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Lost

As promised, this post I’m going to take a look back at the last time I remember being really excited about a story, what happened, and what, if anything it may tell me about this writers’ block.

In December, I was finishing up the polishing edit of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Not the most fun part of writing, but necessary. A time when I frequently let my imagination run free, because it isn’t needed for the editing process.

And my imagination rewarded me by serving up a missing piece of one of my back-burner stories–a retelling of the Princess Furball fairy tale. I was excited about it, but stayed the course and finished up with BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

Inspiration like that is a fire that burns hot–and burns out fast. Usually it’s recoverable, though, if not quite as fierce. This time . . . well, I did a little further research about that fairy tale. And discovered that the version I knew and loved was not exactly the original form. In fact, the original has some elements that I didn’t want to deal with at all.

Now, there could be a couple of ways around that. I’ll have to continue giving that some thought, but the fire was gone.

So, I tried to move on to the story I’d meant to write–or, in this case, rewrite–next anyway, MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

And ran out of steam in Chapter 6. Trying to work on MEADOWSWEET (my version of Princess Furball) in tandem with MAGE STORM didn’t work. (I’ve literally got like two sentences on MEADOWSWEET.) Trying to skip ahead to the sequel to MAGE STORM didn’t work. Trying to switch over to DAUGHTER OF THE REBEL MAGE (a Cinderella retelling) didn’t work.

Maybe, maybe what I need to do is to circle back and try to come up with some of those possible ways around the . . . disturbing part of the original fairy tale.

It’s also possible that I need to recharge the creative well, play in some other creative sand boxes for a while, or, well, there might be a couple of other reasons for low motivation to write at the moment. I’ll explore those possibilities in future posts.

 

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Reset

I’ve missed two scheduled posts because I didn’t have anything useful to say. I’ve still got writer’s block. I still don’t know why. And that’s got to be even more boring for someone else to read about than it is for me to write.

What might be useful–both to me and to anyone who reads this blog–is finding a way around or through this block.

So far, all I’ve got are things that haven’t worked. Trying to power through on MAGE STORM didn’t work.

Usually, when that happens, it’s because my subconscious has recognized that there’s something wrong and won’t let me go forward until I figure it out and fix it. I have discovered one thing I think is . . . well, not wrong, but . . . off. It hasn’t helped–at least so far.

Trying to work on something else hasn’t worked either. I tried pulling myself forward by starting the next book in MAGE STORM’s series. That didn’t work. I tried starting an entirely different story. That didn’t work either–though in that case I may have been trying to shoe-horn an unripe story into an unsuitable setting. If there’s no fire, no drive at the beginning of a story, odds are it’s just not going to work. I can power through tough scenes or slow places in a first draft. But not the beginning.

So enough of what’s not working. Time to start figuring this out.

Maybe, with luck, that’ll not only help me, but give somebody else who finds themselves in this spot some ideas.

Meantime, I’m going to try to focus on other things I need to do. Some of that reading about marketing I’ve been putting off. Maybe even start that mailing list I keep ducking. Or take a whack at making this website look more professional. Definitely finish up the critiques I’ve got pending. Something useful, anyway.

Next post, looking back. When did I last feel excited about writing and what changed?

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I actually delayed this blog post in hopes that I’d do better today. But . . . nope. I have this week off and I want to use it to start re-establishing the habit of writing every dayWell, that’s the plan anyway. So far, I’ve been slacking off.

On the other hand, I haven’t been much better about anything else. All I’ve accomplished so far is some laundry, a very little bit of mowing, and walking the dog. Otherwise . . . well, sometimes the beginning of a break is like that. But now it’s time to buckle down and actually accomplish something.

Six days left.

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Boxed Set

Wow. Almost missed two blog posts in a row. Real life things have gotten . . . a little out of hand, but–hopefully–I’m getting things back under control.

In the meantime. There is now a boxed set for the BECOME Series, both books and the prequel novella in one place.

BecomeSeriesBoxSet.jpg

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Meadowsweet

The new, shiny story idea is tentatively titled MEADOWSWEET. (I like that title, but I may decide it doesn’t communicate fantasy well enough and tweak it a bit. On the other hand, this would be a fairytale retelling, not epic fantasy. So maybe it stays.)

MEADOWSWEET will be a retelling of the fairytale I knew as a child as “Furball” or “Little Furball”. This fairytale has many titles–more than most–and several versions–some of them definitely not meant for children. That much darker (and, truthfully, probably older) version is not the one that was in my fairytale book and it’s certainly not the one I would write.

The Furball I grew up with was a princess who saved herself, not one who ultimately failed and became a victim of the very thing she tried to escape. (Look up some of those versions if you’re curious. I’m not going to tell them here.)

And, in my version, the princess’s name (which is never given in the fairytale, as so many of them are not) would be Meadowsweet. Hence the tentative title. Why? Well, that has to do with my world-building inspiration. For reasons of the magic involved, I wanted a name that tied her to the land in some way. I could have used a mineral name, some gemstone, but I decided on a plant name. In this case a flower, one that looks delicate and is known for its sweetness. One that would contrast with the strength and fortitude of the princess.

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Back at It

There’s no chance I could not write. Not for any prolonged period of time. So, I’m back at work on MAGE STORM, now. Just starting the second chapter. It’s going to be an interesting dance between what I can reuse of the old version and what I just have to scrap and do over–or completely differently. But I’m still committed to this story.

In the interim, I think I have a good idea what the cover will be like, when, eventually, I get that far. And I have a much better blurb for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Here it is:

As a son of the Goddess, Gaian might become a god himself—if he can remember to try.
In the conclusion of the Become series, Gaian has no memory of who he is, where he lived, or who he loves. He can barely remember his own name. The only thing he knows, the only thing he holds onto is the belief that his purpose is to protect others. That, and the certainty that leaving his solitary existence in the forest would cause immeasurable harm to others.
Everyone else believes Gaian is dead. But they know what he has forgotten: that an ancient prophecy says that a son of the Goddess could become a god—the Sky God—with the right help.
At the prompting of a new prophecy, Margan, the son born after Gaian’s “death”, comes over the mountains to find his father’s grave. There he meets Rose, the girl with a gift for dreams who was once rescued by a strange man in the forest.
Together, they might have the abilities needed to help Gaian complete his destiny. If they fail, it could end in catastrophe.
Inspired by the legend of Hercules.

Now, back to MAGE STORM.

 

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Character Voice

Moving forward–slowly–on Become: To Ride the Storm.

StormCover

Building momentum on coming back to this story is part of why it’s slow. Most of it is getting back into character voice.

Now, I write most comfortably in close limited third person, not first person. Still, that means that I spend a fair amount of time inside each character’s thoughts. And different characters shouldn’t all think alike–or in the same words. Some of that is driven by their personalities, some of it by their experiences and training, some by what it is they (think) they want at that moment.

It almost always slows me down a little when I switch POV characters–which I do a lot in this book. And, perhaps, even a little slower this time because I haven’t been writing these characters for a month or so. This time, finding my way back into Rose’s head was slower than usual.

Of course, part of that might be because Rose is a naïve sixteen-year-old and the chapter before was from the POV of a fifty-ish king.

Getting started is always the hardest part and I’m past that, so things should move better, now. Hopefully.

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