Thurs. Oct. 31, 2013: Samhain

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

This is my busiest day of the year. However, check out my post on Writers Vineyard (in my Annabel Aidan persona) about “Fresh Starts and Turning Inward”.

I was frustrated yesterday, so by mid-afternoon, I decided to cut myself a break and go “out of office” early. Technically, I’m out of the office until tomorrow morning.

I did some research, did some reading, and wrote another 20+ pages in the development notebook. The first 3 chapters are roughed out. I want to type them up, rough out another chapter or two, and then sit down and outline, so I have my plot set out. It’s supposed to have a strong element of suspense in it, which means I need to figure out the plot and the escalations, not just see what happens.

Also, because it was a very sense-oriented time in history — even though there’s the steampunk element layered into it — I need to layer in a lot of sensory detail. Scent, texture, and sound are especially important to this piece working.

Today will be a busy day, but I’m looking forward to it. Then, tomorrow, it’s back to being productive!


Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 31, 2013: Samhain  
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Wed. Oct. 30, 2013: The Beauty of Project Bins

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We might get snow flurries today. So not ready for that!

My mom had a good birthday yesterday. Low key, but she enjoyed herself, I cooked some of her favorite things, she caught up with old friends, etc.

I worked on the project that’s manifesting. Did quite a bit of work in the project notebook, wrote about 18 pages in longhand, did some research. I’m writing my way in — I have an interesting ensemble of characters, and I have to solidify a plot, but I have to write my way into the set-up so I see which way the plot goes. One of my supporting characters, who is supposed to wait until Book 3 to be central, is pulling more focus than he should right now. He is an awesome character, but he can’t be central to every story — the central protagonists need to shift.

The work in longhand is rough sketching out of scenes, characters, and situations. As I type it up, I want to flesh it out with the historical, architectural, and sensory details that will make the piece stand out — it’s kind of Gilded Age steampunk, but set in New York, not in London.

I pulled books from my research shelves and am setting up my project bin. When I start a new project, especially one that requires research, I do something similar to what Twyla Tharp does — she has a “project box”, which she keeps intact well after the project is over. I have a “project bin”, where I put all the books, charts, maps, photographs, ephemera, and other research materials. When I’m finished, I file the research folders in the general files and put the books back on their shelves.

The advantage to having all my materials in the bin is that I have it where I need it AND if I choose to work other than home — if I have a site gig or go on a trip — I just load the bin into the back of the car and take it with me.

Did some work on the novella, and am trying to sort out scheduling of the various projects I’m juggling. Still waiting for an editing project to come in that is now ten days late, which is beyond disrespectful. I wrote a feature-length screenplay from scratch in five days, and this person can’t turn around a rewrite by the given deadline, and is already double beyond the time it took me to write from scratch? Ridiculous. Worked on some articles, got some quotes to wrap up another article.

Trying to get the rest of this year sorted out, along with early next year.


Published in: on October 30, 2013 at 7:27 am  Comments (3)  
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Tues. Oct. 29, 2013: Developmental Process

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Happy 89th birthday to my mom! She’s doing pretty well.

Today is also the year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. We were lucky here; didn’t hit us too hard. The Nor’easter the following week was much worse.

I was spectacularly unproductive yesterday, although I managed to print out VISCERAL INVISIBLES and put it away to marinate for two weeks. Revision start Nov. 11.

I just couldn’t focus on anything. I could feel another idea formulating, but it was just out of my grasp. By the end of the day, I had a wonderful ensemble of characters, and I was in search of a plot. This ensemble is part of a series, so I’m sorting out book-specific arcs from character arcs that overreach several books. I’m calling it Gilded Age Steampunk, but I’m not sure if that’s what it’s going to stay.

Couldn’t find what I needed researching the internet, then realized I’ve written in that era before and have a whole bookcase full of research materials. Made much more sense to use the hard copies. This is why I keep all my research books — I wind up using them for years.

I’m going to have to write my way a few chapters in before I know what I’ve got, and one of the supporting characters in the beginning (who is supposed to move to a more central position on Book 3) is turning out to be one of the strongest characters in the piece.

And then I have to figure out how to slot it in with everything else that I’m juggling.

But it’s not a bad problem to have.


Published in: on October 29, 2013 at 7:10 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Oct. 28, 2013: Writing and Seals

Monday, October 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. One client is still late; obviously I can’t count on that slot, which makes me irritated, because it is a big project.

However, on the upside, I finished the first draft of the “palate cleanser” project. The working title is VISCERAL INVISIBLES. It came in at 112 pages on Friday, and then Saturday, I made some internal cuts/tightenings that brought it down to 108, and added some material to smooth out logic to bring it up to 110. I have to print it out, and then it will sit and marinate for two weeks, before I rip it apart for rewrites. I’m looking at a Feb. 15 deadline for it, and this gives me plenty of time, even with other projects coming in. I’m happy with the overall flow, structure, and development of it, even though I know it still needs work.

I also think I figured out how to fix the project that stalled.

Read a bit over the weekend; received a first assignment from a new gig; it looks interesting.

Got frustrated because I ordered two movies from the library that were supposed to be Blu-Ray/DVD combos, but are only Blu-Ray, and I can’t watch them. As Kevin Hearne would say, “such first world problems!”

Yesterday, after I did some tweaks on the screenplay, I went over to Buzzards Bay for the National Marine Life Center’s Spooky Splash, and then we headed over to Scusset Beach to release Francis the seal. We had a heck of a time catching him and restraining him, and then, once he was at the beach, he took his time leaving his crate! But once he was in the water, he swam around and played; he was definitely ready to go, and hopefully, he’ll do well. Seal releases are always fun.

For some reason, I couldn’t sleep last night, so I’m having trouble getting going this morning. Lots to do this week. Better hop to it.


Fri. Oct. 25, 2013: Percolating Ideas

Friday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I got some good work done on the palate-cleanser yesterday, and I’ve figured out the ending, which means I have something for which to aim. Two characters wandered in that I wasn’t expecting, but they are demanding their share of page/screen time. Pushing through on the screenplay, even though I know it needs massive revision.

Worked on articles, worked with students, did some pitches, did some grocery shopping, did some yard work, but it feels overwhelming. Kind of feel like I’m going in circles, which I hate.

Developing an essay idea that I hope to flesh out and submit early next week. Actually, I have two ideas, but I’m going to do one, and then the other.

Will spend time on the novella this weekend, and also, hopefully, some time at the Marine Life Center, if I can sort everything out. Must run over to Osterville Library today to pick up some material they’ve gathered for me.

Short post because so much of what’s in my head is figuring out stuff for the WIPS, and if I talk it too much before writing it, everything will dissipate.

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on October 25, 2013 at 6:51 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I knew it was too good to be true. I kept my head down for the first few days of the Mercury Retrograde and hoped for the best, and got whammed this morning when Comcast screwed me. I am so sick of them having a stranglehold on the Cape and being my ONLY choice. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them?

Yesterday I worked at getting the screenplay on track, and I think I’m getting there, at least for this draft. Then I worked on the palate-cleanser, which is just taking off.

Sent out a few pitches, and got immediately hired on a new, potentially long-term, fun gig. My first assignment is on its way, so we’ll see how that works out.

Got in many of the plants from the deck. Working at putting everything to bed. There’s a LOT of work still to do in the yard, but I’m doing a little bit every day, and, eventually, I will get there.

Most of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the CCWC Annual Meeting (in costume). Not having to set up the ball all day and then having only 40 minutes to get ready made a big difference. I got an hour just to do the make-up, and it was much better. Getting into the corset was, of course, an adventure in itself. Next corset will be front-lace.

Since it was raining, I had to put a cloak over the costume, and maneuver the cloak and the tail. Quite the adventure.

Dinner was fun, the annual meeting part of it was quick and fun, and it was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.

Home at a reasonable hour, stripped out of the costume pieces back into sweats, to bed early (after taking nearly as long to scrub the make-up off as it took to put it on).

Worked with students, shot an email to an editing client asking for the new ETA on the project that was supposed to arrive on Monday. Have two articles to write in the next few days, an article to wrap (got two new sources yesterday), and an essay to get started on.

Deep breath, pull it together, move forward.

I need a nap, and it’s barely 9 AM.


Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast  
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Wed. Oct. 23, 2013: Corsets and Doubt Demons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Busy day. I’m very unhappy with the screenplay. The logic isn’t holding, and I haven’t figured out how to fix it. I’ve veered far from my original outline — maybe going back to it, somehow, will fix it, instead of the new direction that I thought would raise the stakes? What I need to do is push through on this draft, finish it, put it away for two weeks, and then rip it apart.

To clean my palate, I worked on another project. Hopefully, that won’t fall apart, too.

Got out some pitches, had some negotiating conversations. Am in a holding pattern for one project, gave some quotes on another. Someone I thought wasn’t interested has now circled back, but the questions indicate we are probably not a good match. I will still answer them politely and see.

Bad headaches.

Had to run errands. Batched them all together, plotting the route for maximum efficiency and using the least amount of gas possible. But I was still exhausted by the time I got home.

Getting in the plants. It’s too cold to leave them out. Pretty soon, I’ll have to rub down the furniture with teak oil and get that in, too, and then turn off the hoses. The yard needs some serious attention re: raking, too.

Hit with a bad case of the blues last night. Doubt demons attacked. Hopefully, I can work through it soon. Hate it when that happens.

Tonight, I get to suit up again as a steampunk mermaid for the Writers’ Center Annual Meeting. Not looking forward to driving in a corset!


Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. Oct. 22, 2013: The Writing and Editing Carousel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Good day yesterday. I completed two short editing projects and got them to the clients, a day early. Some payments came in from other work — checks that were delayed early in the month are now starting to come in, thank goodness.

I’m frustrated with the screenplay. I’m not happy with the logistics. I don’t feel there’s enough at stake to make it dramatic enough, and what I added in feels forced. The forcing I need to do now is to finish the draft and let it sit, and then go back to it and rip it apart. I love my central characters and how their relationship grows, but the situation seems artificial, and without it being organic, it will fail.


Did a bunch of research for some projects in development. Got a good set of notes. I’ve got a huge stack of books to return to the library today, and more to pick up. Pitched for some other jobs. On the BCC back to myself (I always bcc myself on pitches), I realized there was a typo in the subject line, so I won’t be getting that one anytime soon. Carelessness like that is not excusable.

Waiting for another editing project that was supposed to arrive yesterday. It was like waiting for a pot to boil. Hopefully, it will arrive today, so I can sink my teeth into it. It’s a big project, and I want to get going.


Published in: on October 22, 2013 at 7:01 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 22, 2013: The Writing and Editing Carousel  
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Monday, Oct. 21, 2013: Writing, Editing, Eager for the Week

Monday, October 21, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yes, Mercury goes retrograde today, until the 10th of November. However, since it never felt that Mercury went direct for me last time, other than a temporary ease of psychological pressure, I’m going to use this retrograde to untangle what’s still tangled, instead of cowering in a corner.

I will also try to remember to be quiet and not just be reactive.

Weekend was good. I booked three editing jobs for the week that really excite me, have a Writer’s Center Annual Meeting (in costume), and my own work. Plus, of course, hustling work for the coming weeks and months.

The screenplay is 2/3 done. Love my central characters, but am worried it’s neither fish nor fowl. There’s not enough sense of urgency in the piece; I have to ratchet up the tension. I know it’s going to run long and need cuts, especially with the elements I’ve had to go back and plant so there’s a more dramatic payoff, but it’s still not where it needs to be. Which is fine, it’s a first draft, but it’s frustrating to know there’s a problem and not feel I can fix it until I have a full draft.

Did some work on the novella, which I had hoped would be done by now, but oh, well. Will get back to that again, this week.

Did some yard work, but not enough. We have to bring in the rest of the plants this week.

Went to a party on Saturday, at my friends’ place in Sandwich. That was fun. It was nice to get out of the house and have conversations with real people, rather than fictional characters in my head.

Off to work, and I’m looking forward to it!


Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 6:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Friday, Oct. 18, 2013: Full Moon & Writing

Friday, October 18, 2013
Full Moon
Lunar Eclipse
Cloudy and cool

I need to do some serious raking in the front yard! The leaves!

Yesterday was alternately stressful and good. Got some really good work done on the screenplay, percolated on the novella, booked an editing job and a critique job, one immediate, one for the middle of next month, worked with students.

Absolutely adore my neuro-ethics class, but feel the genome class is going around in circles. I find the lectures repetitive — I look back at my notes, wondering if I’m imagining things, and see I’ve already written that down, so why are we going over the same material again?

I’m invited to a party tomorrow afternoon, which should be fun, and then, I hope to take some time off on Sunday — maybe just write a little. I need the break.


Published in: on October 18, 2013 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 17, 2013: Stress and Migraines

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Day before full moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a difficult day, very stressful. I managed to get some work done on the novella, and a nice bit of work done on the screenplay (I love writing the screenplay), but not enough.

I’m tired of unreliable clients. Therefore, I decided to raise my rates as of January 1. I’d rather have fewer clients, but ones that don’t nickel-and-dime, and try to play me for a fool whenever I try to cut them a break. It should also, once and for all, sweep the wanna-bes, who pretend they want a writing mentor, when they really don’t want to put in any work.

I have no doubt the next few days will also be difficult and stressful. The migraine isn’t helping, although it’s better today. I desperately need a few days off, but I can’t afford it right now.

At least Congress finally did their job. That delusional fuckhead Ted Cruz is still nattering on, and Speaker of the House Bonehead needs to be removed, but at least the government is up and working again, albeit temporarily.


Published in: on October 17, 2013 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Oct. 16, 2013: Keeping Quiet

The best thing I can do today is keep my damn mouth shut.

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 7:13 am  Comments (2)  

Tues. Oct. 15, 2013: Stressed, but Writing

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a very stressful day. I may have two new client; hopefully, they will make a decision soon. However, I’m not waiting. I’m pursuing other opportunities. If they wait too long, the slots will be full. I have bills to pay. Either you want to hire me, or you don’t. It’s not brain surgery. If you do, put down the deposit and we’ll get to work; if you don’t, don’t string me along with “someday-maybes”, because I have no time for you.

I got only a little bit of work done on the novella, and I’m not happy with it. Because I didn’t seed in the subplot — in fact, I didn’t think I needed one — it’s come back and bitten me in the butt. But I will push through the draft as though I seeded it in and finish it, and then, in the revision, smooth it all out.

Had a breakthrough on one of the two screenplay ideas that’s been eating away at me. Figured out what the heroine’s throughline was, and suddenly it all opened up. Managed 19 pages last night.

So it wasn’t a totally wasted day.

Today will also be very stressful, but that’s the way it goes.

I am desperate for a vacation, and there’s no chance of taking any time off any time soon. I don’t need to go anywhere — I just need time off.


Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 7:09 am  Comments (2)  
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