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So I’ve been more or less stalled at 27.9k words into Gray Morning, right?

Originally, I thought this was because I had essentially changed the game, removing one of my old plot-lines. Because originally, Jazz goes on the run from the Empire itself and goes into hiding. This is after Savin has his Moment of Sheer Awful (for Savin), and Jazz just doesn’t know how to cope with the combined stress of his collapsing Empire AND marriage, so he up and leaves.

Well, I came to my senses before starting this draft and dropped that plotline. Which gave me a slight panic attack, because oh fuck, what do I do with Ravi? Ravi doesn’t show up in the novel until after Jazz leaves and if Jazz doesn’t leave then how do he and Jazz meet and —

Eventually, I developed an answer for that, too. Ravi’s now a member of the Imperial Guard; he is brought in as an extra layer of protection for Jazz after the first assassination attempt goes down and fails (Jazz is shot, but not mortally wounded). What they don’t know is that Ravi himself is a member of the Resistance — in fact, he was the assassin who failed to take out the Emperor properly, in the first place.

So basically, that’s as far as I got in the book before my brain ground to a halt on how to proceed. I wrote a Council scene, paused halfway through it with Jazz and Mitchel sharing a meaningful look, and I haven’t written another word. Instead, I’ve been writing that OTP challenge and finally finishing up my stripper!Jazz smut that I’ve been sitting on for over a month.

And then this morning, I decided instead of working on any writing, I was going to nap. Because my son’s at school and well, I have caught his death flu (though mostly doing better now aside from the coughing).

And. I. couldn’t. nap.

Because I started thinking about how Jazz and Savin fall apart. Because in this version, I honestly don’t know how it comes about anymore. Savin lost half of the outside influences that had an indirect impact on his relationship with Jazz. The assassination attempts are still a thing and I can see that scaring Savin off, basically. But for Savin to think the relationship could never actually be repaired, something else has to happen, too. Because he adores Jazz. Always has. Always will. Leaving Jazz would be no easy feat for him; it’d be a decision he’d have to revisit a thousand times before he was certain he could even remotely be making the right one.

And since relationships don’t fall apart because of just one person — I wondered what Jazz’s role would be. I know he develops a romantic attraction to Ravi. He’s definitely already got a physical one, based on Ravi’s introduction alone. But there’s also a hint of a romantic/physical interest in Mitchel, too, on Jazz’s end. And it always kind of bothered me, how my one openly gay character more or less develops a relationship (in various uses of the word) with practically all of the males in the books. It’s not because I think gay men are promiscuous by nature — but I know that’s a stereotype. And it’s not one I particularly like, either, considering.

Do I think he cheats on Savin? Possibly. I think he at least makes a move on Ravi and Ravi more or less brings him to his senses/refuses to let things go any further than Jazz’s singular move, which Jazz respects. If Mitchel decides to make a move, himself, then Jazz would have to be the one to turn him down, and I don’t think that’d happen. I think they’d have sex, if Mitchel picked up on Jazz’s attraction to him, no matter how vague it was and thought Jazz was in a place (mentally) where he’d push his loyalty to Savin aside.

Which, well, Mitchel would, because he’s Mitchel. But that’s neither here nor there. Why does Jazz like so many people? Why isn’t he singularly focused like Savin is? He’s not —

He is poly.

And that was the moment Alicia realized she was not getting any goddamn sleep this morning while her son was at school, because goddamnit, Jazz, why do I have to figure these things out for you?? Except I don’t think Jazz really ever figures out about this aspect of his sexuality; he was married fairly young (24), and by the time Mitchel and Ravi really present themselves as viable romantic partners, he’s (unknowingly) close to his own death. But him slowly coming to an understanding about this aspect of his sexuality might be one of the things that pulls him and Savin apart.

It’s at least part of it. Especially if he tries to pursue anything with either Ravi or Mitchel — though to be fair, if he pursued Ravi, Ravi’d turn him down. And he wouldn’t pursue Mitchel; Mitchel would be the one to chase. And I think Mitchel’s subtle chasing is what Savin reacts (badly) to. Savin’s reaction puts distance between them. Jazz seeks comfort in Ravi. Cue more distance and more suspicion and anger from Savin. Jazz making a move towards Ravi. Being turned down by Ravi. Confiding in Savin the truth about it? Savin witnesses it? Something?

I get the feeling that this progression is what I needed to figure out. Maybe after Ravi turns him down, Jazz finally makes a connection about himself he didn’t really see/understand before, and he tries to talk to Savin about it. Maybe they make the decision to work through it. To find ways around it. What Jazz did isn’t excusable and Savin will outright tell him as much, but Savin’s Savin. He’d try to be understanding and accommodating. He’d want to work through it, ultimately.

And of course that’s when I destroy everyone’s hopes and dreams and Jazz ends up dead, but Christ Almighty, did I really need a week sabbatical from GM to figure this shit out? Yeesh.

30 Day OTP Challenge

So I find these challenge things on tumblr all of the damn time, right? Most of them I see and like the look of them but I never commit to actually doing them.

But I found THIS shipping challenge and I guess my brain needed a break from Gray Morning, because I’ve been cranking these out at about one a day for my own personal amusement and for quick words, since my son’s been sick (and now I am, too).

Of course, I decided on Savin/Mitchel for this particular challenge. And everything I’ve written so far has been post-Jazz’s death. So now I’m wondering if I’m inadvertently writing parts of the third book (tentatively titled “A New Day”), since the focus has been mostly on Savin and Mitchel’s developing understanding of one another. Now, I don’t think they’d ever be canon, but there might be an erm, unhealthy attraction/dependency almost on Savin’s end. One that Mitchel capitalizes on because he’s, well, Mitchel.

Either way, it’s been nice to focus on something other than Gray Morning. Even if this means I’m technically trying to figure out how A New Day even goes down. I honestly don’t really know how Gray Morning ends now, because of certain plot changes that have been made and subplots I’ve removed (because they were dumb). Jazz dying has always been a consistent fact. Jazz “cheating” on Savin is also pretty consistent, too, except this version will probably contain emotional infidelity more than anything else. Ravi was introduced at 25k in and that’s about as far as I got, honestly. xD

I kinda love his introduction, though. He’s always been an interesting character to write. He’s not my usual, and I really think I’m hung up on his fate, more than anything else. Because Mitchel needs a scapegoat. I’m pretty sure Ravi’s the fall guy.

And this is why discovery writing sometimes sucks. I am stuck, I think, partially because I have to just let them tell me the changes I need to make to their story. At the same time, I’m trying to keep them all tame, a bit, because I don’t want to lose sight of my plot.

Sigh.

New Year, “New” Projects

So. This year, I have set out to do lots of things to help further my potential writing career. I have joined a wonderful writing community known as Get Your Words Out over at livejournal with my personal journal. It’s what used to be my writing LJ, but with all things, it’s changed and evolved into something else entirely. I still post writing there; it’s just gotten less frequent than the entries that are far more personal and navel-gazing in nature.

Now, over at GYWO, you could pledge to writing various amounts of words over the course of 2015. The number of words I pledged to complete this year is 500k, and as of today, I am just 400 words over the “target” line. I have written 16.8k words so far, this year. Not bad, right?

Except I have writing goals other than simply spitting out 500k words in a 365 day period.

I want to submit at least three pieces to literary magazines. I want to resume my Amazon Self-Published Erotica biz, Erotica Pen Name included, by writing and publishing at least one piece to sell. Most likely, it would be me playing with the “Vicky and Mordecai” storyline, as I have a part 4 that’s been languishing at “half-finished” for about half a year, now. I want to finish the Second Draft of Gray Morning.

If anyone’s been paying attention — back in December, I was wrapping up the first book of my A New Day trilogy. Yes, trilogy. Because between December 23rd and today, January 12th, I not only decided, yes, I’m shelving One Day at a Time despite not having filled in those last 15kish words, but that there was, in fact, another book that took place after Gray Morning.

I wish I could say I wasn’t surprised. But I was. I mean, I sat here and began writing Gray Morning a few days before January 1st. It’s at approximately 24k words total. I think at about 15k in, I looked up from my screen, my eyes widening and me whispering, “Oh, no,” to myself. Because I realized that there was no way Gray Morning would be a satisfactory ending to the storyline. That there definitely was more storyline to explore, after a certain protagonist’s death.

But I have never seriously thought about plot-related things after Gray Morning either. At the same time, though, the world Jazz and Savin now inhabit has undergone so many changes. It’s not the same that it used to be. They’re not the same that they used to be. I mean, okay, they’re still themselves, and their story is still theirs, but just like me and their world, they evolve, too. They experience growth and change (and they should, if they’re going to be well-rounded characters).

I want 2015 to be a good year. I want it to be the best year. I want to get into a routine, I want to find a way to write for at least an hour every day, so I can try to stay on top of my word counts. I want to set aside larger blocks of time to get caught up when lack of sleep and time inevitably tank the lead I have on my goals at present. I want to finish this damn trilogy and begin editing it and reworking parts and finally know all of the pieces to it.

My best friend thought I might be pushing myself a little too hard when I mentioned that I wanted to finish the 8-10 novel ideas I have in my head at present before I turn 30. I turn 30 in approximately three years. That’s roughly 3-4 novels a year. 3-4 months spent on one novel at a time.

Doable. As long as I can, in fact, write for an hour every day. I also want to work on finding an agent and building my “platform” and getting myself out there.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll be on my way to a publishing contract in another couple of years or so.

Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Debate

Since Sunday night, I’ve come to the (not-quite horrible) realization that the plotline for One Day at a Time (the Gray Morning prequel I’ve been working on since NaNoWriMo 2014) will need to be entirely revamped to make it much more cohesive.

Which is fine. But I have approximately another 10k or so of story left to write before reaching the end; the ending itself remains the same; a lot of the events leading up to it will also probably be the same, it’s just that getting from Point A to Point B will have a different structure and certain characters will have a different relationship straight from the beginning, etc.

In short, The End is still Savin accepting Jazz’s proposal for marriage. How they get there will be changed — if only in the sense that their relationship isn’t truly a relationship until the “main” antagonist is vanquished/dealt with (Emperor Casio), and then after that Jazz proceeds to become Emperor himself while his relationship with Savin finally takes off without restraint — and Jazz tries to push it a step further before Savin’s ready.

Since I’ve come to this conclusion/have written down notes on the “true” progression of the book (ie, what I intend to do when it comes time to work on the Second Draft), part of me just wants to stop where I am now in the point of the story. It’s right after Jazz retaliates against Casio, fights back during a moment of sexual assault, and winds up on Savin’s doorstep to beg for his forgiveness/take their relationship to the next level (which, in the Second Draft, would be him admitting that he loves Savin and that he doesn’t want Casio and never really did and he’s finally stood up for himself, and he thinks he made a terrible mistake fighting back, etc).

Stopping here would mean leaving the First Draft incomplete (but with my planned ending already written and most of the beginning/middle figured out). Which is not what I want to do — I want a finished draft to print out and tear apart later.

But what’s the point in finishing this draft when I already know the rest of the events (as well as one can know the events when they’re character driven and a discovery writer)? Maybe I should print out the story as it is now and let it sit. Which is what the majority of me WANTS to do. Print out the First Draft, move on to Gray Morning, and edit the first novel during a (what will probably be) a much needed break from writing.

But shouldn’t I finish the first draft, first, before moving on to Draft #whothefuckknows for Gray Morning? But it feels almost silly, to push myself to finish a book when I will basically retcon a bunch of shit to fit the intended plotline of Draft the Second.

I don’t even know anymore.

I am, for the third year in a row, successful in completing NaNoWriMo. The official count on the NaNo website is 50,886 words. The story isn’t finished, but my brain needs a break from Jazz and Savin so bad, it’s not even funny. Of course, I intend to finish the novel by the end of December — I suspect I have somewhere around another 30k to go before it’s complete. So that’s a paltry 1k words a day on average compared to the 1700ish I’ve managed this month.

But this win is huge, for me. I haven’t had averaged 1000 words a day in over a year. I haven’t had a 50k word month (this month I wrote 56.7k words in combination of my NaNo project and side projects) since November, 2013. Meaning, I haven’t done 50k in a month since last year’s NaNoWriMo.

I haven’t done this since I started working. I am exhausted, but proud of myself. I persevered. I hit the word goal.

And now I want to write something else.

I am so tired of Jazz and Savin, at the moment. I need a break from them and their drama. And while I’m still competing in LJ Idol, I don’t know how much longer I can survive. Shti’s getting pretty crazy, now that we’ve broken the Top 50. This week there’s an open vote poll, with the bottom three going home. On top of that, there is a contestant only vote, where we have to send Gary a list of 15 names, and he will tally up the votes, and the lowest 5-10 vote getters are going home.

That means 8-13 out of like…48 of us are leaving, this week. I think it’ll break at like 10 contestants going home. But that means 38 of us left.

And that means 13 more people I have to claw past to break into the top 25 — which is my personal goal and the whole reason why I haven’t quit this crazy competition, even when it interfered with me getting my NaNo words in. I’m not going to win; I knew that going in. I don’t have a fanbase like many others and I’m not willing to play the strategy angle. But I do want to break into the Top 25, just to say I did.

But right now, I’m just so exhausted from writing. I love it, I do. I like the book I have so far and I like how it shapes and fills in the gaps of GM — gaps I didn’t realize I had for a reason. So that’s wonderful. But now I need to write something mindless. Something different.

Or maybe I’ll just take a couple of days off from writing and go back to the grind on Wednesday, when I return to work. That sounds good, too.