Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

query-Whatcha workin’ on? March 10, 2014

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:29 pm
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I seem to get this question a lot, so I thought I’d fill you in on the current Works In Progress.

1.  the blog.  Every day there’s a little something written just for you here, usually a poem.

2. my agent is currently pitching a YA novella about a teen boy called Kieran and his pregnant sister.  While I’m not doing anything with this, people are always asking what’s happening with this book, since it took me a long time to finish!

3. a companion novella about Kieran is completely drafted and ‘resting’

4. a companion novella about a friend of Kieran’s is completely drafted and ‘resting’

5. Book 3 in the Grace Awakening series is completely drafted, but is in need in revision.  It is ‘resting’ pending fresh eyes.

6. Book 4 in the Grace Awakening series is mostly drafted, but is in need of revision.  It is ‘resting’ as well.

7. I am actively working on a 40k word YA novel about date rape and cyber-bullying.

8. I have outlined a short YA novel about a drama class.

9. Grace Beguiling is sitting in the background ‘brewing.’  This is a prequel about one of Ben and Grace’s past lives together.

10. A novel about Finnish migrants in the Shuswap is also ‘brewing.

11. I have entered a couple of short story contests the last while.  Usually I just write something a couple of days before deadline, and hope for the best.  I don’t usually win these things, so that’s probably a sign I need to take a different tact! lol

An explanation of terms:

Brewing means I’m thinking about it.  I have some ideas and they come and go.  Sometimes it means I write out a scene or research something.  Very little is on paper in the brewing stage.

Outlining means I’ve planned out the bones of the whole story.  This strategy is new to me, and I’m not sure that I like it.  I find it spoils some of the fun of writing when I know what’s going to happen! On the other hand, I’m hoping there will be fewer scenes I need to cut because they don’t really fit, nor a need to re-work scenes to make them fit better.  Knowing the theme and being able to articulate each characters goals does keep things consistent and the writing focused.

Actively working means I’m writing a first draft, in the case of the current WIP, I’m following an very thorough outline.  (See outlining, above)

Draft means a completed  first (or possibly second, third, or fourth) version of a novel.  They’re always subject to massive amounts of revision.  Some people actively write one piece while they’re revising another piece (like Terry Brooks, who writes a new work in the morning and revises the last work in the afternoon).  I don’t.

Resting means the piece is finished, but on hiatus.  Or at least that I’m done with it for now.  Sometimes my wonderful editor has given me a list of revisions or challenging questions that I’m not quite ready to face.  If I’m too close in time to a project, it’s a little harder to see it critically, so I give it time while I work on something else.  When I come back to it, her  questions make perfect sense, and guide me to solutions.  Also, it can mean I wrote the draft, and my agent knows about it, and she’ll see if anyone is interested in it, and if so, I’ll polish it up.

And that’s what I’m up to these days!  (When I’m not reading or working at my day job, of course).


beguiling August 22, 2010

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:11 pm
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I’m just thinking about the way we sometimes get attached to things that are not good for us. Something tantalizes us and we are drawn, perhaps against our common sense, perhaps completely innocently. Suddenly we are trapped as attachments glue us firmly to the thing that beguiles us.

It might be a person we fall for. It might be a substance. Others can look at us and see the dangers. We are blind to them in the immersion of our delight as the endorphins of discovery flood our senses.

Our intoxication might destroy us, as alcohol, cigarettes and heroin break down those who adore them.  In a short time or a long time their impact is always negative.  However, what beguiles us might benefit us.  While it might fill us with a gleeful obsession for years, it may also act as muse, fueling dreams and imaginings.  So while others only noticed irritating dangers looming over us, some take the danger, celebrate it, and turn it into something beautiful.

Petrarca’s obsession is a case in point.  Sure his adoration of Laure endured for decades, well past the time she was moldering in her crypt in Avignon.  The poetic expression of his obsession has lasted even longer, coming onto seven centuries.    Petrarca prayed to be released from it, to be free to focus his adoration on his God.  The writings at the end of his life suggest he felt he reached the stage of relief eventually, but thankfully the hundreds of poems about her remain as a testimony to the benefits of obsessive adoration and addiction to an ideal.


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