The Prose Thus Far

When Roses Turn To Stone copyI’ve been quite lack at writing on this blog and for various reasons. One, is I started a new project way back in August. At first I didn’t know where it was going, but as the months went by, and I continued to write, I discovered that the story was much larger and much more contemporary then anything I had ever written before. Five months later, just before Christmas, I finished it.

It is a romance story, about a young girl who finds a fragment of a poem in an old book and goes off looking for the entire thing. Along the way she falls in love, and finds a new life for her to live. Of course, getting her happy ending isn’t as easy as all that, but her strength of character and determination means that she isn’t going to let anything stand her way. This story is in the editing process now, and I hope to have that done in the next month or two.

Aside from finishing “When Roses Turn to Stone” I also took a writing course at Sheridan College from September to December. The class was Crafting a Novel part one, and the whole point of it was to develop the writing process from start to finish. The creative process was quite regimented, deciding the goals and motivation for your main characters, discovering what the character arc / plot was, and then writing out character sketches. They were all very valuable tools to learn, and I actually quite like the “Wants – Because – But – So” method of plotting (what does the character want, why do they want it, what is standing in their way and what do they do) but because the creative process that the course had us go through was so alien to me, I find myself unwilling to finish the contemporary romance that I worked on in that class. Will I finish it one day? Perhaps. I do like the story, it’s just getting it written which will be difficult.

Speaking of difficult… in addition to writing Roses, and taking the writing class, I also took on National Novel Writing Month with a third contemp. romance story with a magical twist. Of the actual novel I wrote about 30k, but because I was working on the two other projects, I added their word counts to my total to reach 50k. I really do like the notion of the NaNo plot, but it was very slow moving, and would need a complete overhaul (I think) to be completed.

So what does this mean for my writing? Well I thought that it meant that I was burnt out, but as always the muses are spinning and I have new ideas popping up. Will they turn into anything? Who knows. But I’m certainly going to continue writing ^_^

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Inspiration and Goals

First, the inspiration. On June 8th, I– along with my little sister and two friends (one from Oz and the other from around the corner) drove nearly five hours to Medina, Ohio. Aside from getting stopped at the boarder for nearly an hour so my Australian friend could get her passport checked and processed through immigration, the drive down was uneventful. Fun, but leisurely and quite uneventful. The reason for the trip was a whole other matter. For years I have followed an author– by my reckoning I first found her story in 2003 and she is now published.

5911_643761262303900_1925006202_nI’m of course talking about Sarah J. Maas who is the author of the Throne of Glass series and the inspiration behind me starting my very own writing blog. Well, she and her other author friends (Susan Dennard, Kat Zhang and Erin Bowman) decided to go on a Authors Give Back Tour of the eastern USA and I just knew that I had to meet her (and the other’s too because I have read their books and loved them all). The picture is the picture of the five of us together. They are such inspirations and I can only dream to have my books published as they have. It was so awesome to meet them and the comments that they wrote in my books were just heart-warming. I am totally in awe of all four of them and beyond thrilled that I got to meet them for they are where the inspiration comes in.

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“SoulShip” is my science-fiction baby and while I got the finished copies (they are beautiful) I have come to the startling realization that my one book can actually be spread out over three. There is so much more story to tell and my beloved characters won’t leave me alone. New characters are popping up into my head all the time and the story keeps expanding. So I have decided that this summer’s project will be to write book one of the Mind Bender trilogy.

Book One, Ghost in the Machine will take roughly the first 10k of the original and then completely go off in a different direction. Book Two will be from the original 10k mark to either the 57k or 67k mark. I haven’t quite decided yet and it depends on how much extra room the new side mission takes up. Book Three with go from the 57 – 67k mark to the end. But it will be a lot more drawn out. I have a rather epic battle scene at the end and I need to show the Rebellion forming which is what book three is going to be all about.

My goal, as I have said is to have book one written by the end of summer and edited by the end of the year. I hope to be querying it off around Christmas and my fingers will be crossed for something good to happen. ^_^

The only other goal that I have set myself for this summer is to read all six “Anne” books by LM Montgomery. I read “Anne of Green Gables” as a child but never read the sequels. I am nearly 3/4 of the way through book one and loving it! I can’t wait to go onto book two. ^_^

So yes, those are my goals for the summer… I shall be crossing my fingers daily in the hopes of completing all of them. ^_^

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Best That It Can Be

SoulShip CoverWell, it’s done. Completed. Finished. With a new cover to boot. I have edited my novel to the best of my ability. It is now in four parts with about twelve chapters shorter chapters per part.

This novel in manuscript format comes in at 403 pages of actual story but the book itself (when I get it) will be around 414 pages due to the other added content (title page, contents page, author’s bio, etc).

The novel is 79877 words long, and it is my longest completed novel to date.

I have done as much as I can with it and now it’s off to friends and family to read through to see what else I can add / take away / change.

This is the book that I’m going to get published one day. I just know it is.

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Battle for My Writing Soul

“Are we human because we gaze at the stars?  Or do we gaze at them because we are human?” ~ Stardust

I remember loving that line when I first saw the Stardust movie (I’ll admit, that I haven’t read the book yet) and I find that it is an appropriate place to start this post. I, have always gazed up at the stars. I have always wondered what was out there and my belief in extra-terrestrials is much stronger then my belief in other supernatural things.

Yet, despite my love of the stars, my reading habits have tended towards the fantastical / supernatural / magical. That’s not to say that I haven’t read science-fiction books, but my exposure has been limited to the Star Wars extended universe and the Voyager books (yes, my geek colours are showing).

Because of that, I have always thought that my stories would be based in fantasy worlds, or stories of the heart set in contemporary times… in the last little bit while I have been editing SoulShip, I have come to realize that my heart, my writing soul lies in science fiction.

I have heard authors say, write what you like to read / what you want to read, and I guess I have been searching for some really good young-adult science fiction that I can sink my teeth into. I haven’t really found it as of yet, but I guess that’s why my brain is in overload with science-fiction plots :)

Of course, this could completely change as my inspiration comes and goes, but for right now, I am a science-fiction writer. ^_^

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Write. Revise. Edit. Repeat.

I am currently knee deep in edits of SoulShip. My goal is to get the manuscript done in the next week or so, so I can get it sent off to CreateSpace and have my five free copies as quickly as possible.

Once that happens, I will go through the book with another fine tooth comb and edit it again. When that round of edits is done (and the edits that are being done by lovely friends of mine) I will start querying it.

I am loving my story more and more. After I finished it, I tried to move onto a new project but I couldn’t. SoulShip has invaded my psyche like no other story has… not in a very long time at least.

And to make things even more exciting, my manuscript template is sitting at 166 pages right now and I am only halfway through ^_^ I can’t wait to see how long this novel is going to be when I’m done.

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When We Get To The End

SoulShip Cover Page Any writer knows that getting to the end is a sacred thing. There is no greater feeling than typing the words “The End’ at the bottom of a manuscript. For me, it is even more sacred and amazing because I very rarely get to the end of a story and when I do, it is cause for much celebration.

Last night, at 11:50 I reached the end of my science-fiction novel that I started with NaNo 2012. Back in November when I reached the 50k I wasn’t sure whether or not I would finish the story. I wanted to, but life got in the way and I put it aside.

Then, at the end of February / beginning of March I went back and began re-writing the beginning and middle of the novel. I added in subplots, rearranged moments and when I got to the end of what I had written I continued on. In eight days I wrote more than fifteen thousand words which is a freakish pace even for me. Last night alone I churned out close to five thousand an they encompassed the last two chapters and the epilogue.

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My story is might be complete but now the real work begins. I’m going to make it presentable. I have a really good feeling about this one. I’ve written and completed many stories in the past but this is the first one (save my very first novel) that I’ve felt was good enough to try and get published.

That’s the endgame after all and my fingers are crossed that SoulShip can be fixed up enough.

 

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Endings: Tragic, Bittersweet or Happy?

There is one thing when it comes books that really bugs me– endings that are bittersweet or downright tragic. In the three books that I have read so far, only one had a truly happy-ish ending. The other two did not. One had a bittersweet ending that I was expecting because I had seen the mini-series that was based on the book. The other was downright tragic and not only made me cry (something that books never do) but also prompted me to throw the book across the couch.

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The first book that I read this year was “The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. It is a historical epic set in Australia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It follows the Cleary family, specifically Meggie as they live off the land. The main premise of the book is that Meggie is hopelessly in love with Ralph de Bricassart who is a priest in the beginning. As the book goes on, Ralph tries to fight is attraction to Meggie and Meggie tries to forget hers. They can never stay out of each other lives and even though Ralph dies in the end and Meggie loses her son by him, it is still a beautiful book. A bittersweet ending that I was totally expecting and loved.

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 8.06.24 AMThe second book that I have read this year was actually a novella.”The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson is set in the world for his Mistborn Trilogy, though it is in a far corner of it. It follows Shai who is a Forger, someone who can rewrite the history of an object and transform it. This can be done from something as simple as a table to as complicated as a soul. When an assassination attempt against the Emperor leaves him alive but mentally empty, Shai is brought in to save him by doing the unthinkable, reForging a soul from scratch. The story was quick paced and it had a great ending ^_^ I will definitely reread it.

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 8.07.24 AMThe third book that I have read, the one that I spent two hours reading last night, was one that I have been waiting for, for a long time. “Everafter” by Elizabeth Chandler is the third book in a trilogy which followed Ivy and Tristan and without giving anything away, it has a tragic ending. What makes me the most angry is that the book was brilliant until the penultimate scene. That’s when things completely fell apart and I bawled. Books don’t make me cry, but this one did and when I read the last page I threw it across the couch because I was so angry. >_<

 

 

So what is the point of this post? The nature of endings and how author’s deal with it. I do understand the bittersweet ending, I really do… which is why I was able to like Thorn Birds so fully. But when an author builds up to something, and makes their readers believe that something is going to to happen and then pulls the rug out…? Well that is just bad form in my opinion.

Endings which infuriate me is also what drives me in my own writing, and why all my characters have happy endings, or at least some semblance of some. My characters are my babies. I couldn’t really kill them even if I tried… not only for my sake, but for the sake of my future readers (if I am ever so lucky) because I would hate to think of causing a reader’s heart to break and to have them throwing a book across a room.

Happy endings have always been what I look for in books, which is why I will always impart them into mine.

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