9/27/2017 Weekly Update

9/27/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write

Skyping and writing, skyping and writing….

And that’s really it.

Mickie re-wrote a pivotal scene in Charlie’s Web, and has determined where it needs to go in the book (she initially had it too early on), so now she’s polishing her transition.

Sid added 93 new words to Cursebreaker’s Dance, and is now 17.11% through her revisions.

James has outlined the first three chapters of Cat’s Cradle, which led to an interesting discussion about familiars and secrets they may know or not…and that’s all I’m saying because spoilers!

There is a tiny update to the Other Projects tab on the blogsite. Sid is planning a webcomic-type project, and the link is now on the site here.

Next week will be our monthly planning meeting, so tune in for details then!

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Writing Is Hard, Except When It’s Easy, And Then It’s Still Hard

This writing gig is not getting easier.  I have flashes of brilliance where the words just flow like wine, but for the most part, it’s torture getting the idea in my head down on paper and trying to describe the scene I can picture clearly in my imagination.  When I think I’ve gotten it done, a read through shows that a huge amount of detail is missing and I have to go back and try to layer it in.

There are times when I just write the dialogue between characters, just to get the story moving, but then I have to go back and create the context for the conversation.  Going backwards is tedious and soul-sucking, and you feel like you are in a riptide: constantly swimming towards shore and never getting any closer.

I’m assured that this is normal, and that very few people write in a linear fashion, from start to finish.  One frequently has specific scenes that will tie the story together, and it’s not unusual to focus on those scenes, then flesh out the rest of the tale.  I started out linear – I wrote my first four chapters this way, then got mired down.  I jumped to my plot point scenes and wrote them, then went back and started stitching it all together.

I’m also assured, not just by my writing partners, but by anyone who has ever written a book, that despair and dismay are a part of the process.  Being convinced that you’ve written drivel, that you are failing your writing partners, or editors,

I still haven’t gotten a finished product to my writing partners.   I’ve got to finish my stiches on the second half.  To be truthful, I had it nearly done, and lost my work.  It’s somewhere in the cloud I think but I can’t get my work back.  So, another trip backwards is required.  It shouldn’t take this long. They’ve seen the first half and gave me their edits and suggestions, and now I’m going back and re-writing it, which trying to place my pieces in the correct order on the second half and making sure it’s not just random scenes with no rhyme or reason.

The thing I’ve learned is that ideas are easy to come up with. Even creating the world and the characters is easy.  I have a talent for it.  But telling the story?  That’s a craft and it’s one that’s difficult to grasp and hold.  It requires dedication, and will, and practice.  I’m determined to master it, but it’s obvious that I’m going to need to work much harder if I want to move forward.

Life gets in the way.  When your craft is something you do as a hobby, or in your spare time, it’s way to easy to get distracted.  This last year has been a bitch, on a personal level, and I’ve let my woes wear me down.    it’s hard to be creative when all you can think about is what’s going wrong and trying to come up with ways to deal with it.  But like anything, you have a choice: you can drown under the weight of your problems – real and imagined, or you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and start climbing.

Well, it’s time for me to start climbing!

James says:  Mickie encapsulates the life of a writer pretty well.  It’s a form of emotional and psychological masochism that we voluntarily engage in.  Well, voluntary as in we don’t have a choice once an idea gets hold of our brains.  It is, as Mickie says, easy to come up with ideas, worlds, and characters.  Writing an actual story is harder than nine kinds of hell!  And, yet, it is one of the things I enjoy most in the world.  And I think most writers feel that way about it.  Which means we could probably all go in together and get a discount for group therapy.  Although, honestly, knowing how the three of us operate, I’m fairly sure the therapy group would just end up with a new collaborative series to work on.

Sid says: LOL – what James said! Definitely sure we’d end up with a new project; after all, that’s close to how this one got started!

Now for the serious bit: writing is hard, and not everyone can do it, though everyone thinks they can. Writing is even harder when the world is going up in flames around you. Everyone – from people who write fanfic* as a hobby to people who make their living writing – have talked about how hard writing has been this year. Doing anything creative while the world burns seems like a waste.

But it isn’t. Art is rebellion, especially art that is inclusive when the world seems bent on being exclusionary.

Art is easy when everything is groovy. Making art when everything is falling apart takes courage. Not everyone has that courage. So, it’s no bad thing to let people see just how hard it can be.

*Fanfic is a whole ‘nother beast and should never be disparaged as “not real writing”. It takes skill and dedication to make your work meld seamlessly into a world you didn’t create.

9/20/2017 Weekly Update

9/20/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write

Yesterday was the day. We skyped, and we wrote.

Simply writing makes for boring updates, but there you go. The updates may be boring, but the more we write, the less boring the books will be.

Mickie worked on a new scene for Charlie’s Web, and got most of it knocked out. She also finalized the September blog post, and sent it over for James and Sid to add their comments. That post should be going up soon.

James is working on the precursor to his outline for the sixth book, Cat’s Cradle. He says he has a pretty solid foundation, most major plot points nailed down. He’ll be fleshing out that outline over the next few weeks, then he’ll be writing that book!

Sid has begun her revisions on the (hope hope hopefully) final draft of Cursebreaker’s Dance. She’s 16.44% through the revisions right now, and honestly, it’s going well. There are a couple of things she needs to go back and look into (because she misplaced her notebook with all the notes she’d made from earlier discussions with Mickie and James, but she found it yesterday, yay!).

The blogsite has been updated with a lovely, teasing synopsis (courtesy of James) for Cursebreaker’s Dance here.

And that’s all the updates for now. We’ll be skyping and writing and updating again next week. See you then!

9/13/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write

There was skyping! There was writing! Much was accomplished!

Last week, James got his edits back to Sid on Cursebreaker’s Dance. However, she wanted to get a first draft of the trilogy synopsis done before diving into the revision. Happily, last night she managed to meet that goal!

Speaking of synopses, we had the idea that  we’re too close to our own books to really have any idea of how to go about writing the synopsis, so we switched it up. Therefore, James wrote the synopsis for Cursebreaker’s Dance. Sid wrote the synopsis for Charlie’s Web. Mickie is writing the synopsis for Jasper’s Song. And last night, James completed the first draft of the synopsis of Cursebreaker’s Dance!

Also last night, Mickie managed to knock out most of the September blog post, which should be going up shortly. It’s a good one, can’t wait for you all to read it! She also planned to work another hour after the meeting on Charlie’s Web so she can get her final draft to James and Sid for comments.

Okay, I think I’ve used up my allotment of exclamation points, but really, last night felt like a breakthrough, with the goals getting met and all. This makes the prospect of pitching loom ever closer, which is scary, but the good roller-coaster kind of scary, not the creepy-clown-in-the-sewer-grate scary.

So – first draft of the Shaman, Water, Bard Trilogy synopsis was completed and sent to James and Mickie for edits and comments. A first draft of the synopsis for Cursebreaker’s Dance was completed and sent to Sid and Mickie for their review and comment. The September blog post is nearly completed, and should be going out to Sid and James for their review and “author says” pieces very soon. And that’s where we stand until next week!

9/6/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write – MONTHLY MEETING

Last night was our September monthly meeting. Much was discussed, updates were given, and even a bit more worldbuilding was accomplished! So – quite a productive evening.

Worldbuilding…um, I would love to go into deep detail here, but that would spoil future books! Suffice to say that we discussed how witchery is taught in schools (basic curriculum, basic workings and techniques, especially in elementary and high school) and how other skills are learned, especially things like oh, cursebreaking, which isn’t a witchery talent but a learned skill set.We also talked rather more about talents vs. learned skills and how certain witches/deva/orthos would select their paths of study.

Limitations on witchery were also discussed. Obviously, we don’t want superpowered witches that can do anything and everything with their magic, because that would make for really boring stories. Discussing how witchery can and should be limited took us into a discussion of physics, which means James unpacked his physics learnings to help us decide how certain natural laws applied and/or could be bent to accommodate witchery. And people say you never use your degree once you graduate! Between James and our other scientific expert, we are working very seriously to ground our magic in actual scientific principles, and yes, that’s exactly as difficult as it sounds.

There was also some talk of the Deva, and that’s all  I’m saying because spoilers!

In update news: James got Cursebreaker’s Dance back to Sid. She’s beginning the next (hopefully final) revision/draft!

Sid has also nearly completed the framework for the Shaman, Water, Bard Trilogy synopsis. Once that’s done, she’ll pass it off to Mickie and James to put some flesh on the bones.

Now that James has finished his edit pass on Cursebreaker’s Dance, he’s sketching out scenes and making outline notes for his next book in the series, Cat’s Cradle. This will be Perfect Coven Book 6 a/k/a Book 3 of the Ortho, Siren, Were Trilogy.

Mickie is still hard at work on wrapping up Charlie’s Web. Then there will be revisions, then synopses, and then…pitching. Very scary. We’re getting so close.

8/30/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write

Sorry for the late update, Thursday kind of got away from me because of things. (I hate going to the dentist.)

So – on Wednesday, we skyped, and we wrote!

James edited another fifteen or so pages of Cursebreaker’s Dance. He’s getting close to getting this draft back to Sid for final revisions. Woooo!

Mickie wrote another bit on the Secret Side Project she’s doing with Sid. Perhaps we can have a bit of a sneak preview at some point!

Sid has actually got about half of a (very, very rough) synopsis completed for the Shaman, Water, Bard Trilogy. It’s a skeleton, but once done, will go to Mickie and James for their additions, comments, tightening, and general improvements. We’re hoping to have a working synopsis for the website and pitch package within the next few weeks! So exciting!

Goals are on track for getting met and that’s thrilling. Someday soon, we hope to have some really good news to announce. Until then, tune in next week for another update.

And to everyone attending – have a great Dragon*Con!