Thursday, May 31, 2007

Feeling Left Out

You ever sit around people who have known each other forever, and they all laugh at jokes that are old news to them, but make no sense to you? All you can do is just chuckle politely and wait for them to talk about something that might include you? That's kinda how I feel about a couple of my characters.

Doesn't seem to matter where I want to steer them toward, they're quite content to sit and just chat it up and joke around, and leave me sitting there feeling like a third wheel. I'm obviously not one of the "in" crowd.

This is probably going to lead to me cutting almost every paragraph I wrote yesterday, once I can get them up and moving again. Stupid prima donna characters.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


So the books that I was waiting on apparently arrived on Saturday, but the delivery man couldn't be bothered to come knock on the door, and so they sat in my mailbox all weekend. Ah well, at least I have them now!

And reading through bits and pieces last night was most productive. I found at least one quote I want to use, and I can see potential for many more. I don't think I want to preface every chapter with a quote, though. It might break the flow of the action at the wrong moment. Maybe every other chapter. Still fiddling with it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


So, due to some techno problems with the computer at the Real Job (tm), I don't really have time to update this fully, this morning. (at least it wasn't the home computer, then I'd have had to commit seppuku or something)

So, in short, swamped at work, gonna try to work on the new project (see the nifty slider bar to the left!) and waiting for my research materials to arrive. (due May 31st, in theory)

Off to scrounge up breakfast.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Long Weekend

So, I'm settled in for the Memorial Day weekend. I am not a glamorously rich famous author yet, so we really can't afford to do much. (thinking of selling the kiddo for gas money. Oi.) A friend from online is driving through town tomorrow, so we're having dinner with him, and that'll probably be the extent of our adventures.

I have ordered some books for research purposes. Hubby has also give me a movie watching assignment for the same reason. (gotta see if Blockbuster has it today, it's an old one) All of these things are to help me find the "tone" I want for this second project. I know in my head what I want, I just need some more info to get it on paper.

I sat down all day yesterday and tried to prepare an outline for this book. I've never tried to outline at the beginning, so I thought I'd give it a shot. For starters, it's hard! But I've found and fixed a plot hole or two already (and trust me, better now than midway through the actual writing). I've also come to the conclusion that I have maybe simplified things a bit too much. I think it's going to come out shorter than I intended. (shooting for 80K words with this one) My intent is to read through the beginnings of some books I own in the same genre and see how they handled things.

It seems so strange to me that I can't just pull this information out of my head, when I've read these books already, but I guess it just goes to show the difference between reading for pleasure and reading for critique.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

She's a Maniac!

Obviously, I'm in a manic swing at the moment, since I seem to be devouring this new project. Still writing, about a third of the way into chapter 4 (5000-ish words total). Still researching. I'm not finding the kinds of quotes I want in the books hubby has, so I may hit the local library on my lunch break today, or I may just go straight to and spend money I don't have.

Hmm...I wonder, if I get published, if I can deduct that as a busines expense...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Still puttering with this new idea. About two and a half chapters (3800 words) into it at the moment. My poor original baby is sitting there, looking at me forlornly, saying "Why don't you love me anymore?" Ah well. I needed the break, and now I'm kinda anxious to see where this other thing takes me.

I've worked on my original story for the last three years (off and on with many months of lost time in the middle), and I have always been of the mindset that it would take me a year at least to write a book entire (y'know, really WORKING at it). I have the sneaking feeling that this one I just started wouldn't take that long. I'm kinda curious to see if I'm right.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


So, I'm still stuck on this idea hubby has had for a book, and to that end I'm investing some time doing research. Luckily, hubby happens to have most of the necessary texts to actually DO that research, so it's really taking little effort on my part other than turning pages and taxing my brain.

I think everything I've found so far is important, but the trick will be how to include it in a fun, entertaining, and nonintrusive way. This is an urban fantasy novel, not a history book. It is about a man who has made an ancient way of thought part of his everyday life in the modern world. Hmm... Think think think...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Food for Thought

On word count... has a nifty feature that allows you to look at pages of a book before you buy it. That nifty feature also offers something called "Text Stats", which gives letter count, sentence count, word count, etc.

So, out of curiosity, I looked up the books in my favorite series. The first book in the series was 84,000-ish words. The 8th book (we're on 9, actually, but they didn't have stats for that one) was almost 152,000 words. So, not only did he find more to talk about, but as he was more successful, the author's publisher allowed him to produce bigger books.

I don't know what this means, exactly, but I found it interesting.

Taking a Break

I have decided to take a break from my usual writing endeavor for today. (and possibly tomorrow, too) I'm afraid I'm getting burned out on the story, and honestly, pushing myself to try and finish at a certain date isn't helping my creativity, and is seriously raising my frustration.

So, today I'm going to work on an urban fantasy idea my hubby and I have been batting around. (his idea, my writing) In fact, in honor of our seven-year anniversary yesterday, we left the kiddo with my mom and went out to lunch alone, and did nothing but talk about this particular book.

I'm actually really excited about the idea, so much so that I couldn't get to sleep for about three hours last night, because I think I wrote the first two or three chapters in my head already. We'll see if I can actually get it down on paper today. (well, on harddrive)

Saturday, May 19, 2007


So, because I was super-bored today, I typed up a rough rough draft of a query letter, and posted it on a critique site. Now, I know the letter itself was crap, and the responses I got were about what I expected, which actually makes me feel good in a way. At least I'm doing all right in recognizing my flaws. (the first step to preventing/correcting them) But some of the other comments rather puzzled me.

Some of the people didn't like my main characters surname, because it had an apostrophe in it. Now, I could understand if her name was something like Ula'gu'kna'*clickingsound*'gotc'kuk. But it's not, and it isn't even the name they'll be seeing most often, it's her surname. And sadly, I spent a lot of time figuring out why the surnames in my book are the way they are, having to do with lineage in a noble house and everything.

Another didn't think that the names (people, places) "matched" each other. Which, if you are going with an earth reality (french, greek, etc.), they're right, they wouldn't match. But I'm going with a world I made up, in a city that is known for it's blending of cultures due to being a trade hub. And granted, the person making the comment couldn't possibly have known this from the query letter I presented either.

Now, the point they made that perhaps I didn't want to dump all this on an agent right in the query letter is valid. There are places where I can eliminate names to make it less confusing, and let the sample pages or whatever speak for themselves. Still, it's amazing to me what people choose to object to.

Needless to say, this is something I need to get used to. (and I'll need a much better query letter, when it's time)

Friday, May 18, 2007


Sometimes, when you see me gazing off into space, I'm not actually plotting out my next section of epic prose. Sometimes, I am daydreaming. It's harmless, it's actually more entertaining than TV, and it's free.

My usual favorite daydream (lately) is to come home one day and find a notice from my Dream Agency that they wish to see a partial...or a full...or take me on altogether. Now, keep in mind that I haven't even sent out any queries yet (nor am I ready to, my work just isn't good enough yet). But still, there's a small bit of enjoyment in imagining that one shining moment of pure and sublime joy.

(please note, I steadfastly avoid trying to imagine the more likely scenario, the form letter rejection notice. It's my daydream, I can bask if I want to!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's Efforts

Well, today I got about 800 words written. It may not sound like much, but it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to sit down and create something that wasn't there before. Add that to the scribbling I've done for the last two days, and I have another 2000 words to add to my word count.

My shiny new Chapter 20 is not healthy, however. It is woefully short, length-wise. I am putting it aside and moving on, however, and intend to revisit it in the Big Revision. I have this lingering fantasy that once I start revising things, some of these weak places will resolve themselves.

Impending Dooooooom!

Ok, not really.

But I do feel new writing coming on, and this makes me happy. All in all, I just feel very optimistic today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Home Stretch

I read a comment recently that said the last 20% of a novel is the most difficult to complete. Considering that I'm currently struggling with just that (almost 20% exactly), I'm inclined to agree. Other people say that the end is their greatest part, though. That once they get on that exciting downhill slide, the words just pour out. I envy that.

I also got into a discussion this morning about how many books a writer generates in a set time period. I see authors out there who put out three and four books a year. On a writers' board I frequent (read: lurk on), one person says it takes them three months to write a book and then perhaps another nine months total on final revisions.

I have worked on this book for probably three years now. Granted, I haven't been able to devote all the time to it I would have liked, but I still know that I couldn't generate this in three months. A happier goal for me would be to take a year to write a book, then maybe a month for the first Big Revision. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm doing this wrong.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Devil is in the Details

So, it occured to me somewhat randomly (as most things do) that I have created this wonderful world setting for my novels, but I haven't named it. I've named cities and nations and races, but I haven't come up with a name for the world as a whole. And, with the globally sea-faring societies that I've constructed, it would be logical for them to have a name for this world.

Now...what's a good name?

How about....Bob.

The Joys of Matrimony

Today began, dark and early, at 3:30 a.m., when the hubby crawled into bed and immediately started snoring. After about an hour of me poking and prodding and clubbing him with everything short of a ball bat, I got up to move to the spare bedroom. At which point, it started thundering.

I think the gods hate me.

It does lead me to wonder, however, if this is why I see no chance for my main character to ever get married. Maybe she's smarter than I realize.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Goals for Today

Mostly, I'll probably end up working on Real Job (tm) work. We're looking forward to getting slammed here.

However, on the off chance that I have a moment to be creative, I have decided that I need to create another outline. Not of the whole book, but of my secondary plot line. It will make me feel more organized, and help me figure out what needs to go in some of these gaping holes that I need to fill. I suppose this is what happens when I just write the story as it comes to me (as opposed to planning it out ahead of time, like I'm doing with the second book). All in all, I can only hope that this means the second book will go easier than the first. If I make all the mistakes with the first one, I should be golden the second time around, right?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I figured out the sentence! (the problem lay in the sentence BEFORE it, oddly enough)

More importantly, I finished the chapter. So, as of this moment, I have the first 19 consecutive chapters done. And now, I find myself running to my tattered and abused outline to see what the flux I intended to do next.

One Stinking Sentence

That is what I'm stuck on, at this exact moment. One lousy sentence. I just need my characters to walk out a door. That's all. Just...walk out the door and take a stroll. And the sentence just will not come. I've tried everything, and they just will NOT leave the building.

I'm about a minute away from zapping them with a cattle prod. Wonder if bribing them with food would work... Hmm....

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Notes Notes Notes

Well, I didn't get much writing done on my currect project yesterday. (Though, thanks to Gita, I know that my medical guess was spot on! Yay!)

Instead, Chie and I spent most of the day brainstorming and trying to hash out final details on the storyline to the second book. I know, I know, getting ahead of myself.

But, it brought up an interesting thought. I have chosen titles for the first two books. Mostly, they're working titles, but I'm rather fond of them. They do not, however, have any type of theme between them. And I got to pondering, is this an element that is truly necessary for a trilogy? Honestly, I would hate to agonize over matching titles, only to have the publisher say "Nope, change it!" My head might explode.

Oh, the randomness in my brain...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Neurotic Me

Apparently, I've hit an obsessive swing again.

Chief on my list of things that are plaguing my mind are:

a) When I query my Dream Agency, should I send a query to the agency as a whole (they offer that as an option) or to one specific agent? On one hand, if I send it to the agency as a whole, I worry that I will get lost in the masses. On the other hand, if I send it to the one specific agent, I worry that I will miss the opportunity of having another really good agent see/like me.

b) I am desperate to start the upcoming Big Revision. I know where I have weaknesses, I know where my writing is just decidedly second (or third or fourth) rate. However, if I start it now, before the rest of the book is finished, I'll just be going back repeatedly to revise, instead of just once.

c) And, of course, the all oppressive "What if I'm just not GOOD enough?" obsession. Realistically, I know I am a good storyteller. Heck, I've read books and known I could do better. (I've also read books that made me feel like a tiny little slug under a rock) But me knowing I'm a good storyteller doesn't help, if I can't get what's in my head on paper. Can I truly put into words the world and the people that are so rich and full in my mind? Can I make people see what I see?

This obsessive rant brought to you by the strawberry shake and the two cherry pies I had for lunch. Yay sugar high!


So, I overslept this morning. Now, I still managed to get everyone rousted out and catch my usual bus in to work, but I'll still feel overly rushed the rest of the day.

I'm still waiting to hear back from my medical consultant (don't make me poke you with a fork, Gita) before I can finish up the scene I'm working on. My other option is to go ahead and write it, then when she tells me that what I've described can't really happen, go back and revise. We'll see what I'm in the mood for later.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Today's Efforts

Didn't get too much accomplished today so far (only about 300 words or so) but as soon as I get dinner and dishes done, I may see if I can settle down and finish the section I was working on. Waiting to hear back on some research questions from Gita who is serving as my official medical consultant on this project (I just love it that my best friend is a doctor!).

And the Beat Goes On

Goals for today: Work on the second half of chapter 16. Work on a roleplaying thread that I've promised some friends. Work on my Real Job (tm).

Thankfully, the weather looks like it might be vaguely sunny. I always have an easier time being creative when it's bright and cheerful outside. Probably have a touch of that...oh, what's it called...the disorder where you get depressed without light? Photo-....something. (I'm not a doctor, but my best friend is!)

At any rate, I'm going to settle in this morning with my mint tea, some oatmeal cookies, and see what I can accomplish.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Today's Efforts

Well, wonder of wonders, I got some writing done today!

Now the bad news.

The section I was working on, that I was just certain was the first part of Chapter 16, really is. The section I wrote months ago that I was just certain was the second part of Chapter 16, is not. That section is actually being promoted to a full chapter in its own right, and I've come up with another second half for poor Chapter 16.

And, while I was at it, and my outline was already screaming for mercy, I rearranged the order of chapters 16-19.

Trust me, it all makes sense in my head. No, really. No, REALLY. Why are you laughing?

Toot Toot!

Just like the little engine that could, I keep chugging along.

Yesterday was not an entire waste. I got about 350 words written. It doesn't sound like much, but considering that I scrapped it and started over three different times, I'm lucky to accomplish that much. Hopefully, I can finish this section today, which will put me at 18 consecutive chapters done.

Sadly, I think my outline may need adjusting. I have thought of a few things that need to occur that aren't accounted for (I knew they were there, I just spaced it out when making the outline I guess). Still, it's good progress. Change is good, right?

Monday, May 7, 2007


I would just like it noted that the hole in the roof is now fixed, thanks to me truly. I have never roofed before, and gods willing, I never will again, but there is no longer a drip through my kitchen ceiling.

And I would also like to note that there is nothing quite so satisfying as the look on the sales rep's face when the pretty woman in the business suit and heels walks into the lumber store, throws a bundle of shingles up over her shoulder, and walks out.

Somehow, I think my mother is proud of me.

Wherein Real Life Intrudes

So, due to torrential rains in this part of the country (namely, right on top of my house) I have a river running through my basement and a leak in my kitchen ceiling. The rain is due to last until next Sunday.

So, my big job for tonight is to go buy some shingles and climb up on the roof (in the rain) and see if I can't fix that leak. I've never done roofing work before. Should be interesting.

Needless to say, I have very little motivation to write today. I may surprise myself later, and jot something down, but I truly don't expect to.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Frivolous but Fun

So, Evil Editor (see the link to the left) has posted a writing exercise that I've chosen to participate in. It was much harder than I thought to construct an entire, vivid scene in less than two hundred words. I came in at 195, I think, but it took some serious whittling and rethinking of imagery. (which, I suppose, was the point of the exercise)

I have also been toying with the idea of trying to write some short stories for submission to magazines. Never hurts to have previous credentials when you start the querying saga. Theo sent me links to Fiction Factor and Storyteller Magazine (Yes, he's Canadian, hence the Canadian link, but they do accept submissions from the US.)

I have been bemoaning the fact that I haven't had anything that wasn't a novel-length idea in eons, and thus I was sorely out of practice in writing short stories. However, in going through some of my old scribblings (I keep EVERYthing. I'm anal that way), I found the beginnings of an urban fantasy novel that I have since fallen out of love with. I may see if I can take that protagonist, and the opening chapter, and turn it into something shorter and sweeter, to begin submissions.

Whee, lookit me go!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Happy Friday

Well, I have survived another week of the Real Job (tm). This shouldn't really be an event of note. I actually like my real job. It pays well, I have very little responsibility, and I'm able to multi-task enough to write as I work. Still, I would much rather be in a hammock on my deck writing on a laptop. Or ensconced in a back table of some bookstore, maybe. My writer's dream.

Looking at my weekend schedule, I doubt I'll get anything done for the next few days. This is actually a good thing. Sometimes, I need a break from my writing just like I need a break from everything else.

If I can finish the first half of chapter 16 today, I can go into the weekend with eighteen consecutive chapters done. This would be a good place to take a breath, I think.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Today's Efforts

Well, I finished that troublesome chapter, so now I have fifteen consecutive chapters done. Granted, the one in question is not nearly as polished as I would like. The voice isn't strong enough, I need to go back and add more "spice" to something that is coming across as fairly bland now. That will wait till the Big Revise though. Right now, I'm just glad to have that portion done, and I need to walk away from that for a bit.

I am wondering, since I tentatively gave myself until June 30th, if I can have the book itself finished by May 31st, then give myself the month of June for the Big Revise. Worth thinking about.

Pondering the Future

Even with the first book unfinished, I find myself tantilized by the glimpses I get of the next two. How I long to see how my characters change and grow, what trials they overcome. I have to keep slapping my own hand to resist springing ahead and beginning on the second one. One thing at a time, everything in order.

I actually did some writing at home last night, which is highly unusual. Though, in retrospect, I don't know if that is because I usually can't write at home, or because I've never tried before. Regardless, I finished up the section that was giving me trouble, and I have to finish that chapter itself now. Slowly, I'm patching up the holes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Today's Efforts

Well, a change in point of view seems to be just what this stumbling block needed. It isn't stellar, it isn't as lovely as I know it can be. But it's done, and it's easier to revise crap than blank pages. I have a teeny bit left to finish at the end of the chapter in question, and when I do I'll have fifteen consecutive chapters done. My next hole is the first half of chapter sixteen. After that's done, I'll be complete through chapter 18!

It seems so trivial to celebrate over these tiny milestones, but stuck in this long last stretch, it's what keeps me going.


I guess we're all entitled to one, right?

After spending a hour last night pulling my hair and bemoaning my fate, Oria pointed out to me that she has actually READ said work (that I have declared a piece of crap), and liked it. She also reminded me that it will be easier, and more productive, to revise it all at once, after I'm finished, than try to do it now with pieces still outstanding.

This is why I love my beta-readers. They are willing to put up with Neurotic Me.

Off topic: It has also occurred to me that I have most likely forgotten to give credit to all my beta-readers. Lendys, for example, is a fairly new one, and hasn't told me I'm a no-talent hack yet. I also have to include Gita and Mel in that list too (and they're currently organizing the lynch mob if I don't get the next few chapters to them soon)

Back on topic: I'm not sure what my goal is today. Obviously, whatever it is that I'm trying to do isn't working. I need to find a new voice for that particular chapter, or start the action at a different point to get things flowing. *ponder*

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Since my creativity seems to be taking a snooze somewhere in the back of my skull, I have been amusing myself by reading Miss Snark (see the link under my Blogs I Read list). Most specifically, I have been reading up on the submission projects she has offered in the past.

And honestly, looking at what she has told other people, my first chapter sucks. And, as I look at it, it really DOES! Off to rewrite it!

Contrary to what you might expect, this actually makes me feel good. I am proud of myself that I can recognize what parts of my writing need work, and even better, make the adjustments without struggling over it. It won't help me finish the stupid thing any faster, but maybe when I DO get around to sending out queries, I won't embarrass myself overly much.


It is the days like this one that make me question my commitment to being an author (and my sanity, usually).

For two days I have sat here and stared at the Blinking Cursor of Doom (tm) with nothing to show for it. I have posited that I am simply attempting to write a piece that is stubbornly refusing to materialize. So, I whip out my trusty-but-tattered outline, and I peruse the other gaping holes I still have to fill in. And I stare. And I ponder. And nothing comes.

Deep down inside, I just want this over with. I want to be able to print it out in its entirety and read it from beginning to end in one sitting. I want to do the polishing revisions I desperately know it needs (but have been reluctant to start until it's finished) I want to start the querying. I'm dying for my first rejection letter. (because it will mean that I AM doing what I always wanted to, I AM writing) I want to start on the second book in the series, and see what new story will unfold before my eyes. (Trust me, by the end of my tales, I am usually as surprised as the reader)

It is a vicious cycle. Lack of creativity breeds frustration breeds lack of creativity. I just need to find something to push me up and over this little bump so I can move on. I wish I had something else to read for a while.