naomi_jay: (violin)
So, another year is almost upon us! In a fit of nostalgia I went and looked at my last post of 2009, and here's what I had planned for 2010:

1. Turn Wild into a sleek fighting machine of a book so that my agent can sell it. Yay!
2. Write the sequel to AFTERLIFE, Afterburn, and see if Damnation Books would like it.
3. Rewrite the first Scarlett book and make it so awesome that it conquers the world.
4. Escape the Day Job of Firetop Mountain (I have an interview on Tuesday, so fingers crossed).
5. Move house. I cannot spend another winter in the Cowshed. It's freezing, expensive, and depressing. I want to be out of here by the summer.

And how did these noble goals work out, you ask?

1. I did rewrite Wild, and I do think it's a pretty sleek fighting machine now, but I ended up parting ways with my agent (to leave one is unfortunate, but two? IDEK), so Wild is still unsold. It's currently sitting on the desk of a pretty big name editor, but she's leaving her publishing house in early 2011, and to date I haven't heard from her as to whether she'll be taking Wild with her. I'd love to email her and ask again, but I don't want to nag. On the other hand, I have A Plan for Wild, and I would quite like it to be out of this weird limbo in 2011 so I can progress with that plan.

2. I started the sequel to AFTERLIFE, now called Halflife, as part of the [livejournal.com profile] wwathon and am currently about 9k in. My plan is to get the first draft done by the end of February 2011.

3. Hahahaha, no. Once again my crippling need for perfectionism when it comes to the Scarlett stuff means I've done eff-all here. 

4. HAHAHAHA, NO! I am still in my crappy day job after another year of desperate job hunting. My God. I am just unemployable. My old boss was right.

5. Yes! I moved house! Kyle and I now have a house that isn't a converted cowshed and isn't freezing, expensive, and depressing. One goal out of five isn't bad, I suppose?

On the other hand, SILVER KISS was released this year and got a more amazing response than I could ever have expected. I wrote the sequel, BLOOD HUNT, which will be out next year and I'm already very nervous about it. I wrote and sold DEMONISED, an Ethan Banning novella, which I'm currently editing for publication in March 2011, and I'm also quite nervous about that. I wrote Night and Chaos, which I plan to self-publish in the next couple of months as part of My Plan. I also had several short stories published in various Static Movement anthologies. So, no, I didn't hit all the goals I set myself for 2010, but on balance I've had a pretty awesome year.

So, 2011. If the Mayans are to be believed, the apocalypse is on the horizon, so I'd like to pack quite a lot of stuff into next year. If there's one lesson I can take from 2010, it's that I probably shouldn't set myself any solid goals, because I'll change my mind when something shiny appears on the horizon. With that in mind, here are my ... aims ... for 2011:

1. Finish Halflife
2. Publish Night and Chaos
3. Sort out the Wild problem once and for all, dammit!
4. Generally do lots of writing and make it as freaking awesome as can be
5. Write the third Urban Wolf book (this is actually something I'm contractually obliged to do, so I don't know if it counts, but I'm already really excited about writing it, so it's probably okay)

And here are the things I'd like to happen but have no real control over:

1. for BLOOD HUNT to be as well-received as SILVER KISS
2. GET A NEW JOB, FOR GOD'S SAKE! Even if I have to move to the other end of the country to do it.

And in between all that stuff, I have a couple of other projects pending which I can't talk about right now, but they will be super, I promise you that! Anyway, in the mean time, Happy New Year to everyone, and here's to a fabulous 2011!



naomi_jay: (looks like scarlett)
 Yes. I have worked through the pain to add many words to Night and Chaos today. I'm inordinately proud of myself. I kinda feel like I'm about half way through now, so I've changed my estimated final word count to 40k. I'm also toying with the idea of changing Ryan's name again. I'm so torn - I love Ryan as a girl's name, but people do keep assuming she's a man. But no other name suits her now! I suppose I could change the spelling so it's more obviously feminine (I'm sure [livejournal.com profile] yolandasfetsos  pointed me towards a site with feminised spellings at one point). But can I live with Ryanne? Maybe it should be Rian? Rianne? Rhian? Someone tell me what to do!

26440 / 40000
(66.1%)

I've also dusted off The Fire Inside(which also needs renaming) and added some wordage to that. I'm determined to write this novel, dammit. Scarlett and Ash are my favourite characters of all time EVER, and I need to force them on you all, guys. If I can persuade myself to let go of the idea that this book needs to be OMGPERFECT! then I'll be fine. In theory it should be the easiest book I could possibly write; I've lived with this world in my head for seventeen years. I know all the characters, all their story arcs, everything. I just need to get over my self-imposed ridiculously high standards for it all.

3983 / 70000
(5.69%)
naomi_jay: (green butterfly)

No more work until October 11th! Huzzahs! That's a whole week of nothing but doing whatever I want to do, and what I mostly want to do is nothing. Well, there are plans. But they're fun plans, so it's okay.

The Plan - Writing

1. Finish my steampunk story, Dr Dewson's Analytical Soul Decipherer, for submission to Static Movement's steampunk anthology.
2. Finish critiquing a friend's novel for her (it's fabulous!)
3. Get cracking on the Scarlett novel, which still needs a title. I've got about 2k already; I'd like to have added to that by the end of next week.

The Plan - Miscellaneous

1. Apparently on Monday we are hosting a Ross Noble/The Human Centipede night. I can't imagine The Human Centipede improves on a second viewing or anything, but it seems I can't stop it happening. At least there will be Ross Noble to make it better.
2.[livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  has cocktail vouchers! I have a great love of cocktails! It's a match made in heaven.
3. I would like to teach Ket not to use me as a toilet. Or at least I would like to teach him he can also use Kyle as a toilet, should he choose. I'm not sure exactly how I will achieve this, but it may involve buying a flute for snake-charming or something. 



Why yes, that is a beautiful silk kimono you're about to crap on, Ket.
 
 And remember, the Anti-Nano Cult is now up and running. If you're interested, check it out and sign up! Everyone's projects sound very cool so far, and I'm really looking forward to reading the excerpts throughout November.
naomi_jay: (typewriter)
So, my optimistic prediction of finishing BLOOD HUNT this weekend was ... overly optimistic? Illness has plagued me most of the week, and I really struggled to get much done. Today I feel mostly better and managed a rather pleasing 4k. Huzzahs!

So, only about 14k to go and the first draft is wrapped up. Argh! I'm in Manchester Tuesday - Friday next week, and I'm not sure how much (if any) writing time I'll get as I'll be busy with the She-Wolf conference, and with meeting Kyle's family which is not a terrifying prospect at all. So, yeah, I'm a little worried. I know I'll get it done, but I hate being late with or for anything, and a novel most of all. Still, I'm getting there, right? Right.

 
56264 / 70000 words. 80% done!

The other thing I've done today is once again start writing/rewriting the long-stewing Scarlett novel. I woke up this morning wondering why I agonise over making this story perfect when I could just, you know, write it and enjoy myself. I've spent this evening going through the two original novels (both of which make me cringe now) and pulling together some ideas for the new, improved version, and now I have 2k on The Fire Inside, which is a terrible title, but will do until I think of a better one. Ta-da!

 
2062 / 70000 words. 3% done!

I'm actually making the bold decision to not worry about long this piece ends up being. Novel or novella, all I want is to get it written, and then write lots more. From the age of about sixteen to twenty-five, I wrote nothing but Scarlett stuff. Literally, nothing, unless it was a course piece for university. I have so much material waiting to explore, and this morning I decided that as much as I'd love to see it all published, the most important thing about Scarlett's story is writing it for myself. And frees me from this crippling need to make it perfect and just enjoy the characters I've loved the longest all over again.
naomi_jay: (ana cruz horse)
I figure I may as well do the last three in one go since I'm a day behind and don't plan on tagging anyone with this!

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.


I can't think of any, which surprises me given how interested I am in mental illness and psychology. My next planned project, unimaginatively entitled "The Cassandra Novel" until I think of a real title will have a self-harming, depressed heroine with an eating disorder, because I'm a cheerful sort. But no, I think I've yet to write any physically or mentally disabled characters.

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

OMG, ALL THE FREAKING TIME, MAYBE? I can assure you, if you're ever talking to me and I appear to be staring into space and ignoring you, I am actually plotting, running through dialogue or descriptions in my head, and inventing crazy new adventures for my characters. I keep notepads and pens on hand all the time just in case I come up with any news ideas worth noting, and writing is my favourite topic of conversation. 

As for finding things in real life that reminds me of my writing... yeah, a lot. It can be really simple things - lilies remind me of Scarlett (she hates them), and Muse remind me of Ayla (she loves them). [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  and I spent a truly beautiful evening in Italy four years ago sitting by a fountain with boxes of pizza and discussing our characters. It emerged that one of hers is fascinated by Fabrege eggs, and ever since Fabrege eggs have reminded me of that character. Or it can be stuff in the news - I read an article recently about "real life" werewolves in America that will probably make its way into an Urban Wolf book in the future, for example.

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I'm not actually tagging anyone, but I've had lots of fun doing this, and reading other people's thoughts and responses, so I'd encourage any of my writer friends to do it too!
naomi_jay: (hello cthulhu)
27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Well, that's a tricky one. Appearances are important to me as a reader. I like to have a strong mental image of the characters I'm reading about, but I hate it when an author spends pages and pages lovingly describing a character's hair, eyes, clothes, facial hair, nail varnish, boots, perfume... etc... And I especially hate it when authors do this via the medium of a character studying themself in a mirror. Subtlety is okay, people!

As a writer, I have very clear ideas of what my characters look like, but I don't want to bludgeon my readers over the head with my version, because of how I feel as a reader. And chances are, my idea of what they look like will differ wildly from yours anyway. Since my characters' appearances very rarely have any major impact on a story, I just don't worry about it too much. I mean, I know that Ethan has a constant five-o-clock shadow and rumpled clothes, but those things are hardly essential to the reading of the story, so why spend a lot of time discussing it? I have a bit of a private joke about how Scarlett is a redhead, but does it matter that she has a name is also her hair colour? Probably not.
 
Anyway. I honestly don't spend an awful lot of time "designing" characters. Usually a mental picture of them comes to me without much thought: either the appearance is triggered by the name or vice versa, and that's all there is to it.

Questions under the cut )
naomi_jay: (Default)
5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

Youngest I think is a toss-up between Kas from the Scarlett universe and Melody from AFTERLIFE. Kas is about fourteen when the Scarlett stuff kicks off, although he already has the mentality of a world-weary oldster, thanks to his Tragic Past and the general mentality needed to survive in a household consisting of one immature playboy werewolf, one slightly neurotic firestarter, a fallen angel, another psychic, and the occasional visiting alcoholic necromancer who wants to kill everyone except the firestarter... Not to mention various miscellaneous house guests.

Melody is twelve or thirteen? I should know this. But again, mentally she's a lot older, thanks to being dead and hellbent on bloody revenge in unusual circumstances.

In terms of creation, Scarlett is definitely the oldest, probably getting on for seventeen or eighteen years old, in fact. Youngest, I guess is the cast of Demonised, with the exception of Ethan, who's been around in various forms for about eight or nine years. But the rest of that novella are all brand new! Babies! Newbies! And all already scarred for life! Poor darlings *pets Anna and co*

Full list of questions behind the cut )
naomi_jay: (looks like scarlett)
I'm feeling pretty meh today, so I stole this from [livejournal.com profile] alex_beecroft in order to stave off boredom for a few minutes... Come join me!

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

Without a doubt, this is the Scarlett books. (In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the answers to this questions end up being Scarlett-related). Although I love all my universes, this is the one has the oldest, biggest place in my heart. The character of Scarlett (a pyromancer descended from angels and demons) came to me when I was very young, and the rest of the world developed as I grew and read. I'd say it's easily the best-developed of my universes: the characters and their arcs are all very firmly ingrained in my head, and I could probably write dozens of books about them all. There's Ash, the borderline alcoholic necromancer; Christian, the playboy werewolf; Kas, the old-before-his-time teen psychic; there's fallen angels, lost gods, obsessive demons, shady government organisations, and plenty of good old fashioned shenanigans.

I actually have two books and countless short stories (although most of those are lost) written about this world already. The first book, Fire and Moonlight, got me my first agent. Since then, I've desperately wanted to rewrite it because it's just so ... meh ... to me now. But there's never time! And I'm struggling to concieve an ideal plot for the first book at the moment, something solid and exciting and fresh to introduce the world with the bang I feel it deserves. So this project is on hold for the time being. I've been lucky enough to have a couple of short Scarlett/Ash stories published in Ethereal Tales recently, which gives me hope that this is a universe worth writing about.

I'm generally not a writer of the "my characters are REAL TO ME!!!" school, but in this case... yeah, they are. Scarlett and Ash in particular are very real to me, and I know them inside out and back to front. I'm pretty confident you could give me any scenario you liked, and I'd know how they'd react. Deep down in my heart of hearts, this is the series I want to get published and want people to love, which in a way puts me off ever attempting it, lol.


Full list of questions behind the cut )

Next?

Feb. 16th, 2010 02:26 pm
naomi_jay: (looks like lizzie)
Since Wild is with my Fearless Agent and SILVER KISS is almost ready to step out into the big bad world, my mind has inevitably turned to the next project. (It's taken me like, a week to get over Wild. When I finished the rewrite I swore I'd never write anything again and everything could just go to hell because dammit, my arm really hurt. Still does, but anyway).

Anyway. There are a couple of certs - namely the two sequels to SILVER KISS. I'm undecided what order to do them in. Both will take Ayla and Shannon out of town. Probably Bad Dogs will be next since the events follow on quite closely from SILVER KISS. That's set Oop North. The third book is set in France and is currently called Moonstruck, but I'm edging towards changing that to something along the lines of Stone Touch. All will become clear eventually, I promise.

I've also got the sequel to AFTERLIFE, called Afterburn despite the indigestion connotations. That's not contracted, but Damnation Books did express an interest in seeing it, and I definitely want to write it.

I've been working on and off on a novella called Earthbound for a QueeredFiction anthology. The deadline is already gone (it passed whilst I was feverishly writing about junkie werewolves and homeless ghouls), but I'm going to finish it up and inquire anyway.

There's that zombie-military thing too. I'm currently reading Zombie CSU for research. There's also a YA idea floating around, although I've never written YA before so I'm not sure about that one.

And always, always, there's the rewrite of Scarlett's first novel. Sigh. Always. One day I will do it, I will make it awesome and it will take over the world. And then you'll all see *shakes fist skyward*

And all of this is why I need to escape this damnable dayjob.


naomi_jay: (colourful butterfly)

 You're done! A few more hours and it'll be 2010, which I fully expect to be shiny, exciting, and full of leopard geckos*.

In that spirit, here's the usual list of resolutions:

1. Turn Wild into a sleek fighting machine of a book so that my agent can sell it. Yay!
2. Write the sequel to AFTERLIFE, Afterburn, and see if Damnation Books would like it.
3. Rewrite the first Scarlett book and make it so awesome that it conquers the world.
4. Escape the Day Job of Firetop Mountain (I have an interview on Tuesday, so fingers crossed).
5. Move house. I cannot spend another winter in the Cowshed. It's freezing, expensive, and depressing. I want to be out of here by the summer.

Those are the things I absolutely want to achieve. There are things I will hope for that are a bit beyond my control - like SILVER KISS being an amazing hit, etc - but we shall see. I'm going to try and focus more on what is in my control in 2010, rather than making myself miserable by expecting unreasonable things from myself.

Anyway, here's to everyone having a Happy New Year's Eve, whatever you're doing, and an absolutely fabulous 2010! May hover cars and success find you all!

*Kyle and I were in Pets At Home earlier and OMG I want leopard geckos! They're so freaking cute!
 



 
 
naomi_jay: (journal)

For the curious, I'm the one being eaten. By life.

Last week was an incredibly unproductive week writing-wise. I managed a grand total of 2k on SILVER KISS, most of which was done last night under the influence of peanut M&Ms. I'm pretty please with how the story is progressing, but it needs to progress faster! So this week, I am totally laying the smackdown. No socialising, no showerig, no eating. Just hardcore, graphic, extreme-close-up, unadulterated, writing. No, okay, I will shower and eat.

Although, of course, Watchmen is out on DVD this week, and [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  and I have been planning our glorious viewing of the director's cut for months now. I was very amused to see a review of the DVD in a men's mag this weekend that cautioned that "this film does have a naked blue man in it." Like Dr Manhattan's penis might somehow threaten the moral integrity of the male viewer.

Oh, and also, Ethereal Tales' July issue is out now. Featuring me! So if you'd like to read a story about dying angels and warehouse fires, go grab a copy. Go now!

naomi_jay: (scarlett)
If you fancy a sneak preview of my short story, Burned, which will be out next week in Ethereal Tales, just click right here. Yeah, that's it. Right here.

I'm so excited - this is the first short story I've written that will be in an actual print magazine, as opposed to an ezine. I mean, I'm excited every time I get something published, but it's always nice when you can show your family without having to talk them through connecting to the internet first.

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