Thurs. May 25, 2017: Fixing and Creating

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

So, yesterday, I fixed the mower by my damn self, with help from my neighbor. So much for the warranty on this chunk of garbage, and so much for the people who kept promising to show up to fix it. I bought a new spark plug for $3 at the hardware store, and my neighbor had the spark socket, and we did it. I don’t even have to wrestle with it anymore — it starts right up. I got about half the front mowed. It’s raining this morning, but as soon as it lets up, I’m going to finish the front and start the side. It’ll take me a few days to catch up on everything, but I’ll get there.

Received my first assignment from my new editor, and started on it. Sent off an article pitch; a different editor passed on a pitch I’d sent, so I sent off a new one today, and that one, slightly slanted, so someone else.

Wrestled the sample script pages. Cut them back, layered them some more, and they read much more subtly. I still have room in the page count, so I worked on a second scene. Then, I put all the pieces together, and the proposal went off this morning. Either it’s what this particular producer wants, or it’s not. Not much I can do about it now.

I shot off an email to an author I met once at the conference here on Cape to ask him to supply some emotional geography for the city in which I’ll have my meeting next week. Sounds wacky, but I’d rather get some insight from someone who knows the community than what’s up on a website somewhere. He may not have the time or inclination to answer, but nothing asked, nothing answered.

Worked on the short story; I’ve lost momentum and have to find it. I want to finish it, polish it this weekend, and send it out early next week. I also have to do a fresh read on WINNER TAKE ALL and get going on the next draft. I want to get the next draft of the screenplay done in the next couple of weeks; if it then passes muster, off it goes.

Having trouble finding the right images for the new cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I know I have a photograph that I took that would work for it, but darned if I can find it right now. I’m looking through the proof sheets for my camera disks. There’s a potential image I like, of stage lights on a bare stage, but I’m not sure. A bare stage with dramatic lighting doesn’t really communicate the story.

The new cover for CREATIVE STIMULUS went up, and works. Now that is in alignment with the other Topic Workbooks.

I’m working on the personal media kit that spans the different things I write, and it’s difficult. It’s much easier to write copy about the books and about other people than about myself. Believe it or not, I think I have to do a rough outline of the kit, so I can figure out the bits and pieces I want to include. Then I’ll work on each piece, trying to keep the same objective distance as when I put one together for someone else, and then arrange them until it has a good flow.

I should be able to start putting the changes into the next section of FIX IT GIRL today or tomorrow, too, and then move on the next section.

Prepping for my meeting next week; instead of worrying about anything beyond the actual meeting, I’m focusing on the meeting, and taking it from there.

Read Felicia Day’s memoir, which reads like a conversation with someone with whom one connects.

I got bitten by something working in the yard yesterday, right at the top of my tailbone. Not only is it an awkward place to treat, it hurts like hell. Not just discomfort, but actual pain.

It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend, so I hope that means it’ll be a productive one for writing!

Published in: on May 25, 2017 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Nov. 3, 2015: Grief & Writing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Friday was a very sad day for us. Violet died in the afternoon. At least she died at home, where she was loved, and she wasn’t in pain. But we are all heartbroken. We took her body to an emergency care facility in Dennis, where they will take care of the remains.

She was a small, quiet cat, but the house feels empty without her. Iris and Tessa are looking for her. They miss her, too.

There was a lot of cleaning and scrubbing and disinfecting to do, of course. We were already exhausted from the last few days, and there was just nothing left in the tank.

Samhain was sad. It was difficult to pull it together, and I kept the ritual very simple.

On the plus side, the costumes the Trick-or-Treaters wore were delightful. Brought us some joy for a sad time.

Turned back the clocks to standard time. The cats, however, were still on their time, so I was up early anyway.

Sunday was the first day of Nano. I seriously considered quitting before it began. I wasn’t sure I have the heart to do it this month. I’m also tired of Nano and death being so closely associated, year after year. I’m going to be sad for awhile, and I don’t know how I can dig deep enough to work on the books.

But I did it, and felt better for it. I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, the cozy mystery set on a fictional island off the coast of Cape Cod. Yup, I stuck in another island near Martha’s Vineyard. Gave the steamship authority a couple of extra routes, too. I wrote the whole first chapter, 2833 words, and felt better.

I then did some work on TIE-CUTTER, getting ready to close out the section set in Hollywood. So my day’s total was 4269. Not a bad start.

The rest of the day was about taking down the Samhain decorations, but leaving up the Day of the Dead items. Again, I kept the ceremonies simple, because I’m just wiped out.

I also baked for the week: cranberry muffins for Monday’s meeting, double chocolate chunk for Tuesday’s Come Write In! session, and oatmeal cookies for Thursday’s session.

I’ve been reading Ted Hughes’s WINTER POLLEN. I know very little of his work. I’m of the generation that fetishized Sylvia Plath, put her on a pedestal, and demonized Ted Hughes. Unfair, but that’s how it was presented — he destroyed her genius, forcing her to have children and subsume her poetry to his, while he catted around. Reality was, of course, far more complicated. The older I got, the less patience I had with Sylvia. But I’d still read very little of Ted’s work.

His essays on Shakespeare are wonderful. I’m not sure I agree with his theories, but they’re interesting, and they certainly give me additional perspectives, next time I go back to the plays. It makes me eager to re-read the plays. I grow wary when I read his writing on Sylvia Plath’s work. He was in an impossible situation. Who knew her work better? Yet who had more reason to protect himself, and, supposedly, the rest of her family? Destroying her final journal — under that same guise of “protection”– is something I don’t think the world will ever forgive. I agree with that. Even if she lashed out at her children and he didn’t want them to read those moments of anger — and it would make sense to resent her children in the moment and write about it in her journal, using that to cure her — that anger or depression or whatever she poured into those final journals is vital to understanding her work. At the same time, I understand the desire to protect self and family (I don’t agree with it, but I understand it), and he’s got a point, that, at the time, she wasn’t the iconic figure she grew into. The sad part is, no matter how good her poetry was, or how much she was likely to improve as an artist, she probably wouldn’t have become the icon she is without her suicide. It’s an impossible, complex situation.

I think I would trust his writing about her work more if it wasn’t in the third person; if he didn’t refer to “her husband” when he meant himself. Again, I can understand the choice in the moment — to keep it sounding more objective. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across that way. It comes across as cold, and as though the writer has something to hide.

The only one who knows the truth is Sylvia herself, and she only knows her own truth. His truth is different. The children’s truths are different. The rest of her family’s truths are different. They are all parts of the puzzle, and some of those parts are irrevocably missing.

From the outside, though, it remains fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Yesterday morning, I was up at five. I wrote Chapter Two of CHOLERIC, 2554 words. Difficult words, but words.

I left a little before eight to go to Buzzards Bay for a strategic planning meeting at the Marine Life Center. There’s too much “committee” and “subcommittee’ and yakking in my opinion. Work is not done in meetings; work is done in the space between meetings. I feel like we’re going around in circles, instead of moving forward.

Home, another stint on TIE-CUTTER. Brought my day’s total to 3990 and my full total to 8259, which is decent for two days’ work.

Took down the spider web curtains, put up the winter curtains, did four loads of laundry. Another simple ceremony (these are the days of the ceremonies for the dead). The sadness weighs me down and I can’t shake it. But I also have to give myself time.

We will adopt another cat, but not right away. We all have to adjust to life without Violet. After Thanksgiving, or maybe even after Christmas.

Of course, people keep offering cats now. 😉

Watching the DCI BANKS series. Very well done, although sometimes the second half of each episode feels rushed.

Up early this morning. Wrote Chapter Three of CHOLERIC, 3322 words. I was raring to continue into Chapter Four, but afraid I’d push too far. There’s a COME WRITE IN session at the library this morning, and I want to work on TIE CUTTER there, and have something left in the tank for CHOLERIC tomorrow. We’re getting to a big confrontation scene.

Once CWI is over, we’re doing a test run of the tree for Spectacle at the Library. So, yes, once again I’m going in on what’s supposed to be my day off. 😉

Busy day today. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be long days, and I imagine that my word count will drop drastically. That’s why I’ve been pushing so hard up front.

Devon

Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 10:53 am  Comments (4)  
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Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon

Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Mid-month check-in over on the GDR site, and an update on the garden site.

Busy day yesterday. Lots of it was admin work and prep work for meetings. Worked with students. Pitched for some jobs.

My computational neuroscience class started. Turns out my neurons fire differently than most people’s. I kind of knew that, but the professor finds it interesting. My fellow students, however, do not. There’s resentment that even though I don’t have the math background, I’m capable of figuring out the equations in my own, off-the-wall way. I don’t believe algebra exists, I don’t do calculus, and, to me, “probability” is how I pick a winning horse. Oh, and my brain responds receptively the same way as a cat’s.

My question to that is: is that BECAUSE I live with cats, or do I live with cats BECAUSE of the way my brain works?

It’s all very interesting.

The Environmental Law & Policy class has also started; I need to get up to speed on that. That should be quite fascinating.

Driving to the meeting last night was a nightmare in the storm. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Hydroplaning all over the place.

Meeting was lively, with some surprises.

Client STILL hasn’t paid me. Client will shortly be ex-client.

I have to finish up the last set of articles for the other slow-paying client today (the one who actually paid, albeit late) and that finishes out our contract.

I have some admin to do and some errands to run. I’m supposed to be in four different places tonight; I’m not going to be in any of them. I need some rest. I’ve got a migraine again, and it’s not going to get any better.

One of the interesting things about these neuroscience classes is that I’m starting to understand the physical components underlying the psychological components of how the brain works, and how that is tied to an individual’s value systems. What we remember and what we forget isn’t just about the amount of information we have — it’s tied to what and who we value and how we assign those values in relation to our own agendas. It’s easy to say “I forgot” or “that was careless”, but there is an underlying reason that works on both mechanical AND psychological levels on what we forget and why. As people around me make decisions that, ultimately, affect me, having this additional layer of information is useful as I make decisions on my responses, and can separate the platitudes spoken to ass-cover from the scientific reality of how the brain works.

Haven’t been in much of a writing groove this week — need to get back into it.

Devon

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work  
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Thurs. Jan. 9, 2014: Meetings and Writings

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Worked with students, accepted contract offer, revised a half hour teleplay, pitched for some jobs, wrote/polished/submitted a review. Had some interesting interactions with some potential new clients.

Early dinner, and then off to Sandwich Library. I left early enough to give me a chance to pick up some books before my meeting, and then there was a lively Board meeting for the Writers Center. We are lucky to have such an energetic board.

Not feeling well this morning — my stomach’s upset again. Not sure why. Probably connected to the migraine. Busy day ahead of me, including an interview, and trying to reconfigure the schedule to get the new writing and editing commitments into it, while still staying on top of the scriptwriting materials that have to go out in mid-February.

If I can, I may take a nap later this afternoon, and I have to run down to Centerville Library to pick up some books they’re holding from me, AND type up the minutes from last night’s meeting.

Onward!

Devon

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 8:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Sept. 26, 2013: Projects Moving to Phase Two

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cool

Polished and sent out two articles yesterday. Finally got them right. Worked with students. Sent out a few pitches. One got an almost immediate response, so we’ll see where we go from there. I thought it was a stretch when I pitched, but they liked my materials, and now we’re working on the next step.

I had a two hour meeting with someone in LA on a project for which my agent pitched me. We are also taking the next step on that, and, if it works out for both of us, will go to contract hopefully sooner than later.

Received my next two assignments from Confidential Job #1. Already read the material for one of them, and have to write it up.

Received my first assignment from my new editor. Will get to work on that today.

Re-read the 85 pages I’ve got on Project D so far, and feel good about it.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK got a 5-star reader review on Amazon, which was great, and will be available in print in the next couple of days.

Back to the page,

Devon

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 6:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Sept. 12, 2013: Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was a tough day. Painful. Best I could do was to stay quiet. My heart is still sore today.

It was, however, a good writing day. I got big chunks of projects B & C done — probably close to 6K. Project C is written too lean at this point — I’m trying to get plot, character, images down. I have to layer in sensory detail, because my primary protag relies on his senses and those details will make this piece unique and immediate.

Tried to read a book yesterday — premise was terrific, setting was superb, and the writing was so weak that I was frustrated. It had all the elements, and the writer didn’t have the skills to pull it off. Disappointing.

Had a grant meeting in the evening. Quick and nothing I didn’t already know. Always amazes me when people ask stupid questions that are answered in the packet. If you can’t count six weeks from the date of application, and don’t understand the concept of “six weeks”, maybe you’re not qualified to apply until you gain some cognitive skills.

I have an early morning meeting today, so I’m going to try to knock out 1K and then head out.

Onward!

Devon

Published in: on September 12, 2013 at 7:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 12, 2013: Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question  
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Thurs. Feb. 7, 2013: Projects, Escalating Stress, & Snow

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

So we’re prepping for this big storm and are all in a tizzy. I hope it won’t be anywhere near as bad as they’re saying.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day editing and working with students. I have an awful lot to get done today, because I have to get things cleared off before the storm and potential power outages and meetings and auditions coming up, etc. I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed out of proportion to what is actually going on.

Last night was a board meeting for the Writers’ Center, and I have follow-up and additional information to work on there, too.

I managed to fall in love all over again with one of my projects, which is always a good thing, but it’s a tricky one to pull off and I’m feeling so much pressure from so many different factions right now that I’m not sure what to do with the piece.

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, which runs next Mon.-Fri. Information here.

I have a new workshop, the only one I’m teaching in March, running March 4-8, called “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Information here.

HEX BREAKER just came out in print — woo-hoo!

Auditions for MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL start next Monday — if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. Details here.

Have a safe weekend!

Devon

Thurs. Sept. 27, 2012: Juggling Courses and Deadlines


Still a few hibiscus in the garden

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got a few projects off my desk, but not enough — familiar refrain. Had to control a case of the crankies when someone for whom I’m doing a favor nagged me about it — even though I’m well ahead of schedule on it, Miss Thing knows she’s going to get it over a week ahead of deadline and is still bitching about it, and it’s usually something for which I’d be charging a good chunk of change. Live and learn, won’t make that mistake again. The important thing is not to take it out on the material.

Worked with students, struggled with CRAVE THE HUNT. I need to attack this particular sequence (set in Iceland) from a different angle, because what I’m doing right now isn’t working, and I’m out of time. This book needs to be done and on the publisher’s desk. I’ve got other deadlines looming, and can’t drag my feet anymore. What I’ve got thus far is good, where it’s going works, so I don’t know what my darn problem is.

Got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — it’s massive and fascinating, and I gave my editor the heads-up that I’d submit two versions of the usual write-up — the regular short, within word count, and a longer one, and he can then choose which he wants. He thinks that’s a great idea.

Put together the samples for the gig I hope to land — at this point, either my voice fits what they’re looking for or it doesn’t, so I can’t tie myself in knots about it. I’ve got a couple more pitches to get out before I leave this weekend — I want to pitch to a couple of places in Boston.

Set up a meeting with an agent for next week, which will be fun.

Watched a little over half the video lectures for the Sustainability Course last night. Interesting information, but a little depressing. Plan to do some work today on this week’s paper, and also either on the flood/drought rebalance, or try to knock out five or six pages of the mystery for that class.

Watched half the lectures for the Greek and Roman Mythology course — I like the instructor a lot, and it’s giving me a chance to go even deeper in the revisions for the Harpy trilogy, new ideas, an even stronger mythical foundation for those books. Very excited. We only have two short papers to write for that class — wish it was more.

Yoga was great this morning, and then I had the chance to go home and change before a committee vetting interview. I had a good time talking with them, but either they feel I’m a good fit with them or they don’t. It’s really out of my control, and all I can do is be exactly who I am, not what I think they want.

I need to go through some more submissions today, I want to work on the next article for WOW — it’s not due until Monday, but I want to send it out tomorrow. Still have no idea what’s going on with the play tomorrow night, so I’m going to show up, notebook in hand, and take notes. I want to knock off one set of lectures for the World History Class, and then either finish the Sustainability lectures or the Myth lectures.

I’ve blocked out most of the weekend, out of town, to really focus on CRAVE THE HUNT. Hopefully, I’ll have a lot of uninterrupted writing time – things don’t really get busy down there until Monday.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on September 27, 2012 at 11:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 27, 2012: Juggling Courses and Deadlines  
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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, November 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. Cyber-Mondayed. I have almost all my shopping done now, between Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday. I have a handful of small things to pick up and we’re good to go. Just wrapping, mailing, cards, and baking left.

And putting the house back together.

Good meeting yesterday. I pulled materials I need to make up the press kit for this client, and will turn my attention to that a little later this week. I’ve got the bones of it done, but need to scan in press clippings and arrange them to show the growth of the organization.

Lunch with a friend at a Thai restaurant — always fun.

Interesting discussion with a top notch agent. Can’t be my top-notch agent, because she doesn’t handle genre fiction, but we had a good chat about the changing business model of the market, and how she’s dumping the writers who don’t sit down and write every day and turn out books regularly — unless they’ve already earned the right not to with a solid track record of glowing reviews and high sales. She said slow writers, or writers who only write “when they have time” or “when the mood strikes them” are, nine times out of ten, no longer a viable option for either an agent or a publisher. The days of “your process” or “doing what works for you” are done. If you want to a career, any career, you learn what’s necessary in that field and you do it. Fiction is the same as anything else. Just because you can do it at odd hours doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn the protocols of both craft and business. She pointed out that if you expect to publish in the fiction market, using the excuse of not showing up at that particular page because you’ve got other paid work going on and this isn’t yet contracted is simply a cop-out and indicates you’re not serious about your fiction. The fiction must always come first. Writing — especially fiction writing — is not a nine-to-five endeavor, and if you treat it like a corporate job, you cut yourself off at the knees –and the publisher. Nothing wrong with only having only one book in you, but it better be a good one. And if you take years to write it, there really will only be one. She’s a big believer in writing a minimum of 1000 words a day, and says that’s what makes the difference between “a writing career and a cute lil hobby no one’s gonna take seriously.” Interesting perspective. She’s a tough one — makes me look like a sweet little cupcake! 😉

Especially interesting timing on this conversation, because yet another student dropped out of the year-long because she feels 1000 words a day is too much.

Afternoon busy with commenting on the short story exercises coming in. I’m pleased by the high quality of the work and how clever the plots and stories are.

Worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, but got my dates mixed up — kept thinking yesterday was the 27th instead of the 28th. Must get that sorted out right now.

Good morning writing session on HEART-SNATCHER (the first Harpy book in the trilogy).

I’ve got some freelance work to take care of, some errands, and then back to commenting on student work.

Devon

Today’s word count: 2446
Total word count: 94,806

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

My post-Derby article is up on FemmeFan here. My editor loved it, even though I felt it lacked sparkle. Motivates me to make the Preakness article this week twice as good!

Exceptionally cold all weekend, frost on the ground this morning, and the scumbag landlords had the heat off until 6 AM today. Typical.

The alarm didn’t go off this morning, but Elsa is better than any alarm clock, so I went out for my run by 5:15. It’s quite light out, with just a sliver of waning moon, singing birds, corporate types scurrying to the train station . . .

So, where do I start? Didn’t write on Saturday at all — on purpose. Needed to refill creative well. Did my errands, sorted, purged a bunch of junk, took stuff to storage. Read. Cooked.

Got some good ideas for the next section of the urban fantasy.

Was about to order a great futon couch. It looks good, the price is good, and it will fit through the doorway — since they put in the new doors, I can’t bring in my sofabed. the doorway is now too narrow. Not to mention the doors suck. Anyway, I was trying to figure out the shipping costs, and, when I read the fine print, it clearly states that they don’t deliver the couch to the house. They deliver it TO THE CURB. If you want it taken into the house (or, in my case, the third floor apartment), you negotiate with the delivery guy when he arrives and you pay him cash on the spot. Sounds like extortion to me — no price quotes, no regulations. So I’m not ordering the futon. Bite me, assholes. You think I’m really that stupid? I wonder how many people were stuck with furniture left on the curb and wound up paying a couple of times more than they paid for the pieces themselves just to get them inside the house?

Elsa was up and down on Saturday — much better than she was on Friday, but still not doing as well as last week. I got up early on Sunday to give her the medicine, went back to bed, and had a weird dream.

In the dream, I was brought in to script doctor some piece or other rehearsing in Greenwich Village. I’m assuming it was a film, but maybe it was a play. That was unclear. It starred an actor who tops the list of people I still want to work with. He looked completely dazed at the disorganized chaos. No one seemed to be in charge. There were far too many producers floating around (as usual), saying, “I’ll take care of it” when something was brought to their attention and then doing nothing (as usual). We had to fill out huge packets of information we were told were “for tax purposes” but read like psych evaluations. I told the actor I was excited to work with him, just not sure it should be on this. He laughed. Some other guy asked me to watch his stuff because “You’re the amateur.” I said, “No, I’m the writer” and he replied, “Same thing.” I did NOT watch his stuff. I knew a lot of the actors in the project in the dream and had worked with them before, although in life, I’d only worked with one actress in a big musical. She kept trying to match-make me with this one and that one, whether I was interested or not (which she tried when we worked together). I was about to pitch a fit and either take over or walk out (in spite of the actor I really, really wanted to work with) when Elsa sneezed in my face and woke me up.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about production a lot lately, since POWER OF WORDS takes place behind-the-scenes on one. This dream is a warning, the the specific actor representing not just himself, but everyone that’s still on that list of people I hope to work with (poor guy). Knowing how my dreams work, it may also be a caution– an opportunity may present itself and it may not be what it initially seems. I shouldn’t accept simply because there’s someone involved who’s on my list. So I stand warned. The nasty comment from the guy who wanted me to do PA duties represents the way writers are often treated in this business.

Made some cuts in SETTLING THE SCORE on Sunday, wrote twenty more pages, made more cuts, wrote eight more pages. Printed it all out (now that I have ink and paper again) and saw a huge, huge, HUGE logistics gap. There’s no way that character could have that piece of information vital to the plot machinations at that point in time the way I’ve got it laid out. I wrote some notes — I want to complete the draft before making any more fixes and running any more copies — and will move forward. Also, in the final draft, I’ll have to fix some formatting things. When I write scripts, I triple space between dialogue bits instead of double space. And the default font on this machine is Helvetica, which is fabulous to work in, but for script purposes, I have to change it to Courier (I loathe Courier). That will also drop the page count, which is good, because I’m up there now, and there’s still another good third of the movie to go. My goal is to have it run just over 2 hours, but feel like about 85 minutes.

On today’s agenda: pack more stuff for storage, work on SETTLING THE SCORE, maybe work on the adaptation of BEHIND THE MAN. I need to get my scripts sorted and synopsised and loglined over the next few weeks for some upcoming meetings. I may take WOMEN WITH AN EDGE out of retirement briefly just for the meetings, even. I should also take a look at my spec TV scripts — I don’t even know what one is “supposed” to have in one’s portfolio this season. I don’t know if I can still even use the BUFFY sample or the STARGATE ATLANTIS sample. If I need to come up with new ones, it would make sense to do one for HUMAN TARGET, since I spent so much time dissecting the show, but I don’t think that’s on “the list.” Of course, I might do one anyway, just to prove to myself that I can.

I’ll check with some acquaintances and find out what this season’s “list” is, and then figure out if I should even do a set of specs, or just stick to the plays for the moment, and this next round of meetings. I’m not angling for a series slot anyway — there are, literally, thousands of scriptwriters more qualified, in line ahead of me, and in LA so to do. But sometimes, even if you’re not up for the job, that’s the kind of sample someone wants to see in a meeting.

I’ll pack extra Excedrin, too. The meetings aren’t for a few months, but it takes time to put everything together, write any new material necessary, and have it be good, so I’m looking ahead. That way, instead of scrambling, everything is ready, I can just pull what i need for that meeting out of the file, and it’s much less stressful.

I’d like to get back to the urban fantasy this week, since I figured out how to overcome it’s obstacle, and, of course, ANGEL HUNT. My worry with ANGEL HUNT is that, once I go down the rabbit hole with that, I won’t come out for weeks, because of the intensity of the project. With the Preakness AND a pottery workshop this week, AND paperwork to complete for next year’s teaching schedule (yes, I’ve already got some major bookings for 2011), I don’t know if I can go down that rabbit hole right now. However, I want to get the book out on submission by the end of the month, so I need to get cracking.

Hard to sort out when so much has equal value and equal importance. But, I’ll figure it out. And I have to talk to the vet. Elsa is steadying again, but it doesn’t look like we can wean her off the steroid just yet. So we need to discuss next steps.

Back to the page.

Devon

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

They say it’ll be in the 80s all weekend, yet there’s still frost on the ground this morning. Go figure.

I took Valerian last night for the migraine/neck pain and slept in this morning. I’ll do my third run of the week tomorrow. I’ve still got some residual soreness, but, on the whole, I feel a bit better. I go to acupuncture next week, so she’ll fix me.

Yesterday was a long day. I took my mom to her meeting, which took 2 1/2 hours, but I think we’ve got things sorted, and we have the right people representing her to make sure this elder-abuse-by-corporation stops. Then, we had to drive up from the Bronx to South Salem to the vet to drop some more money on tests for Elsa. Hopefully, they will figure something out, because I’m getting a little impatient.

Too tired to cook, so tossed a pizza in the oven and vegged out in front of the TV. I’ve had trouble getting into FRINGE, but really enjoyed last night’s 40’s noir episode. Mixing the modern gadgets in with the 40s gave it the equivalent of “steampunk noir”, but I liked it.

I decided to expand the novella back into my original vision and, when it’s actually finished and polished, submit it elsewhere. I mean, I’ve been working on it off and on for about four months, I’ll send it elsewhere. I won’t be limited by the 30K word count (I think it’ll come in around 50 or 60), I can explore the characters and themes in more depth. I was trying to streamline everything to keep the action in under the word count, which meant I violated the integrity of the piece. That would have weakened it overall. Believe me, I respect guidelines. It is MY job to meet the guidelines, not their job to bend them to suit me. And, if the piece can’t be manhandled into fitting the guidelines, then it needs to go elsewhere.

In this draft, I’ll keep moving forward, without worrying about word count. I cut some characters early on. If it makes sense to re-integrate them in the second draft (especially some that bring comic relief), I will bring them back; if it suits the piece to keep them out, that’s what I’ll do. My goal, always, is to realize each character as vividly and memorably as possible, even if the character makes a brief appearance. The river rat snitch in the first chapter is one of the most fun characters, even though he’s only in that one scene. But, believe me, people will remember him!

The scene I wrote day-before-yesterday, the capture of our group of heroes by the villains, happened too quickly. In fact, the last few chapters happened to quickly, because I was worried about word count, and will have to be fleshed out a bit in the second draft. I also want to do some work on the first love scene between Annabeth and Dustin. I originally envisioned it as both comic an sexy, but because of word count and the target anthology, had to push the sexy and cut the comic, which dimmed the unique flavor of the scene. Now, I can put it all back.

See why I was struggling?

This morning, I will go back in and fix it, then really explore the villains’ lair. Since the whole next section of the book takes place there — only the final wrap-up chapter will take place back in DC — I have to really make sure the description, logic, and geography work.

Good think I bought all those book and maps about the development and building of DC!

On today’s agenda: Do at least 1K on the novella. Handicap and post tomorrow’s Derby card; work on ANGEL HUNT. I need to check the job listings — i’ve got to land some short turn-around, quick-pay jobs in the next few weeks. I’ve been focusing on long-term projects, and I need a quick infusion of cash, especially with Elsa’s medical bills mounting up.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 6:06 am  Comments (3)  
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