Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision

IMG_1081
Tessa suns herself by the front door

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Read about the garden and see some of the new pictures on Gratitude and Growth’s latest entry.

Worked with students, worked on the book. Finally got through chapters 12 & 13, and am tackling Chapter 14. This chapter needs some substantial new material, so it’s taking awhile. I like what I’m coming up with, though, and tying the different elements together.

Had hoped to have the draft done today, but that’s not going to happen. However, these chapters are the most complex and needed the most work, so putting in the extra time now will benefit the book in the long run.

Had a meeting in Sandwich — it went well, we had a lot of fun, got a lot of work done. Dropped off books at the library, but didn’t take out any more, since I’ll be away when they’d be due.

Came back, exhausted. Got some reading done in the evening, but not much else.

Finished Susan Wittig Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE, and am now re-reading Joan Anderson’s A YEAR BY THE SEA. I lived in NY when I originally read it, so I’m looking at it from a very different perspective.

Back to the page — must press on.

And, of course, I must MOW. I haven’t even done the meadow yet, and it’s looking like high grasses in the savanna, and I already have to do the terraced back and the front again!

Devon

Published in: on May 15, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 15, 2013: Long Grass and Revision  
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Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book

IMG_1034
Tessa enjoys the sun

Monday, May 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Had to take in the tomatoes,etc. last night. It’s in the 30s overnight for the next few days. Brrr.

I’ve tackled the first ten chapters of the CHARISMA KILLINGS revision. Ripped them apart, moved around story lines and subplots, got some more “detecting” in there, planted some more red herrings.

As I’m doing the revisions, I’m also setting up the Series Bible. Normally, I don’t do that until a piece is in final galleys, but, since this is the first book in the series, I’m doing it early, and I’ll make tweaks as the book progresses through production.

Worked in the garden, worked on the book. That defined my weekend.

Celebrated Mother’s Day by giving my mom a cheesecake (what she wanted most) and cooking her a steak.

Re-reading Susan Witting Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE.

We had some heavy rain over the weekend. I’ve gotten into the habit of putting out buckets on the porch steps to capture some of the water and use it in the garden. I have enough containers for 26 gallons — makes a difference when you’re gardening. And the grass! We could genuinely see it GROW over the course of the weekend. No pause in the mowing for me!

Lots of admin and other stuff to do today, including pitching some ideas to one of my former editors who is interested in having me work for her again.

And, of course, the book. Right now, everything is about the book.

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 7:03 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book  
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Thurs. July 5, 2012: Over the Holiday Hump

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy times! Hope you had a great holiday! I was off line earlier than I expected as of Wednesday, with this and that going on, and a houseful of people and all that. Lots of cooking, eating, conversation. Some thunderstorms, too — in Boston, they had to evacuate the Esplanade before the fireworks for awhile. But everyone was safe, and the show continued.

Wound up working mostly on the deck on Tuesday — took my work outside. It was a lovely day, with storms moving in later, but by then I was running around getting ready for company, and Wednesday, when there were quite a few storms, I just stayed offline.

House full of people for a few days — Tessa thinks it’s wonderful. A neighbor invited us over yesterday, but we never managed to get over to the party he was having, which was a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Everyone sort of goes their own way, and then converges for food and conversation, so there’s no pressure, and I’m getting some work done.

Of course, today there’s a ton to do, since I was offline, and I’ll put in some extra hours tonight. Article due, have to get some bookings into the calendar so I don’t blow them, catch up with students, get out the newsletter, get out a mailing for an organization of which I’m the secretary, work on the ghostwriting project. It will all get done, I just have to look at each piece and deal with it, not get overwhelmed by the entire list. Also, HAVE to get cat food in — Tessa’s at the bottom of her bag. Everyone fills the bowl when they walk past and see it empty, so she’s feasting. Fortunately, she’s still growing and allowed for the next few months!

I’m starting to notice weak editing when I read. Read a fantasy novel that didn’t deliver on its promise, but a lot of the problems could have been fixed by an editor with a sharper eye. The grammar, spelling, etc. was all great (always a relief), but there were some logistical elements that I could see the writing missing, but the editor should have caught.

Also re-read Susan Wittig Albert’s wonderful memoir, TOGETHER, ALONE. Beautiful book. And I’m re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES. THUNDER & LIGHTENING is my favorite of hers, but WDB is good to re-read. I remembered it being much more self-indulgent — it’s really not, and it talks about first draft freedom. Unfortunately, too many of the book’s disciples use it to mean you don’t have to EVER worry about things like grammar, spelling, structure, whereas she’s saying don’t let it trip you up in the first draft. Use the freedom to explore, and then work and massage the material so it makes sense –which is what all good writing teachers say. She advocates showing up at the page every day, writing specifics, showing instead of telling. Too many writers think the first draft is THE draft. It’s THE draft once it’s published — before that, everything’s up for change! 😉

I’m off to yoga, and then a busy day.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Valentine’s Day
Cloudy and cold

Each and every one of you are precious to me, and, as far as I’m concerned, you are all my valentines!

Busy weekend. The year-long intensive writing workshop I’m teaching, starting in September, is a go. Spent quite a bit of time going back and forth, finalizing the details. I’ll post the sign-up/application link as soon as I have it. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but we write, revise, edit, and start to submit a novel, start a second novel, and write a few short stories during the year. The students get their money’s worth, and wind up with submission-ready work. It is limited, there’s an application process, and applicants better know the difference between possessive and plural! I’m only accepting twelve students.

I was a little worried that it might be priced out of some people’s range; however, it needs to be priced high enough to pay me for my time — and the students get more than their money’s worth; it has to be priced high enough so they take it seriously; and it has to make up for the work I’ll have to turn down in the coming year. It’s still less than the herbalism master class I want to take next spring, and it definitely requires more work on my part to teach than the class I plan to take next spring requires to teach.

The red fox visited Site #2 Sunday morning, coming quite close. He is gorgeous, one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen — all red and gold with a white vest, and black face and paws. Healthy and shiny and vigorous.

Finished up at Site #2 in late morning, went back down to Site #1, and I’ll be here until mid-day on Thursday. Some snow flurries on and off all weekend, but nothing major, and we’re promised a thaw. I’m ready.

Worked on the essay and the short story, both of which are due tomorrow. I think I can get the essay out the door today — I want to tweak the story a bit more. I’m not satisfied with it.

I’m reading Susan Wittig Albert’s TOGETHER ALONE — gorgeous book. Definitely on the recommended reading list for “Setting as Character.” Stylistically, it wouldn’t work for what we’re doing in class — she’s talking TO us instead of integrating information into action, hey, it’s a memoir, that’s the point — but the use of language to evoke emotion about place works really well.

I also read and then tossed to the side one of the lamest “writing” books I’ve ever seen in my life. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and had been looking for it for a few years. I finally hunted down a copy in Niantic. What a piece of psychobabble crap! I did not find ONE useful piece of information in the entire book. And the exercises make you a weaker writer, not a stronger one. I’ll put it up on BookMooch as soon as I get home.

Hopefully, today I can put in a lot of hours of uninterrupted, focused work time. It always takes awhile for me to settle when I move from place to place — I don’t quite have the transitioning down yet. And I miss home.

Word from home is that the cats are in a MOOD. Violet is stomping around, knocking things down, and Iris is running around yelling.

To the page.

Devon

Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (9)  
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I frittered away far too much time online yesterday, although I sent a proposal to one place to pick up some work for March, and I did some brainstorming on another possibility.

Ran some errands, including post office and library. Found a book on local history, about which I was very excited, but it’s so badly written I have to return it. It is unreadable. In other words, I will not be hunting it down for my personal library! 😉

Everything stopped when the mail arrived, because it included a box of books. Within that box, was Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release in the Otherwworld series, Book #9, BLOOD WYNE. Life had to come to a screeching halt while I curled up in the big chair in the living room and read it straight through. Came up for air in time for dinner, that’s it. It’s really good; the series keeps getting better, and it’s wonderful to watch the sisters grow and change.

Also in the box are Susan Wittig Albert’s two memoirs, AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS, her journal of 2008, and TOGETHER ALONE: A MEMOIR OF MARRIAGE AND PLACE. Both will go on the recommended reading list for the Setting as Character Workshop.

I’ve started reading the first, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It should go on the must-read list for every writer. Heck, it should go on the must-read list for every human!

Today, I have to be very focused, and catch up on everything that didn’t get done yesterday. The most important thing is to get signed up for my own insurance. Ick. And catch up with work on the book,which has been percolating. That should make it easier to sit down and write. I’ve also got to tackle the essay and the short story, although I have a feeling the short story might be done all in a burst over the weekend.

Weird dreams, some of which had to do with riding on a new type of triple-decker Amtrak train (which is yet to exist). The start of the journey — a place I don’t recognize from my real life — is a place I’ve dreamed about before, with train dreams. I have no idea where I was going or why, but the train was very full, and I’d just gotten settled in one of the few seats left all the way up top when the Hounds of the Baskervilles woke me up with their howling. So I never found out where I was going, or why I was going there on Amtrak.

I should have a post up at Gratitude and Growth by the end of the day — I’ll post the link tomorrow. I got out the thank-yous, links, and PDF files for the article out to all the contributors. I have to check some dates — an editor of mine is going to arrange for a press pass for a few things around here. My clothes are packed for the trip — I have to pack my writing bag and my reading bag.

Onward and page-ward.

Devon