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Another month, another list. Still have things out on submission, still nothing from this actual list. Useful! 

Current active projects:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Rewriting the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Feedback from early readers coming in, draft four well underway. Goal is still to submit this summer. 

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Rewriting the outline.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft two on hold until Winter Cabin is complete and out on submission.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. First draft in progress, but progress has slowed, so the new goal is to get it to early readers by this fall. 

7. Lovecraft Goes to College (short story)
Adult horror. The hounds are hunting, and they howl for you. Status: Expanding the outline, research.
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Slightly late this month, but I was out of town helping my sister and brother-in-law move into their new house (their first home purchase! It’s super exciting!), and got back too late (and too exhausted) to want to do anything but shower, cuddle the dog, and go to bed.

I have been submitting more things lately, though none that have actually be on this list. Ah well.

Current active projects:

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one on hold. Need to revisit the outline.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. There are monsters in those snow-filled trees. Status: Draft three is still with early readers, but I am working on draft four while I await the rest of their feedback. Goal remains to submit this summer.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two on hold. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.

5. Marching Rock Band
New adult or adult contemporary romance. Drumlines and rock bands and romance. Status: Draft two in progress. Goal is to get it to early readers by this summer.

6. Siblings Saving the World
New adult or adult supernatural adventure. There are monsters in the world — and sometimes we become them. First draft in progress, but progress has slowed, so the new goal is to get it to early readers by this fall. On the drive back yesterday, I worked out two complicated plot points, and have a new, better focus for the main thread of the story.

The UK seaside horror series and the Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies standalone book cowritten with Sarah are on hold until we make some decisions about how we handle our cowriting career, and will not be on this list again until that is resolved.
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It's the middle of the month, time for a project update.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book. We generally write one chapter a writing session, and try to have at least one session a week though we've each had to cancel a few sessions, so while this seems like slow going compared to 2014, it's actually moving along quite well.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress. Slow progress. I need to do some more outlining on paper, I think, before I sit down at the computer again. We'll see if that helps.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. Flirtations and sexy times while snowed in interrupted by monsters and mayhem. Status: Draft one nearly complete. Though not as nearly as it should be. I hit the end of the outline around the end of March as planned, and then realized there's probably another 15k of story to write. Good times. (This will go under the pseud if it is published.) Got stuck partway through April, had to go back and reoutline in May to figure out where I went wrong. Just about to start the last 15k again off the new outline.

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two in progress. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.

4. Frozen World Fantasy
Adult fantasy. Brainstorming and talking to JBJ, another fantasy author, about how to write a fantasy novel. Doing some research on the writing side, working through world building before I start outlining.
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It's the middle of the month, time for a project update.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book. We generally write one chapter a writing session, and try to have at least one session a week though we've each had to cancel a few sessions, so while this seems like slow going compared to 2014, it's actually moving along quite well.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress. Slow progress. I need to do some more outlining on paper, I think, before I sit down at the computer again. We'll see if that helps.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. Flirtations and sexy times while snowed in interrupted by monsters and mayhem. Status: Draft one nearly complete. Though not as nearly as it should be. I hit the end of the outline around the end of March as planned, and then realized there's probably another 15k of story to write. Good times. (This will go under the pseud if it is published.)

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. (witches and dead people and haunted things, too.) Status: Draft two in progress. Had an epiphany about the main romantic relationship, which I think will help structure the story.
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Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book. We generally write one chapter a writing session, and try to have at least one session a week though we've each had to cancel a few sessions, so while this seems like slow going compared to 2014, it's actually moving along quite well.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress. Slow progress. I need to do some more outlining on paper, I think, before I sit down at the computer again. We'll see if that helps.

2. Winter Cabin
New adult or adult paranormal romance. Flirtations and sexy times while snowed in interrupted by monsters and mayhem. Status: Draft one nearly complete. (This will go under the pseud if it is published.)

3. Monsters and Music
Young adult horror. Ghosts and werewolves, oh my. Status: Draft two in progress.

Originally published at carlamlee.com.
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Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book. We generally write one chapter a writing session, and try to have at least one session a week though we've each had to cancel a few sessions, so while this seems like slow going compared to 2014, it's actually moving along quite well.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress. Slow progress. I need to do some more outlining on paper, I think, before I sit down at the computer again. We'll see if that helps.
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New year, more writing. My word count goal this year is 500,000 words. (Yes, I am aware that is ridiculous.) Project goals include finishing The Talking Dead draft four, polishing, and submitting to agents, finishing Monsters in the Trees draft one and sending it to first readers, and finishing the first draft of at least one more novel.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress.
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Bad mental health = bad writing month. Year. This is an ongoing thing I fight.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn’t off this list because it’s complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones
Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays
Nothing currently in draft form, but I’m starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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It has been particularly hard to write lately. Hard to do anything. I'm in the middle of a pretty nasty bipolar cycle, and I am not doing very well. I haven't been doing well for a long, long time, though.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn't off this list because it's complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones


Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays


Nothing currently in draft form, but I'm starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.
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I’m feeling disheartened with writing lately, unable to focus on one project at a time, and frustrated with lack of progress with the cowriting. So that’s fun. Trying to work through it all.

Current active projects include:

UK Horror Series
(This series cowritten with Sarah.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, vampires, killers, oh my. Status: Second draft complete and with early readers. Outline for the third draft completed, rewrite well under way.

2: Monsters & Magic
Young adult supernatural adventures. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Status: Second draft outlined, on hold until draft three of Talking Dead is complete. Also retitled, because music is no longer an applicable word.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Editing.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Witches, dude. Always with the witches. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. The world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

Stand Alones

Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress. I’ve been struggling with writing lately, it feels like I’ve forgotten how to tell a story, so I went back to an outline I finished a few years ago, and started a draft from it. If I lose the thread of the story, the outline is already there.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Essays
Nothing currently in draft form, but I’m starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.
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Still following Seanan McGuire's Lover's Chain tutorial. The second step is the couplet, two lines of rhymed poetry. As Seanan suggests, I'm trying to avoid more standard rhymes, such as love and dove, eye and die and lie, etc.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm writing my Lover's Chain to horror stories, or more particularly, as I decided last night, watching clouds over the moon, to a monstrous final girl.

With that in mind, I still want to avoid what I think are more common rhymes along this theme, so I don't want to end a line on moon or sky. This may prove difficult, considering the imagery and tone I started with in the compliment focuses on the moon: The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace. This feels like an end to a final girl's story, and if that's where I'm beginning this courtship with her, I'll need to go back and capture some of the more complicated concepts of her story. Later steps in the Lover's Chain use more complicated poetry forms. Both of these thoughts are things I'm keeping in mind as I work on the couplet.

Based on Seanan's example, the couplet is a great place to expand upon the imagery that will be threaded throughout the rest of the poems. Brainstorming final girl words include blood, fight, death, monster, transformation.

First attempt:

Blood-soaked, broken, you escaped your death;
come with me, darling, rest, catch your breath.

I like pieces of this, but not the pacing itself. Plus I want the tone to better capture the awe I feel for the final girl. She's amazing. She's strong. She's won, but at what cost?

Second attempt:

Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

I like this better. It's tighter, flows better, and better captures that sheer shock and awe of her survival. This final girl will show you something new.

Lover's Chain

The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.
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Inspired by my friend Chanda, I'm attempting to write a poem a day for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). Even though I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a number of years in the 2000s, I had no idea NaPo was a thing that existed until Chanda asked if anyone was participating.

My history with poetry is fractured. I didn't like poetry until I was working on my undergrad (in writing and publishing), and first discovered Daphne Gottlieb's WHY THINGS BURN (and then FINAL GIRL), and I fell in love with poetry. I wrote a lot during undergrad and a few years after, and was a member of Prescription Strength Poetry, so participated in guerilla poetry performances, but poetry was one of the things I set aside when I went to law school. (My writing time went to legal writing and fiction.) I'm not great at poetry, nor do I always understand it well, but I've missed it, and I'm glad to be making this attempt.

A few weeks ago, I read Seanan McGuire's series of essays about the Lover's Chain, and now that I'm doing NaPo, I decided to give it a try myself. Historically, the Lover's Chain was used by Victorians to conduct courtship. I am going to use it to write a love letter (poem, I suppose) to horror stories. Or something.

The first step of the Lover's Chain is a one line compliment. Per Seanan's series, it establishes imagery to be used throughout the chain, as well as the tone.

Compliment: The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.
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Happy new year! I'm pleased with how much writing we accomplished in 2014, and I hope we accomplish as much in 2015. One of my goals is to write every day this year. So far, so good.

Current active projects include:

UK Horror Series


(This series cowritten with Sarah.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, vampires, killers, oh my. Status: Second draft complete and with early readers. Working on third draft after some excellent feedback regarding one of the storylines.

2: Monsters & Magic
Young adult supernatural adventures. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Status: Second draft outlined and in progress. Also retitled, because music is no longer an applicable word.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Editing.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Witches, dude. Always with the witches. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. The world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

Stand Alones



Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: First draft in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline and first draft in progress.

Essays



Looking for places to pitch a couple essays, one of which is about WWE Divas, commentators, and the online wrestling community.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
{Originally posted at carlamlee.com.}

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while I didn't write this specifically for MHAM, I thought it would be a good time to share. (I wrote it because I was struggling a lot with my own mental health and decided to write about it just to get it out, but the timing is apropos.)

Sarah and I are working on the first draft of the fifth, and final, book of our current series project. One of our protagonists has bipolar disorder, because I've always wanted to read about characters who have bipolar disorder having adventures that are not just about their mental illness, but I rarely have the chance. I have bipolar disorder; I was diagnosed in 2007, right before I started law school. I have been in treatment with numerous psychiatrists and on multiple medications (when I can afford it, and I am thankful I have been able to do so consistently for the past few years, in large part because I have great insurance from my job), but no treatment is perfect. In book four, there's a period of time in which our protagonist is off her medication, and it was harder than I expected to write the fallout of that. I very clearly remember what it is like when I have had a similar experience, I remember the way the mania can hit so hard, without real warning, even though I've been dealing with this long enough normally I can see the signs coming, but as clear as I remember that (because it still happens sometimes, even on the medications, because they do not cure me, they only give me some balance), it was difficult finding the right words.

One of the things I struggle most with is losing my words. Manic phase, depressive phase, mixed phase, it doesn't matter; one of the consistent symptoms of my bipolar is loss of words. I talk too fast, I don't talk at all, whatever, but my thoughts are always there. The words aren't. Hard words, complicated word, beautiful descriptions; sometimes they come easy, sometimes there are empty holes in them. Easy words go, too. Words I've said a hundred times before, words I used literally a sentence ago, they're gone. I stumble over them. I get frustrated. I get angry.

While it does happen both when speaking and writing, it is worse when I'm speaking. When I'm writing, I can take time, pace, tug on my hair, grasp at nothing until the word comes back to me. When I'm speaking, I can try to find an alternate way to say it, but I keep coming back to what I see as a failure for myself. (Not for anyone else, but when I do it, it feels like failure.) I get stuck, I struggle, even though it doesn't really matter, I can get my point across, but I want that word, that single word suddenly means everything, and without it I will never be understood.

I try to be very open when I am losing my words, because I try to be open about my experiences with bipolar, but it can be hard. It does feel like failure when I lose words, like I can't communicate, and will never be able to clearly communicate, and I am losing my thoughts because I am losing my words. It is frustrating, and infuriating, and terrifying.

This is no small part of the reason I chose to go into transactional law instead of litigation. (I am a tech lawyer, which I love, but I could have been a tech lawyer who did litigation.) While there is a lot of spoken communication in transactional law (conferences, negotiations, meetings, brainstorming, and on and on), it never felt like the same kind of terrible pressure that being in a courtroom would bring. I rely on the written word in my practice far more than the spoken, and my writing is something I cherish.

(This is not why I don't talk much to people I don't know well. Even before this particular manifestation of my mental illness, I much preferred to listen to other people talk. I love hearing about people's lives and adventures and thoughts. I love listening to people talk, their word choices, their pacing. I love conversations that meander and twist and swing back around, conversations with hairpin turns. People give me such a nice gift when they tell me their stories.)

Writing our protagonist's experience off her meds in book four was difficult, but not because it felt personal, though it did. It is intended to feel personal. I want to normalize my experience with bipolar, give other people who have it a chance to see themselves in awesome characters having amazing adventures, but I also want to push back against the idea that there is only one way to experience bipolar (or any mental illness, but my experiences mostly focus on bipolar, and that is what I want to address). Tam, our character, experiences a lot of assumptions made by people, even people who love her, who are trying to be nice, about what it means for her to be "crazy," and that is an intentional choice Sarah and I made, but that is not why writing it was uncomfortable.

Writing it was uncomfortable because it felt so much like losing my words where I normally feel safe. I do lose words when I write fiction, one here, another there, but not usually huge swaths of text. Even when I do, the words come back, and Sarah is a fantastic person to bounce things off of when I'm struggling. But this time, this time, it felt like I had no words at all, all of these ideas, all of these things to say, and no way to say them. One of the worst parts about bipolar for me is how little I trust my brain, my perception, sometimes, and losing whole scenes that I wanted to write, whole stories I wanted to tell, that was a horrible manifestation of that fear.

It was also uncomfortable because in many ways, Tam fits some of the stereotypes about people who have bipolar disorder. So do I. That doesn't make the stereotypes true for everyone, or right, or not absolutely damaging to people, and I worry that I'm doing harm when I'm trying to do good. I want to tell Tam's story, and I want to tell Tam's story in this way. She is not violent because she has bipolar disorder. She is not dangerous because she has bipolar disorder. She is not a liar because she has bipolar disorder. But she is violent and dangerous and mean, and as I'm losing words, trying to describe an experience that is horrible and terrible and exhilarating all at the same time, I worry I am going to fail, to hurt people, to make things worse.

Writing bipolar disorder is hard. Writing with bipolar disorder is hard. Of course it is. Living bipolar disorder, living with bipolar disorder, that's hard too. I could go on and on about my experience with it, the things people say, the assumptions they make, but this isn't about that. This is writing about and writing with, and the struggle to find words when they disappear, and the struggle to use the words in a way that does more good than harm.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
It feels like I am always trying to catch up, but I suppose that's life. So much to do, never enough time to do it all, must prioritize. So far today, I have prioritized a trip to the dog park that turned out to be amazingly successful (more on that in a bit), legal work, house cleaning, podcast listening while house cleaning (more on that later too), and trying to familiarize myself with my new laptop, so that legal work and the writing that will occur later include much less time trying to figure out how to use it. (Windows 8. Touch screen. Still setting up all the things I use daily, though I was incredibly pleased to be able to access both Skype and Google Drive the moment I turned it on, because those are the two things I use most. Sarah and I write via Skype and Google Drive.)

Dog Park

I've had Izzy for ten months now, and every day I am thankful beyond words that we found each other. That being said, trying to socialize her with other dogs continues to be a struggle. (Izzy was approximately three when I got her from the shelter last year, and no one knows anything about her history. She loves people, she flinches when things are thrown, though she's getting better, and most of the time, she hates other dogs ... and horses and buses, which she thinks are giant dogs. I don't even know. You are part cattle dog, Izzy, shouldn't you like horses?)

Anyway, we stick to the neighborhood for morning and evening walks during the week, but when we're in Kansas City on weekends, we go to the dog park. A few months ago, I found one just down the street from me, which probably shouldn't surprise me, but did. (Back in 2012, I moved from the suburbs into the city itself, just outside of downtown.) There's even an off-leash section. We generally only go there if both sides are empty, because of Izzy's issue with other dogs, but this morning, the big dog side (which is where she belongs, technically) had only a couple dogs and the small dog side was empty, so I decided to try her on the small dog side. (I've been working on introducing her to other dogs via fences; when I go down to visit family, I'll let her loose in Dad's backyard. His neighbors have a couple friendly labs, and Izzy and the labs will run up and down the fence together now, playing, so that is a plus. Also, Izzy and Dad's teacup poodle, Cocoa, have finally learned to be in the same room together without being kept apart, so that was good too.)

Izzy really, really wanted to go play with the big dogs. She was on good enough behavior alone on the small dog side, that I decided to try her on the big dog side. It was empty enough I knew I could get to her easily if she started causing trouble, and she was obeying all commands even with other dogs around, so I felt pretty good about it.

Right decision. She had an amazing time making friends with the other dogs and other people, she ran and ran and ran, she didn't fight over toys or water dishes or other dogs coming up to me for pets. It was lovely and fun, a beautiful morning with storm clouds blowing in (though it didn't storm here, last night or so far today -- other parts of Missouri got hit instead), and she ran herself to exhaustion.

Of course, when we left, another dog and owner left at the same time. The moment Izzy and I got in the car, she started her barking freak out at the other dog, even though she had literally been playing with him 60 seconds earlier. Whatever, progress, I'm taking it.

podcasts

Over the past five or six months, I've been listening to podcasts. This would have been far more useful back when I lived in the suburbs and had a commute that could range anywhere from two to three hours a day and up, but instead I waited until I lived ten minutes from work on a bad day. Yeah, go me. As Sarah likes to tease me, I'm one of those stupid smart people. (I wore a shirt backward a few weeks ago, and didn't notice until afternoon. It was a cowl neck shirt. Of course, I not only texted her about it, but I then sent her a picture as proof, because I apparently encourage her trolling of me.)

I try a variety of podcasts (and if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them), but the ones I keep going back to are (in the order they appear on my podcast app):

Talk is Jericho: Pro-wrestler, lead singer of Fozzy, and author, Chris Jericho is a freaking delight. I started listening because of this WWE kick Sarah and Craig started me on about a year ago, but I keep listening because he has a fantastic wide variety of guests who say really great things. (At one point, a guest talked about mental health stigma in a way that impressed the hell out of me.) I think I probably like his music guests the most, but he is really good at keeping the conversations rolling.

the Steve Austin Show (Unleashed!): Pro-wrestler, actor, reality tv host, Steve Austin leaves me laughing every single time I listen to him. I didn't expect to enjoy this podcast so much. Stone Cold predates my wrestling interest (by a lot, obviously), so there wasn't that appeal, and I keep seeing him presented as this conservative good ole boy. And in some ways, he probably is, but not at all in the way I was worried about. Plus he reminds me a lot of the bikers and trikers I love, so that's a plus. And he's just -- well, he, too, is a freaking delight.

Books on the Nighstand: I have a hard time listening to this one unless I am easily able to take notes, because they do often recommend a book I want to grab. I'm not as big a fan of this as I want to be, but every time I think about ending my subscription, they'll talk about something fantastic, and I decide to keep listening. My favorite part is the audiobook recommendation at the end of (nearly) every episode. I'm trying to listen to more audiobooks, because I'm having such a great time with the podcasts, and having recommendations helps a lot.

Howl Out Cast: I want to like this podcast, which is dedicated to werewolves, far more than I do. There's something about the format, the disorganization maybe? The wandering conversations?, that keeps me from getting into the episodes, but I keep trying. I love werewolves, and this would be a great resource, if only I enjoyed listening to it more. (Another problem is that each episode is long.)

Welcome to Night Vale: I don't keep up to date on this, but I'll listen to a bunch of episodes at a time when I'm on a road trip. I like the story it's telling a lot, most of the time, but I've not been sucked into it the way pretty much everyone I know who listens to it has, and I'm not sure why. Description from the website: WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.

BBC Radio 4 General Knowledge Quizzes: I love trivia games, and this cycles through various ones. It's been on Brain of Britain, which I find interesting, but horribly difficult without having the same knowledge base (though, in Vegas, I listened to an episode with Sarah and Craig, and they said the questions were pretty difficult); my favorite so far has been less straight trivia and more trivia + logic puzzle esque questions + puns. I hope it cycles back through soon.

The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana: I listened to an episode of this because Colt interviewed a WWE wrestler I really like, Dean Ambrose. I keep listening to it even though most of the pro wrestlers he talks to are indie wrestlers, and therefore I don't know much if anything about them, because it is still incredibly interesting to hear their stories.

NPR's Ask Me Another: Trivia and puns.

Stuff You Missed in History Class: Does what it says on the tin, and is by far my favorite podcast. I've even gone all the way back to the beginning to listen (though I keep up with recent episodes first), and while I did this for Jericho and Austin as well, their podcasts started fairly recently. This one went back years. The current hosts are my favorite voices and personalities, but it's been a lot of fun.

writing

Sarah and I decided to try a new way of writing, in that we outlined an entire five book series, and then set about writing first drafts of all five books. We started this late last year, and finished the first draft of the first book earlier this year. We have since finished first drafts of books two, three, and four (as of yesterday), and are making our way through book five now. Apparently, this writing organization works incredibly well for us. We have one mostly set writing day a week (Saturdays), though we also try to write at least a little bit on Sundays, and sometimes Wednesday and Friday evenings, depending on work and whether either of us can sleep. (We're both insomniacs, unfortunately.) We have a video call via Skype, and write in the same document in Google Drive. It's a very intertwined process at this point; Sarah's strengths are dialog, humor, and character interactions, while mine are descriptions, fisticuffs and gore, and atmosphere. We both have certain characters we understand better than others, or scenes from the outline we are eager to write.

Often we go back and forth; one of us will start a chapter, and write until we have nothing else, then the other will pick it up, and so on. Sometimes, a chapter is dialog heavy or description heavy, so we know which of us will take the lead. Sometimes, one of us will have an entire scene in her head, and the other will read along, making small changes (for example, I add a lot of dialog tags and descriptions around her dialog; Sarah often has a conversation ready to go by the time we reach a specific scene). Sometimes, we'll sit and stare at a blank document, bemoaning the fact this series has far too many fisticuffs and murders and snogging. (Ok, no lie, usually that's me, because I am terrified I will end up writing these fight scenes and snogging scenes as cookie cutter scenes, and I don't want to do that.)

It's a lot of fun, and the stories are fantastic. We sent book one out to first readers, but then we decided to write the entire series before we started editing each book, so we're waiting to send the other books to our first readers until the first draft of each book is done. Which will apparently be soon, the way we're going.
seeksadventure: (Default)
(Originally posted at carlamlee.com.)


Oh yeah, 2014 is definitely a busy year. Of course, February brings some excitement, because Sarah's getting married next week here in the U.S. It will be the first time we've been in the same place since 2005, which is far too long between visits. Good thing we got a lot of work done before she headed out, because we likely won't get a lot done until March.

Writing Projects February 2014 )
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
(Cross-posted to CarlaMLee.com and SarahCanfield.net.)


What was your first exposure to horror?



Carla: Dirty.

Sarah: Dirty Dancing?  Truly horrific?

Carla: I hate you. My first horror movie was The Howling. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was under 10, I think. I spent part of every summer on the road with my dad, who was a long-haul trucker, and one night at a truck stop, I saw The Howling in the trucker’s lounge. It was amazing, and I have loved werewolves and horror ever since.

(We were never allowed to watch horror growing up, mostly because just the sound of horror movies scared my mom. I used to read a lot of horror, though. Dracula was the first horror book I remember reading.)

Sarah: The first horror movie I saw was Gremlins.  I was probably about six at the time, and we lived in an old farmhouse and none of the carpets fitted right.  Mine bulged in weird places, and I spent at least a year convinced that gremlins were hatching under there (slow hatching, admittedly, but damnit, they were coming for me!) … it just occurs to me that we can probably trace my insomnia back to that time.

Carla: Ouch, that sucks.

Sarah: Fuck that, insomnia is a life saver when it comes to Freddy Krueger.

Carla: I’ve never been so glad that sleep and I broke up.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
(Cross posted from carlamlee.com and sarahcanfield.net.)

Admin note: Sarah posted this to her blog, and I thought it would make an excellent guest post. Plus she's far more clever and hilarious than me.

Writing Process: Outline, Guest Post by Sarah Canfield



So, a bit of backstory on who I am, who Carla is, and things like that.

Carla and I met online back in the days when everyone had a GeoCities site, and those sites were divided into districts, depending on the topic of your site – for example, hers was in Hollywood because it was about a movie.  Her nephew/our intern/bossy guy who keeps us from slacking off is actually the same age as our friendship (referred to as Intern).

I sent her a gushing email telling her she was awesome and I was going to stalk her until we were best friends, and I can’t remember exactly what she said in return, but it was very friendly and encouraging.  Then we bumped into each other on a mailing list.  She seemed pleased to see me, despite the threat of stalkage.  Since then we’ve followed each other to various places online (due to my stalking her to LiveJournal, I met my soon-to-be-hubby, but that’s another story).  We started co-writing back in 2001, and despite our very obvious differences (she’s American, she’s all about threatening atmosphere, delicious description and a ruthless addiction to plotting and outlines; I’m English, and into dialogue, strange characters, and a slap-dash approach to writing, which is basically: type something, see where it takes you), we seemed to click writing-wise.  Even back then, if you ignore the English/US spellings, it’s actually hard to see who wrote which chapter.

Carla has worked her tail off trying to get me to be a more functional writer.  After thirteen years, we’re at the point where she has got me as addicted to outlines as she is.

Our writing process for the outline is this:

  • Open a new doc in GoogleDrive.

  • Argue over what to call it.

  • Wait patiently while I format the document to my liking.

  • Waste ten minutes while I whine that “keep with next” is not an option in GoogleDrive.

  • Briefly outline that A plot, B plot and, if necessary, C plot.  Waste 60 minute coming up with wrestling metaphors for our plots/discuss the merits of Paul Heyman.  Get side-tracked for a further 30 minutes by either complaining about how Cena is booked, or speculating on what will happen next with The Shield (the wrestling stable, not the TV show).

  • Decide on POV characters.

  • Type the words “Chapter One”.  Then bold them.

  • Discuss wrestling until one of us reminds the other that we’re supposed to be writing.  This goes a lot faster if Intern is in the background, he will then set his timer for 30 minutes and want to know how many words/chapters we’ve done during this time.

  • Get chapter one done in a flurry of activity.  Until one of us mentions the wrestling.

  • Speculate on which wrestlers might not be opposed to being in the movie of our book.  Which we are currently not outlining.

  • Get stuck on chapter two or three.  Bitch about it.  A lot.

  • Revise chapter one, until two and three behave.

  • Suddenly get excited over the book, and outline 15 chapters.

  • Realise Character X has a different motivation.  Amend previous chapters accordingly.  Put notes in previous book outlines that this will require tweaking.

  • Sit back, all satisfied and check Ringside Confessions.  Discuss the contents from every conceivable angle.  Once more fangirl over the sheer presence and charisma of Paul Heyman.

  • Repeat as necessary.


I love the outlining process.  I get the same amount of satisfaction on a completed outline as I do on a completed book.

Carla and I are trying something new at the moment.  We are trying to outline an entire series (the UK horror series) before working on the books.  Books 1 and 2 are already written, but need revising drastically, given that we wrote them as stand-alones separately (Book 1 is mine, Book 2 is hers), before deciding they could work in the same universe.  With that in mind, we started outlining the whole series, so we couldn’t be blind-sided by later plots that develop that we didn’t see coming and should have seen – and more importantly, should have foreshadowed.  It’s an awesome process watching our world come together.

As an update on my last post, we have now finished the outline for Book 3, and have started 4.

This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth.org with comment count unavailable comments. Read the original post there. Comment here or there using OpenID.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
(Cross posted from carlamlee.com and sarahcanfield.net.)

Admin note: Sarah posted this to her blog, and I thought it would make an excellent guest post. Plus she's far more clever and hilarious than me.

Writing Process: Outline, Guest Post by Sarah Canfield



So, a bit of backstory on who I am, who Carla is, and things like that.

Carla and I met online back in the days when everyone had a GeoCities site, and those sites were divided into districts, depending on the topic of your site – for example, hers was in Hollywood because it was about a movie.  Her nephew/our intern/bossy guy who keeps us from slacking off is actually the same age as our friendship (referred to as Intern).

I sent her a gushing email telling her she was awesome and I was going to stalk her until we were best friends, and I can’t remember exactly what she said in return, but it was very friendly and encouraging.  Then we bumped into each other on a mailing list.  She seemed pleased to see me, despite the threat of stalkage.  Since then we’ve followed each other to various places online (due to my stalking her to LiveJournal, I met my soon-to-be-hubby, but that’s another story).  We started co-writing back in 2001, and despite our very obvious differences (she’s American, she’s all about threatening atmosphere, delicious description and a ruthless addiction to plotting and outlines; I’m English, and into dialogue, strange characters, and a slap-dash approach to writing, which is basically: type something, see where it takes you), we seemed to click writing-wise.  Even back then, if you ignore the English/US spellings, it’s actually hard to see who wrote which chapter.

Carla has worked her tail off trying to get me to be a more functional writer.  After thirteen years, we’re at the point where she has got me as addicted to outlines as she is.

Our writing process for the outline is this:

  • Open a new doc in GoogleDrive.

  • Argue over what to call it.

  • Wait patiently while I format the document to my liking.

  • Waste ten minutes while I whine that “keep with next” is not an option in GoogleDrive.

  • Briefly outline that A plot, B plot and, if necessary, C plot.  Waste 60 minute coming up with wrestling metaphors for our plots/discuss the merits of Paul Heyman.  Get side-tracked for a further 30 minutes by either complaining about how Cena is booked, or speculating on what will happen next with The Shield (the wrestling stable, not the TV show).

  • Decide on POV characters.

  • Type the words “Chapter One”.  Then bold them.

  • Discuss wrestling until one of us reminds the other that we’re supposed to be writing.  This goes a lot faster if Intern is in the background, he will then set his timer for 30 minutes and want to know how many words/chapters we’ve done during this time.

  • Get chapter one done in a flurry of activity.  Until one of us mentions the wrestling.

  • Speculate on which wrestlers might not be opposed to being in the movie of our book.  Which we are currently not outlining.

  • Get stuck on chapter two or three.  Bitch about it.  A lot.

  • Revise chapter one, until two and three behave.

  • Suddenly get excited over the book, and outline 15 chapters.

  • Realise Character X has a different motivation.  Amend previous chapters accordingly.  Put notes in previous book outlines that this will require tweaking.

  • Sit back, all satisfied and check Ringside Confessions.  Discuss the contents from every conceivable angle.  Once more fangirl over the sheer presence and charisma of Paul Heyman.

  • Repeat as necessary.


I love the outlining process.  I get the same amount of satisfaction on a completed outline as I do on a completed book.

Carla and I are trying something new at the moment.  We are trying to outline an entire series (the UK horror series) before working on the books.  Books 1 and 2 are already written, but need revising drastically, given that we wrote them as stand-alones separately (Book 1 is mine, Book 2 is hers), before deciding they could work in the same universe.  With that in mind, we started outlining the whole series, so we couldn’t be blind-sided by later plots that develop that we didn’t see coming and should have seen – and more importantly, should have foreshadowed.  It’s an awesome process watching our world come together.

As an update on my last post, we have now finished the outline for Book 3, and have started 4.

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