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.

Thurs. April 25, 2019: Evolution of the Writing Process & Internet Bullying

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

That pressure you’re feeling? Jupiter AND Pluto are retrograde. Saturn joins them on Monday. Yuck.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post on the garden.

Was with a client most of yesterday. Somehow, when I woke up I thought it was Thursday instead of Wednesday; even once I realized it, I had trouble getting into the Wednesday head space to work with the client.

Home and worked in the garden for about an hour. There’s still a lot to do, but I just have to do it one piece at a time. Eventually, it will all get done.

Worked on contest entries.

I’m playing with a new idea for a series of novellas. I want to mix genres. I want them to be short. The characters are clear; the world is taking shape. I have the beginnings of a plot, which I’ll have to explore further. I don’t want them to run longer than 25-30K, so the plot has to be precise, and a minimum of sub-plots, even though I want a couple of them to run the course of the series.

I’m not sure WHEN I can fit in the writing of them, so I have something worthwhile to show my editor. I have deadlines to meet, and re-adjusted deadlines to meet.

But it’s fun to play with the ideas.

It’s so important for process to evolve. My process is constantly evolving. I learn from each project. I work on both art and craft. Some of them wind up not working at all, and that’s okay. Disappointing, but even what doesn’t work gets me somewhere else, and gives me valuable experience.

I’ve written books as a blank-pager, not using an outline. (I don’t use the term “pantser” — to me, it sounds like an STD). While it was sometimes fun and often frustrating to figure it out as I wrote, ultimately, I had to evolve away from that. It also needed a lot more drafts to get it into the shape where I could even ask a Trusted Reader to look at it.

This is my profession, not my hobby. This is how I keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block or not knowing what comes next when I sit down at the page. I need to be able to drop immediately into the world of whatever I’m working on and move forward.

I’m juggling several series, along with other projects. Some are novels; some are radio plays; some are stage plays; some are articles or other writing I do for clients. I don’t have the option of telling a client I “didn’t have time” to do their project.

Outlining has helped me. I sit down and plot out the book. I free write the characters’ stories. Then I go back and work on plot points and scenes. Then I arrange and rearrange them as I best think it will serve that particular book.

I don’t like working on index cards. For scripts, especially television scripts, that’s the protocol, and if I’m working as part of a staff, or with a partner, yes, we use index cards. But I’m happier with paper and pen. My outlines are more like treatments.

This is NOT the outline I’d send with a query. Even the outlines I send my editors for series in progress are honed from these outlines, but are NOT these outlines. I call these outlines my “Writer’s Rough Outline.”

I type a copy and keep my original handwritten copy. I usually work from the handwritten (if I can read it — sometimes it’s too scrawled). The creative energy that went into the handwritten copy often serves me better than a cold, typed version.

As I complete each section of the outline, I check it off.

I adjust along the way, as the story and characters dictate and evolve.

My outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I often go in very different directions. That’s okay.

The first draft is often lean and skeletal. I don’t want to lose momentum. I want to get through it.

I like to put each draft away. The most important rest time is between the first draft and the second. Ideally, it’s two months. The reality is often far less, but I always try for at least two weeks.

I have to be able to look at it objectively, as though someone else wrote it.

Then I do as many drafts as it takes, including my multi-colored draft (where I go through with different colored markers highlighting adverbs, passive or past perfect, and qualifiers. Then I take them out and look for better ways to express what I want to say. If that word IS the best way, I negotiate with myself to put it back in).

The second draft is usually where I overwrite and follow tangents and develop ideas. The third draft if usually a combination of multi-colored draft and massive cuts.

Trusted readers usually get a third or fourth draft. I usually have at least one, sometimes two drafts after my readers see it before I consider it submission-ready. An un-contracted manuscript can take several years until it’s ready for submission.

The books on series contract have fewer drafts, since my contracted editor is in earlier in the process. Plus, the schedule is tighter.

There are always more ideas than hours in the day to write them. (I distrust those who say they “don’t have anything to write about” the same way I distrust people who get bored. Writers always have too much to write about). I recently started a notebook I call the “Whatever” notebook. I’ve had variations on this throughout the years, usually called “Fragments.”

I date every entry. I find the date provides a context for the inspiration, and sometimes it helps to go back to other elements of the day.

In it, I write whatever I want. A snippet of dialogue, an observation, ideas as characters and situations come to me. If I’m somewhere between meetings or in a waiting room or just want to get away and clear my head, I take the Whatever notebook and free write. Write about whatever’s on my mind, a combination of inspiration, what if, development, and brain dump.

It’s along the lines of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Practice and Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, although they happen at any time in the day, and at any place.

Morning pages work for lots of people, but not fore me. Morning is my most creative time. If I do morning pages, then I’ve used up that creative energy that should have gone into whatever is my Primary Project (the manuscript in which I write my first 1K of the day every morning). I think they’re great if they work. The concept is terrific, and it gets the person writing every day. But I need my first writing of the day to be about the work, not about me.

I’ve also started reading a few pages in one of my favorite writing books in the morning, before I start writing. Morning routine is: make coffee, feed the cats, check email/social media (sometimes I respond, while the coffee is brewing; sometimes I make a note to respond later), first cup of coffee, yoga, meditation, shower/dress, first 1K of the day.

When the weather is nice, I have my first cup of coffee out on the deck. When it’s not, I have it in my writing room. Now, I’m reading a few pages in one of my favorite books about writing (I have shelves of them, and some of them I re-read regularly as fuel).

Any other kind of book siphons energy away from my own work; in other words, I don’t read fiction first thing, or it derails my first 1K. But reading about writing and process helps. Usually it’s only 2-3 pages. But it starts building the desire.

Once I’ve written my first 1K of the day, I have breakfast. Check email, plan the day. If I can, I get a little more writing done. If it’s a day where I’m headed off to work with a client, I do it. Otherwise, I might write at home for a bit, and then head to the library for a few hours. There, I can research and put together pitches, or just sit in a corner and write. I answer emails, I send out LOIs or pitches. It’s easier for me to do that away from the writing room.

I prefer to write in the morning and edit in the afternoon. That’s flexible, depending on deadlines.

Again, weather dictates when I can work in the yard, so sometimes I have to push an editing session or add an extra writing session into the evening, when necessary.

I still go out with friends. I still spend time with family. But they can’t sabotage the writing. Anyone who sabotages the writing is removed from my life. This is my profession as well as my passion. I am the breadwinner. Writing is a priority, and those who don’t understand that, who don’t respect that, reveal a far deeper problem than time or writing. They reveal that they don’t understand or respect ME. Why would I have people in my life who don’t respect me?

That carries over to the endless bullying on the Internet. The last few days, I have received demands to stop talking about politics because the follower “only” wants writing information; to stop talking about writing because the follower “only” wants politics; to block people that person didn’t like or they would block me; if I’m even willing to listen to a different point of view, they’ll block me; if I don’t like the same thing they do, they’ll block me; they pick the “hill they want to die on” for something meaningless to most of the rest of us and demand fealty; that they’ll block anything that is retweeted without comment — really? If it’s well said, adding anything is only ego on my part; that I have to “prove” I’m a “real person” and they get to define “real” and that I “must” use pronouns in my bio– um, no. I get to decide what I share publicly and how to share it; to stop forwarding information on animals in kill shelters whose lives can be saved through adoption, fostering, and sponsorship.

All these people can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned. They don’t get to tell me what to post about, what to write about, how to live, what parts of myself I choose to share with the world.

I’m tired of people who claim they support inclusion and tolerance and are fighting for what’s right then tell me what I can and can’t say or do or think — as much as those we’re fighting dictate to us. Especially if it’s someone I’ve never met and only know for a few days on a social media platform.

Are you paying me to write something specific? No? Then you don’t have a say in what I write. YOUR right is not to buy it. Or read it. But not to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t write it.

None of these people matter in my life. I quietly unfollow or block plenty of people every week. We’re just not compatible. I don’t have to threaten them or fight with them. I either scroll past (because we are all more than one thing, and that’s beautiful) or, if it truly is something I don’t want in my life in the long term, I unfollow or block, as appropriate. I don’t have to make a big deal out of it. I’m a random person on plenty of people’s feeds, as they are on mine. We can peacefully co-exist, in most instances, without bullying each other. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to write posts that incite violence or demean people — yes, those should be called out. But if someone is happy about a show or a flavor of ice cream or whatever? Why be mean? If something matters to someone and they want to share a post to try and help? Why do YOU have the right to say THEY don’t have the right to care or to share it?

You don’t.

Also, I am not required to follow everyone who follows me, nor is everyone I follow required to follow me. There are certain red flag words in posts or bios that mean I won’t follow back. It doesn’t mean that person is expected to change; it’s just not something I want in my life. Eventually, they will probably unfollow me anyway.

And we don’t miss each other, because we never really knew each other.

Yes, social media is a marketing tool for my work. But that’s only part of the reason I’m on it. I’m on it to learn from people who know and are interested in different things than I am. I am on it for conversation and information and laughter. I don’t have to like, or even agree, with every post from every person that shows up on my feed.

Have I made poor choices, either in comments or in sharing? Of course. But I’m getting more aware of it, and am thinking twice before doing either. I am well aware how flawed I am, and I work on it. But I don’t bow to bullies, even in elementary school.

I’m happy with the way GRAVE REACH is going, and hope to get in at least one more writing session on it today. I have to make a grocery run, go to the library, take my mother to a doctor’s appointment, get some yard work in.

I also have to go over Saturday’s presentation one more time, and re-check the packing and all the stuff I’m bringing for the presentation. I have a rolling rack full of fun stuff. I leave for the conference tomorrow. I present late on Saturday. I know I’m prepared, but I always like to make sure.

I could teach a semester-long course on this. I have 50 minutes. I hope I picked the right 50 minutes of material!

Back to the page. And the yard.

 

Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
First Day of the Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT

Mercury goes direct today. Today could still be rough, but we’re almost there! It kicked my ass — again — this time around. Although there were also some good things.

We’re gearing up for Hurricane Irma, which might or might not have a huge impact on this area. They “don’t know”. So for all those ass wipes criticizing people for not evacuating Houston — first of all, we don’t get accurate information; second, we don’t get it early enough; third, the evacuation plans around here (I’m not in Houston, I’m talking personally) don’t work. So STFU and don’t criticize.

I don’t care how much the various staffs have been downsized. With the millions of dollars in equipment, they need to give us accurate information in enough time to make informed decisions that can be practically acted upon. In other words, we need information weeks ahead, not hours. 48 hours doesn’t cut it.

And saying you can’t predict the weather — hon, you’re PAID to predict the weather. Any other job with that much error and you’d be out on your ass. So do it, already.

I remember, way back in grade school in the 1970s when they told us about technology in development to fly into the eye of a hurricane and release a chemical that would dissipate the hurricane. Whatever happened to that? Probably found out the chemical killed people.

Anyway, busy weekend. Lots and lots and lots of yoga. Seriously sore.

Finished the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Let’s hope we caught everything this time around. They go off to the publisher today.

Worked on my review assignment. The book is denser than I expected, and I can’t read it as quickly as I’d like.

Read a lot. Also went through some research books, which, unfortunately, weren’t as useful as I’d hoped. They all go back today.

Worked on the overall series outlines for Nautical Namaste Mysteries and the Picaroon Island Mysteries. Did some more work on the overall outline for Coventina Circle.

Did some more work on “Labor Intensive”, which I think will be re-secheduled for release on September 12. Unless we’re in the middle of a hurricane.

Started preparing for the annual rental inspection, which happens tomorrow.

Got some yard work done, but not enough. The mower is cranky, and it rained quite a bit on Sunday (Harvey remnants), so I’m behind.

Re-reading LEAVING A TRACE, about journals. That gave me an idea for a literary fiction novel, written as diary entries. I wrote a writers’ rough outline and the first twelve pages. I think I have something worthwhile here, but don’t know how to fit it into the schedule. Will have to work on it piecemeal around other things.

Also got an idea for an odd, one-off thriller. Did the writers’ rough outline.

It was nice enough to do some work sitting out on the deck. But I feel like I’m not getting enough done.

I’m waiting to hear back on two gigs this week — one which would be the following week, and the other which would be from now through November. I’d like to do both, but we’ll see if I’m what they want.

I also have to get out at least one essay and one short story, not to mention some pitches and LOIs. I should hear back this week on a couple of pitches I sent to a publication with whom I work fairly regularly, and I’m waiting for payment on two other pieces.

Saturday night, I had a wonderful aha! moment in the evening meditation, that sends me back on the right track. I’ve lost too much of what I worked hard to gain, in personal terms, and I need to be less willing to compromise. But the realization when it all clicked into place — it gives me a huge sense of freedom.

The next few months will include a lot of long-term planning, and that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, for short-term planning, go hop onto the GDR site and see my September To Do List.

This morning, I did a major grocery shopping, and I got the proof of PLAYING THE ANGLES to the publisher. An article I pitched was accepted (for January, but I’ve been trying to break into this market, so great). I accepted the assignment this morning.

Still have a lot to do, and the traffic is still a nightmare (summer people, go home).

But it’s all good.

Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle  
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Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
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February 3, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

Yep, it’s snowing agian. Just flurries, it’s pretty, but I am over it.

Unfocused day yesterday, although I managed to track down the address of someone I used to work with a long time ago and send him a “hey, how are you” missive. He’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d reconnect and wish him well.

I didn’t post in the garden journal because “It’s snowing again” just didn’t seem worth a post.

I found some of the really intense, handwritten writer’s rough for CRAVE THE HUNT — thank goodness. I was worried I’d lost it. I still have to find the rest of it, which somehow got separated in the move, but at least I have this in hand, which will help with the next sections, and, if I have to, I can always rewrite the rest of the outline, because I remember where I was going with it. Once the first draft is written, I’ll probably have to do some massive cuts, but I’m just following all the threads here until I see what I have. It’s a complex story, and Billy Root’s fans will be thrilled with the way his character grows — plus there are great arcs for Jain and Wyatt, both as individuals and with their relationship.

Water coming into the basement via the bulkhead, so I had to put a tarp over the top of it, use the wet vac (which the owner left, fortunately), and check every few hours. Had to weight the tarp with the new planters — nice to know they can multi-task.

Found POWER OF WORDS, and re-read the parts of that I’ve written so far. It holds up better than I remembered, although it needs tweaking and cutting. Unfortunately, in the move, the 200+ pages of notes I’d written for it — which CAN’T be recreated — got separated — I’d gone as far as to mapping and the series arc of the piece they’re filming within the piece, and even production schedules, all of which I need handy in order to keep writing. So I can’t do much more on that until I find it in the boxes.

Got out a couple of queries yesterday, which was good, and got paid for an article (day after I sent the invoice — love that) and a workshop. That means I’ll be able to pay some bills before I leave on the site gigs.

Finished the reading for Confidential Job #1 (it’s wonderful); just have to do the write-up, send it off, and send off the invoice.

Decided that the exercises I created for the Setting as Character Workshop aren’t challenging enough, so I’m working on a new set.

Did some Tower of London research,and am finding ways to integrate some of the “fun facts” that even I didn’t know into the scene of the WIP.

My back is getting worse instead of better, which is worrisome. It’s annoying to be limited in what I can do, and being in pain drains away energy that needs to be used for writing. I might have to book an acupuncture appointment here and not wait until I see my regular acupuncturist in NY at the end of the month.

Watched HUMAN TARGET to get my Jackie Earle Haley fix. In spite of the problems with the series, he finds the core of his character, adds specific details, and stays true to the integrity of the character. He can do more with a tilt of the head or an inflection of a word than most people do with a whole page of dialogue, and in a way that enhances everyone’s performance around him, so it’s always worth tuning in for him. The show itself, though, is struggling, and it wouldn’t surprise me if next week’s season finale is also the series finale. The vision feels unclear, like there are too many notes coming in from too many different directions. Now that they’ve added two female series regulars, the writing for them is much weaker than the writing for the female guest stars last season (who were given stronger and more interesting characters to play–even on Monday’s episode, the female guest star had a better-written role than the series regulars, and her chemistry with Mark Valley was off the charts), the creators are not developing them, the creators are diluting the wonderful chemistry between the three male leads, and there’s a lack of balance between the A & B episode storylines and the overall series arcs. Last season definitely had its problems, but it also had an element of fun and a lot of potential; this season just feels unfocused and panicked from the creative aspect of it. I hurt for the people working on it — I’ve worked on shows that are struggling, and it is hard. You want it to work, you have a loyalty to it, you care about what you’re doing, but the people making the decisions and supplying the cash aren’t capable of making the types of decisions that would actually help the show. Every day you go in to work hoping there’s a breakthrough; every day, you get your heart broken. I certainly hope this experience doesn’t turn JEH off from doing television ever again.

My fun lunch was cancelled — the weather’s caused a domino effect, but I’ll have to get out when the roads de-ice a bit to get ink at Staples and print off those manuscripts. They need to go out the door tomorrow.

I’m going to try for a few really focused days at the page — I want the first draft of this book done before I head for CT, so I can spend time down there on revisions.

Back to the page — with an icepack against my back.

Devon

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hey, I’m a guest over on Ye Olde Inkwell, Michelle’s blog, and there’s a giveaway! Hop on over and check it out!

I managed to get a good chunk of work done on CHANNELLING JIM MORRISON yesterday, which was a great feeling. It’s darker than I expected, but I think it works for the overall piece.

Sherrie, to answer your question about outlines: Often, I’ll do what I call a “Writer’s Rough” outline before I start a piece, or as I’m wrestling it and figuring it out. That way, I’ve got a blueprint, and I never just sit there and stare at the page. I sit down and go to work.

Once I’m in revisions, or after I’ve got a draft I think is solid, I’ll do the outline from which I pull the synopsis, et al, that will actually go out on submission. Because my books change a lot during the writing process, and the Writer’s Rough is free-form, stream-of-consciousness, it’s not something that’s usable as part of the submission package. That would be too much pressure! 😉

To answer PJ’s question – I’m not in the city, I’m in the ‘burbs, so no, there were no parks with free hot chocolate out here. I missed out! And it’s not like Metro North ran well enough for me to hop a train into the city for some sled time! 😉

Had some clarification to do for one of my assignments for Confidential Job #1, which was rather an oxymoron, since the point of the assignment was to be obtuse! That’s sort of what I pointed out. Hopefully, that’s helpful to my editor.

Got some business responses that were positive, and will let up some of the pressure in the coming months, which is great. Did some work on client projects in the afternoon.

Roasted a chicken. Having a chicken roasting in the oven always makes me feel secure for some reason. I can tell Elsa’s feeling better because she tried to “help” in every facet of the chicken preparation and I had to shoo her out of the kitchen, while making sure she wasn’t tag-teaming with the twins to get the chicken away. Yeah, I’m outnumbered.

Lots of computer problems yesterday and this morning, so I’m a little behind where I’d like to be, and I didn’t get any work done on the Billy Root story. I need to type up the outline notes I wrote a few weeks ago, and get it all clear in my head again. I have a feeling it will be longer than planned – but, once I have a draft, I can always cut.

Elsa had a good day yesterday, but got worse again at night. She seems a little better this morning. Minute by minute, right?

Back to the page.

Devon

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