January 2018 WIP

With Publisher, Awaiting Decision: A retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ tale Snow White for the Rooglewood Press Five Poisoned Apples fairy tale writing contest. Winners will be announced in April. If my story doesn’t win, I’m planning to self-publish it in April or May.

On My Desk: First draft of a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Have to say it: I LOVE this story. (Of course, I’m almost always in love with my stories while I’m drafting them. Once I reach the editing stage (especially final editing): not so much.) (“Who will rid me of this story?”) Current word count: approximately 30,000 with some partial chapters to be fleshed out. If the second draft goes to beta readers early in February, then (allowing time for revisions) I hope to publish this spring.

Top Drawer: While working on The Twelve Dancing Princesses all kinds of ideas for a series (same world, only expanded; same characters, along with new characters) dropped into my head. I’ve drafted an outline for a sequel that retells another tale. Wish I could say with confidence that I’m going to follow some inviolable production schedule and publish it in time for Christmas this year, but – well, things don’t always go as planned. So let’s just say that, in an ideal writing world, that is what I would say.

Middle Drawer: If the fairy tale series (described above) comes together, then I’d like to continue it. Ideas for other adventures keep popping into my brain. Most importantly, I know how the “overarching-series-level plot” ends (in the final volume). We’ll see how it goes!

Bottom Drawer: What is (hopefully) the near-final draft of a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This turned out to be more challenging than I thought it would be! I’m happier with the rewrite than the original draft, but the final third still needs work. After stalling out a few times, I decided to run with Twelve Dancing Princesses instead because the latter is more similar (in many ways) to my Snow White retelling. And if Twelve does become a series, BATB may simmer for a while on the back burner. (Which implies I have a stovetop in my desk – and thus, once again, we must acknowledge the inherently dangerous nature of untamed metaphor.) Current word count: 54,884.

Other Bottom Drawer: Partial first draft of volume two From the Annals of the Dragon Slayer. Current word count: 37,000. I definitely want to get back to this because I hate to leave characters I care about hanging. Wish I could clone myself and work on more than one project at a time!

Trunk in the Attic: Lots of stuff in here, but there’s no point in talking about it now. If all of the above is actually written and published, anything in the trunk probably won’t emerge for at least a couple of years. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t fondly thought of, trunklings!

Of Genrevores and WIP

Ever heard of a genrevore? Maybe not, because <pause to use search engine> I may have just coined it.

My definition of a genrevore: A reader who devours anything and everything published in a particular genre.

When a genrevore turns author, s/he typically writes in the same genre s/he devours. In many instances, s/he is already heavily involved with other genrevores via social media (and/or wikis) and thus has a ready-made audience. And a genrevore author is unlikely to wake up early in the morning with a story from a totally unrelated genre forming on the brain and demanding some attention.

The most well-known examples of successful genrevore authors are romance writers. But authors who are completely dedicated to cozy mysteries, or thrillers, or epic fantasy, etc., also fall into this category, and many have deep back catalogues of stories written within a single genre to prove it.

I’ve never been a genrevore, on two counts. First, I’ve always read widely (cross-genre), and second, I’ve never read everything available in any particular genre. For example, I love fantasy by certain authors, but I’m selective about what fantasy I read (I won’t pick up a book simply because it has a dragon on the cover). So I’m definitely not a fantasy genrevore.

Same goes for scifi. And thrillers. And dystopian. And apocalyptic. And (an odd choice to follow apocalyptic, I know!) cozy mysteries. (I love Ellis Peters, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Sayers, but I won’t read any and every cozy mystery that comes along just because it’s a cozy mystery.)

Establishing a deep back catalogue that will appeal to genrevore readers is a challenge for any author. If the author is not a genrevore, doing so is even more challenging. I’ll admit there are moments when I look at what I’ve published so far – an allegorical novella with fairy tale themes (Strange Country); a retelling of a classic speculative suspense/horror tale (Monster); a classic allegory retold as portal fantasy (Dragon Slave) – and then turn to my WIP notes (spanning everything from fairy tales to zombie apocalypse) and wish I were a true genrevore.

But – I’m not. I yam what I yam, and it is what it is, so for those of you who are curious about what I’m working on now, this is the post you’ve been waiting for. It’s the first week in July, and time for the mid-year Works-in-Progress (WIP) report!

On My Desk: First draft of a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White for the Rooglewood Press writing contest. Current word count: 20,000+ (which means I have some cutting to do, as the word limit is 20,000).

Top Drawer: Second draft of Ami and the Alien (scifi retelling of Beauty and the Beast). Current word count: 63,000. In early spring I received substantial constructive criticism from an insightful, gracious beta reader. I’d just reached a convenient place to pause in making suggested revisions when the Rooglewood Press contest announcement came out. Because Rooglewood is asking contestants to submit entries as soon as possible, I decided to get Snow White out of the way before finishing Beauty.

Middle Drawer: Quite a few things stuffed in this drawer, including:

First draft scenes from a retelling of the tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

First draft scenes from an original fairy tale, which is related to the retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

Beneath the stack of fairy tale stuff is the second draft of a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which I group with Monster as speculative suspense/retold classics). Current word count: 57,000.

Bottom Drawer: Partial first draft of volume two From the Annals of the Dragon Slayer. Current word count: 37,000.

First draft scenes from the first volume in an original fantasy series. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

Trunk in the Attic: First draft scenes from the first volume in a zombie apocalypse series featuring neo-Vikings and a sort of knight errant in the guise of an old lady traveling cross-country in a Winnebago. Current word count: Unknown, as nearly all of it is handwritten.

Phew. That’s it, and that’s quite enough to be getting on with.