He leaned in, focused on me so intently that I would have been uncomfortable any other day. Before. Before my whole world changed, before when I knew who I was and what it felt like when I didn’t have this horrible gaping void in my chest.
But now I didn’t know what comfort felt like, or lack of it.
When he eased me forward, I went, tears hot and streaking down my freshly washed face. Arms went around me and I let out a whooshing, sobbing breath as my head hit his chest.
I officially started Chosen yesterday, the fourth book in the YA series I've been working on.
I finished the third book in November and new I needed a break (if you're interested in my thoughts on writing upon completion of said book, you'll find them here). I'd been working on In Darkness Waits in the meantime like a good little productive bunny when the muse clawed--eer, tapped me on the shoulder and informed me I'd be working on Chosen instead. What's funny is that I pulled out my word count spreadsheet for the series and realized I started the first book, Abandoned, on January 6, 2010. Proof:
I've written 270K words in this series since then and I'm looking now at how far my heroine has come, how she's regressed in some areas, how much as changed. This is the book where so many things I set up for earlier really come into play and it's almost a little scary, wondering if I can deliver AND still set up the fifth and final book.
And it's kinda depressing the hell out of me at the moment 'cause I left my girl on a dark note at the end of the third book and now I'm paying for it having to write angst. Waaaah...I should probably start drinking 'cause it's only going to get darker.
Of course, I won't be drinking any time soon as I have the flu--I was in bed all day and dragged my ass up for dinner (technically breakfast) and to throw out a few words in Chosen 'cause what did I do the whole time I was lying in bed not feeling well? Blocking out scenes. No rest for a writer.
Meanwhile, the first three books are sitting here on the coffee table after I had them privately bound in December. A handful of people got copies for Horusmas and I do hope they enjoy(ed) them.
Well, back to writing for me before an early bedtime. And here are my teaser lines for Chosen:
It's easy to be a good person when you're powerless.
Friday night (okay, Saturday morning) I finished my third book of 2010...and I'm ridiculously proud of myself because I didn't write at all for about six months earlier this year. I spent years getting myself in the habit of writing nearly every day and those months off--while ultimately good for me--hurt like you wouldn't believe. Writing is a muscle that has to be worked all the time; it was *so* hard to get back into writing daily after that because I was out of shape.
But after I finished Wounded I swore I wasn't going to start the next book right away. I did, ultimately...about three or four days later. It's been a tough couple of months getting the third done, mostly 'cause I'm always busy. A few weeks went by when I had only the weekend to get any writing done. But I did it.
Which brings me to a couple of points I want to make.
I've written three books this year; three books that, when I started the first one in January, I had no intention of writing. I woke up one morning in January with Abandoned in my head--or at least the plot of a five book series and most of the first in my head--and I just sat down and wrote it.
But I'm not magical. I don't have special powers*. I have no cybernetic parts.
Sarah-Jane Lehoux occasionally does her "If I Ran MuchMusic" blog posts at Positively Random and Absolutely Useless where she posts the awesome music she'd play if she were a VJ at MuchMusic. Now, I don't have cable anymore, but I'm pretty sure they don't even play music anymore, which is sad.
Anyways, I'm stealing it for the day because I battled characters into the wee hours of the morning while they played a game with me: let's see who can break Skyla's heart the most.Read more
Yeah, so remember how I was going to NOT write a single word on the book after Wounded because I know it needs time to gel and stuff in my head for a few months?
Screenshot of my desktop just now:
I have this issue when a new book and new world is hounding me--as soon as I know the narrator's name, I Must Write It. I can't ignore it past that point.
And then there's a point when I don't want to work on something at all, but it's circling my brain again and again, and then suddenly I'm in the scene and I know how it starts...
Yeah, I couldn't not write the words. Total insanity over here--I'm blaming the six hours I spent formatting manuscripts for ebooking today.
I might give the first chapter a shot this weekend, and then I should be so burnt out that I can go onto something else. Incidentally, the song that popped on iTunes when I broke open the file and typed a couple of lines? Syrup and Honey by Duffy. I swear the "Baby, baby, baby, spend your time on...me" part was the MS calling to me.
Yes, I did it. Break out the alcohol, get the parade underway--the book is DED.
R.I.P. Wounded Date: August 23, 2010 Time of Death: 4:14 am EST Final Word Count, Draft One: 102 160 Mourned by: NO ONE
I could have finished earlier, but I took some time to do dishes, bake, etc. For a book I wanted to just die already, I savoured its final, gasping breaths...AND it just feels unnatural to me to end a book before midnight. I did that, once--finished a first draft in the afternoon. I didn't know what to do with myself for the rest of the night. My prime writing time is between 8pm and 3-4am, and I tend to finish a book after a final marathon sprint in the wee hours of the morning. This is a sequel to one I accidentally wrote in the winter; that book, Abandoned, died at around 7am (and no, I hadn't just woken up).
I don't often blog during WIP writing, and certainly not about the process...but I talked about it a bit this time, and figured I could mention a few observations. I guess it's like a memorial and it'll be fun to re-read a few months from now.Read more
Yesterday we had a vet emergency; my furbaby Sophie has seasonal allergies and scratches a lot. Well, I heard a yelp and found out her eye was sore. The vet squeezed us in and I was right--she has a scratched cornea.
So she got a shot of a painkiller and two ointments, and we have another appointment for next Friday to make sure it's okay. I now have to put ointments in her eyes a combined five times a day (three for one, two for another). Have you ever tried to shove something in the eye of a forty pound beagle cross on your own when she's both wise to you and has the upper torso strength of an adult male German Shepherd? Yeah, it's not fun or easy.
Meanwhile, I'm determined to kill the book once and for all this weekend because I'm officially out of clean clothes, bedding, and towels, and I won't be fit to see anyone with only smelly clothes. So: dead book, then laundry. And dishes. Because I can't keep living like a college student.
I'm at 91K words and I had only intended the book to be 75K, like the first. AND I have about four scenes left to write. I think the muse is pushing the word count up on me again (that bitch) by extending a couple of scenes past what I knew would happen. Le sigh.
I'm full into the stage known as "This Book Will Not Die." I got a taste of it around 65K, slogged through, and now at nearly 85K I just want the damn thing dead.
There's no other way to describe this part of the process. You're nearly at the finish line but not quite far enough to breathe with relief yet. It consumes every thought you have from the time you wake up after only five hours of sleep to when you go to bed a few hours after the point when you're exhausted. Eating is a chore, bathing is a chore, chores are...well, chores. You go through the day job like a maniac and keep checking the clock to see if it's quittin' time yet because the book is giving you its Siren Call of Death and you can't ignore. It NEEDS to die already.
I've completed fifteen other novels (and started countless others but we won't go there). I know this process now; I KNOW soon I will be standing over this book's corpse victorious, sweaty, and probably smelly with a bloody knife in my hand. I know it's putting up a fight now, but in those final moments, it'll accept the inevitable and death will be a mercy.
But it just can't come fast enough.
And the end of a book tends to be the most draining; this is where hearts are broken, the stakes are impossibly high, and my heroine just wants to curl up and kick the proverbial bucket. And I almost want to join her because I'm just so damn tired. I'm sitting in that corner with her now, begging for it all to be over...and I know that soon it will be and I'll then I'll have to wind down from the teary exhaustion. Worse still, I'll get that twinge of excitement and dread because I'll do it all again with the third book in a few months (hopefully for NaNo).
Ah, writers. We're a crazy bunch.
Now I'm off again to get day job stuff done and feel vaguely guilty for not getting laundry done and cutting my treadmill time in half. I'll keep my head down, push through while thoughts of the final scenes swirl in my head, then bring in an air strike to try take down the book's defenses tonight.
In the meantime, here's a couple of lines from the WIP that I think best sum it up today:
Clouds above me were blackish-blue, like ugly bruises on an already weary night. We were beaten down, this night and me, and now both of us hid and hoped for morning when the fists would stop pummelling.
I just don't know if I'm the pummelled or the pummeller this time.
I got my heroine into some trouble this evening...
Hurt like a million fishhooks dug in deep everywhere the blood touched. And it pulled. Pulled blood through tissue, bones through flesh, dragging me inside out. Tugging, ripping, tearing—I wailed a high-pitched sound that clawed behind my eyes and hurt my own ears. Then I was tumbling, falling, hitting the floor and I felt my bones rattle. Black spots danced over my eyes and a blurry, greyscale filter slid over the world. Agony burned hot like fire scalding my skin—
And I blinked. Bright white light like stars bursting stabbed my eyes. Faded.
Desert. Colour returned but it was shades of brown and flecks of golden sand for miles, blue sky that seemed infinite. A warm breeze tickled my skin, blew sand over my toes. I felt light, like the breeze could run through me—faint and ethereal, a ghost who would blow away if a high wind kicked up.
I drifted. Sun cut a huge orange circle into the horizon and heat travelled above the ground fluid like water. A throb started low in my temples, the way it does if you stand up quickly and feel lightheaded for too long. The sun sparked the gold in the sand and it glittered; a desert of stars in the ground rather than the sky. That sand burned the soles of my feet with each step, driving spikes of fire up, up, straight into my legs. The air was too heavy for me, weighing me down, and I struggled to take it into my lungs—
A little word broke through the haze around me, tickling my ears. “Dess...”
I slammed back into the world like I’d been dropped from a skyscraper into the pavement. Throat raw, mouth open, I realized I was still screaming and couldn’t stop. My pulse thundered in my ears, skin burned, and I flailed, arched, shook as if in seizure. Heels slipped and kicked uselessly in something liquid. Head thumped on the polished tile hard enough that stars flickered over my eyes.
Then a dark figure was over me; hands on my face, my tensed jaw; smoothing hair, soothing skin. “Dess...?”
That one little word. Over and over ‘til it lost meaning to my brain. Dess...Dess...Dess... It was a whisper, an embrace, a promise—it was everything in this scary, painful world suddenly and I clung to it because I was too afraid of what would happen if I let go.
Dessa and Alec from Wounded (WIP, sequel to Abandoned), which is currently 58K into the first draft. I'd have added a song, as typically I listen to a lot of music with both arty stuff and writing, but Alec doesn't like me picking songs. The closest would probably be Serenata Immortale.
One of the questions that's been popping up a lot in Wounded is, can you feel safe with someone you don't entirely trust? And how do you deal with it when your heart seems to drag that much farther behind your brain?
Longish except after the cut. Note: The above isn't an exact depiction of the scene (it was actually a closer depiction to a different scene later in the book), but it has the same feel as the excerpt and that was all I was going for. Plus I liked this one better. And I cut a bunch of plot spoiler stuff (note to beta reader: that's why you might feel like something's missing) from the excerpt but hopefully it still makes sense.Read more