Alyssa Drake Novels
Journey into the mind of a writer on deadline...
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 15 October, 2021 at 18:55||comments (0)|
The final bridge section between Devoured and Petrified was written almost as if it was the end of the story, despite having the final tale follow it. I wanted the reader to say good-bye to Myra (don't worry, I didn't kill her) and her new family, before ending with Petrified.
I had two directions to go with this relationship, either sisterhood or motherhood, and since Myra has been denied happiness for a good portion of her young life, it seemed only fair to give her three mothers (I would have asked Julie if she wanted to adopt Myra as well, but it's impossible, given her current state).
However, it's time to say good-bye to the island, because I have other projects waiting. I hope to return soon, but after tomorrow's final edit, I cannot say when that will be.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 14 October, 2021 at 16:25||comments (0)|
Knowing that Petrified will be the last story in this collection, I skipped the final introduction and dove into the story. Interestingly, this is the only tale that originally didn't take place on Firefly Island, nor do the characters have any magical ability, with the exception of the Wendigo.
So, how do I take a horror story set in the snow, and transplant it to an island? I actually solved that problem for myself in Departed. The upcoming free short story mentions a freak snow storm that blanketed the north end of the island. At the time I wrote it, I hadn't considered that line would become an intrical part of Petrified, but it did, and I was able to tweak Petrified enough to change the local to Firefly Island.
Woohoo! Celebrating small victories.
I just have one more intro section, and then a final edit before this collection heads off to the editor (yup, even projects like this, that have had multiple eyes on it, go through the editing process again). Because, none of us are perfect.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 13 October, 2021 at 12:25||comments (0)|
I went into tonight with the explicit goal of completing the Devoured revision, which has carried into day two. I should have finished this yesterday, and it annoys me that I'm spending a second day on edits. It also concerns me, because the deadline to get this collection to my editor is rapidly approaching, and I haven't written Reflected yet.
And here is that moment when you have to admit to yourself that your current abilities do not match your goals. I made the difficult decision to remove Reflected from this collection and slot it for a future story in the Firefly Island world. That leaves two options for the story. I can leave it as is and include it in my next horror collection (although I have no plans for one yet), or I can tweak it and transform this story into the revelation of the third coven queen.
I prefer the second option, and since the coven I would be focused on in this story is the darkest of the four, sacrificing Megan to reveal the queen's hiding place fits both plot lines. Plus, I may already have a cover.
After completing Devoured, I shut down my laptop with an overwhelming sense of melancholy; sadness at the loss of Reflected (whose title has been changed to fit its new direction).
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 12 October, 2021 at 18:40||comments (0)|
The tale of Grammy Sue, also known as Devoured, was born from a combination Hansel and Gretel, and a dark comedy I watched many years ago, where the characters were killed and dumped into a vat of chocolate.
Points to anyone who can name this "sweet" film.
Putting aside the skin crawling that occurs when I read first person - okay, let's address this for a moment. I want to lose myself in the story, and I find it jarring to read "I" all the time because it feels more like a journal. This is just a personal thing, everyone is free to enjoy what they wish (I obviously wrote in both POV's).
Now, when I started revisions on this story, I discovered the timeline needed to be changed to fit the interaction between Dr. Jack and Myra. These changes took most of my time and I ended up only completing two chapters before turning in the for night. Definitely, not on pace to where I want to be.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 11 October, 2021 at 13:40||comments (0)|
Because I'm introducing Suze (Grammy Sue) as Dr. Jack's sister, that means two things. First, Dr. Jack knows the secret ingredient in Grammy Sue's Easter Chews. Second, he's okay with that.
Worse, he proudly gives a chocolate bunny to Myra before that ingredient is revealed. He does give her a small hint, which she doesn't quite understand, when he invites Myra to live with him permanently.
This bizarre relationship developing between them is that of a father/daughter, since Dr. Jack has no children and Myra has been lacking in parental attention for some time. With her gift, which is telekinesis (in case you didn't figure that out yet), she would be an excellent addition to his murderous family.
Wait until you read Devoured. You are never going to look at chocolate the same way.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 10 October, 2021 at 12:50||comments (0)|
Electrified is one of the few stories that I wrote without romance in the plot. I intended to develop a relationship between Dr. Jack and Jill (since that would just be one more unethical line that he would cross), but felt their relationship would need more time to develop, and I didn't want to rush it. There's a hint of their relationship when they make a cameo in Possessed, but again, it's just a whisper, and there is no explanation of why they are together.
I would like to write a story about Dr. Jack, as I'm curious about how he ended up running Briar Glenn, but that's a story for another time. This collection is meant to introduce you to the people around him.
Therefore, after completing the revision of Electrified, I debated how to tie in Grammy Sue from Devoured. She's not a patient, nor is she a sweet, little, old lady, but someone more like Dr. Jack... perhaps his sister.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 9 October, 2021 at 18:10||comments (0)|
The bridge section between Afflicted and Electrified ended up to be roughly 650 words. I wasn't quite certain how to introduce the story that hovers between reality and fantasy, so I opted for Jill revealing that her treatment had been painful, without disclosing the full ramifications of that statement to young Myra.
My favorite review of Electrified had the phrase "What did I just read" in it, which you'd think I wouldn't like, but it encompassed the feeling I was going for. By the end of Electrified, the reader should question which parts were reality, and which were imaginary.
But, the most important truth revealed in Electrified, is that Dr. Jack is just as deranged as his patients (perhaps more so), which shouldn't surprise anyone. What should cause worry, is how this man is allowed to continue his experiments without notice, because, even on Firefly Island, murder is frowned upon.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 8 October, 2021 at 20:20||comments (0)|
My historical co-write went off to the editing team today, and periodically I see a comment pop up on the document, but I haven't read any of them yet. The idea of a three-round edit makes me nauseated, because the only thought roaming around in my brain is "what if they hate it".
Since I was focused on this series, I took advantage of my obsession and wrote the blurb for book two. I already have all three story concepts for the series written, and the next step after this will be to write the outline (although that endeavor will take much longer). For now, I could commit to writing the preliminary blurb without investing too much of my attention. I'm holding out for when I go through edits again, then I can launch into the outline, and start working on book two.
Tomorrow, it's back to Firefly Island. The next story is Jill's, and it had one of my favorite reviews.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 7 October, 2021 at 20:20||comments (0)|
I am not going to change the Point Of Views in the paranormal/horror collection.
Here's my reasoning:
There are two stories that appear in first person (Afflicted and Devoured), had it been just one, I would have flipped it without thought. But... Devoured was a co-write, and now we've moved into a grey area. Before sending Devoured through an editor, I reached out to my co-writer for confirmation that she was okay with that step. Changing the POV is a major overhaul, and I don't want to lose her voice in the edits. Which means I'm not flipping Devoured, and since I don't want just one first person POV story in the collection, I'm not changing Afflicted either.
Therefore, I read through Afflicted knowing I wasn't changing that aspect, and with that decision made, I enjoyed the story as much as I did when I first wrote it.
I doubt I will actively choose to write in first person again, but I like knowing there are some examples of my ability to be flexible.
|Posted by Alyssa Drake on 6 October, 2021 at 3:10||comments (0)|
Haystacks. Those friggin' haystacks are going to be the end of my sanity. Once again, I'm writing in the past, and the hay baler that didn't exist in the Victorian era, or in the Elizabethan era, most certainly doesn't exist in the Middle Ages. Deep breath.
The error is now corrected, and I'm reminded of a line from the Thomas Crown Affair film, "I just like my haystacks, Bobby"... Which I will never forget again.
However, I've spent tonight chasing down and correcting inconsistencies, which means tomorrow I'll start the revision for Afflicted from the beginning of the story.
Oh, and I made a decision about the POV.