#ProjectSwords - writing my new WIP, and my obsession with weaponry

If you've been following me on Twitter, no doubt you're more than familiar with my WIP code name: #ProjectSwords.

It started as the vaguest seed of an idea. For once it wasn't character that walked into my head and demanded I stop what I was doing to tell their story. It was a feeling. A thought. A moment I wanted to capture.

A moment that was inspired while sitting in the theater watching the amazons storm the beach in Wonder Woman.

Everything about Themyscira gave me chills. But this scene - this pinnacle battle - I sat in the theater, shivers racing up and down my arms and in awe. It was like watching the Spartans destroy the Persian army in 300 but with WOMEN.

I didn't want those precious minutes to end.

But unfortunately they did - when the entire theater lost power right about the moment Chris Pine confessed to being a spy.

Legit me as the power cut out (knowing I'd have to wait a week before I could come back to see the rest):

For days I was obsessed. I couldn't wait to go back to see the rest of the movie, but when I finally did, I realized I wanted so much more. And while the rest of Wonderwoman certainly exceeded my expectations, it was Antiope and her amazons that affected me most.

The same day, while in the car with Hubby, I was talking about that battle, and somehow the conversation veered towards Henry the 8th (Tudors series in particular) and how awesome it would've been if Anne Boelyn wasn't some spoiled chick used by her father/uncle as a pawn for power, but an Amazon warrior who instead of losing her head, came back to take his?

And there she was. Sinadine de- Arashi. She strolled into my subconscious, sword drawn and ready to take on the patriarchy.

Now I had a new idea (this was June or July of 2017), but I was still knee deep in editing my pitchwars hopeful MS: TOUCHED BY FIRE, and I never like to start something new while I'm currently committed to another project LOL.

So I waited until I dove into querying trenches for TBF before I started TOMI ADEYEMI'S PAGE TURNING PLOT COURSE. This was going to be my second YA fantasy that I'd written after almost ten years of adult contemporary, and what TBF had taught me was that plotting a fantasy is SO MUCH EASIER then pantsing your way through it.

This was such a departure for me as a panster, but I have to admit - having used PTP course to get the bones of my story sorted out - all the beats/acts and climaxes/conflicts and resolutions made this round of drafting a lot easier then it's ever been for me before.

I can't recommend Tomi's course enough.

I'm not going to lie, even with all of this, shifting gears from TBF was sooooooooooo jarring. I'd living in TBF's world for almost a year at this point - the longest I'd ever focused on a single MS in my entire life - (says the girl who blazes through first drafts and never really spent time editing them because THE VOICES WOULDN'T LET ME STOP WRITING!). So this took a little while for the rust to shake off.

It was especially hard because unlike contemporary, you need to develop an entire world - politics, cultures, language, food, magic, geography, weather, and on it goes!! Having a road map before you start to beat the keys can honestly save you so much pain and grief.

So I started with the color palate.

TBF was all rain forest green, turquoise and coral and gold. Bright, bold and vibrant. Set in a world that was a mish-mash of Central/South America.

The immediate contrast to that for me was setting ProjectSwords in the mountains. There was a lot of snow/ice and stone imagery, with colors of muted grey, silver, blues and blacks, ivory and gold.

I drew on a lot of influences of various female warriors (after reading and devouring WARBRINGER where Leigh Bardugo's vision of Themyscira was a blend of various cultures). Shield maidens and Valkyries, female samurai known as the Onna Bugeisha, the Amazons of Dahomey and so many more.

It took me three solid months to bang out the first draft at 95k. 45,000 words of which I wrote in month, tracking my process with daily accountability tweets.

You know what I realized most while writing this book? Just how obsessed I am with swords - or weaponry, in most cases. I blame my childhood of watching Xena, Zorro, Batman and Ninja Turtles LOL. Soon as I finished the first draft I went to ComiCon with a friend and was drawn to all the fantasy weaponry table - and walked away with a wooden katana, made for practicing how to wield a sword. Let's just say I think professional classes are on my horizon. But on top of that, I also discovered how important the theme of Sisterhood is in my writing. Both contemporary and fantasy, strong female friendships has always been key.

A theme I am further exploring in my female gunslinger gang WIP #ProjectHellfire which I plan to start soon as I am done revising #ProjectSwords and have it sent off to my agent (hopefully around mid-May).

Well, that's all for now, I'm off to tackle #projectsword edits:


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