Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Posted

Yes, I've been busily beavering away and finally, finally have posted a short story on the Scribd page. And weirdly enough, I posted eighteen minutes ago and Bleak Town has had nine reads already. Maybe there's a glitch in the counting or something...

Anyway, it's there; a little late, like nearly a week, but with Christmas stuff and football and then cricket and having some 'quiet' time with the family in Canberra - hah! - taking the wrong thumb drive with me and oh, so many other excuses I could come up with, it didn't get done. Bad Jaye, no chocolate for you!

Now I can get on with editing a coupla novels for the end of January or February, I haven't decide which. Then, it's choosing a book to edit carefully for sending out; you know, to an agent. But that's for next week.

I'm going to listen to Lily Allen, a favourite prezzo I got - she's so ba-ad!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas excess

I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas. I did.

It bucketed with rain, on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Canberra needed the rain and it's been years since it is rained on the Big Day.

I have two new books to read: Dean Koontz's Reckless and Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest. I can read them while listening to Lily Allen.

I had planned to work on a short story to post for Christmas, but... as luck would have it, I took the wrong thumb drives - no stories on either, or on the laptop hard drive. So, it will have to wait for later this week.

This year, I drank too much and ate too much - to the extent that I felt like Geraldine Grainger in The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special. If you don't know it, the vicar has to eat three full Christmas lunches, much to her regret - and mine.

Thankfully, it only happens once a year and it was great to have a Christmas away.

I'll hunt up the story I have in mind and post it. Now, it's time for a nap - way too much good cheer...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas...

Here I am in heat-soaked Canberra for Christmas. We haven't been away from home for the season in a decade or more, peeps come to us - might have something to do with living next to the beach and the lovely onshore breeze to cool the day down.

Today, hopefully while most people are out doing their final mad dash for Christmas presents, seafood and Christmas cheer, I shall be watching 'Avatar'. In 3D. In the air conditioned theatre. A yes, a right wallowing.

So. Time to collect the niece and wander off to Borders and then the movies. WOOT!

I wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas tomorrow. And look, really, when it comes to the usual fights between rellos? How important is it? Life or death? Move on, let it go... Until Boxing Day, then hammer them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Summer fare

There are certain times of the year when writing or editing are virtually impossible. When visitors come, big birthdays, Easter and... Christmas.

I have decided I cannot catch up on my reading pile, edit, do housework and everything associated with Christmas all at the same time; so I'm not going to try.

The tree is up, the prezzos bought, wrapped and the delivery near completed, hypocras made and distributed. I also whipped up a batch of Chocolate Crackles. For the first time. Like Vegemite, Australians grow up with Chocolate Crackles, they're an icon of home for those living and working overseas.

They're made with Rice Bubbles, cocoa (or melted chocolate), coconut and Copha. Only in Australia can you get Copha - it is made from hydrogenated coconut oil, 100% fat. Not so good.

It's used as the solidifying agent in Chocolate Crackles, but... I didn't have any and couldn't be bothered going up the street to get some. Surfing the 'net provided a solution: melted chocolate with butter with added caster sugar. It all worked so beautifully...

But next time, I think I'll use unsalted butter.

* * *

So Summer here brings out buzzing bush flies, whining mosquitoes, creaking cicadas and oblivious tourists sizzling under the sun. The flies, no problem. The cicadas, not much you can do about their noise. The tourists, well, nothing I can say will deter them from deep frying themselves. But... I've just encountered a near indestructible mosquito.

They make 'em tough these days. Twice I slapped that sucker between my hands and twice it looked at me as if to say, "Is that the best you can do?" And continued to dive bomb. I even smacked it when it landed. It snickered contemptuously and took off. I thought that, if nothing else, the shock wave of slapping a mozzy would kill the bugger. A hard hand and soft target usually does the trick - maybe I had around the other way.

It's dead now. Smeared on a rolled up newspaper. All twisted out of shape.

I expect the Mafia mozzies to call any time now for revenge: Probably Long-Nose Mo and Legs Malone.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cool Yule

I was going to write a post on what's happening - or not happening - over in Copenhagen... but I decided it makes me too angry to write a cohesive and reasoned blog.

So, instead, a friend sent me this:

Once again, I was disqualified from my neighborhoods "Best Decorated House" contest due to my bad attitude!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just a small problem

Ah, research.

Writers who plot do the research first, before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Definitely an advantage.

Me, I do it after; I'm so easily distracted, it delays the actual writing process because there's so much interesting stuff out there. Sure, it can mean re-writes, but re-writes are a part of producing a book - it's a matter of degree.

So I discovered Brazil is much bigger than I thought. Or should I say, that getting around the countryside is much more difficult than I expected and there are more airports than I expected.

I'll have to be more creative in explaining stuff that I assumed was right from brief readings. For a while there - after the read through and thinking about Brazilian transport - I thought I'd have to virtually delete eighty percent of the novel. Fortunately, I slept on the problem and it's not as bad as I feared.

And what is this near overwhelming problem with transport? The choices of vehicle to get from a major city to a minor one up the Amazon river. By car and ferry, it can take a week or more. But flying? Meh. Nowhere near long enough for a relationship to develop.

More thought is needed...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adding words

Added about two thousand words today. I'm looking at Spring's Reign as a 0th draft and I'm working to turn it into the first draft.

I'm making notations for more research, inserting skipped words - bummer, Hal, the word count could have been larger - and correcting the spelling as I go. Not so much the grammar; I've deliberately messed some of it up for personality and context, and no-one speaks perfectly these days (unless you're a Shakespearean actor, that is).

I have a plan to finish the 0th draft by the end of December and let it rest for a week or so, then get to the first and second drafts. Maybe even a third draft (which will really be a fourth).

And during the 'away' time, I'll be looking at Hunted and the 0th draft for that. I'm going to have to change things, take out a... particular aspect because it's too similar to something else I wrote.

Time to get back to it.

Oh, one last thing to mutter about. Two words: bloody Cowboys!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who Dat?



Every year, we have the Santa Ride and every year, more Santas turn up. Over two hundred this time. Because of environmental concerns, the reindeer have to stay at home - can you imagine two thousand plus reindeer and their...er... emissions on the street?

Nope. Santas leave them at home but collect donations for worthy causes on their way to the local pub. There, the Santas can slake the thirst of a four kilometre ride and chat about Santary things. In particular, which Santa is going to which country to drop off the loot.

And you thought Santa lived at the north pole...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The backyard

I'm back at the desk and keyboard, sorting out both computers and the external drive in anticipation of lots of editing.

Outside the sliding door is a juvenile Kookaburra, all fluffy feathers and curious gleam in its eyes. I think it's having problems though. It came flying in a picked up a skink. No worries there, but for the last ten minutes, the little lizard has been dropping between the kookaburra's beak, the bird's eyes firmly focused on it.

The kookaburra managed to choke it down, but is now standing up straight with it's beak wide swallowing hard. Makes me want to step out and say, "That's what you get for swallowing your food whole".

I like our native wildlife - well, it's not as if there's any other sort - but the kookaburras only turned up after I put in the veggie patch.

This all started a few years ago when a friend of mine gave me a Blue-Tongue lizard to look after, because her dog kept going for it. I set it free in the back yard. Sometime later, we noticed the slugs and snails were disappearing. Then I saw four blue tongues in the back yard and an abundance of skinks.

Following the efforts of the gardener we hired, I figured it was time for a veggie patch and duly planted it with my own brewed up compost. No snails, no slugs, and few bugs thanks to the blue-tongues and the skinks. Now, the kookaburras have arrived to keep the population of skinks down.

A nice ecosystem. The zucchinis are great, as are the snow peas. Lots of green tomatoes waiting to ripen under the summer sun and the apple cucumbers and butternut pumpkins have flowers.

And not a chemical to be seen anywhere. Ah, nature. Gotta love it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You want it... when?

I'm feeling more than a little beleaguered. It's as if the fates let me put everything on hold for November, and then dumped everything into December.

Housework, Christmas shopping, research for work, a meeting 280k away, car service, grocery shopping... the list goes on.

So far, I've managed to print out the first manuscript for editing but not had time to start the actual process.

Yeah, okay, I was stuffing around for the first week, reading books, catching up on movies and the weekend newspapers; you know, real life thingies.

But I'm hopefully for the weekend, I've just got to, well, wrap prezzos, do housework, do some research for the Museum, the NFL, college football...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tis the season

Editing is underway... kind of.

I don't know whether you know this but... it's not long to Christmas. I've been running around searching for prezzos - big family - and I've made this year's batch of hypocras (spiced wine) in both white and red. Hypocras allegedly gets its name from Hippocrates and various versions have been around since. Romans drank it. It was King Henry VIII's favourite beverage, although he had gold leaf mixed into his. At the time, it was thought gold leaf helped digestion (and his main meal took two hours).

I love the stuff. Various grape types give hypocras a different flavour, so there's no standard taste.

Anyway. Today, I'm off to Canberra for a meeting tomorrow. I can indulge in some shopping in Da Big Smoke, too. I won't be back until Wednesday night and that means, first edits will have to wait for Thursday. True to form, lots of ideas are arriving to improve the book and I don't have time to put them in.

Now, I have to go pack...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rizzoli

I'm not a squealie fan girl, but I've followed Tess Gerritsen since her days at Harlequin writing romance.

Gerritsen isn't a romance writer. Not anymore. If you've read The Surgeon and the books that follow, you'll know it's all about murder; gruesome, wicked murder. I love all the books, probably because happy endings aren't necessarily guaranteed. And the intricacies of the medical side of it (Gerritsen's a doctor) which reads much better than Cornwell's Scarpetta.

Now, the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series is about to make it to the TV screen. Wheee! The pilot Rizzoli is being made by TNT.

Angie Harmon (Women's Murder Club, Law & Order)is Jane Rizzoli;
Sasha Alexander (NCIS) is Maura Isles;
Bruce McGill (Wolf Lake) is Vincent Korsak;
Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos) is Rizzoli's mother, Angela; and
Billy Burke (Twilight, 24, Wonderland) is Gabriel Dean.

The cast sounds great and I hope they do justice to the books. Fingers crossed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

More WriMos?

So... you haven't had enough of abusing the keyboard? Suffering from NaNoWriMo hangover? Don't want to let go yet? Do you want more?

Here it is:

National Novel Finishing Month - your goal is to finish the novel, write the extra 30,000 words during December.

And coming up:

National Novel Editing Month - March 2010. Your goal is to commit to 50 hours of editing.

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge - June 2010. A NaNoWriMo for the southern hemisphere. Fifty thousand words goal.

Write a Damn Novel in June - A NaNoWriMo for the middle of the year. Write a novel.

July Novel Writing Month - A NaNoWriMo for July. Fifty thousand words goal.

August Novel Writing Month - A NaNoWriMo for August. Write a novel.

September Novel Writing Month Set a word-count goal and edit, write, or edit and write throughout the month of September

Want something with more intensity? Try the Book in a Week challenge. Yep, write your book in seven days. Begins on the Monday of the first full week of each month, lasts one week.

Phew. It looks like Nano has taken off in a big way. Me, I'll think about June, but nothing else. Writing six books a year would take the shine off, and the editing would be brutal.

Then again... the challenges, people, the challenges!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The End

After what's turned out to be a brutal month's writing, it's mostly done. Mostly??

Yeah. First drafts are done and starting tomorrow, I'm taking some time off. Then the edits start. First up will be Spring's Reign, the fourth in the Seasons of Change series, and Hunted, sequel to Huntress, currently on Scribd as freebies.

After that, the third Huntress, which I'm having problems with an appropriate title.

Rider... needs a lot of work; a lot of work if it's to see the light of day.

All I can say, it TGIO and I'll never do this to myself evah again.

And now, to sleep; perchance to dream...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tag and bag

In honour of all those who laboured through the month, I thought I'd put a few of the tag lines used for inspiration:

Editing your manuscript is the revenge your characters get on you for thinking you’re running their lives.

“This is going to be the worst day of your life. I'm bringing nunchuks." H. Freeman

“The ability to speak does not make you intelligent." - Qui-Gon Jinn, the Phantom Menace

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness..."

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. - Raymond Chandler

"...it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done." - Terry Pratchett

You fail only if you stop writing - Ray Bradbury

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

My mind is a library of useless information and imaginings, except in the month of November.

And my favourite:

One wordcount to rule them all
One website to find them
One month to bring them all
And in NaNoWriMo bind them
-- SynapticJam

Genius. Sheer genius!

So, for all those who have tagged and bagged words this months, the accolades belong to you. Well, done... writers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two Days left

So I'm putting in the long ones for the weekend - the last weekend of Nano.

I know some parts of this last work are trash and will be tossed, but I think the basis is sound. I think I'm going to do some shuddering when I get around to reading and editing it.

Two days to go. Two whole days of writing and I'm done.

Next year, I'm going back to writing a trilogy in the same genre. This massive word count takes too much out of me and the writing suffers as a result - and that means extra work come editing time.

Come Tuesday, I'm sleeping in.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Problem

I don't know how I do it, but I've managed to back my characters into a corner. I have to decided which one to sacrifice, if I can't think of something brilliant to get them all out.

I've done this before... ah, well, actually the character did exactly what his personality required of him, with less than perfect results. But I left the scene in because, damn it, it fit.

Three days left. Three days and I can play with my new toy - the 1TB external hard drive. And catch up on my TBR pile; and the DVDs I've missed. Oh, boy.

But first, I have to solve this conundrum.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nanolyser

So I've been up bright and early, slogging through this book, tossing in a few action scenes here and there. As expected, the writing picked up - I mean, it's not as if I've been sleeping, with plots and dialogue and characters.

I still don't think it's worth much, but it is something to edit... eventually.

An interesting and useful procrastination item, or post analysis is the Nanolyser which gives a breakdown of your Nano work, including history, a bar graph with where you're meant to be in your word count, versus actual word count and a pie chart showing which days you're most productive.

You'll need your Nano id number, but I think it's an excellent and useful bit of information.

If I'm lucky, I should finish this book by Saturday - if, of course, I don't have a scathingly brilliant idea that makes it longer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Struggling

The last book isn't going well. Nope, not at all. Yesterday's effort, while I hit the goal, was full of craptacular nonsense. Really bad. Conversations that went nowhere, not a bit of action, full of 'looks' and 'said' and aarggghhh! cardboard characters who said exactly what a cardboard, stereotypical character would say.

Not even introducing a new character worked. Although the garden provided a nice word count boost.

I know why this is such a bag of sloppy shite.

When I started Nano, I thought three books, three different genres. As challenges go, not bad. It's hard, I discovered, to shift genres without a break, but I think it worked. Once was enough, so rather than going with the book I thought of, I went with a sequel and powered through that one, with some... angsty written somewhere in the middle that will be cut.

But I did the three books as promised and found I had a week left. Since I set this month aside for writing, it seems too good an opportunity to waste.

My subconscious and imagination has played fair, working feverishly to get everything done - they did not expect to be thrown another one. And they're protesting. Nothing works to shift them. Exercise, mucking about in the veggie patch (O.o got zucchinis and snow peas!), just sitting and staring into space. I think my creative well is almost dry and now I have to wrestle with book or not finish it and declare myself done.

Okay, it's not entirely a bag of sloppy shite - there are some nice firm nuggets in there as well.

Maybe a good kidnapping and torture of a character and a heroic rescue are in order.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ongoing...

Not surprisingly, I'm suffering from a bit of eye strain. I'm probably spending a little too much time in front of the computer.

There's a little under a week to go and today, I passed my word count for last year. Joy.

The fourth book is becoming a right bugger to write. I think my brain has had enough and it - the book that is - has parallels with one I read years ago. A similar premise, but with different occupations, perspectives and, I think, ending. Yeah, I know how this one ends, it's getting there that's proving difficult.

I think I'll go and rest my eyes for eight hours or so.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tempters

I'm looking at my rewards for finishing Nano. I'm done with the 50k, but it's a month of writing for me. But there's the TBR pile, singing like a siren.

I've done enough, just... open the first page of Holly Lisle's Talyn. Limit yourself to the first chapter of J.D. Robb's Kindred in Death. A short story in David Weber's Worlds of Weber won't take long. Matthew Reilly's Hell Island is only 120 pages. You know, Vicki Pettersson's The Touch of Twilight looks good, and it's the third in the series, just give yourself a taste...

Then there's the one tera-byte external hard drive, sitting in it's box, sitting there, waiting, like an early Christmas present... you know you need to backup the laptop and desktop computers, be a shame to lose all your hard work.

And the DVDs... come on, the first book you wrote was set in Brazil and you've got that new Discovery Channel program on just that area. Look at it as research...

All good reasons to stop. Right now. Exit Word and Excel, disconnect from the 'net and shut down the computer. Lie on the couch and just... relax.

It's a struggle, writing ever single day for thirty days, and even at this stage, there's plenty of time for people to finish the 50k.

But I won't be stopping, not yet, because I want to see how this book ends; today, I'll finish the third book and get on with the one I left dangling because I could not change genres at that time.

Sigh why do we do this Nano thing again?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Confrontation

So the big-ass spider is still there this morning.

I know it's smug, I can see the damned smile from across the room. It is dripping in smug.

Yeah, come on, human, just you try coming near me.

"But... I need to go outside."

Not caring. This wall is MINE. Go find your own, and let me remind you: I have eight legs; I can run faster than you. And I jump. Can you?

"Whoa! Don't run at me! Jeez! Look, I just want to go out and check the veggie patch from last night's storm, check the weather station. Why don't you go hide behind the picture frame, hmm? I'll just nip out, make sure the zucchinis are okay and..."

What? Sneak up behind me with a rolled up newspaper? Spray me with stuff that won't kill me, but will piss me off? I don't think so.

"I could always go out the front door and around the side of the house. That way, I won't bother you, and you won't be bothered by me."

Why don't you do that. Oh, and say hello to one of my brothers. He's sitting on the bonnet of your car...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spidey!!!

The heat is nasty. Add the humidity of the sea and woe.

Smug I was informing a sister of the onshore breeze that kept the temperature down - until sunset that is, and the breeze went away.

Today will be hotter, much hotter and this morning, ain't much of a breeze.

Writing will be nervous: there's a bloody great Huntsman on the wall behind me. How big and how worrisome is a Huntsman?



These are not small spideys. Think of a drinks' coaster, yeah, that's about right. Just to make me happy, I know they run and they jump. They are, to no-one's surprise, hunters, who go after smaller spiders and beetles and other insects.

Good things to have around during Summer, but they make me shudder. I so wish I had eyes in the back of my head... you know, just in case it... Nope, did not need that image.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An orange sneeze

I had to take a bit of a break this morning. The white jasmine is blooming in the neighbour's yard. Not much, but enough to make me sneeze.

Why the break? Promise you won't laugh? Really? Okay. I was, um, chewing on carrot and tried not sneeze with a mouthful. Weren't pretty, I can tell you that much, and I shan't go into the gruesome details, either. I'll leave it to your imagination.

So. Lesson learned: do not try to stop a sneeze with carrots in your gob.

Starting the second part of the third book tomorrow and it's all still flowing nicely.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Once more into the breach...

That was a good day's writing. Sure, it was twelve hours long, but hey, I got a significant amount done and the shoulders only ache a little bit!

Okay, a lot, but it was fun!

And not even the fender-bender a couple of doors down couldn't distract me... for long.

Now that I've cleared up a number of loose ends, the real work begins. But tomorrow, yeah, tomorrow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From End to Beginning

Well... that was interesting! An ending I didn't see and a rather large body count I didn't predict. Ah, well, that's what the characters signed up for!

Hunted is done and I've started a third, this one set in Australia, where the future slams into the present with unexpected consequences for one unfortunate Aussie bloke in the Outback.

I've done enough damage, I think, for one day; hopefully, no bodies on the ground tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nearing the end of book two

I've had to readjust the total for the book, Hunted. There's a lot happening, but the first draft will not make the 100k mark.

When writing during Nano, I can only make a guesstimate of what the final total will be. The first book, Huntress was result of the first Nano I ever did, and came in at 117k because I wanted to write every day. My assumption being, the second book should be as large.

Well... it ain't gonna be that large. I'm happily writing toward solving the last mission which might take another 20k - or not; that's the thing about Nano and free writing. You never know where a books going to end.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oops...

Man, I'm tellin' ya, eyeballs are starting to hang here.

And I think I did a very bad thing to my protagonist and I'm not even halfway with this book.

Well, I guess it's the old 'and then...?' question to get them out it and save the world - if they can.

I'll give them until the morning to think about it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving on

So, I'm working long hours to get this done.

What? You thought it was easy? That I sat down and bam, instant 10k? Well... now that I... no... no. Ten thousand words is about ten hours work. Add in the breaks, the looking after of the aged parent breaks, meal breaks, bathroom breaks and it expands.

But it's about focus. The concentration on the story, the not getting your butt out of the chair until you've reached that hour's goal.

If you want to write, then write. If you want to be an author, you need much more. You need to accept that you are an author, that this is what you do, regardless of any comments about getting a real job or the stroking of hands over your arm because someone wants your same luck in finishing a book.

And I have no doubt that, as the month progresses, I'll become even more grumpy!!

Tomorrow, I get to beat up a few characters. Gotta happen, they're just plain mean to my protag. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Unintended consequences

Changing genres has been a little bit more difficult than I expected and so I had a tough day yesterday. I had to refer back to a book I wrote for Nano in 2003 and catch up.

While my word count was slow, the... mind set was still with me and today, a scathingly brilliant idea popped up. Whether there's a solution I'll have to wait and see what my subconscious comes up with, but it's always good to be aware of The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Remember when writing: you cannot give your protagonists something good or excellent without a downside.

Mine is potentially catastrophic unless I find an answer - and that is the crux of an ongoing and accidental story arc.

Cool!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

One down

Woot! I finally fished.... make that finished the book. (Say, isn't that a Freudian Slip you're wearing?)

It took a little longer in time and words to write the last word - which, if inquiring minds want to know - is: Marine. So that kind of fits with the fish...

Anyway. The book ended up being a little over 70k, without the added burden of descriptions. When I come to edit this piece, things like what the scenery and the people look like (except for the main players), and inserting information I've made a note of, is going to add another ten to fifteen K. A nice fat size to end the series with.

Lorenzo keeps pouring me the red wine in celebration. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. He's a romantic kind of guy, so he likes Spring's Reign. It's got enough biffo and stunning revelations to keep him satisfied. Me, too.

So, onto the second book, Hunted. Serial killer Excalibur Jones is back, making mischief for Hunter Cambria Petersen and leaving a trail of bodies for her to follow. But who, now, is the Hunter and who is the Hunted when their competing goals imperil a planet?

Dunno, I'm only writing the damn thing...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Nearly...

I'm just short of the 70k mark and the end of the first book - should have the denouement written in very short order.

And then... and THEN... I get to start on the next one. New story, new genre, new length.

I can't help but ask myself why I keep doing this to myself - then I read them a month or so a later and remember what fun it was to write.

This day is finally over and I'm off to sleep, perchance to dream...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Nano Update

Wow! I didn't see that coming!

The book took a surprising turn - yes, even for me - and it's absolutely perfect.

All the clues were there from the previous books, and in trying to wrap all the plot points, this one came out of the blue. It's right for the book, for the characters, and just a little bit... okay, a lot brutal.

I guess this twist has been simmering away in the back of my mind for three years, since I wrote the first three books for Nano. But, wow, I am such a bad person for putting my characters through this.

I wonder how it will end? Time to find out...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nearly there

The late nights are starting to catch up on me. I'm not usually a night owl, but I wanted to get as close to the fifty k as possible. Then it's on to finishing the book.

Now, I'm one thousand words short. Which seems like a good place to start tomorrow... if my fingers are still working. They're currently protesting.

Wan tan xamlep? They're sjust pissy at me for all the extra work and I don't blame them.

anyeway...'slate, need sleeop and I'm fed up with correcting all the types... typos.

Oh, before I forget:

Weird Nano: Every day I've been writing this book, I've been struck by deja vu. And since I don't plot and free write, having that happen is weird in my estimation. Go figure...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Out of control

My characters went out of control yesterday and it wasn't pretty. I'll probably have to delete about four thousand words.

It's my damned fault. For two days I've been writing conversations to make sure I don't forget the information. And while verbal confrontation is considered action, it wasn't biffo or boinking (both are excellent word count lifters for Nano, just fyi).

Well, tired as I was last night, the protagonists decided to test my limits and went wa-ay overboard.

People who plot have more control, I think, than organics like me. Plotters know exactly what's going to happen, when and with whom. I don't. I've got the characters, I've got the scene and I'm just being dragged along for the ride.

Okay, I know what's up when I'm writing in the morning, but as the day goes on, scenarios change, scenes change and the characters move on towards the book's solution. However, sometimes they want a 'candy' scene. A scene that's a reward for hard work.

They got it and when I edit, they're gonna lose it. Why? It's not time - the fun thing about being a writer is that you get to torture the characters, and that's what I'm going to do.

Another 10k today? Hmmm... let's see what the characters think.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Progress

Hmm... lots of writing done, but it needs edits, and, I suspect, a chart to keep track of everything that's happened during the first three books.

Basically, I think it's going fine, but man, there's a lot of info-dumping going on. All the hints from the previous books have come home to roost and need further explanation. A lot of explanation - so a three-day trip across Brazil for the two main characters has turned into a gab-fest, so I don't forget the important stuff later.

And there's no action. At least, not yet. Somehow, I'm going to have to find a workable device to keep readers reading - and it may make the book bigger than I want.

Still, that's what Nano is all about - getting the stuff down; and that's what editing is all about - taking stuff out and turning the work into something coherent.

I'll be working towards another 10k day tomorrow but I doubt I'll make it. Already the fingers are getting tangled up and I have to go back and correct. Just because I can't stand spelling mistakes that are underlined in red. I've already turned off the grammar thingy, but the spelling one has to stay.

Tomorrow, I'm posting an extract on the Nano board. Yippee.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Off and typing

Well, then. Nano has commenced.

I got to it at about six-thirty this morning after tossing and turning for most of the night.

For me, I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve. I can't wait to see what happens, so at sunrise, I was up with tea in hand - coffee comes later - and put fingers to keyboard.

I'm happy with my progress, I know I suck at the first three chapters, but I don't care; Nano isn't about perfection, it's about quantity. The quality comes later during editing - at least I hope it does.

Anyway, I'm wasting finger energy typing this and lunch time is nearly over. Onward then, to 'kill' a few characters... as you do...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Well, finally!

So I made my self-imposed deadline with about twenty minutes to spare for posting a book on 30 October.

Autumn's Fall is now posted on Scribd. I had a few problems with the upload, but it's there now, all nice and cozy and free. And since it's nearing midnight, it's time to tuck li'l ole me into bed.

Tomorrow is housework day, and then... and then... posts will become rare as I battle for the Aussie Nano word count crown.

Fortunately, I'll have Lorenzo hanging around; everyone should have a Lorenzo for inspiration.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Closer

Only a few days to go to Nano and the nerves are tightening. I'm finding the ideas, the dialogue, the scenes are beginning to flow. I also have the twist for the first book. All stuffed into my head, waiting to emerge.

I don't have any music selected because it won't matter - I rarely hear it. In fact, it's the silence of the music ending that breaks my concentration.

I also have a book coming out on Scribd tomorrow. With Winter's Heart doing so well, I'm hoping Autumn's Fall will be equally as popular. I mean the numbers aren't best seller levels, far, far-in-a-distant-galaxy from it, but to me the statistics are surprising - good, but surprising.

I think I'll call it 'writer's anxiety syndrome', or WAS. I'm not the first to suffer, I'm guessing every single author who's put some work out there gets it. I expect it to pass by December 1.

All I need do is relax and choose a reward for finishing... Leave the panic until first thing Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New in town

This is post number 900. Who knew a whole lotta nuthin' could take so many posts?

Anyway, Australia's own Macquarie Dictionary is releasing it's fifth edition this week and the latest edition has added another 5,000 words.

New words include: acid shock, baby bump, toxic debt, celeblog, bioenthanol, flashpacker.

The English language is constantly evolving, usually via the culture of the younger generation. Twitter, texting and other communications devices all conspire to abbreviate the language and find euphemisms for legitimate words. Fortunately, text words haven't made it... yet. Maybe another dictionary can be created for the likes of WTF, LOL, ROFL, L8, WYSIWYG.

I guess the most interesting evolution of the language is that it's predicated on social and cultural changes. The most talked about issue is climate change and words encompassing theories are more prevalent in modern language than ever before. Whether you agree with Climate Change or not, it has had an impact on language.

So too has the so-called Global Financial Crisis and America's arm wrestle over health issues. Toxic debt, death panels, golden parachutes, Ponzi, sub-prime, may not be new words, but they've come to international attention.

But the evolution has a down side: raise your hands if you understand Chaucer or Shakespeare, without study notes? Or appreciate Dickensian language as moralistically beguiling? How about Bronte or Austen? Who of the younger generation appreciate the subtleness of the prose? These authors represented the culture and language of the time. Occasionally difficult to comprehend, but magic once deciphered.

What will future generations think of our language. What will the 22nd century teenager think of his/her 21st century counterparts? Will English be recognisable? It makes an interesting premise for book, don't you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

On track

Woo hoo! I finally finished the edits on Autumn's Fall last night, so I get a day off!

This also means I'm on schedule. I need to do a final read through on Wednesday and Thursday, post on Friday, then do some research, make some notes and I'll be ready for Sunday's Nano start.

Oh, wait... there's that other stuff, what's it called? Right. Real life. I'll need to do some housework, get in some food in that I can toss together quickly - note to self: get chocolate, popcorn and coffee. (Better get some healthy nibblies too, nuts, carrots, celery...)

In the meantime, I get to watch the 'merican football guilt free and wallow in some DVDs that I've missed over the past few months.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello Lorenzo!

This time next week, I shall be busy scribbling away for Nano. This past week I've had trouble sleeping for all the ideas, dialogue, possible scenes and conclusions... Bring it on, please!

We've had a staff change around here, too:

Sven and Oleg have decided to move in together, damn them. Apparently, while my back was turned (for a massage, you understand) they were eyeing each other off and giving each other another sort of massage. If you know what I mean, and I think you do!

But all is not lost. Lorenzo turned up. Who? That was my very question!

As you can imagine, he's a broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, dusky-skinned Italian, well-muscled with dark wavy hair, a patrician nose, dark eyes and long, sweeping lashes and a mouth... sigh He also has some interesting scars, but won't tell me about them. Instead, he says he's 'an international man of mystery', his words, not mine, but he smiles secretively when he says that.

He wears a white shirt, open to the waist to display some smooth flesh, but no gold chains. "Cara, chains are too easy to grab." Man, what a voice; like rich coffee, low, seductive and only for my ears. He wears black pants, not tight at all, though with a butt like that... Um... all the better to run, I understand, but I'm guessing he goes commando. He's just the sort.

So, why has this tasty little knee-trembler come to visit?

He's my new source of inspiration. He figured that Sven and Oleg did their job in getting rid of the internal critic and were a little bored. So he made them an offer and decided to take their place.

Whenever I get stuck on a scene or a dialogue, Lorenzo will tell me a relevant story or scenario to help me get past the block. He's so good to me...

I wonder what else he can do for me? Oops, did I say that out loud? My bad.

Anyway... he's moving in for November and he says he brought the equipment to 'keep the discipline going'. Mmm... whatever do you mean, Lorenzo?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Challenge

Well then. Is this the ultimate challenge for golfers?

The Nullarbor Links opened yesterday. What's so special about this golf course? Here are some stats:

First hole: Ceduna, South Australia.
Last hole: Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Distance: 1365 KILOMETRES
Time allowed: 5 Days.
Par: 72
Green fees: $50

The Nullarbor Plain is flat, dry and the name comes from the Latin for 'no trees'. Twelve hundred kilometres of empty desert and a straight road. Sure, there are small towns along the way but they're few and far between.

For some, it's an adventure to drive the distant - boring, but an adventure. Now, travellers can stop off and play a hole or two to ease the long journey.

But somehow, I don't think we'll be seeing Tiger playing a round any time soon...

* * *

I picked some plants yesterday and this weekend I'm sticking 'em in the ground. The plan is that in a few weeks, we'll be munching on tomatoes, snow peas and zucchinis. The apple cucumbers weren't in yet, so they'll go in next week.

If this works, I'll be out in the garden more often - as long as the spiders stay away... not a fan of spiders, nope, I am most certainly not a fan of spiders.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back up, back up, back up...

Since my computer went on the fritz some time ago, I've been near obsessive about backing up my work. The loss of seventeen or so manuscripts is the stuff of nightmares, so I back it all up - at every stage of development on different media.

I shall never be in danger of losing the work again. Except for one, annoying problem.

I've been happily editing away, when it struck me that I was editing the wrong version. Yep. The hard copy didn't match the on-screen text. Cue the hair yanking. I checked the file date and it seemed accurate, but obviously it didn't match.

So I had to hunt down the correct version: four thumb drives, a few disks and a check of the desktop (I've been working with the laptop), I finally found it. I had no idea I had so many copies of the work, not just in one folder in each location, but two, under different names.

I'll have to do something about that. It's fine to have one or two back ups, but a dozen seems just a wee bit too obsessive. I'll fix it after Nano.

For now, it's back to the work. Ten days until Nano, nine days for the book. But no pressure...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On hold

Dear Sir/Madam,

I know I must be important to you because you've called me twice: once during dinner and once while I was caring for my mother. Do you know how hard it was to track down every damn pea that got tossed in the air because the ringing startled me? As for Mother, well, she never lets a call go unanswered no matter what... predicament she might be in.

The only reason I dashed to the telephone to answer was that maybe, just maybe, I'd won Lotto and someone was calling to let me know. Oh, the visions of what I could do with 25 million dollars.

So I answered your urgent call, "Hello?" There was a click, as if I was being put through to someone equally as important and I cleared my throat, ready to squeal like a fan-girl. Only... I heard muzak. YOU PUT ME ON F***ING HOLD!!!

How many ways can I put this? Um... No. YOU called ME; YOU do NOT put me on HOLD! YOU explain what the hell you want, or I'm hanging up!

Now, I understand you're probably busy people, with numerous calls going through at the same time, but please understand: my time is valuable, to me and I'll not be hanging around watching my dinner cool or my mother... um, let's not go there and say we did... for an important person such as yourself to get back to me. I don't give a rat's bladder that you're busy, you do not treat me - or anyone - with such contempt and expect a pleasant conversation.

And if you ringing to say I've won another damn free mobile phone, let me reiterate: I DON'T NEED ONE! Especially if it's a part of a special package of only $50 a month for a two year contract. That's not free.

I'm just sayin'. Now, if you'd like to leave me your number... I'll get back to you.

regards,

JP.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stats

I find statistics a curious thing. They're easily manipulated for a positive spin, can be fudged for the same result, can be dissected to the nth degree. It's all about number crunching and sadly, my maths skills are woeful - tragic since my Dad taught university level maths; I missed out on that one at the gene bank.

Authors are supposed to love numbers: books sold, revenue, where they are on the lists, how many written, etc. For me, it's about 'reads' over on Scribd. I've had a lot of activity in the past month, over a thousand reads; cue the happy dance. But I'm not entirely sure why.

Winter's Heart was posted on 3 October and scored some excellent numbers, but the first in the series, Summer's Rule appears to have tanked: WH - 677, SR - 185. I don't get that. SR has been out for two months, WI for one, logic dictates the first should have more than the second. I don't know why SR sank, no-one's written to say 'this sucks'. Okay, I have some thoughts but I'm not sayin'.

The other works were boosted by WI, with an extra 400 reads spread across the books. The monthly average is at 63 per day, which I'm not only happy about, but hope it continues.

With Nano less than two weeks away, I'd better get a wriggle on and finish Autumn's Fall; I'll be interested in the numbers when I post it.

(Now see? While writing this post, the average went up to 67. Gotta love statistics.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Timed distractions

Two weeks to go until Nano. It seems far away, two weeks, and yet it's only 14 days. I mean it's 336 hours which is plenty of time to do other stuff.

The closer 1 November gets, the higher my stress levels until I don't get much sleep on 31 October, for all the description, the characters, the dialogue, etc., running through my head.

I used to stress out about whether the story would be strong enough, or even long enough, whether I had enough characters and plot, wonder what the end would be. That still holds true of any new work, but this year I'm doing two sequels and newbie. The latter still being an amorphous, 20 second film clip in my head containing an argument, an accident and burning resentment. I don't know how much of it will get written given the second sequel has to be more than 100k.

To keep from worrying about it all, I need distractions. Something other than writing to keep my active mind busy, and my subconscious mind working on the story lines.

So, I've been up the family tree again. The thing about this type of research is the hurry up and wait; wait for the documents to come online. Of course, I have enough rellos to be going on with. If I hit a dead end with one, there are a dozen or more to look up.

I'm also planning a veggie patch. Being botanically-challenged, I need to start from scratch... like what the seasonal vegetables are and when I should put them in. Oh, and whether I like them or not; no point in growing stuff you hate. We're moving into Summer and I'm sure there are buckets of stuff I could grow. The compost is nearly ready for me to spread largesse, and gardening, I believe, is an excellent de-stressor.

Now, I shall sneak off and do some research... got to have research...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Challenge yourself

Starting edits today. This manuscript is full of green and orange stickies, plus at least one completely re-written page.

Why the different colours? Well, for no other reason than that colour was the closest.

Some authors colour code, for example, blue for dialogue, green for description, red for characters, etc.; I don't.

With Nano coming up, I've read a few posts over on the board from newbies who growing increasingly panic-stricken over what to write, how to write it, whether they should outline and plot, or not, how do they know it will be a complete story. The answer is scary: you don't until you try it out. But remember: there is no right way of writing, only your way.

That's what makes Nano so useful. It's great for writing exercises. For me, the first year was whether I could do it - yes; the second year, how much I could write: 164040; year three, to write in a totally different genre - finished, but not impressed; year four, can I write a trilogy - yep; year five, start during a particular time in history without using passive sentences - yes-um, mostly; and last year, write a trilogy and keep the word count crown - yes, to both.

This year's challenge is to write three books in three different genres and attempt to keep the crown (the Aussie one, that is. I shan't go off on a rant about the cheaterz.)

The thing is, whether you're a newbie or an experienced hack like me, is to challenge yourself. Don't be worrying about anyone else. It's your 50,000 words, your work and in the end, your success or failure.

Discipline, focus and imagination will see you through it. Oh, and lots of coffee and chocolate - can't do without coffee and chocolate - or your beverage and snackage of choice, but coffee and chocolate...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jungle fever

I've been running around the internet searching for the Amazon. Plenty of stuff out there and a lot of it is pro-green environmentalist stuff. I have no problem with it, though it does get tiresome. The Amazon is an important part of the world, 'lungs of the planet' if you will.

Constant de-forestation by foreign and domestic corporations for farmland, for wood pulp, have decimated the jungle in the name of profits, and this is an important part of my upcoming book for Nano.

What a lot of the sites do not address are the poverty-stricken populations who have no choice but to sell off their land or allow for these corporations to come in and give them jobs - for most, it's a matter of survival.

And it is singularly unhelpful for 'wealthy' people (tourists, environmentalists, foreign politicians) to lecture the local community on the evils of deforestation, when they don't live there and have yet to come up with a viable solution to bring them out of poverty.

I do believe deforestation should desist, that foreign companies have no right to rape the natural resources of another country for its' own profit. I also believe the governments ruling the Amazon should punish their corrupt officials and find an appropriate alternative, to protect what's left of the Amazon basin, even re-plant vegetation. Discussions with those who live within the jungle and on the edges would be a good start. But I'm not there, I don't live there and I cannot understand the situation the local communities find themselves in.

On the environmental issue, I was interested in the report that Al Gore refused to debate the issue of polar bears. Al says they're endangered, the Irishman claims the population is increasing. If Al is so assured of his position on climate change, why did he have the Irish documentary maker's microphone turned off and say 'this is not a debate'?

I'm not a climate change sceptic, I'm a 'man-made' climate change sceptic; that is, I don't believe climate change is caused by the Industrial Revolution. Climate change is Mother Nature all on her own - I think scientist should stop trying to find the proof that fits the theory, and try finding the theory that fits the proof.

I'll continue to recycle, to compost, to turn lights/appliances off when not it use - purely because it makes sense to reduce energy costs, to return organics to the garden and to reduce the landfill.

It all looks good for the veggie patch I'm putting in and for the Nano book. Both will take patience.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mooch

I'm having a mooch day. No writing (except for this, of course), no editing, just mooching.

It's raining, again. For the eighth day in a row. Yesterday, following work, I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned out the frelling street drain. Chockers, it was, of leaves, sticks, gravel and earthworms. Pulled a gor'amed muscle, too.

So, today, it's mooch day. My TBR pile is getting out of control. Time to cut it down by one or two.

* * *

Oh, a little rant:

Okay, under what criteria does President Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize? Where are the long-term examples of peace-making?

"for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" Nobel cites, and yet, he's done nothing to stop North Korea or Iran from their aims at gaining nuclear technology. Empty rhetoric and lecturing the rest of the world as if we're naughty children doesn't count in my book. Let's not forget the inaction on Afghanistan, the failure to support Iranian protesters, the ill-informed judgement on Honduras, the arm-twisting on 'global stimulus initiatives', lecturing Israel, the naive flitting off to Copenhagen, the acting like a popstar in foreign countries and apologising for America's past indiscretions.

Was there no-one with more visible impact? Morgan Tsvangerai for trying to rebuild his country with peaceful reconciliation in Zimbabwe for example? Doctors sans Frontiers?

Is this a popularist vote? He's been President for eight months and I've seen nothing to warrant this kind of award. If anything, he's reduced America's global influence. You don't get a peace prize for continuing conflicts, you get it for ending them.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Weeks to go

There's something strangely satisfying about scribbling red all over a manuscript and slapping sticky notes on half the pages.

Autumn's Fall doesn't lie flat any more, it's got green or orange Post-Its bulging out of it and I'm rather pleased about that. It makes for a better story if I've picked up most, if not all, the plot problems.

I have to let it sit now. Not because I want to, but for another reason: NaNo.

You see, I'm writing the final Season book during Nano, but also the sequel to Huntress. I wrote Huntress for the 2003 Nano, edited it last year and posted it to Scribd. But I need to re-read to get back into the mind set.

As you can imagine, there's a serious conflict here. I could finish the Season book and plunge into Nano for the fourth, but I'd have to take time out to read Huntress for the sequel, thus loosing writing time. Or, I could let the current book sit, read Huntress for informational familiarity, do the Season edits, then leap into NaNo. That sounds like the preferred option here.

I'm starting to wonder why I thought it was a good idea to write number four. Oh, right, that's how many seasons there are.

I have a myriad of thoughts wandering around about the three books I plan to write. All are in different genres, so they shouldn't cross-pollinate - weird if they did.

Now, all I have to do is calmly wait three weeks for the first of November...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Distractions

I don't know why I bother to monitor weather reports. Today is supposed to be worse than yesterday, storms, gale force wind, heavy rain, hail... yet here I sit looking out an absolutely gorgeous still, but chilly, morning with nary a cloud in the powder-blue sky. sigh Maybe it's going to be a 'Melbourne' day - four seasons in twenty-four hours.

So. I'm editing and researching at the same time: American prisons, muscle anatomy, fire-arms, genetics, Asian culture, time zones... and that's the first thirty-odd pages.

I'm the kind of person who is easily distracted by information. I'll be looking up one thing and bam! an hour later I'm reading stuff that has nothing to do with the original question. The encyclopedia is my best friend, and my worst enemy.

There I am, reading up on relative and subjective time and the next thing, I'm reading stuff on the Woollamai Pine. Or searching for prison locations and I find cool stuff on the forests of Romania. What's up with that?

It's a wide and interesting world. Who knows what I'll find as I research the Amazon rain forests. Art? Mechanics? Politics?

Time to get to it; a deadline awaits.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Wet Stuff

It's been raining. Did I mention that? Raining. A lot.

We usually get maybe... 60mm (average) during a normal October, much less during El Nino. (Aussies take note of La Nina/El Nino because rain is not an ongoing event here. We might get weeks without a drop, then a light drizzle, then weeks without a drop.

When the road guttering went in, the nice engineer put in two drains out the front of our house because we suffer from down flow flooding. That is, when they built the houses beside and behind us, the idiots diverted the natural drainage channel from the street behind the construction site straight through our back yard!

Cue the year we had well over 120 mm of rain in two hours. Cue major flood incident through the house.

Anyway. Rain. New drains. Not working! Sure, we've had just under 100mm since Saturday. See? It's been raining. Today, it bucketed; as in I decided to go downstairs and check the drains. Out the back, the household drain had stopped emptying. A right little heart starter, because there's only me. During the Great Flood, I had family here to help.

Fortunately, the teeming skies eased and the broad yard broom is a wonderful thing for sweeping water around the side of the house. Once I was happy with the draining water, I went into the street.

And lo, both drains were overflowing. No suction there, nup, nuh uh, zip. Water rushed by the drains and continued down the street.

So, since the household drain wasn't functioning too well, it meant only one thing: flooding in the back room. Yuh huh. Not too much, but wet just the same.

I've been busy cleaning up. It's amazing how much energy being pissed off provides.

And, oh, look, more heavy, dark clouds, ready to squat over the house and dump their load.

Now I know how an ant feels when an elephant lifts its tail above them...

Monday, October 05, 2009

DST

No one mentioned Daylight Savings. Nope. Of course, I wasn't watching any of the news channels either.

I've been so busy focusing on other things, I didn't give it thought. I mean, Summer? It's bucketing with rain and cool. Who's thinking of Summer time? Not me. I'm not done with Winter or Spring yet.

Now my early rising - around six thirty-ish - isn't so early, and I'm lying awake at night until the standard time kicks in. It takes me a while to change over.

Once upon a time, Daylight Savings didn't start until the end of October, which, granted, made getting up to start Nano early a little difficult. But no one asked me if I'd like DST extended. It used to be November to March. Now it's October to April. I don't need Summer to be that long - I'm a cold weather kid.

There's only been one other time when I've missed the changeover - when my sister and I landed in Los Angeles. The pilot didn't mention anything about it and S. and I wandered through the day oblivious, like in a time warp. Everyone was an hour ahead of us. Weird. There's got to be a story in that somewhere...

Anyway. This morning is NFL and I'm off to watch it - then, work.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Freebies

Umm... yeah, so I wasn't quite with it yesterday - too much David Tennant, I suspect, so I forgot to post the damned title!

The book is Winter's Heart, the sequel to Summer's Rule which is also available as a free e-book.

Autumn's Fall, the third book, is scheduled for 30/31 October with the final book to be written during Nano. No posting date yet, but probably sometime in January.

From there, well, I've got a number of other titles I need to get off my computer and I'm still deciding which to edit and post.

Work, work, work... Since Nano is closing in, I'd better get to it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Up, down and posted

So Thursday, the temp peaks at about 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Today, the temp didn't rise above 12 C (or 53 F). I think the buckets of rain contributed...

A good day to settle down, curl up and watch the Dr Who Season Four marathon on UK TV. Cor... that David Tennant's a hottie!

Anyway, I've worked hard this week to get the book done but it's now posted with all the other works (okay, five other pieces).

I now have a month to get the third book done before Nano, but I think I'll take a couple of days off first. If I can. I've already got a prologue in mind - I think I'll just go write it down, then a have a day off...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A little frantic

Still working hard on the edits, but in between visits with family. Gotta love school holidays...

I dunno, what is it about the deadlines I'm setting that seem so unachievable? Family don't leave until lunchtime tomorrow and then work at the museum for the afternoon.

Saturday, I'm guessing. I have about sixty pages to go, so Saturday for Winter's Heart... but don't quote me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No good deed...

So this month I've been collecting for the Heart Foundation. Here, in the country, streets are long and houses widely spaced, but I figured I'd get some good exercise.

Of course, it's been a struggle over the last couple of weeks to actually get out there. Saturday was the last weekend of collections, so out I went, into the dusty, cold wind... and came back wind-burned, eyes red from rubbing the grit away, but heavier in the pocket.

Rather smug, I figured Sunday would be just as lucrative, except on waking I had a stinging face and rather swollen left eye from the dust and the rubbing...

Sunday was thus spent doin' nuthin' but watching teev.

I've done my bit for the charity and now I will bank the proceeds, send the information and call it done since I doubt the eye will go down soon, nor will the wind abate for a couple of days.

Besides, I got work to do.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Craft

Given Nano is just over a month away, I was thinking about writing. Writers always think about writing whether they know it or not: scenes flicker through the mind, characters come along and snuggle down in a corner to mature, dialogue pops up from conversations overheard... It's there.

So I thought, do engineers constantly think of... engineering things? Do accountants think of numbers, physicists of formulae, geologists of rocks, sport professionals of sport? Do people always think of aspects of their chosen careers?

I think it's what directs us in life, to what we genuinely want to grow up to be.

Writers are a curious breed, we not only need to understand the language in which we write, but also the subject matter; imagination isn't enough. We have to acquire a working knowledge of the subject, how a bridge is constructed so we can collapse it, how accountancy works so we can defraud, how to break the laws of physics, whether granite is more dense than concrete to gauge shrapnel, the rules or physical requirements of baseball, football or curling so we can introduce a player who isn't atypical.

A writer doesn't need multiple degrees to work in the craft, but they do need to know how to research the subject; basically they need to lie well enough that the reader will believe.

Without this skill, Harry Potter would have been just another children's book, Bella and Edward, just another angst-ridden teenaged couple, Robert Langdon would be an ordinary symbol interpreter. I should note I've only read Harry Potter, but the popularity surrounding all the books is staggering, thus demonstrating just how effective research, imagination and technique can be.

Nano is an opportunity for first time writers and experienced hacks like me. An idea is nothing until it is given a forum - and Nano is the perfect arena for those ideas to be given life.

Consider the goal - 50,000 words. Consider the time frame - one month. And before you defeat yourself by wondering if you can do it, consider the prize - a book, or a large chunk of one.

Imagination is now, for Nano; the research and techniques can wait for December, or January when the smug has worn thin... or maybe that's just me?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pressure

I'm feeling a little pressured at the moment.

I have a book to post on Wednesday and I still have to go through the final, final edits; I also volunteered my time this month for some donation collecting and, as you know, it's been a tough month. Tomorrow is AFL grand final day, Tuesday family is visiting and Crystal Healer turned up in the mail box. I am tempted to ignore everything, curl up in a comfortable corner of the couch and just read.

Ain't gonna happen, so I've prioritised. (Is this the first step in my decline into organising?)

Tomorrow, I'll ramble up and down the streets, charming people out of their money. Then I watch the grand final. Sunday and Monday, with Tuesday morning set aside as spare time, I'll do the book, re-do the cover and post. Then I get to do the edits on the last book of the trilogy - probably... hmmm, at work on Friday, so next weekend.

I think I'll get to reading for pleasure oh, about December?

Of course, everything is subject to change...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red Dawn

Photo: Kate Geraghty

Yep, Sydney this morning. The news is also reporting Melbourne was shaken by a couple of earthquakes and Hobart is being dumped upon from a great height with buckets of rain. Oh, and we've already had a bushfire in our local area.

Weird weather? Pissy Mother Nature? Climate change?.

Well... there's this story on the shrinking of the ozone hole over Antarctica where a reduction in the use of household chemicals is credited with a narrowing of the hole.

It's been raining red mud here and there's a fine layer of dust on everything. It's unusual, but the same thing happened a couple of years ago - with similar squeally 'It looks like Armageddon!' 'birds are falling out of the sky!' and 'my cat's gone missing!' comments from sophisticated city folk.

The dust, of course, comes from the Outback. With low rainfall this winter, the spring winds pick up the dust and blow it towards the coast. Wind is the harbinger of spring - happens every year. With an impending El Nino event predicted, the atmosphere is dry. But when the wind turns in a 180, the fog will roll in because the water temperature is cooler than the air temperature and mist develops.

Earthquakes? On Saturday, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story warning Australians to Be Prepared for Volcanoes. Could be Victoria is about to erupt.

Excessive rain in Tasmania? No, it copes a lot rain most years.

Bushfires. El Nino is drying everything out, the weather is warming sooner.

Climate change, then. I have issue with the man-made climate change proponents. The Earth's weather moves in cycles larger and for longer than we've been around with our technology. Can a scientist tell me the hole in the ozone layer has never happened before? That the Earth hasn't been warmer than it is now followed by much colder weather? I could go on... but I won't.

The point is (yes, there is one) that weather and climate (and they are different) constantly changes. We only notice when we're jerked out of our nice, comfortable assumptions.

World building works in a similar fashion. When you've built your world - environment, civilisations, religions, political structures, military, etc. - the arrival of a comet, unusual weather, can cause all manner of upheaval: think religious portent, prophecy; a strong military that suddenly finds itself helpless; an all-powerful civilian government in panic mode; the public focusing on a man in the street holding a sign that reads 'the end is nigh' and realising it's true.

How would an impending natural catastrophe affect your world? It takes a lot of work to create a new world, a new civilisation, but so little effort to destroy it and the consequences can make for an intriguing book.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bad Days

Suffice to say it's been a brutal few days.

All I will say is that Saxon was sick, she died in my arms and I'm still really upset. I'll be picking up her ashes on Thursday and then attending the funeral of a family friend's father. As I said, a brutal few days.

I now understand the idea of working, of concentrating on other things, to take your mind off tragedy.

I'm waiting for the third disaster, but I really hope it doesn't happen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preparing

I'm actually off looking after my ailing dog, and I'm working on edits to post a book on Scribd by the end of the month. Not sure how long either will take...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Font speak

Every now and then, I come across a column in the newspaper that just tickles me.

Richard Glover, in the weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, had a column that made me smile - and wonder.

Entitled, Funny Fonts Key to the Futura it begins thus:

I'VE decided to change the font in which I speak. I've spent a lifetime conversing in Arial 14-point but I'm finding it a bit meek and self-effacing as an everyday speaking font... I've now chosen Baskerville Old Face 16 as my new font for daily discourse, lapsing into Goudy Stout 32-point when drunk.

...

Drinking certainly affects your speaking font. My father used to prattle on in a Times New Roman monotone, usually in about 12-point, until he'd had a few gin and tonics, after which he'd revert to Lancastrian Redfaced Bold in a hearty 96-point bellow. It was as if he needed the extra size to speak over the roar of machinery in the English coal mine to which we'd all suddenly been transported.

Among drinkers, this is common. The font becomes increasingly italicised as the night goes on, tending to be horizontal by midnight.

With other people, it's more about mood than alcohol. Jocasta normally employs an elegant Palatino Linotype but when enraged loses all her serifs, lapsing into a punchy Gill Condensed. Occasionally, she even employs 104-point BLOCK CAPITALS, a process so discombobulating I find myself only able to reply in very tiny Wingdings.


I know some people who display some of the above and I shall probably never listen to anyone speak again without thinking about what font their speaking. (I think my background as a desktop publisher and journalist will exacerbate the problem, since I spent a lot of time working out what fonts to use.)

Me, I guess I'm a working font, Times Roman 12, who drops into very precise Edwardian Script 104 (bold and italic) when consuming alcohol.

So, what font are you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On time

I'm actually ahead of schedule for the editing - all the second book needs is for me to input the corrections - and it's done; the third book needs a tad of research to make sure people in Thailand don't laugh at me.

The thing is, the second book, Winter's Heart, is due for posting on Scribd by the end of September and the third book, Autumn's Fall, is slated for the end of October.

That's so I'm in a similar mindset to finish the 'trilogy in four parts' during November. Yeah, NaNoWriMo.

At the moment, I have some significant ideas on the characters involved, the where, the when, good guys, bad guys, guys just doing their jobs. I don't have a title yet, or the main man's name - I'll have to hunt up something exotic. A manly-man cannot go through life with the name 'Spring', and I can't see a suitable contraction either, so.

The woe is November is still seven weeks away an' I wanna do it now!

Seven weeks of having this story roaming around the canyons in my head, stewing in it's own juices, and other metaphors you might think of. Still, I expect by the time I put fingers to keyboard, it will all work out.

And for those thinking "Crikey! One book for Nano? It'll be massive!", no it won't be. I'll also be writing the sequel to Huntress, which, I'm absolutely chuffed to say, some people have e-mailed me about.

Once those two are done, well, who knows? Something new?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Newbies

Over at Shadow and Fang, Kait Nolan has a post on Why Do Pantsers Get So Riled Up About Planning? It got me thinking about new authors.

Not the writers who clutch their first published novel in palsied hands, but those just starting out.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an idea must be in want of a novel. A truth acknowledged by anyone who ever set pen to paper, or finger to keyboard.

There are other universal truths, but I shan't go into the argument of whether a writer is born or develops - both are true.

Do you remember the moment when that first shiny idea popped into your head and you had to write it down? Do you remember the moment you realised it wasn't working and set it aside? Do you remember the next brilliant idea and promising that this time you'll finish it? And setting it aside.

Do you recall thinking that maybe you need to do some research on how other, published authors worked and deciding that their way was the gold-paved road to success? That you went out and bought 'How To...' books that now fill your shelves? That once you'd read those book, it all became clear and you set about writing that great novel you dreamed about.

And then came that magical moment when you wrote... The End. Oh, the thrill, the glee, the happy dance and wonder. It's done! It's brilliant! My God, you're a genius! And visions of book contracts, adoring fans, awards and money start dancing in you head.

Oh, well. Lucky you. Me, I was tired, chuffed, but tired. Even had myself a celebratory drink.

I handed the piece around, received various comments and thought it good. And, as you can imagine, reality slammed my fingers in the door when I hunted up a professional comment. It was certainly as painful.

Well, that sucker now dwells in a bottom drawer, unread, unedited, but a reminder of how the gloss can quickly tarnish under real scrutiny - and that book was severely scrooted.

I wallowed in self-recrimination for some time until I realised the criticisms had nothing to do with me, but the work. It's a hard lesson to learn and it takes time and intestinal fortitude to move on to the next work. I mean, what if this one sucks, too? And the next one? How will the ego survive such hammer blows?

Answer: by learning from your mistakes, but understanding that writing is in a constant state of flux, by knowing that the more you read and write, the better you'll become.

It matters not whether you obsessive plan a novel, or think of an idea and run with it. New authors cannot afford to precious about their work, or their attitude.

Learn from the masters, but do not mistake their way of writing for the best way; there is only your way.

I like to think I've improved since that first piece of nonsense. Writing it taught me a lot, most importantly that I could finish writing a novel. I understood the good and the awful about it - and set it aside for new work. Not as bad as the first, but again, in the drawer to keep The Saracen's Apprentice company, and so on until I felt confident enough to release work out into the wild world.

How good is my work now? I leave that to the readers. I'm constantly working to update my skills, because unless I'm happy with the piece, it ain't goin' nowhere.

As Yoda said: Do, or do not, there is no try.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Review: Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl

In New York an antique bronze case containing an ancient Roman scroll is sold.

In Savannah, Minerva Starret begins a new job at an investment firm and walks into tragedy.

Shadowlight continues in the dark, sensual world of Darkyn, although its focus is on the Kyndred, ‘made from birth to be unique among humans’, developed, in essence, by the Brethren to fight the Darkyn. But something went wrong and the orphans were scattered, adopted out to families, without knowing of their special talents – until they experience their first ‘death’.

Shadowlight centres around one of these orphans, Jessa Bellamy, whose strange talent leads her to open Phoenix Inc., a company that performs background checks for clients’ new employees.

GenHance tries to hire Jessa, but in truth, is after her talent and attempt to ‘take’ her. Instead, the mysterious Gaven Matthias steps in and kidnaps her to protect her from the all-powerful GenHance – what the company can do to destroy a person is frightening as it strikes the right balance with what modern technology and people in the right place can accomplish in today’s society of computerised records.

Jessa finds Matthias’ explanations are outrageous; he cannot know her secret, for she has never told it. As she explores her new environment, she becomes aware of others like her.

She becomes the object of obsession by the man from whom Matthias rescued her.

This book also sees a return of characters from the Darkyn series: the tough cop Samantha Brown, her life partner the arrogant and domineering Darkyn assassin, Lucan and a cameo appearance by Dr Alexandra Keller.

Action, sometimes brutal, abounds in this book, and lifts the book to the next level. Ms Viehl carefully builds the sensuality between the two main characters while also focusing on Jessa’s confusion that she’s not the only one with a talent.

Though at times it has the feel of an X-Men comic – which I love - this book expands on the world-building of the Darkyn series with a more in depth look at the talents hinted at in the Darkyn novels.

Anyone coming to this series without reading the Darkyn will find it an excellent place to start, with explanations of both Darkyn, Kyndred and the suggestion of a link between the two enough to tempt a new reader to the previous series.

Shadowlight comes with a preview of the next novel, Dreamveil, which I await with anticipation.

Shadowlight will be released on 8 October, 2009 and Dreamveil will be released in June, 2010.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thanks, Sara

Yesterday I forgot to thank someone: so, a big thanks, ta muchly and excellent job to Sara in Oregon who helped me with Summer's Rule.

With Sara's help, the book improved, made more sense and... a plot flaw may not have been discovered.

So, thank you, Sara and good luck with your book.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

It is done

After a very long edit process, Summer's Rule is finally done and posted on Scribd.

Hmm... I must have an eager fan or two: it's been up an hour and had seven downloads already. (Waves to fan! Hiya!)

Still, the job ain't done yet. I kinda left the ending hangin' a little. Guess I'd better get on with editing the second book.

These three NaNos must be cleared off the decks before November. I got plans...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Tempus Fugit

Whoa! Friday? Already? Where did the week go? I'm only halfway through the final read of Summer's Rule!

I mean crikey, I'm going to be busy for the next... hmm... three months! It is fortunate I like wordsmithing because I've set myself up for some intensive work - no doubt I shall be blogging in bites.

But as Virgil said: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus - But it flees in the meantime: irretrievable time flees.

Which means I'd better get back to it...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Morning

I am sleep deprived.

Yes, I've finished inputting the final edits and all I need do is let the ms rest for a day, then re-read to make last minute adjustments. It's been long and tiring work, but that's not why I'm lacking in sleep.

Two words: Thuh Dawg.

Saxon is an elderly beastie at seventeen who usually will sleep through the night. Not for the past few days, oh no.

Do you know how early five a.m. is? It's that time of the morning when the air is crisp and fresh, with the scent of wood smoke from the fires a little further south. It's still dark! The horizon in the East is lightly brushed with white-yellow, ready to paint the sunrise - and the dog is bumbling around outside, searching for an inconvenient place to do her business. That was yesterday morning.

Last night, around midnight, she was up with the squits. I gave her some canned dog food that didn't agree with her. Three a.m. and she got herself stuck under the bed, whinged until I gently dragged her out. She settled down until... Five a.m. and she's up wanting a drink of water. I got up because if I don't and she needs to out... well, I hate cleaning up messes. Miserable hound looks at me as if to say "What? I'm drinkin' here!" and wanders back to her bed.

So. I'm up. I'm awake. And with latte in hand, watched another glorious sunrise.

There's something to be said about wallowing in the beginning of a new day. No traffic, the kangaroos are nibbling grass on the neighbours front lawn, and the birds are singing opera to the sun as it rises over the Bay.

Not a bad way to start the day... if it didn't start so damned early!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Deadlines

My self-imposed deadline looms.

So far, it's taken me nearly a month to edit a book that took me nine days to write during NaNo. I've added two chapters and eight thousand words with a little over fifty pages (double spaced) to between now and Tuesday.

And I'm about to insert a new scene.

Yes, I do recall having a day off this week, but I really needed it after working on the book for twenty days straight. Of course, that doesn't help with the deadline.

If it's self-imposed, I hear you ask, why stress about it?

Discipline, my young Padwans, discipline.

To finish anything you must have focus; the drive isn't enough. And by setting a deadline, you have goal to aim for. It doesn't have to be a big goal - writing a scene by day's end, a chapter by week's end is good enough. Reach it, and you can reward yourself; fail, and there's that nagging sense of guilt until you do finish. Discipline.

Maybe that's just me, though.

My reward for completing the edits and final read through by EOB Tuesday? Come Wednesday, I get to start editing the second book - and I already have plans for a prologue.

The bigger deadline is to have all three books done by 31 October. We all know what November is - and I've got plans for that, too.

So, enough of fooling around - I've got a deadline.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shiney

Today I'm taking a break from editing - I have a wee jobbie application to finish.

Of course, that doesn't mean I ain't rootling around the internet. Of particular procrastinating interest is from Paperback Writer's site on web personas, ie, what the web thinks of you.

Of course, it doesn't help if you have an identical name to someone else - like a fashion model - mooching on the 'net, but it's an odd distraction.

Ah, well, enough blog-hopping: Genreality, Voyager Online, Smart Bitches, Medieval Cookery. Driblets of Baen is probably the worst - too many book excerpts and not enough time. And for those creating their own book covers, try Cool Text for the title.

I need to get some jobs done!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moving on

Yeah, we lost the Ashes and the country mourns...

Over it, now moving on. For all the delete, cut, paste, hack and slash, I've also added twenty pages of finely honed, carefully constructed text... or not. I'll have to re-read once these edits are done.

It's easy to become mired in the scene, the slow progress and then wonder if you've spent too much time on a particular issue, or whether the middle is sagging. It could be that when I re-read, I'll roll my eyes and have to start the edits again. I don't think so but it's a possibility.

I'm not bored yet, the story still sits well, with the adjustments. And I'm half way. I'm determined to complete more pages today than usual. Which means I need to stop stuffing about on the Internet.

I have a few distractions in the real world, which doesn't help - from being without the precious coffee machine (I want my LATTE!), because it's being serviced, to family and job issues.

And the Ashes... the Holy Grail of cricket; gone, lost. Returned to the Auld Enemy. If they'd asked me, I'd have said Brett Lee! But no, obviously they didn't hear me shouting at the television, the deaf buggers. Of course, I would have made other changes, too.

Really, I'm over it...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Well, that sucks

Sometimes, it sucks to be a sports fan. I've not watched any games, but caught updates while working on edits. Still, here's a run down of angst:

Soccer - Man U loses to... Burnley?
Rugby League - St George loses to Brisbane.
Rugby Union - Once again, the Wallabies snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the All Blacks.
Aussie Rules - Richmond is crushed by Hawthorn.
Cricket - Australia are heading to defeat and losing the Ashes.

The only saving grace is that Dallas thumped the Titans.

Sigh

Back to work. So many pages, so little time...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Progress

Still slogging my way through edits and rewrites, shifting scenes, adding scenes, expanding character roles...

I really want this to be done; not because I'm over it - I like this book - or it's too much like hard work - it is - but I want to get on with the sequel.

So far, nothing I've fixed in this book affects the next one - so far; that, of course, could change in the next week or so.

Some days, progress is achingly slow, others have minor adjustments.

I guess I'm all about fast joyous writing and slow painful edits. It's that ol' seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time. When your mind is full of the story, near bursting at the seams and you have to write it down.

Then it's the initial read through, the wincing at the passives and weird motivations, the shaking of the head and wondering 'what was I thinking?'

Well, this book ain't gonna be done with me on the 'net! Time to write a new scene to make the appearance of a Deus Ex Machina at the end go away. It was a mental leap during the writing that I thought finished everything nicely, only... I didn't give any clues. Not good. Not good at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In reverse

The simplest solution is often the best, or the K.I.S.S. scenario.

I'm sure I thought of that when writing this book - I mean, anything more complex during NaNo and you're gonna get into trouble! - and still it came out more complicated than I wanted.

Still, I've reversed out of the plot hole and backed up a chapter. This scene, while it has some nifty things, has to go. With a few tweaks to a previous scene, I think I can make the conflicts more realistic.

But before I do that, I have to go and sort out why the first chapters won't print and why I have a frelling 'Autoplay' search going.

Sigh.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Major/minor

Just to take my mind off the major work, I've put a minor work over on The Takeaway.

Plot hole

So there I was, happily driving down the editing highway when bang! I hit a plot hole.

A big one; a deep, dark plot hole that ripped the undercarriage right of the book, and without the undercarriage, you ain't goin' nowhere.

It's tough, climbing out of that hole, all bruised ego and dented pride, to look at the wreck. Everything else is shiny, gleaming with a new coat of words and sentences that blend together nicely. But underneath is a mess of twisted reasoning all busted up because of a weak frame.

It seemed fine at the time of writing. All logical because of the characters involved and the situation, but on review, it doesn't seem credible.

I'm wondering if it can be repaired. I'm pretty sure I've got a spare plot, I just have to remember where I put it. I've got the tools, so that's something. And maybe the damage isn't so bad; I just have to adjust the thinking of a couple of characters. Though I still have to straighten out the why of it. And there's no bigger question than 'why'.

The two trailers, books two and three, seem fine, but they're not going anywhere either. I'm gonna have to drag them back to the first draft parking lot with the others until I get this fixed.

I think I'll sit on the side of the road for a while, under the shade of a thoughtfully placed Blog Tree, see if any branches are strong enough to help me get back on track.

It's a long walk back to the parking lot for a book to take down the editing highway. But I'm not giving up on this or any other drafts. The road is already littered with the wrecks of others who gave up; I'm not adding any of mine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The karma fairy

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed, or at least go anywhere.

Thursday is my go-into-town-and-shop-day. The traffic - and I should point out that I live in the country, so when I say 'traffic', I usually mean one or two cars ahead of me, maybe three during peak hour - was a bit slow; it took a little over half an hour for a normal twenty minute drive.

But, I no complain. There were plenty of parking spaces in the local town, no problem... but...

I go to my coffee shop for my tasty little bottle of coffee cordial; tiramisu flavour. It's a treat for me and I have to ration it or I'd consume way wa-ay too much of the stuff. The lady behind the counter informs me the company has decided to stop making it. This is shattering news to me. What will I have now? Sigh. I bought the last two bottles in the shop and moved on, heartbroken.

I'm sure everyone who's ever been shopping has stood in line and had people line up behind them because the person at the counter is a) rummaging around for cash, b) trying to find a credit card that works, c) wants to exchange the item they have because this one is damaged, or d) all of the above.

For me, it was c). But, I no complain; it happens. Cue second check out chick who just arrived: "If you'd like to come to this register?" And everyone behind me makes a dash.

Normally, I roll my eyes and wait patiently. As I said: it happens.

Next shop, however, b) happens. The second register opens and everyone behind me makes a dash, leaving me nonplussed. Twice? In one day?

Next shop, and it's a new one: Five check outs are open and I figure I'm safe. One of the check out machines blows a gasket. Ahead of me, the customer presents the items and says someone else is paying for them. Oh, right... but the check out chick doesn't know how to do it and the line behind me is growing. The check out lady next to me says... "If you'd all like to come to this register?"

And I am left gobsmacked. Once, well, it happens; twice I think is bad luck, but three times? Talk about being run over by the karma fairy!

I admit it, I sulked, went off and bought some books and I can say no-one got in my way during the fifteen minutes it took me to drive home.

So now, I'm going to put my feet up and read one, damn it. Surely I can't get into any trouble doing that?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Edits and apology

I admit it: I'm struggling with the edits.

I've been at it for, hmm, four days and I'm currently on page 47. For me, that's nowhere near good enough. Worse, I'm perilously close to having two info-dumps within those 47 pages, though I think since the information is divulged through conversation, I'm safe... ish.

I've also added a prologue and new software.

The complication is the red ink. Every author expects red ink; if they don't, then I'm guessing their not from around here, as in planet Earth.

There's more red ink in this manuscript than I'm comfortable with - but that's a slap at my arrogance than anything else. It's rather a humbling experience to think you've all but done the work, send it out for a final read-through and have it come back a more vibrant colour than you sent it out.

Now then. An apology. To Kait Nolan over at Shadow and Fang for my rather snotty remarks during the "Left Behind and Loving It" workshops. Kait's contribution was on how she went from a pantser (organic) writer to a plotter. Kait put a lot of work into the posts, giving examples, indicating helpful software, the myths and facts between the two schools, dissecting the whys and wherefores and how to guide yourself to the final product. It was disrespectful of me to dismiss the information, post a comment and not read any further than the initial post; for that, I genuinely apologise.

Go over to the site and track down all the posts from the LB&LI series and discover the differences and similarities between the two writing styles. And since I'm trying not to be a total dick about writing one way or the other, I've downloaded Simon Haynes' yWriter to try.

Write and learn; it's an ongoing process for all writers. But I won't give up. Nevah, I tell you, Nevah-evah!

I fully expect (yeah, arrogance again) that once I sweep away all the red, a newer, better, completely black book will arise. It's just going to take time.