Mon. Sept. 30, 2013: Learning From the Best

Monday, September 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

Lots of writing this weekend. I did the pieces for Confidential Job #2 and sent them off; started work on the article for the new editor; worked on the short story for the anthology, worked on the grant proposal.

I also have an idea that formulating. It’s still a bit beyond my reach, like grabbing for mist. The more I work on it, the more I think it’s tied to another idea I’ve been playing with.

The short story is a lot of fun, but requires a huge amount of world-building. I mentioned that on social media and got a snarky message about how it’s not “worth” doing massive world-building for “just” a short story. Of course it is, if I want the story to work.

It’s set in a different world. That world needs to be created. What is normal for the characters has to feel normal, what causes the conflict has to be unique. All of it has to be rendered in a sensory manner to make it immediate for the reader.

And, the more I work on the world, the more I think it’s the same world as those two formulating ideas, although, at this point, I don’t see character cross-over.

Just want to take a moment to talk about the series finale of BREAKING BAD. It was thoroughly satisfying, while not pulling any punches. Vince Gilligan remained true to himself, true to his characters, and fulfilled the promise and the contract he had with his audience. People who want to write good television can learn a lot from this guy. I’m not giving any spoilers — go watch it for yourself. It’s worth it.

A lot to get done today, so I better get going!

Devon

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Published in: on September 30, 2013 at 7:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Sept. 27, 2013: Weird Day

Friday, September 27, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

It’s definitely autumn.

Here’s information about the National Marine Life Center as a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. We really, really, REALLY need to replace our marine life ambulance — this car would be a lifesaver. I’ll remind you on Oct. 7 to vote, but here’s the preliminary information.

Weird day yesterday. A project’s been cancelled, through no one’s fault, but just unfortunate circumstances getting in the way. It happens.

Started a short story yesterday for an anthology call, but need to do some research. Read a stack of short scripts and did notes on them. Had a negotiation on a project on which I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and will be henceforth called “Confidential Job #2”, should I land it. It sounds like a lot of fun. When I pitched, I thought it was a reach, but they got back to me right away, so who knows?

Worked with students, worked on the grant proposal and turning around a press release.

Not happy with any of my personal writing yesterday. Felt too scattered.

This morning, got out a press release. Did a little bit of work on Project D. Have to do some work on Confidential Job #2 for the next step.

It’s chilly, I have company coming in from the UK next week, and I think I’ll decorate for Samhain this weekend, a little early — because I can!

Oh, I meant to give my opinions of some of the new shows this week.

BLACKLIST: I enjoy James Spader’s work, but not sold on the rest of it. Chickie, supposedly a highly trained agent, lets the bad guy stab and torture her husband in front of her and cries, then stabs Red in the neck with a pen or stylus or whatever it was when he tells it like it is? Don’t buy it. Plus, I bet I know the “big secret” and I don’t yet care enough to be impressed. So I flipped over to:

HOSTAGES: great chemistry between Dylan McDermott and Toni Colette, but I suspect the creative team is messing with us to mess with us.

AGENTS OF SHIELD: an actor I loved working with on a TV show in NY was the guest star, and he rocked. I was so happy to see him in a fun role. I realize it was a guest spot, but I hope they bring him back. Like the humor, am willing to give it a few episodes to see how the chemistry develops.

REVOLUTION is back, and I was frustrated with the first episode. It works when the ensemble is together — it’s their moment-to-moment chemistry in scenes that stands out. When they’re split up, it’s simply irritating.

My two cents.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 26, 2013: Projects Moving to Phase Two

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cool

Polished and sent out two articles yesterday. Finally got them right. Worked with students. Sent out a few pitches. One got an almost immediate response, so we’ll see where we go from there. I thought it was a stretch when I pitched, but they liked my materials, and now we’re working on the next step.

I had a two hour meeting with someone in LA on a project for which my agent pitched me. We are also taking the next step on that, and, if it works out for both of us, will go to contract hopefully sooner than later.

Received my next two assignments from Confidential Job #1. Already read the material for one of them, and have to write it up.

Received my first assignment from my new editor. Will get to work on that today.

Re-read the 85 pages I’ve got on Project D so far, and feel good about it.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK got a 5-star reader review on Amazon, which was great, and will be available in print in the next couple of days.

Back to the page,

Devon

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 6:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Sept. 25, 2013: Feels like a Monday

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Whew! Monday, I hit the ground running, did as much as I could early, and then hit the road. I had to drive to CT.

Good drive, easy roads, but I was tired. Lovely day to drive, though.

I was not able to get online where I was; although I could have worked on other writing, I didn’t even turn on the computer. I needed the break.

Instead, I read a book by an old friend of mine, Janet Laurence, called A DEADLY INHERITANCE. I knew Janet years ago, in the UK, on the conference circle, and she was very kind to me when I went through a nasty break-up. We lost touch, and I’m delighted that she’s working on a new series and I can track her down and reconnect. She’s a terrific writer and a wonderful human being.

Drove back to the Cape yesterday. Another terrific day to drive, and it was pleasant. The cats were happy we were home. I just had time to unpack and eat, and then I had to leave for a meeting.

There were several meetings scheduled yesterday, but I attended the one for the organization I’m leaving. I resigned my position with the organization — I think they’re wonderful, but the schedules conflict too much with work, and with my work at both the Marine Life Center and the Writers Center. Also, since more of my work takes me out of town, I can’t commit to either their meeting schedule or their events. I’m sad to leave, but it was necessary for everyone’s well-being. I will help the new person transition in over the next couple of months.

I have to hit the ground running again today, and I’m preparing for a client meeting with the west coast. I don’t believe anything until the contract is signed and the check’s cleared, but the project sounds good.

My new editor just sent me an assignment that I’m very excited about, my other editor sent me notification that my next assignment shipped (which means it should arrive today), I’ve got articles to polish and books to write, not to mention work on the play.

Better get to it.

Feels like a Monday.

Devon

Published in: on September 25, 2013 at 6:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Sept. 23, 2013: Hitting the Characters’ Emotional Truths

Monday, September 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Roller coaster weekend. I was very discouraged by Friday afternoon. Just felt like I was going in circles and not getting anywhere.

But then, I logged in Saturday morning and found some exciting news. Nothing’s set until there’s a contract in place, so I don’t want to get my hopes up — especially after I was screwed on the contract at the beginning of the month — but I hope this works out.

Wrote two reviews this weekend, worked with students, caught up on movies, started re-watching the second season of TORCHWOOD, worked in the garden, cooked, baked, cleaned the house, did laundry, wrote. Worked on a couple of articles, but am not satisfied with them, so I’m going to keep working before I send them out. Plus, I had a horrible migraine, which slowed me down.

I did some work on Project D, and have to figure out a few things, then backtracked to Project B, where, yesterday, finally, I hit my protagonists’ emotional truths — a scary moment, but an important place on which to build. Project B is turning into a very different novel than I originally imagined, but I like it much better.

Watched the Emmys last night. Wasn’t thrilled with the show. They tried too hard and fell short. They rushed the winners and had too much silly filler. The only number I liked was the one done by the choreographers.

I have a busy, hectic day, which is why I’m at my desk early.

Hope everyone has a great start to the week.

Devon

Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 6:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Sept. 20, 2013: A Migraine for the Weekend

Friday, September 20, 2013
Final Day of Full Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Worked flat out yesterday, but not at any of the novels. Worked on the play, drafted a grant proposal (which needs a hell of a lot more work to make it exciting), and reformatted my radio script sample package to fit the formatting of the gig to which my agent is submitting me.

The latter was long and tedious, but necessary. When they want something formatted in a specific way, you do it or you’re not in the running. Part of the gig is proving you can adapt to how they do things.

Woke up with a migraine this morning, and my eyes really, really hurt. However, there’s still a lot to do today.

At least I got back to work on Project B this morning. I have to show the passage of time, so I’m creating short scenes that indicate the time skips and the most important part of what happens/how the relationship between the protags grows in that period. We don’t need to see all the daily details, but we need to know that it’s building and growing, and it makes more sense to show it in snippet than have narrative yapping about how the relationship progresses.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on September 20, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 20, 2013: A Migraine for the Weekend  
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Thurs. Sept. 19, 2013: Two Board Meetings, One Day

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Full Moon
Sunny and cold

So cold I made a meatloaf yesterday to warm up the house! 😉

I was up before 5 AM yesterday, at my desk by 5:30, and wrote over 1K before I had to leave for my morning meeting. My meeting was at 8 AM , in Buzzard’s Bay, at the Marine Life Center. I am joining their Board of Directors. I’m there all the time anyway, giving opinions, so it might as well be official!

Also, got to meet Francis, the new seal (he’s so funny) and pick up some stuff I needed for rehearsal, and get some info I need for the grant proposal. Stopped at Sandwich Library on the way back to drop off some books, and Sturgis, to drop off and pick up.

Home, got some writing done, and some other stuff, made the meatloaf, had an early dinner, and then headed to my next board meeting for the Writers Center. I kind of like having the board meetings all in one day — didn’t have to keep changing head spaces.

Pitched for a couple of jobs, did some other work, landed another interview assignment. So that’s all good. Now, some of the checks need to come in!

Also polishing my radio scripts for a project my agent is going to submit me to.

Out of ink — keep hoping I can dust off one of the older printers for which I still have ink tanks and get them to crank for the next few weeks.

Onward!

Published in: on September 19, 2013 at 6:54 am  Comments (2)  

My Answers to the Liebster Award Questions

My friend over on Pendrifter nominated me for a Liebster Award — so, here are the answers to her questions:

Answers to Liebster Award questions:

Q: What fictional character do you remember most vividly and why?

A: I can’t pick just one. Shakespeare’s Hotspur always had special resonance for me in HENRY IV, PART ONE, and a little less effectively in RICHARD II. I especially love the exchange when Owen Glendower says, “I can call spirits from the vasty deep!” and Hotspur says, “Why, so can I, and so can any man; but will they come when you do call for them?” That’s one of my favorite exchanges in literature ANYWHERE.

Of course, Shakespeare’s Hotspur is inspired by the actual Hotspur Percy, and, of course, I’ve spent a great deal of time in Northumbria researching the actual man and his lineage, and then creating my own version of him in my own work. Definitely a passionate and flawed human being, but in a really wonderful way.

I also remember Jo March vividly from LITTLE WOMEN, because, growing up, I identified with her and her “scribbling” so strongly. And I still scribble.

Other vivid characters for me are Senneth in Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series; all of that group are vivid, but Senneth holds a special place in my heart, because of her wonderful combination of strength and vulnerability. She’s got an enormous capacity for love, no matter what, and I admire that about her.

I’m assuming we’re talking books, and not movies, or we could go into a long tangent about actors! 😉

Q: What genres do you enjoy reading?
A: I read across genre. I’m a reviewer, so I read what I’m sent. I read a lot of contemporary fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, fantasy, urban fantasy, some science fiction, a lot of slipstream, steampunk. I don’t read much horror, because there’s so much in the world that’s truly horrifying right now. I don’t get the vicarious thrills from horror so many do. I’m like, “don’t be an idiot and go down in the basement wearing only your panties and a tee shirt, you’re going to get hacked to pieces. Haven’t you learned from ANYONE else’s mistakes?” I mean, come on. And what genuinely scares me tends to be different than what’s depicted in a lot of the genre. There’s some that’s outstanding, but too much of it is derivative, insulting slice-and-dice. I don’t read a lot of straight-up category romance, because so much of it irritates me — the characters are often interchangeable, the locations usually haven’t been properly researched, and the heroines act too stupid for too much of the book. Also, 90% of the conflict wouldn’t need to happen if the characters just talked directly to each other instead of pouted and got all passive aggressive. And the so-called “alpha male” that they claim to want? Seriously? Would you seriously put up with that crap from someone on a daily basis? No, thanks. You can be a strong, intelligent, sexy man without being a domineering jerk.

Q: What was your happiest moment in high school?
A: Graduating early. I did not like high school. I always felt like I was wasting my time, and wanted to get on with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I had some fun, but I couldn’t wait to get out.

Q: Did you go to your high school prom?
A: Junior prom, when everyone else was in pouffy dresses and pretending their soda cans had soda instead of alcohol in them, I was in NYC at Regine’s Disco with a bunch of older performers. I was still dancing at that point. From what I heard, I think I had a better time. Senior prom, I was already in college. So, no, no proms for me. And I don’t feel like I missed anything!

Q: What do you do to break writer’s block?
A: Writer’s block is a luxury of the un-or-under-published. If I don’t write, I can’t pay the bills. I sit down and push through. Take a walk on the beach (hey, I live on Cape Cod). Look at paintings in museums. And go back to work.

Q: Would you ever get a tattoo? Why?
A: I have not yet, because I am terrified of needles. But I want one — I even know what I want. I might let one of my friends talk me into it in the next few months — there will be a GREAT deal of alcohol involved!

Q: What foreign language would you like to learn?
A: I speak a little French and German, and I studied Latin. I’d like to learn Italian, because it’s a beautiful language, and Icelandic, because I like Iceland. And Scots Gaelic, too, because, well, Scotland.

Q: What’s your favorite music?
A: I like a variety. Jazz, blues, rock — real rock, not pop! –Celtic, classical, world music. Pretty much anything except country music. I loathe country music.

Q: If you could only wear one color, what would it be?
A: Blue.

Q: What’s your favorite animal?
A: Don’t have just one. Love cats, dogs, tigers, leopards, elephants. Since working with the National Marine Life Center (www.nmlc.org), I’ve fallen in love with seals and turtles.

Q: If you could visit Mars, would you? Why or why not?
A: Hell, yeah! That would be an adventure not to be missed. I theorize that, at one point, Mars may have been more similar to Earth than it is now and they screwed it up, much like we’re doing now. And then something happened in the orbit pattern, and, well, not currently inhabitable. But I’d love to go see for myself!

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm  Comments (1)  

Tues. Sept. 17: Mental Fatigue and Pushing Through

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday, I wrote. Worked mostly on Project D, which is coming along more slowly than I’d like, but also worked with Students and sent out some pitches. There’s a script niggling at the back of my head — I don’t need the distraction right now.

I went out on what I was afraid was a fool’s errand – -I don’t know why I ever bother to stop in and check Best Buy, not once have they come through — but finally found what I was looking for.

The coffee pot was cranky before I had my coffee today — it was not pretty, and I hope this is not an indication of what’s to come.

Lots of work today, so I better get to it. Waiting for the article assignment for the new gig. Mentally exhausted, but must push through. There are bills to pay.

Stop by and visit A BIBLIO PARADISE — Chelle Cordero talks about her newest release, KARMA VISITED.

Devon

Published in: on September 17, 2013 at 6:57 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Sept. 16, 2013: Strong Writing and Canon’s Unreliability

Monday, September 16, 2013
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. I focused mostly on Project D, writing a chapter a day (anywhere from 10-14 pages) and I’m far enough in where I can do a writer’s rough. I see almost the whole thing — I have to sort out some of the end logic, and I have to do it before I go much further, so that it will make sense.

What’s evolved into Project D started as something I assumed would be a sequence in Project B or C — most likely B, since, originally, it had to do with creative process and emotional ballast. But it didn’t fit in B — the situation didn’t fit the plot, and the way the characters in this sequence behaved couldn’t be integrated with any of the established characters in B. Then, I thought, well, it can evolve into a category woman-in-peril piece, slap on a title, and off we go. Quick write, quick read, out the door.

Only that didn’t work, either, because my women don’t just stay in peril and wait to be rescued. They Do Stuff to get themselves out of peril, and my lead female protagonist was like, “I don’t know what drugs you’re on, but I am in CHARGE of this adventure, so shut up and listen.”

So I am, and it works better. It’s more of a thriller now.

Had terrible trouble with the printer on Friday. Dumped the scanner ability and I couldn’t reload it and get it to work. This printer worked for exactly one month and then Canon hemmed and hawed until it was out of warranty and they didn’t have to provide customer service anymore. Canon used to be the BEST — used to have great products, reliable, and strong customer service. The last printer I bought from them sucked, and the camera I had to buy a year or so ago when my other one broke is a piece of crap. Not only do Canon’s products no longer have quality, their customer service is non-existent. After being a loyal customer for over twenty years, I am angry and betrayed. And will spend my money elsewhere.

But I backdoored a scan and got out a contract. It’s a small, regular gig, and I hope that will grow.

Saturday, drove my mom to CT for a dog-sitting gig — after I wrote my chapter! Was so tired when I got there, didn’t do much, went to bed early, and slept like the dead. Wrote a chapter in the morning, then headed back. Did a big grocery shop and tried to settle in during the afternoon and evening, and watched a movie and then the season finale of NEWSROOM. I was worried about it, because last week’s episode was disappointing. This one, although it definitely stretched credibility, also gave a lot of room for interesting developments next season.

Lots on my plate today, so I better get moving.

Devon

Fri. Sept. 13, 2013: Characters Who are Sure of Themselves

Friday, September 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

I did not have a good writing day yesterday. I was out of words, and having trouble focusing.

The morning meeting went well. Today, I have to do follow-up, work on the play, and on some articles.

I read a terrific book yesterday, GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS by Richelle Mead. I was a little worried, because it touches on some of the same themes I’m exploring in a couple of WIPs, but, fortunately, we take it in different directions. I liked the book a lot.

We were visited by a trio of wild turkeys. They wandered through the yard and into the neighborhood. One of my less-favorite neighbors started chasing them, so they came back to my yard for refuge. I don’t use chemicals, I keep wild areas growing, and I welcome wild life, but not stupid humans. The local wildlife usually comes and hangs out with me. Tessa was fascinated, but also smart enough not to engage.

Watched the series finale of BURN NOTICE last night. I’ve enjoyed the series over the years. It was interesting to see how the creators handled characters in whom the audience invested so much over a long period of time.

Big storm this morning, with downpours. In the time it took to make the coffee, the buckets were full. I’ve refilled the water jugs.

Nearly 2K on Project D today. I thought this would be part of Project B or Project C, but the characters defined themselves and their purpose very strongly. I’m writing the scenes that are most present in my brain and then putting it aside to finish the other projects first.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 13, 2013 at 8:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Sept. 12, 2013: Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was a tough day. Painful. Best I could do was to stay quiet. My heart is still sore today.

It was, however, a good writing day. I got big chunks of projects B & C done — probably close to 6K. Project C is written too lean at this point — I’m trying to get plot, character, images down. I have to layer in sensory detail, because my primary protag relies on his senses and those details will make this piece unique and immediate.

Tried to read a book yesterday — premise was terrific, setting was superb, and the writing was so weak that I was frustrated. It had all the elements, and the writer didn’t have the skills to pull it off. Disappointing.

Had a grant meeting in the evening. Quick and nothing I didn’t already know. Always amazes me when people ask stupid questions that are answered in the packet. If you can’t count six weeks from the date of application, and don’t understand the concept of “six weeks”, maybe you’re not qualified to apply until you gain some cognitive skills.

I have an early morning meeting today, so I’m going to try to knock out 1K and then head out.

Onward!

Devon

Published in: on September 12, 2013 at 7:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 12, 2013: Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question  
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Wed. Sept 11, 2013: Day Of Mourning

It never gets easier.

Published in: on September 11, 2013 at 6:17 am  Comments (2)  
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