Friday, September 13, 2013

The Trouble With Loglines

One of the tricky parts about writing that still gives me trouble is creating a succinct summary. I have the tendency to want to tell more than I should. So I'm opening my logline up for some critiques. Input from readers and other writers is the best way to hone those summarizing skills. So let me know what you think.

YA Fantasy

With veins barren of her family’s magic and a looming marriage to a man she doesn’t love, sixteen year-old Rose bargains and blackmails her way to freedom. But running makes her problems worse. After a night hiding in a crumbling castle, Rose wakes to a world where the living sleep like the dead, and the dead walk like the living. Rose must put aside her fears and prejudices to save her sleeping kingdom.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lost in the Woods

I decided it was about time I did a progress report on Rose. She's sitting at about 17500 words right now, and I've written out all the things that I plotted out before I started drafting. My MC, and her dead friend are pretty much lost in the woods, and maybe I'm feeling a little too sympathetic, because I'm stuck. Lost in the woods, and I can't seem to find my way out.

I know exactly where I want to go, and I've got at least one or two more stops in mind, but I don't know how I'm getting there yet. Also I'm not sure if my big emotional/dramatic climax is big enough. I just had a thought the other day, "What if that's not the end?" I love/hate thoughts like that. Because if it's not the end then this other thing is the end, and I really, really don't know how to get there. But at the same time it's awesome because Rose just got a little more badass, and a little more complex. Now if only I could just get her a compass.

The good news is, while I chew (I'm pretty sure this counts as mixing my metaphors, which by the way would be a killer name for a mocktail*) on this problem (Rose can build herself a nice little fire in the woods and roast some marshmallows) I've got the newest member of my multiple personalities--er, writing projects-- budding into life.

All I can tell you right now, is that his name is Caliban. And I think I'm going to love him.

And now it's back to the woods. My cleverly constructed procrastination is over. Must get Rose a compass. Or some marshmallows while I go play with Caliban. Either way, back to writing.

*Mixed Metaphor
1 part  fresh lime juice
3 parts water
1 part vanilla infused simple syrup
Fresh mint
Fresh basil
sugar to taste

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sweet, sweet victory!

I'm finally finished with drafting Pinochet. I know I really have no reason to whine since I didn't even start until mid May, but still. Longest month and a half ever.

 I think I've discovered why I'm not as thrilled with Pinochet as I am with my other projects. First of all, he was a work of convenience. Hubby had to be in Santiago for an internship, so I decided to set a story in Santiago since I was going to be there anyway. It was a fun premise, but not one that was burning a hole in my brain, begging to be worked on, like some of my other ideas.

Second, there's no allusion. No deep literary pool from whence some character or aspect sprang, no layers. And I hate that. So I spent some time on the beach with my copy of Blake and found some good stuff to make my villain a little richer when it's time for edits.

And last, it's told entirely from one character's POV. And I'm dying. I'm not sure if I've put in enough clues for the reader to guess all the twists, or if I've done a good enough job of even making this intricate plot clear enough. I like twists and turns. And I work so carefully to build them, and usually it's way more than one person can know or see. But everything else I've written has had multiple POV, and I wanted to see if I could do it with only one. We'll see how that worked out.

And now for my reward: I get to start with my research and plotting for my new project! Yay! I'm calling her Rose. Think high fantasy+ light steam punk + sleeping beauty + alice in wonderland. Except princes are overrated, and my MC gets to save the kingdom herself.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pinochet and The Fox

In talking to my husband about my WIPs I find myself constantly clarifying which project I’m talking about as the conversation progresses. This is because most of the time a title is one of the last things that comes. It’s like naming a baby. You want to get it absolutely right otherwise your kid is going to be stuck with a stupid name like Nevaeh or Destiny (no offense if you were unfortunate enough to be named one of these things by your parents, it’s not your fault, but if you’re considering these names for your baby for the love of all that is holy, we have enough strippers).
            So I’ve decided to give my WIPs names. Not their real names, not titles, but something I can use to talk about them in the meantime, to help keep them straight without using a string of modifiers. Sort of like when people name their baby before it’s born—before they know if the little fetus is a boy or a girl, or just because they can’t decide on a name. My husband’s little sister was Elvis for nine months before she got her real name. We had some friends whose little boy was called Spark Plug.
            And while names like that are goofy it’s easier than saying “he or she” or “it” or “the baby” all the time. Also it’s more fun. So in the grand tradition of goofy fetus names I’m announcing the names of my current WIPs.
            Right now I’m drafting on a YA sci-fi thriller that takes place in Santiago. I’m thinking of calling him Pinochet because of the massive oppression by the government in the book. Also I think I’m going to feel super liberated when I finally crank out Pinochet, because then I’ll get to start plotting on an idea I’ve got floating around in my head.
            My other WIP actually has a title, but when I talk about it I always refer to it as The Fox. It’s MG revisionist history that takes place in Napoleonic Europe. I love The Fox, but I’m thinking that it’s going to take a lot more research before it’s anywhere near ready for beta readers.
            So there you go. Pinochet and The Fox. For your pleasure.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Muse Disagrees With the Water

I was in the shower this morning, and I realized my routine has been off. Usually all my great ideas come in the shower. Even phrasing for how to tackle the next attempt at an edit or query will be spinning through my mind as I bathe. I decided there must be something wrong with the Chilean water. Because aside from a few days of hyper-productivity, I've been in some sort of South American funk.

Then I started fantasizing about publishing my book and got to thinking about Ana. Are girls going to hate her? Not every male character in the book falls in love with her (technically it's only one during the book), but she does have a certain quality that attracts people. Granted one is programed to love her, one loved her from the moment he met her, and the other isn't allowed to love her. But still, I should kind of hate this girl, at least a little. No one likes that girl.

Then this morning in the shower it hit me. I don't hate her because I already love her. She's my best friend from high school--or at least a small part of her is. She's the beautiful, wonderful girl who's time between boyfriends could be measured with a stopwatch. But not one of those girls who can only connect with guys. She's so wonderful, everybody loves her.

I cannot believe I've been living in Ana's head for so long and never realized this. Now I like her even more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Query Roundtable

After reading through 200 queries for The Writers Voice competition I got a good idea of what works. And why mine wasn't.

When I read Rachel's post about the Query Roundtable I was thrilled.

Many of the other talented writers in the competition, especially the winners, had very tight queries focusing on the main characters and the main plot. Mine was kind of all over the place with minor characters and subplots.

So I've rewritten my query (let's call it draft 347).  I focused it on my two main POV characters. I tried to show a bit of their personalities and give the main conflict. It pretty much killed me to not talk about the rest, but I guess that's query writing, and I still pretty much suck at it.

Tell me what you think. And I'll do the same for you.

Take 2: (5/23)

Fifteen year-old Ana doesn’t realize the men trying to kidnap her are actually demons trying to collect on a lucrative bounty set by Hell. And Tam, that sexy new guy? He’s a bounty hunter too.

Ana Owen is one crazy secret away from sewing herself into a straitjacket. First, there was the perfect boy from her recurring dreams. He waltzes into reality to play out her dream in the flesh. He kisses her right in front of her boyfriend, effectively ruining her life. Sorry, I thought I was dream-cheating is the most crazy-pathetic excuse ever.

Then there were the rotten-egg smelling men who were weirdly obsessed with her eyes, one green, one hazel. These would-be kidnappers recoil in agony at her touch—one guy even breaks out into boils. Ana has no idea what is wrong with her

What she really needs is someone to talk to, someone with answers. Enter Tam, charming and confident he swoops in to save the day when more attackers show up. But Ana can’t shake the feeling Tam knows more than he’s letting on.

Ana discovers her kidnappers are demons. But no one seems to know why Hell would be interested in her, or why the demons would react so violently to her touch. She must figure out what is going on before the demons succeed in dragging her down to Hell.

BLOODFRUIT is a 95,000 YA urban fantasy that combines a retelling of the Sumerian myth of Inana’s descent into the underworld and PARADISE LOST to create a world where a teenage girl’s blood holds the key to creating bodies for an army of the Damned.

NEW Query:

Fifteen year-old Ana doesn’t know her blood can create bodies for the Damned. Or that the sexy new guy is a bounty hunter for Hell. And she’s his bounty.

Ana turns to her “journal” when she needs to think. She scribbles her thoughts onto smooth stones using multicolored sharpies, and casts them into the Pacific so no one will be able to read her thoughts. Which is probably a good thing because she’d probably be locked up in a mental ward if she left entries like these lying around:

Someone is trying to kidnap me, but they can’t actually touch me.
What am I?
I might know what it feels like to die.
What does it mean to have a soulmate?

Ana just wants someone to talk to, someone with answers. But she never imagined anyone would find the stones and write her back.

So when Tam shows up to save the day giving off the vibe that he knows more about her would-be kidnappers than he’ll admit, Ana is suspicious. She doesn’t know if she can trust him, and tosses a stone into the sea with a single question: Who is Tam?

Tam thought his bounty-hunting days were over, but then he heard the whispers about this new job. Very lucrative, with the added mystery of being the only No-Kill bounty Hell has ever issued. Tam’s curiosity is peaked. Besides he needs the gold. He just has to find this girl before the horde of demons who are also after the bounty get to her.

Ana turns to Tam for answers, but discovers he has secrets of his own. She must figure out what is going on, and find a way to stop the demons before they succeed in dragging her down to Hell.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

BLOODFRUIT First 250 words and Query Summary

In my sleep deprived haze I was able to make into the fabulous contest hosted by Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.).

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Wordcount: 97,000
First 250 words:

A no-kill order was unprecedented in Hell.
 It’s why he was here. Tam felt his heart catch in his throat as Eres’ cold eyes cut through the crowd of eager demons. Every eye watched her, waiting. Waiting to hear who Eres wanted so badly to offer such a lucrative reward. She laid out the details for the bounty, except the detail Tam was most curious about—why? Why the no-kill order? There had to be some sort of explanation.
No killing,” Eres repeated.
The menace in her voice quelled the disgruntled murmurs from the low-level demons who’d come to hear about the bounty.
Eres and her mate wanted a girl. Tam wondered who this girl was, and why they wanted her alive—why they wanted her at all. What had she gotten herself into that Hell would set such a high price on her head?
But before he could speculate about the girl’s sordid business, an alarm began wailing. The sound echoed off the golden chamber walls, creating turmoil in the crowd.
Tam swore, drawing the hood of his cloak over his face. Bodies in the room reacted like a single organism, swelling in apprehension. This was a mistake. He didn’t like to involve himself with Hell anymore. But the money was good. Too good to ignore. He could use it to hide for a century—longer if he was smart about it.
And he wouldn’t have to kill anyone to get it this time. 

Query summary:

BLOODFRUIT is a YA urban fantasy that combines a retelling of the Sumerian myth of Inana’s descent into the underworld with PARADISE LOST to create a world where a teenage girl is being hunted by demons. Demons who want to use her blood to create bodies for the incorporeal souls of the damned so they can build an army.

Fifteen year-old Ana is relieved to cross paths with the immortal bounty hunter Tam. But only because she’s unaware that she is his bounty.

Ana suspects she’s losing her mind when she’s attacked by four men who recoil in agony at her touch. Things get weirder when the boy from her dreams waltzes into reality and kisses her in front of her boyfriend.

Eres is a demon with plenty of clout and an excess of gold who just discovered her little sister Inana is still alive. She wants little Ana’s blood.

Tam has been dodging his past for thousands of years, and Eres’ gold is just what he needs to disappear. But when he finds Ana, he realizes she’s not his typical bounty. There’s something bigger going on, and Tam is determined to figure out what it is.

Ana is pleased when Tam shows up, saving her from her attackers. But she’s suspicious too, because he seems to know a lot about them. She decides Tam is her best bet for figuring out why she’s being targeted and how to stop it.

Damon just escaped from Hell with the precious piece of fruit that holds all the answers. He’s determined to keep the horde of bounty-hunting demons from finding his soul mate. But saving Ana is complicated because she no longer remembers him.

As Ana digs for the truth, she learns that Hell is after her, but no one can tell her why. She must figure out a way to stop them before the demons succeed in dragging her down to Hell.