Tag Archive: gray morning


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?

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo?

This is the first year in the past like, 3 or 4 that I haven’t outright committed to doing NaNoWriMo. I keep going back and forth. I have a novel I need to finish by December 31st (Gray Morning). I am still in The Real LJ Idol Competition, though things have gotten tight now that there’s about 60 contestants left (out of a starting total of like…280?). I am working nearly full-time. I have a five year old with special needs. A divorce to plan and prepare for, and a free online writing course that starts tomorrow, of all days.

I kind of want to just…write something purely without doing ANY preparation. Gray Morning and The Stellar Challenge both require so much work, for two entirely different reasons. Gray Morning is on its second official draft, I’ve written large chunks of it out of order, and I need to piece it all together/fill in the gaps (which is probably around 20-30k worth of words, maybe more). I have a good idea for the plot arc of it, I know the major events, it’s just…filling in those gaps and rounding everything out.

The Stellar Challenge is still on draft one, and very, very slow going, because it requires a lot of forethought and planning. Each Planet focuses on a specific Challenger. Once each Planet is complete, there’s a “(Character) Story,” that explains how the Challenger came to do the Challenge, in the first place. Like how they died, why they think they need to go on a redemption quest, etc. I realized just yesterday that the book’s true Main Character is Saito — who is possibly one of the grossest characters I’ve ever written.

I’m doing an abridged version of his Planet Chapters (Saturn) for Idol — where he essentially breaks the cycle of his own Limbo/Hell and finally, finally earns a fate other than the one he’s been experiencing for the past however long. But he has to do it by preventing another Challenger from falling into the same traps he has for the past however many (I’m thinking at least 100) attempts at the Challenge himself. Saito is supposed to be forced to redo the Challenge forever and ever for all eternity; but after so many repeated attempts, he starts to remember his past attempts. He’s resigned himself to his fate, but he sees a lot of promise in Jordan — a young teenager who killed himself in a murder-suicide (with his mother as his victim). So when he sees Jordan falling for a trap that’s been set for Saito at least one hundred times before, well…

It should be interesting to write. But I have worked the past 5 nights (and, in fact, have only briefly napped today after getting out of work at 8am), and I’m exhausted, and it’s difficult to write something like this. I am not unemployed anymore; I don’t have the time to dedicate to the writing and the LJI competition like I used to, and it kills me.

So adding a NaNo project on top of these two novels (which are my closest to “completion”) just seems kind of… silly. I have a couple of other words that aren’t as well developed, but I’ve at least started all of them or have completed shorter, rougher drafts of them. And honestly, if I do NaNo, I want to do something fresh and new with characters I don’t know like the back of my hand or with a universe I haven’t done all the worldbuilding for, etc.

But like, I can’t seem to come up with anything? I dunno. It’s been a struggle. I’m sure on November 1st, I’ll find myself opening a new document and titling it NaNoWriMo14 and just… going with it. But until then, I keep going back and forth.

The start of my LJI entry, if you’re curious:


Saito stood at the threshold of the train, his lips pressed tightly together and his jaw clenched.

Saturn.

He had made it to Saturn.

“Dude, are you going to get off the train or what?” Jordan’s grating voice asked.

Saito’s jaw clenched further, and he took one step off the train and moved out of the teenager’s way. He didn’t look at the boy, instead averting his eyes from him as much as possible. Megumi followed Jordan off the train, her tight, black dress seemingly tighter and more revealing in the odd, overcast lighting of the gaseous planet.

Saito looked away from her, too.

He might not remember all the details, but one too many trips back to the Start had broken the amnesiatic effect of death. He remembered his mistakes. Remembered the promise of Redemption, and how he was to fail at it, every time, as punishment for his crimes.

But this was the first time he had made it to Saturn since his first trip.

It’s the little things…

Life’s been insane. I started working almost full-time at a local convenience store chain. Escaped my abuser’s home (and yes, I came to terms with the fact that it was abuse, in the past year).

In that time, I’ve been writing. I’ve been competing, too. Remember that writing competition on LJ I waxed poetic about? Well, season 9 started back in… March?

It’s still going.

We’re like three weeks or so away from reaching the top 50.

And I am clawing my way into that coveted range of people. My true goal is Top 25.

In the past year, I’ve split up my Tomorrow Trilogy into three separate books, each with their own separate story lines and casts. Gray Morning is still titled that — Gray Morning. Ryan (previously Ryin) has his own world to play in, and so does Jordine and the Hooban race.

I’ve written several new short stories I intend to try and push out into the world.

And my erotica writing has, sadly, ground to a halt. I intend to resume it, and I’m editing all five pieces for Say What You Want to publish as a single book — but I am debating on adding another “bonus” chapter to the end. My muses want to, and I think it might benefit the story if I did, but finding the energy to write that much unabashed smut right now is difficult.

My life, right now, is so much better than it was a year ago. And while I’m not writing as much as I used to, I’m still writing, and I’m piecing together a new draft for Gray Morning. Behold, a little of what I have cobbled together, today:


“Where were you?” Savin growled once the door shut behind him. “The Empire’s been fucking falling apart –”

“I know,” Jazz murmured, frowning.

“They think you’re dead!” Savin shouted, throwing his keys down on the little stand beside his door. He tugged off his jacket and tossed it aside, storming past Jazz once he slipped his shoes off his feet.

“I know,” Jazz whispered, his voice quiet and subdued.

“They think I did it!” Savin turned sharply on his heel, running his fingers through his hair. “Do you know how long it took for them to let me go back to my job? Fucking Amelia kept an eye on me for at least a month — I almost got fired — I –” He cut himself off, noticing the look on Jazz’s face.

“Do you blame them?” Jazz asked, his back nearly to the door, his lip caught underneath his teeth. “You did tell them what happened, right?”

Savin paused, the anger having been sucked from his lungs. He frowned and looked away from Jazz. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “They only wanted to know where you were — and since I didn’t know…”

Jazz nodded, still chewing on his bottom lip as he turned his gaze towards the floor. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I just — I couldn’t do it anymore.”

“I don’t care,” Savin said, turning on his heel and waving his hand dismissively in the air. He kept talking as he moved towards his bedroom, tugging his top over his shoulders as he walked. “I really fucking don’t, okay? You left, and my life nearly fucking fell apart, and I don’t give a shit anymore.”

He slammed his bathroom door behind him and shed the rest of his clothes. He needed a shower. Needed to get away and just forget that Jazz was even there. In his apartment. Alive. And apparently no worse for wear, even after the past six months, and —

Savin shut off the water and tugged his jeans back over his waist. Anger filled him again, and he marched out of the bathroom, arms folded over his bare chest. “Where the fuck where you, anyway?” he snapped, his nails digging into his upper arms. “You’re the fucking Emperor — how could you just abandon your whole fucking Empire like that?”

Jazz flinched, his back still to the front door. His face flushed and he kept his eyes low. “I thought it would be in good hands,” he said, fidgeting.

The Great Debate, part 2

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, I told myself I was going to figure everything I needed to figure out about the Tomorrow Trilogy prior to resuming writing any of Seize the Day. I’ve spoken to a couple of other writers in an effort to get the ol’ brain moving.

Ryin IS getting removed. So is the Natural Born subplot. That leaves me with focusing on Jazz, Savin, and Mitchel. The Empire? Stays. Jazz can be next in line like Ryin was; he could also be eschewing his duties as next in line, in favor of living a life he’d prefer to live.  Except as the story progresses, he’ll get more and more involved in politics.

A friend of mine, Jen from Just Another Blog, suggested doing one big outline that’s composed of all of the major points from across the whole series. It was something I already intended on doing, because I need to have a good grasp of this so I can figure out where Gray Morning really fits in. She also suggested that maybe that was the first book. I informed my other writerly friend Sarah from A Place that Does Not Exist of this idea, who was like maaaaaaaaybe that could work compared to my OH FUCK NO.

…Yes, I sometimes have harsh reactions. I can be stubborn, especially when it comes to this particular series. Gray Morning was never intended to be book #1. Too much of Jazz and Savin’s backstory would simply get brushed aside and crammed in if it was.

However, I started my outlining process by attempting to figure out the character/relationship related story-lines, first. Not necessarily in any order, because that’s not how these things come to me at times, but the character stuff is the backdrop that’ll determine the Empire-related stuff. I’m not big on symbolism, but the Empire has ALWAYS represented the progression of Jazz and Savin’s relationship to me, especially in Gray Morning when everything is falling apart. 

There’s also Jazz’s history with Mitchel, and Savin’s (lack of) knowledge of it, because those things are vital to Savin and Mitchel’s antagonistic relationship. And Sarah presented a good question to me — just how much of it do I need to show? Do I really need to show Jazz and Mitchel’s relationship from the beginning, or can I start towards the end of it? Do I have to show the whole progression of Jazz and Savin’s relationship? 

For Jazz and Mitchel, starting at the end of it is probably best. Jazz, of course, is still struggling with his role in the Empire at that point. He’s only (some age between 25 and 28), his Uncle (maybe his father; I’m still undecided about that aspect of things, right now) is pushing him to become more involved with the Empire. Obviously, he doesn’t want to. Politics just isn’t for him; he’s grown up with it since day one and hates it. Not entirely sure how he and Mitchel met, but Mitchel’s ten years older than he is, and has a hefty political career. I’m going to assume they met that way, and started dating.

The big thing with them was that Mitchel never wanted to be “out” about their relationship. Difficult to do when you work together, right? So Jazz is getting to the point where he’s fed up with it. I think this is where Savin enters the picture — how Jazz and Savin meet, I’m not entirely sure. Before it was through a coincidence, but I’m not sure how much I’m liking that, anymore. Or well, not the coincidence I went with, originally, anyway. 

I also want to change Savin’s relationship with Mari. Her being his ex isn’t really working with me; or at least, the drama surrounding a previously passed breakup doesn’t sit so well with me, anymore. I do like them being ex’s that had enough time to heal to become great friends; that was their dynamic by the time Gray Morning hit, anyway. Why not just start there? 

So I’m slowly figuring these things out, character-wise. I think Jazz doesn’t actually become Emperor until he and Savin are already together, but I think it happens a lot sooner than I planned. Essentially, they get together, Jazz is made Emperor, and then a few months down the line, Jazz proposes. He wants a partner to help him run the Empire; his Council (including Mitchel) isn’t enough help. Those years he spent shunning his responsibilities are catching up to him, and now the Empire is starting to fall apart. 

There’s an anti-Empire movement growing, too, by this point. Savin doesn’t know whether he wants to accept Jazz’s proposal — marriage is legal for everyone, but once Savin marries Jazz, he knows his career path is going to take a hit — being the Emperor’s husband (and therefore Emperor, himself) means practicing medicine will be out of the picture. Medicine is Savin’s life. You know how some people throw themselves into work because work is the best thing ever? That’s what medicine is for him. Jazz knows that. Jazz promises Savin he won’t have to give medicine up.

Except things start getting worse; the Resistance has a name, now. And demands for the Empire itself. And Jazz can’t keep his promise to Savin, and —

Well, now I sorta figured out how to get to the meat of Gray Morning‘s story. I guess I needed to story vom a bit. 🙂

As a bonus for following along this far, here’s some of the next part of Vicky & Mordecai. 😉

Continue reading

The Great Debate

So every few months or so, I sit here and I start to think about the Tomorrow Trilogy. 

More specifically, I’ll get hit with an idea for book 3, Gray Morning. Keep in mind that I am a discovery writer. Also keep in mind that I force myself to write in order, because otherwise I will just sit here and write bits and pieces of a book but never actually go anywhere with it. I actually did that for so long, with writing pieces out of order and trying to make them stand alone, I tend to be a little repetitive — even when writing in chronological order. 

It’s a bad habit, and a hard one to break. I’m still working on said habit, but I’ve been getting better about it, too. But when I write out of order, I don’t tend to write things that can be easily pieced together, and that’s an issue. Gray Morning has almost always been the exception to this rule. Because whenever I write a piece of it, it might be out of order, but I tend to write a chunk. A scene progression spanning several chapters, usually. Last I touched it was back in May, and now I’ve written three pieces of it this week.

Thing is, I’ve been sitting and turning over things for the Trilogy in general. I don’t feel fully inspired for Seize the Day, and I feel that the outline I have now is a little draggy. Is what I have enough conflict? Do I have a clear antagonist? Etc, etc. I do, but he’s really not standing in Ryin’s way enough, I don’t think. And I don’t think I can stretch the basis of my plot to the word count I think the book needs without it feeling repetitive and boring. 

Which brought me back to this debate I had maybe a year ago — maybe closer to two years ago, now. Can I squeeze it down to two books instead of three? Now, to understand this, I went from originally thinking this was going to be four books. Then it went down to three. Then two. Then back up to three, because I wanted to include a particular subplot that kind of evolved into its own plot.

Except now I’m thinking that particular plot (book 2, Surrender the Night) is unnecessary and doesn’t do a particular character of mine justice (Jordine). She deserves her own book, one free of the world I’m still remodeling for the Tomorrow Trilogy. It’s definitely based on Earth, likely some far future version of it, and do I really need this plotline? There’s plenty enough drama with Ryin becoming Emperor and then dying and then Jazz having to take his place, and the adjustment/protections they need to make to ensure their safety as Emperors, etc etc, and a civil war, and —

So overall, I don’t think I need it. But I’m unsure of how to pace Seize the Day in order to move into Gray Morning and cover the romantic subplots that exist. Because Mitchel and Jazz’s relationship is important, Jazz and Savin’s relationship is important, so is Jazz’s relationship with Ravi… These three things overlap and I need enough time to pass and enough events to occur to make the progression of these three make sense. 

But the overall self-destruction of the Empire, too, is vastly important and comes to a head in Gray Morning and is the driving force behind it. So Seize the Day needs hints of that happening. I originally had the idea that the Movement was separate from the Resistance — and maybe it is, or maybe the Resistance is a splinter cell of the Movement, like I originally thought when I developed the Movement, in the first place.

Maybe the two books focus more or less on Ryin, and then Jazz, coming to terms that their Empire isn’t perfect. That their lives won’t ever be perfect, and that they need to determine their own destinies and their own pathways to happiness. Same with Savin. 

Either way, out of the two (three?) books, Gray Morning always speaks the loudest. I know what happens in that book. I know what the main conflict is, how it’s resolved. Seize the Day and Surrender the Night, not so much. Maybe I just need to start the book with the moment Ryin becomes Emperor. Maybe there’s a book after Gray Morning, and it’s the book that’s in the middle. After all, I don’t think the story necessarily ends when the Resistance wins. Maybe I’m handling this all wrong. 

This is why I can’t ever seem to finish this, and this is why I struggle with it. I refuse to restart Seize the Day. I have seven chapters of it written, and I wanted to make the next 50k of it my NaNo project this year. Maybe I’ll reread what I’ve written, cut what I feel needs to be cut, and start from there on Nov 1st. I don’t want to look over the current outline just yet; I’m not sure I can stomach it. But maybe I’ll reevaluate the outline, too, and try to just let the story take me where it wants to. 

I swear, no other novel of mine gives me nearly as much trouble as this damn series.