Writing Update – June 21, 2015

Well I guess this is the last ROW80 check-in for this round? I’ve been unsure of the start and end of this whole round.

Editing

I read something recently that said that a book should be edited 5 times. I think that it’s silly to put a number to it. I think it depends. Each chapter needs different things. Chapter 1 is the MOST important, so you might edit it 20 times. As you get closer to the end of you vomit draft, I think it’s less vomit-filled, so you might need less passes.

The Page & The Magician

I was struggling with Chapter 9. Today I scrapped Chapter 9, 10, and 11. There are bits I’m definitely keeping from 9 and 10, but then I’m skipping ahead to where the story starts really taking off. Enough hinting and sub plot stuff. It’s time to get into the meat of it and torture my protagonist. It’s time to blow stuff up and turn her world upside down!

The Blood Waitress Club

I have a dilemma. I don’t know if I want to keep it as a short story. I have an entire blog I once kept on my roller derby experiences. It’s 50,000 words. I’m thinking the story I already wrote can be a longer piece. I’m not sure how to meld the two though. Should I keep many of the blog posts as blog entries in the story? Or maybe it’s her diary? Decisions to make. Much of it is written, and may not even be a vomit draft. I won’t let myself get lost in writing it until The Page & The Magician has gone to beta readers because that’s how projects never get finished.

Reading Night

This Thursday I will be doing my first ever reading. I’ll be reading a portion of The Page & The Magician as the time limit isn’t long enough for the whole thing. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’ve chosen to read at an Ottawa Independent Writers meeting, which is a friendly group of people. I know enough of them to be reasonably comfortable. I should be able to finish under the time limit. I’ve been practicing reading my chunks with inflection. I’m looking forward to it.

Ciao,
R~

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Swamped

I’ve been busy. Really busy.

Life:

– Making food for two long weekends (Comiccon and an Iaido seminar)
– Finishing my costume for Comiccon, which is in 5 days! (Carnival Punk Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
– Went to On the Brink on Friday to hear authors read. Won a book and bought a Steampunk anthology.
– In training this week for work (off-site) and it’s an early start for me

Writing:

– Editing The Page & The Magician (just finished Chapter 3)
– Finished a short story called The Blood Waitress Club, which is on revision 3 and I’m just waiting for feedback before I put it up on Smashwords
– I’ve been trying to write short stories that may fit into some anthology, but I find it harder to write with some specific criteria in mind rather than coaxing the words from my soul

Guitar:

– We are learning a lot of songs (Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Bare Naked Ladies, Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA, Ed Sheeran, The Animals, John Fogerty, Ian Thomas)
– I have been falling behind slightly

Iaido:

– Preparing for the annual May Iaido and Jodo seminar in Guelph. It’s 3 days long

Goals:

1. Finish the second draft of The Page & The Magician
2. Get The Blood Waitress Club up on Smashwords for sale
3. Get another short story ready for a contest or magazine submission

Ciao,
R~

Back on the Board!

Achieved since last check-in:

– Written 720 words
– Attended ChiSeries’ event for Dark Side II tour of horror authors (bought 5 more books – addicted to books)
– Ordered author’s business cards
– Watched more episodes of Homeland (I think I’m nearly caught up)
– Practiced guitar

Alright, so not a lot has been done in the last couple of days compared to what I usually accomplish, but I’ve written more words! The battle is happening, though I’m probably in telling mode more than showing mode, but the words are somewhat flowing.

I attended the ChiSeries event last night and had a great time listening to authors read from their books. Last night, something that I hadn’t seen at previous readings happened. One of the readings was such a scary topic that the room fell completely silent. Everyone was entirely focused on the author to the point that it was as though they stopped breathing. The author was Rob Pobi and the book Harvest.

I mostly bought thrillers, but I had to give Andrew Pyper‘s The Demonologist a try. The main character sounds like a Robert Langdon type for demonology. That and Andrew’s writing style piqued my interest.

When will I have time to read these books? Who knows. Maybe once I have finished my first pass of editing The Page & The Magician. I think I’m close to starting editing, so I’ll have to revise my ROW80 goal for that. I don’t know how to set editing goals though as I’ve never made it to editing before. Hopefully reading Hooked will help with part of it. Maybe there’s something else out there that I should read to help me figure out what to do. Until then, I’ll poke around in the dark at things that look like they need fixing.

Ciao,
R~

Where have I been?

Hi! Sorry, I’ve not been blogging lately. Why not? Well…

I’ve been painting my condo living/dining room. The living room has two walls left and the dining room also has two walls left.

I also caught up on some TV shows I happen to enjoy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I watch television from time-to-time. I enjoy stories and the medium doesn’t have to be limited to text for me to enjoy them.

I’ve been reading books by other Ottawa-area authors.

I’ve also been writing… sort of. Well, planning to write may be more accurate. I’ve been pondering my NaNoWriMo piece and intend to come up with a plan for it soon. I’ve started putting a plan together for a sci-fi conspiracy story that’s been rattling around in my head.

And, I’ve been stuck.

My main novel, whose working title is, “Scion,” has had me stuck for a little while. Here are the reasons why, I think:

1. This first reason I feel rather silly about. I had a character tell my protagonist to go and rest. That’s it. I’ve been stuck because of that. The other day I said, “What the hell is wrong with me? So he told her to go and rest… that doesn’t mean she has to!” And like that, I could write again, though I’m still figuring out what should happen while they kill time until night comes and they can leave under the cover of darkness. I think they’ll order pizza. She’s never had it and it could be yummy.

2. I keep saying writing a series is harder than writing a single novel. I need to stop that right now. Writing anything is hard. Each novel in a series must be its own story. Also, part of the great thing about writing is that we create problems for ourselves that we then have to figure out how to solve. We place our characters in predicaments that seem highly unlikely to leave them alive and somehow manage to keep them alive… or sometimes we kill them off. I’ve killed a few along the way. Couldn’t be helped… or maybe I like to kill characters (she laughs maniacally). Anyways… stopping talking about it being hard. From now on it’s back to writing a little at a time whenever I can find a spare moment.

3. I keep forgetting where I left off. I think this is just an issue with staying organized. I get in the habit of writing tidbits in my email and I think I need to go through those tidbits and get rid of the ones I’ve already merged into the story and work on merging the rest into it.

4. I’m worried it’s leading to, “So what?” I think this item is something to bring to my writers group. I think I should start talking about the end of the first book. I’m not sure I know how it ends. I know what I’m building to series wise, but book one needs to be completed first.

5. I think I’m a little scared. I’ve been working on this book since 2010 and it’s rather precious to me. I’m scared I’ll publish it and people will think it’s crap or they’ll scour it to find that one thing I messed up. I’m scared they won’t like it. I think it’s normal to feel these things though. I’m also both scared and excited for what happens once the manuscript draft is complete… Editing could be arduous and scary. Maybe I should hire a book coach. I’m not sure how expensive they are or if there are any in the Ottawa area, but they sound worthwhile. EDIT: 2015-06-01 I’ve since learned that book coaches are a scam. Don’t get one.

My NaNoWriMo piece may never be published. It might just be something for me. Perhaps I should think of all of my writing this way and take the pressure off of myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if that change in mindset helps me finish the rest of it.

Tonight was the first ChiSeries reading event of the season. I bought two books. Then the second author, Madeline Ashby, read and I had to buy two more. She was hilarious. She thanked us all for staying up past our bedtimes because Ottawa people are early sleepers. She described her own story before reading the snippet she read to us and kept interjecting that somehow her publishers went for it. (Her books involve robots/androids. The protagonist is in kindergarten and decides to eat her grandmother. Then she grows to full human size because of the intake of extra mass.) Extra bonus… she’s tiny like me, though still taller than I am. I hope I can be as comfortable reading in front of a crowd someday. I’ll have to dig into my theatrical past likely. It’s rather dusty and I’m allergic to dust, so… drugs? I mean the allergy kind! Anyways… as this analogy no longer makes sense… or does it?… I think it’s time to say good night.

Ciao,
R~

Officially a Member

I’m officially a member of the Ottawa Independent Writers now. My first event as a member happened to be the last official meeting until September. On Thursday, June 26th I went to hear readings by other indie authors.

The first man that read usually has some difficulty communicating, but it was as though he was animatedly channeling his characters and they had no trouble communicating. His work in progress sounds interesting.

Another man presented his book. It is about his journey recuperating from a stroke. After authoring a plethora of academic papers, Frank had a stroke and woke up with only 20 words to hear the medical professionals telling his wife he would likely be a vegetable and never walk again. Frank can walk. And he had a little help, but he wrote a book about his journey called, “The Stroke That Changed My Life.”

Mike Young read from Kirk’s Landing. I bought a copy of his book.

A lady read a book she wrote from two perspectives; one is of a cat and the other a human. She read the cat side and though I’m not a cat person (damn allergies), I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s called Mewsings/Musings by Barbara Florio Graham.

The next book, I thought was called Offstage Magic, but that title doesn’t seem to exist. It was about the theatre and I found it interesting as I used to act/crew/direct/stage manage in high school. If I find it, I’ll mention it in another post, or update this one or both.

Twice Resurrected by Raven Wolfe was the next book and it sounded interesting. Hey, it’s currently 37% off at Chapters.

The next book, I have no idea what it was called, but the portion read was about a man leaving for the hardware store with the kids to buy roofing nails to fix the leaky roof and returning home with pet chickens. Things get crazy and his wife is not impressed.

There was a story about Thunder Bay; and a story about a war nurse.

There were several works in progress.

A man read a poem in three different languages to show how something that may sound beautiful in one can be ghastly in another.

Everyone was only allowed 5 minutes.

What I learned other than that there are some neat books out from OIW, is that writers are fascinating people. One lady read from her book in a whisper because she was less prone to stuttering. A man clenched a stuffed animal, perhaps to deal with the anxiety of being around people.

I wonder how I will be when I am ready to read from my book. Nervous? Will my mouth get dry and cause my tongue to hinder my reading? Will I mumble or be too quiet? Will I be monotone? Can I put the passion and excitement I want into the reading?

That being said, I’m probably between a third and halfway through writing the first book of my series. I *think* my series will be at least 4 books long.

I also wonder, since those that read with British accents sounded extra intelligent, if they read something juvenile, would it still sound ultra intelligent?

Tonight I’m putting the notes I have ALL OVER into Scrivener. I’m also plugging away at character definitions.

I need to consider a new chair, find a way to fluff mine up, or something else as the padding is going and making my bum numb.

Ciao
R~

OIW – Book Cover Design Seminar

On May 22nd, I went to a seminar on book cover design.

Before the information was presented on design, the author of Imposter Bride, Nancy Richler, read part of her first chapter and the story sounds intriguing. Lately, I am preferring to read the work of other Ottawa-area authors. Perhaps someday it will be my book that they read in turn. Currently, I am reading The Crimson Man by Patricia K McCarthy and though it is not in my genre, it is a fiery read. Ladies, you’ll enjoy it. So far it feels heated like 50 Shades of Grey, but with more substance and a higher level of writing skill.

At the beginning of the meeting, announcements were made about newly published works by members of the Ottawa Independent Writers group. The Autism Story is written as fiction by a university professor that specializes in the area. It sounds interesting as well.

Nancy Richler answered questions about publishing after she completed her reading. Here is what I took from it:

1. Avoid small press publishers. They often tank and your work doesn’t get the marketing required to make it successful.

2. Ways to find an agent:

– An agent may find you if you get enough renown by putting yourself and bits of your work into the world through things like blogging and social media. (I started putting more time into this area recently.)

– Attend writer’s festivals if possible as the opportunities exist to book 5 minute pitching appointments with agents there.

– Find an agent you find interesting, check them out (their website) and opinions of writers they represent if you can find that out; follow the guidelines for contact via their website; submit and wait about 8 months.

– Find out how to get invitations to book festivals.

3. Some things an agent will do and how payment works

– Agents help you through the legal stuff with contracts.

– Payment is a percentage of your earning off the book once published.

4. Manuscript submissions

– Some publishers and agents take unsolicited manuscripts.

5.Publisher submissions

– Go ahead and submit to more than one because they often take forever to get back to you.

6. Developing a name for yourself

– Do readings when possible.

7. Self-publishing

– Many authors are starting out by self-publishing and then going to a larger publisher to build their audience further. This means you don’t have to choose one or the other. Having built somewhat of a fan base can make you a less scary writer to take on.

– An agent is not necessary for self-publishing, but there are many skills required to be successful

8. Book launches

– It can be hard to get people to attend book launches.

– It helps to align and work with other writers and share a launch.

Diane Dufour of Accurate Designs spoke about book covers and marketing. Below are the points I took from it:

1. Cover

– Needs to hook the readers. Colours help and so does title choice.

– How would it look if part was reused in other media like a movie title?

– It should make readers feel something.

2. Marketing

– You could put small pieces of your work on Facebook or other social media platforms.

– Consider publishing pieces of the book in on-line magazines, which may garner interest in ordering your book. Perhaps not a chapter, but a short story version of your novel.

– eBooks are very popular. I think most of us know this already.

– Print on Demand is a good way to provide your book to those readers who prefer a physical copy without costing tons of money. This wasn’t news to me as I work at a publishing company, but it may be useful information for others.

3. Rich Media

– Whether in electronic or paper format, today’s books can have things in them like pictures that can connect the reader to a video when photographed with a smartphone.

Ciao
R~