Tag Archives: writing

Hello again

So, I’m struggling to get back in the game of writing. School just kicked my ass, and it was only two semesters. I’ve had to take the semester off (Banse and I are moving), and frankly I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford to return. What’s more, I’m not certain I even want to return at this point – it was that stressful.

During that time, I moved away from romance for a while to work on a cozy mystery series that I’m working on. It’s a slow project because I don’t want it to be like others I’ve read (i.e. bad). While it simmers in the back of my brain, I return to another idea that has been simmering – a paranormal set in Victorian England.

I hadn’t intended it to be, but it quickly turned from straight paranormal to paranormal romance. It even connected itself with a series that I’m working on for my (eventual) return to Channillo. No spoilers on that yet, but I look forward to getting it out. I’m currently planning it as a 12-piece installment, with one new short story featured each month. I believe that I could use each installment piece as a starting point for a full length novel set in the same series – the short as an introduction to the characters of the full, as it were.

Of course, as we all know, I’m absolute shit with both planning/plotting and follow-through. Never you mind outlining, however loosely. And I wasn’t sure I’d have something to share with you this week so I thought I’d write about the possibilities of applying the Hero’s Journey to the romance, but damn it, Colleen Gleason already did it with this article.

Do you know what else she did? I mean, other than writing all those delicious books of hers? She inspired me, with that same article, to very loosely outline that paranormal romance I’ve been mulling over. There’s some kinks to work out, of course, but I have the bare bones. That’s rather exciting for me.

So, here’s my plan for you: just a few posts a week while I get back in the swing of things. I’d love to tell you I have a specific plan, but those don’t work for me. Today, I’m sharing the name of my newest protagonist: Miss Jacqueline Dunhurst, daughter of Victor Dunhurst, a filthy rich shipping baron with a questionable past.

I don’t have a picture of her yet, though I do have a good idea of her personality. I’ll be back to share a snippet soon.

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Hello gorgeous…

Weather, that is. I absolutely love October, and not just because my birthday is this month either. No, I just love fall. 

And winter, yes. 

To update, writing progresses at the pace of the proverbial snail. I hope to have a plot outlined by the end of the month. Or, you know, a workable idea. 

Ugh. 

In the meantime, my word prompts have doubled as the lovely ladies who brought us the September challenge also brought us one for October. 

I’m handling it so far. 


I just hope I’m not wasting my time! 

I have moved the book from Christmas to Halloween. Then, there will be a thanksgiving murder, and a Christmas one, too. 

I like themes, what can I say? 

How is it Wednesday already?

Over on my newest hangout, Mari’s Muses on Facebook, it’s Work in Progress Wednesday. But I’m really dragging out the planning stage of my writing. I must create both those same people who will live in that small community which is so important to the cozy mystery, plus that small community itself.

I have waffled with settling my cozies here in Springfield but truly I think we are looking at a smaller community just outside of town.  At the very least, I know that my sleuth is an inn keeper. Yes, I know. Surely it’s been done. To death, even.

And yet, still I will try to make it my own, to make it unique.

As the setting and the plot foment in my mind, I am putting myself to good use and doing a bit of reading. OK, a lot of reading. Hopefully, that soon translates to more reviews.

Now, I’m coming down with a cold, and I feel right nasty. You have a good night.

The trouble with first lines 

There’s so damn much pressure to have it be perfect. Even more so, perhaps, than just about every other piece of your book. And it isn’t that I disagree with this sentiment – not exactly. While I don’t know if any one spot of a novel is more important than another, I know that if I don’t hook my readers, they’ll put the book down and not pick it up again. 

But is it so extraordinarily important that I am agonizing over one damned sentence? Not the scene. Not the chapter. Not even the paragraph. 

One stupid sentence. 

Do you have this same issue, or is it just me? I still haven’t nailed mine down, though I’m working on it. 

(yes, by working on it I mean anything but…)

Chapter One – Where did it go?

So, it’s Wednesday – the day I’m supposed to update you on the goings-on in my current work-in-progress. Only, there’s not been much progress on which to report.

I’m trying to layout Chapter One right now – there are 5 things I need to cover in the first chapter –

  • disclose the crime
  • plant some clues and/or red herrings right away
  • introduce the sleuth, and reveal just enough of her background to understand her world
  • ground the reader in the time and place
  • begin with a dramatic event (whose? The victim? The sleuth? decisions)

So clearly,  I can absolutely disclose the crime at the start of chapter two, perhaps the very, very end of chapter one. Because let’s admit it – that’s a tall order for chapter one, isn’t it?

Also, in what order do I wish to plot these?

So, that’s literally what I’m staring at right now…

What’s your first line?

I love #FirstLineFridays. I love being introduced to your stories, being sucked in with just that one sentence. And yes, we all know there are some that are more memorable than others. I previously shared my favorite first line, and that sentiment hasn’t changed.

I love Jane Eyre. And that first line is forever a standard I cannot live up to. *sigh*

Here is what I have so far:

From an early age, I considered myself an above-average observer.

Exactly. It’s… lackluster. Boring.

I am currently reading the Stormy Day box set. First of all, I highly recommend this. It’s currently on sale, too. Second, here’s the first line of book one:

The hand-painted snowman on the vase kept his coal-black eyes trained on me.

OK. Perhaps that is only marginally better than mine. And by marginally, I likely mean leaps and bounds.

What about A Baron for Becky, by Jude Knight? (As an aside, I will be hosting a book club for Jude, featuring this specific book. August 6. The book is only $.99 right now, and I would love, love, love for you to join me. Just let me know you’re interested!)

In the nursery, the two little girls waited, sombre in their mourning blacks.

Oooh… much better. Not exactly delightful because we have children in mourning, but still… it’s lovely. And I think it really does what the opening sentence is supposed to do – it draws you in, hooks you. It begs the question: why are these girls mourning? Whom are they mourning?

Mine does not do that. It needs work. Lots and lots of work. But I’m still in the planning stages – and finding planner heaven with my bullet journal! (There’s a group on FB, you know…)

Share with me – what are some opening lines from what you are currently reading?

Oh, and I’d love to share this with you. I doubt they are all first lines, but they are beautiful all the same.

31 Most Beautiful Sentences – a link. click it. I dare you.

I especially love this one –

I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.

 

Where did my productivity go?

I mean, seriously. I started this whole Bullet Journal thing because it’s supposed to help. And it does help me focus on what needs done. I’m just not doing everything. Because with or without this damned thing, I’m still a slacker.

And I have to stop. I mean, who cares if I note that I’m going to do these 5 things if I don’t actually do them? Well, I do. With school coming up, I need to be back in productivity overdrive.

Did I mention yet that I cannot wait to start my fall classes? I’ll be taking two tax classes. EXCITED!!!

Yes. Seriously.

So, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s Work-in-Progress. Over on Jude Knight’s website, she’s talking about servants. Specifically, the servants of her characters. Jude is a wonderful historical romance author – and I’ll be hosting an event for her 16 July. Let me know if you’re interested in attending. I can probably link the Facebook Event on here.

But see, I switched my focus from historical romance to a cozy mystery set right here in Springfield, Illinois during the early 20th Century. We open in 1918, although the series will veer into the 1920’s. Turns out, my fair city has a rich history of gangs and bootlegging.

So, while my main character comes from a wealthy family, she is peacefully estranged from them, and has no servants. Oh, she’s well enough off – and receives a stipend from her father – and she owns her own book shop. She does, after all, have to be able to travel and investigate the murders. Plus, as I was writing her, she revealed that she owned this shop and did not talk to her family. Running from a tragic event, of course.

But if we don’t have servants, what do we have? Well, mob bosses have hired muscle, naturally. And they don’t play an important part in my book, but the exist. I mean, I’ve written the confession (no tells, sorry) but not much more than that, so perhaps they do play an important part.

Anyway. Here’s a hint at what’s to come. (Naturally, I’ve already changed a bit of this, so I feel fine sharing!) And please remember this is 100% raw, unedited nonsense scribbles!

I briefly admired the Pullman attached to the end of the train, but it was nothing to get too excited about. Daddy had one, and mama always tried to get me to use it for my buying trips. I preferred the anonymity of a public car.

Two more men in that public car. I found the last public car almost completely empty. Two large men sat at the rear, largely ignoring each other. Each read the morning paper. Rather, they pretended to.

Hired muscle, each of them – likely for the owner of the Pullman. I recognized the air of self-importance about them almost immediately.

Lefty stared at me over the fold of his paper, careful to avert his eyes when I dared meet his gaze. Righty had no such subtlety. He put the paper down and stood. With a grace not usually seen in one so bulky, he moved to where I stood.

I was unable to suppress the smile that spread across my face. Lefty remained unknown, but I had known Righty most of my life.

“Newton Jones. What a pleasure.” It would not be. Newton only worked for one family since leaving our small town up north.

“My apologies miss, but this car is full.”

I detected the moment recognition set in. The tough guy act shattered, and he flashed a quick smile. “Surely it’s been too long, Miss H – ”

“The car is empty, Newton.” I gestured widely – we had yet to be joined by another person, and the ticket girl had indicated this car was fully available.

“It’s for your own good, miss.”

Of course it was. But I was tired of being told what was good for me. In the end, I won – but only because the train started moving, and there was nothing to be done. I was stuck in the car closest to my uncle’s biggest rival – the man who most hated me and my family.

So there you have it. The first official excerpt from my newest piece. It’s rough, but it’s fun. I hope you enjoy!

Tell me, what are you working on this week?