Archive for ‘Works in Progress’

August 31, 2009

Yes I did; no you didn’t.

Jennifer R. Hubbard posted (a while ago) about the idea of conflict in a book.  Instead of letting your characters argue back and forth, which can bore your reader, let the tension build by keeping the characters separated.

My two main characters in WINGED tend to remain quite separate through parts of the book.  They only meet during scenes in which something major happens – emotionally, physically, whatever.  Besides those scenes, they are acting independently of each other, brushing each other with their thoughts but that’s it.

I mean, what’s more interesting to read: two characters in a romance novel having sex right in the beginning, or having sex later on after thinking about it for many chapters?  See, delaying conflict could be grand.

August 17, 2009

Fantasy Book Covers – no room for me?

Tim Holman over at The Publisher Files posted a chart concerning the art on the covers of all fantasy books published last year.  This doesn’t necessarily represent the content of the books, but rather what was put on the covers to sell them.

There’s a big difference.

In any case, I was curious as to how The Novel That Ate My Life (the one about the Winged) would fit here.  So here are the categories listed.  They listed in the same order as on the chart, from the least used on fantasy book covers to the most used.

1. Unicorns
Nope, no unicorns in the Winged novel.  I’m sad to see that unicorns made the bottom of the list.  Maybe they’ll come back one day?  One of my favorite novels concerning unicorns is book one in The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville.  (Upon looking it up on Amazon to double-check the spelling of his name, I just discovered that a new volume in this series came out last year.  I should read that.)

2. Maps
I guess a map could work okay, though maps themselves play no role in the Winged novel.

3. Stilettos

4. Hobbits/dwarves/orcs/goblins
The only fantasy-esque people in my novel are the Winged themselves.

5. Elves/fae
See above.  And the Winged aren’t elvish or fae in any way.

6. Tattoos
Nope.  Rev probably has a tattoo, but it’s no running theme.

7. Damsel in distress
There are certainly women in dangerous situations, but I wouldn’t say that’s the point of the book.

8. Staffs

9. Completely dark cover of meaninglessness
There are that many fantasy novels that fall into this category?  Well, it would work, in any case.  The Winged novel is dark enough.

10. Wolves
Animals play absolutely no role in the book.

11. Guns
Some characters use guns, but they’re meant to be out of place.  Not a symbol of the whole book.

12. Bow and Arrow

13. Boats
Definitely not.

14. Horses
Again, no animals.

15. Dragons
I adore dragons, but there are none here.

16. Castle/citadel
The Winged certainly have their own home base of operations, so to speak, that plays a big role in the story.  So I’d be okay if something castle-ish poked around on the cover.  Maybe in the background.  Eh.

17. Glowy magic
Not much glowy magic here.  No one can shoot energy from their hands or such.

18. Swords
No swords here.

So all in all, my novel doesn’t fall into many of the categories for what pops up on fantasy novel covers.  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

August 12, 2009

8 Characters

I’m trying to focus on finished up ARCADIAN MONTH (still really need to change that title!) but I keep getting distracted by visions of FALLING UPWARDS.  I’ve been having daydreams about FU for a few months now; these daydreams are similar to dreams in that they wash over me at the most random of times and I can’t really control them.  I’ll be pouring a bowl of cereal and bam I’m in a scene and Ana and Rev are glaring at each other from across a playground.

It’s very distracting, I assure you.

I haven’t touched FALLING UPWARDS since grad school, and these characters don’t play nice.  If I leave them alone for too long, they start revolting and refuse to let me work on anything else.  It’s only a matter of time before I have to abandon other projects and focus on them again before they make my brain explode.

In an effort to pull a little of this novel out of my head so I can refocus on ARCADIAN, here is a list of the main characters from FU.  Certainly my fondness for playing with names shows up in this novel; the fact that the whole novel came from the fascination with the word Anagnorisis should show this anyway.

1. Anagnorisis. My main character, Ana always tries to follow the rules but somehow ends up not so much.  He was born in 19th century England and has a son’s sense of duty, but he’s also been in the United States for the last 100 years and has the dry attitude to prove it.  He loves smoking and hates crowds – too many people talking at once.  His wings are half those of a bird and half those of a bat, and no, he doesn’t want to talk about it.  When he falls, he falls hard, as he does with Epi, the girl he loves but can never give himself to.  I love Ana for what he isn’t – he’s not so much the hero as the guy who tries to stop the villain.

2. Revelation. I adore Rev on so many levels.  He is everything Ana is not – charismatic, outgoing (though definitely a bitch), a rule-breaker.  Ana tries to follow the rules, but Rev doesn’t even care what the rules are.  Like Ana, he focuses on Epi, but he does not love her – he obsesses.  Rev is a true villain in the sense that he doesn’t seem to care about others; he is often sadistic and cruel.  He will kill people to make a point.  He is much younger than Ana, and sometimes this shows.  His wings are grey, to which he says, “Of course.”

3. Epiphany. Epi is a hard character to figure out.  Most of her feelings about something are kept beneath the surface and usually this is not intentional.  Thus, she often throws off Ana and Rev who find her unpredictable.  She has soft blue wings.  She is the final task of Ana (the last person he turns into a Winged); however, she’s the one who turns Rev.  Therefore, she’s connected to both in a weird sort of triangle.  Before anything else, Epi is NICE.

4. Kepzelet. Kep is a happy-go-lucky sort of guy.  He tries to make friends with everything, and often says things before thinking about them first.  He was quite young when he was tasked, so he looks perpetually 14.  Because of this, he is often treated as the baby of the group, which isn’t often deserved.

5. Scio. No one really knows how old Scio is, but he was already quite old when he created Ana.  He calls himself the Director, though he functions as leader of the Winged.  He creates the rules and assigns Winged to tasks; he controls much of what happens in the group.  I try to present him as a Gandalf/Dumbledore/older guy advising the younger specifically because he turns out to be anything but.

6. Castigalia. Casi is cold and calculating, and a dear friend of Ana.  Over the course of the novel, they break ways and end up on different sides.

7. Tiltmeter. Rev’s only task.  She’s one of the few people Rev will not touch and she uses that to her advantage.  She’s peppy and a little explosive, quick to anger.  She cares fiercely.

8. Catharsis. Cath enters the picture late as a little boy who Rev snatches away from his family.  Traumatized, he refuses to speak to anyone.  He is the only Winged whose wings are pure white due to the fact that he was tasked too young.

Those are my top eight characters.  There are a couple more, but their roles are limited.

I feel a bit better now.  Back to ARCADIAN.

July 29, 2009

It’s Bri as in “eye”

I’ve got a little less than a month to kill before classes start back up. Of course, somewhere in there I need to figure out my syllabi, but that’s something I can ignore for now.

Right now, I’m working on my novel ARCADIAN MONTH (worse title ever, yes, I know). I left the manuscript on the back burner for a while, as I scurried off to Iowa and back, while I worked on The Novel that Ate my Life, that’s currently in pieces.

There are some major aspects of the novel that I need to focus on.

1. Getting the word count up. It’s at 65,000 right now. I’d like it to be between 70-80,000. I don’t want to go up much larger, based on the market I want to aim at.

2. Building up the relationship between Bri and her boyfriend before she starts to fall for Kalze.

3. Bringing Kalze’s presence in earlier. When I first wrote this book, it was all I could do to make the man appear as early as he did. He really didn’t want any screen time, especially if Bri wasn’t involved in the scene, the little bugger. So this is hugely needed, considering this is a romance novel. Ha.

4. Expand the climax on the novel. Bri needs to be more involved than she already is, and there need to be more consequences for their actions at the end. Really, could they penetrate an army base and expect that no one would react? Yeah.

If I can accomplish all that, I’ll be pleased. This novel has already gone through so many rewrites and edits, so I think I’m about done with it. I’m ready to move on. My Muse is even more ready to work on The Novel That Ate My Life. Having dreams about it is a little disturbing.