Windward Cover Reveal!

Windward is almost here, and I’m psyched to share it with the world!

What’s it about? It’s a classic fantasy adventure story with a spotlight on the bond between a woman and the dragon she chose over leading an ordinary life. Read on:

When dragons fight, mountains weep.

In nests high in the mountains, dragons and dragonbonded share their lives, thoughts, feelings, and ambitions.

Palon and her partner, the dragon Windward, are renowned among their nest for their flying skill. Their days are filled with everything she loves, especially riding the wind. Even being tasked with teaching their way of life to Tebah, a rebellious newly bonded teenager, can’t bring her down too much.

But when treasures from the dragons’ hoards are found in Palon’s collection, her idyllic life comes crashing down. She battles to prove her innocence, while her every move is cast as further evidence against her. Tebah’s suspicion, homesickness, and defiance would be frustrating even in easy times. With Palon in the spotlight while her rivals smear her name at every turn and stir up plots of revenge, her teenage charge’s behavior proves dangerous.

Dragon tempers shorten, and challenges and disputes shake the ground. Palon will have to trust more than just herself if she hopes to once more own the sky.

Coming September 27th, Windward is available for pre-orders now!

And now… for the moment of truth…

The reveal!

WindwardFC_Text_190905

I love my cover. I love the feeling of movement, and the colors, and the feeling that brings to mind all the classic speculative fiction I devoured as a kid. Dave Brasgalla has been amazing to work with and I’m so fortunate he loved working on my cover so well! It really mimicked the process of editing and polishing the words itself, the constant attention to detail and the way I was able to watch it somehow get better and better with each rendition.

My ARCs are out and in the hands of readers, and I can’t describe the giddy feeling of seeing my work in someone else’s hands! (Pictures have been sent back to me of people holding their ARCs, and I love it!)

 

So: September 27th, Windward goes live! The first several orders of the print book have the option to send me their receipt in exchange for a free Windward cuff bracelet inspired by dragonbonded fashion. The offer lasts until supplies run out.

Enjoy!

Windward is coming!

I’ve been working like crazy putting the last polishes on Windward ahead of its release in early August! Most of my final readers have sent me back their feedback and the rest are coming soon so I can make final polishes. I’m super fortunate to be able to work with David Brasgalla as my cover artist, and he’s been sending me some amazing concept art that I just have to share! I’ve never worked with an artist before, so I’ve been learning so much.

Take a look at this concept art for Palon! I literally could stare at this all day if I didn’t need to finish stuff so you all can read. Dave really captured her attitude here.

Windward_-_Palon_Concepts

I got a draft of the cover too so I could tweak anything that needed tweaking. I love the design of this though- it’s got that classic heroic fantasy feel that manages to encompass the style of the book and how I hope readers feel as they take this journey along with me. Even the dragon nests will be there, in the background on the back cover, and details like the style of WINDWARD on top are spectacular. I can’t wait to see if fleshed out and in color.

Windward_-_Cover_Comps

In the past week, I’ve been working hard designing and fashioning leather cuff bracelets which will be given away with the first several print copies. I almost have the look the way I want it, and I’ll post when I have it just right!

Are you excited? Because this is really happening! I just have to set a date and I can open up to pre-orders. The sky is theirs… but Windward can be yours!

Do you want a chance to read it early? I’d love the reviews, so I’m happy to give out some Advance Reader Copies if you want to spread the word. Simply fill out the form below, and check out Windward’s blurb on my Books page if you haven’t already!

 

 

 

Writer In Motion: Reflection

I’m so glad I was crazy enough to jump into Writer In Motion, even though I wasn’t one of the original participants. I’m so thankful I was welcomed and included, and I feel very fortunate to have found such a tremendous circle of inspiring, amazing writers and editors.

I come away from this experience more confident in my own process, with an appreciation of the diversity of methods by which we writers work our madness. Imposter syndrome is real and I’ll probably always wrestle with it, but now I know I’m not the only one who writes like I do. I’m not the only one who thinks my first drafts suck- even though I would argue with the others that their first drafts certainly were not bad at all! Learning how others handle CP feedback was a treat, as you never know what you don’t know until you find out. And the editor’s feedback! Working with that and watching how small shifts could make such big impact really makes me determined to hire an editor as soon as I can afford one.

It was so cool watching all the stories- including my own- grow and transform in the process of this project, and to watch the Writer In Motion project itself grow as well, with all these amazing ideas we’re throwing at it. It was hard, and I challenged myself, and I think I’m a better writer because of this.

This wild ride may have ended, but I have a bunch of amazing new writer friends that I can’t wait to watch as their writing careers take off!

 

 

Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!

– K. J. Harrowick http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com

– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com

– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com

– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com

– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/

– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com

– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com

– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com

– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/

– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com

– Jessica Lewis https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog

– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com

– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com

– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com

– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com

– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/

– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com

– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com

The amazing editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com

Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud

Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/

 

Writer In Motion: The Final Draft

It’s been through editing with me. It’s been through CPs. It’s been through an editor. And now, it’s the final draft.

But first, let me show you what it’s gone through since the last time you’ve seen Space Cows.

So I sent it to my editor, Jeni, who sent it back three days later with the following note: “OMG I loved this! I didn’t have much developmentally, and only a little in terms of copy or line editing. Great work! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.”

Needless to say there was much squee-ing on my part. And then I opened it up. “A little” means 49 changes logged in track changes, in case you were wondering. Here’s what it looked like:

 

Like I did with my CP feedback, I read through it all, nodding to myself, and then let it sit for a bit. Then I got to work. I completely agree with Jeni’s suggestion to switch the tense from past to present, though that left me biting my nails through the rest of the revisions afraid I might have missed a tense change! It does give much more immediacy, though, which is so worth it.

Most of the other comments were fixing commas and rearranging sentences or adding paragraphs for more impact, and I followed almost all of them. Some fixing sparked other changes, to maintain flow.

I did have to stop and think though, as she recommended I deleted the phrase about cannibalizing the ship. I liked how that went along with the cooking of the meat, but it could be too much too. It also is a lot of short phrases in one sentences, which can feel choppy. 

I did it though, because of the choppiness. It didn’t add enough to justify the jumpy rhythm. So here’s my final draft, with never-before-have-I-written-in 2nd person present tense, at 902 words. Enjoy!

You lie among the scraggly brush, your rasping breath loud in your ears. Roars shatter the night, closing in around you. Sandy, barren land stretches between your meager cover and the Drop Site, concealed in the rusting remains of a small ship listing to starboard on a sandbank. Nothing the monsters can understand.

Breaking cover, you lunge for the derelict. The packed sand crumbles beneath your hooves as if plotting with your pursuers to slow you down. You stumble, pattering a staccato beat. The scent of your own fear clogs your flaring nostrils. It’s a wonder the monsters don’t smell it too. 

Or maybe they do. 

They swarm out from the brush, and a strangled squeal rips from your throat. It seems to drive them ever faster, their huge splayed feet grabbing the sand you struggle on, throwing them forward with ease. The primitive creatures never stop, never need to rest, and their eyesight is better than yours. They’d seen you watching them, and they didn’t take kindly to that. 

That moment is frozen in your mind: the flapping hides of the dead creatures they tied around themselves, their swinging limbs, and their eyes gleaming in the dark. Fodder for nightmares, should you be lucky enough to have them later. 

You gallop across the sands and through the tide that tugs at your hooves, as if the water too conspires to drag you down. Do the monsters compel all of nature to do their bidding? You shiver, your hide twitching and jumping. It can’t be. Such a thing would be magic, and everyone knows magic is for children. Just silly superstitions. Believing in magic would be as likely as you hunting and killing some poor creature. Ridiculous.

You fling yourself into the derelict. It has no door to slam in the monsters’ faces. You lunge across the small ship to grab the crate the Wolves had sent down for your return, the crate which holds the Matt and makes this rusting boat the Drop Site. It bangs against your knees as you haul it back to the entryway and push it into place. It’s too small to block the opening, but there’s nothing else, only a few planks peeling away from the interior wall. The ship screams, too loud in your sensitive ears, when you pull the planks away and slot them into place. They rattle and shiver when you shove the crate against them. There’s no way they’ll hold. 

Hoping you’ve at least bought yourself enough time, you open the crate, scanning the instructions. The Wolves set up the Matter Teleportation Device, but they didn’t tell you how to use it.

This was supposed to be an easy mission. Drop down, catalogue the natives, and Matt up. No one was supposed to get hurt. But the Wolves, likely thinking it a prank, didn’t set the Matt up with a verbal or physical passcode. The crate holds a sensor, along with a hoof-friendly lighter, kindling, and two slabs of raw meat. You recoil, even as you read the Wolves’ instructions: the Matt will initiate automatically when the sensor detects cooking meat. 

You stare in horror. Who is this? Surely not another Cow? Could you live with yourself if you cooked another Cow?

Some prank, forcing a vegetarian to cook meat in order to return to the ship. To safety. You curse the Wolves and their set up. 

But whoever this is, they are already dead. You dying too will not bring them back. Bile rises, and tears flow from your eyes and down your sensitive muzzle. But you aren’t ready yet to die. 

Fumbling, you grab the lighter, drop it, and grab it again. Your hooves tremble as you struggle to work the simple tool. 

Something slams against the ship and the planks jump. You lunge to hold them up, muttering prayers under your breath. Of course, there’s nothing in the starry expanse to pray to, but desperation drives out reason.  

You are going to give the Wolves an earful if you see them again.

Finally, a flame lights, just as the barricade slams against your back under the weight of the monsters. Screaming in wordless terror, you scramble with your hooves on the slick flooring, but there’s no good footing. Maybe if you had massive flat feet like the monsters do. The lighter drops from your grasp onto the kindling. 

The kindling catches, lucky for you. 

Hairy arms snake in through the holes in your barricade, scratching at you with blunt nails as the fire flares brighter. Another weight bounces against your back, and roars echo all around the derelict. Fortunately, the metal isn’t rusted all the way through. 

Shallow, quick breaths puffing out of your mouth, you drop the meat on the flames and waft the smoke toward the sensors. Your stomach turns, nausea rising. The things you’re willing to do to survive are horrifying. You are disgusting. 

As the stench of cooking meat fills the cabin, the monsters outside pause, snuffling around the edges of the planks. And then, they throw themselves like a wave at the barricade. At you. 

Your eyes widen and you shriek… 

…and disappear, safely Matted up to the ship. 

The Wolves consider the mission a success. After all, you survived. Even more, in one single exposure to the concept, you taught the humans how to harness fire. 

You taught them to cook their meat. 

 

Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!

– K. J. Harrowick http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com

– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com

– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com

– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com

– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/

– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com

– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com

– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com

– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/

– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com

– Jessica Lewis https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog

– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com

– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com

– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com

– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com

– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/

– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com

– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com

The amazing editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com

Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud

Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/

 

Writer In Motion: The Post-feedback Draft

Don’t forget to check out the other stories from other Writer In Motion writers! And take a look through the previous Writer In Motion posts to see the development of this story from first draft to final!

After collecting comments on my copy of the story, it was time to dig in.

The first thing I did was address huddle, for not only was my CP right that cows don’t really huddle, but huddle often implies company, and my Space Cow is all by its lonesome. Then I addressed “howls”, changing it to “shouts” and “roars”, the latter because I wanted to keep the monster idea. The former I’m not in love with, but I disliked the way “roars rose” sounded.

I decided to keep “derelict” despite the confusion because I like the rhythm it gives the sentence and didn’t want to break it by adding another word. I changed the first “feet” to “hooves” to dive right into the strange anatomy of the MC, and then nixed the next instance of “hooves”, smoothing the sentence. I found an extra “howls” and fixed that, too.

Then I decided I really didn’t like “shouts” and changed the whole ending of the sentence.  I bounce around a lot in editing.

Most of my feedback concerned word choice, so I went through them, searching for the best word choice. Sometimes I liked what I had better, and sometimes their suggestions. Sometimes, neither, but I found a better word choice anyway, which is what it’s all about.  Some word choices meant other words which had been fine now needed changing: like  because I changed “howls” to “roars”, I needed to change “they roared out from the brush”.

I took out the “Matt” explanation as I think it’d be cooler if the reader made that connection on their own, between “Matt” and mat. Besides, as one of my CPs pointed out, cow fur is generally too short to mat most of the time.

I needed to shine up that the abandoned boat was not of Space Cow design, but instead, just where the Drop Site and Matt were located. I also needed to clean up some sentences, consult with some grammarians I am lucky enough to know, and to consider the Space Cow’s atheism. I like how it adds some to its character, but it’s not really used in the character arc or story arc at all. So I need to consider whether it’s worth the words simply from a characterization stand point.

Finally, after I addressed every concern or not as I pondered, I went through with one last read through in a funky font to force my brain to read more critically. I’m becoming extremely familiar with this story to the point where my brain may not register small things, and I want to make sure that I haven’t messed anything up with my changes.

The semi-final result, the story I will send on to my editor, is below:

 

You lay among the scraggly brush, your rasping breath loud in your ears. Around you, the roars sounded, closing in around you. A sandy stretch of barren land lay between your meager cover and the Drop Site. It waited, concealed in the rusting remains of a small ship which listed to starboard on a sandbank. Nothing the monsters could understand.

You lunged for the derelict, breaking cover. The packed sand crumbled beneath your hooves as if plotting with your pursuers to slow you down. You stumbled, pattering a staccato beat. The scent of your own fear clogged your flaring nostrils. It was a wonder the monsters didn’t smell it too.

Or maybe they did.

They swarmed out from the brush, and a strangled squeal ripped from your throat. It seemed to drive them ever faster, their huge splayed feet grabbing the sand you struggled on, throwing them forward with ease. The primitive creatures never stopped, never needed to rest, and their eyesight was better than yours. They’d seen you watching them, and they hadn’t taken kindly to observation. That moment was frozen in your mind: the flapping hides of dead creatures they’d tied around themselves, their swinging limbs, and their eyes gleaming in the dark. Fodder for nightmares, should you be lucky enough to have them later.

You galloped across the sands and through the tide which tugged at your hooves, as if the water too conspired to drag you down. Did the monsters compel all of nature to do their bidding? You shivered, your hide twitching and jumping. It couldn’t be. Such a thing would be magic, and everyone knew magic was for children. Just silly superstitions, is all. Believing in magic would be as likely as you hunting and killing some poor creature. Ridiculous.

You flung yourself into the derelict. It had no door to slam in the monsters’ faces. You lunged across the small ship to grab the crate the Wolves had sent down for your return, the crate which held the Matt and made this rusting boat the Drop Site. It banged against your knees as you hauled it back to the entryway, then pushed it into place. It was too small to block the opening, but there was nothing else. Only a few planks peeling away from the interior wall. The ship screamed, too loud in your sensitive ears, when you cannibalized the ship, pulling the planks away and slotting them into place. The planks rattled and shivered when you shoved the crate against them. There was no way they would hold.

Hoping you’d at least bought yourself enough time, you opened the crate, scanning the instructions. The Wolves had set up the Matter Teleportation Device, but they hadn’t told you how to use it.

This was supposed to be an easy mission. Drop down, catalogue the natives, and Matt up. No one was supposed to get hurt. But the Wolves, likely thinking it a prank, had not set the Matt up with a verbal or physical passcode. The crate held a sensor, along with a hoof-hand-friendly lighter, kindling, and two slabs of raw meat. You recoiled, even as you read the Wolves’ instructions: the Matt would initiate automatically when the sensor detected cooking meat.

You stared in horror. Who was this? Surely not another Cow? Could you live with yourself if you cooked another Cow?

You cursed the Wolves and their set up. Some prank, forcing a vegetarian to cook meat in order to return to the ship. To safety.

But whoever this was, they were already dead. You dying too would not bring them back. Bile rose, and tears flowed from your eyes and down your sensitive muzzle, but you weren’t ready yet to die. Fumbling, you grabbed the lighter, dropped it, and grabbed it again. Your hoof-hands trembled as you struggled to work the simple tool.

Something slammed against the planks and they jumped, but you lunged to hold them up. You muttered prayers under your breath. Of course, there was nothing in the starry expanse to pray to, but desperation drove out reason.

You were going to give the Wolves an earful if you saw them again.

Finally, a flame lit, just as the barricade slammed against your back under the weight of the monsters. Screaming in wordless terror, you scrambled with your hooves on the slick metal flooring, but there was no good footing. Maybe if you had massive flat feet like the monsters did. The lighter dropped from your grasp onto the kindling.

The kindling caught, lucky for you. Hairy arms snaked in through the holes in your barricade, scratching at you with blunt nails as the fire flared brighter. Another weight bounced against your back, and roars echoed all around the derelict. Fortunately, the metal wasn’t rusted all the way through.

Shallow, quick breaths puffing out of your mouth, you dropped the meat on the flames and wafted the smoke toward the sensors. Your stomach turned, nausea rising. The things you were willing to do to survive were horrifying. You were disgusting.

As the stench of cooking meat filled the cabin, the monsters outside paused, snuffling around the edges of the planks. And then, they threw themselves like a wave at the barricade. At you.

Your eyes widened and you shrieked…

…and disappeared, safely Matted up to the ship.

The Wolves considered the mission a success. After all, you survived. Even more, in one single exposure to the concept, you taught the humans how to harness fire.

You taught them to cook their meat.

 

Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!

– K. J. Harrowick http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com

– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com

– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com

– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com

– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/

– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com

– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com

– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com

– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/

– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com

– Jessica Lewis https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog

– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com

– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com

– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com

– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com

– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/

– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com

– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com

The amazing editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com

Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud

Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/

 

Writer In Motion: Critique Partner Feedback

Hey you- you’ve checked out the rest of the Writer In Motion Posts, right? As well as the other fantastic writers joining me on this crazy adventure? Great. Way to go!

So this weekend, I got my feedback on my silly Space Cows back from my Writer In Motion CPs. I opened it and read it right away because that’s the sort of person I am. Otherwise, I stress about all the awful things that are going to be in there and oh no they hated it and I suck as a writer etc. Reading it right away clears up those doubts.

The next step for me is to walk away and let it sit. I normally let it sit for a week or two before using the suggestions. This allows me some distance so I’m not defensive. That way I can look more objectively at the critique and use it or not based on its merits, not on how offended I was by it. Taking only the compliments and throwing out the critiques does no good, nor does automatically throwing out critiques I don’t agree with. I have never and will never get a MS back from critiques that’s clean. As you can see, even my short garnered 30 and 40 comments (and I gave as many back in return, even though I loved the stories!). There’s always, always, something to improve.

In this post, I’m going to share with you what my MS looked like after the tender loving care of my CPs. Hopefully this will help, seeing how marked up and ravaged my story was (and spoilers: that ripping it apart is going to make it so much better!).

Now, after I came back from my break, my first thing to do was to go through and mark down on my copy anywhere there were agreements. Even if I don’t agree with the suggestion right away, when there are agreements, that illustrates a potential problem. Sometimes a beta reader will make a suggestion that’s super wacky and out of left field (which can also be fun) but if multiple people make the same suggestion, it’s probably not so wacky.

Right away, I saw two: One is the word “howls” is applied to the monsters, but since I have Wolves later on, that can be confusing. I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment and will be changing that. The next point of agreement is “derelict”. Derelict is often an adjective, but it can also be a noun, something neither of my CPs were aware of. I tend to use archaic sort of obscure language, so if I want to keep derelict as a noun, I need to accept that readers might stumble over that word. Both CPs pointed it out, after all, and they both rock.

The next step is to transfer comments to my copy that may not be agreed on, but with which I agree. I’ll be changing those, after all, since I agree with them.

The final step is to think hard about the remainder of the comments- not the praise, but the suggestions. I need to decide whether to keep those or not. The praise is great, but I rarely do anything with it, because really it’s just letting me know what I’ve got right. That’s important, but if I’m not planning to change those bits, I’m not in danger of breaking something awesome. The one exception to the ignoring of the praise is when one person praises something and another person suggests a change. Then I’ve got to think hard on that, too.

When I’m utilizing suggestions from my betas and CPs, I never want to dismiss something based on my own pride. I have learned, however, to keep in mind the feel I want to create and my own vision for my art.

After I transferred everything I was going to think about or keep, I have this:

 

 

Now, I’m ready to make my changes, which I will post in the next couple days and then send off to my editor, the amazing Jeni Chappelle!

 

 

Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!

– K. J. Harrowick http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com

– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com

– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com

– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com

– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/

– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com

– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com

– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com

– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/

– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com

– Jessica Lewis https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog

– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com

– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com

– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com

– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com

– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/

– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com

– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com

The amazing editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com

Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud

Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/

 

Writer In Motion: Second Draft!

Hopefully you’ve been following along with the Writer In Motion saga! Check out the prompt and my process, as well as my first draft, and don’t forget to check out the works of all the other participants: they are seriously amazing.

So I wrote my first draft in 2nd person which very very quickly morphed to 1st person. I had to think long and hard about this, because I really wanted it to be in 2nd person. I only ever write in 3rd person, so this is experimental for me. To stick the landing, so to speak, I knew the end needed to go, which would also help shorten the story from 1140 to closer to 500, and I need to strengthen the ending.

My scrapping of the ending and rewriting started at “Drop the meat on!”

I needed to add more character to the “monsters” at the beginning too, so I took some from the original ending and patched it in earlier in the story. 

That got the word count down to 963. Now to go through and really strengthen the 2nd person PoV. The thing is, I can’t be in 2nd person if there’s also an I/me because by nature, I’ll be in “my” own head, so “I” can’t also be in “yours”. I went back and re-read Rebecca Roanhorse’s 2nd person short story to stick myself in that PoV, and then went to work, correcting present tense mistakes to past tense as I went. That got the word count to 916, by cutting a character. Another thing I firmly decided was that I didn’t want to have any names, so a single Space Cow it was. You are a Space Cow. Congratulations. 

I also needed to look at character arcs- I have a clear external arc, but I really wanted to pack an internal arc in here too. In talking through the plot as-it-was, I realized there’s a potential arc already set up in the cow’s atheism, and also in the cow’s vegetarianism. I went with “Who am I cooking” since I already have the sensory disgust from the act of cooking the meat to launch the reader into that conflict without adding too many more words. That brought me to 982 for a word count. 

Next, I checked for characterization, trying to pack as much character and voice in as I could into the story, as well as making sure motivations come through for all the characters. Also, removing idea repetition- this is something I have issues with, and sometimes it’s stylistic, but not here. I cut it out.

Then to check for smoothing the telling of the story, once the story itself is stronger. This meant reading it aloud, and looking for and fixing filtering, telling, and passive voice, as well as any repeated words. After all was said and done, AutoCrit gave a score of about 79 (which is pretty good, though I usually score higher) and my word count was 936.

Here’s my second draft (and a handy link backward if you want to compare it to the first draft):

You huddled among the scraggly brush, your rasping breath loud in your ears. Around you the howls rose. Only a sandy stretch of barren land lay between your meager cover and the Drop Site. It waited, concealed in the rusting remains of a small ship which listed to starboard on a sandbank. Nothing the monsters could understand.

The howls closed in around you. You lunged for the derelict, breaking cover. The packed sand crumbled beneath your feet as if plotting with your pursuers to slow you down.

You stumbled, your hooves pattering a staccato beat. The scent of your own fear clogged your nostrils. It was a wonder the monsters didn’t smell it too.

Or maybe they did.

They roared out from the brush and a strangled squeal ripped from your throat. It seemed to call them on, to drive them ever faster, their huge splayed feet grabbing the sand you struggled on, throwing them forward with ease. Primitive creatures, they never stopped, never needed to rest. But they were intelligent, too, and their eyesight was better than yours. They’d seen you watching them, and they hadn’t taken kindly to that. That moment was frozen in your mind, the flapping hides, swinging limbs, and eyes gleaming in the dark. Fodder for nightmares, should you be lucky enough to have them later.

You galloped across the sands and through the tide which licked at your hooves, as if the water too conspired to drag you down. Did the monsters compel all of nature to do their bidding? You shivered, your hide twitching and jumping. It couldn’t be. Such a thing would be magic, and everyone knew magic was for children. Just silly superstitions, is all. Believing in magic would be as likely for you as hunting and killing some poor creature. Ridiculous.

You flung yourself into the derelict. No door to slam in the monsters’ faces. You lunged across the small ship to grab the crate the Wolves had sent down for your return, banging it against your knees as you hauled it back to the doorway. It was too small to block the opening, but there was nothing else. Only a few planks peeling away from the interior wall. The ship screamed, too loud in your sensitive ears, when you pulled them away and slotted them in the doorway, cannibalizing the ship. The planks rattled and shivered when you shoved the crate against them. There was no way they would hold.

Hoping you’d at least bought yourself enough time, you opened the crate, scanning the instructions. The Wolves had set up the Matter Teleportation Device, but they hadn’t told you how to use it. The “Matt” now felt like a mat in the fur, tangling and irritating, growing into something that could injure.

This was supposed to be an easy mission. Drop down, catalogue the natives, and Matt up. No one was supposed to get hurt. But the Wolves, likely thinking it a prank, had not set the Matt up with a verbal or physical passcode. The crate held a sensor along with matches, kindling, and two slabs of raw meat. You recoiled, even as you read the Wolves’ instructions: the Matt would initiate automatically when the sensor detected cooking meat.

You stared in horror. Who was this? Surely not another Cow? Could you live with yourself if you cooked another Cow?

You cursed the Wolves and their set up. You were sorry for it immediately, but you weren’t in your right mind. Some prank, forcing a vegetarian to cook meat in order to return to the ship. To safety.

But whoever this was, they were already dead. You dying too would not bring them back. Bile rose, and tears flowed from your eyes and down your sensitive muzzle. But you weren’t ready yet to die. Fumbling, you grabbed the matches, dropped them, and grabbed them again. You trembled as you tried to light the kindling in the crate.

Something slammed against the planks and they jumped, but you lunged to hold them up. You muttered prayers under your breath. Of course there was nothing in the starry expanse to pray to, but desperation drove out reason.

You were going to give the Wolves an earful, if you saw them again.

Finally, the match lit, just as a weight slammed against your back. Screaming with wordless terror, you scrambled with your hooves on the slick metal flooring, but there was no good footing. Maybe if you had massive flat feet like the monsters did. The match dropped from your grasp onto the kindling.

The kindling caught, lucky for you. Hairy arms snaked in through the holes in your barricade, scratching at you with blunt nails as the fire flared brighter. Another weight bounced against your back, and howls rose up all around the derelict. Fortunately the metal wasn’t rusted all the way through.

Shallow, quick breaths puffing out of your mouth, you dropped the meat on the flames and wafted the smoke toward the sensors. Your stomach turned, nausea rising. The things you were willing to do to survive were horrifying. You were disgusting.

As the stench of cooking meat filled the cabin, the monsters outside paused, snuffling around the edges of the planks. And then, they threw themselves like a wave at the barricade. At you.

Your eyes widened and you shrieked,… and disappeared, safely Matted up to the ship.

The Wolves considered the mission a success. After all, you survived. Even more, in one single exposure to the concept, you taught the humans how to harness fire.

You taught them to cook their meat.

I’m not 100% sure about the ending, and I’d like to cut more as I think we’re supposed to get to 500, but at least I’m under the 1000 word cutoff for CPs. And I don’t know what else to do with it, which means it’s ready for the next step: sending it off to CPs so they can give me critiques and suggestions on improving the story.

 

 

Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!

– K. J. Harrowick http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com

– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com

– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com

– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com

– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/

– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com

– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com

– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com

– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/

– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com

– Jessica Lewis https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog

– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com

– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com

– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com

– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com

– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/

– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com

– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com

The amazing editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com

Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud

Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/