Wednesday, November 28, 2007


comes at bizarre times.

Last night, just before drifting to sleep (I do my best creating then), I realized a very simple way to expand on a certain scene in the book. I was just tickled pink with myself, and so today I wrote that replacement scene and took a 500 word scene to almost 1400 words. Yay!

Theo is working harder on his beta-reading comments for the book than I think he does for his school work. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing them.

The holiday weekend was all right, if you ignore the fact that I came down with the plague Wednesday night, and I'm only starting to feel truly human today. In fact, Friday passed in a comatose blur, and the hubby did a remarkable job of stepping up to run the house/kiddo without me.

Friday night is my birthday. (you don't need to know which one. Suffice it to say that centennial quarters have special meaning for me) I doubt we're doing anything then, but my mother may be doing the birthday lunch thing Saturday, then Gita may swing by for a repeat performance on Sunday. Needless to say, I don't intend to get much writing done this weekend, and that's ok.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hope Springs Anew

Or something.

So...out of the blue (well, not totally out of the blue, I've been brainstorming and taking notes for a while now) I started writing on project number 3 today. And when I was done spewing things out of my brain, I had an entire chapter 2. Don't ask me what happened to chapter 1. Apparently, I just wasn't in the mood to write that one today.

I don't think I'm comfortable enough to post a word-count bar yet, but it could be on the horizon. And at some point, I will have to face facts and take down the word count bar for project number 1. Sad, but true.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Elements

I've been pondering a new element to add to the story today. Not so much a new element, really, as a reassignment of several key roles. I would be taking some actions performed by a supporting character and reassigning them to the hero instead, to make him a more active participant.

I'm not sure I'm really going to do it, but I have to say that the two replacement scenes I wrote made me giggle all day. At the very least, I have something to amuse me between serious efforts.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm a bad girl

I promised myself that, once I started my revisions, I would not hit the word count button.

I failed, almost instantly.

Still, after going through the first six chapters, I am up to 52,500 words (in actual MS Word wordcount) or 64,000 in estimated word count.

There are betas I still haven't heard back from. I'm hoping to get their feedback and then make another pass through the manuscript to touch up the areas that they've pointed out too.

I doubt I'll get much accomplished this coming week, what with the holidays and all. But, maybe a break from obsessing will do me good.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Week, Another Fifty Cents

I am soooo glad this week is over. The Real Job (tm) has been mind-numbingly dull for quite some time.

So, saw an interesting post on the Bookends Blog today regarding how to figure word count. Now, knowing that I have a particular obsession with the subject, we'll look at my current predicament.

Per MS Word's nifty wordcount feature, my book is 50,300 words (give or take, and pre-revision). Per the 250-per-page method, my book is 61,750 words! (It should be obvious which count I prefer.)

Apparently, some agents prefer the 'real' word count, others prefer the estimated one. But, for those who don't specify, can I please use the estimated one? It just makes me feel better about myself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


For some reason, when I hit post on this one, it didn't take. And I'm not sure I feel up to typing it all again.

Suffice it to say, status normal, still in limbo, and I'm working on new stuff too, slowly.

Slacking, pt 2!

Ha ha! I have figured out how to retrieve the stupid saved drafts! So, original post below, for your reading pleasure.

I've been slacking on the blog, not on the writing. When I don't have a word count to update every day, it just seems... I 'unno.

Beta reports are still trickling in. I've been taking the info I'm given and using it as inspiration to scribble ALL over my hard copy. The poor thing is so tattered, and now covered in purple ink. I have quite a few people I haven't heard from yet (nudges to Gita, Lendys, Chie), and a couple others who are going through it piece by piece. I'm resisting the urge to go ahead with the next draft until I hear back from them, but it's getting harder by the day.

As far as new projects go, I scribbled some stuff down yesterday. It brought me to the realization that while I am GREAT with premise (and I can world build like nobody's business), I struggle with actual plot. So I have these wonderful people in this really neat world, and I'm not sure what they're doing! Oh well, all things in time, right?

And on a real life note, when did Thanksgiving sneak up on us! I demand my year back.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thoughts and Mullings

As I let my betas' comments seep into my brain, I find that I am thinking of more ways to flesh out my world and make it a fuller, more interesting place. For example, I have quite a bit more room to explain many things about my antagonists that I never even touched on. I think I was so paranoid about info-dumping that I've neglected some basic explanation and examination that the reader will want/need.

This is encouraging to me! I think I would be more disheartened to realize that I had written something and had no where left to go with it. But a story that has room to evolve means that it has room to be better.

We can rebuild it! We have the technology!

I'm still not touching it at this point. I'm waiting to hear back from my betas that are using this weekend to get up a head of steam and blast right through it. But the feedback I have so far is taking my mind in wonderful new directions. I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

And in other news

I banged out a rough outline for the sequel to my current project. I'm not planning on writing it, right away ('cause what's the point of writing a sequel if the first never sells?) but I would like to be able to show an agent that I have plans for the future, if they ask.


So, one of my virgin betas, Vaeras, has come back to me with an enormous list of first impressions, and promises for a list of second impressions yet to come. And I'm just blown away!

He's put so much thought into reading and critiquing my work, and offered so many good points, I scarcely know where to begin. At the moment, I'm going to give myself several days to mull over what he's given me, and try to take it from general advice into practical changes in the work.

I will be making no changes at all until I hear back from all my betas. I know that Kat is only beginning to read tomorrow, so it'll be a while before she gets back to me. Others have finished reading, but are taking their time to formulate helpful suggestions for me.

I don't think I'll ever be able to thank all these people enough, for all the time and effort they're putting in for me. Is there a limit to how many you can thank in an acknowledgements page?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Responses so far

Three of my betas have finished the book so far (let's hear it for speed reading!). They've given me a few tips, with promises of more in depth critiques to come. I'm actually excited! First off, no one has said "Oh wow, you stink!" Second, even the small tips they've given me so far have been helpful (and very true, when I look at it).

I told Theo today that I'm not sure if I'm disgusted or happy. Disgusted at myself for not thinking of most of this stuff earlier, and happy that I AM thinking of ways to expand/hone my book.

AND, I bought a purple pen to do my edits in! Purple trumps all.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beta-Readers, Away!

Well, I finished this morning, and dumped this beast on my readers. I have also arranged for Kinko's to print me a couple hard copies, so I can edit on paper for typos and spelling while my betas have it. I refuse to do ANY story/plot editing until I hear back from my band of super-great readers.

Here is the small note I sent to them, since some of them have never done this kind of thing before:

Congratulations! You are part of the few, the proud, the suckers. Somehow, I conned you into reading this beast, with an eye toward helping me make it better.

I encourage you to do at least the first read-through like you would any book you picked up for enjoyment. Just, read the story, enjoy it (or not) as you can. Be entertained, learn to love or hate our hero, whatever. Ultimately, I just want to know if you liked it!

Then, if it wasn’t vile and you can stand it, go back through with a more critical eye and look for specific things to give me feedback on.

Here’s a few things I’m specifically looking for:

** Honesty. Total, brutal honesty. You are all my friends, but please don’t let that cloud your judgment.

** Word-count-wise, this is too short to be a novel. Anything you see that you think “Hey, I’d like to know more!” or “Hey, she could expand on that there”, lemme know.

** Totally contradicting that, if you see a scene/paragraph/sentence that you think needs to be cut, lemme know that too.

** Look for things that yank you out of the story. If you see something that is totally distracting, mark it, let me know.

** If you find yourself at chapter 3, thinking “ZOMG, will the torture never end”, feel free to stop reading. But please, let me know exactly WHERE you lost interest, and why.

I am hoping to be able to catch most typo/spelling/grammar errors on my own, but if you see one that is just glaringly apparent, feel free to mark that too.

There’s no time limit on this, so don’t feel rushed. Everyone has real lives that need tending to first. If you have any questions, let me know!

So, have at it everyone! I think I'll find something else to stress about for a few days/weeks/however long it takes.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Rare Day

I've spent a good portion of the day (well, this afternoon, really) writing, which is highly unusual. I'm not programed to write from home, after all. But thanks to Gita, who kept me babbling through IMs, the various websites I like to lurk on (waves to the AW crew), and fiddling with my music selections, I managed to trick myself into feeling like I was multi-tasking, which seems to be the requisite for productive writing.

I finished the revision of chapter 23 (the final chapter!). Now, I need to go back and tweak four earlier chapters with things I thought of after I was done with them. Then I need to research and choose six quotes with which to introduce certain chapters. Then...oh, then... I will be done with revision number two.

I'm excited, and terrified, all at once. Gita made the comment that she didn't realize my novel had come out so short the first time. I guess this is a good thing, maybe indicating that the story is good enough to make a reader lose track of silly things like length.

Or, it was so boring she thought it dragged on interminably anyway.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The End is Near...Again!

I have reached that point in my revisions where I just want it done with. I'm sooooo close to the end, and I'm anxious to see what my new bunch of, I mean beta-readers will make of it. (Kidding guys, I luv ya. You know I do)

I have one more chapter to revise, some tweaks to go back and add to earlier chapters, and six quotes to find. I am seriously going to try and push through this weekend and finish it up. I can send the document to Kinko's, over their online service (I think this is the coolest thing ever, by the way) and print out a couple copies for my local betas (and myself) and get set to do this all over again!

Word count, I believe, is going to come in right at 50K words. I have reached the point where I'm trying to decide what is "too short". I chose 80K for my goal, simply because many books in the urban fantasy genre (especially first-in-a-series-books) seem to start out in that range. It is possible that the book can be just as good in the 70K range, but thinking of going shorter than that is giving me the heebie jeebies. I guess I'll just have to see what comes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things we learn from our children

First and foremost on the list: I am TOO old to go trick-or-treating. I feel like we walked 20 blocks last night (I'm sure it was closer to 10) and of course Daddy wound up carrying Kiddo the last four or five.

Still, I am pleased to see that Halloween still holds all the magic for me that it ever did. I mean, on what other day of the year is it perfectly acceptable for sane adults to dress up and play make-believe, if even for only a few hours?

On the book front, I'm slowly plucking away. I thought I was done with the revisions on chapter 20, until I was hit with a tiny inspiration on the bus on the way home tonight. So, I'll be revisiting that chapter, and a couple of earlier ones to make tweaks before I move on to the last three.

I'm slowly assembling a batch of beta-readers. I'll be sending this out to my readers who have already read the first draft (Chie, Theo, Gita) as well as a brand spanking new crop who have what I call "virgin" eyes. They haven't read any of it, and should enter into it with no expectations.

I'm excited and scared to death all at once.