Working on the revision…

Finished revision of Ch1 for Stronger. I’m quite pleased. The first scene didn’t need a whole lot of work except for smoothing out the voice, because it hadn’t changed a lot from the very original scene I wrote in 2002. My voice has evolved quite a lot since then, so it needed to be updated to match.

Other things were that I finally decided to change the city the book is set in. I’d been considering doing so for awhile but when I ended up swapping Alex from male to female — which resulted in most of the primary characters in the book being bi or gay — it made a lot more sense to set it in San Francisco rather than LA. Also, it helps that I actually know a lot of people who either live currently in SF or the surrounding area.

Also descriptions from friends, including some who have been to both, sounds like SF is pretty close to Seattle in tone, which I am familiar with, and LA… is decidedly a different creature altogether.

It’s interesting to see the number of things that change both subtly and not with Lex being a woman. There’s a part of the second scene where she and Aster are arguing about how when it came down to fighting against a rebellion, Lex had just lost a very dear friend in the fighting. Her response to this was to lock Aster in her room to keep her from fighting, because she didn’t want to lose her, too. The undertones are really incredibly different with the gender switch.

And other things have a different tone, too. The rivalry between her and Eric is different — there’s the jealousy that Eric wasn’t chosen to be their leader’s protege, but there’s also resentment there because Lex is a woman, and Latina at that. And there’s doubts that she can lead the Dark Court because she’s a woman.

I kinda expected there would be differences going back and revising, but I don’t think I quite realized how strong they would be! I think the original story was good, but there is a whole different level of depth here, and I’m quite pleased with it.

It’s done!

Stronger than the Night is complete at 108k words. 😀

I am so stoked about this. This is the first full-length novel I’ve completed since 2006, when I finished A Passion Draconic. I had the novel sitting around 80k when I came back to it in mid-July. I didn’t do much on it from mid August to September because of an issue with POV in one scene (and instead of realizing it was POV, I kept attributing not working on it to other things), but… almost 30k in three months. Woohoo! That’s more than I’ve written in the past couple years!

I still have a lot of work to do. It needs a lot of editing. In part, I need to pare some scenes down, because I had this nervous twitch, so to speak, where every scene needed to be a certain length (because I was doing one scene per chapter vs. several scenes per chapter), and I think there are some that are artificially inflated. I also, obviously, have to complete the gender switch for A/Lex and that’s going to be a little more complicated than just changing pronouns. But I have faith it is going to be much more awesome because of it!

However, edits are going to wait! Because November is NaNoWriMo, and I will be doing it. Or at least attempting it. The suicide lesbian zombie story I have been planning on writing for, oh, ten years, is finally going to get written. I’m in the process of outlining it and have some 30-odd scenes. It’s going to be a different flavor of story than the rest of my work, but I’m hoping it will still be awesome. 😉

Current projects

So I actually have been writing lately. 🙂

I finished up revisions on a Shadowguard prequel, Severed Spirits Rising, the other day. I’ve been sitting on it for, man, a couple years now. I had some really nasty crap happen right around when I finished it that resulted in me leaving it be. That, and the fact that Shadowguard has not sold as well as I would like; as much as I love the setting and characters, I can’t justify spending the time with it right now.

I found that it was on the upper end of acceptability for Tor.com, so figured, hey, what the hell? It’s just sitting on my hard drive. So I fixed up the ending and my writing buddy Robert spent all night going over it with me and tightening so it fit the word count limit. We’ll see where that goes. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, since I’m competing with authors like Catherynne Valente here, but hey, what the hell, right? 🙂

As far as other writing, I’m working on Stronger than the Night again. This one has come and gone so many times over the years. It’s in the same setting as the Shadowguard stories but told from a different perspective; where Shadowguard focuses on Arielle and the FBI side of the world, Stronger comes at it from the side of the “monsters”, the paranormal underworld. Initially, I wrote it nearly ten years ago, when I was 17, but I’ve changed and grown a lot as a writer since then. (I should certainly hope so!) I started rewriting it a few years ago but stalled out with all the drama.

I picked it back up again to finish recently. And I made a massive change to the story. I’ve made a somewhat interesting revelation recently, which is that I’ve had a very hard time writing romances, or romantic subplots, with men. It’s not that I have anything against it, but I’ve been wanting to write love stories between women for years now, and I kept putting it off because — it won’t sell, or nobody wants to read it, or I shouldn’t write it because people in my crit group think I shouldn’t.

And I was thinking about Stronger and a thought came to me. What about changing the male lead’s gender? What about making him a woman? I initially disregarded it but it kept nagging at me, because Alex always was a more feminine sort of guy. Feminine man but he’d be a slightly butch woman. And then I realized that it fit in with the rest of the theme of the planned series. The rest of the books? Book 2 is a lesbian romance, 3 is a gay romance, and 4 involves a transgendered woman as love interest. Starting off with a straight relationship didn’t give a good idea of the rest of the series.

Plus, it’s something a little different in the sea of dark broody alpha males. 🙂

I have a couple other things up my sleeves but they’re taking backseat to Stronger right now. I have twelve scenes left and then I’m finished with the book! And then I get to jump into revising the first half of the story, which needs some fairly massive work.

But there is progress! 😀

I am alive…

Really. I promise.

*sigh*

It’s been a very hectic month and a half. Every time I turn around, something else has gone wrong. We keep having car trouble (Stitches the Shitmobile can’t decide whether or not it wants to be dead or alive), one of our kittens has a bad infection and is being treated with antibiotics for it, and sundry other things have managed to sneak up and clock me one over the head.

Needless to say, I haven’t been getting much in the way of writing done. My World of Warcraft characters, however, have been gaining levels at a fairly decent clip. 🙄

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, though. I’ve been making some good progress on Stronger than the Night the past week or so, mostly thanks to getting back with my group of writing buddies. I’d had a nasty falling-out with one person due to several miscommunications compounded by external stress, which left the whole group splintered. Thankfully, said person and I talked recently and seem to have worked things out. *crosses fingers*

I really ought be working on the sequel to A Passion Draconic, but seeing as how Stronger is already in progress and most of the way completed… it makes more sense to give it priority. (I think.)

One down…

I finished my short story for Forbidden Publications’ Valentine’s Day collection yesterday. It ended up about 8k long — so much for my 5k estimate — and I’m rather pleased with it. There’s some things I want to go over and punch up, but overall, I think it came out quite nicely. 🙂

Now that that’s done, I’m back to working on Stronger than the Night, as well as preparing what equates to a series plan. I need to figure some things out on that end first, though. All in all, I’m a busy kitty. 😉

I’ve been Snarked

Okay, not really. For all that people have quivered over the prospect of submitting to Miss Snark’s Happy Hooker Crap-o-meter, she really hasn’t been that snarky, outside of the hooks that seriously deserved it. (A good majority of the commenters, though, are another story entirely.)

What Miss Snark said about mine: “This is unfocused and a recitation of events. Use the XYZ to get the important factors on the page, then start over.”

I appreciate the time and effort Miss Snark has taken to run the Crap-o-meter and comment on everything, but I’m not sure how useful this has been for me. I haven’t read all of the hooks, but there have been others she’s said were unfocused and unsuitable that bear a striking similarity in structure to “winning” queries posted by other authors and agents–ones specialising in romance, fantasy, or other genre fiction.

The “hooks” that she’s liked (that I’ve seen) … I was not at all impressed by, and probably would not have given a second look. But, then, I don’t like the vast majority of literary mainstream fiction. I find it boring.

I’m not sure what to take away from this. I’ve had the query critted by several different people, who have liked it. It seems to be in line with what I’ve seen on SF/F blogs and such. I think I’m going to chalk this one up more to taste… and that’s not a bad thing.

But I think it’s something important to keep in mind. One person’s trash is another’s treasure and all that. 😉

NaNoWriMo

So far, not so good on the Nano front: 2300 words. >_< Times like this I start to wonder why I keep signing up for this thing. After all, November's traditionally a hellish month for me. Between holidays, financial stress due to said holidays, Seasonal Affective Disorder (which seems to affect my fibromyalgia), and a shitload of "anniversary" stress due to the sheer number of times that November has sucked more balls than a drunk whore at a frat party....... Yeah. It doesn't help, either, that I managed to pull muscles from my forearm up through my shoulder to my back, and all around the right shoulder-blade. Compensating for the injury has led to strained muscles in my chest. Fun all around. 🙄 On the bright side, I'm happy with what I've written so far. That counts for something, yes? 😉

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

I’ve been working on Chapter 23 of Stronger … and it’s multi-POV. No, not omniscient or head-hopping, but I make direct scene breaks several times to switch POV between the hero and the heroine. It’s working a lot better than it would from just one perspective, because you get to see from the mind of both characters.

Thing is, I’m feeling very … weird about it. I’m not blocked or depressed or anything, but — this is something I’ve never done before. Yeah. Really.

Looking back, I used to participate in writing challenges at a community where chapters only counted if they were 1000 words. For some reason, I’d gotten into the habit of writing one scene per chapter, and I didn’t break that. Ever. Part of it is I’m obsessive compulsive — I want symmetry, dammit. I don’t notice lack of it in other work, but in mine, I want the same number of scenes per chapter, all the way through.

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, though. Just something I started doing and resisted heavily every time someone suggested a different tactic.

But … I’m really liking how this chapter is coming along. Cassandra, my heroine, is going out to be social at a goth club, and Alex is trailing her to try to lure her away and kill her. Except it goes a bit differently than both of them plan. 😉

It’s also coming out a bit longer than most of my scenes because of that, I think. 1500 words and I know I have at least another 500 to go.

So now I’m wondering if I don’t need to go back and fiddle with the POV on the rest of the earlier chapters … I dunno. I’ll save that for when I go over it again. Last thing I need is to get perfectionistic again.

I guess an ol’ bitch like me really can learn, after all. 😉

Anyone else have similar experiences?

So much for that market…

Anna Genoese posted a long rant/essay regarding GBLT fiction (very good read, btw); one of the things she mentioned is that gay/lesbian romance is not marketable in the traditional print romance field. (Which I tend to agree with; the market exists, but it’s a minority.) I commented, asking if this also affected Tor Paranormals’s guidelines — which currently state that they accept non-traditional romances, including GBLT. Anna herself didn’t reply, but one of her authors did — confirming my suspicion.

*sigh*

I guess that settles that. I’d hoped to submit Stronger there when the revision is completed, but even though I don’t believe the hero’s bisexuality would be an issue, Stronger is the beginning of a stand-alone series. The heroine of the second book is a lesbian. (Or realises she is over the course of the story.)

I feel like I’m the only person who has this “problem.” Yes, the romantic plot is paramount enough to count as romance, but I need to consider the series arc, not just the first book. Which is, to be truthful, annoying — but I suppose it’s a good thing, because it definitely shows I’m not just a one-book author.

In regards to the series arc … well, I suppose it could fly as dark urban fantasy, even though the romantic plots are very integral to the external. Maybe I’m worrying too much.

I have to say, though, I’m somewhat disappointed to hear this about Tor Paranormals. Not just for myself, but because I was looking forward to being able to find non-traditional romances outside of ebooks or trade size print books put out by epublishers. (Which, honestly, I can’t buy on impulse due to the cost.) While I understand and respect their reasons for choosing not to pursue this — as they’re certainly valid — speaking as a reader, I’m disappointed.

My Muse Is A Workaholic

Today I wrote 2136 words, finishing two more chapters in Stronger. I really didn’t expect to end up rewriting as much as I am, but … *shrugs* Oh well. I think it’s coming out a lot better than originally, at least. 🙂

Also edited a chapter in Resurrection.

And I think I’m in the running for the Nitwit of the Week award here. I’d been bouncing emails back and forth with Faith at FB about a couple of possible novellas. I’m serious about the ideas, but wanted to gauge whether or not she would be before doing the development to turn the ideas into full-fledged premises/synopses. She asks me for a rough outline … and I’m still not “getting” that she’s interested. So I get an email saying that she needs something more solid to base a contract on — which floored me, cause I wasn’t even thinking contract. *sigh*

… I wish I could blame it on cramps and PMS, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have made the same mistake ordinarily. 🙄

So in addition to rewriting Stronger and revising Resurrection, I’ll be developing two novellas. I’m going to be a buuuusy kitty. (In a good way.) One of them should be reasonably easy, as I basically need to chart what I’ve already got from the story and develop it further. The other one, a follow-up to the Bites with Arielle and Jackson, will be a bit more complex as I’d like to potentially take that to short novel-length.

And here I am, thinking I’ll be heading to bed fairly shortly, and my Muse is going: “Nuh-uh! You don’t need sleep! You’ve got more work to do!”

My muse is a slave-driving workaholic hell-bitch. (And I love her that way, but don’t tell anyone, mmkay? ;))