Note: This weekly post is to keep me honest about working on the WiP. It’s going to be mostly me figuring things out and therefore probably not very interesting. Feel free to skip as I free-associate myself through to enlightenment.
So as part of my New Efficient Approach to Life (wait for the implosion, it should be here any minute), I am determined to pick one WIP and FINISH the damn thing. Which means I have to analyze what I have and see what I really want to write. (Okay, what I really want to write right now is my version of Lucifer but I know nothing about LA or the nightclub business, and the last thing I need is an eighth book in progress, so back to the WiPs). Below is my analysis of the seven manuscripts I have in progress, in no particular order. It’s pretty much a three part analysis: Do I have story? (protagonist/goal/antagonist/goal); How much do I have done? (word count); How do I feel about this book? (what do I love/what’s keeping me from working on it?).
Protagonist: Liz Danger
Goal: Finish ghosting the autobiography of Anemone Patterson
Goal: Get away with murder.
How much is written? 47,000 words
Why do I want to write it? I love the characters and the relationships and the long plan.
What’s keeping me from working on it? I suck at writing mysteries and this one is kinda lame; I need to make the heroine more interesting, and I really need to think it through as a whole, try to get the concept of this book. It’s good stuff, I just haven’t got a grip on it yet.
Goal: Find out who her father is (medical reasons)
Goal: Get away with murder.
How much is written? thousands of words spread across multiple files over ten years kill me now
Why do I want to write it? Love the characters, love the ghosts, love the trapped in a big house by a snowstorm and somebody’s killing people plot
What’s keeping me from working on it? I suck at mysteries, and this ones been kicking my ass for ten years now.
Protagonist: Alice Archer at 30
Goal: Evict a fake parapsychologist from her family home and then possibly burn the place down.
Antagonist: Aunt May?
Goal: Snatch a body and get back to living.
How much is written? 7000 words
Why do I want to write it? Love the heroine, love the hero (Ethan from Faking It ), love the tone which for once I nailed straight out of the box. Also I get to write about ghosts and butterflies and magic (non-supernatural, rabbit out of a hat stuff). And I have this plan to make this book happen at the same time as Stealing Nadine (see below) so some of the scenes would overlap, just be told by different points of view, so you’d read one book and get one view of the story and then read the other and get another view, which I freaking love.
What’s keeping me from working on it? I have no plot, just . . . stuff.
Protagonist: Nadine Goodnight
Goal: Protect the family legacy.
Antagonist: Clea? Carter?
How much is written? 500 words
Why do I want to write it? I love Nadine and the Goodnights. The hero’s great, he’s Alice’s brother Carter, and I’d get to write about art cons and art theft and comic books. And Nadine. And it would take place at the same time as Haunting Alice (see above for all of that.)
What’s keeping me from working on it? Plot. This has even less plot than Alice. I CANNOT PLOT.
Goal: Take down whoever’s framing her for theft.
Antagonist: The Cook Sisters?
Goal: Get the Egg and bring down their rival.
How much is written? 9000 words
Why do I want to write it? I love the heroine, her friend Henry, her sister (Trudy from “Hot Toy”), her friend Maxie, the hero who’s a Dempsey, the whole thief/con artist thing, trying for a Leverage approach, build a team, take down the bad guys . . .
What’s keeping me from working on it? The Plot Sucks. I CANNOT PLOT.
Protagonist: Zo White
Goal: Protect her orphans at all costs.
Goal: Get into Ylva’s bed.
How much is written? 30,000 words
Why do I want to write it? I love this world, love every character in here, love everything about it.
What’s keeping me from working on it? I’m not sure. This one even has a seven-part plot and it’s good. I think. Well, it’s weak, but it has huge potential. Okay, the plot is the problem again, it’s still wobbly, but it’s GOOD, I swear it’s good. Also, supernatural steampunk alt-history fantasy is new for me, so there’s that.
Protagonist: Cat Gilford
Goal: Save her world (Monday Street) from murderous thugs, meddling do-gooders, and gentrification.
Antagonist: Emma? Phil?
How much is written? 37,000 words
Why do I want to write it? I love these people, I love this world, and I love it that it takes place six years after Paradise Park so I get to use those characters again.
What’s keeping me from working on it? Well, I have to finish Paradise Park first. And this is the one that Toni and I are collaborating on until Life clobbered both of us, so I don’t know if this a parallel book with her book, which would be fun, or if it’s one book we’re both writing, also fun. Plus we’re still working out the world which is a lot more present in this one than in Monday Street. So this wouldn’t be the first one I’d finish anyway.
You know, I want to write all of these. There’s nothing here I want to abandon.
• I can put Nadine and Alice aside since I don’t have that much written on them, although their world is solid in my mind.
• Monday Street is on hold until Toni and I figure out what we’re doing and until I finish Paradise Park.
• You Again is going to take some massive reconfiguring, just wading through all the notes, most of which are probably worthless now.
• Cold Hearts has great characters and a solid tone but a plot that’s missing a lot of pieces. Also, it was conceived as a novella and it appears to be overflowing its banks, so it’s really not cooked yet.
That leaves Lavender’s Blue and Paradise Park.
I know the characters, I know the world, I know the murder plot, sprained though it is. I think it might be too over-the-top right now, but that can be pulled back.
But the contract is for 50,000 words and it’s going to be closer to 100,000, so it’s not that close to being finished. And I’m doing it in first person which is not a good choice for me, but when I tried to put it into third it wouldn’t go. And my heroine really needs rebooted because she’s close but not quite right. But close.
I think it just needs pulled together. Plus I have 47,000 words that have been rewritten so many times they’re pretty polished, so really, the first draft is almost half done.
I know this one. The seven-part structure is solid, I love the characters, I have a clear antagonist with a clear goal, and a lot of it is set in a big old house that’s full of traps and magic, and my heroine has five orphans she’s taking care of and each section is based on a fairy tale, and they all combine together to make a novel. And having worked with Toni on Monday Street, I have a good idea of where they’re all going. In fact, I know exactly where the first four are going. Five and six, not so much. Seven, uh, it’s the climax. Dear god, I’m a terrible plotter.
Then I pulled out the collages, including the one for You Again.
This one is way out of date, but the story’s still there. I really know this story, it’s just revamping to bring it up to date with everything that’s attached to it over the years. It’s so much better now. I really think that this just needs pulled together and updated. Of course pulling together ten million files . . .
Lavender’s Blue is in the same place:
That is, I look at this and I can see the book, but it’s changed. A LOT. The good news is that I can still see the book as a whole. I just need to think it through, and I really need to do something about my heroine, she’s kind of a downer. Also, the plot.
Paradise Park is a little different because it’s seven stories that combine to make a novel.
It’s like seven chapters. And I know the first three chapters; that is, I know their plots, their structures, their endings, everything. And I know where the last four are heading and I have a good idea of the climax.
So maybe tomorrow, I’ll fool around with digital collage on all of these and see which ones connect. And maybe try to get the You Again stuff in shape so I at least know what I’ve got. Ditto for Lavender’s Blue which is in better shape and for Paradise Park.
The most practical choice is Lavender’s Blue.
The second most practical is You Again.
Which means I’ll probably work on Paradise Park and Monday Street.