brittni in ink

Author of The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be

Tag: coffee

the “in” scene

Today, I’m thinking about chairs and if they exist.

Also, I ordered a new notebook, hoping that it’ll be the inspiration I need getting into the third Patch Project book. I have yet to find the “in” scene that’ll unlock the story, help it flow a bit better. A lot of my writing so far has been world-building, stage maps of where everything is, where characters are. Just throwing my thoughts on paper when they surface and trying to make the most of my time in my office space.

New office set up! A rolling turquoise office chair, a table for my computer, keyboard, and coffee, and some art up on the walls, including a portrait of Pinot by the incredible Al Hess!

Still, it’s frustrating. This is probably a bout of writers block, though I tend not to like the term. I’m writing around what I should be writing about, is more what it feels like. But I’m a gardener when it comes to writing books: I tend to approach my books without much of a concrete plot, and a lot of my best stuff comes out of discovery writing. So I’m trying to go along with whatever my brain is doing right now, hoping that whatever it’s cultivating will poke its head out of the soil soon.

Maybe it’s because the first two books have set up a lot already, and working within that framework is starting to feel constrictive. My own fault, really! For example, I don’t want to focus on a particular location, but it’s where all of the character arcs converge, so it’s necessary to creating something that fulfills the previous two books.

Still, I got a killer opening scene, a new character who I love, and some vague idea of how the plot is going to go. So that’s something! If only I could go to the Green Bean cafe and spend a couple of hours writing it all out…

Cookies, coffee, dipping sauces, date squares, and brownies all the way from the Green Bean Cafe! The homemade belt underneath is for the fantasy AEW wrestling league my husband and I are part of – he is the current champion!

Speaking of the Green Bean, some of our dear Windsor friends sent my husband and I a care package including a bunch of Green Bean treats; another one of our friends sent a pack of specialty coffee our way a couple of weeks ago. Those, plus some wonderful friendship mail and art swaps, have been keeping us hopeful in spite of some difficult life things – I’d forgotten how hard it can be to adapt to a new city.

To get through the changes and find my way into the third book, I’ll just keep writing and hope for the best.

ideas when they surfaced

After two weeks visiting family, I’m back in my office, listening to Cobra Poems, drinking coffee, and making plans.

I didn’t get much writing done while I was away. I got back in the habit of carrying around a notebook and scribbling out ideas when they surfaced: waiting in the car, falling asleep, or early in the morning when my mind had room to wander. I had a bit of a breakthrough on the flight home about a major plot point for the third Patch Project book.

My inspiration shelf: fake quartz, a silver triceratops figure, a slice of aquamarine, a shell, a skeleton key, and a pillar of picture jasper.

But before I get back to working on the novel, I’ve got a few works in progress to read and give feedback on. It’s one of the best things about being a writer, this mutual community of creative people I can share the journey with! I also have some agent queries to check in on – some agents email, but many submissions time out after 8 weeks or so. I’ve learned a lot through the querying process, and I hope it’ll make my next batch of queries that much better.

Also, I’m thinking about making some short videos to include on my Ko-fi page as a thank you to donors. Extra special coffee thank you to everyone who’s supported me through that platform so far, it really means a lot!

I’ll hopefully have a vlog post up early next week with more updates. A reminder that if you order a copy of The Patch Project from me before October 1st, it’ll come with a free book or pin!

metaphorical cup of coffee

So, the floor desk I wrote about last time has been replaced by a more standard set up; being over 30, it turns out it’s uncomfortable to sit on the floor for more than twenty minutes at a time! I have a table and a swivel chair now, which is helping me get more on top of this author thing.

This week was pretty busy! For one, I did a vlog post for the first time in forever. It’s a touch longer than I usually like to do, but there was a lot to cover: moving to a new city, querying agents, projects that I’ve finished and am starting. It was also really fun to edit some video/ audio material again! I used to put together a weekly podcast, and my husband and I used to make short films pretty regularly, so it’s kind of nostalgic.

My current mug of choice, a white ceramic cup with a slim handle, featuring a painted rosemary plant.

I also started a Ko-fi page. It’s a platform where people can buy creators a metaphorical cup of coffee. I have a few friends who use it, so I thought I’d give it a try. For every donation to my page, I’ll drink a cup of coffee! And maybe film it. We’ll see!

Two versions of The Patch Project (2020 and 2018 printings) and two button options, one featuring the original cover, the other a picture of the character Pinot. Both covers designed by Peter Brinn.

If you’re interested in reading The Patch Project, now is the time to order a copy! Each order comes with a free copy of the original printing of the book or a limited edition Patch Project button, your choice! Only copies ordered directly from me, not Amazon, come with this offer. The book is $15 CAD + shipping.

And that’s about all the happenings going on this week! Hope you’re all enjoying the last few weeks of summer!

first draft complete

After four months of research, interviews, writing, and editing, I am happy to announce that the first draft of my novel project is complete!

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Finishing a draft is kind of arbitrary. I mean, I could’ve kept working on the manuscript for weeks, months, years, and still not have declared it complete. Luckily, I had deadlines to meet, and an editor friend who was waiting for the manuscript.

The manuscript is 45 000 words – a little shorter than I would’ve liked, but I’m okay with it – and has been sent away for feedback. While I’m waiting, I want to spend time with people and catch up on all the things I’ve been missing. So if I’ve promised to meet you for coffee once this book is done, please remind me. My brain is still readjusting to an existence where I have free time.

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Even though the first draft is done, there is still work to do. I am so grateful for the support of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund as I worked on this project. Since this is a grant-funded work, I’ll be putting together a report on the process of creating it, from idea to interviews to holding the manuscript in my hands. Reflecting on writing this book will be a useful and happy exercise.

But for now, it’s time to enjoy the summer before it’s over!

 

*This project is possible thanks to the support of the City of Windsor and the Arts Culture and Heritage Fund

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novel update

First of all, open a new tab and watch today’s Google Doodle illustrating the events of the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago. It blows my mind that humanity has set foot on the moon. Also comforting to know that there’s hot coffee in space.

If you’ve been wondering where I am of late, it’s because I’ve been working on a first draft of my novel* and declared a social blackout for most of July. Also for July, a couple of friends and I made a writer’s pact to wake up every day at 6 am and write for an hour. Although I don’t always make it out of bed in time, having the intentional mindset for writing at the start of the day has been helping a lot.

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In terms of the novel (a speculative fiction book about body and gender), I’m in the final stretch. I hope to finish the first draft by Monday, put it through a quick edit of my own, and then send it off to  a professional editor. Working with this deadline (of my own making) has been oppressive at times, but with a few days still to go, and plenty of time on the weekend, I think I’ll make my word count goal – through-the-door-right-as-it’s-closing kind of make it, but make it nonetheless!

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Thanks again to everyone who sat down with me at the start of this project, and for everyone who’s offered encouragement, or allowed me out of my usual schedule to work on this. See you in August!

P.S. Speaking of August, I have a book signing with the marvelous Elizabeth J.M. Walker and Alexander Zelenyj coming up!

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*This novel project is possible thanks to the support of the City of Windsor and the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund.

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