Category Archives: WIP

New Books on the way

Exciting news as I have signed a new contract with Bookouture for a further two books. Both of these will be standalones and I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you.

The first book is out in March next year, with the second to follow in September.

They are both a little different and both stories that I have wanted to write for ages. Real books of the heart. Also the first, which I refer to as Foxfield, is a cautionary tale on never giving up on a book you love. I wrote a version of it a few years ago but the market was not there for it at the time. It was a young adult book, on the younger end of the age range. When I spoke to my lovely editor Ellen about it she saw the possibilities and the rewrite is underway as we speak, no longer young adult and with a darker, more adult tone.

It always pays to remember in publishing it only takes one yes, and some books take just that little bit longer, and perhaps a few adjustments, to find its place.

I’m so happy to be able to say that Foxfield is going to finally make its way out into the world in a new and even more exciting form.

Bookouture re-sign Thorne and Josselsohn

Why brain, why?

So first off – news! I will be signing at Dublin Comic Con as a guest of Dublin 2019. I don’t know all the details yet but I will share as soon as I can. There will be free books. Yes, free! But not that many so come early.

I’ve been on a bit of a break. And well… this always happens. I’m not complaining but it’s rather interesting that it always happens and it’s always around the same time into any sort of break.

I have just finished the final proofs for A Darkness at the End (out 12th September, preorder now, YAY!). I have handed over the first draft of the latest WIP to my first reader (aka my charming husband – yes I might be buttering him up but it’s true). I have a stack of books to read that is probably taller than I am. It’s been building up for ages. I’m almost finished one. A whole almost one.

So why WHY is this always the moment when my brain goes “Ooooh, do you know what would be cool?” and “Remember that old WIP we abandoned ages ago? I wonder where that notebook went?” and of course, the ever famous and helpful “PLOTBUNNIES!!!”

Yes, that. Three days into any self declared break.

No way brain. I am at least finishing the book I am already reading.

Anyone else’s brain work like this?

Silence…

Sorry for the silence (or maybe sorry for breaking your peace and quiet).

Book 3 has now been handed in to my wonderful editor. It’s called A Darkness at the End and it’s the third Dubh Linn book. I will now stop tormenting those poor characters. Sort of. Eventually.

Maybe.

I’m puttering away on some other projects and generally working hard, so I’m going to be quiet for a bit longer. But I am still here.

Oh except for when I go to Eastercon next month.

 

Editing dilemmas

So I started my read through of the first draft of book 3 and was delighted to discover that it doesn’t actually appear to be as terrible as I had thought it would be. This is usually the case, but its always a relief to see that.

Phew!

The other thing that occurred to me were some common editing a first draft dilemmas so I thought I would post them here (I tweeted them this morning). So here we go:

  • no. 1 – do I fix it now or wait until I’ve read through the whole thing?
  • no. 2 – this doesn’t make sense now but it might in a couple of chapters *crossesfingers*
  • no. 3 – did I forget about this bit or deliberately change it later?
  • no.4 – Am I missing a scene in this section?
  • no.5 – I wrote this character out. Why are they here?
  • no. 6 – This whole thing does not need THIS MANY CHARACTERS! (I added this one this evening)

There are many many more, no doubt. I may try to documents some more, but if you can think of any, let me know.

And yes, I am procrastinating.

Back to work.

Backups and researchiness

First of all I want to give thanks to Dropbox.

I work out of my dropbox folder these days and thank goodness I do. At the end of my last round of edits I decided to read through the completed file on my tablet, which in its infinite Androidy wisdom (NOT) decided it should strip out every quotation mark, apostrophe, dash and ellipsis from the entire file.

I’ll just give that a moment to sink in…

Every. Single. One.

I discovered it on Sunday morning. The edits were due on Monday.

Yes. There was screaming. There was crying. There was a bit of throwing myself about on the stairs and on the sofa. My children frantically made tea and brought me crisps and hot wings sauce to dip them in. The dog hid. I suspect my husband my have contemplated just staying upstairs and locking some doors. He didn’t. He’s good that way.

No, he was the one who kept the level head and pointed out that you can get the previous versions of files on the Dropbox website. Which I did. And all was good. All I lost were a couple of bookmarks I’d made on the errant tablet version of the document. It took about an hour to fix it. Once I’d calmed down.

So great was the relief, and what did we learn?

Always always always keep multiple backups, preferably with iterations of files. Whether you use something like Dropbox or not. Do not save anything on my tablet. Ever. (Yours might be perfectly well behaved). Keep a level head and remember what safeguards you have put in place. Dropbox.

And when I freak out bring me tea and crisps and hide. Blue cheese is also good.

Phew. It was a nightmare. But the edits went in on time. It’s only taken me about three weeks to recover and write this down. The next round are due next week.

Backups, kids. We love them!

I learned something else today. I say learned but I already knew it. It is this: I am not be trusted in the library with my library card and research books. Exhibit A

DSC_0587 (1024x768)

 

 

 

But um… yes… one of these things is not like the others…

Roll on 2014

So in the midst of all the writing, and the watching of Doctor Who and Sherlock, 2014 arrived.

I’m pretty excited about 2014, as my new YA series starts this year with A Crack in Everything coming out in the autumn. I am working away on the sequel at the moment A Hollow in the Hills and it’s starting to come together (slowly… see above re Doctor Who and Sherlock).

And there will be some more news soon. Oh yes there will.

In the meantime, here is an interview I did with Deirdre from Dublin City Libraries in which I talk about libraries, writing, favorite authors & books and pretty much whatever else crosses my mind. As usual. 😀

 

In which things fall apart but come out all right

I’m sitting here surrounded by boxes and the contents of our kitchen, as our kitchen is part-way through renovation. (Kitchen of Doom, as I have dubbed it, although in all seriousness it appears to be going very smoothly and will be lovely when finished.)

It got me thinking about workmanship, and that part of writing which is getting down to it, doing the work, and fixing it if everything goes wrong. Not that the kitchen has gone wrong. But it is currently stripped back as far as it can possibly go. Pipes and wires and holes in the floor stripped back.

Everything went wrong with the WIP. Well, sort of. And not actually everything. It was one of those moments, 25k words in when you go “oooooh, those characters don’t work like that. They’ll work like this.”  But getting them to work like “this” means going right back to the beginning. Yes, from almost a third of the way into the book. As in back to 2k words right at the beginning. It sounds like the end of the world, doesn’t it?

But actually, strangely (and writers’ brains, as you probably know, are very strange places), it turned out to be a MASSIVE relief. When I tell people they look at me as if I’m about to cry and they’ll need to get out a mop and bucket, and maybe find some sedatives. It probably disturbs them more therefore when I laugh, kind of manically, and any “no! It’s brilliant! I couldn’t be happier!”

Because I know what’s up with the main characters now. Their conflict is right there for me. I know its source, I know their emotions, and I finally know where we’re going.

That 23k isn’t lost. I’ll still be able to do something with it, use parts of it etc. Since I made this change I’ve gone from eeking out 500k wordcounts to 1400k the other day. It’s exhilerating.

Which brings me back to workmanship (by a roundabout route). If the basic underlying structure of something isn’t right, you’ve got to strip it right back to the foundations and start again. Even if it hurts. Even if there’s such a long way back to go.

It’s so SO much better in the end.

I Aten’t dead

So I’m writing again. Very very slowly. I’m not sure why (apart from a lot of non-writerly things going on in real life at the moment, which to be honest probably account for both this and the level of exhaustion I’m combatting). But BUT I am writing, there are words going onto the page and they are (mostly) moving forward. Except for that one day when I wrote 600 and deleted about 1000. 🙁 Those days happen too.

At the moment I am aiming for 500 words a day. It isn’t very much but I’m working on the theory that any number of words is a positive thing and if I go over the 500 that’s extra-amazing. I’m also working on getting the feel of the book and the characters right.

I have tried plotting. And I keep my “plot” as an overall guideline but basically I know the beginning and the end, maybe a couple of things I want to include and the characters. Everything else is a grey area. Anything can happen. I think I know what I want to happen next but on the other hand it’s entirely possible the characters will turn around and go “Nah, I’m off to do this instead.” It has happened before and I know without a doubt that it will happen again. This is what writers mean when they talk about the voices in their heads or the characters feeling real to them. The subconscious storyteller often heads off in more interesting directions.

Another thing about this story is that it is the second in a series, the first being “A Crack in Everything” which is coming out next year, so part of the process is to reread that first. It has been a while and it’s becoming something of a voyage of discovery, reintroducing myself to these characters who I adore. While at the same time they frustrate me, defy me, talk back to me and generally sass each other.

For example I wrote about 500 words yesterday of a brother winding up a sister while eating a steak sandwich with extra mustard. Will it stay in the book? Probably not. But it was important for me, as the writer, because I was right in the minds of those two characters, could see what made them tick, how they felt about each other and most of all his sense of humour. I’m not even sure it will be important in the long run – they aren’t major characters – but it was fun.

Writing is about exploration of character as much as storytelling. It’s about getting yourself right inside the mind of another being and having a look around. But you arent’ some kind of puppet-master. If I try to make my characters do something they don’t want to, they come out dull and flat. If I let them show me what they want to do, if I go along for the ride, then I learn a whole lot more.

So that’s where I am at the moment. Still here.

To quote Granny Weatherwax….

IAtentdead_finished

Loughcrew – the research trip that wasn’t

So I promised to post about Loughcrew, or the stop off on our journey home from Ashford Castle where we did this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rather important scene in my WIP is set in the Hag’s Cairn on Slieve na Cailleach (Loughcrew), and so I kindly suggested, as it was a lovely day and we were travelling along a completely different road, wouldn’t it be nice to take a detour and visit it. For fun. Because I’m like that. All about fun. And not about research at all. OH NO. NO RESEARCH INVOLVED HERE. *ahem*

Continue reading Loughcrew – the research trip that wasn’t

So, where am I? – a waffly post of waffle

Well, at home on the sofa to be honest.

With the writing? Well, that’s a different story.

THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS is all finished. Another full manuscript is making its way out into the world shortly, plus a proposal. And my lovely agent has something else.

So I am writing new things. Without totally focusing on just one. Where’s the fun in that? I currently have:

The Library Book – I’ve been talking about this one for a long time and it’s finally coming together, for now.  I wouldn’t have the greatest belief that this will continue. This one is elusive.

The Brittany Book – I got the idea for this one on last year’s holiday and this year it went ballistic while I was over there. Loads of ideas, a plot, various scenes. Nothing that coherent though. I’ve jotted it all down longhand and (probably next year when I go again) it’s many plotbunnies will ambush me again.

The Space Opera – there’s quite a bit of this, but it has stalled for the moment. Still ticking away in the background though. It does that.

The thing is when I write it isn’t a start middle finish sort of thing. Never has been. It comes in fits and starts, I get ideas out of order and jumbled up. Sometimes I have to write longhand to get hold of the story, sometimes that’s just too slow.  The old cliche is that books are like children, and in a sense they are. In that no two children are ever the same, nor is exactly the same approach correct for every one. And no matter what they put you through, you keep at them. Sometimes it just takes a bit more time.

Life has been getting rather hectic again, but I’m trying to put some things in place to deal with that. I’m involved with Irish Pen (not on any great level, but I’m there). There are lots of family things going on (dentists! Lots of visits to dentists! The horror.) and of course I’m still working full time. Octocon is coming up fast (15 days or so – *SQUEE* – if you’re there, say Hi!). Before that there’s an awesome Writing for Children night run by Irish Pen in the Irish Writers’ Centre. After that (when we’ve recovered) we’re off to Ashford Castle for a Harry Potter Night. All very exciting. And tiring.

But writing has to fit in around this. What’s the point in writing if you don’t have a life? But equally I’d be a basket case if I couldn’t write. So evenings and weekends have to adapt, and notebooks have to be carried around.

Speaking of notebooks – this is my 12th wedding anniversary present. Just right for notes on the Library Book, don’t you think?

So, that’s where I am, in a general, spiritual and bibliographical sense. Busy, but happy, determined to write more, and trying not to think about submissions. In a nutshell, business as usual. 🙂