Tues. Jan. 31, 2023: Starting With More Snow

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

This won’t be as long as our usual Tuesday morning chat, because I just don’t have that much to say.

The month wrap up is over on the GDR site.

I wrote two book reviews on Friday morning, sent them in, invoiced, was paid, did a library run, came home. The weather was yucky. I had some scoring sheets and some pitches for coverage, that was it.

I have to say, these scoring sheets where the instructions are only to read the first page of the screenplay and score on that are teaching me a lot about how to open my own scripts.

I was done by mid-afternoon. My back hurt a lot, so I moved to the couch with the heating pad, and stayed there, reading for pleasure, pretty much all weekend. The weather was gray and icky.

Saturday’s reading was re-reading the 4th book of my own GAMBIT COLONY project and what I have of the 5th, on which I wanted to figure out and rework a few bits. I made some notes and did an insert scene. It’s not traditionally viable, so I’ll have to pitch it to a small publisher, and I have to make sure I have all the ducks in the row for the series. There’s a lot that works in it, and there’s also a lot that pushes boundaries. And there are cuts that need to be made, or information integrated differently, in order to let the focus remain on the large and ever-growing ensemble.

But in the late afternoon/evening, I switched over to reading for pleasure, and basically read all day Sunday.

There were some books that I started and went back in the return stack for the library after a few chapters because they just didn’t do it for me. But I read LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters (another Vicky Bliss), Lana Harper’s BACK IN A SPELL (which is really good), and AN UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS by M.E. Hilliard, which I think I’ve read before, but it was a pleasure to re-read (and order the next books in the series), and an early book by an author whose work I’ve read a lot of under various names; this one was a little on the cutesy side for me.

I should have dived into the books on Malta’s history for the Heist Romance screenplay. I did look through the travel guides and watched some local videos, and decide where I’m putting some of the key scenes, though. I should have worked on contest entries.

But I was in pain and feeling grumpy and unsettled, so I didn’t. I did, early on Saturday morning, dash out to get more ink. Getting in and out of the car was hard. But it had to be done.

Monday I had to get up and actually function, so I did some prep for Imbolcc, blogged, worked on Process Muse posts, and took the car in for inspection in the morning – new-to-me place, in and out in 12 minutes, which is less time than it took to drive there. But I’m all set until next year.

I only had a stack of scoring sheets to do in the script coverage, so I did that, and started working ahead on the Process Muse posts.

I have an idea tickling at the back of my brain. I thought it was going to be historical alt-fantasy or epic fantasy, but the characters have decided it is urban fantasy romance, so that’s what it will be. If I ever figure it out. Because some key scenes basically dropped into my head, and I have the story with the emotional arcs for the two protagonists, but not the plot. So I’ll make notes on the scenes (or maybe write them, there are not many of them), and let it percolate on the back burner of my brain to see if a plot evolves. All of last night’s dreams were in the world of that story, and through those characters’ experiences (rather than me being myself in one of my Dreamscapes), so there’s obviously something in there my subconscious believes is viable.

I ordered the Midnight City Pocket Tarot and am very excited to get it. The artwork is based on NYC locations, so it will have a resonance for me.

Soup class was fun – we did mulligatawny soup, and it was great. I missed the last couple of weeks of class, and missed the camaraderie, as well as the skills I’m learning. Once the food is created, everyone just hangs out and chats, and it’s fun. The best of Zoom (and makes Charlotte so happy).

I did a reading with the Spirit Allies Oracle deck, which came in the Goddess Provisions box a couple of months back. I don’t know why I’m surprised when it’s so accurate. It’s a terrific deck, by the way.

Anthony Lemke talked about a book he read that he really loved. It’s been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’m moving it up, because he’s never steered me wrong when it comes to books or good work!

We had a little snow overnight, maybe just over an inch. We have an ice warning out, and it’s kind of flurrying. I’ll wait until mid-day to do my library-grocery-liquor store run. I need more coffee. And I have to put in a Chewy order for cat litter.

The cats have adjusted to the whole not-being-fed-until-coffee. But the second the coffeemaker starts (it’s set for a specific time the night before) and the smell wafts through the house, all of them are making demands that I Get Up and Feed Them. It’s kind of hilarious.

I need to get my act together and focus today. There’s writing to do, interview questions to create and send off, contest entries to read, a book to start reading for review. No scripts in the queue, at least so far. I’m not in terrible shape this pay period, but I’m under what I hoped, and I’m very, very frustrated at the pressure to “double volume” when there aren’t enough scripts at a decent rate in the queue. So I need to add in other options.

#28Prompts starts tomorrow. I hope you have fun with it. I had fun coming up with the prompts. It will drop on Twitter at noon EST every day, and on the other social media channels (where I can’t schedule ahead of time) whenever I can get on them.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. Be well, my friends.

Tues. Jan. 17, 2022: When A Project Takes Control

image courtesy of M. H. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Time for our usual Tuesday morning catch up. The mid-month check-in is not yet up on the GDR site, but I hope to get that done later today.

Friday was pretty much a lost day. I did some blog work in the morning, made the social media rounds, and then headed out for the usual errands: post office, library, grocery store.

I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I was out and about.

Got things done, came home, unpacked, tidied up the living room (which involved rearranging stacks of books for various projects, and I wound up with a book fort).

I decided to give myself the day off and stayed in the book fort.

I noodled a little in long hand on an idea that started percolating a couple of days ago, and wrote a few outline notes.

I wrote up the two reviews, turned them in, and received my next books for review.

I finished reading THE READING LIST, which I really liked, and I’m looking forward to discussing it in book group.

Started reading another book that was recommended to me, but it was in present tense and lost me at the end of page one, so back to the library it goes, unread.

We were well enough to eat a decent dinner, and relax in the evening, reading and listening to Chantal Chamberland.

Slept reasonably well Friday into Saturday, although I had weird dreams. It was snowing again on Saturday morning (this after the weather reports said Saturday would be a “bright” day and the best of the weekend). Did the usual household chores.

Wrote about 12 pages on the outline I started the previous day. I know what has to happen for the last bit, but I’m not sure how to get there, so that will back burner percolate for a bit.

Roughed out ideas for two future “seasons” of ANGEL HUNT, if this one goes well, although the plot will be tighter and less sprawling. The seeds for both are set in ANGEL HUNT, although that was not my original intention. But we’ll see if it’s worth getting them past “idea” stage.

The damn new little printer wasn’t working properly, and I was ready to drop kick it out the window. I know better than to buy anything Canon anymore, be it a camera or a printer. They used to be a good company, but haven’t been for at least ten years now.

I want my big printer to work again.

Okay, whine over.

I set up the folders for the judging sheets in the three categories I’m judging, and put the correct sheets in the correct folders. I use paper sheets as I read, and then as I finish each book or a few books, I enter the data. It saves work rather than trying to enter all the scoring at the end. This way, I can finish the Batch 1 print in each category, then Batch 1 digital in each category, hopefully before Batch 2 gets there, and then I just have the final decisions to make, once I’ve read and entered Batch 2. I keep the Yes and Maybe piles on the worktable in my office for final decisions, and keep winnowing them down as I go. If it’s digital, I keep the physical sheet in the pile, so I can refer back to it when it’s time to make decisions.

I turned around a script, and started work on contest entries.

Sunday, I was up early, enjoying coffee, cats, and writing in longhand. Made biscuits. Had some sad news from a friend that a friend of hers, with whom I worked, has died of COVID. An online acquaintance is going through a rough time; I’m trying to be supportive, but also wondering if we’re being manipulated. That’s always the risk, when you only know someone online. Still, kindness from afar costs nothing, and can make a big difference.

Had to write a new Episode 56 for Legerdemain, because I needed to plant a character in a specific location to set up a plot intersection, and it needs to happen here. So the next set of episodes is misnumbered in the 1st draft now, and I’ll have to be careful drafting and editing forward. But I fixed a plot hole I knew was coming up, and set up a good intersection, even though it won’t happen for a few episodes. Polished and uploaded the episodes, which gets me into the beginning of February. Writing ahead on the first draft while polishing the second to upload requires intense concentration and specificity. I am grateful for my Tracking Sheets, Style Sheets, and the Series Bible, and I am diligent about adding in new information as soon as it’s created, and then changing it if it changes in the edits.

That process is different than with a series of novels, where I have tracking sheets as I write, but I don’t update the Series Bible until the final galleys are done on the book.

Had to put in more ink in the little printer, because, of course I did.

Turned around some script scoring. The pay for that is insulting, but that’s all that was in the queue, and the pay period ended on Sunday, so there we are.

Yeah, I’m getting on top of the LOIs and the direct mail as soon as Mercury goes direct this week.

Finished reading SILHOUETTE IN SCARLET, the Vicky Bliss mystery, and loved it. It got me thinking about some tropes I want to turn inside out. I ended up staying up until 11:30 writing 11 pages of a script outline in longhand.

Yesterday morning, I wrote another 9 pages, and then typed it up. Basically, the whole day was on this outline, which is really more of a treatment. I think it will be a limited series script, not a single screenplay. And there’s research to be done, and some beats to be fleshed out, even beyond the 10K of this outline. But it’s fun. And because each section needs a different type of research, it will be worked on piecemeal around other projects. I’ll reward myself for finishing work on other projects by doing a section of this piece here and there.

I have scripts in my queue for the next few days, too, so although I’m worried about the small amount of money from the pay period ending on Sunday, I’m hoping this pay period will be better. And I have to get off my duff and pitch for some new gigs.

I turned around two coverages. I was too tired for soup class. I wrote the opening 6 pages of the script on the treatment I’d written. It’s doing what I want it to, at least for this draft, although there will be a lot of cutting and layering in future drafts. I don’t yet have a title for it. For myself, I’m referring to it as the “Heist Romance” script.

It was very difficult to pull myself out of that fictional world (even though some of the settings are places I know very well). I felt disoriented and out of place.

I should have started the next book for review or worked on contract entries. Instead, I started reading a book by an author who’s work I’ve read for years. Her new book is the first of a new series. It’s still a little too predictable, formula-wise (but that’s what her readers want) and I keep getting too far ahead, but I like the central pair of protagonists, so it was worth staying up until 11:30 reading (I hope to finish it today).

I overslept this morning, and Tessa Was Not Amused. I fed everyone and settled down to write in longhand for a bit. Still felt disoriented, and a bit addled. My brain is already rewriting those initial six pages, and I took the red pen and marked up what I printed out.

The priority this morning needs to be the post for tomorrow’s Process Muse. I started it a few days ago, and then got distracted, so I have to get back to it. I need to draft another episode of Legerdemain, adapt another chapter of ANGEL HUNT, and maybe upload the next month’s worth of episodes. I have to create the graphics for the four episodes of Legerdemain I uploaded on Sunday, and draft tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post. The two posts for tomorrow were supposed to be on yesterday’s work schedule, but the Heist Romance pushed everything else to the side. I don’t regret spending the whole day on it at all, but it means reshuffling the rest of the week’s work. And the other script, that I started a couple of weeks ago, with the working title LUCKY NUMBERS, is standing there, tapping its inky foot, demanding attention. Since I figured out how to get out of the corner into which I’d written myself, I can do so. The question is when? I don’t want to lose its rhythm, or get its rhythm diluted by the Heist Romance.

I have errands I planned to do on Thursday, but we’re supposed to get the 3-6 inches of snow on Thursday that everyone else got the past couple of days. Today is bright and sunny. The SMART move would be to do all the errands today, and then hunker in the rest of the week, and push off some of today’s work to tomorrow. If I do that, I’ll wind up only working on the two blog posts (and the GDR post) and turning around the two scripts in my queue for today.

I like the flexibility of my schedule, but it also calls for prioritizing and rearranging tasks and making decisions, and today, my brain is filled with mashed potatoes, so that is not an easy task. Perhaps the errands will help clear it.

I’m talking in circles now. I’m going to stop yammering and get to work.

Episode 51 of Legerdemain drops today. Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one.

Tues. Jan. 10, 2023: Good Start to the Writing Week

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Time for us to curl up with a favorite beverage and have our Tuesday catch-up natter.

The GDR post this week is about “More Me” rather than the mantra thrown at us every year about a “new me.”

Busy weekend. As you saw from reading Friday’s post,  I was not in a good mood on Friday.

I scuttled the idea of getting anything done, and, instead, spent most of the day taking down and packing the holiday decorations. I didn’t get it all done on Friday; there was still about 1/3 of the tree left, and few other things scattered around. But I got most of it done.

I was tired and sore by the end of the afternoon. I made bouillabaisse for dinner, in the new Dutch oven, and it was delicious. I read for pleasure in the evening.

Didn’t sleep well.

Saturday morning, I wrote about 1K on a project with which I’m noodling in longhand, and wrote in my head on the screenplay.

I spent most of the day finishing getting the ornaments packed and reorganizing where to stash all these various boxes of ornaments, getting the tree taken apart, and the new stand apart (took 2 minutes to get this stand back in the box, yay), and everything put away. I broke one glass ornament, from 1982, which makes me sad, but when I took it off the tree, the top metal part that was attached to the hanger detached from the glass ball and that was that. Got it all cleaned up, so that the cats wouldn’t step on any shards.

Started switching out all the different fabrics from the holiday to more general January/winter fabrics – kitchen table, the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, other tables, etc. Didn’t get them all done, but made good progress.

The heat stopped working around midday. I put in a call, got no response, but it started working again in the late afternoon, so who knows. As long as it works.

Made Moosewood’s mac & cheese for dinner, which was good. Was too tired to read much in the evening, although I’m enjoying another of Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss series. Went to bed early because I was tired and sore.

Up early on Sunday and, for the first time since about Christmas, we had real sunshine. What a big difference! That made me feel better, too.

I wrote about 2K on the project in longhand, which wound up being all of Chapter 4. I’m starting to realize what this book is, how it’s shaped, what the narrative drive needs to be, which is very different than what I thought it was about. I think (hope) it will be a standalone. I have a lot of placeholders (which I don’t usually do), and I’m at the point where I have to type up these pages to really get an idea of what’s what. I SHOULD outline, but I don’t think I will, this time around, even though it will necessitate more rounds of revision. I started typing up the pages written (because otherwise it’s too overwhelming at the end). I am doing a lot of rewrites as I go, on this draft I’m calling “1A” that goes beyond adding in the information from placeholders and going to some restructuring as I’m learning the shape.

I wrote ten more pages on the screenplay. There are already all kinds of notes in the margins of what I’ve printed out, where I need to fix things in the next draft. And this draft will be too long, so cuts will have to be made, and some structural work done. But I’m telling the story I want to tell. I need to tell this version to completion, before I can make it fit the format better.

At the same time, part of me suspects I will eventually adapt it into a novel, because that is more likely to go somewhere. But the ideas are coming in as a screenplay, and I’m learning from it, so whatever it winds up being, I will have gained from starting in this format.

Made turkey meatloaf for dinner. Added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco to the mix, and that made a big, positive difference.

Read in the evening, but went to bed early, because I was tired. Tessa tried to get me out of bed at 3, but I told her no breakfast until the coffee starts. So the minute the coffeemaker started at its designated time, she was in full voice.

It’s amazing how something as small as having a coffeemaker one can program to start before one gets up makes such a big difference in starting the day.

Wrote about 1K on the longhand project. Drafted a Legerdemain episode. Got next week’s episodes uploaded, and created graphics. I wrote the loglines in the evening.

Mailed bills, dropped off and picked up books at the library, went to the grocery store I don’t like much to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at the other place. Sang the grumpy pants song to myself to get myself out of my worsening mood. It’s a silly little jingle I made up to sing to the cats when they were grumpy, and now I use it on myself at times, to get over myself and get back on track. Because it’s silly, and it’s hard to stay grumpy singing it.

After lunch, I did some scoring for the script coverage place – quick but low paid, and I’m a little worried about having enough work for this week.

In the meantime, I polished the first 16 episodes of ANGEL HUNT, created the Episode Tracking Sheet, the Style Sheet, and the Series Bible. I polished the blurb. I can start uploading those first two months’ worth of episodes today. Then, I’ll have to write the log lines and do the episode-specific graphics. I’m only using the series logo as a general graphic (unlike LEGERDEMAIN, where I have a plethora of general graphics to support the ongoing worldbuilding).

I wrote two pages on the script, which will have to be cut. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to cut this whole subplot. It’s too much of a tangent. I have a bit of a subplot in there already that is stronger for the piece.

I made some notes of general ad graphics for LEGERDEMAIN. I have a slew of general ads along with the episode-specific graphics, but I need to do some more, as more weird little shops and places work into the story.

Soup class with Chef Jeremy was fun, although his Zoom cut out partway through. But everyone just hung out and chatted until he got the tech on his end up and running. I’ve learned a lot in that class, and it’s fun to apply it.

My mom hasn’t been feeling well the past few days, which, since she is 98, is a concern. She’s a little better this morning, so hopefully, taking it easy for a few days will help.

Up early, before coffee, and had to coax the coffeemaker along. Tessa was thrilled she didn’t have to start howling to get breakfast. Got my act together to leave for the laundromat early, and was the only one there. It was wonderful.

While the laundry was going through, I got 1K written in longhand on the one book, and then read a bit, as the laundry finished in the dryer.

Home, hauled it up the stairs, got it folded and put away.

The plan for today is to draft another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, adapt the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial episodes, and get those first 16 episodes uploaded and scheduled. I’ll write the loglines, and maybe start the episode graphics, but we’ll see how long all that takes. I also want to do some work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. I also have to do the promotional rounds for the episode going live today.

I want to get out some LOIs today; I’ve been lax on that, and am paying for it, now that the script coverage has slowed down so much. They keep telling us they want more commitment as far as hours per week – well, then pay us better and have enough scripts ready for us.

I have a book to review, and can start on contest entries, if nothing comes in, script-wise, and I have some work to do on an article, too.

Episode 49 of LEGERDEMAIN goes live today – I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, my friends! I’m headed back to the page.