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.