Since 2006, about 75% or more of my writing time and energy has been spent on work-for-hire projects in a shared world. While I do regret that I don’t have as much of my “own” stuff built up to give my agent (I really don’t have anything other than what she has polished enough to send out, so I’m scrambling these days, working on both a sequel and tossing around a new story idea I’ve been considering for a while), I don’t regret taking on work for hire at all. Writing these projects is interesting, because, rather than just sitting myself down at a computer and starting to write a story and researching things as they come up (in my current WIP, I’ve had to make notes about researching the layout of lands surrounding abbeys, what root vegetables grew in medieval England, and whether or not church services were conducted in languages other than Latin for the common folk), I instead start with something that someone else has written. Sometimes it’s a detailed book summary from which I need to write sample chapters. Other times it’s looking through maps, timelines, and, best of all, books.
I often describe my first book, Bronze Dragon Codex, as being able to write fanfic and be paid for it. I’ve never quite seen the point of fanfic, why write something that you didn’t own rights to and get published? But when the opportunity to write a book for childhood favorite series came up, it was SO much fun to look through my old books and atlases and read the new books and invent a story in that world.
I have that chance again, perhaps. I’m still deciding if I want to do something I found out about recently. I don’t know if I should take time out from my “own” work to chase after something that, in the end, won’t be mine. But as I print out information and dig old books out of my library, I feel that thrill again, the same thrill I had when I first began researching for Bronze Dragon Codex. Time will tell if the thrill stays enough for me to write something for this possible new project.
Going up early, since I don’t think I’ll have a chance to upload tomorrow. I’ll resume the saga of the office redesign next week, hopefully, but for now, I just wanted to share what I did today.
I have a whole Pinterest board for my office/craft room ideas. I was very intrigued by the photos of filing cabinets transformed by modge-podge and paper or fabric. Only problem: I didn’t have fabric that I wanted to use on file cabinets, and my plan of using scrapbook paper failed when I realized a standard size sheet of scrapbook paper isn’t big enough to cover an entire file cabinet drawer.
I then thought of contact paper. It would be fairly inexpensive and MUCH easier to work with. I went looking on Amazon and ran across this. Oooo! I had a solid floral pattern in mind, but the idea of the black filing cabinet showing through intrigued me. Today I tried it and was completely blown away by the results:
I LOVE IT! Can’t wait to do the others! I’m now wishing I’d thought of this idea BEFORE I bought black filing cabinets, because I’d love to see something like this in my office. Oh well, I’m quite happy with how things turned out!
I had some time to actually *GASP* WRITE today, so I’m working on the sequel to “Thread,” tentatively titled “Ashes.” I’m just trying to get back into writing semi-regularly (every day would be awesome, but that’s doubtful), so I was thrilled that I was able to produce over 600 words. I often keep a spreadsheet with my writing progress: if I’m working towards a deadline, I REALLY need one to help me keep on track, and if I’m just pantzing along, it helps show me how I’ve progressed and makes me feel better. Plus, doing word counts and entering in the spreadsheet when I have a break in my thought process is probably better than checking Facebook (which I do anyway).
I often think I should turn the internet off, but today I looked up or made a note to look up the following things related to just 600 words I wrote:
1) Do turnips grow in England?
2) How did people wash clothes in the middle ages?
3) Treatment of burns in the middle ages
4) Doctors & midwives in the middle ages
5) Abbeys: are there lands around them that are farmed? Villages? Would the villagers work in the fields for the church or for a lord?
Sigh. WHY do I write historical fantasy? Let’s take a metric-ton of research (no matter how much you read and watch in various time periods, when it comes time to write day-to-day life, you HAVE to look things up) and combine it with creating rules of magic. Sure! Easy! Um. No.