Long Overdue Update

Hey folks! It’s beautiful up here in Oregon today. Hard to believe we had snow last week and today it’s over 60 degrees. The squirrels and the jays are super happy and the neighborhood semi-feral cat is soaking up the sun on my back deck.

Book IV is coming along. I’m on the very last few chapters of the book. Of course, they are the hardest. I have to keep them exciting and fast-paced yet make sure I don’t lose track of the many threads I’ve juggled throughout the rest of the book. This is the final volume in this series, so I also have to make sure all of the plot lines get resolved. Then comes the fun part—the first round of editing. I think I’ve mentioned I’m one of those sick folks who enjoy editing. It gives me a chance to tidy things up and clear up all of the stupid mistakes I made during the many months of writing. Though I work with a basic outline, a lot of things spring to mind during the story’s development. I get these “great” ideas that I then simply must add in and that will sometimes cause something I’ve written earlier to fall apart.

With luck, I can pester my editor to start reading through my many pages by the end of April. Then I’ll edit it again based on her suggestions. Then I’ll send it out in its revised condition to someone who foolishly volunteered (thank you, A.) to go through it, followed by a few beta readers once I fix what she finds. I hope and pray that between all of these eyes they will catch the many words I’ve undoubtedly left out of my sentences. I’ve heard of skim readers but not skim writers. Sheesh.

I hope my little update here finds you and your loved ones safe and happy.

 

Photo by Arnold Dogelis on Unsplash

 

Fantasy as Literature?

Sir Terry Pratchett is deeply missed. He left words of wisdom for us, though. Please enjoy.

Mad Genius Club

I’ve had a long rough day putting in fiberglass insulation, some of which involved slithering on my back over ceiling joists, where it is too tight to fit any other way, and pulling the stuff over my body to get it flush with the frames. Second day of this process, so I am glad to say it is done. I have a little more in the middle to do, but I can kneel or crouch for that… a big improvement. Everything is relative, including relatives. Tomorrow will see that job done forever (until I build something else that needs rock-wool).

So I am cheating and quoting from an interview with one of my favorite authors, Sir Terry Pratchett.

The entire interview is transcribed here, and my thanks go to Patrick Rothfuss for doing this and putting it on his site.

O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for…

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Breaking Linear

Every writer approaches their stories differently, and not always the same from book to book. I know my methods have evolved (or devolved?) over the course of the Exile series. Which, by the way, is going along swimmingly. The end is actually in sight and the words are flowing at a rate of 2,000 – 3,000 words a day (I write three days a week). I’m thinking the first draft will be done by the end of March. Fingers crossed.

Mad Genius Club

When people ask “Are you a pantser or a plotter”, they often speak of pantsing as though it was a very linear thing – that you start with a beginning and write through to the end, accreting story and meandering around until you somehow end up with a plot in retrospect.

This is not the only way to pants. In fact, following a plot from beginning to end isn’t the only way to do it, either. As Kipling wrote, “There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every single one is right!” (In the Neolithic Age)

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The Year is OVER?!

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Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

The image above has absolutely nothing to do with the new year or my general inability to stay focused and get things done. I just thought it was cute. And it’s not like the internet can ever have enough cat pictures.

November came. November went. Lee pulled out her hair in frustration over not managing to get anywhere near her NanoWriMo goal. That isn’t to say progress was not made. No, I wrote about 20,000 words. That’s something, just not the something I aimed for. I did get a few particularly difficult scenes written. They were scenes which could have fallen into the area of overly sappy. I don’t care for that sort of thing. I had to rewrite one of the scenes four times. I don’t demand perfection in a rough draft, but I do wish to avoid leaving something for the editing process which is so cringe worthy that its very existence causes me to lose sleep. I always have this fear that if left to lurk, the vileness of the scene will spread, corrupting everything around it.

I know, irrational. So is my fear of flying or of allowing other people to drive. At this point, I don’t think that’s going to change.

I managed to get a tree up this year. Even decorated it. Wrapped some presents. Worried about the ability to pay for said presents. Vowed to spend much much less in 2020. I believe that will be my main resolution for the new year. My health insurance premium is almost tripling in cost come January, so cutting back on spending is absolutely imperative. I cancelled my KU subscription. I figure if I really want to borrow a book, I can use my father’s account for that. I just set up the last payment for the mattress I bought him two years ago, so that monthly bill will be gone as well. After we finish watching the latest season of The Crown and Lost in Space, I may cancel my Netflix subscription. Between the three, that’s fifty dollars a month savings. I’m on a roll.

My other resolution will be to get this fourth book finished, edited, formatted and out the door to take its place alongside the other three on Amazon’s virtual shelves. I had hoped for a January release, but that’s not going to happen. Going for the first quarter of 2020. After that, I have an idea for a LitRPG story. Of course, being me, it can’t just be someone playing a game. I’ll shed more light on the matter once the current work is finished.

My short story is still awaiting editing. I haven’t looked at it since I wrote it. Handed it off to someone to look over, but they’ve had a rough few months and haven’t had the chance to futz with it. I may just have to go through it and do my best to clean it up on my own. I want to give it out to everyone as a freebie, but I can’t do that if it’s languishing on a hard drive unloved. It’s just a fun little story focused on the twins and a much older Jaki (takes place ten years after the events of the main series). Nothing deep or thought provoking—just entertaining. At least I hope!

Okay, I’ve rattled on plenty. I just wanted to let everyone know I’m still alive and chugging along on writing as best I can. Gonna finish up another scene tonight and then start on a new one tomorrow. Time to kick some slaver butt.

Warm fuzzies, folks! Here’s to a fresh start on a new year.

Release the Hounds!

Depositphotos_9289479_xl-2015I did not manage to get a post done before NanoWriMo started, but here I am just to wave and give you all an update. The first three days were completely unproductive. I’d forgotten that I’d agreed to take part in a Christmas craft fair up in La Pine. La Pine is an awesome town but a little shy on avid readers. I did manage to sell two full sets of my series, as well as several copies of the first book. I’d tried to keep my expectations low, so I was pretty happy a few folks showed interest in my work.

In addition to me there were three other folks in the room. One lady had a lot of Christmas ornaments, some knitted items and some wreaths. To my left, a fellow accountant I work with had all sorts of sewn crafts. She did quite well, which made me happy since she’s a pretty cool person who worked hard to display a large variety of well-crafted items. To my right, was someone I’d heard of but never met. She does pour paintings and jewelry. She turned out to be an amazing person who loves to share knowledge. I learned a lot from her about her style of painting. She even gave me one of her paintings! I have a place picked out for it, but haven’t hung it yet. I’ll post a photo once I get that accomplished.

Once the weekend ended, I buckled down and got a decent amount of writing done. I sent out some email to folks, who’s opinions I greatly respect, to get some feedback concerning a story line I’d intended to pursue, but started to have second thoughts about. Unfortunately, the opinions of all involved split down the middle. I’m considering writing both versions and sending them out to see what people think. The “happier” version has already been completed. I’ll work on the other version tomorrow.

As far as the site for NanoWriMo, they’ve completely redone all of the pages and in the process lost a great deal of data. All of my buddies disappeared as well as my past word counts and my wins. It’s not particularly user-friendly. Took quite a while to find out where to update my word count. It allows you to put in a banner, but doesn’t allow you to make adjustments to the size or positioning of the image. I’ll have to figure out the exact dimensions of the banner and create an image specifically for it.

Well, I’m off to bed. I have to be up before 5 a.m. for work. Please, Great Spiny, let me find no one screwed up the register sales in liquor. Please.

 

50,000 Words in One Month – Zoinks!

Every year, fools like me, put themselves through thirty days of craziness for the chance to write 50,000 words in that short amount of time. I’ve been participating since 2007, I think. In that time, I have managed to hit the magic number only twice. Even so, I make amazing inroads into whatever I’m working on. I might manage a measly 30,000 words but it’s still an accomplishment.

As a sane person, you might ask, why not write consistently every day and not worry about putting yourself through hell one month out of the year? That is an excellent question and I have a less than excellent answer for you—and a long-winded one at that: Humans need carrots (I prefer pizza). Even writers, who are generally considered loners, need the camaraderie an organized event like this provides to generate the enthusiasm and drive to put out just a little more effort. It’s a competition of sorts, with a few bragging rights involved, which makes it fun to post your accomplishments for your friends to see. They cheer you on and they offer encouragement when things aren’t going well. Seeing what others have managed can also get you to pull yourself up by your typing fingers and fight for that extra thousand words.

I have high hopes for this year. Since I’m feeling so much better, I’m writing more than double each week what I did before my CPAP treatment. When I’m particularly inspired by a scene I’m working on, the word count can leave me blinking in wonder. I did that?

In addition to writing, I’ve been fiddling with the character designs for the next cover. You heard it here first, the characters for book IV’s cover will be Lord Icewind and Lady Culna’mo. I’ve got Lord Icewind down pretty good, but Lady Culna’mo is giving me some trouble. I think I may have hit on a design, though, I’ll work on her more today.

Going back a few months, I wrote most of a short story which takes place about ten years after the events in the Chronicles of Shadow series. I finished up the story and sent it to a kind, patient lady to look over. I’m sure it needs some work. Maybe a lot of work. I haven’t dared read through it since I initially typed it out. At any rate, once it is finally in polished form, I’ll be making it available for free as a gift in return for joining a mailing list. I know. I know. Everyone has a friggin’ mailing list. Unfortunately, it is one of those things the people “in the know” swear is necessary for anyone serious about writing as a more than a hobby. The good news is, seeing as I’m so sporadic about blogging, you don’t have to worry about drowning in a barrage of emails from me.

I’ll try to get at least one more post up before November 1st. Odds are, once the challenge starts, I won’t have the ambition to do anything other than pound keys toward my word count goal. Wish me luck! The more I get done the sooner Book IV will hit the virtual shelves.

Almost November!

Getting excited for the big push! Since I’m feeling so much better this year, I’m hoping I can make the 50,000 word goal!

Mad Genius Club

Are you ready?

Yes, it’s almost NaNoWriMo time!

National Novel Writing Month is an old favorite of mine. Of eight years, I only crashed and burned once, and six of the books I wrote have been published.

https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-nanowrimo

Now, that doesn’t mean my reaching the goal of 50,000 words written in November means I’m ready to publish! There’s always editing! Last year’s effort wound up getting interwoven into something else—and published. After a lot of polishing.

But how would you like to have a 50K rough draft on December One?

I use NaNo as a yearly tune-up, thirty days of writing and never stopping to edit or polish. Thirty days of pushing to write regularly.

If you’ve never tried it, do. It might work for you, too.

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