Tuesday, February 2, 2016


This morning, in a discussion at Janet Reid's blog, Donna Everhart pointed to a post at Rachelle Gardner's blog, which got me poking around there, and I found an exercise I'd love to try with Kristi and Leila in a few weeks. We're planning a writing mini-retreat, a few hours of time just to parallel play, undistracted except for the helpful tips of Gossamer the Editor Cat and Penelope the Publishing Pup and perhaps some tea and coffee, then spending a little time sharing or working out a snag or whatever comes up while we're writing.

Some know, but I have not blogged about it much, that my WIP was actually conceived very early in the writing stages of The Ax and the Vase.

In no way a sequel (and thank Maud, given that Ax has been put on hiatus), the WIP is about a relation of Clovis I. It takes place in a different world, and centers on a wider cast, and a diverse one. But I found the inspiration early in the going with Ax ... and so the WIP has been around for many years.

For a long time, I might pop over from my "real" work to this WIP, an unformed plan/idea resolutely left on a backburner, but I refused all temptation to hop after it and let it become an actual Plot Bunny. I would plug in research that did not fit in with Ax, but not allow myself to *work* on it in earnest.

And then work began in earnest, this past spring.

In short: the WIP has been with me for a long, long time.

And it has never had a title.

It took years for me to realize The Ax and the Vase kind of had to have that title. When it came to me, I felt almost like a moron, because, DUH, that had to be it. I was open to being told it could not survive, but I was also really skeptical anything else would work so well.

I want to have that "duh" moment now, for the WIP.

Poor thing, it deserves a title. It has been my focus now for long enough, calling it "WIP" seems dismissive at this point.

Also, I am excited to get together with Kristi and Leila.


Brigid said...

This sounds like a marvelous idea.

DLM said...

Doesn't it!??? At least two of our little writing trio need to do this. I am excited for our little retreat.

Donnaeve said...

Okay. I admit it. I work ass backwards. Titles have come to me sometimes before story. If that ain't the weirdest of weird ways to write (see how I did that) I don't know what is.

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE almost had a title change. Thank goodness my editor decided it had grown on him. It stayed. My current WIP title, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET popped into my head one day as the story started taking shape, and that seemed less cray cray than THE REDEMPTION OF TRUITT AMES. TRUITT AMES is my second book written which has never been on submission. Third book - A BLACK WATER SEASON came halfway through the writing of it.

Anyway! I'm glad the link over to Rachelle Gardner's site has provided you with...a possible solution for the poor WIP! It's like a nameless child, isn't it?

DLM said...

That doesn't look ass-backwards to me, it looks quite a bit like INSPIRATION!!!

I sort-of/kind-of have a title (I suspect it to be strictly of the "working" variety) for the third novel, which is not even on a backburner yet, but still in a cupboard or recipe box, or wherever ideas you can't take on right now are kept until you can even backburner them. I've known it's what I'd like to write for almost as long as I've had AX and the WIP on my heart, but the time, she is decidedly Not Now. And yet, because of a throwaway line about a certain nun and a Bishop, whose "offspring were as numerous as blackberries in the field", I have always thought of it as "Blackberries" - though in truth it's not quite a suitable title, evoking all the wrong things for what the book will probably need to be.

With Clovis and the WIP, though, the ideas came to me, burned for me, and it was Damn the torpedoes on story, never mind what to call 'em. I think I was three years in before Ax got its name!

Your titles are very engaging. Now just to wait and wait and wait to READ them. Le sigh!

Donnaeve said...

I re-read my comment and realized I didn't explain TRUITT AMES fully. I had no idea of the story - at all. Zip, nada, zero. I was, I kid you not, stripping the bed one day - this was almost four years ago - and the name popped into my head. Truitt Ames. Then I started thinking about, who is he? What does he do? What's his life? I actually started writing that story around the name. Btw - that's the book that got the attention of the London agency...the freelance editor I was using sent it to them - she knew the agents. I already had John Talbot, but she was hoping for a transatlantic sale with the US agency and the London agency working together. But, we didn't put the book on sub - and I went off to write BLACK WATER.

I might have mentioned all that over on JR's blog - or my own - a while back.

There's something about the nun/bishop component that makes me think of something down that path. Blackberries makes me think of...PIE..but I still like it.

DLM said...

I love your names, though, and why WOULDN'T Truitt Ames be the kernel of a novel?? Truitt - it's got resonance, I can picture someone with this name.

Yeah, and my Blackberries are starting their family (in fact, my own - it's a bit of a long story, but these characters, who were actual people in history, are supposedly the beginning of the Major line) in the eleventh century, around the time of the Norman Conquest, too. So the down-home feeling of blackberry pie (mmmmmm ... or COBBLER ... with custard!) is quite off.

Why, OH WHY, must I wait and wait for your work????

Donnaeve said...

That's amazing - I've seen a family tree all the way back nine generations on my father's side - and I've often thought about trying to figure more out about them. The fact you have this nugget about your own family - WOW.

I've got a tremendous sweet tooth. So, blackberry whatever (had bb jam on my toast this morning)sounds so GOOD.

I'm actually SCARED of you reading my work! :) I'm thinking given your in-depth research and historical fiction leanings, you might find it rather elementary. Debut jitters? You bet.

DLM said...


Girl, pleeeeeez.

*Shoulder punch*

Donnaeve said...