June 28, 2010

Details details

The revisions are hopefully getting closer. Well for a "still a couple of weeks work" value of closer.

I've done the heavy lifting of inserting new scenes and changing plot and a POV. Like adding another wing and knocking out a few walls. Now I'm circling back to finish the rooms, paint the trim and make it all a cohesive whole.

I need to polish scenes, flesh out a couple that weren't quite done this last pass and weaving one or two threads in more tightly. Detail work. And as they say, the devil is in the details. But then it will be done and I can go back to book two until the next round of edits. Kind of the circle of life for books. Draft, edit, edit, edit, be loosed into the world.

In other writerly occupations, I spent the weekend doing a seminar with Michael Hauge and Steve Kaplan about writing romantic comedy. Not exactly the current wip but something I do love. Michael has a really good way of explaining structure and the character's inner and outer journey's. I could feel things going click in my head throughout the weekend, so hopefully its bubbling away in the background and will help when I come to sort out the plot of book two.

Day job wise we're about to hit crazy time of year (those Happy End Of Financial Year ads are obviously written by people who aren't accountants!) so it's head down and work on all fronts. Which should means July will fly by and I'll be at the RWAus conference in Sydney in August before I know it.

PS End of financial year is also end of the month, so two days left to comment on the blog and be in the running to win Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase! Someone might as well have a happy end of financial year : )

June 20, 2010


Sometimes, when revising particularly dumb things you've written, it's hard not to feel like this!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

And when wrestling with plots, I could do with some of this...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

June 19, 2010


Heading into the home run of the structural part of my revision. A few scenes to reslant to make sure all the new threads are lining up, a few new bits to write and then it will be done.

I think it works but I'm at the point right now where I have no idea whether it does or not. I guess I'll find out once I hand it in. But first, I have to make it to the end then another pass to polish things up one last time....then it will start all over again with book 2.

June 09, 2010


We have a publication date, ladies and gentleman....Shadow Kin will be out in June 2011. Woot!

Twelve months will zoom by if this year is anything to go by.

June 05, 2010

Not big enough

I went to see the second Sex And The City movie on Friday night. I was a fan of the series (what's not to love about female friendships, relationships and hot guys? Plus the whole Big and Carrie thing is exactly the right sort of on screen romantic relationship to suck me in and keep me watching) and really liked the first movie. But as much as the fan in me was excited to see the new one, the writer in me was nervous.

Turns out the writer was right. For me, the movie was uneven and just didn't feel like a big enough storyline for a movie. Leaving aside the advisability of the whole Abu Dhabi idea (which I'm not going to get into), the whole thing, despite some very funny and very poignant moments, felt more suited to a 2 episode TV arc maybe rather than a two hour plus movie.

Naturally, being a writer type, this made writer brain perk up and start wondering why I had the reaction I did. And, after much more pondering, I think it boils down to this.

Stories have natural end points. If you drag them on beyond said end points then they start to retread old ground and either feel tired or you feel like the characters are backsliding. Which makes writing an ongoing series a tricky, tricky proposition. Personally, I don't think I'd attempt an open ended series for this very reason. You have to be very very clever and skilled to pull it off. Of the ongoing open ended series I've read over the years, I think I can think of three that I still read and think still have legs after the 8 or 9 book point.

One of these is the Discworld series, which is probably a different kettle of fish as it's more a series of connected stories in a shared world. It jumps around between characters and focus and while the characters do grow, the books are more about the ideas than the characters. Pratchett is also a genius.

The other two are the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold and the Eve Dallas books by JD Robb/Nora Roberts. Again, two genius level writers. Both these series work because they have hugely hugely compelling protagonists who started off with an awful lot to learn and overcome. The Eve books have also had the added cleverness of only covering a relatively short period of time so far in Eve's life (a few years maybe) even though we're up to 20 odd books. But even these two series will have a natural stopping point I would imagine (though I would rather neither of them happened any time soon).

For most other series, I think it's better to have an arc in mind and then you have to give your characters their well deserved, hopefully mostly happy ending. Otherwise you circle around and around and no-one grows or changes and readers other than those who just have become completely enamored with the world and are the die-hard fans will wander off in search of other characters who are doing something. The same thing happens with TV shows. There's only so much stuff you can put a character through before they're either idiots for not figuring stuff out already or should be in a mental hospital because of all the life trauma. At least, imho.

There are some other open ended series that I still read off and on because I love the voice but I've pretty much accepted with those books that that is the reason I read them and they won't be blowing my mind. They won't resonate and stay with me. They won't give me the tingle a really great book does. They might feel comfy and nice and I'll like visiting with old friends but that's about it. Which is why I'm not attempting to write an open ended series any time soon.

But back to SATC2. I think the first movie worked really well because it did tie up some loose threads from the series (namely Big and Carrie's arc) and left you feeling like everyone was okay and they'd go on being okay in their little universe. So coming back to visit again and they're all having niggly problems does start to feel repetitive. None of the issues they were facing were big like in the first movie. And the problem is if they had been big (cheating or death or that sort of thing), then that ground had already been covered. So the writers made the other choice, to write about the ongoing hassles of married life and parenthood (which are worthy subjects, don't get me wrong but for these characters, it did feel like going back to old territory). Pretty much a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. Which is probably a good test of should we keep doing this...do we have anything new to say that ups the stakes for everyone and makes them change in ways that they need to change and doesn't make them over into entirely new characters for the sake of keeping the story going (which is the other thing that can happen). If not, then someone has to make the hard call of letting things lie.

Which I understand movie studios and publishers and televisions stations have a motive not to do. Going out on a high point is a tough thing to do when fans and the people who pay you still love the characters.
And each writer has to make the choice for themselves and their vision of their stories.

For now, I think I'll stick to shorter series and hopefully avoid the problem all together! Though that brings a whole other set of issues...

This writing thing, it's hard, people.

June 04, 2010

May Contest Winner

Is Keziah Hill!

Who wins Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop.

Keziah, email me with your details and it's all yours!

June 01, 2010

Happy Winter

Well, not really. I actually am not fond of winter. I feel the cold at the best of times without the weather adding to my woes. But I shall rug up and hibernate and keep warm by typing like a good little writer : )

How the heck it got to be the first of June already is beyond me. But hey, that means it's time for a brand new contest prize. Given we've done urban fantasy, contemporary and fantasy so far, I thought we'd zag over to another of my great reading loves, the regency historical romance.

And who better to illustrate the perfect divine witty romantic sexy delight of that era than Loretta Chase? Loretta writes my sort of historical. I'm not generally one for gothic and angsty when it comes to Regencies (though there are some exceptions). I like sparkle and bouncy repartee and gorgeous gowns and hot dudes in breeches. So when I first discovered Loretta Chase (thanks to the fabulous recommendation of Myrna from Rendezvous in Melbourne), I was immediately blissfully addicted. That first book was Lord of Scoundrels, which is wonderful but this month's prize is not LOS. Instead, it's my favourite Loretta book, mainly due to the sheer adorable sexiness of its hero, Rupert and the charm of the Egyptian setting). Rupert is a wonderful brawny hunk with a heart of gold and more brains than he gives himself credit for and his delight in Daphne's braininess and her in general is irresistible (hmm, maybe he should be Mr. Irresistible but he's not...instead, ladies and gentlemen, I offer you Mr. Impossible:

which is the second of Loretta's Carsington books and one of my all time favourite regency romances. (My second favourite book of hers, is the next book in this series, Lord Perfect, but Rupert won my heart first so he gets to be given away.) If you've never read Loretta and you love the lighter side of regency romance, then run to a book store and buy her. Or, as another option, simply comment on any of my blog posts this month to go in the drawer to win Mr. Impossible and be swept away by Rupert and Daphne and dastardly Egyptian doings! Then you can join the rest of us in eagerly awaiting her new book in August (unless you're too busy reading the rest of her backlist, of course!)

As usual, I will draw the winner early in July and announce here and on Twitter and Facebook, so follow me somewhere to keep up with the news. The winner will have one week from the time I announce them to get in touch to claim their prize, otherwise Rupert will be redrawn (poor Rupert, to be so snubbed!).

And if anyone is a late joiner and wants the history of why I'm giving away one of my favourite books each month, then the history of the contest is here.