Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Shows were fine yesterday. The producers were kind enough to provide us with dinner in between shows – a great barbecue buffet from Virgil’s. It was terrific.

Finished THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD, which I liked – the author has enough knowledge of the historical elements (although it’s set in a mythical location and time) to make it real, and yet manages to turn the genre inside out.

Re-read most of May Sarton’s JOURNAL OF A SOLITUDE. Those of you who’ve known me for years know that, although I respect what she achieved as a poet and enjoy reading her published journals, her justifications for her flaws, temper tantrums, and poor treatment of those around her annoy me after awhile. She is the perfect image of someone who repeats negative patterns in her life instead of learning from them and moving in a new direction. In a single journal, it’s understandable. Over the span of years that the journals encompass, it becomes frustrating.

Perhaps people who read the journals can find the kernels of themselves in it (there is much that is universal, especially for those who are committed to living in the arts, not doing art “on the side”). But maybe reading the journals can help the reader recognize negative patterns in one’s own life and change them.

I’m emotionally tired from the show, more so than physically tired. It will be nice to have a few days away from it.

There’s a great deal of writing that needs to be done in the next few days.

Susan of Gottawrite Girl tagged me, so here are the answers:

1. What do you do before bedtime?
Depends who’s around! 😉 When I come home from a show, remember, it’s after midnight; I usually have a glass of wine, check email, play with the cats. I can’t go on the computer right before bed, or I can’t sleep. Sometimes I’ll do some yoga, sometimes I’ll read. It depends on what the show was like and what I need to release from the night. If I’m not working a show, it’s quieting down from whatever I did when I went out, or, if I’ve been writing until I can’t see straight, I still need a half hour to 45 minutes without computer or anything techno to quiet down. No computers or television allowed in the bedroom! If I’m not the most interesting thing in the room, I’m with the wrong person!

2. What is your favorite sound?
Waves on a beach.

3. What were your childhood fears?
Abandonment. Getting lost. Losing someone I love.

4. What place have you visited that you can’t forget and want to go back?
The places of my heart are Cape Cod (where I hope to relocate), Scotland (which I try to visit regularly), New Orleans (where I hope to go once I’ve moved and do some work with Habitat for Humanity), Montreal (where I hope to buy a second home someday), and Iceland. I’ve only been to Iceland once but I love it.

5. What has made you unhappy lately?
The way the Bush administration has destroyed and raped the country for eight years (and I do not use the word “rape” lightly) and the way the McCain administration will continue so to do if they get into power. The Bush Regime’s destruction affects my daily life. On a more close-to-home basis, I see far too many acts of petty personal cruelty practiced on each other by people (which, I believe, are a direct result of the poison injected into our society by the Bush Regime) and the fact that Metro North can’t be bothered to run properly.

6. What websites do you visit daily?
I visit my blogroll almost daily. Websites? Depends on what I’m working; there aren’t many that are daily “musts”. I’d rather be writing.

7. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Susan. Warm, talented, funny, hungry for knowledge and art.

8. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
There are three of them stuck in there right now. Two of them are by the band Taking Chances: “LCD” and “Taking Chances”. The other is The B-52’s “Planet Claire.”

9. What’s your favorite item of clothing?
My navy blue Nike yoga pants. I bought several pairs because I know I’ll wear them out.

10. What is your dream for the future?
To find, buy, and move into my dream house in Massachusetts so I can fully live the writing life into which I’m transitioning.

Tag: Anyone who wants to do this.

Back to the page!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 15, 2008 at 8:25 am  Comments (4)  
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I haven’t seen the news, so I have to catch up on the devastation wreaked by Ike.

Shows were fine. We nearly had a glitch in one change during the matinee, because the actor forgot to unbutton before the change; however, we figured out, in the moment, a different way to do the change, and he got back onstage in plenty of time. Because that’s what you do in the theatre – you make it work.

The interview with the band Taking Chances was great – what an interesting, intelligent, articulate group! You never know how it’s going to go in these things – sometimes the music’s great, but in interviews, they’re monosyllabic. Not these guys – not only did they have plenty to say, it was worth listening to! And the conversation flowed organically over the points I wanted to cover – I very rarely had to go back to the notes, because it was covered naturally. It was a lot of fun.

I used my brand new digital recorder, purchased the day before – I’m looking forward to the transcription and then arranging the material for the interview. I’ll let you know when it runs.

I have to leave for the city early to try to find something we need for today’s shows. Fingers crossed. Maybe I’ll swing by Times Square on my way to the show to catch my actors in BROADWAY ON BROADWAY, the free concert in Times Square. You can probably watch it over the internet, or later today on You Tube.

Another long day – I hate two shows on Sunday. It’s hard enough to haul one’s ass in for a matinee, but two shows is just wrong! 😉

I finished MIDDLE AGE: A ROMANCE by Joyce Carol Oates. I don’t know why the blurb called it “hilarious” – I found it rather sad. Well, whoever wrote the jacket copy probably never even read the book. Typical.

Started THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD. There’s a lot I like about it, especially in the life of the protag’s uncle, who, as far as I can figure, was the protag of the previous book, and the swordsman who’s the love of the uncle’s life. In some ways, it’s written like an ensemble piece, and there are certain aspects where I still have a wait-and-see response, rather than going with it completely.

Off to the city for the shows. I can’t wait to get back to ANGEL HUNT tomorrow. I’ve been thinking about it a lot all weekend, even though I haven’t had much chance to work on it.

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2008 at 7:09 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Warm, humid, cloudy

Yesterday flew past, and I don’t feel I was particularly productive. I made the cuts in ANGEL HUNT and started to rewrite the sections that needed to transmit some of the information in those scenes, but through different characters. I also put Zig in earlier – and I might change his name, because I have a character named Zig (short for Siegfried) in HEX BREAKER. Now, Zig appears three times before Lianna realizes he’s her main antagonist. I need to add in at least one more red herring, but the edit I’ve done is so tight (in spite of being a long page count), that I’m having difficulty getting it in. I may have to sit down with the whole manuscript t this point and do a full read and then figure where I can add a half a page here or there.

It’s slow, complicated work. It’ll be worth it, but not something that can be rushed, or it will fall flat.

I’m interviewing the band Taking Chances between shows today, so I’m going over my information and making sure I have all the questions I want to ask in it.

Show last night was fine. We have our new-and-complicated quick change down, and managed to circumvent what could have turned into a big issue thanks to poor management on another issue. There’s stuff that’s bugging me, but I need to focus my energy on ANGEL HUNT, not on something in which I can’t make enough of a positive impact to make a difference.

Another 14 hour day today, and yet another one tomorrow.

I’d rather be writing.

My thoughts are with those getting bludgeoned by Ike. I keep hoping the storm will dissipate and move through much more quickly than it is.

Devon

Published in: on September 13, 2008 at 8:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Hey, there’s more of the interview with me on Gottawrite Girl. Check it out, leave a comment!

Personal front: Someone I trusted betrayed me, sold me out, etc. Total destruction of a quality I want most in someone I call “friend” – loyalty.

I should be devastated. Instead, I’m relieved. I suspected it for a few weeks; got the hard evidence yesterday. Now, I can cut that person out of my life without guilt.

Theatre front: Show was fine. Day work was fine. I ironed some shirts, I folded some laundry, I polished some shoes, all good.

Writing front: Not much writing done yesterday, because I had to leave early. On the train, I realized I have to cut a bunch of characters and at least 80 pages of ANGEL HUNT – there’s a section, and one character in particular I love – but, with the new trajectory of the story, it’s slowing things down and creating an unnecessary tangent. So it’s going to go, and I’ll use it as the set-up for a novella. I can’t lose Donal – he’s too interesting a character. But there really isn’t room for him in ANGEL HUNT – even in the Big Finale, he was only going to speak a single line. Save him for his own book.

But boy, it means some massive restructuring on pages already edited.

And I figured out how to work the antagonist – whose role keeps growing and morphing and getting more complex – into the first chapter.

I’m tired, I’ve worked very hard not to become emotionally enmeshed into various backstage intrigues this week (because, frankly, I can use that energy to write). But only three more days and I have a break from the show. I’m sad, because, even when necessary, it hurts to cut someone out of your life.

But overall, I’m okay, and headed to a good place, a more stable place, and that’s helpful.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 12, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments (10)  
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Today is the seventh anniversary for one of the worst days in most of our lives. We will take time to mourn and grieve and remember in our own way.

We will not let the Republican Party co-opt our grief and use it to further their own lies for profit, as they’ve tried to do since September 12, 2001.

The last part of my interview with Susan Gray is up on Gottawrite Girl. Stop by and leave a comment.

Short post – I have a lot to get done today and I have to leave for the theatre at 11 AM. Today will be a long day.

I have no idea what happened to yesterday. One minute, I’m reworking a chapter of ANGEL HUNT and fretting about some scenes that don’t work in HOSTAGE; the next minute, I look up, it’s 4:45, I’ve missed the 4:42 and I’m sure as heck not going to make the 4:48!

I got to the theatre in time. Show was fine, although I find some of the management decisions ridiculous and annoying. Still, I’m working to keep a certain amount of detachment this week; I have too much to do to get involved in the daily irritations.

I need to finish those guest blog posts and then get back to ANGEL HUNT. I’ve hit the point where I have to rework everything from here to the end completely and write a lot of new material. I’m pulling all the different threads together to make a cohesive narrative, so now we can see why some of these supposed episodes of daily life were actually there – not just as flavor, there’s a purpose in the overall narrative.

I’m also preparing for an interview I’m doing between shows on Saturday – I’m the interviewer this time, not the interviewee, and I want to make sure I’m not asking them the same questions they’ve had to answer a million times.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 11, 2008 at 8:11 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The interview with me continues on Gottawrite Girl. Check it out!

Got out the work for Confidential Job #1, and worked on the guest blog posts. I know I did some other stuff, but can’t remember what it was. Column went out. Got a “yes” from a query on a project, and submitted it. Fingers crossed.

I did some minor editing work on ANGEL HUNT at the show last night, and the next sections are starting to come together in my head. Lianna and Lachlan’s choices aren’t that surprising, actually; I didn’t even realize I seeded the possibility earlier in the pages of the serial – and in the serial, they never made this choice! But it makes sense, and it gives Lianna the motivation and the ability for the choices she needs to make later in the book for the Big Finale.

Today I have to do a few mundane chores, like grocery shop (which I love, in spite of the prices).

And I’m going to adapt the next section of ANGEL HUNT, I hope, and have more pages to take with me tonight.

I do want to rewrite one of the new sections I created – I think it needs to have a bit more detail. I couldn’t rewrite it backstage – I can’t create new material on the show, for some reason; only edit. Which is weird, because there are plenty of shows that are a lot busier where I COULD write backstage.

Show was fine last night. Good to see everyone; difficult to be away from the page.

I’m reading Joyce Carol Oates’s novel MIDDLE AGE: A ROMANCE, which is quite disturbing and haunting (and I mean that in a good way).

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 10, 2008 at 7:11 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, muggy, musty

Hey, only one retrograde, will ya look at that? Too bad it’s my ruling planet! 😉

The lovely Susan Gray started running an interview with me on Gottawritergirl. She’s kind enough to call me “daring” and “dynamic”, which is a nice way to start the day, as I stumble around trying to remember where I put the coffee grinder and, while lying in Corpse Pose during yoga, getting thwacked in the head by a little yellow ball with a bell in it batted by one of the cats! Hop on over and read it.

Okay, to clarify about ANGEL HUNT. I’m glad you’re as excited as I am about its progress, but remember, I had 106 episodes of the serial to ADAPT to novel format. I didn’t write 72K from scratch. I’ve cut, changed, reworked, revised, added new scenes, honed the plot, focused the characters, and done a lot of work – but it’s not 72K of new material. I will have to write about 25K of new material starting later this week, and it certainly won’t be at the same blistering pace at which I’ve been able to adapt. I’ve worked a lot faster than I normally do, until I can barely see on most days, because the story’s rolling well again, and it’s finally starting to fulfill its potential. But the 72K is not from scratch.

And there will be several more drafts to work through before it’s ready for submission.

One of the biggest mistakes I see writers make as they break into the business is thinking the second draft is ready to submit. It rarely is. You’ve got to put the manuscript aside so you can approach it with fresh eyes. And then you’ve got to put it aside again. Not every book has to go through 6, 7, 8 drafts, but it’s very, very, VERY rare that a single edit is going to land you a publishing contract with a traditional print publishing house. The longer you write, the more you publish, the more you streamline the writing/editing process and the fewer drafts you need, but at the beginning – figure you’ll need between three and five drafts.

Even this technically “second” draft of ANGEL HUNT is more than that. It’s based on serial episodes that were published several years ago. That means those episodes were rewritten several times (in spite of the blistering pace I kept up, writing four serials simultaneously) before they were published (and I’m still catching mistakes not caught by the editor that make me cringe). And, as I revise ANGEL HUNT, I’m going back through and reworking batches of chapters at a time, and then going back and making more changes in the chapters already worked on to strengthen and streamline the whole thing. So this revision is about three-in-one, and there will still be more when I think this draft is “done”.

“The Merry’s Dalliance”, one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, is supposedly up on NEW MYTHS. However, when I try to access its page, it’s blank. It was there about a week ago for a few hours, I saw it. I’ve been paid for it. I emailed the editor and am waiting to hear back if I’m having some weird browser issue or if something’s wrong. I want people to be able to read it!

I finished my column; I want to read it through one last time before I hit “send”. I still haven’t done the work for Confidential Job #1, which must be finished today before I leave for the show, and I have two guest blog posts to write.

I better get going – today starts the eight-show week!

Devon

Angel Hunt — 87,797 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
87 / 125
(69.6%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 9, 2008 at 8:13 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , ,

Monday, September 8, 2008: Angel Hunt Obsession

Monday, September 8, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto goes DIRECT tonight
Jupiter DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

So what did I do yesterday?

Worked on ANGEL HUNT. All day. I’m obsessed with it, so deep into it, loving it. I straightened out some plot discrepancies, wound some pieces up, made some cuts, and added two important scenes.

And Lianna and Lachlan gave me a big surprise, but hey, I went for it.

Unfortunately, it’s still running quite long, but, until I see the whole thing and figure out how I want to end it (the ending is shaping in my head), I won’t know where I can cut.

The serial had promise; the novel kicks ass.

If I say so myself.

But today, I MUST get out my column and at least the work for Confidential Job #1.

And tomorrow, I start another eight show week.

I don’t know how I’m going to balance that with ANGEL HUNT, because shortly, I run out of material to adapt and I’ll solely create new material.

Plus, I’m juggling a bunch of interviews, articles, and other work.

Somehow, it will all work out, right? Because it has to.

But I resent every moment not spent on ANGEL HUNT.

I’ve also got a group of characters sitting in a bar waiting for a plot. They’re inspired by various people Imp and I encountered in Philly last week, I’ve got them in the place where the cataclysmic event will happen in their lives . . .but I’m trying to figure out what it is and what happens from there.

In other words, it needs to percolate awhile longer.

Back to the page.

Building scum said they were turning off the hot water at 9 AM to “clean the boiler”. Yeah, right. So, of course, they turned it off at 8.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 72,262 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
72 / 125
(57.6%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 8, 2008 at 7:36 am  Comments (6)  
Tags:

Sunday, September 7, 2008: Post-Hanna and Tracking Notebooks

Sunday, September 7, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It looks like we dodged a bullet yesterday. I have to actually go out and walk around later on, but, although the towns all around us were slammed, we seem to have gotten out relatively unscathed. If there was flooding, it was minor, and I couldn’t see it from my window.

Whew!

I don’t know if I have the inner resources to make it through another flood of chest-high water and no services for a week. Not that the building gives us the services to which they are legally bound anyway, but you know what I mean.

PJ, I still do about 60% of my work in longhand, especially first drafts. I LOVE writing in longhand. ANGEL HUNT is an adaptation, so the original serial format is already in the computer and I’m working off that text, but many of my first drafts are still done in longhand. I feel more connected to the story that way.

Diana asked me to talk a bit about the tracking notebooks I’ve started for the Jain Lazarus Adventures, the Merry’s Dalliance adventures, ANGEL HUNT, and something I will probably do anytime I either a series or a complicated, complex book.

At this point, it’s a simple spiral notebook or one of those marbleized composition books for each, clearly marked with the project and “Tracking Book.” I’m using it for characters – if the plot is so complicated that I have to make notes on it, I should probably rethink it, although, again, in a series, I keep plot notes in a folder, so I don’t go back and contradict myself.

I put the character name at the top of the page – if it’s one of the lead characters, I skip several pages before starting the next page. And, basically, it’s a list. Physical characteristics such as hair, height, eye color, hair color. Because when I’m working on multiple projects, I sometimes forget who’s got the green eyes or the gray eyes or whose hair is short or long and curly or whatever. Things like Wyatt taking his coffee black are in there, because, in the next book, it won’t make sense for him to put cream in it unless he’s talking to a little old lady serving him and doesn’t want to offend her. As I reveal details about the characters’ pasts (or as they reveal them to each other), I jot them down. Some of them are throwaway lines; some references might be cut; some might later develop into plot lines in future stories.

IMPORTANT: What goes in the notebook is only what has HAPPENED in the story. I cannot pre-write character details or I lose the character. If I sat down and wrote out pages and pages and pages about my character, I could not write the book. I need to make those discoveries in the first draft. I know, in my head, what most of the characteristics are, but I cannot, cannot, CANNOT write them in notes before I write the story, or the character leaves and I can’t write the book. Many, many writers spend months developing dossiers on their characters. Good for them. I can’t. I can write a few tag lines in my initial inspiration notes, but I cannot write in detail.

The tracking notebook helps me keep things consistent, and, where I deviate, it becomes a choice, not a mistake.

It’s a way of streamlining the process. I’m juggling a lot right now, and I can’t afford the time to correct careless mistakes. The tracking notebooks will help me avoid them in the first place.

I know several writers who use tracking notebooks, and I think we all use them slightly differently. Whatever way works for you is the “right” way.

I worked on ANGEL HUNT all day yesterday, re-working the first nine chapters, making notes on things that need to be dealt with further down the line, noting a few possible tangents to add (I know, I’m supposed to be cutting). I’ve cut some of the dialogue that’ could be viewed as repetitive, although I like the rhythm of it between the characters. However, since this is being read and not said, I can tighten it without losing too much.

I need to get back to work on the material for Confidential Job #1, my column, an article, and two guest blog posts, but I also want to work on the next three chapters of ANGEL HUNT and get some work done on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore.” We’ll see what happens. I don’t want the latter to run much more than 1500-2500 words, so it shouldn’t be that big a deal. I just have to sit down and do it.

I’m breathing a big sigh of relief that Hanna didn’t pack the expected punch. And I’m watching Ike, worried about Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Lots to do today and tomorrow – I’m doing a full eight show week next week.

Devon

Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 7:50 am  Comments (5)  
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, Tropical Storm Hanna

You can feel it. The air is heavy and oppressive. Tropical storms and hurricanes even smell different than regular storms. They don’t smell fresh and clean; they smell musty.

I moved the car. We have enough supplies. Everything that can hold batteries has batteries. I’m boiling water and bottling it, and bought a few fresh gallons, just in case. I ground a few days’ worth of coffee, because if there’s no power, I can’t use the electric grinder, and, flood or no flood, I want my coffee! 😉

I hope that all the precautions taken (we got the call from the police department yesterday to expect the worst) are insurance against the worst actually happening. I don’t think I have the inner resources to go through a similar experience to those two floods in six weeks last year. It’s too much. And the developers just keep building and destroying the water run-off and dancing on all our graves.

I ran off enough pages of the ANGEL HUNT adaptation so I can keep working in longhand when the power goes off, and I have other stuff ready to go as well. We will see what the next twenty-four hours bring.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Devon

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 7:24 am  Comments (7)  
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hazy, hot, humid

I’m back in NY. Yesterday was FUN! Hot as all get-out, but fun.

I was up at 5 AM – grumble, grumble, if I’m not paid to be on set, and all that, you know? On a 7:30 train to the city – we got the GOOD one, the diesel train with the comfortable seats, and on a 9:15 bus to Philly.

Costume Imp texted me when he reached Philly, and I tried to text back, but the bus wobbled and he got something that looked like the first day of typing class.

So he called.

We met at Slainte, a place near the 30th St. Station where we’ve eaten before, and had a quick snack. Our waitress wanted us to come back for karioke night. Imp explained we work with professional singers, so Karioke makes our ears bleed. Then we cabbed on over to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where we spent our time in the Egyptian exhibits. I’d visited there in January, and done a ton of research for TRACKING MEDUSA and its two sequels, but this time I could just wander. And, they had some new pieces up. The only downside was no air conditioning. How can you have these delicate objects and no air conditioning? Maybe it was just broken for the day or something.

We wandered around the U Penn district – very nice. I hadn’t spent much time there. We’d walk – or in Imp’s case, limp – a few blocks, then stop for a beverage and then continue. Basically, we beveraged our way across the Uni district. We got a new cable for his computer, we stopped at The Last Word Bookshop to pick up a few titles and play with Lester, the cat, we had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, we even stopped in Starbucks (ick) for iced coffee where the barista must have just taken his first voice class in the Theatre Department, because he was determined to hit the back balcony!

We ate at a well-regarded restaurant on Sansom called The White Dog, where, supposedly, the medium Mrs. Blatavasky once lived. I didn’t know that when I picked the place, but it was one of those ironic life coincidences that are so much fun. The food was great, the atmosphere great, the service poor. We were the first ones seated in our section, yet we had to wait 45 minutes for a grilled chicken sandwich? I don’t think so. In general, in Philadelphia, I find the food excellent and the service sub-standard. And we even had two servers wafting around our table – one tried really hard, but English majors really shouldn’t be waitresses. Leave it to performers, they’re better with people. It’s more important to get our orders in than correct our grammar, and, sweetie, I KNOW when I’m speaking incorrectly – I was making a point. The other one was very full of her own sense of importance, but didn’t actually get anything DONE. I’ll take the English major any day of the week.

Behind us was a table full of pseudo-geeky guys and a really bossy girl who needs to learn that there’s a difference between being assertive and bitchy, and her behaviour towards these guys last night was SO not cute. She thought she was cute – she makes the mistake a lot of girls (and I use “girls” instead of “women” deliberately, because no matter what the age . . .) in Philadelphia make – they think they’re dressing New York chic, but don’t quite pull it off. In her case, the skirt was too short for the line of her leg, and its line was unflattering to her figure, the purse and shoes were overly matched to the dress but everything was out of proportion, and she had poor posture, while pretending she’s going around kicking ass. Everything was expensive-looking, but didn’t work together. And she wasn’t kicking ass, she was being mean. I’m sure she had self-esteem issues, but there are ways to deal with them that don’t involve trying to ‘power over” people abusively just to make yourself feel worth more. They were joined by an older male teacher type who was oh, so impressed with himself and treated everyone at the table like his subjects rather than his students. Gag. We’ve all been there, but oooh, the material . . .

Yeah, she’ll be in a story. I may kill her off, or I may just have her ass get seriously kicked. The teacher . . .he’s gonna have to go.

We limped back along market to a lovely statue of the Drexel Dragon, took more pictures, then I went back to the bus and Imp went back to his hotel (on the subway). He’s got a rock and roll day today – load in, show, load out, back on the bus to the next venue. So it was fun to catch a few hours together.

Bus ride was fine, I swung by the theatre to pick up my check, and headed home.

When I left yesterday, I fretted because I was away from the ANGEL HUNT characters for a day, but it was worth it. Now I can go back to them refreshed, and I have an idea of what I need to go back and change in the first few chapters. There are characters that come up later in the book that really need to be at least mentioned early on for it to be cohesive. I’m deepening a few things, cutting some stuff – it will still be a big old long damn book, but at least it will make sense.

Back to that, back to my column – I have to quotes I requested, now I have to plug them in – back to another article, and, most importantly, back to ANGEL HUNT.

Hurricane Hanna is set to hit tomorrow with some flooding – I hope it’s not as bad as we had last year. Keep your fingers crossed.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 30,935 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30 / 125
(24.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 5, 2008 at 8:08 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I had a good writing day on ANGEL HUNT yesterday. I adapted the episodes which now comprise Chapters 2 & 3, printed out the first three chapters, and did even more work on them. With this adaptation, I’m adapting batches of episodes into chapters, and then working on about three chapters at a time, cutting, fleshing out, fixing logistical lapses, making the characters more unique, etc., etc, instead of adapting the full draft and then going back. For this particular piece, I think it will work better.

I also started a tracking notebook, so I can know who’s doing what to whom and how they’re all connected, because the plot has layers. There are also things I rushed through, or mentioned and never followed up, and I either have to deal with them or cut them.

Did some planning work on both “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and the third Jain Lazarus. I think, for the latter, I have the opening set in my head, and then I’m going to do a section that flashes back to Billy’s arrival in Scotland, and then weave certain incidents that happen to him then which he didn’t realize were significant into the plot.

Watched the new 90210 yesterday, not because I normally would choose so to do, but because . . well, it’s a long story. THOSE are two hours of my life I want back. It wasn’t the most horrible show I’ve ever seen, but it’s not very good. There’s one actor who manages to work the material to his advantage, one of the adult characters, and the occasional clever line, but I have no interest in any of those people and don’t chose to spend time with them every week. It’ll probably be a huge hit and keep people employed, which is a good thing, but I won’t be watching.

Today is a writing day again; I’m hoping to get a lot done. I’m not sure if I’ll get to blog tomorrow, because I’m going to Philadelphia early to spend the day with (gimpy) Costume Imp.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 14,192 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 125
(11.2%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 3, 2008 at 8:01 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: ,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

If you like this blog, I hope you’ll nominate me as one of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers.

I spent most of the day glued to the Weather Channel, watching New Orleans. I’m going to keep worrying for the next few days. I don’t believe they’re out of danger yet.

Did some writing, mostly sketching out some ideas for short stories and monologues.

Re-read ANGEL HUNT, which I plan to adapt from serial to novel. I’m surprised at how it holds together, but I have to craft a strong ending for it and deepen quite a bit of it, in spite of the fact that it’s already pretty long (well over 400 pages). Yes, I’ll be cutting along the way, too. But I want it to start going out on submission by October. I rewrote the first chapter, which encompasses Episodes 1-6. Just to give you an idea of its length, I wrote 105 episodes, and it wasn’t finished (although it was close).

Finished re-reading Joyce Carol Oates THE FAITH OF A WRITER, and started re-reading Virginia Woolf’s diaries. I don’t have all the volumes; somehow they’ve gotten separated over the years, so I’m starting with Volume 3.

I finished the reading for Confidential Job #1, and now I have to do the write up. They didn’t give me a due date, but I’d rather get it done sooner than later.

Did a little bit of work on the third Jain Lazarus, mostly plotting.

Worked on my column.

Sketched out the next article for WOMEN ON WRITING.

Did a bit of work on GIFT this morning.

I’m not booked on the show at all this week, so I hope to get a lot of writing done. And I hope that the checks due to me get here earlier in the week rather than later.

And so. . . September starts.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 6,119 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 125
(4.8%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 September 2, 2008 at 7:18 am  Comments (10)  
Tags: ,