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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

The Onyx Court is coming to the UK!

I’m delighted to announce that Titan Books, publishers of the Memoirs of Lady Trent in the UK, will also be bringing the Onyx Court to its homeland!

Long-time readers may recall that the first two books of the series were published there by Orbit UK back in the day, but the mid-series publisher shift meant the latter two never saw UK shelves. Titan have picked up the entire series and, as you can see from the above, are reissuing them with splendid new covers — not to mention UK spelling and date formatting, like God and the Queen intended. πŸ˜‰ My understanding is that they’ll be coming out in rapid succession, on a three-month cycle, so by early 2017 you’ll have the whole set. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hold ’em in my hands!

Done.

I have finished my eighteenth (!) novel. Final tally, for those who have been following the dance of the yo-yo: 56,583 words, which means it ultimately fell about 3.5K short of goal. It will need some expansion during the revision stage, but that’s okay.

Yes, that wordcount is closer to the YA range than the adult range. More news on this front when I have any to report — but don’t hold your breath.

Now, I go to sleep.

The Traditional Mid-Book Yo-Yo

As some of you know or have guessed, I’m writing a book on spec this summer — a Sekrit Projekt. It’s going pretty well, though right now I’m kind of wondering if I can fit the remaining plot into my remaining projected wordcount.

Earlier today, I was freaking out a bit because I didn’t have remotely enough plot to fill out the wordcount, and the book was going to run short.

Now, if you’re a normal person, you probably assume this means I thought up some additional plot in between then and now. You would be wrong. Before I freaked out about insufficient plot, I was convinced I had too much plot. And before that, I knew I didn’t have enough, not by a long shot. Because I’m at That Stage of the process: the Traditional Mid-Book Yo-Yo.

It happens every time. This is the seventeenth novel I’ve written, and so I know quite well that because I am not the sort of person who outlines rigorously, I have to eyeball the amount of material necessary to get from where I am to the target length. (The only time I can think of when this didn’t happen to me was with In Ashes Lie. I knew a quarter of the way into that book that there was no way in hell it would fit into 110K: I emailed my editor, and she gave me permission to run over, so long as I warned her if it was headed north of 180K. So that one didn’t have a target; it was as long as it needed to be, which turned out to be 143K.) As I draw near, I have to keep checking in with my brain and gauging whether any adjustments are necessary. And I’m constantly changing my mind.

But at least I know that. Which means I can take the yo-yo in stride, trusting that I’ll be able to tell if I’m really going to miss my mark in either direction. And since this book is a spec project, it isn’t the end of the world if I do miss: the worst that happens is I have to look for ways to flesh the book out during revision, or I don’t manage to complete it before my self-imposed deadline. Either of which is fine, if annoying.

I think I’ll be in the target range, though. I usually manage.

random stats for a Friday night

There’s a certain margin of error in this, because the word counts I record are for final drafts (when I remember to go back and update them from the original number), and sometimes final drafts don’t happen in the same calendar year as first drafts. But I just crunched the numbers, and while last year was my worst for short fiction* since I started actually writing short fiction — only 7700 words in two stories, one of which is a Bad Draft that needs a complete rewrite — it was my best year for total wordcount since 2001 . . . which was, not coincidentally, the last time I wrote two novels in one year. (I also wrote ten short stories that year. It was not long after I figured out how to write them, and I was on a roll.)

I like crunching these numbers occasionally because it puts things in perspective. My default tendency would be to mope and castigate myself for not writing more short stories in 2014; ergo, it is useful to be able to look at the number 192,700 and tell myself that no, actually, that was a pretty good year. I will never be one of those people who cranks out half a million words a year: trying would kill both my hands and my brain. But that’s two full-length novels and some short fiction. It ain’t bad.

. . . of course, it also makes me ambitious to top both of those metrics this year. I’ve already written two pieces of short fiction, so it’ll only take one more to cross that threshold. And with one of those “short” pieces being a novella, and a novel already under my belt with another one planned for this summer, I might actually make it. Depends on how long this second novel turns out to be . . . .

*not counting fanfiction

A Rose by Any Other Title

I have this novella I’m trying to title, and the search . . . isn’t going well.

In the course of hunting for a suitable title, I’ve been thinking about the structure of such things. And, of course, having thought about that, the next thing to do is look at my own ouevre and investigate what sorts of patterns I use more or less frequently.

(What? I may not be a biologist, but Isabella gets her scientific turn of mind from somewhere. Also, procrastination.)

The material below the cut is a breakdown of every title I’ve put on a piece of fiction — and in one case, a piece of nonfiction — since I produced my first piece of theoretically professional work, leaving out those where the title was not wholly up to me. (Mostly pieces that amount to work-for-hire.) I’ve included unpublished works and fanfiction in the mix, since that expands the data set by quite a bit, but not titles that ended up being discarded along the way.

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thoughts on the depiction of rape in fiction

WARNING: this post is about rape in fiction, and considerations to bear in mind when including it.

Last week I posted some thoughts on Twitter about rape scenes in fiction — specifically, thinking about the possibility (the likelihood, sadly) that someone in your audience is a rape survivor, and contemplating what effect you want to have on that person. Those thoughts are the epiphany I arrived at while thinking through the larger issue; I want to write about that larger issue now.

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The Story Revealed

Final guesses on the novella I finished last week included “Haitian loa” and “kitsune” — both incorrect. But then two people guessed correctly! So when I get home, tooth_and_claw and sarcastibich, I’ll send you a list of what books I have on hand, and you can tell me which ones you want signed and mailed to you.

This was actually even harder of a question than I thought, because it turns out that one of the giveaway details has never been mentioned on this incarnation of my LJ. If you conducted a search (which wshaffer almost did), you would have had to do so on my old blog, the one I was using up until 2006. The number of people who have been following me since all the way back then is quite small . . . hence admitting this was a difficult challenge, one I didn’t necessarily expect anybody to get. The best chance for the rest of you was to have a good enough memory to remember that I linked to one of those songs last year — in fact, precisely one year to the day before I posted it again as part of this series. That, I believe, was the last time I said anything on here about Ree Varekai.

I mentioned her before and during my tour last year, because music had put her back into my head, and I found that the core of the concept still held a lot of power for me. Enough power that I started poking at it . . . and coming up with a cosmology where she could exist without copy-pasting the game world she came from . . . and then working out a plot for a novella that I really need a title for, so I can stop thinking of it as the “proof of concept” story where I’m test-driving my idea to see if it works. And then during this tour I decided to buckle down and try, and now I have a draft of the novella and this is a thing that might actually happen.

So what were the clues? Well, that fourth song was from the Cirque du Soleil show Varekai — that’s why it wound up on Ree’s game soundtrack, because of her name. (I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted her full name since the old journal. Mea culpa.) The third one, as I said, I linked to precisely one year previously; it’s also from her soundtrack, and stood for the moment when she hit utter rock bottom, just before the transformation that made her whole once more. The other two are recent additions to her score: “Bad Moon Rising” for the way her fatalist aspect is linked to the lunar cycle, and “I Will Not Bow” just because it fits. That’s what she sounds like when her fatalist aspect is dominant over her survivor aspect, when a pragmatic understanding of the obstacles has become “fuck everything; I’ll just take you all down with me.”

If you didn’t guess, don’t feel bad — you basically have to know Ree to guess most of those songs are pointing at her. (Both of the people who did guess were players in that game.) But hey: the bright side is, now I have all kinds of other things that apparently you all think I should write about! πŸ™‚

As for the novella, I don’t know what will happen with it. I need to revise it, and then see about trying to sell it somewhere. News on that when I have any to share.

Guess That Story, Part 4

I’ve had two more guesses, one non-serious (but it made me think I should write a Medusa story someday); the other was “werewolves” — which is amply suggested by “Bad Moon Rising,” but alas, is not correct.

So: last shot! This is about as obvious as it’s possible for me to get — which means still not that obvious, but enough that there’s a fighting chance:

A change of pace from the three depressing songs I posted before. πŸ™‚ It isn’t all grimdark over here at Swan Tower . . . .

Any takers? There’s a signed book in it for you, if you guess right . . . .

Guess That Story, Part 3

I’ve had two more people take a stab at guessing, but no successes. One was in email, and wasn’t so much a guess as “I feel like I should know the answer based on X context” — which was, sadly, off-target — and the other was a tongue-in-cheek guess of “Lune,” made by someone who knows exactly what I’m writing about. πŸ˜› A third person said the songs would be appropriate to Supernatural, but they don’t think I’m writing fanfic; indeed I am not. This is a piece of original fiction, written in the hope of selling it, and not for an official tie-in anthology or anything like that.

Since nobody has nailed it yet, it’s time for a third hint! If you missed the first two, they are here and here.

Getting less subtle as we go along; if this doesn’t do it, I have one more I’ll post on Monday, that’s about as blatant as I can get (at least as far as musically-based hints go). Which still isn’t that blatant: you need a pretty good memory to recall the pertinent details and think “oh, so that’s what she’s writing.” But there are people reading this blog who might be able to pull it off — and besides, I’m entertaining myself posting these songs. And isn’t that what really matters? ^_^

Remember that I’ll give a signed book away to the first person (if any) who correctly guesses what I’m working on. You don’t need to guess the exact plot, just a general description of who or what I’m writing about.

Guess That Story, Part 2

I finished a draft of the story in question last night. It’s officially a novella: 18,100 words. I need to add in a few bits, but I also need to tighten up other bits, so I expect the word count will stay in that general ballpark.

Someone on the previous post said that “I Will Not Bow” made them think of Julian, which was eye-opening for me: I firmly associate that song with a different character, but upon listening to it in that frame of mind, I can see where there’s a resemblance. But no, the story in question is not about Julian, which means you get a second musical hint!

This is less subtle than the first one, though still obscure enough that the list of people who could spot the connection is pretty short. (And several of the people on that list are disqualified on the grounds of too much insider knowledge.) I will say, though, that if anybody manages to guess what I’m working on before I run out of hints, I will send that person an autographed book of their choice out of my pile of author copies — subject to availability, of course.

If you still can’t guess, never fear — there are more hints to come . . . .