#WIPjoy: About Fodder for Pigs

I realized I don’t talk about my work in progress much, at least not with people who don’t have a reason to care. One of the groups I admin did the #WIPjoy tag a while back, and I thought it was pretty fun! It is a good exercise in getting us to think about our work and communicate what it means to us.

#1 INTRODUCE YOUR WIP…

Fodder for Pigs is a historical Fiction/Thriller set in 1850s Alabama and Georgia. This is my attempt at a blurb as of right now. It will change like fifty more times, guaranteed.

Blood don’t wash off yo’ shirt; it sho’ as hell don’t wash off yo’ soul.

David has traveled a precarious path between living and existing ever since his first breath. Grappling to make do after their mother’s murder, and finding their place after the Cherokee removal, his blended family has ignored the advances of a persistent stranger. When the stalker kills David’s sweetheart, he spirals out of control.

Riddled with guilt and anger, and cast out by his iron-willed brother, David’s quest to settle scores quickly turns into a killing spree with his mother’s ex-husband at the head, a devastating charge against his father, and another girl’s life hanging in the balance. David must decide to either spend his last moments in bitter betrayal or risk what is left of his soul to save the remnants of his family.

A poor choice on Clara’s journey to her plantation home leaves her penniless and behind bars with a failed sheriff and standoffish native, and a man who will haunt her dreams forever. Her life and dignity crumble away, and in the throes of terror, she finds the depth of her own capabilities. She and her cellmate form an alliance in their struggle to survive and get revenge against the man who turned their lives upside down.

#2 WHY DOES YOUR PROTAGONIST PULL AT YOUR HEARTSTRINGS?

Hmmm. I guess a piece of me is in each of the characters. The main protagonist is David, and he is stuck between two cultures and two sides of just about every decision in life—most of them are decisions I would hate making, and he loses everything. I am incredibly indecisive, I’ve never really felt like I belonged in any group and spent a lot of time alone, so I guess I projected that onto the poor guy. At least it is realistic given the circumstances, haha!

#3 HOW DO YOU GET TO KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS?

I base each one on people I know and mix in a little something else to make them time appropriate, so I already know them…if that makes sense. And no you will never guess who is what person I know, so stop it!

#4 SHARE A LINE ABOUT YOUR PREMISE!

#5 HOW EASY IS THIS WIP TO WRITE?

Errrrmmmm. No. LOL. It’s easier now that I understand writing and storytelling better, and I have more research under my belt.

#6 WHICH CHARACTER IS HARDEST TO WRITE?

Surprisingly, it is the least obvious one. The fellow protagonist Clara suffers the same purposeless problem I often have, and I don’t have a super female brain, so giving her a goal other than survival has been difficult to the point of cliche.

#7 TELL US ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK!

I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and spend most free time there or taking photos, writing funny things to pretend I didn’t just write a really dark story…Love ghost towns, exploring, etc. I do graphic design for work.

#8 WHO IS YOUR PROTAG’S BEST FRIEND?

Thomas. He is David’s neighbor as well, and they grew up together, starting when David’s mother died.

#9 HOW DID THE MAIN CHARACTERS MEET?

David and Clara meet in jail. The official reasons are that he smuggled runaway slaves toward free states and she stole money, but it turns far more sinister.

#10 ANYONE SUFFERING FROM A BROKEN HEART?

It seems the time period brought a lot of death on families, so all of them suffer. The next events would be enough to kill somebody of a broken heart.

#11 SHARE A LINE ABOUT LOVE OR HATRED…

I can’t seem to find the line I want so… three. “In the past, she had wondered what made certain stars stay in their places and she had wished she could be somebody else, go someplace else. Now though, with her cheek warming against Thomas’s chest and a hint of pine soothing her nerves, she understood. Sometimes fulfillment is found right where one is.”

#12 WHAT WAS YOUR PROTAGONIST’S PAST LIKE?

Like looking over your shoulder everywhere you go.

#13 WHAT’S A MESSAGE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR BOOK?

When the going gets tough, we find out who our true friends are, and what our family bonds can withstand.

#14 WHICH CHARACTERS GET ALONG WORST?

David and the antagonists’ sidekick. For pretty good reasons.

#15 AT ITS BEST, MY WIP’S DIALOGUE IS…

Not sure how to answer this one. I’m told it has a way of making people feel like they are right there in the scene, like they are in a movie.

#16 I LOVE HOW I DESCRIBE THINGS WHEN…

Things are about to transition from hopeless to hopeful, or back again.

#17 I LOVE HOW I DEPICT CHARACTERS BECAUSE…

I do? Lol. A few of them are people readers love to hate or will root for, so I kinda like that. Somebody once said I should just write character descriptions for people…I suppose that is good!

#18 SHARE AN EXAMPLE OF YOUR BEST PROSE!

OK, not sure if it is the best:
David closed his eyes and willed himself to access memories he had pushed back further and further. Her face flickered in his mind: her smile, the sound her tongue made at the end of a whisper, her hands in his, lips parted in fear, jaw stuck mid-scream, tears falling on his arms. “You are the woman who dies in my dreams.”

#19 I LOVE MY WORLD/SETTING because

I like history that comes alive. I dislike novels that depict poorly researched cultures, so I’ve made it my mission to not get stuck in that rut.

#20 THE RELATIONSHIP I ROOT MOST FOR IS…

That sounds unsafe…

#21 I’M MOST IMPATIENT TO HEAR READER REACTIONS TO…

My ending. It’s my latest “omg am I doing it right” thing.

#22 DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS:

I desperately want chocolate always

#23 ONE THING YOU’D CHANGE IN YOUR PAST?

I’d say “no” more often when I should, and “yes” to things I wanted.

#24 FAVORITE WAYS TO RELAX?

Writing, beach time, mountain time, cuddling my hubby and dog—maybe not both at once.

#25 A LINE YOU WERE PROUD TO SAY:

I am proud of all the manuscript lines on Instagram. << Shameless plug.

#26 TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE:

It’s within hours of all things fun

#27 DO YOU SYMPATHIZE WITH (OR RELATE TO) THE ANTAGONIST?

I appreciate his dedication. It is really hard for me to get into a sympathetic headspace because I know what he’s going to do. Readers are usually OK with him until a certain point.

#28 WHAT ARE YOU SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT?

Portraying other cultures accurately and having readers understand that (if I did it right).

#29 HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT TO BE WORKING ON THIS WIP?

I hope to get it to an editor and/or query this year.

#30 WHAT DO YOU HOPE TOUCHES READERS THE MOST IN THE STORY?

I hope they take notice of what is happening around them, not to themselves but to others. That they try their best but forgive themselves when they can’t save everyone and everything. I hope they hold their family and friends close because one never knows when even the strongest will expire.

In summary

That’s it. It’s all written down in 125K words (and slowly decreasing). I’ll be posting some frustrations, I mean research, about law enforcement in the area and time period, and some interesting cultural tidbits as I go. And yes, I am crazy enough to learn a language just to get things right, although it may serve me better in the prequel. While the novel is with beta readers, it is time to get my blog more active :).

Do you have a story to share?

Post a link in the comments to your own blog post and I will happily read!

While you are at it, check out my friend Samantha Wright’s #WIPjoy post on her novel Panophobia. I am excited for this one!

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