One Line Wednesday (#1lineWed) is a thing on Twitter that happens every Wednesday. Sponsored by @RWAKissofDeath, the purpose is to post a line from a current WIP. There is a theme for each week, and no buy links are allowed. These teasers might entice someone to click through and visit your blog/site/whatever, but the aims seem to be having fun and fostering a sense of community among writers.
It’s amazing how much story you can convey in just 140 characters. It’s also an interesting exercise to see just how much you can fit into so small a space. Can you introduce a character properly? Not really, but you can indicate personality through tone. You can show the heat level of your WIP by posting a particularly steamy kiss. You can post a line that makes little sense out of context, but is interesting nonetheless.
I’ve been participating for a month and wanted to share my teasers and ramble on a little about each WIP.
This is from an untitled project I plotted out with my daughter in the car one afternoon. The basic premise is a scout returning to his clan after three seasons of doing his thing–traveling and scouting. This year, when he returns, the headman of the village is planning to announce his retirement, passing the leadership to his eldest daughter. Part of the reason he wants to do this is that his wife (mate) has passed on. With her death ends his duty to his clan. He married, raised two children, and saw them to adulthood. Now he’s free to pursue his first love, his true love, the scout.
The scout is a bit of a loner, as required by his profession. He’s spent the majority of his life away from the clan. He’s loyal to his people, though. His job is a necessary one. On this latest mission, he completed the training for his replacement. He’ll be retiring. That will mean living in close proximity to the man he’s loved all his life, the man who couldn’t return his affection because of duty. This makes him anxious. The fact the headman, the man he loved (still loves?), is ready to try and be together only makes him more anxious. Why did they have to wait so long, and does he want to be second best?
I started writing this for submission to the RWA anthology call for stories about second chances, but as the story developed, I knew it wouldn’t be a good fit. I intended to include a romantic plot–in fact that’s about all the plot I want to include. But the setting was too obscure–alternate history, tribal, early civilization–and once I started writing, the story told me it didn’t want to be short. Not 5000 words short, probably not 10,000 words short. It wanted a bigger plot and a proper outline. And then the tribe to the south told me they wanted to invade and the headman of the village wanted to embark on a retirement quest and a secondary set of characters started sleeping together. For the sake of sanity, I had to put the project aside. I would like to pick it up again one day.
Theme: Flavour or scent
I can’t talk about this one! It is a project I’m currently working on, but I’ve been informed the fewer forward details spilled, the better! I can say that it’s for the Don’t Read in the Closet event, Love is an Open Road, sponsored by the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. For the uninitiated, this annual event asks readers to create prompts for writers. The stories are posted on the web and made available in anthologies. They’re always free to read. It’s a great way for authors to connect with their readers, and to simply try something new.
By the way, the name in this snippet might have been changed to protect the anonymity of my character. 😉
This is from a completed WIP called Sex with Strangers. It’s a contemporary romance novel (m/f) I wrote last year. I did submit it to a publisher who declined it. That’s all right, though! The plot needs a little work and after workshopping this one at RWA San Antonio last year, I know how to fix it. I do love this story. It’s about a single mom and her daughter who travel to Vegas to attend a wedding. On the flight, she meets a famous actor and predictably falls head over heels into a crush. He is quite taken with her, too, and spends his week in Vegas pursuing more than a casual friendship.
He’s in Vegas to try and revitalise his career after his latest movie flopped. But he’s done with the round of starlets and publicity jaunts. To his agent’s horror, he might even be done with Hollywood.
(I added the explanation point!)
The above teaser is from Block and Strike, another contemporary romance novel (m/m) that I also wrote last year. This one is also complete and also needs work. Not as much as Sex with Strangers! Submitting this one is going to be HARD as any rejection will hurt. I put a lot into these guys. I started out writing the book for Max, a younger guy toward whom I feel very maternal, but by the time I had finished, the book was just as much Jake’s, which is exactly as it should be. It’s a love story, and it’s a reflection on being gay, but more than either of these two things, it’s about two guys who are looking for something more. They’re trying to sort out their lives, trying to grow up, and along the way, they’re making some pretty big mistakes. But that only makes them more human.
This last one is from another untitled project. It has a working title that means nothing to anyone but me: Tlenai One. Okay, the “one” indicates this is the first book of a planned trilogy.
Tlenai is a planet colonized by humanity about two hundred years in our future. The book opens about seven hundred years after that, some twenty-eight generations later. The original population of 5000 has blossomed into over a million. The colonists were transported as frozen embryos, genetically manipulated to show a disposition toward enhanced extra sensory perception. The project architect dreamed of a planet full of psychics. What he got, seven hundred years later, was a population where only 5% exhibit any measurable talent. His heirs continue to experiment with gene therapies.
The colony, which has given rise to a unique civilisation, has more pressing concerns. Conflict regarding their origin–Earth–dogs the planet’s history, with alternate factions being for and against making contact. Those who argue against have a pretty good line–Earth banned genetic manipulation in the twenty-second century. Then there is the alien race that gave rise to the max exodus of ark ships. The planet of Tlenai maybe more than a hundred light years away from Earth, but no one knows which system the aliens call home.
And there you have it, my current WIPs in brief. I have many more projects than this in progress (a scary number), and not all of them receive regular attention. Participating in events like One Line Wednesday is a great way to check in on what you have going, to fall in love with a story again, feel inspired to continue it, make it work, submit it and hopefully share it.