Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

I did the article revisions and got my report out to Confidential Job #1.

The “job” for which I was about to start negotiations is nothing more than a bait-and-switch – they want me to pay hundreds of dollars to be listed with their bureau, and then I might or might not get hired for seminars. I don’t think so! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t pay to work. I GET paid.

Spent most of yesterday cleaning out drawers, deciding on clothes I’m giving away, tidying up, packing away the summer clothes (yes, I know, it’s late, but it was so warm well into October I kept out the short sleeved shirts).

I worked out some problem spots on Tracking Medusa and came up with tentative titles for the second and third Gwen/Justin tales, but didn’t get a significant word count down.

Instead of working last night, I watched National Treasure. Again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen that movie. It’s such fun, and I enjoy most of the writing and love the casting. There are certain sections in the movie, especially towards the end, where I can’t suspend my disbelief and always roll my eyes, and I prefer the original ending to the one used in the theatres and on cable. And, from my Templar research, I have a very different point of view on the legendary treasure. But, for the most part, if I want to have a few hours of fun, it’s a great choice, and I’m looking forward to the next one in December. Somewhere in the blog archives, I gave a detailed critique of what I think works and doesn’t work in it.

Dreamed about Tracking Medusa last night, so it was initially difficult to switch back into Earth Bride head this morning, but I did, and got a decent morning’s work out of it: 2616 words.

I’m spending the afternoon with friends, so I hope to get some work done on Tracking Medusa before I leave, and then wind it up by Monday or Tuesday, so I can attack the revisions in December.

Sue – or anyone else coming to NY – in yesterday’s comments, there were some terrific additional ideas for things to see and do in NY. Thank you, Abby and Dru, you rock! I can’t believe I didn’t mention the New York Public Library – the main branch on 42nd St. and 5th Avenue – especially since much of the first section of Tracking Medusa is set there.


Earth Bride – 60,122 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
60 / 50

Earth Bride – 60,122 words out of 100,000 (completion goal)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
60 / 100
Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 9:08 am  Comments (3)  

May 30, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Almost full, almost Blue Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Dog Blog post will go up later today.

Yesterday was a rollercoaster. I went in a bit early and over to the NYPL. I took a lot of photographs (with permission, for the inside ones, anyway) and will do a separate post on how walking it affected the story. In other words, I’m going back and rewriting the chapter inside the library – breaking my own rule of not rewriting until I’m completely done with a draft.

I couldn’t photograph in the reading room, but I took notes. And I forgot to look for the photocopy machine – and it’s not on the floorplan — I think I have to give my male protag back his research cubicle and give him scanning capacity – I’ll check with the research librarian I know there how to structure it. Thank goodness for David, who always knows how to steer me in the right direction! I found a wonderful painting on the 3rd floor that I can tie in to something later in the book – it gave me so many ideas I wanted to run right back home and start rewriting the chapter!

I treated it like I would a preliminary location scout for a film, and it worked well. I took a lot of photos and notes, and now I’ve got almost everything I need. I was feeling jazzed and creative coming out of there, and it held for the whole day.

Needless to say, focus or lack thereof, was an issue at the theatre. Thank goodness it was only daywork. If I’d had to do quick changes, who knows what they’d wear onstage!

I’m breaking another rule by sending first draft chapters of Medusa to a friend to read – we’re swapping chapters of our WIPs as we work. Usually, it’s a third or fourth draft before anyone else sees it, but this time, I wanted faster feedback.

Elsa, my oldest cat, the tortoiseshell, had what we call “An Episode.” She has a neurological problem that prevents her from being able to land on her feet. For instance, if you pick her up, before you put her down, you make sure she’s right side up and say, “All four feet, Elsa, all four feet,” so she’s got them going in the right direction, and then you put her down. She can jump and climb and all that, but if she rolls off something, she goes splat. When she was a kitten, at least three vets told me I should put her down because she “wasn’t worth the extra work.” I disagreed. Yes, she has times where she gets confused and disoriented and needs extra attention, days when she’s never met any of us before and the apartment is all new; but she’s lively and funny and affectionate. She’s thirteen years old now, and definitely worth it.

She had a really good day on Monday, but Tuesday, she was having a rough time. Fortunately, my mom could stay with the cats while I was at the show. And she seemed much better by the time I got home.

And I had a fit of nostalgia on Monday about NYU, which is sure to bite me in the ass down the road. I completed a 5 year program in 3 years during my time at NYU – holding down a ridiculous amount of credits year-round, working my way through the film/television program by working in theatre, which is totally ass-backwards, but are you really surprised? And I prefer theatre, and that’s where I spent most of my professional life. I started working professionally in the theatre when I was eighteen, before I even got into NYU. I had a mixed experience there, for a variety of reasons (many of which were due a lack of good judgment on my part).

But receiving the alum info/resources packet the other day and doing research for this interview that might or might not happen, I started thinking back, focusing on the good times, and wondering . . .

I’ve always stayed in touch with my advisor, through all the years since I left, at least with cards at the holiday. In fact, I owe him an email, and we may get together to catch up in person. Unlike most of my fellow students, I never had a crush on him, but he was probably the best and most steadying influence on me there. I didn’t confide personal stuff to him (which was probably a relief for him), but when I flew in the face of what I believed to be administrative bullshit, he was there to pour oil on those troubled waters and make sure everything worked out. Even then, I had problems with authority.

I also had a writing teacher who I believe is the single biggest, most important influence in my development as a writer. He always believed in me, no matter what. And, I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt I let him down by not being a famous author (although this is a projection on my part; he’s never done anything to make me feel that way). Anyway, I looked him up in the NYU directory, and shot off an email yesterday, thanking him for everything. In addition to technical skills, he taught by example how important it is to take a stand and speak out when you believe in something. He taught me a lot about walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

And he emailed me back. I honestly didn’t think he’d remember me. I didn’t think I was that memorable. But he does. In fact, he says he remembers me “very well” – which I hope is a good thing. And he wants to stay in touch.

I also found email addresses for some of the other students with whom I worked. I’m still friends with my best friend from that time, who’s built a career both as a location manager and as a documentary filmmaker. But I’ve lost touch with most people from NYU. Other than the small team of filmmakers who used to work together all the time, as a commuting student, I didn’t know many of my colleagues. Plus, I was working – either a work/study job in the Interactive Telecommunications Department, or back in the theatre. Anyway, I sent off some emails, catching up with former colleagues and wishing them well. I’m always happy to see someone living his or her dream.

Today’s agenda is mostly writing. I read my friend’s adaptation of a short story into a stage play, and commented last night (he’s on deadline), and I’ve got to sort out the muddle of Act II of City of Lost or I will be royally screwed next week—uh, end of this week.

Good Names is developing in an interesting way. In addition to the plot, the themes are developing. Technically, plot-wise, it’s an historical murder mystery. The first victim won’t be killed off for several more chapters, but she’s already getting on my last nerve and I’m looking forward to bumping her off (on the page). I decided that she isn’t going to be out-and-out horrible, but there’s a build-up of slow annoyances and narrow-mindedness that leads to her demise. The main theme of the book is the protagonist refusing to be confined and defined by society (and teaching the narrator this), but the themes of building families and giving people second chances are also developing. On top of that, a new character’s inserted himself into the story – he was supposed to be a walk-on, one of the young street boys that ran around at that time doing errands for a coin. But he is bound and determined to become integral to the action. And fluster my young narrator. AND, an elderly character I originally envisioned as an antagonist has other ideas. She’s still difficult and antagonistic, but there’s quite a different agenda behind it. She’s surprising me (in a good way) and I think she’ll surprise the reader.

I’m going to do some rewrites on Tracking Medusa from yesterday’s work, and then move on to new pages.

Two days and counting, not just to the start of Script Frenzy, but to the release of PERFECTLY PLUM, to which I am a contributor. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet … uh, why not?

Studying sailing; trying to figure out when the NHL Draft is, because I cover that every year; I know it’s in June, but I think it overlaps with the America’s Cup, and I’m trying to figure out how I can be in two places at once. Yes, I checked. The draft is June 22-23, in Ohio and the Cup starts on the 23rd in Valencia. I knew I should have paid better attention during those bi-location lessons!

The Barbarians may have to hold off migrating for awhile. I think I’m at capacity.


Good Names – 18,537 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

18 / 100

Tracking Medusa
– holding at 15,553 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

15 / 90

PS.  Breaking news — my press credentials came through this AM for the America’s Cup.  Woo-hoo!  I am psyched!!!!

May 28 Part II

I’m trying to set up a Script Frenzy blogroll within my regular blogroll and failing miserably. It showed up the way I wanted to for a brief moment, and never again. I don’t know if I have to customize a widget (yeah, like I actually know what that means) or what.

So I emailed support because, unlike Blogger, Word Press support actually reads the question and answers it.

I worked on the questions for the interview which may or may not happen. I’d rather be prepared than have to hem and haw if it comes together more quickly than I expected. I like to plan a good foundation and then improv from there. I’ll poke around NYU a bit, since we’re both alums, and see if there’s any additional research there with which I can prepare. That damned expensive piece of paper might as well be worth something, right? And I actually bit the bullet and set up a MySpace account, because the potential interviewee has a page up. The things I do for my work! 😉

With Colin’s permission, my protagonist Gwen in Tracking Medusa reads Colin’s book Hunting Jack on the plane from NY to London. I love inside jokes like that!

Off to the theatre in the a.m. I hope they don’t keep me for the show – I’d like to do the day call and be done. I’m going in early because I want to stop at the main branch of NYPL and get the photographs and mappage I need for Tracking Medusa. Even though I wrote that section, I want to double check the geography.

On Friday, I might hop up to the Met to remind myself of the proper geography – I might even drag someone along to help me choreograph that sequence for Medusa. I’m pretty sure I have the chase scene from the Greek/Roman gallery through the Sculpture Garden back around to the front, threaded through those two gift shops and into the Egyptian wing correct – but I want to walk it again. And then I want to travel across the park and see the exhibit on Mythical Creatures at the Museum of Natural History. Of course, the NY Historical Society is right next to MNH, so if there’s time, maybe I’ll nip in there and do some research for Good Names. Which means I have to remember to bring pencils, since they don’t allow pens in the reading rooms.

I hate writing in pencil.

I can’t think in pencil. I think in ink.

We’ll see how it goes. I might have to focus on Medusa only on Friday and then go to the Historical Society some other day. But it’s so tempting to try and lump it all together . . .and next week will be insane, with the show and the Belmont and the Tony Awards and everything else. Not enough solitude.

Got one of the big submissions out that had to go out this week. The disk is missing for the other one, and I can’t recreate it in time, so I’m passing on that opportunity. It’s a shame – I have all the production disks, cast breakdowns, call sheets, everything EXCEPT the script. I’m taking it as a sign that it’s just not supposed to go out this time around. I was on the fence about the submission anyway, so that kind of pushed the decision.

Of course, Friday is the first day of Script Frenzy, and I have to get those pages done before I can do anything. But I should be able to knock out four script pages pretty quickly. Actually, I’d like to get the whole first scene out – which I’m estimating will run about 12-14 pages. The outline for the first scene is over a page.

I worked on the outline. And, finally, I have a title, City of Lost. The title, of course, brings up the question “lost what?”, which is answered in the play. It’s the reason the play exists (other than the fact I wanted to use Script Frenzy to exercise those muscles again). And there’s nothing in it that’s even remotely like the series Lost, so don’t worry.

Got more work done on Tracking Medusa today, and I’ll do my typical 1K on Good Names before I leave for the theatre tomorrow.

Oh, and raise your hand if you think I should do an article on the topic of Barbarian Migrations.


Tracking Medusa – 15,553 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 90

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Most of the day was spent on Tracking Medusa. It’s flowing very well (nearly 6000 words yesterday), and I want to ride the inspirational wave. It’s a fun piece. I’d like to knock it out as fast as possible. I need to revisit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get some of the geography down, and also the inside of the NYPL on 5th and 42nd. I hate it when writers get geography wrong, and don’t want to fall into that trap. But I’ve got the characters on a plane to London now, so it’s all good.

I did a bunch of internet research on someone I want to interview. Gotta do the homework! Of course, the project about which I want to interview him, I haven’t been able to locate – but I’ll just flat out ask him. First I need to find out if he’s available/interested for the interview – then I’ll ask about that particular project.

Good session on Good Names this morning. I’ve got them settled into the Gramercy Park townhouse, and now I can get in to the meat of the story.

I hope you’re all reading Ian Rankin’s Open Doors, serialized in the NYT Magazine section. It’s terrific.

Off to do the matinee, and then go out for a drink. I don’t want to get in too late, because I want to be fresh for a strong writing day tomorrow.

The friction between the writing life and the theatre life is particularly high today, because I don’t want to lose this creative wave. I’m worried that switching gears to flipping people in and out of their clothes and having to think in technical terms rather than creative ones will hurt.


Good Names – 16,537 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 10,717 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 90