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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mon. May 8, 2017: The Reading Groove Leads to the Writing Groove

Monday, May 8, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I gave myself the weekend off from writing, after revising another three chapters on THE FIX-IT GIRL. I’ve got just over 15K done on the second draft. I’m going along more slowly than I would like, but, at least, it’s going. It’s necessary, in order for the piece to be the best it can be.

Worked on outlines for the pseudo-Gothic and for the literary fiction novels.

But, for the most part, this weekend, I went on a reading marathon, reading only what I wanted to, nothing that I had to. I re-read TC Boyle’s EAST IS EAST. I forgot how brutal it was, especially the ending. I read the first Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Rayburn, A CURIOUS BEGINNING, which I loved. That is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. Read two of Shelley Freydont’s Newport Gilded Age mysteries, A GILDED GRAVE and a GILDED CAGE. I like them, and I like her writing. They’re very different from Alyssa Maxwell’s mysteries set around the same time, also in Newport, and both series are well worth it.

On the non-fiction side, I read GHOSTING by Jennie Erdal, a memoir of her twenty plus years as a ghost writer for a particular individual. Interesting and somewhat depressing. I also re-read A BOOK AND A LOVE AFFAIR, by Helen Bevington. I’d read four of Bevington’s volumes of diaries/memoirs back in Rye. At some point, I bought a copy of this. I wanted to order the other three from the CLAMS libraries here and re-read them, too, but none of them are in the system, which is frustrating. I’ll have to go on Commonwealth Catalog, or, if that doesn’t work, go on ILL to get them.

Was berated by a so-called “publisher” who advertised for freelance contributors, but didn’t list rates. When I queried the rate, I was told that they don’t discuss money with new contributors; they want proof of “commitment” and “passion” first. Well, honey, I have a commitment and a passion for keeping a roof over my head, and I do so with my writing. If you aren’t up front about your rates, I can only assume that you either don’t pay at all, or you pay a pittance; professionals aren’t squeamish about stating what they pay. Cross that one off the list and move on. Another publication wants me to be a contributor –at 1/20th of my normal rate. I don’t think so. Next!

On a more positive note, I got a lovely letter from a company interested in one of my radio plays. The reader (who is also one of the company’s actors) loved the piece and will recommend it for next season. So, fingers crossed. There are still plenty of steps between interest and production, but it’s one of the nicest letters about my work I’ve ever received.

I have some pitches to write and send out this morning (to publications who pay appropriately and are open about their rates). Bills to pay — never fun, but always a relief when paid.

I hope I can get the mowing working again, because there’s grass that needs to be cut, and I can’t afford to buy a new mower if this one has bitten the dust permanently. I’ve gone back to using my Melita filter pot because my coffee pot died! A lawn mower is much more expensive.

Later on, I have to revise the next chapters of FIX-IT GIRL. WINNER TAKE ALL has had its percolation week; I’ll re-read that this afternoon and start my 20 pages-per-day revision on it tomorrow.

Working on an outline for an idea for a piece set in the 1890s that could be kind of fun, and hoping to write my way a bit into the literary fiction. I’m still trying to make some structural decisions on it; I hope that by writing my way into it for a bit, that will give me some answers.

I’d like to get back to NOT BY THE BOOK one of these days. I’m still on the fence about the radio adaptations — I’m not sure the time necessary to do the adaptation properly balances the money. Maybe it’s because I’m not excited enough about the material. Still debating.

Trying to get a few other things into motion, hoping they pay off (in every sense of the word) in the next few months.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

Wed. May 3, 2017: Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde (goes direct today)
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank goodness Mercury goes retrograde this afternoon. This go-round has been rough.

Yesterday, I was under the weather; I ran some errands and did some research necessary for the revisions of the next chapters in THE FIX-IT GIRL.

The grass in the front is long and lush and beautiful. I’ll mow it, probably tomorrow. My neighbors keep their lawns in a buzz cut, but I like to strengthen the roots and have it a little longer, the way my friend at Mass Audubon said was healthier.

Read Deanna Rayburn’s A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING yesterday — so good I read it straight through, couldn’t put it down. It’s her second Veronica Speedwell mystery, and it’s a lot of fun.

Gave myself the day off from most writing yesterday. I felt so lousy that I knew I’d have to toss it all anyway.

Did some research on art colonies in New England — most of the books about the art colonies are so poorly done. There’s an excellent book on Yaddo that I keep checking out, but the others are all dull. I may have to re-read TC Boyle’s EAST IS EAST, which is a satire set at an art colony. Although it’s very different from what I’m doing, it still might be fun to re-read.

Playing with ideas for two more pieces. One is a literary fiction novel, set just after World War I. The bulk of it would be in Maine, with forays into New York, Boston, and England. The other is a pseudo-Gothic, with elements of comedy, mystery, and romance, set in Cornwall. We’ll see where they go.

Heard back from an editor I pitched last week — he’d like some samples. So, off they go today, and, fingers crossed. I need to start another article in the next couple of days, an opinion piece that I’d like to get out next week.

I’m still struggling with “Seven of Swords”. I don’t seem to be fixing the problem with my tweaks, but prolonging it. Very frustrating.

Enjoying a terrific book on Manet’s life and work in 500 images. His paintings, like Edward Hopper’s, often give me ideas for short stories.

There’s finally sunshine. When the puddles dry up, maybe I can get some more yard work done. The yard work will be ongoing until the next snow!

Attorney General Maura Healey held a town hall last night. We are lucky to have her. She is far more active and involved with people than her predecessor. She takes a stand, and she gets things done.

Did about 1K on the Venice section of POWER OF WORDS, and four pages of the pseudo-Gothic outline. Not a bad start for the day.

I have to finish the complaint paperwork regarding AAA and CVS today. Those have to be filed this week.

Never a dull moment, which I guess is a good thing.

May 1, 2017: Process and Planning

Monday, May 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Beltane
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend, but good one.

Finished the first draft of the screenplay WINNER TAKES ALL. It took me 19 days to write it from concept through first draft. It flowed well. I’ll have it marinate for about a week, and then hit revisions. The 6 pages/day schedule was good (although I usually averaged 10-13). I like the leaps of craft I’ve made in this. The storytelling is better, and that’s the point.

I had an idea for a new mystery on Friday and started playing with it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. I wrote a few pages and it seemed distant. This morning, I woke up with the protagonist’s voice very strong in my head, and the realization it needs to be first person. However, I’m worried about yet another mystery of mine in the first person, although I feel Anna’s voice is quite distinct from either Sophie’s or Gin’s. We’ll see.

Disappointing response to a pitch that requested samples. Part of it was my misunderstanding the request, which is entirely on me; the rest of it is the person in charge not wanting/being able to evaluate a writing sample that wasn’t project specific. In my mind, if you look at a writer’s portfolio, you should be able to evaluate voice, style, craft, even if the sample wasn’t written specifically for you — that’s the point of a writing sample. To show breadth and depth, not to provide something for free to the publication. An editor should be able to read a piece and tell if the writer fits the publication. If said individual “can’t” because it’s not specific to that publication, the warning bells go off. It had potential to be a steady gig that could have been fun, but if the editor’s ability to evaluate is so narrow, I’m not a good fit for the publication. Next. I was going to try to fix the misunderstanding, but the more I consider it, the more my gut tells me that I’ve dodged (yet another) bullet.

Did some yard work, and planted some bee-friendly patches on the side of the house and in the stone circle. Arranged the deck, turning it into the Enchanted Garden for summer. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m out of shape, and only have the stamina to do a little bit every nice day. I’m going to have to start mowing this week.

Have an idea for a literary fiction/historical novel. Not sure if it will go anywhere. Again, the protagonist’s voice is strong, and quite different from the other voices. I will play with the ideas.

Made some research notes for FIX-IT GIRL — I start revisions on it today. I need to finish the Venice section on POWER OF WORDS, because I need to get those research books back, since I have oh-so-many other research books on the way out.

Rewatched THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR and liked it. I appreciate Matt Smith’s work more with some distance. When he first started, I missed David Tennant’s work so much, it was hard to connect to Matt Smith’s. They’re very different, but very good, and they were excellent together.

Watching the AGATHA RAISIN series. I am not a fan of the books, and the series doesn’t do it for me, either. There’s a mean-spiritedness in so much of it, and a lack of logic that thinks it’s funny, but just comes across as stupid. I like most of the actors, I love the locations, but I don’t like the tone.

Finished re-reading the Anthony Trollope biography. I’ve always admired his professional approach to his writing. He got up early every morning and wrote five pages, no matter what or where he was. 250 words per page, 1250 words a day. If he finished a novel within those five pages, he pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and started the next one. He got things done, without a lot of fuss and bother, or moaning.

The April wrap-up is on the GDR site, and May’s To Do list will be up tomorrow. The view on May looks very stressful from here — I hope I can get things sorted out to relieve some of the pressure. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult month.

I have some errands to run this morning, and then, this afternoon, I hope to dig back in to the writing. My To-Do list includes NOT BY THE BOOK, THE FIX-IT GIRL, POWER OF WORDS, “Seven of Swords”, and “Axe to Grind”, but I seriously doubt I can get work done on all of them today.

I’m worried I may have missed the window of opportunity for “Seven of Swords.” At the same time, I can’t send out a piece I know is sub-par. I have to try to fix it. I thought I had the key to fixing it, but it’s not quite working. I want to retain some of the ambiguity, but clean up the parts that are a hot mess. I haven’t hit that balance yet. I either over-explain or it’s overly ambiguous. I just have to keep at it until I get it right.

Like so many things.

Onward.

Tues. March 4, 2014: Good Clients are Gems; Bad Get Tossed Off

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I know I worked yesterday, all day, but wound up feeling unsatisfied anyway.

Shoveled the snow — only a couple of inches, light and fluffy, not bad at all. Working my way through the contest materials. The first batch was innovative and well-edited. This next group of books, not so much. But this category is very competitive, so it’s good that I can weed some of them out early on.

Finished the next book my editor sent for review. Difficult material, beautifully done, but writing the review will be a challenge.

Interview questions out for an article, and my delightful subject already sent them back. This individual is truly lovely to work with, and I feel lucky that I landed the assignment.

Contract arrived for a gig starting mid-April (short one, until mid-May). Signed, and will pop in the mail today. Should be fun.

Worked on the play, did some plotting for BALTHAZAAR. Sent out some pitches. Dealt with some wearying demands from wanna-bes. I don’t jump through hoops — this is what I do, here are my credentials, here are my rates, these are the terms, this is the contract. Either you want to be a client, or you don’t. I’m not turning around a 100K edit in 24 hours for $20. Not happening. Even if you paid market rate (which is about 100 times that), I couldn’t turn around a 100K line edit in 24 hours and do a good job. If you don’t work with contracts or “believe in” deposits, we are not a good fit. Buh-bye. Sending me nasty, ranting emails demanding that I change my business to suit you isn’t going to work. Sometimes there’s room to negotiate, on certain projects with the right circumstances. But I charge professional fees and provide professional services. If that doesn’t fit with your “business model”, go hire a content-mill-level person and you’ll get content-mill-level service. Don’t tell me I “have to” work for less than my fees at an unreasonable turnaround time, because you “chose” me and I should feel “privileged”. That’s not how professional business relationships work.

If we’re a good fit, we will both feel the time/money/service ratio is fair, and we will feel “privileged” to work WITH EACH OTHER.

Lots of writing to get done today, so I better get to work.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:14 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014: Yes on the Offers

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Worked with students, did some admin, pitched for jobs, finished the next book I have to review, and had yet more trouble with Comcast believing that both federal and state telecommunications laws don’t apply to them. A trying day.

However, on the positive side, I’ve been offered two contracts by a publishing company — it’s a company I’ve wanted to join for awhile, and they LOVE my work, and they agreed to the two small changes I asked for on the contract. Once everything is signed, sealed, and delivered, I will make the formal announcement. But they’ve already assigned me an editor and release dates for both projects.

A grant and two prose contracts — nice way to start the new year!

It also means the second book in the four-book cycle needs to go back into the writing rotation — I need to get it to them soon.

I’ve got a lot of writing to get done today, to make up for the writing I didn’t get done yesterday, and then I have a Board meeting tonight.

I’m excited!

Devon

Published in: on January 8, 2014 at 7:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Nov. 19, 2013: You Get What You Pay For

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’m trying to remember yesterday. I know I pitched for jobs, worked on a big critique project, and juggled three screenplays. I had to do some layering on one, upping the stakes early on, and then just did opening sequences for the other two, so I wouldn’t lose them while they were hot.

As I suspected, a client who’d booked me for a big project needed before Thanksgiving flaked. Forfeited slot, deposit, and specially negotiated rate. Had another person contact me who’d ranted and raved at me that I was too “expensive” on the rate quoted to line edit a novel. Fine, I respect that, go somewhere else. The client hired a cheap-ass editor, and now is getting rejected by publishing houses because of all the errors in the manuscript. Now the person comes back to me and says that I “HAVE” to re-edit the messy manuscript — for $150, because the writer spent so much money n the other person.

Honey, I don’t “HAVE” to do anything. I choose my clients, the same way writers choose their freelance editors. And I’m not going to work at a fraction of the price I quoted because YOU made the wrong choice. When you come back and expect me to clean up the mess, the price goes UP.

In negotiations for a long-term gig on a cool site; hope it works out. I’d get to work on a wide range of topics.

Got to get a lot done this morning, because a team of us are going to the Writers Center storage unit to clean it out this afternoon, then I have a development meeting at NMLC and then I’m helping a friend of a friend with a live chat during a TV show.

Busy day, but at least it mixes it up a bit.

Devon

Published in: on November 19, 2013 at 8:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Nov. 6: Juggling Writing and Reading

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Just realized I didn’t blog yesterday. I went to vote instead. It was local election time, town council and the like. It was amazing how long the lines were. People take their voting very seriously here.

Got out some pitches, worked with students, continued with an editing project, negotiated for a big editing project that should start in two weeks (I won’t count on it until the deposit arrives), worked on adapting a prose piece for television, and continued working on typing up and fleshing out material from the development notebook.

Getting some work done on the novella this morning before tackling some articles and getting back on the other stuff.

I’ve got a lot of reading to do in the next few days, some for reviews, some for research, and some because I’m deconstructing a series of books by one particular author to learn why she’s so popular.

Have a meeting tonight of the Writers Center Board. Which means I have to be very, very focused today!

Devon

Published in: on November 6, 2013 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6: Juggling Writing and Reading  
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Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I knew it was too good to be true. I kept my head down for the first few days of the Mercury Retrograde and hoped for the best, and got whammed this morning when Comcast screwed me. I am so sick of them having a stranglehold on the Cape and being my ONLY choice. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them?

Yesterday I worked at getting the screenplay on track, and I think I’m getting there, at least for this draft. Then I worked on the palate-cleanser, which is just taking off.

Sent out a few pitches, and got immediately hired on a new, potentially long-term, fun gig. My first assignment is on its way, so we’ll see how that works out.

Got in many of the plants from the deck. Working at putting everything to bed. There’s a LOT of work still to do in the yard, but I’m doing a little bit every day, and, eventually, I will get there.

Most of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the CCWC Annual Meeting (in costume). Not having to set up the ball all day and then having only 40 minutes to get ready made a big difference. I got an hour just to do the make-up, and it was much better. Getting into the corset was, of course, an adventure in itself. Next corset will be front-lace.

Since it was raining, I had to put a cloak over the costume, and maneuver the cloak and the tail. Quite the adventure.

Dinner was fun, the annual meeting part of it was quick and fun, and it was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.

Home at a reasonable hour, stripped out of the costume pieces back into sweats, to bed early (after taking nearly as long to scrub the make-up off as it took to put it on).

Worked with students, shot an email to an editing client asking for the new ETA on the project that was supposed to arrive on Monday. Have two articles to write in the next few days, an article to wrap (got two new sources yesterday), and an essay to get started on.

Deep breath, pull it together, move forward.

I need a nap, and it’s barely 9 AM.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast  
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Wed. Oct. 23, 2013: Corsets and Doubt Demons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

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

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

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

Bad headaches.

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

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

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

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

Devon

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Oct. 14, 2013: Hard working Weekend and THE TOWN

Monday, October 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Weekend of hard work. Lots of pitches. Lots of supposed clients who want work for nothing, which isn’t going to happen, because I have bills to pay, and I’m not a twenty two year old just starting out. Lots of scams out there asking for project specific samples, then telling people they didn’t get the job, but using the samples so they wind up with piecemeal work on the entire job and not paying anything. May those scammers have their karma rebound quickly on them.

Watched THE TOWN again — I’d seen it when it first came out, but wanted to see it again. I’d forgotten just how good it is, especially Jeremy Renner’s performance as Jem. The unconditional loyalty he has, especially for Dougie, is one of the things I connected most strongly to in the piece, although all of his work, and much of everybody’s work is beautifully detailed. That moment where Dougie asks for his help with no questions asked, and Jem just looks at him & says, “Whose car we takin’?” That moment, those inflections, what was going on his eyes, just defined their whole relationship. So simple, and so much there. Perfection. So many other actors would have made it unnecessarily complicated and diluted the power of the moment, but not Renner.

Read a couple of books, but nothing stood out. Wrote and polished a review, sent it to my editor. Worked on my neuro-ethics homework (love that class) and the human genome homework (bit of a slog).

Wrote a few chapters on the novella. Finished the section set at the Santa Anita Park racetrack, and now I’ve got them in the San Gabriel mountains. Realized I have to seed in a subplot.

Outlined a screenplay, and realized the scenes that are more interesting to me – -the ones that were the inspiration for the piece — need to be moved into the final act — I’ve got them, in the outline, at the top of the second act, and it doesn’t really work. I have to work out an important “why” for my female protagonist. My male protagonist seems like a pretty straightforward guy (although he’s got more going on than initially apparent), but my female protag is hiding something from me, that, as the writer, I need to know in order for the piece to work, and it’s not something that I can discover within in the writing. So I’ll be pondering that.

Did some yard work — lots to do to rake and put the yard to bed for the winter.

Onward.

Devon

Mon. Nov. 19, 2012: So ready for a New Week! = Why didn’t this publish this AM? Darned Merc Ret!

Monday, November 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. Friday was a discouraging day, on many fronts. By noon, I was just about ready to give up. But I pushed through, and just kept at it. But I was very discouraged and blue by the end of it — although a trip to the library cheered me up somewhat, as such trips do. Managed to get out a review, an interview, and an invoice, so it wasn’t completely a lost day.

Saturday was busy — yard work, hauling leaves to the dump, writing, doing article pitches, doing promotional stuff, and finishing up the final galleys for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. They are done, they are out. I turned around two sets of novel galleys this week — exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Also caught up on my World History coursework for the week (and aced all the quizzes).

Sunday was about newspapers and laundry and doing stuff around the house. The dump was accepting brush up until yesterday, post-hurricane, so I loaded up the car with all the brush the landscapers couldn’t be bothered to gather (although they were paid so to do and it was all in one pile) and dumped it myself. Sent a photo of the stuffed car to the landlord, so he can see how much debris had been left behind.

Did my mythology coursework for the week. The class is so helpful, and is feeding a lot of my fiction.

Read a couple of mysteries — the premise is good, but the protagonist is a man of certain age. Nothing wrong with that, except all the female characters of every age are morons who fall all over him in embarrassing ways and he’s always the smug, self-serving hero. Ick. And the stories lack logic — they discover something important, but don’t do anything about it for a few days, even though they know it’s important, and are then surprised when something goes to hell in a hand basket.

Writing is percolating — now I have to get stuff down on paper. It was really percolating yesterday, on more than one burner, but I purposely gave myself the day off writing to recharge and let it build up, so I can write more this week.

I got a solid 1000 words done on a project where I don’t know where it’s going, but I like the feel of it, and I know the overall shape I want it to take. Of course, that means I still have to turn my attention to several other deadlined projects today, as well as do things like yard work and taking the garbage to the dump and other home and hearth stuff.
I’m also going to do my World History coursework for the week today and the Mythology tomorrow, so I don’t have it hanging over me during the holiday.

Devon

Don’t forget — the deadline for the Playwright Intensive is November 25. Three months — a submission-ready play. More info and application here.

And the Flash 7 Flash Fiction workshop — Dec. 7-16 — write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 days. Info here.

Thurs. Sept. 27, 2012: Juggling Courses and Deadlines


Still a few hibiscus in the garden

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got a few projects off my desk, but not enough — familiar refrain. Had to control a case of the crankies when someone for whom I’m doing a favor nagged me about it — even though I’m well ahead of schedule on it, Miss Thing knows she’s going to get it over a week ahead of deadline and is still bitching about it, and it’s usually something for which I’d be charging a good chunk of change. Live and learn, won’t make that mistake again. The important thing is not to take it out on the material.

Worked with students, struggled with CRAVE THE HUNT. I need to attack this particular sequence (set in Iceland) from a different angle, because what I’m doing right now isn’t working, and I’m out of time. This book needs to be done and on the publisher’s desk. I’ve got other deadlines looming, and can’t drag my feet anymore. What I’ve got thus far is good, where it’s going works, so I don’t know what my darn problem is.

Got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — it’s massive and fascinating, and I gave my editor the heads-up that I’d submit two versions of the usual write-up — the regular short, within word count, and a longer one, and he can then choose which he wants. He thinks that’s a great idea.

Put together the samples for the gig I hope to land — at this point, either my voice fits what they’re looking for or it doesn’t, so I can’t tie myself in knots about it. I’ve got a couple more pitches to get out before I leave this weekend — I want to pitch to a couple of places in Boston.

Set up a meeting with an agent for next week, which will be fun.

Watched a little over half the video lectures for the Sustainability Course last night. Interesting information, but a little depressing. Plan to do some work today on this week’s paper, and also either on the flood/drought rebalance, or try to knock out five or six pages of the mystery for that class.

Watched half the lectures for the Greek and Roman Mythology course — I like the instructor a lot, and it’s giving me a chance to go even deeper in the revisions for the Harpy trilogy, new ideas, an even stronger mythical foundation for those books. Very excited. We only have two short papers to write for that class — wish it was more.

Yoga was great this morning, and then I had the chance to go home and change before a committee vetting interview. I had a good time talking with them, but either they feel I’m a good fit with them or they don’t. It’s really out of my control, and all I can do is be exactly who I am, not what I think they want.

I need to go through some more submissions today, I want to work on the next article for WOW — it’s not due until Monday, but I want to send it out tomorrow. Still have no idea what’s going on with the play tomorrow night, so I’m going to show up, notebook in hand, and take notes. I want to knock off one set of lectures for the World History Class, and then either finish the Sustainability lectures or the Myth lectures.

I’ve blocked out most of the weekend, out of town, to really focus on CRAVE THE HUNT. Hopefully, I’ll have a lot of uninterrupted writing time – things don’t really get busy down there until Monday.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on September 27, 2012 at 11:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 27, 2012: Juggling Courses and Deadlines  
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