One WIP? Or many?

One of the interesting things about authors is how we’re all different. Some of us are plotters, some pantsers, and a large percentage are in between. Some write every day. Some don’t. Some have rituals or a special place to write, while others can write anywhere, anywhen.

And some of us can only work on one project at a time.

I’ve never been one of those writers. I’ve always been able to have three or four WIPs going, save when I was under a real deadline crush. In fact, for me that makes it easier.  If I’m having trouble working on WIP1, then I open WIP2 and tinker with that for a while. A lot of the time, that shakes loose whatever was bothering me about WIP1.

Recently I’ve had 3 WIPs going: After the War, The Horn, and The Sins of the Fathers. 

(I actually have opened a few other files in this time, mostly on weekends, just for fun. Sometimes we need to do ‘fun’ writing just to remind ourselves why we do this.)

But my point is that this strange way of working is what works for me.


After the War is due to be out later this summer, which means I need to get that last section finished, and then get it out to my editor. I’ve even got a cover commissioned for it, due to me about June 15th.  Now, this is a Portugal story involving Serafina Palmeira and Alejandro Ferreira.point_of_no_return3_by_faestock

(This is the -likely- picture we’ll be using–via Faestock on DeviantArt–for the cover…the rights belong to that artist.)


But it’s recently been The Horn and The Sins of the Fathers that have taken up most of my time.

The Sins of the Fathers (name may change) is the sequel to Dreaming Death, starting only a month later than the end of that novel. Now, this was primarily concerned with the problems caused by Shironne’s father, Mikael’s father, and to a lesser extent, Deborah’s. Hence the name.

However, the edits on the first book killed off Shironne’s father before the first book happened. He was supposed to die slowly and painfully in the first half of Book 2. Removing him also removed a lot of the issues with Mikael’s father, so…I’m having to rewrite Book 2.  This happens sometimes.

On balance, I’m okay with the changes, but it means that as I was rewriting the sequel, the murder in it seemed to work less and less, making the plot weaker and weaker. Unfortunately, how to fix that problem has eluded me for for quite a while. I’ve been spinning my wheels writing it because it just seemed…wrong.

But working on The Horn provided an answer in a very different way.

I’ve been working on that, a series of novellas set elsewhere in Larossa shortly before the events of Dreaming Death (early summer-fall).  The events of the two story lines eventually tie together.So it was of direct benefit to me to have parts of The Horn solid in my head and written down.

But while I was hunting and pecking through my old files for a spare bit of text (I really need to get in there and rename all those old files because their current names are gibberish) I ran across an old Mikael/Shironne story about a murder that…

Well, I’d never finished that 2005 story. I probably got busy with something else and never got back to it. But suddenly I had in my hands the answer to my problem with TSotF.  I could swap out the short story’s murder for the problematic one in the book. A bunch of names had changed, but  the short story was set right after the book, so there wasn’t much time or age difference.

And suddenly I knew how to fix the broken part of TSotF. I am in the process of stripping out the old murder and working in the new. I’m re-outlining the book, as much as I do outlining. And everything is moving again.

Such a relief.

The point to all of that being: For me, working on more than one project at a time is helpful.  Not true for everyone, but for me, it pays.


Does that work for you? Or are you a ‘one project at a time’ writer?



Tag! The writing process blog tour

I was tagged by Patrice Sarath for the Writing Process blog tour. So here’s about me and my process.

What Am I Working On?

Well, I’m supposed to be working on my read-through of Dreaming Death‘s 0 draft, but I found myself working instead on the Rafael novella (I really need to come up with a name for that thing.) instead, actually contemplating carting the paper version around with me when I go to the UK. Sounds insane. And heavy. But I might just do it anyway.

The Rafael novella is concurrent with Book 3, The Shores of Spain, and I’ll be putting it out in ebook format by next summer. It’s a nice little story (I admit it–it’s mostly Romance) about Rafael Pinheiro, Duilio and Joaquim’s cousin.  I need to add a few scenes, and do a bunch of primping, but it’s pretty much written at this point.

How Does My Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?

I think partially because I tend to straddle genres. That makes my stuff a bit harder to market. It also gets treated dismissively by some SF authors who find the Romance elements off-putting–or dislike that it’s not fantasy enough for their tastes. But I read fantasy, romance, and mystery, so I end up with elements of all of them.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Because these are the stories running around in my head and I have to get them out.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

The weird thing? I’ve been writing for publication for almost a decade now, and my process is still rather fluid. Yes, I write out outlines. Then I start writing and may–or may not–stick with the outline. Sometimes nothing from the outline makes it into the final product. Sometimes the story just tamely lets me write it as outlined. And I often don’t know which it will be…

I wish I had a better answer.

Thanks for tagging me, Patrice! I hereby tag Rebecca Roland and Rhonda Eudaly for their writing process. (If you have time, ladies.)


Publication Process: Drafts

Not everyone does this the same way, but for me, editing from a hard copy is best.

Here’s what I printed out Monday: The 0 draft of Dreaming Death.
dreaming death 0 draft

Now I call this the 0 draft because that’s how many people I’m willing to let look at it. Not even my husband gets to read this draft. Not my agent, and certainly not my editor, who would be aghast that anything comes out this bad.

Generally a 0 draft is about 75% the length of the final for me. I have to go back in and ADD description, setting details, and basically check to make that the POVs are consistent. (In this case, I have a special issue: one of the POV characters is blind. So if I have her describing how something looks, I definitely have to fix that!)

In this case, I’m working the other way. I”m at 145K, when I should be closer to 110K.

My editor wanted some material added to the front of the story line, so I’ll be cutting on the other end. Basically, I’ll be eliminating one murder and one character. That should make a huge difference for word count.

But I also need to rethink all my naming schemes for this novel. In other words, I may change a bunch of character names. Fortunately, I’m not one of those writers who freaks out over that. (Yes, I do have some I wish I could keep, but I may not be able to come up with a convincing argument to do so–the person I have to convince is me, BTW.)

And so this step–the Post 0 Draft Edit–is a vastly important one for me. I’ll probably even work up a new outline for the book, and may rearrange some scenes. But this one will be predominantly done on paper….because that’s what seems to work for me. ;o)


Random News: I have a release date now for The Shores of Spain, mid July of 2015.  It’s probably not a hard date, but that’s the best I have for now.

Sorry it has to be so far away, but I will be releasing a novella set in the same world in between now and then, I hope before Christmas. This will be the story about  Rafael Pinheiro, wherein we discover that, among other things, he plays football and actually likes Tripas à moda do Porto.