Monday, December 31, 2007
Not exactly beginning the day on a high note. But Robert Frost said "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader," so hopefully that means I've written something with emotional impact.
On a lighter note, see the post below for a contest! I'm off to get ready for work.
There will even be a real prize. Possibly monetary/bookish in nature. I'm leaning towards a $25 Borders gift card.
The rules are simple: post a comment with your guess as to the final word count of my MS when I finish it this week. Whoever guesses closest, wins!
Some info to help you out: right now I'm at 93,163 words. (Ignore the wordmeter, I need to fix/fiddle with it.)
Feel free to ask me other questions in the comments. I may or may not answer them. *g*
So let's hear it. How long-winded do you guys think I am?
Even so I took my little yellow pill (that's caffeine, for any new readers - nothing illicit *g*) and had a cup of instant cappuccino and settled in for a long winter's write.
Not to be. I can tell I'm brain drained, so I'm packing it in in favor of a few (likely 4) hours sleep to start fresh before I have to go to work. Should be a slow day there, and I'll spend it writing if I can. After lunch, though, I'll have to switch gears and start getting ready for the party.
I'm off on New Year's Day, which I'd planned to spend sleeping in and cleaning house, putting away Christmas decorations, etc. but now I suppose I'll spend it like I did today. I'll still consider it making my goal if I finish by the end of that day.
Though word count *is* a measure of progress, I've switched over to completed chapters as my benchmark. The 100K goal was just an estimate, and I'll be adding and cutting stuff as I move through to the end. Whether it ends up at 98K or 108K is impossible to know at this point.
All in all, I did manage over 2K new words today, and 5 more chapters under my belt. Not too shabby.
No matter what, I'll be done by the end of this week. It's a staggering thought!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
DH and Little Boy are at church. LB didn't even know I was here (I'm usually gone to work by the time he wakes up, so nothing really out of the ordinary except it's the weekend). The plan is to stay holed up in my office (the spare bedroom) all day...and into the night if necessary. I'm keeping myself caffeinated, with the reasoning "I can sleep when I'm done."
As of right now, I'm at 92.5K (no wordmeter update - Zokutou hasn't been working lately *sigh*). At 500 words/hour, that's about 15 more hours to 100K, or 2-3 am. Assuming I maintain pace and don't go over. We'll see.
I'm up through chapter 17 and 202 pages of contiguous MS!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Yesterday morning I finished Chapter 12, the trip to Glasgow. At work I realized chapter 13 was already written, it was just in a big chunk I had to re-paste into chapter format. I've been working on 14 this morning. Finished a major scene. Tonight will be another marathon session, during which I'll hopefully finish the other major scene in that chapter and move on. Chapters 15 and 16 are already largely written, just need to be formatted and smoothed over. I'm thinking about abandoning my family tomorrow and spending the entire day holed up with my computer.
I have finally really seen the light at the end of the tunnel. The gaps are closing fast, and it turns out I don't have so much left to write after all. The major thing slowing me down is that everything left to write is the slow stuff, stuff I haven't been able to "see" well, and transitions, etc.
But Little Boy just realized I am, in fact, home (does that make me a bad mom?) and I've got to be somewhere this afternoon, so I have to leave poor Elspeth kidnapped by Campbells and on her way back to Kilchurn to face Ormelie. It's a decent stopping point.
Fight scenes are hard for me to write. I want to make them accurate, and true-to-life. Elspeth can kick some ass, but she's also a woman, in skirts, surrounded by armed men with rather different attitudes about gender equality and fair play. I generally have to do them bit-by-bit, trying to imagine realistic actions to whatever move just occurred.
Today I knew one of the kidnapping party was going to try to abuse her, but I couldn't let that happen. I knew she fought him off but I couldn't "see" the action in one continuous play. So I'd write a paragraph or two, then have to think about something else and after a bit I'd realize what the most logical next move would be. And now it's done, her virtue intact, but not her sense of self-control...
(And because I have no self-control, I took another look at that CafePress list and found these gems: a mousepad I might have to get, and THIS SHIRT that I almost certainly will.)
I'm up early to compensate for passing out on the couch last night and not only not writing, but missing a planned chat I had been looking forward to. Sorry, girls!
Anyway, I stumbled across this and thought some of you would appreciate them:
Fun author t-shirts on CafePress
I particularly like
Of Course There's a Writing Formula:
beginning + middle + end = story
(Oh, if it were only that easy. Especially for those of us who write in chunks!)
All the cool kids are writing.
Hehe. Also, the sadly accurate
A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
My personal favorite:
Careful, or you'll end up in my novel.
the search for which (with my Christmas money) led to the finding of the page.
Addendum: on a later page I found
Not Now! My muse is kicking ass
I prefer to think of myself as "pre-published."
and this awesome magnet:
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Though it occurs to me: even if - by some miracle - I hit the 100K mark by New Years, I don't know if I'll actually finish the book. With only 10K left to go, that's 4 (relatively short) chapters, and I think there's more story than that to tell. Glencoe itself will be at least a chapter or two.
I'm writing heavy, and a lot of stuff is going to be cut on rewrites, methinks.
I did get BIC tonight but not until after 10 pm. Only managed a paltry 300 words. However, a large part of my time was consumed by research. I'm in Chapter 12, which is the trip to Glasgow. Now that I have the background, hopefully things will pick up tomorrow and roll smoothly through the next few events, most of which are already roughed out.
I did find a neat website:
FirstFoot's Scottish Vernacular Dictionary
And the Wikipedia article on (modern) Glaswegian dialect defined the expression "pure dead brilliant" as "rather good". Someone's got a sense of humor. *g*
Monday, December 24, 2007
It's not so bad, really. Only a half-day, and being salaried I get paid for full. And it's almost time for me to leave.
Unfortunately, my plan to spend 3-4 hours writing because there wouldn't be anything to do was shot down. I've been fairly busy all morning, and thus: no wordage.
I did make some progress yesterday during LB's nap. Finished Chapter 11 - and therefore Act I - and moved into Chapter 12. This needs some historical background and then I just need to string together and smooth several large chunks as I move through Act II.
Last night I didn't get my BIC time because wrapping the last of the presents took longer than expected (doesn't it always?). Dunno if I'll be near a computer again until after Christmas proper.
Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas!!!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday I planned to write at work, but the cappuccino machine at the coffee kiosk was broken and, lacking caffeine, I wasn't very productive on two hours sleep. Then my boss told me I could leave early (holiday weekend) so I did. Had a pleasant evening with DH and LB, at the mall of all places. Passed out cold on the couch as soon as LB was down.
Yesterday (Saturday) I got up early to write, but unfortunately LB woke up early too so no progress. Then FIL, BIL, and GIL (girlfriend-in-law, hehe) came over after the family Christmas get-together and stayed the night. We opened presents - bless his heart, FIL has given me a cross necklace almost every single year since I met DH, despite the fact that I wear one of them every single day and have the rest stashed in the back of my jewelry box - GIL and I made more bourbon balls, the guys watched a movie, and we all collapsed around midnight.
Oh, and my purse came in at last. No worries! 100% authentic, and gorgeous to boot. *g* So that's one less distraction from now on...
It's now Sunday afternoon and LB is down for his nap; DH has gone out to buy games for his new Xbox 360. I'm hoping to make some headway while LB sleeps, and then have my regular writing session tonight as well.
And in case anyone's interested, here's the family recipe for bourbon balls, as handed down by my great-grandmother:
Gramammy's Bourbon Balls
2 pounds 10x confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 stick melted butter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup bourbon
(optional: 1 cup shredded coconut)
Combine powdered sugar, butter, nuts, (coconut), and bourbon in large mixing bowl. Should be proper consistency to form balls, not too dry or too "gloppy". (Add bourbon or powdered sugar as needed to correct, but the listed proportions should work.)
Roll into ~1" balls and place on waxed paper or aluminum foil on cookie sheet, chill.
When balls are firm and set, melt dipping chocolate and dip each ball, replacing on cookie sheet and chilling to set chocolate.
Should make 10-12 dozen.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Despite the lateness of the hour, I'm positively wired. Remind me not to take two caffeine pills within 2 hours of each other, especially not starting at 9 pm. But I needed to write. I need to write. I've been putting it off for one thing or another for the past 3 months.
Over the summer I did 20K in a month. I've done 6K total in the past three, or one tenth of my potential productivity.
I've cut back on my blogs and blogging and internet presence, as noted. But just like skipping the writer's forum was depriving me of support and inspiration, not blogging is depriving me of accountability.
I think by telling myself I'm just keeping my head down and not posting to save time for writing, I'm also allowing myself to go days without doing anything and not having to answer for it. No one knows if I spent 3 hours one night researching how to spot a fake Coach handbag on eBay *cough* and not a minute writing.
So I'm instituting a new policy. From now until the end of the year at least, I will post at least once a day. It may only be a line or two, but it will summarize what I accomplished (or didn't). Hopefully this will keep me on the straight and narrow, and force me to work so I can report good stuff. I think 2 or 3 days of owning up to wasting time would be an effective deterrent. Hopefully it won't come to that.
Today, I did spend some time looking at Coach bags on eBay (my planned Christmas bonus gift to myself). I also played my rounds in the Scrabulous games I've got going. But I've been working too. Even though I said it was done, I reworked and added a bit to the end of Chapter 10. That's the ceilidh in Glenstrae where Alec is all but formally betrothed to Janet Cameron (in the works for years) and Elspeth comes to the bitter realization that she's fallen for him.
Now I'm in Chapter 11. (Hehe, my finances are fine, thank you.) Elspeth learns Griogal Cridhe from Catriona *nods to Cathy* and Alec asks her about returning because he can't be her protector once he's married. This chapter will close out Act I. Next up, Glasgow for the winter's mart, and the kidnapping.
Total daily wordage: not sure, because I forgot to check my starting point. I'll keep track from now on.
Gah, I've got to be up for church in about 4 hours (at the latest!). To bed with me.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Read this review on SBTB. She also garnered 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times.
All together now: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, go pre-order the book. (Click on the cover image to the left there to go straight to the Amazon listing.) *g*
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Last week was productive, if minimally so. A scene that started out fresh and free-flowing got slower and more tedious toward the end, but I really wanted to finish it. Add a boar hunt to the list of times we get Alec almost killed. *w* Finally finished that out at 2100 words, which for 5 days of writing averaged a little over 400 words/day. Not great, but better than nothing.
Sunday night I could have strangled myself. Little Boy was in bed - and quiet! - just after 8 pm, and I was on my computer by 8:30. It's been a looong time since that happened. But did I get any writing accomplished? No. The siren song of the internet was too strong. To be fair, I was finishing up some Christmas shopping, with which I am pretty much done. (Now, just to wrap the stuff...) But still. I've complained that my lack of productivity was due in part to late starting times, but when I get an early one what do I do? *headdesk*
However, I made myself write at work on Monday (things have finally slowed down a bit, though I doubt it will last). And tonight I got B-i-C by 8:30 again, caffeinated and ready to work. Also determined to make up for the sins of Saturday.
So here I sit, actually feeling inspired for a change, making progress and dead-set on finishing this SFD by the end of the year. Want to know the real secret of my regained vision? The answer may surprise you.
Like several others, I tried to cut myself off from my usual internet haunts in an effort to boost productivity. This included the CompuServe forum. To a degree, the relief of expectations to post and be social on these sites (as well as the endless time-suck of my blog feeds) did free up some time. But did it boost productivity? No.
I guess I am a weak, weak woman. But there are many times during the day (especially at work) where I don't have the time to get into a scene but I need a mental break from what I'm doing. Enter the internet. (Heh.) I stuck to my resolution to avoid my usual sites but the problem was...I found others. Non-writing-related ones. So I was still spending time online, but doing stuff that kept my mind off my story and writing. And that, I think, was a big obstacle to me gaining any kind of momentum.
So tonight, in my pre-writing-time allowed internet foray, I'd already hit all my other usual haunts. The CompuServe button in my browser bar tempted me. Time-suck! I fretted. I'm so behind there, I'm always afraid to try to wade back in. Mainly because it takes a long time to get caught up. But I needed to do something while I finished my soda before I put in my whitening trays (long story, see my braces blog in a few days) so I popped on over.
Only spent 5 minutes there, and made one post, skimmed 2-3 threads. But you know something? Just being back in the (virtual) company of other writers did something for my productivity that almost 3 months of R&R could not do.
So I'll be lurking over there more often instead of vegging on the braces board or ICHC. (Though I'll probably still limit my posting until I get done with the MS.)
I'm newly inspired. I'm gonna finish this thing. I can feel it.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Despite staying up till 1-2 am every night so far, juiced up on soda and caffeine pills, my wordcounts have been half to as little as a tenth of my projected targets.
But! I am at least getting wordage. Consistent wordage, writing-every-night wordage. This is something I haven't managed to accomplish in over two months, so I consider it progress.
So I won't be done in November, but next week the majority of my other irons will be removed from the fire: Heroes and DwTS have run this-season's course, so no more TV nights breaking up my momentum. And my external projects are mostly completed. Now there's just the little matter of Christmas...
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
A) Four jobs I have had in my lifetime:
1. Hallmark Cards merchandiser
2. Color Guard assistant coach
B) Four movies I would watch over & over:
1. any Star Wars
3. and LOTR
4. Hmmm...Indiana Jones? Now, if you'd asked me about books...
C) 4 places I have lived:
1. Louisville, KY
3. Irvington, KY
4. Lexington, KY (see a pattern here?)
D) Four TV Shows that I watch:
3. Dancing With the Stars
4. NCIS/The Unit (they're kind of a single entity for me)
E) Four places I have been:
2. Tampico/C.D. Madero, Mexico
4. Washington, D.C.
F) Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. sushi (did I ever think I'd say that?)
2. homemade Crispix mix
3. anything from Red Lobster (Cheddar Bay biscuits!)
H) Four places I would rather be right now:
4. The Bahamas
I) Things I am looking forward to this and next year:
1. Finishing OHN
4. Paying off a few of our big loans
Monday, November 12, 2007
Pitch Critiques Round 5
As I told Carol, I guess I should have sent her the one I sent EE, and sent him that one! All the detail was based on comments from EE's blog, after my nice, tight paragraph "left too many unanswered questions, i.e. how exactly did she end up in the past?"
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I think it can be applied to my tendencies during writing time, too.
"If I weren't checking e-mail 30 times in an evening, would I be writing a book?" Bill wonders.
As I posted, I did okay the first day. But last night I didn't manage any words at all. It wasn't for trying: I sat at the computer for two hours at least. And I wasn't fooling around online, either. I was messing with my iTunes a bit, mainly to listen to some of my bagpipe music and get "in the zone" but for the most part I was just trying to focus and get back into writing mode. At midnight I gave it up for a lost cause.
Had a productive day today: cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned and did a partial water change on my aquarium, washed several loads of laundry, and cleaned out/reorganized the garage. (We can actually park a vehicle in there now, which will be handy when it starts freezing in earnest.) Then we went to a bonfire with our Sunday school group. Couldn't have asked for better weather - not too cold but with the Fall crispness in the air, still enough daylight to cook by, and not so dry anymore that having a large fire was risky.
Tonight I started slow. Found some new Alec-y pics of Martin Henderson that got me closer to the character again. Spent some time looking for an Elspeth, but it's hard to find pics of, say, 20-something actresses with brown hair and eyes online - unless I am the only one not aware of where to look.
Opened three or so scenes and skimmed them, trying to find a place to pick up. Finally settled on the kidnapping scene, one of the ones I left in the middle and haven't been sure how to finish.
Tonight I squeaked by with my 500 words, and it's pretty late. At least I get an "extra" hour of sleep in the morning. (Though I'm not thrilled at the prospect of darkness so early in the evening from now on.) But! I have regained a tiny bit of momentum, and the scene is taking shape, so I should get out of the gate quicker next time.
Tomorrow I've got church, some book shopping for the Project Night Night drive, my FIL is coming up to visit, I need to write, and oh - did I mention I probably have to go into work for 3-4 hours (unpaid) to catch up on all the stuff that hit the fan Friday afternoon? *sigh*
Friday, November 02, 2007
Since I've decided to feed off all the energy in the air, and since I'm way behind in the wordcounts and needed a good kick in the @$$, I thought "What the heck? I'll do NaNoWriMo too."
Strictly speaking, I'm not - my words will be the completion of a mostly-written book instead of a new one (mainly, see below) - and I didn't sign up through the official website.
But I have set myself a new goal (remember when I said I wasn't going to set specific goals anymore?) to try to keep pace with the NaNoWriMo folks and average 1500-1700 words a day. That should pretty much guarantee completion by the end of the month, even if I have to top 120K and then whittle down before everything's said and done. It's a crazy, frenetic pace, but I have seen that when I'm really focused I can accomplish it. I just need to stay focused. See previous post about the internet. *g*
So I sat down tonight prepared to flex my writing muscle and power forward through OHN. There was just one minor problem...
Despite my best intentions to not do this until Elspeth and Alec's story was done, I took a page out of some friends' books (if you'll pardon the expression, hehe) and - since I was stuck on Book One - worked on Book Two.
Book Two is tentatively titled One Highland Wife, and will be the story of Nathaniel (Elspeth's brother) and Mairi (Alec's sister). All the new scenes popping up in my head were between those two, so I went with it. I also did some more brainstorming, as all I have right now are a few loosely-connected plot points, and wrote a very preliminary "hook":
The stone that opened the portal is taken from him, and the only way to retrieve it is to buy it back, at an exorbitant price. It takes everything he has and knows—and then some—to raise the funds. Meanwhile, [antagonist/conflict here].
On his way to make the trade, he is moved to spend the entire amount to purchase a beautiful young widow named Mairi at auction, to save her from a life of servitude to the brutal man who sought to buy her. Now he must seek another way to reclaim the stone and find a way back to his own time, as well as overcome [antagonist/conflict from above]. But the hardest thing will be deciding what do about the auburn-haired lass who has taken his name…and his heart.
The major scene I worked on - and cranked almost 900 words out of - will be from a chapter late in the book, entitled "Revelations of the Bedchamber". Here's a snip:
"You know," Nate said, reclining against the headboard with Mairi snuggled contentedly against his shoulder, "we've been married [X] months, and I don't think you've told me anything about your brother."And a bit later, after some explanations...
"Andrew?" she asked. "But I've spoken of him often enough. There isna much to say now, as he's been deid these three years past. Left a young wife and son, but the bairn was too wee to become chief, so the line passed to my uncle's branch."
"I remember you talking about Andrew. I meant your other brother. The one you don't speak of. I don't think you've even told me his name."
Mairi hugged her arms about herself and sat up, away from him. Her eyes became distant and she fixated on a point in the opposite corner of the room.
"Alasdair. But most called him Alec."
She sighed. "Aye, and so I did. MacAlpin is the name my family took when it became illegal to claim 'MacGregor' in public, and to do so was cause for persecution…or execution."
He put up a hand, as much an attempt to bat away the thoughts that were buzzing and swarming about his head as to stall her speech.
"Wait. You're telling me that you were—are—a MacGregor, and that your brother, Alec, married a woman named Elspeth and then disappeared under mysterious circumstances, never to be heard from again?"
"Aye." Her eyebrows knit together, and a look of consternation and old pain crossed her delicate features. It made him want to hold her close and sooth away the hurt, but just now he needed to come to grips with this new information.
MacGregor. Alec MacGregor, and his wife, Elspeth. Son of a—
All told, my nightly wordcount was up around 1400. Not too shabby.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This LOLcat sums it up:
I guess I'm not one of those people who is energized as they near the end; I'm paralyzed. Most of the remaining scenes are the ones I've been skirting, dodging around for the past year or so, and don't know how to go about writing. On top of that, I am thoroughly into the "this book sucks" phase, which I had hoped to avoid until rewrites, and the sheer weight of how much emotion and complexity and continuity I am trying to include and likely not succeeding with is bearing down on me and crushing the air out of my figurative writing lungs.
Okay, I guess I don't think the book sucks. I know in my heart of hearts this is a good idea, a good story. I still get excited thinking about plot details. What I think sucks is...me. My writing.
This goes beyond the doldrums. I'm not just waiting for a breeze; I need someone to bring me a new sail, because mine is gone and even if the wind were to pick up, I don't know how I'd catch it.
All the momentum I built over the summer is gone. A lot of it was stolen by the rest of my life, which came crashing down in September after I'd put it off for months to concentrate on the book. Then I was just burnt out and fatigued and couldn't drag myself to the computer in favor of sleep. It doesn't help that Little Boy is near impossible to put to bed anymore, and even when he finally gets quiet, it's much harder to start writing at 10 pm after a long day than it was at 8 pm or even 9.
Over these two months other short-term projects have intruded, and I told myself I'd take a few weeks off the book, then a month, then a few more weeks, and now it's become two months and the end of October - a point at which I'd hoped to be done and into rewrites preparatory to entering a few major contests - is looming tomorrow with me no farther along.
Tonight I was finally reasonably well-rested, caught up enough in life to devote an evening to writing, Little Boy went down at the early hour of 9:30, and my frustration at the delay in finishing the MS was great enough to get me Butt In Chair.
Only, once I actually connected my data stick and prepared to write (after dealing with the minor emergency of some corrupted files - hooray for backups), I froze.
All the places I could have picked up and worked felt dead to me, the scenes wooden or lacking, to the point where I couldn't even bear to open the files and read what tripe I had written there. I faced the ultimate fear of writers: I couldn't hear or see my characters. It's not a disconnect from them, specifically, because I can hear them for the House Party scenes. It's that I can't see what they want to do - what I need to write - for the MS.
...There's this thing I do, a state I get myself into. I call it "variable overload". My nature is to hold in my head all the aspects of a situation, spread out mentally so I can analyze, utilize, compartmentalize, optimize. It makes me a good problem solver. I use it for anything from finding the way to pack the most objects into a space (such as organizing closets or loading kilns) to finding the most efficient order/route to run errands. The problem arises when there are too many variables. My brain goes into this endless loop of "but what about this? and this? and this?" and I end up having a mini-meltdown, stressed out and unable to choose any path. Usually at that point DH has to step in and make the decision for me, and even though I want to protest ("but have you considered...?!") I go meekly along for the sake of doing something, anything.
Right now I'm in variable overload with the book. My brain is a jumble of story arcs, relationship progression, character motivation, settings, dialect, historical details, style and craft...all screaming for my attention, pressing me to work them seamlessly into each scene.
Objectively, I know they don't all have to be in place in the SFD. It's called that for a reason, after all, and that inherent ability to analyze will help me in rewrites once I can see the Big Picture. But I can't get to the Big Picture because I'm frozen, uncertain, stressed out by my inadequacies and the sheer enormity of what it takes to write an outstanding book.
And DH can't make these decisions for me.
Now is the time when perfectionism is a curse.
But I'll work through it, and blogging this is the first step. This is not a plea for pats on the back, hand-holding, and "there-there"s. I just felt I needed to come clean about the fact that, for all that I've been maintaining a facade of progress and enthusiasm, I really haven't done much of anything. And to tell the truth, I do feel better and more motivated for getting it out in the open.
Tomorrow is a new day, and the day after that is a new month. NaNoWriMo, in fact, and though I'm not taking that particular challenge hopefully there will be a charge in the air - the collective subconscious of so many writers in the country who are energized and focused. I think I can tap into that, and overcome this last and greatest hurdle. By the time a new year rolls around, I'll be where I want to be.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
If I ever self-pub (if I ever get this darned thing finished, more on that in a later post) I might use one of these or something very like it.
What do you guys think?
Monday, October 29, 2007
At least I know I'll have my evenings free from baseball, as the Sox completed their sweep of the World Series tonight. DH is very excited. *g*
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
In a fun coincidence, Agent Kristin is talking about the same thing right now (though not offering critiques, alas).
Because I can't help myself, and figuring out this whole query thing is a long-running obsession with me, I spent all my writing time this morning working up a new version and posting it. I tried to take the advice of both agents, which basically boiled down to "try to make it read like back cover copy".
So that's what I did, trying to set up the situation and give a feel for some of the external conflict (Breadalbane, political climate, etc.), while coming right out and saying that Elspeth and Alec fall in love, but only hinting at the separation that drives the story from climax-resolution.
It may look like 3 paragraphs, but if you count closely you'll note it's only 5 sentences long. *g* So we'll see if it gets picked and what she has to say.
I left out everything about why they can't have a relationship, and Elspeth's trade-off with the Earl to save his life after his capture and sentencing - and their "one night" together that the title draws on - and Alec's journey into the present to find her...which is kind of my core idea and the crux of the whole story. I wasn't thrilled about it. But I was matching the tone of cover copy for books in my genre, so again I guess we'll see.
My problem is, whenever I get it worked down into what I feel is a nice, tight little package (like I did for EE) the commenters always want to know this or that, and answering everything baloons my tight 5 sentences out into 2-3 paragraphs, almost like a short synopsis but still trying for a hook instead of revealing the ending as a true synopsis would.
And often the "sucessful" queries posted have much longer bodies, with more detail. So which to use when I actually get to the query stage?
Personal status update: Sven is angry with me, but I married into Red Sox Nation and watching the first game of the World Series with DH last night pre-empted any writing I would have gotten done, just like the ALCS pre-empted it last week. I hope the Sox take this thing in 4, because I don't think I'll be very productive at home until it's over, and work is too busy right now to sneak in much writing time here.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I need ideas of cool/creative costumes I could put together with minimal effort/expense. Last year I went as Puss in Boots and had a pretty good time of it. All I had to buy was the mask and cape.
I wanted to do a seventeenth-century getup this year, but finding or making the skirts and shift and bodice was just too difficult and time-consuming, even if I cheated and used department-store plaid flannel for the arisaid.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Besides work kicking me in the @$$ like never before (and I thought it was bad enough previously!) I've been hard at work on a very worthy cause: I'm organizing a donation drive within my local playgroup - we're fairly large, almost 90 families - for Project Night Night.
PNN is a national program based in California that collects stuffed animals, books, and blankets and bundles them into tote bags to be donated to homeless shelters and given to kids that come through there. They end up with warmth and comfort (in the form of blankies and lovies) and a book that encourages reading.
I'm very excited because lots of people in our group have "extra" stuffed animals and books, and more are pitching in to buy the blankies. I think we'll have enough to split between the Salvation Army shelter for women and families and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program shelter. Then PNN will step in and continue to send them packages to meet their further needs, though we are welcome to continue to contribute.
But yeah, between that, work, and an indefinable exhaustion and general funk this week, it's been hard going. Things are looking up, though.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thanks to DH for pointing that out to me the other night.
...Of course, it has to be Martin. Alec can't drive. He's somewhat afraid of (call it "morbidly fascinated with") automobiles. *g,w*
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
I'm back to my nightly B-I-C routine, warming up for the next round of Sven starting Monday. I'm almost done with Alec's bio. I've enjoyed doing it, and it prompted a few realizations about his motivation at a several key points that will help me with some of the remaining scenes. Elspeth's up next, then my historical timeline, and hopefully by Monday I'll be back to story wordage and steaming on for the end.
Oh, and a published author in my subgenre has offered to read my MS when I'm done with it. Woohoo!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Physicists do it at the speed of light.
Cosmologists do it in the first three minutes.
Mathematical physicists understand the theory of how to do it, but have difficulty obtaining practical results.
Quantum physicists can either know how fast they do it, or where they do it, but not both.
Particle physicists do it energetically.
Particle physicists to it with charm.
Aerodynamicists do it in drag.
Astrophysicists do it with a Big Bang.
Astronomers do it all night.
Astronomers do it in clusters.
Astronomers do it on mountain tops.
Astronomers do it with white dwarfs and red giants.
I added my own:
Medical physicists do it in fractions.
Medical physicists do it on the table.
Medical physicists do it with doctors, nurses, therapists, dosimetrists…
Medical physicists do it with Quality Assurance.
Medical physicists do it with modulated intensity.
Medical physicists do it theraputically.
Okay, enough. Sorry. Can you tell I'm working late and procrastinating? *w*
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
All for a book I may have 40K left to write on, and which I certainly won't be querying until next year in any case.
*sigh* Why do I do this to myself?
Tonight, being too restless to actually write, I thought I would look up Sir Ewan Cameron's children to see if I could swing that.
Check this out.
Ahaha! No birth year given, but if you click the link for her father Sir Ewan's listing you'll see she was the youngest of his daughters (by his first wife, at least). Her younger brother, the later Lochiel himself, is listed in one of my sources (Prebble's Glencoe: Story of the Massacre, I think) as being in his teens at the time. So that would make her probably not much older.
And I love how it says the contract for her marriage was signed in March 1696, etc. So maybe, if she were supposed to marry someone else in 1692 but they got themselves outlawed/condemned before the contract was formalized, and so that was dissolved and it took a little bit to arrange another marriage for her to Grant of Glenmoriston...
Sometimes stuff falls into place so neatly it kind of weirds me out. *g*
While reviewing my swelling spreadsheet in order to organize my most recent fragments into some kind of chronology, I was struck by the number of significant bits I have yet to even think about/visualize, much less write.
I'm nowhere near done. *headdesk*
I think this thing is going to top 120-125K before all is said and done on the SFD. It will eventually get pared down to a nice, tight, less-than-100K MS but until then it means I'm not "almost" done or 4/5ths done, it's more like back to 2/3rds done and where I was two months ago.
So much for September. October? Eh, a girl can dream.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The keening wail of a child brought his head back around, and his eyes found young Geordie huddled on the ground next to the body of a dog, its black and white fur stained red with blood.
"Oh, no…" Her voice was quiet behind him, full of sympathy.
"Geordie, lad," he said. "What has happened here?"
"They…they shot him!" Geordie wailed between sobs. "They shot Aodhair!"
He swore violently. The lad continued to greet, and he gripped his shoulders. "Are they still here, in the glen? Are they in the village? Tell me, lad, and quickly!" His voice was harsher than he meant, but he had to know. A hiss of indrawn breath behind him indicated the lass's disapproval.
"N-nae…I dinna think so." The boy looked down, stroking the top of the still head between the ears. "He was a good dog, was Aodhair. Why did they have to shoot him?"
He gentled his voice, despite the tension thrumming in his veins. "Because they are Campbells, and bastards as ye said, aye? I ken it doesna make it easier to bear, but ye must listen—listen to me now, lad. It isna safe here. There are Campbells to manage, and we need all the men we have back in Glenstrae to protect it, should they come again."
Frantically, she put her ear to the boy's chest, listened for a heartbeat, a gasp of breath. There was none.
"Oh no, no…"
A sound from the bed, a rustle as the woman turned to look at her. Bloodshot eyes found her own and bored into her with feverish intensity. She couldn't hide the truth from her face; her own shock was too new and too raw.
The woman turned her head away. She might have been crying, save Elspeth knew she was too dehydrated for tears. Still, the frail body shook quietly for a few moments, clutching the even smaller body of her son.
God, what do you say to someone who's just lost a child?All she could think to do was place a comforting hand on the woman's and bow her head, let her have her grief. At length the bony shoulders stilled. Elspeth looked to the woman's face and was startled to see a wild, distant look in her eyes.
"Do you…do you want some water?" she asked, with some alarm.
Eyes now closed, the woman's head shook from side to side.
"We'll take you with us…back to Glenstrae. You can recover there."
The head shook more violently. The low, ragged voice, forced through a throat parched and raw, issued once more from cracked lips.
"[There is naught more for me here, naught for me to live for, now.]"
The woman spoke to her, directly, and this time she managed to make out some of it. A phrase, an explanation—nothing to live for.
No husband, no son. Had she loved her husband? Had the son been the only thing that bound her to this life, made her keep living after he was gone? Dying of a broken heart had always seemed so tragically romantic but now, as she faced the reality of it, she realized it was merely tragic.
So...am I in for it now? Tragic, historic, worldbuilding detail or senseless deaths that will get me flamed by readers?
History books called to her, tormented her. They could ease her burden somewhat, tell her she had done the right thing, that he had lived a full and happy life...or they could tell her the opposite. Knowing would make it final. But not knowing was driving her insane.
Ultimately she looked, but she kept herself from looking too closely, still afraid of what she would see. She skimmed pages, letting names jump out at her, only half-reading the sections that followed. [...]
A few heart-stopping times, her eyes found the name Alasdair MacGregor--alternately Alistair or Alexander and McGregor, McGrigor, or MacGriogar--and she forced herself to read on. But it was always the story of his [great]grandfather, his namesake, and the betrayal by the Colquhouns and Campbells after the Battle of Glen Fruin. So she took a breath and kept reading.
Beyond that, little to nothing of the Glenstrae branch, save that chiefship of Clan Gregor had shifted to Glengyle in the early eighteenth century. After Andrew, perhaps? She hoped; despite not knowing him well, she genuinely liked Alec's brother. But what of the second son? History, it seemed, did not remember Alasdair Colin MacGregor of Glenstrae.
But she did.