Unmasking My Illusionist

I need a writerly war cry, something that that doesn’t look too stupid in a blog post.  Anyone interested in supplying me with suggestions, please apply in the comments section.  Yes, this means I need one now, but I will settle for later, if only because I don’t have one now anyway and impatience isn’t going to fix that problem.

Yes, this also means I’m sort of back on track with Unmasked.  I’m sure that at least one person (who shall remain nameless but needs to get that blog started) will have guessed the subject of this post already, but I’m still going to write it because, well, I’m a writer and slapping words together is what I do. Besides, at least some of you might well be scratching your head thinking, “What is she blathering on about now?”

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m in a slightly odd mood tonight.  Oh, you did notice?  Aren’t you perceptive. 😉 I blame the combination of a long, somewhat boring day at work and a major bit of success with Masques.

It’s amazing how many small things change from one project to another, particularly in the order of things I do to prepare for writing a draft. I more or less do the same tasks every time, but this time I did them in a different order, at least from Necromantic. With that trilogy, I used the event arcs for each book to figure out what to name them.  Yes, every one of the titles of my books actually means something for the book.  I’d probably be highly resistant to the notion of changing them at all, in case you were wondering.

This time, I more or less had the titles in place for Masques. I knew them before NaNo started. They sort of go with the very broad portion that each book tells of the overall story.  But I really didn’t know much for the specifics of each book, and it was driving me a bit nuts. Yes, I’ve started the new outline and it is going much better, but it’s still hard to build toward something that you don’t know, hard to lay hints and red herrings if you’re not sure what’s coming.

Today I decided to do something about the problem instead of blindly plunging forward. I took a sheet in my steno book (I always carry paper and pencil as a back up in case all batteries are dead), divided it into four parts and put the title of each book at the top of a section. I then laid out the major events of the plot for book 1 as I know them. Then I started realizing stuff for all the other books, and was scribbling away. Yes, the handwriting is atrocious, but I’m used to it, as mine has always been like that. There’s a reason I type everything humanly possible.

So now I have a full, and I do mean very full, sheet of notes, and the basic arcs and events for the entire quartet.  Some of it will probably change by the time I get to those books. I know the arcs I had for Necromantic did somewhat, but I can live with that. This gives me the base I need to build toward the conclusion of the quartet through each book. I also feel better able to deal with Unmasked, knowing where it needs to lead and what Cayle’s facing (seriously, you should already pity this guy as much as I do, which is to say a lot), as well as how he’ll grow through these challenges.  Having all these things in place for Necromantic made writing that trilogy so much easier, though no less emotional.

I suppose what I’m saying is that, once I’m finished drinking this salted caramel mocha (omg this is good shit), I’m going to go home and continue pounding away on that outline. I feel more ready for it now, like I have the tools I need but didn’t have before.  I also realized a number of things about Cayle in the process of doing this, not to mention just generally being unable to take my mind off him, that helped me see him more clearly, to let him be the person I know he wants and needs to be in this story, both the book and the quartet.

Maybe I can get most of this written tonight fuelled purely by enthusiasm and caffeine. I mean, I don’t need sleep, right? It’s only work tomorrow… 😉

About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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17 Responses to Unmasking My Illusionist

  1. quix689 says:

    Mmm…salted caramel mocha…

    Anyway – yay for outlines! I love reading about how other people plan. It always gives me new ideas for things to try myself. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Oh man, now I want another of those mochas. The vicious cycle!!!

      You’re right, that seeing other people’s processes can spark ideas or just reassurance that your way is just fine. Given the amount of interest I’ve had people mention in comments about my own, I’m thinking I’ll do possibly a series of posts with illustrations on mine, a bit more detailed than I’ve done before.

      I’ve been a bit leery of doing this before because I firmly believe the process that works for each person will be different, but mb I’m worrying too much about people taking it as prescriptive.

      • quix689 says:

        I would definitely love to read those posts! And I think at this point anyone who follows your blog knows that you’re a huge fan of finding what works for each individual person. As long as you never say “this is the only way to do it,” I think you’re good. 😀

  2. Chris Edgar says:

    When I need my own personal war cry, I listen to “Unholy War Cry” by Rhapsody of Fire, a now-defunct Italian “Tolkien Metal” band. The song’s introduction is even by Christopher Lee. You can check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEMeBTmiX4g. Not that this is necessarily apropos of writing novels, I suppose.

    • Julie says:

      Well, I was thinking more like a word or very short phrase I could use, like when you’re charging into battle. “Woohoo” just didn’t seem to cut it in this situation. And I use it too much. 😉

  3. Shanah says:

    Yup, got to say I am craving a salted caramel mocha now. 😉 Thanks for sharing your process. Your words flow so well in your blog, I have high hopes for when I finally get around to Bound. I am sorry it’s taking me so long. I have to get through Nancy Kelley’s His Good Opinion if I do my reviews in order. But I won’t let you down! Oh yeah a war cry…SPOOOOON!

  4. dex says:

    “I need a writerly war cry, something that that doesn’t look too stupid in a blog post.”

    Holy cow. Me, too.

    • Julie says:

      See? There’s a real need for this. And I don’t think “Holy Words!” will do the job.

      • dex says:

        Well, I wasn’t suggesting “holy cow” as the war cry. That doesn’t really invoke the fear and awe I think we would both want. However, I don’t know what would. I’m going to have to give this some thought.

        This confirms my suspicious, though, that writing is not that far removed from magic. We’re calling it a war cry, but we could just as easily call it an invocation.

        • Julie says:

          I want mine to be partly victorious, or at least be able to use it that way, which is why “To the Laptop!” is also out.

          And you’re right an invocation would work. But you have to be careful with that, or it treads perilously close to sucking up to the muse, and then she/he comes to expect that. 😉

          • dex says:

            You are so right. My muse would never put up with that. If I’m not just a little snarky toward her, she assumes I’m trying to manipulate her.

            It does need to be tied to victory. It could be victorious (as in, I’ve already won) or alluding to victory (as in, I’m absolutely confident I’ll win even though the battle has not yet been fought).

          • Julie says:

            I’m mostly worried about my muse asking for days off. Right now, she’s used to the every day routine.

            And I still have no ideas for a writerly war cry, though we’ve at least narrowed the criteria a bit. 🙂

  5. 4amWriter says:

    When you find your writerly war cry, I certainly hope you blog about it. 🙂 Or perhaps you have, and I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m soooo behind on blog reading!!

    Salted caramel mocha sounds divine. Where do you get it???

    • Julie says:

      I haven’t found my writerly war cry, but I promise you, I will share it when I do find it. We can all cry it together and the world will (mb) tremble.

      And Starbucks has the salted caramel mocha. Oh god, now I want one… No SB at work. *cries* 😉

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