Thurs. April 27, 2017: Getting Back on the Query Wagon

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday, I wrote three pitches and submitted them, and submitted a radio play. The play was acknowledged, and two of the three pitches got a positive response. Not a bad day’s work! That cheered me up — I was feeling rather down the past few days, between having a cold and everything else.

Admin work, and then I spent the afternoon making my final decisions on the contest entries. I send those off today — the contest will announce the winners on Monday.

Getting ready to start the next draft of the FIX-IT GIRL next week. I’m giving myself six weeks for it. Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft of WINNER TAKE ALL done over the weekend, or early next week.

Enjoying re-reading the Trollope biography. I’ve read some of his books; I’m debating whether I should re-read and go beyond what I’ve read.

I’m enjoying reading what I WANT to read for the moment, instead of what I HAVE to read. Important to keep that balance.

Balancing creating new fiction with revisions and writing/researching nonfiction is always a challenge. Each type of work takes a different thought process and different skills. The wonderful part is that it keeps one active and engaged, and it’s interesting to keep expanding one’s repertoire. But sometimes, one project pulls hard, while the others also demand attention, due to deadline.

Re-watched two of the DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials — THE DOCTOR, THE WIDOW, AND THE WARDROBE, and THE SNOWMEN — both from the reign of Matt Smith. They rank among my favorite episodes.

I wrote three more article pitches this morning, which go out today. I need to rework some requested samples this afternoon, do a few more script pages, and also dig in to the Venice section of POWER OF WORDS.

Never a dull moment, which is wonderful!

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. April 24, 2017: Digging In, Moving On

Monday, April 24, 2017
Waning Moon (Day Before Dark Moon)
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

My lowest energy day of the month, always.

Busy weekend.

I should be used to the deterioration of basic human courtesy around here, but it still surprises me. I remember, when we first moved here, I was so wonderfully surprised because people were “nice.” Well, Trumptattitude has taken over, ever since the election, and you can tell those who voted for them, because they now feel free to be their worst selves all the time. They’re the rudest, the worst drivers, the ones who take without conscience. Just like the one they follow. No patience with that. They need to go crawl back under their rocks.

Friday, I got some admin work done, some research done, and then worked my way through contest entries. Finished my third print category, and got to work on the digital entries. The weather was lousy, so it was nice to be able to stay tucked inside and get paid to read.

Ten script pages done on Friday and six pages on Saturday for WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m galloping toward the climax. Gave myself Sunday off from writing.

Saturday was Earth Day, and also the March for Science. Important. Unfortunately, as I feared, the march out here in Falmouth was poorly organized. If you want a successful event, you have to plan for parking and porta-potties. Never got close enough to check out the porta-potty situation, because they hadn’t made any arrangements for attendees to park. The attitude was “oh, there are public lots”. Well, at the best of times, in winter, parking is nearly impossible in Falmouth. In season, it’s a nightmare. For something like a rally? MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE TOWN SO PEOPLE HAVE A PLACE TO PARK. Make arrangements with public transportation. Or you won’t get the attendance you want. It’s not brain surgery. They estimated a crowd of 600, which is decent, but no wonder there wasn’t any parking!

It is, however, typical of Cape Cod. There isn’t enough parking anywhere, and people ignore it, and then are shocked when they lose business or attendance. The lack of a learning curve around here is one of the reasons I find it frustrating.

Worked and worked and WORKED to fix the problems in “Seven of Swords.” I don’t want to lose all the ambiguity, but when ambiguity=mess, there need to be some clarifications. I sometimes wonder if the play CAN be fixed, or if I should just retire it into a drawer and be done with it.

Finished the Orient Express section on POWER OF WORDS. Now, to deal with the section set in Venice.

I want to travel to Venice probably more than anywhere else in the world right now.

Except, maybe, Bologna, for the Lavinia Fontana play.

Dug in all weekend and finished the contest entries. Now, in the next few days, I’ll go over them and make my choices in each category, finish the admin, and send the information to the organizers, so they can announce the winners on May 1. Read a couple of entries that came close — there was nothing, technically, wrong with them, but they lacked sparkle. They served the genre, they were serviceable stories, but they didn’t stand out against the best of the batch.

My reward for finishing was to re-read a novel I’d read back in 1989 that I’d loved; unfortunately, as I reread it now, I’m impatient with it. Rather a disappointment.

Switched out the winter curtains to lace curtains for summer downstairs — big difference in light. Switched out some of the fabric. Did a few loads of laundry. The amaryllis (which bloomed last July) has decided it’s time to bloom again. Go figure.

Admin work to do this morning, and, hopefully, some yard work in the afternoon. I wrote eight pages on the screenplay: later, I’ll tackle the one act and the short radio play. I’m still not convinced that I’m the right person to adapt the short stories for radio, but I’ll play with them a bit this week and then make my decision.

What I’d like to do is go back to bed and sleep all day, but, after days of rain, it’s far too nice a day so to do.

Time to tackle the week!

Tues. April 18, 2017: Creative Well Refilled & Overflowing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Direct
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I gave myself the weekend off, a long weekend off, starting on Friday. I read, puttered, refilled the creative well.

It must have been a good choice, because yesterday, I wrote 13 pages on the screenplay, wrote the first third of a new, short radio play, and did most of the revision on a one act play that needs to go out this week.

I got through a big stack of research books (which have to go back to the library today), and did some work on the outline of the other new script. I’m still doing research on it. I’ve got about the first third outlined.

I tracked down and reconnected with an old friend from my off-Broadway days; looking forward to catching up with him.

Saturday was a big day of trauma, for the cats, anyway. I haven’t been able to land an appointment with the regular vet, and it’s time for the girls to get their rabies shots. The Rabies Clinic was in Sandwich, so I stuffed them in their carriers (an ordeal in itself) and off we went. Iris yowled non-stop, as usual. Tessa had fought so violently, I wasn’t sure what would happen when they tried to give her the shot.

But they were both very good. We were in and out in no time, shots updated, paperwork complete, back home.

Tessa was SO relieved. I realized she thought she was being dumped, poor thing. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to reassure her that wouldn’t happen, and she stuck close. Once a rescue, always some issues.

Iris had forgotten everything within fifteen minutes, of course, the little princess.

I HAVE to get some yard work done today. The neighbors have been puttering around, and I’ve been neglectful. I just have to stick to the schedule of doing even just a little bit on every reasonably nice day, and, eventually, it will all add up. I just don’t have the stamina to put in eight or ten hours at a time, nor do I want to give up that much writing time.

I didn’t work on any contest entries over the weekend — I wanted to read only what I WANTED to read — so I have to get back on it today. I want to get the contest wrapped up sooner, rather than later. There’s a much larger gap between the strong contenders and the rest of the pack this year. It’s been interesting to see how the entries evolve. Some writers, who enter on consecutive years, have grown beautifully. Others spin in their same mire, no improvement, no attempt at learning craft.

I’m just past the half way point on the script. Looking forward to digging back into it. The short radio script is trying to go in a different direction — looks like the antagonist is not who I expected, which, if I can surprise the audience in the same way, is a good thing. And I’m so relieved the one act is salvageable.

I’d written it and it got into a local reading series a few years ago, a place that was supposedly “safe space” for development. I wanted to take advantage of it. Of course, the other entrants were polished, sometimes produced scripts, honed over years, not early drafts, like mine was. That was fine; we all learned from each other (there were plenty of so-called “polished” drafts that needed a lot more work). What disillusioned me about that particular environment was that there was a REVIEWER there, and REVIEWS were printed in the newspaper. You don’t REVIEW works in development. That completely negates the point of having the development atmosphere safe space in which to experiment. I wasn’t attacked in the review or anything, but it pointed out that the script needed work, without giving any useful feedback. I already KNEW the script needed work; that’s why I was there in the first place.

When I set out my response to the organizer of the event, and my sense that the “safe space” we’d been promised had been violated — she never spoke to me again. Not even to explain why she invited a reviewer. I understand why she wanted publicity; but we should have been warned. Not blindsided. And, when unhappiness with the choice was brought up, an actual discussion (even if the result wasn’t what I wanted) was the correct response. So much for professionalism.

Anyway, the experience left a sour taste in my mouth about the play. I put it away and never looked at it again until this weekend. I’d planned to junk it. But, with the objectivity and with what I’ve learned in the last few years about craft, I can see flaws, and, more importantly, I see ways to FIX them. Ways to make it better. It still might (will) need more work, especially once actors are involved, but I think I can fix the things that made it veer off course originally and the last third turn into a giant mess. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see if it works. This draft might not work, either.

If it remains a mess, I won’t submit it. If I think there’s something worth working on, I will. If it’s used in the series (at a different theatre) and put on its feet, it gives me a chance to see what additional work it needs, or if I should put it on the compost heap permanently.

I’m going to write to another college friend (with whom I reconnected last summer) and see if he can help me untangle the problems I’m having with the Lavinia Fontana play. He’s always been good at figuring out where I’m focusing on the wrong thing, and get me pointed back in the right direction. I STILL haven’t found the dramatic catalyst yet, and pretty soon Research Time for this play is over and Writing Time has to start. I’m also going to contact curators at the Met in New York (my go-to for art questions, and see if they can point me in the right direction).

Need to get out a query to a company in Paris, and get another script off to Ireland, all in the next few weeks.

Busy. The RIGHT kind of busy.

April’s mid-month check-in is over on the GDR site. WordPress is refusing to add the link, which is irritating. It’s the midmonth post on http://goalsdreamsresolutions.wordpress.com (you can cut & paste the link, sorry for the inconvenience). I should have had a poetry essay ready for A Biblio Paradise, but I don’t. I wanted to do something on Shakespeare’s sonnets and got all caught up (as I always do), following this thread and that thread and the other thread, that the actual essay didn’t get done. The Adrienne Rich essay is still the latest one.

Have some issues to discuss with my senators and reps today. I have an idea for a couple of bills I’d like them to propose. Which means I have to write coherent proposals for them to propose. Never a dull moment.

Now — my day’s quota on the screenplay, and then out in the yard.

Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. April 10, 2017: Creativity During Retrogrades

Monday, April 10, 2017
Full Moon
Venus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Spare me from the retrogrades! No such luck.

Busy weekend. I started the LA section on POWER OF WORDS, and did some work on the Orient Express section.

I did some further plotting for the revision of FIX-IT GIRL — I have to figure out where I need to put the new material, then write the first draft inserts, then I can go back and start a genuine revision. I’m keeping the ending where it is, on the train from LA to New York.

I did a lot of research, relevant to both projects: books on the studio system, books on various actors and directors, costume research. Also read Joe Eszterhas’s THE DEVIL’S GUIODE TO HOLLYWOOD: THE SCREENWRITER AS GOD. I don’t particularly like him or his work, although I respect what he’s accomplished. I don’t like the arrogant, swaggering persona he projects. I disagree with a lot of what he says — his contempt for many people in the business, and dislike of many manifestations of collaboration.

On the other hand, he has a point, and everything starts from the script. He believes one must fight for the script. I agree, to a point: I think a lot depends on the project. When the script originates with the writer — in other words, as he so often does, the writer writes the script from his own idea/something he wants to do and sells it — then, yes. Defend away, fight, be careful where you compromise. But when you’re brought in to write from an idea or a scenario or a treatment — then you’re hired to bring to life someone else’s vision, and I think you have to be more flexible. Of course, he loathes the idea of rewrites or script doctoring. Again, I understand his position, not messing with another writer’s work. But there are times when it’s the wrong writer for the project, or the notes have gotten things so muddy no one can see or think straight anymore.

Good for him that he’s earned the right not to be flexible, but I think there are plenty of cases where one has to be flexible. Especially when one is paying dues and building credits.

I disagree with many, many things in the book, but his actual advice on the process of writing — six script pages every day on the first draft, how to set work aside and go back and rewrite, that the “first draft” that is shown to anyone is really at least the third draft, writing every day and so forth and so on — that’s all great. It’s such a tiny part of the book — he knows he’ll sell more copies with the more controversial stuff about what he has fun with and/or loathes in the industry — but when he talks about the actual writing, he’s got good, useful stuff to say.

Read some Adrienne Rich poetry and prose, both in honor of National Poetry Month and in preparation for a piece on A Biblio Paradise, which will post tomorrow.

Have working title for the Lavinia Fontana play, but still don’t have the catalyst that will actually put the play into motion. More research required.

In the shower this morning, I had an idea for a new screenplay, set in the late 1930s, as the country comes out of the depression, but before the start of WWII. I’ll have to do some research for it, but I liked the idea — it plays against a lot of the noir ideas of the late 30s/early 40s, and some of their hypocrisies, and yes, the lead role is a woman. A very smart woman. Anyway, I sat down and wrote the outline already this morning, a quick paragraph for almost every scene — a couple of places where I need to figure out where the plant a couple of things.

So, I guess, between the errands and the yard work, and 1K on POWER OF WORDS and 1K on NOT BY THE BOOK and figuring out where to plant additional scenes in FIX-IT GIRL, I better get six pages of script done!

Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas

Friday, March 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and foggy and cold

Morning was filled with errands. Errands always irritate me, because I feel like I should use the time to write, especially since morning is my prime writing time. But, around here, it makes so much more sense to get errands done early. So I write even EARLIER, and then run errands, and then come back and try to write some more.

Worked mostly on POWER OF WORDS. I got a research book I need on corporate espionage for NOT BY THE BOOK that I hope to devour this weekend, which will help me get back on track for that.

On POWER OF WORDS, I added some inserts — I’m honing the world building of the created world that the characters are filming.

I’m starting to wonder if it makes more sense to release the piece as a full-out serial, instead of as a serial novel. Chapters run between 20-30 pages. There’s no way, that I can see, of making it financially feasible. The contents of each book really need to be somewhere between $4.99 and $7.99 for it to make sense for readers. The mechanics of setting it up as a serial, releasing a chapter a week, seem overwhelming at the moment. For the shorter “sections” (what I’m calling the books, should they be so released), someone would pay for the whole thing, and then receive a chapter per week. At the end of each “book”, the individual would have the option to renew the subscription for the next one or not. One would hope it would build in popularity, but with people wanting to binge-watch and binge-stream and people bitching and moaning that they want the entire series finished before they read a first book — it may no longer be feasible.

There’s too much “I want it now!” rather than enjoying a piece and then looking forward to the next piece. People are greedy rather than grateful. It’s a gluttony of the spirit, not just of the flesh, as pretentious as that sounds.

While I love to binge read a whole series, there’s also something lovely about the anticipation. Although, I get just as frustrated as anyone else when the next book isn’t ready on time. I’m wrestling with that right now from one of my favorite series — her release date has changed several times over the years (instead of being consistent, which, to me, is important in a series). Her next book is going to be three or four months late. I’m sure she has a good reason. But, the greedy part of me DOESN’T CARE. I feel let down (and it’s more likely to be the fault of the publisher than the author, in this particular case, because she’s good about deadlines, et al).

In other words, I am not immune to this phenomenon.

Where does that leave POWER OF WORDS (or whatever I finally decide to call it)? I’m not sure. So why do I keep working on it, when it’s gotten so unwieldy and out of control?

Because it’s my creative utopia. The central characters know they’re creating something new and different. It’s difficult and exhausting, but the exhilaration exceeds the exhaustion. As they find the right creative home, and as they expand to the other creative possibilities, there are more conflicts (both in scheduling, creative approaches, and personal lives) and more opportunities.

There’s an ever-expanding cast of characters, although there is a core group on whose creativity things are focused. As I rewrite and hone sections, I spread out the balance a bit better. First drafting, certain sections tend to tilt one way or the other.

On a professional, financial, business sense, this project makes no sense at all. It is definitely a project of the heart, and I have to keep the more financially feasible projects on their burners, and keep all these plates spinning (while mixing metaphors) in order to have a career.

But there is SOMETHING here. I think I can find it, if I keep at it. I have no idea how long it will eventually be (too long). I have no idea into how many volumes I will eventually break it down. I do know that one of the central relationships, that I thought would be able to endure, won’t. Making it endure would be too much of a fairy tale, and not organic to the characters. They love each other, but there are certain drives in each of them that won’t allow them to stay together as romantic partners in an HEA, although for a good portion of the central part of the books, they will.

The balancing act, however, with this project and others, is difficult, and I often spend more of the workday on this than the other projects which also require attention.

I tried forcing myself to work on the other un-contracted (but with a better chance of moving into the “contracted” category) projects first and letting the work on POWER be my “reward”, but then all I wind up doing is staring at a blank page for something else, while my mind spins with what should be going on in POWER.

It could be considered a lack of discipline, or an over-abundance of passion. Take your pick.

However, when there’s a contracted, deadlined piece in the mix, no matter what I “want” to work on, the contracted, deadlined piece comes first. He who pays the most and has the tightest deadline gets the first attention. That’s what you have to do as a professional.

While inside, I’m wild to get back to POWER. This is a case where I need to trust in its process and led it lead me where it will. Meanwhile, I will also play with different business models for its eventual release, and see where the two converge. It’s not possible to use a traditional model — there’s no way it could keep what makes it special, and still be feasible for a traditional publisher to take a chance on it. It’s not even fair to ask/pitch/submit, because the necessary changes would destroy what I’m trying to do.

So I have to figure out something else. I don’t know if I’m clever enough to create a new model, but we will see what happens.

Sometimes, just to relieve some of the creative pressure, I adapt some of it to teleplay format, and that shows me places to tighten, cut, keep the text moving better. Although I can’t see this succeeding as a television show, either, due to the enormous cast. Still, a strong pilot would be useful in the portfolio as a writing sample. Not as something I’m actually trying to get done, but a sample.

I’ve been re-reading William Goldman’s ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. I always learn something from that book. It also shows how much has changed in the business since the early 1980s — the advent of “reality” television, even some of the formatting techniques for a screenplay, the shortening of the screenplay, et al. Some things, such as endless, usually useless meetings, and the adage to “protect the star” in vehicles are the same, perhaps even more emphasized. But “No one really knows anything” is still true, as, I think, it is in any creative venture. You don’t know if something will hit until it hits, until it resonates with people, for whatever reason. And it may resonate for awhile, and then stop.

Great art — Shakespeare, Austen, the art of Michelangelo, the performances of Olivier — they sustain.

I wonder who will be considered our great artists? We certainly lack great statesmen.

At any rate, I have more errands to run today. We’re supposed to get yet another snowstorm tonight.

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. I loathe April Fool’s day. Far too many of the “jokes” come out of cruelty, not a joyful comedy.

Have a great weekend. I have a wrap-up over on the GDR site –– I did not live up to my own expectations as far as my “To Do” list there.

Onward.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 8:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas  
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Thurs. March 30, 2017: Preparing for Yet More Snow (and Writing)

March 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy day yesterday, but it didn’t feel particularly productive. Worked on NOT BY THE BOOK (not as much as I wanted to). Worked on POWER OF WORDS.

I may have to divide up the latter into even more volumes, to make them manageable. The unifying theme is the expansion of creativity, so expansion is a big part of the series. However, there also have to be cuts in order to keep the pace, but I won’t know what to cut until I over-expand a bit more.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on some admin that needed attention. Promotion the Topic Workbooks and “Plot Bunnies.” As always, daily working with senators and representatives, trying to get to the bottom of the corruption.

I had hoped for a good weekend, so I could get started on yard work, but we’re supposed to get yet more snow. Ick.

So, it’s back to the page, and maybe, just maybe, doing my taxes.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of March.

I loathe April Fool’s Day. In addition to the snow, I’ll probably use it as my offline day for the week.

Back to the page.

Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 30, 2017: Preparing for Yet More Snow (and Writing)  
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Wed. March 29, 2017: Tree Safely Removed!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

The Tree Frogs were here yesterday, and got down the damaged tress amazingly quickly. They also said it was a “fun climb” — good for them. I kept them supplied with cupcakes.

I miss the tree, though; it was like losing an old friend.

I had some difficult admin to take care of, and errands to run. Got everything done.

Didn’t get much writing done, unfortunately, but I worked through more contest entries. There was one with the world-building so exquisite, that it would be a serious contender for the winning slot — except for the poor copy editing. Since grammar/punctuation, et al is part of the judging, it loses the winning slot (and I didn’t think any book could even come close to the one I read a week or so ago that was so good).

Copy editing MATTERS.

We’re supposed to get more snow this weekend. Here, I’d hoped it would be warm enough and dry enough to get out there and do some yard work.

I hope to have a few good writing days in a row; the last few haven’t been satisfactory. It happens; what’s important is that you show up at the page and do the work, no matter what.

Published in: on March 29, 2017 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 29, 2017: Tree Safely Removed!  
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Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity

Friday, March 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re supposed to get a mix of rain and wet snow today. Ick.

Yesterday was fairly productive. Got some admin done, did some promotion for the Topic Workbooks. I’ve set up a page on the Devon Ellington website that’s dedicated to the Topic Workbooks here, and I’ll keep adding information on all of them until it’s all there.

I revised about a third of a new Topic Workbook, one that I hope to release in April. I’m updating it and adding new material. I want to deepen what’s there and give some really detailed, useful information.

I also did just over 1K on NOT BY THE BOOK. I’m not really back into its groove yet, but I’m confident if I keep showing up at the page every day, I’ll get there. I’ve got just over 10K on this first draft, and I need another 44K. For the target market, I need to keep it around 55K, which , since I’m holding the book in my head and keeping it active and lean, I ought to be able to do.

I did some research on an upcoming section of POWER OF WORDS. I might have to write the section set in Venice ahead of where it comes in the order of the story, simply because the research materials I ordered are here NOW, and I need to use them while I have them. I rarely like writing out of order (although I’m doing so more than usual on INITIATE), but here, it’s a case of making the best use of the research materials from the library while I have them.

I’m also figuring out the fashion stuff I need for the rest of THE FIX-IT GIRL, I hope to dig back into that early in April. I’d like to finish the first draft sometime in June, let it percolate, then go into serious revisions over late summer, getting it out on submission in early fall.

Reading an excellent contest entry. Not quite as good as the one that got a perfect score (this has to be docked a couple of points for mis-use of words, grammar errors, and length — it could use about 75 pages cut), but it’s a strong contender as one of the finalists in its category. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s so darned long, it’s putting me behind where I want to be in my entry pace.

I’m starting a promotion for the digital short comic mystery “”Plot Bunnies” under the Ava Dunne name, since it’s Easter-themed and Easter’s coming up. Seems like a good time to promote! It’s available digitally on Smashwords here.

I have paperwork and other admin to deal with this weekend, along with, I hope, a lot of writing, and maybe even getting some yard work done. I’m feeling emotionally exhausted and stressed by several things right now, so I’m counting on showing up at the page every day, my yoga and medication practices to keep me balanced and able to move forward and deal with what needs to be dealt with.

I have several choice words for other things going on in the world, but I’ll save them until after the weekend. I want to see how a few things play out first! 😉

Have a great weekend.

It would be so nice if we actually moved into spring by next week!

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 24, 2017: Creative Productivity  
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Thurs. March 23, 2017: Processing (and Activating) Process

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. I had lots of admin work to do and situations to handle, so I did.

I wrote about six pages. That’s not bad, but since there were so many days when I wrote so much more each these last few months, it felt like I was behind.

Re-read and did some editing on several projects, and I’m getting back into NOT BY THE BOOK, which is good, because that needs to get back on track.

Worked on contest entries — reading another darn good one, which is always invigorating. Truly, each time I pick up a new entry, I want to fall in love with it. I WANT them to be good, I WANT them to succeed on every level. It’s not possible to have too many good books out there.

Working on promotions for the Topic Workbooks, mostly on social media. I’m trying timed promotions on specific outlets one at a time, to see which are the most successful. I’m sure “what works” will regularly change up!

Discouraged about a few things, and trying to keep my spirits up. I’m trying to gear up to work on some short stories, but not feeling inspired in that direction. If I’m not excited by a piece, there’s no way I can infuse it with enough passion to engage a reader, so I’ve put aside several potential short stories I planned to work on.

It’s important to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track, because it’s a fun piece and I’ve also got a target market in my sights; same with SONGBOUND SISTERS (which will need more time and careful attention), and HEART THIEF.

While, of course, working on the never-ending POWER OF WORDS, which is how I blow off steam and keep steady. I’m figuring POWER OF WORDS (and the actual books it eventually breaks down into) needs about another three years before it’s ready for publication. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. It’s not going to be earning its keep for awhile — but I think, once it does get out there, it will intrigue people who are interested in the process of creating, and how it’s done collaboratively (and sometimes combatively), and how one goes off to create alone, and then brings it forward to meld it with other collaborators, to make it work better.

The never-ending first draft is the skeleton, and not active enough. As I rework sections (which often happens as I’m moving forward — it’s a process unlike any other I’ve ever used for a book or series), it gets more active, more invigorating, more engaging. The process about making process active is interesting.

Have to take my mom for a medical check, and then run some errands. This afternoon, I have a meeting a few towns over, and then, it’s back to the page.

I had to cancel my weekend plans, which is disappointing, but that’s life.

Onward, with pen in hand.

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 9:19 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 23, 2017: Processing (and Activating) Process  
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Tues. March 21, 2017: The Importance of the Right Match

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not as productive a day as I hoped yesterday, but I got some writing done, some research done, and worked my way through contest entries. One of the entries got a perfect score — it was fabulous. I can’t imagine any of the other entries being a serious threat in that particular category. It was just that good.

Got a swift and defensive response from the person from whose project I refused to do for free. I’m not entering into an argument. I’m not working for free on that project, nor am I going to work on a project that I believe will run into copyright infringement issues, or with someone who expects me to jump whenever fingers are snapped.

I’m also not happy about the “but I contacted you on Facebook” excuse. Um, social media is just that — SOCIAL. It’s for socialization, information, exchange, events. It is not for business negotiations. You might find a gig or a project via social media, but the actual business/contract negotiations need to go through proper channels. I decided not to go forward with a particular publisher on a project, because they “only” communicate via social media. I am not comfortable with that, I said I wasn’t comfortable with that, I wanted things to go through my agent, but “oh, we’re modern, we don’t do that.” Well, hon-bun, then I’m not working with you. I’m not discussing finances and contract details on social media. Period.

Nor am I on social media (or even online) every day. Business protocol is to respond in two business days; if you don’t hear from someone in, say, two weeks, then you contact again. But pounding someone daily on social media for “not getting back” to you, or insisting on discussing publicly things that should be handled either privately or via agents — not someone I’m going to work with. Buh-bye.

I’m not twenty-two and starting out. I’ve worked my way to a place where I get to choose projects, and get to choose with whom I work. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to move up a tier to the next level of work. But I’m in it for the work, not for fame. Fair day’s pay and professional behavior with a fair day’s work, hopefully on a project that excites and inspires me. Otherwise, it’s a bad deal for everyone involved. Even a twenty-two year old starting out shouldn’t do the above. If you want to be treated like a professional — act like one.

There are also projects to which I’m simply not suited. Not only do they NOT excite me, but I know I am the wrong person for the gig. When I know that, I am upfront about it, and say I’m wrong for the job, you need to find someone who’s a better fit and will serve the project better. It’s not an attack on the project; it’s wanting the project to be the best it can be, and knowing I am not the individual to bring it to pass. Not every individual is right for every project, no matter how professional. That’s part of creativity. You want to find the best match. It’s heartbreaking for everyone when it doesn’t work. It’s exhilarating, when it does.

So go for exhilaration, and don’t settle for less.

Too many errands will eat up too much writing time today, and then it’s back to the page.

Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 21, 2017: The Importance of the Right Match  
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Mon. March 20, 2017: Trying to Stay Equitable for the Equinox

Monday, March 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny, cold, windy
Spring Equinox

It snowed yesterday, although we were lucky enough not to have accumulation. Windy, though, and some hail and wet snow.

Busy weekend, mostly writing, working on contest entries, and researching. Also, doing things like starting the spring cleaning and doing mounds of laundry. Chop wood, carry water, keep yourself grounded. All in all, a productive weekend. I’m hoping it will warm up a bit this week, so I can do yard work.

The tree is still suspended over the yard. Hopefully, the tree people will show up in the next week or so and take it down, because I will be worried until it’s done. Too much room for additional damage.

Angered by a demand that I do substantial work on someone else’s project for free with payment “maybe someday” in the future. Same person who never said “thank you” for the free critique. Not only a demand, but a demand for instant response. First of all, I don’t work for you and I’m not on your schedule. Second of all, nagging gets you a “no”, as if there weren’t a dozen other reasons to say no. When I saw the initial email (on a Friday night, no less — only my agent gets to made demands on the weekend), and then, continued badgering all weekend — not appropriate. I took my time to compose a firm, but still (barely) polite response, which went out this morning. An actual, legitimate offer would have come via the agents, and would have contained a project proposal and a fee schedule. I knew I was angry, but didn’t realize how angry until I’d actually sent the email. But that’s done, and I’m done with this individual.

Had some irritating admin to do this morning, and some other things to take care of, and then it’s back to the page. The Equinox ceremony was nice, but I’m feeling a little under the weather, and I want to get back home and dig in.

So the GOP stance on cutting arts funding is, “You can’t expect a coal miner to pay for the arts.” Why not? First of all, the arts have romanticized and celebrated coal miners through film and song. Second, my tax dollars are going into the pool for services for coal miners, so why shouldn’t coal miners support the arts? They need the arts as much or more than any corporate executive. The whole argument is ridiculous. Gee, there’s a surprise. Not.

There’s plenty of work to do, and only a finite number of hours in the day. Writing time is necessary, but so is percolation time. I’m always surprised by how much percolation time something needs to really come together.

I am having an awful lot of fun with my sketches, though, and now that I have a sense of geography, architecture, how they’re moving through the workplace where they spend about 18 hours a day, how it’s decorated, the contrasts between the choices different personalities make, how those choices affect character, response, plot. The little details that make a piece special.

There is so much cutting and reshaping in future drafts, but it’s fun to go for the basic skeletal structure in the first draft, to set the groundwork, and then hone, hone, hone.

I really do love the craft of writing as much as the art.

By stepping back and taking some time to work on pieces through multi-layered drafts instead of just putting out material to feed the machine, the work is better, and I’m enjoying it more. When contract demands and payments need me to speed up, I will do so, but when those aren’t in place, and I can take the time (though still doing a minimum of 1K/day – I’m doing more like 3K right now) to do the drafts and the re-envisioning that revisions need, the result is much more rewarding on all levels.

Let’s hope we have a lovely soft, warm, spring.

Published in: on March 20, 2017 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 20, 2017: Trying to Stay Equitable for the Equinox  
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Fri. March 17, 2017: Creative Wasteland & Gov’t Plans on Premeditated Murder

Friday, March 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold
St. Patrick’s Day

Ran my errands yesterday, got some admin done, wrote. The last few days, I’ve been sketching the fictional studio outside of Vancouver, where a good deal of the action happens. I need the physical geography in order to lay out the emotional geography. Since so much of the characters’ lives are caught up in the studio, moving between projects, meeting people on other projects, etc., and the founders of the studio plan to make it an international creative utopia, the relationship of where things are, and, importantly and unusual for a studio, the amount of green space involved, is important.

I’ve created this amazing environment for my characters to blossom while I, personally feel like I’m in a creative wasteland. I thought I was moving to a creative Petri dish when I came here seven years ago, and I was wrong. Some of it will improve when the weather is mild enough so I can get outside in the yard. Playing in the dirt again will help me feel better about my environment, and I also need to dig in to spring cleaning. Re Feng-shui a few things. Get to work on purging what I don’t need from all those boxes in the basement.

I run into people who talk about creative projects, but I see very little coming to fruition. Art is considered a hobby out here, when, in reality, it is a profession.

It’s frustrating that here, art is what’s done “on the side.” I’m used to being around people whose day jobs only exist so they can do art. The minimum is invested in the day job; when it interferes with art, one quits the day job, does the art, lands another day job, until one gets into the union or pays enough dues learning art and craft, and is paid appropriately so as not to need day jobs. Here, the day job comes first, and the art suffers. The creators can’t position themselves to earn their living by their art, because they’re not willing to risk anything to create their art. The level of art and craft required to earn a living at it can only be achieved when you are willing to put the art FIRST. Not to mention that artists shouldn’t have to have day jobs. Being an artist IS a full-time job, and should be appropriately paid.

Of course, with the upcoming budget, where arts funding is cut, where environmental protections are cut, for God’s sake, where Meals-on-Wheels are cut? Revolting. All so the Narcissistic Sociopath can use the US Treasury as his own personal piggy bank, benefit himself and his friends, and, with Paul Ryan dancing with glee, let’s starve the elderly and the poor. The fact that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell didn’t immediately speak out against cutting Meals-on-Wheels is yet further proof they are unfit to be in any position considered a “leader”. Our government is premeditating murder of the sick and the elderly, and people are doing NOTHING.

Yet his supporters refuse to see reason. They still believe they’re on a “protected list” and only the liberals will lose health care and other benefits. Then, they’re shocked when they wind up dead. Why would they think this fascist faction gives a damn about them? The faction got the vote; now they will do whatever the hell they want. The information was out there, and these morons refused to do their due diligence.

This is what the defunding of education has done, and it will only get worse. Now you have the incompetent corporate asshole who calls himself “Secretary of State” huffing and puffing about military action in North Korea.

The entire administration is made of selfish, self-important morons. They must ALL be removed from office before they destroy the planet. The fact that the so-called “Intelligence Committee” (from whom we’ve yet to see any signs of intelligence or cognitive ability) investigates the Sociopath’s whining that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, finds no evidence, AND YET THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LIES , SLANDER, LIBEL, AND WASTE OF TIME, yet refuse to thoroughly investigate the Russian connection, for which there IS evidence, shows how deeply our system is failing.

No wonder I prefer the fictional creative utopia of my characters, just outside of Vancouver.

I plan to do all my errands early today, before the drunks are out. Hope they have fun; I intend to stay safely at home. Writing.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 17, 2017: Creative Wasteland & Gov’t Plans on Premeditated Murder  
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Mon. March 6, 2017: Writing, Ungrateful People & TD Bank’s Lack of Ethics

Monday, March 6, 2917
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Fortunately, although it was cold, there was no snow. One less thing to worry about.

I wrote all weekend. That’s about it. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. It felt good, although my wrists hurt.

Today, I have admin work to do, and some errands. Grocery shopping, et al.

Then I write some more.

Although I am physically writing, so much of the process is internal at this time, it’s difficult to write about on the blog. Not a bad thing, simply nothing particularly interesting to share. Most of it is first drafting, and I’m writing very, very fast to keep up with what’s going on in my head, which is leaping faster than I can possibly write. Unlike INITIATE, where I could write whatever scenes pulled hardest and then slot them in, this is far more dependent on writing chronologically, because everything that happens changes everything else that happens.

Then, as I rewrite, I need to cut a lot of the boring bits out and make it more active and sensory.

I did a favor for someone trying to break in to the business last week. First, I was nagged about it, because even though it was a favor to this other person, I wasn’t moving fast enough to suit. Then, not even a thank you. I’ve ranted about this before, and I won’t repeat myself, except to say this: If you ask someone farther along in whatever profession for advice and they take time out of their own work to help you, say thank you. Even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear; even if you choose not to follow the advice. Don’t argue, don’t get defensive. Say thank you and make the decisions that are best for your work and your life. But show basic professional courtesy and that you are worth the time. Saying “thank you”, even if you disagree or even if the comments made you angry, doesn’t cost you anything. Not saying “thank you” can burn a bridge you might want when you had some time to cool down.

TD Bank, yet again, let another unauthorized pull be made from my elderly mother’s account. This is not OK. They hassle me with “security” if I try to check the balance in the account, but any random person can remove any amount they wish. This is not okay. And they won’t do anything about it, or even acknowledge they’re wrong. They are unethical and prey on the elderly.

On that happy note, I’m going back to doing what needs to be done, so I can get back to my own work!

Published in: on March 6, 2017 at 9:59 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 6, 2017: Writing, Ungrateful People & TD Bank’s Lack of Ethics  
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