Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My writing projects, part 3: a regency romance

my regency heroine
Another project I have been working off and on for a number of years. The idea came to me when I was finishing writing “Margaret's Rematch” and the plan was to start working on it next. Well, I started and I did work on it for a while but then another (more exciting) project interfered and this one was put on hold. I remember going back to it over and over again but something always made me abandon it in the end. I started writing it from the heroine's point of view and discovered that she was so unmanageable as the protagonist I could not deal with her. 

So I decided to make the hero deal with her instead and began writing from his POV. Then I thought that it would be very authentic to write it as an epistolary novel and I was really enjoying it for a while. The only problem was that the story was too one-sided and my hero seemed to be so much obsessed with my heroine he could talk of little else. I don't remember what happened and why I stopped working on it altogether but I have a vague recollection that I was afraid to write a very important but poignant scene between the two of them.

my regency hero
Luckily, before I put it on hold again, I wrote down the summary of the whole thing, so that now that I've started working on it again, I have most of the plot, the characters, the relationships and the interaction figured out. I began working on it on Monday and I intend to work alternatively on my fantasy novel and on my regency romance every other week.

Here are my sketches of them; my attempt to put on paper how I imagined them to look.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My writing projects, part 2: a fantasy novel

This project has been haunting me for over ten years now. It started with a long poem that transformed into a fairy-tale the size of a novella. I was meticulously working on it throughout my university years, dreaming of getting published and becoming the next J.K. Rowling. He-he-he. I was so na├»ve! Then, after failing to find an agent, I abandoned it for many years. I took it out about five years ago. I revised it but didn't change anything much and published it with the help of a small publishing house. It proved to be a complete disaster. I doubt that a single copy was actually ever sold. I gave a lot of e-copies away though but never heard back from people who promised to give me feedback. 

In the end I decided to take it down and rework it into a novel. You can read more about my decision HERE. At first I was working on two novels that stemmed from the same idea but went in two completely different directions at the same time. However, one of the ideas proved more viable and resilient than the other and several years ago I made a conscious decision to concentrate exclusively on it. I was writing it for two years. I was revising it over and over again, then put it away to stew. I have been submitting it to agents for the last year – so far with no success. At the moment, having distanced myself from it for six months, I'm back to revising it again. You can read more about the original story HERE and the new one HERE.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

My writing projects, part 1: a fairy-tale

In one of my previous posts I promised to discuss in more detail those writing projects of mine that I've presently decided to concentrate on. The first project that I've completed but still have to revise and polish before it is ready for submission is a fairy-tale for children about a little but naughty star that I have a very soft spot for. Her name is Stella and she's very cute and curious with great love of knowledge, a rebellious streak and a penchant for trouble that she terms 'adventure'. In comparison with my other projects it is very short and it is rather shocking that it took me so long to finish it. 

Like most of my projects the fairy-tale was written a long time ago in English and in the course of many years it has been revised and rewritten over and over again. Last year, after attending a conference for writers on writing and publishing in L'viv, I decided to translate my fairy-tale into Ukrainian and try publishing it in my own country for a change. Well, like I said, that part took much longer than I had expected but it's almost done now – to use a film industry lingo it's in post-production stage – and I'm going to submit it in October when the publishing house of my choice opens its submission window again.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #12

Favorite Lupin Moment?

I decided to go with the scene that might not be an obvious choice but that speaks volumes about Lupin and his character. It is not particularly fun but it is an important scene and I love it as much as any other scene with Lupin in it. It takes place in Chapter Sixteen of Half-Blood Prince - 'A Very Frosty Christmas'. 

Lupin's manner is quiet, mild and ironic for the most part. It's here that he famously says that “It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore's judgement. I do; therefore, I trust Severus.” in answer to Harry's suspicions and accusations. 

However, he grows grave and bitter when he explains what he'd been doing for the Order of the Phoenix: “I've been living among my fellows, my equals,” said Lupin. “Werewolves,” he added, at Harry's look of incomprehension. “Nearly all of them are on Voldemort's side. Dumbledore wanted a spy and here I was... ready-made.” 

It is also here that he reveals for the first time the circumstances under which he became a werewolf: “It was Greyback who bit me. … My father had offended him. I did not know, for a very long time, the identity of the werewolf who had attacked me; I even felt pity for him, thinking that he had had no control, knowing by then how it felt to transform.” 

Lupin tells Harry that he hasn't been successful in his mission of talking them into joining Dumbledore but it is shortly followed by a funny exchange that cracks me up every time: 

“I cannot pretend that my particular brand of reasoned argument is making much headway against Greyback's insistence that we werewolves deserve blood, that we ought to revenge ourselves on normal people.” 

“But you are normal!” said Harry fiercely. “You've just got a – a problem – ” 

Lupin burst out laughing. 

“Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit.”

And also the part where Harry is trying to find out if Lupin has ever heard of someone called the Half-Blood Prince and Lupin replies: "Is this a title you're thinking of adopting? I should have thought being the 'Chosen One' would be enough." Oooh, it makes me smile)) He is such a delightful character!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #11

If you could change one thing in book one, what would it be?

I can't wait to get my hands on the new cover!
That's a tricky one. I think that the first book is perfect in every way. It has a magical effect on you, doesn't it? The moment I opened it, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down. Ever. I will never forget reading it for the first time and I think I can say that  I've never read anything like that before or after - nothing that effected me in such a way and made me a lifelong convert. It is pure joy of magic, adventure and unstoppable imagination, liberally sprinkled with J.K. Rowling's wicked sense of humour.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Can no one appreciate a slowly unfolding story any more?

Can no one appreciate a slowly unfolding story any more? Does the author have to rush the readers into the action without inviting them in first and acquainting them with the characters over a cup of tea? Personally, as a reader, I prefer a slow introduction. I want to know the characters. I need to make sure that I'm invested in their fate before I follow them on their journey. I hope I am not the only one who feels the same way about it. I find that such books are the ones that stay with you forever – the ones you return to again and again. 

I don't buy this ridiculous notion, that seems to be the order of the day, that the readers must be plunged into action from the word go. You must hook them with your first line, paragraph, page and chapter. But what happens afterwards? How many times have I picked up a book to be hooked by the first line, paragraph, page and chapter only to see the story fall apart by the second, swiftly disintegrating into trivial and boring... 

And are adverbs really so evil they are considered the enemies of modern prose? And what is wrong with wordy, flowery speech? Do we all have to write like some robots? The less words – the better? I admit there are certain genres that benefit from such rules but what of fairy-tales and fantasies – doesn't such a language make them more mysterious and poetic? I don't know. I feel like giving up... 

It is very depressing to think that my book might never reach the reader because I love a slow introduction into the story, an intimate acquaintance with its characters first, that (in my private opinion) must be what ultimately hooks the reader, and a certain amount of adverbs.