Mon. Feb. 24, 2014: A Writing and Researching Weekend

Monday, February 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Good news! My western novella, ELUSIVE PRAYERS, has been accepted by Amber Quill Press. This is a tie-in novella to my previous WIDOW’S CHAMBER serial. It had been accepted by the WC publisher, who went out of business on release day. I’ve rewritten it substantially in the interim, and it will now come out in late July. Re-working it, I liked the characters, situation, and depth of research, so I’m excited.

I have four releases coming out between the end of March and the end of July. So I’m pretty excited. It means I’ll be gearing up for some serious PR soon — watch out! 😉

Busy weekend. Friday was frustrating, but I got through it. Saturday, I worked on the novel I’m going to write in tandem with a friend who’s also working on a novel. We’re brainstorming and exchanging chapters, which is fun. I’ve read her outline and the first three chapters; she’s now got my initial fragment, my character notes, and the ideas for some major turning point scenes that I have to flesh out into my Writer’s Rough. In two weeks, I’m going to give her the first chapter. That’s longer than I usually take to write a chapter (I usually have to cough up one or nearly one a day), but this is a different kind of book and is not on a contract schedule.

I also wound up my course work for the Environmental Law and Policy Class. Got 100% on my final quiz, and 100% on my research exercise. I love, love, loved this class, and definitely want to get more involved in this type of work. It also made me understand some of the policies in place at the National Marine Life Center more completely.

I did some reading over the weekend. My next two books for review arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them. I started a couple of novels from the library, was frustrated with them, returned them. I read one novel I really enjoyed, THE TWISTED THREAD, by Charlotte Bacon. I wanted to shoot her an email to let her know how much I enjoyed it, but couldn’t find contact information online, and realized how spoiled we’ve all become at being able to locate anyone we want instantly! Good for her for not playing the always-available game!

Did a lot of research for the Sparkle & Tarnish series on Victorian dining. Since food plays a big part in the books, I want to make sure I get it right. I found THE SECRET GARDEN COOKBOOK filled with lovely historical tidbits, and I’m reading FANNIE’S LAST SUPPER, about a chef researching and recreating a meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook.

The current Garrett POV chapter I’m working on in TRUE HOME is set in Boston in 1886, so I’ve also been doing extensive research on geography, et al, of the time in order to properly write the chapter. Now, I have to cross-check some information, because I’d like to use some food info that is in books about Boston at the time, only I want to use them in NY chapters, but have to find out if similar places were in existence in NY at the time.

I see a trip to the Massachusetts Historical Society in the not-so-distant future for a day’s research.

Saturday night, I stayed up way too late watching NOW YOU SEE ME. The movie got lukewarm reviews, so I wasn’t expecting much, and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it a lot. I figured out the big twist, but then, that’s what I do. I understand structure, and that choice made the most sense within the structure and the clues dropped in. I watched it again on Sunday, to pick up some details I’d missed.

Sunday, I researched, wrote, and scheduled articles for the wine blog all the way into mid-March. Took a break for more research, and then spent the afternoon at the Osterville Library, at a talk by author Paul Kemprecos, who writes a detective series set in this area, and also wrote several books with Clive Cussler. A colleague from the Writers Center was there, and they had a nice spread of wine, cheese, etc. It was a fun, lively afternoon.

Watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics — pretty, but I didn’t have the context for much of the symbolism. Although I appreciated the tribute to writers, the performance didn’t make much sense, and where were the women writers?

This will be a very stressful week for me, not to mention that I have to finish the revisions of the play.

Got an intriguing job offer that I need to investigate more closely. I think it would be fascinating, if we can work out the time/money part of it.

The expected overnight storm missed us, and now they’ve downgraded Wednesday’s storm from a foot of snow to only four inches. Phew!

Back to the page.

Devon

Thurs. Dec. 12, 2013: Writing and Timing

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Good writing day yesterday on the novella, one of the screenplays, TRUE HEART, and the television pilot. Also got some correspondence done. Still struggling with the climactic sequence of the other screenplay, but I think I’ve got it now.

I HATE working in Courier font, but for screenplays and teleplays, that’s the standard, so that’s what I’m working in. The same way one should draft the novel or short story in Standard Manuscript Format, because it’s easier to change OUT of it than INTO it per submission guidelines, it’s easier to work from the first draft in Courier for scripts.

The morning look-for-internet-because-Comcast-continues-to-behave-like-a-douche was at Sturgis Library, which was a zoo. Kids running around unsupervised, screaming. Excuse me, this is a library, you have a children’s room. KEEP them there. But I managed to work with students, send out a short story and a requested manuscript, get out some interview questions, pitch for jobs, and catch up on email.

The editor with whom I thought I’d straightened things out is back to random payment dates again, and I am not amused. I only have one more set of articles due at the beginning of January, and then I’m done.

Got some more writing and research done at home in the afternoon, then headed over to Wheldon Library for a quiet hour on the internet. A few things to catch up on, but mostly, under control.

Having to go elsewhere for a connection certainly makes me realize how much time I WASTE jumping on and off the internet all day. The mileage and drive time are annoying, and I have to keep running lists going in both directions of what needs to be done before I go in the other direction, but I am being productive, for the most part.

Iris has decided that it’s too cold to sleep outside the covers, so now she’s sleeping curled against my lower back. I have to be careful when I roll over in the night not to squish her.

Watched the BBC remake of THE 39 STEPS last night. Wow, was the continuity a mess. He’s got a briefcase in one shot; it’s gone in the next. He’s running down a lane without anything in one shot; he has a lantern in the next. He’s in his pajamas in one shot; he’s wearing a fisherman’s sweater (miles away from civilization or anyone who could have lent it to him) in the next. Drove me nuts. The leads were pretty good, the locations and camera work were great, but the continuity and the overly-melodramatic music took away from the piece.

Reading Danny Danziger’s book on behind the scenes at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fantastic book, and makes me miss the museum terribly. During this season, I always visited the Angel Tree in the Medieval Hall. I have the calendar and the book about the tree, which is a comfort, but it’s not the same as making the yearly pilgrimage to SEE it.

The only thing I miss about New York are ethnic food delivery at odd hours and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Devon

Tues. Nov. 12: A Development Epiphany

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Jupiter Retrograde
Sleeting and cold
sc

Busy weekend. Took some time off to read and gorge myself on episodes of the television series THE UNUSUALS on DVD. Outstanding writing and acting. Wish the show had lasted more than ten episodes.

A request for a partial of a novel I wasn’t expecting to send out until after the first of the year landed on my desk, so I rewrote and polished the chapters and wrote the synopsis (which was on the schedule for December) and got it out. When the request comes it, it has to go out within 48 hours, so if the materials aren’t ready, you do what you need to do to get them there.

Did some work in the development notebook, and fleshed out some of it as I typed. I figured out how to prevent my very charismatic supporting character from taking over Book 1 — his primary partner doesn’t get introduced until his book, which is Book 3. I’d planned to introduce her in this book, but it pulls too much focus of the characters I want to be the primary pair for this book. He still has an important role to play in this book and book two, but he doesn’t come front and center until book 3.

VISCERAL INVISIBLES, the screenplay, comes out of marination this week and goes into rewrites.

Worked with students, did some pitches, did yard work. So many bags of leaves in the garage I can’t get the car out. I’ll take them to the dump tomorrow. Rubbed teak oil onto the porch furniture, took it in, took in the last of the plants. Still a lot to do, but it’s getting done, slowly but surely.

Don’t forget to sign up for Organize Your Writing Life in 2014, by signing up here. It’s only 10 bucks and three hours on December 7, and gives you a year’s worth of organization, and tools to use well beyond.

Off to work.

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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Wed. June 5, 2013: Howland Goes Home!

IMG_1339
Howland heads for the water

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

This sore throat just won’t let me go. And I’m feeling lethargic and achy, too. Very frustrating.

I did about 35 pages on the screenplay revision and proofed 184 pages of a novel, whose partial I have to get out to an editor in the next few days. Not a total loss of a day.

Re-read another piece that I’m itching to work on again, even though it’s going to be a difficult sell.

All I really want to do is stay in bed for a day or two, but that’s not an option right now.

I should have mowed the front. But did I? No!

I did, however, manage to make it to the National Marine Life Center for Howland’s release on Scusset Beach. He had a good rehab — we only got him in early April, and here it is, in June, and he gets to go home. Always exhilarating to have that kind of a success story.

Lots to do today, and then a board meeting for the Writers Center tonight. Must get moving.

Devon

IMG_1344
Howland is home

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 7:50 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Nov. 9, 2012: Exciting Writing!

Friday, November 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We were battered for two days by the nor’easter, but now it seems to be moving on. The Callaich Storm Hag was on a roll!

Actually, got a lot done. Revised and sent out a play that had been requested. It was good to revisit it, and it holds up better than I expected. Revised a novella, and sent that out. That was in better shape than I remembered, too, although I managed to remove 15 qualifiers I hadn’t previously caught! I also got out about a half a dozen short stories that got piled up, and pitched to two organizations for whom I’d love to work — they don’t really have the position I want there, so I pitched to create it! I’ve also got someone interested in a book that’s only partially written, so I need to focus a little more on that one for the next few weeks.

This morning, I opened my email to find out that someone wants me to write a mystery play for their winter fundraiser. Tons of fun — totally would love to do it. So I hope it works out!

Read a frustrating book by a Pulitzer-prize author — basically, not much happened except people changed partners a few times, realized they liked their original partner, and navel-gazed a lot. Big disappointment, even if it was set locally!

I’ve got two press releases to write this morning, and then it’s the errands that didn’t get done in the past two days. I ducked out to pay some bills yesterday, but that was it.

Excited by the possibilities!

Devon

Reminder:
The Application deadline for the Playwrighting Intensive has been extended to November 20. More information and application here.

NEW:
Flash 7, a flash fiction course where participants create, revise, and submit 7 pieces of flash fiction in 10 days is open for registration now. More information here.

Thurs. June 7, 2012: Grumpy & Off to Yoga

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Between too much admin work, PR work, and chasing down payments, it was a discouraging day. Also, I lost HALF my workday taking my mom to the doctor, especially since there were some concerns, and then we had to go hithering and yonning for a bit. Hopefully, everything will all sort out.

I finished the draft of the sci-fi story and am letting it sit for a few days before revision. I started reading the next manuscript for swap, and am enjoying it. Stared at my own manuscript and couldn’t focus. Got a little bit more done on CRAVE THE HUNT; trying to get back into the groove with that. Playing with an idea for some non-fiction writing workbook-type things. Am in negotiations for a ghost-writing job.

Spent a few hours answering questions for a long interview for the HEX BREAKER release, and answered some questions this morning for another interview. Worked on getting the new workshops up on the website. Have to go to the library to work in IE, because heaven forbid piece of crap 1and1 lets me put in my coding in anything else. Not only that, they’ve designed a “webdesk”, which means, instead of just signing in to work on my website, I now have to jump through a series of hoops to make it “easier.” Not. What a crap host. I’m hoping GeekGirls can help me wrestle away the webfiles 1and1 holds hostage so that I can move hosts.

Couldn’t raise my mowing mojo, so didn’t. May need to to that today. Got a “reminder” about a meeting tonight — one that no one ever bothered to inform me about in the first place, which irritated me, not to mention how it screws up my work day.

Off to yoga now — that will set me to rights! And then, get in as much work as possible before this danged meeting over the bridge! 😉

To the page, to get some writing in before yoga.

Devon

HEX BREAKER, the first Jain Lazarus Adventure, available from Amazon Kindle and Solstice Publishing. $2.99

Tues. Jan. 31: Busy, busy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Flat out working all day yesterday until I couldn’t even see the screen anymore. Good work on the novel and short stories; more good work on another short story so far this morning, and will have to circle back to the novel later. Worked with my students, wrote and posted a few lectures, wrote a review, worked on a client manuscript, discussed a possible additional editing job.

Today, I have to be out and about for most of the day, popping back in to do some client work, and then there’s a meeting at the National Marine Life Center at 5 to start planning this year’s Mermaid Ball.

I felt discouraged about my lack of fitness, in spite of the yoga, and dreaded going back to weight training. However, it’s essential for a woman of my age to have that in the regimen. SoI went back — and to my delight and surprise, the heaviest weights I used to struggle with aren’t the slightest bit challenging any more. So the yoga truly has strengthened me, in gentle increments. And I have to go and buy heavier weights! In some cases, I was doing triple the reps, and it still wasn’t an effort. That made feel better about things, in general!

Got to get some correspondence out, and then I’m running errands for the rest of the day. Busy, busy! I’ll have to do some client work when I get home tonight.

Believe me, I’m grateful for the work coming in. February is often a slow month.

Devon

Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 9:22 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy, cold, icy

My January To-Do list is up on the GDR site. Come play with us!

Excellent, excellent writing day. I did the first chapter of Universal Principles, which came in at just over 2600 words.

I took a short break, then got to work on the steampunk novella. I did a first chapter of 1, 889 words. I took a break, and then realized that I needed to open with more of a punch and THEN get into the bulk of the material I currently had as my first chapter, so I rewrote it and nailed the first two chapters or just over 4K. It’s going to be hard to keep this at 30K, but necessary for the word limit. It’s fast, it’s funny, it’s got elements of romance and Victoriana and invention and social justice and all sorts of things in it. I’m stoked. Of course, I still need a title, but . . .

I wrote the third chapter of the Steampunk this morning, coming in at just over 2700 words.

THIS is the type of writing I need to keep up all year, and I’ll actually get something done!

I’m on my way to Trader Joe’s to get cat food and run a few more errands, and then get back to the page.

Elsa is hanging in there. Fingers crossed she’ll be okay until the vet appointment on Tuesday, and that the vet can help her.

Devon

Steampunk Novella: 6,747 words out of est. 30,000 (22.49%)

Universal Principles: 2,692 words out of est. 90,000 (2.9%)

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 10:25 am  Comments (7)  
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