Posts Tagged ‘worldbuilding’

Weekly news roundup – The Remicade week in review

This week was a bit of this and that, but this seems to be a good headline for this post for the nonce.


My week got thrown for a bit of a loop because I needed to do some hard things this week, but I did them, and I’m very proud of myself for it. Let’s look at last week’s goals.


Last Week’s Goals:


Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday). I made it 5 days again – missed Friday with a migraine and Saturday to just bleahs. Grey days seem to be hard.

Writing goals: Writing will happen on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to re-juggle a bit of the Advent calendar, but that shouldn’t take long. I want 2 days written, and some work on a Sapph or Spike short. Writing did not happen on either Wednesday or Saturday. It will happen today, so yay? Although this goes on this week’s goals technically. And I did the book review for Perils of Prague, which you should check out.

Non-writing Goals:  I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. No more delays. Also, now that the caftan’s design has been agreed upon, I need to get the waste canvas on it and decide how I’m going to do this. I might try doing embroidery on the waste canvas and see how that works. Not sure yet. More progress here! I got Brian’s page done on Saturday, which really hit me harder than I thought it would. But it’s done, and he’ll be in the Memorial Garden at EK 50 if you are going. I also figured out how to do the embroidery for the caftan, and started most of a crochet bag. And I finished the embroidery for the first favor. I also figured out taxes for my father’s companion, and finally called about my car accident.


So yeah, in retrospect, I think this was a successful week, even without the writing I wanted to do. So, on to this week’s goals!


This Week’s Goals

Morning pages: Sunday to Saturday again. I’m building a good habit, even if I don’t hit the full week yet.


Writing goals: I need to restructure Molly for this year, since I’m not trying to do 2 Advents this year. That’s the goal for this week. Today (Sunday), I’m going to do some writing on Sapph, I think. Also, Wednesday, I am putting the two first Molly books into Archivos, so I can start working forward. Before I do any more writing on the Carter’s Cove series, I need to get the bible going.


Non-Writing goals: This week, I need to finish my market bag that I am crocheting for myself, and do the test pattern for Brewcie’s caftan. Then I need to measure the pattern, and measure out how much I need to make the actual trim.


These are all good goals, and doable. Keeping this weekly post going has really helped keep me on track, and I’m finding that I’m getting stuff done. So thank you, all, for putting up with me while I do this!

Don’t forget, Winter Storms is currently out! Catch up with the second adventure of Molly and Schrodinger!

As always, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi!



(writing/organization) Getting my thoughts in line

I’m in a mood right now. There is so much swirling in my head that all I want to do is take a vacation from everything and just write. Sadly, I’m not independently wealthy, so that’s not happening. However, Balticon is coming up in two weeks, so I’ll get a bit of a break then! A working break, but that’s a good thing.


I’m setting up some KanbanFlow boards for myself for projects that I want to get done this year. I’m working on an anthology for Paradise City, as well as the finishing up of last year’s Advent and publishing this year’s Advent. Also, I’m working on writing Resonant Frequencies, so I’ve got a board set up for that. And I’ve got some short stories and poems (I know, weird, right?) that are kicking around in my head too, so I’m going to be working on those.


I want to do so many things, and I’m realizing that if I don’t make myself a schedule, I’m going to miss all the deadlines. I’ve already decided that I’m not going to try for Viable Paradise this year, as the book I want to use is not up to my standard. So I’ll keep working on it and try for next year. I’m hoping Kanban will work. If not, I’ll try something else.


Advent 2017 is going to be re-released and finished in July of this year (yay, Christmas in July!), so thank you all for being patient. And you don’t need to go back and re-read – I’m going to release all of it each day, just like in December. And I’ll have both Secrets AND Storms, as well as calendars, at Balticon! So cool! Let me know if you want one (I won’t be at a table, but I’ll have stuff). Also, I’ll have copies of the Complete Guide 1 and 2 – I’m out of 3!


Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms on my blog! And yes, this is from Tayla and Bear, who wish to inform you that I am the meanest mommy ever, because I would not give them treats before I left this morning.

(writing/poetry/stuff) All the things swirling in my head, like blood in fog

I’m writing again. I’m also starting to venture slowly into poetry, which is weird, because I never thought of myself as a poet. But Amber introduced me to Rupi Kuhr, and I am in love with words again. She is amazing and wonderful and I highly recommend her to all people. Even if you think you don’t like poetry. This, to me, is more thoughts in motion than anything else.


I’m also working on books. I’m getting myself back into Advent, and will be re-releasing last year’s unfinished story in July, along with the ending. So this year you get two Advents! Because Molly and Schrodinger will be back in December as well. I’m also releasing Winter Storms, the second book in the Carter’s Cove series, this year. So much Molly! My mother’s smiling, I know she is.


I’m working on a few other things too. I’ve got an odd short story that I’m working on finishing up, about ghost helpers and the little shop they run. And I’ve finally started to work on Resonant Frequencies, which I’m hoping to submit to Viable Paradise in a month. If I don’t get it to the shape I want it to by the deadline, I’ll continue to work on it and go for next year. This year is the year of me doing things to push myself. Reconnect with myself.


I’m also still playing with Shanna and Talia but that’s kind of on hold. I’m trying to get my world bibles in order (using Archivos, which is amazing and you should all look into it) and so I’m doing more of worldbuilding than anything else. She will be getting her story. I promise. Just not right now. Both of them. And Faerytale Princess as well. I have so many stories, guys. So very many stories.


OH! And I’m going to be doing some book reviews too on here! First up, once I finish it, is Perils of Prague by Doc Coleman. Steampunky goodness. I can’t wait. Yes, I will be doing others, but I’m not sure what ones yet.


Finally, I’m starting to do The Artist’s Way again. I’ve decided that I’m not going to be online after 9 pm ET most nights, so I can keep my sleep habits healthy. My evenings are going to be spent writing by hand, since that’s something that feels comfortable to me.  More as I come up with it.

(writing/personal) Surfacing, with news and new projects


I won’t lie – it’s been a rough few weeks. But I did finish Winter’s Secrets, and it’s in the hands of beta readers now. We’re on schedule to release at Balticon and ConCarolinas with ACTUAL BOOKS! And tea. Because, well, you can’t do a book release about Carter’s Cove that doesn’t involve tea. And scones. So hopefully I will see you guys there!


In addition, I’m putting together a blog tour for the book release, to happen within the book release time frame. Part of what I’m doing today is setting up the blog tour. If you’d like to be a part of it, drop me a line!


There will also be another Carter’s Cove story this year, because there’s still more stories to be told. This one will bring in some new characters, and some old ones, and will involve something that you can follow along with, should you choose. Yeah, I’m a tease. More information later.


Now that the current book is done, I’m going back into the Dark Horseman universe to start the Shanna stories. That’s my goal right now – to get the first book done. I’m actually opening with the vomit draft today, as soon as I set up the Google calendar for the tour. So much to do! But it’s good, because it’s what I need to do. And every word I write is one Mom can read, because I know she’s still reading. Heaven for her would be a bookstore, with unlimited amounts of tea and scones.


This might not be of interest to most people, as I’m using it as kind of a catchall of what’s in my head right now. My brain is responding well to 250 words a day (about to hit Day 4 in a few, and I even managed 250 last night on the tablet, because I didn’t have the energy to make it in to the studio), and that has had one very common side effect – it wants to write ALL THE WORDS, ON EVERYTHING. Which is not conducive to finishing anything. And if I don’t finish things, you guys don’t get to see it. And to be perfectly honest (and probably crass), if you guys don’t get to see it, I don’t get to sell it and make money.


So, brain, you and I have to have a rather firm talk. I totally want to write all the things too, but we need a schedule, and we need to follow it.  You game? Good.


Here are the projects we’ve talked about that need to be written:

-Summer Advent. This is non-negotiable, as we have already promised the fans this as of July 20th. So this is the first priority. And yes, this means we get to subject poor Robert and Lee to Christmas carols in June while we write it.

-Advent 2015. We need to start the outline for this, so we can write it BEFORE December. Because wouldn’t it be nice to have it all ready to go? Of course it would. And we have to do some research on this anyways, because for the first time, it’s NOT going to be in Carter’s Cove. (Yes, it will still be Molly, Drew and Schrodinger. Don’t worry. And Pavel. LOTS of Pavel.)

-Deep Waters. I need to get the next Sapph novel done, and I think the title still works. Because between Patrick, Mac and her own stubbornness, Sapph is totally in deep water. And I think the idea of what is haunting the town is perfect. If I can pull it off.

-Portrait of Abby. I really like this one, and we’ve got the first 3 chapters done. This is non-negotiable as well. It’s a nice palate cleanser from Sapph.

-Treaty of Betrayal. This one is all plotted! Now I just have to write it. Hmm, maybe this one should be pitched too.

-Faery-Tale Princess. Again, I need to write it. It’s going to be fun. Mundane executive, thrust into a fantasy kingdom to save them all. Somehow. With magic she doesn’t believe in.


Stuff to be polished and edited:

-Winter’s Secret goes to the editor in August. I’m very excited about this! Goal is publication in December, for Christmas.


Stuff that is still in the idea/outline phase, to be slated in later:

-Elen. This is an intriguing idea, but I don’t know quite what the story is yet. I have the world, but it has flaws, and I’m not sure who the antagonist is. This needs to marinate (this is the world amnesia story).

-Phases of the Moon. I need to come up with a pitch packet for this one, so I can see if anyone’s interested in it.  Also, a pitch packet will force me to write out the outline and the story idea. This one involves the Goddess of the Moon split into four different souls, and Sun Spiders. Very cool imagery.

-The Heart of the Universe. Another pitch idea. Space opera, involving space galleons (think SpellJammer), intergalactic civil war, and pirates, all looking for the Heart of the Universe. Because whoever gets it, rules everything. Except I think there’s more going on, and I have to figure out what.

-Raindrops. This is a one-shot (really!) but I feel like I need to write it. Twin sisters, one a mage, the other a diplomat, and they’re on the run, trying to figure out how to kill the evil usurper and free the rightful king from the dungeon. High fantasy.

-Plague Mirrors. This is a dystopia that I kind of want to noodle with some more. What if it wasn’t man who killed man – but Plague herself? And how would you defeat her, if she could travel through mirrors to find you? What kills Plague? This is a fantasy dystopia idea, but I need to flesh it out (no pun intended).

-Rose. I might combine this one with Plague Mirrors, or not. I love the idea of True Souls, and I need to figure out how to incorporate them.

-Midsummerland. I have it mostly plotted, but it’s not working, so I need to figure out why. This is the fae/human book, with all sorts of weirdness.


This post might get added to, as I think of things. Good thing I have a lot of ideas. I’d hate to run out.


(writing) Thoughts on writing a series

Saturday I finished the plot summary for the second novella in the Pendragon Casefiles season 1, which is tentatively titled Deep Waters.  My goal for April is to get the plot summaries done for the remaining 5 novellas in the first season for the casefiles, so that I can write them and release them every other month, starting with Into Thin Air in May at Balticon.


“But Val,” you say.  “You don’t  need to have the entire first season planned out before you start releasing them, you know.  Just have an idea of where you want to go.  Or, even better, let the story just FLOW!”


And then you start running, because I pull out my rapier with a snarl…Oh wait, sorry, wrong blog post.


Seriously, though, I have written a series without knowing what the heck the next book was going to be.  And for someone who is a plotter, not a pantser, I can tell you that it was horribly painful.  It’s not that Horseman wasn’t a good series – I think it was, but had I planned everything out before I released the first book, I think it would have been easier to write the other two.  So for this series, and for all the series I have planned going forward, I plan on having at least the plot summaries done before I release anything, for several reasons.


1. I know what’s going to happen in the series.  This is HUGE for me.  Some writers like waiting to see what the characters will do for them – I don’t.  It makes me very, very nervous.


2. It allows me to see the characters’ personal arcs and gives me ideas for how to continue them.  As a lot of my writing is very character-based, this is very important as well, and doing the plot summaries shows me how they interact with each other as well.  Half of my plot summaries are dialogue anyways.


3. It also needs to be noted that my plot summaries are guidelines.  This is not to say that things don’t change (because trust me, they do).  But having the guideposts there let me see where I’m heading to.


4. Lastly, writing the plot summaries helps me to worldbuild without getting bogged down in just worldbuilding, which I am prone to.  If I don’t have a storyline to wrap my imagination around, my worlds get very involved and convoluted, and I just keep going “Oh, that would COOL!”  without thinking about how practical said cool thing would be.  This is a bad thing, trust me.


So these are my thoughts on writing a series.  Remember, I’m a plotter, so YMMV.  But if I had to do Horseman all over again, I would totally have planned it all out before the first book hit the stores.  Which is why, with Pendragon, I’m doing it right.  Well, my version of right.


What about you?  Do you write series?  How do you do it?

(writing) TGIF – seriously.

I should have remembered that Remicade weeks knock me for a loop.  I”m sorry I didn’t have a review for you guys for Wednesday, but I was so exhausted Monday and Tuesday that I just barely did my minimum for writing.  Between the Remicade and my allergies (which are just awful this year.  I swear, they get worse each year), I feel like I’m behind on everything.  I just gave up and called in sick to work on Thursday, so I could sleep.  Not catch up, sleep.  Yeah.


However, I’m still up to date on my streak, and I’m rapidly approaching 100 days of writing.   One hundred days.  I’m in awe of myself, really, and wondering if I can approach other things like this.  I just haven’t figured out how, but I’m working on it.  So, here’s the current state of the writing.


Into Thin Air  is chugging along.  I’m wondering if it will still be a novella by the time I’m done this rewrite, or if it will have grown into a short novel.  Either way, I’m starting to look at some markets for it.  It’s going to be e-published, either by an established publisher or, if I have to, by me.    I love this world, I love this story, and I’m determined to get it out.  Some how.  Anyways, my writing group saw the new first chapter, and really liked it.  Even those who said it wasn’t something they would normally read.  Yay!  For those who don’t remember, this is my ghost hunter book.  First in a series, one way or another.


Baker has a first chapter, and the beginnings of a second chapter, but I have some work to do, worldbuilding-wise.  This may sound weird, but I kind of hate worldbuilding.  Actually, I hate worldbuilding a lot.  Not the actual dreaming up the world, but the getting in and figuring out how the guts work.  Especially that.  Ugh.  I thought editing was my least favorite part of writing, but no, I really think worldbuilding is.  The reason I hate it is that I’m very much a big idea type of person.  I get plot ideas.  I get character ideas.  I really don’t get world ideas much.  I think this might be why I haven’t done any real fantasy stuff, and since I have now recognized this flaw in my writing, of course, I need to work on it.  So I’m going to start worldbuilding and outlining the Baker world for a while, and see what I can figure out.  Since I have three novels planned for this world, I really need to know what’s going on.


And, of course, I have to start outlining the third Advent story.  This one at least is a bit easier, because I get to work on a calendar schedule.  And the world is pretty well made.  Of course, this one is going down the rabbit hole (pretty literally), so I need to figure out some of the other worlds that they’ll get to.  And I think a certain pirate might show up….


That’s the state of the writing this week.  No snippets, but you might get one over the weekend.

(health/personal/writing) One week in!

Today is Day 7 of  going completely gluten-free and mostly sugar-free.  It’s been an interesting journey.  Weighed in this morning at 277.8 lbs, so up a little, but that’s okay.


It’s been hard, I won’t lie.  Drank Coke on Saturday, had sushi with non-GF soy sauce on Tuesday, and an ice cream cone on Sunday.  But all in all, I’ve made it through successfully, and I am feeling better (despite a headache this morning, which might actually be allergies).  My brain isn’t foggy, and my joints don’t hurt.  I’m looking forward to maybe getting off some of the meds that I’m currently on.


Speaking of meds, I’m down to 15 mgs of Prednisone as of yesterday!  Very excited about this.  And despite yesterday (which was a terrible day, I was sick for most of it), I’m feeling pretty good.


Pendragon continues to grow – I’ve just thrown a twist in that I didn’t realize I needed (yes, even outliners have twists show up on us) and I have to figure out what that means for the story.  I”m also looking at new projects for when this draft is done, as Midsummerland is not cooperating.  I like the story – it just doesn’t want to write, and I’m not sure why.  So it sits on the shelf, and I think I’m doing more of a fantasy next time.  What I’m trying to decide is do I want to jump into another series (I have an idea for a quartet of books) or do a one-shot (I’ve got a couple of ideas that could be only one book).  I’m also debating how much research I want to do, as one is a steampunk Venice setting, one is setting up to be Asian-flavored, and one might be Italian Renaissance.  Because I don’t do anything EASY, you know.


Okay, time to get moving on my to-do list for the day.  My tummy is grumbling, which means it’s time for breakfast.  I think today would be a good day to try those banana fritters I pinned to Pintrest a bit ago.

(writing/letters/update) Day two of the month – on track!

Lots done today!

750 words – check.

Letter sent – check (to my adorable niece!)

Words on Forgotten – 1003 (made up for yesterday, so still on track for the month.)

Court report sent in to Brigantia – check.

Email updated – check.

Going to fall into bed now – check.

(metrics) A night off recharges the soul

Took last night off to go to a free concert, during which I was introduced to a very good band – The Alternate Routes. Highly recommend them. And then we went to Strange Brew with them afterwards! It was very fun. There are pictures.

Tonight, I got another 433 words done on the plot summary, and added more to my To Be Figured Out list. This fantasy stuff is HARD, you know. HARD.

Oh, and you should all be glad I don’t post political opinions here. I don’t think my current opinion of that jackass Rep. Boehner is really something I should be posting here.

My heart and prayers go out to Norway. What a terrible tragedy.