Fri. Nov. 18: Learn from My (Writing) Mistakes


Iris naps

Friday, November 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I woke up at 3:30 AM yesterday. Not 5:30, when I wanted to wake up. 3:30. And couldn’t get back to sleep. By 4:45, I gave up and got up.

The cats looked at me and said, “You are INSANE. We, however, are CATS, and therefore will stay in BED until a reasonable hour.” Of course, all that dignity went out the window when they heard the can open!

So, I got up to write, even though I knew it meant I’d be toast by noon.

Very disappointed in the quality of yesterday’s words. I learned a lesson — don’t assume you remember what you meant while writing the outline unless you’ve also put in some detail. I had a note in the outline that two characters were “talking”. Um, about what, exactly? Yes, one of them arrived in a unique way, but the scene has to be about more than that, or it’s just wasted words. I remember how I felt when I wrote this part of the outline — the excitement, the sense of how much fun this scene would be. But it’s nearly 80K into the book, so by the time I got there, I couldn’t remember the details. I no longer had the excitement. The scene fell flat.

I either have to re-imagine it and bring back the verve I had about it initially, or it gets cut.

Learn from my mistakes! 😉

I outlined more for this trilogy than I usually do for a book, and it STILL wasn’t enough!

Did follow-up from the Writers’ Night Out, both before and after yoga. Yoga was great. Yes, I’m muttering sometimes in some of the poses, but she really makes us work, and that’s what I need.

Stopped at Staples on the way back to get some envelopes big enough for the media kits. Did more follow up from the previous evening. Was invited and accepted the invite to a beta testing program of a new business model for writers. The head of it had spoken to us at the meeting and then was gracious enough to take extra time after to answer some of my specific questions — since a lot of what I do is very different than many people in the group. He gave me some very interesting statistics that make me feel better about what I do in my own work, and how I’m guiding my students — more and more of them are successfully publishing,

Got one manuscript out on submission and have three more to get out this weekend. I’m doing a final proofread on each of them before they head out — lots of reading!

Spent time with students, did follow-up, worked on book club research, mulled over the short story I have due soon. I think the short stories queueing up to be written will be good palate cleansers in the proofreading I do this weekend.

Went to a holiday event at a local garden center last night. It was beautifully done — the place was gorgeous. The vendors were tucked in and around the lush plant displays. The music was definitely lounge-lizard variety — but the guy was in on the joke, so it was okay. They had local food vendors, which was good, in one sense, but I wasn’t about to buy something gooey and walk around with it. If one of the bigger restaurants had partnered to cater the event, circulating h’ors d’oeuvre trays or something, I would have been impressed and tried out the restaurant. But the food element didn’t quite work the way it was set up. And it was packed — had to park in the very last spot in the far corner of the event (and trudge back to the center in the pouring rain).

I was hoping to get some of my holiday shopping done, but there really wasn’t anything that was right for those on my list. It was lovely stuff, but not what I’m looking for.

I’ve got another event at another garden center tonight! 😉

My new camera arrived. It’s similar to my old one, but just annoyingly different enough so I have to use the manual! 😉

I went to bed crazy early last night. More busy dreams — this time, I behaved thoughtlessly and totally out of character for me, and then had to fix it. I did something I’ve never done that lead others in the dream to a type of worry I’ve been careful to never cause, so it’s interesting I had that kind of dream.

Back to the page — I have to do this morning’s words on the trilogy, work on the short story, proofread manuscripts before sending them off, and work in the garden. Oh, and run to the store to buy coffee. I’m out, after this morning’s batch, and that does not bode well for anyone!

Devon

Total word count (as of yesterday): 80,683

Published in: on November 18, 2011 at 8:39 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, July 4, 2011


A cork tree, Heritage Museum and Gardens

Monday, July 4, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid
American Independence Day

As you can see, I’ve tweaked the sidebar. The small writing booklets are gone — Payloadz is more trouble than its worth; in addition to poor or no customer service, they wound up keeping 80% or more of each booklet. Not an acceptable arrangement. I’m combining the booklets into a new book and adding some additional material. I plan to have it ready for purchase, probably via Amazon Kindle, in the fall, and am researching the cost of spiral-bound copies to bring to conferences and classes. I’ll keep you posted.

I cleaned up some of the blog links — got rid of ones where people have stopped posting, stopped by and said hello on a bunch I hadn’t visited in awhile. Nice to catch up. I added The Writers Vineyard, where I now post monthly, and I hope that will be one of your regular stops.

I’ve also taken down the Nina Bell story. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the Nina Bell stories — she’s got a lot to say, but how best to get the stories out there? And do I want to write FINDING JAKE, setting it fifteen or twenty years after TAPESTRY? I have to think about it.

I wound up not going to the Powwow, unfortunately– I’ll put it on my “must do” list for next year. 30,000 other people managed to get there, so I doubt they missed me! I ran some errands on Saturday, including getting another cubic foot of potting soil and picking up a pie. Got more gas for the mower, and mowed the front. Costume Imp’s right — it runs much easier without the death grip on it, but it’s still difficult to maneuver on the uneven ground. I did a lot of deadheading and weeding, all around the house, and cut back stuff that’s popped and faded. Planted zinnias and, because I think Bessie’s brood ate the flowers on the pumpkins and zucchini, planted some more pumpkins — this time in a pot. Put the teeny, tiny tomato plants in the big pots outside with the basil and the marigolds. We’ll see what happens.

I did a bunch of research and worked on the lectures for the upcoming classes. I finished the July newsletter and got that out on Sunday morning.

The line at Dunkin’ Donuts on Sunday was right out the door. Yeah, it’s summer on the Cape.

There are all kinds of fireworks going off, some legit, some morons who don’t know their asses from their elbows and may lose both if they’re not careful. Having trained in pyrotechnics during my time in theatre, I have only contempt for people who act like setting off a firecracker is the same as lighting a candle. If you don’t have the knowledge, and, more important, the RESPECT for the piece, it will take no prisoners.

Violet is absolutely turning herself inside out with terror from the noise and the vibrations. Iris just puts her paws over her ears and goes back to sleep. The Hounds of the Baskervilles are very upset — it hurts their sensitive ears.

We got to eat the first strawberries from our hanging baskets — the Seascape variety, no less! They are delicious, so full of flavor. I don’t think we’ll get 25-50 quarts this summer, but we will enjoy whatever ones we have!

Got out a couple of short stories on submission, and got some other work done. Got some decent work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and simply don’t understand why the progress is so slow. It’s not a bad book, the pace is decent, and I’m struggling to sit down every morning and get my minimum done on it. But it needs to get out the door, so butt goes in seat, until it gets done.

Did some work on the outline of the new book, and then realized that I have to rename the character, because she doesn’t like her first name, and her last name is the same as a character in a book that will go out on submission in fall. Since the books are both set on the Cape, unless I plan to have them related to each other, this isn’t going to work. I want this book to have a rather wry, light tone, with a hint of brittle humor without breaking, but it seems to want to go in another direction. I hope I can set up character and situation so humor emerges organically; if I try to “write funny”, it will be leaden and awful. I planned out how I want the bitchy manger to meet her untimely end, and why, and tied it to a murder at the same location in the 1950’s, in the earlier history of the same complex, so we’ve got the whole generational thing going on. I’ll have to work with some timeline stuff, but it gives me the chance to play with summer stock on the Cape in the 1950’s. Originally, I’d wanted to do a series about a summer stock theatre, starting it in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, bringing it forward to contemporary times. But this way, I get to put that and the contemporary times side-by-side. I think the contrasts and compliments will be interesting, instead of breaking each thing into its own book. Bitchy Manager actually gets a nicer end than what I originally envisioned, but it serves the book better and hey, she’s still dead! 😉 I think I’ll actually title the chapters with when they take place, so that I can write scenes set in the 1950’s as well as in contemporary times. I know I’ve got books about the straw hat circuit that I haven’t unpacked yet, and I have two whole shelves in the storage room just waiting for them . . .

Yes, I’m writing about theatre again. What can I say? Backstage is ripe for stories, and writing them is easier than going back and keeping those hours! 😉

Had a breakthrough on the adaptation of GLAMOROUS HEARTS, which is back on the schedule. I think it can do very well as darkly comic novel. I’ll need to do research, but I’ve got most of the research on the 1920’s New York part, and I’m close enough to Newport, with enough resources, to be able to fill that in. WHEN that will get done, I’m not quite sure — maybe allow myself to do a scene at a time as a reward whenever I get a good, solid chunk done of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Today, I have quite a bit to do, writing-wise, and I want to make sure I complete the material for Confidential Job #1. I get to go back to yoga tomorrow morning — I’m absolutely hungry for it.

But today, holiday or not, I have to put my head down and get some work done.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and snowy

So the snow was supposed to stop at 11 AM yesterday. Um, where?

A little before 10 AM, I went out to shovel slush and put down ice melt. A bit of a pain, no problem. It started snowing again around 11, and the city truck went past — pushing snow into my nice, clean driveway!

I stomped out with the shovel to clean it, and said Many Bad Words in a Row.

It snowed well into the evening, so this morning, I’m off to shovel again. Doesn’t look too bad — nice and clean. About another 2-3 inches.

Really, compared to a lot of other places, we didn’t get slammed that hard, and for that, I am grateful. So I better keep my Bad Words down to a mutter! 😉

Spent the day writing, reading, commenting on the class. Got an idea for a piece and outlined it, well, the opening — not sure if it’s a Victorian urban fantasy comedy or steampunk. Percolated on the Samantha Light piece that’s been percolating for the past week or so, and also got an idea from a magazine article for a speculative fiction short story. So that was productive.

Reworked the Very Big Proposal, and will go over it one more time before I shoot it off. I think I’m ready for the commitment.

Sorted out the four-jobs-in-two-weeks-in-CT that I’m doing in February. Hey, I can use the cash. I’ve got bills to pay and patio furniture to purchase!

I need to get on the stick to market for March work. January’s been a good work month, February sorted itself out without much effort on my part, April will be light until we get into May, and then May is already booked. But March — I mean, I can’t celebrate my birthday for a whole month, and I do have bills coming in!

Live Chat went well last night — interesting questions. Hopefully, I gave them some good stuff to consider in their work.

Today, I’m off to Dennis to an herbal seminar (with my shiny new notebook) and then, this afternoon, I’m going to meet the town librarian and get my library card. That always makes me feel like I really live somewhere — getting my library card!

I’m going to try to spit out a few more pages, then suit up and shovel, and off I go!

Devon