Hey there, everybody, glad to have you back. Apologies for last week, it was a rough one, and I was ready to collapse from exhaustion by the end of it. Literally – Friday afternoon I was having trouble holding it together and at one point just stared at my desk with my head in my hands, my head pounding, gut churning. Blame poor sleep. And this won’t be as long as my usual entry, either, as this week has been just as crazy and when I get home I just want to veg out, BUT I wasn’t about to leave this empty for another week, either. I am putting those days behind me.
And the events in the wider world have not helped. Not getting on the soapbox this week (I have Twitter and Facebook for that), but let’s just say I’m feeling particularly discouraged with where we’re headed. That’s all.-
Apologies if I repeat myself here, but I don’t have the time to go back and read my last complete post. I managed to power through a good portion of Elkmont last week, but also realized that it’s going to take some time to develop. I think there’s a kernel of something good there, but I’m going to have to reconfigure a lot in the outline drafting process. I’m not even through the treatment yet. It’s a more complex story than In the Pines or the other book that I’m working on, so I’m thinking of putting it on the backburner while I develop the next book. But we’ll get there. First, to talk about In the Pines.
I picked it up…well, TRIED to pick it up last Friday, but fate kind of intervened with too much work and exhaustion. So I let it sleep a few more days before getting back to it Monday. I think I’ve said before that the early chapters are pretty good as planned, so it’s just a matter of drafting. I was a little tentative going into the drafting portions, but it didn’t take long to get a feel for the characters and motivations and such. I’ve decided I’m not going to write this book in an entirely linear fashion, at least in the first draft; I am going to set a word quota for each chapter for each pass through, and pick bits and pieces of scenes to write the high-level draft. In other words, for one chapter I may write a portion of a confrontation in a gas station; for the next, I may write a quiet moment in the woods. What I’m trying to focus on is consistency of tone and theme between those portions that I write. There may be something important that comes up in that gas station confrontation that then comes back into play in the woods; rather than force myself to go back and remember what I was thinking, the idea is to follow the thread through the chapters. That can better inform the characters’ emotions and feelings, I think. I don’t know, it’s an experiment, but it feels better than my previous process so far.
I’m about six chapters in (out of seventeen), and the vast majority of what’s left will be revising the plot outline material. But I’ll also be writing little snippets of dialogue and narrative here and there so I have a thread to revisit during the next phase. Eventually I want to “kick away” the outline portions and leave just the narrative in place. I’ll post some examples of that when I get to that stage.
So moving on to the next bit: the Hauntworld sequel, which will not be known as such. I’m envisioning more of a series, with Zoe (this name seems to be sticking) at the center of the series and her mentor, Kevin Rook, working for her. Some things have changed since I wrote about this two weeks; Zoe is now multi-racial, the daughter of a white English seer who worked with Rook on the Imago case back in the late 90s (though Rook doesn’t know this until halfway through the interview) and a South African woman who serves as an ambassador to England. It’s introduced some great dynamics between Rook and Zoe, who have, in my opinion, fantastic chemistry and are a blast to write. And no, there’s not going to be any creepy relationship stuff between the two of them, nor is there any paternalistic factor to it, as Zoe’s father is quite alive and influential in her life. It’s a great opportunity to explore a pure mentorship relationship. They’re oil and water on social issues, but they develop a respect for one another as the story evolves. I’m having a lot of fun writing them and definitely see potential for that long-term series. I already have ideas for two more cases for Zoe to tackle after the first book, so at least a trilogy, but who knows how far it could go. The goal is to make the stories light-hearted and breezy, but with horror and supernatural elements. I really think it’s going to leapfrog Elkmont as the next book after In the Pines.
So that’s my report for this week. No really exciting photos to share at the moment, as I just don’t have the time for that; told you there’d be a sacrifice somewhere, and that’s going to have to be it. See you next week.