Saturday, 29 January 2011

ABNA...why not?

Has anyone else entered this yet? I know the deadline's not till Feb. 6, but I've already put mine in. I've gone with SUNDOWN. Every now and then I go back and edit what's there, i.e. the pitch.

It's exciting!

In the critiquing circle I'm participating in via AW, I'm the next up for having my chapters ripped apart. Should be fun, and hopefully helpful too!

Meanwhile, I have written a bit more of STORM in the last few days, and I am currently halfway through the 2nd-last chapter. I'm pretty sure there'll only be one more after this one, to tie things up. But who knows what'll happen during revisions.

I've really been looking forward to NaNoEdMo, when I can really get stuck into editing FIRE. I can't wait to see the words slough away under my iron editing thumb. Er, yes, my thumb is iron. Or it will be.

And that's about it for updates. Except I wrote a story this week for Chrysalis which involves my idea of the most pathetic girl on the planet. I feel sorry for her, because her entire life is her jerk-faced boyfriend. And guess what happens? He dumps her.

As my critiquing buddy Jenn put it after reading... "Ouch."

Speaking of both Jenn AND Chrysalis, Jenn's story is up for this week. And I must say that after reading it, I was in a state of shock and awe. It's pretty AWESOME.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Top 10 Music blogfest - reminiscing

I know it's still kind of going on, i.e. people are still doing the rounds. That list of participants was loooooong! I am one of those who isn't done yet with my rounds. But I just wanted to say it was a lot of fun participating, and also...I've discovered a lot of cool new music! Well, some of it isn't particularly new...but it's new to me! And I've also been reminded of some songs I already knew, but had forgotten about. In short, it was not only fun but very much worth my while participating!

In other fun news, my "murdered darling" is featured on Charlotte Jane Ivory's Murder Your Darlings blog. You can find my deliciously "awkward" young adult fiction excerpt (I started writing this when I was an early teen and it's probably more novella length than anything), and follow along with my commentary, here. I'm glad to have been featured, and I encourage the rest of you guys to give it a go too with any discarded manuscripts (rough drafts) you don't intend to try publishing at any point. It's fun to look back and breathe a sigh of relief for where you are in the present.

And finally, the fourth prompt (from Winter again this week) for The Chrysalis Experiment is up! Once again this time, I had a false start this week and discarded my first attempt for a second. I'm excited about how our little project is going so far! If you're interested in writing short stories this year, you should check us out! There's no pressure to submit, just to keep having fun. You MUST keep having fun, OR ELSE.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Top 10 Music - Blogfest


Today is the "Top 10 Countdown" blogfest, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Thank you Alex for hosting this 'fest. It was a lot of fun - if challenging!

This is not easy for me, so I am going to have to go with my top 10 favourite songs of the moment. I've decided to go with a different artist for each of the 10 songs, even though some artists are bound to have way more of my favourite songs to their name than others. I like variety, what can I say?

I am also calculating these in part according to my Last.fm charts, the "overall" kind.

Artist & Song NameWhy It Inspires Me
Lacuna Coil - StarsThis is one of the first songs I heard by LC (even if it is a cover!), and I just found it beautiful and haunting and wonderful. It inspires me in so many ways. Mostly it gives me amazing story ideas, not that I've actually written any of those ideas. It just makes me feel...inspired!
Madonna - White HeatIt's probably my favourite Madonna song. As a little girl it definitely inspired me, and I played it over and over again. I love the melody. It's interesting to me that a mere melody can conjure such inspiration. Never mind the lyrics, which for this song are pretty cool too.
Unwritten Law - How You FeelGorgeous beautiful song. One of my favourite lurve songs, or I see it as one anyway. It just makes me happy. It's not one of those "sad" love songs. It's uplifting and makes me want to get up and dance.
Catherine Wheel - Black MetallicI found this song (and therefore this band) by accident one time. I am SO glad for that very happy accident. Catherine Wheel have an amazingly beautiful and inspirational sound. This song is epic, and again I find it inspiring.
Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'Oh, man. This was one of the songs played at my 30th birthday (I devised the 6+ hour playlist myself) and it was an awesome moment when it started over the sound system. This song takes me back to childhood, and NEVER fails to make me want to dance.
Superette - WavesPretty, sad song. It definitely inspires in a bleak, grim kind of way. It tells a sad story. But I do so love the song.
Veruca Salt - SundownThis song is definitely inspiring in a haunting, creepy way. It's not so much creepy as...it gives me chills. I can completely see the line "See the sun...going down" as a bit of a metaphor for all sorts of dramatic, shocking stuff in my writing. And to think this song is a demoey b-side from one of the band's singles!
VNV Nation - Darkangel (Gabriel)Inspiring, haunting, darkly beautiful. Bleak, yet it strikes awe into my little heart. This is a song I listen to over and over. Then again, the same could be said about all the songs in this list.
The Smashing Pumpkins - WaitingThis song has always, for some odd reason, inspired images of snow-clad winter gardens and a wandering, lonely stranger. I don't know that stranger's story, but I know it's compelling. The kind of story that would make your jaw drop. And the garden itself is stunningly beautiful. Like this magnificent song.
Strapping Young Lad - DetoxHa. I do love me some metal, but it's not my absolute staple when it comes to music. But this song, and this band, are amongst my favourites. They definitely inspire me with my writing. I picture post-apocalyptic sci-fi scenes when I listen to this band. I don't know why. I also picture some zombie-pocalypse scenarios, for no apparent reason. It's just the sound, and how it makes me feel.


It's ridiculous to have to reduce the immense number of songs I absolutely adore to a mere 10, but the above songs are definitely amongst my all-time favourites. I feel like the list represents pretty well the range of my musical taste, though there are of course plenty of my favourite artists not represented. I love my alternative/alt. rock, my metal, my 80s pop/dance and my more modern electronic music. Mostly it's the rock for me; gotta love a loud guitar. But yeah, you can see that I'm into a range of stuff.

So anyway, this was fun. Difficult, torturous, etc., but fun. :)

Edit: Oops. I forgot to say why they inspire me. :D Tacking that on now.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Followers and blogs...and Piratica

Hey everyone! I just wanted to mention that if you are following my blog here but don't have a public profile, and yet you do have a blog you would like visitors at, you might wanna link me to it so I can come over and say hi. Otherwise I will never be able to reciprocate the way I would like to.

Okay, service announcement is through. Now...

I am reading a new book now (the third one I brought away with me, I've already read 2). It's called PIRATICA and a work colleague gave it to me for a birthday because my name is Patricia, and she thought the story might be about me. Hehe. No, just kidding, she didn't think that. But the book looks like a bit of fun. I've read one other Tanith Lee book before, THE CASTLE OF DARK, which I thought was interesting but didn't really grip me. Now that I'm more actively putting reviews on GoodReads I should probably re-read that one sometime to jog my memory. Anyway, long ago a friend of mine whose taste in music and/or writing I have always greatly admired, recommended Tanith Lee to me. So I guess it's about time I read another of her books. I see now that this book is part of a series.

So anyway, back to the tally: that's four books read so far this year, and a fifth just begun. Well on my way to beating last year's reading record. Though that wouldn't be particularly difficult to accomplish.

Tomorrow I believe we may be visiting Moyie Falls!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Reading list for 2011 so far

Okay, so I've spent a lot of the last few days on planes, in airports, and muttering to myself about everything that's been going wrong. I am happy to report that I'm finally in Cranbrook, B.C., where my little brother will be getting married later in the month. Yay!! Now I get to relax...when I'm not drinking beers with the bride to be's parents, snow-shoeing or doing any number of other fun things.

But let's not talk about that. I want to mention my goal for this year (which is a new goal, not one of those I made back in 2010). Last year I read...let's see...21 books. Tiny, tiny number! So this year my goal is to read at least 22. Hehe.

There was talk in this blog earlier of my maybe joining a book club in the new year, but like many things that may fall by the wayside. However, at an online community I belong to I am participating in a "classics" read (one classic novel per month, plus discussion of said novel, is what we're aiming at). This project was cooked up after I shared with the folks there my blog entry about classic novels we're told we're supposed to have read. The first book on the list (our February read) is To Kill A Mockingbird. And yes, I know it's shocking, but I've never read it. So I'm looking forward to it. But other than that, I've read these books so far this year:

  1. The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  2. Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  3. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer

And currently I am reading Anita Shreve's Body Surfing, and am loving it! I am nearly done with that one.

My mother and I met my friend Jenny at Borders today in Coeur d'Alene, and I bought four new books. It cost me$30.00 (with use of Jenny's Borders card anyway). In Australia, this is unheard of. I'd estimate that these 4 books would have cost me $70-$80 in Australia. And they're all small format books!

Yeah, don't visit Australia for cheap books. Or cheap anything, really.

So anyway, just wanted to check in with everyone, and report on my reading habits so far.

Oh, and to mention that my latest Chrysalis story, I Pronounce You...Dead! is posted and ready for the reading. ;) I had a lot of fun writing it, even if I made the character of Ryder way too nice in the first draft and had to rewrite his part so he was more...Ryder, I guess. ;)

Okay, this is me signing out. I'm going to try and catch up on your blogs now! I still owe a lot of people comments on the latest blogfest, and have not forgotten that at all!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

What's Your Process? - Blogfest

Yay, What's Your Process is here!

And I have to say, my process varies a fair bit. Obviously I come up with the idea first. Usually it's a character, not a place or a scenario. For instance, with SQUEAKY MCLEAN, I was at work one day, and I made a mouse-like squeaking sound. So the character Squeaky McLean was born. And with SUNDOWN, I thought about my ideal man (as opposed to the apparent ideal man to many at the time, Edward Cullen) and came up with my beloved Jared. A kind-hearted, tall dark & not-quite-handsome rock star. Can't get much sexier than that. :D So yeah, it's usually a character I will come up with first. Not always their name, but their face and demeanour at least. And often, I will indeed see the situation they're in at that point too. But for Squeaky and Jared, it was just the face, and their role in life.

The rest of it goes from there.

But wait...this wasn't about "Where do you start?" it was "What's your process?"

So.

1. Think of a character, and what they're about.
2. Think of a scenario that character would likely find themselves in.
3. Start writing.

I don't necessarily plan my stories out. I did that with NaNoWriMo 2010, and it certain helped me stay focused, but (and I'm not sure if this was coincidence or not) I also found the novel quite hard to finish. Once I got past 50k, I really slacked off and found it a bit of a chore to keep writing. I'm not saying this is because I planned it all out. But it may have some relevance.

I admit that with SUNDOWN and the other novels in that series, I had to do a bit of planning. Namely, a timeline. A very extensive timeline. And I've referred to it constantly throughout the writing/editing process. It's been essential. So I guess that counts as planning it all out, right? Then again, the timeline underwent serious changes here and there as I changed my mind about things. I even did an "alternative timeline if so and so hadn't died in book 2", so that the characters would be able to refer to where they would have been if not for the death.

So yeah...I guess that's my process.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Wait, wait, waiting for Prompt #3

Not long now until Jenn's prompt appears on The Chrysalis Experiment blog. Weeks 1 and 2 were really fun and interesting for me. Can't wait to see what Week 3 brings. So far I've written sci-fi and horror/mystery, so what will I write next? I love not having a clue!

I've written about half of the third-last chapter of STORM. I could even imagine getting the thing (i.e. the entire novel) done before I hope on that plane on Thursday morning. But we'll see. I'm not pushing myself, particularly. I do have the entire year to get it done after all.

As for other goals, I'm looking forward to NaNoEdMo so I can get stuck into editing something new for a change (watch out FIRE, you're gonna get shred-DED!).

Meanwhile, I've got a plane or 3 to catch this week, a wedding to attend (in the Canadian Rockies, and as a bridesmaid, woo!), and...well, I guess that's it really! It'll do for the time being.

Last night I had a weird dream about attending a Smashing Pumpkins concert and seeing a friend get back stage with Billy, while I was left behind. The friend wasn't even a fan. LOL. It was a weird dream. Do any of you ever get inspired by dreams? I've written a few stories based on dreams before, and intend to write more in future. I've had some wacky dreams for sure.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Bad, bad writing

I've taken to writing some of STORM again. It's one of my goals for this year, to get a rough draft finished. And what I am writing is definitely rough. In fact, I'd call it bad. Thankfully, that's okay with me. I'm just writing to get the thing finished. To get the story down on paper (so to speak), I guess. But it's interesting to think that the stuff I'm writing now will undoubtedly cease to exist in future revisions.

Revisions for STORM are of course so far in the future they're not even worth thinking about. But nonetheless, I think about them!

While writing this series of novels, I have at times found the need to rearrange the plotlines in big ways, moving huge chunks of writing to a later point in the story, or a sooner point, for it to make more sense, etc. Changing the setting in which a scene unfolds, to make it more realistic. Blah, blah. I get the impression that STORM may be no exception in this regard. I actually get the impression it might take over the title of "Novel that most needs to be MESSED with!" in this series.

The stuff I'm writing is not meaty. It's not pretty, or sparkling, or gasp-worthy. It's just, "Okay, let's get back to the hotel already! Jared's waiting, and we miss him!!!" Or more like, "Hurry up, I want to finish this chapter so I can start the next one, and then the next one..." I only have about three chapters to go. Maybe four.

Another thing that's troubling about this novel is...I'm not sure what the underlying novel-length theme is. It does involve both Jared and Louise "cleaning their slates" so to speak, so they can start fresh together. A lot of crap goes down, a lot of agony and pain and the like. But it feels like things just kind of happen. First one thing, then another. There is possibly a lack of continuity. I'm also not sure whose issues in the novel are more important: Louise's or Jared's. Louise is telling the story, and she has her own struggles throughout, but a lot of it is Jared's story unfolding.

In other words...what point am I trying to make here?

Again, not that bothered by the question at this stage. It's just another of those things that I've thought about, and will need to think about again in future, with this particular novel.

Now that I've rambled on for such an impressive amount of time, I'm going to be quiet and save this, and then get ready for bed! I've got a book to finish reading before Wednesday night (Towers of Midnight in the Wheel of Time series), and it's a pretty epic damn book. Anyway... Hope everyone is having a great weekend. :)

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

So, I got an award! Wooooooah. Anyway, the award was...well, awarded to me by Sheery - check her out at Sheery's Place. Thank you Sheery for giving me my first ever blogger award. I feel special. :)


The rules of the award are:

  1. Share 7 things about yourself.
  2. Pass the award to 15 bloggers recently discovered.
  3. Notify the blogger recipients.
  4. Link to the blogger who gave the award.

So without further ado, here I go!

Seven Things About Myself:

  1. I'm a cat person, for sure. I love animals in general, but there is just something special about that "bitchy" cat attitude a lot of felines exhibit. Then again, I've got proof that cats can be perfectly smoochy, in my kitty Beyoncé. She was a foster kitty I decided to keep - how could I turn her away when she was the cat I'd always dreamed of (snuggly, cuddly and loyal). Weird, I never thought I wanted a dog, but apparently I've got one in this cat. Hehe.
  2. I can sing in tune. In the past I didn't tend to advertise my singing because I find it a little awkward to be so overtly self-promotional. Guess I'll have to get used to that kind of thing if I ever want to be published, right? But music is different. Still, I can indeed sing, and I've written many a song.
  3. My parents are New Zealanders (Kiwis as we call 'em), my brother's Australian living in Canada, and I was born in the United Kingdom. I've got two citizenships, Aussie and U.K., which makes it handy when you're lining up at the airport and have to choose a line. But my U.K. passport has lapsed. Yikes. I better get on replacing that!
  4. I've had an online "diary" for over 10 years at a different place, but it was only in December 2010 that I finally decided to start a blog to talk specifically about writing, and to focus on that. Networking, they call it. Well, since I've started this blog I've found lots of cool people and have begun to wish I'd signed up here a lot sooner! Oh well, better late than never, right?
  5. My favourite band is the Smashing Pumpkins, hands down, no question, forever and ever and ever. If you think their albums are where it ends, think again - they've got an incredible collection of b-sides and rarities for you to feast your ears on. Billy Corgan is my favourite musician and I still hold out hope I'll get to marry him someday. What? A girl can dream. And there's something about that bald head... I love the guy who plays Lex in Smallville too. What's that about? Hehe.
  6. I've never smoked a cigarette in my entire life. Never even taken a single puff. Saved me a lot of money, for sure! And while my lungs have still suffered from passive smoking, I guess that's life in this day and age.
  7. When it's been raining and I get home, I hop out of my car and move all the snails off the driveway to ensure I don't run over them. Sometimes it can take me a while, out there in the rain, moving all the adults and the baby snails to the safety of the grass. Only to be trod on later by passing pedestrians, no doubt. But still, I didn't kill them. I also rescue mice and rats (at least the baby rats) from my cats and throw them out in the empty lot at the back of my place. Recently I had to rescue a baby mouse that was so young it barely had its fur!

Ok, so that's it! I'm done. Thanks again Sheery. :D

Now for the 15 bloggers (and their blogs, naturally) I award in turn!
I know some of you have had this award before, but...well...you guys deserve it again! :P Okay? Okay.

  1. Bronwyn's Writing Blog ... Bronwyn
  2. nindogs ... Nina
  3. Lynda Young ... Lynda
  4. Whole Latte Life ... Joanne
  5. Cheyanne with an A ... Cheyanne
  6. Pen and Chocolate ... Griffinclaw
  7. Opening the Vein ... GriffinFledgling
  8. Musings of a Palindrome ... Hannah
  9. The Eagle's Aerial Perspective ... The Golden Eagle
  10. Falen Formulates Fiction ... Sarah
  11. Paper Mountain ... Brooke
  12. Writing While the Rice Boils ... Debbie
  13. Shayda Writes ... Shayda
  14. This Is Not My Day Job ... Guinevere
  15. Cinnamon Quill ... Keri

Phew! Done for realz! Back to your regular programming, ya know? :)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Classics

A comment I got from Bronwyn on my last blog entry made me reflect, once again, on how few of the "classics" (i.e. novels everyone thinks you should have read long ago, and gasps in horror when you tell them you haven't even read them recently) I have actually read.

I looked up a list of "classic" novels, and found this page: 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list.

I went through the entire list, and these are the ones I have indeed read:

  1. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 - Sue Townsend
  3. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. Emma - Jane Austen
  6. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  7. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
  8. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
  9. Neuromancer - William Gibson
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
  11. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. The Sword in the Stone - T.H. White
  13. Everything Is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer

And now the list of those books I know I've read at least some of, but can't remember actually finishing:

  1. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
  2. White Noise - Don DeLillo
  3. Animal Farm - George Orwell

And those books I never got to the end of, in spite of writing English essays on them and getting excellent marks:

  1. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
In other words, of 1000 supposedly classic novels that everyone should have read, I've read 13 for sure, and bits and pieces of another 4 (some of those I may have read completely, but I can't be sure). Wow. I've got some work to do if I want to be a well-adjusted human being. Hehe.

Incidentally, this list would have been a lot shorter if I hadn't made it a mission in 2009 to finally read some Jane Austen (and the Brontës).

I did find some other items in the list that I vaguely recall having read or maybe started reading, but my uncertainty made me leave them off the lists.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sister of Sala excerpt

I love this week's creepy story. I've been telling people it's about a murderous painting. But it's not quite finished yet. Anyway... Here is a little excerpt:


"You ready?" Marc asks, his hand brushing mine.

I pull away from him, swallowing. "Yeah. I guess I have to be, right?"

He looks at me, but says nothing. He doesn't understand the power of the house. The dark, magnetic power of it. Maybe he will soon.

But I'm scared. I'm scared he's going to laugh at me. When he sees the painting, he'll see me too, in an entirely new light. He'll know I'm a drama queen for sure.

Exhaling loudly, I shrug inside my denim jacket and reach out to grip the doorhandle. Like so many times before. I twist it, and the door opens. Don't even need a key. This is a small town.

Has the painting ever left the wall? Has it wandered, perhaps? Gone on a nocturnal journey? Paintings generally can't walk. I know that. But this one is different. This one is…alive. Its eyes follow a person. Its smile seems to tilt upwards whenever you look at it.

I shiver and step into the hallway.

It looks just the same as it used to. Nothing's changed.

Except everything.


It comes in at just under 3,000 words so far. Not sure what the final word count will be.

Can't wait to see what other people write for this week's story.

And then I'm sure we can expect something awesome from Jenn's prompt next week. Heehee. This is such a fun project!

© Trisha W.F.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Chrysalis - prompt 2


Good to go!!

Meanwhile, here is a picture of one of the foster kitties I recently had in my home. His name was Cookie...but then, all their names were Cookie, for want of better ideas for names (well, the one called Hissy hissed a lot, and the one called Heidi hid a lot). Anyway...there were five of them.

Back at work, and daydreaming...

I'm daydreaming of getting back to my writing/editing/etc. :)

I thought I'd do an update on my goals as they lie so far in 2011. That way I don't have to do that reverb10 stuff yet, and yay, I love procrastination! Hehe. So here goes:

  1. Finish current edit of SUNDOWN and order a proof copy (done - received my copy, it's lovely!)
  2. Participate in NaNoEdMo 2011, editing book 4 of SUNDOWN series (counting down the days! As of now, we have 49 Days, 13 Hours, 32 Minutes, 17 Seconds to go)
  3. Write 52 short stories, one per week, for the Chrysalis Experiment (written my first story; next is my turn to post a prompt, and I'm struggling to choose between a few options. Excitement!)
  4. Write at least once a week in W O R D + S T U F F blog (doing well at this so far!)
  5. Win NaNoWriMo 2011 (naturally I can't do much about this yet :D)
  6. Finish off first draft of STORM (not anywhere near starting this yet...but I'm thinking about it. Now is probably the time to start doing it)
  7. Complete a preliminary read-through/edit of NAUSICAA (putting this off...maybe until the second half of the year. Still not over NaNo '10. hehe)
In other words, some of it is ongoing and I'm doing it every week, some of it is delayed because of its nature, i.e. takes place in a certain month...and other stuff is pending. The pending stuff is what I need to get to.

I won't bother with the other items on the list, which are "would like to but probably won't", or "definitely won't, even if I'd like to" items. I will update my G O A L S '11 page each time something gets crossed off.

How's everyone going with their new years' goals/resolutions so far??

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Query letter...reprise. and The Wheel of Time

Okay, so I was wrong in my last blog entry. I have a lot of work to do. :P Namely, finding the actual HEART of my MC's emotional problem. I definitely shouldn't have spoken too soon. Hehe.

Anyway...

I thought I would talk about the books I'm reading right now, in an effort to get my attention off my floundering query and stalled editing of novel for said query, and...yeah. That stuff. I've been reading the Wheel of Time series since I was about 14 or so. It's a series by Robert Jordan, but some may know that Mr. Jordan passed away in 2007. The series wasn't finished, but Jordan had planned everything out. And he'd even enlisted his wife to find a replacement author to complete the story after he was gone. Cue Brandon Sanderson.

But anyway, I want to stay at the beginning for now. Naturally I started with book 1, The Eye of the World, or tEotW as it's known in WoT circles. Hehe. At first I only got through a few chapters, then took it back to the school library. But later on I saw a fellow student reading a later book in the series, and decided to give book 1 another go. This time I was hooked, and never looked back.

Well, okay, I kind of looked back after reading book 10. It had been so long since I'd read the early books by this point that I was quite vague on the details of what had even happened in the series. I did remember stuff from the latest book a little better, but even then a lot had been forgotten. So...I gave up. Book 11 came out, and I bought it, but didn't read it. I knew I had to do a re-read before I could read it. I attempted a re-read at one point, and gave up after a chapter or so of re-reading book 1. Book 12 came out, everyone was raving, I learned some spoilers by accident. Damn it! And serious spoilers they were, too. I still put off my re-read. Then last year, in the lead-up to book 13's release, I finally decided to bite the bullet and started my re-read. I posted a thread for each book, commenting on that thread as I got through the book. The threads are all located here on the A'vron forums. Anyway...


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Query letter #1: Sundown

No, I'm not going to share it, because I'm not quite done with it yet. Seriously though, I am feeling pretty good about how this one's shaping up. After probably 50 revisions following advice on the AW forums, I think I'm really getting near to the finished, prettied-up product.

I don't know why it took me so long to figure out the best plot point to end the query on - the one where Louise has just risked her heart once again, and gets rejected...and then the reader's waiting to see what will happen next. Naturally since it's a romance, you've gotta figure it'll end well. But it's the getting there that's the fun part.

Anyway...I'm pretty happy with it as it is right now. I'm hoping that sometime soon, nobody will have anything to complain about. If you can post a query and get NO complaints about any part of it at AW, you know you've done a stellar job. :D

But as for the other two queries I've put up for the AW squirrels so far...well, let's not even go there. Sometimes you just have to scream at the sky and walk away. Which is what I did with those. But I did that with the Sundown query too, and have since moved onto much greener pastures! That are actually greener.

How is everyone going with their queries, if you're at that stage?!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Chrysalis Friday: The Thank You Note

Wow. I just read Jenn's story for this week, and this is how I would sum it up:

Creepy. Disturbing. And pretty compelling.

You can read it here.

I am up for posting next week's prompt. Ohhh, the pressure, having to compete with this week's. Hehe.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Trying to find the balance

Right now in my edits of Sundown chapter 2 (yes, I am stuck on chapter 2...which used to be about chapter 7, before the current editing revolution began) I'm struggling with finding a balance between giving enough information and giving too much. Naturally it's okay to give information if you're showing it, but even then there's only so much backstory you are supposed to pack in, especially to the first main chapter of your novel (which this one is).

To give some idea of where I'm at, these are some of the dramatic changes that have taken place since I joined AW and started sharing my stuff:
  1. Instead of my heroine meeting her hero on page 57 or so, which is what happened in my draft (at least, in the proof copy I just received :D), she meets him on page 9 (size 11 font, Times New Roman. hehe)
  2. Instead of a word count of 128k or so, I have a word count of 113,362
Okay, there are other things that have changed, but those are the major ones I can think of. Pretty major, in my opinion. Anyway, because of all the backstory I've hacked out, I now have the dilemma I mentioned above. I have thrown the reader right into the action, but there hasn't been enough build-up to make them care about it.

I'm working on it, and I'm very grateful to the advice I've received at AW. I do think this is going to make the story much stronger overall. But yeah, it's a struggle striking that right balance.

What a learning process!

Meanwhile, I wrote a quick little ghost story today. You can find it here. Titled "Lost, Then Found". It's definitely not my most special writing, but I like the story itself. At first I was going to have Ralph turn out to be a psycho killer seeking revenge. But then I thought better of that idea. Or different, at least. Some might say the psycho killer twist would've been better. And why the heck was the mother even at the school? Honestly, I'm not much bothered with the answer there. Suspend reality a little, I say!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ahhh, my Sundown proof copy

I got my free CreateSpace proof copy (voucher from last year's NaNo, but for the year before's novel) in the mail today! So exciting. This is the first time I've used my code. I guess I was just never ready the other years. And here are some photos. Copies of my manuscript in its varying states (name is blanked out on the cover pic, it looks prettier without that Paintbrush job :D):


I went to visit mum at her workplace and showed the proof copy to her. She was really excited and wanted to show everybody. Hehe. I think she liked the dedications page too. ;) I had fun formatting the whole book, with a makeshift copyright page, title page, etc. I even put a little glossary in, with character/band info, just because I could.

I look forward to this year's NaNo, and using my code for some other book of mine (assuming CS will still be offering that this year!).

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Chrysalis - prompt 1

Prompt 1 is up!! I am already over the 1000 word limit...just gotta figure out how to finish the story. Hehe. I'm still not sure where it's going.

We already have a few people participating. Exciting!!

Now, I thought I'd get some more Reverb10 done...yes, after the fact. But I am determined to finish!

December 22: Travel

In 2010 I started out the year in Canada, where my mum and I had been for Christmas and New Year's with my brother who lives there now. We spent that time with him, his wife-to-be and her family, and had an amazing time. Those people are incredibly generous and fun-loving, and they only wanted to entertain us. In short, we're lucky to be marrying into such a family. Hehe. Then again, they're lucky to be marrying into ours too. I also travelled to the U.S. again in August-September, to hang out with friends and go on a road trip from L.A. to Atlanta and back again. It was amazing! As for travelling in 2011, I am going to my brother's wedding, leaving early on January 20th and returning by February 4th. Other than that, I may or may not get peer-pressured by a work colleague to travel to the U.K. I can't really afford it, but she is pretty persuasive. :D

December 23: New Name

If I could introduce myself to strangers by a new name just for one day, I'd probably introduce myself as Squeaky McLean, mouse detective. After all, that's who I was supposed to be in a former life. ;)

December 24: Everything's OK

The best moment from the year that proved everything is all right? Probably the moment when I stopped to reflect on all I had achieved in 2010, writing-wise, and could look back and go, Yeah, I did okay this year! It was a pretty good year! And going into the new year, I managed to set myself greater challenges which I am confident I can achieve.

December 25: Photo

I think this photo encapsulates who I am, quite nicely. My friend Joni and I in her home in L.A., drinking wine and me pulling a silly face. Yep, that's so me, all round.


And nobody took it technically, unless you count the table. Well, either Joni or I pressed the button, and I think it was Joni who set the camera in that particular position, but it was my camera. Joint effort?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Show Me Yours - Blogfest



Okay, so I am supposed to be finishing off the Reverb10 stuff, but I saw this instead (thanks nindogs!) and felt compelled to sign up!
So this is my "500 words or under" NaNo 2010 excerpt, and keep in mind that I have not edited this at all, and don't intend to for quite some time.

Oops, sorry. Forgot the 'details', so I am editing with them now:

Title: Nausicaa
Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy
Characters in this scene: Delphyne is not the main character, but is the best friend of said main character, who has already fled the compound by this point and is currently at large (except we the reader knows where she is).

Minutes passed and the gathered agents grew restless. The last arrivals trickled in, and then Aegiale and Juturna stepped up to the podium, turning to face the rest. Delphyne and Ramnes exchanged confused looks, then waited expectantly.

“Thank you for attending,” Aegiale spoke, surveying her fellow agents with an unreadable expression. “Especially on such short notice. We have a few messages to impart on behalf of your true Founders.” She looked beyond the crowd at the entrance doors and said in a tone of ringing command, “Open the doors.”

True Founders? Delphyne had time to think in confusion before armed soldiers poured in through the doors and took up positions around the perimeter of the room. She looked again at Ramnes and saw that he was frowning fiercely. I’m thinking I should have ignored this summons, Delphyne thought, and believed from what she saw that Ramnes was probably thinking the same thing. He never would have done it, though—he was an excellent soldier, always the quickest to follow orders.

When she looked back at the podium she saw that Juturna was now armed as well. “Please hear your new orders, and heed them.” She looked to one of the armed soldiers, seemingly the leader, and nodded once. Then the soldiers opened fire.

In the madness that followed, Delphyne felt quite sure that she had lost her mind. The world turned black and red, and white for the flash of gunfire. The noise was unbelievable, and she clamped her hands over her ears desperately wishing to escape. After mere moments that felt like centuries, the world grew silent, and Delphyne found herself face down in darkness, some sort of weight pinning her legs while another lay across her back. She realised that she was breathing heavily, a sound that surely could be heard even Above Ground, and tried to make herself stop. But no…she had to breathe. You couldn’t just stop breathing. Bodies stopped working if their owners stopped breathing.

She heard sounds, but in the wake of the thunderous madness that had brought her to this dark place they had been undetectable at first. She heard them now as her hearing equalised, and tried to figure out what they were. Ticks and groans, as when you stepped on old floorboards—Ganza had no floorboards though; she remembered that much—faint shuffling sounds, and the nearby sound of ragged breathing. That wasn’t hers, surely—she’d got herself under control.

Slowly her mind cleared, and she remembered the last things she’d seen before ending up in darkness. The soldiers, shooting into the crowd of agents…shooting to kill. Juturna, turning her gun on Aegiale and ordering her down into the seething. Aegiale’s horrified look, a look that spoke of betrayal. And Juturna’s face, cold and emotionless and indicative of just how much this was a business transaction to her. Cutting down her own people clearly hadn’t worried her all that much.


© Trisha W.F.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Chrysalis Experiment - Entrance Survey

This is an entrance survey people can fill out if they so wish, for the Chrysalis Experiment. Once filled, you post a link to your survey (in whatever blog you put it in, or on Facebook or whatever) in the Chrysalis blog. Anyway, here's mine!

1. What are your current writing habits? Do you have any larger projects in the works?

My current writing habits are I write daily, even if it's rewriting/editing. And I know I don't need to tell you gals about my current projects, but I will anyway - I've got lots of novels waiting to be edited, others waiting to be finished, and still more that are waiting to be written. Oh, and about 52 short stories to be written this year. Woo!

2. Name three things you love about your own writing and three skills that you would like to work on this year. Do you have a list of writing goals for 2011?

Three things I love about it:

-I think for the most part I manage to avoid character/plot clichés, or at least if I rely on them I twist them up a little.
-My heroines are generally pretty kick-arse, far from pathetic needy creatures.
-I write in multiple genres and don't feel restricted in any way.

Three things I want to work on this year:

-Getting more used to letting go of my little darlings. I think I'm doing pretty well on that, but the better I get the better things will be!
-Not starting as many paragraphs with the same word, and getting rid of repetitiveness in general. Can't believe it took me printing out my entire ms to notice I'd pretty much repeated an entire descriptive paragraph in two different chapters. Ha.
-Using a thesaurus more. ;)

As for goals, you can see them here if you scroll down a bit. I need to do a new post for my 2011 goals at some point soon, so they're all on their own.

3. What do you find inspiring?

I have never really written to prompts before, but in the last month of 2010 I got into writing a bit of flash fiction based on prompts. And so, I'm finding that prompts are inspirational! I also frequently find myself inspired by music. I still need to write a ghost story, based in some eerie woods somewhere, thanks to Type O Negative.

4. What sort of things do you currently do to improve your writing?

I dare to share my writing with other writers, and make sure I listen to the advice they give. Also reading my work aloud does seem to work sometimes. And printing it out!! This is new to me, as I generally try to save trees, but I finally bit the bullet and printed out one of my novels, and...yeah...it's been illuminating so far.

5. Are you currently looking for a critique partner or beta readers? If so, what qualities would you like in a critique partner or beta reader?

I think I have more than enough critiquing partners right now. Let's say I'm completely polyamorous there. :D And I may also have a beta reader for Sundown, starting in Feb 2011. This chick is also writing about rock stars on tour, so I think we're aligned in our interests. Yay!! As for what qualities, well I'd want honesty, but not cruelty. And that honesty can be brutal. I can take it, as being a member of the AW forums has shown me. But not cruelty just for cruelty's sake.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Backstory

Here we are in 2011! So begins the year of the multiple writing goals. Bring it ooooon, I say!

Anyway...I want to talk about backstory for a sec, because:

Some of the advice I've got lately on Sundown has led me to believe (in something of a mini-epiphany, really) that what I formerly saw as great build-up toward the actual beginning of the story was in fact just build-up for me. I'm the writer who knows what she can expect, and enjoys working up towards those moments. But the reader is at a disadvantage: they've got no idea what's coming next; they don't know what they're in for, and I wouldn't want them to nod off before they get to the juicy stuff.

Hey, at least my backstory is nicely written, or so I'm told. There's always that. Still, it is backstory, and that's that.

So. New plan. Shedding the introductory info dump, then working it into the rest of the novel wherever it fits. Sounds pretty obvious, right? And I guess it should. But I know it's not a crime to be so close to your story you sometimes miss the obvious. That's what happened to me!

In short, I've had some pretty useful advice lately, and I am so very glad I joined the AW forums! I highly recommend them for anyone who hasn't signed up yet. Anybody who thinks they can handle the at times brutally honest feedback other members will give them on their work.