Bug Queen is my new book, born of an image in my head. This image was of a woman with her hair blown back by epic wind, her dress sweeping behind her, and an ominous tornado of bugs behind her that she was controlling. Here’s how that scene played out on the page:
The bugs were a roar like a tornado, and they swooped and banked around her in massive numbers, blacking out the moon so that the world fell into an abyss of darkness that the headlights barely cut through. She’d driven into town, stopping Sabra’s truck just a few blocks away from her goal. She wanted to make certain she had all her companions with her, not flying to catch up. The ground undulated with bodies, a never-ending crackling, squeaking, chittering sound that could drive a person insane if they thought too hard about what was making it.
She was afraid of bugs and here she was with one inside her head and billions more flowing around and behind her like a giant cape of death.
I know, I’m a weirdo. But that idea, that image, grew into a book of which I’m so proud. It was a fantastic writing experience, in part because I wrote it over a six month period, posting a chapter at a time in an utterly amazing writing group on Facebook. Getting weekly feedback on an ongoing project is an interesting experience, much different from writing something all on my own that I show off only after I’ve typed the end.
There are both good and bad things about posting a story as you write it. For one, I’m a definite pantser when it comes to writing, so when people asked, “What will happen next?” I had to say, “I have no fricking clue.”
The best thing about immediate feedback was that I could make adjustments as I went, taking in suggestions and ideas when they fit with my vision. The worst thing was the pressure I felt to deliver a great read each time. (And I know I didn’t always succeed.) That was also a good thing, because when you’re writing for an audience and you want it to be great but you only have a little bit of space, you have to work hard to impress with less.
Another great thing about immediate feedback is the way it kept my common errors always in front of me. Without other eyes on my work, I’d gotten sloppy with hyphens, commas, etc … Now I’m more aware of those things and work harder to fix them in my writing because they are on my mind.
Bug Queen is currently available for pre-order on Amazon right now. I know, exciting, huh? It’ll be out October 31st in all its buggy horror goodness. I hope you pick it up and give it a read so you can meet Vedalia, Sabra, Mildred, Cypress, Al, and of course Brent. You won’t be able to forget Brent. 😀
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