challenges writers

Works in Progress

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I was tagged by Meredith at Gurgling Thoughts to answer The Next Best Thing questions (TNBT). I’m grateful for the chance, and love that she included me with some other fantastic writers. Here we go.

The Rules:
Answer the ten TNBT questions listed below about your current WIP.
Tag five other writers and link to their blogs so everyone can read their answers

My Challenge Answers:

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?

I have a few titles in mind for this current project. What do you think? “Grace and Mercy,” “Seven Days in May,” or “An Occassion for Grace.”

2. Where did the idea for the WIP come from?

The idea was borne of my newly kindled love affair with Tulsa. For so long, I rejected this place, its people and history. I tried not to live here, tried not to put down roots, to not make friends. But that’s just foolishness. The more I learned about Tulsa and the volatile history, the more I wanted to know. Specifically, as is usual with me I was interested in the women behind the men who built this city (cue Starship). Of course, since women were just the baby vessels, not a lot of their history is known from the early statehood period. I enjoy uncovering the bad to the bone women who participated in land rushes, who worked in the early city and who navigated the racial tension that boiled over in 1921.

3. What genre would your WIP fall under?

Oh, I hate labels and genres. It’s too hard. Historical fiction, commercial fiction? I don’t knnow.

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

Good question. Grace would be played by Amber Riley, because I said so. Mercy would be Jennifer Lawrence. Also because I said so. Ann, Mercy’s mom would be Kyra Sedgwick (do I have to link to her? She’s awesome), and Grace’s mom would be Alfre Woodard.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?

Two girls from different worlds thumb their noses at their culture, until their culture takes over and forces a change.

6. Is your WIP published or represented?

Not yet, but it will be. (little swagger for ya).

7. How long did it take you to write?

I wrote the first draft in November, 2011 as part of NaNoWrimo, and in accordance with prophecy, it was worse that used Kleenex. So, in January I started revisions and plan to be finished with the second draft on July 31.

8. What other WIPs within your genre would you compare it to?

I have no idea.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WIP?

As far as researching time periods goes, I love the work and ideas Philippa Gregory applies to her historical fiction, which is mostly about the Tudors. I am also a big fan of Eric Larsen. Great story teller.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your WIP.

My story is about one of my favorite themes: women’s friendships and the fraught battle between mothers and daughters. The story is set against the backdrop of racially divided Tulsa, but the real story is how daughters see their mothers, how mothers see their daughters and how, over time, these relationship shift.

The writers I want to tag are:
Alise Wright
Nancy Franson
Andi Cumbo
Eric Wyatt
Lore Ferguson
cheating to add one more because I want to hear about her project: Leigh Kramer

You guys, you better do this!

22 Comment

  1. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to blog about this yet. But I can at least share here!

    1. Title: Love is Bigger: Embracing Dangerous Relationships (or something about dangerous relationships that aren’t really – I’m not 100% sure)

    2. Where from: My life. My 3 closest friends are an atheist, a lesbian, & a married man. I’ve been told these are not friends I’m supposed to have, yet they have enriched my life immensely. I want to write about that.

    3. Genre: Memoir

    4. Actors: This is tough for everyone else, but for me? Kathy Bates, hands down. I need her to stop aging immediately so she can play me in a movie about me. We even have the same birthday. Tina would probably be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t know who plays the boys.

    5. One Sentence: (Okay, this is something that Ed is going to have to help me with, because brevity is not my strong suit.) When life brought her three relationships that she had been warned were dangerous, Alise discovered a love that was bigger than the assumptions, agendas, and boundaries that the Church wanted her to have. (Only better than that. Because I know that’s not very catchy.)

    6. Represented/Published: No, but I am sure that it will be. Have been in contact with my dream agent and she is supportive of this idea.

    7. How long to finish: Not finished at all (it’s very much in progress). My goals are to have my proposal done by the end of September, polished by the end of October and repped by the end of the year, book deal next year (I’m not thinking to the book deal part — just want to snag this agent).

    8. Compare: Can you compare your work to something big? It has shades of Same Kind of Different as Me in tone. This is another area where I need to do more research before my proposal is finished.

    9. Inspiration: I love the memoir genre. Inspired by Rachel Held Evans who wrote a great one when she was way too young to do so, and Anne Lamott who just kicks memoir in the ass.

    10. Piquing: I’m telling it in 3 sections rather than in traditional chapters, and I hope that will be an interesting rather than weird way to do it. Atheists are only slightly more trustworthy than rapists. The LGBT community is destroying traditional marriage. And cross-gender friendships will end in adultery. Yet these are my people. No assumptions, no agendas, no boundaries. Writing about these folks and what they have done to my faith has been beautiful for me. I hope it will be for other readers as well.

    Thanks Jen!

    1. I am not a fan of times when others try to put their own ideas about relationships on me. In fact, I rather dislike being told what to do and what not to do. I love your inclusivity and I love that this shows how Jesus lived his life. No matter what those dumb pharisees say. You get after, girl.

  2. I like the sound of Seven Days in May! I most definitely want to read your book. And even though I appreciate your cheating efforts, we’ll have to dialogue off-line about my projects. Yes, projects! The novel I finished in December is on hold while I move forward with something else. Woot!

    1. You know how Irving’s characters seem to always be these sort of archetypal males, with strong personalities and daddy worries? I often wonder if all the stories I will tell will boil down to imperfect female relationships? I hope I get the same kind of repping you are going to get.

  3. #10 definitely piqued my interest in wanting to read your book! I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, and it has certainly changed over time. The olser we get, the mores I see our roles changing… from me being the one being taken care of to now being the caretaker.

    1. Denise, I have a great relatioship with my mother, too. And I worry about that day of which you speak, when caretaking is necessary. And I also know that we are indeed blessed; more women than not have bad relationships with their mothers. Either way, it’s a complicated dance. I hope it tells some kind of truth.

  4. You tagged me? I’m simultaneously honored and hyperventilating, right here in my bathrobe. In front of God and everyone on the internet. Guess I need to get to work on a work in progress…

    But I’m jazzed about your book. love the intersection between world history and personal history–stories about real people going about their real lives while big stuff was happening all around them. So even if you’re making up people to tell the stories of your community, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna sell me a copy.

    1. I tagged you because you is smart! And I think you have a billion books in you. For the reals. Also, you are hilarious, as am I (and humble, too). 😉

      I, too, find identity and place to be interconnected. I often wonder about what the regular people were doing when the big events happened. I think that’s why we like to tell where we were when stories. Anyway, thanks Nancy!

  5. Thanks for participating, Jen. I’m looking forward to reading this. OK has never held much interest for me. But the other topics will lead me right there without a fight! Good luck with your deadline.

    1. I’m thrilled you asked me to play along. Oklahoma never seemed all that interesting to me, either, until I moved here. now I find so much of history’s major stages pass through here. (America’s anyway.) stay tuned.

    1. Thanks, Shawn. You’ve been a great encouragement to me through the process. On the days when I am sure I don’t know what I’m doing, I recall some words you shared in an email. Likewise, I’m looking forward to many good works from you.

  6. Pingback: about my WIP

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