Friday, February 17, 2012

February Writing Report #1

I know that some of you are fans of my writing (bless you!) and many of you are also writers, so I've decided to start posting periodic reports on my current writing process. Feel free to chime in with what you're working on and how it's going in the comments!

You can also check to see how I'm doing by watching the new little word-count meter I added up top. I'm aiming at 90,000 words for the WIP (work in progress, for those of you who don't speak Author Jargon), although you never really know how long a book is going to be until it is done. And then you edit it, and it can change by a lot, so you still don't know. Urgh.

The main project I'm working on at the moment is a post-apocalypse romance called "Seeds of Change." It has some small paranormal elements to it, and something of an urban fantasy feel, since it takes place in the aftermath of a catastrophic worldwide disaster caused by genetic seed manipulation gone wrong. [Side note: in researching the novel, I found out WAY more than I wanted to know about GMO's and Monsanto. Be afraid. Be very afraid.]

It doesn't sound like a cheery book, I know. In truth, it is darker than most of the things I've written. But the story itself is about survival, and hope, and the reader will end up (if I do it right) rooting for the two main protagonists: Alysia (a Wiccan) and Wolf (a Native American...and a hunk--if I could sleep with one of my characters, I'm telling you, he's the one).

I'd actually started working on the novel back in October--just doing research, some character and world building, and writing the first couple of chapters to get a feel for Alysia and Wolf. (The characters often come to me most clearly as I am writing them.) The story really fought me, though, and I finally had to set it aside to deal with the holiday rush and making jewelry to sell during The Season.

When I picked the story up again in January, it was still fighting me. I just couldn't get into it. But I'd promised my agent, Elaine Spencer, I'd work on this one. So I did some brainstorming with pals Candace Havens and Heather Long, and got through another couple of chapters. Did some more research. Then some brainstorming with my main CP (critique partner) Lisa DiDio. Wrote another chapter.

Then something amazing happened. The words started to flow, the story decided it wanted to be told after all, and three weeks later, I've written 37,666 words. As you can see from the meter, that brings me to a total of 48K and change as of last night, and that, people, is 53% of the book. (Assuming it actually turns out to be 90K, and frankly, who knows.) Whew.

This is as close to writer's block as I've come since I returned to serious writing, many years ago. (We're not counting the 15+ years in which I wrote nothing at all. That wasn't a block, that was not trying, and that's something else entirely.) It was scary. And unpleasant. But as you can see, muscling through it and refusing to give up--and knowing when to ask for a little help from my friends--got me through to the other side.

Although, interestingly enough, I think the most helpful thing I did was to start writing something else: a silly, fun, humorous paranormal romance with the horrible temporary title of "I Met God at Starbucks." I was just doing it for me, to get the words flowing again, but it really helped me to recapture that love of writing. I'll probably go back and finish it at some point, just for the heck of it.

By the end of the month, I hope to be at 70K with Seeds of Change, and have a completed outline for the rest of the book. (At this point, I'm outlining about three chapters ahead of where I am--not my usual practice at all, which is usually to outline the entire book before I start. What can I say...each book is different, and I just do what the voices in my head tell me.)

So--just so I know--is this the kind of thing you're interested in reading about on this blog, or did I just bore the pants off you all? And what are you working on, writing or otherwise?

Happy Friday!


  1. I like hearing about how other authors are doing. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in certain struggles (like a story fighting me).

  2. Too totally awesome. And sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself the breathing room. I can't wait to read the finished product. *hint hint, nudge nudge*

    1. I can sent you the latest chapters. Stop nudging tickles :-)