Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

Playing The Angles Cover Sm
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.

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Thurs. Aug. 17, 2017: The Workday Work Day

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a decent workday, in spite of the chaos, and yet another day of Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s refusal to uphold the Constitution. Sent out three pitches, sent out two essays. The markets to which I wanted to send the short story are closed to submissions right now, so I will have to look elsewhere, and I didn’t have the right information with me for another essay market, so I’ll have to take care of that today.

The afternoon was spent finishing the “audition” assignment for the new-to-me publication that hired me a couple of weeks ago. This morning, it got a polish before going off, ahead of deadline, in case they need revisions. Hopefully, they like what I’ve done and I can continue.

The next assignment from the publication I want to leave was sent, and I pick it up today. Hopefully, this will be the last assignment for them, and they’ll pay everything they owe for work done.

Today, I have some pitches to send out, the audition assignment, the essay, and the short story. I have some research to do in a nearby town. This afternoon, I get started on the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys.

Not much first draft work done this weekend, but at least I’m clearing out a lot of other stuff.

I have to do some follow-up on other pitches, because I don’t like hanging in limbo. This “we only respond if we like it” is unprofessional b.s., in my opinion. Don’t like it? Fine. Say no. Don’t just say nothing. I don’t care how many submissions you claim you get. It’s unprofessional.

While I worked outside on the deck yesterday afternoon, I got an idea for a new piece — it will need some research, but, if I can make it work and sell it, it will make people re-think a few things about their approach to their reading and their work.

Working on the list for the initial press list/media kit push for the PLAYING THE ANGLES release. I want to send out that information as soon as Mercury goes direct.

I can’t believe tomorrow is already Friday again!

Published in: on August 17, 2017 at 9:03 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 17, 2017: The Workday Work Day  
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April 16, 2012: Lovely weather for Patriot’s Day!

Monday, April 16, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy weekend, and I’m exhausted. Had to work hard, and now I’m feeling like I’m coming down with something, so I’m being a bit careful.

Friday was a busy day, prepping for the seminar. But I took the promised break in the middle of the day — I’d been invited to go with friends to Heritage Museums and Gardens for an author talk about Eudora Welty and the garden. I went with two friends, and we had a great time. After the lecture, we got to walk the grounds — it didn’t open for the season until the next day. The landscaping is stunning there, and everyone we met was enjoying the final preparations and the day. It was so beautiful out — sunny and not too hot.

We stopped in Sandwich at a shop called The Spotted Cod, which has some really nice stuff, and then went to the Beehive Tavern for a little snack. We were brainstorming/half-joking about a mystery series called “The Bellini Girls” about a trio of Bellini-swigging women (who loved Nancy Drew growing up) who wind up solving mysteries on Cape Cod. In other words, comic cozies. I think it would be fun to play with that idea. I’m sure, by the time I finish, it will have grown away from our original joking around, but it seems like something fun.

First, though, I have to get my contracted deadlines out of the way! 😉

Was up working on smoothing out the last minute technical stuff for the seminar until nearly midnight on Friday. Add to that the frustration of not being able to access the Savvy Authors forum at all to comment on student work — kept getting “attack page” warnings. Poor things, they’re working hard to fix the problem, and it’s been dragging on now for a couple of months. Makes it hard for all of us to meet our deadlines, but, as I said to them, we just do the best we can, give each other a bit of room. There are quite a few regulars, and I know that they’re conscientious, and I don’t want them to feel bad for something that’s not their fault.

Managed to catch up on the student work from both classes on Saturday in and around being online non-stop for the seminar hours. It was good group, although some of them were a little shy. Some of them are new students, and we’re learning our rhythms with each other.

Saturday night, I had to go to bed early (raging migraine). Read the papers Sunday, wound up the final seminar questions, finished the PDF of the companion handbook to the seminar — had to drop in the cover, add the indicia page, and add the resources. I put together a reading list of books that I think cover what we discussed, plus some of my favorite writing books, plus a pretty extensive list of volumes of diaries and letters that are helpful in attaining the cadences of an historical time period. Since I collect volumes of diaries and letters, I had to pick and choose, or the list would have run close to 30 pages! I think the final one is about three! Had to proofread it, too, and wowza! Missed some doozies of typos in the lectures, but they’re fixed in the handbook, so it’s all good. The handbook went out last night, so everyone’s got a long term reference guide.

The next one-day seminar is on Antagonists, and it’s May 12, and then, on June 2, I have a one-day seminar on Setting Up Your Submission System. The registration for both of those will open later this week. They’re the same deal — in real time on Saturday, where participants can read lectures, post relevant snippets, ask questions, get individual feedback, final questions on Sunday, and then a PDF of the lectures, exercises, and additional resources.

It’s Monday, which means Billy Root’s blogging, so go on over and check it out. Good news!

This week will be crazy-busy, but in a different, hopefully less stressful way than last week. This afternoon (even though it’s a holiday here), I’ve got a client meeting. I’m looking forward to it — hopefully, we’re a good fit and can start a mutually beneficial relationship over the next few months.

And I’ve GOT to get back to the page. I’ve done only the minimum the past few days, and that’s not enough.

Got to do some yard work today, and will do it early, before it gets too hot. Sometimes, Mother Nature’s deadlines are more pressing than anyone else’s!

Devon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days, and didn’t realize most of the morning was gone.

The weekend was all about getting the plants in and settled, getting up the grow light, enjoying the eggplants and the strawberries which are still coming fast and furiously, and trying to save the tomatoes. The patio furniture is in, but I still have to put teak oil on it before it’s completely done for the winter. The rest of the plants are adjusting to being inside.

The azalea, heather, mums, lilac, holly trees, and little oak are staying out, although the lilac will go into the garage soon to go dormant for winter.

I went out on Saturday to pick up wine before the storm hit. Seems like everyone else had the same idea — grocery stores weren’t too busy, but everyone’s cars were filled with rock salt and cases of liquor! Too funny.

The storm didn’t hit the Cape too badly — lots of rain and wind, but that’s it. My mom had a great birthday, I cooked her a good dinner, she’s enjoying the books. We lost power for a few minutes in the middle of the night, but that was all. The rest of the state was hammered — some places got 30 inches of snow. We were lucky

Sunday was a quiet day, for me, mostly catching up on stuff and winding up the Scaling the Wall class. I was afraid it hadn’t gone well, but the students who didn’t quit the first week were really happy with the new perspectives on their novels, and most of them have signed up for the short story class in January. So that’s all good.

I have a feeling a few more will drop out of the year-long shortly. On the one hand, it annoys me that everyone in the class has been investing time and energy in each other, and some of them can’t cut it. I don’t care what they claim as the reason — either you keep a commitment or you don’t. Books don’t write themselves, especially not 200 words once every six weeks. If you want to be a writer, you write. Period. If you don’t want to do the work and make the commitment, go do something else. On the other hand, I have to trust that this group will wind up being what it needs to be to do its best work.

Some people say things like, “oh, when you give this again, I’ll take it.” Um, first of all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even if I did this again, the group dynamic would be different. Second, it’s highly unlikely I will do it again, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because of the amount of time and energy it takes in proportion to the rest of my work. I definitely wouldn’t offer it for several years. Third, why would they think they’d be accepted again, if they already proved they weren’t able to fulfill the commitment now? “De Nile” may be more than a river in Egypt, so what does that make “De Lusion”?

Whatever. I have my own writing to focus on.

I finally cracked the bar scene (thanks to the feedback from the class). It’s not perfect, but it works and makes sense, and I could move forward.

I also had batches of ideas for the short story segment. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do an adult contemporary for my first short story. If I can work in some of the other stories around my other work, I will also do that. But that’s the way it is — ideas come in batches.

Yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity to go on a cemetery tour in Marstons Mills. It wasn’t about ghosts or hooky-spookies. It was about the town founders and interesting graves in a cemetery whose early graves are pre-Revolutionary war and I even saw a grave as recent as 2008. Lots of great stories. And an absolutely gorgeous horse-drawn hearse from the 1880’s, originally made in New Bedford. It had a space for ice to keep the body cool, adjustable pegs for coffin length, velvet curtains, and beautiful finials on the top. The maker stopped building hearses to build unicycles, which were a big business as indoor racing — because the outdoor roads were too bad to race on!

Anyway, I got a few great ideas, and some of them I can combine into a single fantasy tale.

The grow light fell apart — the glass separated from the filament — so I have to take it back.

We had a good turnout of Trick or Treaters last night, in full costume. I had Tessa in her harness and leash, and she came to the door with me. She was a the Belle of Halloween! She was really good about it, too. She enjoyed the attention, unlike the twins, who hid the whole time.

Samhain ceremonies went well. Today is Day of the Dead, and the next few nights are the Tending the Dead ceremonies. Tomorrow, the Samhain decor is packed, and the Thanksgiving goes up. The tween girls last night were funny — they were excited to meet the person who lived in “the house with all the cool decorations.” And a group of my adult neighbors went around in costume, just saying hi — hilarious! Good times, all the way around.

And so, the wheel turns again, and I’m looking forward to the coming winter.

Devon

PS Best wishes to those of you doing Nano this year. Go forth and write!

Today’s word count: 1205
Total word count: 45,834

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Fountain, Heritage Museum and Gardens

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I got a good writing day in yesterday, and cleaned up my computer a bit. I’ve been having trouble with Safari, and now Firefox is giving me headaches, so I’ve downloaded Google Chrome just in case. And yeah, I’ll be giving Apple Care a yelp soon!

Worked on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Once I can get through these two mucky chapters, I think I can hurtle to the end pretty well. Did some good planning work on the new book, and got an idea for a steampunk. Ideas tend to come in batches.

Am being encouraged in the direction of a non-fiction book. I may try an outline and the first three chapters to see if it’s worth pursuing. If I like it, I’ll make a list and start submitting.

I recently read a wonderful anthology called A SENSE OF PLACE, which was written by Cape Cod women writers. Definitely want to use it in any further Setting as Character workshops. Sent a quick note to the publisher, who responded and suggested I write for the site, so I’ll put together some article ideas and see if they fly.

Finished the biography of Joseph Campbell, which makes me want to go back and re-read him with a new sense of context. When I read him originally, years ago, the fact that he was revered as a demi-god made me deeply suspicious and interfered with my ability to read the actual material. I’m glad to know he was a scholar who did actual research instead of someone who made stuff up to boost his theories.

Watched the NY fireworks, then the Boston — nice to see how different they are. Some idiots in the neighborhood set off fireworks they weren’t able to handle and nearly set some roofs on fire. Not mine — they just curved away from the property! 😉

Up early this morning. Meant to work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but wound up started my Reading and Reviewing for Craft class instead.

Yoga on the Beach was great, in spite of the sand flies. We absolutely slathered each other in bug repellent or we couldn’t have survived. Today’s class was quite challenging, which was good. Next year, I’ll budget so I can take it 3-4 times/a week, both on a financial level and a time level — it’s a 4 hour commitment in the morning, my prime writing time, since it’s an hour and a half in each direction and an hour fifteen class, and then all the incidental traffic, et al things one doesn’t count on.

Stopped to grab an ice coffee on the way home, and thought I was being very smart by taking 137 up to 6 (6 is the Mid-Cape Highway). 6 was backed up from P-Town to the bridges, so I slid off the next exit and took 124 north to 6A and headed back along the bay side. Yes, it’s through the towns, but there wasn’t much traffic and it actually moved, so it was faster.

Watered, vacuumed out the car (I brought half the beach with me), ate a bowl of berries. Now, I’m settling in for a few hours of work before I go out and do things like buy cat food! I have a meeting in the late afternoon for a potential job in August. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t supposed to work in August, but this sounds too good to pass up.

Back to the page!

Devon