Friday, December 4, 2009


In my last post I lamented that November really didn't go so well on the writing front. I vowed December would be different. But so far it hasn't so much. A million excuses and most of them boiling down to doubt. When I get stuck on a project I have a bad habit of starting a new one. It leaves a graveyard of half finished (or less) novels that lately have taken to rising up and trying to eat my brains during writing time. Poor un-rhinestoned Glennis has been neglected so. I've been really doubting if I can actually write something that someone who isn't related to me or friends with me would like. Then something happened:

Earlier this week Kiersten (her debut novel Paranormalcy is coming in Sept 2010 and sounds awesome) hosted a contest to give away books. Considering I am reading my way through the local library, my friends libraries, and my four overflowing bookshelves... you can NEVER have to many books. So I entered. I read my way through the honorable mentions and thought, wow there are so many good lines here. Then I scrolled down to the end... and I'd won.

I scared the cats, such was the depth and volume of my squee. Max is still hiding under the bed. Glennis is booted up, (still bemoaning the lack of glitery goodness), the husband has been informed (with a confused, "of course you are a good writer dear why were you doubting?" Therein lies why we love him) and I've spent ten whole minutes twirling about in a resting laurelish glee. Back to making words. And thanks Kiersten, you made my day!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I failed at writing this month. I got Glennis (my shiny blue netbook still, lamentably, with out rhinestones) and I fired up my computer.... and I got nothing. Some of that was the fault of the flu. Swine or not it laid me up for a solid week. Some of this was my roommates moving out of the house, freeing up time to clean and rearrange things. Most of it was this:
That is the dinning room of our little white house, affectionately known as Cricket house. This time last week the dinning room was plain white. There were whiteish carpets covering the floors and half the furniture was in other rooms. I fixed that with help from the ever patient husband. We hosted our parents and sibs to the tune of 8 seated for Thanksgiving. His parents brought their dog Sophie and the cats fled in panic. It's all done now, the boys even banded together to bring in our massive newish entertainment center that languished forlorn in the garage since August.

The house is less spotted then usual and the fridge is full. Dec is much less chaotic then Nov in it's planning. Therefore I am declaring December to be DeDeWriMo: Denise's December Writing Month. I have no firm plans except make word counts of my previous 1000 words a day total. If I can manage that for the month I will be happy. Wren's Song is outlined perhaps past the ending, Spandex is stuck in the place you put the novels you are editing when you think of them as not very good, and Lily remains aloof. Gemini stepped up into the empty space and has started to poke into my subconscious and make snarky comments. I suspect another 99,000 words might shut her up. So DeDeWriMo it is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Excuse me while I lecture.

With the announcement last week that Harlequin is launching their own "self publishing" (the quotes are important) line originally called Harlequin Horizons, now Dellarte Press (Writer Beware's announcement), I'd like to take a moment to discuss the difference between Self publishing, vanity publishing and traditional publishing.

Fast forward a moment. You have a complete novel. In the traditional model you submit your novel to publishers. (Agents are helpful and I highly encourage them but in the interest of focusing on publishing I'm glossing here). You get rejected a few times but eventually you find a publisher for your debut fantasy novel A Game of Scones. The publisher buys the rights to print and distribute your book in various formats (Hardcover, Mass market paperback, Trade paperback, E book). There is a contract involved, usually an advance against your royalties. Except in the most dire cases of contract breach you do not have to pay this advance back. Eventually the book rights revert back to you and you have the option to resell them to the original publisher. Your book is edited, copy edited, a professional lays out the text and designs the cover. The number of copies printed varies but is is usually several thousand. You receive a few free copies and copies are usually sent out to various reviewers. Your publisher usually contracts with a distributer and A Game of Scones is stocked in bookstores nationwide. Books sell, usually several hundred or thousands depending on many many factors. You pay nothing for the editing, cover, printing or distribution and you receive a percentage of the cover price. This process means you have to write what someones else would consider a good book. It's harder and it's safer.

Self Publishing is when you the author produces their books themselves. You buy the ISBN, register your copyright, edit or hire an editor. The design your own cover or you pay someone to do it for them. You pay to have it printed and pay for distribution if you want it to be in physical stores. You retain all of the rights to the book and other media. When the book is sold you receive the entire profit.

Vanity Publishing is when you pay someone else to publish a book for you. You pay a fee for editing, you pay a fee to have a cover designed, you pay for it to be printed. The ISBN registration is in the name of the company you paid to print it. After paying the company to print your book each time they sell a copy they take a percentage. There are a lot of books being published this way. Someone ran the numbers for iUniverse's book sales from 2004. Out of the 18,000 books they published that year only 83 sold more then 500 copies. (Courtesy of How Publishing works).

Here is the issue, vanity publish tries to sell you that it is an alternative to traditional publishing and that by paying to have your manuscript publish you can eventually have a traditional publisher look at it and purchase it. In all fairness there are a few manuscripts that have passed this way, but look at those numbers from iUniverse again. 83 books out of 18,000 sold over 500 copies. For most traditional presses 500 copies is a poor selling. By my miserable math skills that is a .46% chance of selling over the 500 copies. I'm going to pick on DellArte since theirs is the most recent numbers. Their cheapest package for publishing is $599. I'm rounding that up to $600 for the sake of having zeroes on the end, call it a simplicity tax. They pay their authors a 50% royalty after the publishing fees, it's about $1 per book. You have about a .46% chance of breaking even at their cheapest fee. The math doesn't add up. If all you want is to see your name in print, this can work for you. But for anyone trying to play the odds and break into publishing, you are better off using your money on workshops, stamps or red pens, honing the craft and trying again, then playing the vanity odds.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I have the flu...

So today's scheduled blog post is not going to happen. Instead you get feverish ramblings.

Ten things you might not have know about D. M. Beucler:
  1. I wrote my first book in first grade. I got an F. I rewrote it and got an A. Revisions for the win, even in elementary school.
  2. I have two black cats named Blair and Maximilien Catten. They are often found sitting on my computer, manuscript pages, or anything else that steals my attention. Despite over a year of living with both me and my husband they remain firmly my cats and do not deign to let the dear husband pet them.
  3. Speaking of the dear husband, we met at a LARP (Live Action Roleplaying) group. I don't remember him. Five or so years later we met again when we dressed up to see Serenity in the theater. I dressed as River Tam, he was Jayne Cobb. A year later we were dating, 3 years later we were married. He's a saint.
  4. My net book is dark blue. It will soon have silver decals and rhinestone accents. Her name is either Glennis or Wrenna, it's still working out.
  5. I occasionally write while wearing a tiara. It makes everything better.
  6. I sew costumes and wedding dresses. Mine was royal blue. I do not take commissions, it's only for friends and close kin.
  7. Cricket house was named because of the large black crickets that invade every year around August. Cricket house sounded nicer then the flies which also come in. New windows are being looked at.
  8. One of the reasons we bought the house was because of the full sized floored attic. At somepoint we are going to turn it into a master bedroom and writing room. Also the doors which lock with the old fashioned skelaton keys.
  9. I am a geek of the highest measure. I play Dungeons and Dragons in multiple editions, quote most of Joss Whedon's works, can costume a party of ten for a Renaissance festival from what's in my closet, and I've spent over a decade running around the woods hitting people with plumbing supplies.
  10. I'm allergic to cold medicine. This means bribery with shiny links, funny youtube videos, and other things to amuse will be appreciated.
Now off to more Buffy, cough drops and hot tea.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This always happens to me. I start a story. I have the ending plotted, I know my characters and world. The middle usually ends up a haze for me till I've written the beginning and then started to plot my way backwards. But somewhere in the middle something happens that stops me dead. With Spandex it was finding out that Maisie would work better as Matt. I discovered that plot twist somewhere in the second third of the first draft. In that case I ignored the first part of the novel and wrote the last of it as if Maisie was male. Then I edited, and edited, and edited.

Wren's song stopped me early and although it's demanding a new beginning, the change isn't nearly as drastic. I've dumped some scenes, put a few in a file to see if they fit in later, and rewritten the first 2k to line up mostly with my middle. I've got about 8K of words to edit tomorrow and then most of it should be able to fit in. I'm hoping to unoffically Nanowrimo this story, which should put me at about 60k coming into the Dec. That should put me at about 3/4ths of the way through the text. That is a happy point to be. Since I'm not ditching everything I have to start fresh on Nov 1 I am not joining any of the official things but I'm hoping it will be fun and press my word counts to a new height.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What do you say?

I was at a convention this weekend, it wasn't a writing con but it was a place where a number of writers and aspiring writers were in the crowds. Naturally the conversations turned to writing and publishing a few times. Most of the people I spoke with were great. There were a few pros and mostly people who researched and knew about the industry. Unfortunately that left a gentleman who was clueless to an extreme. I endured a long rambling diatribe about his work and the state of publishing as a whole. I think that state might surprise people, evidently books don't get published anymore. Self publishing is the new only way! After all he'd sold ten copies of his book just last year. After the third attempt to interject sanity into the conversation I slide away and hid from him the rest of the convention. He wasn't going to listen to me. But what do you say to that kind of delusion?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A day....

That's lasting far into the night. Writing has been more sparse of late because finding time (yes I know, I very much have needed to make the time and I haven't been) and opportunity in the same moment has developed into absurd levels. I have a lap top. It's about twenty pounds of outdated Pentium three technology with a cracked case and a disturbing tendency to shed plastic bits from the hinge whenever opened. This is what I do the majority of my writing on as it is semi portable (if there is a power source) and has MS word. I haul this beast over to the children's house where I have been sitting along with a padded lap desk so that I don't burn my thighs in extended sitting sessions. I live in terror that the not quite two year old will someday grab the screen and wrench it into a pile of steaming plastic goo, leaving me to try and rewrite several years worth of novel excerpts and manuscript pages. Yesterday I changed this.

I bought a netbook. It is tiny and dark blue and marvelous. I bought the EEE 10.2 inch model (using all of my sitting money but it is wonderfully worth it.) The keyboard is very nearly full size, I can type with ease. It has wireless intertubes, an itty bitty screen and just enough memory to run MS office and save a few documents. I'm in love. It's so tiny and light! I can run with out plugging it in for at least 3 hours (nearer to four) and it's tiny enough to fit in my purse. I've already transferred my novels. They might be on hold while I start composing odes to the greatness of this miniaturized machine. Or I could just make my word counts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ever notice...

that the longer you wait to say something the harder it is to say it? This last month has wrung me out, for a lot of the reasons. Most of them are things that I won't put into this blog, although the babysitting has been on that list. Hopefully in November things will settle back into a routine. There has been writing happening, mostly in small spurts of story and mostly on Wren's song.

The difference in writing Wren's song and Spandex diaries is enormous. For the Spandex diaries characters were my plotting vapor. Characters shifted mid story because they weren't firmly rooted when I started writing. I had more issues moving the emotional arc then the plot arc.

Wren's song is a 180. I know Wren, I know her down to my core. This character has been in my head since I was 16. I know the characters around her. What I don't know are the solutions to the problems. It's been coming out of the chronological order. I know the end, I know some of the middle, I have a jumble of scenes that keep shifting order. And nearly all of them are the emotional story. The plot points... still working on it.

I'm sitting for another month then things change. Hopefully that will lead to more increase in the word counts. Till then bear with the changes and I will try to get back to my old commitments soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Editing is happening....

but in between then and now I have celebrated my wedding anniversary, made a trip to Columbus and managed to acquire a part time job wrangling a 15 month old and her sibs. Tomorrow should have more progress with the edits. The manuscript has been inked bloody but entering everything back into the computer is my personal bane at the moment. My crotchety old laptop will be coming with me tomorrow (while I dream of netbooks) and I will attempt edits during her naps. I hope for long naps.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Setting up a deadline

I am going to finish the edits on Matt's story, hereby known as "The spandex diaries" by next Friday. I can do this. This means I am going to need beta readers. Beta reading is hard. What do you say when your friend hands you a manuscript and you can't finish it? Or its bad; grammatically, logically, and artistically bad? Or life happens and you run out of time to read? In the interest of keeping friends I'm writing out what I am looking for in a beta reader and what I will (or will not do).

I promise to the following in regards to the critiques of my fellows:
  • I will not take it personally if you do not like the work.
  • I will be public and grateful for your support, perhaps with fudge, certainly with thank yous.
  • I will consider consider carefully any suggestions you make.
  • I will make the changes that work best for my work.
  • I will offer (time and circumstances allowing) to repay critiques in full if asked.

In return I ask the following:
  • Please critique the work not the author.
  • If this is something you truly can not stomach (everyone has different taste in books) please polity tell me it isn't for you or that you don't have the time (if you really can't tell me you don't like it).
  • Please be honest and blunt.
  • Please do not share the story with someone else with out asking me first. Especially do not post any of it online, submit it to any publisher, etc etc etc with out my permission. (Should it go with out saying, probably. In the case of the 1 out of 100 person who doesn't see a problem with this I say it anyways).

The Critters group has a good guide on critiquing located here.

Good beta readers are a godsend and those of my friends who have offered to help should be nominated for sainthood. May their names grace the dedication/ acknowledgments of every book I publish. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slow progress

The writing has been slow the last few days. So I'm going to share a passage from a book I adore, Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind. If you haven't read this book and you like fantasy in the least little bit, you should pick it up. Rothfuss breaks the rules in this, it's his first novel and he wrote and rewrote it for years. It shows.

From the prologue:

"It was night again. The Waystone inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
"The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn's sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamor one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of night. If there had been music... but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.
"Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. They drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing this they added a small, sullen silence to the larger, hollow one. It made and alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.
"The third silence was not not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight."

I'll leave off there but listen to the words and the way the slide off your tongue if you read them out loud. I love his use of alliteration. I love that it is not simple, and that he shows you the silences and paints a picture of his character before you even know his name or the color of his hair. If you get any sort of chance to read his work please do so. The second book will be out soon, hopefully next year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ticking off another authorly thing...

I made a website.

It's pretty bare bones right now and I'm not particularly planning to add more other then some writing samples at the moment. Having a web site is one of those authorial rites of passage. Like your first zit. It shows your growing into the business but not necessarily that you've grown up.

In other news Wren's Song has reached 11230 words. Editing on the Spandex Diaries has slowed to a crawl. I'm procrastinating on the editing but writing more story. I'm not sure if that is awesome (because new novel) or terrible (novel limbo, the new level of hell).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Always something new...

Every time I approach a new novel I learn a new way to get the plot going. Rough drafting Wren's Song has put another few tricks in my basket. The first is the power of the blank page. I like blank pages. It feels like there is no pressure from the existing story. When I am terribly stuck I open a new window and write the scene there. It's simple, psychosomatic; it works.

Today's other stupid writer trick is a plot file. As I am writing out the story and jumping merrily from scene to scene as the muse takes me I keep tabbing back to my plot file. Every time I get stuck I start free writing out what needs to happen next to get the plot moving forward. It's turning into a clumsy synopsis/outline. Which helps when I need inspiration about what Wren did on page 8 and how I can mirror it on page 50.

Rough drafting means anything goes to get the words on the page.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It's taken a day to get back into my routine. Today I've spent the whole day writing and poking at the manuscript. I'm hovering just under 10,000 words. I have the beginning and a goodly portion of ending written. A lot of the plotting on this is working backwards from the end. I've walked to our local library and picked up books on writing novels. I'm outlining what needs to happen and when. Characters are having emotional issues and in general things are moving apace.

Tomorrow I hope to try to put up some of the blog posts I wrote while at Dragon*con. A little more show and less tell. Today I just need to write and do some laundry.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I had an amazing time at Dragon*con. Good writing panels, great costumes, a "mighty fine shindig," and more. Actual posts will resume tomorrow after copious amounts of sleeping and unpacking. In the mean time, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Inara Serra vs. Yso-saff-bridge at the Firefly photoshoot. I am a geek.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Silence for a bit

I'm off to Dragon*con in GA for most of a week. Writing panels, meeting some famous authors (Lois McMaster Bujold... I have to contain my fannish squee), dressing up in all sorts of improbable clothing and catching up with old friends I haven't seen for a while. The writing will continue once I get back. Till then happy reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

World building

For Matt's story I didn't have to do much world building. I created the fictional city of Livingston, added in some pertinent buildings and places and organizations. Wren's song is an entirely different world. I know places and people but today things reached a point where I needed to know about magic. Patricia Wrede has a wonderful set of world building articles on the SFWA site. Here is the specific one I am using at the moment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The places I go...

I read a lot of blogs on publishing. Sometimes a ridiculous amount. It started a few years back stumbling onto Miss Snark, and continues with Nathan Bransford, Pub Rants, Editorial Ass, Editorial Anonymous and many more. Read them. Go back to the beginnings and spend a day reading through the archives. They and those like them, have answered many of my questions on publishing. Once you've read through them read Writer Beware for good measure.

The wonderful people who operate these blogs and many more like them are the reason I know not to pay an agent (they take 15% once things are sold to a publisher and they don't get paid before that), that a good agent is worth every single bit of that 15%. Why it's worth taking my time and making the novel the very best it can be, and why unicorn stationary and glitter in a proposal are the bestest things ever!!! Yes I made that last bit up. Go forth and be educated.

On the tenth day she rested...

Yesterday I didn't write. My husband and I are heading to a sci fi con soon and we had a list of things that needed to be finished before hand. So yesterday I shopped. Today I woke up late, poked about on the net then sat down and wrote 700 words in a sitting and edited a short story. Resting can be good.

I'm stopping now to do some world building. I don't start off with a developed world. Conflict and character come first, and I build the setting around who my characters need to be and what they need to do. Wren's Song is a fantasy novel. I created the countries after the first scene to set up the political conflict but there are huge gaps in the world right now. So today is dedicated on how to fill them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ten ways I make myself write

For years (30 of them) I started projects and never finished them. I have a horrible case of project ADD. The very first part of writing a story is easy for me. I have an image or a character in my head and with it comes their tale, like someone is whispering it in my ear. After a few hundred words, it gets harder. It's work. So here are some of the ways I have found to push through.

1. Take a break: if I have been writing pages and pages and suddenly I don't know where the story needs to go, getting away from it helps my subconscious to start putting pieces together. I read a book, a blog, or just get out of the house. This only works when I’ve already put in the work though. Taking a break after ten words is a cop out, which brings me to…

2. Summarize: Sometime the scene isn't working yet. I have been known in first drafts to write, "they fight add it later" and move on. On the other hand imagine the scene is already written. You will be surprised what details you find that already know about that scene. Writing the scene right after your troublesome one can add more insights. It might not end up in the final draft but it can show you the right path.

3. Calculate: As soon as I know what type of book I am writing I have an idea of the length it needs to be. Young adult is about 50-80K though there are exceptions. Most novels are around 80-100K of words with fantasy going as high as 150K sometimes. I pick the smaller number of the range and use that as my goal. Then I figure out chapter length, 2-5K for me, and figure out how many chapters I need, I rounding up. I have a spreadsheet with words, pages and chapters to go to meet my goal and a count for how many more words to go in a chapter. I like the organization and tangible measure of progress. Why yes I have an inner type A.

4. Outline: Once I have that first rush of story that tells me who and what I am writing about I try and figure out what needs to happen to get my characters to the ending. If I get stuck in the outline I write a ending and work backwards to figure out how to get there. I write about 10-400 words per chapter. Sometimes I write out major bits of dialog and description, other times I write, “Tie up the fight, be clever, no pressure.”

5. Don't go backwards: As you are writing the story you will get ideas for the parts you have already written. It's great but if you break off writing and scroll back to chapter 3 and find the scene that all of a sudden needs to have ice-cream in it to emphasize the deep spiritual meaning of waffle cones in chapter ten then getting back to where you started is much much harder. I've heard of writers that keep a notebook next to their computer and jot notes down as they come up. I type red text into Word right in the middle of what I was doing. I fix it during the revision phase. I don't look up names or facts either unless it's vital. If I don't remember what I named Matt's little brother then I type "xxlittlebrother" and keep going. The xx makes it easier to search with Find and Replace later. I also change my text to be minuscule on the chapters I am not working with so I can't get sucked into the story or into doing fussy edits yet.

6. Type something: If I absolutely can not figure out what comes next then I start free typing. Delete is always an option but usually something will come out a few words after typing "I don't know what to write" or “What do I need to happen next?” I find the physical part of typing to be relaxing, I’ve never been what you would call normal.

7. Work on something else: I have so many projects started, writing on something fun and with out the pressure of being the "first draft of X project I am going to submit professionally" helps me get words. And perhaps that space alien story I was writing on a lark will end up good.

8. Be bad: I constantly give myself blanket permission to be bad when I first draft. I overuse words, use trite metaphors and ignore the spelling check. That is what the second draft is for (and the third and fourth and…) On the first draft I need to get the ideas down, meet my characters and write an interesting story. I think of it as the pencil sketch for a painting. Once it’s down I can erase like crazy, fill in where needed and edit, edit, edit.

9. Research: Sometime knowing the whys about your environment can give you new ideas on how your character would act. Just don't research more then you write. It's easy to fall into the trap of researching every single detail. Research is great, the story is more important.

10. Read it out loud: If it's not working I go back to the last place that the writing did work and read out loud till it doesn’t. I can usually hear where the narrative is off and how to fix it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote for the day...

Words were written, characters have been tortured, plot has been advanced and tomorrow I get to start all over again.

I have managed to put in over a thousand words today. I've developed a schedule in which I write from about 9-9:30 am till about 4-5 pm (or whenever I hit 1000 words). I end up with an hour or so break about noon to eat, check emails, clean the kitchen and feed the cat. If I am not on a schedule then he certainly is and I am soundly scolded for being late (or any other reason, cats are not tolerant.) Having a structure to my day has helped keep me focused and keep the words coming. Another day another word count.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ending a book

One of my writing friends came to me recently and confessed they didn't know how they were going to end their book. I generally have the opposite problem, I know how I want it to end but not how to get the story there.

I usually start with an idea. Mary Sue Smith gets sucked into Neverland and meets Peter Pan the third. Usually that idea suggest certain scenes, Mary Sue actually getting sucked into a trans dimensional literary portal, meeting Pan at the point of the sword, Captain Hook as a conflict, lost boy acceptance, defeating Hook, Mary deciding how to live happily ever after. I'm a sap. I like happy endings, or at least bittersweet ones.

Those scenes (which are the most fun to write) get me started in the rough draft. The trouble comes in connecting the two. I try to write chronologically. If I get stuck I will skip over scenes with a minimum of narration, putting something like write a cool fight scene here or Mary needs to learn to waltz here. I write the next scene. Then I can back track. Mary needs a sword to fight the pirates therefore I need to get one to her in the scene I skipped. Mary needs to face inner demons personified in Hook, therefore in the earlier scenes we need to give her inner demons.

Each action should have an after effect and a series of events that led up to it. Although it may offend the artistic senses, writing a novel requires a great deal of logic. If the story doesn't make sense then all the flowery prose in the world will not save it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Revisions again

I've finished the last edits by hand on Matt's story. Printing out the pages and having hard copies to read from has made all the difference. It's easier to flip back and forth to check facts and most of your errors jump off the page. My paper copy is riddled with red ink and post-it notes. Two characters are planned to merge into one, my villain is getting more backstory, Matt's goals are getting clearer. All solid forward progress. Now I only need to shove everything back into the computer file, fix my notes and send it off. Only.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bloody edits

Have I mentioned that my pages edits look like someone died on the other side of the room. Red ink corrections everywhere. I have 2 more pages to edit on Matt's story then the draft 3 rewrite begins. Hopefully this will be the last "closed door" edit and then my merry minions (aka beta readers) can have a go at it.

As far as forward momentum goes I've spent three days in a row writing a thousand words a day. It's slow compared to some but its progress. And once those thousand words are a habit then we can jump to two thousand, or three thousand. Productivity for the win.

The rest of the day is not going to be productive writing wise. Family is visiting and I have cleaning, mowing, cooking and shopping to accomplish before they arrive.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More progress

I should be editing. But instead I added another thousand words to Wren's song. This time I've started very much in the middle. All of the conflict is about to be laid bare on the rush covered floor. After that I think I will be outlining until the story has more structure. But the kernel is there and Wren is coming alive on the page. It's been an odd 15 years walking about with such a person in my back brain. I'm not sure if I am relieved or if I will miss her once the story is told.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


only the good kind. I'm not talking Iran, health care or any other jazz. Nope, we are talking 100% made up politics in a 100% made up world. I've been having a fascinating time figuring out what conditions would have to exist to make the countries have the traits the stories need them to have. Queen Victoria, Jacobite revolutions, assassination plots and various Coup D'etat, and this is just the back story.
I am a thousand words into one of the big scenes right now. I've got a couple thousand in outlines, backstory and introduction. As always when I am writing in I remind myself to just get it down on paper. It's far easier to build a story from something then to start from scratch. And no one ever needs to see my first drafts if I don't want them to. That is a comforting thought.
Editing on Matt's story is nearly complete for pass two. I'm juggling the rewrites with Wren's song and I have 3-4 beta readers lined up once it's done. Forward momentum.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things that rock about writing....

Spending six hours googling feudal coups, succession wars, and treachery is legitimate time working.

Reading novels also constitutes research.

Friends on facebook who came point out famous historic power struggles at the drop of a hat.

Although sitting down and writing is the largest part about being a writer, the daydreaming out scenes while on cross state car trips is also considered productive time.

Red ink pens and post it notes. (And those nifty binder things that hold all your pages together with the editing equipment.

We are now five chapters from the end of the edits and proceeding to enter them into the file while working on plotting out another book. My muse hates me... or just likes to see me squirm.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More revisions

I've been getting help editing today. I think I might be more productive with out Blair trying to eat the pen or cover up the pages but we are into Chapter 15.

Post it notes are my friends. Reading through this all at once I'm finding where the characters get redundant. I have 3 supporting characters in a place where 2 would work. I think that will be the next revision. I'm layering hints and expanding the back story of my villain. I'm cutting out unnecessary words.

Tomorrow's goal is to finish the last 14 pages of edits and start plugging them into the computer. Then we write more, add new scenes, flesh it out, build it up, print it out and repeat. I am hoping draft 3 will be able to go out and be read by others for feedback. Small forward progress though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I'm about half way through the second pass. I printed everything out and I'm proceeding to red ink bleed all over the manuscript and tag it with post its. I love office supplies. I sat on the urge to buy new red ink pens for this revision. I did end up with plastic tabs to mark out the chapter divides. Warms the cockles of my ever organizing heart.

The biggest weapon in my editing arsenal is my voice. I wait till the house is to myself and I read parts of the manuscript out loud. The places where I added to many adjectives or skipped a word jump out more. The dull spots scream for attention.

I'm layering themes in right now. When I first started writing I had this belief that once I wrote the story, that part would not change. Sure, the words would change. I could always find a clever new way to say something, but the story had to come out whole. That's crap and that one discovery has fixed so many things in my writing.

I have cut out two whole sub plots from the first incarnation (bogged down the story). I've changed the character's gender, made a minor character into a major one, and changed the villain from the initial concept. This pass through I'm making sure that the changes I made stay consistent. For me looking at each draft as building a layer of the story, like an animator creating levels of cells to film, helps to keep me moving on the story. Otherwise I wander off into the labyrinth of "it's not perfect" and get lost. It's not perfect yet, but it will be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing update

I really suck at keeping up this blog. I have a personal one that I keep track of friends with... and this tends to fall by the wayside. But Edits are progressing and I think by September this will be out in the hands of my test readers for feedback. And I will try to post more over here. I promise.

Project: Superhero YA novel
Editing Word Count: Lost track… up past chapter 18 though so over 20K
New Words: keeping even
Present Total Word Count:
Goal: 50000ish

Observations: Finally there is now more Maisie only Matt

Resolutions: Finish the edits tomorrow, write in the last scene then print this sucker out and really edit.

Things Accomplished in Real Life: Lawn mowed, groceries bought, cake backed and I found a cucumber.

Reason for Stopping: Heading off to gaming soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The last first draft post....

Project: Superhero YA novel
Starting Word Count: 34027
New Words: 802
Present Total Word Count: 34829
Goal: 50000ish

Observations: Draft 1 is done. I know there is more to add but until I finish editing all the plots that I added and took out I'm having a hard time knitting everything together. The Final word count (including some outlining) ended up at 34,829.

Resolutions: Start revising…. I keep saying I’m going to put it in a drawer and wait a week or so but honestly it’s been long enough since I looked at the beginning bits that I’m ready to go… and have gone.

Things Accomplished in Real Life: Did some shopping, spent much quality time with the husband and even weeded a bit.

Reason for Stopping: Draft 1 is done… and I’m working on draft 2 which is at 35013 words right now. Since I’m writing into the story and hacking out whole sections (including outline, synopsis, and plot notes) as I go this is actually fair progress.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Word counts again

Project: Superhero YA novel
Starting Word Count: 34027
New Words: 487
Present Total Word Count: 34514
Goal: 50000ish

Observations: Finding a clever way to end this is the hardest part. (This is a compilation of a few days worth of writing right now as I was in NC for a week and working on marketing projects.)

Resolutions: Finish the climax tomorrow or tonight.

Things Accomplished in Real Life: So far not so much except business emails. Next stop is gardening though.

Reason for Stopping: Hit a brick wall and needed to get the garden started.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another progress post

Project: Superhero YA novel
Starting Word Count: 33048
New Words: 1100
Present Total Word Count: about 34100
Goal: 50000ish

Observations: This is today's and yesterday's totals. I wrote yesterday... just not so much. Chapter 20 is done and chapter 21 is close. I think they are bother going to end up shortish but their are action and the cuts are in good places. Even though my outline has changed... I love writing into my outline. It means I never sit there and go... what do I write next. I always have some goal. Also today was the exercise in writing while babysitting. I have the 5 year old and the 10 month old to take care of and about 5 hours of time. I am pretty proud of the progress, and the children were fed, entertained and no catastrophes happened. It makes me hope that when I have children I will be able to steal enough time to write.

Resolutions: Finish up chapter 21 Monday and get 22 started at least. Hells I'd love to plow through to the end... but we'll see. I've got some other things going.

Things Accomplished in Real Life: No gardening today. I babysat for 5 hours and now I am packing up for the Exiles game.

Reason for Stopping: Had to go home and get things together for Exiles this weekend.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Current progress

Project: Superhero YA novel
Starting Word Count: 31366
New Words: 1682
Present Total Word Count: 33048
Goal: 50000ish

Observations: I went with writing Maisie as male in this chapter and the character is coming out more. I've talked before about writing badly but plowing through to get the plot down on paper. Yeah this stuff is bad. But I can see how to fix it and the rewrite is going to be better... I hope.

Resolutions: Tomorrow I do want to get to chapter 20. This is the vital chapter. Everything is revealed here.... I have most of an outline on that. I think it will end up with some holes ala [insert clever line here] but if I can make everything tie together reasonably logically I will be happy. Even if the writing sucks. I can prosery after I'm done holding the live wires and trying to macrame with them thank you very much.

Things Accomplished in Real Life: I planted blackberry bushes, tore out bushes and gardened for 3 hours straight. I ache.

Reason for Stopping: Finished chapter 19.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Writing is happening, among other things including coming up with a marketing plan for a small business.
One thing that never fails to amaze me is the turns that a story can take. Massie's tale has taken a strange turn that seems to involve my main character being rewritten as male. So rewrites are happening, scenes are being corrected and progress is decidedly sideways.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I really had not planned on taking a hiatus from this blog. Unfortunatly life rather took over. Writing has been happening. The word count tickers to the side show forward progress if not enough for my satisfaction. More words will come later but for now I leave this thought. Finding the "right" words means not being afraid to try the wrong ones.