So I think it’s high time I gave a little update on my writing. Be forewarned: this will probably be a rather long and rambling post. Because my writing life, at the moment, is rather long and rambling too . . . .
What I’m working on at the moment:
Well, I’m deep into the first draft of the first book in my Scarred Mage of Roseward duology. This is, for those of you who aren’t aware, my take on “Beauty and the Beast.” And I’m really loving it. And kind of hating it. Basically what you’d expect by this stage in the project.
This story has taken me by surprise in many, many ways. For starters, I’m surprised to find myself writing a “Beauty and the Beast” retelling at all! I love the fairy tale, but it’s SO popular and has been retold SO many times . . . I just never thought I’d have anything original to bring to the table.
But this idea . . . this is pretty fun. Not TOTALLY original because, well, it IS still “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s completely different from anything else I’ve written, however, so it feels fresh and exciting.
How is it different from what I’ve written before? Well . . . let me count the ways!!
For one thing, this book is MUCH less action-oriented than, say, The Venatrix Chronicles. That series is basically one long action sequence punctuated with a few character moments here and there. That’s my comfort zone, if I’m honest. I like the big, exciting, explosive scenes, the battles and the monsters and the weapons. I always structure my books around what the BIG events will be, and let the characters unfold within the context of those events.
This story is . . . just the opposite, really. It’s ALL about the characters. These two, very different individuals, caught in a desperate circumstance. (She’s not his captive in my version. She IS a captive, but not HIS captive. Thus I neatly side-step around the Stockholm syndrome issue!) Much of the story is made up of simply tossing these two into different scenes and watching how they react to each other.
Don’t get me wrong . . . there IS action. I’ve got a villain that’s just about the creepiest I’ve ever invented, and I’ve had great fun weaving in almost horror-story elements. But, like a horror story, much of the fear factor is in the subtlety—the unseen, the unknown. The uncanny. So the action, per se, doesn’t really start until the end of the book, when we have a final, fever-pitch battle for survival.
But that battle isn’t the heart and soul of this story. It’s really all about seeing how these two people, with such dissimilar personalities, who come from very different worlds (not literally . . . they’re from the same city, but he’s upper class and she’s low, low, loooooower class), could legitimately fall in love.
I always work from a detailed outline. This story is no different. But because of the nature of this character/relationship-driven drama, the outline hasn’t been as useful as it usually is. I’m still following the basic story, but in order to give the characters the room they need to live and breathe, I’m having to flex quite a lot. It’s grown from a 19 chapter novella into an estimated 30 chapters . . . and it will definitely be a full-length novel by the time it’s done. Longer than any of the Venatrix novels, I’m sure. How much longer remains to be seen. (Again, I just can’t predict with this book!)
But I really can’t wait to finish this lovely little story up for all of you. I’m thoroughly enjoying the creation of it (except for those moments when I hate it. It’s a writer thing. Don’t worry about it). It’s got all the romance and enchantment of the original fairy tale, with a strong dose of gothic drama (more than a few Jane Eyre-like themes running around in here), and a wee bit of Haunted House horror. It’s got a fresh magic system, some shocking and unexpected kisses, and gives the reader the barest peak at a whole new, magical world.
I’ve got 65K words written at this stage. I’m guesstimating another 40K to finish it, give or take. Still hoping to wrap it all up by the end of July . . . but we’ll see!
What else is happening in your writing life?
Oh, gosh. So much. Too much.
Obviously, I’m gearing up for the launch of Daughter of Shades on August 1. Which is coming up very, VERY soon.
Thing is, I’m not only launching Daughter of Shades. That would be intimidating enough. But really I’m launching the Venatrix Chronicles series as a whole. Which is a whole different level of intimidation.
Book 1 is coming out on August 1, then I’ve got to get book 2 up and out on September 1 . . . and book 3 is, at the moment, gearing up for a November 1 launch . . . and then there’s still four more books to go after that . . . .
It’s all a bit head-spinny.
So I’m proofing, formatting, tweaking, organizing ads and features, setting up interviews, preparing some fun giveaways for all of you, looking at the if/when for paperbacks, starting to think about audiobooks, and aaaaaaargh!!
(Someone bring me cookies. Please.)
And upcoming projects? What about those?
SO MANY UPCOMING PROJECTS!!!
I’m actually having a hard time trying to settle my brain on what the next project will be.
I’ve got my fae romance/adventure, Prince of the Doomed City, pretty far along in development. Characters are planned out, outlines are written for each book. I really love this story, have loved it ever since the first inkling of an idea for it came to me about a year ago, and it’s been great fun fleshing out that idea . It’s all but begging me to start writing already!
But . . . then I did an impulsive thing.
I follow a number of talented cover design artists on social media, and many of them post pre-made cover designs. These are designs created not for any particular author or story—just pretty images which they sell at discount prices if they happen to catch a writer’s eye.
Well, one of the artists I follow—Andreea at Rising Phoenix Covers—recently posted a trilogy of covers for sale. All featuring a kick-butt young lady in an awesome green and swoopy uniform, wielding a flaming sword.
Also . . . dragons.
I’ve been wanting to write a dragon series for a while now, but didn’t have an idea that stuck around long enough to develop. Looking at these covers, though . . . . The more I looked at them, the more I felt like this gal (and her dragons) were just WAITING for me to tell their story!
I gave in to the impulse and bought the covers (3 for the price of 1.5). And I’ve been studying them off and on for the last few days, letting my imagination mull over the pretty images and . . . .
A whole new story has exploded to life.
Seriously, it’s so much fun, so much the kind of thing I love to read/write. And I’m really, really excited about it. I’ve got the characters, the crisis, the setting, quite a lot of the world. I mean, it’s like it’s all there in my head, and all I’ve got to do is wade on in.
Now I’m conflicted. I’ve been looking forward to writing Prince of the Doomed City for more than a year now. But . . . I haven’t actually started writing it yet. It’s not really cheating on the project to sidestep over to this new series . . . is it?
Ugh. I don’t know.
I’ve got to the end of summer to decide. By then the Scarred Mage duology should be finished, and I’ll need to get cracking on whatever the new project is going to be.
Wish me luck!