Dark Waters

Apr. 4th, 2014 05:49 pm
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
11 Dark Waters

Richard Martz is a bitter ex-mage cursed as punishment for the destruction of his previous magical coven. Richard is reluctantly drawn back into the word of magic and intrigue when he is approached by Holly Ellefson, daughter of a human mage. Holly is also part-fey, a bloodline taboo by both custom and treaty.

Agreeing to protect Holly, Richard pits his erratic, broken magic against the Twin Cities Magical Council. As Holly gains control over her fey abilities and the magical powers inherited from her mother, she discovers her family's deep secrets: secrets the Magical Council would rather stay buried.

Caught between multiple enemies, Richard and Holly race to unravel the mystery of Holly's heritage while healing the wounds of Richard's tragic past, even as the forces arrayed against them tighten their grip, threatening death—or worse—should Richard or Holly fall into their hands.

Dark Waters is available at
Alban Lake Publishing.
mmerriam: (Default)
The steampunk spy-thriller novella is delivered to the publisher, so there is a big load off my mind. Dark Water Blues, has been rewritten and resubmitted to my editor, so another project down. I've been working on rewrites of Dead Brew and finishing the first draft of my still untitled contemporary coming of age novella (can you tell I've fallen in love with the novella length work?). Plans are still afoot to try my hand a screenwriting.

I've also started finalizing and lining up my programming at various conventions for 2012, and I'm looking at doing a few out-of-state readings and signings later this year. Website updates are in the works.

Over on a message board I frequent, we've been talking about Plot vs. Story vs. Characterization, though it is not the epic battle royale it sounds from that description. No one is being bashed over the head with adverbs and tossed out with a form rejection stapled to their foreheads or anything like that.

I've found it interesting watching the folks who only write short fiction and the folks who are writing novels discuss their different perspectives concerning plot. The general consensus is that in short fiction a single plot is preferable, while longer works such as novels, novellas, feature scripts, and long plays, should (and frankly, these days are expected to) have subplots. Of course I could point out examples of short stories with two or even three plots running, and I can point to successful novels that only have the main plot and nothing else, the general consensus stated about does seem to be the norm.

In genre fiction (SF/F/H/M/W/R/Thr and others) plot tends to be the emphasis, with characters and setting next in importance, while in what critics call contemporary, literary, or mainstream fiction, character and story tends to rule over plot. This is also a generalization, and of course some "genre" writers focus more on characterization or world-building, while I've seen some lovely plots in post-modern contemporary novels.

From a personal perspective as a writer, I like to write deep characterization first, plot and sub-plot second (grown from the character's desires and conflicts), and deal with world-building very little, hence I tend to write contemporary and urban fantasy with a smattering of magical realism and steampunk/supernatural westerns/supernatural Victoriana where I can use a "real world" setting and short hand the world-building.

I think that in short fiction everything, from paragraph to punctuation, has to advance the story in some way, either moving the plot or developing the characters, hopefully while deepening the sense of scene and place. I think you have more room to digress and get away with long descriptions in novels, though it should be used sparingly.

As always, your mileage may vary.
mmerriam: (Default)
The steampunk spy-thriller novella is delivered to the publisher, so there is a big load off my mind. Dark Water Blues, has been rewritten and resubmitted to my editor, so another project down. I've been working on rewrites of Dead Brew and finishing the first draft of my still untitled contemporary coming of age novella (can you tell I've fallen in love with the novella length work?). Plans are still afoot to try my hand a screenwriting.

I've also started finalizing and lining up my programming at various conventions for 2012, and I'm looking at doing a few out-of-state readings and signings later this year. Website updates are in the works.

Over on a message board I frequent, we've been talking about Plot vs. Story vs. Characterization, though it is not the epic battle royale it sounds from that description. No one is being bashed over the head with adverbs and tossed out with a form rejection stapled to their foreheads or anything like that.

I've found it interesting watching the folks who only write short fiction and the folks who are writing novels discuss their different perspectives concerning plot. The general consensus is that in short fiction a single plot is preferable, while longer works such as novels, novellas, feature scripts, and long plays, should (and frankly, these days are expected to) have subplots. Of course I could point out examples of short stories with two or even three plots running, and I can point to successful novels that only have the main plot and nothing less the general consensus stated about does seem to be the norm.

In genre fiction (SF/F/H/M/W/R/Thr and others) plot tends to be the emphasis, with characters and setting next in importance, while in what critics call contemporary, literary, or mainstream fiction, character and story tends to rule over plot. This is also a generalization, and of course some "genre" writers focus more on characterization or world-building, while I've seen some lovely plots in post-modern contemporary novels.

From a personal perspective as a writer, I like to write deep characterization first, plot and sub-plot second (grown from the character's desires and conflicts), and deal with world-building very little, hence I tend to write contemporary and urban fantasy with a smattering of magical realism and steampunk/supernatural westerns/supernatural Victoriana where I can use a "real world" setting and short hand the world-building.

I think that in short fiction everything, from paragraph to punctuation, has to advance the story in some way, either moving the plot or developing the characters, hopefully while deepening the sense of scene and place. I think you have more room to digress and get away with long descriptions in novels, though it should be used sparingly.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Finished

Jan. 13th, 2012 04:35 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
I have finished rewrites on both my novel Dark Water Blues and my novella The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn.

*falls over dead*

Finished

Jan. 13th, 2012 04:35 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
I have finished rewrites on both my novel Dark Water Blues and my novella The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn.

*falls over dead*
mmerriam: (Default)
In between preparing for this weeks reading at True Colors Bookstore and trying to memorize my script for Tellabration! on the 26th, I’ve also been working on developmental edits for Dark Water Blues.

This has been a low priority, since I’m not contracted for it, but my editor at Carina Press came back with a page full of suggestions for me to mull over and possibly make before we go to Acquisitions with this novel. She said she loved the primary characters and thought the secondary characters interesting. She thought the social groups in the world were intriguing and fleshed out, and loved the humorous aspects of the story. I grinned when she noted that I wrote awesome sex scenes. The meat of the revisions asked for deal with pacing, and to a lesser extent, worldbuilding and characterization.

For those of you playing our home game, I’ve blog before that I think Dark Water Blues is both the best and worst thing I’ve ever written. Editor M is helping me repair and cut the parts that need work, and I am hopeful this will turn into one of the best things I’ve ever written, period.

But man, is it a hard slog. I’ve gone through the manuscript twice now with her revision letter in hand, being brutal and cutting things away. The novel has shrunk from 86K to 80K, but I will be adding things to shore up the worldbuilding, to deepen one of my protagonists, and to make life miserable for the other one. I also plan to bring the antagonists more to the fore; a part of my craft that I need to work on. I really don’t enjoy writing the bad guys, which I think make me an anomaly among writers.

While there are lots of crunchy worldbuilding bits in the manuscript, it turns out I’ve put them in the wrong places (which is a danger when you write by the seat of your pants, and this was defiantly a “pantser” novel). To help me with this major restructuring, I’ve broken the novel down into its component parts and written an outline. 14 chapters. 25 large scenes within those chapters. 52 small scenes / sections total. It’s like having 52 unruly kittens pouncing across the floor of your prose, knocking over your plot, shredding your tone, leaping on and off of your themes. I despair of wrangling them back into a coherent whole, but I know it must be done.

And when it is done, I am hopeful that Dark Water Blues will be sleek and beautiful and that it will be something Editor M and I can go to Acquisitions with and then sell to my publisher.
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
In between preparing for this weeks reading at True Colors Bookstore and trying to memorize my script for Tellabration! on the 26th, I’ve also been working on developmental edits for Dark Water Blues.

This has been a low priority, since I’m not contracted for it, but my editor at Carina Press came back with a page full of suggestions for me to mull over and possibly make before we go to Acquisitions with this novel. She said she loved the primary characters and thought the secondary characters interesting. She thought the social groups in the world were intriguing and fleshed out, and loved the humorous aspects of the story. I grinned when she noted that I wrote awesome sex scenes. The meat of the revisions asked for deal with pacing, and to a lesser extent, worldbuilding and characterization.

For those of you playing our home game, I’ve blog before that I think Dark Water Blues is both the best and worst thing I’ve ever written. Editor M is helping me repair and cut the parts that need work, and I am hopeful this will turn into one of the best things I’ve ever written, period.

But man, is it a hard slog. I’ve gone through the manuscript twice now with her revision letter in hand, being brutal and cutting things away. The novel has shrunk from 86K to 80K, but I will be adding things to shore up the worldbuilding, to deepen one of my protagonists, and to make life miserable for the other one. I also plan to bring the antagonists more to the fore; a part of my craft that I need to work on. I really don’t enjoy writing the bad guys, which I think make me an anomaly among writers.

While there are lots of crunchy worldbuilding bits in the manuscript, it turns out I’ve put them in the wrong places (which is a danger when you write by the seat of your pants, and this was defiantly a “pantser” novel). To help me with this major restructuring, I’ve broken the novel down into its component parts and written an outline. 14 chapters. 25 large scenes within those chapters. 52 small scenes / sections total. It’s like having 52 unruly kittens pouncing across the floor of your prose, knocking over your plot, shredding your tone, leaping on and off of your themes. I despair of wrangling them back into a coherent whole, but I know it must be done.

And when it is done, I am hopeful that Dark Water Blues will be sleek and beautiful and that it will be something Editor M and I can go to Acquisitions with and then sell to my publisher.
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
In between preparing for this weeks reading at True Colors Bookstore and trying to memorize my script for Tellabration! on the 26th, I’ve also been working on developmental edits for Dark Water Blues.

This has been a low priority, since I’m not contracted for it, but my editor at Carina Press came back with a page full of suggestions for me to mull over and possibly make before we go to Acquisitions with this novel. She said she loved the primary characters and thought the secondary characters interesting. She thought the social groups in the world were intriguing and fleshed out, and loved the humorous aspects of the story. I grinned when she noted that I wrote awesome sex scenes. The meat of the revisions asked for deal with pacing, and to a lesser extent, worldbuilding and characterization.

For those of you playing our home game, I’ve blog before that I think Dark Water Blues is both the best and worst thing I’ve ever written. Editor M is helping me repair and cut the parts that need work, and I am hopeful this will turn into one of the best things I’ve ever written, period.

But man, is it a hard slog. I’ve gone through the manuscript twice now with her revision letter in hand, being brutal and cutting things away. The novel has shrunk from 86K to 80K, but I will be adding things to shore up the worldbuilding, to deepen one of my protagonists, and to make life miserable for the other one. I also plan to bring the antagonists more to the fore; a part of my craft that I need to work on. I really don’t enjoy writing the bad guys, which I think make me an anomaly among writers.

While there are lots of crunchy worldbuilding bits in the manuscript, it turns out I’ve put them in the wrong places (which is a danger when you write by the seat of your pants, and this was defiantly a “pantser” novel). To help me with this major restructuring, I’ve broken the novel down into its component parts and written an outline. 14 chapters. 25 large scenes within those chapters. 52 small scenes / sections total. It’s like having 52 unruly kittens pouncing across the floor of your prose, knocking over your plot, shredding your tone, leaping on and off of your themes. I despair of wrangling them back into a coherent whole, but I know it must be done.

And when it is done, I am hopeful that Dark Water Blues will be sleek and beautiful and that it will be something Editor M and I can go to Acquisitions with and then sell to my publisher.
mmerriam: (Default)
We didn’t have tornado here in Hopkins yesterday, though the WCCO radio did say we had a funnel spotted at Highway 169 and Excelsior Blvd. Despite that, we never heard any sirens here. What we did get was lots of hail, some of it ping-pong ball sized. Nothing seems to have been damaged, which I am thankful for.

I started the day with a headache, so it seemed a good idea to head back to bed. What it did was make me groggy all day, so that I’ve never seemed to get things in gear. Not even Chinese buffet could save the day. S and I spend a fun and quiet hour building a small birdhouse and watching the Reverend Selena watch the squirrels. Tonight, we will head to St. Paul for an evening of hanging out with friends at the Muddy Pig.

I’m nearly finished with the final pass of Dark Water Blues. This is a last continuity check after I rewrote several sections. I should be able to finish it tomorrow evening, once I’m home from my every-other week visit to Lifetrack Resources. I really hope I can finish it tomorrow night or by Friday afternoon, if for no other reason than I am sick of looking at the manuscript.

Now I am off to make dinner and feed the Reverend before we head out.
mmerriam: (Default)
We didn’t have tornado here in Hopkins yesterday, though the WCCO radio did say we had a funnel spotted at Highway 169 and Excelsior Blvd. Despite that, we never heard any sirens here. What we did get was lots of hail, some of it ping-pong ball sized. Nothing seems to have been damaged, which I am thankful for.

I started the day with a headache, so it seemed a good idea to head back to bed. What it did was make me groggy all day, so that I’ve never seemed to get things in gear. Not even Chinese buffet could save the day. S and I spend a fun and quiet hour building a small birdhouse and watching the Reverend Selena watch the squirrels. Tonight, we will head to St. Paul for an evening of hanging out with friends at the Muddy Pig.

I’m nearly finished with the final pass of Dark Water Blues. This is a last continuity check after I rewrote several sections. I should be able to finish it tomorrow evening, once I’m home from my every-other week visit to Lifetrack Resources. I really hope I can finish it tomorrow night or by Friday afternoon, if for no other reason than I am sick of looking at the manuscript.

Now I am off to make dinner and feed the Reverend before we head out.
mmerriam: (Default)
Writing continues at Merriam Manor. I have started taking Dark Water Blues apart one last time, this time to bring it inline with the continuity I am building in my Twin Cities urban fantasy setting. I’ve made the continuity fit, and now I need to go over it one more time to make sure I didn’t break something.

Most of my writing focus has been on the second novel in the monster-hunting barista series. In the last few days I’ve pounded out 3600 words, all of it in a vampire scene, which finished with vampires feeding and then a squicky sex scene. It was an uncomfortable scene to write, but I think that’s a good thing. You really need to be able to write scenes that make you uncomfortable, that leave you feeling out of sorts and a little unhappy. The next scene should be easier for me to deal with, though I do have to come up with the exact wording of a curse that is pivotal to the plot.

And speaking of vampires, it seems that all I need to do now is write a “Little Magic Shop” story and I can stand up and yell, “BINGO!” I’ve done zombies, elves, unicorns, talking cats, helpful animals, etc. I might have missed one or two, but if I have, I’d be surprised. ETA: [livejournal.com profile] timprov hit me with one I missed on the first comment. What have the rest of you got?

I’m still a little disbelieving about Last Car to Annwn Station and I suspect I will be until I get the author copies. Carina / Harlequin has promised me postcards, which I should have by CONvergence, maybe even by 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

In non-writing news, I had an interview last week for a part-time, mostly work from home position as a grant writer, with some copywriting, proofreading, and social networking tossed in for good measure. I think I’m a pretty good fit for the position. They told me they would be doing second interviews this week, so I’m hoping to get the call.

I’m going to try to be more active here on LJ again. I’ve let Facebook seduce me for awhile, but I’ve missed the more substantive posts and conversations you can have here on LJ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th.

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com
mmerriam: (Default)
Writing continues at Merriam Manor. I have started taking Dark Water Blues apart one last time, this time to bring it inline with the continuity I am building in my Twin Cities urban fantasy setting. I’ve made the continuity fit, and now I need to go over it one more time to make sure I didn’t break something.

Most of my writing focus has been on the second novel in the monster-hunting barista series. In the last few days I’ve pounded out 3600 words, all of it in a vampire scene, which finished with vampires feeding and then a squicky sex scene. It was an uncomfortable scene to write, but I think that’s a good thing. You really need to be able to write scenes that make you uncomfortable, that leave you feeling out of sorts and a little unhappy. The next scene should be easier for me to deal with, though I do have to come up with the exact wording of a curse that is pivotal to the plot.

And speaking of vampires, it seems that all I need to do now is write a “Little Magic Shop” story and I can stand up and yell, “BINGO!” I’ve done zombies, elves, unicorns, talking cats, helpful animals, etc. I might have missed one or two, but if I have, I’d be surprised. ETA: [livejournal.com profile] timprov hit me with one I missed on the first comment. What have the rest of you got?

I’m still a little disbelieving about Last Car to Annwn Station and I suspect I will be until I get the author copies. Carina / Harlequin has promised me postcards, which I should have by CONvergence, maybe even by 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

In non-writing news, I had an interview last week for a part-time, mostly work from home position as a grant writer, with some copywriting, proofreading, and social networking tossed in for good measure. I think I’m a pretty good fit for the position. They told me they would be doing second interviews this week, so I’m hoping to get the call.

I’m going to try to be more active here on LJ again. I’ve let Facebook seduce me for awhile, but I’ve missed the more substantive posts and conversations you can have here on LJ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Car to Annwn Station. Releases on June 27th.


Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep. Available in ebook format at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, and in audio format at Audible.com

Exhale

Aug. 12th, 2010 02:05 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
Finished the restructuring pass of "Dark Water Blues." Plot holes are repaired. Continuity brought in line. Cut it down to 84K. It needs one final pass to polish it up a bit, then I can start sending it out.

Exhale

Aug. 12th, 2010 02:05 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
Finished the restructuring pass of "Dark Water Blues." Plot holes are repaired. Continuity brought in line. Cut it down to 84K. It needs one final pass to polish it up a bit, then I can start sending it out.
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
So far today:

A weld around one of the recently replaced pipes to the recently replaced main water valve burst, sending water spewing into my living room.

We got drenched trying to get back to the house in a torrential rain. [livejournal.com profile] careswen simply could not move faster than a slow walk on her ankle, so yeah…

Trying to warm up from the drenching, tea was accidentally spilled on the upstairs carpet.

So…

Dear Water Spirit that I Seemed To Have Offended,

Yes, I know I took the naiad out of Dark Water Blues, which given the title seems like a stupid thing to do, but she just did not fit the story.

I would like to remind you that "Darkly Through the Light Waters," Old Blood's Fate, "Over the Bridge," "Rainfall," "Shades of Light and Foam," and Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep all feature water spirits in pivotal roles.

I think I've been a very good friend to water spirits in my fiction, so I'm asking you, please, cut it out.

Love,
Michael
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
So far today:

A weld around one of the recently replaced pipes to the recently replaced main water valve burst, sending water spewing into my living room.

We got drenched trying to get back to the house in a torrential rain. [livejournal.com profile] careswen simply could not move faster than a slow walk on her ankle, so yeah…

Trying to warm up from the drenching, tea was accidentally spilled on the upstairs carpet.

So…

Dear Water Spirit that I Seemed To Have Offended,

Yes, I know I took the naiad out of Dark Water Blues, which given the title seems like a stupid thing to do, but she just did not fit the story.

I would like to remind you that "Darkly Through the Light Waters," Old Blood's Fate, "Over the Bridge," "Rainfall," "Shades of Light and Foam," and Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep all feature water spirits in pivotal roles.

I think I've been a very good friend to water spirits in my fiction, so I'm asking you, please, cut it out.

Love,
Michael
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
Finished this pass of "Dark Water Blues." Cut it down from 96K to 90 K. Figured out something I can restructure at the start to make the novel work better. Will probably be able to cut another 5K. I am nearly finished with this novel.
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
Finished this pass of "Dark Water Blues." Cut it down from 96K to 90 K. Figured out something I can restructure at the start to make the novel work better. Will probably be able to cut another 5K. I am nearly finished with this novel.
mmerriam: (Default)
Finished the first draft of the possible Fringe Festival show about my long weird journey into blindness. I also have my "Break Glass in Case of Emergency" Fringe show, Four Fantasy Tales of the Twin Cities.

I've been working on Dark Water Blues rewrites, but may set it aside to work on the Steampunk things that is not exactly a sequel to The Horror at Cold Springs.

Lots of rejections in the last couple of days. I've turned them around and sent them all back out.

The Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales anthology is still on schedule to be released in early September. I need to start working on the various marketing things I want to happen.

Had a job interview today. I think it went well.

I've been thinking about SF and the problems I have with the SF that is currently in favor and what I think is wrong with SF. I'm trying to order my thoughts enough to post about it.
mmerriam: (Default)
Finished the first draft of the possible Fringe Festival show about my long weird journey into blindness. I also have my "Break Glass in Case of Emergency" Fringe show, Four Fantasy Tales of the Twin Cities.

I've been working on Dark Water Blues rewrites, but may set it aside to work on the Steampunk things that is not exactly a sequel to The Horror at Cold Springs.

Lots of rejections in the last couple of days. I've turned them around and sent them all back out.

The Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales anthology is still on schedule to be released in early September. I need to start working on the various marketing things I want to happen.

Had a job interview today. I think it went well.

I've been thinking about SF and the problems I have with the SF that is currently in favor and what I think is wrong with SF. I'm trying to order my thoughts enough to post about it.

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