A Year in the Life: Week 15


Goodness, we’re a little more than halfway through A Year In The Life. Where does the time go?

Well, in the past two weeks, it’s gone to 1. jetlag, 2. a Bruce Springsteen concert (yes, this is relevant to the post), and 3. agonizing revisions. We’ll start with that last…

Writing: I’m working on a novel for my nephew. It’s the second one, after the first was a GREAT hit. This kind of puts the pressure on, and I’ve been working on this all month. Well, you know. In between vacationing and jet lag and The Boss, but anyway.

The thing is that, as discussed in my *last* YitL post, something felt Wrong about it. Two weeks ago I’d struck out about a thousand words and thought I was happier with it, but when I came back to it I was still unhappy with the pacing. The first book’s pacing was dead on, and I want to emulate it as best I can, but this one was drrrrraaaaggggggging. I kept writing, because I couldn’t figure out what exactly was wrong. I reached 12,000 words on the book.

And then I realized that not only had I given a character too much background (as was struck out last time), but also I had basically complicated the motivations for the main character too much. There was a simpler way to get him into the position he needed to be in, and that would take care of the pacing problems I was sensing.

So I threw out another 5000 words and replaced them with about 400 that did the same job in a different, superior way.

Yeah. 12K into the book and I threw half of it out already. That’s really kind of depressing. *Less* depressing, mind you, than getting 35K or 70K in and having to throw half of *that* out, but still depressing. OTOH, I think I’ve finally actually fixed the pacing problems. I’ve certainly improved them, if not fixed.

Work That Isnโ€™t Writing: Quite a bit, but aggravatingly, much of it is not stuff I can talk about. This is actually the problem I’m discovering with this series: there are aspects of the job that for professional or (essentially) political reasons I can’t talk about in public.

But in terms of work that isn’t writing that relates to the Springsteen concert–my husband is an idea machine, and one of the songs gave him a *wonderful* idea for a military space opera series. Like, cool enough to pitch to my agent, not that I’m exactly known for military SF. Still, it would be SO MUCH FUN to write!

Oh, speaking of pitches, I’m curious. Conventional wisdom among editors seems to be that Vampires Are Over. Now, I’ve been hearing that for at least half a decade now, so I’m curious, MWers: are you as readers over vampires?

And hey, because I just got it, a cover reveal! Be the first to see the cover for MOUNTAIN ECHOES, the penultimate book of the Walker Papers! ๐Ÿ™‚


*does a dance*!


19 comments to A Year in the Life: Week 15

  • I’m over the brooding, effete, le swoon (done with back of wrist to forehead), oh-so-emo (ditto), only-the-beautiful-people-need-apply vampires. I want to see more nasty ones, more evil, sinister, monstrous vampires. Vampires you wouldn’t want to find in your bed. I feel like they’ve been done to undeath (both figuratively and literally when coupled with the previous sentence ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). But to eyes unattached to sales figures they sure seem as though they’re still going strong. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are shows like True Blood and the T…T…Twilight films (whew, got it out) out there drumming up more interest.

  • And speaking of foreheads…my daughter made me wonder when she asked me why it’s called a forehead: if the front is called the forehead, why isn’t the back called the afthead?


    We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast…

  • I can take or leave vampires. I’ll second what Daniel’s said. But I still enjoy them when they’re well written. For example, I’m really enjoying the vampires in SKINWALKER, which I’m just reading now. And I think that’s what matters: if they’re written well, that’s what matters.

    It’s amazing what the right song can inspire! The right lyrics strike a chord and an idea is born. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am annoyed, though. DH is a *massive* Springsteen fan and he never seems to come to Vancouver.

  • Catie, LOVE the cover! IT is fabulous! (insert silly fangirl squeal) I can’t wait!

    I totally get what you mean about the *stuff we can’t say*. It all pertains to writing and the life we lead, but we can’t mention it at all. Sometimes we’ve signed a nondisclousure agreement, sometimes our editors ask us not to repeat it yet, sometimes it’s just not far enough along to talk about because we all know *that might jinx it!*

  • PS — I was over vamps when I started teh Jane Yellowrock series, which is why my vamps are pretty but pretty-much-insane, predators, and not someone you want in your bed.

  • Ken

    Nice cover! Can’t wait till the book comes out. As a reader, I’m not done with vampires, but I do need them to be written well.

    Ideas…when they come, they come from everywhere.

  • Mikaela

    Gorgeous cover!

    And regarding vamps, I will repeat what I said on twitter: I want to read vampires if you write them.

  • TwilightHero

    Vampires? I’m with everyone else. I’ll take them if they’re well-written and, whether noble or savage, come across as suitably bloodthirsty. Literally. (I couldn’t resist.)

    Cool cover, by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gypsyharper

    Honestly, I keep thinking I’m over vampires, but then I find some that are really well done (I really enjoyed the vampires in Jim C. Hines new book, Libriomancer, for example). I think I’m kind of on the same page as Daniel and Laura with that. I’d definitely like to see more on the nasty, not-someone-you-want-in-your bed side. Pretty but pretty-much-insane sounds like fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope we’ll be hearing more about this military space opera in the future, too. That sounds like an interesting project.

  • “if theyโ€™re written well, thatโ€™s what matters.

    That. Agree 100%. And that’s also why I like the Skinwalker series.

    And Faith, I try never to talk pubically. Heh! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Holy crap! Thanks, Daniel. I just fixed that!

  • I’ve liked reading about/watching vampires for my whole life, so I can’t say I’m tired of them although I’m not all that fond of the currently popular watered-down “vampy” vampires. Like most of us, I’m perfectly happy to read about well-written vampires with a bit more mystery and threat to them.

    And I love the cover of Mountain Echoes and can’t wait to read it!

  • Vampires I can take or leave. Zombies, on the other hand, were tiresome immediately after the original Dawn of the Dead. And they aren’t even real zombies – give me a Vodun zombie any day over the slow, mindless, brain-eating shamblers that people have called zombies ever since. They are everywhere – in every genre from urban fantasy to rewritten Victorian novels to Star Trek. (Remember that episode with the Vulcan zombies? Stupid stupid stupid!)

  • Vampires won’t be over for a long, long, long time as long as we can still find something new to do with them. I hear a lot of people say they want mean vamps back. I write funny, goofy vamps that people like, and there’s still a HUGE market for the sexy vamps. As long as we’re doing original things and pushing the mythos in interesting directions, I think there’s plenty of room for more good vampire stories.

  • I love vamps, I’ve loved them and been facinated by them since I was a little girl. I don’t think they’re near over. I write vamps, but they aren’t main characters, really. Neither one is harmless, both are a bit monstrous, though one is trying not to be. One group of vamps I write views humans as sheep. Yummy, yummy, sheep. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Razziecat

    I was never into vampires, so I way beyond “over” them, to the point that I’d be perfectly happy never hearing another word about them. And I say this as someone who once wrote a vampire short story (to this day I don’t know where that idea came from). There is ONE, and ONLY one exception to this rule: I will very happily read anything you want to write about Eliseo Daisani.* And that’s because he’s so different from the stereotypical vampires. I guess what I’m really sick of is the super-pretty, super-sexy vampires and the Dracula-wanna-be’s.

    *And Janx, of course. I love Janx! ๐Ÿ™‚ Go dragons!!

  • Love the cover art, Catie. Looks wonderful – -and yeah, she’s pretty hot. I’d pick it up just to look . . . I think that vamps are over if an author doesn’t write interesting vamps. You would write interesting vamps. That’s the problem with worrying about the market. A good book is going to sell. And I’ve yet to see evidence that you are capable of writing anything that is not good. So . . .

  • I am with Razzie. I’ve never been particularly fond of vampires to begin with (loved Dracula and I was in an independent vampire film), so I’ve been over and done with the vampire craze for a long time. I HOPE those who say vampires are dead (pun intended) are right. I would love to see more fae, werewolves, goblins, dragons, unicorns, etc. I don’t mind the occasional vampire, but I am completely sick of living in their world.

    Bury Anita Blake, and let’s celebrate Merry Gentry. Cancel TrueBlood and put Dresden on prime time. Wipe the glitter off Edward’s face, and let’s all embrace the Mythadventures of Robert Asprin (RIP).

    Please, so I can stop guarding my pulse, awaken the rest of the fantasy world; give the other creatures their chance.

  • sagablessed

    OK, pet peeve of mine. Vampires are not emo teens swooning and sparkling etc. They eat you. They are evil. PERIOD! I may have to strangle the next person who writes such ilk.
    I agree with David Jace: bring in the other supernatural beings, and let them shine. I am reading a YA-UF version of Tam Lin. Nicely written, good flow. The UnSeelie Court is superb.
    Vampires must be well written without this emo-crap, or the book goes to Good Will.