Writing bunnies

I’m home from work today with a sick little Thumper bunny and taking advantage of the unexpected time off to catch up on a bit of writing. I’m working on revisions for another novel, and it’s not going as well as I’d initially thought it would. There’s so much more to cut than I’d first thought: trying to keep it to one POV per scene is a major challenge.

I’ve been fiddling around with these books for a good decade. I even queried them a few years ago, but didn’t get anywhere. That, of course, happened long before I decided that one book should become two, but even then it was a hot mess. It’s still a hot mess, but at least I think I’ve grown as a writer since then. I still feel like the head-hopping isn’t such a big deal, but others (okay, pretty much everyone else) disagree, so I’m changing it.

And it’s hard. So very, very hard.

Silencing my diligent and devoted inner literary critic is even harder.

I think the changes I’m making will…

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Getting to know Vatren Martoka

Back in January, my friend and fellow author, Sam Dogra, tagged me in a character development challenge.  I started working on my answers before her post went live, but it’s taken me till now to finally finish them.  I’ve spent ten years getting to know this character, yet there were things I didn’t know about him till I filled out this questionnaire.  It was quite a lot of fun, and I’m thinking about turning this into a series of posts about each of my main characters.

I’ve done this as an interview.  I hope you enjoy learning about Vatren as much as I did! 🙂

Vatren Artwork by Hazel Butler

Vatren
Artwork by Hazel Butler

What position do you sleep in? ( i.e; stomach, side, back, etc.) Why?

I sleep on my back, propped up a bit so that I appear awake from a distance.  I used to sleep flat on my back, but these are dangerous times.

Do you have any noteworthy features? Freckles? Dimples? A scar somewhere unusual?

I’m afraid not.  I’m perfectly ordinary, except for the prince bit.

Do you have an accent? What does it sound like?

An accent?  Of course not.  I speak normally.  Well, as normally as any other noble Lokani citizen.  Accents belong to the poor and uneducated.  But not to me.

Do you have any verbal tics? Do you have trouble pronouncing certain words or getting your thoughts across clearly?

Verbal what?  Well…

Photo 365 #231: Trials and tribulations

After months of only creeping, inching progress on my rewrite, I’ve finally managed to stitch together two parts of my book with all-new material.  Writing the all-new stuff was like pulling teeth; the words often flat-out refused to come.

I hate when writing is like that.

Nevertheless, I pushed through it.  I’m fairly certain that most of what I wrote is rubbish, but that’s what revising is for, right?  Polishing up the parts you don’t like?

At long last, I’m back to the polishing part.  The writing is going much more smoothly now that I’m in full-on polishing mode.  Still, part of me can’t believe how bad some of what I’d written is.  There are parts that are positively purple; they remind me of the steady diet of soap operas I consumed as a teenager.  There are parts that just don’t read quite right, for some reason; they have me in agony as I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong, never mind how to fix them.

And then there are the parts that just make me cringe, like whole-body, might-possibly-be-mistaken-for-a-seizure-type cringing.  People’s Exhibit A: the two-paragraph section where I started four consecutive sentences with the word he.  Talk about an epic facepalm moment.

 

Ch23Excerpt

*cringe*

 

*groans*

*cries*

For the most part, I love writing.  I love the act of writing, the sheer physical quality of my pencil scratching out worlds across the paper; I love rewriting and making things shine.  But at the moment, I seem mired in the depths of suck, where everything is hard and it’s not looking to improve any time soon.  Maybe it’s because I’m exhausted and stressed about things other than writing; maybe it’s because I’ve been working on this story for ten years and I don’t feel any closer to finishing it now than I did when I started it.

Whatever the reason, I’m ready to be overwhelmed by the joy of writing again.  It’s been a long while since I’ve experienced the euphoria of having written something that you know in the marrow of your bones is good.  It’s addicting, that feeling.

I know I’ll find it again, but when everything else is so gray, too, it’s hard to bear that in mind.  In the meantime, thank goodness for things like this:

If you’re worried about not being good enough? Hey, let’s remember, I wasn’t good enough for 17 years. (If you read some of my negative reviews, then ha ha ha, oops, I’m still not good enough.) … Keep at it. Eventually you’ll knock over that brick wall if you commit to the vigorous act of endless headbutting.  -Chuck Wendig

Check out the whole article here.  It’s well worth the read.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the vigorous act of endless headbutting.

*grabs economy-size bottle of ibuprofen*

*scampers off to writing cave*

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Writing 201: Hero(ine)

Ballads are the style du jour, and here’s mine, based loosely around that narrative poem I wrote for Miss Tadpole (which, incidentally, also qualifies as a ballad, but which I thought much too long to reprint here):

The Ballad of Queen Jeverlain

Anná Artwork by Hazel Butler

Anná
Artwork by Hazel Butler

A long time ago
In a land far away,
The Queen of the Sea
Turned a prince into clay.

The queen loved his father
With all of her heart,
And when he rejected her,
The queen fell apart.

Consumed by her hatred,
She started to plot
Her revenge on the king.
She had only one shot –

Only one chance –
To make the man pay.
So she studied and planned
And selected a day…

Photo 365 #191

Revisions continue, and I’m happy to report that I think I’ve crossed that hump I was stuck on.

2015-02-12 12.13.52

I scan my handwritten pages so that I can type them up later, and as I was trying to open the scanner app on my phone, I accidentally activated my camera instead.  When it opened, it showed the image above.  For whatever reason, it spoke to me, and I wanted to share.  I really hope the rest of this revision goes as swimmingly as today’s writing session; I’d love to be done with this revision so that I can polish it up and send it out!

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #188

TLC Revision Notes 4_2So, how’s the writing been going?

Well, uh…

You see that picture to the right?  It’s taken me all week to write that much (plus two lines on the preceding page).  You might say it’s been slow going.  Lord knows I would.

In fact, I might even go so far as to say that writing this particular section of The Price of Mercy has been akin to pulling teeth, to pounding my head against the table until words bleed out, to prying the sweet story meat from my brain with a crowbar.  In short, it’s been a brutal, bloody mess, and I hope that when I finish this revision and get the think edited, it reads well because writing it has been a complete and total #*!@$.

What have you all been up to lately?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #176

Since yesterday was my birthday, I decided to treat myself by going out to lunch.  It was positively divine to get a break from the ramen I’ve been scarfing for far too long.

riss

It was nice to get out and about, but it didn’t work so well for my writing.  Between the noise from my fellow diners and the soap opera playing on TV, I had trouble focusing on what I was trying to write.  Despite all that, and the similar challenges I faced at lunch today, I actually got quite a bit done and feel rather pleased with myself.

The project in the picture is my latest short story, commissioned by Miss Tadpole.  I’ve been working on it for a couple of months – rhyming is haaard, yo – and I hope to have it finished by the time she comes home on Monday.  I don’t know if I’ll reach my goal or not, but I feel like I’m finally gaining ground with this story, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it.  It’s set in Lokana, but long before the time of my novels.

And now, on to the next thing!  Have a great Friday, everybody!

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.