Wed. April 11, 2012: Revisions and Writing

Don’t forget the 1-Day Dialogue Seminars & Solutions Seminar on April 14! Info here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday, but a good one. Worked with students. Ran errands, took books back to Sandwich, got out some others, including an amazing new release I’m going to have to track down and buy. It’s called NEW YORK DIARIES: 1609-2009, edited by Teresa Carpenter, containing diary excerpts from various individuals, organized by day (Jan. 1, Jan. 2, etc.) from those 400 years. Amazing stuff.

The recommendation is going into the resource list for the digital handbook going along with the course.

I saw a kid waiting for the school bus, with a worried expression on his face, on my way to meditation yesterday. Gave me an idea for a short story, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

Revised the first four chapters of HEART SNATCHER. Decided I want the opening scene (now called “Chapter 1”) to be a prologue, in spite of some agents and editors currently cranky with prologues. I love ‘em, and it serves this particular book. Moved the first section of Chapter 5 as the new Chapter 1 — the timeline works better, and the overall flow is much stronger. Developed Chapter 2 — Max’s first chapter — and worked on the caseload timeline/assignments within the squadroom so it’s truer to NYPD procedure, but still makes sense to the reader. Added in the Sex Crimes detective who needs to be in there, reshuffled the squadroom a bit, still have to add a small scene between Max and this new guy towards the end of Chapter 2. Chapters 3 & 4 mostly needed tightening in language choices and flow — cutting more than anything else. I’m going to re-read them for flow again this morning, before printing them out.

I’ve got a variety of tracking sheets — Day/Night timelines (since I’m moving between multiple points of view and sometimes the action overlaps — but it’s got to overlap on the right day), Character tracking sheets, the squadroom case tracking sheet. I probably need to set up a tracking sheet for Valerie’s caseload, too, so I don’t drop anything I started (unless I choose to cut a subplot). Since this is part of a trilogy, and I envision a couple of books taking place several years after the trilogy ends, I’m also starting a Series Bible. The multi-colored draft, original notes, and the Scene Purpose and Character Purpose sheets are all a big help.

I also write 928 words, in the sprint with the students, on HEART BINDER, the second book. Managed to do some re-envisioning of what’s not working for me in “Town Crier”, jot down some notes on some of the other arcs I want to happen in the Jain Lazarus short stories, so I can feed them into the series properly, polished the lectures and resources for Saturday’s workshop.

It looks like I’ll get the same editor and cover artist for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I’m happy about that.

Today’s the first due date for One Story, Many Voices. Most of the students have taken the previous two short story workshops this year, so they’re used to the drill. I think some of the newcomers are a bit nervous. If they show up and actually write, they’ll get a lot out of it. If they don’t — well, that’s on them. My classes are geared for those who want to challenge themselves as writers by writing in the moment, not think about doing it someday in the future.

We should have a new lecture in the Steampunk class. I’m getting a lot of ideas.

Also have a bunch of paperwork to get done, and must make a dump run — both garbage bins in the garage are getting rather full! Time to empty out and not have to think about it for awhile!

This week is busy/crazy, but I’m hoping next week will settle down a bit. Back to the page.

Devon

Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!

Devon

Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up here.

Mon. April 9, 2012: Dialogue and Tulips and Taxes

Monday, April 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root’s blogging over on his site about auditions and how he wound up on the film that’s the backdrop for HEX BREAKER. Check it out here, and drop a comment so I know you visited!

Things are going well for the Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions Seminar on Saturday, April 14. At this point, it looks like it’s the only dialogue workshop I’ll be teaching all year online. So if you missed the others, or if you want some new information, make sure to sign up here.

The dates for the next Fast and Fun workshops will be finalized in the next couple of days, and then pages will go up with the registration information. Unfortunately, 1and1, yet again, won’t let me put buttons on my site via Mac, so I’m going to go to the library and use a PC every time I need to put in a button. Definitely time to move hosts, once I get the webmail they’re holding hostage away from them. I was lucky last time, because I was working somewhere where I had access to a PC. The webhost shouldn’t dictate what type of computer I can use. I can’t even put in a “tweet this” button!

My “One Story, Many Voices” class starts today, and I continue as a student in the steampunk class.

I don’t know if I remember all the way back to Friday — I know I didn’t feel well, and that I did a lot around the house in preparation for the weekend’s company — tidying, washing floors, vacuuming, rearranging, that kind of thing. The house looked great, but I still want to do more with the front yard. However, it has to be inexpensive, whatever I do.

Had a good writing sprint with the students — it’s working better, on this book, to write in company.

Saturday was fun — long-time friends from CT came by for a visit and lunch. I hadn’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon for awhile, while doing some research for a project.

Sunday, I slept in, then spent most of the day catching up on the computer with what I hadn’t gotten done on Saturday. I like Sunday to be my day offline, but, oh, well. The work has to get done, and I wasn’t up to it on Saturday after company left. I worked with students, did some research for some proposals that will go out this week, got out some interview questions for a piece, and did some promo work. I had a weird dream about an old friend on Saturday night into Sunday, and woke up with an idea for a tweak on a piece I’m getting ready to send out.

I’m glad Mercury went direct, and I’ll be glad when Mars goes direct at the end of the week. However, Pluto goes retrograde tomorrow. THAT always brings some interesting revelations!

Lots to do today, both writing and administrative, so I better get to work. This will be a busy week – but then, lately, every week is busy. Fortunately, it’s “good busy”. But I’ve got to deal with the taxes this week — ick. Not so bad because I do quarterlies, but still, gathering all the paperwork (I was bad about keeping up all year) is a pain in the butt, and I just don’t feel like it. Too bad for me! 😉

Some of my tulips are already blooming — isn’t it a bit early?

Devon

Friday, April 6, 2012: Planting and Premieres

Friday, April 6, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I didn’t get online until 4 PM yesterday. When I pulled out the car to go to yoga, I saw a big package lying on the front steps. Turned out to be 7 more bushes. Once I got back from yoga, it was all about running around getting pots for them, more soil, and planting. So, in 48 hours, I planted 8 trees and 9 bushes. I’m a little sore!

Got some editing work done, and a nice chunk on the second harpy book in the writing sprint. I’m starting to like it again, which is always helpful — liking the book you’re writing! There were a few weeks when it was touch and go — I felt frustrated, like I was spinning my wheels, but not getting anywhere.

Juggled appointments for this, that, and the other. Tried to get over my irritation with a client who’s trying to dump more work on me without paying any more. The client has several of us working — most of the others in the organization put in, maybe, two hours a week. I’m putting in a lot more, getting paid the same, and now the client wants to dump things outside of the realm of my job responsibilities on me without compensation. The answer to that is “no.” I am finishing up the current commitments, and then we will part ways. Irritation is a waste of time and energy — I’ve set my boundaries, I need to stick to them. The time/money/energy is no longer working in this relationship. The client continues to want more for less. I’m tired of being exhausted, frustrated, and miserable, and then having to scramble for additional work because the client’s payments are, shall we say, fluid. Therefore, it’s not going to work. These transitions are always tough, but I’m a business person. This is my business, not my hobby. Pay me what I’m worth (or at least for the work I do) or find someone who’s willing to work under your changing business model.

I need to do some more work on “Town Crier”. I like the basic structure, but I need to raise the stakes on a few things.

Watched the premiere of SCANDAL last night with mixed feelings. (Spoiler alert) There’s an actor on it whose work I adore, so that kept me with the show when I considered turning it off. The writing, the acting, the pacing are all excellent. However, I have a problem with glorifying someone who “fixes” the problems of prominent jerks, repeatedly stating that “it’s not about justice.” That’s one of the reasons we’re in the current mess we’re in — because too many prominent people are getting away with unjustified crap. Yes, she has to face her own betrayal and appears to do an about-face at the end, but it came across like a personal desire for revenge, not about doing the right thing. Suddenly, I’m supposed to believe chickie has a moral compass? I don’t think so. Karma’s rightly kicking her butt, and I want to see it kicked a lot harder for what she’s done. I also had a problem with the other story line, about the war hero whose female “best friend” is murdered and the guy turns out to be gay. It’s supposed to be this heartwarming, “be true to yourself” moment, yet it’s made clear that IT DOESN’T MATTER who murdered the girl. Even the “war hero” shrugs off the murder so he can come out of the closet. Points up another problem in our society — women’s lives are not valued, and they continue to be devalued. The girl’s death was tangental, and that angered me. The lead in this is a woman, the creator is a woman, yet both story lines dismissed and destroyed female characters. I have a problem with that. Do people like this exist? Yes, of course. And I think they should face harsh consequences for helping people get away with what’s wrong. I’ll give it one more episode, and if I don’t see any adjustment in the attitude that women are worthless unless they can pay a fixer, I’m not watching anymore, much of a fan as I am of the work of some of those in the show. Like I said, the writing and acting are strong, but the underlying premise and its justification don’t work for me. Much as I like the actress, I’m not rooting for the protagonist of the piece, because I think what she’s doing is wrong and should have dire consequences for her.

We have company coming tomorrow, and I’m behind on everything. I’ll have to work like crazy today and also clean the house from top to bottom.

I better get going, then, hadn’t I?

Devon

Don’t forget the 1-Day Dialogue Seminar
on April 14!

Wed. April 4, 2012: Head Down & Working

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT — thank goodness!
Sunny and pleasant

Didn’t spend as much time on the computer as I needed to yesterday, but at least my back and eyes got some rest. Ran errands, did some yard work, worked on a few proposals, worked on stuff for classes (both as teacher and student).

I’m moving back and forth between two novels set in (different realities) in NY. It makes me a little dizzy, and I have to be very, very careful not to get the two New Yorks mixed up.

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SHADED VISION, of her Otherword series, and liked it. I enjoy the series anyway, and the Delilah books are my favorite.

Working on articles, proposals, and the materials for next week’s meeting. We’re having company in from CT this weekend, so there’s also a whirlwind of cleaning and tidying going on!

I’d like to plant the pansies in the urn outside, but I’m worried it’s too cold.

I’m going to teach a short workshop at the Muse Conference in October, just a couple of days, instead of the entire week. That should be fun. As soon as the info goes live, I’ll post it.

Nothing particularly exciting to report — just head down and to work!

Devon

Don’t forget the 1-day Dialogue Seminar on April 14!

Published in: on April 4, 2012 at 7:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Tues. April 3, 2012: Sunshine!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Back from meditation, which was good. Stopped at Nirvana to pick up coffee and chocolate croissants. As far as I’m concerned, they live up to their name!

Yesterday was busy — last minute work with the publisher for HEX BREAKER, working on a deadlined novel, working on the edits, dealing with students, starting a class where I’m a student. Two of the three pitches I sent out over the weekend got positive responses; I have an in-person meeting next week on one, and I have to put together a more in-depth proposal on the other one. Came up with what I’d like to do as a shorter workshop during the Muse conference — I can’t teach the whole week, but I can do a couple of days.

Heard back from a different potential project which would have been lucrative, but had been stressful in the wrong way so far. It’s not going to work out. I should be devastated; instead, I’m relieved. Go figure.

We had a good writing sprint on our novels in the chatroom yesterday afternoon. I wound up tossing what I’d written in the morning, replacing it with something better. I hit a good stopping point, then started on a short story — the characters started yapping at me while I was winding up the other chapter in the book, and it was getting awfully noisy inside my head. I prefer just ONE set of characters talking at a time.

Lots on the agenda today — have to edit and turn in an article, work with students, work on the novels, work on some short stories, and do things like go to the dump and do some yardwork.

It’s cold, but it’s pretty out, so it will be fun to be out and about!

Devon

Don’t forget the 1-day Dialogue Seminar on April 14. Sign up now.

Published in: on April 3, 2012 at 9:08 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, April 2, 2012: Writing, writing, writing . . .


Can you find all the cats in the picture?

Monday, April 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Okay, Billy Root fans! You’re in for a treat. As part of the upcoming HEX BREAKER release, Billy Root, everyone’s favorite supporting character in the Jain Lazarus Adventures, has his own blog. He’ll be blogging on Mondays, so spread the word. It’s a ton of fun.

There’s also a press release about my upcoming one-day seminar on April 14 here.

Friday was busy and hectic and frustrating. Saturday got out the media kit for HEX BREAKER to the publisher (re-reading good reviews made me all warm and fuzzy, a good antidote to the last few weeks of frustration). I did a writing sprint online with several of my year-long compatriots, and got some good work done on HEART BINDER; that fed into getting some good work done on another novel that’s on deadline. Also worked on the short stories, and the April newsletter went out. Worked with my students on the Sensory Perceptions workshop, which wraps up today — so proud of the progress they’ve made. It’s been exciting to work with the students in the last two short story workshops, because there’s been a lot of growth. Hopefully, they’ve developed a love of working in both long and short formats, and see how each feeds the other. Versatility is the key to survival at this point.

I managed to hurt my back again — don’t know how that happened, but ow. Hopefully, I can get it sorted out; otherwise, it’s back to the acupuncturist later this week or early next.

Also, annoyed at a neighbor on Saturday, the house behind mine. They own one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles — a mastiff I find adorable. However, one of the humans in the household seems to think it’s quite okay to walk the dog on my property without permission. Love the dog, not the human — especially since he’s not cleaning up after the dog, and it’s a MASTIFF, people, poops like a small cow. Uh, no. Not acceptable. This is the same household that thinks it’s funny to have an inflatable sex doll propped against one of their trees, so should I really be surprised?

Sunday was supposed to be offline, but I hopped on to send the newsletter, and found an email that pretended to be from the FBI, but was actually a scam. So I filed with the Internet Crimes Division, because hey, they should know someone’s running around posing as them trying to get money out of people.

Got out a couple of proposals, too. And had some interesting discussions with people who work for different teaching models. There are some really impressive ones out there. The ones that seem to work best (outside of the academic models) take the best of the academic models and modify them for the internet. They charge A LOT — teachers make in one week what I’m currently paid for six months. And they screen students in a multi-step process. The first few rounds of applications don’t even get to the instructor. There’s a vetting process by the administrative staff. Only the applicants who meet the initial criteria of both skill and imagination are passed on to the instructor. Classes are kept small, the workload is about three times what I give my students, but it’s for a more concentrated period of time. The students pay more, the teacher is paid more, and, if someone quits, the teacher doesn’t take the financial hit (the way I currently do). The teacher is paid the same if there are 3 students or the full contingent of 15 (all classes are capped at 15), and, as I said, teachers are paid for one week what I make in six months. About 350 applications are received for every class; less than 50 are passed to the instructor, and only 15 are allowed in. If the instructor doesn’t feel 15 are qualified, the teacher doesn’t have to accept 15. Definitely something to think about.

Spent most of Sunday doing the prep for the HEART SNATCHER edits. Read the manuscript through the first time, in a single sweep. Took about 22 pages of notes for edits. It needs a lot of work, but it read better than I remembered. Started the next read-through, the multi-colored draft (due Wed.), where we take different colors to highlight passives, adverbs, and qualifiers. My over-use of qualifiers is depressing. But, that’s all part of a first draft, so suck it up, wear the big girl panties, and get down to work, right! 😉

Pitched a couple of articles; need to pitch a couple more. Need to work on two novels and few short stories today, and do some more pre-release work for HEX BREAKER. I’m also honing the lectures for the Dialogue Seminar on April 14. I’m using a lot of comparison/contrast examples, and it’s fun to hunt them down.

Back to the page.

Devon