Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 239 — Process & Project Outlines

image courtesy of chloestrong via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Uranus Direct

Cold and cloudy

Red sky in the morning – shepherd’s warning – I guess we are getting a storm today.

The latest on the garden and the weather finally turning to winter is up on Gratitude and Growth. I don’t write anything particularly profound over there, but I do enjoy putting together the posts. It makes me look at certain aspects of my life differently, more closely, and more gently.

Yesterday was stressful, but I got through it, and that’s what matters.

I was happy that I had a good session early on, working on the book proposal. In this particular proposal, for this particular organization, my synopsis/outline can only be 1000 words. It’s a good challenge to write a book outline that succinct. Especially for a book that hasn’t been written.

I often do what I call my “Writer’s Rough” outline early in the process. I’ll get an idea, I’ll write a few notes. I’ll write about three or four chapters into the book, to see if it can sustain (both in terms of plot and character, and my interest in writing it).

At that point, I’ll take a few days and write my Writer’s Rough outline. That’s made up of me telling myself the story, often with snippets of dialogue, and not necessarily in order. Most of the time, I’ll do this in longhand, scribbling, separating scenes or sequences by skipping a line here and there.

Once I’ve told myself the story, I’ll read it through a few times, and number the paragraphs, putting it in what I think is the order in which I want it to flow.

I also make notes of what needs research.

Then I’ll type it up (I don’t use numbers in this). My Writer’s Rough can run anywhere from two or three pages for an idea that needs more fleshing out, to twenty or more pages, similar to a script treatment.

This allows me to work on the piece whenever I can schedule it in, without sitting there looking at a blank page, wondering what I meant to write next in it. Juggling multiple projects (the only way to keep a roof over my head) means outlining saves me pain and time. It makes my writing life more efficient.

It does NOT interfere with creativity or spontaneity. The outline is a roadmap, not a prison.

When the book is ready to submit, after however many drafts I’ve done in order to make it feel submittable, I then go back through it and create the outline (I talk more about this in the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which should re-release in a few weeks).

Once I write the Submission Outline, I use that to write both versions of the synopsis.

With the series under contract, the process is a little different. My publisher is tiny, so it’s more informal, and there are fewer layers. While I landed the initial contract with finished manuscripts, the books to come are a little different. With the Coventina Circle series, I gave a rough overview of the whole series. It was originally six books, and will now be nine. I’d always planned four books for the Gwen Finnegan series, although I’m being urged to do more, if the next couple of books do well. The Nautical Namaste mysteries can go in many directions, but I did thumbnails of the first six.

At this point, I do a rough synopsis of where I see the book going, my editor and I have a conversation (in case she feels I’m going off-track), then I go and write it. I do my Writer’s Roughs for the books. The Coventina Circle books tend to veer off, although the other two series tend to stay pretty well close to the original vision.

In this case, I’m writing up an idea for a book that wasn’t even on my radar until I heard about this foundation’s invitation for proposals. They do mostly non-fiction, but are interested in looking at proposals for fiction, because they want something different. I’ve been in contact with them, because I wasn’t sure I’m appropriate (on any level), but they encouraged me to do it.  They want fresh perspectives on their topic. Most of those who pitch to them are serious academics. I’m the outlier. It’s a longshot, but the topic and the challenge interest me, and it’s not something I would have come up with on my own.

So I’m basically doing my Writer’s Rough and then transforming it into a Very Short submission synopsis without writing any of the book – and keeping it in their specific proposal word count and guidelines.

It’s a good exercise in being specific, but it means stretching my process within a finite time frame.

That’s what today is all about. The entire day is blocked off to devote to the proposal.

Yes, I’ll take breaks to do some admin work and read the book for review and attend the online meditation group. I might even answer some email and get out an LOI or two.

But my primary focus today is this book proposal. The deadline is Sunday, but I’d prefer to get it out earlier. I’ve been working on it on and off for weeks, and thinking about it since I first heard about it a couple of months ago.

If they like it, I land a contract that stretches me and challenges me in wonderful new ways, and I’ll be well paid for it. If I don’t land this contract, I still have an interesting book proposal I can use elsewhere – and sell.

That’s the difference between doing something like this and the unpaid, project-specific samples companies often demand. This is a project proposal that yes, takes work, and yes, there’s no guarantee the pitch will land me the contract and enough money so I don’t have to worry about freelance clients during its duration. But if it does not, it still opens the relationship with this organization AND I have something I can sell elsewhere. When you do unpaid labor as part of an interview for a company, they believe they have the right to keep and use your work without paying you for it in order for THEM to make a profit. Which is why I created my test/sample agreement.

That’s the next few days, in a nutshell. Once the book proposal is out, I turn my attention to finishing and polishing the article. I’m still missing two quotes, but I have plenty of material. That will go out on Tuesday.

The Sociopath was impeached again yesterday. Now, every death, either from violence or COVID, is squarely the fault of Mitch McConnell, who, as usual, is dragging his feet and trying to play both sides against the middle. McConnell needs to be prosecuted along with the rest of the corrupt and the violent.

I’m looking forward to today’s online meditation group. I definitely need it.

And, I’m looking forward to an entire day immersed in this book proposal.

Peace and health, my friends.

Wed. Dec. 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 224 — Working to Reach the Finish Line

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

5th Day of Christmas (5 Gold Rings)

5th Day of Kwanzaa – Purpose

Can’t tell the weather yet – it’s dark out

It felt good to get the garbage and recycling out yesterday.

Last night, I dreamed that I rescued a puppy by the side of the road, its mother and sibling killed by a car. Dreams on the 5th night of Christmas are tied to May.  I’m not sure if it’s a literal or a metaphorical omen for May.

I wound up spending most of the day on client work and admin instead of writing, but it was necessary to get it done before the end of the year.

I decided that I want to really re-work the Nina Bell pieces, not just rush through the revisions; therefore, they will not re-release until next holiday season. I’d like to re-release them earlier, too, like right after Thanksgiving, and really give them a good shot at a run. Maybe by then, I’ll have the third short, the one in the non-profit, ready to go, too, and can release all three on a rolling basis.

My focus today and tomorrow is on the ghost ship story, which has to go out tomorrow. I like it, but I have to layer in some sensory detail and cut out some tangents. While keeping to the word count. So, we’ll see. It has some wacky humor in it that’s kind of fun.

Of course, Mitch McConnell blocked the $2K cash relief payments. Because he’s vile and needs to be removed from the Senate by any means necessary. And then he and his corrupt wife need to spend the rest of their natural lives in prison and their afterlives in a place where they have to atone for all the harm they’ve caused.

Cooked a nice dinner, and we watched some videos.

This morning, I’m working on the ghost ship story, and then have to go to the office, which will be more stressful than it should be, but that’s what we’re dealing with. On the way home, I have to make a few stops, including picking up my mom’s new prescription, which wasn’t ready when I went by yesterday.

Then, I don’t have to leave the property again until next week, which is the way it should be in a pandemic. Especially with the numbers rising the way they are.

And the Sociopath turns his back and golfs. Anyone who dealt with him in New York always knew just how disgusting he was, but he’s only gotten worse over the past four year.

So I’m just trying to hang in there and stay alive, while I work on what needs to be done to make 2021 a better year, on every level.

Stay safe and be smart, friends.

Fri. March 17, 2017: Creative Wasteland & Gov’t Plans on Premeditated Murder

Friday, March 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold
St. Patrick’s Day

Ran my errands yesterday, got some admin done, wrote. The last few days, I’ve been sketching the fictional studio outside of Vancouver, where a good deal of the action happens. I need the physical geography in order to lay out the emotional geography. Since so much of the characters’ lives are caught up in the studio, moving between projects, meeting people on other projects, etc., and the founders of the studio plan to make it an international creative utopia, the relationship of where things are, and, importantly and unusual for a studio, the amount of green space involved, is important.

I’ve created this amazing environment for my characters to blossom while I, personally feel like I’m in a creative wasteland. I thought I was moving to a creative Petri dish when I came here seven years ago, and I was wrong. Some of it will improve when the weather is mild enough so I can get outside in the yard. Playing in the dirt again will help me feel better about my environment, and I also need to dig in to spring cleaning. Re Feng-shui a few things. Get to work on purging what I don’t need from all those boxes in the basement.

I run into people who talk about creative projects, but I see very little coming to fruition. Art is considered a hobby out here, when, in reality, it is a profession.

It’s frustrating that here, art is what’s done “on the side.” I’m used to being around people whose day jobs only exist so they can do art. The minimum is invested in the day job; when it interferes with art, one quits the day job, does the art, lands another day job, until one gets into the union or pays enough dues learning art and craft, and is paid appropriately so as not to need day jobs. Here, the day job comes first, and the art suffers. The creators can’t position themselves to earn their living by their art, because they’re not willing to risk anything to create their art. The level of art and craft required to earn a living at it can only be achieved when you are willing to put the art FIRST. Not to mention that artists shouldn’t have to have day jobs. Being an artist IS a full-time job, and should be appropriately paid.

Of course, with the upcoming budget, where arts funding is cut, where environmental protections are cut, for God’s sake, where Meals-on-Wheels are cut? Revolting. All so the Narcissistic Sociopath can use the US Treasury as his own personal piggy bank, benefit himself and his friends, and, with Paul Ryan dancing with glee, let’s starve the elderly and the poor. The fact that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell didn’t immediately speak out against cutting Meals-on-Wheels is yet further proof they are unfit to be in any position considered a “leader”. Our government is premeditating murder of the sick and the elderly, and people are doing NOTHING.

Yet his supporters refuse to see reason. They still believe they’re on a “protected list” and only the liberals will lose health care and other benefits. Then, they’re shocked when they wind up dead. Why would they think this fascist faction gives a damn about them? The faction got the vote; now they will do whatever the hell they want. The information was out there, and these morons refused to do their due diligence.

This is what the defunding of education has done, and it will only get worse. Now you have the incompetent corporate asshole who calls himself “Secretary of State” huffing and puffing about military action in North Korea.

The entire administration is made of selfish, self-important morons. They must ALL be removed from office before they destroy the planet. The fact that the so-called “Intelligence Committee” (from whom we’ve yet to see any signs of intelligence or cognitive ability) investigates the Sociopath’s whining that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, finds no evidence, AND YET THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LIES , SLANDER, LIBEL, AND WASTE OF TIME, yet refuse to thoroughly investigate the Russian connection, for which there IS evidence, shows how deeply our system is failing.

No wonder I prefer the fictional creative utopia of my characters, just outside of Vancouver.

I plan to do all my errands early today, before the drunks are out. Hope they have fun; I intend to stay safely at home. Writing.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 17, 2017: Creative Wasteland & Gov’t Plans on Premeditated Murder  
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Thurs. Jan. 19: Day of Resistance (Part II)

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy turning to sunshine and cool

Not a productive writing day yesterday, but got a bunch of other things done. One contract negotiation, in particular, is taking more and energy than it should. I’m being pushed towards signing something that is not in my best interest and is in conflict with the standards provided by the Authors’ Guild, and I’m not willing so to do. Yes, I am willing to walk away if necessary. But the person who fights me on it wants me to sign it anyway. Which I won’t. This “shut up, roll over and deal, even though you’re being fucked on every level” mentality especially irritates me because it reflects what Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters are demanding of the country in every capacity.

Got some research done, but not as much as I’d like. I’m on hold on some of the research, because that is yet another contract that needs to be finalized.

On the third ongoing contract negotiation, the other party asked for more time, which is fine. She needs to run things by her legal advisors, too.

Today is officially the Day of Resistance, before tomorrow’s inauguration and our country’s march into destruction.

I am not able to go to NYC for tonight’s rally led by Michael Moore and Mark Ruffalo, unfortunately. Unfortunately, I’m limited in how much I can afford to travel right now, and since I’ll be marching this weekend, and last weekend was the PEN event — something had to give somewhere. But I will attend it virtually.

Swamp Thing Elect, the Narcissistic Sociopath, that corrupt con man, is not my president. I will not give him the attention he craves. I will not capitulate to his bullying, nor will I become complicit as he tries to destroy the many good things this country stands for, and the progress we’ve made over the last fifty years.

I am not interested in “unity” with Swamp Things Elect’s supporters, who believe it’s okay to mock the disabled, to deny women healthcare, to sexually prey on others, to destroy Medicare — which is an EARNED benefit, to destroy Social Security — again, an EARNED benefit, to condone violence against those who disagree, to destroy the educational system, to destroy the very planet on which we live on, to deny equal rights and basic human decency based on skin color and/or religion, and/or sexual orientation, to force one’s particular brand of extreme religion down the country’s throats while claiming everyone else’s religion makes them a “terrorist”, to condone domestic terrorism as long as the individuals performing it are white, to deny the press access to what is going on so the corruption can go unhindered, to put people in charge of agencies they are bound and determined to destroy, and to get us into a nuclear war because of a Who-Has-the-Biggest-Dick contest.

I’ve heard Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters proclaim that, should they see anything unethical, immoral, or tactics that resemble fascist tactics, they will be the “first” to stand up, and they will protect the “others.” These idiots are completely ignoring that they HAVE seen countless demonstrations of all of that throughout the campaign and voted for him anyway. The behavior had only intensified since the election. They can’t expect anyone to take them seriously that they believe in “family values” when they vote for someone who is its antithesis. They ARE NOT and they WILL NOT stand up against Swamp Thing. or his goons. As usual, they’re blowing a lot of hot air. Paraphrasing the meme that’s been going around, when someone comes for them, there will be no one left to stand for them, because they did not stand for others.

He has had numerous opportunities to respond to criticism and dissent with statesmanship and dignity. He refuses so to do. Instead, he behaves like a spoiled, ranting toddler, and incites further hatred.

It also amazes me how many Swamp Thing Elect supporters think they’re on a “special list” because they voted for him. They genuinely believe that, while people who voted for Hillary will lose health care, Medicare, all health and human services, and Social Security, because they voted for the Swamp Thing, they will keep their benefits while the “others” lose them. Several have SAID that to me. “You’ll be left to die in a ditch, but I’m getting a Cadillac plan and I don’t have to pay for it, because I’m on The List.”

So when they’re shocked that they might lose their benefits and go crying to the media? Honey, this is what you voted for. There is no such thing as “one issue voting.” You voted for the whole package including advocating racism and violence and inequality. You voted to lose your healthcare, your benefits, your overtime pay at your minimum-wage job, and to have your house foreclosed. You are not exempt. You are not on a “special list.” The information was out there; you chose to ignore it.

All while Swamp Thing Elect and his buddies line their own pockets, plunder the US Treasury for themselves, sell us off to other countries, and probably put the contents of the White House up for sale on eBay.

No. I will not “unify”. I will not normalize one of the most unqualified and corrupt administrations in this country’s history.

It is BECAUSE I have respect for the Office of the President that I will not unify with those determined to destroy it for personal gain.

For eight years, anti-Obama factions refused to work with/unify/compromise with the Obama administration. The amount of racial insult against the President and his family, the constant obstructionism. Mitch McConnell declaring it was his mission to make sure Obama was a “one-term President”. Not that he would do his job to serve the country, but that his entire mission was to obstruct Obama. Mitch McConnell refusing to give Merrick Garland a fair hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy, and then whining that the Senate has to rubber stamp anyone Swamp Thing Elect puts forth. If the cabinet posts are any indication, the next nominee for the Supreme Court won’t even have any legal experience.

I will not “unify” with such hypocrites.

I will not give the Swamp Thing the attention he craves. When the Supreme Court betrayed the American people by handing the election to GW Bush, instead of allowing votes to be counted, I did not consider Bush my president, either. I ignored him as much as possible, working with my elected representatives on issues that mattered to me.

Then, of course, 9/11 happened. Even though Bush had the information on August 6 that would have prevented it. Read, or re-read, the 9/11 Commission Report if you’ve forgotten. So we had to pay attention. And then Bush came to speak to an anti-war rally in NYC, against getting into Iraq, and told the assembled crowed, “I don’t care what you think.” I was there. I heard the words. I wrote them down on the day. He was my EMPLOYEE. He damn well better care what I thought!

And here we are, with thousands of lives lost and thousands of veterans who aren’t being cared for, and who won’t, be cared for, under the incoming administration.

The dumbing-down began in the Reagan years. I lived through them. I remember. It got worse with reality television. And now a reality television celebutard is about to take an oath of office he will not fulfill, treat the job like a hobby that he will ignore when he doesn’t feel like doing it, destroy our relationships with our allies all over the world, do whatever Putin tells him, and probably get us into a nuclear war, because he thinks it’s like a video game, and, in his pathetic life, there have never been any consequences for any of the horrible things he’s done. He’s been bankrupt four times. If this cabinet picks are any indications of how he’s run his businesses, hiring the least qualified for every position, no wonder. Now he gets to bankrupt the country.

I will not give him the attention he craves. I will ignore him as much as possible, while working with my elected officials on issues that matter, and fighting the policies that will destroy us.

One of the first things to do is to remove Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell from their positions, because they are using Swamp Thing’s ignorance and bombastic posturing for their own ends.

I have been keeping up with the confirmation hearings this week for the inept and corrupt that want cabinet positions. So far, they’ve all been horrifyingly unqualified for the positions to which they were named. I have been letting my elected officials know how I feel about them. I will continue working with my elected officials, and I will work to help other ethical progressives get elected all over the country in 2018.

I will continue with my own creative work, in prose, on stage, on film, and on radio, and accepting gigs from organizations in whose missions I can believe. I will not normalize behavior, legislation, and corruption that are sickening to me, and I will not “unify” with people who promote, condone, and live those beliefs. If I have to, I will co-exist with them, provided they don’t try to force them on me, and I will continue to use my First Amendment rights to speak out.

I will continue working with organizations like PEN, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and environmental organizations that work for dignity and rights for all. I will cut ties with organizations who don’t take a stand.

I will continue to vote when votes come up, to read as many bills coming up as possible, and to find daily ways in my life to make the world around me a better place. That does not mean shutting up and ignoring the corruption around me.

There are plenty of progressive slogans being bandied about with which I don’t agree, because I think it’s too much bunnies and rainbows and not enough practicality. While we often need to unwind with cute cat videos and a glass of wine after a long day, bunnies and rainbows and “positive energy” won’t fix this. Hard work, cunning, intelligence, and a refusal to back down will.

That is my resistance.

I am not watching the inauguration tomorrow, for the first time since I can remember. I have other work to do, especially creative. I am also taking the trash to the dump — the gesture pleases me, in a small way. I intend to help take out the trash that is the incoming administration as much as possible in the coming months.

I will be offline from tomorrow until Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Thurs. Jan. 12, 2017: Trying to Get the Work Done

Thursday, January 12, 2017
Full Moon
Rainy and mild

Managed to get errands run before the storm hit yesterday; hoping to do the same today.

Lousy writing day. I’m having too many of those in a row. Not quite sure how to fix it, other than to keep showing up at the page and working my way through it.

In negotiations for a project that sounds interesting; fingers crossed it all works.

Very little of interest to say today; frustrated by the way Congress betrays us. Disgusted by the Creature who thinks he will take office next week, in spite of the fact that he’s going to screw over and pillage the entire country and sell us to his foreign business interests.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell need to be removed from their positions and tried, if not for treason, for crimes against the American people.

The story of an early Italian painter (female) interests me, and I’m wondering if I should accept the invitation to write about her for 365 Women this year. I have to do some more research.

I think I want to do some revisions on JUST A DROP. The bones are there, and there are scenes I really like, but some things, I want to change. One character in particular is much weaker than I originally envisioned him. While it works in the context of what I have, I wonder if making him stronger and more manipulative might ratchet up the tension.

This is a case where I wish I was in New York and had access to actors for a table read. That would help a lot. I need to HEAR it to really know what works and what doesn’t. Even if I had access to enough actors for this particular piece here, I don’t trust that they’re experienced enough to read without massive rehearsal and really give me an idea of the material. A table read is a specific skill. It’s the first creative dipping toes into the waters.

Full moon tonight. I need to decide on my focus. And Friday the 13th tomorrow! One of my favorite days.

Have a wonderful day.

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 11:18 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 12, 2017: Trying to Get the Work Done  
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