Saturday, August 29, 2009


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


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.


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

Thursday, August 20, 2009


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.


Saturday, August 15, 2009


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.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Over the weekend - and in between Australia pummelling England in the Ashes series - I watched Inside the Actors Studio.

James Lipton interviewed Barbra Streisand. It may be an old interview, but I enjoyed it. I think she's rare talent. Anyway, one thing she said resonated with me. Ms Streisand isn't the one who said it, but cited it as an inspiration:

If you make a commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.

When you think of all the unhappy, stressed people in the world, working a jobs they despise, all because they have families to support/it's the right thing to do/it's expected of them/for whatever reason, and then you look at the people who are happy in their lives because they refused to adhere to social expectations, the above phrase is probably the unconscious motivation for them.

It's all a matter of perspective. I've heard many a tale of friends who stick with jobs they don't like because of 'moral obligation' but would rather paint, write, sculpt, or simply shift from public service to gardener or shopkeeper. Most are too afraid to take that leap because their current job gives them security. And they will throw aside their own dreams in the name of that security.

I don't blame them; in this economic climate, holding down a job someone else pays you for is the best thing you can have.

If you make a commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.

I'm guessing you have to be on the right path before the universe will pay attention; all you have to do is find it.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Whoo-hoo! Got the computer back after an irritatingly long delay. Now I can git back to werk; which means, of course, I've been mooching about the internet...

I could spend - and have - significant time looking at the Tropes website. There are so many! Who knew? It's one of those site where you think "Just one more" and two hours later, you're wondering where the time went.

What is a trope?

Tropes are storytelling devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.

This page has the good, the bad, the very ugly, and the oh-my-God-how-stupid-is-that? I need something to distract me, I keep returning for 'one more look'...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Nope, the computer isn't ready for pick-up. In fact, it won't be ready until tomorrow.

I tell you, if I hadn't been so busy working on the edits, my brain cells would have suggested I simply buy a new video card and install the damn thing myself!

I cain't do nuffink at work until my baybee's 'ome.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


So the fix-it-now-I-needs-it computer man says the video card is on the fritz because of corrosion. I'm guessing it has something to do with living by the sea; or maybe the mouse that died in there last year. Humidity can be hell on computers.

Unfortunately, my beloved machine won't be ready until Wednesday. I tell you, fate - when she gets fed up with you - will either gee you along with a slap-in-the-face opportunity, or put roadblocks in your way, suggesting it's not time to move on.

If I lived in a city, the computer would probably be fixed in a couple of days; but I don't, so it won't be.

In the meantime, I'm downloading stuff onto the laptop so I can get on with it! And gaining access to cyber-world took the most time. (Yeah, yeah, if I'd actually read the instruction manual it wouldn't have taken so long.) And other stuff I have on the desktop but not the laptop.

Anyway... something to amuse you from Jill Shalvis' site: