#WeWriWa // #8sunday 01 – 22 September 2019

*pokes head in the door*

Hello?

Since I decided to retire the WIPpet Wednesday blog hop this week, I was looking for something similar where writers share excerpts from their WIPs. Weekend Writing Warriors seemed to fit the bill. I’m 14 hours ahead of EST but I’m fairly confident I’ve got the timing right.

For WeWriWa, writers share 8-10 sentences from their WIP for from a current writing project, published or unpublished. Then we visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support.

Lately, I’ve been sharing from my current Christmas WIP, Operation: Sugarplum. I thought I’d continue in that vein. This story is a modern-day retelling of The Nutcracker, with virtual reality games taking the place of physical toys. It’s in revisions at the moment, and will be included in an upcoming Australian Christmas anthology called Christmas Australis. Watch this space for more info on that!

You can see the excerpts I’ve shared recently via the WIPpet Wednesday tag.

This scene is early on in the story. Clara has wrangled an invitation to the Drosselmeier Industries Christmas party to meet developer, Max Drosselmeier.

“Through that way, Ms Steele,” [the security guard] said, pointing to a large set of double doors. Behind it, Clara could hear music and chatter. She pushed open the door and entered a dim room. There were musicians on a stage up the far end, but the music was intended clearly for atmosphere. There was no dance floor and the players kept the volume low.

There were Christmas trees dotted along the walls, with sparkly baubles and loads of tinsel. Sprigs of mistletoe dotted the corners of the room and formed the centrepieces on the tables. The tables were tall and had no seats, but empty glasses were already being left on some of them as guests went to mingle elsewhere.

Since description is generally not my strong point, I invite any all comments you may have. Looking forward to meeting you on your own blogs!

#WIPpet Wednesday – September 18, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.

This is a bit bittersweet but I’ve come to a decision regarding WIPpet Wednesday. Our numbers have been dwindling for a long time, and for a while now it’s been three of us at the most participating. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons for this of course, and I am not holding it against anyone. Half the time I don’t even end up posting anything lately.

But all that is to say that I’ve decided to wrap up the official blog hop. After this week, I will close the linky. My first WIPpet Wednesday post was six years ago, back on my old blog, on March 6, 2013. I’m not sure when I took over hosting from Kathi Schwengel, but ever since then I’ve had a weekly alert in my phone for 8pm Tuesday night, reminding me to set things up for the following day.

There are other similar blog hops out there, and I plan on investigating those. I encourage anyone here to do the same so we can keep sharing and encouraging each other.

Operation: Sugarplum banner showing a castle morphing out of a phone.

This is kind of cheesy, but since this is my last WIPpet (by that name, anyway; I’m sure there will be other excerpts shared on the blog), here are the last few lines of Operation: Sugarplum. It’s only 17 sentences, not 18, but that’s close enough. David is Clara’s younger brother. Marie is their mother.

Marie returned with glasses of wine on a tray and handed them out. Max held out his glass and Clara clinked hers against it.

“Merry Christmas,” she said.

“I got you a Christmas present,” Max said, leaning down to retrieve a gift bag that sat near his foot. Clara looked inside and saw a stuffed toy rat. She let out a loud laugh and pulled it out to show people. Her parents and brother looked confused. She shrugged.

“Kind of an inside joke, I guess,” she said.

David looked between Clara and Max, his expression envious. He’d already been jealous that Clara had met Max and he hadn’t been able to. A burgeoning friendship was possibly the last straw.

“You two… have inside jokes now?” he asked.

Clara gave Max a small smile and he smiled back. She nodded at David.

“Yeah,” she said. “Something like that.”

Thanks for all the love and support over the years! And I hope I’ll still see you all around. 💜💜

#WIPpet Wednesday – September 04, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

It’s been a good four years since I last send my writing out for feedback. When I think about it that way, it really hits home how long I’ve been working on a things without ever finishing them.

But I’ve received some really helpful and supportive feedback on the first draft of Operation: Sugarplum, which is my submission to the #6amAusWriters Christmas anthology. I remember one lot of feedback for A More Complicated Fairytale was delivered in such a way it made me cry (yeah, not using that beta reader again), but all the feedback I’ve been getting this time has given me warm fuzzies and made me exclaim, “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!”

There’s still a few people who haven’t sent their thoughts yet, but I’m going through and putting comments in where changes need to be made. There are going to be a lot! But it’s fun! I feel a little bit under pressure to have it ready by the end of the month, but I’m hoping to take a couple of days off in a few weeks anyway, so I can do some really solid work then.

Also it’s possibly become the first in a series. I wrote in my September outlook post on Sunday that I am going to spend the rest of the year working on shorter form fiction. Operation: Sugarplum is around 10k (might be 12-15k by the time I put through all the changes) and I imagine the follow-ups I have planned would be about the same. I’m actually… outlining?! *shocked gasps from the crowd* At this stage, there will be at least two more stories with these characters. So watch this space.

Operation: Sugarplum banner showing a castle morphing out of a phone.

For this week’s WIPpet, I have 4 sentences from Operation: Sugarplum. If you remember from previous excerpts in June/July, Max Drosselmeier (boy-genius video game developer) invited Clara to join him to test out the new virtual reality platform his company is developing.

When they reached their floor, Max led Clara down a corridor of stark white walls and doors. Some of the doors had individuals’ nameplates, while others had department names.

“How are you with VR?” he asked as he swiped his staff pass on a door. “Have you played much?”

Clara shook her head. “I don’t know anyone with the equipment. I’ve played a couple of times when they’ve been demoing in shopping centres, that kind of thing. But that’s it.”

Max nodded. “This one has not been demoed in a shopping centre. In fact, you’re the first person outside of Drosselmeier Industries to get a look at it.”

To be honest, I just wrote myself a note asking why Max would be showing a complete stranger this top-secret project. I’m sure I can think of a reason, or at least address it and hand-wave it.

And with that, I will leave you and talk to you soon!

 

 

Sunday Summary – 01 Sept 2019 – The Remainder of the Year

Here we are at the start of September and the year is 2/3 over. And with all the things I crammed  into the first 8 months of the year (a musical, a play, my final uni subject, and a trip to the USA), I feel like I’m only just reaching a point where I can have a rest.

I’ve also written a lot. A lot for me, anyway. I don’t have the exact figures, but I reached 90k on one WIP and I don’t think I would have been much past 20k on it by the end of 2018. And I wrote a 10k novella in two weeks in early July.

The 10k novella, Operation: Sugarplum, is for a Christmas anthology and I’m actually really happy with where that’s at right now. But the WIP, Facing the Music… I wrote 50k on that last year and then started it again and wrote 90k and now I feel like I want to start again… again.

I have realised I need some distance from it. I’m taking at least a month or so but I’m tempted to leave it be for the rest of the year. Instead, I’m going to focus on some shorter WIPs, and try to write a submission-worthy pieces. At the moment I have my eye on

I’ve also been going through my short stories folder, where there’s a lot of abandoned material. I’ve identified a few that I feel are worth a re-visit. The Christmas anthology has made me realise I could have a lot more of my work out there if I just go for it. I need to let myself write things and really work on them and polish them up, rather  than getting blocked by a blank page at the outset.

So that’s my plan. Four months of short stories, then back to the novels in the new year. I think I might re-visit Memories and Magic (remember that one?) as well as Facing the Music and see how I go.

Wish me luck!

#WIPpet Wednesday – August 21, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

I am back from travelling the USA for three weeks and am now trying to get back into my old routines. I have managed to get up and do a bit of writing work each morning so far this week, though at the moment, that mostly involves re-working the outline for Facing the Music again.

The more I thought about the changes I was planning to make, the more I was getting overwhelmed with it. I am honestly not that brilliant at epic, sweeping plots and this one was getting complicated. So while we were waiting in Santa Cruz for our Greyhound bus to take us to San Francisco, I started brainstorming what are the key elements of the story, and I think I’ve pared it back to some basics.

So since I’m in more of a figuring out stage, that makes it hard to figure out what to share for WIPpet Wednesday this week. But I managed to find something from the early chapters that will stay much the same. This is after Ria has first been thrown out of home with the Mind Magician brand burned into the back of her neck. Another Mind Magician is putting her up for the night, so she plays a concert piece for him.

“It was my mother’s favourite piece when I was a child,” he said. I nodded.

“It’s many people’s favourite. Is your mother still alive?”

Nicholas shrugged. “I suppose not. She sent me away when she discovered my ability.”

It can suck to still love someone who has treated you badly. 😦

I would love to hang around but today was my second day in a row of waking up an hour and a half before my alarm (the jetlag is not quite beat yet) and so it’s an early one for me. See you all soon!

 

 

 

P. S. If you’re keen to see what I’ve been reading, check out my WWW Wednesday post on my other blog.

#WIPpet Wednesday – July 10, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

Bit of a heads-up for regular WIPpeteers. Next week I will be around to reset the linky, but after that I will be travelling for  three weeks. I may remember to delete the previous week’s links or I may not. Regardless, the linky will remain open and you can add subsequent links. Just don’t be surprised if there are a couple of weeks’ worth there for a little while. Not sure if I’ll end up posting a WIPpet next week or not, so I wanted to bring this up now.

On the writing front, I have finished the first draft of Operation: Sugarplum! Six years this has been swirling in my head, hoping for completion, and when given the right prompt, it poured out of me in two weeks. It needs some tweaks, then I’m going to let people read it while I’m on holiday.

I also had some thoughts on Facing the Music today. I was madly texting myself on my lunch break so I don’t forget. They’ll require some pretty dramatic changes to how the story looks at the moment if I want to implement them, but I think they would be really good and make the story stronger. I’m almost tempted to just write an outline for the ending as such and then come back to it after our trip, rather than trying to finish a first draft when I’m going to come back and make a lot of changes. There is a lot that will stay the same, but I think there will be more conflict and tension in the relationships between characters if I make some of these changes. I was also thinking last month that I’m going to change Ria’s magical ability slightly, and widen the scope of what she can do. It will work better for the story that way, too.

For this week’s WIPpet, I have 10 sentences from Operation: Sugarplum. Clara asks about Max’s username when he logs in on his work computer.

“Nutcracker? What’s that about?”

A small smile appeared on Max’s face. “Family trip back to Germany for Christmas when I was four. Since there were bowls of chestnuts all along the table, I figured they were for eating. But no one told me I couldn’t eat them straight from the bowl. Mum swears I nearly broke my jaw, but I think she’s exaggerating. Though I did break a tooth. Ever since then, she’s called me ‘little nutcracker’. I use it for this kind of thing so that my work’s not immediately identifiable. You know, if my laptop got stolen or something.”

Those of you familiar with the original Nutcracker story might remember it was the Nutcracker’s jaw that got broken by Marie/Clara’s (the name depends on whether you’re reading the book or watching the ballet) brother, Fritz. This is one of the little Easter eggs I snuck in.

 

 

 

P. S. If you’re keen to see what I’ve been reading, check out my WWW Wednesday post on my other blog.

#WIPpet Wednesday – July 03, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

This week I have been home with my parents, but I have still managed to write daily. I have started Camp NaNoWriMo because apparently I can’t resist signing up for challenges with arbitrary word goals. I’ve only made my goal 10k for this month, since I’m going traveling on July 23, and I’ll be spending a few days beforehand getting myself packed and organised, so writing might fall off the wagon a bit in that last week or so.

I’m hoping to get my first draft of Operation: Sugarplum completed by the end of this week. Then I can put it aside for a week and still have time to look at it again before we are off. Beta reading for this anthology starts in August.

For this week’s WIPpet, I have 7 paragraphs from Operation: Sugarplum. Clara and Max are hanging out on the suggestion of Max’s uncle, Josef, who thought maybe they could go get some fresh air together.

“What did he say to you?” Clara asked when they reached the lifts. Max pressed the up button and cleared his throat.

“He said that it might be good for me to spend time with someone my own age.”

Clara felt herself blushing again. “You don’t have to do this,” she said. “I mean, you shouldn’t let your uncle push you around. And you don’t even know me. I could be some crazy fan girl. Or I could be from the press, like those people Josef was talking to when I got here. Trying to get the dirt on the platform you’re building.”

She realised Max was staring at her, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. Oh god. She’d been rambling. What had she said? She wasn’t even sure now. It had all come out in a stream.

“I think you’re safe,” he said eventually. “Anyway, I was actually going to suggest we play something? If you want. I don’t really need fresh air. And I could use a second pair of eyes on something.”

Clara gaped. Max Drosselmeier was asking her to… game with him?

“Um. Sure. Lead the way!”

And the virtual reality game they end up playing is where all the trouble starts. XD

 

 

 

P. S. If you’re keen to see what I’ve been reading, check out my WWW Wednesday post on my other blog.

#WIPpet Wednesday – June 25, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

I’ve got something a bit different this week! Those of you who have been doing WIPpet Wednesday for a long time (I’m talking, since 2013-14) might vaguely remember back in those days, I was attempting to write  a modern retelling of The Nutcracker. It never really worked out, though it did provide me with inspiration for the plot that became Memories and Magic.

Well, fast forward to the last week. A few of the writers I do 6am writing sessions with via Twitter have decided to put together a Christmas anthology. Since our hashtag is #6amAusWriters, part of the theme is that the stories will take place in Australia at Christmas time (when it is too bloody hot to do anything other than lie under the AC with an ice pack. Weird, right?). Guess who has seemingly managed to outline this modern-day Nutcracker retelling in response to the pressure to have something written by the end of August? And has already written a fair amount? That would be me!

I feel a bit guilty about putting Facing the Music aside, but on the other hand, I think I’ve been rambling a lot on that WIP. The end is in sight, but I don’t fully know how to get there. But I also just kind of want it to be done. So maybe a break will be good. Sure, it means I won’t reach my 40k May-June goal, but as I keep reminding myself lately, word count goals are arbitrary anyway.

For this week’s WIPpet, I have 13 sentences from an early scene from Operation: Sugarplum. Clara happens to know the CEO of gaming company, Drosselmeier Industries. And she’s managed to wrangle access to the company Christmas party, where she hopes to meet the CEO’s nephew, Max, boy-genius developer who is already turning down jobs in Japan and the US at age 22. But now she’s here, she has to persuade herself to go inside.

She didn’t plan on staying too long. She’d just tell Max that she was a fan of his games and that she was looking forward to the new gaming platform he was rumoured to be building, and maybe get a selfie if he didn’t mind. Then she’d leave.

Provided she actually had the guts to walk through the door and let Josef make the introduction. Well, if nothing else, it would be air conditioned inside, and that was worth everything on a day like today. If she waited outside any longer, she’d start sweating and dark patches under her sleeves was not her ideal impression.

… not that she was trying to impress Max Drosselmeier in any way. But she didn’t want him to be unimpressed, either. At the rate she was going, it was highly likely she was going to nervously spew out some embarrassing word vomit in front of him. No need to smell bad, too.

She took another breath. All right. This was it. She was going in.

Good luck, Clara! I’m sure it will be fine and you won’t ramble and make a fool of yourself in front of your idol. At. All.

So who else can’t believe it is the last week of June? I am hoping I will have time to do a post later this week looking back on what I’ve achieved writing-wise in this first half of the year.

#WIPpet Wednesday – June 19, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

Hi! It’s been so long and it is technically Thursday, but I really wanted to join in on WIPpet Wednesday again, so here I am. This is a drive-by post. Mostly I’ve just continued writing away over the past several weeks, with breaks for uni, musical and illness. I’ll update in more detail next week.

For the WIPpet this week, I have 20 sentences (since I’m writing on the 20th, even though it’s still the 19th in most parts of the world). Due to props being left behind at the previous venue, there’s a gap in the circus that needs filling. As usual, this is first drafty as all get-out.

“We stepped into the tent. Jeremiah was busy writing at a table, but he looked up when we entered.

“Is your act ready?” he asked me without preamble.

“It’s… not perfected yet.”

“Have you got something you could do in tonight’s show?”

“Tonight’s?”

I wasn’t quite sure what I was hearing. Alex and I had decided to work out some patter for me to deliver. I still wasn’t entirely smooth when it came to picking up my violin and bow from the stand. Sometimes I still fumbled pulling the scarf out of my pocket.

“Yes, tonight’s! We have a gap in the show. You’re the only one I’ve got who can fill it for now.”

“Yes!” I said, and immediately wished I hadn’t. “I can do the show tonight.”

“Right then. It’s settled.”

Jeremiah went back to his writing, ignoring Lucy and me. We left the tent. I stopped outside, registering what I had just committed myself to.

Talk to you all soon!

#WIPpet Wednesday – May 08, 2019

Hello and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date.  To join in, simply click the blue linky up there to the right.

Greetings! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the time to sit down for a WIPpet Wednesday post. Writing continues to go well. In my last WW post three weeks ago, I said “I can’t believe I’m about to hit 50k!” Well, I passed 65k this morning. There is an event coming up quite soon that a lot of things throughout the story have been building up to, and it becomes a catalyst for some really serious conflict between characters. So obviously I’m looking forward to getting to that.

One major decision I’ve made about this story is to make it more obviously YA rather than that YA/NA/adult cusp. I was reading some discussions about how lately there have been things marketed as YA because publishers know that YA has such a vast adult readership, and the actual young adult readers are left feeling a bit bereft. And it’s funny, as soon as I started thinking what changes I would make to accommodate this, my brain was like, “Yeah, this is actually the way this story should go.” So I’m glad I made that decision.

For the WIPpet this week, I have 13(ish) lines because I added 8 and 5. This is Ria’s first performance in the Casyl & Co. Circus. Due to her psychic ability, she’s able to tell what props her audience volunteer has hidden in his pocket. He’s got a juggling ball in one and a knitted toy chicken in the other.

“Something’s missing here,” I said, frowning as I reached him. “No self-respecting clown would only juggle with two balls in front of an audience.” I stopped and looked pointedly from the balls in my hand to Lucas. “Do you know where the third one might be?”

Lucas stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out the third one. The audience gasped and laughed and applauded. I waited a moment and then turned back to Lucas again.

“Now, as for the second item. I’d say that ended up in our props chest after a child left it here one day. Would you agree?”

“Could be.”

“Perhaps a little boy from a farming family. His grandmother knitted it to teach him that the chickens out the back are friendly, even though they might try to peck him when he comes too close.”

The audience started murmuring, already realising that I was right again. I wondered exactly what they were saying. Were they impressed by the magic? Did they think Lucas was a plant? We had discussed in rehearsals how to handle those accusations, but I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with it on my first performance.

Do you ever have those moments when you’re so focused on what you’re writing currently that you forget what you wrote 30k ago and are pleasantly surprised by it? I had that a lot while going through finding something to share tonight. Also a few moments of “oh yeah, I should probably bring that up again”, such as with the hecklers.  Honestly, I can’t wait until this is finished and then I’ve put it aside for a while and then I get to read it again! 😀 My aim is to be ready to start a second draft when we get home from our trip to America in mid-August. I think I’m on track for that at the moment.

Talk to you all soon!