But I’m also targeting this first story in the world shorter, say 20-30K, so having the first meet over and done with might give me more room for story and worldbuilding, which I like very much indeed.

I’ve been referring to this idea as SFR, but that’s merely the genre, sort of *smirk, and no, I can’t say more*, and not the title.  I think it’s safe to say that the working title will be “Seven Crows.”  Anyone recognize the reference?  Let’s just say the premise of the story will involve SECRETS.  And yes, the crow is significant.  It drove me to pick the heroine’s name as Morgan or Morganna, I haven’t decided which, with a nod to Morrighan.

Snippet:  I haven’t done one in a while, so I thought I’d share a short bit from NSR.   This is Ruin and Jaid talking, the hero and heroine of the story.

“First, they must gain a human priest,” Ruin said.


“They killed me because I refused to help them.”

“Who can they get in our world?”

Staring at her, he didn’t say anything, his mouth flat and hard.

Black spots floated into her vision.  Her voice squeaked.  “Me?”

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I really didn’t think it would be possible for me to get caught up today, but I made every single one of my goals. 

My goals for last week were:

  1. Revise 10K of NSR.  Result:  10,304, thanks to 5,421 today.
  2. Revise short story for antho call.  Result:  fixed the last niggling issue and tightened.  It’s ready to submit.
  3. Initial research and worldbuilding for SFR complete enough to move on to characters.  Result:  This story is going to have a very mannered feel, but in a twisted, near-spoof sort of way that I adore.  (As long as I don’t let it get too cheesy.)  I have most of the heroine’s background figured out, as well as her father’s.  I have all the main characters named except the hero.  He’s still a big fat question mark.

Goals for this week:

  1. Submit the short story to the antho, which requires a query and a “new” bio because I think I’ll be submitting this under a different pen name.
  2. Revise another 10K of NSR.
  3. FInalize characters for the SFR.  Specifically, name the hero and figure out his goals and background.  How is he in opposition to the heroine’s goal?
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I find myself in a most unexpected problem. 

Because I’ve been sick, I haven’t had the brain power for hard revision, so Revision Xibalba is very much behind where I wanted to be by mid-month.  I’ve also been reading more blogs and groups to pass the time, which has led me to stumble across several submission calls.

Tempting ones.

Saying no has never been one of my strengths, nor is balance.  I’d really like to do all three of these submissions.  (One is already finished, at least the first draft; the other two, I don’t even have ideas for.  Yet!)  But I can’t do both of these others and get the Mayan fantasy revised like I wanted, nor finish worldbuilding and plotting the other idea I had.

Something’s gotta go.  And I don’t wanna.

And yes, at the root of this dilemma is a reluctance to work on the Mayan story.  It’s a hard revision.  I’m juggling more POV threads than I’ve ever attempted before.  I also realized that I’ve got a serious flaw at the beginning.  (What helped point this out was Debra Dixon’s GMC — although I knew it, I’d chosen to ignore it, thinking I could work around the problem.  But I really can’t.)  I need to eliminate one rather useless POV, or at least rewrite the beginning entirely into Ruin’s POV and put this other one in later.

As I said, some hard decisions that have significant impact on the story.  I’m torn between finishing this draft, and going back to fix the beginning.  I’ve decided to continue forward progress, but that beginning is nagging me like a sore tooth.  I’d hoped to send out a few queries once I’m close to the end of the revision, but I can’t do that if the opening is wrong.

It’s really time to buckle down, press my nose to the grindstone, suck it up, and just do it.  The Mayan story is my highest priority.  So I committed.  So I shall do.  Lord help me if I get solid ideas for the other two temptations.  One, I think I could probably handle.  Not both.