Teaser Tuesday (playing for chocolate)

Since it’s Tuesday and I actually remembered for once: here be Teaser Tuesday. A tiny excerpt from the werewolves where I was experimenting on character and making a stab at humour. May not make the final revised version, and not completely polished yet, but it was fun to write. This will be taken down shortly.

Teaser taken down! Thanks for the comments. 🙂

Bullet points for the win!

  • I went to Edinburgh for a few days last week. It was amazing–Edinburgh has such a wonderful vibe. It’s one of my favourite cities, but I think I’d need an actual reason to live there, rather than just waking up and deciding, “Okay, I’m moving to Edinburgh.” (Granted, you never know when you’re going to wake up and make snap decisions, so never say never?) I got to meet one of my ex-flatmates and we had a lovely time catching up etc.
  • I finished revising Draft Three of the werewolves while I was over there. Had breakfast, went back to my room, and thought, “Oh, wait, I could just finish the edits here.” So I stuck the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and spent six hours on them. I felt brilliant when they were done. And a little hungry.
  • Draft Three went off to readers over the weekend! One of them has already got back to me and is halfway through. I should be getting some comments by the start of next week, which is putting me weeks ahead of schedule. Looks very likely that querying will begin before the end of this month.
  • I started Draft Three of my new book today! It’s a YA steampunk with Alice in Wonderland illusions allusions. No, it’s not thanks to Tim Burton. I wrote the first draft back in late 2007, started a second draft, and then put it aside because I knew I had to improve to make it the best it could be. I went off and wrote the werewolves, which taught me a lot, so I can now say that putting the Alice book aside was a good idea. I also put a word counter thingy for it in the sidebar.
  • I got to bring out all my steampunk and Alice playlists, and I’m in the process of searching for all my Victorian history books. It’s set in an alternate London, but with enough similarities to keep it recognisable, so it’s time for a history brush up. Exciting!
  • The Cheshire Cat is awesome. Trust me.

Yay!

The weather has been wretched for the past week or so–our snow is now turning into slush–which put a slight cramp in my writing (taking the laptop outside and potentially slipping would have had… unfortunate results). I have now learned that I can’t make much progress when my housemates are in the house–there are too many distractions not even including the internet.

But now the pavements are no longer deathtraps, so I have been ensconced with my laptop in coffee shops once more! I have also reached all the drama and horrible stuff that leads to the climax, which is all very exciting and means I keep trying to write just a little bit longer. If I manage to write insanely over the next few days, I may even be finished the third draft by Sunday. If not, I will definitely be finished by next week. I can hardly believe it. In some ways, it’s quite terrifying because this will be the draft that people will read and offer opinions on.

And now, in fact, I am off to write some more! I love the happy, dizzy feeling that accompanies nearing the end of a draft.

Winter

Winter is very strange this year. We’ve been veering from storms and intense flooding (not in Dublin, thankfully, but Cork, where my family lives, was hammered last month) to proper icy temperatures. Winter is my favourite season, and I do like the crisp, icy mornings, but I don’t like being cold and damp. The line has to be drawn somewhere! I want my frosty mornings, please, not the rainy ones.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing in Starbucks, as usual, but the wonderful festive coffees have returned. Even better, Starbucks brought the Eggnog latte back this year (it sadly wasn’t available last year) and I’ve fallen in love with it again. It’s strange, though, as it’s advertised on the signs outside, but not on the actual boards behind the counters at all–I only discovered it was actually back by a co-worker remarking they’d seen the cartons of eggnog being delivered. I immediately rushed to get one, and I was so excited that the barista serving me laughed at my enthusiasm.

I’m still working away on the third draft of TWFF. Progress has slowed due to Chapters Eleven and Twelve needing extensive rewriting. But it has to be done–it’ll just take some slow and careful work. My glimpses of the finishing line have veered dramatically in the past week or so, but I’m getting there.

I’m in the middle of writing a blog post about female characters that should be up soon. The romantic subplot of TWFF centres around three girls, and while one of them was only introduced in the third draft, two of them have been around since I wrote the first chapter of the first draft back in May 2008. I’ve learned a lot since then about writing female characters, and how to make them realistic and complex and what makes them tick. Werewolves are normally female in the world of TWFF, while men have to be bitten to shapeshift, and that put an intriguing spin on the gender dynamics of the Pack and how they interacted with each other. Thinking about all this and shaping it into a blog post has been really interesting.

30 Days of Writing

So today is the first of December! Not sure where the year went, to be honest, but I’m looking forward to 2010. Not just a new year, but also a new decade.

My unofficial NaNo challenge last month was to write every day during November, which I did. (I have the sticker-filled November on my calender to prove it, once my camera has recharged.) My word count veered wildly between days, and there was one evening where I wrote two paragraphs at 11.45pm and then went straight to bed, but I managed it.

I learned that it is possible to write every day, even if it’s just ten minutes I manage to squeeze in somewhere. Towards the middle of November, I realised I was automatically putting aside the time in my day based on what shift I was working (if it was a work day. It was obviously a lot easier to find time to write on my days off). In days where the writing wasn’t going well, I went back and reread previous stuff and did a bit of line-editing–anything that would keep the story fresh in my mind.

I also realised that I prefer going back and fixing things before moving on. It’s an anti-NaNo sentiment, but it makes me feel better and more confident about moving on. Being 35,001 words deep in a story isn’t as scary when you know the majority of the problems in the previous 35,000 are a little better than they were. Either way, I’m going to have to fix it, so I might as well do it sooner rather than later. This is the complete opposite to how I wrote a year ago (‘write first, fix later’), but I think I’ve been converted because it’s taken so long to fix the structural and other problems of Draft Two.

That said, no matter how long it’s taking, I’m excited about the third draft. Some characters and events have been put in that weren’t in the first or second drafts. I’ve also noticed I was stuck far less in November than in previous months, and I think the ‘rereading and going back and fixing’ idea was part of that. It’s helped pinpoint problems, or stopped them from causing trouble later on.

I’m still not entirely done, but I’m so close, and aiming to finish as soon as possible–once the Christmas rush starts in earnest I’m going to be so exhausted that writing will slow to a snail’s pace. But it’s been interesting what a month of writing every day has shown me about the changes in my writing process.

Summer weather?

Eek, once again I sort of disappeared from here for several months! Unintentional, I assure you. Right now I am deep in the second draft of TWFF with a deadline for the end of June. This is a deadline I have to stick to as one of my readers is heading to Thailand for seven weeks at the end of next month, and she’s hoping to either read the draft before she goes or to take it with her.

I recently returned from a trip to New York; my first cross-Atlantic trip, in fact. I may have ransacked the YA sections of many bookstores while I was there. I came back with twenty-six books, but, as I was underweight, I could have bought more. I’m starting to make my way through them, but taking my time of course.

So far we seem to be getting an actual summer, if only for a little while. I think it’s time to start contemplating writing outside in the garden with a cool drink. It’s still bright on my home from work after evening shifts, warm enough that I don’t need a coat–perfect thinking time. While I’m not a fan of summer, preferring pleasant spring days, I love summer evenings and how they make me relaxed and contemplative.

I’m hoping to start querying TWFF possibly in late summer or early autumn, but we’ll see. I think there’s still a draft or two to go; there’s no point in overthinking it until I get some reader feedback.