Writing Projects [2015]

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Ah, December. For me, December is kind of the month-equivalent to Neverland, a place in time when tv specials remind us of what happened this year and we already look toward next year, our plans, our resolutions. Nobody really lives in December, it’s all about the past and the future and, of course, Christmas. In my immediate family, there are still three birthdays to be celebrated and I layaway from one of them to the next until one week later there’s Christmas and another week later it’s New Year’s.

So, I decided to forego all pretense and tell you about my writing plans for 2015, since it’s practically almost here now.

I feel like 2014 has been a wake-up call for me as writer to finally take my passion for the written word seriously. I want to write – I want to write more than anything else in my life and I’m willing to make sacrifices. I’m also willing to work hard (yeah, I know NaNoWriMo kinda showed what a lazy scribe I am, but never mind that now) and maybe even stick to a schedule. Maybe…

Of course, should I come across an awesome idea that just lies there and trips me, I might stop what I’m writing immediately to write that first. But for now, I looked through my stuff, some of it older than the Moses of a web book I’m working on, and found some projects I’d like to write next year.

Here’s they:

Halfway Home – will be first. I still like the story and I’m still thinking about it. I started writing this as a Christmas short story but it got to be longer than I anticipated and now it’s at 18,916 words and far from finished.

It’s about two women from New York who meet in Cincinnati – Dina is on her way to Denver to possibly spend her last Christmas with her father who’s very sick, and Kerry is celebrating Christmas with her family and ex. They get to talking as Dina is stranded there because of bad weather and when her father dies, Kerry invites her to spend Christmas with her family.

What I like most about the story is that it’s a character piece. Dina and Kerry are very different from their background and way of living but they find common ground. There’s Kerry’s boisterous family and Dina’s rather stocky, conservative family, Dina is a hot shot lawyer and Kerry a carpenter. They don’t have much in common but they meet when they’re both lonely and need somebody in their lives who’s got nothing to do with their lives. That’s the connection. As they return to New York, there will be other people, too, friends mostly. Some of them will keep them apart, others may work to get them together.

That, at least, is the plan for the story. I still have a lot of writing to do and am glad for it. I think Dina and Kerry are among my favorite characters I have created. I’m looking forward to writing them again.

I’m not sure with which story I’ll continue, so those next projects are in no particular order.

Carpe Tempus – is the novel I worked on for NaNoWriMo, and while I didn’t finish it, I still think it’s a good idea and would like to work on it further.

Wells Brandis returns to her hometown after her mother died to sort through her belonging and sell her house. She has never been especially close with her mother due to the older woman’s secretiveness. While she tries to find out who her mother really was, she has to deal with her own problems and relationships.

It’s drama, make no mistake. Every now and then, I like to bury myself in something truly sticky and dramatic – today is not one of those days and I find writing about it a little tiresome. It’s not in and of itself but I still find it difficult to write about – so, I guess, this is not the first thing I’ll be writing after Halfway Home, but I still want to return to it next year, we’ll see. There’s always November, though I’m not sure I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo next year.

On the Rebound (aka Playing the Game) – is the German text I’m planning to work on next year. I decided to add a German text because I genuinely like writing in German, every once in a awhile but not all the time. It’s a very prosaic language and great for literary ambitions.

The story is about two girls meeting in high school and falling hard for each other. The story is told in retrospects when one of them, Lane, tells the story of their love to her daughter after meeting the other, Amy, unexpectedly at the airport. I’ve already written a lot for this story, over 70,000 words, but there’s so much work to be done on it… I’m not even sure where to begin, but I’d like to make this chaotic first draft readable at some point.

For the German projects of the future, I’m pretty sure I’ll be using old ideas, stories I haven’t been working on in years, maybe. The idea to On the Rebound dates back probably about ten years if not more. I didn’t even add dates to my stories then which says a lot – the young always think there’s so much time, and that their stories will be written in a flurry. I’m looking forward to working on this one, because it means facing a younger me and editing her horrible writing into something readable.

Love, Unexpected – is a new idea, one I had only weeks ago. I think it’s good. One of the things about myself that baffles even me, is that I’m obsessed with certain tropes or themes. And the most surprising is probably the Wedding theme. And I’m talking heterosexual wedding, and as such a heteronormative background for my lesbian romances. I guess it’s not that difficult to see the appeal, as all queers constantly live in a background of heteronormativity and the wedding of yet another relative or friend is just part of everybody’s life.

In this story, Greer Tomlinson, an arts dealer in California, is returning home to South Carolina for the wedding of one of her high school friends. Her girlfriend is not happy with her going and their fight might be the end of the relationship but Greer still leaves. Her friends  from way back when haven’t changed much, at least not the bride and her best friend. Sara and Caroline are still taunting other people for being different – among them Sara’s sister Madison who is an out lesbian. You know how it goes from there, Sara falls for Madison while she’s in South Carolina and the wedding is the beautiful, yet slightly neurotic backdrop for it.

I love homecoming-stories, especially for a wedding. I don’t know why but there are quite the number of films – most of them tv movies – that I like. You know, just spending an afternoon watching Bridesmaids with Sela Ward… it’s weird, but I like it. Kinda like watching High School Musical with my mom, it just makes me happy.

Sightless Eyes – last but not least. I already wrote about this in my latest post about MyNoWriMo. I’m planning on a little different NaNoWriMo which will probably happen in June, thus MyNoWriMo. We’ll see how and if this will happen, but the idea for this novel is a big one – it’s actually a trilogy.

I call it The Sonnet Series. Each part has a Shakespeare Sonnet as inspiration and the title is from the respective sonnet, too. For Sightless Eyes the inspiration is Sonnet 43. It’s the story of Hunter Fielding who doesn’t know it yet, but she’s a gamechanger in the undeclared war between humans and supernatural creatures. Well, maybe it’s not that dramatic but she has visions and those visions help the extraordinary creatures in the town where she now lives with relatives to fight a supreme enemy.

Cryptic enough? I don’t want to give away too much. The Sonnet Series is one of my big projects. The idea is from June last year and it’s been marinating in my brain some. It’s one of three very ambitious projects, one where I want to step out from my usual genre of lesbian romance and simply make a queer character the hero of a different genre. Hunter is said character and she will have her share of emotional turmoil over creatures she’ll meet but it’s mostly about her fight against the discrimiinating force that wants to kill her, too, now that she’s discovering her powers.

Those are the projects I want to work on – and hopefully finish – next year. Yeah, ambitious, I know, but I think it’s doable. We’ll see whether I’m right or not – it could be me overestimating myself, of course.  I’m looking forward to next year,  though, but have to get back to this year and my revisions on The Affair.

Carpe tempus, lovelies.

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Update [3]

Another NaNo-week. What I find really interesting at this point is that my outlook on the whole endeavor changes. First few days, I was mostly excited and wrote to write. First full week was more thoughtful but mostly fun and games. And now…

I feel that it’s time to think more about the story, to see where it is going. I just thought the other day that it was more important to worry about what happens than the word count. It’s just the way I work. I feel that I’ve come a ways by just hacking away but if I don’t stop and think for a while, the story goes down the drain. I don’t want that.

So, I took a day off yesterday to think what I want to happen, to make some notes, to get back to plotting just a little – not a lot. I like to know what happens, and I hadn’t thought about these things at all before starting this NaNo-venture.

But I did some writing this last week. I’m now at 15.294 words, chapter 9. I’m not really happy with the chapters and haven’t got a grip on how long this will actually be in the end. I need to put a little more headwork into the story, get a better feel for the structure. I haven’t written yet today, maybe I won’t.

You probably think I’m getting lazy, and you would be right, too. And you would be wrong. Sometimes writing is not writing at all, but acquainting oneself with one’s story. And I know NaNo is deliberately about ‘the writing,’ hacking away at words, to do. But if I don’t know my story, I lose interest, and then I might just stop caring. Meaning, I need to know more.

Where am I? Wells and Christine (the woman from the book store) sort through her mother’s library. They find a first edition of Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers and after Christine leaves, Wells finds a couple more. In Wharton’s The Touchstone, she finds a handwritten dedication to her mother, and assumes that it must be a fake. She’s angry and disappointed with her mother. She meets her mother’s friend Martin, and they argue about who Elizabeth really was.

So far. Next up is the reading of Elizabeth’s Last Will and the funeral… and hopefully, Wells will travel through time soon. I’m a little scared about that part, especially when it omes to the time machine, how it works, and, of course, the history. But I’m also excited and eager – writing, you know.

Carpe tempus, lovelies.

NaNoWriMo – Update [1]

I has begun. Yesterday at midnight, I started working the keys. This sounds more prolific than I’ve actually been. For once, the hour between midnight and one is not my most creative and, for another, I wasn’t alone and undisturbed, and actually a little pissed about it. So, 180 words are all I have to show for that hour before I went to bed – frustrated.

But I have mellowed, and written some more words. Mind you, I’m not at my daily requirement yet but it’s the beginning of a new story and other things are more important than the word count right now. For example, finding my narrator’s voice. That’s not so easy. You have to feel the mood of the piece, the temperatment, if you will. It’s sticky stuff and you don’t want to go wrong there. So, easy does it. At least for me at this point.

I think I gotten off to a good start. I feel this story. It will be high drama, lots of inner monologues, lots of alone time for my protagonist, and that’s how it starts. I did a little research for the location and found Reading, Pennsylvania. I thought it was a good fit and I like the kind of grayish atmosphere I connect with Pennsylvania. Maybe it’s a residue of Halloween, maybe I’m delusional that way, but I wanted Pennsylvania and I didn’t want Philly. We’ll see how it goes, I’m not even sure I will mention the place in the story.

I’m planning on doing an update once every weekend, to see where I’m at. At this point, I’ve only written the first chapter. I decided on simple numbers, no chapter headings – that may still change, though I’m almost positive it won’t. These kind of things seem unimportant but it’s actually good for the pacing, the order. I’m a stickler when it comes to the form of something, I always need to know the formal circumstances under which I’ll be writing, even if I set them myself. I haven’t thought about these things beforehand and find that I now have to figure them out while I’m writing – bad preparation. But I hardly did any of that – to be honest, I was a little weary to think about the story or anything around it at all. Maybe that was wrong, but I didn’t want to drive my idea against a wall, I wanted to simply write it, chapter by chapter, or even word for word. I’m not sure it was the right tactic but that’s how I’m going at the moment.

The first chapter is about Wells coming back to the place where she grew up, her mother’s house. Some memories come back to her and she discovers that the door to the basement is locked. It’s not much, as I’ve already said, but it feels solid… I’ll go from here. I’m currently at 1,159 words.

Carpe tempus, lovelies.

NaNoWriMo – Almost There

On Saturday the madness begins. I’m not sure how much of madness it will really be for me because… well, I’m not easily excitable and I won’t pull any weird stunts, I won’t overdo it. In short: I’m German, and thus not easily moved into a group mentality. You may scoff, but I think historically speaking we learned our lesson and are now rather weary of the concept (or, as always, it’s just me).

But I just sat and thought a little about my idea Carpe Tempus – and I still think it’s a good one. That’s a pleasant surprise since I had some doubts the past few days, especially with everything else I still want to write, to start something new, a new idea… hmmmm. But, no, I like it, it’s solid (and, I guess, I’m using that phrase far too much to describe stories… it means, that something is good without being overdone, it’s not extraordinary, it’s solid).

The next few days, I’ll be thinking about my main character a little, about her relationship to her mother, to her girlfriend, to that someone who (re)enters her life. I like her name, though I guess some won’t. Sometimes it’s difficult to justify your choice of name and people get critical, even upset. I think with a novel that has a time travelling theme, the name of Wells is self-explanatory, and Brandis just goes well with it.

I usually don’t think about plot much, I let my characters decide what they do, who they talk to, when they discover that life-altering secret. At their own pace. I have my few plot-markers along the way. The plot is never the problem, though I guess I could be criticized for having too little.

The bigger problem will be the writing schedule. I’m thinking about this, about how outer circumstances could prevent me from writing. I know my writing style, I know my pace. I write better before 12 p.m., but an afternoon session is not a problem. At around 7 p.m. my brain becomes sluggish and undecipherable. I can easily write 2,500 to 3,500 words a day, with a free day every now and then. I’m able to insert a day of up to 7,000 words about every 7-10 days. If I write 10,000 words one day, I’ll be unable to write for a couple of days, it knocks me out flat and I honestly doubt that I will have the time to write that much in November – outer circumstances. My most prolific month this year was (quite ironically) February – I wrote over 70,000 words and I’d like to actively challenge that number because I see my novel at around 75,000 words, rather than 50,000.

I guess, I’ll set my own standards for NaNoWriMo. I have to. I like to think that my muse cannot be contained by regulations made by others – I’m that much of a self-confident asshole. But I still want to use it as a kick-starter. I need one. I’m not sure about how much I’ll be participating in the activities on the platform – I’m a loner by nature and writing hasn’t just chosen me, I chose it, because I like the solitary nature of it.

The next few days will be about thinking, maybe taking some notes. I’m looking forward to starting on a new project but I’ll be writing up to it. I still want to write a short story, have to finish that block on the road of my life, and maybe get some things done that will make life easier along the (writing) way – my personal life is crypticized.

See you writing, lovelies. Carpe tempus.