Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The new issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is out, which means my latest installment of “The Literary Athlete” is up. It’s called “In Between” and gives suggestions what to do while your manuscript makes the rounds. You can find it here.

The Pre-Derby article is off, and should be up in a couple of days. The monologue went off, the actor read it via web-cam, I did a rewrite, sent it off, we worked via webcam, I tweaked. I think it’s in good shape. I sent him one final tweak when I got home last night; if he’s comfortable, he can memorize it (his audition is tomorrow).

I didn’t get the script doctoring job. They decided to go with someone else (who has no published credits and has never written in play or screenplay format) who was willing to do it for the “experience” rather than pay. Now, they asked me for a quote when they approached me about the job, presented it as a paying job, and told me the scope of the project and the overall budget. I gave them a fair price, and, as far as I knew, this was a paying job, or I would have refused outright. Suddenly, they gave me the “option” of “we really want you to do this, but we decided we’re not paying anyone to punch up dialogue.” I don’t think so. You guys have no track record, I have no personal reason to work with you other than the actor who recommended me, you wouldn’t let me read the whole script, you’d only send me the few scenes you wanted punched up if I took the job (even after I explained why reading the whole script would be useful in punching up the dialogue of the specific scenes), and have been through six (count ‘em) writers so far. Usually, at least the courtesy of a deferred payment agreement is offered. Or, if you really don’t/can’t pay, you pull in favors from people you know really well, not strangers who have no reason to do anything for you. Their parting volley was amusing: “I’d bet you’d do this for free for a friend” to which I responded, “Probably. For a friend.” Whatever, it’s not my film, I’m not invested in any way. I feel badly for the actor who suggested me for the gig, who’s very unhappy with the scripts thus far. He only agreed to do it because he knew the first writer on the film – who was subsequently “replaced.” Honestly, it sounds like a nightmare-in-embryo to me.

The timing’s good, because I really don’t see how I could have taken it on this week while I’m in shows and doing a three hour daily commute and still have done my best work. I would have, but not landing it takes pressure off me, and that’s always welcome. I’m also enough of an optimist to believe it simply means some other opportunity to which I am better suited will come down the pike.

Besides, I have a Kentucky Derby for which to prep! After all, I’m in shows through Friday night and the Derby is on Saturday! I’m cutting it a little close this year.

Worked on the adaptation some more. I think I can add in one of the scenes I was sad to cut out of the screenplay due to time and space issues – it could be lots of fun here, and shore up the relationships among the secondary characters.

The trip to and from the city sucked, and there were far too many SFT’s to climb over (no, it’s not a venereal disease, it’s “stupid fucking tourists” and I don’t care what anyone says, THEY do not pay MY bills, so I can call them as I see them).

Show was fine, went smoothly, we had lots of fun. Once I’m in the building, it’s fine, but it’s getting to and from the theatre that makes it such a hassle.

Caught up with a colleague I hadn’t seen in ages, who’s very excited that Dreamworks is starting to produce on Broadway. He thinks they’ll be really good producers. They trust that the people they hire know what they’re doing and are honest with them, they let them do their jobs, and they don’t nickel and dime them to death. They’re willing to spend the money; in return, they want honest quotes, honest work, and that things are delivered on time, which seems perfectly fair to me. They seem to be thinking ahead so that there will be a minimum of scrambling at the last minute. That’s the kind of producers we need on Broadway, and there’s been a dearth of them with the corporate bean counters taking over instead of actual producers. So, let’s see if they come through as well as they’re starting, and, if so, it’ll be great for Broadway, and theatre in general.

Caught up with another colleague who I just think is one of our most exciting emerging artists; she’s getting ready to spend time in Europe again this summer, at an artists’ colony in Germany, working on a project. I’m delighted for her.

I have a friend visiting for a couple of days; he arrived yesterday and will be here until tomorrow. He’s been working in Canada and is on his way back home to Europe for the summer; it’ll be great to spend a few days together. He’s had a rough year, and he’s certainly been a life raft in stormy seas for me enough times, so I’m happy to return the favor.

Off to get some writing done. I want to finish at least one, maybe two short stories today so I can give them a polish tomorrow and get them out. And there was a very funny little incident on the train coming home last night that’s the seed of another story. I don’t want to relate it here, because it will dilute it – you’ll have to wait and read the story. I’m going to take what actually happened and then push its boundaries.

It’s a rainy, gloomy day, but we need the water after 13 days with no rain; as long as it’s steady and not so hard the brook breaks its banks, I’ll be happy.

Getting ready for a busy week at the show, and trying to balance it with the writing.

Devon

Adaptation: 20,808 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 90
(22.2%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I have a Guest Rant up on Kristen King’s InkThinker blog on “Dealing with ‘You Should Write . . .’”, a topic that particular drives me ‘round the bend. Yeah, I know, it’s a real short drive, but come check it out here:

Well, yesterday was, um, interesting. On the positive side, I got my assignment off to Confidential Job #1, and an editor with whom I’ve worked on and off for several years has asked me for ideas for a 2010 calendar. Which, of course, will be due this June, because annuals are written two years ahead.

I spent the afternoon rearranging the living room, and I’m not sure I like it – some of the proportions seem off to me, re-mixing the furniture, so I may have to keep tweaking it. The twins, however, are very pleased and racing around. They like having chairs in front of the window, because now they can sit along the backs and look out over the plants. I’ll take cat happiness over correct proportions any day. Plus, it gives me more space to do my yoga. My back and neck are killing me, though, and, of course, building maintenance STILL hasn’t shown up to remove those air conditioners, and I can’t do any more shifting around until they are out, especially in the bedroom. If I have to hire a bunch of big, brawny guys from Rent-A-Husband, I’m charging it to the building. I’d entice some big, brawny hockey players with the promise of a home-cooked meal, but the guys I know nearest to me are in the playoffs right now, and I will NOT risk them getting hurt moving damn air conditioners from the 1970s during the most crucial weeks of the season.

I put together a sample package of monologues I promised a colleague, and updated my overall script samples package, pulling out some old ones and substituting some of the newer scenes. Those went off. I’ve turned them into PDFs, which should make life easier for all of us. Several of my older disks are missing, and I had a heck of time converting documents, because heaven forbid Microsoft can open their own programs if they’re a few years old. I had to do document recovery on most of them and then reformat.

Paperless office. Yeah, right.

I sent a query to a new-to-me publisher and, within two hours, received a request for a full. Now THAT’S the way I like to work. Keep your fingers crossed! Got a whole bunch of queries and submissions to get out this week and next. Too much stuff backing up.

A trio of characters appeared and started yapping late last night. I need them to shut up, so maybe I’ll make a few notes to appease them while I concentrate on other things.

Going back to the Frenzy screenplay today – I think I can finish it in a day or two.

Devon

PS I rearranged the living furniture again. The proportions drove me nuts. It’s better now, and the cats aren’t complaining, so it stays.

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 April 17, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (9)  

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm – but the birds are singing!

Quill pens and parchment : Just sayin’.

Carrier pigeons to deliver manuscripts.

Much less frustrating.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions and the support yesterday. They really helped. Well, the one person who emailed me and said this was a good time to practice detachment – let’s say I was less gracious than I should have been! Because I am not detached from my work, especially not in the creation stage. I don’t think artists should be or can be.

I did everything I could without screwing up someone else’s computer – I would have been a lot more adventurous on my own. Heck, I probably would have hacked it apart with an axe looking for the thing, but one must be more restrained with someone else’s property.

It never ceases to amaze me – astrobiology and physics and all of that make perfect sense, but a computer – not so much. Because, frankly, whenever I do delve into the workings, I don’t find it based on a logic that makes any sense to me, where even chaos in the universe has a decent logic. I find computer “stuff” is created by people with too much time on their hands who take joy in making it as difficult and inefficient as possible. But then, my brain is wired differently, and things that other people believe have no sense or logic are absolutely transparent to me. It’s all in the perception.

So I started re-creating the piece. I still have my notes – thank goodness those didn’t go, even though that file was open. I’d updated them as changes happened, for the most part, and I’d even emailed them to myself. In fact, when I lost the document, that’s what the save was for – saved so then I could back it up and email it to myself. It was the ONLY document on the whole drive not yet sent to my backup account, and the ONLY document not printed – which is why, of course, it failed. Five more minutes, and there wouldn’t have been a problem. And it doesn’t make sense – when Word fails, it always saves something with a ~ so you can restore the document. Nothing. And it usually only dumps the version you’re working on, not every version previously saved. If I’d lost those 30 pages, I’d have been sad, but could have immediately recreated them. To lose 98 pages – when the Script Frenzy count is 100 – very frustrating. I searched every drive, checked every file to see what it mutated into – it’s as though the file never existed. Talked to several computer-savvy friends and spent an hour on the phone with a tech guy I actually trust. They agreed this can’t happen – it has to be in there somewhere.

Maybe the guys who own the computer can find it. I asked them to look and then email it to me if it turned up.

And Yasmine let me have a good cyber-weep on her shoulder. Thank you very much. It’s deeply appreciated.

So I’m going back to my extreme state of computer paranoia.

Dealing with computers makes me think of the Nine of Wands in the tarot – you’ve always got to be ready and keep those defenses up, no matter how much work you’ve put in to date.

Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to solve anything. I’d done everything I could physically do in terms of data recovery (or, in my case, non-data recovery). It was time to buckle down and get back to work.

In any case, I recreated the first 11 pages. Some of it’s better, like the opening sequence, because now I know Jack Danou’s coming back as ghost, and he’s not just some guy that Zenda has to kill because he and his men were hired to slaughter a village. Some of the scenes are stronger, because having written so far into it, I actually know who these characters are, and I can set them up. Some of the scenes, like the breakup scene between Carole and Sam are weaker. But hey, it’s technically draft 1 ½ , so whatever. As the character Sam said to me (the writer), “Look, it’s not as though we haven’t been around for six years or something. It’s been a couple of hours. Just drop back in and listen to us.”

I also have an idea of a technique I learned for another area of my life, and I’m wondering if I can apply it here. I don’t want to discuss it too much ahead of time, but it would be awfully intriguing if it works.

I was on the 7 PM bus out of Philly. What a horrid group of nut jobs traveled! Really, half of them should have been put off the bus – truly energy-sucking vampires and disruptive to everyone else. I just cocooned myself in my music, set up the psychic barriers (which one of the nut jobs could actually see and commented on – but he couldn’t pass it), and stayed in the world of Sharon Shinn’s THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE for the trip.

Trundled across town from Port Authority to Grand Central with my luggage, mowing down tourists and climbing over something or other that filmed near Bryant Park. Don’t know what it was, but the Craft Services guy remembered me from . . .something . . .and pressed a much-needed cup of coffee into my hand for the rest of my trip home.

Got home around 10:30, couldn’t sleep, was up unpacking and puttering far too late. Elsa and Iris were glad to see me; Violet was furious with me for leaving in the first place and wouldn’t even look at me. However, this morning, she is Velcro Kitty.

I’m going to write this morning and then I have to pack this afternoon and get another load of stuff to storage.

This time next week, the Window Tango should be complete and maybe we’ll have a little bit of peace before the scumbags come up with their next element of torture.

I’m going to combine the next trip to Maine to check on my grandmother with some serious house hunting.

Does anyone know where I can purchase binders in bulk? I keep my manuscripts in binders, and it’s ridiculously expensive. Staples just looks at me like I’ve grown extra heads when I ask about bulk binder purchase. So I need to find some other, more reasonably priced outlet. Novellas usually go in 1” or 11/2” binders, but I usually need 2 ½-3” binders for novel-length.

Because let’s face it, I’m going to print out EVERYTHING after this latest fiasco. I know, I know: Tree Murderer!

At least I’m using recycled paper, and I recycle every scrap of paper I toss.

Got a disappointing rejection this morning for a piece I was sure was a good fit for that particular venue. Guess I was wrong. So off it goes to the next one on the list.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 April 9, 2008 at 10:26 am  Comments (10)  

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was gray and gloomy. I never left the apartment. I wrote, read, did some yoga, and slept all day. Emphasis on the sleeping. I’m just worn out. I’m both bone weary and soul weary.

I’m reading Sharon Shinn’s THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE and really enjoying it.

Got some writing done, but not as much as I wanted. Felt very disconnected from everything, including my characters.

Interesting article in the NYT about how some bloggers are basically blogging themselves to death trying to post continually and get scoops.

I rarely pitch for blogging jobs. I was in negotiations for one a few years ago that I was excited about, but it didn’t pan out, and, looking back, I’m now glad. One, I don’t want to be that tied down — I travel too much, and I have too much on my plate to only sit home and scan the internet and blog. I actually have a life in the real world. Second, I’m not going to blog for $10/post. I’d have to have the guarantee of a couple of hundred dollars per week and then, MAYBE revenue share on top of it. Otherwise, my time is better spent on articles, business writing, and fiction. There are people who make a great living at it, and good for them. But that life is not for me.

Tried to watch PSYCH last night because I sort of half-remembered that someone emailed me about doing a guest spot, only I couldn’t remember who or when and didn’t recognize anyone, so THAT was a waste of an hour. Sigh.

Had a restless night filled with odd dreams, mostly rehashing past events I want to put behind me. Maybe it’s part of the whole letting go thing.

You know when I was woken up by freaking construction noise? Six thirty in the morning! Totally unacceptable. I’m complaining to the tourism board, which is patting itself on the back for all its national and international campaigns. I have a list of things that tourists should know before coming here that the board is shoving under the rug and I, as a travel writer, will NOT.

Did my yoga, went to the patissereie, worked on the screenplay. I’m going to do some more writing this morning, and then meet a friend for lunch. Can’t wait.

Back to the page. I want to get back to Old-Fashioned Detective Work soon. Wyatt wants some attention, and I think I’m ready to respond.

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2008 at 8:10 am  Comments (7)  

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Warm and rainy

The third of my three-part series on writing and research is up on Mystic Lit. Stop on by! And thanks so much to Billie Hinton for inviting me to guest blog.

Ann and Stacia, I’m working with a realtor in the area I plan to relocate, which is nowhere NEAR here, but in another state. It takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to get up there, so I have to look at possibilities online and when I go up, I have to physically look at places in bulk. I can’t just hop out to look at a place on my lunch hour. There’s not a realtor in 100 miles I’d trust – they don’t even tell the truth about the flood plain we live on. On top of that, the biggest realtor in this area was in league with the first set of evil developers, trying to help everyone get kicked out of the building. I wouldn’t give them a penny of commission, and I can’t wait until the Karma Dogs show up to extract their revenge. I’ll probably have dead realtors in quite a bit of fiction over the next few years!

I don’t want to move twice – I want to find the place I plan to live in for the next X amount of years, and then I’m moving once and STAYING. Unfortunately, if I can’t leave the premises to house hunt, it doesn’t matter if I’m working with sixty realtors – until I can actually get a chunk of time where I can be away from here without worrying about the next volley the scumbags throw at us, I can’t get anything done. We are under siege here, and I’m trying to pull off a major relocation while still holding the fort on the home front. It’s taking more time than I’d like – but I also don’t want to just move into the first available place. It has to be MY HOME. I’m not going to buy it sight unseen, and certainly not vibe unfelt. I don’t want to do an interim move and then another move in six months to a year. There’s way too much going on in too many areas of my life for that to work.

I can’t believe Script Frenzy is starting tomorrow! I made the difficult decision not to mentor this time around. For National Novel Writing Month, I “adopt” first years and send out encouraging messages with writing tips every day, as well answering individual questions. I mentored thirty-six writers last November. This year, there are three friends doing Script Frenzy – two other full-time writer friends and another friend in the UK who also did Nano – and I think the four of us in a “Circle of Encouragement” towards each other is going to work better. If I do Nano again in fall, I’ll probably mentor, although I’m going to change a few things this year. But this April – I’d be doing all of us a disservice. The home-and-hearth stuff needs too much attention.

My goal is 5 pages per day, which will easily get me to the 120 page limit by the end of the month. However, I usually work in beats and scenes, so we’ll see what happens. Tonight, I’ll go over my outline again, so I’ll be ready in the morning.

I have to repack my writing bag because I can’t even lift it. Which makes no sense, since my flash drive is smaller than my lipstick. So, I’ll take it all out and start over . . .

My onsite assignment was cancelled, so I’ll make another trip to storage, but the rest of the day is dedicated to the essay and the fairy tale. I gained a writing day! Woo-hoo!

Better go and make good use of it, right? 😉

Oh, crap, there go the table saws. Time to turn up the B-52s . . .

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 March 31, 2008 at 8:08 am  Comments (5)