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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Indulging the Creative Urge

Why do I always get the creative urge to write late at night? It's as though I have an internal creativity clock that turns on around midnight and won't turn off until SOMETHING is put down on paper. This is annoying enough in the summer when I actually have the time to indulge it, but during the school year it is simply frustrating. I feel like saying, "Yes, I KNOW that you want me to write something, but I just CAN'T right now! I have school to attend to and prepare for and if I don't get my sleep, even over the weekend, then I can't do my job to the best of my ability." But, as these things usually go, it will not be ignored, and so it would be useless to go to bed anyhow because I will just lay there mulling over the story points in my head for several hours. I suppose that I had better indulge the urge...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break Wrap Up

This is a couple of days late, but I got rather distracted with family visiting over the weekend, so I didn't really have time to sit down and do this until now. My spring break was, overall, productive. I did not start actually writing The White Thread, but I got about as much prewriting done as is possible at this stage of the game. I still have a good amount of research to do on a few topics before I write, but I feel very well set to churn out book three this summer.

On the marketing front, I have continued to sell copies of both books 1 and 2 at a slow but steady rate since I published The Oracle in November. This is encouraging because last year around this time sales had pretty much ground to a halt on The Six, only to pick up in early fall in anticipation of book 2. I'm happy to see that my books continue to sell, and I really think that my readership is expanding into new areas of the country (and the world! I know of at least a couple readers in other countries). I'm also still waiting to hear back from an agent who is reviewing my books right now, and I'm feeling encouraged over even having that possibility, regardless of how it turns out.

As I head into the next two months, I will be very busy with schoolwork (as a teacher, of course), and I'm sure that the time will fly. Before I know it, summer will be here and I will be hard at work being an author once again. Not quite as cool of a moonlighting job as being a superhero, but close. I'll keep you all posted!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Change of Plan

Well, I changed my mind regarding the number of chapters for The White Thread. A couple of blog posts ago I had said that I was going to take it down to 22 chapters, but I decided that that is too great a break with what I have been doing so far, and so I'm going to cut it back only to 25, with an epilogue. Not a huge change, but I think it will work better with my plans for the story. As I was outlining each chapter, I just realized that I was trying to squeeze in just a little too much to each chapter. This would be problematic for me specifically because I think one of the things I do best (according to what I've been told by others, that is) is the art of the cliffhanger chapter endings. If I expand my chapters to include too much information, therefore, I'm afraid that I might lose my edge there. So, I have added three chapters and an epilogue, and I have named them all, and half of them are completely outlined. We'll see how much more I can get done before Spring Break is over in a couple days. (Where has all the time gone?)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pronunciation Guide, Take 2

I promised a few weeks back that I would post another pronunciation guide for some of the names in The Oracle, so I thought that I would make good on that. I'm just going to take them as they come to me, so these won't be in any particular order:

Cal Meridian = KAL mer-IH-dee-yan (kal as in "cat")

Borna Fero = BOR-nuh FAYR-oh

Wal Wyn = WAHL WIN (wahl as in "wall")

Tokala = toh-KAH-luh (toh as in "toe")

Tormod = TOHR-mud

Badru = bah-DREW

Terra = TAYR-ruh (tayr as in "tear")

Mayim = mah-YEEM

Boitheia = boh-IH-thee-yuh (long "o" in boh, short "i" in ih, "th" in thee as in "with")

Grypas = GRIH-pus

Fobos = FOH-bohs (both long "o"s)

Archaios = ahr-KAY-yohs (long "o")

Did I miss any big ones? Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plugging Along

"Plugging along" is a good way to describe what I am doing right now. I got the detailed outline through chapter 14 typed up today. This was more or less busy work, as I had already pretty well outlined these chapters in my handwritten notes. I then spent some time researching ring composition and scanning through my scattered notes regarding things that I need to "not forget" from the two previous books. Now that I am heading into book 3, the fear of dropping the ball on something that I set up in a previous book is rather prevalent, but I think it will go away once I actually start writing the book. There's just so much to keep straight! I also named all but one of the rest of my chapters for this book tonight, and I think that I have them pretty well figured as to how they will fit into my chiasm (having to do with ring composition). It feels strange to be working on my official prewriting so many weeks prior to my start date for writing the book; so much of what I'm getting down in outline is hypothetical. If something ultimately doesn't work/flow with the story, then I will just end up rewriting much of my outline anyways, but I'm going to trust to my methods and see where they take me. As long as everything fits with the chiasm that I am creating, I should come out with a sensible story in the end. (If this feels rather nonsensical, it's probably because it's very, very late.)

In other news, I started my "summer" reading this week. I thought I'd get a head start because I think that writers learn best by imitation, and I'd like to learn a thing or two about narrative misdirection before I start in on my writing this summer. Jane Austen is one of my favorites, and a master of narrative misdirection, and I've read all of her books except Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. So, Persuasion is where I'm starting! Does it seem strange that a fantasy author would look to take lessons from Jane Austen? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not a Complete Waste

I'm sitting on my living room floor amidst the detritus of my sons' playthings with the laptop in my lap thinking that I should have gotten a lot more done this afternoon. I can hear my sons squawking like birds down the hall, however, and I realize that any productive time this afternoon has passed. It's time to get them out of bed. (Joshua is now laughing so hard that he's having difficulty breathing, and I'm wondering what mischief my older son is getting into to trigger so violent a reaction in the younger.) Anyhow, in a nutshell, I finished the details on my outline for the first four chapters, so I guess the afternoon wasn't a complete waste. I made an attempt at researching something I need to understand for ring composition, but I have a funny virus right now that's making my head and throat hurt rather badly, so I gave that up as a lost cause almost immediately. If I can pull myself together later tonight (after my boys are in bed), I might be able to redeem some time for further writing/planning. That's my hope, at least!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gaining Momentum

This is my first Spring Break update, as it were, since I am trying to be uber-productive regarding my writing this week. Blogging about it will keep me honest... hopefully.

Today I made myself sit down and begin translating my chicken-scratch notes into a clean, typed outline. I wasn't really feeling motivated to work, however, as anybody who is a school teacher can attest to regarding Spring Break. By the time you get all 3rd quarter grades finished and entered, your brain feels dead and you feel induced to sit like a vegetable on the couch for eight days straight. Thankfully, I have small children who keep me non-vegetative. Regardless, once I got them down for a nap, I thought to myself, "Do I really NEED to start working TODAY? Why not start tomorrow..." Nope. Not gonna cut it. If I truly want to balance being a wife, mother, teacher, and author, then there must be no such thing as a wasted day. (I'm not implying that I cannot and do not take days of rest, but there is a difference between taking a rest day and simply wasting a day away in front of the TV). SO, once I got started, I felt the quickening of excitement that only comes to me through writing. I remembered, oh yeah, I LOVE doing this! This is what I am designed to do! And while the ideas did not just start magically flowing, I did get a good start on a very structured chapter breakdown. For book 3 I am going to attempt to cut my number of chapters down to 22 and an epilogue (fewer chapters, not fewer pages). This will work better for the new structure I am attempting in which certain chapters should mirror other chapters that have come before. I already have detailed outline notes for 13 of these 22 chapters, and I've named all but 5 of them. Some chapter titles that you can look for in The White Thread include: "Furniture Girl," "The Other Oracle," and "The Archipelago." (All subject to change, of course). Anyhow, I promised myself that this blog would not turn into an essay, which it is in danger of doing, so I will cut it off there for now. Suffice it to say that I am gaining momentum and looking forward to a very productive week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Plan for Spring Break

Is it hubristic of me to assume that any of you CARE what I will be doing over spring break? (Or perhaps it's hubristic of me to use a word like "hubristic" in my blog. Hmmm....) Perhaps you will care as it relates to my progress on The White Thread, however. As soon as school gets out on Friday, I will have a blissful week all to myself to spend wiling the hours away in front of my laptop, spinning my fantasy tales as only I can.... Sorry, I just had to stop and laugh hysterically for a moment. No, obviously that will not be how my spring break is spent, but in all seriousness I do intend on getting some work done on book 3. In between assorted doctors and dentist appointments for myself and my young'ns (since Spring Break is the only time that I really have to do that sort of stuff), and cleaning my pathetically filthy house, I will hopefully complete my detailed outline for The White Thread. If I manage to get that done in good order, I might even start writing the manuscript itself, although I'm not too concerned about getting started on that, as I already find myself ahead of schedule. Can you believe that last summer I didn't even start writing my outline for The Oracle until June? I started June with a re-read of The Six and the note taking process that goes along with that, then began my outline in the second week and started writing near the end of that week (revising and finishing the outline as I went along). Then we took off for a 10 day family vacation to MN and I had to stop work entirely, only to resume three or four days after we got back. That left me with about 6 weeks to write about 320 pages of the 385 page manuscript. I got it done (and in only 5 weeks, actually), but it was terribly stressful and my brain was so occupied for the entire time that I suffered from acute insomnia. It was so bad that I stayed up all night once I hit page 325 and wrote the last 60 pages in about 8 hours. Long story short, I don't want to find myself in that position again this summer, which is why I have done so much working ahead this year. SO, bringing me back to the title of my blog post, I hope to have all of my pre-writing for The White Thread finished before the end of Spring Break, leaving me my full Summer Break for actual story writing.