Tag Archives: hollow children

Next Big Thing

I try to blog every week, but lately it’s been difficult to keep my mind on writing-related stuff so when Linda Bloodworth invited me to to participate in The Next Big Thing blog train I agreed. Inretrospect that may not have been the best decision, because my current WIP is in very early stages, but I’ll answer the questions as best I can.

What is the working title of your book?

We’re currently calling it Hollow Children. I say ‘we’ because I am writing it and Danica is illustrating it.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, I made it up. In my head. I’m sure I could come up with half a dozen influences for this story, but that would only touch on the obvious ones. The truth, of course, is that I just made it up. I combined dozens of thoughts and images, brainstormed with Danica and asked myself a lot of questions  and I came up with the very skeletal idea for this book. It’s fleshing it out that is going to be tough part.

Oh. As part of the brainstorming process Dani picked the image you see to the left there to be used as our cover picture sure we decide to self-publish this story. It definitely helped conjur up some ideas and lent a feeling to the story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Um. Yes. I’m not sure. We’re aiming for YA horror but it may end up more on the paranormal end of the spectrum. We’ll have to wait until the first draft is done to find out for sure, I think.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t know. I suck at this game. For what it’s worth, I never pick actors/celebrities to represent my characters physically for me either. I suspect these two things are related 😉

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When her younger sister starts acting weird and disappears into the haunted hospital across the street it’s up to Morgan to rescue her and save her broken family at the same time.

Huh. That’s actually not terrible for something I came up with off the top of my head LoL

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Are those my only two options? LOL

I don’t know what is going to happen with this book. I need to finish writing it before I can worry about selling it. I would very much like to see it published with Danica’s illustrations though, which might make it more suitable for self-publication (I have no idea how difficult it would be to find an agent willing to sell a YA book with illustrations by an amateur artist but I imagine it’s not the easiest thing in the world) but… we’ll see. For the most part I prefer to have a publisher other than myself behind my work.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ll let you know when it’s finished LoL

Haunted Hospital, a photograph by Rhonda ParrishWho or What inspired you to write this book?

This question is remarkably similar to “Where did the idea come from?” The answer is, no one inspired me to write this story. The what of it is that Danica and I wanted a project to work on together and this the one we decided to do. It’s not anymore complicated or exciting than that, I’m afraid. The process of creating it may be, but we’re not deep enough into it for me to know for sure yet 😉

That being said, I was inspired to include the haunted hospital that is just a few blocks from our home as one of the most important settings in the novel because, c’mon, it’s a freaking haunted hospital. How could I not?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Danica is a fantastic artist and her pictures will keep you turning the page just to see them. What’s more, Morgan is a sympathetic character who most people will be able to relate to and will really want to succeed in her mission.

And now I’m supposed to tag five people. The problem is, when I asked for volunteers to be tagged on Twitter and Facebook no one raised their hand LOL I know the posts got out there because I had one maybe and a couple ‘I’m not working on a novel right now’s but not a single yes. So. Here’s the deal. If you want to be tagged leave me a comment and I’ll tag you otherwise, um… here, in no particular order, are some of my favourite bloggers you could check out.

Beth CatoSimon Kewin ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Milo James Fowler


Shadows Gets Shelved

Tombstone - Photograph by Rhonda ParrishOur vacation is over.

Well, actually, I’m “officially” back to work tomorrow, but because I expect to be completely swamped with Niteblade stuff and some pressing writing deadlines I have, so I’m blogging today.

One of my goals for this year was:

Figure out what to do with Shadows…and get to work on doing it. This can mean looking for an agent, a publisher or any number of other things. I can’t be specific until I’ve made a decision.

Well, the good news is, I’ve made a decision. It was very difficult because I’ve spent so much time working on it (years) that I’m really close to it, too close, to make a clear and rational decision. Unfortunately, most of my critique partners are also too close to it to give me unbiased advice. Happily, there are people who make a living out of giving clear, unbiased advice about these sorts of things LoL

I hired Kate and Taryn from Teen Eyes Editorial to take a look at the current version of Shadows and tell me what they thought. Their feedback was insightful, in-depth and incredibly helpful. It helped me see that it’s time to put Shadows on a shelf.

Their comments were very positive and encouraging overall but they definitely showed me that Shadows still needs a lot of work before it is ready to go out in the world. And the thing is, I’m kinda tired of it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the story but I really need some time away from it.

Dudes, I’ve been working on this story off and on for several years. Honestly, I don’t even know what version this draft is. I have learned a ridiculous amount of things about character development, plotting, revision, pacing, dialog (and more!) while I’ve been working on Shadows, but it’s time to move on to something else.

I have a finite amount of time I can spend writing and several other projects demanding my attention. So, at this point I’m going to file Shadows under ‘Learning Experience’ and let it sit in my Dropbox gathering virtual dust. Someday a few years from now I might decide to come back to it, but I rather doubt it.

For now, I’m looking forward to seeing how awesome I can make Twixt and Hollow Children 🙂


Writing is a Battle…

Haunted Hospital, a photograph by Rhonda ParrishDear ________,

I’ve enclosed a photo I wanted to share with you. I call this shot “Haunted Hospital” and when I took it several weeks ago I had no idea it was going to become a very important place in my novel. But lo and behold, that’s exactly what has happened. Not only is it where the story begins but I expect it to continue to be a very important locale throughout, sort of like the sun that the rest of the tale rotates around. Very cool, no?

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write to you about today. I don’t like writing too much about my stories while I’m working on them. I find if I share too much (via blogs, or conversation or anything) I lose the sense of urgency to write the story. It’s like, as soon as I’ve shared it with someone my brain is pretty sure that my job is done and it’s time to move on to the next story. That means in order to get the whole thing out of my brain and onto the page I need to keep it to myself for as long as possible. That meant talking about any Hollow Children specifics was out of the question, and who wants to read a dry list of daily word counts? Um, not me.

Then I snuck over to Alison Stone‘s cabin today to say hi before I started writing for the moment. She asked everyone who stopped by a question, “What motivates you?”

I have a post-it note stuck onto my laptop where I’ll see it everyday. It’s been stuck there for months and is starting to curl up on the edges and lose it’s glue. When it finally gives up and falls off completely I will copy the words from it onto another post-it note and stuck it on my laptop. In fact, I’m planning on getting them tattooed onto my arm. Eight words:

Writing is a battle with impatience and inertia.

I don’t know who to attribute that quote to. I think I picked it up from a textbook but I haven’t gone back through the one I think it might be to see if I’m correct.

That quote, that idea, that reality motivates me. It says yes, writing is hard work, but you know what? Anything worth doing is difficult. It says yes, Rhonda, you’re feeling bleh and you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and sleep, but no one is going to write your words for you. It says holy crap, dude, you’re not in a race to reach the end of the story, slow down and let it unravel at its pace, not yours.

Writing is a battle, and it’s one I’m not willing to lose. Some days, some weeks, some months are harder than others but if you just keep fighting eventually you will be victorious.

That’s what motivates me.

Well, this month it’s that plus watching the little bars move up on my stats page for Camp NaNoWriMo… but ya know, whatever it takes to get words on the page, right?


p.s. I hear they are serving us sushi here tomorrow. *squee* Best. Camp. Evar.

Plans for June

QT by Rhonda ParrishDear _______,

As I write this there is a clock counting down the hours until Camp NaNoWriMo begins. I’m quite nervous.

It’s a little bit silly. Since 2003 I’ve participated in 8 NaNoWriMos (6 times successfully) and for several years I ran NaNoLJers. NaNoWriMo is not a new thing for me, and Camp NaNoWriMo is really only that transplanted from November into June.

If anything I really ought to be excited about this because it will be all the things I loved about NaNoWriMo with fewer of the things that had begun to drive me nuts and contribute to my NaNo burn out. And  yet… and yet…

My worry isn’t completely unjustified, to be fair. I mean, I am going to be trying to write a novel based on some character ideas and a concept with no real idea what the plot is. I’ve been taking some of the advice I received in my Hollow Children call for help blog post, but I’m starting out late. While people’s suggestions have helped me firm up some of my ideas and start to get a vague idea about the shape of the story, I don’t really have enough time to firm it up too much.

And whose fault is that? Um. Mine. LOL

Also, did I mention that I signed up for The Whittakers again this year? I did.

The Whittaker Prize is a writing contest wherein you write a story, poem or both (depending on what you sign up for) every two weeks and submit it for scoring. Usually there are 9 rounds but this year it’s a shortened schedule with 6 rounds instead.

It’s sort of become a tradition for me. I never expect to win, but I love having the deadlines and getting feedback on the work I send in. It’s a fantastic way for me to write several short stories that I can then spend the rest of the year refining and sending out for submission. The only problem? They begin on June 8th. *facepalm* Yes. That’s right, while I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and working on the first draft of a nebulous novel I will also have to write at least one, and closer to two, short stories.

So, in order to combat a situation that could easily result in creative burnout I’ve decided to really embrace the whole ‘camp’ theme for the month. Everything I do will be camp themed. My workouts will become ‘hikes’, some meals will be cooked over an open flame, blog entries will be letters home–hell, I might even set up the tent in the backyard and spend a Saturday night or two out there. Why not?

What’s more I’m going to cut myself a lot of slack on anything not directly related to writing Hollow Children and my Whittaker Submissions. That means I’ll likely be slower than usual replying to emails, and I may be on social media/visiting other people’s blogs/etc. a lot less. The internet connection at camp is spotty at best, doncha know?

I will continue my T4T posts and I’ll try to write you all a letter once a week, but I can’t promise anything.

I’ll be thinking of you though.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to sewing my name into all my underwear and maybe getting a little bit more brainstorming time in on this story.



Hollow Children

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month and I am very nervous about it. Very. I’m going in nearly blind, and midway through another huge project (revisions on Twixt) which seems like a recipe for disaster but…well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I’m committed. I freaking hate breaking commitments so, despite how unprepared I am, I’m going to suck it up and give it a shot. Who knows, maybe something awesome will come out of it and I can’t possibly end Camp NaNo with less than I started with, right? So, there’s that…

My project in June is going to be Hollow Children.

A few months ago (man, it might actually be a year ago now :-/) my daughter, Danica, and I decided we wanted to write a novel together. We searched through stock photography sites to find an image that sparked both our imaginations and chose on the image you can see to the left. We brainstormed together and came up with a couple characters then borrowed a story concept I’d been working on before and combined them.

I wrote an opening scene and passed it over to Dani to write the next one. She struggled with it. She’s possibly even more of a perfectionist than I am, and writing isn’t usually her “thing”. So we decided instead of sharing the writing duties, I would write the story and she would illustrate it.

And then I got stuck.

History has shown when I get stuck like this it’s because I’m starting the story in the wrong place, or haven’t really gotten into the brains of my characters. I suspect both are issues when it comes to Hollow Children. To make things even worse, our plot is only a nebulous concept still so I have no freaking idea what is going to happen in this book.


And now I’ve committed to writing 50,000 words on it over the month of June.

What was I thinking? LOL

Right now I’ve got the cover image (which I purchased the right to use) as my desktop image on my laptop so I’ll see it all the time. I’m hoping it will spark something in my brain but if all else fails I’ll draw a couple characters out of my fishbowl (or traits to help flesh out the characters Dani and I created earlier) and write random scenes. I can always try to fit them together once it’s time for revisions, right?

That being said, I’m very open to any suggestions anyone might have about how to find the skeleton of a story in a hurry LOL


Camp NaNoWriMo

I may be crazy. Ah hell, I might as well own it, right? I am crazy.

I just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for June. Camp NaNoWriMo is the same as regular NaNoWriMo but it takes place in June or August rather than November.

I signed up because I’ve really been struggling with writing new fiction this year. I’ve created several poems I’m really fond of, but when it comes to fiction I haven’t written anything new all year. I’ve re-written a few stories, and I’m up to my eyeballs with HTRYN revisions on Twixt, but brand new from nothing drafts? Nada. In five months. That’s unacceptable.

So, that’s where Camp NaNoWriMo comes in.

I have a story I’m meant to be working on with Danica. It’s called Hollow Children and the idea is that I’m going to write it and then she will illustrate it. I’ve decided to make it my Camp NaNo project. Perhaps the daily word counts, accountability and a NaNo-light atmosphere will help me get it done. It will then sit for a few months until I find time to revise it, but it will be written and maybe that will break through this wall in my brain that is keeping me from getting any new fiction written.

Or, maybe I’m just crazy.