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Monthly Archives: January 2011

>Ooh, My Wicked Heart

>First up, ROW80 updates.  It’s been a good week for me.  I’ve gotten a fair bit done on Verity but I’m still stuck on the same problem.  It’s at 62k right now and basically needs one or two chapters adjusted and a little bit of rewriting once I figure out how to link the new and old stuff properly.  If/when I figure out that niggling problem, it’s done and I’m on to Taunt. 

One of my original ROW80 goals was to edit Verity and, technically, I have so I sort of feel like I’ve accomplished something in January.  The best bit is that I don’t hate the story and I’m enjoying the characters again.  I told my OH earlier that I think I might actually be done with it this year.  So whoop whoop for that.  One month done, lots of up and downs, but I’m a happy camper.  ๐Ÿ™‚  Hope you’re all feeling optimistic for February!

ETA:  Okay, been waffling to my OH again.  The poor thing (he’s not a reader) has no idea what the book is about or who the characters are but he helped me figure out how to bridge the gap I’ve been moaning about.  It’s just for now so I have an actual complete story to edit but it might work long-term.  We’ll see.  It’ll bulk up the action, which is good because I’m crap at the romance.  I feel a little guilty for what I’m putting these kids through.  ๐Ÿ˜€

On to other schtuff.  Fellow ROW80er, Vicki Keire, author of Gifts of the Blood, made me cry this week.  Actual tears, people.  She gave Thirst a really generous, thoughtful review on her blog.  See, I’m not used to people talking about stuff I’ve written.  When Andrew Mocete interviewed me, he did a little intro about Thirst and said what it was about and I swear, I was on a high for days.  Days.  That stuff is addictive.  My stories are in my head, I talk about them to nobody, yet the characters are like family so when somebody else “knows” them, it gets to me.  Sad, I know!

>Thank You

>Last check-in I took the comments on board and decided to take Sunday night off.  On Monday I ran away from work until that evening when I printed out everything.  While that was going, I jotted down a few things I wanted to adjust in the story and came up with a new idea that doesn’t solve all my problems but gave me enough of a boost to start enjoying what I’m doing.  Still haven’t gotten that big breakthrough but after reading all your comments, I’m happier about it so thank you.  I’ve stopped tormenting myself about it, it’ll happen when I’m ready for it.  *Please don’t require a major rewrite*

I’m going through all of the chapters I’m keeping and noting little additions and cuts I need to make for the whole manuscript to make sense then I’ll be going through the 40k or so I cut and marking out the things I want/need to keep before I rewrite the end.  I’ve gotten through seven chapters so far and am feeling good about it.  If I work hard then I’ll be finished with it soon – really hard and I’ll be finished this round of edits/rewriting by February.  I’ve also come up with a few ideas for the sequel, not sure if that’s a good thing or not.  ๐Ÿ˜€

I would absolutely love to finish Verity this year – it takes up so much of my time, it’s ridiculous.  I can’t work on anything else for long because it starts bugging me again.  I’m still thinking about Taunt though, so it’s not a total loss.  There’s a little twist I’ve been thinking about and wondering is it time for plus I’ve been getting to know one of my more unpredictable characters, always fun.  The fae novel has been springing up a bit too again – I wish I didn’t need to sleep.  ๐Ÿ™‚

So updates are, I kinda plotted and I’ve edited seven chapters with the new plot in mind. 

I know I keep changing my goals but bloody hell, I didn’t expect to change my mind about Verity this many times.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  My mood has improved bucketloads, sorry for the whininess last check-in!  I would have chucked it all in if it wasn’t for ROW80 so again, thank ye very much.

New goals:

  • Get latest version of Verity out of the way so I can get back to Taunt. 
  • Stop sitting around doing nothing when things aren’t going like I planned.
  • Visit more of my fellow ROW80ers than I did last week.
  • Remember it’s still only January – this round isn’t nearly over so we’ve lots of time to crack on.

Check out everyone else’s progress here.

>Let It Be

>Randomness: 

Mac have a Wonder Woman collection coming out.  Take that Barbie.  I love Wonder Woman, it might not be out over here until March which coincides with not just the end of ROW80 *reward!* but also my birthday.  Hi, Mister Farrell.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  You can tell I really love all things Wonder Woman because I used bold and italics.

My 6 month old keeps making strange with me.  WTF?  Everytime I get out of the bath, she puts on a sad lip and won’t feed.  I know I take my time in the bath but I’m not gone that long.

Kids are all okay, thanks for asking.  Except for the boldness, dear god, the boldness.  They’re all looking forward to getting away from each other.  Even my sensible kid had a meltdown this week because his sister was singing in her own room and he couldn’t concentrate so his lego fell apart.  Um, yeah, roll on school.

Not feeling very social this week so I’ll do my blog rounds later.  Serious case of the blahs this week, mostly down to the following paragraph.  Goddamnit.

ROW80 Update:  Since Wednesday, I’ve basically been trying not to let my head explode.  Need to figure out how new second half of Verity fits in with end of Verity – finding it hard to write while I’m thinking so hard.  I feel like something obvious is just. right. there. but no, can’t find it.

I’ve been plotting and have gotten roughly 5k worth of new chapters written so weekly challenges done.

Rest of the challengers are here:

>So It Goes

>What’s happened since the last ROW80 check-in?

Six members of my household are sick now so no school.  Again.  Last time I said I was editing Verity in full before I returned to Taunt.  Yeah, well, not really. 

I got to the half way point and felt like there was too much going in the second half but not enough excitement.  I talked it out with my OH – by that I mean I spoke to him in incomplete sentences and he nodded, pretended he understood and thought about Arsenal/World of Warcraft/how many minutes until bedtime. 

I realised the pacing would probably be better if the big fight at the end came in the middle instead as part of the big reveal and I stopped trying to squeeze a series worth of minor story arcs into one book.  After some more rambling in sentences that I never managed to finish I had a better idea, one so awesome it requires an almost total rewrite of the second half of the book and a purge of certain plotlines.  *Screams soundlessly*

So.  Changing my goals.  Instead of editing Verity (I. Was. So. Close.) I will need to rewrite the second half and probably do a bit of an outline to tidy up major and minor plot points.  Part of me can’t bear the idea but my dominant half is excited so it all works out.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  Also, I’ll need to use the new stuff to fit in with book 2 so I want to jot down the ideas I’ve been getting for that. 

I should really be concentrating on Taunt – since I’ll be epublishing it – but I’m too stubborn to let Verity go.  If I die and that book isn’t finished, I’m going to be really pissed.  By the next check-in, I would like to have a clear path to the end of Verity – even if it’s just an outline.  I’m not being ambitious considering how much “but it’s my turn to sit beside Mammy” is going on.  Oh, and by February all of this mind-changing better be done, okay self?

For more sensible check-in posts, clicky here.

Updates:

  • I edited like ten chapters but it might not count in the end.
  • I haz a new plan. 

P.S. (Just ‘cos these amuse me).

Take the last two digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year.

Answer: 111

>Check-In Time

>Funny sort of week.  After reading everyone’s comments and posts after the last check-in, I started thinking and realised I was looking for the perfect time to write.  Except there is no perfect time so I was wasting reasonably worthwhile chunks of time instead. I’m at a messy stage right now, think laptop and mounds of paper and notes spread all around me in a humongous circle, so I’ve been waiting until I’m alone to write.  I realised that was silly and sat down with a pen and paper to write down a couple of notes (amongst the battling toddlers) and ended up rewriting the entire outline.  One goal done. 

I deleted chapters and then wrote more than my week’s word count in one day so weekly goal done (although I’m not finished yet).

I got a small bit of editing done but I’ve been mostly hands-free for the last few days because my eldest daughter has been sick (she even missed her belated Christmas party at playschool because she vomited all over the classroom) and my youngest daughter had a bit of a reaction to her injections.  Sometimes only Mammy’s cuddles will do.  Add in some visitors yesterday and work has slowed down again.  But, today is mine, sort of, and I’m planning on getting as much editing done as possible because I want Verity out of the way next week so I can concentrate fully on Taunt.  Taunt’s exciting me right now so I want to devote all my time to it.

I feel like this week has gone well, blips and all.  I just have to keep remembering to work with what I’ve got.  Part of it has been the really good, positive atmosphere from the rest of the ROW80 challengers.  There’s something very inspiring about it all.  I’m also thinking part of me feeling like I had a good week is down to the fact I’ve been avoiding the internet as much as possible for the last three or four days – definitely been a good thing for me.  I might try more of the same.

Quick question for anyone in the know.  (I should have stayed offline.  LOL).  A reviewer said they were offended by the little copyright paragraph at the beginning of my book.  I thought we had to have this and that all books have it.  Am I being stupid and knobby by adding it?  I vaguely remember copying it from somewhere, maybe the Smashwords Style Guide.  Anyone have more of a clue than me?  *Confused*

ETA:  Just read this blog post on managing your time and thought it might be useful – or just interesting to read.  Good luck next week everyone!

>Signing Off

>I had been feeling frustrated with Taunt and yesterday I think I figured out why.  It’s supposed to be a novella and I had written a drawn out novel to “win” NaNoWriMo so I had some great chapters that were fun to write but didn’t add to or carry along the plot.  I realised I had to cut my favourite chapter (oh, how it hurt) and go in a different, more condensed direction.  I sat down with a pen and paper to scribble down a detail I had forgotten in the first chapter and ended up re-writing the entire outline of the story.  Take that ROW80 goals!

I’m feeling good about it and I think I’m back in business but I’ve been so tired today that I’ve spent most of the day fluting about the Internet.  I need to concentrate on fixing Taunt and work some more on editing Verity, which reads like it was written by a 12 year old.  I don’t even know where to start on Verity – yes, it’s that bad.  I need help.  Lots and lots of help. 

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ll finish Taunt this round.  (Did I mention I figured it out?  Can you hear the angel choir?)  Although I won’t if I keep getting distracted online so I’m taking myself offline for a bit.  Not completely but I’m definitely cutting down – apart from my ROW80 commitments.

So I’m officially taking a step back until I have something to show for it.  For real.  I mean it.  If you happen to see me skulking in forums then send me home.  Kick me off Facebook.  No Twitter.  I shall work hard this week.  If I can’t work for some reason then I shall read.  And maybe even finish a book this month.  Yeah, sounds like a plan.  Until Sunday, then I have to read everyone’s check ins.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

>Whoops?

>I think I have a small problem.  ๐Ÿ™‚  Some of the feedback I’ve gotten regarding Thirst sounds like a lot of people seem to think it’s PnR.  Or at least expect it to be.  Erm, whoops.  I’m not a HEA kind of writer and I never intended Thirst to be anything close to romance.  The bigger whoops here is that I’m working on the sequel during ROW80 and I cannot get the romance thing out of my head.  I keep looking at every sentence differently – which is sooooo not productive.  My update is not much to update, basically.  ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been trying not to force the word count so I’ve put more effort into editing.  Bloody hell.  The kids are like my little shadows this week.  I ended up taking my ereader into the bath to try and edit (touchscreen is the best invention ever) but that didn’t last long.  Every two minutes the eldest was knocking on the door to boast about learning another “tricky word” (senior infants homework stylee) and then I could hear the baby giving my OH grief so I gave up.  I fell asleep early last night but then I woke up at around three and got about two hours editing done so I’m happy with that.  The baby is still asleep and the twins are amusing themselves so after this post I’m going to try and get something else done.

So mid-week update – very little in the way of actual word count on Taunt, edited a moderate amount of cringey cheese from Verity but most importantly I made an effort to work each day so overall I’m quite happy.  I’ve gotten past the forcing myself stage and I’m just getting on with it and trying not to get frustrated when everything else gets in the way.  Hope everyone else is feeling good about their goals.  ๐Ÿ™‚

>Horse Outside

>Quick edit here to say: 

  • So sorry I chose blogger.  I’m really sorry to everyone who struggles to leave a comment, it’s ridiculous.  I didn’t know the comment thingy had changed so much when I started this blog.  Next time, I’m picking WordPress.
  • Thanks for the comments on the whole courage to be crap thing.  It’s always a little reassuring when people get what you mean.  ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I am currently overwhelmed by new blogs, blog posts and comments.  If the world could stop blogging long enough for me to catch up, that would be ah-may-zang.
  • The kids are back in school, the kids are back in school, the kids are back in schoo-oo-oo-ool.
***

He finally did it.  My OH has been pestering me with this song for weeks now and it’s finally stuck in my head.  I wake up singing it, I fall asleep singing it, I’ll go insane singing it. 

This was number 2 in the Irish charts by the way.  *Shakes head*

Unsuitable for work!  All I have to say is – Giddy up now, baby.

>ROW80 – Week One

>ROW80 updates today.  I hope everyone feels like they’re doing well – if not, no worries, tomorrow is a brand new week.  Make a fresh start next week if you have to and keep making an effort at your goals, doesn’t matter if you don’t always meet your goals as long as you have a go.

I haven’t done a great deal of work this week.  I haven’t worked on Verity since my last update, but I’m getting a few hours to myself late tonight so if I’m awake, I’ll work on that.  I’m using my ereader to make notes and such, then make the changes in my document when I’m done.  It’s slow work but I find I do my best editing this way.  It’s something I can do around the kids but not while I’m feeding the baby (or if the kids decide they want to scribble on my ereader too) so I generally have to wait until I’ve a child-free block of time.

I have around 4k of Taunt written, or rather rewritten.  It sounds okay until I tell you it was the part of the story that needed the least amount of work.  I printed out a hard copy of the document, went at it with a red pen, switched around the sequence of events and typed up the new first three chapters.  I took a quick glance at the entire first draft I had – it’s not as awful as I thought but it needs a lot of tightening, better organisation of the time line and one particularly long conversation needs to be destroyed.  ๐Ÿ™‚  I also realised I had forgotten a character or two and need to create some character sheets on them.

I only have the beginning of Taunt replotted but it’s much better – I feel more focused on what’s happening and yesterday some very important backstory showed itself for the first time.  I’ve been worrying about a certain storyline and feeling like the motivations weren’t portrayed very well so now I have a new dimension to that which helps make it clearer and helps me with the portion of the story I’ll be working on next week.  It wouldn’t have occurred to me if I hadn’t been thinking about the story every day so thank you, ROW80.

I feel like I didn’t work very hard this week but tomorrow, the schools are open again so I’ll have two less children at home in the mornings and the whole family will be back to a getting up at the same time every day routine which might actually help me with ROW80.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to organise my time a bit better next week.  I have made an effort to do something every day so if that becomes a habit, I’ll be very pleased.

Week One Update:

  • Taunt – 4k (re)written
  • Verity – 3 chapters edited
  • Plot – First section done.

My reading challenge hasn’t gone too well but that’s normal for me.  Next week I could read ten books then the week after, nothing at all.  The fifteen minutes a day bit isn’t happening.  Maybe next week.  ๐Ÿ™‚

ETA:  Forgot to add the update link.  *And is typo queen today*

>The Courage to be Crap and not Compete

>I had to link to this blog post about writers not having to compete against each other.  It’s about the myth that writers and books have to compete with each other.  Like people only buy one book in their lifetimes.  Really, the opposite is true – at least in my opinion.  People who like to read buy books.  Plural.  And lots of them.  They like a book and look for similar ones.  This is why Amazon’s “people also bought” works so well.  One book succeeds and all of those linked to it do a lot better too.  I’ve talked about this before, I believe we will all ride on the coattails of somebody else’s fame – it’s a co-operative effort despite our claims of independence. 

On that particular article I linked to, there’s the idea that indies are more likely to feel in competition with each other – and with traditionally published books too.  Bingo.  So very true.  Hang out on any writer’s forum and this is the kind of atmosphere you’ll eventually find.  Some get a tiny bit obsessed with what everyone else is doing and how to emulate it.  Unfortunately, the minority get a little bitter and twisted about how those they perceive as being less talented than them are doing so well with little effort.  (I know for a fact A Little Girl bugs the shit out of one or two people – in a good-natured sort of way – because I’ve never exactly ran around promoting it but it’s a steady (but not great) seller.  It’s okay, I’m baffled too). 

Lately, I’ve been a little saddened by a number of attitudes (by people I’ve thought were cool/nice/smart enough not to get dragged down by this) towards some who are quite successful even though they aren’t the most skilled in the way of editing/grammar/spelling/etc.  I can’t respect someone who makes snide remarks about their thoughts on another person’s level of talent in a passive-aggressive sort of way.  If you think they aren’t doing a good job then help them, why put them down and wait for readers to embarrass them?  To quote the post I linked to earlier:

If your book sucks, your story is dull, your cover bad and unreadable, it isnโ€™t another writerโ€™s fault. That is your fault.

Basically, my attitude is this.  If a writer is successful, they are doing something right – even if you think they are awful, awful writers (I’m sure Stephenie Meyers is very upset by claims of her lack of talent, yet remains well-buffered by her wads of cash).  If you aren’t doing as well, maybe you’re missing something.  You.  Don’t waste time blaming somebody else.  Keep writing, work hard and you will get there when your time comes, there’s room for lots of people to do well, chill. 

I read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog regularly and get a kick out of it.  He writes those wake up and smell the coffee type posts wherein he sounds incredulous that people would even come up with this shit.  Love it.  If you’re ever getting wrapped up in your own ego and what everyone else is doing and achieving, stop comparing rankings and sales long enough to read some of his blog posts and get a quick kick up the arse that will send you back down to earth where you belong. 

He writes posts like Dare to be Bad, which truly resonates with me.  In that one, he talks about being confident enough to send the work out to stand on its own legs before you edit and rewrite it to death.  I’m so not saying people don’t need to edit – just, you know, learn to quit while you’re ahead.  ๐Ÿ™‚

This post reads as though it were written for me specifically.  Seriously, I edit and tweak the life out of everything.  I thought I hated editing (okay, I do, but not as much as I thought) because I have one manuscript in particular I just can’t finish.  I’ve edited it so much, I’ve lost the heart of the story.  I’ve edited out the humour, the originality and everything that made me smile when I reread it.  I’m left with something that is technically better but a lot less fun to read. 

My problem is twofold.  I don’t know when something is finished and I’m terrified of disappointing people.  I got over it a little when I published A Little Girl and One Night.  I disappointed enough people that I wasn’t scared of it anymore.  ๐Ÿ™‚  I’m fine with people not liking something but I have a problem with feeling like I took money from someone and disappointed them.  Negative comments don’t actually hurt me though.

I learned things I would apply to other stories so I was happy with the feedback, good and bad.  Then I went back to work on a novel and lost my confidence (or courage) again.  I forced myself to publish something else before 2010 finished because it was a now or never sort of thing.  I hadn’t finished anything all year and was holding myself back.  If I didn’t publish Thirst when I did, I would have tweaked it for the next three years and probably ended up giving up on it.  I sent it out, listened to feedback and now believe it’s not as good as I thought but not as bad as I panic-nightmared.  ๐Ÿ™‚  Some people liked it, some people thought it was just okay and nobody’s opinion killed me. 

Actually declaring a finishing point made me appreciate editing a little more and despise it a little less.  It will never be my friend but I think the whole arch-nemesis thing has calmed down a tad.  My new thing for this year is to stop being scared, to have the courage to be crap and to learn from said crapness for the next book.  We can’t learn without making a few mistakes and breaking a few rules along the way – we can’t move forward without risking failure too.  (Some of the most successful and not-so-successful indies this year took chances and risked failure while a lot of us hmmed and hawwed and were too scared to put our babies out there in case they weren’t ready).  So I’m going to risk failing this year – it’s better than not ever knowing.  /Epic post