Tues. March 7: New Books and Old Exhaustion

Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

KC Sprayberry is my guest today on Biblio Paradise, talking about mixed up words and her new release, SOFTLY SAY GOODBYE. Please stop by and drop a comment!

Forced myself not to think about the book yesterday, although it was hard. Sent an update to my agent. Tried to work on the non-fiction book, but the material, for some reason, mystified me. I have to get back into that groove.

Did a little over 1K on the next book in the queue (LEADING OPPORTUNITIES), and a few pages on the adaptation. Worked with students. Pitched a few projects. Ran some errands. Read (for work) on the deck. Did some work in the yard.

Emotionally, I’m very tired, as well as physically.

Supposed to go to New Bedford today to check out a gallery space, but not sure what time we’re leaving or where we’re meeting, so I’m just going to keep working until someone lets me know!

Pitched a few projects this morning, and had my morning stroll around the property, then reading AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. I find that book very nourishing.

The tips are going out on time every day, which is fun. Hopefully, the recipients are enjoying them.

Back to the page, to see how much I can get done before it’s time to head out.

Devon

Mon. May 6, 2013: Recoving From the 5th, and Moving Forward on Manuscripts

IMG_1080

Monday, May 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Misty and cold

It amazes me that, by Monday, Friday seems so far away I can’t remember what I was doing.

I know I was pounding forward on the book. I know I did some work with students. I know I sent out the May Manuscript Prep Tip.

I wrote a review due to my editor.

I can’t remember if I mowed the terraced back section of the lawn on Friday or Saturday.

I saw an anthology call, and submitted one of the Merry’s Dalliance pirate stories. Fingers crossed it’s accepted.

We got a birdbath on Saturday — finally found one we like. It’s out in the back bed, with lilies and hostas springing up around it, and the birds are happy.

I’ve started re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS in the mornings, after I’ve done the first walk around the yard (pulling up a weed here and there), while I sit on the deck and drink my first cup of coffee. I find that book an immense restorative.

Saturday morning, the Beautification Committee headed out to Mother’s Park, pruning and weeding, and generally getting the park ready for spring. It was a lot of fun and full of lively conversation to go along with the work.

In the afternoon, I puzzled over the book’s ending, because it was pulling me away from the original outline.

Later in the afternoon, I watched the Kentucky Derby. A friend was riding, but I didn’t have a favorite horse this year, so I didn’t feel I had as much of a personal stake in things.

Diana Rigg and her daughter guest-starred together on DR. WHO — always interesting to see that type of dynamic. Between this and GAME OF THRONES, Dame Rigg keeps busy. She will also be Emma Peel in the AVENGERS to me, though. The ultimate kick-ass heroine.

Sunday morning, I sucked it up and finished the book. The draft is DONE. Now, I put it aside for a few days and, on Wednesday, dig into revisions. I have about ten days for the revisions. Less time in between and to revise than I’d like, but that’s the reality of this particular situation, so I must step up.

Wrote a little book illustrated with photos for my friends, whose son turned one yesterday. They had a Cinquo de Mayo party in his honor over in Sandwich. Great food, margaritas and fun. I ate too much — which was good, since it was the first time I’d had tequila in quite awhile!

This morning, the Manuscript Prep Tip is already out, and I have to work with students, do some freelance work, and decide which drafts to work on. I need to get back to the non-fiction book today — it’s behind where I’d like it to be. I’m going back to the adaptation, and I think LEADING OPPORTUNITIES is next up in the drafting queue. I’ve also got a short story to finish and get out this week, and another one tugging at me. I also have to follow up on the February pitches and land a few more short-term gigs for the month.

Back to the page!

Devon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was trying to clear some admin work off my desk when the phone rang. It was the VW place — my car was ready a week early! I was so excited that I dropped everything and dashed over. I’ve got my Blue Bunny back, working pretty well, and they even washed it! So that’s a relief.

It also means that I can do the whole stretch of the different jobs down in CT, while my mom stays up here with the cats.

Again, time to adjust the mental focus.

It means missing some stuff I hoped to do up here next week, including the writers’ group dinner, and I’ll have to pack some more books, but it will give me a nice block of isolated writing time (even though I’m moving between two sites). I’ll be car-less for five days, and not in walking distance of anything, so I have to plan carefully, but it’s all good.

It also means I have to repack the clothes. I need 11 days’ worth instead of 3.

Dealt with trying to get my own health insurance before the window closes and it was nothing short of a nightmare. I’d been given the incorrect information about how to apply back in December, and the window may close before I’m processed. If that’s the case, they can go (you get the idea). I’m not paying a fine for being misinformed.

Anyway, I filled out the paperwork — my life does not fit into their forms.

On a positive side, I ordered seeds and plants last night. Finally, something to write about in the garden journal other than “it snowed again”. So I’ll have to get on that.

More brainstorming on a neat project with a writer friend, and Savvy Authors booked the workshop I tossed at them for March: “Unstick Your Book.” Participants get to bring in a WIP (usually I make them write fresh material for class), and, in very individual terms, we are going to find out where they’re stuck, why they’re stuck,and get it unstuck, so they can finish. Because that’s the point — not to get them to write the same stuff the same way, but to make them look at the individual work in a new way, from a fresh angle, and make it the best it can be. It’s not about writing it as I would write it, but how to make it work best within their own visions. Because it’s not about me — it’s about the work. Details are here. The need for something like this came up in discussions in other workshops, so I thought, why not create it? People are already signing up, and it gives me some work for March, which is a relief. The Dialogue Workshop, in September, is also filling up, which is great. It’s an Advanced Workshop, different from the two week one I’m teaching for RWA in April, and builds on what we’ve done in other dialogue workshops at Savvy.

So that’s all good, and bills will be paid, but I didn’t get much writing done.

Watched the season finale of HUMAN TARGET last night, which may be the series finale. Got my Jackie Earle Haley fix, which is always a good thing, and last night was a shining example of how good actors can find ways to make scenes and moments work, even in a big mess. The first third angered me so much, my reaction was, “Did this show even HAVE a showrunner this season?” But again, I’m not in there, the poor showrunner might have been browbeaten and undercut by producers and/or network execs who are running around trying to justify their salaries. I don’t want to pin it on the wrong person. But the first third of the piece was a giant mess — the lapses of logic were as big as black holes in the Universe, the writing and situation was untrue to the characters without reason — if they’re going to be that sloppy, there needs to be a reason. They’re not stupid or careless, and that’s how they were portrayed without a foundation. The way the first third was structured was disrespectful to the actors, who’ve busted their asses for two seasons getting the audience to care, and to the audience. Julia could have never tracked down Guerrero unless he wanted to be found, (and, if that’s what he did to bring her out into the open, it needed to be addressed) and he’s way too smart to have been conned by her. The way the show’s misused the character of Ames as the season progressed is just pathetic — she started out as strong, smart, funny, and a real potential protege for Guerrero, and, as the season progressed, they turned her into a shallow, self-absorbed, whiny creature who’s WEAK. She couldn’t survive the life she had or with these guys if she was weak. The scenes in the car with Guerrero weren’t comic relief – they were painful, although Haley was valiant about trying to pull something out of the mess, and he gave his scene partner much more than many other actors would in that situation. The boxes of files brought in marked “Guerrero”, where the villains learned about his pressure point? Make no sense in what’s been set up over the past two seasons — the point has been made more than once that he shifts identities and stays under the radar. He’s got a reputation, well-earned, but he doesn’t leave a paper trail. There wouldn’t BE any files, other than a page or two of unconnected police reports on mysterious deaths or disappearances in far-reaching areas (And yes, I have a way that they could have gotten the same piece of information they needed for the plot point — that would have fit the logic of the world that was set up the past two seasons).

Fortunately, it got better and tighter as the hour progressed (felt like that part was written by a different person or people). It was nice to see Ilsa more active, the rooftop scene was good and set groundwork for the Julia character to return at some point (she did a good job, she’d be worth a return). It was good to see Guerrero do what we’ve come to believe he does best — move like smoke, while taking out an entire team of opponents, and the choice of making most of the violence off-screen makes him even stronger and scarier. His final scene in the episode was beautifully done, perfectly played, fairly well-staged, effective. We hear how often he’s taken no prisoners — now we saw it. It was important to the overall character arc, because there have been times this season when they’ve tried to dilute his character, and it’s only been Haley’s abilities that have kept the character’s integrity intact.

If this is the series finale, it ended on a good breath of hope for all the characters (except Ames, of course, who never got a final scene, but she’s been an afterthought for most of the season). If the show gets picked up next season (with some different people in charge, I hope), it gives them a good jumping off point.

Shooting a one-hour drama — especially with action scenes — is a huge undertaking, I’ve been there, I know. Everyone’s pushed past their limit, especially towards the end of the season, and especially when ratings aren’t what one hoped, with enormous detail, scheduling, budget, etc. They could have kept the overall structure, the action, the locations, etc. — all they had to do was inject some more logic into the writing — logic supported by what they established over two seasons, and it would have been outstanding instead of just “okay, this is a serviceable finale.”

Again, this is just my personal response to the material and the way it’s handled. It’s ONE opinion, not THE opinion.

Continued reading AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book. I’m putting together the reading list for my year-long intensive, and that book will definitely be on the list.

Did not sleep well. The cats were impossible last night. Kicked them out of the bedroom, and then they tried to dig a hole in the carpet under the door. Had to let them back in — I don’t know why they were in such a tizzy, but there was no sleep to be had. Roadkill is in better shape than I am this morning.

Lots to do today, including going to the dump — ahem, “transfer station” — I don’t want garbage sitting around the house while I’m working out of town. Gotta make room for the new garbage! 😉 Seriously, we don’t generate much garbage, about 80% of it is recycling, and only have to go to the dump once a month or once every six weeks.

Hoping I can catch a nap this afternoon for a bit. Almost all packed — a few things need to get into the writing bag, but clothes and books are all packed. 12 books for 10 days — that should be about right. Gives “book bag” a whole new meaning!

Got to get some info to one of my editors so she can arrange a press pass for me at some local hockey games. Errands, etc. Still haven’t found those 200+ pages of notes for POWER OF WORDS, which is disconcerting. It took me weeks to sort out the character arcs, the arcs that the actor characters play, the show-within-the-book arcs, the plot arcs, and all the scheduling. I’d hate to have to start from scratch. It’s just odd that the notes wouldn’t be with the manuscript. I’m usually more careful than that — but then, it was an unusual situation. It’s got to be here somewhere, and it won’t be unearthed until I return.

The book, essay, and short story need to take center stage — especially since the latter two are due on the 15th.

Back to the page.

Devon

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I frittered away far too much time online yesterday, although I sent a proposal to one place to pick up some work for March, and I did some brainstorming on another possibility.

Ran some errands, including post office and library. Found a book on local history, about which I was very excited, but it’s so badly written I have to return it. It is unreadable. In other words, I will not be hunting it down for my personal library! 😉

Everything stopped when the mail arrived, because it included a box of books. Within that box, was Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release in the Otherwworld series, Book #9, BLOOD WYNE. Life had to come to a screeching halt while I curled up in the big chair in the living room and read it straight through. Came up for air in time for dinner, that’s it. It’s really good; the series keeps getting better, and it’s wonderful to watch the sisters grow and change.

Also in the box are Susan Wittig Albert’s two memoirs, AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS, her journal of 2008, and TOGETHER ALONE: A MEMOIR OF MARRIAGE AND PLACE. Both will go on the recommended reading list for the Setting as Character Workshop.

I’ve started reading the first, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It should go on the must-read list for every writer. Heck, it should go on the must-read list for every human!

Today, I have to be very focused, and catch up on everything that didn’t get done yesterday. The most important thing is to get signed up for my own insurance. Ick. And catch up with work on the book,which has been percolating. That should make it easier to sit down and write. I’ve also got to tackle the essay and the short story, although I have a feeling the short story might be done all in a burst over the weekend.

Weird dreams, some of which had to do with riding on a new type of triple-decker Amtrak train (which is yet to exist). The start of the journey — a place I don’t recognize from my real life — is a place I’ve dreamed about before, with train dreams. I have no idea where I was going or why, but the train was very full, and I’d just gotten settled in one of the few seats left all the way up top when the Hounds of the Baskervilles woke me up with their howling. So I never found out where I was going, or why I was going there on Amtrak.

I should have a post up at Gratitude and Growth by the end of the day — I’ll post the link tomorrow. I got out the thank-yous, links, and PDF files for the article out to all the contributors. I have to check some dates — an editor of mine is going to arrange for a press pass for a few things around here. My clothes are packed for the trip — I have to pack my writing bag and my reading bag.

Onward and page-ward.

Devon