Tues. Jan. 6, 2015: Twelfth Night, New Year!

Tuesday, January 6 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Twelfth Day of Christmas/Epiphany/Three Kings Day
Frosty and cold

Busy few days. Buried in the work of Robert Burns and Virginia Woolf for the tribute script. It’s coming along, but it’s not quite where I want it. I can either slap together something mediocre or actually take a few days and turn out something good. I’d prefer the latter.

Gorged myself on the rest of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m going to have to track them down and buy them. They are books I will go back to and re-read over the years. This series and Rosemary Edghill’s Bast series make me miss the 1990s, where I did some of my best work, and was simultaneously optimistic and in despair all the time. Makes me wonder if I should recommit to the Nina Bell series, just to recapture some of that energy I had at that time.

Read MORIARTY, which is getting a lot of buzz. It’s well-crafted, but I got ahead of it and figured it out. Also read THE SECRET ROOMS by Catherine Bailey, which gave me some information that I can use in RED WIDOW.

Read a couple of other things on the Kindle, which were good, but not great. In other words, I enjoyed them, but would have been annoyed if I spent full price on the print version.

We had a little bit of snow on Sunday night, which quickly changed over to rain.

Re-watched Season 1 of NEWSROOM. I loved that show, in spite of its flaws. There was a lot of good writing and acting in it.

Reading SPEAKING OF JOURNALS by Paula Graham. There are some wonderful quotes in it: “Keeping a journal is living a wide-awake life.” (Graham)

“I have gone through life taking notes” (Sara Holbook).

“In my own, we don’t invade each other’s privacy” (Richard Ammon).

Today is Twelfth Night. No party this year — I’m just not up to it. But all the holiday decorations get packed away, the tree is taken down, etc. Tessa will miss the lights, and, especially, her Santas. Tessa adored the Santa collection under the tree this year. She will be a pouty, grumpy cat for a couple of days.

We’re leaving the red ribbons up around the windows again until Valentine’s Day, just to keep the place cheerful and from being too bare. I have to finish the “winter wreath” I’m making for the front door, because the holiday one comes down today.

And, of course, writing. Always writing.

Hope you’re having a great start to the first full week of the New Year!

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 6, 2015: Twelfth Night, New Year!  
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Mon. Sept. 16, 2013: Strong Writing and Canon’s Unreliability

Monday, September 16, 2013
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. I focused mostly on Project D, writing a chapter a day (anywhere from 10-14 pages) and I’m far enough in where I can do a writer’s rough. I see almost the whole thing — I have to sort out some of the end logic, and I have to do it before I go much further, so that it will make sense.

What’s evolved into Project D started as something I assumed would be a sequence in Project B or C — most likely B, since, originally, it had to do with creative process and emotional ballast. But it didn’t fit in B — the situation didn’t fit the plot, and the way the characters in this sequence behaved couldn’t be integrated with any of the established characters in B. Then, I thought, well, it can evolve into a category woman-in-peril piece, slap on a title, and off we go. Quick write, quick read, out the door.

Only that didn’t work, either, because my women don’t just stay in peril and wait to be rescued. They Do Stuff to get themselves out of peril, and my lead female protagonist was like, “I don’t know what drugs you’re on, but I am in CHARGE of this adventure, so shut up and listen.”

So I am, and it works better. It’s more of a thriller now.

Had terrible trouble with the printer on Friday. Dumped the scanner ability and I couldn’t reload it and get it to work. This printer worked for exactly one month and then Canon hemmed and hawed until it was out of warranty and they didn’t have to provide customer service anymore. Canon used to be the BEST — used to have great products, reliable, and strong customer service. The last printer I bought from them sucked, and the camera I had to buy a year or so ago when my other one broke is a piece of crap. Not only do Canon’s products no longer have quality, their customer service is non-existent. After being a loyal customer for over twenty years, I am angry and betrayed. And will spend my money elsewhere.

But I backdoored a scan and got out a contract. It’s a small, regular gig, and I hope that will grow.

Saturday, drove my mom to CT for a dog-sitting gig — after I wrote my chapter! Was so tired when I got there, didn’t do much, went to bed early, and slept like the dead. Wrote a chapter in the morning, then headed back. Did a big grocery shop and tried to settle in during the afternoon and evening, and watched a movie and then the season finale of NEWSROOM. I was worried about it, because last week’s episode was disappointing. This one, although it definitely stretched credibility, also gave a lot of room for interesting developments next season.

Lots on my plate today, so I better get moving.

Devon

Mon. Sept. 9, 2013: Writing, Neuro-Ethics, Idea Batches, & Script Coverage

Monday, September 9, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Most of the focus was on the new novel. I’ve now written six chapters, the first 107 pages. I’m happy with the bones of it, although it will need revision. The pace is a little more intense than my usual one, but it fits this particular book’s rhythm. My original concept was category genre, but it’s evolved into contemporary fiction, so I’m rolling with it. I trust my characters, and they are not disappointing me.

Did my course work for the Creativity Course and the Paleontology course. I’m a bit disappointed in both. I don’t feel challenged enough. Maybe I was just spoiled in the archaeology course.

Found my neuro-science research and the notes for the project that didn’t work. That one can’t be saved — too derivative. But I wrote eight pages of an outline for another one that I think will work. Even if the neuro-ethics course keeps getting pushed back, I’m going to tap that professor as a resource.

I also jotted down a batch of notes, because ideas come in batches, and, on days when the well runs dry, I can pull out the notes and get to work. These are loglines for projects I’d love to create, a mix of prose and script projects, and I hope I get the chance to explore at least some of them.

I went over my script coverage package samples again, and I’m happy with them. Now, it’s a case of running off copies of the packet, sitting down with the production book, and deciding where I want to pitch. I like the work, and I want more of it.

Have to do some work in regards to the play today, and also knock out a couple of articles. I was paid for the last batch of articles, so now they get the next batch.

The 9/11 Anniversary is coming up, and I’m trying to prepare myself. I will honor those I lost that day, but I also have to function, unfortunately, because I have to attend a grant writing seminar at the Arts Foundation that night. This is a wound time does not heal.

Relaxed by watching movies in and around the writing all weekend. There was a continuity issue in BOURNE LEGACY that bugged me — at the top of the motorcycle chase, suddenly he’s putting on a pair of sunglasses. Where the heck did he get them? Renner’s a smart enough actor to want logic, and a movie that is so detailed that the wallet he later gives her is in the shot when he picks up the car in Chicago is not going to make that kind of continuity mistake. But it bugged me (hey, I used to work in wardrobe — it’s one of the discussions I would have had with actor and other crew in setting up the shot). I hunted down B roll footage on line and saw that, originally, the sunglasses were in the helmet hanging off the handlebars, so when he hands her the helmet, he takes out the sunglasses, delivers a line (giving her time to get the helmet on), puts on the sunglasses, and off they go. THAT made sense. It was cut in the edit, to keep pace. So, from a production point of view, it calmed me down, but that shot is still going to bug me any time I see it (but you know, sometimes things get sacrificed).

Watched MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL. My response was, “meh.” I grew up absolutely crazy about the series (I mean, really, Peter Graves? Be still my heart, especially as a kid not even realizing I was learning about story structure), and just never really connected to the film franchise. What they do, they do well, and there were some character scenes I loved (especially the second-to-last in Seattle that had some great detail work by the actors). Too much character development was sacrificed for action, especially when it came to the villains. The team discussed the whys of the villainy, but I would have rather SEEN it during the scenes where we encountered the villains than HEARD about it in dialogue (I know, don’t faint, I actually want information not given via dialogue). I mean, it was fine, it was fun, but I don’t feel like I missed anything by not seeing it in the theatre.

And, of course, NEWSROOM was on, but because it was part of a two-episode season finale, it felt dragged out to me. I love the show, I’m glad it’s coming back next year, but this episode didn’t pack the emotional punch the last few episodes did.

So, I’m back at the desk this morning, juggling novels, getting other work done, hustling for yet more work. I feel pretty good creatively right now, but there are some other ducks that need to mind the row.

Devon

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 9, 2013: Writing, Neuro-Ethics, Idea Batches, & Script Coverage  
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Tues. Sept. 3, 2013: Hellish Weekend & Jeremy Renner Saves This Writer’s Bacon in a Dream

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and humid

A Hell of a weekend. A good lesson in not letting the b.s. get you down.

Friday, I had a fairly light workday. I was waiting for what I’d been assured was good news on a big contract that would take up most of my time in the upcoming months. I was clearing things off my desk, preparing to actually HAVE a holiday weekend.

A little after 5 PM, the news came — I did not get that contract. I’ve been jerked around all summer with assurances about how much they love my work while they went and hired someone with no practical experience, no track record of meeting deadlines, but with more degrees.

To say I was devastated and heartbroken is an understatement. First of all, I am the best person for the job. Period. End of story. I have the skills, the creativity, the ability to meet deadlines; they even said my proposal was so perfect they didn’t need to change even a comma. Yet they gave the contract – -which means the MONEY — to someone who has no practical experience, but a string of letters after the name.

That throws the rest of my year out of whack — I’ve got to scramble financially and find work to replace this. It wasn’t something that could be layered onto anything else — it would need my full attention, so I held back on long-term projects that would conflict. That was MY stupidity, and I’m paying for it dearly now.

Hurt, angry, frantic. That was my Friday night.

I didn’t get any sleep. I was too upset. I couldn’t pretend it was okay, because it wasn’t okay, not on any level. And I will NEVER believe them again until the check has cleared – -this is a big name house with a solid reputation. The fact that they fucked me over in this way means my price just went WAAAAY up in anything related to them in the future. I already know the person who beat me out for the gig can’t meet the deadlines or deliver solid work — they’ll find it out. Cold comfort to me, who has to find a way to pay the bills over the next few months, but, ultimately, I have to trust that the universe will find a far more interesting way to sort this out than I ever could.

Also, pretending it doesn’t bother me when it does would just make me sick. And I’m angry at myself for trusting them — although I trusted the person who set me up with them in the first place, because that’s what she’s paid to do. Don’t bullshit me with the talk of future projects. I need something NOW.

I was up before 5 AM on Saturday, and between 6:30 in the morning and about 4 in the afternoon, I wrote another book proposal and sample chapters. This is a book that I want to write, a book I’ve wanted to write for awhile, but was put aside for the moment when this other project came up. So I sat down and powered through it.

I was exhausted by the end of the day, but happy with it. It’s something I know well, something about which I love to write, and very practical.

I could have spent the weekend wallowing in my anger and self-pity, but I decided to take the frantic momentum and turn it around. I wrote something important to ME, something I want to do, and that also has huge market potential, so it has the best of both worlds, for the right partner.

I put it aside on Sunday, and made some notes on an idea I’ve been playing with for awhile. An idea that is FAR out of my wheelhouse, a huge stretch/leap for me in my work. But I’ve found the voice and it feels right.

I did 994 words on it Monday morning. I like where I’m going with it. It’s so far out of what I usually do, and in a POV I rarely use, but it’s working, and I love it.

And I pitched some article ideas — got to jump right back into the water, get back on the horse, all those cliches, right?

I had to stop then, because I had to drive Costume Imp back to Providence, so he could get his bus back to New York. The bus, was, of course, delayed, but I’m glad we got off Cape early, because by the time we returned, there were backups coming over both bridges that looked interminable. Plus, on the way home, we took a detour to Target.

Over the weekend, we gorged ourselves watching TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY on demand. I can never get enough of John Barrowman and Eve Myles anyway, and their chemistry is terrific. But this show is one of the most terrifying, relevant, and best written shows I’ve ever seen. It was wonderful to be able to watch the entire season in just a couple of days.

NEWSROOM wasn’t on this Sunday, so I wound up watching the end of THE BOURNE LEGACY. I’ve seen bits and pieces over the past weeks, but still haven’t sat down and watched the whole thing from start to finish. I should — it’s got Jeremy Renner in it, and he’s one of my favorite actors. I liked his work well before HURT LOCKER and most people even knew who he was.

But anyway, note to self: don’t watch THE BOURNE LEGACY right before bedtime unless you want it to invade your dreams. Actually, it was the actor AS an actor, not as one of his characters who invaded my dreams. I dreamed that I wrote another show for the National Marine Life Center, but the actors didn’t show up for rehearsal, and I couldn’t find them for the performance. Which was sold out. For some reason, Jeremy Renner wandered past as I was running around looking for my actors, stepped in and cold-read all the roles in the entire script, bringing down the house.

Which he is totally talented enough to do, but since we’ve never worked together, I don’t know why he would! Even though it was a dream, I’m terribly grateful to him, and woke up with some solutions. I spent so many years working with actors, I don’t usually dream about them. Too much of a busman’s holiday. But if my subconscious wants to personify itself as Jeremy Renner, who am I to argue? 😉

I’m sure other people have dreams about Jeremy Renner in quite a different context!

Obviously, I’ve got some anxieties about remounting the play.

Upon coming back home yesterday, another idea blazed across the brain (because Ideas come in batches, always). I wrote an outline, and this morning wrote 4707 words (18 pages) of this project.

So, I’ve got two priority projects to juggle, plus the fantasy trilogy, plus getting the play up again, plus finding enough work to pay the bills for the next few months.

Which means I better get back to it, huh? I’ve got two book reviews to finish today, some contracts to resend, work on the play, work on the grant for the next play, invoicing for previous articles, and a final polish on the proposal I wrote on Saturday (that I still love) that I intend to have on my agent’s desk by the end of the day.

Power on.

Devon

Mon. July 9, 2012: Guest-Free & Geared For Insanity


Violet & Tessa get the bed back, once company leaves

Monday, July 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

All the guest are gone, which is good, since this week will be beyond insane. But that’s okay, I’m just going to deal with everything one piece at a time, and, somehow, it will all get done. It was great to have friends and family here, although having them converge unexpectedly at the same time, and both groups bring extra people I wasn’t expecting and didn’t know was a bit much. Everyone was nice and fairly easy-going, it was just a lot.

Friday was busy. Saturday, I just hated everybody. For no good reason, just everyone and everything worked my last nerve. Overtired, and tired of people who are lazy and incompetent making unreasonable demands. I don’t have time or tolerance, and I’m not going to waste my valuable time with them.

On the plus side, the weather is quite lovely, the garden is growing well (see the latest post on Gratitude and Growth), and I’m figuring out what I want to do next and what direction I want to take, career-wise. I’m getting rid of what no longer works, even if it’s scary to get rid of the known devil, and going after what I want.

I got the notebooks for the writers’ conference next month — yeah, it’s early, but fellow writers will nod and smile at the excitement of finding the right notebook for the job. Next month’s conference will be fun, and it will be nice to go hang out and not be responsible for anything except showing up and being a good student! 😉

The short story due last Friday, about a woman aviator in 1947, really wants to be a at least a novella, or maybe even a novel. I’m excited about the feedback on what I tried (even though it didn’t work as it stands), and looking forward to finding a way to slot it in and do more work on it.

Today is the last day “Town Crier” is available for download. Billy Root has a few things to say about it, and the upcoming story featuring him, “The Occasional Ghost”.

The Scene Meat workshop starts today — looking forward to it. But you can still sign up for the Series Bible seminar that runs on Saturday, and, if you’re on the Cape this weekend, for the Character and Situation Workshop over at Three Fish and A Ram.

Today, I’ve got to make arrangements for the yearly house inspection from the town, work on three articles, the ghostwriting project, deal with Nightmare Client, prepare for tomorrow’s jazz concert, do three chapters of revisions, deal with students, work on the edits for an anthology I’m collaborating on, polish “The Occasional Ghost”, deal with some more HEX BREAKER PR, and work on the deadlined novels.

NEWSROOM just gets better and better and better. How terrific that there’s a show on the air geared for intelligent people, instead of the reality-pay-them-for-being-their-worst-selves that dominates network television right now.

So, I better get going!

Have a great week, people!

Devon

Wed. June 27, 2012: Busy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus DIRECT
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Wrote 3 PSA scripts, two press releases, outlined two articles, sent out interview requests, distributed a press release, pitched a series of articles, and worked on the ebook. Assisted in setting up a shoot for Thursday for one of the PSAs I wrote. Found out that the check that’s two weeks late probably hasn’t even been mailed yet. Frustrated with one organization — they have an exclusivity clause, so I don’t teach the same class for X months on either side of my commitment to them anywhere else. Totally understandable. Yet, they are booking instructors with classes similar to each other (and mine) very closely together — and there are even people using the titles that I originated. Without paying for the class, I don’t know how similar the material is to mine — I’m sure all our teaching styles are very different. And yes, all my materials and handouts are copyrighted. In the classes I’ve taken there, there’s not much writing involved. In the classes I teach, I demand that they write every day. But I’m not happy abut the whole situation. It’s not good for any of the teachers — it dilutes all of our classes. Offer one of each type of class per quarter, not a half a dozen of the same type of class. Saw somebody listed to teach a class on juggling writing and life — who couldn’t keep up in one of my classes and dropped out. The fact that someone who couldn’t successfully juggle is teaching a class on the topic just floors me. Not fulfilling one’s commitment does not equate with successfully juggling, in my eyes. But, that’s the way it goes. You gotta shrug and move on, or it’ll drive you crazy.

Reading a trilogy by another writer and the inconsistencies are driving me batty! Even if the writer didn’t catch all the logistical errors, where were the editors? Someone needs my Series Bible class! 😉

Revised three chapters of HEART SNATCHER. This is a quick revision for reshaping — I’ll go back in August and do another one in more detail. This revision makes it more of a paranormal mystery, a tighter-paced, tighter-focused read, and I have to decide if that’s what I want for the trilogy, or if I want to go back to the bigger canvas of social and political issues. It’ll be interesting to read the two drafts side-by-side and see which is the stronger book.

We had some cracking good thunderstorms here yesterday afternoon. The cats weren’t too happy, and some of the smaller plants needed to be rescued, but, overall, I love being inside with a good Cape Cod storm outside!

My computer was a little unhappy — making noise and getting hot — so I shut it down for the duration of the thunderstorm. Gotta keep the Macbook happy!

Poked around in Scrivener. Basically, it’s iPages on steroids with spiffier graphics. In other words, I don’t need it. And there’s no reason why material done in Scrivener can’t be posted in Standard Manuscript Format — you can set up the template to work in it. Yet again, more excuses without foundation from students (not in the year-long, though, they’ve all got the finish line in sight and are doing a great job at this point).

Meeting last night was good — lots done in an hour, just the way I like it. Came home and watched NEWSROOM again. Still loved it, although I caught a couple of continuity errors this time around and the music swelling under some of the speeches didn’t work for me. But I still can’t wait to see the next episode. And I don’t often say that about something on TV!

Up early this morning. Wrote a few pages in longhand on the magical realism piece (with Tessa on the deck) and then wrote a little over 2000 words on a contemporary piece. I like the contemporary — I find it both exciting and restful to work on. Am about to tackle three more chapters on HEART SNATCHER revisions, and then go back to the articles, pull some stuff together for tomorrow’s video shoot, and draft a cover letter for a client. Before looking around to see if there’s anything else worth pitching towards. I’m tempted to throw my hat in the ring for an editing job, but not sure I have the patience to work in the genre they need. Depends on the money — they meet my rate, I’ll give it a go. They try to lowball me and I refuse.

Back to the page!

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!

And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Mon. June 25, 2012: “Town Crier” finally live — and free!

Monday, June 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

Lots of catching up to do!

First, I have to say that the premiere of NEWSROOM on HBO was one of the best-written television episodes I’ve ever seen. The opening alone is brilliant, and it just got better from there. I was thrilled to see John Gallagher, Jr. in one of the best roles –we worked together on Broadway in SPRING AWAKENING. He’s terrific, both on and off stage, and I’m so happy to see him in such a great show. Loved the show, thought it was great, thought the writing and the casting were terrific, and can’t wait to see more.

Second, 1and1 finally fixed the website bug, and “Town Crier” is now available for a free download until July 9. You can read an excerpt and then download the story here. I had a totally cool cover that I had to crop and change because the file upload couldn’t support it, so I’m bummed, but the story’s fun. And it ties in to both HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, although it takes place ten years before the events of HEX BREAKER.

Friday’s Breakfast with the Authors was terrific. All three — Joseph Doolin, Terri Arthur, and Randall Peffer — have books I can’t wait to read. I’ve read some of Peffer’s previous work, and look forward to the newest of his mysteries. We sat together at breakfast and had a great conversation.

Went home, worked flat out all the rest of the day. The next two assignments have arrived for Confidential Job #1, and look good. I did some more pitches, and started working on upcoming articles. I managed to get an absolutely fantastic source for the one due this week — someone whose work I’ve admired since I’ve moved to the Cape, so I’m very excited. Pitched for a few other jobs — fingers crossed.

Worked with students, got a good bit of work done on a rewrite of a small writing book I want to release in the coming weeks.

Sunday’s class was cancelled. The director told me that people were interested, but didn’t want to commit ahead of time. Well, honey, I’m not going to sit around and see if people show up. She also mentioned that people want “light creative writing classes.” That’s just insulting. “Creative writing” is what you as an eighth grade elective or as therapy. It’s not what I do. I work with people who are serious about and committed to writing. That venue is simply not the right match for me. I have one more thing scheduled in mid-July with them, but I’m not holding my breath.

The “Scene Meat” and “Series Bible” classes are filling up nicely, and those should be great fun. I’m really looking forward to them.

Worked on the revisions for HEART SNATCHER. For this draft, I’m cutting all the chapters from secondary characters’ POVs, and focusing on those in the POV of Valerie, Max, and Carey. I’ll sprinkle in necessary information from those cut chapters through other POVs. I’m also putting Max’s first chapter right after the prologue, where it was in the original draft (I’d moved it in the second draft to chapter two, moving Valerie’s first chapter, originally chapter 5, as chapter 1). I’ll give Max one, maybe two chapters, then do Valerie’s, cut Grace’s, and then have Carey’s. It makes it more of an urban fantasy mystery/suspense than the wider ranging fantasy, but it might serve the book better. The changes are based on both the actual notes from the critique swap and new ideas inspired by those notes.

However, changing the first book in the trilogy is making it harder to write the first draft of the second book.

I wrote out on the deck this morning, some work on a magical realism piece. I’m going to work on a couple of articles today, a couple of press releases, get out two more pitches, and get started on the short story due July 6 and start the Billy Root story that has to go live on July 13. Hopefully, the deposit check I keep getting promised for the ghost writing assignment will arrive today, so I can get that in, too.

It was supposed to rain this morning, so I overslept instead of going to yoga. I need to mow the front before the rain starts (it hasn’t yet) — we’re starting to suffer from vacant lot syndrome again, even though it wasn’t that long since I mowed.

Dreamed about an adventure story — movie, really, with Henry Ian Cusick playing the male lead. I mean, he wasn’t himself, he was a character, so I assume I dreamed a script. I have no reason for him to turn up in a dream, and I wasn’t in it anywhere, so I was dreaming a story. Jotted some notes to see if it’s something I can work with in the future.

Back to the page. And the lawn mower.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!