Tag Archives: writing process

That moment when it starts to come together…..

So Choices of Honor has let me know that it is a combination of plotter and pantser this time around. I sat down earlier in March to fill out my traditional plotting matrix, along with noodling in Scrivener to do some worldbuilding and character stuff. Well. The darn book cooperated with me for the first third of its planning, and then thumbed its nose at me and said, “Read the damn notes, woman. I don’t want to be tied down scene-by-scene like you did with the Netwalk Sequence novels. I’m not gonna work with you that way.”

Okay. Fine. Whatever. Part of the issue is that I’m engaging into some major new worldbuilding in this Goddess’s Honor world. I ended up writing more of a synopsis-type outline focusing on the three main beats for the next two-thirds, and then decided I’d work more on it as I reached that point. It was becoming clear that the book had its own ideas about where it was going, and the subconscious was doing stuff I wasn’t aware of.

Well, here I am with the first third more-or-less done. The next third is going to incorporate two significant battles going on simultaneously and may require fast cuts between points of view to make it work. Plus I’m now aware of the parameters of what I need to be creating. Eeek.

That said, today we drove back to Enterprise from Portland. This time around we took the Tundra so that we could haul stuff at hubby’s sister’s house–the Subaru has better gas mileage and hauls a lot of stuff, but gravel and yard debris are somewhat out of its reach. For whatever reason, I can’t ride in the Subaru’s passenger seat without having vertigo issues. Something about the pillar and the curvature of the windshield.

It’s not an issue in the Tundra, though, and while the Tundra is a more expensive drive, it’s also quite comfortable. I drove the first part, and then while hubby drove across the desert I did some major worldbuilding work as well as promotion planning, ideas for future essays, and wildlife spotting (the Tundra is taller and better for spotting wildlife).

I still don’t have the last third of the book together. And writing this next third is going to give me gray hairs because I think there will end up being a LOT of cutting and pasting and moving around of the various POV characters. But at least I have a road map of where I’m going with it…which is more than I have had. Just-In-Time creation…book style.

All goes to show that every book is its own creation.

And then there’s the wildlife. But I think that should be its own blog, because OMG it was a great day to see critters and raptors and other birds, oh my.

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When you’re working on a series and have started worldbuilding for the next book, there’s always that moment when you realize that this world has come to life. Doesn’t matter that you’ve already written several books and short stories in the series, what’s required is that sudden moment when the work twists in your hands and you realize that it’s gone from Writer Manipulating Characters to Characters taking Agency.

So I’ve been doing the deep dive into worldbuilding for the final installment of the main Goddess’s Honor trilogy, Choices of Honor. Right now what that looks like is noodling around in Scrivener and Word, writing entire installments based on my main viewpoint characters, their motivations, as well as poking around at secondary characters, settings, and etc to the tune of 1000-2000 words a day (and yes, I’m counting those words, just like I’m counting these words. It’s my newest form of writing discipline.

The story for Choices has been coming closer and closer as I’ve been writing around it. And today it suddenly sprung into life–along with the impetus for a successor trilogy set in this world.

It’s not what I would have imagined for this story forty-some years ago, when I had the first concept of the descendants of an exiled ruler, Alicira, struggling to regain their glory. Hoo boy, has that story ever changed from that first concept.

But if Choices plays out the way I hope it does in the writing, it’s going to be kickass.

And I need to revise my long term publishing schedule to accommodate this next trilogy, because I have a feeling that Yitlisk’s dealings with the Divine Confederation aren’t going to politely wait around for me to work on Oregon Country, Federation Cowboy, and some other projects before I write what’s going on there.

Plus Bess and Alex have been telling me that the Netwalk Sequence post-setup of the Nest solar system defense system is not all love and kisses.

Yep, stuff is happening. It’s probably a good thing I’ve forced myself back into a disciplinary word-tracking structure, because otherwise…I don’t know if I’d get to write it all.

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The slow process of craft

I think I complained in an earlier post that I’ve been slow with writing a new book because of life plus working on short stories. One of the things that I am discovering at this point in time is that I just can’t be as much of a plotter with my short stories as I can be with my novels. That slowed me down considerably in drafting the short pieces, because I found myself worrying at the characters, at the plot, at every blessed thing without getting the words down on paper–and then freezing up because I couldn’t just sit down and write it out like I can in a novel.

I’m not sure why it is that way. I tried to outline the short stories. It just didn’t work. Oh, a rough outline was fine, but I found myself adding in complexity that really wasn’t helpful. Unlike writing a novel, too, I couldn’t depend on a rough framework to help me roll 2ooo words a day through the computer. I was lucky to get 1000 words in, if that.

I finally concluded that short stories are just different, and I need to be less controlling of the story in some ways. But I also needed to sit and think a lot more while crafting the short stories. As it were, I have four short stories–well, three shorts and a novelette that I wrote in the first four months of the year. I guess that counts for something. Just not enough in self-publishing world.

The other thing is that I am now in the process of laying out the foundation for the sequel to Pledges of Honor, Challenges to Honor. Right now that consists of opening up Scrivener and making notes to myself about the interrelationships between the main characters as well as their interactions with minor characters. I’ve also started making general plot notes as well as notes about individual book arcs. I’m starting to get a grasp of what the plot is going to be, and I have a rough initial blurb written.


I have NO. FREAKING. IDEA. about point of view yet. From all the backstory I’m building, this needs to be a multiple-viewpoint book. And yet–I somewhat want it to reflect Pledges with Katerin as the viewpoint character. And yet–there are things happening out of her POV which could be important. I might add one more POV, but…I’m not yet convinced it needs to happen. Katerin’s arc is going to be serious enough. She’s had a quiet eleven years since the events of Pledges. But the Gods are stirring, the Emperor-over-Sea is remembering the distant exiles who could yet challenge his legitimacy, and her role as Banisher of Shadows is going to come into play. The Red Goddess has the reddest of blood-red motives, and she does not look very kindly on the daughter of the woman who banished her from the Witch City of Waykemin.

Or the Miteal family, which means two strikes against Katerin and her daughter Witmara.

So yeah. Once I start writing on this one, it’s gonna be a ride.

But first I have to figure out if it’s just Katerin’s POV or not.

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