Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

I was so close to breaking 50K yesterday that I bagged going to the city and everything I was “supposed” to do in order to keep working on Earth Bride. I puttered around a bit in the morning, working it out in my head, and then sat down to write. I passed 50K just after 3 in the afternoon, and by then, I was wrecked. I’d written about 8K in one day, which is pushing it for me (at least, on a single project).

So, I was pretty much a waste of food for the rest of the day.

But I did get a check from Confidential Job #1. They pay so promptly – love that!

I was worried I’d burned out and I’d lose momentum, but this morning, I sat down and wrote another 2933 words, so I’m still plugging along. As I write this bit of it, I realize I hadn’t thought everything through as thoroughly as I should have – of all the writing thus far, these three chapters will need the most revision. And I might have to go back and put an insert into one of the chapters I wrote yesterday. Or I might wait and do an entire overhaul of this bit in the revision. I’ll see how the next few chapters shape up.

So, today, I have to do business-type stuff. I’m going into the city tomorrow instead, since I have a union meeting, and, with the strikes going on, I think it’s important that I attend.

Payloadz finally helped me sort out the file problems, so I can post the links for the next two ebooks, which have a high content for a low price point:

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD.
http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=83936

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea.. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD.
http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=83937

Everything interesting I had to say went on the page instead of the blog. I’ll stop for now.

Kay – two suggestions:

1 – make your next word “mouse” as you considered. Trust the mouse. See where the mouse leads you.

2—read the free ebook 30 Tips for 30 Days – that might help, too!

Devon

Earth Bride – 52,980 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meter

52 / 50
(104.0%)

Earth Bride – 52,980 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

52 / 100
(52.0%)

Free eBook: 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Guide. Available for free download here.

Published in: on November 14, 2007 at 8:31 am  Comments (5)  

November 13 Part II

As of 3:15 PM today, I broke 50K:

Earth Bride – 50,047 words out of 50,000 words (Nano goal).

Zokutou word meter
50 / 50
(100.0%)

I need a nap.

Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 3:19 pm  Comments (9)  

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

cat-humidifier.JPG

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

You know how I eased the scratchy throat/cough?

I turned on the humidifier.

So much better – unbelievable! It’s not gone, but it’s now manageable.

Last year, I bought a cat-shaped humidifier at Target and named him Horace. Well, I pulled him out, filled him up, plugged him in, and . . .much better.

Car stuff was fine. Didn’t get much done the rest of the day.

Finished Chapter 16 of Earth Bride in the afternoon.

Scrubbed the counters, washed out the sinks, mixed together angelica, basil, and patchouli, ground it into the carpets and vacuumed it, washed the tub, rinsed the shower curtain, folded and put away eight loads of laundry. So, on the home front, it was productive.

In the evening, I had a good weight work-out.

And I wrote chapter 24 of Tracking Medusa.

My head was getting a little too crowded. You see, Justin (TM) was threatening to kick Terce’s (EB) butt. Gwen (TM) and Niki (EB) just stood off to the side, shaking their heads and saying, “Men!” And while that is laughable, since Justin is just learning that he’s more resourceful and more than a library rat while Terce is an intergalactic mercenary – kind of an unfair match-up – I figured that Justin had a point, so I gave Justin and Gwen some attention. And they did not disappoint. I think this draft will run 30 chapters. And then I can let it rest for a couple of weeks before diving into revisions in December.

Of course, this draft should have been finished weeks ago.

Today was supposed to be my last day at the show. However, since there’s a strike on, there’s no show. I’m going into the city at my usual time anyway to take care of some other business, visit some picket lines (both Local 1 and WGA), and then, when it looks like there won’t be an agreement by the end of the work call, I’ll come back home and do some more work on Tracking Medusa.

Someone asked me how much time my Nano writing takes and how much time the mentoring takes. Well, I do my daily morning quota in about 1 -1/2 – 2 hours. Then I post the blog. Then I write my N3 post – about 10, 20 minutes. Then I send the post out to the N3s – Nanomail won’t let you do group emails, so it’s one at a time and it takes about 40 minutes to do the entire list, if the site’s working reasonably well. Then I hop on and off the boards a few times a day to answer questions – maybe another hour to an hour and a half. Then I make the certificates and send them out as they reach benchmarks. The Nano writing takes about 2 hours a day (more if I sneak back to work on it during the day). And the mentoring takes between 2-3 hours a day, in short spurts. Setting it all out, it takes up more time than it feels like, during the course of the day. I don’t “have” any more time than anyone else. I “make” time for what’s important to me. And, this month, both the novelling and the mentoring are important to me. I think it’s worth it. I hope the N3s I mentor will pay it forward next year, and mentor newbies themselves.

I had a fantastic morning on Earth Bride, writing Chapter 17, just over 3K. Niki’s been delivered by her abductors, and she’s met the man she’ll be forced to marry. And he’s not so bad, to say the least. First she was torn from her family and fiancé; now she’s forced to separate from Terce. Her resourcefulness in the midst of chaos is truly wonderful.

Devon

Earth Bride – 45,151words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45 / 50
(90.0%)

Earth Bride – 45,151 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45 / 100
(45.0%)

Tracking Medusa — 58,225 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
58 / 90
(64.4%)

Free eBook: 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Guide. Available for free download here.

Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 9:12 am  Comments (7)  

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Phew! Back from the car dealership. They even bathed the baby for me! They fixed the headlamp whatever – didn’t take long at all; while I waited, I played in the new cars on the showroom floor. Sitting in the driver’s seat of the Tourag was like being in an airplane cockpit.

I got up at 5 this morning, and after yoga and all the rest, I still had about 40 minutes before I had to leave for the car appointment, so I did 1215 words on Earth Bride. I know, I know, it was supposed to be a “conscious day off”, but I couldn’t resist. It was a tricky scene; I’m not completely satisfied with it, but it gets me where I need to go.

Stopped by my friend’s place to pick up the laundry and the rings I’d forgotten, and here I am. Now I have to put away eight loads of laundry.

One of my checks arrived – the big one – a few hours after I complained. Still, it was mailed eight days later than it was supposed to be, and I am NOT amused! But at least my bills won’t bounce.

Heather – you’re right. It’s psychological manifesting as physical. I know the why, but haven’t been able to complete the solution yet. I’m working on it, though! That’s in addition to the physical issues of train commutes being the equivalent of trapped in a petrie dish!

I’ll try to get some business-type work done today, and some pitches out. Since B’way will be dark for who knows how long, I have to make up the money. And maybe Payloadz will FINALLY explain how to fix the file problem, so that I can get those links posted for you.

Got some housecleaning to do today, too – time for a good scrubdown, and doing it soon after the new moon means I don’t forget how long it’s been since the last time I poured vinegar down the drains and scoured things with baking soda.

Better get to work!

Devon

Earth Bride – 40,835 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

40 / 50
(80.0%)

Earth Bride – 40,835 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

40 / 100
(40.0%)

Free eBook: 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Guide. Available for free download here.

Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 10:43 am  Comments (4)  

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was pretty much a wasted day. I can’t seem to kick this mild cough and general feeling of malaise. I was cranky and fretful all day. I got some reading done and some puttering, but not much else, and just grew more and more frustrated as the day wore on.

The stagehands are on strike. I’m on standby to find out if I will actually have a last day at the show on Tuesday, or if I’m just going to fade away. I will go into the city, no matter what, and at least join my colleagues on the picket line for awhile.

If you have any interest in the arts, please support the stagehands and the writers.

Anita wanted to know where to write to show support. I would suggest writing letters to the editors of newspapers – a copy to your hometown paper and a copy to a New York paper (they all accept letters via email). So many people who don’t work in the industry believe the b.s. the producers feed them – but all we are trying to do is make a living. Most people, even if they work full time, can’t afford to live close to the shows. Some people have longer commutes than I do – two or three hours EACH way. That’s four to six hours a day, on top of the sometimes 14 hour days. The producers claim stagehands make six figure salaries. Not if they’re working a single job. The only way they can do that is if, in addition to the eight show weeks they work regularly (which, as you know, consist of at least two days of 14 hours or more per week), they pick up additional calls on other shows. So, they’re working two or three jobs when the opportunity arises, because you never know when the work will dry up and you’ll have months of no income. A few weeks ago, when the producers started circulating this fiction, we were joking, “Where are the stagehands making six figures? We’ll marry ‘em!”

Let’s hope it all gets resolved soon.

Still waiting for the check that should have arrived on the 31st. Send a strongly worded email to the company. Every year, for the past few years, they’ve gotten sloppier and sloppier about getting out payments. And they have the money. This is NOT acceptable.

Actually watched some TV last night. Realized, with a jolt of joy, that an actor with whom I worked on a series here in NY a few years back now has a recurring role on Bionic Woman. And he’s really good on it! I’m thrilled for him. I also really enjoy the show Chuck. It’s very clever, well-written and well-acted.

This morning, I had trouble getting started on Earth Bride, but I pushed through at wrote 3,493 words. I’ve finished the section I hadn’t bothered to figure out earlier, and I’ve got Niki to the place that will be her new home. So I’ve started the next section of the book.

Heading over to my friend’s to pick up the laundry I started the other day and do a few more loads.

I want to work out the next sections of Earth Bride and Tracking Medusa. My plan is to keep a steady pace on Earth Bride this week, and also get within a chapter or two of finishing the draft of Tracking Medusa.

Happy writing!

Devon

Earth Bride – 39,620 words out of 50,000 words (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

39 / 50
(78.0%)

Earth Bride — 39,620 words out of 100,000 words (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

39 / 100
(39.0%)

Free eBook: 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Guide. Available for free download here.

Published in: on November 11, 2007 at 9:36 am  Comments (7)  

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

They predicted snow, but we were stuck with a steady, cold rain yesterday instead.

I treated myself and bought shoes. One pair of boots – I finally found the black ankle boots for which I’ve been searching for about two years, and also a pair of incredibly comfortable black heels. Since both pairs were on sale, I was under budget for what I put aside as my treat for hitting 25K.

It looks like there will be a strike on Broadway starting today. That, along with the Writers’ Strike, is causing a lot of pain and suffering. Yet, both strikes are necessary. The attitude of the producers at this point, in both stage and film, is that WE should pay THEM to work. They believe we are all lazy nuisances. Until they wake up and figure out that without the artists and craftspeople who actually create the shows they don’t have a product to sell to the audience, they will keep expecting more for less and hacking away at our contracts. We create. We create the stories to which people tune in and attach. Few producers create any more. They have descended from being impresarios who knew and loved the art form (and plenty of them were jerks, too) to being accounting majors who don’t know and don’t care what it takes to put on a show. They don’t care that if you work a 16 hour day and bring people back four hours later the quality of the work suffers. They don’t care that you need a certain number of people if you want to get the work done on time. They don’t care that if you keep working people that hard, you lose them, and the really good ones can’t be replaced by any old person who just came in on the turnip truck. They care that the numbers in the outgoing column stay small and the numbers in the incoming column stay large. They refuse to acknowledge that, if they spend the money wisely in the outgoing column and pay a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, the numbers in the incoming column WILL get bigger, because the quality is better.

Just because artists and craftspeople are making more than minimum wage doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paid in fair proportion to profits. And, because of the transience of work in our business, you might make a lot more than minimum wage for a few months, and then have NO income for a few months because there’s simply no work.

The producers, however, are paid by the company/studio, etc., and are still pulling in their mega-salaries, plus the residuals from any of the work still out there that bears their names.

It’s like everything that’s happened during the Bush years – the financial gap between the rich who do little but pose in front of cameras and the people who actually do the work every day to keep things running gets wider and wider and wider.

So support the people in the entertainment unions who actually do the work that provides you with your shows.

Speaking of shows, it’s official: Moonlight gets on my last nerve. I’ve really, really, really tried to like this show, because I thought the premise was intriguing. But the execution is weak – it feels like too many cooks in the broth. The casting’s pretty good, but the material the actors are given to work with has been so diluted it doesn’t work. And we don’t need a reaction shot of Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) doing puppy dog eyes every time something happens. We need to see him take action. And the fight choreography is too similar from show to show. It needs to be new and exciting every week. He’s supposed to be tormented, but all he’s given to work with is material that makes him seem whiny. The actor’s fighting against it, but there’s only so much he can do. This is a show where I’d really like to compare the original script with the script that’s vetted for shooting with what actually makes it to screen. My gut instinct is that they are miles apart.

I finished an assignment for Confidential Job #1, and will write up the report today. And start on the new assignment, which has been sitting there, teasing me, ever since it arrived a few days ago.

I hopped on and off the computer all day yesterday, doing bits here and there on Earth Bride. Niki surprised me – she and the villain aren’t supposed to connect! But they have, and it adds another interesting layer to the story. In spite of all the planning, the characters still have a lot to say about what’s going on, and it’s exciting. Had a decent morning’s work today, for a total of 4,198 words. This is a tricky section – I’d stuck in a placeholder when I wrote the outline, saying “figure this out”. And, of course, now I’m at the point where that’s what I have to do!

More errands today, and then I’ve got to get some pitches out. Especially with a strike on, during what were supposed to be my last theatre weeks – I have to make up the cash.

And I’m still waiting for that late money. Urgh.

Good weight training session last night and good yoga session this morning.

Devon

Earth Bride – 36,127 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

36 / 50
(72.0%)

Earth Bride – 36,127 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

36 / 100
(36.1%)

Free eBook: 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Guide. Available for free download here.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 9:25 am  Comments (7)  

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007
New Moon
Cloudy and cold

I felt like total crap by the time I left for my friend’s place yesterday, but an afternoon of doing nothing but hanging out, reading, talking, playing with his dogs, and working on notes for Earth Bride was a big help. I felt much better by the time I got home. It’s so odd – it’s just a scratchy throat, a bit of a cough, and a general run-down feeling. It’s enough to be annoying, but not enough, fortunately, to floor me. Yet. And I intend to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, my friend’s dryer’s not working properly, so, out of the five loads of laundry I did, only one could be brought home. He’s running the rest of them through until they’re dry, and then I’ll go back over and pick them up over the weekend.

The FREE ebook is ready for download. There’s a problem with the files on Payloadz – I straightened out the mess that the people who found it on the website and bought it – but didn’t receive it – and I’m working with Payloadz to fix the situation. Hopefully, we can remedy it in the next day or two, and I can post those links.

In the meantime, if you want the free book, 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick-Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way, a Nano Handbook, you can download it here.

I did some much-needed character tracking and place tracking for Earth Bride – for crying out loud, they’re moving from planet to planet, I need to remember what I’ve called things in these different civilizations and why. I have to say, though, I’m having mega-fun with this book.

I got my critique back from my colleague about the two rejected pieces. I’m reprinting his comments here, with the promise not to reveal his identity.

“You have to remember the purpose of the anthology – to grab a bigger market share of the target audience. In order to do that, they need to please as many readers as possible. Not challenge them. Please them. You chose, in both of these pieces, to push your comfort zone, to challenge yourself as a writer, and to challenge the reader. No matter how high the quality, there’s no way that a collection aimed to make the reader feel fuzzy and entertained would accept something that challenges the sociological and psychological issues you set out. The pieces accepted in the anthology are not badly written – they’re safely written, chosen to appeal to a wide audience without demanding anything from the reader beyond reading the words presented on the page. You chose risk, in both content and style. This was not, to say the least, a match made in heaven. You know this publisher well – you know that they like to present themselves as being on the cutting edge, when, in reality, they always take the safe route. Because that’s where they can make the most money the most quickly. They don’t want to spend the time and money promoting something risky, letting it build on merit and word of mouth. They want the audience to bite on release week, and they want to attract new readers with promises of fulfillment, not provocation.

“Additionally, you cover too much ground in the pieces. The topics you chose and the way you chose to depict them belong in a novel, not in an elongated short story. They feel truncated. Reading them, I felt the abrupt cut-off, the cutting to make it fit a word count, and I was frustrated because I wanted the full canvas, not the excerpt. Do both of these works justice and let them be what they are – novels.”

Um, ow? Good advice, though, especially about the fact that yes, as I worked on them, I realized it was novel-length material, and I both used the red machete or chose not to develop certain storylines because there was no room for them in the word count. It makes sense, and I see why those were not good choices to send in to the anthology. But I’m still glad I wrote them, and they’ll go back into the Novel Queue.

Let’s hope the paranormal novella I have to write next month doesn’t go down the same route.

I’m starting to think I have to keep writing at the Nano pace, just to get everything done in time.

Great morning’s work on Earth Bride. Finished Chapter 12, started Chapter 13, for a total of 3,681 words. Niki showed once again that she’s resourceful, can think on her feet, and is stronger than she believes. She’s growing into her powers. And the relationship with Terce is solidified, which will cause even more conflict when they have to separate.

I was going to run errands today, but don’t feel like it. What I do have to do is sort out the Payloadz problems, chase down some more unpaid contracts, and pitch some jobs.

I’d rather stay in bed, reading.

No, that’s not true: I’d rather continue working on Earth Bride.

Devon

Earth Bride — 31,929 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
31 / 50
(62.0%)

Earth Bride – 31,929 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
31 / 100
(31.0%)
Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 9:10 am  Comments (6)  

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

Be very, very scared.

I found out that the NitroPDF program can convert from Microsoft Publisher to PDF. Which means that Devon’s Random Newsletter can get fancy and go out as an attachment, all pretty! By the way, the person who helped me navigate NitroPDF, Kevin Croft, rocks! Shout out to you, Kevin, and many thanks. If you can teach ME how to do this, you can teach anyone.

I had to send an email to tech support at 1and1, because I don’t understand how to do something subdomain-wise. I know it can be done – but the help function on the topic is for someone more advanced than I am, so I need one of their tech people to walk me through it. Unfortunately, all the 1and1 tech did was send me the link to the manual. Now, I stated very clearly in my original email that I didn’t understand the directions in the manual, and that’s why I was asking tech support. Why is everything a fight with 1and1? I certainly pay them enough to provide the service they claim to provide?

So I set up a “Devon’s Downloads” on Tripod. If you just go to the site, there’s link wonkage — because, of course, no two sites can possibly code the same way, no matter how much they claim to use standard HTML.

I’m waiting to post links and things until tomorrow’s New Moon. New moon, new venture.

I was supposed to be staying in bed, remember? 😉

Instead, I spent too much time on the computer, and I started sending the certificates out to my lovely N3s who are passing 10K. Almost half of them have passed 10K; many of the rest are close to it; a few of the others are far behind; and one had to drop out because of a family situation (I’m thinking of you, and wishing you well). And a few more have joined the group.

It’s taken me three years to hit my rhythm with Nano. So now, I don’t know if I should have this be IT, Nano-wise (as in, my last year), or if the rhythm will reach over into next year. Maybe I’ll make that decision next year!

This is the start of Week 2 with Nano, the Resistance Week. Although I had a slow and frustrating start, I managed to finish Chapter 10 and write all of Chapter 11, for a daily total of 4,102. It was flowing very well, and I was sorry to stop, but I could feel myself tiring.

I have to chase after some money that was supposed to arrive a week ago – I am so SICK of people not honoring contracts and only paying when they “get around to it”. And this is a company I’ve been with for years, who used to be great about paying, but the past few years “forget” to send the checks out on time. Even though they’re pulling in a couple of hundred thousand dollars a week. Over them!

Got some rejections on pieces yesterday. Two pieces were rejected by the same anthology, and it stung once I saw what had been chosen! There are times when you see who was chosen over you and you say, “Oh, I totally get it”, but in this case . . .and I RARELY feel that way. So I sent the material over to a trusted colleague who knows all the players involved to get an assessment. The other piece rejected was a long shot, and I knew I had a 50-50 chance, so I can just shrug it off and send it to the next market on the list, and try something else for that one. That’s so not a big deal, but the other one . . .is.

And yet, on anything other than an ego level, it’s kind of not, so time to get over myself and get back to work, right?

I’m doing the work for Confidential Job #1, and they already sent me my next assignment, which looks so fabulous, I can hardly wait to start! And, cough or no cough, I need to get some pitches out for articles, et al, or it will be a very lean Christmas around the ole homestead this year. I’ve been focusing on long-term work (because I actually thought contracts would be honored – silly me), and I need to slot in some short-term work to make up the difference.

EEEK! I got a recall notice for my ever-loving and ever-lovely new rabbit (the car). It seems there’s a problem with the headlamps. Hell, I can see the road in the dark, which is more than I could do with any of the other VWs or even the Ford! In any case, I called my dealer and they set me up for Monday, 8 AM.

Which means I have to get up at 4 to get my Nano quota in.

Sigh.

Today, however, I finally get to go to my friend’s place and do about a zillion loads of laundry.

Devon

Earth Bride – 28,248 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
28 / 50
(56.0%)

Earth Bride – 28,248 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
28 / 100
(28.0%)
Published in: on November 8, 2007 at 9:35 am  Comments (4)  

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

I’m fighting the beginnings of a cold or something. I’ve done my work for the day on Earth Bride (3,287 words, a nice chunk). I need to get out the daily encouragement email to the N3s (today’s, by special request, deals with characterization), I have to go to the bank, and then I’m taking the work for Confidential Job #1 and going back to bed. I can do it in bed, and if I rest properly and take care of myself for the next day or so, maybe I can nip this in the bud.

Theatre work was fine yesterday. I caught up with some people, did my work. Same small aggravations that are always there, but this time, since it was my second-to-last day there, I could comfort myself with the knowledge that, pretty soon, none of this will be my problem.

Have to sort out some problems with a bank – either they screwed up or one of the freelance checks I recently deposited bounced. I’m hoping it’s the former, not the latter.

Spent the day work call, as I worked, working out some scenes in Earth Bride. The piece is much richer than I anticipated, and I like it. It’s taken me three years to hit my stride for National Novel Writing Month. I picked the right story and did the right amount of preparation this year, so it can simply flow. And it lives within all the time, so I’m constantly writing in my head, so that when I get to the page, there’s no “what am I going to do next?”

I also did some thinking about Gwen and Justin, my Tracking Medusa pair. I’m trying to figure out how far I want to push Justin in books two and three. Pretty far, I think. His character’s developed wonderfully in this book. I thought the books would be Gwen’s story, but they’re really Justin’s. She’s his catalyst, but it’s truly his growth and change – and not always for the best – that’s interesting. It may make the books harder to sell, but, oh well. There are plenty of agents and publishers out there. I simply have to do my homework and find the right match.

Of course, I have to finish writing the darned thing first! 😉 If it’s not written and polished, it can’t be sold.

Also worked out some kinks in the paranormal novella that has to start on December 1. I had a title, tossed it, came up with another, didn’t write it down, and forgot it. So I guess it wasn’t the right title. It needs more thought. I need to be able to fly with it, and write 2K/day so that I have time to revise it and polish it before its deadline. Since I doubt Earth Bride will be finished by then, I have to figure out how to juggle both of them – and the Tracking Medusa revisions.

And slot in enough contracted work to pay the bills.

It will all work out. It always does. For today, though, I’ve done my day’s work, and now it’s back to bed to make sure the cold doesn’t win.

Don’t forget: The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2008 post is between the November 5 & 6 posts, or you can find it on Wordish Wanderings.

Devon

Earth Bride — 24,146 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24 / 50
(48.0%)

Earth Bride – 24,146 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24 / 100
(24.0%)
Published in: on November 7, 2007 at 9:12 am  Comments (7)  

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

The 2008 GDRs (Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions) are up in the post below this one. You have until January 1 to work on them, and then post your answers on your own blog – if you choose. It’s a more integrated set of questions and responses than the previous years, which have mostly consisted of lists and plans.

Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. One of the most frustrating things about this transition is that it’s not happening fast enough to suit me. But I’m moving in the right direction, and it has its own rhythm. I have to move with it, not fight against it.

Acupuncture helped a lot, but I can’t weight train the same day as acupuncture, so it was just a little extra yoga last night.

I’ve hit the point in Earth Bride I don’t usually hit until the third week of Nano – where I think about it all the time. I resent the time I spend away from the book. I want to work on it all day.

Interestingly enough, it coincides with reading, in Joyce Carol Oates’s Journal, her immersion as she wrote Bellefleur.

Okay, I’m not thinking about Earth Bride ALL the time – I’ve worked out most of the final story of the Gwen/Justin trilogy (Tracking Medusa’s pair) and one really gets to see Justin’s dark side in that one. He’s gone in a direction I didn’t expect, and I have to let him be who he is. I considered skipping Book Two and going immediately to Book Three, but we need to see his journey. Medusa shows his journey from a library rat to a full field partner, and he’s got a long way to go from there.

I got my own special Caseworker from Nitro PDF, and it seems he’s taught me how to lock the files the way I want and need to. I sent them to my tester (cheers, Colin) and if they get his okay, I’ll be able to upload them first thing tomorrow, so I can give you links and things.

So I got some work done on the eBooks. And printed out some job pitches, for which I’ll pitch tomorrow.

I’m on my way to the theatre – only a few more days on the show. Scary and wonderful all at once.

Two requests:

Request 1: If you like the blog, please let Michael Stelzner know it as he puts together the Top Ten Blogs for Writers. If you go here:

and leave a comment suggesting this blog, that would be great. He’s only considering blogs with multiple mentions in the comments, so if more than one of you can leave a comment – even better!

Request 2: My last articles are set to appear in the December issue of Blessed Gardens. If you want to see more of my work there, please drop an email here, letting them know that you’d like to see more articles by Cerridwen Iris Shea!

Yes, shameless self-promotion, what can I say, but I do dance around and vote/nominate/praise in return, so . . .;)

I had a great morning’s work on Earth Bride – total of 3,357 words. I caught a couple of mistakes in Chapter 7, so I went back and added inserts (each less than 100 words), or I would have been badly tripped up in chapters to come), wrote chapter 8, and started chapter 9. Niki’s discovered some interesting things about herself, and I broke the usual abduction formula in a way I find more believable than the normal formula.

Now, I have to get out the email to the N3x, shower, and catch my train!

Devon

Earth Bride — 20,859 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 50
(40.0%)

Earth Bride – 20,859 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 100
(20.0%)
Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 9:08 am  Comments (6)  

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2008

For the past several years, we’ve been using the GDRS to set both yearly and monthly goals. The point of this is to create a roadmap, not a prison. Our lives are mutable; therefore, we must be flexible enough in our goals to let the goals serve the life, not to be imprisoned to the goals. Generally, we take November and December to work on them, and post them (if we choose) in the first days of January.

This year, instead of many questions that require lists, we’re taking a more life-encompassing approach. We’re working in paragraphs instead of lists. We’re working in visuals as well as verbals.

1. Look back over the past year or two. How do you feel about the progress you’ve made? What ideas have you changed about your needs and wants in relation to your writing since you started?

2. Self-Respect. In order for others to respect your work, first you must respect it. Do you respect your writing? Do you believe that your need to write is as valid as anything others in your life value in their own? Do you respect your own work as much as you respect anyone who gets up and goes to a job outside the home every day? Respecting yourself and your work helps you draw boundaries. Once you hold firm to those boundaries and prove that you have self-respect, others will start to notice. Sometimes, especially at first, they will push back. But, eventually, they will respect you because you respect yourself, and you won’t settle.

Look back over your year and see where you did not draw or hold boundaries firmly enough. List the where and how you intend to do so this year.

3. Where does the writing fall in your life? Is it something you do on the side? Is it what you want to do full time? If you want to be a full-time writer, you have to want it badly enough to say “no” to other things. This doesn’t mean becoming a martyr or wholly self-centered. It means putting the writing high enough on your priority list so it’s not the thing that’s left at midnight when you’re too exhausted to think straight. It means turning off the TV for a few hours a day and writing instead of watching reality television. It means not letting family members interrupt you and sabotage your writing time, unless it’s a genuine emergency. It means treating it as a second job, giving it the same commitment you give to your “day job” until it is your ONLY job. There will never BE time. You have to MAKE it. Time is a void; it fills up. You can CHOOSE to fill it with writing – if you want it enough.

Spend a few minutes thinking and writing about what place writing has in your life. On a separate sheet of paper, think and write about the place you want writing to have in your life. Put the first sheet of paper on the left. Put the second sheet of paper on the right. Take a third sheet of paper – the middle – and list steps you can take to get from the first place – where writing is now – to the second place – where you want to be. Some of that may include negotiating uninterrupted work time with friends, family, and employers. Remember: there’s a difference between compromise and capitulation. A healthy compromise will serve both you and the person with whom you’re negotiation; full capitulation on either side will lead to frustration, resistance, and sabotage.

4. Visuals. Sometimes our subconscious likes the toys, the perks, the visuals to stimulate it into action. Take a poster board and glue images, or take a corkboard and pin them on – images of what your idealized writing environment and goals look like. It can be as simple as creating a cover for your manuscript and putting it up; do a mock-up of a Best-Seller list with your book or books on it; or pictures taken out of magazines showing your perfect study or home. Whatever images trigger feelings of writing well-being for you.

5. Now write a plan for the next year. It can be along the lines of, “I want to write three first drafts of novels, finish the two I started last year, get revisions done, put together my query packets, and query them all”, “I want to write one short story every month” or “I want to adjust my freelancing so I earn an extra $1500/month above what I’m earning now”. It can be as simple as “I will spend 15 minutes every day writing in my journal and 2 hours per week working on fiction.”

Think realistically about how much time and how much work is involved in each one of your goals. Ask yourself how they fit into your long-term dreams.

Take a separate sheet of paper for each goal. Put the title of each goal at the top. Create a game-plan to achieve the goal, and, at the bottom, take a few sentences to tie it to your long-term dreams.

6. Once you’ve sorted out your Goals and Dreams, make another list of Resolutions: the promises you make to yourself for the next calendar year. These resolutions are boundaries, habit changes, attitude changes, and general physical, tangible steps that you promise yourself you will take in order to bring to fruition your goals and dreams.

Best of luck!

Published in: on November 5, 2007 at 10:34 pm  Comments (5)  

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a day of feeling fragile.

Not in the definition of “hung over”, which is how I’ve sometimes heard it used. Just, simple, fragile.

Most of it has to do with anxiety. For once, I’m not (yet) anxious about Nano. I feel grounded in the book, and I feel I’m writing the right piece at the right time. It has to do with the house hunting, the upheaval, the change, all the myriad details that go with relocating to a different state, away from the main support system. And, of course, quitting the show. I know I’ve done the right thing by giving notice. But it is still difficult to face down the fear of the unfamiliar. Yet it must be done.

Why sit in a rut? Why stay with something that’s not working simply because it’s familiar? Simply out of fear?

That’s not the way I choose to live my life.

And there are consequences, which I will meet. Some will be great and some won’t. That’s the way it goes.

But it still causes distress, which then manifests physically (headaches, fighting a cold), and I have to find ways to de-stress.

The other side of the transition will be a shiny new life; it’s this bit in the middle that totally sucks.

Fortunately, I’m going to acupuncture today and that sets me back on course!

Got my Nanomail out; spent too much time on the internet; had a morning grocery shopping trip and an afternoon grocery shopping trip; roasted a chicken; enjoyed the Sunday New York Times; utilized the suggestions Colin offered re: the problems I had with the PDFs and the website – of course, it works. Got out some business emails. Got word I’m on a roster for ongoing work for a studio on the West Coast – we’ll see how that goes, project-by-project. Renewed my PEN membership, because that’s the best organization to which I’ve ever belonged.

I hope to get the uploads done, which means I can then give you all the links and put them in the newsletter and get that gosh-darned thing out in the next day or two!

Got some planning work done on the novella I have to start December 1. I don’t want to focus on it too much right now, because I don’t want to get distracted from Earth Bride and Tracking Medusa.

A couple of people have complimented me on how much I get done, and thank you for the kind words. I tend to see all the things I don’t get done. While I keep the place relatively clean, it does have stacks of things wobbling around that need to be put away. I figure if I keep up with the dishes and the cat box, religiously wipe down the counters, and do the occasional vacuuming, I’m still okay.

Also, I put the writing at the top of my “To Do” list each day. If you leave it until the end, you won’t have time or energy to do it. And, while I do things like the housework or cook, the story sits inside me and percolates, so that when I sit down to the page, I write. I don’t sit and stare at the wall or the screen. I write. I’ve learned how to turn it off and on like a faucet.

It’s a huge change from the days when my brain turned off immediately at 4:30 in the afternoon (or 10:30 in the morning, on matinee days) so I could get into “show head” and focus entirely on the theatre work.

I used to turn off for everything but theatre; I now turn off for everything but writing.

And, let’s fact it: beside Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, and Joyce Carol Oates, I am STILL a slacker! 😉

Good morning on Earth Bride. Finished chapter 6, wrote Chapter 7. 2,677 words for the day. Niki’s learning as much as she can about her new situation and enjoying her first time off the planet, in spite of her situation. She’s a resourceful one.

Devon

Earth Bride – 17,179 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 50
(34.0%)

Earth Bride – 17,179 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 100
(17.0%)
Published in: on November 5, 2007 at 8:30 am  Comments (7)  

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

The storm didn’t hit us badly, thank goodness, although I heard that both Long Island and the Cape got hit hard.

One of the Olympic trial runners, Ryan Shay, collapsed and died here in New York during the trials yesterday, which was horrible.

I spent too much time on the computer, converting the three ebooks, proofing them, fixing mistakes, re-converting. The conversions look gorgeous in Nitro PDF, but, as usual, the sales team lied to me about locking the files the way I need and want to do it. I very specifically told them what I wanted and how I wanted it; they promised me the program does it; it does not. It’s completely different, with a series of hoop jumps that simply do not work for what I need in these ebooks. The User Manual is no help, and although it clearly states on the site that the trial comes with full tech support, you need a serial number to get tech support, which is something you don’t get with the trial version. So, too many lies and unless I get some answers and the program does what I need it to do, I won’t buy it. Which is a shame, because the conversion works much better than any of the other converters I’ve tried. I’m so tired of these companies lying all the time. Give me the right information the first time so I can make an informed decision!

Then, I messed around with one of the websites, and, of course, THAT doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to either, and I can’t upload the ebook I need to upload. That is not particularly surprising – I’ve said before many times that my host, 1 and 1, basically sucks, but I’m in too deep to be able to move everything. I have to figure it out (and shouted out to Colin for help, of course). I’m starting some new projects next year with a new host – hopefully that will be a better experience. And please don’t suggest Go Daddy – I’ve looked at them, and they don’t have what I need. Plus, they don’t answer questions in a timely fashion, so they’re off the list.

It’ll get sorted, but by midnight I was tired and cranky and had to stop.

Last night was my favorite night of the year – when the clocks “fall back” to standard time. Woo-hoo!

Got 2,890 words done on Earth Bride this morning – the least I’ve done so far. But I’m ahead of my goal, and as long as I hit my 2500 word/day quota, I’m not going to stress.

No work done on Tracking Medusa yesterday, so I have to get back to that.

Now, off to grocery shop and read the Sunday papers before getting back to work.

By the way, the pound cake is amazing! It’s the recipe from the original Moosewood Cookbook. Yum, yum!

Devon

Earth Bride – 14,502 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 50
(28.0%)

Earth Bride — 14,502 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 100
(14.0%)
Published in: on November 4, 2007 at 9:00 am  Comments (8)