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Showing posts from January, 2007

Happy Accidents

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Happy accident is a phrase one of my art teachers in college used constantly. He was a rather unlikeable guy, and we mocked him for it, but now I use the phrase (idiom?) Isn't it awful how that happens--you hear something often enough, and it stops sounding strange or unusual. That's how slang catches on, but I digress. "Happy accident" is not something I say about art often, but a phrase I find myself applying to parts of my writing.

I'm a planner, for the most part. I tried the 'pantzer' thing for years, but I never finished a novel until I began outlining. I may have very detailed plans for myself with complete summaries of scenes and bits of dialogue, but the bulk of any given outline tends to contain terribly vague sentences like "xxx will find the bad guy somehow and be injured in the subsequent fight." (Okay, usually I'm not that bad...) The very detailed parts of the outline are usually 'candy' scenes. The scenes that won'…

The Perils of Research

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Has anyone else ever noticed that research can be a very dangerous distraction?

Case in point: yesterday I spent around four hours researching a subject that I used in two lines of dialogue and a couple hundred words of description. Was it good material? Yeah. But four hours? I don't know about that. If I would have left myself a note to come back to it, would it have effected to story in any major way?

Nope. I was stuck and research presented itself as a procrastination tool I wouldn't feel guilty indulging.

Does anyone else find themselves falling into that trap?


Today's progress:

HA!... 0

Yup, that's right. Zilch.

At least yesterday when I didn't hit my goal I could blame it on research. Today was one of those days nothing clicked for me. Terrible day for it too because the web has been quiet. Practically no one blogged today, and only spam hit the email box. I spent large portions of today staring at the blinking cursor in my word document, then pulling up the …

Comments and Progress

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Earlier today, Rachel Vincent posted an entry about the comment feature in word. The post generated a lot of talk among writers about how they mark up their work during first drafts, ranging from people who use comments, those who leave notes in bold/parentheses/carrots, and those who stop all together to go back and think about it. Really, it is fascinating to hear about how other people go through the process of getting stories on the page.

Rachel is a comments writer, and I have to say, she makes a good argument for it. I'm a parentheses writer myself, simply because I get annoyed with the fact I have to use the mouse and a drop down menu to add a comment. As the conversation continued, it was mentioned that other people wished there was a comments hotkey as well. That got me thinking, and as I was sick of researching how cases make it to the supreme court, I looked into hotkeys for word and learned making a macro wasn't too hard. I posted the instructions in the comments…

Hit the road Muse

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Probably anyone who has written a book will agree that you can't wait around for the muse to come. "Sit down and bleed" they tell us. "Those who are ready and working will find their muse." Honestly, I have found that to be true advice (if not particularly welcome.)

No, my problem is not a missing muse. She goes on vacation often enough, I've learned to work without her. My problem is a distracted muse. She's always been this way, you would think I'd be used to it. How it happens: I'll be working on a project (or in need of working on a project) and all of a sudden something shiny catches her eye. Then, next thing I know, she's off chasing it into unknown and bizarre places. Maybe I should call her Alice.

You would think my muse would be ready to get back to work. She had a vacation from CD the whole time I was editing and most of the holidays. Plus, I fed her very well recently. But, no. Remember that question I asked last week? The one abo…

What I'm Reading

My revised version of DH is wherever packages go between being dropped off at the post office and arriving at their destination, so to reward myself for finally finishing, I've been binge reading.

According to Amazon, Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs is street-dated for January 30th, but BAM had it on the shelf today when I was there. I just finished it, and I have to say it was absolutely amazing. I think Ms Brigg's 'Mercy' (MC) books are now competing for one of the top spots as my favorite urban fantasy series. (Blood Bound is the second book, Moon Called being the first) If you read UF and haven't picked up these books yet, you have no idea what your missing. I closed the book feeling a mix of awe and depression because I don't think I will ever write a book at this level. I highly recommend this series.

Hell to Pay by Simon R. Green is the seventh book in the Nightside novels. This series is full of macabre humor and layers of storytelling. I honestly…

A penny for your thoughts

I have a question to ask the fantasy readers/writers out there, but let me give a little background first.

A brand new character popped up in my mind today and auditioned for the chance to have her story written one of these days. She is terribly interesting, and even packed her own plot idea (which gets her extra points because plot usually is something I have to work very hard to find) but, while her world would share some of the qualities of other things I'm working on, lots of the mythology and world building I've used in the past wouldn't work in her world.

So my question is this: (pretending for a moment that the series I'm writing now gets published one day, and this new idea pans out and also gets published) can an author successfully release books in the same genre that follow different rules? For instance, lets say both books have vampires, but one book has vamps with the classical Stoker weaknesses, and the other book has Ann Rice type vampires. (This isn'…

Sniffles and progress

It was 78° on Monday. Tonight they are predicting sleet and ice. All and all, a big case of the sniffles is going around. Maybe winter has finally decided to grace us with her presence?

In other news, the end if is finally insight for DH's edit. It's about time. I really underestimated how long this would take me--I'll have to keep that in mind in the future. Well, back to work now! The sooner I finish, to sooner I can ship this thing out and get on with newer projects (and get that word meter moving. Geesh it's depressing sitting there in a stasis, especially since I cut so much off it after Nano)

How is everyone else doing today?

Where it hurts

Be warned, this is a bit of a rant:

I think I burnt out.

I have been spending around 14 hours a day for the last week (or two) trying to pound out and polish that draft of DH. I finally finished, printed the thing out, and now I can hardly stand to look at it. The hard part is done, I even thoroughly enjoyed the hard parts of the re-write (the manuscript ended at just above 95k words, but about 15k were brand new shiny words because I deleted a good deal and it was only 85k before.) What I have left a monkey could do. I just need to read the draft on paper to find the typing errors and keep an eye out for awkward sentences. But every time I sit down with the pages, my mind rebels and I can only make it through a few chapters at a time. I get easily distracted, what was funny before is boring now, the description is dull…all and all I want to burn the darn MS. (Which I can’t do because I told my agent I would have it in the mail in the next few days)

I think I’ve just looked at it too mu…

Weekend Art update

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The first weekend art update of the new year! (I didn't have a camera last week.) If you haven’t been following the progression of this painting but would like to see the earlier posts on it, you can find them here and here.

Okay, so let’s look at what I’ve been doing recently.

(click for larger image)
Today’s palette included: Terre verte , sap green, cadmium yellow, burnt umber, and indian yellow. (leaves and bushes) I also used a little red ochre because I moved the male tree’s arm over probably about half an inch.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much for meticulous, repetitive details, like painting a gazillion leaves. I don’t mind spending days getting one leaf perfect, but it better be the only one I do for the painting. *only a small exaggeration* (don’t ask why I decided on an image with an all foliage background) So, I am currently trying to cheat and make it look like bushes and leaves and such without actually defining anything. We will see how that works.

Starting next week I&…

Ever notice a cat's head splits open 180° when they yawn?

Um, yeah. This post actually has nothing to do with cats.

I dropped and email to my agent with a summery of my revisions. She was very excited and told me to ship her several copies. Time to go buy more paper. I told her I’d have a couple copies in the mail by the end of the week. That gives me two more days to write a new (or at least amend my original) synopsis. I should also print out a hard copy of DH and read over it. I’m absolutely incapable of noticing missing words (or extra words) on a computer screen.

Does anyone know a good way to ship multiple manuscripts? A single manuscript ships well in a padded envelop, but I’ve yet to find a good box to ship say four manuscripts. (Which was what I shipped out last time.)

Editing woes

I’m an editing addict. Think they have a support group for that?

Even I know it’s time to leave some of my older work alone to sink or swim so I can focus on new stuff. Really, I know that, and I understand—I’m just incapable of doing it. In the last four months I’ve written over 100k words on various projects and short stories, and as I’ve accomplished that, I’ve learned more about myself as a writer. It’s so tempting to go back and “fix” the older stuff, but it is time to stop.

I didn’t finish my edit of DH this weekend. The breakthrough I had Friday meant I had to go back through it again to iron out the plot wrinkles. Not a problem, but time consuming, so I didn’t finish by the deadline I set. My adjusted deadline is Wednesday night. After that, I’m sending it out and promising myself not to touch it again unless an editor asks for changes.

CRW

I attended my second CRW meeting today, paid my dues, and am now a member! I’m so excited. Everyone has been really nice to me, but it’s so strange to meet women whose books I’ve read. Authors have always been ten feet tall in my mind, so it’s absolutely bizarre to be treated as a peer. I guess authors actually are real people too (a fact so easy to forget when I’m caught up with their characters and feeling like I could never spin a tale so well.)

I received a membership pin for joining. It’s shiny. I’ll take a picture and post it once I get my hands on a digital camera. (No, I don’t own one; it’s on my wishlist.) I’m trying to decide if I should put it on my bag (I’m a messenger bag junky. I carry one instead of a purse) or if I should wear it like it’s supposed to be worn—on a lapel. Both present potential problems. Pins on my bag have been known to fall off and get lost forever, but I’m not very likely to remember to ever pin it to my clothes. *shrugs* Maybe I’ll put it on the ba…

Breakthrough

The day started on the wrong foot when I finally managed to fall asleep in the early morning light and proceeded to have a nightmare. A cup of tea later, I stared out at the grey sky and wished it would either rain or the sun would come out. The morning dragged as light showers passed by silently.

Around noon the sun finally chose to show his and I decided to take a break from the writing I wasn’t doing. Grabbing a book from the stack of soon-to-be overdue library books, I headed out to enjoy the 70 degree weather. I probably sat in my porch-swing idly scanning a writing-craft book for an hour.

Then, in the middle of a chapter that held no relevance at all to the situation, something clicked in my brain. A problem in the story that I’ve been trying to fix forever suddenly whispered its solution.

The issue stemmed from a certain event that occurs early in the story. I’ve tried removing it completely, but then the rest of the plot doesn’t work. I've altered the scene a dozen times, bu…

Getting back in the swing of things

If I needed any proof that writing ties my life and sanity together, the past two weeks should offer a hint. While I enjoyed visiting relatives, watching movies and playing games with the hubbie, and trips to all kinds of places, I was practically buzzing with excitement before my hubbie’s alarm went off yesterday morning. I was thrilled, even anxious, to dive back into my work. My ‘morning’ shower got pushed off with, “let me edit one more chapter,” and “I’ll just work on this scene first” until the hubbie came home and found me still in my PJs.

If everything goes as planned, I should be sending a summery of revisions to my agent tonight and tucking the new ms in the mail soon after. *Crosses fingers* I must be the slowest and most indecisive editor ever. This probably puts edits to DH in the mid-teens. I’m really happy with this one, but I was happy with the version before it too, at the time sent it to my agent. (This is the second version of the ms that my agent will see. I talk a…

Happy New Year!

Another year gone forever. It's hard to believe. Hopefully 2007 will be my year and an editor will take interest in my work, but that's really out of my hands, so not something I can make a New Years resolution of.


Okay, my goals for this year:

• Finish the draft of CD and get it polished.
• Write and at least begin to polish a second manuscript
• Begin a third manuscript

Last year I think I devoted far too much down time to editing. I took months out of writing to edit when I should have been doing both at the same time. This year I plan to do better.

Also, the smaller step goals. I plan to:
• Write a minimum of 10-15k words a week
• Paint at least once a week
• Find and become active in a critique group.

Well, I think that’s it. I’d resolve to start exercising regularly or such, but I know I can’t keep a goal like that. I don’t fully remember all my goals from last year. I know I met some of them (I edited DH, sent it out, and even snagged my very own agent; and I got a painting int…