Archive for October, 2009

Revisions and Schedules

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

It’s been three weeks since I’ve looked at The BookTM. I’ve heard from one reader, received preliminary feedback from a beta, and am hoping to get more critiques this week.

The plan is, this week I’ll be going through The BookTM to see if there’s anything that smells “off” to me. Then I’ll go through it again for line edits and typos.

And, hopefully, by the end of the Halloween weekend, I’ll have received comments from my remaining readers and betas(1), to incorporate their comments with my last pass review. Then, November 1st, I’m editing and revising.

What’s with the scheduling?

In a nutshell, the number one advice writers is to sit down and write. Every day.(2) Maybe for a set period of time, maybe for a certain word count. Doesn’t matter for how long or for what goal so long as the criteria is met:

(a) sit butt in chair; and,
(b) write.

I haven’t heard the same sort of advice being given to writers when it comes to revisions, but it’s fair to assume that it’s very much along the same lines:

(a) sit butt in chair; and,
(b) revise.

In order for that to get done, I need to schedule the work time. If I don’t, I become a serious contender for the throne of Procrastination. I will curl up in my chair and watch football (and I don’t watch football rather than write/edit/revise.

Setting a deadline(3) helps kick-start my brain into motion to get it done. And ultimately, the goal is to get it done by November 15th, so that I can send The BookTM off once again.

Someone knock on wood for me. I might need a volunteer to kick my bum if I start to slack.

(1) Yes, this is a gentle prod; I know life rears its ugly head, and there’s no hurt feelings if my deadlines are missed. I STILL want to get your feedback, though, because I can always go back to the beginning if necessary. I just prefer to do it all in one pass.

(2) The last three weeks have accumulated a big goose egg of no writing, but not completely unproductive; I worked on the outline for the sequel for The BookTM, notecarded 3/4ths of Biohazards, and wrote an out-of-sequence scene for Biohazards.

(3) Also known as “the date by which I will complete this, or die trying”.

Stubborn Book

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

The BookTM: What are you doing?

Me, crouched between two pieces of furniture and holding up a tasty chocolate morsel: I’m trying to get Book One, Series Two to come out.

The BookTM: Oh. Why is it in there, anyway?

Me: How the hell should I know? It’s not talking to me.

The BookTM: Want me to try?

Me: Be my guest.

The BookTM: Hey, Book, why are you in there?

Book One, Series Two (henceforth known as B1-S2, its voice small and tinny from being so deep in the dark hole): Watching the football game.

The BookTM: Oh? Who’s playing?

B1-S2: Some guys in white and blue and silver, and some guys in dark blue and grey and black. The only other thing on TV right now is The Mummy Returns on Space, and I’ve seen it seven billion times.

The BookTM: The Mummy Returns ain’t bad.

B1-S2: The kid annoys me. Plus, I have a crush on Ardeth Bey, and it pisses me off that he doesn’t get more screen time.

The BookTM: Totally with you on that one.

Me (whispering): What are you doing?

The BookTM (whispering): Talking to Book One, Series Two. It sounds like we’d get along.

Me (whispering): You’re supposed to get it out of there.

The BookTM (whispering): Oh, right. (louder) So, why are you in there if there’s nothing on TV?

B1-S2: Because she is busy working on you.

The BookTM: What? No, she isn’t. She finished me a while back, and she put me in the dry cupboard to ripe.

B1-S2: That doesn’t mean she’s stopped thinking about you. How the hell can I let her work on me when she’s not giving me 100%?

The BookTM (aside): Is that true? You can’t stop thinking about me? Aww, that’s so sweet!

Me (hostile): Get her out of there!

The BookTM: Well, I have it on good authority that she’s been working on you. There’s a stack of notecards with plot and scene items with your name all over them.

B1-S2: There is?

The BookTM: Sure is.

B1-S2: I don’t believe you.

The BookTM: Would I lie to you?

B1-S2: Yes.

The BookTM: I’m hurt.

B1-S2: No, you’re not. Plus, everyone knows that she’s going to work on you some more in another week or so, depending on when she hears back from her readers and her betas.

The BookTM: Oh. Well, that changes things. I’d feel the same way if I were you.

Me (hissed): What are you doing!!!!

B1-S2: Glad you understand. Hey, there’s room on the couch, and I’ve got plenty of beer. Want to join me?

The BookTM: That sounds great! Yeah, I’ll come in. Excuse me, boss. Outta my way.

Me (!!): Hey!  You’re supposed to be on my side!

The BookTM: The poor girl needs consoling. What do you want me to do? Ignore her like you’ve been doing?


Lead with the left

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Sometime between Sunday morning and Monday night, I messed up my knee, and I have no idea what I did.

Part of me wants to blame the Real Bright Idea I had to go running in the early Sunday morning clear-sky, deceptive-sunshine with a balmy forecast of 4 C. It was lies. All lies. It might have been clear-skies and deceptive-sunshine, but the 4 C was actually -6 C, and with the windchill, closer to -12 C.

I didn’t dress for the real temperature, and I might as well have been running naked for all the fat lot of good my clothes were doing against the wind. There was a point, 3 km out, where I thought very long and hard about carrying the dogs on my shoulders and arms, just to get warm.

So, I might’ve twisted my knee on the very uneven road (late fall road construction for the win) and never felt it through the cold. Hell, it took two hours for my head to thaw after I got back home, and I couldn’t feel anything else. What with being all creaky and decrepit and old, it probably took my joints a little longer to soften up, but not before I’d snapped something that didn’t want to bend.

Another part of me wants to blame the Really Shitty Weather we’ve been having lately. I think almost all of September and October (thus far) can be a complete write off in terms of nice weather. The nonstop rain can go away now, please, I could’ve done without the two inches of snow covering my car yesterday morning, and the frost on the windows and windshield took ten minutes to scrape off this morning.

But if anything, the arthritis in my ankle should’ve flared up, but it didn’t.

Dumb knee. Doesn’t it know that it needs to put in its sick days in advance?

Progress, Completion and request for beta readers

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

The latest version of The BookTM is complete!

No word metrics, because there’s no need; it’s done, it’s done! The word count goal was to match the previous version of the book while including the revisions suggested to me by the agent interested in it. Even though I slaughtered a few scenes, added new chapters, included new characters, resurrected a buried plot, I came within 2,500 words (more) than my original word count.

Except for one (new) chapter that needs some work, I’m happy with the new draft.

Now what? Now, I sit on it for a few weeks, then go through it again. I want to send it back to the agent by early November.

In the meantime, though, I’d like to find another beta reader or two who haven’t read The BookTM, don’t have any preconceptions about it, who would be willing to read it and give me their thoughts on it.

I don’t need line-by-line grammar and spelling edits. Just a general feel and impression of the overall setting, plot, story, and characters (I’ll make it easier by asking a few questions after you’ve read it).

If you’re interesting, let me know!