Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Doings at Rooglewood

Dear imps, I know I have neglected you (and this blog) rather terribly of late. It's been an even busier summer than I expected, and I just haven't had much of a brain left over for blogging, though I definitely think about blogging quite often! I need to get myself back into a regular blogging routine of some sort . . . probably should start thinking about that.

But rest assured, there are plenty of fun blogging events coming up, most exciting of which is the third annual Fan Fiction contest! Submissions are flowing in these days, and I am finding myself rather often distracted from work as I stop to read these stories. Wow, imps . . . your imaginations are so fantastic, I can hardly stand it! Really, these tales are just too much fun and often very inspiring to me. It's always interesting to see which themes and Goldstone Woodish elements appear most often in the Fanfic. Gives me an insight into what is most compelling and curious to all of you.

I'm looking forward to sharing these entries when the contest launches on September 1. Don't forget to send yours in!

The second round of galleys for Golden Daughter are now complete. That was a much more consuming task than I had even imagined (and I'd imagined it pretty consuming!). But I'm super-pleased with how the book is looking these days! A great deal of this galley-round was spent trimming out the excess fat--pet words and phrases, superfluous descriptions, etc. I discovered that, for some reason, I was fixated on the phrase "a little" in this book. EVERYTHING was described as "a little" this or "a little that." They smiled a little or startled a little or stepped forward a little or . . . you get the picture. Sometimes I used "a little" twice in the same sentence! Crazy how these kinds of writerly fixations will slip through even to this late stage in the editing process. But thank heaven it was caught, and the story should read "a little" more smoothly now . . .

Even with a firm hand and lots of trimming, the book is quite enormous, as you can see in the promotional image above. And it's very beautiful! I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Julia Popova's work on this cover image. I expect the ARCS to arrive on my doorstep any day, which means I'll have the first place prize for the Fan Fiction contest all ready to go as soon as the winner is selected!

My Super Secret project is now complete, rewritten, relatively polished, and running through a light copy edit. Then it's off to my agent to see what she thinks of it! It's a great feeling to have it so far along, though I won't feel totally easy until I have it on Rachel's desk. My goal was to get it to her well before the end of August, and it's already August 13 . . . so we'll see what happens with that.

Now that those two major projects are out of the way--the galleys for Golden Daughter and the polished draft of Super Secret Project--I am, naturally, diving into a new novel. This is the novel I hope to release one year after Golden Daughter, though that might be a bit of a crunch. We'll see!

It's strange to me, beginning to develop and solidify the ideas for this project. This particular story is one I've been thinking on and mentally developing since (I think) my sophomore year of college. So not quite as old as the Starflower and Dragonwitch storylines, but still! As I'm putting it together, however, the shape of it is very different from what I had first imagined. Which is really no surprise--I've grown so much as a novelist since the days of this story's conception. Not to mention there are seven full novels plus two novellas already written in the series, all of which have to be taken into consideration.

So the solidifying version of the idea, as it is currently taking shape, is not really what I'd expected. And this was worrying me. But when my handsome husband got home from work, we had our after-work-tea together (as per tradition), and he asked me to tell him about it. Suddenly my tongue was pouring out all of these fantastic concepts, concepts which have been floating around formlessly in my head for so long, but which now have a foundation of plot and climax to rest upon. And I could see . . . it's good. I think it really is good. There is still a lot of development to pull it together, but I am starting to see the shape of it. And it's an exciting shape. Not what I expected, but good.

I always try to make my newest work significantly better than my last, at least in my mind. But it's always difficult when comparing the new wisps of a story outline to a polished manuscript to see how this will ever be possible! So we'll see.

Anyway, I'm rambling. All this to say, I'm excited to get started. I'm nervous and I'm dreading it as well. Beginning are always THE WORST for me. Not this stage of outlining and tying threads together. The actual OPENING CHAPTERS. So prayers are, as always, appreciated!

I cut my hair.

There, I said it.

Okay, this shouldn't be a doing, but it feels like a doing to me! I always have loooooong hair. Well, not like waist-length or anything. Definitely middle-of-the-back long, though. I've only ever cut it short once, and that was the year after Rohan and I got married. Even then, it wasn't really short, just a little longer than shoulder-length.

But I've done it again now, a little shorter than last time, with lots of layers. Don't get me wrong--I love long hair, and I totally intend to grow mine out again! I have very nice hair too, if I do say it myself. Not too thick, not too thin, with a nice amount of wave and body. When I'm soooooo busy like this, though, I just don't have the time I need to care for it and style it. And when it's shorter, like it is now, a bunch of natural curl shows itself, making it remarkably easy to style with a little scrunching gel! So I cut it. And give myself a start every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflection.

I've decided that I need a little push and impetus to keep myself blogging the way I really should. Thus, I am going to open up the floor to all of you. To provide me with interesting blog post topics, do please ask me questions in the comments below! Questions about writing, kitties, books, reading, or whatever you like. My tentative plan is to answer at least one question a week in a blog post for the next several weeks. Depending on how many questions you leave me, we might have to take a break during the two weeks the Fan Fiction contest is running, but then we'll pick back up again!

Do please ask away. Writing-related questions in particular would be welcome, but I am game for other sorts as well! And we'll see if we can galvanize some life back into this blog.

Oh, and I'm posting about my summer reading on Friday, so don't miss that one! I also hope to get back into author features soon, though that may not happen until October . . .

What have your doings been lately? I'm sure many of you are getting ready to head back to school. Anything you're excited about for the end of summer?


J. L. Mbewe said...

Yea for updates!

I've already pre-ordered Golden Daughter. Can't wait!

Oh...super secret project??? Leaving your readers speculating again, I see. :-)

I love long hair, but I think I've almost accepted the fact that long hair doesn't like me.

Things have been crazy busy here,amid trying to edit book two. I have had to take some time to step back from blogging, reading, and all, especially with everything starting back up in the fall for us. (School, Moms groups, Awana, Life groups, etc) My brain is quite fried; I can't think of any questions. But I'm sure you'll have plenty. :-)

Happy writing!

ghost ryter said...

One thing: share a picture of your new hair cut.

(Oh and the super secret project is driving me to distraction.)

Kessie said...

I'm very curious about your super secret project now! I know you can't say much, but is it fantasy? Or are you trying a new genre, like science fiction, or for heaven's sake, mystery?

Unknown said...

Yay! It's good to hear from you again, Anne Elisabeth. I am of course super curious about the super secret project and super understanding about pet words. ; )

Ooh, we get to ask questions? How exciting! As a late high schooler, I would like to hear about how your journey as an author was influenced by becoming an English major. Kind of a big topic, I know-- but one that is really important to me now. It's also late in the summer to do this, but do you have any summer reading suggestions, like books that inspired your books, or books you think everyone should read once but no one has ever heard of? And of course it would be really interesting to hear about some of the stuff you do as a self-publisher: like how, exactly, one self-publishes a book, and the kind of marketing you do.


Hannah said...

What wonderful doings! I'm so excited to read all the entries in the fan fiction!

Oh...your Super Secret project has been sent to your agent...????

I'm looking forward to Book 8! :D

I too think you need to share a picture of your short hair! It sounds quite cute!

Right now, I can't think of questions, but I'll get back on later if I have some.

Bookishqueen said...

Lol, I always startle myself for a little while after I get a hair cut. I tend to grow it out all the way down my back and then cut it to my shoulders, (usually for locks of love), so it is always drastic.

Meredith said...

You never cease to amaze me, Mrs. Anne Elisabeth! So very busy with so many interesting projects. Like everyone else, that "super secret" one has really piqued my curiosity.

Am keeping busy with appointments, speaking engagements, church work and writing. Also the beginning of a new school year. Revising "Blind Beauty," which is fun but challenging. Really trying to make certain characters are consistent and plot holes are filled in. Don't want to second-guess myself too much, (something I do frequently), so am having others read the story for insights. Love, love the characters and want to do right by them.

So interesting about your haircut. I've always had short hair. It's nice to have a style that you don't have to worry about very often. Saves time.

Questions: Your villains have always fascinated me because of their depth. Would you be willing to write a post on villains in general and the creation of your villains in particular? Could you please reveal which of your villains is the most empathetic to you and why?
Also, what is your advice about allegorical works? That is, is it a genre you recommend writers pursue? If not, why?

Thank you, and God bless. Looking forward to your summer reading post.

Anonymous said...

Exciting! Could one of these secret projects be the elusive Goblin Son you mentioned quite a while back? I'm quite looking forward to that story, and, of course, everything else that you write!

Merenwen Inglorion said...

I'm trying to write a book, and I both loathe and love it!
Loathe: the ideas not coming out and re-reading what I wrote until I'm satisfied.
Love: it's just so much fun watching people unearth themselves from beneath my fingertips!
What do you loathe and love about writing?

Yesterday, I got a little over 2,000 words done, AND nearly an entire page of my entry for the Beauty and the Beast!! Squee!
I hardly ever get that much done in a few hours! (type two sentences, sit for half an hour. Type a paragraph, delete half of it, rewrite, sit. Argh! You?)
Anyways... :)
Not sure if you've been asked this before, but are you a panster or outliner?
And do you often find yourself giving traits or problems of your own to your characters?
Thanks, and God bless your work! Looking forward to reading more about the Secret Project. :) :)

Sarah Pennington said...

I'm in the midst of editing my submissions for the fanfic contest . . . hoping to have them sent in by the end of the week.

I'm so excited for GOLDEN DAUGHTER and super curious about your super-secret project. Any chance we'll get a hint about it soon? And I look forward to finding out what book 8 will be as well!

I can't think of questions right now, but I'll be sure to ask some as soon as I can.

Anna said...

Wow! As always, I can't believe you're doing all that you're doing. :) Eventually, you need to give yourself a vacation. :P

For me, there's LOTS on my plate right now! School, tutoring, church, writing. I partner with my brother in his piano tuning business and that requires a lot of emailing and record keeping.

I'm buzzing with ideas for two novels right now, as well as trying to polish my entries for two contests.

And my grandmother just had open heart surgery.

So I'm busy, too. :P

Question: So I'm seriously considering pursuing some sort of career in the publishing industry (aside from hopefully being an author one day). What advice do you have for someone like me? What college degree/classes should I go after? What should I be doing NOW?

Anonymous said...

Hello Anne Elisabeth,

I love your books!

I have a friend who has problems with her eyes and can't read for any length of time, but loves to listen to audiobooks.

Will your books become available as audiobooks in the future?

Unknown said...

Ooh, I would like to see the new haircut, too! And I have a question: will Rooglewood be accepting manuscript submission in the future?

Clara said...

And why haven't we gotten a picture of your hair?? I WANT TO SEEEEE IT!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Clare Darling, I want to see your hair! My hair is very short, most people say "who's that guy over there" until I say, "hey! I'm not a guy!"

Anonymous said...

I have 2 questions:
1. Is carun cogar gaheris?
2. Are you planning to make an audiobook of the tales of Goldstone wood? I love listening to audiobooks.

My doings have been schoolwork schoolwork and knitting.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 questions:
1. Is carun cogar gaheris?
2. Are you planning to make an audiobook of the tales of Goldstone wood? I love listening to audiobooks.

My doings have been schoolwork schoolwork and knitting.

Micailah said...

Hi Anne! Oh wow so many exciting things! I have a few questions:
1: How do you come up with sure diverse characters?
2: what books influenced you/continue to influence you in your writing?
3: what is your favorite goldstone wood character?

Meagan @ Blooming with Books said...

I've been toying with cutting my hair for the last 6 months so cutting hair when it's been long for a considerable period of time is definitely a "doing".

What's been your favorite summer activity this summer?

Anonymous said...

Ever heard of the Fiddler on the Roof song that goes "a little bit of this, a little bit of that?" :)

Jenelle Leanne said...

I've always had long hair too. I cut it super short (chin length) a couple years back and it was WEIRD!

It's longer now than it's ever been and I'm contemplating cutting it... not that short again, but something a bit easier to manage. We shall see.

I've been editing. LOL And editing some more.

But I've started real work on my entry for Five Enchanted Roses and I have an excerpt of it up on the blog today.

Gracie said...

Wow! You got a haircut? Cool! I really think you should post a picture.

I can't wait to read Golden Daughter! I have been waiting a long time and I MISS Eanrin! :(
We were doing school throughout the summer (since me and my middle sister are homeschooled,) so we are never stopping. I am sadly faced with a huge wall of writer's block so I haven't been writing on my book. Anyway, I hope y'all have a good rest of the summer!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

I'm so sorry, imps! I seriously just went to take a picture of my cute new haircut to share with all of you only to discover . . . Minerva has BROKEN my CAMERA! I'm not kidding you. I heard her wail caterwaul of triumph a few minutes ago followed by a THUMP. It was my camera hitting the floor. And it's quite broken. Sigh.

I will get Rohan to take a picture of me in the next few days!

And I love all the questions. I've already written up a couple of blog posts in response, and I'm excited to have post-material for weeks to come. Thanks so much! If you think of more things you'd like to ask, do let me know. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne Elisabeth Stengl, thank you for the blog post. It is always nice to hear from you.
Really super excited about GOLDEN DAUGHTER can't wait for it to come out, it's almost torture! ;) The Super Secret Project is intriguing aswell though I'm trying not to think of it too much, that would make the suspence unbearable! I'm glad the one you're planning right now is coming together. I understand how you feel about beginnings, I don't like them either.
I have three questions.
QUESTION 1: What do you do when you know the story you're working on is, for the most part, good but you're having trouble communicating it to its full potencial?
In my own writing I find I'm not getting deep enough when approaching Thought or Feeling, both through the characters and the general narritive. Either finding it lacking or I forgo it altogether. Have you ever came across this? What did you do?
QUESTION 2: This one may sound silly but I am curious. A while back you posted a Friday Tidbit about Teasing Your Reader and gave an example for beginning a story this way. My question is, does the same process apply, let's say, in middle of the book, when all the characters and things are established? How do you compensate? What are some things to think about? In other words, how do you do it?
QUESTION 3: I like that you use Omniscient, it is one of my favorites. What are some of the major things to avoid besides the dreaded Head Hopping?
I'm actually not using this narrative, it being above my skill level I think at the moment, though would like to someday. Any advise?

Thank you for your time...

Anonymous said...

Huh!!!!! How could Minerva do such a thing like that! Poor you:(