Thursday, June 23, 2016

Writing just for kicks

There was a time when I was writing pretty much non-stop. I'd take a few weeks off here or there between drafts, but there was always an open project... A book I was in the middle of writing the first draft for, or in the middle of revising, etc. I actually had a neurotic project plan for getting it all done.

And then... I got it all done.

Never thought I'd see the day when that'd happen. But about a year ago, I wrapped up both the JANE COLT trilogy and the BRAVE NEW GIRLS anthology. BUTTERFLY DOME (now retitled STARSWEPT) is still out on submission, so, for all intents and purposes, it's done for now. Finished LET ME FLY FREE edits a few months ago and am now just waiting for it to come out. Ball's in Glass House Press's court for FLYNN NIGHTSIDER and WINDBORN edits. And I sent my latest WIP, MIDNIGHT SWAN, to my agent almost three months ago, so nothing I can do there until I hear back about whether she loves or hates it (*whispers in a pathetic voice* please love it...) and what revisions I need to make.

Now, I have a crazy/potentially-brilliant/mostly-just-crazy/absolutely-terrifying idea for a new book that I've been talking about for so long, my one friend always jokes that it's the book I'm never going to write. But it's going to involve a lot lot lot lot lot of background reading and research before I can begin, and to be honest, I was feeling a little too burned out to start something completely new.

Then, during an ecstatic fangirl-y Facebook thread with a few fellow Red Adept Publishing authors, I agreed to write my own crazy Sherlock Holmes adaptation (everyone was pitching their brilliant/nutsy ideas for how they'd adapt the legendary detective). For a while, I was so burned out, I couldn't bring myself to write my promised short story.

Finally, I gave myself a deadline and swore by Cthulhu that I'd get it done. I was having a hard time feeling motivated because in my mind, it wasn't a "real" story. Like, I wasn't going to try to perfect it and pitch it anywhere. There's been talk among the other authors of independently publishing our anthology of crazy (awesome) Sherlock adaptations, but it'd be for kicks, not because we thought we'd get rich or famous off it or anything.

But when I set myself deadlines (and swear by Cthulhu), I meet them, and I soon found that writing
just for kicks was strangely freeing. For once, I wasn't worrying about marketability or abiding by genre conventions or even craft-type things like story structure and character arcs and etc. etc. etc... I wasn't trying to make it "good." And you know what? I had a blast! It was so liberating to be able to shed all these pressures I was so used to placing on myself and just writing for once. I was about to say free-writing, but of course, I'm me, so even my just-for-fun answers-to-no-one story needed an outline and character notes and pages and pages of other assorted background stuff.

So I met my deadline (Cthulhu don't mess around) and threw the story up on Wattpad because... because I could. I've never really used the platform before (I signed up a few years ago, then quickly got confused and fell down  the Twitter hole instead), so I figured this was a fun way to check it out.

Here it is... THE ADVENTURE OF THE SILICON BEECHES, a gender-swapped, YA sci-fi retelling of one of my favorite Sherlock tales, "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches". And I even made a cover for it! Complete at 13,000 words (yeah, yeah, I know I said this was a "short" story)... check it out :-)

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