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Ow, Er, I Mean Wow

I’m waiting for the day my brain goes on strike, instead of just adjusting to the new normal every time I push it that little bit further.  Surely it’s going to happen any day now, especially after yesterday.  It’s been a fantastic weekend so far, but I’m not sure I’ll have a mind left to work with on Monday at this rate.  Oh well, it’s only work, right?

I’ll be totally honest, this weekend has been one of those rare times where I feel like I’ve wrapped myself so deep in the story that there’s almost no world outside of it.  Right at the moment, I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, because I desperately don’t want to have to climb out of Possession for that.  The title is starting to feel very… apt. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this involved with my own story.  I’ve felt involved in stories before, certainly, but only with other writers, stories not my own. The very idea that I’m this enthralled leaves me more than a bit breathless.

Before you wonder, no, I don’t think it’s perfect. By now, those of you not new to this blog should know me far better than that. For any new to this party, let me assure you, I’m far and away my own worst critic. There are some parts that are definitely first draft quality, in all it’s warts and roughness, and that I will certainly have to work on when I get to the editing stage (no, we are not yet taking bets on how short a time I will be able to leave this one in the draw :p). But the story itself, the whole, and the way that whole is unfolding in the act of making it concrete… Dear god, I am without words to describe it at the moment.  Hmm, that’s very un-writerly of me. I need more superlatives and the confidence to use them on my own work.  Anyone have some of either I can borrow, emphasis on the second part of the request?

One word of warning, when it comes time for people reading this.  I think that, by the end of this, I’m going to owe Fay something far bigger than an apology for what I’m in the process of doing to her.  I actually feel a little guilty, though part of that is because, due to their relationship, when I do bad things to her, Tavis catches some of it too, and I like Tavis.  Okay, more than like. Totally not the point. 🙂

Okay, now that I’m done mooning over myself, my story and Tavis and Fay (and the rest), let’s get the specifics in.  Yesterday was a new record for me, and I can’t quite believe that I did this, but somehow, I managed to write two chapters, 9 and 10, with a total of 7,173 words.  Yes, in one day.  Would you believe my brain only hurt a little?  Of course, it was a puddle on the floor, so maybe I just couldn’t feel the pain.  For today, not quite as much writing since Sunday is chores day for me. Chapter 11 is in the bag, with 3,657 words written for the day. I might write some more this evening, but that means starting a chapter I won’t be able to finish (and still be able to get up in the morning for work). This brings me to a total for the whole book written thus far of 44,072 words. I think I’m almost or around halfway, but I’m not even sure of that.  It’ll be however long it needs, but it’s fun to watch the total shoot up.

Oh, and, in the middle of all that, Sketh showed up yesterday and whispered a secret to me before slinking off. I missed him, blades, bad attitude and all. And I had a fairly major realization on The Nine, which is actually better, since that’s pretty much what’s up next.  I’ve promised myself that I will finish the trilogy at least before letting any other characters take over my brain entirely.  Trust me, that’s harder than it sounds (Devan, cut that out!)

Finally, to share with you another of my photographs. I have to say, I really do appreciate the comments and support on this aspect. I find it harder to share my photography than my writing. It isn’t that I care about the photography more (There is literally nothing I care about more than writing, which explains the amount of my life I’m dedicating to it these days), but that I have far less confidence in my camera work. I’ve had friends prodding me for a few years to share my pictures, where I require almost no prodding to share my writing. Or to talk about my writing, as you just might have noticed.

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Down The Rabbit Hole

Okay, I know, I should be posting more often. But most of you will probably realize what my lack of posting indicates. Things are going well.  Very well.  Insanely well. As in I’m having trouble crawling out of the book for anything other than work.  I think I dream Possession, even.  It’s getting out of hand, really.

I think my writing muscles (the parts of the brain I use for it at least) are getting stronger as I go.  I remember when I’d feel fried after writing 2.5k in a night, and 3k+ resulted in Facebook status updates like “Click, click. Ow brain. Click clack. Ow brain.” (Yes, I really did that one day).  I now seem to write about 4k a night with little or no pain.  Part of it is that I’m grooving in on Possession, part of it is that it’s a good story, but I think a lot of it is practice and my process working out well for me, and that’s a nice feeling.  I remember a time when I thought I’d never find a process that worked and was destined to be stuck with ideas I couldn’t turn into stories despite a burning need to do so.  I feel fairly hopeful that the rest of the equation of me becoming a published author might actually fall into place.  Who knows, something crazy might happen, like people actually wanting to buy my books and read them!

So, specifics, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know them. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 are now complete. After my last post, I sat down and wrote 4,052 words, which was good. Last night, it got even better with 4,664 words (I’d been looking forward to writing one of those scenes ever since I stuck it in the outline) and tonight I’ve put up 4,549 words.  This leads to a grand total of 33,242 words.  Wow, already? Trust me, even though I’ve been watching both my daily totals and the overall climb, I’m still a little shocked to see how fast this is going up. That said, there’s still a ways to go.  I’ve got a couple of really challenging, important sections coming up. At least I’m writing them on the weekend, when I have all day to work with them, and no, that wasn’t planned.

And I want to say that, despite the speed, it’s in good shape.  I’m sure I’ll need to do some tweaking, but I don’t anticipate needing to rewrite this in a significant way (unlike the first draft of DM). I know one scene that I will want to focus and tighten, but otherwise, I’ve been quite pleased with the bits and pieces I’ve read while searching for a specific detail here and there (or just indulging myself and rereading because I liked it). I spend some time hanging around the NaNoWriMo forums, and I often read people talking about how they have this problem or that problem with their novel and directly relating their specific problem(s) to only taking a month to write it, but I think that with preparation, a month is plenty of time for a first draft that is reasonably tight for that stage of writing. But you have to go in having spent some serious time thinking about what you want to do with it and how it needs to go.  I’m not saying you have to outline (though I now have plenty of proof that I don’t function well as a writer without one), but you need to know your characters and have a general idea at least before you start that month-long writing-fest.  That preparation really can be as simple as time spent thinking about it, maybe making notes. You don’t have to read this blog for very long to figure out that I am a big believer in the idea that every writer is different, that we all need to find the process, stories, techniques and voice that works for us specifically. But if you don’t spend any time thinking about what’s going to go on in your novel and who it’ll go on with, why would you be surprised that your characters lack depth, or that your scenes feel flat?  I’ve said before that lack of sufficient planning and preparation was a big part of why the first draft of Dark Mirror didn’t get edited at all, simply went into archive while I started over again with a fresh outline.  I had some of those same problems. The key is to learn what causes your problems (and this point goes well beyond writing, into the arena of general rules for life) and figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes in future works.

Okay, I’m done preaching about how to write, really.  I generally hate doing it, but sometimes I see people say the same things over and over again and it irks me when they don’t learn from it.  Irkage usually causes me to say something. I once started a thread on my favourite writing forum that got bumped for months afterward just because someone did something I’d seen several times before, but they did it big enough to irk me a lot.  It was quite amusing to me, actually.  Come to think of it, it still is. I should go find that thread sometime.

In other news, Sketh showed up today and explained something to me.  Great, another character/story idea screaming for my attention. Because Devan isn’t trying hard enough to distract me from Possession and The Nine, I guess. So I’m still making notes on those and generally letting them stew in the back of my mind while I spend several hours a day with Fay and Tavis.  Why is all of this work not tiring me out at all? I don’t understand it, but I will say that I’m loving it.  The daily feeling of accomplishment I get from all of these things is wonderful, and seems to fuel continuing to do all of these things.  Maybe it’s some version of perpetual motion for this writer?  I don’t know, but I am going to savour every moment of it I get.

And, of course, last but not least, tonight’s picture. This is one of my more recent ones, taken on a trail near a town called Deep Cove here in BC.  I love the way the shapes and shadows play together in this one.

No, I’m not dead yet.  I didn’t forget to eat one too many times, really.  I promise.  Heck, I’ve been trying to be good that way. I should have posted yesterday, and I meant to, but I was busy writing, and was doing so until very late the last two nights.  How late? The eyes were closed most of the last couple of pages.  What do you call that, sleep-writing?  I wonder if that’s good for you…

All of that said, of course it must be obvious that the first draft of Possession continues to go well, both in quantity and quality.  I feel about it so far as I did the second draft of Dark Mirror, in that I don’t feel so far that major changes will be required when I’m done, though of course there will be editing and it’s too early to really be sure of this.  In some ways, I think this one is better, somewhat more complex and the characters are more real in their relationships with others.  I’m also getting to explore a few things I couldn’t in DM because they weren’t there yet for the characters, though they were part of the world. Again, like doing the second draft of DM, I can feel some of the growth I’ve undergone as a writer working its way into the book.  I also feel like I have a better handle on this story and on my world now, and I don’t think it’s just because this is now the second book I’ve written in this world, or that it’s in some ways a continuation of the previous story.  Possession is definitely a story unto itself, though one that is easier to understand I suspect if you’ve read DM.  I think both things are more a result of spending most of a month thinking about and outlining it, in and around dealing with DM and the short story.  I’m also very happy to have Tavis back as a POV character.  I missed him. 🙂

So, exactly how well are things going, quantity-wise? Chapters 4 and 5 are in the bag now, Chapter 6 to be worked on tonight. Monday I wrote a personal best for this round of writing (early days, I know), 4,667 words, and another 3,899 were written last night.  Tonight? We shall see. This of course, brings me close enough to a fairly major milestone that I’m going to round 19,977 words up and say I’ve hit that mystical 20k mark.  In 5 days.  That’s awesome, and the brain doesn’t hurt (yet) which is even better. I’ve still got a long way to go, and some major, painful scenes to write though.  How long will this be in the end?  You’re guess is as good as mine (possibly better, given how wrong I was last time), so I’ve decided to only say that it will be as long as it takes to tell the story.  That’s still my favourite yardstick for how long the story is/should be.

And, of course, through all this, Devan still won’t leave me alone.  I’d be irritated with his attempts to distract me from Possession, but I’m too busy being startled and delighted by some of the places he takes me.  I’m deeply looking forward to writing that one in its time, and refusing to let myself even think about whether I’m good enough to write it well.  I think I might be, but I’m going to try to learn not to worry about that and just write anyway.  Besides, I still have The Nine to write before I can work on Necromantic.  Speaking of The Nine, I’m feeling a bit of flow in the ideas for that, which is good.  I know a lot of ideas for Possession got kicked loose as I was working on the second draft of DM, so this is probably a good sign that I’ll be in a good place to get down to work on The Nine once I’m done the draft of Possession.

What, me slow down? I might stall if I did that. Certainly I’d be utterly lost with all that time on my hands.

And, of course, before I go for the next couple of days and the night’s explosion of words, the picture of the day.  This one is one of my favourites of all my shots, which might explain why it’s one of those printed and framed on the wall.

Getting My Groove On

I know I just posted yesterday, but we all know (or are about to learn) that I like to do a weekend recap when I’m doing a NaNo, so here it is for this weekend.

I’m off to a good start so far on Possession.  No really mind-blowing days, but that’s okay, because it’s only day 3 and I’d like to still have a functional mind over the next however long to write the rest of the novel with.  So far this is shaping up to be a better first draft than the actual first draft of Dark Mirror, and that’s an encouraging sign.  I’ve learned a lot since then and I can feel that, with the questions I’m asking myself while I write and the way it’s unfolding.  Yesterday, after writing the post for here, I did 3,323 words, which was all of Chapter 2, and today I’ve managed to get Chapter 3 written, all 4,567 words of it (it’s a long one).  This gives me a total so far of 11,411 words for the book, which is entirely respectable for 3 days of writing.

I’ve had to refer back to my most recent draft of Dark Mirror a couple of times in the last two days, to make certain of specific detail (i.e. did Fay tell Tavis something explicitly or not) but that’s okay, because it doesn’t seem to be slowing me down.  I think part of the reason I’m not doing more of that is that I’ve spent a lot of time in January editing DM, with two separate passes, and I did plenty of checking or notes while I was doing the outline for Possession, and that helps too.  It hasn’t disrupted the rhythm I’m starting to get back into from my last NaNo, when I was doing the second draft of DM. It’s actually quite nice to find myself falling back into that groove so easily.  I’d kind of wondered how hard it would be to get back into the daily writing routine after a month away, and am glad it hasn’t been hard at all.  This coming week will be more of an acid test, with the whole routine of work, come home, write starting again, but I think I’m up to it.  It’s not as if I haven’t been doing some version of it through January.  It was just more of an edit or outline version of it, rather than actual writing (except for the day of the short story, of course), that’s all. I’d like to mention that I’m not the only one getting back into the groove.  Jay, one of my two cats, is already helping me write more by sleeping on my legs, just like last time.  He’s too cute to move when he does that, so I figure I might as well just keep writing since I’m pinned in front of the netbook. *shrugs*

In addition to all of this (No, I don’t ever slow down.  It’s so  I don’t have time to realize how much I’m doing), I’ve been continuing to make notes on Necromantic.  It’s unfolding beautifully, and I think my subconscious may totally be on Devan’s side when it comes to being impatient for me to start writing this one.  That said, I’ve paid the price of starting too early a number of times (dead, unfinished novels that started out as good but under-developed ideas) to want to risk it with this one.  It’ll be a bit demanding on me when I do go to write it, but I think I’ll be experienced enough by then that I can do it, if I make sure I do enough prep work. I’m not sure how much longer it will be before I open an Outliner file for this one, but I doubt it will be that long.  I give it another week, maybe, at the rate it’s been going.

And, before I toddle off for the night to rest my weary brain, today’s picture:

Everything Is Cyclical

I had planned to post about this last night, but I didn’t for a couple of reasons.  I had an award post I needed to make.  I hate letting those wait for more than a few days (that’s a personal thing), but it was the first night I had a chance to get to it that I wasn’t tired or busy with the million writer things that always seem to come up in my life, not to mention everything non-writing.  In fact, I probably would have done it Thursday night, but I was otherwise distracted, which I will get to later in this post.  I’ve alluded to it in a couple of comments, but now I get to state it right out.

First, though, an announcement.  It has begun, again.  That’s right, 30 days of writing, my own unofficial NaNo in February.  I was originally planning on waiting until February 15th to start Possession because, well, it’s a nice round date and I’d already missed February 1st, but then we all know I’m not patient enough to wait almost two weeks, not with the outline done.  Besides, it just kind of felt right.  That was the major reason really.  The honest truth is that I’ve been feeling a little trepidatious about starting Possession, in spite of my enthusiasm and how happy I was with the outline on rereading it.  I think some of it is that it’s the second book.  There’s a lot more pressure in many ways.  Dark Mirror was easy, in that everything was possible, it was all free.  With Possession, I am no longer writing in a void.  I have a previous work to reference, existing characters that I cannot reshape on a whim.  I also have another book coming along after it that I am very conscious of needing to set up as I write this one.  Yes, there was some of that part at least while writing the second draft of DM, but that was in isolation from the rest of these issues.  Finally, I feel like I need to raise the stakes a bit in this book, and also to up my game as a writer.  So much going on regarding the book in the back of my mind that it’s been hard to push myself past all of that and sit down to start banging away at the keyboard.

Last night, I went with it though, putting all that aside.  I set my goal, which is the same 75,000 words in 30 days as I set when I was doing the second draft of DM, to be finished by March 3rd this time, and got on it with good results.  It took me until almost 8:30 pm to get my butt down in front of the netbook, and at first I had some trouble slipping in, for all of the above reasons and just a general feeling of expectation of quality I remember from before doing my first NaNo.  I had a long talk with myself, mostly reminding myself how leaving that expectation behind has worked out for me so well lately, and finally got myself grooved in.  For those of you who might not remember, weren’t here last time or have forgotten, 75k in 30 days works out to a daily pace of 2500 words per day.  I did my usual, checking every few hundred words (Am I there yet?) until I hit 2500, and then I kept going.  Longer time readers will recognize this pattern and are probably having a good giggle, knowing generally what happened.  I did 3521 last night, which was awesome, and a fabulous note to start this NaNo on.  Only took me about 3 hours too, which is good, because my eyes were trying to close by that point, so I had to type the last several paragraphs with them closed.  Thankfully, that allowed me to really visualize what I was trying to write, and also, I’m a relatively skilled touch-typist so it didn’t even slow me down.  So, the first chapter is in the bag, and what I remember of it makes me happy so far.  Early, I know, long road ahead, but at least I’ve started on the right foot.  My tracking spreadsheet is open on my iMac to taunt me into sitting down and staying there, and I’m starting to mull what the playlist for this book is going to be, based on themes and feelings I’m trying to achieve.  Yes, there was one for DM and I still have it as I was using during editing.  There will, of course, be regular posting on the progress of this NaNo, as in the past, probably every 2-3 days, or as often as I have something to say about it, whichever comes first.

Now that that’s taken care of, on to the hinted at and alluded to item for this post.  Another story idea pretty much exploded my brain Thursday night.  Devan decided to introduce himself with a truly intoxicating image.  Him, sitting in a tree, staring up at the moon, surrounded by spirits, a little bit melancholy.  I won’t tell you too much about him, partly because I’m still getting to know him and partly because it’s WAY too early for that, but I will tell you that he’s a necromancer, and before you say “Ick, he plays with dead people,” he mostly talks to spirits these days, for reasons I can’t get into because they’re related to the story.  The project, which shall be known as Necromantic and has already been added to the Project Status page, has had my brain frantic since that image showed up, and I’m thoroughly enamoured of both the story that’s unfolding in my head and, well, Devan.  It will be some time before I can write this one, but at this rate, it’s going to be hard to keep focused on the Mirrors Trilogy and finish that first, especially since I was so inspired by the idea on Thursday that I’ve already written the first two pages of the book.  I don’t think Devan’s the patient type… I am also getting the feeling that this is a big story, so we probably aren’t talking a single book here, but that will become clearer as I work my way up to and through the process of outlining this one.  That may happen sooner rather than later, as you’d be amazed the quantity of notes I already have and the way this story is exploding.  I’m amazed, that’s for sure.

The funny thing is that Thursday was a good night all around.  We had the most spectacular sunset that day, and so I couldn’t decide whether to grab my camera or my iPad.  Fortunately I did some of each, and today’s picture one of about a dozen I took.

7 Times 7 Times My Age…

Actually, lets not go there.  I refuse to admit that numbers go that high when they’re in the same sentence as my age. 🙂

Jmmcdowell was kind enough to nominate me for the 7×7 award, with comes with such a long list of instructions that they give you 7 trophies so that they can write them all on it.  My, that mantle is getting full. I need to build a bigger fireplace.  Ohhh, bonfires and s’mores indoors!  Yay!

So, onward!  To the lists, I mean instructions.

  1. Share some things about myself
  2. link to 7 of your own posts: Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Popular, Most Beautiful, Most Helpful, Most Controversial and Most Pride-Worthy
  3. Nominate 7 blogs

Hmm, okay, I can handle this, though I might engage in some judicious cheating.  Again.  I’m incorrigible, I swear.  I blame my characters for that, by the way.

So, about me:

  • I love Skull Candy over-ear headphones, particularly their Hesh series.  My old ones died recently, but after like 3 years of daily (ab)use, I don’t think they owed me anything.  I got new ones just a couple days ago, black and blue.  Only purple would have been better.  I miss the inline volume control my old ones had, but I can learn to live without it.  Best ear muffs/self-dense in the mall ever.
  • I feel like I’m cheating on Tavis when I make notes on my newest idea (non-Mirrors one), because I absolutely adore the main character in this new one.  The fact that I can even think of it like that slightly disturbs me (well, only a little), but then I view authors as crazy people.  It’s what we do.
  • The reason I think of authors as crazy (in a general, non-threatening, non-commitable kind of way) is because we keep imaginary people (multiple, not just one) in our head, and often imaginary places, and then we take them out and make them dance for other people’s entertainment.  I challenge you not to think of it as crazy when put like that.  I can’t.
  • I love discovering new (to me) authors and letting them seduce me into their worlds.  Yes, I really do think of it that way.  I love this almost as much as I enjoy new books by favourite authors.
  • No one can possibly be more surprised than me at this blog being successful.  I write about my writing.  And apparently my awards.  I mean, I never expected this many people to pay attention to that.  You guys came to see me, no kidding, 1006 times in January.  WTH?  I know it’s not discrete visits, but I mean, wow.  You guys knock my socks off.  I suppose I have to try to do even better in February, don’t I?  Damned short months…

Okay, enough talking about me as I seem to do that a lot already.  Time to talk about my blog, and the cheating I’m about to do.  Did I say that out loud?

Most Surprisingly Successful: Take A Number At The Counter Please.  Usually it’s my awards posts that seem to garner the most comments or likes, but this one is all about writing (mine of course) and yet is my second most commented post to date, and that was quite touching.

Most Underrated: Writing is Like Ogres.  Okay, I admit it, the extended Shrek reference was not as funny when written down as it sounded in my head.  But I do like the post in a general sense, the importance of layers and how you get them into a story.

Most Popular: Where’s My Fancy Dress And Speech.  This one’s easy.  Do you know that still gets searched for?  I have no idea why, either.

Most Beautiful: The Biggest and the Smallest, one of my few posts touching on the truly philosophical, rather than my philosophies on writing.

Most Helpful: I Think I Found My Brevity seems to have started off a lot of ruminating, for me and a few others from comments, about self-publication and how authors can take control of their own works.  On a side note, the other day I noticed I had search terms pop up for “My Brevity” and collapsed into laughter as I thought to myself “But I already found it” 🙂

Most Controversial: I’m skipping this one (aka cheating) because we all know I don’t do controversy.  It’s hard to get controversial about yourself with yourself.  Doesn’t work, trust me.

Most Pride-Worthy: Catastrophe or Opportunity?  One of the hardest things as a writer, that I see more writers stumble on than anything else, is being honest about their own work.  Also, it’s hard to realize that the thing that is totally broken can be made better, that out of disaster can arise something good.  We won’t go into how much worse I felt later that evening as the realization set in.  Only a couple people know, and no one else needs to.

I know, they are almost all fairly recent, but my brain is too full for long-term memory, really.  The buffer keeps running over and losing the old data.  But either way, I prefer to look forward as much as possible, and not dwell on old stuff more than I need to.  Always moving forward, that’s the ticket.

And, last but not least, my 7 blogs:

  1. The Joys of Writing
  2. Lifeinthefarcelane
  3. dex raven
  4. Tim Kane Books
  5. Words From the Night
  6. Constantly Living As Myself
  7. Meredith Mansfield

Well, there you have it, my blogs and fellow bloggers, and peak into my twisted mind.  Now, if you’ll pardon me, I think I have to go break up a fight in my subconscious.  Long story, I’ll explain next time, promise.  Devan won’t let me forget, I assure you.

I titled this post this way for a reason.  I’m really waiting for that, for a speeding ticket for working too fast on my writing.  I’m sure there’s a cop around somewhere that handles that. Of course, if he’s cute, I might not mine. 😀 But now on to business.

My test readers have already been informed (one almost came through the internet to grab for the file I suspect), but I’ll announce it publicly here.  The edit of Dark Mirror is finished.  I’m done tinkering with it for a number of reasons, including that I think I’ve lost perspective on it.  No, that doesn’t mean that I think it’s awesome.  For me, losing perspective means I worry that it isn’t any good at all.  Yeah, I know, too hard on myself probably, definitely pessimistic, but what the hell else did you realistically expect from me?    No one has ever accused me of excessive optimism. In fact, I don’t know that I possess any at all, let alone a large amount of it.

I did try a new thing with this edit, one that I found tremendously helpful.  I read it out loud.  Thank god I don’t mind my speaking voice (unless you record it and play it back to me, at which point I promptly loathe it).  339 pages is a lot of reading, but it’s actually faster now than it was before.  I made fewer edits, but caught more repetitious language and what I would refer to as partial edits that got messed up.  By this I mean where you can see that a word you should deleted when you first edited a sentence got left, things like that.  It was an interesting exercise, one I would suggest for anyone who wants to try to find every little nit in the manuscript.  I had actually test-driven the read aloud thing with the short story, but doing it with a novel is a whole different thing, I found.  Still, I’m very glad I did it and I think that will become part of my regular editing tool kit.

The book currently stands at 83,333 words (I swear, that happened by accident), 20 chapters.  I’m not going to look at it while it’s with my test readers, because I don’t want to tinker with it while I wait for their comments.  Instead, it’s time to work on something else, time to dive back in again.  Yes, I’m referring to Possession.

Part of me is a bit nervous about starting the sequel while the first book isn’t technically finalized in case something important changes, but I have to keep busy, and that outline is begging me to turn it into a manuscript.  So is Tavis, for that matter, but I think that’s just because we get to see things from his POV for part of the book this time.  Okay, I got to on the first draft of DM too, but that got cut in the interests of being able to tell that story right.  This time, I don’t think I can do it without him.  Yay, more Tavis!  Sorry, very unprofessional of me to have a crush on my own character, I know, but… Maybe, if I’ve done a decent job on the first one, you might get the chance to understand why I like him so much.  I haven’t decided when I’m going to start, but it will be another write-a-thon (aka NaNo) for sure when I do sit down to write the first draft of Possession, probably mid-February.  It may take me all 30 days (or more) this time because it’s the first draft (as opposed to take 2) and I won’t be on vacation for half of it.  I’m reviewing the outline now so I can make these decision. I clearly don’t know how to take time off from my writing, even when I’m sick (like today). At least I can do all this while downing Citron Tea and laying in bed, so I’m sort of resting.  I’m only a workaholic with writing, I promise, and one day, you might thank me for it, or so I dream.

Beyond that, it’s time to start at least giving some serious thought to the plot structure for book 3, The Nine, so I’ll be ready to start working on the outline when I finish writing Possession.  Seriously, I might need help… Maybe I’ll just do some reading, before my head totally explodes.  Hmm.

No, I haven’t forgotten picture time (but you knew that because it always comes at the end of the post). I don’t remember where I shot this, other than somewhere in Toronto, but I love this picture for it’s combination of colour and texture.

Of Sunshine and Steam Engines

Oh, wait, there’s that light at the end of my perpetual writing tunnel, and I think it may not be a train… this time.  No, it’s the swanky Sunshine Award!

My friend Amber was kind enough to nominate me for this as she called me a writing machine.  I think that has more to do with the inescapable nature of being trapped in this tunnel with my story ideas.  Wait, what do you mean this is actually my brain?  Then what was that train I saw earlier that nearly ran me over?  Um, never mind.  *chants* If I have to ask, I don’t want to know. Well, back on topic after that small diversion. I’d read the instructions, but this thing is blinding me.  *grabs industrial grade sunglasses that look just like sexy Oakleys*

Much better.  I’m amazed those instructions haven’t caught fire.  I mean, how do you even pin them to sunshine?

  • Thank the person who gave you the award. Check!  Thanks Amber!
  • Write a post about it. Check!
  • Answer some questions down there. See below
  • Pass it along to ten people and let them know they received the award. Hmm, we’ll see how many I can get this time.

So, questions and answers for the curious.  The rest of you will just have to suffer. 🙂

Favorite colour: Fake Grape Purple.  You had to have seen that coming.
Favorite animal:  Horses.  I miss riding (from when I was a kid)
Favorite number:  13, because it’s my lucky number.  Good things usually happen to me on Friday the 13th
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Hot Chocolate.  Anyone surprised by that has not been reading this blog. Alternatirely, Citron Tea (for those of you who needed a surprise).
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.  I have trouble with the idea of expressing a complete thought in only 140 characters.  I don’t think I can do that…
My passion:  Writing. In all it’s aspects, oddly, I love it.  I’ve figured out that I average 50 hours a week working on writing, and yet it never seems to make me tired or feel overworked.  I think that’s what the day job (37.5 hours) is for.
Getting or giving presents? Giving.  I’m actually terrible at accepting presents.  Or compliments, which are like verbal presents.
Favorite pattern:  the veins of leaves.  In clothes, solid, because I don’t do patterns!
Favorite day of the week: Saturday.  It’s post-work without being pre-work, which is why it’s better than Sunday.
Favorite flower: Lilies, of any sort, really. You might have noticed that a bit in my pictures.

So, right, ten blogs, let’s see how this goes.

  1. I’m sorry, but anyone who makes me nearly snarf my coffee as often as this lady does has to be up for a Sunshine Award, because that’s happiness right there (less so for the monitor or lost coffee, but she’s worth it). Let’s everybody love the Kiwi. 🙂
  2. This lady of images and words often makes me reach for my own camera, which, in winter, is a hell of a feat.  I have yet to see her post something that didn’t make me smile and feel a sense of wonder.
  3. Sometimes it’s the journey and struggles shared that can bring a smile to our face, and help us keep perspective on any off days.  One of my fellow writers reminds me of that often, and I really look forward to her posts of progress, learning and deep thoughts.
  4. Another source of laughter and shared wisdom, I know I just nominated her recently, but I really want to add this one.
  5. I love the insightful posts this lady makes, and it doesn’t hurt that she made my whole year recently (a bold statement in January, I know, but I stand by it.  Most of the good things that might happen this year are now gravy).
  6. More laughs and head-shaking happen from his blog (on my part at least) than any outside that of my favourite Kiwi
  7. Because I don’t think a list of amusement and hilarity would be complete without him.  There’s nothing I can say that doesn’t give him away, and I’m dying (figuratively) to see what he’s going to do with this.
  8. She’s going to hate me for doing this to her shy, introverted self because it’s my spotlight and not hers, but I have to include her, because she makes me smile so often.

Well, I got most of the way there.  Eight’s a good number, nice and round.  And I can manageably let them all know.  I have to remember to do that.  I believe that’s enough of me trying to get a sun tan from my award, so I think I’ll head back to my world of words.  Thank you again, Amber.

Done and Begun

So, those are the words for the day.  Those who are following along with the home version of this game (wait, do we have one of those?), please mark down the following:

Outline for Possession: Done

Editing of Cost of Duty (Short Story): Done

Editing Dark Mirror v2.1: Begun

So, that’s the basics, now for the details.  As I said, I finished the outline of Possession this morning, having done the climax last night.  Oh my god, I really can’t wait to start writing this one.  But I am going to make myself wait.  I know, I’m not patient, but I need to try to learn some, I swear.  I can’t live my whole life on fast forward because of it.  This outline is longer, for sure, than the one for DM, both in number of entries and how detailed some of them are.  And a lot happens, which is also good.  But for now, the outline goes in the mythic Drawer for a few days or so, at which point I will go back through it, make sure I’m still happy with it, and then open a fresh word document.  Fair warning, I’ll probably do another write-a-thon for this, if only because doing so seems to work so well for me.

Cost of Duty spent a few days in The Drawer and came out for reading this morning, after I finished the outline for Possession.  It aged well, I still love it.  I made a couple of very very minor word tweaks.  I’m now trying to decide whether to put it up for crit on the writer’s forum I spend a lot of time lurking and a little time posting on or start submitting.  It’s being mulled.  I have decided against trying to e-pub it, because I just don’t think there’s much market for a single short story (and I really don’t write them often).  I’m also too lazy to do a cover.  🙂  Hey, at least I’m honest.

Moving down the list to editing DM.  This is a little funny.  I had read somewhere recently that you should use the tab key in your manuscript.  This being news to me, it was all through the 333 pages of DM.  Grr.  So, after reading through and editing the first chapter, I set about deleting them all from the manuscript so I don’t have to worry about it.  Stupid lack of find and delete all function in my word processor.  So, there I am scrolling through and deleting them manually.  That was going along swimmingly until about a quarter of the way through, when I suddenly realized I was reading my book instead of deleting tabs.  For the last 4 pages. Whoops.  This happened several times in the process of getting them all out there, so the process took almost 5 hours.  Way too long.  I have learned, though, that being engrossed in the book I wrote, where I know everything that happens, is probably a good sign for the book’s quality, relative to my being still definitely a rookie at this.  I’m trying to see it that way, at least, instead of seeing 5 hours spent on a task that likely should have taken only half that time.  Fortunately, with that completed, I can move on to the real task of doing the actual edit.  I’m hoping that it won’t take as long as the last one, that maybe I can get this done in a week.  That would be a good time frame actually, because I’ll be ready to start working on Possession at that point (seriously obsessing about that now).

It’s like they’re all working out in a mystic order that I didn’t prepare.  Perhaps the writing gods are smiling on me… Right, that’s right before they drop a safe on my head in the form of something major changing, isn’t it?  Of course, both of the above points suggest that I need to start percolating on the overall plot in book 3, but to be honest, that’s doing itself already, I’m just writing it down as it comes and keeping, well, my version of semi-focused, which means doing a dozen things at once.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something.  I’ve added two pages to this blog that weren’t there before, though they are subject to unannounced revision whenever I bloody feel the need.  One is my About Me page, which I finally got around to doing.   I really hate doing those, but I can only hold out so long on that kind of thing before the peer pressure gets the best of me.  The other is my Project Status page.  I have a lot of stories on the go, and I mention them only when I have something to say about them, as far as blog entries go, so I thought you might want a quick reference, in case you miss something, or are curious.  This is not an exhaustive list, but they are the ones that are sort of front of mind for me in some form or other.  It’s also there for me to keep track of all the crap I’m in the middle of.  Yes, I really do think I might need this kind of help.  Among other kinds of help.

And, last but not least on today’s hit list, the picture of the post (I can’t say day, because I don’t usually post every day).  I love this one.  It’s one of the framed prints up on my wall.

The Ice Giveth Way!

Okay, so I know that I’ve said that I was making progress on the outline for Possession, and I was, but it wasn’t much, and it often wasn’t that pretty, requiring some pouring over and work even after the entries were in the outline.  That all changed tonight.  I finally got them on the road to the climax, and have at least a base play-by-play in my head for the rest of the book, including the things I need to wrap up in this book, and what I need to leave loose still for the grand finale, The Nine.  Yay!  I think I’m about 3/4 of the way done the outline now, which is awesome.  I’m just about willing to bet money that this one will be longer than Dark Mirror, definitely more intricate, and a bit more event driven (though still with much character development, and well, what one might call character abuse.  I’d apologize to them, but I’m not really sorry, and I refuse to get stuck with their therapy bills).  These are good things though, in my opinion, so I’m going with them.  I’m now starting to really get revved up to get on with writing it, but there are still steps to go through, things I’ve learned I need to do so I don’t have to throw out the whole first draft (hopefully) this time.  Once the outline is done, I need to let it sit and reread it.  This should go fairly well, partly because of all the rereading of it I’ve already done in my struggles with the parts I was just going through, but not to be skipped in any case.

Also, I don’t want to lose the thread of DM in my rush of excitement with the new book.  I know two people who will kill me if I don’t get it to them at some point in the near future, and no one wants that, especially me. My plan is to do my next pass of editing (which I’m already thinking about and planning out) while the outline for Possession sits in the mythic aging drawer, and then see where we are, but I think that will be the final pass before printing and mailing to above mentioned test readers.  Then to keep busy and not pester.  I think I can manage that, though some days it will likely be difficult.

And then there’s the short story, currently going under the title Cost of Duty.  The whole not patient thing reared its head (please, don’t laugh in total lack of surprise, just cause it’s true).  I read the story on Tuesday, then sent it to my test readers.  My, did I ever hear back quickly.  And in the good sense too.  No, no comments that it was perfect because, well, nothing ever is, but also nothing major wrong.  It was minor stuff, which I’ve already acted on.  It’s now in the drawer for a few days or so (depending on my patience and how busy I am this weekend with a training session on Monday to prep for, and the above writing tasks sitting on the front of my brain).  I may not get to rereading that until sometime next week, which is fine.  More time means more distance, and I can then view it with a clearer eye.  But I feel very good about this.  The question, then, is what to do with this one.  I’m of several minds (no, this does not resemble multiple-personality disorder, as much as it sounds like it should), but I will probably submit it to a couple of short fiction pro markets (defined as paying at least 5¢/word, some pay more), partly because I don’t want to do a cover for 3500 words, really don’t.  And I don’t know how I would price it as a self-pub e-story.  That might be because I can’t imagine buying a short story as a one-off, though.  I think research will be in order on that one.

Beyond that, I will need to keep The Nine on my brain as I move into the first draft stage of Possession, because I will probably start outlining that one as soon as I finish Possession.  I don’t think I plan on stopping at all, ever.  Too many ideas, really, not enough time to write.  Besides, I like being busy like this.  It keeps me happier.

Ah, yes, and picture time.  Really enjoying this, and I’m glad that others are too.  It feels good as a photographer to share some of my work, and only partly because the response has, thus far, been favourable.  Pictures should be shared, it’s just part of their nature, in my less-than-humble opinion.

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