Archive for 2006

Writers in the Mist

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

The mist of my cold has lifted a bit. Tomorrow is Friday, casual day, payday and the start of a long weekend. It’s also taco day. On Fridays, I splurge and get tacos at Gourmet Taco. All the rest of the days I make my lunch. So, yeah, today I went to work. Blah blah blah boring blah.

I notebooked at the gym this morning and worked out my cool idea for Magellan’s Witch. I wrote that scene tonight and it came out cool indeed. I have no idea what I’ll be writing tomorrow. I guess I’ll figure it out at the gym. But it’s cool. I exceeded target, which is good. Repeat daily until there’s a novel. I know some writers just keep going with the flow, and that any others insist that you should never go back to fix until later, but that doesn’t work for me. I need to adjust what I have now to meet the new coolness of my scene. Then I can proceed. Well, we’ll see.

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Another Victory!

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

My cold and I stayed home from work today. I slept late, had breakfast and then a long nap and after that I felt a lot better. I’m not 100% but I’m well enough to go to work tomorrow. Sigh. Tonight, I got some good work done on Magellan’s Witch and I exceeded my target word count for the day. I followed through on a few things I thought might be a total bust, and I don’t think they were at all, which is good.

I finished The Historian last night. I confess that toward the end, I was pretty enthralled. I recommend the book for sure. Kostova handles some pretty challenging structural issues with ease. The story is revealed through a combination of conversations recalled at second and some third hand, letters and documents, and very little direct experience. I think most writers would have gone splat trying to pull that off. She establishes her fiction of structure and then sticks with it. I loved the way the title became ambiguous. For me, that was the high point of the book. Who, exactly, is The Historian? There are multiple answers. The history, by the way, was fascinating. I never once even thought of skipping the history. I love books that sweep over history like this one and make me see the past as alive and vibrating. At the end, however, I said, "What?" Things ended far too easily for me. Bram Stoker did it better. And now I’ll make a strange comparison:

The Historian does not compare to Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. When I finished Walk Two Moons I knew I had read a great novel. Yes, I am aware that Walk Two Moons is a YA novel and not a vampire novel either, but I was wrung out and crying at the end. Creech transported me with a story that continues to resonate with me. That’s what literature does, regardless of genre. Walk Two Moons is a book no one should miss.

I strive for that. Yeah. I have a long way to go.

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Ratzafratz!

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

I have the day off work, but am not feeling well enough to enjoy it much. The Cold is getting worse. Ick and ick again. It’s raining cats and dogs and it’s windy. I ate way too much chocolate yesterday and today. Further, I made the horrible error of ordering my Leonidas chocolate from other than my usual source. They sent the wrong selection and did not pack it appropriately such that most of the chocolates arrived broken. For future reference, the ONLY place to order your Leonidas chocolates is from Leonidas-chocolate.com. Don’t make my tragic mistake. Megan F can probably take the bus or something to get hers, they’re at 487 Madison Avenue, New York. The wonderful folk at the Madison Avenue store pack their chocolates in foam blocks and they never send the wrong kind either. Sniff. I’ve now bookmarked the correct site and won’t be making that mistake again.

I’ve been mulling over my hero for Magellan’s Witch. I have a very specific mood in mind that I really want to pull off. Oh. Gee. My fogged brain is getting foggier. OK. I’ll just muddle along here.

We had a wonderful Christmas here. My mom got me a sweatshirt that says Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. My best friend got me typewriter bookends. My dog is asleep on my lap right now. The kids loved and appreciated their presents. Right now, my son is working on a large paint-by-numbers Panda that I got him. He’s good at detail like that. I have errands to run, but don’t feel well enough to run them. Oh, well. I’ve been reading The Historian. Very good, but to be perfectly honest, there are genre vampire novels that get it much better. As I recall, Dark Jewels was better.

I’ve been reading a lot. I re-read all my Black Dagger Brotherhood books, and then I read over on Romance : By the Blog that Michelle Buonfiglio managed to get her hands on #4, Lover Revealed. Arghh!!! I wanna read this book! Sorry, MB, I do hate you because you’ve read it. (OK, not really, but here I am sick and feeling sorry for myself and I just know I would feel much much better if I had this book to read. Now.) I also read Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible which I totally loved.

And I got my copy of Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker which I’ve been flipping through and really enjoying. When I’m feeling better, I’m going to implement several of the suggestions, which are mostly about how to use technology to actually improve your life. None of them are terribly complicated, some are common sense, and some I have already implemented for other uses. Like using Instiki, which is a personal wiki. But I use it for writing stuff, not life stuff. But now that my son has a real computer, I’m going to re-commandeer my old laptop, install Linux on it and turn it into a web server so I can set up a more robust wiki.

Personal note to Patti O’Shea: I never get lie, lay right either so I write around that, but my ninth grade English teacher gave us this sentence to remind us of the distinction between affect and effect: The sound Effect Affected my ears. It helps to repeat this sentence with a deliberate emphasis on the opening vowel sound of the two buggers… er.. words. Therefore, when you are confronted with the effect/affect dilemma repeat that sentence to remind you of of the distinction. Thus: The effect was fantastic. E word. He was glad his whisper affected her. A-word.

I think that’s it for now. I need to go lie down.

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Do this! read that! See here!

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

In no particular order (that’s irony I think. Obviously my non-quantum mechanical world ethos requires that these appear in a particular order in order to communicate with you-all.) Whatever. I have a headache.

1. Check out this great post by Tess Gerritson. I spent most of last semester in a classroom of students with this attitude. [snotty comment omitted]

2. The new James Bond movie, Casino Royale totally rocks. Go to this movie while it’s still in the theater. I saw pics of Daniel Craig and thought, meh He’s okay but– Well, I stand corrected. The man is one hell of an actor and long before the end of the movie (like within the first 2 minutes: the word "Considerably" won my heart lust and soul) I was more than willing to bear his children. Oh, the joy of a James Bond movie that isn’t insulting to women. Thank you writers. Thank you director. And thank you for all those work outs, Daniel Craig.

3. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and safe traveling.

4. Then there’s this post from Marjorie M. Liu about a subject of my frequent obsession.

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Madly Writing

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

All-righty! Yes, I wrote a lot today. I was able to set aside many distractions and get words on the page. They were not fabulous words, but they are words that give me some structure and later I’ll be going over them and really editing and fixing. Today, I was creating the bones. I had to delete a lot, though, so my word count looked worse than the number of new words written. At least this chapter (7) is now the skeleton of this version and all the stuff from the older version is gone. A couple of unexpected things happened, and I went with it. We’ll see how much I get done tomorrow. Probably not a lot. I have presents to wrap, and my son needs to do some shopping. And I think the two of us need to relax a bit together doing mom and son stuff.

I am really, really glad about getting so much done today. I was afraid I’d futz around too much. Again. I have Tuesday off, too, so it’s an extra long weekend. I’m looking forward to that a lot. Mostly the sleeping part. My cold is markedly better. Sleeping yesterday afternoon helped a lot, but I’m dead tired right now, so I’m going to bed.

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Looking for some pity here

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I have a cold. Ick. And right now I’m in the feeling miserable stage. To speed things along, go ahead and insert several sentences of whining bathetic self-absorbtion right here. Yeah. But I’m feeling even worse that that!

The holidays are distracting me. They should stop doing that. Miss Snark needs to stop distracting me. And other my favorite bloggers need to stop posting stuff I have to read. That’s really distracting.

I’m still reading The Historian and it’s pretty good, but it’s not keeping me up at night like I expected. It’s wonderfully written, and pretty creepy, but not really creepy, which is what I expected. In short, I expected a trope-busting exploration of Dracula, and so far, I haven’t seen it in this book. But I’m not done yet. However, I am silently (unless you’re reading this out loud) suspicious that the literary folk don’t read enough genre novels to know when a trope has been really, truly and creatively busted wide open. Have none of them read MaryJanice Davidson? Did she not turn all-that-vampires-are on their collective pointy little fangs? Why, yes, she did. Further dissertation is probably unfair since I haven’t finished the book yet, and maybe that’s coming.

Last year I judged in the RITA’s, this year it’s the Golden Heart. My entries arrived today. I’m looking forward to reading them.

I have to get to work. Now.

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Time’s A Wasting!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006


The Shards of Crimson release date is fast approaching. If you haven’t entered the contest to win ALL the stuff you see in this picture, you’re running out of time.
So what is this cool stuff? No insulting the photographer please. I admit my shortcomings. The picture on my website is bigger in case you want to go there to see more not to mention enter right away! including, cool, awesome tattoos (the two flowery looking things on the white cards, those are the tattoos) The mug, the stakes. Gosh, my photo doesn’t do the prizes justice at all.

So, as I say to my son, stop dawdling! Enter to Win!

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Improbable? You be the judge. . .

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Here’s something I never expected: Jakob Nielsen, one of the preeminent (some would say the preeminent expert in web usability, has a post that is relevant to the writing of fiction, plus, in a super duper bonus, he actually mentions these statistically-improbable-for-a-usability freak words and phrases: hero, time travelers, Napoleonic War, captain of a British frigate. But wait! There’s yet another bonus for you! Here is my favorite sentence of 2006, straight from Mr. Neilsen himself:

Films are littered with so many other unrealistic plot details: you’d imagine, for example, that the ability to shoot straight might actually be a primary job requirement of Imperial Stormtroopers.

Why yes, one does. But George Lucas never let details get in the way of a good story. Besides, everyone knows bad buys can’t shoot. This whole article just really tickled me. I kept imagining Mr. Nielsen throwing popcorn at his TV while shouting Why isn’t the user hopelessly confused?!? Check it out. It’s way worth a read.

In other news, I am done with my holiday shopping, and all my holiday cards are sitting in front of me, unaddressed except for names. I think I’m going to email everyone a picture of the card instead. Let me know if you’d like me to email you one. :)

In writing news, I’m pretty pleased with the building process for the current project. I can feel the deadline panic starting up and that’s good. The writing is agony but things are getting laid down well and I feel like I know the way forward, which is pretty important. I just hope I remember that Imperial Stormtroopers ought to be damn good shots.

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I’ve been a good writer, but it really hurt

Friday, December 15th, 2006

All righty. I’m on track for the better direction. Actually, that would be, a direction since until a couple of days ago I had only a very vague sense of direction. First, I stopped futzing around. Then I worked on my outline so that I was clear on what was happening in the chapters I have so far, and I added the skeleton of what I need to write. That way I can keep track.

Then, I went to the chapters and moved the bits around until they were where I needed them to be. Then I fixed the egregious discontinuities that resulted. Next, I looked at and deleted all the chapters (there were 10 of them) that were the result of work on the previous draft. I marked the ones I know have bits I’ll need. The result? -8 words which is really not so bad.

The 10 deleted chapters don’t count, since I removed them from my master document ages ago. I just hadn’t decided on a direction so I wasn’t comfortable moving them to the dead files section. But now I am and now I’m in a position to fix more stuff all the while going forward.

And now I’m going to bed. Ah, sleep. You are my favorite muse.

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Sometimes writing is like this…

Friday, December 15th, 2006

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.
Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)

For me, it’s hardest when I’m starting out and my idea is at its vaguest. This is when my room is neater, laundry is done, when I do stupid web tricks or pass the time reading writing blogs.

In good news, last night’s notebooking session was very productive, as was this morning’s at the gym. (Which reminds me, I haven’t seen Jaguar man in a very long time. Tattoo-boy is there regularly, so that’s nice.) You’d think I’d be all raring to go with the new stuff, but no. It involves some painful reordering of events and writing from scratch.

So. Sigh. Off to it. Because, unfortunately, words don’t write. Writers do.

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