During the duration of the promotion, the ebook editions will be exclusively available on Kindle, though of course they are also available in trade paperback. Now’s a great time to pick up the whole series if you haven’t already!
I’m hardly going to be the first writer ever to find myself tantalisingly close to the end of a first draft (115,000 words), only to discover my plot isn’t working for me the way I need it to. How can I explain it? It’s like I’ve spaced out my tent poles too widely, and now I don’t have enough canvas to cover them.
I’ve now worked out what I need to do to fix it (and hopefully make it easier to find my way down the rest of the long, dark tunnel to that tantalisingly blinking neon The End sign). But it kinda means unstringing my plot and stringing it back together in a slightly different configuration. With some new bits added in.
So that’s today’s task. Reconfigure the synopsis until I have a plot that’s going to work for me. Wish me luck.
Blood on sink by winnond, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
This week I’ve been back at work after a lovely two weeks off in which I got a huge amount of work done on the WIP (but didn’t finish it – boo.) One of the pleasures of writing is all the bits and bobs of interesting research I get to do. This can vary from a quick check on Google images to make sure I’ve got a thing right in my mind’s eye, to a two hour rabbit hole from which I emerge blinking and cursing myself. Research topics over the last week have included:
Being a very visual person, a fun thing I’ve liked to do since I discovered it a few years ago is checkout Pantone’s colour of the year. Interestingly, for 2016, for the first time ever, they announced TWO colours for the year: Serenity and Rose Quartz. (Side note: naming paint colours is a job I’ve always coveted.) This colour pairing was supposed to express something about the need for harmony in chaos. And it was very pretty in a sort of a kittens and candy-floss kind of way.
The irony, of course, is that on many levels 2016 was not a kittens-and-candy-floss kind of year and I’m not sure that as a global society we really embraced that whole harmony thing. But, in the spirit of aspiring to Serenity and viewing the world through Rose Quartz-tinted glasses, here is my writing achievements round up for 2016.
Just like 2015, I elected to focus on novel projects. I find that what with working a day job and spending time with my lovable and hilarious family, I have to be a bit strategic about how I spend my writing time. So I didn’t do much on the short story front. Here’s what I did do:
Wrote two new short stories (and started another, um, eight or so and had ideas for a few more…)
Sold 2! (One old, one new.) Both to markets I’m very happy with.
Got Novel Project #4 to just over 107,000 words. I wanted to finish it and didn’t, which is annoying, but I’m almost there. Early feedback on the first chunk has been really encouraging, and I’m reasonably confident of wrapping up the first draft soon.
Had some exciting things happen in relation to Novel Project #1, which are still a bit secret. But I’m looking forward to talking more about those in 2017.
Got into the 2016 ACT Writers Centre HARDCOPY professional development program, which was affirming and valuable and through which I’ve met a bunch more talented and extraordinarily lovely writers.
Was part of the team for Conflux 12 & pulled off a wonderful con.
Finish the damn first draft of NP#4 and get it out to my very patient beta readers.
Probably do a bit more work on NP#1
Have a little rest from novel projects and write/finish/polish up/send out some short stories
Give in to the lure of the long-form story and start planning out NPs #3 and 5
Get my bloody passport in order and get myself to Europe for a bit of research.
And what’s the colour for 2017?
A “tangy yellow-green” called Greenery. The comment from Pantone is all about vitality and the desire to rejuvenate.
Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.
Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute
I’m a big fan of green and, you know, nature stuff. But the cynical part of me can think of a few other associations for green in today’s “complex social and political landscape”, which are less kittens-and-candy-floss and more poisoned apple. Which is to say, I actually think green is a very fitting choice for 2017.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if 2017 did turn out to be all about rejuvenation and new growth and a renewed focus on environmental sustainability? And shared prosperity is actually pretty good too, so let’s have some of that.
Here’s to 2017. I hope all your good dreams come true, and we kill off a few of the nightmares.
Hooray! My new story Breathing is out today in Aurealis #95. This one is science fiction, which is a bit unusual for me. I’m still figuring out how to describe it.
This is one of those stories that grew out of my response to a song. I’ve got a few like this. I often find my way into a story through the mood generated by music, or an evocative lyric. I’m a particular fan of using crazy word associations through misheard lyrics (or mondegreens) to spark my creativity.
In the case of Breathing, though, I was caught by the lonely mood of the music and one particularly powerful lyric in the song Hello, by Evanescence:
Has no one told you she’s not breathing?
That line is intriguing. It is rich with unacknowledged tragedy and cruel revelation.
I’ve since found out there is a sad story behind Hello: it was written by the multi-talented Evanescence frontwoman, Amy Lee, about an early tragedy in her life. But I didn’t know that when I wrote Breathing.
I won’t say any more (spoilers!), but if you read the story, let me know what you think!