Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde

I have some catching up to do, don’t I?

Saturday was a lot of fun. The trip to PA was smooth going, not too much traffic, decent weather. We easily found our friends’ new house, out in Berks County. It’s gorgeous! It’s taken them almost a year to renovate it, but they did a spectacular job. And their cat loves it.

We had a lovely lunch, and then all four of us backtracked to Bethlehem, where they had a Christmas market set up. Well, first of all, one has to pay admission, which I think is ridiculous. It’s not like they let the vendors to set up for free, and if I didn’t have to shell out bucks to come in, I’d have more to spend at the fair! The vendor prices were pretty high, too – I mean, I love the genuine German nutcrackers, but to charge $45 for one that’s three inches high and $429 for one that’s eight inches high is simply out of my budget, no matter how well-crafted it is.

I did meet a woman who makes natural soaps, and, after the holidays, I’ll get in touch and she’ll let me special order the rosemary soap I love so much. I bought several of her other soaps and really like them.

Getting out of Bethlehem is always a nightmare – poorly marked and you go round and round and can’t get out. But we eventually did and got home a little after 8 at night. The cats were mad that we smelled like another cat!

Sunday was icy and cold; did some grocery shopping, read the paper. Wrote my articles; will do another pass on them this morning before sending them out.

Came up with yet another story idea, which I need to notate, but won’t work on for awhile. Too many other ideas that need attention first.

I watched the re-broadcast of Tin Man last night – all six hours of it! Interesting. I learned a lot about what not to do in structure and story telling. I think many of the ideas were great, the look of the piece was good, and I loved the four leads: Zooey Deschenel, Neal McDonough, Alan Cumming, and Raul Trujillo. There’s so much in their work that was wonderful, especially in the scenes amongst each other. There’s a sequence in the second installment, in the wagon, between McDonough and Cumming that’s got so much detail and so much going on in such a simple, intimate scene, that it was my favorite scene in the entire six hours. However, there were so many inconsistencies that I spent far too much time hissing and spitting at the screen like one of the cats. I never had a sense of danger or foreboding. I never genuinely believed they were in danger. There was outright cruelty, but not a sense of the psychological sinister. There was also material pulled from a variety of fairy tales and mythological sources, but not integrated, and that bothered me. The internal logic of the land was missing. And there were huge gaps. One minute, they were hurrying because they were being chased; the next, everything changes because of a tangent, but there’s no sense of urgency. It just all ground to a halt. I wanted the urgency to overlay the tangents. I also wondered, in the lapses of logic, especially in getting people from A to B without magic, if some of it was lost in the editing room. The material that I felt was missing could well have been shot, and then cut out. And it ended too abruptly. I wanted a chance to see, in at least one scene, the path these characters chose to embark on next.

I understand it was originally conceived as a series and then shot as a mini-series, and might become a series. But there were too many plot holes, lapses in logic, and too much un-integrated material. To me, it felt like it needed another draft or two, or maybe some work in the rehearsal room with the actors.

Also, it’s called Tin Man. I would have loved to see the entire story told through the Tin Man’s eyes – open when they take him out of the diving suit. Let us view everything from his POV. McDonough is a skilled and interesting enough actor to carry the piece, and I think it would have added a focus. Yes, the Dorothy tangents would have been lost, but, especially once Cain promises the Mystic Man he’ll never leave DG’s side – well, he’s not with her for far too much, and he should be. Cain gave his word. He wouldn’t break it, even when DG does stupid things like dash through the maze on her own. Again – a lapse – she’s too damned smart to do that. And I don’t believe for one second that she would leave her friends in danger and go off with her dad, no matter how important the “mission” was. That choice made me lose respect for her.

I also felt that the reunion between Cain and Jeb was obvious – I was glad to see it happen, but it was obvious. And the so-called twist at the end – I expected it since the middle of the second installment. I could see it coming a million miles away. I also wanted to see more made of the chemistry amongst all of them – especially between Cain and DG. The growing bond between them was minimized, and often ignored.

I liked a lot of what went in to the production, but didn’t feel it held together. I also learned an enormous amount that I can apply to my own work, as far as structure and story-telling and integration.

Good morning’s work on Earth Bride, over 2000 words. I keep worrying about it’s ever-expanding capacity, especially in light of what I learned by watching Tin Man. However, this is the first draft; I need to let it be what it is. I could, story-wise, turn it into a trilogy more easily than into two books – the bulk of the book is Niki’s time on Ymmodys, where she learns what it means to be the Earth Bride. If I needed to do it, I could have her first encounters with Terce and the Poet on Earth, the abduction at her wedding, and the journey to Ymmodys be Book I; her learning process about being the Earth Bride, her tests, and how she starts making changes to help save the planet Book II, and then what happens later, when war is forced on them, and her eventual return home as Book III. That would mean expanding the beginning and probably the end – this section on which I’m currently working on is a good size. And it wouldn’t work to simply hack it in half. OR, what I’d rather do, is cut enough so it’s one book. A long book, but not too long, since I currently don’t have the track record to sell an epic.

But maybe by the time this is ready to submit . . . I will! 😉

In any case, as all these bits float around the worrying part of my brain, the creative part is letting the story be what it is for now, so I can see what I’ve got and then decide what to do with it.

I’m still not quite in the holiday spirit. I’m usually disgustingly cheerful all throughout this time of year. Part of the problem this year is that I feel as though I’ve failed in not finding the house into which I want to move, and that sense of failure burdens me. And yet, it doesn’t make sense to move into something that doesn’t feel right, that isn’t “mine.” So, once again, it’s trying to balance logic and emotion, never an easy task, especially for a Pisces!!

Off to revision-land, and then I’ll send out more pitches, get to work on the stuff for Confidential Jobs 1 & 2, and get some work done on Hex Breaker, We All Have Secrets, and the revisions of Tracking Medusa. Justin’s bugging me about The Balthazaar Treasure, but he just has to shut the hell up for now.

I’m glad that you enjoyed my comments regarding Pearl Harbor Day, and thanks to so many of you for adding your own stories. What a treasure trove of information those comments are! And thanks, Abby, for the lead. I’ll check it out.

I baked brownies on Friday and will roast a chicken tonight. I need to get going on the cookies, but first – I want to finish the cards!


Earth Bride – 96,500 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

96 / 100

Devon’s Bookstore:

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. Here.

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. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 10:12 am  Comments (7)  


  1. I think your plan for Earth Bride as a trilogy sounds like a good one.

    I taped Tin Man last night so I can watch it after the holidays.

    I forgot all about Friday being December 7 until half-way through the day. I watched Tora! Tora! Tora! that night – that’s a tradition for me.

  2. Sounds like a lovely weekend.
    And I read your post about what New York did to commemorate Pearl Harbor – what a beautiful tribue. 🙂

  3. Sounds as though you have many things accomplished. I didn’t watch Tin Man, so I can’t say anything about that! *G*
    I’m not really in the Holiday Spirit either, and I need to be for the kids. Enjoy the cookie baking!

  4. You are so close on Earth Bride! Way to go!

    Don’t let the house hunt feel like failure. It’s not worth it to feel down because you refuse to settle!


    Sylvia C.

  5. You said it was the Dark of the Moon. Now you say the Moon is Waxing. Aren’t they the same thing? I have surgery coming up with transplants. According to the Farmer’s Almanac transplants should be done in the dark of the moon. Also I understand that surgery is best done in the dark of the moon.

    Sorry to hear you have had the migrains again. I have been closed up due to cold and rainy weather. I don’t exactly have a headache but I do feel a bit woozy sometimes. Then I get out and get some fresh air. Even if it is cold. It helps for a little while.

    I cannot comment on the Tin Man as I haven’t the faintest what you are talking about. I think your problem is you know too much. If you were as ignorant as I about show business and writing then you probably would enjoy the Tin Man more. (smile).

    Anyway, I enjoy all you write.

  6. I have a Pisces daughter who is also trying to house hunt and relocate. She seems to be having a problem deciding which way to go. One day she thinks she has a home and the next day she doesn’t.

    She is the one who builds luxury homes so of course she does not want to buy anything.

    I am wondering if those La Quinta Hotels would answer for awhile. Some hotels have housekeeping suites that rent like apartments.

    I have known a few people who have lived their whole lives in a hotel.

    Just some thoughts.

  7. Good blog you have!

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