Posts Tagged With: The Travelers

Words In Progress

It’s been a couple of frustrating writing months since I last posted an update on such things. Going through a patch where writing is more of a struggle than a joy right now. Which I know happens, but it’s still frustrating. For example, that story about sentient plant life w/an older woman protagonist I was working on in April went nowhere. And I’m in the midst of rewriting “Piper Deez and the Case of the Clanless Woman.” Continue reading

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Words in Progress

I’ve been on vacation from the dayjob this week and it’s been lovely. But I’ve let the blog slide. I owe you a Monday Morning Music, there’s a book review I need to write, and it’s time for another update on my writing. Let’s do that one! Continue reading

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Words in Progress

So, when I posted my end-of-year roundup on my writing in December, I was thinking of making that kind of post a regular thing, updating all y’all on how the writing’s going.

And now it’s March. Yeah, I’m not always so good on following through with stuff.

So, how is that writing stuff going, M?

Continue reading

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Wherefore Art Thou John Teague

Alpha Reader finished the sub-zero still-not-finished draft of The Travelers last week, and he had thoughts, the main one being that he didn’t really see what one of my characters brought to the story.

Um, that would be a guy named John Teague, the character that kind of got the whole story rolling because I thought he would be interesting.

That's not good.

That’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

Apparently, the interesting bits are still in my head. Which, okay, Alpha Reader is right. I know this. It’s just all those bits are really vague and/or scattered at this point.

Let me be honest. Mr. Teague intimidates me. Not in a scary, violent way; he’s not that kind of guy. But his story is huge. Deep and wide. Stuff like that. And I’m not really sure how to tell it, including not knowing what to leave out. I really don’t want to fuck it up.

So, I’ve been avoiding that by telling the rest of the tale. Which Alpha Reader likes! So, I have that going for me.

Kitteh's not sure what I'm all happy about, but she's in.

Kitteh’s not sure what I’m all happy about, but she approves.

And I’ve written another 40 pages or so since the last time I updated you on The Travelers. We’re now into the Summer of the Novel and it feels like we’re in the third act and heading toward a conclusion of some kind. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, though, that conclusion is covered in mist. Kind of like John Teague is.

But that’s why I write. Both the conclusion and the character are in my head somewhere, and the easiest way I’ve found to get other things out of my head that seem stuck is to pick up a pen and write. Here’s hoping that works in these cases, too. The only way out is through.

So many words to write...

So many words to write…

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The Next Big Thing – Novel in Progress

As I mentioned Sunday, the fabulous Kay Holt tagged me, along with the other authors from our upcoming Crossed Genres anthology Winter Well (coming out May 24), for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Today it’s my turn to answer some questions about my novel in progress. Remember the Winter of the Novel? Well, that’s the book I’m going to talk about.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The Travelers.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea(s) come from a lot of places: movies (names of which I won’t mention because that would give away too much), music (Shooter Jennings’ Black Ribbons, among others (Ani, Joy Kills Sorrow, Leadbelly, Amy Ray, to name a few), has been played a lot and is responsible for my pirate radio dj, Erasmus Teller, existing), as well as the state of the world today. I wondered what would happen if I took the direst predictions of climate change scientists to their extreme, along with “free market” corporatism run amuck, and what that world, and the people in it, would look like fifty years out. That idea unleashed a lot of voices in my head wanting to tell their stories. So many that I’ve spun a group of them off into their own book (working title: The Tribe & the City). The characters that remain in The Travelers make up a group on the run (Erasmus and his daughter Bud, a rebel soldier and her physician lover (Tina Wheatley and Semira Sangare), and a man with many secrets (John Teague)) as well as the folks who are chasing them as they try to get to safer ground. Teague’s secrets are valuable, you see.

Along with a second novel, one of those “spun-off” characters also demanded her own novella (Seriously, she got in my face about it. “You know this community you’re writing about that I’m only an ancillary character in? I built it. Tell that story.”) and now appears as her younger self in “To The Edges,” my tale in Winter Well.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Speculative fiction, future dystopia.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m awful at coming up with actors to play my characters, partly because I suck at remembering actors’ names, unless the film’s fifty years old or more and black and white. That said, Freddy Rodriguez would work as John Teague, especially with the longer hair he wore in Bottle Shock. Erasmus Teller looks a lot like older Stephen King without the glasses. Beyond that, it’s all kinds of fuzzy.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence, huh? How about this one? In a corporate-controlled dystopian world, why is one man so important?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I doubt I’ll self-publish; I don’t have that kind of chutzpah. Also, I love working with good editors. They make the stories better.

7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Still in progress and has been for three years now. (I’m easily distracted by shiny anthologies looking for short stories.) I would love to have a finished first draft by the end of this year.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Coming up with book titles is something else I suck at. The Travelers is an action-adventure tale taking place in a degraded future world that also looks back through history a little bit with the stories that Teague and Teller share. It’s a dark tale with a snarky sense of humor.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have to blame fan fiction, actually. As I mentioned in this post last year, I started writing this book after a few months of writing Whedonfic kicked open the door to the writing part of my brain that had been asleep for a long time. With three accepted stories in the last three years, I’m calling that a win.

10.What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Um, let’s see. Pirate radio, car chases, explosions, lesbian romance, sartorial excess, and a good dose of alternate history/mythmaking are part of the mix. I hope that’s interest-piqueing.

Tag other writers…

Natania Barron was kind of enough to let me tag her to carry on the Next Big Thing blog hop. She’s the author of the Candlemark & Gleam novel Pilgrim of the Sky, as well as several works of shorter fiction that have appeared in many cool places. Can’t wait to learn more about what she’s working on.

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Winter of the Novel Update

Okay, yes, it’s technically spring, but you know what? I hacked ice off my windshield this morning and walked through sleet to a morning meeting, so Winter of the Novel it remains.

Just wanted to check in with a progress report. I finally got all of my edits into Scrivener last night! All the edits!

Now to get my chapter breaks sorted out. Because having split this novel in two means that things don’t break like they used to. Gotta fix that.

Favorite bit I ran into last night:

It’s a long story, full of drama and heroics.” He gave her a sheepish look as he dumped a shovelful of dirt. “Not necessarily my heroics, I hate to admit.”

Favorite bit that would fit on Twitter:

Can I bust his head open, Frank? I wanna watch all the gunk run out.”

This line of dialogue makes me laugh for some reason, even though it’s not a humorous scene at all. Pure poetry, eh? 😉

English: published 1878, scketches of people l...

Twitter and Scrivener really threw off the randomicity of WordPress’s photo suggestions, but this popped up. People in Istanbul, apparently. And one of them is scrivening.

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Words in Progress

So, the Winter of the Novel is almost over. Spring arrives in about a week and a half. Where does the novel stand?

Well, I’ve edited the bulk of it and spent a lot of time parsing out what (out of everything I’ve written) belongs in this novel and what belongs in the other. I’ve also written about 50 or so pages, and that’s pretty good for me, productivity-wise, so yay. Thirty-seven of those pages are typed up and living in Scrivener now.

Is it done?

Ha ha, no. Not hardly. But it’s coming along, and I may even be ready to begin the final act. Not sure, though. With all the parsing and such, I’m not really clear on how the thing flows anymore, so the next step in the plan (and I’m hoping to have the first 4 parts of that step done by the start of spring) is to:

  1. get everything typed up that needs typing,
  2. including all of my scribbled edits, most of which are not in Scrivener
  3. print the results out, and
  4. give to R, alpha reader extraordinaire, so he can read it in its new form (however long that takes), and then
  5. discuss what needs tending to and where to go next.
  6. Go there.

Seems like a good plan. Here’s hoping it works.

In other writing news, I sent back my galley comments for Winter Well this week. It’s a gorgeous book with really cool stories therein; you’re going to want to read this.

I’m also pondering submitting something to Crossed Genres’ newest anthology in the making, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History. More than pondering; there was actual writing last night. We’ll see how that holds up. Gotta say, it was interesting to switch gears from future dystopian USA to early 19th-century England. That might explain the strange dreams I was having early this morning, none of which I can remember now. Should have written them down!

Want to help make Long Hidden an even better book than it’s already looking to be? Chip in, why don’t you? I did.


Your random pic for the day. Did you know Parse was a place? I didn’t. It’s the Persian name for Persepolis. (Photo credit: m.khajoo)

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Words in Progress

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

As I was getting my novella “To The Edges” (which actually had nothing to do with that Apollinaire quotation, but I just ran across it and it really fits, so now it does) ready to submit a few months ago, I decided that this winter was going to be…

**dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of the Novel!

Because the damned thing has pretty much stalled, and I really would like to finish it before I die. So, dramatic fanfare and bold italics were called for. My plan: from the day I submitted “To The Edges” (which turned out to be Hallowe’en) until the spring equinox, it was going to be all 2082 all the time.

And so it has. I started out by rereading all 169K+ words and was pleased to discover that quite a bit of it doesn’t suck. Some of it, of course, does. Like, why did I give a very minor character almost a page of description completely derailing the scene he’s introduced in? He’s a big guy who sewed his brother’s eye shut. Nobody cares about his business practices, M. And no, I don’t know why he sewed his brother’s eye shut yet. Still figuring that one out.

But quite a lot of these words are very salvageable. There’s a story in 2082 that I still like a lot and want to share with folks once it’s done. What I’m seriously pondering is whether a major subplot even needs to be there, though. It’s interesting in its own right and has ramifications in all my world-building, but is it the story?

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” – Stephen King

That major subplot is a good story, too, I think, but is it this one?

So, that’s part of what’s been going through my mind as I’ve moved on to editing, rewriting, moving things around, crossing shit out. Seriously wondering about structure, pacing, all that. Oh, and what happens next.

Last night, though, while R was rubbing my shoulders (because he’s neat like that), I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that my big problem is that those two stories should each be their own book. When that thought popped into my head, a little weight lifted off my shoulders and I could feel things sliding more comfortably into place. Two stories, same world. One won’t necessarily be the sequel of the other, although it kinda sorta might be. Crossover business will definitely happen.

Does that mean it’s going to be…

**more dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of Two Novels?

No. One at a time, please. That was part of things feeling right: I don’t have to do it all at once. I might even finish one, now that I cut the sucker in half. Here’s hoping, anyway. Especially since I still don’t know how the one I’m going to be working on ends.

I know the ending of other (new working title: The Tribe & The City), but the one I want to finish first (now called: The Travelers), I’m still not sure. I was hoping by getting myself immersed in the book again, I could start to figure out that part. And things are starting to bubble, so I’m hopeful.

Yeah, this is a pants kind of operation. Although I like Felicia Day’s idea.

“When I get stuck writing, I just put in, ‘Suddenly a Nuclear Bomb hits the town and all the characters die. THE END’ and go eat chocolate.”

There will be chocolate. And probably explosions. One of my main characters loves to blow stuff up, so that can’t be helped. Will there be nukes? Could be. One of the darker endings I’ve come up with has that happening, kind of a last man standing sort of ironic thing, but R thinks that’s too gloomy. And if this world is going to hang around for another book, that could be problematic. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

'Hardtack Umbrella'  underwater nuclear test -...

(Photo credit: The Official CTBTO Photostream)

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