WIP Day 6

6 Oct

One’s on Twitter and the other is on FB. I’m probably doing this wrong. Oh well.

#FF: awesome #WIPjoy-er’s to follow!

Bethany A. Jennings –

She made this challenge

Celesta Thiessan

The one I got this from

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Oct WIP Day 5

5 Oct

Ask a question other writers may be able to help with!

I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant.

My question is about etiquette across genres. I know romance novels get a lot of disrespect, and a good reason why is when unhealthy character relationships get portrayed. I get that it can be a fantasy and one shouldn’t mistake what happens in certain texts with real life wants. And for the record, I’ve read extremely well written romances that are on par with “literature” at least in terms of prose quality.

Often, when individuals who are unfamiliar with genre in a writing group, they tend to say, “I don’t read X” as if everything was written in another language. I get that certain writing rules can be ignored if it’s common in that subgenre,  Is there a way to bridge this gap? I mean, I get it when someone says, “I know nothing of 16th century French Politics, you got me” if I was a fact checker, this would be problematic, but for the average writing-feedback, is there a way to have a respectful conversation, admit when giving feedback “Well, I happen to know next to nothing about X, but I liked the drama. I didn’t like character Y, I thought she was a cliche faux action girl and you weren’t going for subversion.”

This applies to the reviews as well, but is there a way to bridge the conversation? Let’s put it this way: I’m a hardass reviewer. I’m extremely sure I’ve pissed people off while I go on a tangent nobody else probably cares about. It’s not about disrespecting the writer, so much as talking about the idea the book tried to portray. Can we make this less about my fragile ego, and more about the theme?

If that one is too hard, any advice for working with editors, especially if you have someone who is dallying in your prose and you’re being a diva, especially if you don’t want to be a diva?

 

Oct WIP Day 4

5 Oct

A Line that Expresses your Theme

 

I couldn’t do it in a line. Here’s a small snippet of dialogue, which will be rewritten about a dozen times if not cut altogether.

 

“I don’t care about fancy palaces and jewels if this is what it costs you,” Iona said. “Don’t you see? This is another cross-road. We can leave – you and I, right now. We can escape to some place where Lecancia and the others will never find us. They care about castles and kings – why would they bother us anymore?”

“You don’t understand,” Radij said. “If I betray Lecancia, she will take what power I have away. She might kill me, or she might leave me for someone else.”

“There has to be a way – those northerners. They kill mages, don’t they?”

“Lesser acolytes.”

“Yorun.”

She said the archmage’s name as if that was all the proof she needed. “Yorun had taxed himself fighting other mages, Iona. The vermin exploited him in a moment of weakness, nothing more.”

Oct WIP Day 3

4 Oct

What’s your favourite place/way to share your writing online?

 

Besides this blog?

I like goodreads as a general place to talk about books, but I’m not nuts about their review policy as it pertains to those who are posting negative without reading a book (for the record, your review, however you want to do it, is your review. I don’t care). I like facebook because I feel like I can chat with people casually, but on this platform I usually proofread it and think about it, so the content is a little bit more sophisticated. I used to be all over the place with livejournal, but I’m not posting to my old account anymore.

I’m contemplating discussing books like I have movies on this blog in the future. For when it’s not so much a review, but my thoughts on it. I like to keep reviews as well, reviews – whereas I can spend a heck of a lot of time discussing a book’s theme or idea, so you might start to see this in the future.

As for talking about writing – I think I’m getting a little better at talking about books that are coming up. I think there’s still a lot I need to learn in terms of marketing, but I’ll get there.

Oct WIP Day 2

3 Oct

Tell us about YOU!

I mostly write science fiction and fantasy, having fallen in love with adventure stories from a young age. I can’t remember when I started writing, but I do know I finished my first “novel” the summer I was fourteen. It was terrible but meh, I wouldn’t call myself a natural by any stretch but I kept at it. I finished my first series by the time I graduated high school, knew being creative wasn’t enough, and wouldn’t say I have a writing schedule but I’m the sort of person if I don’t set a deadline I will keep tweaking something for a long time. I have two novels under contract with Champagne books at this time, my best guess is 2018 for both.

I’ve been a Manitoba paramedic for the last five years, three of which with Southern Health. I got my paramedic license the same week I got the contract for Tower of Obsidian, which was my first novel under contract. I’ve sold shorts to various anthologies and try to read a good variety of everything.

Linkage

Me on Goodreads

Tower of Obsidian at Amazon

Champagne Books

2 Oct

wipoct17

Okay – so I like daily challenges, and this looks like fun – even if it’s meant for twitter and I’m not sure what #6 is asking me to do, but I have the better part of a week to figure it out. Post if you’re doing this or something like it, it’ll be fun.

 

Introduce your WIP!

I’m currently just shy of 90k of the sequel to the book I sold last year to Champagne. This is probably not the final title, but Merciful Knife follows about a month after Witchslayer’s Scion ends. No spoilers; it’s a swashbuckling sword and sorcery adventure, and it’s a lot of fun because I’m not spending a lot of time reintroducing ideas so lots of action and banter thus far.  I’m also pulling a GRRM and currently have things written in that word count I know aren’t going to make the book, possibly going into something else (novella? Short?) but fleshing out what I know has to happen in the timeline. If we’re to count how far I am in the “caught up” (bridging between scenes) It’s about 62k for the sequences I’ve patched together. I’m hoping that I get this title shorter then others in the series, WS is about 130k and the main series, book 1 is about 160k. Daunting for any other genre but fantasy, right?

…right?

The goal is to get enough of a working draft that I can do a nano in November that I can swap without concern, and then have a buffer between projects.

Yes, Water is Wet – Character Discussion

30 Sep

This has been on my mind for some time, but I had a hard time coming up with an interesting way to talk about it. I recently signed the contract for my third novel – it’s a Steampunk Horror novel, with a villain protagonist. My best guess is, I did study Victorian and Edwardian literature back in university, and it usually had a gothic flare to it. My publisher and Champagne said they wanted more steampunk, so I set myself to write one.  The contention here, is that I’ve had more than one editor read the source material and find it “Problematic”. My main character is a monster, and not in a curly-mustache tie-you-to-the-tracks sort of way. I say no kiddin’.

Anyway, a point of contention I have about these upcoming books is that the characters aren’t squeaky clean. Don’t get me wrong – I admire good guys who do good – Tower of Obsidian kinda has a theme with this – but as a writer and especially as a reader, I like getting into the mindset of characters who aren’t necessarily acting decently all the time. I adore novels where we have an untrustworthy narrator, and I finally understand when C.S. Lewis said he found writing The Screwtape Letters “Distasteful”. I’m not going to preach the grey-on-grey morality as being superior to classic fantasy black-vs-white, but it’s far more interesting to me to watch someone with flaws act out and make their way in the word.

Then I came across this video.

I’m not a Potterhead, so I don’t have a dog in this fight, and I acknowledge that it’s sometimes extremely prudent to not be 100% faithful to the source material because the mediums are different, and it can work to a director’s advantage to change sequences so that they’re faithful to the spirit of what the author intended, but it got me thinking about media and its power. If you don’t want to watch it, it’s essentially how Book!Hermione is written as flawed whereas Movie!Hermione knows everything and can do no wrong – essentially reducing Ron’s character to comic relief. I’ve talked about female characters in media before, and I can’t say I disagree that it’s annoying – I can relate better to someone who sometimes flounders or gets frustrated then the beautiful, clever, witty one who farts peppermint.

This could be about idealization in the most common form of media (tv screen) and we could have that same discussion about Katniss Everdeen, if by my recollection, was an addict suffering from PTSD by book 3, but we couldn’t have this strong female role model be anything other than relatable on the screen.

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I know that girls need role models – but why are we being lazy, and making these characters flat? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I found book Katniss whiny, but I thought there was some growth, whereas in the movies, I found her to be vulnerable and sadly overcoming it… every movie.

Back to my own work – I understand that when we pick up a book, we have certain expectations, and those can’t be violated or we’ll come away at least initially disappointed (I can’t pitch my tragedy as a comedy, it had better be pretty darn gripping if you came for a chuckle) but I don’t see why we have to make everything palatable and not allow our readers to think for themselves. Books should be about pushing boundaries and exploring ideas – and those ideas shouldn’t necessarily be what’s considered safe. Granted, producing a book isn’t cheap and it’s minute compared to the price tag associated with a blockbuster, but at what point are we chipping away at what makes these characters interesting to begin with?

 

Thoughts? Have you ever had backlash because someone was worried how the source material might be interpreted?

Also, I found a daily challenge that’s meant for twitter, but I’ll be posting it here. Stay tuned, I’m going to keep the answers short and publish them on a timer, so hopefully you’ll get an update a day.