Author Archives: Laura

“I Will Never Be in Doctor Who”

So far this year I’ve mostly paused working on my novel to dive into various applications, including writing and submitting shorter pieces.

Today my poem “I Will Never Be in Doctor Who” has been published on NewMyths.com quarterly magazine.  It explores the intersection of disability and science fiction.

Go forth and read.

(I seem to also be sharing an issue with a fellow World Weaver Press sister-writer. This writing world is small indeed.)

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Here Be Aromantic and Asexual Protagonists

Three years ago this month I wrote my post “Where are the asexual protagonists?” making a case for more asexual and aromantic characters and storylines and suggesting quite a few story and character ideas.

I’ve been meaning to write a sequel post entitled “Here they are!” for some time now, ever since I discovered more of the aro/ace spectra community of indie writers on Twitter and found likeminded people also searching. (Indies are awesome.)

And here they be.

Claudie Arseneault has compiled a (rather large) database of aro and ace spectra characters in fiction here. (There are over 400).

There are currently two Kickstarters running, one for a collection of Asexual Fairy Tales (ends in 5 days) and one for an anthology of Platonic Friendships & Aromantic Characters (ends in 37 days).

And that, folks, is just the beginning.

Enjoy!


2018 in review

In the spirit of accomplishments, this year I

  • wrote over 100k words on my novel (probably over 120k?) written this year, increasing my overall writing pace.
  • hit 245k three times as I wrote, unraveled, and rewrote large sequences. Yep, I like big books, I cannot lie.
  • translated 5 folktales
  • completed another translation draft of “Fairer”
  • applied for several grants and a residency program in France.  A girl can dream, right?
  • renewed my passport and driver’s license, and got back to driving again, yay health improvements!
  • with driving comes A LIBRARY CARD and going to the library!
  • continued being a moderator for ELTNA.org

2018-wordcount-total


From coniferous forest to….

Currently pausing forward progress on my novel rough draft by going back and readjusting/revising generic mountainous forest setting description to…this.

Aka I did my research wrong in the beginning and I need to go back and adjust several chapters to be more awesome.

(Current wordcount: 245k)


200k and other milestones

So, last week I hit a few milestones!  Unlike my 100k blog post where I went into all kinds of detail about my novel-writing journey to that point, this post is going to be fairly short.  I think.  <.<

200k-april-2018

200k reached April 19, 2018 😀

I hit 200k on my novel wip.  The day before, I also wrote the scene I’ve been writing towards since April 2015–so, three years.  I wrote it all in a day, so that means I ended up writing 3k: 2.5k that afternoon and another 500 words of tinkering and adjustment in the hour before bed.  I don’t think I’ve ever written 3k in a day before, especially not while sick, but probably not even when I was healthy.  I’ve written much more than that in collaborative writing sessions, but writing solo where all pieces on the board to figure out are mine is different.

Honestly? I’ve been kind of exhausted and reeling ever since.  This scene is a crucial turning point.  The fall-out of this scene would also traditionally be the spot for a cliffhanger, since it changes everything for the protagonists up to that point, but I’m not going to split this into two books, so I’m going to keep going.

Nevertheless, reeling.

At this point I have no idea if I’ve pulled it off.  I’m sure the answer is both yes and no,  and that I will need to adjust things that come before, during, and after the scene to make it really clinch.

However, let me just say, it was EXTREMELY WEIRD to feel both the relief and satisfaction of having completed The Scene and the sadness and anguish for the characters and the turmoil they are now in.  I’m not a writer who cackles gleefully or otherwise enjoys putting characters through a difficult time, so…WEIRD.

~

In any case, my other bit of news is that I’m on track for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m working on revising the fairy tale I’ve chosen to be my sequel to Persinette.

campnanowrimoApril2018

The fairy tale is 96 old book pages, and I’m retranslating/revising another 30 of them this month.

~

If you want to check out my novel’s first chapter, join my fiction mailing list.

If you want to support my fairy tale and folktale translations, see my patreon.

Till next time!~


2017 in Review

wipwordcountdec2017

(Screenshot from “Sandbox project” on myWriteClub as of Dec 28, 2017)

This is going to be brief because there’s a lot going on this holiday season, but this year I –

  • Added ~100k to my novel project
  • Took “The Dragon’s Gift” novelette through more revisions, with the serious/experimental goal of publication. Tested out Scrivener e-book compiler and started learning Jutoh compiler.
  • Launched a fiction newsletter
  • Cleaned up and retooled my patreon for 2018
  • Alpha/beta-read several projects
  • Started drawing and painting again
  • Focused on health and healing, and added swimming and battodo to my exercise repertoire

“The Dragon’s Gift” – is an actual gift!

inktober0116

I’m going on an adventure!  Would you like to come along?

I’ve been kind of hush-hush about my fiction over the past few years, but I’ve decided it’s time to step out into the world again and start sharing.  I’m launching a newsletter for my fiction.

My fiction newsletter will have loads of sneak peaks condensed into a four-part welcome series, including but not limited to:

  • a dragon friendship tale e-book
  • the first chapter of my folklore-inspired novel work-in-progress
  • not to mention the novel’s title (besides “sandbox project” >.>)
  • and current cover
  • and what folklore inspired it
  • and probably an exclusive folktale retelling….

Yikes, that’s a lot of insider info.  I’m actually kind of daunted to share, but I think it’s time.  And what better way for you to get to know what I’m like as a writer?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Sign up for my fiction newsletter and get a copy of “The Dragon’s Gift” e-book. (Link deleted)

(Newsletter sign-up now closed for revisions and a change of material. Thanks to all those who signed up and took a chance and a curious peek!)

 


Gods, Witches, Space & Stars (+bonus short story)

Back in 2011 when I started this blog, I named it “Gods, Witches, Space & Stars” as an encapsulating summary of the type of stories I was working on at the time: switching back and forth between what I called my “Gods & Witches” secondary fantasy world and some science fiction.

I first created my “Gods & Witches” world in 2009 for Brandon Sanderson’s SF&F writing class.  As part of that class, we were to begin a whole new writing project rather than continue working on any pet projects.  So, I began a Rapunzel-inspired story set in a secondary world of–you guessed it–gods and witches, where “gods” had creation magic and “witches” had destruction magic.  The repercussions for using their magic were inspiring awe, reverence, and a compulsion to worship or follow (gods) or inspiring intense fear and hatred in anyone in the vicinity to the point of their wanting to kill you (witches).  There’s a bit more to it than that, but my idea was to take folkloric trends and human tendencies and press down on them, exaggerate them, or make them a bit more concrete and a bit less abstract.

I ended up writing something like 76k of the first book of my planned duology (The Witch’s Tower (Rapunzel retelling) / God’s Arrows (Cupid & Psyche retelling))  before running into several problems I was unequipped to solve at the time.

One, The Witch’s Tower was far bleaker and more tragic a story than I actually wanted to write.  And although I retooled the ending and overall arc several times to make it lighter or more hopeful, I kept running into the fact that although I mentally wanted to write something more uplifting, I emotionally couldn’t.  Frankly, I was carrying too much emotional baggage from my own life that I needed to confront, work through, and heal in order to be able to write anything else.  Writers write from our hearts and our subconscious as well as our minds, after all.

Two, even though I’d been writing collaboratively with friends for over a decade by this point, I had comparatively little experience crafting plots solo.  The 76k I’d written barely scratched the surface of the story I wanted to tell, and I was frustrated by its lack of substance.  I wasn’t sure at the time if this was due to my intense love of long-story formats or if I simply didn’t know what I was doing.  I suspected it was more the latter, (although frankly it’s probably both).

It was really hard for me to reach the decision to set the world and these stories aside, however I don’t regret it.  I spent the next several years experimenting with and learning from short fiction, from 1k one-offs to my 44k novella.  I won’t say that I’m a master of plotting now, but I’m increasing my ability to tell if my pace is a plot problem that needs solving or if I simply need to go ahead and indulge my love of wandering through character and worlds.

Then in 2014, my friends at World Weaver Press did a #SFFLunch Twitter chat on my birthday and I jokingly suggested they create a dragon anthology for me.  Aaaand they agreed! Haha, I’m still highly entertained and pleased by this.

After looking at the worlds and stories I had to hand to see where I might craft a dragon story to submit, I eyed my Gods & Witches world and characters and realized that allowing the mentor-figure of The Witch’s Tower to encounter a dragon in her backstory would set her on a much less lonely, wearying, tragic path.  It would also unravel a good deal of the resulting situation and plot I’d written out in that 76k, and sort of create a “what if something else had happened” alternate direction.

In other words, if I wrote a dragon-and-girl friendship romance story with this character in this world, I could not only practice my plotting, but I’d create much more light and hope and a greater potential for happiness within my own inner worlds.  It felt like a much more suitable way to say goodbye.

I took up the challenge; I wrote the story.  I saved it a couple years to submit to the anthology, but unfortunately due to a few things the anthology never got off the ground.

However, I’ve also sought help and feedback on the story sporadically over the years, and I’ve learned a lot from my experiences revising. From cutting a scene on one reader’s feedback, to putting it back in with a different approach on the very next reader’s feedback, revising this story has given me a lot to think about concerning what’s right or wrong in regards to storytelling and the relationship between a writer’s intent and readers’ expectations.  Especially since, in my quest to write a lighter story (despite the protagonist’s difficult past), I originally undercut the protagonist’s emotional arc and made her a bit colorless and the ending weak or difficult to understand.  I’ve definitely grappled a lot with the balance of dark and light in this story.  We will see what impact my revisions have made.

Now it’s time to share it with the world and move on to the next big adventure: another world, another novel that’s now well over 100k and pleasing me much more.

I should probably change the name of my blog to something more suitable to what I’m writing currently, but first, my announcement!

I’m giving away this story, “The Dragon’s Gift, Once Given” for free to start off my new fiction-writing and releases newsletter.  The story clocks in at roughly 12k, right between short and long, haha.  I’m still happy with how I wrote their relationship.  A dragon with a sense of humor? Check!

Enjoy! 🙂

~~

Click to sign up for my fiction newsletter and receive a copy of “The Dragon’s Gift.”  (Link deleted.  Now no longer on offer as a freebie. Thanks to all those who were interested!)


100k & WIP Thoughts

I recently hit 100k on my current novel WIP and also passed the 2 year mark for how long I’ve been working on it, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to talk a bit about it. (As I write this, I’m really tired/worn out, so be prepared for a somewhat dry entry, but here goes?)

Before I talk about the novel WIP, I should say – if you’re curious about when Persinette‘s sequel Fairer will be ready, I’ve been holding off on touching its second draft until this novel’s rough draft is done.  Whether or not that’s entirely a smart idea I’m not sure, but I’d really really like to finish the rest of this novel draft in one go then use Fairer‘s second draft as a break between novel revisions.  The two stories also complement each other thematically in a way that pleases me, so if I can release them more or less together, that’d be cool.

Okay, now to talk about this novel WIP journey.

2015 was a rough year for me, so starting a new novel in January, beginning its draft in April for Camp NaNoWriMo and completing its first chapter (among other things) was super comforting.  I kept moving forward in the story over the course of that summer but eventually had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t know the protagonists nearly well enough yet to feel comfortable continuing.  At the point I stopped, I think I’d written something like 5 or 6 chapters (I write long chapters, so between 50-60k?) before I realized I’d taken the story on a path that just…did not feel right at all and I didn’t have the equipment to fix it.  (Generally when I work well in a story, it’s because I’ve known the characters for longer than a few months.)  So I wrote a few more side/prequel short stories, exploring the characters, the world, and the…flavor–for a lack of a better way to put it–in more depth.

I was more or less successful with these?  The short stories took a lot longer to “get right” than I’d been expecting, and I sought a lot of help with one of the stories in particular.  I have no idea how effective or appealing they are as short stories since I’ve gone over them a bajillion times, but writing them accomplished what I set out to do, at least.  I know the characters a lot better now than I did at the start.

Midway through 2016, I paused in my efforts on figuring things out to move States.  I also took a break from frustrating short stories/novel to translate a few folktales, finish the translation rough draft of Fairer and dabble in a paranormal murder mystery for a while before I eventually got stuck on that too (haha >.>).

But! Getting stuck again forced me to reevaluate my priorities.  I decided that I really really wanted to see what I could accomplish with this novel project, if I could pull it off, etc, now that I knew the characters better.  So, after reevaluating, I ditched almost half of what I’d previously written and restarted there from scratch.

I’m now in the midst of drafting a whole new section of the story, carving a path through barely-charted territory.  I just used this year’s April Camp NaNoWriMo to help me add another 10k to the draft even through the midst of some really difficult personal-life things.  Ironically, this most recent chapter went the wrong direction again, but I caught it early!  So I ditched what I had, let the problem simmer, spent a day picking apart what went wrong and brainstorming fixes, and I’m about to dive in to start its replacement.

I’m not going to predict how long it will take me to finish this novel’s rough draft.  I don’t want to set anyone’s expectations, especially my own, especially since working on it isn’t my top priority in my day-to-day life.  My healing journey comes first, and this is just an appendage to that.   But the cool thing is that even though I’m slow enough to be writing only about 150k or so in two years at this pace, it took me four years to complete my 44k novella, so this is a vast improvement in my story-construction pace and really encouraging to me.  It’s not nearly the speed I wish I could go, but it’s still encouraging.

The one prediction I feel I can make at this juncture, however, is that even though 100k is a traditional novel’s length or longer–um.  Well.  I have a feeling this story is going to be at least ~200k.  I’m currently rereading the Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Höst which is nominally three books but in my head is one book just split into three convenient parts, especially since I bought them lumped together in an omnibus.  (350k in total? Something like that).  And I adored reading 400k-a-pop monstrosities as a teen.  I love detail and exploration and character and sinking my teeth into story.  Sooooo, yes.  We’ll see what this draft produces. >.>

I do intend on coming back to the paranormal murder mystery eventually.  That one I predict will be much shorter than this WIP, too, and might make for a conveniently-sized palate cleanser or dessert.

If you want to stay informed with my (albeit very sporadic) updates, feel free to subscribe to my blog posts on the upper right side of this page.  I’ll have a proper newsletter for my fiction up and ready later this year or early next, but meanwhile that’s probably the best way to stay informed.  Or, if you’re here to learn about my fairy tale translation e-book releases, there’s a newsletter just for that, as well.

Updates will remain sporadic for the foreseeable future.  But rest assured that my silence means I’m focusing my creative efforts on becoming healthy and crafting good stories.  I haven’t disappeared. 🙂

 

 


#1lineWed

This is a writing blog, but I haven’t done much talking about my writing lately.  So I thought I’d share some writing-related snippets from my Twitter account, whether that be a super short story:

Or community-themed lines from my current work-in-progress:

(You can tell I was trying to take advantage of the 140 character limit, because all of these quotes are about the same sentence structure, haha. )

(Oh look, a snippet from the prequel:)

I keep surprising myself by how often I associate the #1lineWed theme word with a rather gruesome subject. Check out my use of “fresh”:

Otherwise, I’m continuing my trend of not discussing my projects in any detail until they’re done.  This mitigates the pressure somewhat. But I do occasionally share sideways snippets about what’s happening with it. Whatever I feel comfortable sharing usually ends up on Twitter:

Till next time! 🙂


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