Tuesday, June 24, 2008

That Worked

The first half of the final battle scene in Shifts works. So does the beginning of the new Brenna book. Now if the Moxie and I can just figure out how and where to stage our annual writing retreat for the 4th of July weekend, we'll be set for great things.

In the meantime, I've been extremely distracted by Stacia Kane's urban fantasy, Personal Demons. It didn't hurt that she wrote it in third person. It also didn't hurt that one of my favorite characters is a lot like Cole Turner in Charmed. Yep, way too distracting.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Now I See

I finally figured out what's wrong with the final battle scene I've been trying to write. I started in the right place, but then it took a left turn and a couple of crucial things didn't happen. Aggravating as it might be with the next Moxie meeting taking place tomorrow, I have to go back to the place where the thing went wrong (or didn't, as the case might be) and re-do the scene from that point.

I don't have to lose much, as I hadn't gotten far from that point, but I do have to lose some. That's okay, though. I need closure on this book, and it's so close I can almost see the whites of its eyes. If I have to backtrack a little in order to move forward, that's what I'll do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beginnings and Endings

I couldn't help myself. I've been working on the crucial last scenes of Shifts of Perception, but the second Brenna book, Bridget's Forge, was too tempting to leave alone. So I worked over the first chapter I'd already written and came up with a different opening, based on some concepts I'd been studying from Les Edgerton's book, Hooked.

It's the typical next-book-in-a-series conundrum: how much backstory can you get away with so as to orient the reader to what's going on and how the character got to where she is right now--without going into so much backstory that the inciting incident is shoved off into Chapter Two? Fortunately, Mr. Edgerton covers all the prerequisites of a good opening chapter in his book. No matter what backstory you might need later, the inciting incident had better be as close to the beginning of the book as possible; given that, whether you're on book two or thirteen shouldn't really matter. A boring opening is a boring opening, full stop. And that's just what the reader will do if you can't hook them right away--stop. Exactly what you don't want to have happen. So I re-worked the opening I had and put the inciting incident much closer to the beginning of the book, and...we'll see.

So I've been working on a beginning and an ending. Two different books, two different worlds, on two sides of the timeline. It may look like a circle, but I think it qualifies as progress.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thriller Weekend

The Boise chapter of Parners in Crime put on the 2008 Murder in the Grove conference this weekend. It's a small conference, but a good one. This year, rather than a focus on Mystery as the primary subject, the theme was about Thrillers and the combination of Mystery and Thriller. There was a writers' class on Friday, and then various regular conference classes on Saturday. J.A. Jance attended and was the keynote speaker at lunch. She also spoke at the multi-author booksigning at the Boise Barnes and Noble on Friday evening.

Another year, another good local conference. You can always apply concepts from thrillers and mysteries to Urban Fantasy, so the classes are worthwhile. But it would be nice to attend a conference or convention that deals specifically with Fantasy. I may try to go to Orycon later this year in Portland Oregon; Orycon is a Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention. While it isn't just for writers, it's always full of relevant classes, panels and readings, and I've always enjoyed it whenever I've gone.

I guess the best part of our local conference was the fact that I didn't have to be "on", and could just sit in classes and soak up whatever information I could while not stressing out or feeling like I had to stay high-energy and visible the whole time. One of the things I've appreciated over the past few years is not having to go pitch my manuscript to agents. If I haven't come to the end of the steeplechase, at least I'm over the first couple of hurdles.