Tues. Feb. 5, 2013: The Minimum Doesn’t Cut It

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Marian Lanouette is my guest over on A Biblio Paradise, interviewed about her Jake Carrington series. Stop on by and drop a comment!

The February To-Do List is up on the GDR site. Short month, a lot to do.

I’m frustrated with a few people today, but venting isn’t going to do any good. Let’s just say I hate it when they waste my time, and I’m going to have to make changes to make sure that they don’t in the future.

Worked with students, finished an editing job, got out some pitches, ran errands, went grocery shopping, worked on SEVEN OF SWORDS. I’m almost there, I’ve almost unlocked what I want to fix in it. I’m hoping to get it finished and out the door this morning before my lunch meeting.

Finished Louise Penny’s BURY YOUR DEAD yesterday, and it was so well done and so tragic (in the large sense), that I was in tears by the end of it. The way she had characters re-live a traumatic event, through flashbacks throughout, is not something most people could pull off. But she did it effectively. Part of that is because she is a master of her craft. She understands structure, and therefore, when she goes against the expectations, she has the craft behind her to pull it off. Writers earlier in their careers, who can’t be bothered to learn structure, try this same type of maneuver, and most of them fail miserably. And it’s because they can’t be bothered to learn structure. It’s blatantly obvious when a skilled writer deviates from tradition and pulls it off, and an unskilled writer can’t be bothered.

It always amazes me when people say they want to learn how to do something– be it writing or anything else — and then can’t be bothered to learn the skills required for it. And then they’re surprised when they don’t succeed. If all you ever put in to something is the minimum, you won’t get more out of it.

Better get back to work — I need to clear a lot off my desk before I leave.

Devon

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, from Feb. 11-15. Transform journal entries into viable fiction. Registration and information here.

If you’re based on the Cape and/or South Shore, come try out of MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, Feb. 11 & 13, with callbacks the 15th. Detailed information here.

Mon. Feb. 4, 2013: Workshops and Rewrites

Monday, February 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

We had snow both Saturday and last night. Not bad, just a dusting. It’s pretty.

Imbolc was good on Saturday, and I’m looking forward to spring.

The January Wrap-Up is up over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I still have to post February’s To-Do List. The webhost’s server was down yesterday, which was very frustrating.

Gorged myself on Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series over the weekend. I really like the books, and I’m eager for her next release in August. She is the only contemporary author I can think of who can effectively use third person omniscient and it doesn’t feel jarring.

Caught up on classwork. I decided to give the Astrobiology quiz a shot (I planned to audit, not take it for credit), but I got 9.50 out of a possible 10.00, so I just might give it a shot. It’s interesting to see how the Astrobiology course echoes material learned in Sustainability, Philosophy, and the two other astronomy courses. Did the reading for the SF/Fantasy class — Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Lucy Chase 1882 version. Interesting to re-read them with an adult perspective, and also, realize how many of them have been filtered and changed through others’ visions and how little I remembered of the actual tales. The Philosophy class is interesting, and I’m curious to see what direction it goes it. It does prove why the Right wants to cut education funding — because education encourages independent thought, and that means questioning special interests and fundamentalists.

Finished the article for my editor and sent it off. I have to get some press out for the play today and putting us in the events calendars. I’ve been working on the revision of the other play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which I have to finish today. The first 2/3 hold together better than I expected, but the last third needs focus. I’ve been playing with different possibilities, so now I have to sit down and apply them. Writing one of the other short stories in my head, and have to sit down and finish another story today. Plus, some scenes from a different piece are bugging me; I want to note them so I don’t lose them, and then schedule them in the queue.

I need to finish up work for an editing client, and “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” starts today. I also have to put finishing touches on the handbook for “Sensory Perceptions.”

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction” next week, here. And, also next week, if you’re an actor based on Cape Cod/South Shore, the audition details for the play are here.

Better get going – today’s busy!

Devon

Fri., Feb. 1, 2013: Plays and Short Stories

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Friday, February 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yes, it’s already February! Later today, I will have the January wrap-up over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, and also my February To-Do list by Monday.

Last chance to sign up for “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects”, which runs Feb. 4-6 online. Breathe new life into abandoned projects, or learn ways to set them to rest without draining creative energy from current work. Details here.

If you’re a Cape Cod/South Shore based actor, I hope you’ll consider auditioning for my play, MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, which will go up on April 7 in Buzzards Bay as a benefit for the National Marine Life Center. Details here.

Those for whom I wrote the play are pleased with the draft I sent them yesterday. I need to not look at it for a few days, and then do another draft. I want at least one more draft before we start rehearsals. The audition notice was up in the local arts newsletter, and out to the papers. Fingers crossed we get some good people in.

Worked with students. Ran some errands. It was so gorgeous out that I stopped at Craigville Beach and took a walk. The tide was high, the surf was rough, it was wild and wonderful. Loved it. The wind and water are part of the reason I live in this area, and I try to make use of it whenever possible.

I have two short stories to tackle, and the revision on the other play. I have to take my mom to the doctor today, but, other than that, I plan to focus on the writing.

Tomorrow is Imbolc — I’m looking forward to the ceremony, and to doing some indoor planting. The cats are starting to shed their heavy winter coats, and the Phoebes are outside singing, so I’m hoping we’ll have an early and long spring. We’re still supposed to get snow this weekend, but I’m hoping that February will ease out. Says I, on the day it’s barely arrived!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 31, 2013: Finally, A Decent Draft!

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Direct
Rainy and stormy

Jupiter actually went direct yesterday morning, thank goodness.

Worked on getting out audition notices for MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL and revising the press release. My partner in press for the Marine Life Center has designed a gorgeous poster — as soon as everything’s finalized, I’ll reveal it.

Now, the play as to live up to the poster! 😉

Worked with an editing client, finished off the work for her. Had to run some errands, and then grabbed Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release, HAUNTED MOON. The fog was incredible — could barely see past the hood of the car.

Did some of my schoolwork (the Astrobiology, Philosophy, and Science Fiction courses all started this week).

Tore apart the second and third acts of the play, and, by late last night, had something I can live with, at least through auditions. What a relief!

My treat was then to stay up too late reading Yasmine’s new book!

I have to rewrite the other play in the next couple of days, one story has to go out today, and another has to be ready for release on Saturday. So I’ve got some long days ahead of me. And my agent and I are doing some brainstorming.

Christian, I do stop and smell the roses, and I grab moments of joy throughout the day. But when deadlines and opportunities loom, I’ve got to do what it takes to deliver. That was the key to surviving on Broadway: Step up or go home. And it’s no different in writing.

Devon

Are you an actor, based near Cape Cod? Come audition for MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL. Dates and info here.

Last change to sign up for The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects”, Feb. 4-6. Breathe new life into old projects, or learn how to lay them to rest for good. Info here.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  
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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.

Fri. Jan. 18, 2013: Brainstorming & Writing

Friday, January 18, 2013
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Woke up this morning thinking I’d left the exterior lights on — but it was snow! We had snow last night. That means I have to shovel! 😉

Busy day yesterday. I added a Topic Workbook page to the blog, and added in the new February workshops (The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects & Journal into Fiction). You can click on the links in the right-hand column of the blog page. I decided to offer a one-week special for editing services — I’ll line edit the first 30 pages of your manuscript for only $75 (closer to critique rate than line edit rate), but you have to book before the 25th of January. Please spread the word! I’ve got a limited number of slots, and they’re already starting to fill. Email fearlessinkworkshops at gmail dot com to request a slot, and there’s more information here. I am NOT going to accept manuscripts that are not in Standard Manuscript Format. No single spacing!

Worked with students, and created the individualized exercises through the month of February for the private students.

I wrote an absolutely blistering piece yesterday that was originally was supposed to be a guest blog article, but I realized was something else. It certainly didn’t fit in with my host’s site; I’m going to save the article for something else (and try to sell it), and write a happier, more upbeat post suited to the host’s blog.

I received the Anne Truitt journal DAYBOOK a few days ago. Now, I own copies of all three of the artist’s journals. Her writing feeds my soul. If you haven’t read her ruminations on life, art, and their connection, I highly recommend all three: DAYBOOK, TURN, and PROSPECT.

Sat down and wrote two thirds of the first act of MURDER SEALS THE DEAL, the new play. We read it out loud at the brainstorming/pre-production meeting, and my colleagues really enjoyed it. We brainstormed the rest of it — so now I can sit down and write it this weekend. We’re waiting on pins and needles for the production date –we can’t really do much more without it.

It was a really fun meeting — lots of lively conversation that helps me with both the play and the mystery series.

Busy, crazy day today, so I better get going!

Devon

Join us at the “Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” from Feb. 4-6, with up to 5 projects, to decide into which you can breathe new life, and which need to be laid to rest, and from Feb. 11-15 for “Journal into Fiction”, where we explore ways to transform journal entries into viable fiction and learn journal-keeping techniques. More information and registration here.

Published in: on January 18, 2013 at 7:44 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. Jan. 14, 2013: NMLC’s Successful Seal Release!

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Monday, January 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Foggy and mild

The weekend here was very mild, but it was foggy. Sunday was a brilliant day, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Worked hard on Friday and Saturday, a lot of hours at the desk, not feeling a lot of accomplishment, unfortunately. I’m still struggling to get the right tone on the sample with the proposal, and getting discouraged. Worked with students. I need to figure out how to promote the small books more effectively — both the fiction shorts and the non-fiction Topic Workbooks. I also need to figure out how to enlarge the covers — that’s the only obstacle right now to getting into the premium catalogue — their system says my covers are “too small”. Yet, when I check the pixels, the jpg has what they ask for. I don’t get it. I’m frustrated.

I’m also not happy with “That Man in Tights”. It needs more work than I originally thought. I’m not going to release it until it’s the best it can be, but right now, that’s farther away than I would like.

The details are up for the workshop “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects.” It only runs three days, it’s only $30. You bring in abandoned projects and we take a second look; we see what has potential, and what needs to be put to rest for good, and then we come up with a way to get them onto your schedule and get them done. Info and registration here.

Sunday was release day for Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan, the NMLC’s seal patient that came in and was so badly injured. I was at the Center before nine, photographed MM’s final feeding and playtime with Townsend, the other seal patient. Then, she was loaded into her crate and into the animal ambulance. We had a caravan to Scusset Beach, where about 150 people gathered to see her off. Her crate was carried over the dunes to the beach, a pathway cleared to the water, and the door opened.

She was a bit hesitant at first, especially with so many humans around. The waves grew larger and more insistent, as though they called her home. She lit up when she realized what it was, and paddled herself down the sand and into the surf. She was truly HAPPY, joyful, to be back in the surf, and it was so wonderful to see an animal who’d been so critically injured back in her habitat.

It was a beautiful experience.

And it was great how many kids and families. et al, were all there, excited and supportive.

After we were done at the beach and cleared up, we headed back to the hospital; did some rearranging in the kitchen, a lot of scrubbing (there’s always a lot of scrubbing involved). We cleaned Townsend’s tank and refilled it — he was completely befuddled about what had gone on. I think yesterday was more stressful for him than for Major Margaret. But even the turtles in the other tank were sticking their heads up, wondering what was going on.

The other volunteers and staff kept working in the hospital and I headed to Osterville Library where Kathy Zagzebski, the Executive Director of NMLC, was giving a talk. Osterville built themselves a new library and it is GORGEOUS. Beautiful space, and we were in a terrific meeting room. Kathy’s presentation was great, and there were some wonderful questions, especially from the kids. I helped Kathy clean up, came home, uploaded my photos, and then collapsed in front of the TV to watch the Golden Globes. The cats were delighted, because I still smelled like herring.

Tiny Fay and Amy Poehler were GREAT as hosts. And there was a minimum of stupid banter, either from hosts or presenters. It always sounds fake anyway, so just skip it, people.

I started Sunday feeling very blue about a lot of things — and then had a good laugh, because the songs playing on the radio as I headed for the bridge were “This Girl is on Fire” and “Don’t Stop Believing”, which felt like they were a direct response to what was going through my mind.

It would up being a wonderful, wonderful day!

I have a LOT to do today, especially getting the play organized and start the writing — the title’s set, MURDER SEALS THE DEAL, with the play on words for “seal” — that I better get going. I also have a budget meeting for the Beautification Committee this afternoon, and have to get some material together for that.

Finished all my Cosmology homework on Saturday, but am still behind on Astronomy. It’s all fascinating, I just can’t keep up with sometimes 15 lectures per week that run 40 minutes or more. Thank goodness I’m only auditing, and have a little extra time.

Devon

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