Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense few days. Very productive, but intense.

The two new Topic Workbooks, THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE , are both available here and through the Premium Catalog (which means Kobo, Nook, etc.). I’m pleased that they turned out so well. I’ll be adding them in to the various necessary web pages this week.

I worked on Saturday, and was exhausted by the time I came home. I spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on contest entries. I can’t believe how many entries are well beyond 500 pages — I’m talking 750, 850, 1410! And, in all those cases, it’s Book 1 which is so long! Few of them are well-written enough to sustain that length. Most of them are overwritten, have pages of info dump, and the pace can’t maintain the marathon. The characters and the plot aren’t strong enough to compensate.

Monday morning, off to Buzzards Bay for the Board meeting, followed by the Capital Campaign meeting.

When I got back, I was ready to dig in to the writing. On a whim, I pulled out the second draft of HEART SNATCHER, which I’d put in stasis for awhile, because I was frustrated with it. I was surprised by how well it held up. I made notes — mostly having to do with cuts. It’s in good shape, and I think in another draft, it will be ready to go. I then started re-reading what I have of the second book in the trilogy, HEART BINDER — needs work, but there’s promise, especially since I outlined the entire trilogy and smoothed over logistical lapses early on. I want to find a way to add it into the current schedule, while not dropping the ball on either SONGBOUND SISTERS or “Just a Drop.”

Got some work done on Non-Fiction #2, which is chugging along nicely.

Tuesday morning, I rewrote about the first 100 pages of HEART BINDER, fixing a lot of the problems and making it continue smoothly from HEART SNATCHER.

In the afternoon, I finished up the contest entries and made sure the choices were the ones I believed in most strongly.

By the end of this week, I’ll get in the entries for the radio contest, and those will be done by the end of the month.

This morning, I revised the prologue and first three chapters on the next draft of HEART SNATCHER. It will be a long day at work, but I’m eager to get back home this evening and write some more. I’m going to spend the next three days on this trilogy, and then, once I’ve got that in the groove, add in SONGBOUND and “Drop” over the weekend.

Of course, because I have to be inside for the next three days, it’s gorgeous out. But the weather is supposed to hold all weekend and finally get warmer, so maybe we can start setting up the deck.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow

Thursday, April 07, 2016
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and milder

They’re saying we will get snow again on Saturday. I really need good weather on my days off so that I can do yard work!

Yesterday was a long day, but fine. I did PR for upcoming programs, and put out feelers for some programs I’d like to book. I did my reports.

The version of MOBY DICK from which we are doing readings at the end of the month came in. I copied out my pages. I thought there would be a kazillion holds on it, but there aren’t, so I’ll hang onto it for a few days and do some background reading around my assigned pages. It’s been years since I read MOBY DICK.

Worked on contest entries, and did some work on Nonfiction #1. Did some work this morning updating some Topic Workbook covers and on upcoming Topic Workbooks, so I can get those out.

I need to sit down with a calendar and come up with a realistic re-release schedule for the short pieces. I also need to get new cover designs for some of them, and a new cover design for “Too Much Mistletoe”.

I’m on the fence about whether I want to do the two short stories that would need to be finished by the end of the month. I have to weigh the time necessary to add them in to the potential payout (which encompasses both financial and career placement). Something to think about this weekend.

Long day today, and then back to the contest entries. Every time I pick up an entry, I want it to be wonderful. And then we go from there.

I also have to do some replanting. Some of my seedlings need more room, and I need to start the next batch.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and milder

Yesterday started off as a good day — knocked out a review and got it to my editor; typed up the article I’d written the night before, edited it and pitched it; pitched two articles to a publication into which I’ve wanted to appear for years; started on another article; worked with students. Most importantly, I had an excellent writing session on my own novel, which put me into a pretty decent mood.

Frustrations started happening in the afternoon, everything from checks that were supposed to be here last week still not showing up to casting problems with the play. We lost an actor to a series pilot — understandable. An actress flaked, and she wouldn’t even have let me know if I hadn’t checked in with her about something about last night’s rehearsal. I was NOT amused, especially since she doesn’t seem to think it’s an issue, just to bail without notice. Needless to say, I won’t be using her for anything else. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I found someone else who really wants to do it who ended up having to race to the hospital on a family emergency, so last night wasn’t a possibility, and we’re trying to figure out if we can make it work.

So, we were down two actors for the hospital tour and the read-through. But we coped, and the three actors we have are awesome. Completely the right choices. And they seemed very interested in the workings of the hospital. Townsend is emotionally ready to go, I think. He’s restless. Hopefully, we’ll be able to release him soon.

We loaded up my car with props afterwards, and I came home to work on leads for the other two actors. I have a meeting with one today — hopefully that will work out — he seems eager, and I know he’s really good.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, but so keyed up I couldn’t sleep.

Woke up with an excruciating migraine this morning.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about my non-fiction E-books and the Topic Workbooks.

I have a lot to get done today, and a meeting tonight, so, deep breath and jump in. Migraine or not, it all has to get done.

Devon

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 9:52 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals  
Tags: , , , , , , ,