What’s your WIP tag

WIP stands for Work In Progress in online writing community lingo!

I am borrowing this tag from Hamlette’s Soliloquy

Who got it from a Katja, who I don’t think I’ve met yet, but hello! The tag rules are:

  • Thank the person who tagged you & link to their blog. (thank you hamlette!)
  • Link back to the creator, Katja @ Little Blossoms for Jesus, & add the tag graphic. 
  • List the rules. 
  • Answer the questions. 
  • Feel free to add snippets!
  • Tag as many or as few people as you wish & let them know they’re tagged.  I’m not tagging anyone but if someone reads this and wants to join in, that might be fun!
  • Add a clean copy of the questions at the end of your post for the “tagged.”

I decided to work on this tag during the last week of January for two reasons, the first being that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write as a blog post here for early February, and secondly because I needed to sit down and think about my current work-not-quite-yet-really-in-progress.

I am attempting to attempt a weird western action horror short story.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Let’s get to the tag questions! Maybe they will help.

I’m not going to answer all of the questions, because some don’t apply as I’m just getting started and this is a short story rather than a full-length novel, but I will try to answer many of them!

Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be?

The working title is “Ain’t No Cat,” which is also the first line at the moment and seemed witty one late night. (Because, you see, there is, in fact a cat.) This phrase is unlikely to stay with the story, either as the title or as the first line. (It does not seem as witty in day light.)

Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about? 

I don’t have a clear idea of what all will happen in this story yet. I do have a few index cards with ideas or scenes that have come to me at random moments, and I am now trying to see if i can get them into a sort of order that will become a story.

Very broadly, the story is set on a ranch, in winter, with snow, sometime in the last half of the 19th century. A number of characters, possibly up to eight, mostly male ranch hands, but including one female co-owner, discover a strange woman has appeared, apparently from nowhere, outside the bunkhouse. This stranger doesn’t talk, but she does wail, and point at people. There is also a cat, who is a mountain lion, and as things evolve, some characters have to hunt down the mountain lion/cougar (since it keeps trying to eat everything, including cattle and people) and those who remain within the “safety” of the homestead have to deal with the weird woman, who may be a variety of banshee or caoineag. There is some carnage and it’s possible that four of the characters are in love. It’s unlikely everyone will make it to the end of the story alive.

How did you get the idea for this story? 

I don’t know how the creative idea process works, but I do think you have to feed your brain with as many of other people’s stories as possible. I’ve been listening to some Suspense radio dramas recently, as well as continually reading and watching films.

How long do you think it will be? 

It needs to be between 2000 and 10000 words. I am hoping it will be work out to between 4000 and 8000 words.

I’m writing this story in response to a call for submissions to an anthology, although I don’t think my story will be quite what they’re asking for, as they want lots of action and monsters, and I can’t quite get my head around creating something like that, so I’m hoping with fingers crossed that maybe a more atmospheric horror story with some action might work. I realize this is unlikely. But I like to experiment and try new things with my writing and I’m using this submissions call as a reason to try and work on my action sequence writing, which should help me in the future even if this story never finds publication.

Who’s your favorite character so far? 

The banshee. It’s going to fun to write the banshee character.

Any special person(s) who helped create it? 

I would like to mention that Joy Jarret’s Old Cravings was a source of inspiration. I read that horror-romance story set on a winter ranch about a year ago, and it has a cougar too.

I once heard a cougar/mountain lion/puma/panther “scream” while I was out hiking. It is, in that sort of context, a primordially terrifying sound. Some people say that cougars sound like women screaming, and there are definite similarities, but I had no doubt in the moment that a large cat was out there, too close by. I just knew.

Those kitties will stalk you, chase you down on your bicycle, (it’s possible they “mistake” bicyclists for deer,) they will jump on you from above and try and break your neck. And they will enter towns and cities. There was a report of a cougar on the hillside above my neighbourhood a few years ago. Nope nope nope! They are magnificent, but I never want to see one near me unless it’s in a cage.

(Note: domestic dogs are much more likely to attack you, urban deer get aggressive, there are polar bear reasons that people in the arctic regularly carry rifles, and bees, wasps and hornets kill people every year. But only cougars scream like cougars!)

What’s your favorite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)? Can you give us a snippet?

So far my favourite bit isn’t a scene but an introduction to one of the side characters and also let’s us in on the weather: “It was cold enough, even inside, that *name,* who once won a twenty dollar prize at a circus for his extravagant, elegant, elephantine tattoos, in which he took great pride and which were, he felt, particularly impressive across his back and chest, conceded this was one of perhaps three dozen days in the year that he would wear a shirt all day.”

(That is a very long sentence, which will require significant attention during editing, but I think it’s fun.)

Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story? 

Two of the characters, a brother and sister, are (at least for now) named after people in the book of Genesis, although they are usually called by short versions of those names. (Aholibamah and Mahalaleel, shortened to Amah and Lee – Amah is the sister.) They have these names only because I was glancing at the book of Genesis for unrelated reasons and I decided I liked those names. I don’t know if Aholibamah and Mahalaleel get up to anything beyond simply being named in the bible, I didn’t read very far, and there is nothing intentionally “thematic” happening with these names in my story.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Ordinarily, I pants short stories, but because “Ain’t No Cat” is a story I’m writing to a deadline, I’m trying to do a bit of plotting before hand for this one.

Do you have a little ritual before you start writing? 

If I remember, I will get myself a glass of water or a cup of tea or chicory, adjust my working space so that my keyboard or notebook is in the “perfect” position in relationship to my desk and chair, and set a timer to go off after an hour, to remind me to stand up and move something other than my fingers once and a while. Or I won’t do any of that and I’ll just start writing. I often write first drafts by hand. Is that a ritual? It might be developing into one.

Are you thinking of publishing this story?

Hopefully it will both be completed in time for the anthology deadline, and selected for inclusion! If not, I will seek publication for it elsewhere, in a magazine or perhaps another anthology.

What things have you learned while writing this story?

I’m hoping that I will learn a little bit more about how to write action.

And those are all the questions that I can answer at the moment! If you’ve read through this post and have any more questions for me about this story, leave me a comment and I’ll try and reply!

Here are all the questions, to follow the rules of the tag and in case you decide you want to be an “it”

  1. Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be? 
  2. Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about? 
  3. Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind? 
  4. How did you get the idea for this story? 
  5. How long do you think it will be? 
  6. Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be? 
  7. Who’s your favorite character so far? 
  8. What’s your favorite memory related to this WIP? 
  9. Any special person(s) who helped create it? 
  10. What’s your favorite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)? Can you give us a snippet? 😉 
  11. Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curve balls? 
  12. Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story? 
  13. When and where have you done most of the writing so far? 
  14. Where do you get inspiration for this story? 
  15. Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
  16. Do you have a little ritual before you start writing? 
  17. Are you thinking of publishing this story? 
  18. What things have you learned while writing this story?

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