The Times, They are A’Changin’

We rarely notice it happening, but we all change as we grow. Some things may remain the same, like our taste in movies or our favorite book, but as the world changes around us so too do we. Our attitudes and opinions evolve, the way we react to certain situations transform, and our memories transform to match the way we want to remember them. It’s human nature. The way we look at something tomorrow may be dramatically different from the way we look at it today.

On my “About My Projects” page I have a short description of a current work-in-progress that I’ve referred to as “Parallels” since it’s conception in my mind almost ten years ago. I began writing this particular story during an upsetting time in my life, and the story reflected that. The first few chapters, if you knew enough to know where to look, were all about me, about my thoughts and feelings, and how I wished a big, crazy adventure would sweep me away from those thoughts and feelings. I spent a lot of time on that first version of the story, until I had probably somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 words…and then I started all over from scratch.

It might seem illogical. After all, you wouldn’t stop reading a book halfway through and start over from the beginning, so why would you do the same while writing a book?

The reason is that my attitudes had changed. Events had occurred that made me think different, made me want to modify the story. And so I began again, with changes to the plot, changes to the main character, and changes to the overall tone of the story. This time I think I wrote somewhere around 15,000 words.

You might see where this is going now, and why this particular piece has been in the works for almost a decade. Until a couple of years ago I would only write every now and then, when I got the chance or when the fancy struck me, so by the time I would get around to adding some more to this work-in-progress things would have changed again. Attitudes, feelings, perceptions, the world around me, and how I thought readers would react to the story. When I first began writing this story I was writing it just for me, with no intent that anyone would ever actually read it, but as time went on I felt that it could actually become something worth publishing, something worth sharing with the world. But not in any of its previous forms.

The worst form was actually a webcomic version that involved this little fella.
The worst of the several forms was actually a web-comic version that involved this little fella.
Cute though, eh?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this work recently. With my zombie apocalypse novel nearing completion, I’ll need to put my efforts into something else, and I want it to be this piece. Though I’ve already done it a dozen times, I want to start over again, this time with a much more adult, professional view of the world and what readers want. I have a desire for this story to be told, and for the first time in the past decade I believe I know exactly how I want to tell it.

The story will be changed quite a deal, from the issues that plague the main character, to the number and nature of supporting characters, the length and format of the overall story, and many things in between. For one thing, I’ve decided that instead of the 100,000+ word single adventure that I was originally envisioning, this story will henceforth be a series. I do not yet know how much I will be able to stretch the story out, but I anticipate 6 books. If that seems like an outrageous stretch (after all, each book would have to be somewhere in the range of 70,000 words, which means more than four times the original length I had expected), don’t worry. I have lots of plans. Previously this story went from point A to point B to point C, and so on, but there are lots of modifications that can be made, subplots that can be added.

There will be lots of other changes to ensure that this story is the best that it can be, but suffice it to say that despite my usual tendency to deal with things as they come, I’ve got lots of big ideas and plans for this and it’s all really rather exciting.

It’s not always expected, and we don’t always notice it happening, but sometimes change is an excellent thing, don’t you think?

Who Needs Sleep?

Didn’t I promise an update after my all-day traveling-across-the-country write-a-thon. I think I did. What happened to that?

What happened to that is that my days have become so jam-packed with work and writing that I haven’t been able to find the flippin’ time! Oh NaNo, how I love/loathe you.

So here’s the update:

– During my write-a-thon on Tuesday I wrote 1162 words while waiting in the Halifax Airport, 828 words during the flight from Halifax to Toronto, 3728 words on the flight from Toronto to Calgary, and 2111 words while riding in the bus on the way to camp, for a grand total of 7829 words in one day. Woo! That would have felt twice as good had I not been more than 7000 words behind at the time, thus all that effort was just to break even. o.O

– I am currently just managing to reach my word count goal every day. Reasonable, though I was really hoping to get ahead at some point so I can relax a little. Either way, the NaNo goal for the 9th of November is 15000 words and I just hit 15065.

And now, because I’m so nice, here’s a quick excerpt from what I’ve written so far. It’s unrefined, of course, because editing is for December, dammit. 🙂

“What is your name?” Tori asked. Her voice was wavering, but if the other noticed he didn’t acknowledge.

“Jacob,” he replied quickly. “Jacob Ravendale.”

“Jacob,” Tori echoed as she pulled herself to her feet. “I have a very important question for you, Jacob, and I need you to answer honestly and quickly, okay?” She set Jacob with a look that accepted no argument. He nodded. Tori raised her arm, and with one finger outstretched she pointed directly at the rising sun peaking up over the trees. With her voice continuing to betray her emotions with every word, she asked her question: “Which direction is that?”

Jacob looked confused and unsure at first, but when he saw the look on her face he sputtered out his answer quickly. “That’s West…your majesty.”

“West,” Tori whispered, her arm dropping. “The sun rises in the West.”

Jacob blinked several times. “O-of course?”

That was when Tori burst into laughter. It was not a laughter full of humor or amusement. It was a laughter filled with madness. Jacob stared nervously and took a step back as she cried out to the sky, looking for all the world like someone who had just lost the last bit of their mind.

Nova Scotia’s Curse and A Sneak Peak

I loved Halloween when I was little. I loved dressing up and running around in the dark, trying to hit as many houses as possible so I could go home with my enormous bag of candy and sort the good stuff from the stuff I’d give to my parents. And in all the Halloweens I can remember, I only recall a particular couple during which weather was an issue. There were a few during which the winter weather was sneaking in early, so we had to wear extra layers under our costumes in order to stay warm, but I only remember one or two Halloweens when it rained.

Sometime after the last year I went Trick-or-Treating someone in Nova Scotia must have displeased the Halloween Gods. It has now rained almost every Halloween since I can first remember staying home and handing out treats. I plan on braving the misty ickiness with my daughter and an umbrella because this is the first Halloween that she’s old enough to actually hold out her bucket and see what happens, but it disgusts me that this situation has become a tradition around here. It’s no wonder that we see so few kids out on Halloween these days. Who wants to go door-to-door when you’re soaked by the end of the first street? Well, whichever kids are willing to brave the weather this year will at least get their effort’s worth at our house…our treat bags are the BOMB.
Aside from my whining about Halloween weather, I’m also writing this post so that I can share a bit of my NaNoWriMo novel planning…a synopsis I wrote a couple of days ago. The madness starts tomorrow! Arrrrrggg!!!!
Victoria MacKinnon is battling a deep depression. Her world fell apart the day the man she loved left her and she has no idea how to put the pieces back together. She hates her job, but she can’t bear to return to school. Her family is worried about her, but she can’t bring herself to talk to them. Her best friend, who has been in love with her since grade school, is becoming increasingly desperate to “rescue” her, but she won’t allow herself to be rescued. Her only solace is in the bottle.

But Tori is special, even if she doesn’t know it yet. Another world is calling to her… A world of her dreams that have been suppressed for many years… A world that desperately needs her to save it, and won’t wait for her to figure out how to save herself.

Lucky 7 Returns

Because I’ve been having a hard time getting my brain to concoct literate blog entries the past few days, and because Lucky 7 amused me the first time I tried it, I thought I’d do it again. 🙂

For those who missed it the first time, the rules are thus:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS (manuscript)
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as they’re written– no cheating!
  4. Tag 7 other writers
  5. Let them know!

Again, I’m skipping the tagging other writers. Anyone who comes across this can feel free to steal it. 🙂

So here’s my second Lucky 7 excerpt, this time taken from the fantasy adventure novel I’ve had in the works for many years now:

Together the two of them looked down at the tip of a sword that was sticking through its chest.

The Shadow may have shrieked its death cry; Kira wasn’t sure because her hearing was starting to go strangely muffled. She felt like her ears were stuffed with cotton. She felt immensely weak and tired as the Shadow’s claws melted away from her wounds, and suddenly she found she’d dropped to her knees without realizing it. The colors of the world around her were fading, a funny thing. Now she couldn’t hear anything at all.

As the last bits of the Shadow melted away from the sword, Kira looked up at Jacob’s horrified face before passing out.

An interesting excerpt. I remember that scene being written better. When I do eventually finish my zombie novel this is definitely the next story in line for completion. 🙂