Monday, January 25, 2016

#amwriting #reallyIam

Happy Book Birthday to Farewell Andromeda!

The first anniversary of my debut book release (Farewell Andromeda), and with it the launch of my authorly career, happened on January 8th!

Woot! It's a little hard to believe a year has already flown by. (Wait, does this mean I'm no longer a debut author by definition?)

Tihara and Donner's story continues to get good reviews, award nominations and kudos.

There might...possibly...even be a sequel to their story in the works. *wink, wink*

Pippa, I Feel Your Pain

So yes, I am writing. Really, I am.

I'm about to confess something I shouldn't. The Outer Planets is three months behind schedule. Shame, shame, shame. Bad writer, no donut!

As I read Pippa's recent blog A Problem with Pantsing, I found myself nodding my head and muttering in a distinctly Yoda-like fashion, "Yesss, yessss. You know the power of the Dark Side."

I'm a Pantser too. And yes, we're certifiable. I listen to peers (some who have gone on to become huge NYT best sellers), talk about graphing out plot points and dark moments and story climaxes, and my eyes glaze over. It's not that my stories don't have plot points, dark moments and climaxes--or my personal favorite--"over-the-cliff crises"--it's just that I can't sit down and PLAN how these all unfold within the story arc and the plot. It totally kills my creative process. Totally!

So...

I can't use outlines. *Holds up cross to ward off evil entity*

I can't plot with tables. (Dammit Jim, Excel is for numbers!)

I can't use sticky notes or index cards to arrange and re-arrange plot structure on the walls.
For reals? Some people actually have that kind of wall space? Mine's all dedicated to posters and pictures of Star Wars, seashells and T-birds. (Told ya I was random.)

I have attempted all of the above. The result is the same. My creativity goes catatonic.

I'm the worst (or the best, depending on your viewpoint) kind of Pantser there is--a freaking Wild Card Pantser. I have a basic idea who the characters are and where the story is going, and then I turn my muse loose and hang on for dear life. Sometimes some pretty amazing things happen when the ol' muse gets the bit in her teeth and breaks into a gallop, and others times (*cough* the last three weeks *cough*) she's dragging along with her nose on the ground like the Indian pony in End of the Trail.

The problem with pantsing is you tend to ride that headstrong muse right into blind corners and dark alleys (yup, blame it on the muse) and then you have to FIX what you and your overzealous artistic partner broke. And that can be an agonizing and confidence-shattering thing for a writer.

Yeah, I'm kind of at the agonized and confidence-shattered part. But I'm close to wrapping it all up (minus two POVs and three stray plotlines) and sending my novel off to an editor so she can find more even more stuff to fix that I didn't even realize was broken. Yet.

Glamorous life of a writer, que no?

The scary thing is that probably some of your fave authors write exactly the same way Pippa and I do. The creative process is an uniquely individual thing. Ya gotta just go with it and learn to master the beast. *cracks whip*

Maybe I'm Writing a Universe Instead of a Series?

After reading Greta's blog Don't You Love Series, I started doing a lot of pondering about my own. Hmmmm. Maybe what I'm writing isn't so much "series" as it is "universe."

Series tend to be books that are either about the continuing saga of central characters or spin-off characters related to the original central characters. Once the worldbuilding is established in book one, it's carried through the series, with the occasional twists, surprises, and undiscovered truths.

Does The Inherited Stars Series fit that description?

Well, yes and no.

There are no central characters that carry through all the stories. In fact, the first three works--novelette Farewell Andromeda and novels Inherit the Stars and the upcoming The Outer Planets, may seem to share almost nothing in common. They have different characters and take place in very diverse timelines. Are they related? Oh yes! The threads are very subtle but they're definitely there. (No spoilers. I'll leave those for readers to ferret out.)

Likewise, the worldbuilding is different. Inherit the Stars is distant future, set on a prototype starship. Farewell Andromeda takes place two hundred years after Inherit the Stars and happens on a historically-significant, repurposed space station. The Outer Planets is here-and-now with cooler tech. The series doesn't so much build a world as it builds a history. To do that, the "series" will reach far back into our past, and then carry the discoveries into the distant future.

This approach may leave some readers, especially those more accustomed to traditional series, scratching their heads. But it also has some pluses.
  1. The first three books can be read in any order with no spoilers and no impact to the overall reading experience. So, yeah. Start anywhere. Be my quest!
  2. The first three books are complete stories in themselves. They don't rely on other novels to complete the tale, but compliment other works in building the history of this universe.
  3. The books are very different flavors of SFR--a Romantic Mystery set on a space station, a classic Space Opera, and a Near Future Suspense--so there's no sense of "cookie cutter" novels.
How do you write a series description for something like that? Sorta like this...

The year is 3500 AD—more or less. No one really keeps track anymore. Since the fall of peacekeeper planet, LaGuardia, two centuries before, much has been lost. Few remember that LaGuardia was once known as Draxis. Fewer still have knowledge that Draxis once guarded a spatial vortex—a crossrip in time and space—and passageway to a legendary world called Earth where the human species originated. Somewhere, hidden in a forgotten archive, is the written history of the universe and the chronicles of the men and women who helped forge a future in the stars.



Have a fantastic week!

~~~ * ~~~

4 comments:

  1. >It's a little hard to believe a year has already flown by.
    Woot, congrats! Has it really been a year?!

    >does this mean I'm no longer a debut author by definition?
    Yeah, I stopped calling myself a debut author once my second published title released.

    >The Outer Planets is three months behind schedule.
    Ouch! I feel your pain. Keir's Fall went out a month late, and my launch plans, eARC release for reviews, NetGalley etc was all screwed up. Now I'm playing catchup. :-\

    Yeah, the creative process is a very individual thing, and while I think the editing process might be more traumatic for a pantser, I do think we learn more that way. Learning the hard way. I have to say I've read a couple of things where I know they were plotted to the nth degree, and while the writing was flawless the actual stories fell flat for me. Nothing wrong with them, just no spark in them for me.

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  2. Oh, and mine's a series for Keir, though I got told early on it wasn't a series though it fits your definition, but I have same universe stuff too. My Venus Ascendant stuff is both - shared universe but same characters tie the stories together even if the upcoming second book only features the first characters fleetingly. I don't have a series blurb. >_<

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  3. I have to agree with you, Pippa, that the editing process can be painful, but I also learn a lot.

    I also occasionally read books that I can tell have been plotted-to-death. They don't tend to be my favorites.

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  4. I'm in the editing hole for the first in a new series (maybe) and to my amazement, this time I haven't had to rearrange whole sections.

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