Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It still goes down into the 30s at night. We had to bring the tomato plants in.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. Jamieson Wolf is a guest, and he talks about his new release LUST & LEMONADE.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place; grocery shopping; trying to get some work done at the library, but it was both noisy and full of the crazies.

I did some research for a handful of projects; figured out that an article I was working on actually needs to be broken down into two articles in order to keep a solid focus; wrote most of an outline for a new piece and the first ten pages of it, so I can figure out what it is and if it will work (so far, so good). I’m working on a proposal packet for a slot with a producer who wants to develop a new play. It’s a different way of working — I’m trying to develop enough of the idea to create an exciting package, while, at the same time, leaving enough room for collaboration. I usually put the proposal together with a finished, polished script, but that’s not what this theatre wants. Good to work differently. Keeps one from getting stale.

It was interesting reading the research book I’ve been reading the past few days. It feeds into three different projects, and I’d read a passage and think, “that will work with X” and a few pages later, “That will work for Y” and a few pages later, “I can use variants of that for X AND for Z.” Then, of course, I had to jot down notes in the various outlines referring to the research notes so I wouldn’t forget!

I’m in article mode now, and I had an idea for another spate of articles. Unfortunately, so far, the research I’ve done into the markets — the publications most geared to the topic — not only refuse to pay, they want their contributors to write numerous articles per month FOR FREE. I’m getting a little tired of the “Gimme Culture” instead of a sustainable Reciprocal Culture. Nope. Next. Bye. If I was starting out and looking to build my portfolio, maybe. But not at this stage in the game. So I have to dig a little deeper into other markets, and see what’s what.

I’ve been asked by two organizations I used to be associated with for marketing advice. I don’t mind throwing them a few ideas, but I’m not working for either one for free anymore. I put in my time. No matter how much I did or how much of my own work suffered, it was never enough; in fact, my thanks from one organization was metaphorical multiple slaps in the face, so, no. You get a short email with some ideas, and then it’s up to you, unless you plan on hiring me as a marketing consultant at my regular rate. In fact, I’m writing an article on just that topic. 😉

I’m working on a couple of other pitches to send out. I’m in negotiations for one particular gig which I think would be fun, and I have a meeting tomorrow about another one.

I’ve been working on FIX IT GIRL rewrites. Unlike some rewrites, I’m not putting all the changes into chapters every day. I find, with this, as I work on the hard copy of the first draft, I need to stop and research this detail and that detail and the other detail; expand, contract, restructure; get rid of sloppy writing. About every three chapters, I pull up the document and put in the new material. On the one hand, it’s slower; on the other hand, it means more goes into this draft, which means fewer drafts, because I’m not doing separate passes for separate elements.

I’ve done my prep to dig into the revisions of WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m hoping I can read through it this afternoon and get started. I already know one character/subplot I need to cut, and there are some other cuts, along with a new scene I need to add to have it make sense. As long as I can keep the script 120 pages (I’d like to get it down to 112-115), I’m okay. But 120 pages — where it is now — is the top of the limit. I want some more room in the draft, so I have to see what I can cut. There are a few scenes that could use some trimming. I want to raise the sense of danger for my protagonist in a couple of scenes, too. She sails through it all with a bit too much serenity. Yes, she’s smarter than most of those around her, but, as we all know, stupid people can be dangerous. Look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Speaking of which, Sally Yates was amazing in her testimony. Talk about someone with ethics, intelligence, and integrity. She put Ted Cruz in his place, that slimy piece of corrupt garbage. Then the Narcissistic Sociopath fires the FBI Director — on the advice of the corrupt, racist AG who supposedly had recused himself from the situation because he’s involved. Granted, Comey needed to go. There were two major conflicts/investigations going on with the elections last fall, one with each party. He made a partisan choice that affected the outcome. For that, he should have been sacked by November 10, and then prosecuted. For far too much of his recent testimony recently before Congress, he sounded like a whiny moron, not the head of a legitimate intelligence agency. But to be fired by the people he was investigating AT THIS POINT, is also suspicious. Nor should the people under investigation be allowed to appoint his successor until the investigation is complete. The level of corruption in this administration is astonishing.

It reminds me of the research material I’ve been reading, about the 1920s. Harding’s administration was pretty damn corrupt, too, and that ended in the Crash of 1929.

Re-reading Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY!, which is a book I assign to my writing students. The more I write, the more my process evolves away from hers. I don’t do the detailed character profiles she does — if I write down too much ABOUT a character before I write a piece, my subconscious believes I’ve already written the book and moves on. All I do is stare at a blank page. You can ask me anything about a character, any detail, and I know it, but I can’t write it all down. By trying her method, I lost what could have been a good book. Maybe someday, I’ll get it back, but so far, no luck. However, she has good points about knowing one’s setting and putting butt in chair and getting it done. I’ve always been on the fence about her books — some work for me better than others. I always loathed the character of Helen.

A little over a year ago, when I tried to book her as a speaker at the library for which I then worked, the person who handles her bookings quoted me a rate that would have wiped us out for nearly three years, and then was rude about us not booking her, although I politely explained the “why”. The booker berated us for having a small budget, for thinking a “name” author could be bothered with us, and for not being willing to go into debt to pay her anyway. By the way, we had plenty of name authors come in within our budget. Yes, have your “team” play the bad guys, but when they behave that way, don’t be surprised when it touches how people respond to your work. Now, every time I see a new release of hers, I remember how nasty her booker was, and, since I was already on the fence about the book, I pass. I respect what she’s achieved, but she is no longer on my “must read” pile. That could change, with time and distance, but that’s where I am right now. I do, however, respect and admire her work ethic. She gets things done. She does them well, and she makes a living from it. Good for her!

Tried re-reading a memoir of Paris, which is well done, but I wasn’t in the mood for the exploits of a young, drunken, male Aussie. So I went back to re-read Claire Cook’s IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. I met Claire two years ago at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and we had some great chats. In fact, I’m going to dedicate TIE CUTTER to her. Her novels are a good pick-me-up when things look bleak. I also respect the way she gets things done, like Elizabeth George and Jayne Ann Krentz and just about every other writer making a go of it. She doesn’t whine or waste time in negativity. She writes her books, she respects her readers, she doesn’t bow to the changing winds. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and that’s always something to admire.

Tonight, I’m going to a reading in which my friend’s daughter has a part. I’m looking forward to it. I missed the last production she was in, and I want to support her and her mom.

At least there’s a lot of creativity going on!

Wed. Oct. 23, 2013: Corsets and Doubt Demons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Busy day. I’m very unhappy with the screenplay. The logic isn’t holding, and I haven’t figured out how to fix it. I’ve veered far from my original outline — maybe going back to it, somehow, will fix it, instead of the new direction that I thought would raise the stakes? What I need to do is push through on this draft, finish it, put it away for two weeks, and then rip it apart.

To clean my palate, I worked on another project. Hopefully, that won’t fall apart, too.

Got out some pitches, had some negotiating conversations. Am in a holding pattern for one project, gave some quotes on another. Someone I thought wasn’t interested has now circled back, but the questions indicate we are probably not a good match. I will still answer them politely and see.

Bad headaches.

Had to run errands. Batched them all together, plotting the route for maximum efficiency and using the least amount of gas possible. But I was still exhausted by the time I got home.

Getting in the plants. It’s too cold to leave them out. Pretty soon, I’ll have to rub down the furniture with teak oil and get that in, too, and then turn off the hoses. The yard needs some serious attention re: raking, too.

Hit with a bad case of the blues last night. Doubt demons attacked. Hopefully, I can work through it soon. Hate it when that happens.

Tonight, I get to suit up again as a steampunk mermaid for the Writers’ Center Annual Meeting. Not looking forward to driving in a corset!

Devon

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Aug. 23, 2013: I Have a Clean House!

Friday, August 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and humid

Yesterday wound up being a sad day. We learned that Malleus, the Mike of the “Mike & Ike” pair of seal pups, did not make it through the night after his surgery. The surgery was a risk, but his only chance of rehabilitation/release, so it was done. Poor, sweet little thing! Of the pair, he was always the anxious, needy, worried one, while Ike was bolder and more confident. Ike was released last Sunday, and is playing in the ocean — may Mike’s spirit find him so they can play together in the waves.

Losing an animal is tough on everyone connected with the organization, but especially on those who are involved in the daily care.

It also points out how individual each of these magnificent creatures are, and how important every individual one of them is. There’s a reason they’re protected under the Marine Mammals Act, and that’s the way it needs to stay.

Back on the home front, I turned up the music and scrubbed the house done, in anticipation of company. Scrubbed the bathrooms, kitchen, washed the floors, dusted, vacuumed, tidied up. Even though I clean regularly, it’s amazing how dirty everything gets again.

Put some more books in the “get rid of” box. I was furious when I picked up a mystery that pretended to take place backstage on a Broadway show, but had the costume designer doing the dresser’s job. In the slot, not just an extra pair of hands in an emergency. I put the book down on p. 12. Wrong union, dumbass! The designer and the dresser have different and carefully delineated jobs. As a professional in the field, I’m insulted that the so-called author COULDN’T BE BOTHERED to do the research to find out what people’s jobs actually are. As a writer, when I set something against a backdrop of a profession I don’t know, I have enough respect for those who work in the profession to do my research. Not only did the book go into the box, I found a few more by this author, and they ALL went into the box. The author broke my trust in a way that can’t be repaired. If I can’t trust the author on this, I can’t suspend my disbelief on anything else, either. I skimmed to the back of the book and the climax was STUPID — beyond ridiculous — and the book ended at the climax. No resolution, no breath at the end, just left things dangling.

NEXT!

Got the next assignment from Confidential Job #1. Looking forward to it.

Negotiations for a job didn’t work out. We really like each other, but I can’t afford to work for them at that low a rate. They’re trying to find a way to increase their budget to at least meet the lowest end of what I can work for, but for the moment, they’re going with someone cheaper.

Still sorting stuff out on the fantasy trilogy. I need to get back to drafting on that next week. I want to get the entire trilogy out the door before the end of the year, and I have to get back to work on Book 2 of the mystery series.

Today will be busy, but, hopefully, good.

And . . .company’s coming!

Have a great weekend!

Devon