WIP: Working at a Snail’s Pace


This week’s been a bit of a struggle, WIP-wise.  I guess that’s what I get for being so smug about last week’s accomplishments.

My deal with myself is supposed to be that I will write every day—write new material without getting lost in revision and without scooting off into Google-land every time I have a question.  The deal is supposed to be “No research, no planning, no revision, just writing.”

But I didn’t do so well on that this week.  I did a lot of revision.  I did a lot of planning.  And I spent a heck of a lot of time in Google-land.  But actual writing of new material, not so much.  Only four days of actual writing for a total of less than 2500 words for the whole week.  I console myself with the knowledge that I did work on a different story every day, and that most of that work was actually pretty useful.

Writing-wise, the first draft of Eddie’s story is now finished, and I’m truly happy with it.  It was for this story that I spent all that time in Google-land (it’s set in Belgium during WW2), but the time spent was well worth it.  The story wound up taking a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting (don’t you love when that happens?), and they set up some great potential for Chatón’s (his daughter’s) story, which up until this week I had barely even begun to think about.  Now I can’t wait for her name to come up!

Planning:  I did scene cards (a Holly Lisle tactic that my Muse usually balks at) for Emma’s story.  Emma’s and Chatón’s stories are the only two I haven’t even begun drafting yet, and this is the second time Emma’s has come up in the past couple of weeks.  Last time, I did a lot of character and story development, and now, with the scene cards, I think I’ve reached a point where the next time it comes up, I should be able to pound out a good couple thousand words on it–or maybe even get the whole draft done, who knows?  I’m really excited about this one, too.

I also got some revising done on Amelia’s and Tanna’s stories this week, but not as much as I would have liked.  Amelia’s in particular needs some serious cutting.  So now that my Muse has decided she’s willing to do the scene card thing, I think I’ll go back and re-plot Amelia’s story and see what can come out and what just needs tightening.

And finally, John’s story underwent some serious re-conceptualizing this week based on another of Holly’s methods, the Shadow Room, which provided me with a couple of surprising conflicts I hadn’t originally planned on.  Those are going to be fun to write, too.

So all in all, it looks like I’m still on track to have the novel’s entire first draft completed by September 15, as planned.  I may be working at a snail’s pace, but slow and steady wins the race.

Looks like it’s been a pretty productive week after all!

WIP: Anthology Cover Reveal!

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The composite novel I’m currently working on is one whose first seeds sprouted in 1992.  But the stories I had so far written were set aside for several years, and it wasn’t until 2006 that I came back to the project with renewed vigor.  Ideas came so fast I could barely get them written down.  Characters took shape.  The book developed an entirely new purpose, one I was truly excited about.

But here we are, seven more years down the road, and I still haven’t finished the first draft.  Why?

It’s not that the book doesn’t need to be written, or that it’s not worth writing, or that I don’t want to write it.  It does, and it is, and I do.  But I have never tried to write and teach at the same time, so my writing has been confined to summer, winter, and spring breaks, and in addition, I discovered not long into the process that as a writer, I have REAL ISSUES with two “writing disorders” that interfere with my progress:  Butt-in-Chair Syndrome, and a particularly insistent and particularly evil Inner Editor Demon.

Butt-in-Chair Syndrome occurs when you realize that you absolutely must dust all the baseboards in your house before you can sit down to write another word.  Then you tell yourself that if you can just beat this level of Candy Crush while the ideas percolate, then you’ll be able to write.

But when you finally do sit down and write something, your Inner Editor Demon steps in immediately to tell you that everything you’ve written is crap.  “What makes you think you can write?” she says.  “You suck!  You couldn’t write your own suicide note!”

She’s very convincing, and you believe her.  So you set the book aside once again and go back to playing Candy Crush, which you’ve gotten quite good at.

It was in the middle of a particularly bad night last summer, while randomly cruising the internet looking for motivation and a way of killing the Demon, that I stumbled across Holly Lisle’s website (http://hollylisle.com/my-articles/).

“How to Think Sideways,” it said.  It piqued my curiosity.  I browsed through a few pages.  Tried some of the methods she suggested.  And they worked.  She had a “Write a Book With Me” page, and I joined it.  Two days later I had an entirely new story, one that I had known the details of for at least two years but hadn’t been able to make myself sit down and actually write.  And suddenly here it was, finished.

To say I was pleased would be an understatement.  But then the new semester began and I again set my writing aside.  And what with one thing and another, I didn’t get much done during winter break, either.

In March, during Spring Break, I found myself in Holly’s site again. I officially enrolled in her “How to Think Sideways” course, and I was still on Lesson One when the moderators of the site posted a call for submissions to an anthology Holly was putting together—an anthology of her students’ best work.

With this motivator singing in the background, and using some of Holly’s invention methods, I sat down and wrote another brand-new story.  Well, not brand-new.  It was one I had started the summer before, gotten stuck on, and set aside.  It’s called “A Play of Hopes and Fears,” and it’s part of Eighteen Crossroads, but as with most of the stories in that collection, it’s also a stand-alone.

I submitted it with two hours to go before the deadline.

In May, I received an email letting me know it had been accepted.

Calloo, callay!

The editor asked for only two edits—change “check” to “cheek,” and “loathe” to “loath”—but I spent nearly a month revising the story anyway.  As I’ve said before, I’m an inveterate reviser.

But I did get it submitted with time to spare.

OK, so that’s the backstory.  Here’s today’s news:

TODAY IS THE BIG COVER REVEAL.  Here it is (imagine fanfares blowing!!):

AdventureCreationSmall COVER REVEAL rec'd 6-30-13

The anthology will be available for purchase both electronically (Kindle, etc.) and in paperback, through what the mods refer to as “the usual venues” (I assume Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), on July 24.  I don’t know the price yet, but I suspect it’ll be very low.  Holly believes it’s better to sell a whole lot of inexpensive books (and courses) than just a few expensive ones, and I have to agree.

I’m told the moderators had planned to include thirty stories, but when the submissions came in, they had such trouble limiting themselves to thirty that they went with thirty-five instead.  The stories contained in the collection cover a wide array of genres, from fantasy and sci-fi to horror, romance, mainstream, and lit fic.  There’s something here for everybody.

I hope you’ll check it out!  Remember the day–July 24!

Evelyne Holingue

Chronicles, Stories & Books by a French-American Writer


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