I have, since the beginning of this novel, been fighting the urge to talk about it. Thanks to Angela and her all over the place can’t decide what it’s going to be book and the years I’ve spent trying to make it settle down, I’m a bit gunshy when it comes to talking about WiPs. And, I will say I’m a bit paranoid, too. I’m hesitant to show anything that isn’t quite publish-ready on the wide world of the Internet just because. I know that folks do work in progress snippets and in general I support that, but at the same time, showing it publically, rather than privately, is in effect publishing it, and to do so before it is ready to be published . . . I shudder, I tell you. Still, there are some things I can share about the novel WiP, because the beginning of the story has already been published, you see.
In 2008 my partner and I moved to Oregon, settled happily in Eugene, and almost immediately the place began telling me stories. It happens that way with me, sometimes. The layout of this particular stretch of roads causes this concept to float through my mind; that pattern of sunlight across a field conjures bursts of dialogue; a turn of phrase reveals an entire life lived out in a matter of seconds. One story at a time, The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales was born, and the collection is my way of saying thank you to those who shared their tales with me so generously. One particular set of characters stayed with me, and in the beginning of this year, I began writing the continuation of Thistle’s and Brittany’s story. I thought it would be the beginning of the next collection of stories. 30k words into it, and only about halfway through the story, I can say, it’s not going to be part of a short story collection. Rather, it’ll be its own story.
I’m learning with this novel. For one thing, I’m learning that I have to admit, in order to keep the story alive and fresh and engaging for myself, that I am not a sit down and write it all now now now writer. I hit the 30k mark, and realized I was beginning to strangle the story. Until then it was amazing. In my head, it still is. But the process . . . I hadn’t been bouncing the story ideas with my few bouncees, because I was afraid to talk about it, and that served me well. I also didn’t plot any of it out beforehand, and that also served me well . . . until it no longer did. I’ve since sat down and outlined loosely how I want the rest of the novel to go. I know the ending already. And I have the title for the NEXT one, though not this one.
I want to be able to sit down and produce usable material, which means though I’ve generally been a pantser, I want to learn how to plot in a manner that keeps me interested in telling the story. I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little bit using Lazette Gifford’s phase outlining. And I’m considering purchasing Scrivener, though I haven’t as yet. Because halfway through plotting and still feeling the joy of writing dwindle within, I realized that my short stories were calling me, and that maybe writing the shorter works, which are natural as breathing to me and boost confidence in finishing material, should happen between bouts of writing the novel. And that’s where I’m at, as of yet.
This second story of Thistle’s and Brittany’s picks up after their initial adventure together, and follows them through their growing closeness and the complications that must come when one is a Fairy Queen and one is a mortal woman very much a part of our world. Of course, it’s never as simple as all that, but you’ll have to check the book out when it’s released to get all the sorrid details. There are romantic elements about this story, but first and foremost its a fantasy of my favorite kind: worlds colliding and relationships being built where perhaps they ought not be.