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Violas edit

Several ideas to edit the story hit me on the drive into the office this morning.  Each thought was triggered by techniques in the Think Sideways class, and I haven’t even applied the techniques intentionally yet, this is my brain/muse putting all this together on the back burner of my consciousness.    Loving it, loving the story, and I can’t to see how it’s really going to end. 

It just might take a while to get to, since I’ve got the family visit, the birthday party, and the vacation to deal with.  And that trip to NY I’ve been hoping for may happen in early December, so… I need to hang onto these thoughts and hope I don’t lose the feel for it before then.

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Oh!

Think Sideways — worth every penny.  Seriously.

This is probably the third time I’ve read these chapters, and while I thought they were informative on the previous reads, they’re downright perfect now.  I’m discovering what’s wrong with my story.  Several things, and it’s not even the writing; it goes deeper than that.  And unfortunately, I think the theme I was writing the story for no longer applies. 

I’m going to have to play with my options a bit and see where the heart of this story is.  If the theme no longer applies, then I’ll follow what does apply, and give this story the life it deserves.  I have other ideas I can try for the parsec contest.  At the very least, the contest itself led me to the path where I found this story, and that’s no small thing.

Continuing with Think Sideways tonight and tomorrow, will get to the applicable assignments, and then we’ll see what comes of this.

Thank you, Holly Lisle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend update

It’s no secret that my life is a little crazy right now.  I originally planned to not write from the 20th until the end of the month, not realizing I’d start feeling the pressure (serious pressure) the week before that.  Editing has failed me, writing has failed me.  I’m struggling with Black Violas, and I can’t see the forest nor the tress for the forest, and that should give you an idea of how far off base my writing barometer is as the moment.

Still, I attempted to write and wasted a good two hours last night.  I’d read what I wrote, make a change, start reading again and zone out.  Each time that started, the zoning would happen sooner.  There’s something wrong with this story, and I have no idea what.  So, I’m going back to the beginning, thinking about how I wrote this one, to see where I missed something.

And that’s when I recalled that I used a modified version of Holly’s Think Sideways methods for story creation.  So I spent the next two hours pouring through class material, looking for the next step, a link from the writing to the revising that might trigger my internal editor to get back to work.  I made it through five lessons, without neccessarily completing the assignments so much as writing notes “do this” in a notebook.  I’m about to approach the revision sections, will probably get there tonight, and hopefully, get some answers.

sharing knowledge

I love to share what I know, especially when it’s a topic I’m passionate about–like writing.  I think most of my blog readers are the friends I’ve made from forward motion, but I’d really like to hear from other friends.   I’m thinking about composing some posts with writing information for those of you who are interested in learning more.  It’ll mostly be my approach/philosophy with links to other sources on that topic.

I’ve learned a lot over the years, am still learning, but I want to share.  In the interest of writing these posts for someone other than myself, please reply in comments if you’d like to read anything of this nature.  If you have questions, post those too and I’ll see if I can help.

Writing is hard.  Writing alone is harder.

medical scare

I knew November was going to be chaotic, but not this bad.  The last week has been riddled with worry and regret and intense “what if” planning, making it the longest week of my life.  My dad’s medical scare is still an issue, but what was leaning toward a diagnosis of liver cancer is moving toward something else.  Not sure what that something else is yet, but it’s got my dad feeling more hopeful and there’s even more hope in that.

Writing has slipped to the background for a few days, and probably will for a few more, but Black Violas is awaiting my attention, as is Carter’s crit.  I’m not getting lost this time.

thursday thursday

It was a strange Thursday.  Rough day at the Day Job, lots of stress, and a little disappointment that the day job issue kept me from getting to the post office.  Well, the story will get out on Friday after I drop the kids off at school.  

No writing done in the evening, no editing.  I reviewed Black Violas, considering it for my next edit project, but I don’t know if I’m ready.  I’m reading it, I like it, there are obvious places where the writing itself needs to be fixed, but I don’t know what to do about the story itself.  I had a thought that first person would suit this one better, and since I had that many times while writing it, I think I need to try that route.  I also had a thought of swapping the MC from the daughter to the mom.  Their roles seem to be interchangeable as I have it now in the story.  If I reverse their roles and the troubles they’ve experienced, it might come out more emotional.  And I suddenly notice I’ve gravitated toward older characters in my writing. 

inspiration

I thought I was done with Fading Light, but it wasn’t done with me.

My copy of “Federations” arrived yesterday, and I finally got a chance to start reading it.  The first story “Mazer in Prison” by Orson Scott Card sang to me.  The story was wonderful, and I went to reread it –analytically– and decided I really liked the character’s voice, the way he told his story without telling even though he presented fact.

And I realized I was missing that.  Connor was missing that.  So I went back to Fading Light and dug back into Connor’s problems and how he viewed the world and adjusted a few words here and there to shine a better light on things, and then something huge hit me about the ending.  I totally missed this amazing thing he could do.

And now he’s done it. 

And the story is ready to go.  For real.

fading light —- done

Insane editing/fixing/re-editing over lunch. The story is good to go.

fading light cont’d

Worked on the manuscript with paper and pen, worked in most of the new changes (which now require transcribing).  Still need to rename the great spirits, but not feeling much creatively tonight (family worries).   I may have to skip my lunchtime workout to get this done…  my workout buddy is going to kill me.

October Results & November Goals

October proved to be a wonderful month for writing.  I stuck with it all month, accomplishing a variety of work.  I’m quite pleased with it, and hope I can keep it up through next month.  November promises chaos: my son’s first birthday, a short vacation, a family visit, and Thanksgiving: all in the same week.  I may need to fly back home early in the month for an unplanned family issue as well.  I’m scheduling the first three weeks of the month for writing and planning my goals according to the time I believe is available outside of preparing for these committments.

And no, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but for everyone who is: best of luck and have a blast!

October Accomplishments:
* Fading Light: edited; submitted to crit group, re-edit in progress;
* Watering the Black Violas: first draft written
* Hunter’s Honor: edited; submitted to crit group
* Critiques completed: 3
* POV Workshop: 4/4 segments complete
* Novel Reading: slowly working through Game of Thrones
* Market Research for Hunter & Fading Light
* Started planning 2010 writing goals: novel projects selected, submission-hopeful short stories selected (yes I am forever thinking ahead to my next projects)

November Goals:
* Fading Light: complete edit and submission
* Watering the Black Violas: edit
* Nighthunter’s Bite: write 1st draft (and rename)
* Critiques: 2
* Novel Reading (con’t Game of Thrones)
* Hunter’s Honor: edit (tentative)

fading light on hallows eve

I’m working on Fading Light tonight.  My crit group gave me several fantastic crits.  I missed 2 – 3 critical points for truly bringing this story alive.  One was entirely absent, but the other two are there, just below the surface.  I just need to name them.

It won’t be done in time for me to submit before month-end, but that was my own self-imposed goal to make sure I got it out the door.  A few more days is fine.

organizing

Not exciting but good for the writing soul. ๐Ÿ˜‰  I organized a ton of notes I’d been emailing myself for the past two years and dropped all those notes into Word files.  I feel much better now.

workshopping

I played catch-up today with the POV workshop Valerie is running on FM.  Completed exercise numbers two and four.  I also had a revelation today regarding my novel Forgotten Star, which I plan on editing is 2010.  For some reason, it suddenly hit me this might be a YA novel.  Who would have guessed?

Tuesday

Mostly household stuff today, and family issues.  I started and completed a critique for David, and hopefully didn’t go too wild making comments. 

the value of a word

Since I began writing seriously ten years ago, there have been a few notable breaks from the writing for me.  Two had to do with pregnancies and childbirth, a third was related to insane stress and unusual living circumstances, and the others were writing related.  Critiques.  I can take a rejection from an editor much easier than I can take a harsh critique.  Twice now, I’ve received critiques that have sent me running (screaming) from writing.  The critiques were not wrong, I just wasn’t ready to understand them and put them to use.  They intimitdated me from my writing, cropping up doubts in my ability, giving power to self-pity.

I have two stories out for critique right now.  One came back with numerous and consisten comments on what worked and what didn’t, with comments citing disapointment in the outcome compared to a promise in the beginning, paths in the story that didn’t get addressed, some grammar issues.  These were presented in a manner in which I digested them easily.  They were learning-worthy.  I love those kind of crits. 

But my other story received a crit in a very different fashion: the kind that usually sends me running.  With comments such as “poorly written” and “hated it” beginning the crit, it took me two hours of repeated attempts to get past such cold comments to get to the points this critiquer had made.  One some counts, I agree with some of the issues, on others- I don’t.  But I fought with it.  Grappled with it.

Unneccessarily, perhaps.  Because in the end, it’s feedback and I can do with it what I want.  But that doesn’t stop the sting of someone hating what I’ve created.

I have to remind myself that if I want a career as a writer, there will always be someone who hates what I create.   Many someones. 

This guy gave me feedback that I asked for, and while it isn’t in the warm-fuzzy-learning-joy kind of critique, it’s still a critique with points I can use to better my story.  To the extent he wants?  Probably not.  It’s my story.  I’ll pick.  I’ll choose.  And I’ll learn what I can.

What do YOU do with crits you struggle with, right or wrong?

quiet few days

The writing has been quiet for a few days.  A nasty cold hit too, so I’m glad I finished the Hunter revisions early.  I’m torn now between starting the next revision for Fading Light.  I haven’t received too many crits back (and I hate to be impatient and ask people for crits).  The two crits I received were accurate; I agree with most points made and at this point, I can’t imagine there is too much more to point out.  I’m printing the latest version and the crits I have, and I’ll look at it tomorrow night.  I can at least start marking up the printout and judge how I feel.

I’ve also started market research for Hunter’s Honor and am pleased it fits the criterea for JJA’s Way of the Wizard anthology.   It also fits my favorite fantasy zines, but I’m starting with JJA’s antho.

hunter revisions and the weight of honor

I am so glad I decided to edit this story. Revisions are in full swing and I am loving it. I’m still not sure what the title is, but it’ll come to me before this edit is complete. I thought for a long time that this story was about racism, but the characterized racism stems from a terrible event that ocurred because one man did not act honorably, and someone had to stop him by any means, and did. That’s not honor either, but for a people who respect honor to this degree… well, that’s pretty drastic.

New scenes are going in tonight, and then a full edit/cleanup pass.

hunterย revisions

I think I’ve been really hard on myself lately in regard to my writing quality. I reread Violas today, and while the writing is fairly plain, it’s not the horrible disaster I thought it was. The ending will need tweaking for sure, but the story seems solid. Same situation with Hunter. I thought it was a complete rewrite, but after analyzing it tonight, that’s an extreme option that I don’t think the story needs to deal with.

The focus has changed, and Daymar is no longer the “Hunter, Hunted” but he’s still a hunter, and while the tables have turned on him, his role, his task has become much more complicated than simply capturing an evil witch. Scenes need to be added, other bits need to be removed, and then everything smoothed and edited. I have faith in this story. I can’t believe I wrote this over five years ago. I need to give it some life already.

what a week

This has been a roller coaster week between the baby boy’s needs (ear infection and cutting two teeth) and the writing success (short story publication). I maybe achieved half the writing time I aimed for, but I supposed that I even made half of it is a win.

Writing agenda this week: Hopefully with the boy feeling better, I can get some regular writing time in. I need need need to finish this short story, and I need to crit for a guy in my group.

violas tonight

Character work tonight, and plotting. I’m putting a lot of time into this, I know, but I want to see what the end result will be or if I am unconsciously procrastinating. Will post update when I have the answer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

there’s a thought

I’ve been using the Think Sideways techniques for novel ideas, but why can’t I use it on my short stories? I’m going to test it out on Violas, possibly tonight….

posted: 7:47 PM, power loss 8:04 PM — proof of Murphy’s existance in my life

September Results/ October Goals

September was a good month as I was able to pull myself back into the writing. I don’t have a lot of completed work, but there are projects in progress that will continue into October. Family stuff may come up mid-month, but hopefully I can work around that. This is the final quarter of the year — time to own up to those goals I made in January. At least, as best I can at this point.

September Results

submissions — 1

acceptance — 1

joined crit group

crits — 2

short story edits — 2 in progress

short story drafts — 1 in progress

novel reading — Game of Thrones, Martin (in progress)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

October Goals

fading light edit

fading light to crit group

fading light final edit

fading light submission (dependent upon lvl of edit needed)

viola first draft

hunter edit

crits – 2+

novel reading

fm pov workshop

Progress

Two crits done today (one was a quickie), and brainstormed on Viola. I’m closer to the science answers, the research helped, but I still need to nail it down.

so much to write, so little time

Hunter isn’t an edit, it’s a rewrite. The new ending I have in mind is good, and it ties together the story threads quite nicely. I want to salvage a few parts of the original story, I worked in a lot of imagery that adds to the ghostly feel of the story and I want to keep that. The main character is still the hunter, but he’s not so much hunted as he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. He becomes judge jury and executioner.

As for the parsec story, I’ve jotted down about a dozen ideas I could write. I’m going to pick my favorite and run with it. The contest allows up to four entries per writer, so I’ll take it one story at a time, and just try to vary the use of the theme and genre to make them as different as possible. I started the first story over lunch, and it’s a little creepy. I wrote the ending first actually, which is unusual for me, and the fate of these characters is kind of sickening but fascinating at least to me. I just need to keep writing it and see what it turns into or rather, starts with. ๐Ÿ™‚

I really like the theme — Color of Silence — and I swear they must’ve picked it for me this year. Last year’s theme was Dark Glass and I almost had a story for it, but just didn’t commit to it. The prior year just stumped me (Metallic Feathers). I know I can write to a theme, and finally I’ve got one that just sings to me. I can’t waste the opportunity. Hopefully the story will sing too.

Wed Eve

Read two stories for crit, brainstormed on the parsec story (too many ideas, I need to focus a bit more), and focused on the Hunter edit. I think I managed to nail down Daymar’s involvement with a pretty neat ending. The story’s come a long long way from its first draft.

Moving Forward Again

Edits are coming along, and I found a critique group to join. Fading Light should be ready to post to the group by next week at the latest. My progress posts won’t be daily, as that would be too boring to type (and for you to read) “I edited” six times a week. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just excited about the crit group at the moment. I know most of the members (online contacts) and I’ve exchanged crits with several of them over the past few years. I’m excited about critiquing their work too. They always had interesting stories in the past, and I’m sure that hasn’t changed.

Updating

I’m in edit mode, so I’m going with it. Fading Light is moving along once again, and I’ve cleared the dust off Hunter Hunted, which is getting revamped big time and is due for a title change. Writing is once again becoming a daily event. Now I need to work on completing tasks a little quicker. Fading Light needs a few more days of computer time and Hunter needs some paper & pen time so they balance well. It doesn’t help that tonight is the season premiere of Heroes, but I guess I’d better make good use of now.

Need Groove Back

I slipped away from the writing for a bit, scared off the new novel for some reason. I think I was intimidated by the new characters (which can be fun, challenging, and terrifying all at once!). I need to get the groove back, even if it’s 30 minutes a day. This week, I’m aiming to edit Fading Light, something I know I can do. I’ve got a strange schedule with work, and Mom’s in town, so I anticipate some level of exhaustion, but writing is ON the agenda. SOMETHING every day.

This week

Monday’s lunch break was spent editing Fading Light (1 page).

Tuesday evening’s writing time was spent with the hubby.

Wednesday evening is going to be serious-clean-up-the-house night. Grrr.

Silence

The posting silence means Family took over this weekend, and I had neither the energy nor will to write, but I read. I’ve been reading Think Sideways lessons, and I’ve been reading Game of Thrones.

And I’ve been thinking about my outline, trying to fit my bad guy in, but I realize too that I know who my bad guy was up until the point he committed this particular crime, and he’s angry now, losing control, but who is he when he isn’t this criminal? And yes, this is important because he and his victim know each other. Poor Audrey can’t look at this guys and say it’s him because he looks and acts like a criminal. What fun would that be to read? Besides, even criminals have their own lives and schedules and likes and dislikes. It’s not like they live for each moment they commit these crimes. They grocery shop. They go to the mall. They read the newspaper while sipping their coffee. Ooooh.. and there it is. Thanks for the help. ๐Ÿ˜‰