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[livejournal.com profile] cafenowhere tagged me to answer ten questions about my current work-in-progress. (She tagged me just before I left town, so I apologize for the delay.) A lot of great folks have participated and I'm stoked to be part of it.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

What is the title of your book?

Like [livejournal.com profile] cafenowhere, I've written two books of a trilogy. The first book is Form and Void; the second is Face of the Deep. These are just working titles, but they give the stories some shape in my head. I think of the series as The Genesis Consortium series.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had a dream about the characters. One about Mobius, a major character in the second book, and one about Lethe, my protagonist. Not at the same time, but the second dream was just before I decided to try National Novel Writing Month. So, The first draft of Face of the Deep was written for NaNoWriMo, and finished shortly thereafter. The feedback I got from it was that my protagonist was unlikable -- basically, she cursed and was willing to consider violent solutions to her problems. I thought the same readers would not have blinked at a male character doing those things, and it really annoyed me. The prequel became all about showing how she got to that place.

What genre does your book fall under?

Because the main character has a special ability and the tech is still near-future-but-close-to-now, I'd have to go with Urban Fantasy. Not sure it fits -- no vampires or werewolves -- and it has a sort of thriller vibe, but that seems closest.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I really have no idea. One major character is called Cyrus Kane, which makes it obvious to those of you who know me that Christian Kane was a bit of a template for him. He's probably a tad old for the part, though.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Arrested for a series of brutal murders she did not commit, Lethe Maya fights for her freedom and is soon caught up in a power struggle between a government agency that exists to control people with shifting abilities like hers and a mysterious cabal known only as the Genesis Consortium.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm going to start querying agents after the holidays. We will see.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About four months for Face of the Deep. Form and Void took at least two years, but I was not working on it constantly. (During that time I moved house twice, homeschooled my kids and generally had a crisis about whether I'm really cut out for writing. The answer came when I realized I couldn't stop.)

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Both stories have some themes in common with The Hunger Games, but a very different plot, beyond the main character making a regrettable decision to protect a family member. People in power are scapegoating shifters, so it has a mildly dystopic feel. The mystery element is a product of my love for the works of Val McDermid, Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell's more twisted pseudonym) and the mystery/crime genres in general. The killer for whose crimes Lethe is arrested is akin to a female Hannibal Lecter crossed with a T1000. None of those are technically in my genre, but there you go.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It came out of my frustration with passive heroines in teen urban fantasy. I wanted to show that a girl doesn't need someone to rescue her, and even when bad things happen that she can't prevent, she doesn't lose her agency. I wanted a heroine with some fight, even if she starts off as a sheltered suburban girl whose worst problem before the story starts is a bad hair day. I wanted to make a character who is tougher than she knows.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

It's got mutants, shady and powerful corporations in bed with government agencies, a possibly ancient conspiracy, a sweet young thing who tries to lose her virginity and fails spectacularly, and a synesthesiac female serial killer with, like, knives for hands.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

I linked to Lisa at the top. I feel weird tagging people, but I would love to hear what you guys are working on, so feel free to snag this. Please talk about any creative project you're working on, be it short story, poem, novel, novella, anthology, collection--anything. It's a good exercise.
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So, I basically told them I would move to Inquiry if they offered it to me, and spent the weekend regretting it. I LIKE only going to the office once every two weeks, and going in almost every day would effectively be hefty pay cut, in gas and time spent just getting there that I would not be paid for.

So, I was much relieved to get the email this morning saying that they thought I would make a good Inquiry specialist (I would) but they decided to give it to the newest hire who basically doesn't audit much yet. I audit a BUNCH of stuff, and they need me. So, yay. I don't have to give up my walking desk or anything.

So I'm quite relieved. :)

***

In other news, I am in New Orleans with my family. This is great. I got to go for a run in my favorite park in the world, and eat at one of my favorite restaurants. Also, we went to see The Hunger Games, which I really enjoyed (despite not being able to tell the white blond boys apart unless Katniss was actively kissing/saving one of them).

Tomorrow, we go to lunch with one of my favorite moms from the homeschool group (and her kids, whom my kids love), so that will be fun. Thursday we're going to visit with another family and then Friday we're going to the West Bank (sometimes called The Wank) to play Nerf War with a entire old gang. (Including Crazy Woman, but she's pregnant now, so either she'll have mellowed or she'll have a better excuse.)

I love this stupid city. I do. My buddy the folk artist has some work in an installation at the Jazz and Heritage... place. I must go see it and also go by her home and get some video of her work. I've been wanting to get it on video in a very specific way so that I can use it (with her credit and permission, in something I want to make.

I have the one she made me, but it isn't as creepy as the ones I want to use. )

The bad news is, there is not a lot of time for the writing I wanted to do, but even that has been going well up to spring break. So, I can't complain, really.

At some point I'm going to meet a bunch of my Beloved's new friends from work, too. He says things like, "We need to go for drinks with Bob and his Horrible Wife. She will glare at you disapprovingly for not having accomplished as much as she thinks you could have." This is hi way of encouraging me. LOL. Oddly enough, it works. :D
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 10:47pm on 23/03/2012 under ,


My hope is to keep the pace up to about a chapter each week. While I'm working full time and doing all household/kid stuff that may be ambitious, but it's worth a try. The final chapters will be shorter than usual, so it may be even faster than that after the next two weeks.

Guess we'll see.

(I call it chaptering because I wrote the first draft without chapter breaks, or much of an outline. That's not the way I plan to do this kind of thing in the future, but it helped me break through some personal barriers, doing it that way. So, it's all good.)

Word Microsoft Word didn't like: hard-on, Canopic and antemortem.

Heh.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 05:26pm on 29/02/2012 under , , ,
Now that I am employed for real and can take time off if I need to for, I dunno, my birthday or something, I feel a bit more like I can plan for things.

Like spring break, or NATIONAL THEATER LIVE ENCORE of DANNY BOYLE'S FRANKENSTEIN!!!!Eleventy!!1




I am also now not in a city over 800 miles from the nearest one that was showing it on its last run (though GOK when/where it will be showing, since it is still way too early for tickets to be on sale).

This time, I swear, nothing short of a serious, protracted illness or death will prevent me from seeing this. TWICE.

Here's the original trailer:



Danny Boyle, you magnificent bastard.

***

The writing of my short story went so quickly (when I actually had time to dedicate to it) and turned out so well (if I dare say so myself - but feel free to check it out yourself) that I am reconsidering my work routine. Note cards - pen and paper - typing/revision = DONE ... might just be the equation for me.

Pen and paper just feels more organic for the creation phase, and typing feels right for the revision stuff. I will continue my experiments and report my findings.

***

In other news, there is a writing group nearby that does the "come in and read aloud" thing. I avoided it because, well, that kind of thing isn't a good measure of writing, to me. A poorly-written piece can be performed well, and a well-written piece can blow like crazy if you're spitting cotton. Still, part of me wants to give it a go.
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At work, we are in "closeout mode" which means there is not a lot of work coming in, but we have to work fast on what's there.

I am going into the office tomorrow, for various reasons. One is to pick up my first check! :D Who knows? Maybe I'll even get my name badge/security pass. That would be nice.

***

I'm having a bit of the famous post fic drop for my passive-aggressively homicidal math major in love story, Emergency Chocolate, but the cool thing is I got some nice comments and things on it today, which helps. I don't often have a story come to me like that, in a rush. Complete with a fairly clear idea of who a character is and all -- at least not and have it be that short. Like, really short story sized.

But it gives me hope. I think I will make something every year, like this. Something nice, and give it away. :)

Next year I hope it's a video. :D

***

The win for Best Song has had me listening to the Muppet soundtrack on YouTube. This one has been good for my mood. Though it wasn't the Oscar-winner, all the songs were written by Bret McKenzie, and they're awesome.



I think I'm going to need to buy that soundtrack.

***

MMmm. Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and strawberries with a sprinkling of powdered sugar for dessert. Life is pretty good.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 03:57pm on 08/02/2012 under ,
A lovely link, with a quote from The Prestige. This image contains spoilers for The Reichenbach Fall.

I'm going to force my husband to watch Sherlock, series two so I can bore him with my elaborate theories. :D He's at loose ends in NOLA, so he's game for it. Poor duckie, even hundreds of miles away he still spends his free time indulging me.

***

Had a breakthrough on the next chapter, which will also help me re-write chapter 4, which is a mess. Yay!

If all of writing was like that moment when your waking mind realizes that your subconscious has laid Easter Eggs all through your manuscript, it would be more fun. Though re-writing can be like unwrapping presents you don't remember buying for yourself, which is also fun.


I admit it. I like re-writing better than first drafting. I probably first-drafted incorrectly, though.

***

I might have to take a break and write some smut, though. Any requests? >:D
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 08:52pm on 02/02/2012 under , ,
Today I polished up the chapter I wrote last week, and made up the hours I was short at work. Didn't really make much progress on the next chapter, but my Beloved is leaving Saturday and it was just better to spend some family time. We went out together to get William's hair cut, then to dinner and shopping for sundries.

Big Boy has joined the Freshman Literary Magazine. Said he was one of three boys in the group and the rest were girls. Also, he ended up being called upon to place posters around the school in higher places, because he was by far the tallest. ("My Tallest!" Honk if you get the reference. :P )

***

Writing. There are about 100 pages left of my first draft that need to be assimilated into the second draft, just from looking at it, I'd say it could probably be cut in half by the time I'm done with it. Then I get to go back and hack and slash at my second and third Kane chapters. I think I can begin to work on queries and such while I'm doing the third draft, because the heavy lifting should be done by then.

I've gotten to the place where my revisions are making things shorter with every pass. I think this is a good thing.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 05:49pm on 29/12/2011 under , , ,
I've been working and writing and working, and driving to visit family and driving to work.

Oh, yeah. Also moving. Sort of. We rented a place just before Christmas, and came back from visiting my family to move in. Mostly we've been fixing things and getting utilities turned on and such. The landlord has had the carpets cleaned, so we didn't move any real furniture in today. I cleaned shelves and windows and baseboards, hung a shower curtain, put frosted plastic decals on the bathroom windows in place of the awful lace curtains.

Basically, the house is 100 years old, with an addition in the 80s and some remnants from a redecoration in the 70s, I reckon. I bet it's haunted. After living in cookie-cutter neighborhoods for so long, though, I LOVE this house. It has nooks and crannies and weird little cupboards under stairs that don't go anywhere but the attic. There is a stained glass window and an honest-to-god mechanical doorbell.

The electric, plumbing and windows are all modern. It's well-insulated, too. The best part is that we've rented it for the same rent as a tiny two bedroom apartment was going to cost us. Plus, we didn't have to sign a lease and the landlord cuts the grass.

Also, we won't be changing school districts in teh middle of the year. :) It's just off the main street of this small town, so walking distance to cool shops and restaurants. Also walking distance to a park and the lake, both with bike trails. The library is across the street. It also faces the train tracks that run through the median between the roads downtown, BUT the house is so old and well-built, it really isn't an issue with the windows closed. I was amazed, but we could talk normally with a train going by 50 feet away.

I will post pictures. Honestly, it is perfect. I could write stories about how creepy and cool this place is, and probably will.

There hasn't been enough work to make my hours this week, so it is actually a good time to move. The workflow will pick up next week, probably meaning overtime again.

***

I'm on chapter 23 of the re-write of Form and Void, which is now at about 300 pages and all that remains is the final act, once this chapter is over.

***

He said we'd have a place by Christmas, and we did (at least put the deposits and all down before we left for Christmas). So there we go. My husband is magic. ;)
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 12:30pm on 20/10/2011 under ,
I'm looking for a book about fiction writing. Yeah, there are bazillions of them, I know. The problem is not finding one, but finding the one I need. Most are all about the basics. I've read plenty, and they have become redundant. Passive voice, blah, blah, blah.

They're all a bit... same-y. I need one that deals with certain specific issues of fiction/novel writing, that don't seem to be high on the list of priorities for the how-to books. Here are some the things I need to learn about:

The nuts and bolts of narrative structure

Information control/ narrative tension

Tools for organizing ideas (outlines, cause and effect)

Other intermediate crap I don't know about yet

I found a Writer's Digest some time back, with an article about "Building a Novel." I thought it might have some insight into narrative structure, but it was actually a frigging useless extended metaphor. (A novel is like a house. The plot is like the frame, etc. I wanted to hunt down the author and beat him.)

I think what I really need is to be in a writing group with people who are much better than I am. Which, DUH. I just can't figure out how to get there, or what possible value-add I would bring to the table to make them want me.

*thinks*

I bake. Do you know anybody who would teach me to write for a steady supply of cookies?

*headdesk*

F@!*ing Hell.

***

But, seriously, I would settle some book recs. Surely there must be some path to continued improvement that doesn't involve me reinventing the wheel. People HAVE to have figured these details out before. I want to know what they know -- at least the portion of it that I don't already know.

Any suggestions?
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I had a horrible headache and crippling angst on my day off. I made some notes for my chapter, but really couldn't much stand to look at a computer. My Beloved fed me and petted my head and generally did his darnedest to help, but not writing on my day off filled me with angst and FAIL.

I think I'm over it now. Once I realized I just couldn't open my eyes and let go of my preconceived idea of what was supposed to happen, it was better. I mean, it still sucked, but it sucked less once I accepted that I am not always going to be in control of every little thing. *sigh*

***

My littlest Big Guy has a friend over now, and one on the way. They are both going to sleep over. Tomorrow I take them home and we all get to see Jack for teh first time in several weeks (for me) or nearly two months, depending.

I miss my cat.

It's really frustrating that I'm not any closer to getting him back than I was in August. Well, that's not true, but it feels true.

***

I got up with the hubby, who had to take the bigger Big Guy to ROTC orienteering this morning. I worked my four hours in my dressing gown. The hubby brought me my smoothie up, and one of the party guests arrived before I had my shower, but it didn't seem to bother anybody. (This is one plus of having a son with a slight social impairment -- he gets on with other kids with slight social impairments, and they don't seem to think twice about seeing a grown up in a bath robe at noon. LOL)

I made cupcakes, and the hubby watched a bit of Luther with me. He really enjoyed the first episode, but felt the second was full of plot holes. (He was right, but I was hoping he hadn't noticed on account of I like watching something with him.) He will watch the third episode, he says. The entire show is six episodes, but I don't think he'll watch it all with me. :P He's such a perfectionist when it comes to media. Everything, really, except for me. He's apparently convinced himself that I'm perfect. (I do not mean to sound like I'm complaining, mind. It's just... odd.)

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