Tag Archive: writing meta


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. 😉

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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. 

The Struggle

Sometimes, the words just don’t want to form on the page. 

You struggle for each one. Tilt your head from one side to the other, crack your neck, crack your knuckles. Each motion shouts, “Hey! I mean business, over here! Get to work!”

But the page remains blank. 

Slowly, a single sentence forms. Then another. And those? Those are hard-won, but unremarkable words. The emotion is flat. The scene too dry. And if you know it, then you can be damn sure your readers will know it, too, when they click on the link containing your work. 

Your child wants to be chased all over the neighborhood. Your ex wants to fight you one minute and butter you up the next. Your cat yowls, begging for your hand to run over the length of her body. Your attention split, your focus shattered.

Seven hundred and fifty. It’s not November, you can stop at seven hundred and fifty. And maybe you even have that, now. But you want to at least finish writing this page. You want to reach the end of this scene. 

And you will. You just need to claw those last few sentences free from the recesses of your brain.

Subject Optional

So for the past week or so, the ex has been leaving for work at around 5am. This morning, it was 3:30am. Since I live in the upstairs apartment, I have to come downstairs to take over the child-watch after she leaves. This means I’ve been getting up at these times, coming downstairs, and some mornings passing out on the couch while I wait for my child to wake up, or realizing my child is already awake and therefore entertaining him until he has to go to pre-school. 

Needless to say, I tend to post blog posts at night, and instead of blogging, I’ve been crashing at around 9pm. Since I haven’t written anything today, and since I have to pick up my brother from work after midnight, I’ll be up for a while yet and yes, I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning. 

Clearly, sleep and I haven’t been friends. Hell, writing and I haven’t been very friendly with one another, this past week. I’ve been trying to determine whether it’s a lack of inspiration (I’ve had dips before) or lack of motivation, and I’m not sure which it is. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Maybe my stress levels have gotten that high again. Either way, I’ve fallen behind of my goal for 2k words daily. I might be able to swing 2k tonight once I’m sure my kid’s fallen asleep, but that’ll still put me about 2k behind. 

Thing is, I don’t know what to write. I haven’t felt like writing smut, so I’ve been editing a couple of pieces instead that I intend to release as a group of shorts in one book. I did finish the rewrite and expansion of Just as Human. It went from 4k words in length to 14k words in length. I have been going back and forth on what my NaNo project should be (either finish Seize the Day or Stellar). I have fanfics I’ve started and stopped. Other works I need to edit in order to submit them to short story markets. Story ideas that are just rattling around in my brain, waiting to be used.

My life is a mess and I know that means my writing tends to get messy, too. I don’t feel blocked; uninspired and blocked aren’t the same things, to me. I know I need to work on Vicky & Mordecai soon, as well as the last chapter of Say What You Want. I know in November I’m not going to be uploading all that many books, either, to Amazon, because my NaNo project(s) will eat my soul. 

I’m hoping I can claw my way out of this, soon. 

So…

Apparently, my brain really, really wanted to write Savin/Mitchel smut. 

Like I really don’t get this aspect of my writing routine but there just get to be times where I crave a specific pairing and want to write it all the damn time, even of my own characters. And it’s a little frustrating with THIS particular pairing, because it’s not canon. Ever. EVER. 

I have a weakness for antagonistic relationships, okay? The more two characters hate one another in canon, the more I ship it. I just can’t help it. It’s a thing that’s left over from my fandom days — meaning when I was way more active in it. Y’know, when I was 12-15 years old. 

Also, I intend to sit down and construct a couple of “How to Write Smut” related blog posts. A friend of mine jokingly suggested I teach him how to write smut, which made me all flustered and blushy because HE IS A BETTER WRITER THAN I AM. I adore this man’s work, I really do. Still don’t have the balls the straight up tell him that but I have mentioned that he was my favorite both times he competed in LJ Idol with me. 😉 

One day I’ll be a little more organized. Still getting used to a lot of the major changes going on in my life, right now. It’s been a bumpy ride. Here’s some of that smut I’ll be finding a way to repurpose for my erotica penname, I’m sure…

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