Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is all about those Plot Bunnies: How/where do you corral them? How much room do you give them to grow? Find out why I think plot bunnies should die.
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is… knitting? Did our calendar guru pick this for Mother’s Day week, or is it a coincidence?
Anyway, it’s not the knitting you think. (Or not the knitting *I* thought.) We’re asking each other if we write scenes piece by piece and knit them together, or if we have ever had to knit-in scenes? Come over to find out how I handle this.
THE ORCHID THRONE ebook is on sale for only $2.99! This is a great deal, so go snap it up. Pretty soon the sequel, THE FIERY CROWN will be out, so now is a good time to get book one in your reading queue. I’ll be starting to write book three soon, so now’s your chance to offer a wish list for what you’d like to see happen!
An update on THE FATE OF THE TALA: it will not be out by January 15, 2020, as I’d hoped. BUT – I am finishing the final draft today or tomorrow. Figuring time for editing, I think I’ll have it out by the week of January 27. Really really. If you’ve preordered, you’ll get an email informing you the moment it’s ready for download. For those who don’t know, I’m doing preorders through my website store only. But, once I’ve got the book live, I’ll start adding it to all of the retailers as usual. So it will be up everywhere before the end of January!
That said, because I’m so behind, we’ll be featuring the first chapter (maybe more!) of THE FATE OF THE TALA in the Dispatches from Jeffe’s Closet going out at the end of this week. So, if you don’t already subscribe, you can sign up here.
I was having a conversation with my friend, SF and horror author Kelly Robson, and she was complaining about making little progress on the story she’s writing – and how she’s realized that the scene she was working on has to go another way. She’s been listening to me struggle with THE FATE OF THE TALA all these months, so she knew I’d commiserate. She also commented on her frustration, and how she hates “going in the wrong direction.”
I totally feel her pain.
Though that can feel like wasted effort, it’s really not. I liken it to those rooms in the funhouse (reinterpreted in this day and age as immersive experiences like Meow Wolf). Sometimes you end up in a mirrored room. Those are really cool, with the infinitely reflecting images, but once you’re done playing and are ready to leave, finding the actual doorway can be difficult. If you’re not into smashing your face into a hard reflective surface, you pretty much have to feel your way. Poke each mirror until something gives.
The relief at finding your way out is quite the thrill!
Looking to up your authoring game in the new year? I’m set up to help with that! Check out my Author Coaching options here.
There are all kinds of options – and if you don’t see what you want, just ask! I want to be as helpful as I can.
”Whether you’re looking for writing help with word counts, spreadsheets, or indie and traditional publishing, Jeffe Kennedy has the knowledge base and experience to guide you through it. She’s been incredibly helpful to me in my writing journey and I can’t recommend her enough.” ~Alexia Chantel, Aspiring Author
We’re to have a hard freeze Thursday night – our first freezing temps of the autumn – so I’ve started bringing in the house plants from the patio. It’s always a glut of blooms, fallen leaves, and much shuffling of saucers and ideal locations. This, more than anything else, is the first sign of fall for me.
I’ve been working on THE FATE OF THE TALA, and talking a lot about that process on my podcast, First Cup of Coffee. If you want an (almost) daily insight into my process, that’s the place to listen in. As an overview, however, I’ve been talking about beginnings and how to decide where to start a story. This isn’t an easy decision or process. For example, I’m on my fourth opening in FATE – and I think this one will stick. It takes a lot of trial and error to find where the story truly begins, and what counts as preceding events that will be woven in as backstory.
The thing is, newer writers don’t always realize how much effort goes into finding this sweet spot, because we mostly see only the finished product.
I realized this truth (yet again) the other day when I was helping a friend – a not-yet-published writer – with her book. The beginning simply wasn’t working, for a number of reasons. I gave her some specific advice to improve beginnings in general. (In particular, I pointed her to this Twitter thread by Mary Robinette Kowal that really lit me up – all stuff I knew, but framed in a way that I found super helpful.) I also pointed her to a book opening in the same genre by another author friend, pointing out how that person set up the character, world and genre.
The aspiring author came back with a mix of admiration, envy, and despair – agreeing that the (very accomplished) author’s opening was amazing. And I realized that I need to clarify that this amazing and gorgeously executed beginning was the result of easily six months of effort on the professional author’s part. Not only has she published many novels in the genre, but I happened to know she’d torn apart this beginning multiple times. Eventually she started with an entirely different POV character, which is when the story began to sing.
So, it’s important to remember, when looking at examples to follow, that published work has been through countless rounds of revision, editing, and more revisions. Finding the best place to start a story, and writing it well, is possible – but it also takes time, effort, and patient revision.