• All About REFLECTIONS

    Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember me tweeting about trunking a novel, The Palest of Pinks, that I started for NaNoWriMo this year. I despise trunking novels, so I try to do it as little as possible (read: never). I haven’t put a manuscript away since Mud Eyes (which I am determined to bring back into the light someday), so tucking this one in for a long winter’s nap was difficult. Still, I’m putting it aside in favor of a YA urban fantasy I’ve been kicking around for a while. It’s called Reflections, and it’s a murder mystery, but with shapeshifters.
    all-about-reflections

    I’ve had plot bunnies for Reflections knocking around in my head for half a year now. The same thing happened to me with Blood and Water, which is why I’ve decided to focus on writing this one–it could be an indication that I’m onto something big.

    Now, I’m still very much in the planning process of writing this book, but I thought I’d share a few things I know about it so far.

    Setting

    For a long time, I’ve wanted to set a story in the mountains. Most of my extended family lives in West Virginia, and I’ve visited the state so many times that it’s impossible to get the landscape out of my head. As a result, I’ve set Reflections in the portion of the Appalachian Mountains that extends through West Virginia. The majority of the action takes place in Aldale, a fictional small town just shy of the New River.

    Characters

    For me, I can’t write a novel unless I’ve fallen in love with the characters. My stories are so character-driven that I often have the protagonist’s voice clamoring for my attention long before  put my fingers to the keyboard. It happened with Jay in Blood and Water, and it’s happening with Ramachandra now. Here are some of the key people I’ve “met” already:

    • Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan (17)–the novel’s protagonist; a bright, temperamental girl with low self-esteem.
    • Banu Ganeshan (13)–Rama’s younger brother and Unma’s twin; a prankster with a heart of gold.
    • Dhayal Ganeshan (39)–Rama’s father; a funny, kindhearted man who runs an Indian restaurant with his first love and wife, Piya.
    • Piya Ganeshan (37)–Rama’s mother; a stubborn woman with a warm heart beneath her rough exterior who runs an Indian restaurant with her husband.
    • Unma Ganeshan (13)–Rama’s younger sister and Banu’s fraternal twin; sensitive like her sister, but much more introspective.
    • Vincent Harrow (33)–Leader of the Appalachian Shifters; charismatic, charming, and lethal.
    • Carter Gabriel (18)–A young Shifter who befriends Rama
    • Nathaniel Langdon (25)–Vincent’s second-in-command and Leda’s husband; his loyalty to Vincent seems endless.
    • Leda Langdon (22)–Nathaniel’s wife; she has only recently become a Shifter and is struggling to adjust to life under Vincent’s rule.

    There are two other characters I know right now, but I don’t want to share them with you because it’ll spoil something! Let’s just say you’ll know them as soon as you read them, eh? 😉

    Key objects

    I almost wanted to title this section “motifs,” but I’m not quite sure the moniker fits. Nevertheless, there are several items that will be important throughout the novel, including (but not limited to):

    • windows
    • mirrors
    • crystals
    • water
    • tattoos/scars
    • keys

    The crystals will be especially important, which is why I’ve spent so much time looking at and sharing pictures of them lately. I can’t wait to see how everything comes together.

    NOVEL INSPIRATION

    Like Blood and Water, I’m drawing on several different sources of inspiration for Reflections. If you’d like to get an idea of what the story is about and what Rama’s world is like, check out the Pinterest board and Spotify playlist. Also, make sure you’re following me on Instagram–I’ll be posting some inspiring photos there as well!

    Clearly, I’m excited about this new project. I can’t help feeling like I’ll learn a lot from this novel, and I can’t wait to share the journey with all of you, too. Thanks, as always, for your support! It truly means the world to me.

    Tweet tweet:

    Curious about @brianawrites’ new project? Check out this new post in which she discusses #Reflections! (Click to tweet)

  • How to Handle Plot Bunnies While Editing

    bunnies
    I’m currently working on the second draft of my novel Blood and Water, which means lots of editing. The more I work on this book, the more excited I get about it. I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can share it with all of you!

    At the same time, I can’t get thoughts of my next book out of my head. A character fell into my mind a few weeks ago (her name is Ramachandra), and I haven’t been able to shake her since.

    I already determined that I would finish this first round of edits before diving into something new, but these plot bunnies are driving me crazy. I’m trying to stave off Shiny New Idea Syndrome, but it is coming for me. It will try to sink its claws in me, and I have to resist it until this draft is done.

    Luckily, I’ve discovered a few techniques to help manage these errant plot bunnies. It’s a far from perfect system, but it’s made a lot of difference. If you’re struggling like me, here’s what I recommend:

    • Make a Pinterest board. If your mind is filling up with images for the book you want to write, scour the Internet for pictures and add them to a novel Pinterest board. Even though I haven’t written a single word of Reflections, I’ve already dumped a lot of images here.
    • Keep track of your ideas. Instead of dismissing every plot bunny that pops into your head, write it down in a notebook or an app like Evernote. When it comes time to write the new book, you’ll be glad you saved this stuff!
    • Remind yourself what you love about the book you’re working on. If you’re struggling to stay on task with your current project, focus on what you enjoy about it. Do you love your characters? What about your world? The setting? No matter what, you should be able to find something worth staying for. Make a list if you need to so that you can always remind yourself why your book is great.
    • Set the new WIP idea as a reward. This tip is working so well for me! Try telling yourself something like, “As soon as I finish this draft, I can start on the new project.” The hardest part? Sticking to it. Still, knowing you have a clear start point on the horizon makes it easier to wait.
    • Do NOT start a new project in Scrivener or open a new Word document! As tempting as it may be to “just set things up,” do not fall into temptation! As soon as your new project or document has been created, your fingers will be itching to start writing. Run away now!
    • Ask for help. If all else fails, do what I’ve been doing: go on Twitter, complain about not wanting to edit, and (humbly) invite people to chastise you. Some people enjoy this more than they should, and will jump at the chance to wag their finger (even playfully) at you for not working! (My Twitter friends are the best.)

     
    Like I said, these techniques are far from foolproof, but they’re helping me stay sane while I crank out this second draft. By the time I finally finish these edits, I’ll be raring to go to work on the first draft of Reflections. Until then, I hope I can stay disciplined!

    What do you do with inconvenient plot bunnies? How do you defeat Shiny New Idea Syndrome?

    Tweet tweet:

    Holy plot bunnies, Batman! In this post @brianawrites discusses how to tackle Shiny New Idea Syndrome. (Click to tweet)

    Itching to start a new book before your WIP is finished? Check out @brianawrites’ tips for handling this dilemma. (Click to tweet)