It's all about the tea and terror here

Writing Update – May 2014

So, once again I have failed to post this mid-month, which is something I really ought to get on top of, but here is the update on our writing projects.

As a side note, I feel like writing something by myself – something not good, I hasten to add – just to keep me out of mischief. I have no solo projects at the moment. Actually this is true for both me and Carla, since we write all of our good ideas together. I feel like writing something awful, something unpublishable, all by myself, just for the lols. I feel like hitting every Mary Sue trope available, and just amusing myself with it all.

Overall though, the horror series below is coming on in leaps and bounds, and we’d really like first drafts finished by June, so we can say we did five books in five months. (That’s right, isn’t it, C? I’ve lost track of time.)

UK Horror Series

(This series co-written with Carla.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: First draft complete and with first readers. We’re starting to get really helpful feedback.

2: Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft complete. Editing, but won’t send to first readers until the series is finished.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft complete. Editing, but won’t send to first readers until the series is finished.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft complete. Editing, but won’t send to first readers until the series is finished.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft in progress.

Posted in UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged ,

Writing Update – April 2014

Like Carla, I’ve decided to slim this down to what we are currently working on. We’re both determined to get through this series without taking a break. Also, we couldn’t stop anyway, we’re enjoying it too much.

Occasionally I want to flirt with other books, but Carla keeps me on task, because she knows me. I just want to flirt, I’m not ready to commit, so maybe I should get my attention back to the series I’m already committed to.

Just like the beginning of a relationship, the most exciting (not necessarily the best, but the most exciting) part is starting a new series. You get to throw ideas around, and try and work out the rules of the world. I always want to do that part. However, Carla knows that I’m not ready to write, so she’s keeping me in check.

If you’re a bit of an “Oooh! Shiny!” person, have a best friend you’re scared of. It’s amazing how productive you can be when the right person sets you on the right track. As Carla pointed out in her blog, we managed nine chapters in one day a few weeks ago.

UK Horror Series

(This series co-written with Carla.)

Most of this is stolen word for word from Carla’s update.

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: First draft complete and with first readers. We’re starting to get really helpful feedback.

2: Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft complete. Editing, but won’t send to first readers until the series is finished.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: First draft complete. Editing, but won’t send to first readers until the series is finished.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline v2 done. Being outlined with Monster Mash, due to them basically being one long climax to the end of the series. First draft now in progress. And boy do I feel sorry for Carla, it’s non-stop fisticuffs here.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline v2 in progress. Being outlined with Wicked Witches, due to them basically being one long climax to the end of the series. First draft pending completion of Wicked Witches’ first draft.

Posted in UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged , ,

Update – March 2014

Well, my resolution to blog more has already crashed and burned. In my defence, I spent half of February in Las Vegas, and the other half preparing for it. As for my March excuse… I got nothing.

Social

High: I went to Las Vegas and got married on my 10 year anniversary to Craig. Carla gave me away. Jake took many pictures. It was perfect.

Wedding Day - 21 February 2014

Wedding Day – 21 February 2014

Many vicious games of Cards Against Humanity were played. Pretty jewellery was purchased from BicoLV – Carla and I have matching bracelets, and we will buy a new charm every time we achieve a goal (or something is really pretty and we need it right now).

Low: Carla mentioned saying goodbye, and that was hard. Another thing was just how busy Las Vegas is. Carla and I get over-socialised, and Las Vegas is a place where that happens quite easily. Next time we’re renting a holiday house somewhere. Or an island. Or a lighthouse. It depends on Carla’s mood and how much Enid Blyton she reads before booking.

Writing

High: Carla and I sent The Talking Dead to first readers. Craig, my husband(!), has given us feedback. We are waiting for further feedback, but Craig’s is always very thorough and fair.

As for Monsters and Music, the sequel, parts of that are writing themselves and sticking twos up at the outline. Characters are taking charge as we get to know their voices and realise that they’re not going to react as we outlined… oh god, do I sound a bit like a certain author who believes her characters are real and is quick to litigate over fanfic?

Also, as Carla mentioned, Intern promoted himself to Manager in our absence. I asked him if that meant we needed to pay him. He said no. So, yay, my manager doesn’t need paying, but boo, my manager is a bit of an idiot.

Low: We’ve not had much time to work on Monsters and Music, and we need to review the outlines, based both on the feedback from Craig, and the small changes that have been made on M&M.

The Nox series is bothering me a lot at the moment, and I think it’s bugging Carla too, because when I briefly mentioned it, she got that gleam in her eye, before quickly saying, “We’re not working on that at the moment.”

Reading

High: I’ve read a fair bit of chick lit over the holiday, and, by strange coincidence, they were written by Lynne Moriarty, who is the sister of Jaclyn Moriarty, whose books I gave to Carla as a gift. I’m also re-reading old favourites by Stephen King.

Low: I’ve not found anything un-put-down-able since I read the Gone series by Michael Grant. I want to find something that awesome again.

Wrestling

High: I got to watch the Elimination Chamber with Carla and Jake. I love the Elimination Chamber, it’s my favourite PPV of the year (although nothing will touch the 2011 one). Watching wrestling with Carla is awesome.

I also saw a live event in Vegas. One of the matches pitched The Shield against Christian. Words cannot express how much I love Dean Ambrose and Christian. To see them in the ring together live was awesome. Sadly, I didn’t get any good pictures, I was still getting used to the camera. I did get a pretty good shot of the Bella twins though.

The Bella Twins in Las Vegas on 16 February 2014

The Bella Twins in Las Vegas on 16 February 2014

Also, I got a quick video of Kofi kicking ass in a dance-off.

Low: Mostly Fandom. This is why we can’t have nice things. Grow up, kids.

Posted in Life Stuff, Nox Series, Reading Stuff, UK Horror Series, Wrestling Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Writing Update – January 2014

First project list of 2014. It’s going to be a busy year.

Current active projects include:

Nox Series

(This series cowritten with Carla.)

1: Isolation
Young adult supernatural survival horror. Status: Third draft with second round first readers. Recently have had an epiphany on this series, broad series outline needs to be reworked. On hold.

2: Rage
New adult supernatural survival horror. Status: Original complete outline and partially complete first draft scrapped. New outline approximately 1/2 way done. On hold.

3-5: Untitled
New adult supernatural survival horror. Status: Broad series outline needs to be reworked. On hold.

Untitled Vampires Project

(This series cowritten with Sarah.)

1: Untitled
Adult sci fi and supernatural romance. Status: We’re writing the detailed outline and doing some heavy duty world building.

UK Horror Series

(This series cowritten with Carla.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: First draft in progress.

2: Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Talking Dead.

3: Forgotten Love
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Monsters & Music.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Forgotten Love.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Wicked Witches.

Red Series

(This series cowritten with Carla.)

1: Untitled
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done, though it needs to be tweaked based on some changes made at the end.

Stand Alones

Fable
(Cowritten with Carla.)
Young adult supernatural adventure with a twist of meta. Status: Outline to be started when we have spare time. Ha.

Posted in Nox Series, Other Works, UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , ,

Writing Update – December 2013

Ok, so updating on writing is a thing that Carla does, and I’m nothing if not a copycat when it comes to her. She has an awesome character? Totally stealing that. She comes up with an idea? Yep, I’ll write fanfic of that universe until it becomes cannon. Updates on writing? Well, if Carla does it, it must be cool.

So, yeah, that’s what I’m doing now.

Note: everything I write is co-written with her. Not everything she writes is co-written with me. Can you tell which one of us is the clingy one in this relationship?

Most young adult series are three books. We are Big E Langston, we don’t need three, we need five.

Nox Series

1: Isolation
Young adult supernatural survival horror. Status: This is currently in third draft, with third readers for their comments (low priority). Currently on hold.

2: Rage
Young adult supernatural survival horror. Status: Outline stage – part 2. We outlined it thoroughly, and realised on the writing stage that it wasn’t right for the series or the characters, so we are looking at a major rewrite.

3-5: Untitled
Young adult supernatural survival horror. Status: Very shallow outline stage. Overall arcs outlined, but not chapter by chapter.

UK Horror Series

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: First draft in progress.

2: Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Talking Dead.

3: Forgotten Love
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Monsters & Music.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Forgotten Love.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done. First draft pending completion of Wicked Witches.

Red Series

1: Untitled
Young adult supernatural adventure. Status: Detailed outline done, though it needs to be tweaked based on some changes made at the end.

Stand Alones

Fable
Young adult supernatural adventure with a twist of meta. Status: Outline just about started. Waiting for us to have some free time to work on it. (Bwahahaha.)

Posted in Nox Series, Other Works, UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , ,

Candy Fliss

I just want to be clear that I came up with “Candy Fliss” for Book 5 last night, (well, 2:25am on 21 November, so sort of yesterday morning, actually), but Carla says no-one will believe me.

In five years’ time, this post will make so much more sense.

Posted in UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged ,

Mega Outline

So, uh, when you’re facing an A plot, B plot and C plot and each of these plots have a foe, and the story takes place over a matter of days… you’re looking at a hell out an outline.

Biggest outline ever.

Posted in UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged , ,

Writing Process: Outline

So, a bit of backstory on who I am, who Carla is, and things like that.

Carla and I met online back in the days when everyone had a GeoCities site, and those sites were divided into districts, depending on the topic of your site – for example, hers was in Hollywood because it was about a movie.  Her nephew/our intern/bossy guy who keeps us from slacking off is actually the same age as our friendship (referred to as Intern).

I sent her a gushing email telling her she was awesome and I was going to stalk her until we were best friends, and I can’t remember exactly what she said in return, but it was very friendly and encouraging.  Then we bumped into each other on a mailing list.  She seemed pleased to see me, despite the threat of stalkage.  Since then we’ve followed each other to various places online (due to my stalking her to LiveJournal, I met my soon-to-be-hubby, but that’s another story).  We started co-writing back in 2001, and despite our very obvious differences (she’s American, she’s all about threatening atmosphere, delicious description and a ruthless addiction to plotting and outlines; I’m English, and into dialogue, strange characters, and a slap-dash approach to writing, which is basically: type something, see where it takes you), we seemed to click writing-wise.  Even back then, if you ignore the English/US spellings, it’s actually hard to see who wrote which chapter.

Carla has worked her tail off trying to get me to be a more functional writer.  After thirteen years, we’re at the point where she has got me as addicted to outlines as she is.

Our writing process for the outline is this:

  • Open a new doc in GoogleDrive.
  • Argue over what to call it.
  • Wait patiently while I format the document to my liking.
  • Waste ten minutes while I whine that “keep with next” is not an option in GoogleDrive.
  • Briefly outline that A plot, B plot and, if necessary, C plot.  Waste 60 minute coming up with wrestling metaphors for our plots/discuss the merits of Paul Heyman.  Get side-tracked for a further 30 minutes by either complaining about how Cena is booked, or speculating on what will happen next with The Shield (the wrestling stable, not the TV show).
  • Decide on POV characters.
  • Type the words “Chapter One”.  Then bold them.
  • Discuss wrestling until one of us reminds the other that we’re supposed to be writing.  This goes a lot faster if Intern is in the background, he will then set his timer for 30 minutes and want to know how many words/chapters we’ve done during this time.
  • Get chapter one done in a flurry of activity.  Until one of us mentions the wrestling.
  • Speculate on which wrestlers might not be opposed to being in the movie of our book.  Which we are currently not outlining.
  • Get stuck on chapter two or three.  Bitch about it.  A lot.
  • Revise chapter one, until two and three behave.
  • Suddenly get excited over the book, and outline 15 chapters.
  • Realise Character X has a different motivation.  Amend previous chapters accordingly.  Put notes in previous book outlines that this will require tweaking.
  • Sit back, all satisfied and check Ringside Confessions.  Discuss the contents from every conceivable angle.  Once more fangirl over the sheer presence and charisma of Paul Heyman.
  • Repeat as necessary.

I love the outlining process.  I get the same amount of satisfaction on a completed outline as I do on a completed book.

Carla and I are trying something new at the moment.  We are trying to outline an entire series (the UK horror series) before working on the books.  Books 1 and 2 are already written, but need revising drastically, given that we wrote them as stand-alones separately (Book 1 is mine, Book 2 is hers), before deciding they could work in the same universe.  With that in mind, we started outlining the whole series, so we couldn’t be blind-sided by later plots that develop that we didn’t see coming and should have seen – and more importantly, should have foreshadowed.  It’s an awesome process watching our world come together.

As an update on my last post, we have now finished the outline for Book 3, and have started 4.

Cross-posted at CarlaMLee.com

Posted in UK Horror Series, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , ,