Writing, Inc.

June 5th, 2011

So, Queen of the Skies on LJ asked me how my writing was going, but I figure my answer to her comment would’ve been too long, and I might as well turn it into its own post.

Though few of you out there would recognize the title, or have heard much about it, I wrote Thunderbird (you’d recognize it as Biohazards), polished it off, sent it to my beta readers, and even received feedback through a mentorship with a well-known author in SF&F. The feedback I received was very positive, with encouragement that it was ready for publication, and I submitted it to the rounds. I was also encouraged by the author to write the synopses for the two books that were meant to follow Thunderbird, which I did, but because I don’t want to waste time on something that might not sell, I didn’t write the books themselves.

There was one caveat. The style in which I wrote Thunderbird was very different than the previous books I’d written. It was harder, grittier, with a chopped-up first-person voice that I love, love, love, even now, a year later. But it’s so different and so rough that I can understand this book would be (and was) difficult for my beta readers to get into from the get go. Because I knew it was difficult — because one of my beta readers came back and told me that he absolutely hated the main character, but couldn’t find anything wrong with the character’s motives or actions, he just didn’t like her one bit, even though he couldn’t stop reading because he needed to know what happened next — I braced myself for a very hard round of queries.

Love or hate, the main character is an antihero — not because she’s a bad guy, but because she’s afraid. Maybe in some ways that’s why she’s an easy character to love, or an easy character to hate, because she’s looking in the mirror and deep down in the abyss, and she doesn’t like what she sees, but she keeps on trying because the darkness rising is bigger than her.

The queries aren’t over. I’m not giving up on Thunderbird or the sister books that are meant to follow, but I’ve moved on while waiting to hear back and I’m still writing.

When I can.
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Six Months Later

June 4th, 2011

I suppose this is my obligatory “I’m still alive” blog post…

Somewhere along the way, a resolution to “post more” resulted in “posting less”, though I still read my friends’ list with regularity and have been keeping up with everyone. I really do need to get into the habit of posting again.

Sorry about that, folks. I might need a few prods.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

December 12th, 2010

Our first “real” winter storm has hit — living in the north, I have a very exacting definition of a real winter storm, and it involves -20 (or better) windchill, a wind biting enough to sand the skin, and snowfall that requires going out every couple of hours for a good shoveling.

We don’t quite have the last one yet, but the snow drifts are pretty intense.

I hit the grocery store early this morning before the storm hit, and it was nice not to have to battle crowds for the last courgette, or to commiserate over the slim pickings in the broccoli cooler. Aside from the usual weekly groceries, I stocked up on StuffTM for making vegetarian lasagna. I haven’t made it in ages, and the prepackaged frozen stuff just doesn’t do.

If there was ever a day to spend over the stove making the sauce, cooking the pasta, and playing the part of a kid slathering messy sauce all over the place, it was today. I ended up with two pans for the freezer, one big one for my mom and dad, and another one for tonight.

Why is it not dinner time yet?

In Remembrance

November 11th, 2010

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae

Reply to Flanders Fields

Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.
Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

– John Mitchell

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Difficult

October 23rd, 2010

The worst thing for me to do is having to put in some worldbuilding background to help the reader along, and having no choice but to write an infodump.

The difficult part is making it short, meaningful, and not letting it feel like an infodump.

It’s taken me one hour to write less than a hundred words. ARGH.

If someone tries to tell me writing is easy, I will rub their noses in a steaming pile of stinky infodump.

Make it believable

September 18th, 2010

I know, I know. I should post more. But I’ve been away for a week, and my brain knocked off its keister for another by a snotball storm.

The other not-posting issue is not having anything to post about, but I’ll work on that, I promise.

So it’s 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning, and the cartoons that are on aren’t the ones I like to watch, so I thumbed the remote to Terminator: Salvation on the Movie Network. It was already a quarter in when I started watching it — Marcus had just met Kyle (the actor for whom, by the way, is as perfect a young-Kyle as I could imagine) — and now I’m about halfway through.

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Back soon

September 3rd, 2010

Content will return… I promise.

I’ve been writing, and writing a lot; editing, revising, and rewriting. I am working again on NKNK while Biohazards — now named THUNDERBIRD is out on query.

Alas, it being the heavy-workoad period at my dayjob also means my free time is pinched, and finding time to post is made just that little bit harder.

Like I said — back, soon. Watch this space.

The silence is deafening

July 6th, 2010

So where have I been? Writing, writing, writing. I’ve been writing until the words burned into my brain and spilled out of my ears, but the net result was a completed Draft Two of the Biohazard work-in-progress.

Draft Two of Biohazard — which now has an official title, at least insofar as I know what I’ll be calling it when I start querying agents — needs a bit of spit and polish, because there are typos

Typos!

How embarrassing.

I finished this draft just before July 1st and forwarded a copy to my crit partner and to one other person who has no idea about the book whatsoever. I have heard back from one crit partner, who blazed through it in a rather short period of time, called me evil over the ending, and pointed out a few things that I can easily fix.

But now that I’m done, and waiting to hear back from the other two (well, three) people who have a copy of this draft, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Well, that’s not exactly true, but between being out of town last weekend, and being up to my eyebrows in StuffTM this weekend, it’s probably safer if I don’t start something right now, because I hate being interrupted — it drives me batty stopping something when I’m on a roll, or in the middle of something, so imagine how it’s like to not be able to stay awake until I’ve finished writing a book that just wants to spill out. Once the weekend’s over, though, I have things I want to do:

  1. Update the website to be completely WordPress-based, not just the blog, to make it easier for me to update and add new pages;
  2. Write the synopses for Biohazard 2 and Biohazard 3, which also have titles, but I’m not sharing them yet;
  3. Go back to The BookTM, the Maiden Voyage book that made it to the end of the harbour before listing badly to one side, as if it’d been nicked by a stealth torpedo. I intend on taking it apart and rebuilding it, to fix whatever holes there are, so that this time no one will want to say “no” to it.

Those are my three Things To Do this month, and it goes without saying that I’ll be polishing up Biohazard 1 and to put together the query letter to send out.

And at some point, I’ll actually enjoy the summer.

If the sweltering heat doesn’t get to me first.

Wow

June 30th, 2010

Been a while since I’ve had new content on either Livejournal or on my website. I really must rectify that.

In the news:

  1. I’ve finished Draft Two of the current work in progress with the many-changing working titles (cWIP for short) and it is now in the hands of my two crit partners.
  2. I acquired an iPad, and I love it to bits. I’ll go into this in more detail in another post.
  3. There’s a WordPress iPad app, and I’ll be testing it soon. That might mean more posting overall, since I bring the iPad with me about 50% of the time when I leave the house, and all my on-the-computer time at home is usually spent writing Book-Stuff, or procrastinating on Book-Stuff.
  4. Life is good.

How’s everyone?

The End (aka: First Draft)

April 27th, 2010

I have dragged Biohazards out of the pits of Draft Zero and emerged with a First Draft.

It’ll go through a bit of manuscript formatting before I send it out to a couple of people for the first reading round.

It needs a lot of spit and polish, and some 5K fewer words (maybe more), but if nothing else I’m really happy with it.

Why?

Because when I wrote those last six words at the very end, I thought, my crit partners are going to KILL me.

And when they throw the book at me, that’ll be how I know it’s halfway decent.