Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Not About Writing

It's about Re-writing.

I think somebody famous said that. (Now, this is just like a LOLcat on the Cheeseburger, where you go back and read the title after you've already started reading the text.)

I love the way my current work starts out. It's all quest, all the time. Then the BIG EXCITING THING happens. And then proceeds several telly talky chapters that brings the thing to a grinding halt. Glory Hallelujah, will someone set something on fire so these people do something? Who wrote this crap?? Oh, wait.

So it appears we need more than just an edit. We need a re-write. A re-imagine. I have to flesh out some of the stuff my characters stand around talking about instead of.... you know, having them stand around... talking about it. Let's hope it goes better than this blog post is going so far.

I just wish I would have seen this earlier. I mean... I've edited the thing twice. Two times. Dos. You'd think I'd pick up on the lack of awesome. Which is a rather terrifying prospect. What else about this thing doesn't work, you know? It's enough to make you doubt your faith in the rest of it. I guess that's where you have to straddle that fine line between trusting your instincts and being honest with yourself. I think I knew these problems were there, I just hoped the general awesome of the first 2/3rds of the book was going to swing the reader on through the suck. So I'm going to fix what I think needs a fixin', and then let the beta readers sort out the rest.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reading and Writing

Well, I can't believe it's been a week since last post - but this week went pretty quick. That happens when you're busy. I've gotten so much done on the edit of the current sci fi/fantasy mish mash this week. I've also watched a lot of episodes of Castle. A lot.

The one thing I'm missing in this new apartment is furniture, and reading. The latter is a result of the former. In the old place I only had one nasty chair. When I moved, I decided not to bring it. I am a single gal living alone, and my ability to lift and heave furniture is limited. So if/when I got something new and decent, getting rid of the old chair would be a difficulty... not to mention, not having the chair will hopefully inspire me to save to buy a new one! And for those of you wondering, no, I can't read in bed. I will stay up all night.

In the meantime, I have nowhere to sit and chill. Or read. My reading has been limited to lunchtime at work. I find myself looking forward to it. Getting lunch together quickly, sitting down, opening up that book and falling through the pages. Reading in small teacup sips is ok, but I miss having big sweaty soda cups full of it. Not to mention, every time I check mark something "read" on Goodreads, I feel a strange surge of accomplishment. Hopefully, in August I will be purchasing a couch. 

August can't get here too soon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Post Query Edit

Yesterday was a good day. I edited 13k, and it's amazing how easily the changes are slipping into place. This edit is a lot more intense than the last. I feel like I'm nailing the voice, and my characters all have sharper focus. It's the miracle of story. They really are found things - it's all there, you just have to get it out using the right tools. (This belief is via The Master, Stephen King, who first turned me on to it. The story is there, you just have to dig it out of the ground without breaking it.)

But that was yesterday. Today is my one month anniversary in my new apartment. In that time, I've edited two books and written two-sort-of queries. (That's very big for me - I am terrible at them, just the thought of writing one gives me the dry heaves.) I'm even getting hopeful that I can write a new novel in November, instead of just editing an old one. I love NaNoWriMo. I'd hate to sit it out because I didn't do my homework. And I'd actually have to decide which story to write - I have a couple three ideas bouncing around in the ol' noggin. This means I have 5 months to finish editing these four books, write their queries and synopsissisis, search for the right agents for the various works, and get them out in the world. Then I get to play with the other kids.Yay!

It's great what the change of environment has done for both my sleeping and my writing. I'm sure the two are related - it's hard to stay focused and motivated when you're half zombie. I've also become a morning person! It's crazy. Another thing living here has taught me - ducks do not live the gentle lives you might believe. In-fighting, territorial disputes, swimming against the current... that and more. All kinds of things go down in the pond, my friends.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Query Conundrum

(Imagine all these filled with red ink... how awesome that would be...)

This year has a purpose. This is the year I finally moved, reconstituted my life, and it will be the year I edit and query AT LEAST three novels, hopefully more. I've done a first round edit on 3 of the 4 novels I feel have potential. I have written one query, and in truth, my friend Heather rewrote it for me and it's sitting in my email until I have the strength to look at it again. Let's face it. The synopsis and the query are like the 9th and 10th levels of hell. You don't go there unless you have to. I think I'm getting close to "have to" - so I decided to get the gist of a query started before I jump into the second pass of edits on Endways.

So glad I did.

The thing is terrible, but there's nothing like writing the query to make you realize the book you should have written. Three characters drive the story, and in the beginning, they're widely separated by geography. That required multiple POV's. I did focus on just one character for the query. First decision: the book should start with her introduction so it makes sense if the agent asks for a partial. Right now, the one I focus on shows up in chapter 3. In just briefly mentioning that she has companions and an adjective or two to describe them, I realize there's a lot more threat I could be heaping on these poor suckers. A big part of this story is that the characters have nothing to hold on to - dead families for the most part, but through different situations that negatively impact the protagonists. Except for this one guy. He's a bachelor that lost his job before the real questing commences. In the magic that is story-making, the basis for his character has been there all along. He's "The Tracker" and when he's on the track, there's nothing else he wants to focus on. When he arrives, he's skin and bone, his beard is down to his chest and he's nearly gone mad that the track has led him to his destination. He's jonesin' for a new track. Kind of like an addict. Duh-herr.... How is it you think he wound up a bachelor with no job and nothing to live for?

Instead of setting this aside, I'm jumping back into the second round of edits now. I have a real feel for the pacing and the plot. I just need to layer in the new level of threat to each character as they go on this quest. I'm still not entirely sure what to do about the crappy ending (see previous post) but I realize that my characters need to be tested more once they start on the quest. That's something I can do without adding to the length. Fixing the ending so there aren't so many of them... that's my own quest.

Writers in doubt... query... and the query shall show you the way!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Too Many Endings

My worst fears held true... I like the big epic battle to save the day at the end, but Endways of the God's ending has too many endings.

I'm a big believer in "follow your instincts." Whenever I've felt I took a wrong turn with a story and decided... Screw it! I'm redoing this! it's worked. Not just a little, but magically, as if I was just wrong to try and do it any other way. And there's where I have a problem here. I feel that the "big reveal" at the ending is necessary. But yet it also feels like it comes at the wrong time. I do admit... part of it is a huge segue for what could lead into another story. But I'm afraid that's how it reads. Like it's not there for an emotional impact.... and it really is!! Am I making any sense at all?

A lot of it is that the end feels rushed, so the big super reveal end is just kind of the carrot in the broccoli-cheese and carrot side dish. It's all about the broccoli and the cheese. Group of Heroes #1 meets Group of Heroes #2: trouble ensues: trouble that ensued shows BIG SUPER PROBLEM REVEAL: problem solved: goodbye, and oh yeah - guess what? I think Group of Heroes #1 has to chill out with Group of Heroes #2 and sink into the soft cushy couch that is their world. Then the big reveal at the end is like "OMGWTFBBQ!" as opposed to... "huh. So. That's nice. Why exactly should I care, again?"

Am I making sense? *knocks on microphone*

Sunday, May 13, 2012

OK, Not Quite There

It was a valiant effort, but I bit off more than I can chew. I didn't get the entire edit of Endways of the Gods done. I have about 8-10k left to edit, but I'm spent. The words are starting to blur together. I'm also worried about pacing toward the end. It goes from a very 18th century feel to a tech-heavy world and I don't know if I slow down enough and show the wonder. I guess I'll find that out when we get to the beta stage!

This second part doesn't have much to do with anything... but I know a lot of you are like me, and very inspired by artwork. I found two fantasy works that I wish I'd had when writing The Vampire Baron - or rather, I could have had it, as these are so apropos. I did a doubletake when I came across the gorgeous red dress and fancy necklace with the mask. It fits a scene in the story. I love the way the couple is looking at each other in the second picture, outside in the moonlight. It also matches a scene. I thought I would share. 

I got these from an FB group called Life Is a Fantasy. If you are the artist and want me to remove these or link to your site, I will, quite happily.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Almost There!

Since I've been ensconced in the new apartment, I've finished the edit on The Vampire Baron (126k!) and I'm 28k away from finishing first round edits on my fantasy quest mish-mash dealio Endways of the Gods. And I've been here *calculates* 3 weeks.

Three weeks.

A lot of this is not having cable. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff to watch on the internet. However... it gets irritating waiting for stuff to load. And the worst place to watch episodes? On the website of the actual network that created the show. Buffering. Buffering. Commercials that freeze the playback and resize my full screen... They're a mess. Then on HGTV, when they play a commercial, instead of continuing the episode I was watching, it skips to the next show in the list. I can only take so much, and then I think... shouldn't you be editing?

I think one of the biggest changes is getting up early on the weekends. My sleeping schedule has completely changed since being in the new place. I go to bed around 11pm (before I was going to bed at midnight or 1 am) and I wake up easily around 6 am or 7 am. That is also a result of not having cable; and the place where I live now is so much darker!! The other place was lit up at night like the 4th of July! Then when I get up in the morning, it's quiet and peaceful, the apartment is full of light and I just love it. I have never been a morning person. I never thought I would see myself as a morning person. The first thing I thought on Thursday when I got home? Can't wait to get up early tomorrow and edit.

Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Willow Rambling

Greetings, Fearless Readers! I am back among you again. I don't come with lame excuses for my long absence, because for once, I have a good one. I moved studio (apartment)! And what a trip it's been. I'm not entirely out of the other apartment yet, having two gigantic wooden type thingies I don't have room for and don't know how to get rid of. Not true, really, my sister is taking one. I'm running out of time, though, and getting a little nervous about their removal.

The new apartment is pretty much... the bomb. I know that phrase is old and perhaps a little tired, but if it fits, well, it fits. Imagine if you will: entering your domicile, but oh! First! You've gotten your mail! Out of the box right next to your door! RIGHT next to your DOOR!! I know that's more exclamations than a lot of you like, but you go get your mail in the pouring rain and then traipse back across the complex and fumble with it as you try and open the door. You'd be excited to find it right there for you when you come home, too! If you have to go potty, you just turn left and there is the bathroom, with a window high up near the ceiling that lets in so much light you need only flick the switch at deepest midnight. If not, just continue down the hallway, beside the 18 foot long floor-to-ceiling closet until you come to the galley kitchen, which is open onto the onlyroom. I call it that, as it is the only room: it's a studio. Bedroom/living room takes too long to type. The onlyroom possesses the star attraction of the apartment, even better than the DISHWASHER! (How did I not mention the dishwasher?)

Anyway - the piece de resistance is the view. A sliding glass door opens onto a little patio. The patio gives way to a little ribbon of grass, and beyond is a gently bubbling, fountain-sped manmade creek burbling along! A small wooden pallet bridge is two steps from my patio. The creek spreads out to a pond to the left, where the fountains and the ducks play, and then meanders off between grassy banks, dotted by the occasional scenic rock. There is even a gentle knoll... atop of which is growing... yes... a willow tree. Not Old Man Willow, but as I have said many times in other places, I expect Goldberry to come around the corner, dripping green and gold, any second. There are no lilies... I imagine she has already gathered them. And no, that photo above is not my willow. I don't have photos yet, but I will when my dad figures out how to forward me the pictures.

All this (as well as deciding not to get cable) has put a motor under my seat. I have edited my 126k gothic romance in little over a week. For reals. I don't know how good of a job I've done with it, as it's still too damn long... but there's a fearless beta out there looking at my less-than-stellar 2nd draft as we speak. Actually, it's a first for me, as I have TWO stories out there being read by folks. Two down. Two more to edit. Four to get going... etc.

For those of you sick to death of my apartment ramblings, I promise this will have gotten most of them out of my system. There will be photos, later, but I'll try and tack them on a post, not ramble ad infinitum. I would also like to publicly thank my family, my mom 'n' dad, my sister Lisa and the tagalong gang of Cassie and Dustin for coming and helping me move. They actually did all the heavy lifting. And my sister got Cricket fixed for me on the same day I moved. Then, the awesome folks at the Oakland SPCA gave me her shots for FREE, so that is another huge worry off the top of my head. I have had many blessings recently. I will try and not bitch about the idiots at AT&T or the crapshot way that my huge utility bill at the other apartment (a big reason why I moved) is still biting me in the ass...

So much for not bitching about those things. Glad to be back, ya'll!