Monday, April 5, 2010

I Blame Snow White

Song Playing: Shimmer, by Fuel

Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend, filled with eggs and candy. I am excited to report I have progress to…report. Yesterday before the obligatory family dinner I especially made some excellent progress.

So here is my progress:

*I loosely outlined my current WIP, my mermaid book (only in the book it’s a merman, not maid, but hey, work with me).

*I started taking a class on revision to help with revision of Masquerade. The class is given by Holly Lisle, and it’s already helped me oodles, so that’s exciting. I printed out the worksheets and made my revision binder, and I am currently working on lesson one. The class is very intense, and I think the first two lessons alone are worth the money I shelled out. Since the class is five months long, I decided to go ahead and let a friend of mine beta read the draft as is, so I can get some feedback on the current state of affairs.

I feel a little sorry for her, because I imagine the book is going to read a little…schizophrenic, shall we say. I edited the first 130 or so pages heavily, rewrote the last 20 or so pages, and the middle has been lightly edited while I was doing my scene comparisons. So yeah, that’s going to be interesting for her. Thanks Linda! My mom has the draft (I am calling it draft 2.5) as well, but…you know, she’s my mom. She loves everything I write, even my To Do lists. It’s what moms are for.

*I made a map for one of the planets I made up, which I am currently calling Gritty Dystopia Land. I really enjoy drawing maps for my countries, cities, and planets. Like, a lot. If I had the supplies and more free time I would be painting and oil pasteling my maps. At the moment it’s just graph paper and pencil, but once I start finalizing the different countries I will color in the different climate zones and population areas. Can you guess how the economy is doing as a whole on my planet, named Gritty Dystopia land? :D
I plan to set a few books in Gritty Dystopia Land, but in different countries.

Actually, let me elaborate further on the matter of preemptively setting books on planets I haven’t developed very much yet. It might seem odd, and I personally blame Snow White. It all started when I had this awesome idea about what it would be like if a girl found her recently deceased mother’s journal, and discovered some less than wonderful aspects of her mother’s life that she and her sisters never knew about. Like how her mother was really in love with another man, but her father said if her mother left him, she would never see her children again. (Ouch!) The Snow White reference comes from the stepmother trying to kill the step daughter. I thought her father’s mistress might have poisoned her mother, so she could take her place.

I was originally planning on setting this story in the Georgian era of European history, because of all the strict rules for marriage and etiquette would fit with the trapped situation her mother (and now she) is in. There I was, happily reading about the social etiquette of having tea when I realized there were still sooooo many details of daily life that I didn’t know. At this point, I was already several months into the research phase, and I hadn’t even scratched the surface.

I determined:

1) I didn’t want to spend months on research, and still not get the entire picture of daily life in the Georgian Era. This was the second time I wanted to write a historical fiction novel and couldn’t find enough details (the first was set in medieval Japan, and if you think it’s hard to find information on medieval Europe, try researching Japan).
2) No matter HOW much research I did, I would still get letters from history buffs informing me that horses didn’t wear bridles until 1906, even though I clearly mentioned my main character holding onto a horse’s bridle on page 12, paragraph three, line four, and was I lazy and not bothered to do my research?

3) There is a reason why historical fiction writers spend most of their time writing books set in the same era. And why they are history majors.

So! I decided to make it all up. I would simply set the story on another planet, similar to Earth, and make up all my own rules for etiquette and social graces. I AM a fantasy writer after all. Making things up from scratch is a specialty of mine. I also moved the story I was researching medieval Japan for to the same planet. A few months later when I had another idea that seemed historical-ish, off it went to the same planet I have now dubbed Historical Fantasy Land.

Later, when I had accumulated several ideas for a dystopian setting that were similar enough in setting, but self contained in conflict, plot, and characters, I knew what to do. Hence Gritty Dystopia Land was born. I also have Futuristic Bio/Cyberpunk Land. I plan to set each individual story in a different country on their respective planets though, so it’s not like the entire planet has the exact same form of government, laws, and population.

I also managed to do laundry yesterday, and cleaned up my bedroom. I know! I was very productive yesterday. I always feel so satisfied whenever I get a lot accomplished. Today I have to work, but I plan to work on the book I am beta reading, revise Masquerade, and possibly work on the mermaid book depending on how fried my brain is by the end of it all.

What about you guys? How do you organize your ideas that are similar but not similar enough to be the same story?


  1. Pft. I'm not creative enough to have more than one idea at a time. Go you!

  2. I have the attention span of a gnat, completing a task without distraction is a HUGE thing. =D

    All the best in your writing!