7/19/2018 Weekly Update

7/18/2018 → Wednesday Skype & Write

We skyped last night but the session was shorter than normal because Sid was ill. She got really rambly and loopy at the end, so James and Mickie sent her to bed.

But, while she was still coherent, some good plotting/planning happened for the Ortho, Siren, Were Trilogy. We have our major plot points nailed down and are now beginning rough outlines.

We are working this trilogy a bit differently than the first. We are doing our outlining together, so we can overlap (this trilogy takes place during the shorter term) and know where one of us might need to throw in some foreshadowing, etc. for upcoming books. And we’re mapping out timelines as we outline instead of after we draft. (Yay! No going back and reworking an entire book because the timeline was too long!)

Also, it helps each of us to have a rough idea of what’s going to happen in the other books, even if we won’t know all the details until we have drafts in hand.

We also touched a bit on querying and query letters. That’s our next step. We want some queries out the door while we begin writing the next trilogy.

That’s all the news for now. Tune in next week for another exciting installment!

Advertisements

7/12/2018 Weekly Update

7/11/2018 → Wednesday Skype & Write

Hey, look! We met on the proper day!

Okay, sorta. Someone *cough*cough*me* fell asleep on the sofa last night and if Mickie hadn’t called, I might still be asleep there now. But in spite of the late start, we had a nicely productive evening of writing.

OH! July blog post is up on the Perfect Coven site. This month, James is discussing a perfectionism problem that we all seem to share.

And speaking of perfectionism – Mickie is driving herself nuts with this one scene from Charlie’s Web. She can’t get it right, nothing she does seems to fix it, and she can’t force herself to skip it for later editing because it’s in her brain now, occupying all the space. So she’ll be sending James and Sid a copy of the scene in question and the plan is to do dramatic readings/act it out for her during next week’s Skype.

Expect much hilarity.

Also expect her to figure it out then. Sometimes hearing someone else read your work aloud – or act it out – makes you look at it in a very different light. And suddenly, the issue is clear as is the path to resolution.

James edited about 30 or so more pages of Jasper’s Song. Again with the perfectionism, but since this trilogy is about to sent out on querying rounds, it’s understandable.

Sid is refusing to look at Cursebreaker’s Dance right now. She just sent another revision to James and Mickie for review, and knows she needs to step away. Last night, she worked on solidifying plot points for Perfect Coven 5: Siren’s Secret. She’s throwing things together and is creating, well, basically an outline for her outline, if that makes any kind of sense.

That’s all for this week. Tune in again next week for more exciting updates!

THIS STORY IS MY CHILD…ANYONE WANT TO ADOPT?

When it’s my turn to do a blog post, I usually like to write about something creative and interesting in our Perfect Coven world.

That’s not the case this month.

I’m going to rant about writing.

I love writing.  It truly is one of the things I love most in the world.  If I could write all day long and still afford to eat and live indoors, I would.  I almost constantly have stories and ideas for stories dancing and spinning in my head.

Then there are moments of reality.  Moments when I realize that writing is WORK!

I am currently working on some solo projects of my own, but the thing giving me fits and making me think about taking up alcoholism as a hobby is the edit and polish of PERFECT COVEN, BOOK 3:  JASPER’S SONG.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love this book and the whole “Perfect Coven” project.  I really do. But I have read that story so many times that I know the characters almost better than I know my own lifepartner and friends.

And it still isn’t quite what I want it to be.  I can’t define what’s wrong with it, because there’s nothing wrong with it.  But this odd sense of compulsive perfectionism makes me keep going back to it and back to it and back to it and back to it……..

Sadly, this is not the only work where I react like this.  In my solo work, HAND OF THE WITCH, I did so many re-writes and edits that I was dreaming the thing!

What is it about writers – or writing – that makes us do this?  In most activities, even other creative activities, one can easily tell when the work is done.  Writing doesn’t seem to work that way.

Are we emotional masochists?  Or just obsessive?

Sid says:   I would like to laugh, but ummmmm…who else is in the same boat with their writing projects? (*raises hand slowly*) At this point, I’m randomly assigning draft numbers because I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve edited/revised/rewritten Cursebreaker’s Dance. I’m heartily sick of Shelley and her drama, even though I created it all. And yet, I love the project. I love the world. I love Jasper’s Song (which is fantastic, by the way, no matter how James feels) and Charlie’s Web(also fantastic,though Mickie thinks otherwise). But Cursebreaker…I’m content with its current form, but I’m not happy with it, if that makes sense (and to way too many of my writer/artist/musician/pick-your-creative-field friends, it does). I know I have to let it go sometime or I’ll never write Siren’s Secret, and I’m pretty sure Jasmine will haunt me if I don’t write her story (and I don’t even want to know what Annaliese will do to James if he doesn’t write Cat’s Cradle). We have to let our children go sometime, even when we’re not completely sure they’re ready. 

Mickie says:   Sounds familiar, yes.  I am so close to finishing my draft but have been over-thinking it to pieces.  I need to just do it, but I feel like I’m sabotaging myself.  Maybe it’s first time writer issues for me, because I’m not only deeply concerned about what I have written, but I’m already dreading my editing and revision stage.  I do think that every writer (or musician, or painter) suffers from obsessive perfectionism, and will always think their final work can be improved.  However, I’ve learned from Star Wars and once it’s finished, I swear I’ll leave it alone. 

7/6/2018 Weekly Update

7/5/2018 → Wednesday Thursday Skype & Write → Monthly Meeting

Surprise!

Thursday meeting this week because holiday!

Though, to be honest, we’ve all had a rough week, so the meeting was short.

We discussed querying. It is time. So over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be researching and reading query letters, as well as searching for publishers, editors, and agents that are looking for our type of story. We are on schedule to get our first wave of queries out by the end of summer, so wish us luck!

And,um, if you know of anyone that might be interested in Perfect Coven, drop us a line and let us know!

More World Building

For all intents and purposes, Perfect Coven Earth is the same place as the real world.  We’ve made some drastic changes in the history of our PCEarth, mostly in the New World.  A lot of the history and geography we’ve built for this series will never see the light of day, because it doesn’t move the story along.  But it is stuff we need to know to make it all work.  As of now, we have main and supporting characters who come from the United Indian Alliance, but the books will all take place in Laiho, a college town on the Great Lakes in the United States.  Building a full picture of the Alliance helps us give more depth to these characters.

The Native American population retained control of a large swath of North America.   Therefore, the landscape is vastly different than in the real world.  There are fewer large cities, for one thing.  The United Indian Alliance is comprised mostly small cities and towns, with some styled more like villages.

There are also large wildlife corridors, maintaining an ecological balance between the needs of the humans (and other human-like beings) with the needs of the animal population.

Architectural styles are mixed but linked to traditional styles of the local tribes. They use modern building materials and code. Towns built by immigrants may be more European, but the native style tends to hold, being more suited to the environment.

There are industrial areas, and these tend to be closer to the larger cities.  For the most part, electricity power is generated by dams, wind power (especially on the plains), and solar power.  There are roadways but more rail across the country, styled after European railways.

It’s not a pastoral and perfect land where everyone gets along.  The United Indian Alliance was formed to present a united front to the European settlers seeking to acquire land.  However, there are still tribes within the Alliance who are traditional enemies and that didn’t end when the Alliance was formed.  The Alliance became a United Nations styled organization, with the central government council overseeing disputes between the tribes.

The Alliance has had its share of issues and disasters.  The Dust Bowl still happened, but not as extensively as in our world.  There are water rights issues and environmental problems, especially in the industrialized areas and the heavily farmed areas.  However, issues are mitigated and dealt with swiftly, both in the Alliance and in the United States, due to the elemental witches and supernaturals. They can use their skills and connections to their elements to identify problems and provide solutions.

James says:  I love stuff like this.  These are, as is said in the post, things that are likely to never be seen in the stories we’re crafting, but they have to be created to make the world firm enough for us to work in it.  The presence of witchery has changed the face of PCE in ways that our world will never experience.

Sid says: The history of PCEarth is as varied and tumultuous as our own. There is so much we know, and we are always learning more. While I wish we could cram it all into the books, there simply isn’t room or reason. However, knowing the history of our characters, including the history of their countries of origin, dictates how the characters feel, act, or react to events in the books. And this growing wealth of history we are discovering gives me fuel for my dream of a historical series set on PCEarth!

6/21/2018 Weekly Update

6/20/2018 → Wednesday Skype & Write

Whoops! We did it again!

Yes, we did – we made it another week!

This week, we had intended to focus on query letters and reviewing our synopses. But…it’s been a long, rough week for everyone, so we opted to switch our schedule up. We will be doing queries next week instead, and opted to do some writing this week.

Mickie clocked some work on Charlie’s Web. Getting closer and closer!

James said he finally worked out a scene in Jasper’s Song that has been giving him fits. It’s now smoothed out and his final tweaks are coming along nicely.

Sid finished her revisions on Draft Six (!) of Cursebreaker’s Dance, and send it over to James and Mickie on Tuesday. This will hopefully be the final draft until agent or editor gets hold of the manuscript! So last night, Sid focused on researching for the August blog post.

A slow night, but productive. Next week, the excitement ramps up with query letters on the table! Tune in to see what happens!