Yesterday, Jodie Llewellyn asked the question Writing wise, what have you accomplished this year? She posts a couple of questions like this a week, questions that really make you think about what you’re doing, how, and why. So, here’s some of my progress for the year, along with plans for writing over the next few months.
On 1 January, I started writing the first draft of “Light’s Bane,” intended as the second book in the Daughters of the People series. There are multiple plot lines, including the romance between the main characters and threads for the overall story. The biggest challenge so far has been in making everything fit into the timeline established in The Prophecy, since the first part of LB takes place concurrently with the ending scenes of The Prophecy. If you’re interested in seeing where LB is headed, there’s a preview at the end of the first book.
I’ve really enjoyed writing LB, but it feels like it’s taking forever to finish, in part because I haven’t been able to write every day. I’ve also spent less time writing per day than I did while working on the first draft of The Prophecy. To counter that, I’ve tried to adjust my writing time, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds since I write by scenes and not word or page counts.
At any rate, I should have the first draft finished pretty soon. I’m aiming for 80K words, but the closer I get to the end, the more I think it’ll come out closer to 75K words, which is fine. There are a few gaps in the first draft that I need to fill in, such as details I deliberately left blank (to keep from distracting myself with research) and some fine tuning on transitions. Once the first draft is finished, I’m putting it aside to let it simmer while I work on another project or two. I’ve tentatively scheduled “Light’s Bane” for publication in mid-June of this year.
While “Light’s Bane” is simmering and waiting for its first good edit, I hope to begin writing a short story/novella called “A Higher Purpose.” It’s a paranormal(ish) romance not set in the DotP world, and it’s definitely not Christian or inspirational fiction. I know, the title makes it sound like that, but it’s not.
I started AHP a couple of years ago on an idea I had that’s now been done a couple of times by other authors. I’m not really worried about that. As a reader, it’s not the originality of the idea that hooks me, but how the author executes the story. I’m hoping other readers will feel the same way.
AHP is still in the development stage, but I will share that it’s set in Cullowhee, North Carolina, near Western Carolina University. A second, unrelated short story/novella I’d like to work on later this year, with the working title “Welcome,” is also set in Cullowhee. Writing these stories will give my mind a much-needed break from the DotP series.
Two Other Series
Speaking of series, I’m working on world-building and developing background for two other series. One might be set in the Boone, N.C. area. I’m not quite ready to share the details on that one, but stories in this series will also be paranormal(ish) romances. I’ve drawn up a tentative writing schedule (subject to change, according to the whims of enthusiasm) and have scheduled writing the first story in the series for June 2014.
Another series I’ve been developing (for a couple of years, actually) is a vampire series. I know, I know. Not another vampire romance series *yawn*. I promise, I’ll work on this until it’s different from pretty much anything else that’s now on the market. Trust me. I have ideas. But, this is still very much in the early development stage, much less far along than any of my other writing hopefuls.
The problem with being a frustrated writer is that, over time, you think up a lot of good story ideas that sit in a box, a notebook, or your head, but never get written because you can’t finish anything. Well, now that I’ve figured out how to finish stuff, all those ideas are coming out of the woodwork and pestering me at inconvenient moments. Plus, I’m a Watson, which is to say that we’re a creative bunch anyway, so the ideas never really stop. So, yes, I have tons of ideas I’d like to develop into workable stories. You might be surprised to hear that not all of them are paranormal(ish) romances. There’s a project near and dear to my heart that I’ll likely produce under my own name as historical faction. (Yes, based on a true story!) There’s a trilogy of Southern humorous fiction I’d like to write, and a chick lit with paranormal elements (also, genealogy and history).
And then there’s the non-fiction. In addition to writing articles for the newsletter I edit (because I’m desperate for material; if you’re interested in writing non-fiction genealogy/history articles, give me a buzz), I’d like to work on an article that’s continues my findings on the ancestry of Nettie (Alford) Jamerson. The first in that series laid out the proofs connecting Nettie to her parents (“Georgia’s Poor School and Academy Lists: An Upson County Case Study,” Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly 49 (Fall 2013): 207-215). The second article will focus on reconstructing the family of Nettie’s mother, Amanda (Jenkins) (Alford) Ansley, and will likely take the family back to their South Carolina roots.
I’m also (loosely and when I have time) pursuing genealogical credentials through the Board for Certification of Genealogists, which means I’ll be writing, at a minimum, a case study/methodology and a three- to four-generation narrative genealogy. I’ve actually started outlining and writing portions of both, but have been held up for months on the latter because I need to visit the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh to retrieve some records. Same goes for the article I’ve started on the parentage of Amy (Nichols) Ledford for, I hope, one of the upper-tier academic genealogy journals; have to go to Raleigh before I can finish the earlier generations.
And, of course, I’ve had a request for another newspaper book (the first was Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894-1899) and would like to finish compiling transcriptions of 19th century poor school records for North Georgia counties that I’ve been working on. And the slave importation affidavits for Richmond County, Georgia, and…
Gee. With this to-do list, I guess I should be working instead of writing on my blog, eh?
Seriously, though, all things in good time. As I mentioned before, I’ve laid out a tentative writing schedule, fiction only because the non-fiction is written either in my spare time (Humor. Har.) or on an as-needed basis. Right now, I use my bed as a platform and write late at night (usually beginning about 9 p.m. and continuing until 2 a.m., if it’s going well). I’m considering shifting my writing time to afternoons in an effort to get more done, but to do that, I have to find another place to write besides my desk in Richard’s law office. If the phone isn’t ringing, people are coming in and out, and, of course, it makes me very accessible to both Richard and my home-schooled son (who is old enough to direct his own education now, with some supervision). All that activity combined with easy Internet access, which I don’t have at home, or mostly not, makes it really difficult to focus on any task.
There are other considerations I won’t go into, but now that I’ve broken the previously insurmountable wall with constructing fictional narratives, it’s unlikely I’ll stop writing as long as the ideas keep flowing. Whether I’ll continue publishing those stories or not is another matter, dependent entirely upon whether or not I can attract readers. But that’s a story for another day.