Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Significant Edit Completed!

And here is a picture of an adorable kitty to celebrate!

I've finished a pass of edits on my gothic romance! It's still 26k too long, so I don't know that I should celebrate yet, but I'm going to do another down and dirty edit over this week. We'll see how it shakes out, and then pass it on to the betas, and hope they will tell me where I need to apply the scissors.

But today, I can face down the Avengers with little shame.


And even a supervillain

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Halted by a Headache

I'll probably surprise myself if I get something intelligent written tonight... I am writing this through a haze of pain. I probably shouldn't be writing it at all. Oh well, I am going to keep one damn goal for the day!

I have 20k left to edit on my gothic romance and really thought I would get it done today. I've been really good this week - I only took one day off before today. But it was not to be. I waited way too long to eat and got a headache that I can't seem to shake!

Anyway, I've decided that Sunday will be "sum up day". Since this blog is about my journey as a writer, and I hope that journey is leading (for reals now!) towards finding an agent, I thought I should 'fess us at the end of the week as to what I have accomplished. This week I rededicated myself and tried to limit my internet until AFTER I have done my daily work. I think I did well on that this week.

I edited a total of 60,791 words on my gothic romance. I did 4 blog posts (including this one), and wrote up a lot of notes for my NaNo story. The one thing I haven't accomplished is starting to work on the queries. I have the roughest of paragraphs for my urban fantasy, but that's it!

My goals for this week to is to finish the edit on the gothic romance and make another run through it then find beta readers!! Eeep! And then sketch out some sort of query - even an outline of it, if I don't actually form sentences. 

Have you got goals for the week?

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Territories

Fret not thyself because of evildoers.
Neither be thou envious against the workers of inequity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass
and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the territories

I hope the biblical turn at the top of the page didn't frighten anyone away. It's not quite what you think. Today is Stephen King's birthday, and I thought I would talk about the Territories.

I came across this verse in The Talisman, written by Stephen King (the master) and Peter Straub. (The Talisman, not the bible verse.) In it, a boy named Jack has the ability to flip back and forth between our world and a world that he thinks of as the Daydreams, referred to as the Territories by others. It's a simpler place, a more magical place. In the Territories, you can smell a radish pulled out of the ground a half mile away. Things taste better, smell better, and magic, rather than science, runs the world. While on his grand quest to get the Talisman and save not only his mother, but her Twin in the Territories, our boy gets caught on the road and is sent to a boy's home run by a corrupt and crazy preacher man. When the evil preacher uses the above in a sermon, Jack's heart leaps in his chest. To him, it's a sign of the The Territories bleeding into our world, the words are almost a verbal talisman that keep him going.

I was obsessed with this book. I think I read it almost every day for a good three or four months. It was during a dark time in my life, and I was writing a dark and horrible book of my own. I wished I could slip through the words of the book and into the Daydreams myself. That's when I somehow jumbled up the idea of The Territories and the place you go in your head when you write. It felt like if you can just get there, where the air is purer and hums with magic, everything will fall into place.

When the book begins, Jack is out of practice, and has to use 'magic juice' (really cheap, nasty-tasting wine) to flip over. The more often he 'flips', the easier it gets, until he doesn't need the magic juice at all. Going to that magic place in my head is sort of like that. The more I write, the more I live in my own pretend place, the easier it gets to go there whenever I want. 

Bringing this all back to the verse, I see it as a fancy way of saying don't let the haters get you down. Sometimes a writer's own worst enemy is within themselves; or the part of themselves that's been planted with other people's doubts or small-mindedness. You may interpret "Trust in the Lord" however you wish. I don't think I interpret it quite the way my Grandmother did, but I don't entirely dismiss the idea. The "do good" can be both spiritual goodness (or not being such a dark-hearted evil bitch, as I am prone to be) and "work" goodness, such as keeping a schedule or having a daily goal, meeting deadlines, etc. Basically, the point of it all is to "Dwell in the Territories" - a magical phrase. You can't stay there all the time, of course, but you shouldn't let yourself get out of practice. Needing too much of the "magic juice" gets writers into enough trouble as it is. I'd be happy just being able to "flip" when I needed to.

And that is my sermon for the day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reading and Journalling

I've gone back to an old habit: I am once again keeping a book journal. I have read 88 books this year - according to my carefully kept list. I've kept a list of all the books I've read since 2008. However, as I peruse those lists, I can't always remember all the books. I am like a greedy child who gobbles their sweets, and then sits around looking at everyone else, still enjoying theirs. I read too fast to remember!

Those of you who give me a hard time for not posting photos of things - I only have my Mac to take photos with, and you will see how lousy these photos look. Above is the journal I'm using. It doesn't have lined pages, but there are at least 300 blank pages in here! And the paper is like butter....

I put the name of the book & author at the top, then have a spot for "date began" "date finished" "rating" (I use a 5 star method). I try and jot enough of the plot to remember the book, and whatever character names I remember. Which is a sadly short list. I don't know why. As soon as I'm done, I seem to block that out. I guess I am not only a greedy reader, but a lazy one! And then of course, mah feels about the book. I have more feels about some books than others.

It's an interesting exercise. We'll see how long I keep it up this time!

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Day Worshipping The New Religion

So I am back in Regency land, editing away on my gothic romance. I loved the few chapter segments I edited today. I have that "good write" buzz going. All is well with the world.

Since I'm being so very stringent with myself and my new writing regime (90 minutes, no distractions, no internets until my work is done) I am giving myself a particular luxury. Jane Austen.

It's been a couple years since I've read her novels, having been running around the internet trying to "read my genre", finding new authors and figuring out just what the hell my genre is. I spent Sunday having a Jane-movie-athon, watching Miss Austen Regrets, which I far prefer to Becoming Jane. Also, Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, and the 2007 production of Northanger Abbey. Being a gothic fan, it's like candy. And Mr. Tilney is fabulous. We need cravats and long coats to come back in fashion!

I decided it was time to re-read the novels in order of publication... I would prefer order they were written in, but everything I come across confuses publication with when they were written, or swears such-and-such was the first one when other say, no, that was PUBLISHED first... I can't muddle it out. I'll go with publication dates.

That means I begin with Elinor and Marianne. Each time I read it, I feel different about the sisters. We'll see what this read shakes out.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cross My Heart and Hope To Write

Tomorrow, we get back to work, tightening the corset strings! I went pretty easy on myself this last week. I have GOT to limit the distractions. I keep petting the kitten that is the internet. I keep saying "I'm just gonna check Twitter for a sec" or "I'm just gonna do an 'amediting' tweet" and then, an hour later, I'm still there!

No distractions. Not even the radio. Nothing to get in the way of the voice. You know, the one you read with. The one you push in the closet when it tells you things like "No one else is going to write this story, you know." Or "Chuck Wendig says you have to finish your shit. I'm pretty sure that means editing your shit." Or "There is a lot of fat in cheese." Sometimes, I hate that voice. 

However, the damn thing is always right. No one else is going to edit or write my stories. And I can't write any more of them unless I finish (ie: edit) the ones that need editing. And clearly, I am not adult enough to have the keys to the internet. I've tried to limit myself a little, but a little limitation doesn't appear to be enough.

So says the voice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who Would You Invite To Dinner?

Greetings, Fearless Readers. I hope you are well. I bought several .99 and $3.82 Regency Romance novels tonight, and I do not feel one tiny iota of guilt over it.

At all.

My fiscal irresponsibility is not what this post is about. I can't remember where I found the above image, but it poses the question: If you could eat dinner with any 7 famous people (dead or alive) who would you choose and where would they sit? There are a lot of folks I would like to throw back the Diet Coke with and whose elbows I'd like on my metaphorical table. I decided to go with writers, though, for fear that Benjamin Franklin and Gloria Steinan would either run off together, or kill each other. 

Speaking of killing each other... you may note that I carefully set Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell on the same side of the table with a person between them, so they were not required to look at one another and possibly get irritated, should one or the other slurp their soup or start critiquing the other's work.

The hard part is picking who sits next to you. Laura Ingalls Wilder is the writer who made me appreciate my own love of nature and the wild prairie I grew up in and around. I felt the Laura of the Little House books was a kindred spirit, as I also had a beautiful blond, blue-eyed sister in whose shadow I lingered. And I had a tendency to get myself into trouble. As for Jane Austen being to my right, who invites Jane Austen to a party and doesn't sit next to her? I put Elizabeth Gaskell where I felt we could see and talk to each other, even if she is a little far away.

I was torn about having to place Stephen King a seat away from me. However... could you imagine listening in on a Stephen King and Jane Austen  conversation? I imagine Joseph Sheridan LeFanu and Stephen would also have a lot to talk about. 

I have one empty seat. There are so many people who could sit there. Shakespeare, even though I am no scholar of his works. He might be offended at how little I know of his legacy. Wilkie Collins is another - you know I love teh gothic! Anne Radcliffe, even though I don't quite get the cavalier way she treated her career. Georgette Heyer! How did I forget her? Or Edith Wharton - my favorite! How could I forget Edith? Harper Lee? Virginia Woolf? See why I left that seat empty? gah!!!

What about you? Can you fill those seats?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Post of Bloggery, If You Will

This will be a rambling post. I do not have a single thought to get across tonight. I am glad that I've been working regularly over the past 3 days. Each day I've got right to work and stayed off the internet until at least a couple of chapters are done. I came home tonight, completely knackered, took a nap, but still managed to get some editing done. So yay, work ethic!

I'm almost 40k into editing of my gothic romance. As so often before, I feel really good about it. The warm glow of accomplishment is making me go soft and mushy. And the doubts are just flittering at the edge of the warm glow. I'm trying to keep them from getting in the way of the happy times.

I hope I've got the right voice here. I love the sound of it, I just hope I don't sound foolish. I'm using what I hope is a very light Regency sound. I'm reading a ton of Georgette Heyer, who I love and got some Elizabeth Chater books on sale, who I have yet to read. Each Heyer novel just gets better and better. I hope Elizabeth Chater doesn't pale too much in comparison.

I think I've rambled before of my love of all things English: I am a confessed Anglophile. Whenever I pick up a novel by an English novelist that is based somewhere other than England (I'm lookin' at you, Mrs. Radcliffe) I feel like I've been cheated. Heyer is like English candy. Bath, Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, Brighton, and London itself each get their own stories. I've only read one where the characters take off to the continent, but only for part of the story. It's so funny to recognize the names of streets and fashionable areas. Many of which I know from the novels of Dickens, Austen, LeFanu, Wilkins and Gaskell. 

Grosvenor Square sounds way cooler than San Leandro Blvd. You can't blame me for sending my mind elsewhere.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Well That's Over!

This week, in short, sucked donkey balls. I did not have the fortitude of Tom Hiddleston; if you were following me around, you would not find me smiling in every picture. I'd be holding my head in my hands, or flipping off the camera.

Last Sunday night, I took a nap and slept on my stomach, which I never do. Not the nap, but the stomach part. When I woke up, I was squarshed against the wall, my jaw unhinged and my head in a funny position. Thus, two days of throbbing jaw pain. I wasn't able to sleep Sunday or Monday night. Then we had a weird shift in weather. Clouds blew in, the weather dipped a little, the apartment complex cut down a lot of the verge, and thus, as whatever I strained in my jaw healed, my sinuses exploded and I've been in an agony of headaches, rolling over the top of my head like an avalanche.

This has resulted in very little editing. Or pleasantries coming out of my mouth. And a lot of Advil being consumed.

I think my sinuses are finally chilling out, and I went eight hours without any medicine. Whoo hoo! Things are lookin' up. I'm going to try and get some editing done.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Road to Recovery

Coffee shouldn't be that surprised. I hardly slept at all.

It's been a really long time since I stayed up all night with a book. It started out with a very late night, reading Georgette Heyer's Quiet Gentleman. So good! I admit I saw part of the evil deeds that would unfold, but another aspect took me totally by surprise. However. I went to bed around 2 am, the book not finished, knowing I wanted to be productive today. Only to get up about two hours later with throbbing knee pain. Even after the Advil kicked in, I couldn't put it down, so it's probably fair to say Heyer owned the night.

My previous post was all about incorporating Avengers gifs into my blog and whining about how much I suuuck. Serious doubt spiral, from both story doubt and serious qualms about my ability to even write something readable. I like to think I'm kicking its ass, even as we speak, because I have already moved on to editing something else. I've got two chapters of my gothic romance edited. So there, doubt monster!

I've also decided I need to try and whine a little less on the internet. Believe me, when the spiral first began, I wanted to reach out to someone, something, to not go spinning down the toilet. I thought that wouldn't be cool. Restrain yourself. No one wants to hear about this. But then I got on the Twitter, and well, Twitter is not about self-control or restraint. It's the mallet to the knee of self-expression.

But then you did get that post with the Robert Downey, Jr. gif, didn't you? And we were all glad that happened.