Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'drafting' Category

Monday, September 24th, 2018
The Real Fantasy

My book, Putting the Fun in Funeral, came out earlier this month. It’s one I enjoyed writing quite a bit. It made me laugh a lot. That was a relief, at the time of writing. I used the novel as an escape. Dealing with politics, the schisms in our society, the horrors of various manmade and natural disasters, and on top of that . . . teenagers. I needed a place to hide out where I could have fun and not think about reality.

That said, Putting the Fun in Funeral has a dark side. I’ve got a morbid sense of humor, and I that definitely comes out. I got to thinking about the dark elements in the past couple of weeks, and I had a bit of a realization. In this book, as in many of my books, there’s a lot of hardship and some terrible people who do terrible things. Those terrible things are truly awful. Heinous.

A lot of the dark stuff happened before the book starts. It’s what makes Beck who she is and the girls who they are. I needed that dark stuff to be there, but I didn’t want it on the page. I didn’t want to have to wallow in it. I just wanted the reader aware of what Beck has fought against in her life. I wanted the focus to be on the relationships, on dealing with the aftermath, on not only surviving, but triumphing.

I’ve had a review or two (I try not to read reviews, but couldn’t help myself because I love this book so much) where people have said that I don’t show enough of Beck’s scars, of the PTSD she must surely have.

I got to thinking about why that might be and my conclusion is that I wanted to write this where part of the fantasy of the book is saying that you can escape the scars and the evil, that you can overcome those things, that evil can be put behind you. Yes, it leaves a stain and I’m not trying to suggest it doesn’t. We all know it does and we all know you don’t just “get over it.” But I really wanted to show someone moving on with strength and determination, with a feeling that she can get past it and live a great life.

I wanted her to triumph over her enemies by taking back her life and living it with joy. I wanted a story where the effects of the bad can be fixed. I think that’s something we hope for in today’s world, even if we know it’s not so easy a thing to accomplish. That’s the fantasy. That’s my sort of happily ever after.

Read the first chapter here.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
Work In Progress Snippet

No context, but this amused me, so I’m sharing:

She closed her inner eyes and just let herself feel. For a moment it was too much. All the information coming in from every single connection that tied her to the land and people of Portland. She let that all go fuzzy, like ignoring an itch. Instead she concentrated on the sword. It throbbed and hungered. It wanted to dominate, to control, to take.

It was like one of those terrible nighttime cravings for barbecue or ice cream, one that required you to get out of bed and go get what you hungered for as fast as possible.

Kayla had no intention of giving into this craving. Barbecue, sure, but god-chow? No thanks.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A Snippet From the Work In Progress

No context, but it’s still fun–if a whole lot rough:

Ray boiled as he strode behind Kayla. He wanted to shake answers out of her. His hands clenched and unclenched and magic sluiced through him in a hot torrent. It built inside him like steam in a kettle. He couldn’t let it blow. Normally when this happened, he found a way to discharge a bolt of the energy–into the ground or the river or an asphalt parking lot.

But here? In his current mood? He’d be almost guaranteed to kill trees, and the dryads would most definitely take offense at that. The myths that said they were gentle beings lied. The best you’d get was live and let live. Fuck with them, and they’d come after you with a vengeance. He’d heard stories of them reaching out through uninhabited trees and plants and dragging people under the dirt and burying them alive. The rest of the time they fought dirty.

He dragged in a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to make himself relax. An almost impossible task with Kayla in front of him. Half of him wanted to shove her up against a tree and kiss the living shit out of her, and the other half wanted to throttle her until she finally gave up the truth. The fucking dryads knew more about her than he did.

He had no idea what to make of her claim she could handle magic. She wasn’t suicidal, and yet she was acting like it, thinking she could go up against this killer alone. Not that he’d let her.

A voice in Ray’s head jeered at that. Like he could stop her. What was he going to do? Handcuff her when he wasn’t around? Maybe if he handcuffed himself to her she might not go off on her own, but he wouldn’t bet the farm. On the other hand, he’d have to sleep with her . . .

His entire body flushed hot as he imagined her curled up against him, his arms around her. How far gone was he that neither of them were naked in his little daydream? How far gone was he that just the idea of cuddling her made his dick hard?

God, but he was fucked up. The last thing he wanted to do was start something up with any woman, but with Kayla least of all–even if she’d cooperate, which was highly unlikely. Besides, if he did manage to get her in bed, it couldn’t end well, and he’d lose her all over again.

Talk about a dose of frigid reality. The possibility froze his body and cooled his magic. Fear stalked across his soul. He wouldn’t let it happen. Whatever had taken her away, he’d fix it, no matter how much anger and hurt he had to swallow. He didn’t need his pride; he needed her.

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
Writer Insanity

I is helping, Momma. Will you pet me now?

Why is it I keep coming up with new novel ideas–especially first in a series books, or stand alones? I have other things I need to be focusing on and yet . . . . My mind just keeps producing more and more new things and all I can do is take notes and get everything I can down on paper and try to make time later to write. I need to write faster, obviously.

A little WIP snippet from my Horngate world novel:

Even after the nightmare of the Witchwar, even though nobody trusted a witch, people still swarmed into the Night Market looking to buy spells. Some witches had gone so far as to open up shops in the city, despite the continuing hatred for their kind.

His aversion rooted deeper than that, though. He didn’t like that some invisible force could come out of nowhere and create havoc or save the world. He didn’t like that you couldn’t see it coming and had no idea when it might show up. It was like relying on God. Send up your prayers and maybe you’d get a miracle or maybe you’d be damned, or more likely the bastard would just ignore you. Only magic came around a lot more often than any god or devil, and it fucked things up. It fucked people up.

And yet–

Thursday, January 11th, 2018
The Winner of the Giveaway

 

Karla Weaver! You are the giveaway winner. I need you to tell me your email address. Post it here or send it to me through the contacts tab. Congratulations! And thanks everybody for the good wishes and for playing!

 

And a small snippet from a very very very drafty draft of my Horngate book. If you hate it, don’t tell me.

“You don’t think they deserve justice?”

“I think this is a magical crime and without a human involved, it falls out of my jurisdiction.”

“That’s bullshit.”

The accusation and condemnation in her voice put his hackles up. “We don’t have a choice. There are only so many of us to go around and we can’t spend time on cases that fall outside our mission.”

“Your mission?” Her brows rose.

“To protect and to serve. Humans.”

“But the city is far more than humans now. You don’t think they deserve to be protected? Or are they just disposable?”

“They have to take care of themselves, unless and until they harm a human. Then we step in.”

It was a cold, hard truth. It didn’t sit well with Ray, either, but he understood it. After the Magicfall, humans hated witchkin. For turning their lives upside down. For deforming the landscape and killing so many people all over the world. The resentment, suspicion, and hate ran deep. Even in Portland, the proud home of all things weird, people didn’t welcome any witches or witchkin.

Kayla shook her head and muttered something.

“What did you say?”

She leveled her gaze at him. “I said, good thing I got out when I did. How can you stomach that crap?”

Ray jerked like she’d struck him. Fury ignited. His voice turned sharp as an arctic wind. “Maybe if you hadn’t left, things might be different, so you can take your judgement and shove it up your ass.”

 

Saturday, January 6th, 2018
Five and a half weeks post surgery report

I eat too much. It’s really hard to connect the visual of how much I can eat with the actuality of what I can eat. So I end up feeling a little bit sick and too full and I’m working on that. Other than that, I’m down about 25 lbs since surgery, almost 50 since May. I feel good. Energy is up. I have recently had some intestinal issues which I am not sharing here, but I’m figuring those out and hopefully all will be good soon.

I’m looking forward to my next blood test results. I don’t know when that will be, but I really want to see how my A1C numbers are, as well as some of the others.

One of the keys of post surgery life it to make sure I get enough protein and water each day. So far I’m nailing those numbers, usually getting more water. So this makes me happy. And I’m getting my vitamins as required. So basically, the upshot at this point is so far so good. I just got cleared to lift more than 10lbs, which is really good. Though I still am working on curing the tennis elbow. It’s getting slowly better. I bought a nighttime elbow splint that I started wearing last night and that should help.

In the meantime, I’ve begun work on the next Horngate book. It’s a Horngate world story, so it’s set in the world, but at this point doesn’t include the characters from the first books. That also means that people coming in to the story with this book will hopefully feel situated. I do want to bring the characters over, or else write a further about those characters. I’m not really thrilled with the beginning, but that’s because I’m info-dumping and I’ll have to clean it up later. But right now I just need to get a skeleton down.

 

Sunday, October 1st, 2017
Pardon the dust

I’ve been still trying to deal with so much this summer I haven’t been here much. Primarily, my parents had a house fire and we’ve been trying to get things taken care of, but a major problem is that the insurance company has been a pain in the ass. They want to underpay and have been dragging their heels on paying. It sucks. It’s also time consuming and draining.

But! Things continue apace for Shades of Memory‘s release is just about a month now. I’m really excited for you to read it.In the meantime, I’m working on plotting out some new things which I can’t discuss yet, but soon there will be a signed contract and I can make revelations to you!

I’m going to be at Fan Nexus in Spokane next weekend. Here’s my schedule. I hope to see some of you there! I will have some giveaways.

In other news, I’ve been trying to knit, and making some headway, but frankly, I’m much better at making random knots and tangles. I’ve torn out the heel of my sock project about four times now. For some reason, I can’t seem to get the hang of this heel. Ug. Anyhow, I put a heel in and it’s seriously ugly. I hope the heel of the mate goes better.

I didn’t do well keeping up with my garden this year. I was too focused on other stuff and ended up just not taking care of it. Had some lovely tomatoes, but should have had a lot more. Oh, and we had an ant invasion in the house. Finally had to call a pest company. Yellowjackets and ants this summer. What fun. Sigh.

I feel like asking that perennial freshman essay question: What did you do last summer?

 

 

Monday, February 13th, 2017
Writers Club: Plotting

Plot is necessary for novels. This seems like a no-brainer. It’s the causal sequence of events in a book: This happened because this happened because this happened and so on. Events happen, problems, conflicts, and everything escalates until there’s a final conflict and resolution. Usually there is at least one secondary plotline, and often more. After all, most people have more than one thing going on in their lives.

Here’s the trouble, at least for me: I often have trouble developing the plot in advance. More often, my brain wants to see what happens as I go along. In some respects, I think this is because I’m out to entertain myself with my stories. I don’t want to know what happens in advance any more than my readers do. I want to discover as I go. I’ve a friend who calls the first draft the “discovery draft.”

The trouble with not knowing the plot is that you make a lot of wrong turns and go off to random spots, find hidden trails, and sometimes–even often–find treasures you never knew you were looking for. That makes writing exciting. It also makes it stressful. You always wonder where you might end up. Will the book make sense? Will it become a well-woven whole or will it be a mess of spaghetti dripping over the edge of the plate?

I would like to work with a plot outline. I’ve tried a lot of different methods. I used to be able to establish the major plot points that I wanted to hit on and then I could navigate toward those points, weaving in the secondary plot lines as I went. But my brain refuses to do that much anymore. I’ve been working on tricking myself and forcing out a plot outline. And of course, it always changes and is never correct. In fact I don’t really expect it to be, which ought to sound bizarre–I mean why do it at all? But having a sense of the path does help.  It frees my mind to play a little bit. Knowing that, I don’t know why I can’t just write down a possible plot direction. I’m such a weird contradictory mess in that regard. A plot outline frees me, but writing it feels like I’m fixing it permanently in place and my brain rebels.

In order to make myself do it, I focus on projects that I’m not planning to write right away. That takes the pressure off getting it done to try to get it written. It lets me play with the story in my head for awhile, and lets me be goofy with the possibilities. That last often gets me to where I want to be–an original plot line. I get acquainted with my characters, developing who they are until they feel real to me and have a voice and I know what they would and wouldn’t do, which of course leads to more adventures.

I wish the process didn’t have to be so messy, but it is and I just have to suck it up. So this is me, sucking it up. *dives back into the mess*

(crossposted from the BVC blog)

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
A Friday Riley snippet

Because it’s Friday and because I can!

From book 4 of DCM (which is yet title-less)

I pulled back my wandering mind to focus on the task at hand. The difficulty in this situation was me. Null magic in particular. It didn’t want to weave together with other magics. It wanted to kill them dead. Suck all the juice out of them and leave them dried husks of nothingness. That wouldn’t be all that bad, except that the result was a little bit like setting off a nuclear bomb. I don’t know why. It’s like the magics went to war, though it would have made more sense if the null power just sucked up the other one.

That’s the reason why you didn’t get a lot of null magic crossovers. I probably should have mentioned that to Price, but what he didn’t know couldn’t stop me from trying. The good news was that if things went wrong, the backlash would come at me, not him.

Sunday, January 15th, 2017
Whirlwind already

The past couple weeks have proven to be a whirlwind. Already.  I’m almost done writing two different books. I plan to be done by the end of January. One is DCM 4, the other is this book that came out of nowhere and is huge fun. For me, anyhow. The writing has gone fast on the second book. Crazy fast. DCM 4 is complex and digs more into the the Tyet stuff and has some really cool twists. A couple are even shocking, I think. I can’t wait to see what my editor thinks.

Am in the mood to go digging rocks, which of course is not possible given that a) there’s snow everywhere, and b) the ground is frozen.

I have to confess I have yet to take down the Christmas tree. Part of that is sheer laziness. Part is the fact that we got it up late and I’m still enjoying it. But it has to come down, so I think since the kids have the day off tomorrow, I’ll make them help me do that.

We have a deep love of rocks, not that I know much about them. We sometimes go rockhounding to look for different things. We’re just getting started figuring out what we’re doing. We also go to estate sales and that sort of thing to look for rocks. This weekend, we went to an estate sale and had some great luck. Found a bunch of rocks and many were very cool. Some were already cut, some were rough. Hampton Butte petrified wood, tiger iron, lots of agate, lots of jasper, some other stuff I have no idea what it is. But very pretty.

Makes me want to go out and dig holes. We’re going to try to get to look for some limb cast as soon as the snows go. We figure the runoff this year will expose some good stuff. Or so we hope.