Friday, December 31, 2010

The Sanderson Plan

Finally finished chapter nine—I’m thinking eight and nine will need the most work in this novel, since they’re a little choppy. Hurray for that.

In other news, Sanderson’s class starts in less than a week! The room is always overflowing with auditors the first few weeks, so I hope I can get a seat without having anyone save one for me. Seat savers drive me a little crazy, especially when there’s a full house. I plan on going to work an hour earlier (yeesh) so I can leave by four, hopefully beat rush hour traffic, and make it to class early enough to get a decent spot. It’s a 40 minute drive assuming there are no slowmos or rubberneckers* on the freeway. I need to find a carpool buddy, but not until February.

Why, you ask? Because my wonderful husband got me a few private clogging lessons** for Christmas, and I managed to work them out to be right after Sanderson’s class, since the studio is in Orem. Extra trips make Charlie’s gas bill cranky. So I’ll need a carpool buddy once those are over. If I can’t find one, I guess I’ll just go to Leading Edge afterward and then sing really loud in the car on the drive back.

Now I’m off to play my new sheet music—100 Years, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Excerpt of the day+:

Smiling, she clasped his hands tightly. “So romantic, Uzelle. How does your wife let you go?”

“She has enough to take care of,” he said, taking a sip of water with his free hand.

Weirs, chapter 9

*Another pet peeve of mine.
**Yes, I clog. Think what you will.
+I’m thinking it might be more entertaining to start posting excerpts from really old work (like fanfiction!) of mine. Painful, but hilarious. Not that any of you read these anyway. XD

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Ah, the holidays. So wonderful. So detrimental to daily word counts. I’ve been sweeping by with my bare minimum. As a result, I’m still on chapter nine. But at least I’m writing, right?

Sister is officially registered for WorldCon. Got the update booklet in the mail yesterday. Thirty-three people from Utah are attending (so far). I went and highlighted the names of people I knew (at least the ones I remembered the last names of, ha.) I’m excited, even if the thing is still nine months away. (AKA one baby away. And no, I’m not pregnant.)

Got lots more little notebooks in my stocking—I think I now have enough to last two, maybe three years. XD Need to tell Santa to chill out for a bit, ha.**

I also saw an ereader IRL for the first time—a Nook, to be precise. Despite the fact that it’s destroying the publishing industry, it’s actually pretty cool. No backlighting, so it’s just like a book. I could see how useful they could be. I hate to admit it, but I was impressed. (Though my goal of being published before ebooks take over the world is still standing.)

Anyway, here’s my whatnot of the day:

Finally Kitsy breathed, a strained breath that didn’t let in enough air. That’s my brother, she thought. That’s my sister. Which means that must be my mother.
Weirs, chapter 9

*AKA Christmas, since I'm not politically correct.
**In case you’re wondering, I try really hard not to say “lol” in this blog.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Class That Wouldn't Die

This is a shout-out for my comrade in arms, Joe, who recently had an article published in Mormon Artist about the rise and successes of Sci-fi/Fantasy writers from Brigham Young University. He even interviewed names like David Wolverton (Farland) and Dan Wells* to write it. Really good article—you can read it here.

Excerpt a la day:
"A human Weir," said Calisti. "You really are one of a kind."
Weirs, chapter 8

*If you haven’t read Wells’s books, get on it, because they’re amazing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blood Bonds at WorldCon

Well, I officially have a roommate for WorldCon! You’ll never guess who it is.

My sister! :D

Rewind to me adding people to Nathan’s Facebook group for Utahn WorldCon goers and realizing, “Oh. My sister writes. I should invite her. …I should force her to come to Reno with me!”

Fortunately there wasn’t much forcing to be done, I didn’t even have to persuade her. Danny (AKA sister—yes, we all have boy names) is working on a YA novel right now that I think has a great premise. But if you want to hear about it, you’ll have to ask her. IN RENO.

In the meantime, I actually participated in a writing exercise promoted by Sanderson and Writing Excuses. It’s an exercise in dialogue, and was kind of fun, albeit I don’t think my submission is anything to brag about. At all. And for some reason it came out as science fiction. If, somehow, you get insanely bored and literally have nothing better to do, you can read my submission and others here. If you’re really smart you’ll figure out which screen name is mine.

Also, for kicks and giggles, y’all should visit Yeah, no link. It’s more fun if you type it into the search bar yourself, methinks. :D

Le excerpt a la today:

The Sun’s temple was a beautiful work of architecture, built long before Scire’s time. In the light of day its beauty was astonishing—the open roof allowed sunlight to flood every crack and crevice, illuminating white marble and glistening off the silver leaf. It was as though the power of the Sun itself resided within the temple’s walls, welcoming its blessed Brights.
At night, however, the building grew eerie. Shadows lingered behind the pillars. Flickering lanterns and torches gave the appearance of movement, and Scire always found himself studying the shadows from the corner of his eye, half expecting some forsaken creature to leap from the darkness. The altar glowed amber in the firelight, almost the color of blood, though its marble was always thoroughly cleaned after every sacrifice. The stems and leaves of various potted plants along the walkways looked like starved and deformed hands, reaching outward to grab any who came too close.

Weirs, chapter 8*

*Chapter 8 and I aren’t getting along super-great, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Short Story Priority

So I think that, if I have no new story ideas when I finish Weirs, I might go into short story mode. I haven’t written a short story in a while, and I’m not very good at it, so it’s something I should practice.

Any short stories (or short story writing advice) any of you recommend?

ATM, my post-Weirs priorities look like this:

1. Short stories
2. YA reading extravaganza to boost my brain power for writing in the genre
3. Destroying (and possibly rebuilding) the plot line for The Raimos
4. Weir revisions

On another note, almost done with Lion of Senet. Pretty good so far, so I feel super bad for the main character and I want to flay Marqel Apollo-style. Wench.

Excerpt of the day:

“Remind me why I’m doing this again?”

Teague stood at the edge of the meat markets in Regal Whittip’s district, her back pressed to the side of a store that sold bucket loads of freshwater fish from the Lyfa River. She wore a shawl over her head, both to hide herself and to keep the cool autumn air off her neck. She wrapped one end of it over her nose and mouth—the smell of the sun-baking fish made her stomach churn.

“Because,” Tock answered, “
My Gloom is still a stiff secret. Surely you don’t expect me to jeopardize that. I could never show my face in public again! Those new cufflinks I bought will never receive the admiration they so rightfully deserve—”
Weirs, chapter 8

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


10 days ‘til Christmas! I AM SO EXCITED OMG.

I’ve also finished stapling all my rejection letters to my cubicle, minus one, which I couldn’t find. I got it last year after a short story I wrote was kindly shafted. So now I have letters from Leading Edge, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Tales of the Talisman, Caitlin Blasdell, Nelson Literary Agency, and JABberwocky surrounding me with their silent chants of encouragement. (Still waiting for your contribution, Denise and Lucienne!)

Weirs still progressing nicely, though this chunk of the book (AKA the middle) will be a little hard for me. I’m an outliner, and I have an outline, but this part of the outline has lots of gaps (AKA hard returns) in it, telling me the scenes I want to right but not telling me how the hoopla I’m supposed to connect them. So here’s hoping I don’t crap all over my MS. (Because I’d really like it to turn out.)

I think this book has a slightly YA-tinted plot line. Psha. As long as the writing* doesn’t sound YA,** I’m good.

Excerpt a la day:

Teague. Aro thought of the strange woman who had solidified her position in his home over the last three months. She had proven more useful than expected. Now Kitsy had something of a mother figure who could perhaps turn a decent young woman of her. With any luck, Kitsy would one day have a safe—but sheltered—life, away from Bacree. Aro knew he could only protect his niece for so long. She deserved as normal a life as she could get—a life like the one Teague had been blessed with.
Weirs, chapter 8

*As you may recall, this is a habit of mine I’ve tried to break for a couple of years now. I really should just switch markets…. But all YA fantasy is urban, I swear.
**Speaking of which, I’ve yet to drop a curse word. Is that bad? XD

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Business Cards a Go

Thanks so much for the comments! I’m now definitely leaning toward business cards. I think I know how I want them to look, too. Where are good places to get them printed? And can I get away with designing a card in PowerPoint and taking that in? (And is my ignorance slightly appealing to anyone? Mom? You there?*)

And here’s a lovely tidbit for your enjoyment.

Excerpt of the day**:

But he’s probably used to pain, she thought. Tomorrow morning, after his wounds had healed and his Gloom form reappeared, he’d have two new scars to add to those that already decorated his skin. She thought about his scars, how each one must have felt. The marks on his face, his arms, his neck. Would he have cried out when Calisti’s dagger pierced him, had he been able to?
Weirs, chapter 7

*Just kidding. She doesn’t read this blog. Not YET, anyway…
**Remember, it’s a first draft. :P

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Question of Business Cards

So you’re a wannabe novelist at a big convention in hopes of making good connections and even better first impressions. You’ve never published, or if you have, it’s been on a small, not-really-important scale.

So you talk to some agents, editors, authors, fellow wannabes. Do you give them a business card?

What are your thoughts on business cards? Is it kosher to have a business card as a writer when you’ve never been published? Or to have a business card with your information, but not an actual business? Or do you give out your actual business card, regardless of whether you work for Novell or Canyon Catering? What’s the etiquette here?

Thoughts muchly appreciated. Savvy?

Excerpt of the day:

She peered up into the bright morning sky, speckled with two, feather-like clouds. “How did you get me down?”

Thade smiled, but didn’t answer. Either he didn’t know how to sign the words, or he chose not to explain it to her. Teague suspected the second.

Weirs, chapter 7

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts on Series

So I’m looking at the cover of Lion of Senet, which is book one in the Second Suns Trilogy, and thinking to myself, “How the heck is this book supposed to turn into a trilogy?”

Granted I’m only halfway through, but I’ve yet to get any whiffs of an overarching plotline (unlike The Way of Kings, which reeks of overarching plot lines).

I think too many people do series. My sortofsecondmom agrees with me—we discussed it during a trip to Costco last week. In general, I can handle trilogies, but these long, winding, never-ending series like Runelords and The Wheel of Time are a little insane. Not that they’re not written well (I don’t want to incur the wrath of WoT fans), but come on. Fifteen books comprising ONE story? Really? Who has time for that? You can read all the Standard Works* three times over in less time than it takes to read WoT once.

Maybe this thought attributes to the fact that I never write or plan for series, even trilogies. (That, and I’m not certain I can come up with a complex enough plot line to swallow three+ books in the first place.) I prefer to read stand-alones, and I always write stand-alones. I just like them more. You can read a lot of different stories a lot quicker with stand-alones.

I’m not planning to read books two and three of Fallon’s trilogy unless, for some reason, I’m incredibly intrigued by the end of book one.

As a side note, I only read books one and two of The Hunger Games and only the first three Harry Potters, though I did read all four Twilight books. I think that last one is the longest series I’ve ever finished, with the Mistborn trilogy in second.

Excerpt of the day:

Teague did as told, rotating her ankles and maneuvering her shoulders, the way she had been shown. On her fourth swing, she asked, “Kitsy, what’s your Weir?”

“I’m not allowed to tell.”

“Why not?”

She shrugged. “Aro says I can’t. Just like I can’t leave my room at night.”

“Is it scary? Scarier than you?” Teague teased.

Kitsy stuck her tongue out before replying, “No, it’s just the rules. I follow the rules, unlike
some people.”
Weirs, chapter 6

*This would include the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Yes, I’m Mormon. Wooooo~

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rejection Mean I’m Closer to Being Published

I’ve sent out a number of query letters for CSH; still waiting to hear back on two of them. I admit, at one point in time, I had hopes that CSH could be the story that got me published, assuming I wrote it the way I envisioned it. Before I started querying, however, I had my doubts. As I think I’ve mentioned before, the prose just isn’t up to par—not for an adult novel. Those of you who have read my MS can probably attest to that. I default to a YA writing style, so if I’m not really thinking about it,* I end up with YA prose.

ANYWAY. I like CSH, though I don’t think it’s publishable. Not yet. So in come the rejections. But rejections are good, because they mean I’m closer to being published. I think just about every published author has a stack of rejection letters at home. It’s like an unspoken requirement. So until I get that stack, I won’t get published. I must earn my stack! (Yes, you’re supposed to watch the video. Here’s a shout out to Leading Edge, who has a cameo in it.)

My rejection letter from Sara Megibow is up on my cubicle wall. Caitlin Blasdell’s is on its way to the printer, and Eddie Schneider’s** is at home—hopefully I’ll remember to bring it in tomorrow.

Cheers. ;)

Excerpt of the day:

She leaned against the bedpost and raised a delicate eyebrow. “You charm me, Uzelle.”

The Luminus closed the door behind him, locking it. “I do try.”

Weirs, chapter 6

*I don’t think about it about 95% of the time, ha. Which is one reason I want to try my hand at a YA after I finish Weirs.
**I actually didn’t query him, I queried Joshua Bilmes. Eddie’s the one who replied, oddly enough. He asked to see my MS, then rejected my promptly. ^_^

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hurray for Viruses

My husband’s cold finally got me. I admit, I thought I had beaten it since I hadn’t gotten sick, but as of 3:00 AM last night, I too have fallen. Cue me working from home today.

Missed word count on Saturday (this isn’t uncommon), so I pulled double on Sunday, and I’m still in the same scene (a bookstore, if anyone cares). But I feel good about the scene, so hurray. Maybe I’ll finish it later today. Maybe I’ll even finish the chapter!

Collecting information from my friend Kristy on Sanderson’s creative writing class in January. I’m excited, despite the driving. If I don’t find a carpool buddy, however, I can’t guarantee making every class. But I shall try. Gas prices have gone down like, a nickel, so that’s good.

Also got proofs back from Leading Edge Magazine for the villanelle I sent in. The art for it looks awesome. WAY better than my dinky poem, ha.

In reading news, The Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon is pretty good so far. I’m about half way done. (Then I have to alpha read for Nathan.) The only thing that bugs me about this book is that Ms. Fallon constantly uses unclear pronoun antecedents and it drives me insane. I’m surprised her editor didn’t catch and fix them, because I hit one every three pages or so and I have to stop reading so I can sort out my confusion. For a while I thought “Ella” was a man due to said unclear antecedents.

Excerpt of the day:

He gave her a long, hard glare, then motioned for her to follow him as he hobbled to the back of the store, leaning on a cane as he went. “I can tell you books written by Brights if you’d rather have that. Over here are some histories with Brights in them. That green volume—see, there?—was written by Regal Calaki himself, eighty years ago. Be careful if you look through it. You wreck it, you bought it, and good luck finding another copy.”

“Eighty years?” Teague repeated. “You have books that old?”

The clerk snorted. “In the book world, 80 years is nothing. Downstairs I have novels that have survived centuries. I don’t keep them up here for you young pelliwagons to drop and spit on.”

Weirs, chapter 5

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Today is not a good day. I’m unhappy and in a bad mood.

Read some of this book last night, and it was helpful, mainly in taking notes on my protagonist. I got it for a class some time ago, but never had time to read much of it. It’s good, written by a guy who runs the Maass Literary Agency (that’s the one Jennifer Jackson works for).

Anyway. I’m irritated and need a pancake or something. Feel free to send your sympathies. :P

Excerpt of the day:

She saw Thade, not twenty feet away, buttoning up the front of his worn slacks, shirt and shoes set on the ground in front of him. But what shocked Teague wasn’t his bare torso, but the scars.

Scars, long and short, deep and shallow, marred his exposed back without pattern. Several layered over one another, covering skin from neck to below his waistline. A large patch of his side looked as though he had been burned. While the skin was fully healed, she couldn’t deny the wrinkled texture of it. Hundreds of scars—maybe thousands—marked his torso, arms, neck, face—

Weirs, chapter 5

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Writing Exercises

So after reading David Farland’s newsletter I fully admitted to myself that I never do writing exercises, and I probably should. I keep notebooks of all my ideas, I have a daily word count, but I don’t do writing exercises. And I imagine writing exercises would, you know, make me a better writer.

I always have time when I get home from work to do a writing exercise or two, especially when my husband works late (which, sadly, is happening more and more frequently. Stupid pharmacy). I think I even have a handful of books in the office that talk about writing exercises—I just need to get the gusto (and remember) to do them. Because they’re good for you, right?

To readers: do you do writing exercises? What kind, and how have they helped? Any exercises y’all can suggest will be dually appreciated.

Excerpt of the day:

Goosebumps rose on Teague’s arms. “That . . . doesn’t seem right.”

“I suppose not,” said Tock, “but when it’s so widely-practiced, it doesn’t really matter.” He gestured to the baby in Thade’s arms. “What they do to their children isn’t right, either. Nor is what we do right—kidnapping newborns from their families. Unforunately, morality is in the eye of the beholder, and most people around here don’t like seeing otherwise.”

Weirs, chapter 4

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dark from the Dying

So I found a song (thank you, Pandora) that fits my story really well--like how Ghost Opera by Kamelot fit CSH. The lyrics are great! Unfortunately, doesn't have the song, so I can't add it to my story soundtrack.

But I can still post it here! What do you think?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Question of the Day

Question of the day: How much crap can a newborn take before it shrivels up and dies?

This is something I’ve been pondering over the last 24 hours. I mean, the baby is born, drugged, kidnapped by a giant bird, then dropped thirty feet into what’s basically a hammock. Babies are fragile. I’m wondering if this is plausible, or if the kid would have snapped its neck by now.

I guess that’s what writing groups are for, eh?*

Also, I can’t figure out how one can make a two-page synopsis for an epic/high fantasy.** I mean, take Mistborn for example. Different plot lines, complex magic system, long book—did Sanderson do that in two pages? Or did he get away with five because he’d already been published?

Curse you, publishing standards.

Excerpt of the day:

The creature pulled away from her and her thicket, not coming close enough to hear or smell. Teague didn’t release her breathe until the clicking had faded. Even then she held still, hoping with everything she had the monster wouldn’t come back.
What kind of place is this? She wondered, clutching the infant to her breast.
Part of her didn’t want to know.

Weirs, chapter 3

*Or I could call a doctor, but I have a feeling the conversation would turn to Social Services knocking on my door.

**I consistently get the two confused.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beta Call

Howdy Beta Readers-

If any of you have just the first few chapters of CSH done, please send them my way! I have some hefty extra revisions to do this week!

Thank you muches,


Friday, November 19, 2010

This is a Post

Man, I really want to write for Thade. But alas, he’s not in this chapter, either.

Also, my protagonist just got really mad, and now she’s running down a mountain in a dress that’s far too large for her.


And basically I have nothing relevant to say, I just want to look important, and some part of me thinks that daily posts promotes that.

Excerpt of the day:

Sahel scoffed. “He hasn’t even found Aro yet.”

“Nor did the Reapers before him,” the Luminus replied simply. “And neither have we. I’m beginning to wonder if our Carnal-cursed friend lives outside the city, hunkered up in the mountains somewhere.”

“Not possible,” replied Sahel. Those around him nodded.

“I don’t know,” the Luminus sighed. “He’s quite the survivor. But one day he too will slip, and perhaps Bacree will be clean once again.”

Weirs, chapter 3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And now the thing I never delve very far into in anything I’ve ever written: Politics.

Work has kept me very busy this week! Wears me out and slows down writing a bit, but I’m still making my word count—just not kicking its trash like I was last week.

My body has been trying to decide if it wants to get sick again for several days now. I’d rather have it stay in limbo than to make up its mind in such a way that will negatively affect me, however.

I’m stepping into government stuff now, trying to figure out how I can says “This is a legalist plutocracy” without actually saying it. Hmm. Also wondering if my Luminus (aka government leader) sounds too young. He’s 55, after all. And kind of looks like my father-in-law.

Politics, then same baby kidnapping, then chapter 4. Maybe I’ll get there by Monday.

Also, centipede wins.

Excerpt of the day:

Uzelle Javes, Luminus of Bacree, briefly greeted Regals as he walked into the Assembly Hall. He walked with a straight, wooden cane in his right hand, not because he needed it, but because he liked to do so. A silver knob topped the cane, forest motifs carved in minute detail upon it. The cane had been a gift from Regal Daye when Uzelle was voted to the Luminus seat, and while Daye had since passed away, Uzelle never attended an Assembly without it.
Weirs, chapter 3

P.S. This is post 100. I'm awesome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Le Commission

I finished chapter 1 of Weirs Sunday morning in all its 9k glory (I know, long). But I feel good about it. Chapter 2 is a bit trickier since I have a lot more characters to work with. Hopefully Teague won’t get lost in the hullabaloo. But it’s a rough draft, right? So it’s not THAT big of a deal, right?


Anyway, got my commissioned picture of Teague! It’s not colored, but do note that her hair is platinum blonde. (Or will be by the end of chapter 2.)


Excerpt of the day:

Teague looked down at her dress. It was a little dirty, but still in good condition. She frowned. “What’s wrong with it?”

Tock pulled out a half-loaf of bread from the cupboard and took his seat before the desk, chuckling to himself. “Really? You have no waist in that thing. And it’s not a flattering color.” He took a bite of bread and reopened the book, flipping to a page filled with diagrams and tiny print. “We’ll have to find something new,” he said, mouth half-full. “You look dreadful.”

Weirs, chapter 2

Friday, November 12, 2010

Typo Attack!

I work as an editor, right? So you can imagine my horror and dismay (and gratitude) when my friend Alyssa (beta reader) returned my MS back with roughly one million* typos, doubled words, and misspellings.

Wow. Some of them are quite embarrassing. Guess my editing cap and my writing cap can’t both fit on my head at the same time, hardy har. So if any of my beta readers haven’t started yet (you know who you are), I will send you a less-typo copy of CSH.

Apparently I say “wretch” instead of “wrench” a lot. Characters are puking all over the place. XD

Still have a lot of enthusiasm for my new book. Whee!

Excerpt of the day:

A man on a brown mare led the horse forward, dismounting. Teague watched the scenario play out in her mind. She would ride on the back of his saddle, strapped into place to prevent escape, then be taken to some unknown cell far away from the caravan and any form of safety. Who were these strange men? They would never tell her. They would ask her questions she didn’t know the answers to, then beat her for insolence. They might do other things, terrible things Teague only heard about in tall tales.

And then the sun would set, she would change, and everything her parents spent their lives protecting would be gone.

Weirs, chapter 1

*Slight exaggeration.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Insert Witty Title Here

Word count is still going well! I have high hopes. When I feed this chapter to my writing group in January, I want to ask how well they can picture the setting. I feel that I give some good, concrete details, but I worry I’m not giving enough.

Also, that character sketch of Teague is almost done. I’ll post it on here as soon as my lovely friend finishes it. (She’s good with good prices, you guys should check her out:

Put aside Robin Hobbs to pick up Lion of Senet (Jennifer Fallon), which so far is better.

I think I’m getting sick. Hopefully cold sick and not mono sick. Hopefully weak-sauce cold so I can destroy it with vitamins and will-power. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.*

Excerpt of the day:

“N-no, just . . . on my way home,” she replied, stretching the truth. “But I do have a question—you know the people around here fairly well, correct? Even by name?”

“That I do,” he answered, scratching the side of his nose. “Those in Regal Mathieu’s district, at least. Are you looking for someone?”

“Perhaps,” she paused, “just
inquiring after someone.”

“Very well, inquire away.”

She sucked in a deep breath. “Do you know a man called Aro?”

The patrolman’s composure didn’t change, minus the subtle tension in his neck and the thinning of his lips. His eyes stayed clear. His nostrils didn’t flare, nor did his skin pale or redden. His hands stayed firmly clasped behind his back, but for a moment he seemed much taller than Teague herself. It took all the will power she had not to back away.

Weirs, chapter 1

*Of course, this also lead to the super-cold of Christmas 2008. All those viruses teamed up and walloped** me good.

**Did I use this word right?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Playing Nice with the Protag

I am kicking my word count’s trash.

Also, chapter 1 is going to be really long. But I get to introduce new, awesome characters pretty soon.

Teague and I are getting along so far. This is a good thing.

It’s supposed to snow today. As long as it’s the big, fat, pretty snow, I think I can handle it.

Also sent an email to my friend who I commissioned to do a character sketch for me. She’s super busy, but hopefully I can get a picture of my protagonist before too long. :D

ALL OF YOU SHOULD GO TO WORLDCON. Still looking for a roommate.

Excerpt of the day*:

The man, scratching his mustache, glanced to her. “Yes Miss, what can I do for you?”

“I’m looking for someone. Do you know anyone by the name ‘Aro’?”

A dark expression plastered over the stranger’s features, giving him the same, cold look as the gardener. He grasped Teague’s wrist, almost forcing her to drop the bun, and pulled her uncomfortably close. “What under the Sun do you want with him?”

Teague pulled back, but the man’s grip was iron. “I-I’m sorry?”

“Only one man goes by the name of Aro,” he said lowly, the odor of pickled vegetables on his breath. “Now you tell me what you want with him.”

Weirs, chapter 1


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Chapter Struggle

Before any more of you ask, yes, I think has affected some of my posts.

Writing is kind of hard. I have to go all establishy setting and such before I get to the action at the end of the chapter and I don’t think I’m really that good at it. My protagonist still feels all new and awkward to me, which helps a ton.

But this is to be expected. Suck it up, Charlie! Get a hold of yourself!

I have pretty much nothing else to say. Except that I’m reading a Robin Hobbs book.

Excerpt of the day (imagine some obscure accent):

Fedrar laughed. “Silver, what else? No one knows these mountains like Bacree. They are so isolated, they jump at the chance to trade with us, you know? We get silver everything for too cheap, then sell it for too much.” He chuckled. “Anything that doesn’t come from mountains or forest they buy for high price. Makes it worth the trip, but only once a year. This pass is hard on the oxen’s feet. Ours too.” He gestured to Teague’s feet.
Weirs, chapter 1

Monday, November 8, 2010

Now Featuring: Weirs

So I finally started Weirs! I finished the very short prologue and started chapter 1. So far I’m excited about it, not stressed or worried. That will come on again later, I’m sure. I’m trying to really watch my prose as it comes out of my fingers. I’m not going to slow myself down self-editing, but I want it to sound good. (Rereading it for an excerpt though makes me realize it really isn’t that great. :/)

In other news, it’s absolutely dreary outside, which depresses me beyond degree.


Excerpt of the day:

A tiny, hungry cry echoed through the now-quiet chamber. A Holy Bright, robed in white satin, crossed the room, the demon child in his arms. The thing’s Gloom form looked harmless, but they had all witnessed the transformation yesterday, on the boy’s first birthday. A monster. A demon. A Weir.
Weirs, prologue

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Terror of the Draft


So I realize I’m just about ready to start writing this story, but I’m . . . well, I’m kind of scared to. Is that weird? I don’t know why. Something about starting this story makes me nervous. Maybe I just want it to be good, and I doubt my skills. Maybe I’m worried I’m forgetting something, and it will come back to bite me later. Maybe I’ve come accustomed to my slacker-writing.* Perhaps I’m just worried, like always, that I won’t be able to pull it off.

Like how I psycho-analyze myself? XD Oh, here’s another one: I didn’t finish The Raimos. What if I don’t finish this one?

Then again, I’ll never finish Weirs if I don’t actually start it. True, this is supposed to be my story for Sanderson’s class in January, but putting it off just to be fresh for that seems kind of stupid to me.

Feel free to post encouragement below. I’m going to see if I can get into the head of my soon-to-be protagonist.

*I’ve done revisions and planning/outlining for the last few months. No word count. No serious work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Something-something (If you know what I mean)

So I have a list of things I need to do in my outline before I can call it complete. (Marked off the one with magic today, yay.) One of these things is the romantic blossoming between two characters in the book. (What is a novel without a little something-something?)

But now I’m thinking I should just let the love-ness blossom on its own. Take opportunities when they arrive. This will help me go at the characters’ pacing, I think. I did this with The Raimos, and though I’ve yet to finish that book,* it worked out a little too well.

Also, when I mentioned “centipede” to my husband yesterday, he cringed in disgust and proceeded to tell me how much he hated them. I think I have my bug.

*Yes, I am a failure.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Spider

So yeah, spiders are overdone. I agree with that… I just didn’t realize it until y’all pointed it out to me. :D

I still like the idea of a spider, but now I’m thinking another creeper bug might be good. I just want it to be poisonous. (Though I have a scene with webbing that I’d have to take out, should I change the bug.)

Suggestions welcome. Should I stick with spider, or should I be more original?

So far my favorite is centipede.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Outlining . . . because that’s what I’m doing right now.

Made some good progress on my outline. Started to read it from start to finish and fill in the holes. Need to have Teague’s plotline good n’ done before I focus on the side plots. I’m doing some mean things to her now, which may or may not include bear traps and giant spiders.* I always forget how much of a challenge writing a story from start to finish is. Maybe because I crapped out on The Raimos, so I haven’t finished a book since January. :O

In random news, I’m making butternut squash soup tonight for the first time ever. I’m very excited. This youtube video makes it look so much fun.

*Note that I despise spiders. It will be interesting writing for one.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Half of this Post is a Footnote.

Well, I’m not as close to finishing this outline as I thought, because I just realized I haven’t interwoven any of my government yet. ;_; Thanks to some brainstorming yesterday, I have most of my protagonist-side done (well, kind of), but not much of the other side. Oi. This is more work than I remember it being. I could write the prologue* and first chapter without hinderance, but I can’t get too much further than that.

*First off, I feel slightly guilty about this prologue. It’s really short, but I kill a baby in it.
Secondly, I honestly don’t need to have a prologue on this book. If I were to cut it, the story carries on just fine, and I believe a lot of people hate prologues. However, it does add an air of intensity to the story right from the get-go. What do you think? Prologue or no prologue? How do you feel about prologues in general?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dizzy Spells and Outlining Hoo-hah

I said “fin” on my last post, but me and Mono are having a play date right now and I’m really tired and dizzy. Trying to decide if I’m capable of driving.

In other news, I kept myself up last night thinking about my story, which is good writing-wise and bad (obviously) sleep-wise. But I added some stuff to my outline today because of it, so I’m happy.

Outlining is hard. I think I forgot this. I have so much to write down to make sure I remember it when I finally start plunking* out chapters. Decided the story will take place over a year, about. Maybe.

Fynch and Thade are awesome. I need to put Tock and Kitsy stuff in the outline… but I’ll get to them eventually.

*Is this even a word? Microsoft isn’t arguing with it… I’m too lazy to look it up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Mono Chronicles, part 3 (fin)

Decided yesterday that I will have a viewpoint on the “other” side. Initially, I was thinking Weirs would be all one-sided as far as viewpoints go, kind of like Mistborn. I did the both-sides viewpoint thing for CSH, so I wanted to try something different.

But, then a new cool character came up and slapped me in the face, and new viewpoint it is. Honestly, he’ll make it a LOT easier to get into the “bad guy” side. I have a handful of characters I need to flush out, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it.

Plus, he’s not on the political side so much, so he’ll be more fun. I think I shall name him Scire. I came up with him less than 24 hours ago and already he’s critical to the plot line of the book. Hurray! I’m getting somewhere!

Anyway, I’m feeling much better. (Jesus does wonderful things that way.) My glands are still a tiny bit swollen, and I get tired easier than I should, but I feel good. I went to church and am back at work.

Also, my Halloween costume is better than yours.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Mono Chronicles, part 2

Letter to Josh Bilmes at JABberwocky went out today. Wooo~

I did some dishes and now I’m tired. Stupid mono. Regardless, I’m going to work tomorrow. I’m planning on a half day, then being perfectly fine when I get home. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

Worked a little on my outline for Weirs today, which reminded me how hard planning out a book can be. Especially when your brain is on a two-week virus-induced vacation. TV is making me really . . . oh, what’s the word . . . dumb.

Yeah, this is the extent of my life right now. Be jealous.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mono Chronicles, part 1

Warning: Due to virus-induced laziness, this post hasn't been edited.

I had a dream last night I was in Sanderson’s class, him sitting in on writing group, and I had both forgotten to read and forgotten to submit. Ugh. That’s worse than mono.

Which I have, by the way. If anyone really cares, for some unseen reason, the detailed story of my recent (and ridiculous) health-capades, I’ll link you to the other-blog post. Or just repaste it.

Obviously my submission cruise has come to a sudden halt. I am now “healthy” enough that I can stand up straight and go 24 hours without breaking into tears, so maybe I’ll get back on track. I hope to do some more planning for my next novel soon—I’ve worked on the map a bit, separating it into the different sections and whatnot. It’s very similar to those projects from 1st grade where we had to color the states all different colors. (Yes, I broke out my colored pencils.)

I’ve submitted to two people so far. Still want to submit to Jennifer Jackson, Josh Bilmes (especially him, he does my genre more than the others), and Michael…


I have submitting to do! Everyone, get out of my way!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not a Writing Update

This is just me saying I've done diddly squat on writing/planning/etc over the last three days due to a lovely and absurd illness I've contracted recently. Doctor trip #2 is in a couple of hours.

Thanks also to new readers who make me feel awesome.

Meanwhile, I think I'll debate with myself how long a synopsis I can get away with...

Next on reading list: Boneshaker

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Story Vomit

Good news. Today I briefly reflected on The Raimos, and I felt a lot better about it.

This is a good sign.

A bad sign would be how I forgot it existed the other day. I was listing the books I’d written/started to write, and I completely blanked it. Ha… ha…

Anyway, I have hopes that I will return to that story someday. Perhaps when I finish Weirs, I’ll finish the TR rough draft, then do revisions for Weirs. Then have both for WorldCon!

Good plan? Let’s hope so. Meanwhile, my first draft synopsis for CSH is three pages long. I think I have to get it down to two. ;_;

P.S. The Nelson Literary Agency is definitely on top of things. They rejected me in less than a week. :D

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Query Down...

Is it possible to be sick without being sick? All I know is my lymph nodes are gargantuan and I’m really, really tired. Like, abnormal tired. Ugh.

Anyway, back to writing. I can complain on my other blog.

Sent out one query letter so far, started a second. Discovered I actually have to write a synopsis for some agents. (And others want resumes. Is that extreme? “Hello, from 2006-2007 I worked as a custodian at the dorms of such and such university. Please publish me.”*)

Should work on synopsis, but I can’t think. So mysteriously tired.**

Uh . . . still working on planning for TWS, slowly and surely. Maybe I’ll just call it “Weirs.” Am I allowed to abbreviate a one-word title? Meh, I probably will.

I think the TV show Supernatural is affecting said planning WAY too much.

*Because I obviously don’t have a writer’s resume, unless they give a hoot about my editing and technical writing background, which I imagine they don’t. Besides, I’d include important stuff in the cover letter, wouldn’t I?

**I’m a whiner. Those who know me in real life can attest to this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Circus Soul Heiress, Draft 3: COMPLETED

What? What? Booya!

I’m done, I’m done, I’m done done done.

I finished my epilogue. I’m doooooooooooooone.*

And I’m submitting! I’ve started on my queries. Maybe I’ll send one out before the end of the week.

That being said, I don’t think CSH will get published. I’d like to believe I have a lot of good ideas in it, but the prose isn’t quite what it should be. It is in places, but not everywhere. Despite my struggling, I still have a YA feel to my narration. (Curses that I always come up with adult plot lines.)

BUT, it’s still worth the experience, and I would be a total hoser if I didn’t try. Once my queries are out, I can start work on my next book—another attempt to perfect the art of prose and plot. Wish me luck!

… and, for kicks and giggles, I’m reposting the picture I made for my creativity class back at the Y.


(Made with bright colors because, hello, it’s a circus.)

Excerpt of the day:

Most of the scars would never heal. Not completely. There existed no balm, elixir, or magic that could erase scars that deep. So many scars, but the new ones gave him something: freedom. They fed the starving outlaw he’d become, saved him from the eyes of the wary public. No law could chase a dead man.
Circus Soul Heiress, Epilogue

*Minus two tidbits I need to add and some battle scene reviews from Nathan that I need to incorporate… like a mini beta read…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


One chapter to go!

One, long chapter to go! (Plus an epilogue.)

Then I’m done with revisions!

Then I get to figure out how to make my cover letter catchy! (Oh Sanderson, now would be a wonderful time for you to return my final…)

Then I get to mail lots of pleas to agents and get lots of rejection letters to decorate my cubicle with!

Then I get to be a real, actual, struggling author!

I’m very excited. My battle prose sucks, but still. Now have three beta readers on the list. So long as they all actually read and finish the ms, that should be enough. Hopefully.


Excerpt of the day:

The blonde boy bowed to Pasha as though he had performed a show, bloody short swords still in hand. “And for the grand finale, I shall rescue the dame!”
CSH, chapter 21*

*This chapter is way too long for anyone’s good.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Thanks to an unexpected bout of unknown-cause stomach illness, I didn’t get as much done this weekend as I would have liked. Have to make up for it this week. I’m so close to the end! Yet I’m moving much slower…

In other news, talking to Nathan makes me feel like such a greenie. I don’t go to nearly as many cons and my networking* is at about 0%. Blegh. I plan to do LTUE and WorldCon next year, maybe CONduit, but this year I think is a no-go for writing funness.

Have three volunteers for beta readers so far, which is good! Hopefully I’ll have my ms to them by the end of October. Then I’ll start real outlining work on TWS.

*I often don’t approach authors and such at cons because I don’t want to come off an a “fangirl” or the like. Same reason I often (but not always) withheld comment in Sanderson’s class. Apparently, this is a bad thing.

Excerpt of the day:

“These are pain killers,” said Flad. Salk leaf was a common herb used on injured seabats. “Hefty ones.” He couldn’t name everything in the crate, but he recognized most of it from his own medical experiences. Judging by the mess of things, they were drugs frequently used.

“He uses these on people?” Lottie thought aloud.

“No,” he said, hesitating, “I think he uses them on himself.”

CSH, chapter 21

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Battle Blues

Despite some friendly support from a few, I still think my battle scenes suck.

Rather, I know they do.


I’ll have to have beta readers comb them and help me out. I should enroll in some martial arts classes to give me better frame of mind. I need to read more violence.

Actually, I read a Mistborn fight scene just the other day (out loud to Husband, who was driving) and got really bored with it, lol. Maybe because I was reading out loud, but I was like OKAY WITH THE COINS ALREADY.

I don’t think I got tired with it the first time. As it stands, Mistborn is still my favorite series of all time. It’s funny when Husband starts ranting about the Koloss, and I think, “I KNOW ALL THEIR SECRETS.”

Anyway. I have two chapters and an epilogue left, but those two chapters are hideously long and, of course, full of terrible fight scenes. Hurray.

Now accepting beta readers—preferably people I know in person. (No offense.) May have to stalk and bribe until I get said persons to commit to reading my currently 109K novel with crappy battles.

Excerpt of the day:

He moved so fast he blurred. Flad had seen movements like that before—small bursts of speed granted only by spellquick. But if Vi Lar had speed, certainly he would have used it by now.
Unless he only has it in one foot, like Lottie, he thought, clenching his teeth as the battle ground continued to shake. He recalled Pasha’s explanations to him, how Vi Lar’s spellmarks came from the skin-grafts of unwilling donors.
Flad suddenly felt sick.
Lottie has spellquick. If Vi Lar needs a second, he could take it from her.
And I left her alone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Every now and then I get emails from my old capstone editing professor about jobs and internships that have crossed his desk. I usually brush them aside, but today I decided to jump on one.

Basically someone, who was referred to said professor, is looking for an editor to go over his manuscript for a fantasy novel. He's on a budget and is offering $1 a page. My professor told him that's very low for copyeditors, but sent out the email. I saw it, thought about it, and for once, replied. Why now? One word: WorldCon.

If I did take the dollar a page (and it depends on how much editing this guy wants done), and he has a 300 page manuscript, I make $300. Which means only $40 more to finish paying for my WorldCon expenses, which I estimated to be $500. ($160 of which I already paid to get my registration.) It would be nice to make the money on the side instead of saving little tidbits from me and husband's budget every month. Considering the fact I never attend cons because of finances, this could be a golden opportunity.

Hopefully I'll hear back and get the job. My first freelance. Crazy.

Excerpt of the day:

She raised her bow and took the shot. The arrow dug into the man’s back. He gasped and fell forward, dying quickly. His torch dropped to the black floor.
Flad dropped from the ceiling, startling her. “Are you nuts?” he whispered, green eyes darting between her and the fallen man.
“One less to fight!”
“He didn’t
see us, Eliarmy,” Flad said, snatching the torch and shoving it into her hand. “Where are we going to put the body?”
Pasha suddenly felt lighthead.
Ten years of military training and I didn’t even think of that.
CSH, chapter 19

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saving the Leading Edge

The scoop on what’s happening with Leading Edge Magazine, as told by Dan Wells. Please read!

Excerpt of the Day:

Flad had a hard time spotting her at first, with the sun behind her. Pasha dismounted and stood in front of the large creature, its body shading her. The seabat’s face looked far more menacing than Dunk’s—large fangs peaked over its leathery lips, and its eyes shone a deep red. A blackshooter: the only seabats that could outfly a longears.
CSH, chapter 18

Friday, September 24, 2010

Technology: The Dream Sucker

My new goal: Get published before ebooks take over the world.

There’s something genuine about holding an actual book in your hands, you know? When I get published, whether it be next year or when I’m 75, I want to be able to hold my book in my hands, not just open a file on a Kindle. I want to see the cover, feel the pages, turn the pages, and stain the pages with the burrito I was eating at lunch while looking them over.

I don’t care about money. Really, I don’t. I’d write and publish for free for the rest of my life. I just want to be able to hold my book, in book-form, in my hands, and know that some random person in some random place is also holding my book. And hopefully not giving it a bad review.

Sometimes technology makes me sad.

Excerpt of the day:

Pasha’s commander in the Eliarmy, Locke, appeared beside the archer. “We’ve counted twenty dead, thirteen missing,” he said in a stern, hollow voice. His face pulled together, disturbed.

Damnit, she thought. Thirty-three. We barely have a military anymore.
CSH, chapter 18

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I did a lot of writing last night. I’m revamping a scene where my protagonist is in some dank underground dungeon. I planned to add in just enough retrospect to make his novel-long revenge plot against another side character make sense,* and I just ended up unofficial flashbacking and telling the whole freaking story.

Given I’m not done writing this scene, but I’m close. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to put all that in there, or if I should keep it to a brief flash of memory. Meh. Beta readers, anyone?

But I’m enjoying these scenes, which is good! They’re sucking my brain back into the heart of the story, so TWS planning has been very light. I mean, how can you focus on lunar-cycle shapeshifters when you have intimacy-fearing circus-boy terrorists to play with?

Excerpt of the day:**

“Of course I don’t understand!” She grabbed his wrist, her grip cool and surprisingly tight. “Ever since I met you, you’ve been alone. You train alone. You sleep alone. You plan and fight and cry alone. You won’t even let people touch you.” She released his wrist, withdrawing her hand. “When will you wake up and realize that you’re wrong? You’re not alone, Flad. But you shut me and the others out. You—”

“Where is this coming from?” Flad asked, standing. “Hollows, Lod, where are you getting all of this drama?”

CSH, chapter 17

*About half of my alpha readers didn’t understand the motives behind it, so I had to make it more obvious in this draft.

**Loved editing this scene.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Progression. It Tastes Good.

I’ve written 1,400 words today. Written, not revised. Added two scenes to the start of a chapter, then played musical chairs with a few others. (Don’t know if it worked—have to read through them all still.) But that word count is really good, for me. While my friends pull in 4k a day, my required word count for drafts is 500. So an eighth that. Which is pathetic. But as long as I get the work done and the books finished, all is well.

I think revising is easier than drafting. I think most people disagree with me. What’s your opinion?

Also, my new glasses rock.

Excerpt of the day:

Vi Lar selected a scapel from the prepared tools and held it to his shoulder. After a moment of study, he pierced the sharp point into his skin, grunting deep in his throat from the pain. He moved quickly, cutting towards his collar, then down towards his breast. Blood flowed freely from the wound, staining his dark skin. His eyes watered as he forced the scapel up and over, slicing a diamond-shaped section of skin the size of his palm.
CSH, chapter 17

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vi Lar Eats Your Babies

…but not really.

Finished my second Vi Lar POV chapter over the weekend—turned out a lot longer than I thought it would. (Like, four pages. Big deal.) I’m quite satisfied with it, too. He adds a certain flavor to the story, you know? I’m glad I decided to give him more air-time.

Meanwhile all my writing group friends are getting their finals back from Sanderson. ;_; I am jealous.

On a plus side, my new pink spectacles should be arriving in the mail today. Here’s hoping the prescription is legit.

Also, I have SO MANY ‘d contractions in this story it makes me sick. I have destroyed most of them.

Excerpt of the day:

Flad stopped hearing her. A dark, bitter feeling ran through his veins. He clenched his teeth together, glowering as Thrip purchased the second ball and handed it to the child, running the tip of his finger over the length of her nose, resting his palm on her shoulder. He smiled, the sort of smile that only shows in the mouth. Flad knew that smile. He had seen it before.
CSH, chapter 15

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bumpin' the K

I’m half way through CSH revisions. As of right now, I’ve boosted my word count from 98K to 105K. I’m hoping to reach 110K.

The first draft was 91K. So I’ve added some crap since then.

Also finished the backstory and base personality for Teague. Hurray.

And… I will get back to TR. Someday.

Yay for short blog posts.

Excerpt of the day;

He thought of the three boys from the slums, the way their eyes lit when they heard of Soul Heiress. He imagined their bodies, bloodied and torn, being chucked into a mass grave with common criminals. His fault. Why did fate play such cruel tricks on him?
CSH, chapter 13

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Acceptance Letter and Auditions

I got my first acceptance letter yesterday. :D

Given it’s for a poem and for a semi-professional school journal (The Leading Edge*), but it’s still a tiny step up the publishing ladder. I can put that in a cover letter for a real publisher, right? Just not mention it’s a poem?

I don’t even do poetry. So it’s kind of ironic. But nice. I get $10 from it, lol.

In other news, I took Writing Excuses’s character-quirk episode to heart and am doing “auditions” for Teague, the main character in TWS, which I will start writing in January for Sanderson’s class. I kind of want her full name to be Teegree, but I like the spelling of “Teague,” and “Teagueree” looks retarded. But so does “Teeg,” to a lesser extent. I think.

Anyway. That $10 can go towards my WorldCon fund.

Excerpt of the day:

Flad heard the loud patter of unshod feet before three men ran before him in the road, blocking his way. Upon a second look, he saw they were boys—their oldest couldn’t have been more than seventeen, though all stood several inches taller than he did.

“There’s a toll t’walk our street,” the oldest said, puffing up his chest.

Flad smirked.
Cute. “I’ll walk the other way, then,” he said, turning. He only took a few steps before the trio circled around him, blocking his new direction as well.

“There’s a toll for walkin’
anywhere,” the boy amended.

*Yes, the one I used to edit for. But I got in on my own merits, thank you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So I started a massive brainstorm for the magic system for TWS (The Weir Story), and an hour or so later I end up so frustrated I can barely see straight. Like, real anger. I am WAY to invested in this.

One question. I had ONE question to solve, but it led to another question, then another, then a fallacy, then maybe-I-shouldn’t-do-it-this-way, to scrapping half the system, the resurrecting it, then MAYBE THIS WHOLE THINGS SUCKS and I metaphorically threw it across the room. Then lit it on fire.

Someday I would like to have a magic system I don’t feel the need to logically explain. That would be wonderful.

Meanwhile I have to force myself not to think about this and come back to it when I find my sanity. Because really, I could choke a puppy right now.

And I LOVE puppies.

Excerpt of the day:

“You kidnapped a soldier!” Flad spat. “Are you mad? They’ll track us down!”

Blur rolled his eyes. “He doesn’t know where he is. Isn’t that right?”

The Bland soldier groaned. His eyes and lips had swollen twice the normal size.

CSH, chapter 11

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Named Her Molly.

I revised 2,200 words today! True, I didn’t write them from scratch, but that still counts for something. Hurray for character speculation and potential romance!

Finished Vi Lar Battle #1 over the weekend, fortunately. I love having lounge time. So relaxed. And I got a new PINK jump drive named Molly. She’s an 8GB. I am happy.

Still no final from Sanderson. Only 1/6 of the way through his book, about. Must read faster.

Excerpt of the day:

Thrip said, “The dog was one of them. A rebel. Flad was retrieving a fallen comrade.” He laughed, getting a hard glare from Pasha in return. “It’s ironic. Insults like ‘those rebel dogs’ is a bit funny, now.”
CSH, chapter 11

Friday, September 10, 2010

Auditing in January

Spent lots of time on a scene at the front of chapter 10, which was formally chapter 9. Had to rehash a conflict with a side character in order to keep la protagonist in a more sympathetic light. I was a little whiny about it, not gonna lie. Not because I liked the scene before, but because I’m lazy.

Definitely want to take Sanderson’s writing class again in January, only this time as an auditor, not a student. Some old friends will be in there too. It’s time I start learning how to put my foot in the door, dangit.

Still putting off Vi Lar’s big fight. Will do this weekend. I have a computer headache right now. :/

Excerpt of the day:
Blur smiled, though Flad had learned a long time ago that such an action didn’t always entail glee. “How long have you been with us, Flad? Ten, eleven years? I have seniority over you in both age and time, and yet you always seem to call the shots.”

Flad shrugged. “Can’t help that I’m Jeht’s favorite.” He saw Lottie approaching from the corner of his eye, but didn’t dare move his gaze from the juggler.

“Ah, is that the case, then,” Blur said, rolling his diabolo over its string. He tossed it into the air and caught it again. “Why is that, Flad? Because you’re his special project? The one he picked up off the street? How exactly did a fancy boy like you wind up an urchin in the first place?”

CSH, chapter 10

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Okay, poll time.

Okay. City-state in the middle of mountains with very little trading or communication with the outside world.

What is this place called?

A. Daphren
B. Bacree
C. Something else

Please vote. :D Y'all are awesome.

Excerpt of the day:

“What news?” his master’s low voice asked, head still bowed.
Ya Nam swallowed and dropped to one knee. “M-Master,” he said in Fyüen, “We have failed you. The spellshielder remains in the palace. Please, forgive us.”
“So Lem?”
“Dead, Master.”
“Ya Jeh?”
“Also dead, Master.”
“I see. What of Hi Fet?”
“Presumed dead, Master. None of them returned to our rendezvous. I waited many hours, but they did not show.”

CSH, chapter 9

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Naming Geography

Wow. Naming stuff sucks.

I’m letting myself play around with maps and geography for the next book—something to do in between revisions. (First Vi Lar chapter! I’ll probably write it tomorrow.) But I’m looking at this map and thinking, “I have to name these ranges. And all these mountains, individually. And this river. And this continent, and this country, and this city, and this city-state.”

So I stopped doodling to post something, because for some reason naming everything does not sound tasty right now.

Of course, I have a huge list of names that I keep on the jump drive, but most of those are people names, not mountain names. (Not that I won’t still use them as such.) Hurray….

So yeah, going for an overly-mountained setting with zero travel possibilities. In TOS they traveled everywhere. There’s a bit of travel in TR too, from the tundra to the cultivated desert. CSH takes place in a tropical climate. Wanting to avoid the standard forest, I’m sticking my next story in the middle of mountain mania. We’ll see how that works out.

P.S. I’m officially registered for WorldCon! One year to prep. :D

Excerpt of the day:
“I still remember the first time I came here, when I got this mark,” Lialis said, opening his palm and staring at the protective glove that hid it. “Everyone in town gossiped about how the recruiters were coming to Sydus. All the boys were excited. We dreamed of adventures in the Magiarmy. Our mothers were terrified, of course.”

“You’re Sytian?” Pasha asked. “I didn’t know that.”

He nodded. “Sydus is as much a part of Sollaris as the other islands, even if it’s overrun by rebels and terrorists.”

CSH, chapter 8

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WorldCon: Yes, Please.

I have the best husband ever. Just saying.

Finished editing chapter 7 of CSH, which is freaking long. Longer than I remember it being. Onto chapter 8. Then the new chapter I have to write. Then revising a really long battle scene. Whoopee!

So I’ve pretty much committed myself to going to WorldCon. Have a lot of money to save, but I have a year, I can do it. And my before-mentioned wonderful husband supports it. I’m going to talk the grit of it all with him tonight and see how it all goes. Fortunately I have a mini support group of fellow Sanderson-students who I can leech onto.

Meanwhile I have to figure out how to approach agents. It’d be a lot easier if I were a vampire. (Apparently.)

Excerpt of the day:
The glove over Lialis’s left hand exploded and fire shot forth from his palm. The flames spilled over the floor and licked the ceiling, engulfing all three attackers in a blinding orange light. Ki Han screamed in agony as his skin boiled and popped in the intense heat. Lialis turned his eyes from the brilliance of the light and intensified the blast, converting the entire landing into a massive inferno. His fingers contorted like hungry roots, and after less than half a minute, the fire died and Lialis bent over, gasping.
CSH, chapter 7

P.S. I found out certain said friends have gotten their finals back from Sanderson. Now I'll be glued to Gmail hoping mine appears, too. :O

Thursday, September 2, 2010

WorldCon, among Other Things

Is there such a thing as an urban adult fantasy? If so, please post titles.

Also, found out WorldCon is in Reno next year! RENO! That’s so close. I can drive there. And WorldCon is the con of cons. This is exciting news!

Then again, I looked at the site and membership is about $200 a person… which is a lot, in case you guys didn’t know. If my husband came with me, it’d be $400 to attend, not including hotel costs and such. As always, money holds me back—it’s the biggest reason I’ve never gone to a convention outside of LTUE and CONduit.*

Guess we’ll see what happens. WorldCon won’t be this close for a long time, methinks. But I’m one of the most frugal people I know…

Meanwhile came up with some cool stuff for the magic system for the next book, which I will refer to as “The Weir Book” for the time being.**

Excerpt of the day:

If the light hit it just right, she could see how it differed from the other columns. Its stone was a little paler, a little newer. That pillar told a story of victory over unexpected war. It told the character of Lialis Valindette, the man who would be the greatest swordsman in Sollaris had he not lost his right arm.
CSH, chapter 6

*I even cringe over Conduit, which is about $50 and doesn’t require me staying in a hotel.

**The protagonist of which is starting to look like a mix between Kellie Pickler and Hayley Hasselhoff.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Timeline Fail

Found a problem that wasn’t pointed out to me by alpha readers (jk) yesterday—one character has a month-long time gap and the other one doesn’t. Oi. And the scenes following have a lot of important information that has to be given in a certain order, so playing musical chairs with them wasn’t possible. I could try to rewrite it, but I wasn’t sure how.

However, I have to have the time gap, otherwise one character will be incapable of walking for several chapters, and I kind of need him to. So, after muchos pondering, I realized I could solve the problem by adding in an extra scene to bridge the gap for the character who didn’t initially have it. I’ll have to tweak some other following scenes, but I think I pulled it off. Plus I got to do some extra characterization for Pasha, which she kind of needs for this part of the book. Win win? We’ll see.

Meanwhile I’m kind of learning Wikipad but can’t brainstorm the next story long enough to make any decent entries to it.

Side note: Sanderson makes me want to create crazy magic systems. I mean come on—controlling the center of gravity? That’s awesome.

Excerpt of the day:

It still had an old-town feel to it—small buildings, green and yellow brickwork, cobblestone roads. The wooden signs that hung from the eaves of storehouses were wooden and cracked, but freshly painted. Pasha walked down the street, glancing around each corner she passed. Would such a place have decent seabats to rent? Perhaps she’d luck out and find a stationed soldier. She could avoid working through the citizens that way.
CSH, chapter 5

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Part 2 and TWoK Release

Officially into “Part 2” of CSH—the book is separated into five parts, Part 5 being an epilogue. So far things are coming pretty well. The two biggest changes so far are changing Flad and his fighting style (as previously mentioned) and making the Sollar more of a bad guy (which clears up the circus’s motivations.)

Party yesterday was pretty good. Hung out at Nathan’s over-sized apartment (lucky dog) and played Rockband for a couple of hours. Jordan came with me, if only so I wouldn’t fall asleep on the road on my way back to SLC.

I was number 184 in line to get my book, ha. Almost the end. But I got it, and it’s huge, and I haven’t actually started reading it yet. Will on my lunch break at work today. I made cookies for the before-party, which were only partially consumed (thanks to an abundance of snacks), so I passed some around the line until Joe took them up to Sanderson. Hope he liked them.

But, I didn’t get my book signed. It was already late after I got it, and the line to get signed was SO long. I know, I know, what’s the point of going if I’m not going to get it signed? But J and I had to get up early in the morning*, so we were lame and left. I’ll see Sanderson at LTUE at the latest, so I’ll get it signed. Eventually.

Meanwhile, I think he still has my plate. XD

*Jordan only got 4.5 hours of sleep—I lucked out with six. And he doesn’t get home until nine tonight. Poor boy. ;_; I love him to pieces.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Upddate, Plus TWoK!

Going to Provo tonight to hang out with old writing friends and attend Brandon Sanderson's release party for The Way of Kings.

I'm going to be really, really tired tomorrow. :O

Meanwhile, I'm nearing the end of chapter four revisions! This is good.

Excerpt of the day:

“Do you ever hear that?” Lottie whispered, breaking his thoughts.

Flad inched forward on the branch. “What?”

Lottie stayed still for a moment, listening. “I always hear a noise during the quakes. Like a humming.”

He grinned. “I’ll be sure to listen next time.”

Circus Soul Heiress, chapter three

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Revising le Final Battle

And making it more “epic.” That’s what readers told me I needed to do, though apparently the ending is fairly good. So I’m not a 100 percent failure.

Anyway, I’ve been working on revising my final battle, and atm it looks like I won’t be keeping a whole lot of what was originally there. I need to make it different from the other big battle, which occurs at roughly the half-way point.

Basically I’m adding more critters and destruction. Oh, and explanations. You know, so things make sense. Since it’s the end of the novel.

But because I’m ending the novel a bit differently, I can now advertise it as a stand-alone with sequel potential, which is basically the golden line for cover letters, so I hear. I have some ideas for a sequel, but it’s not something I’m worried about in any way. Assuming I ever get this book published, I won’t write a sequel unless a shiny editor tells me to.

Also might add lava. Just saying.

Excerpt of the day:

He’s fast, she thought, chasing down the perpetrator. Fast for someone so small.

The black-clad figure turned suddenly, and Pasha almost lost him in the darkness. He was heading north, deeper into the palace.

A new dose of adrenaline shot into her blood, and her spellsight flared green.
He’s not trying to escape, he wants the Sollar!
Circus Soul Heiress, chapter 1

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Esrov in Art

You may recall me mentioning a while ago that I won a contest on (an easy peasy one, too), so my friend said she’d do a free commission for me! I debated over the picture, but eventually settled on a portrait of Esrov, post-Roth.*

And…. She did it! And it looks great, of course.


You can see the bigger version here, or browse her deviantart page here.**

Excerpt of the day:
Thrip, he thought, skin growing hot. I should have known you’d be here.
Circus Soul Heiress, chapter 1

*Roth is his homeland. AKA he’s not wearing Rothian clothing.
**Her commission prices are super affordable too, if any of you wants to get some art done. She recently published some art in Leading Edge Magazine, the magazine I used to work on at BYU!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Revising Flad's Character

Edits for CSH are underway and coming along nicely. My writing muse is up and running her hamster-wheel with renewed vigor.

I’m actually really excited about this. I’ve been recording things that need to change and incorporating them into my old outline. I’ve deleted scenes and added scenes. So far no deletions or additions of characters, minus major tweaking in faction #3.

Jordan (aka HUSBAND) and I drove to Springville through ghastly traffic last Friday and talked about CSH (Since we had a LOT of time to do so). He read it a little while ago. :D He’s not a writer and didn’t give me the kind of feedback I get from alpha-readers and the like, but he’s helpful. I bounced a lot of ideas off him.

One of the biggest things I need to concentrate on is Flad’s character. Making him more sympathetic. Having him come across on paper (or screen…) the way I see him in my head. So, for draft 3, I’ve changed Flad’s fighting style and put restraints on his temper. I’ve eliminated the conflicting personality traits and given him a lot of room to open up. I’m really excited to incorporate all this into the story. It will make it a million times better. Yeah, I have to rewrite every fight scene he’s in, which is a lot, but I’m excited for it.

Next time: Epic-izing the final battle!

Excerpt of the day, subject to change:

“Another man has disappeared,” Lialis replied, stepping aside to allow Pasha some space. He made a simple bow of the head as he did so.

Pasha clenched her teeth. “Who? A name?”

“Garron Kaller, with two Ls,” the sheriff answered, holding a small lantern to a thick roll of parchment in his hand.

The name made her pause mid-step. “Kaller? Corporal Kaller?

“Did you know him?” Lialis asked.

“Yes, I did,” Pasha said, an uneasy feeling sprouting in her chest. She’d never known any of the victims personally. “He’s an archer. . .was an archer. I trained him as a private.”

Circus Soul Heiress, Prologue

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The decision has been made.

AKA I’ve been focusing on CSH revisions for the last 24 hours.

I think they’re coming along nicely. Lots of changes to make, including creating a new character sheet for a minor character I actually have to explain. When? I dunno. I have a lot of time and effort to pour into this. Rewriting/tweaking the outline right now. Lots of red comments.

And shhh… quiet. You’ll wake The Raimos. (AKA IT IS SLEEPING RIGHT NOW.)

Excerpt of the day, subject to change during revisions:

Flad snarled and leapt from the shadows, dashing down the left hall, feeling the light of the lanterns on his back. I have time, he thought. For that bastard, I have all the time in the world.*
Circus Soul Heiress, chapter 1


*Disclaimer: Flad swears more than Esrov does. o.O;

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Down to a Specific Problem

All right, I found the problem whilst thinking about my writing as I fell asleep last night.

Namely when I began comparing it to CSH.

Short answer? Characters. The reason I’m not motivated to write TR anymore is because I’ve fallen out of sync with my characters. I’ve become apathetic to them. All of them. Major and minor. I still like Esrov all right, ish, but I just don’t care about them anymore.

I still like my plot, which is good. But I need to rediscover my characters. Maybe even rewrite them. But I don’t know how or what direction to take them in.

So, I’ve decided to make a dangerous move*. I’m setting TR aside to work on revisions for CSH**. So all you alpha readers who still haven’t gotten back to me, chop chop. I’m compiling comments this week.

On the brighter side, Nathan said he liked my first two chapters of unpolished TR. That’s a good sign.

Also, congrats to Joe who just completed another novel!

Excerpt of the day:
Esrov always knew he would die young. The ghost of Mount Isarai looming outside the shop’s two-pane window reminded him of that. His hands paused above the small watch on the table, stilling the slim tools between his fingers. He gazed to the legendary mountain half-concealed by empty snow clouds. It jutted upwards from the frost-bitten ground like a rusted dagger, chipped from overuse. Esrov knew Isarai was sacred, but the feelings of dread its presence enticed in him were anything but spiritual.
The Raimos, chapter 1

*Dangerous because once a story is set aside, it becomes much harder to go back to…
**A story where I love every character I created, and my favorite character is the protagonist. This is a good thing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mid-Book Depression

I am so not finishing this novel on time.

I didn’t do word count this last week, because I got MARRIED and was in CA on my honeymoon until Friday. So I’m already behind. I was hoping the time away from the book would heighten my zeal to work on it, but, unfortunately, it hasn’t. I’m struggling to write anything, and, for the moment, I just don’t care.

How lame would it be if I didn’t finish? Very. Pathetically lame. So not finishing isn’t the answer. But how long can a rut last? I’m past the half-way mark! So why am I struggling?

I think a lot of people get mid-book depression. I’ve gotten it before. It’s almost a natural phase of completing a novel. But this one is lasting for a while, and I’m not 100% sure why. Maybe I need a big magic system. I’ve decided magic systems are win.

Right now, I just don’t feel good about this book. There are a few scenes I think would be fun to write, maybe. But when 500 words a day suddenly seems like way too much, you know you’ve got problems.

I can’t quit! But at the same time, I have nearly zero motivation to keep going. :(

Excerpt of the day:
Singe didn’t take special precautions for god-worshippers. He ploughed through them to the gates atop Soldier, letting them move themselves. They cried out as they were nearly trampled. Even Esrov—the all-caring boy who couldn’t face the reality of the world—didn’t flinch when they scattered.
The Raimos, chapter 26

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


So after a conversation with Nathan, I realized something: Esrov is an antihero.

Did I do this on purpose? Well, yes, sort of, though I didn’t realize what I was doing until Nathan pointed it out to me yesterday. I had no idea I was writing for an antihero. No wonder this book is giving me so many problems. :O

Meanwhile I’m worried my character isn’t being proactive enough and that he’s too emotionally damaged. These are things I won’t know much about until I get the 411 from my alpha readers, and I won’t send TR to alpha readers for a long while.

On another note, I passed the 50% mark on this book, which is good. Except I have less than two months to finish it! My deadline is October 1. (When did I start this, again? I think it was three months ago.) So I’ve written half a book in three months. And I have to write another half in two.

….I can do it, I’m not too worried. I’ll just bring my laptop with me on my honeymoon!*

Random: Fighter by Christina Aguilera is such a good song. I want to base a character off of it. Except I have a problem of emasculating my female characters. Which is funny, if you think about it. I dunno. I find them more interesting than feminine characters….

[Crappy] Excerpt of the day:
“Your face has been engrained in my mind since you came to my study to save us from the bandits,” said Victor. “I knew our kindred lights would guide us to you.”
The Raimos, chapter 25

*Is this a bad idea? Hold on, Darling! Let me just kill this guy and I’ll be right to bed!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sanderson Book Release

So Sanderson is having a book release party on the 31st at the BYU Bookstore. I’ll most likely be driving down, chilling with my old writing group, and then heading over at midnight (on a work night, gah) to get my preordered The Way of Kings and get it signed. Because I can.

Then said group will probably pester Sanderson about getting our finals back to us. We have a grade, yes, but we want our twenty-page submissions back with his comments on them. I asked him to be brutal in my cover letter, unless I’m remembering wrong. I’d like to know what he has to say.

But he’s busy, so three months after the end of the semester, no one has gotten their comments back. Can’t blame him, though I want them. Kind of bad. We’ll see what happens.

In the mean time, I worry that my characters are losing their individuality, my readers will think my protagonist is too whiny and angsty, and I’M GETTING MARRIED IN THREE DAYS.

Aren’t we cute?

Excerpt of the day:
“That’s what I want,” he said, looking back at Esrov. “So, will you give it to me?”
Esrov shook his head. “Never. I’m not fuel for your fire, Jinx. That’s a one-sided deal.”
“All my deals are one-sided,” snapped the Tagalian, face twisting into a scowl. “And I do not bargain with anyone, even the likes of you. Where are you Esrov? Still in Ashlee? Or did you come to Falifax to see me?”
Esrov said nothing.
Jinx stepped closer, the black pupils in his eyes shrinking from Esrov’s glow. “It’s settled, Esrov.
Friend. I’m coming for you next, and then me and my men will have the real prize.”
The Raimos, chapter 25

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mr. Monster

What? A book review???

Yes. Because I love this book. It’s been a long time since I found a book I actually didn’t want to put down. A long time. For some reason I’ve recently become horrendously picky about everything I read to the point I throw even Jim Butcher across the room. (For good reason. But that’s another rant.)

Anyway, I’ll be brief. Here’s the book in question:


I don’t think it’s released in the U.S. yet, but Nathan got a copy and I borrowed it from him and I loved it and I wish I owned it now. Mr. Monster is the second book in Dan Wells’s Serial Killer trilogy (is that even what it’s called?) and it was gripping from page one to the last word in the BEST ENDING the book could have had. Really. The ending of this book was the best thing of my literature year. Beautiful.

The first book is called I Am NOT a Serial Killer, and the third, which isn’t released yet, will be titled, I Don’t Want to Kill You. The first book is really good, the second is even better. I have high hopes for the third.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the series, it’s about 15-year-old John Cleaver, a sociopath with all the indicators of becoming a serial killer.* Not only that, he’s obsessed with serial killers—he’s a freaking Wikipedia on them. However, he has strict rules he forces himself to follow so he doesn’t become like the killers he reads about.

However, this all changes when a serial killer comes to his home town. Then things get awesome.

Should you read it? Yes. Even if you’re squeamish. (Some of the detailing in the morgue scenes made my stomach churn.) It’s a classified YA, but it really pushes the boundaries. Which I like.

Liked so much that I actually stalked the author on Facebook so I could tell him. He doesn’t have a reader comment section on his site. (Disclaimer: I do not recommend stalking authors, even if they’re nice ones.)

Excerpt of the day:
“Just think about it,” she breathed. “What if you’re more than you think you are? What if you really have divine potential? Think of all the people you could save. . .”
“All the people I could damn,” Esrov whispered, barely hearing himself. “Heaven, hell, afterlife? I don’t understand any of it. None of this makes sense!” he withdrew his hand, but Father Alrith did not stand.

The Raimos, chapter 24

*Pyromania, cruelty to animals, and bed-wetting.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chapter Titles

First, I want to point out how good I’ve been at updating this thing. Go me.

Second, I want to say that my last word count was more than 2x normal, which means I’m finally out of my “this part of the book sucks” slump.

Third, TR may actually be longer than TOS, which was 169k. That would be insane. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.*

Okay, so here are my thoughts on chapter titles. They can be cool. I don’t use them.

Well, I did, but now I don’t. The Oracle Seals has chapter titles. CSH and TR don’t. I don’t think they’re really necessary. David Farland recently said that he supports them—they can pique the reader’s interest in the next chapter. And yes, they can. (Though honestly, sometimes his chapter titles spoil more than pique.)

It’s kind of fun to come up with titles for chapters, but I hope my prose will keep the reader going on its own. I don’t know—I’m actually on the fence on this one. Perhaps it just depends on what I’m writing.

What are your opinions on chapter titles?

Excerpt of the day:
“We’ve got to get out of here,” Todorov said, dropping the limp stem. “Goads, what do I do?”
“What—” Esrov whispered, but Todorov quickly hushed him.
The was a long pause before Todorov spoke again, dropping his head. “You spirited again, you fish-gutter. Idiot. They
saw you.”
The Raimos, chapter 24

*And, of course, I won’t count up my words until I’m finished.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Find Character Names in Security Codes

As I’ve mentioned before, I keep a folder on my jump drive* called “Character Soup,” where I store bios and ideas on characters that cross my mind. The most prevalent document in this folder is the “1 Names I Like” folder (marked with a “1” so it always appears at the top of the list). Whenever I think of a name, hear of a name, or discover a name I really like, I add it to this document. It’s been very, very helpful. I think ¾ of my names for CSH came from that list.

Anyway, one of the best places, in my opinion, to get ideas for fantasy-esque names is in those security codes certain Web sites make you type in to protect users from spam. My favorite is blogger. Whenever I comment on someone’s post, I get to type in a security code, and sometimes those random bungle of letters turns out to be pretty swell.

Here, I’ll go comment on someone’s blog and see if anything good comes up.


Okay, there. The code word was “Okocoil.”

Not bad. I’ve actually used “Oko” as a name before. And you can play with it to make a name. Or toss it. But there you go.

Excerpt of the day:
“Th-Then it’s true. . .” whispered Son Fabian, sliding his back down the cold stone until he crouched. “The savior has come.”
The Raimos, chapter 23

*I really need to upgrade from a 4GB to an 8GB.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Art! Art! Art!

So my friends’ sister is an aspiring artist, and she’s getting really good.

So, you can imagine my giddiness when I saw this on her Deviantart page.

Too lazy to click on the link? Here, I’ll force it on you:


That, my friends, is Flad, one of the two protagonists from Circus Soul Heiress.* She “got bored” and just drew it for me. Oh my happy. I hope she gets bored more often.

Meanwhile me and TR got into a fight today, I did minimum word count, and the whole scene sucks egg.

Excerpt of the day:
“Maybe instead of telling me to hide my gifts, you should learn to utilize yours,” he said, firm and direct. “You’re strong, Ranny, but you couldn’t even fight Singe off—one person—because you don’t know how to focus.” He paused, looking over his shoulder, looking for the bounty hunter. Turning back and rubbing his eyes, he said, “I’ve thought about this, and you should, too. Unlike me, you were given your ability to use it. It wasn’t an accident. Maybe if you used your gift more instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, you could. . .I don’t know. Do more.”
The Raimos, chapter 23

*Which, in all honesty, is my favorite of my personal works. So far.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Non-Fantasy Novel?

So a few years ago I took a writing class at BYU for children’s literature—it was when I learned I never wanted to write children’s books. (Namely the 6-9 range. Ugh. This was also during the time when I wanted to be a YA writer.)

Anyway, during this class I did come up with an idea for a middle-grade story that I liked, which is amazing, since I can never come up with non-fantasy stories that I want to write, unless they’re short fiction. I wrote the first sample chapter for the class and put the book into my “Someday Potentials” folder so I could work on other things. (At that time I was still working on Where Lifa Was, I think.)

Anyway, I jotted down some outline notes for this story yesterday, though I bumped it up to a YA so I could have more fun with it. The story is called Fuchsia Stripes* and I think I’d actually be interested in writing it, despite the lack of a magic system/magic world/strange races/etc. Hmm.

The book wouldn’t be without research, though—namely I’d have to learn a lot about wrestling. I did the yearbook page for wrestling my senior year of high school, which is when I discovered how cool the sport really is. (This coming from someone who is not a sports-fan, mind you.) I may have actually tried out for the team had I discovered how neat it was in, say, 9th or 10th grade.

My protagonist would be in 8th. Fourteen-year-old. Like Sailor Moon. (But no talking cats, because this is NOT fantasy.**)

Anyway, I wouldn’t take on this project for a while. Like I’ve mentioned, after TR I’m redoing CSH, then going through my first revisions of TR, THEN I’ll either write Fuchsia Stripes or this other fantasy story idea I have that, for now, is classified.

Excerpt of the day:

“The savior will reunite Chellis,” Father Alrith said, reading the words straight from the page. “He will carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. He will be a young man, kind-hearted, generous, and free of malice. He will arrive unexpectedly and in a time of great need. That’s what this passage tells us.”
“Forgive me, Father Alrith,” Esrov said, “But why are you telling me this?”
“Honestly?” he replied, “To see your reaction.”

The Raimos, chapter 22

*I always spell Fuchsia wrong, mind you. EVERY TIME I WRITE IT I spell it “Fuschia” or “Fucshia.” I think “Fuschia” looks better than “Fuchsia.” Maybe I should contact the Merriam-Webster’s people about that. . . .

**I can see myself slipping and having the mat suddenly turn into a portal to another world or something stupid like that. Ha.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Re: Why Discovery Writing is the Best Writing Method Ever

Also titled, “Charlie PWNs Nathan. Maybe.”

Or, “In Defense of Outliners.”

Perhaps, “Nuh-uh, Outlining is Win, Fool.”

DISCLAIMER: I actually have nothing against discovery writing, I’m just defending outliners. One of my new favorite authors, Dan Wells, is a discovery writer. So there.

This is in response to this post. Comment for or against me below. :D


People don't usually plan what they say . . . . It isn't meticulous or plotted out. It just happens. Which is why discovery writing works better for this than outlining.

I don’t outline dialogue. There may be one of two places in a story outline where I have a great monologue idea and I type out a draft, but that’s it. Usually, if dialogue is necessary, I’ll write something like “Learn about Mary’s relationship with her father” and that’s that. I doubt anyone is anal enough to outline all the conversations in a book! I find this an invalid point.

However, if the author has planned out a scene for months down to every detail, it might show in their character actions. People might do something a little too well thought-out when the sudden plot twist appears, rather than react realistically.

By all means, characters are more natural when outlined because you already know what they’re generally like from the beginning of the story, you’re not trying to figure it out.

Brandon Sanderson once said that, when brainstorming, never keep the first idea that comes to your head, because that’s the obvious choice. The cliché answer. Discovery writing more often than not sticks with the first-idea, because that’s what spills out. There’s no planning. Therefore, discovery writing, on its first draft, at least, will be less original than a story that has been planned out.

Brandon Sanderson, by the way, is an outliner.

Which brings me to my blanket statement: Characters in outliners' books are robots, characters in discovery writers' books are real people. FACT.

False. When a writer takes time to plan his characters, they’re more likely to be different, original, and quirky—therefore more enjoyable to read about. Characters who go without planning have the potential to all sound the same. They’re just place-fillers until the author figures out what to do with them and where to throw them. Outliners start with a glass half-full. Discovery writers don’t even know which cup to use until act two.

You know what is boring? The Council of Elrond chapter in Lord of the Rings. Yes, I'm hating on what might be the greatest fantasy book ever, but every time I re-read that book I skip that chapter. You want to know why it's boring? Because it looks really good on paper or an outline, but in execution it is just a slogging infodump.


Due to overplanning and this need to follow an outline, all the life has been sucked away from a scene. Nothing seems spontaneous and new; it was all just a huge plan.

Disagree. Outlines aren’t as meticulous as you may think. They can be changed, added to, or subtracted from. David Farland even recommends this in his newsletter, David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants.

Outlining a scene forces you to consider it from all angles. When you reach it in a story, you already know its shape. You know all its sides and corners. You may discover a new one as you create it, but when you create it, you can show so much more because you took the time to think about it. Discovery writers haven’t taken this time—they’re scenes become two-dimensional and flat.

When you write as a discovery writer, you are bombarded with cool ideas all the time.

Many new writers who discovery write hit road blocks more frequently because they don’t know what to do next. Outliners already know where to take the story.

Anyway, people don't sit around in discovery written books.

Unless the writer doesn’t know what to do with him because he doesn’t know what’s happening in his story.

Lots of outliners sit at a desk with pages strewn everywhere, maps, pictures of various flora and fauna of their magical world, family trees, all that garbage.

Outliners also have less plot holes, less hanging storylines, and less inconsistencies. :D

People sit around a lot in books. I hate that. That's why I usually read YA, because the length constraint makes it so stuff is always going on. In most Epic Fantasy, people sit around all the time. And, hey, guess what? Most long-winded Epic Fantasy guys are planners, and YA authors are discovery writers. [. . .]

Planners have like four years of research to lean on. If they get stuck, they can just pull out chapter 34 and write that instead, because it's already planned ha ha. But you know what? You are just a wimp. Real men write with nothing.

What professional writer takes four years to research his story? Tolkien and Rothfuss aside. . .but they don’t publish yearly like others do.

Also, it sounds “wimpier” to publish short, YA fantasies than to take on the task of writing an actual epic. We go for 200,000 words. You settle for 75k.

Let's be honest here: everybody plans their first book. Nobody just sits down and starts writing. They write because they've had the BEST IDEA EVER (tm) for the past six years, and they are FINALLY WRITING THEIR MASTERPIECE (tm). They get pumped, tell all their relatives about their new career, and decide they are real authors now.

Then they write one chapter and never write any more. They just keep planning.

That is such an overgeneralization it’s ridiculous. A lot of new writers, discovery or no, don’t finish books. It’s because they’re amateurs. They’re new. All my first books I started I never finished. (I also discovery wrote them.)

I didn’t start finishing books until I could outline the whole thing on paper and knew I had a story.

POINT 6: Discovery Written Books are Shorter and Less Boring

Didn’t you already make this point? In point 3?

Anyway, that's the point: outliners can't just sit down and write whenever they want. They can't just pop out something super-fast.

On the contrary. I finished 1,000 words in about twenty minutes today. And I had an outline. :P I sit down and write daily without having to wonder what I’m supposed to do in the next scene . . . or the present one.

If they are given a writing prompt, they can't just "have an hour to write," they need more. They have to go over details, plans, characters, city names, distances, geography, language, religion, all this crap.

False. That’s already been done before we start, so we’re good to go.

As for your points as to why discovery writing sometimes doesn’t work—well, I’ll let them speak for themselves.

Excerpt of the day:

“You don’t hear them, do you?” he asked.
Singe listened, but only the sounds of crickets entered his ears. “What am I supposed to be hearing?”
Esrov shook his head, drawing his knees to his chest. “They cry, all the time, night and day.”
Singe raised an eyebrow. “Who?”
“I don’t know,” the ghost answered. “Spirits. I can only see them when I’m like this, but. . .they don’t see me.”

The Raimos, chapter 22