NaNoWriMo 2012 – Here It Comes

I can’t believe it’s only a couple days before I leave for B.C.! I’ve got all my shift trades in to make sure I have the days off, and I have littel travel sizes of toiletries, and a lint roller. I finally found my good flat iron! Can’t wait, getting nervous and excited. But in the meantime….

It’s that time of year again, and this year will be year seven for me. I’m fairly confident in my ability to make it to 50k this year – I have two weeks of vacation booked in November, so while it’s never a piece of cake, there shouldn’t be too much stopping me from making it.

As usual, my screen name is Lindenfoxcub, for anyone who wants to friend me.

And this year, I’m changing gears. It’s been a very very long time since I’ve continued something longer than one book. The only one so far, really, is my first work, which I had figured to be three books worth when I wrote it, was really only around 130k total. God knows what it would have been revised though. Granted, it was all but unsalvageable. There were a couple of characters and concepts I’ve pulled out and put into other novels, but the first novel itself will never get revised.

Anyway, this year, I’m doing a sequel – the sequel to The Eyelet Dove, no less. ‘Dove was originally planned as a standalone. Or rather, it was originally a short story, believe it or not, those of you out there who have beta read this thing for me. But then Michel showed up and lured me into a novel. ‘Dove stands alone as it is now, as a single novel, but there’s a bit of a hook at the end – and open door so to speak, hinting that there’s more to come.

The sequel will be titled “Redwing”, and it will be a loose sequel. I hadn’t thought to write a sequel at all because the two most central characters, Etienne and Claire; their stories were told, they went through their character development, and found their satisfying ending. There was one character whose subplot doesn’t get resolved – not in a happy way, anyway – but that’s life.

So what would the story be in a sequel and what characters would I use to tell it? Ideas mulled in my head, new characters appearing, and I realized what the sequel would have to be. It will pick up more or less where ‘Dove left off, but with an almost entirely new cast of point of view characters. The Admiral will return as a point of view, but that will be the only one. Claire and Etienne will be around, just not central. Instead, they’ll be supporting the new characters with new stories to tell. And heckling. Lots of heckling, and dramatic irony. I love me my dramatic irony.

The other way I’m changing gears is in preparation. For some time I’ve found success in writing a loose outline before I start writing. Just a bunch of scenes with the big events, and some connecting scenes, just so I don’t lose my way, or have to think too hard to get back on track if I’ve sidetracked. Then I revised ‘Dove, and hacked that wreck of a first draft to pieces and sewed it back together with 3/4 new parts. There was a lot of rethinking and reworking the outline that went into that revision, and I started thinking, as I started drafting my outline, is that thinking that I can do before I start, without hobbling my creativity? And I think I can. I think the problem with that draft was that I hadn’t thought through the logistics of a lot of things, or worked out a lot of the relationships in the story. I’m starting to think in those terms more fluently now; learning to use relationships and character motivations more to drive the plot, and I think now that I’ve learned it, I can apply it to the novel on the first draft, rather than on revision.

I know Nano is all about spewing crap all over the page, and believe me, it’s still going to be crap. But with just a little luck, it’ll be crap with a little bit more solid structure that isn’t going to have to be rebuilt from the ground up this time. Crossing my fingers here that experience has brought me wisdom.

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The Eyelet Dove – Teaser Posted!

I’ve been working on this revision a while, and this novel has gone through at least six different opening scenes. Two different ones for the original short story version that was too long to be a short story, and then one for the first attempt at novelization, and three different ones for this novelization. Finally, now, I have an opening scene that I’m really happy with. And that other people like too. I’ve edited the opening, and had a number of reviewers I trust to be honest, as they’ve been honest before when my work sucked :p and I think it’s ready to give people an official sneak peek at what I’ve been working on for the last six months.

This story was originally a short, about five years ago, and ballooned out to a novelette, at which point, there was this side character Michel, and he had so much more story to tell than could be fit into a short. Joshua Palmatier read it on the OWW, and gave me some feedback, saying if if needed to be a novel, let it be a novel. So I did. I plotted and got ready, and in 2008, I tried to write it as a novel, and failed miserably. Partly because I was trying to do nano while planning my December wedding, and partly because I tried to stuff a love story in where it didn’t belong.

Then two years later, in 2010, I tried again, this time with new viewpoint characters, and no love plot except a somewhat casual relationship of convenience between a pair of jaded middle aged characters, and a female soldier falling a bit in love with a male prostitute in a gender reversal. I trashed almost all of the 2008 version. I came up with Claire about a month before I started writing it, so she was a late addition, but mainly because I couldn’t decide what kind of character to fill her role.

This time it took, and while it came out roughly the way I wanted it, roughly is the operative term. There were two entire scenes that didn’t have enough setting description to figure out where they took place. (I assure you, however, that this will be repaired in the revision.)

It’s a Dieselpunk secondary world novel, set in country of Avalice, from it’s decadent floating castles and aeroplanes armed with gattling guns, right down to the orphan kids living in the sewers. And the poor people on the ground are getting restless.

Years ago, Etienne started a union, but it was put down brutally by the King’s forces. Now, pardoned for the sake of his valuable skills, Etienne serves in the air corps as a machinist, but when  the stirrings of revolution begin again, Etienne is the first one anyone points fingers at, even though he knows nothing about who’s behind it.

Claire is a young woman with dreams of being the first woman fighter pilot. But in this world, women do needlework and bake, and Claire will have to fight to make a place for herself alongside the men in the air corps. When revolution strikes, her loyalty and courage will be put to the test.

Roland, the Admiral of the Air, has enough trouble keeping his bastard son, ace pilot Michel from ruling the roost on the floating aircraft carrier Omnipotent. His life gets more complicated when he gets word that there is a saboteur planted on his ship, and he must identify him before full scale revolution starts, and the Eyelet Dove strikes.

As conflict heats up in the city, their lives intertwine, but when the rebels’ plans begin to fall to pieces, the Eyelet Dove may be the only one who can bring the revolution to victory.

So, without further ado, The Eyelet Dove, Chapter 1.