Thurs. June 2, 2016: The Nitpicky Part of Revisions

Thursday, June 02, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Long day yesterday. One of those days when everything takes longer to accomplish than you wish.

Home, and too wiped out to be much good. Re-configuring and re-configuring the opening of what used to be CHARISMA KILLINGS. I think I’ve hit on how I want to structure the first few chapters now; I just have to figure where I can drop the first body. I’d like to do it at the end of Chapter One, but it might be at the end of Chapter Two.

Photo shoot for the cover of “Plot Bunnies.” I’m not sure what we got works; I have to see the photos full size. We might have to go back tonight and try again. I want to do one more proof of the text, and then – off we go. It’s good to build the Ava Dunne platform a bit pre-CHARISMA KILLINGS. I’ll probably build a Facebook page for that name, too. Start establishing the presence a bit more.

Today will be a long day, too, not in hours, but in terms of what I have to get done. I’m hoping to get in a writing session tonight, but my eyes are bothering me, and so is my arm. So we’ll see where we are – I might have to get up extra early tomorrow.

I’m working on re-shifting some deadlines, and I’ll have to do some follow up on pieces that have been out without hearing anything; there are a few other pieces where it feels like they’ve been out forever, but, according to my log, it’s within the expected time frame.

I wrote a few words for the company of the radio play that broadcasts next week, thanking them and wishing them well. I hope they’re having fun with the play!

Digging in and going on.

Devon

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Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 8:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 2, 2016: The Nitpicky Part of Revisions  
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Tues. Jan. 29, 2013: Breaking Down and Rebuilding

Tuesday, January 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

My guest over on A Biblio Paradise today is Margaret Fieland, talking about character development. She worked on this book and these characters in class a few years back — I’m happy it found a good home.

Brandy, to answer your question, I write in several places. I use the more ritualistic elements sometimes if I’m having trouble getting started. Most days, I just sit at the desk, power up the computer, and write. Or, if I’d rather start with a project I’m doing in longhand, I’ll write in longhand. I like my current office and my desk — in a corner, where I can look out the window at a pretty front yard. Sometimes, I write at the dining table or in a big chair in the living room. When the weather is nice, I like to write outside on the covered deck. I used to light a candle at the start of a writing session and extinguish it when I was done, but now, that I spend most of the day writing, and I’m switching between projects, that no longer serves me. I have objects around me that are meaningful and/or whimsical, so I can look up and feel good.

And, by the way, you ARE very creative. Creativity manifests in different ways. You’re creative in the way you live your life, create such a loving home for your family and the cats, the compassion you give to the world. Not a lot of people can do that.

Had to do a lot of admin work yesterday, and also do things like go grocery shopping, load in cat food, pick up books from the library. My library card always makes me feel rich — as long as I can use the library, borrow from the library, I feel an abundance in my life.

Some more good news: My play, “Seven of Swords”, has been accepted for the spring series of PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD, and will be given a staged reading on March 1. It’s much darker than the piece I’m writing for the Marine Life Center –and needs a rewrite done this week.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by my deadlines. I have a story that has to go out by Thursday, one that has to release on Friday (or Saturday — I just realized Imbolc is Saturday, not Friday), the Marine Life play finished today, and the other play revised by the weekend. At the same time, I’m grateful for the feast of opportunities.

Two more assignments arrived from Confidential Job #1 yesterday, and they look AWESOME. I can’t wait to dig into them. And one of my editors picked this week (of course) to send me an extra assignment that needs to be turned around in the next few days. I love that he pitches me extra work whenever he can, it’s again — part of the feast.

This is where the challenge comes in. When you’re presented with opportunities in your chosen profession, you have to step up or lose them. Those who step up advance; those who don’t — don’t. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Got the second act of MURDER SEALS THE DEAL in a much better place, which meant ripping apart the third act, and then realizing that, while I’d put in some good red herrings for the audience, I’d never given them the clue to the real murderer. That’s not fair — the audience has to have a fair shot at figuring out who did it and why. I’ve dropped enough clues about the “why”, but the who isn’t hidden in plain sight enough. No matter how witty it is, unless it’s structurally satisfying and fair to the audience, the piece will fail. So, that’s my main focus for the day.

Better get back to it.

Devon

You can still sign up for “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” from Feb. 4-6 here.
Bring in up to 5 projects you’ve put aside, and we’ll figure out which ones are viable, and which ones need to be laid to rest permanently in a way to let you move forward with your work. Registration closes on February 2.

Thurs. Aug. 30, 2012: The Play’s The Thing — or Will Be When It’s Finished!

Thursday, August 30, 2012
Day Before Blue Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Pleasant and cool

Worked a lot yesterday, especially on the play and on wrapping up my year-long class, which ends tomorrow. Spent time on the Sustainability class, although not enough. I have to push hard on that today and tomorrow, so I can finish the paper and take the quizzes. The thought of having to take quizzes intimidates me, which is silly.

Read THE WRITING WORKSHOP NOTEBOOK by Alan Ziegler, which is excellent. Going on the Recommended Reading List. Started Edward Lodi’s SECRETS AND SHORTCUTS FOR SUCCESSFUL WRITING: YOU CAN LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, which seems good, so far.

Worked on Confidential Job #1. Worked on the article due tomorrow. Worked on the play (also due tomorrow). Ran some errands. Pitched for three jobs and got submission guidelines for an article that would be fascinating to work on, if I can write a solid pitch and get hired. Worked on the DEATH SPARKLES anthology.

And there went the day!

Yoga was great this morning. I got more work on the play done, too. I’m going to type it and revise it now. I’m still not happy with the end,but I hope the tweaking I do as I type will give me the opening I need to end it properly. I’d rather get it out tonight than tomorrow, if I can. Otherwise, I have three things due tomorrow, which is a little overwhelming. Well, actually, one article is due Saturday, but I want it out tomorrow, before the start of the holiday weekend.

I’m excited about the possibilities opening up.

Devon

Fri. July 27, 2012: Just a Social Butterfly

Friday, July 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Put my head down and got work done yesterday, a big push, and sent things off on time. Draining, although the projects themselves were fun, but they’re out on time, and now, on one, I have to wait for a response, to make sure we’re going on the same/right direction.

Didn’t get a reading slot at the conference; at first I was upset, but, really, the world is not going to come to an end because I don’t get to read for 5 minutes at 10 PM on a Tuesday night. This takes ALL the pressure off me, and now I can just enjoy myself and play at the conference, which is exactly what I need to do right now.

I signed up with Coursera for a Sustainability class, a world history, a Greek & Roman Mythology (as mentioned yesterday) and an intro to Astronomy. I want to take the Cosmology class, but I don’t have the background — the professor was very clear he wants strong astronomy backgrounds in the class not “Astro 101 for Poets”, and one needs strong calculus skills, which I don’t have. So that’s out for me, disappointing, but that’s the way it goes. I’m not interested in calculus; I’m interested in why and how the comos form and un-form, but not the math that made it happen. I expect students coming into my classes to respect the prerequisites I set (not that most of them do), and I will give other teachers the same respect.

We had dinner with friends up the street last night, which was great fun. Barbecue, Appletinis, good company, good conversation. Today, I’m doing some work, I’ve got some errands, and then some friends of Costume Imp’s who are in for a few days will come visit.

And tonight, the Olympics start. Woo-hoo!

Devon

Mon. April 23, 2012: Energizing Writing Weekend

Monday, April 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

A terrific writing weekend — now, if it can only spill over into the week!

First of all, I’ve got an essay up on Cape Cod Women Online, “The Leap Over the Canal” about moving to the Cape. It’s got both book covers in it, and I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. The two book covers look really nice together — I may do that for a mailing.

Second, Billy Root blogs about what it feels like to be an actor — a nice little behind-the-scenes taste. I hope you’ll stop by — and maybe even drop a comment. I’m very happy with the way this piece turned out.

I can’t remember all the way back to Friday, but I know it was busy. I know that I did about 1700 words in the sprint with the students, and I picked up violets and holly cuttings from a friend (we couldn’t dig up the whole tree–the root system’s too deep). It was a gorgeous day, and we drove around for a bit, exploring new-to-us back roads that will make life easier when the tourists clutter the main roads in the summer.

Got the proposal that was due out on time; now the waiting begins. Set up a meeting for tomorrow on the theatre projects.

Worked with my students in the evening.

Saturday, I rewrote a half a dozen short stories (some of them massively) and sent them out. Slowly, but surely, I’m catching up on the backlog. I worked with my students.

Sunday, I decided to leisurely start something I thought was due mid-May (a first chapter and an outline), so I wouldn’t have to rush. I re-read the submission materials request and realized — it’s due TODAY. Mid-May is if you make it past the initial round.

Okaaay. Butt in chair, kick the brain into gear. I’d played with the idea, so I had a good sense of where I wanted to go with it. As I worked it, however, I realized that I’d focused on the wrong character as the primary male protagonist. So I tweaked it, and suddenly the whole book opened out. The chapter worked better than it had initially (I’d worked on it a few weeks ago, before I even got the request). The synopsis, which I’d loosely sorted in my head, came together beautifully. I’ve got a solid piece now, and I’m happy with it. Revised the chapter a few times, tightened the synopsis, and out it went. I feel good about it. Even if this particular place decides not to take it, I’ve got something solid I can work on and sell elsewhere.

Started percolating on some non-fiction proposals I want to get out in the next few weeks. I re-read Michael Larsen’s book on proposals. I kind of do most of that anyway when I put together a proposal package, but re-reading it made me more aware of the steps, and the order.

I skipped the Green Drinks event — the weather was vile, and I was in that fragile state of percolation/creation that can be derailed at the slightest wrong prod. So I stayed home and worked. And seeded the lawn right before the rain.

Read Sonia Singh’s novel GHOST, INTERRUPTED, which was really fun, and started Jane Haddam’s WANTING SHEILA DEAD, which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Long day ahead of me at the desk. I hope I can use some of that positive momentum I achieved this weekend to propel me through the week. It was heaven to spend the bulk of the day on my own writing.

However, I’ve also got some business and PR stuff to attend to today.

Better hop to it!

Devon

Don’t forget the next two one-day seminars! Amazing Antagonists on May 12 and Setting Up Your Submission System on June 2.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So where’s this thaw they keep promising us, and pushing back day-by-day? We had snow flurries last night!

Everything that needed to go out today went out yesterday, all good. Now I can focus on the book. I’ve been invited to present in person at a conference at Mt. Holyoke in the fall — not too far away from where I live, and it will be fun to do some in-person work. A friend and I brainstormed topics for a one-day, online seminar at the end of March. So, the morning, at least, was productive.

Afternoon was busy with site work, but I managed to grab a few hours to read Donna Leon’s ABOUT FACE. I love her mysteries set in modern-day Venice. We’re definitely going to talk about her work in “Setting as Character.”

Also, a couple of story ideas are roiling around in my brain. I wish they’d queue up properly, but that’s not how the process works.

My back is REALLY bad. Yoga and tiger’s balm are helping somewhat, and I just have to hang in there until the end of the month, when I have an acupuncture appointment. Pain medication doesn’t even take off the edge, so I’m not going to waste my liver on it. Heat, stretching, tiger’s balm, valerian root (except I don’t have any with me). When I have a car again towards the end of the week, I’m going to get some icy hot patches and see if they help. There’s a massaging chair here that is sort of fun, but doesn’t give much long-term help.

Back to the book, with breaks to work on the seminar essays. And my March workshop is almost full — the getting unstuck one. There are just a few more slots left.

To the page.

Devon

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 7:45 am  Comments (7)  
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

IMG_0718

Sunday, November 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Editing a story and staying within a word limit is like bartering — for every word you wish to add, you have to give up one.

That’s how it was, editing “The Misappropriation of Talent”, the Merry’s Dalliance tale, but I got it edited, polished, and out. Either they’ll like it or they won’t, and, if they don’t, I have other markets that will accept it.

Had to make a trip to Costco, never a good idea on a Saturday. But managed to sail through pretty fast and stock up on a few things, including a 4-lb bag of Nestle’s semi-sweet morsels. Yeah, I’m planning to bake a lot in the next few weeks!

Wrestled with “Lake Justice.” It’s going well, just slowly, and I don’t have the luxury of “slowly” right now. I prefer to have time in between projects, time to decompress, but the deadlines fell together this go-round, so I don’t. And I’ve got three more stories to write in the next two weeks.

The noise and chaos around here with ridiculous all day and made it really hard to work. I think the workmen scared away the Trick or Treaters, which is a shame.

It was well into the evening by the time I realized I’d written 1500 words into a corner, and to keep going in that direction just made all my characters look stupid. But I didn’t know how to get them out of it.

So I took a shower.

And the solution came.

I jumped back to the desk and fixed it. And keep going.

I managed to get “Lake Justice” out the door by 11:22 PM — cutting it a little closer than I’d like to the midnight deadline. It’s definitely flawed, but I hope there’s enough there to get us to the editing phase. If not, and it comes back rejected, I will do another edit before I send it out again.

But I made the deadline, and that was very important to me, rather than just letting it fall by the wayside. I’ve let too many deadlines slide over the last few months. Some of it I had to, because of higher paying work needing to replace uncontracted work. But I needed to get this done for ME.

My GDR wrap-up is online for October, and I’ll post November’s To Do list in the next couple of days.

Once the deadlines were met, I could enjoy Samhain, and also the days of Tending the Dead, which are over the next few days — long nights ahead of me. If you want to know what I mean by Tending the Dead, you can read about it here.

I should jump into the next story, the 2500 word one that has to go out in the next few days, but I think I’ll give myself the day off writing. I’ve got some errands to run, and I need to get to work on Confidential Job #1’s next assignment. This is yet another very busy week, with a bunch of travelling.

If I’d committed to do Nano this year, I’d already be in despair.

I baked cinnamon rolls this morning. Well, I stuck them in the oven. Pillsbury prepared them. I couldn’t get the carton open with a spoon — you’re supposed to press down with a spoon and it pops open. Only it wouldn’t.

So I used a hammer.

And it flew across the kitchen when it popped, but I caught it in midair, so it was okay.

I’m off early tomorrow, talking to middle schoolers at my former school about career as a living, evolving organism, rather than a straight line. Why did I agree to do this again?

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 8:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’m very disappointed in myself. I only got about half done yesterday that needed to get done. I’m actually behind on a deadline, which never happens. I hit a wall.

Before anyone goes, “well, take time for yourself” – normally, as a freelancer, I’d just give myself the day off to recharge. Unfortunately, today, I can’t, because I’ve fallen behind on a deadline. I’m going to have to find a way to push through it.

I had a good start to the day: Worked on the Big Project, redrafted a press release, searched the job boards (some decent stuff, but nothing for me), wrote and sent out thank yous and testimonials for the conference, got out the contract for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and worked on the author information sheets (gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the cover artist actually read it this time?), and wrote an article for a colleague’s newsletter. I even got some work done, in the evening, on the DEAD WELL DREAMS outline – I really hate the title. I like the cadence, but not the image – again, too much of a western. DEAD DREAMS WELL maybe? In case you didn’t figure it out, there’s a well involved.

One item on the list had to be pushed aside, because I had to ask the publisher a question, and wait for the answer, so I don’t feel bad about that, but the above was less than half of what was on the to-do list.

I hit a wall. Couldn’t string together a coherent sentence.

I used the ultimate avoidance mechanism – I started to clean my desk. I have three huge piles on my desk. The farthest left is letters, correspondence, and bills. Hate keeping bills on the desk, it interferes creatively, but if it’s not in front of me, it doesn’t get done. If I put them in a pretty little holder – or even folder – that’s where they stay. In my subconscious, if it’s put away, it’s done. If it’s on the desk, it’s pending. If it’s in something pretty on the desk and not waving at me – it’s not a priority. The middle pile is writing stuff I need to get to, or research I’m using, or sources, etc. That pile had grown far too large, and that’s what I tackled. I actually could put most of it in files and put it away – near by, so I can reach over and reference, but only about a half a dozen pages needed to stay there for daily use. The pile on the right is stuff I pull from the printer to file and that’s huge, because I haven’t gotten around to filing for far too long.

I only tackled the middle pile. I’m glad I did, but it makes the two side piles look even worse, and it didn’t help me get anything done from the list. My desk will never be completely clean, because I can’t work on a pristine desk – it’s sterile and stalls my thinking – but I’d like it to be in better shape than it’s been for the past few months. I’m getting there – but yesterday was not necessarily the best day to start!

The Nano site’s already crashed, which is frustrating. It usually doesn’t crash until the just before the first day. I’m glad I get to write with 100,000 of my closest friends, most of which I’ll never see or hear from again after December 1, but the technical glitches do get annoying, even though it’s free. One of the good things is that I’m getting emails from former N3s and other people with whom I exchanged information on previous Nanos who tell me how helpful my advice was in getting their books finished and edited past Nano, and thanking me – some of them apologizing for being defensive and not wanting to try my tips early on! Glad I can help. We’re all in this together.

An actor with whom I worked closely this past summer turned to me once and sighed, “I might as well do what you suggest the first time; you’re always right, and it saves a lot of grief.”

If only I was ALWAYS right! 😉

I’m going to take it easy on myself today, only push on the most pressing work and not stress about the rest. I’m scheduled to attend a local freelancers’ luncheon farther up the Hudson River, so that should be fun. I don’t know any of the people attending, so it will be a good chance to meet new people. Let’s hope I’m not too shy to say a word! And that the food is good.

I’m going to get the late assignment out before I go. That’s got to be my first priority. And then make sure I have enough and the correct business cards for this luncheon!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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: