Wed. June 1, 2016: Diagramming a Series for Structure

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend, but not with a lot to show for it.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from the library. I ran around doing errands, and got the terraced back area mowed. It desperately needed it! Sunday, I worked on the meadow, but only got about ¼ of it done.

Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Neil McGarry in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV at Cape Rep in Brewster. It was a beautiful space, and a wonderfully done show. The entire cast was terrific, and the direction was superb. It was easily the best thing I’ve seen since I lived on Cape.

Monday and Tuesday rained, so I couldn’t work outside. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t get as much done inside as I would have liked, either. My lunch date was cancelled yesterday, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since I felt so bad, and I missed both the Mermaid Ball meeting and the Artist HobNob.

I did a lot of mental work on the rewrite of what’s been THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, but will shortly have a new title. I figured out the new opening, and how that affects the rest of the plot and red herrings and incorporates the other suggestions. I didn’t get a lot of words on paper, but I’ve got a good sense of direction for this revision. It didn’t LOOK like a lot of work got done, but it’s the part of the process that, unless you are an artist or writer, you don’t really understand, and it’s difficult to explain. I ran the response ideas past my agent and she liked them, and we’re working on both a new series title and new book titles.

I also worked on ideas for CHOLERIC’s revision. The contrast between the two series is interesting. Although they are both mysteries, the tone is very different for each. I broke down some of Philip Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard mysteries, because they are closer in tone to what I’m going for that something in CHARISMA’S subgenre. I was surprised by several things: the conservative tone of the books, which I hadn’t really noticed when I originally read them in the 90s and which I do not like now; and the number of characters, which I like A LOT.

I dislike books with too few characters. Even in a small community, you run into a lot of people, and keep crossing paths with people. If a writer doesn’t differentiate characters well enough, that’s one thing, or substitutes character quirks for actual character. Neither of those work for me. But if a reader’s too stupid to keep track of more than six characters, well, that’s not the reader for whom I’m writing, period. And I’m a little tired of all these content producers, across different mediums, claiming they want “diverse” characters, when in reality, they want the mention of different skin tones, but they want the characters to act like white people.

The exercise is very illuminating. I’m also doing it with Jane Langton’s Homer Kelly books.

I also took the opportunity of not feeling well and having little left over energy to re-read Sharon Shinn’s entire TWELVE HOUSES series. I’m nearly done with all five books. I love them more each time I re-read them. MYSTIC AND RIDER is still one of the books in my Top Ten list, and I still think it’s one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. I still sob at portions of THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE. I liked DARK MOON DEFENDER better this time around, and still love READER AND RAELYNX. I’m about half way through FORTUNE AND FATE.

I have to respect her decision to end the series when she feels she should, but I would love more in this world. I love all these characters a lot.

Back to work today; will be a long day, and then I have to tackle actually getting words on the page. I have a feeling, over the next few months, I’ll be writing both first thing in the morning, and adding another session at night.

Hope you had a great weekend.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Oh, dear. I had to stop working on the western for a bit. It seems the character I’d decided was the villain of the piece, Josiah, has decided to be the hero. Which means I have to toss out Chapter Two entirely, rewriting it with him as the main focus of it. Poor Ben, the sheriff who was supposed to be the hero! He’s about to be pushed out of the way by a far more interesting character. I wondered why I was having trouble with the outline, and how I was going to get Amanda and Ben together. It’s because Amanda’s supposed to be with Josiah.

Well, crap, now I have to back and do rewrites and get even farther behind!

So I rewrote chapter two and part of chapter three. I may have to revise chapter one again, and I’ll definitely have to rewrite chapter two YET AGAIN. It’s not working, using alternating points of view. It needs to all be from Amanda’s POV. Which means I lose some cool dialogue and character revelation, but it serves the overall story, gosh darn it, so it needs to be done!


I forgot to mention that I grabbed Sharon Shinn’s READER AND RAELYNX on Friday in the city. I started it on the train and read a good chunk of it today – I reward myself with a few chapters every time I hit a writing goal. I want to just sit and read it straight through – the Twelve Houses books are among my favorites – but I need to get a lot done. Of course, when I’d written myself out for the day, I sat up until well after midnight to finish it.

I did quite a bit of work on the new ebook, too. I want to have that out by midweek, provided I can get a good design figured out by then. And I got out a few submissions.

Started The Big Project this morning. Because I have to fit into material that’s already been created by others, I have to keep stopping to look things up. But it’s all good. Again, the characters are surprising me, but in the best possible way.

I just completed some author interview questions for a blog, and I’m doing a live chat with FireDrakes Weyr on Wednesday at 7 PM EST. Once I have the chatroom link, etc, I’ll post it.

Lara, you’re absolutely right about Nano. I think doing it this year is taking on too much and spreading myself too thin, in light of the other deadlines. Part of me wants to do it anyway – last year I hit 50K in the first 13 days, went well over 70K by the end of the month and also finished TRACKING MEDUSA. But that was extraordinary, and I wasn’t under the same deadline pressure. Plus, I didn’t rely on the writing income as completely as I do now. Taking a month off for Nano from paying work, right before the holidays in this economy? Not a smart move.

I still WANT to do it; I just don’t think it’s sane or practical. Plus, I get burned out and frustrated every year, in spite of the fun. So it might be good to skip it for a year and go back next year or some other year when I can clear the calendar and devote myself to it without worrying about anything else.

I know I can write 50K in a month. I’ve proved it three times with Nano, and, when I look at the amount of writing I do every week and month, it comes out to more than that anyway. I have nothing to prove.

But I do like the writing-in-community part.

Back to the page.


Western Novella – 6,300 words out of est. 30,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 30

The Big Project – 2,664 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2 / 75