The WIP Wednesday that…wasn’t

“Uh, S.J., weren’t you like, totally supposed to post something on Wednesday?”

You’re absolutely right, dear reader, I totally was supposed to post yesterday! Except, I’ve come to a conclusion. And that conclusion is that I suck at posting on Wednesdays.

While we’re on the topic, I’m also not great at posting on Thursdays. In fact, I think I suck MORE at posting on Thursdays but hey, today I’m making the effort so that’s got to count for something, right?

I have a few theories as to why this is, at least with regards to Wednesday. Here at the Household of Many Names, my family has started a new rule: everyone devotes at least one night a week to cook. Everyone has a set day. Because there are only four of us, (and OK, because I actually LIKE cooking) I decided to claim both Monday and Friday. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see I have a recipebook board with over 500 pins. I update this board daily, partly because I’m stocking up to keep my dishes fresh so no one at the House of Many Names gets bored, and partly because I’ve become a total foodie.

What’s that got to do with the price of straw bags in Nassau? Not a hell of a lot, but I do find myself with significantly less energy after cooking, despite my enjoyment of the process. So I have a few options. I can either try to get my WIP Wednesday up before I start cooking, or I can eliminate WIP Wednesday altogether and only post my ROW80 progress on Sunday. This worked really well for me last year, so I’m leaning towards that option.

However, because I didn’t post at all on my progress during the first week of ROW80, I wanted to make the effort to do so before the end of the week. Most ROWers post an update twice a week, I know I won’t be able to keep up with that schedule, but for this week only I will attempt to do so.

So far, I’ve:

Completed 3 Critical Character Profiles. – I have 3 more to go.

Since I stupidly did not post the rest of my goals, because I somehow got the notion that I would be able to pull of a miracle in the space of the first week of ROW80 (something I’ve done many many times in the past and am only just learning NOT to do), here are my goals for the remainder of April:

Complete the last three Critical Character Profiles (Goal: 15/04/12)

Complete Critical Conflict Worksheets (Goal: 17/04/12)

Complete Time and Place Worksheets (Goal: 21/04/12)

Complete Culture Worksheets (Goal: 24/04/12)

Hope everyone is doing well with their ROW80 Round 2 Goals. To find out more about the writing challenge that knows you have a life, or join in the fun, click here.


Series Writing: Thinking Long Term

So Sunday happened and I didn’t have a post prepared. And now it’s Monday, but I have no Illustrations to share.

You see, I’ve been thinking.

‘Oh no,’ the audience thought. Yes, that’s right, all five of you.

You see, I’ve been thinking. During Dirge’s first conception, I had only this very nebulous idea that it was a series. How long of a series, you ask? A, uh, long one. A really, really, really long one. Yes, that’s as far as my former-panster-wired-plotter-phobic brain dared to contemplate on the subject. Because I was sure that, when the time came, those ideas would just come flooding out and surely I had created such an epic that it could span many many books, right?

‘Wrong, dumbass,’ The Muse thought. (The cheeky tart.)

It’s become apparent to me over the last two years that I don’t work very well with nebulous and vague ideas. I need structure and limitations. I need, gasp, a plan. But more than just a book outline, I need a plan for the series. It doesn’t have to be overly detailed, it just needs to be there. I need a map to get me through the wilderness that it is the story. Because I’ve gotten lost too many times to discount it!

So I’ve decided tentatively that Dirge will now be 3-4 books. I like the idea of a trilogy. Some of my favorite books are in back one really long book broken up into trilogies, (The Shanhasson Trilogy, The Hunger Games, etc) but I’m allowing myself the space for a fourth one because I got a really cool idea for a transition book as I was loosely plotting the main arcs of each book. This is not to say I won’t do more books in the series if the ideas keep flowing and the story lends itself to more books, but I like having the limitation of a goal so that I don’t go flying off the hanger or worse, blocking myself because I’m so overwhelmed by the sheer size of it.

I’m starting to feel excited about this project again, and that’s the best thing a writer can hope for. Because the story is now behaving. Or maybe I am, because I’m actually setting time aside to work on it. Whichever it is, things are going well for the moment. More on that on Wednesday.

Joely Sue Burkhart’s Blood and Shadows Series Feature Event

Sorry. I know I missed WIP Wednesday, I intend to make it up on Sunday. I’ve just been super busy at the EDJ, but wanted to do a quick post-and-pimp for my beloved friend Joely!

This weekend (April 5-8) Joely Sue Burkhart will be at The Forbidden Bookshelf talking all about the Blood & Shadows series, specifically The Shanhasson trilogy. Which, you all know, is one of my favorite trilogies ever and has a permanent spot on my Keepers shelf (and my heart *sniff*).  There will be excerpts and lots of background/behind the scenes information about the characters and world, plus the chance to win this epic trilogy for yourself!  Details are here, and the first post is here, which features a mini-interview, an excerpt, and an opportunity to win the giveaway!

Fact Friday: 06/04/12

Have a trickster character that likes to play near sociopath pranks on others? Or just need some really cool, really damaging tech? Cracked’s got you covered with 6 Prank Gadgets That Only A Sociopath Would Actually Use. Also, 5 Computer Hacks From Movies You Won’t Believe Are Possible.

Sometimes the best serial killers are animals.

These 5 Ways to Beat Old School Games Using Math could be an interesting way to flesh out your book-smart character, giving him or her a devious/playful side. I’d probably try it myself …if the very mention of ‘math’ didn’t make my head explode.

Action Adventure Writers? Did you know there’s a 2,000 year old tomb with working booby traps?

Illustration Monday: Maps II

Last week you all got a peek at a “big picture” map. This week, I’m going to stick to a very focused area on that map that relates to a scene I’m currently working on.


Dirge Concepts: The Gates of Hallovaxe

Art (c) S.J. Collins

Hallovaxe, the Caged City. The quality on this one is well, honestly, shoddy as hell. I usually don’t get good results when I use lined paper,…also when I don’t use any sort of reference. *sheepish grin*

That long road that runs from the forest to the gates is made of cobblestone, and there’s a river that flows under it. My muse is pinging with ideas about that river. I’ve always been fond of water, so it admittedly gets incorporated into my work a lot.

Also, those weird things lining the forest in the upper right? Those are stumps. And although I didn’t do a spectacular job of spacing them out, there are DOZENS of them. Chopped trees…the Volk are not going to be too happy about that.

You’ll notice there’s a faint line running from one side of the river, near the stumps, to the other-side, near the wall.  Wonder what that could be…

As for Hallovaxe itself, it is a city kept entirely behind a great wall. There are reasons for this of course, but what fun would it be if I just up and told you?

None, that’s what.