Special sale for the 432th anniversary of the landing at Roanoke

Hey! History is weird. Like it’s been 432 years since the first English colonists landing in America and all this crazy fighting started. It seems only fitting we should celebrate this momentous event with a discount to our book.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke: A Collection of utter speculation

Paperback for 8.99

Ebook for 0.99

This week only!

On July 22, the first English colonists landed on Roanoke island. Three years later they were gone without a trace.

Four authors take on this ancient mystery with wit, warmth, magic and terror.

Don’t wait for your Muse to get to work. Don’t ignore her either.

I had a solid plan for the summer. Finish a new novel. Work on some short stories. Then get to work on polishing the hell out of an older novel that has been waiting for me. It was a good plan. A very productive plan.

And it’s pretty much been blown to crap.

But in a good way.

See, last week I was driving my kids home from camp and I got an idea. It wasn’t fully formed, but it was exciting to me and when something is exciting, no matter how flimsy the premise, I’ve learned it’s best to see where the idea leads you.

So when I got home I opened up my laptop with the intention of just getting down the gist and a feel for the protagonist.

Ten chapters and many late nights later, I’m still going on it.

My old manuscript languishes. I am really tired. But, damn, this story is really taking off.

Recently I had the very crappy task of finishing a manuscript that kept stalling and had lost all its inspiration. It really sucked and I didn’t want to do it. When I was done, the ending was sloppy and kind of bland and I know there is going to be a mountain of edits to beat it into shape, but I am so glad I fought my way through to the end. I have too often dropped stories when the muse left me so this was an exercise in growing the hell up and getting the work done.

After that huge task, however, I was ready to put the creative work aside for a while and looking forward to cleaning up this older story. It’s a story that figuratively spilled out of me one month, fast and furious and then done with hardly any nights off. It was rather amazing, honestly, but while it still has plenty of flaws to resolve it taught me not to ignore when the muse does come out.

I have plans, important plans for the work I need to get done, for the deadlines I want to meet. But my muse gives no shits about those. She is on board with this story, now, and if I ignore her to do my other work, I may be missing out on something rather amazing

Or maybe she’ll abandon me near the end and I’ll have to fight my way through to the end or shelve the manuscript until I have a better idea how to fit it together. Either way, this time of inspiration is a gift, and I will take it for all its got. And then I will work my ass off to do the rest.

The completed first draft. A Follow up

As I’ve mentioned, I have been having a problem with completing new manuscripts. It seemed ironic that as I got better at editing finished novels, I got worse at finishing novels in the first place. But it turns out, it’s not ironic at all.

See, as I became a more discerning editor, of course I became a more discerning writer, but my best process has always been to just let the words flow and fix them later.

So when I wrote the line:

“There was another loud explosion. The storage barn exploded with red goo.”

it stopped me in my tracks because at the moment, I could not think of a single synonym for explosion.

There was also the explosion of plot bunnies. They ran everywhere and had sharp little teeth that kept biting my ankles when I tried to ignore them.

Loose ends, research problems and dead ends and bad writing and new characters that just popped out of nowhere with tragic backstories were everywhere. And everything halted my progress, distracted me, and discouraged me from even opening the file to work.

I could have just let it go. I have four (yes FOUR!) almost finished manuscripts from the last year that I eventually shelved for these same reasons. But after two years of no finished first drafts, I knew I had to address this problem.

The transcript will be a future post because it’s honestly full of writers block gold, but the what I came away with was that I needed to stop trying to make my first draft a final draft. I can and will rewrite it. I will likely spend the next year editing it. So what I really need to do is just finish the damn thing.

It doesn’t need to be good. It doesn’t need to be right. It just needs to be done.

So i did that and, quite frankly, the ending sucks. The middle is iffy and writing is sloppy as hell.

And the first draft is complete.

My first novel written in two years.

And I’m pretty freaking pleased with it.