Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stretching the Mind...

I mentioned a few posts ago about how a friend, Kella, talked me into participating on this new project she had come up with called Collaborating Chaos. She, some other authors, and I would work together to create a story by writing round robin style. Each week one of us would write a new chapter and post it, and then, eventually, after we felt the story had run its course and all the loose ends were tied up, we would go ahead and end the story. Then we would take a break, wait for our readers to vote on what we should write next, and the chaos would begin again.

This week is my week to update the story, and it's been quite a shock. Not only am I writing in a genre I'm not familiar with, Sci Fi, but I'm also learning to let go.

I'm slowly getting used to writing Sci Fi. I actually read a lot of Star Wars in High School and the earlier Dragonriders of Pern novels have some Sci Fi elements in them. Plus the previous authors for this round have set up just enough bread crumbs for me to use in my chapter.

Learning to let go of what I've done and the characters I have created for this chapter is proving to be harder than I expected. When you create a character, you know who they are, what their backstory is, and you know where they are going (unless they decide to take control of their own story and completely surprise you). When you write in a round though, you only get to play with these characters that you create for a chapter and then you have to pass them on to someone else. They could have a completely different idea of who the characters are, where they come from and where they're going - and you have no say in what they do to them or where they take them. All you can do is pray that they can follow the bread crumbs you left for them - and that they don't turn your babies into ax murderers.

Kella, the girl who came up with this madness and started off the story, agrees with me that it's quite the learning experience. The story has changed drastically from where she saw it going when she wrote the first chapter - and we're only two chapters in!

My chapter should be up on Saturday. I highly recommend you head on over there and check it and the rest of the story out.

As for my other projects...

I haven't been able to write 1000 words a day like I wanted - but I'm getting pretty damn close!

I plugged away on one of my fanfics, and should be posting that over on next week (pending beta approval).

I went back through The Undying Ones on Monday and make some minor edits to it. I had an idea that occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that helps solve some problems I didn't even know where there until I thought of said idea. As a result I had to go through and make some very minor tweaks to the dialogue here and there. In addition to that I am almost done with Chapter Six.

In other exciting news, the artist I commissioned to draw two of my characters from The Descendants finally finished her piece...

I may have squeaked when I saw it. Co-workers may have stared/glared at me because I interrupted their work with said squeaking...

The girl on the left be Vivian, from the prologue I shared here and here, all grown up and ready to take on the world. The gentleman to her right is Gwalchmei/Gawain. He doesn't show up until the second book, but he is probably one of my favorite characters in the series.  

And now it's time for WIPpet Wednesday!

Unfortunately I don't have any more of Chapter 7 to share, so I'm going back to a previous chapter that I have not shared yet. Today is 7/17/13, I am going to share 26 paragraphs from chapter four (7+17 = 24-1=23+3=26... which has to be some of my most creative WIPpet math yet). 

This piece features Liam, a character we haven't met in The Undying Ones yet. He's a young man who lives in a village that's about a mile or so away from the castle that Mattie and her friends inhabit. While the village was hit by the plague at the same time that the castle was - it was not affected by the curse that afflicts the castle. People around Liam's village tend to go missing though, and his sister is the most recent one to disappear. However he refuses to believe that the woods are haunted by ghouls like the rest of the villagers - he thinks she's out there, somewhere, hiding from the marriage his father has arranged for her. He's spent the last few weeks looking for her, and is returning after having some weird experiences at the old bridge that leads to the castle...

“Young Liam, what are you doing out and about?” A gravely old voice called to him as he passed. Liam turned to find old Marley watching him from the porch of his house. Ancient, with tan wrinkled skin and white wispy hair that was almost translucent, the man worked a pile of straw by his feet into fantastic shapes and designs with his gnarled fingers. “Everyone is usually in their bed by now.”
Liam could ask the man the same question, but Marley was nearly a hundred years old and Liam’s mother would have his hide if she learned that he had been rude to a town elder. “Good evening, sir.”
“Have you been looking for your sister again?”
“Yes sir.”
“By the old bridge?”
“How did you…”
Marley pointed a crooked finger down the road. “Nothing that way except for the bridge and the castle on the other side, so where else would you be coming from?” He returned to knotting the straw. “You don’t think she’s hiding up there do you?”
“I don’t know, sir. She might be.”
“Bad place, that.”
“Letty’s a smart girl. She knows how to survive…” Liam leapt to his sisters defense but Marley shook his head.
“Your grandfather was a great hunter. I know he taught you both well, just like his father taught him, but there are things there and in these woods that aren’t human. Things your skills can’t protect you from.”
“I know about the Ghosts, sir.” After the King had killed his wife and his subjects, supposedly their spirits had lingered and still roamed the castle walls to this day. Letty had always shivered with delight when their grandfather had reached that part of the story. “But that’s just an old wives tale - they aren’t real.”
“I wasn’t talking about the ghosts, boy. There are darker things about. You’ve heard the stories about the things that go missing. How grain and other crops that disappear in the middle of the night?”
“It’s just rats and other pests...”
“Do you think rats made off with that barrel of dried fish that went missing from your father’s store last spring?”
“No, sir, but there had been that group of gypsies camping nearby.”
“Feh! Fine. Blame it on the gypsies... they always do... They said they locked them up over there...”
“Who? The gypsies?”
“No, the undying ones you daft fool! My father said his father and the others trapped them there, but I’ve seen things creeping about at night.”
Liam sighed.
“Still don’t believe me, eh? Do you remember, about five winters ago, when two of our men went hunting up that way and never returned?” Marley reached down to pull up another strand of straw and add it to his creation.
“Yes.”  In the spring another group of hunters had found their mangled and half eaten bodies. Liam’s mother had refused to let them leave the town until the bear that had attacked the men had been tracked down and killed. It’s hide now hung on the wall in the Two Stags. “They caught the animal...”
“If you believe that tale, you’re dimmer than I thought. A bear didn’t attack those men, something else did. I saw the teeth marks - they were human. If your sister did go out that way, then I guarantee that thing and it’s friends have gotten her.” He made one final knot in the straw and turned the intricate design around in his hands, ignoring how his young friend’s expression grew darker with every word he said.
“Letty is not dead.” Liam growled. “There was a girl out there, and if she could survive, then Letty can too.”
“What?” Marley looked up, his normally rheumy eyes suddenly clear and bright. “What did you say, boy?”
“There was a girl at the ravine. She had dark hair and a white face...”

And that's all for now! Be sure to come back this weekend - I'll have an update about my friend's wedding dress on Friday, and I'll be sharing some pictures from our trip to Red Rock in Las Vegas!

As always, you can check out more ROW 80 updates here, and WIPpet Wednesday posts can be found here!


  1. You're very brave. I couldn't do round-robin writing like that, it would drive me INSANE! I'd probably learn a lot, but losing my mind might be too steep a price to pay...

    I'm very curious what the truth is behind the mysteries of the forest!

    1. It is kinda insane. We've already had one person drop out, and who knows if I can make it through till the end (though that is entirely because of work)But it is a lot of fun so far!

      I won't say much for fear of spoiling the story, but Marley's belief that the ones responsible for the disappearance are human isn't far from the truth...

  2. Oooooh, love the excerpt. Poor Liam, trying to hold onto the hope that his sister is alive and having to listen to some old goat . . . erm . . . esteemed gentleman . . . trying to convince him otherwise.

    1. Old goat is a perfect way to describe Marley. In fact, in my head he sort of looks like that old man in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame. Y'know, the one that's locked up, keeps escaping, only to be locked up again? Yup, that's Marley - only more realistic looking of course ;)

  3. My group is trying to do the round-robin thing, but right now the piece that I started is hopelessly stuck with someone that can't figure out where to take it. Glad things are going better for your group.

    1. Ugh. We had a problem last week where the author who was supposed to write chapter 2 ended up not having the time to do so. Unfortunately, they did not tell us they wouldn't be able to write the chapter until 2 days before it was due. We had another author who was willing to step up and push it through though - so it all worked out in the end.

      I personally worry that my chapter won't be long enough - but I think I'll just be able to meet the word count... knock on wood.

  4. Letting go like that would be really hard for me! I tend to get rather possessive of my characters. Someone suggested using a ghost writer to get through a period when I was stuck and I was immediately like, "NOPE!" and then spurred on to actually get back to it. So I guess that turned out okay?

    I really love reading your WIPpets from The Undying Ones. I'll be interested to see more of Liam - I really like the juxtaposition between scenes in the castle and those outside with characters who don't really know the full extent of what's going on.

    1. I tend to be very very possessive of my characters as well. I'm trying not to get attached to these two that I created for the story too much, because who knows what will happen to them when other writers get ahold of them! It's been hard. Very hard.

      I remember a reader of one of my fanfics suggested I use a ghost writer when I wasn't updating my story quickly enough. Oh the things I wanted to say to her! But I was good and kept my lips shut and just ignored her message as if it had never happened.

      I enjoy the justaposition of the Village and the Castle too. The Castle is just falling apart and the people there have been stuck in this hell for God only knows how long. The village, however, is full of life and energy. It'll be interesting when the two collide :D

  5. Okay, so usually I don't begrudge a cliff-hanger ending this much, but...

    Aaah! Where's the rest of the story!?!

    1. LOL!

      It's hiding. Under a rock. On the moon ;)

  6. Nice cliffhanger, good job!

    I've done collaborations before, but never a round robin project. That must be very challenging. Good luck!

    1. Thank you!

      The round robin has certainly been interesting, but it's also a lot of fun too :)