Showing posts from January, 2009

Clever New Outlining Trick

I need to write faster -- no, not faster but more efficiently, and with greater discipline. Doing a performance analysis of my writing, I noticed I waste a lot of time in re-writes. Although I write from a general outline, I often find when I actually come to write a scene, what I thought would work, won't. So I have to re-write, not only that scene, but all the early parts of the book which now no longer mesh with my scene, and I also have come up withh a new outline for the future parts of the book yet to be written. This sometimes takes me weeks, even months. Margaret Fisk has a link on her site to Lazette Gifford's Phase Outline system. In this, you write what almost amounts to a draft of your novel, without the pretty writing, in order to make certain the plot works before you commit to polishing the scenes. This should help prevent those massive backtracks and constant re-writing which drain so much time from finishing the book. I am trying it. I haven't quite gott

What if you had only one year left to write?

What if you knew FOR CERTAIN you had only a year left to write? When I was single, I -- perhaps morbidly -- often spurred myself to write by thinking, "What if were to die young, having never written any of the stories I want to write?" Then I would try to write them down first, before my tragically early death. Once you have family, this no longer works quite the same way. If I only had a year to live, I would owe my every minute to my children, and to imagine missing them grow up is not inspiring, it's so depressing it cripples further thought. But suppose that each writer has an actual Muse, and you Muse informed you, "Due to budget cuts on Mount Olympus, starting in September 2009, you will no longer be my client -- You will not able to write, and I will no longer be willing to help you." Or, the sf equivalent: The Department of Normality Enforcement tells you that your hyperlexia -- whether it is a congenital condition or acquired through a CTD -- will, wi

Projects, Premise and Status of

I often refer to my projects, which don't have set titles, because they haven't been named formally yet. Here they are, including my temporary titles or nicknames: FANTASY 1. Dindi Aliases: "The Initiate", "The Corn Maiden", "The Rainbow Dancer", "The Windwheel and the Maze." Premise: In order to become a magic dancer, a young woman bargains with faeries to solve a riddle which holds the key to saving the rainbow faeries from extinction. Status: Originally one 200,000 word book, now broken up into a 7 book series. Book One complete (except for revisions), parts of other books, including series conclusion, also already written, with the expectation of some revision. Inspiration: I used to belong to a dance team, but because I wore a back brace for scoliosis, I was never allowed to perform. Instead, I was only allowed to put the props on the stage for the dancers, and leave when the dance began. Naturally, I fantasized about becoming t


I'm working hard on final revisions to the Dindi mss, so I can meet my deadline. I'm down to the last three chapters that need serious re-writes. The tricky part is trying to tighten the pace. The ending now is a bit rambling, I think. Evrey book in this series ends on a cliffhanger. This is ironic, because I originally started Dindi to be a single title book (as opposed to my Palem mss) to *not* end on a cliffhanger, so I could sell it as the perfect stand-alone first book. Ha. The original draft was too long, even after I combined characters, limited travel, cut 40,000 words....I just couldn't cut any more without gutting the heart of the story, so I decided to go in the opposite direction, and expand it into a series. I've worked hard to keep the new books as close to 100,000 words I as I could. (Book One, at present, looks like about 114,000 words.) The original book had 7 sections, and I just made each section a book. I put the characters, travels and battles back

Setting and Theme

As I finalize revisions on my novel, I am using tools from a Setting seminar in my writer's group to touch up some "white room" scenes I've found in the novel. The Setting seminar also inspired me to think more deeply about thematic symbols. The magic in my Dindi series revolves around colors, with each book focusing on a particular color. So re-enforcing the color theme is one obvious approach. To add to that, and also appeal to more than one sense, I've added a taste to each color. The taste and color reflect an emotion and action, theme wise. So, for Book One, the symbols are Healing (action), Joy (emotion), yellow/gold (color) and sweetness (taste). The landscape style is "Beautiful". In most scenes, I try to keep it subtle, but in one particular scene, a grand banquet, I lay it on thick: In the cooking courtyard behind the High Table, out of sight of the guests, Dindi could hear Hertio introducing his guest of honor, but she resisted the urge to joi

Agent Search Ongoing

On my list of writing goals for 2009 is to send out my other mss to an agent who requested it an embarressing length of time ago. I don't know if she'll be interested after all this time, but I have to give it a try. I certainly owe her the right of first refusal if nothing else. Expecting to be rebuffed, I'm drawing up a list of further agents to query. A friend of mine from OWW just landed an agent who was not on my list before because I didn't have enough information about her. (There are too many poor agents out there to just send your mss to anybody.) A recommendation makes a difference in both directions. There are a few other agents I've never written to before, names I've found through a variety of sources, including Publisher's Lunch. I want to find ten new but reputable agents and then send out my Rainbow Dancer query package. I hope to complete the new book so I can start from the top of my agent list again, re-sending to agents who previously tur

In Between

My son is sick, so I can't work much. It's ok -- I'm in a between state anyhoo. I've finished Part I of my wip, and I'm not sure yet how to move on with Part II. Meanwhile, I've read the four books of the Twilight series. My sister-in-law (and according to comments on my My Space page, quite a few of my other female friends and relations) are reading it or just completed it also. Naturally, as a writer, I'm reading it half admiringly, half-jealously, trying to figure out what Sephenie Meyer did right. I have to admit, this is my least favorite part of being a writer, this sense of jealousy which creeps into what would have been a totally innocent pleasure in my younger years.

Delicious Library

I have a new toy -- a program called Delicious Library to index all my books. All I have to do is hold the bar code in front of my computer camera, and the program pops up an adorable miniture picture of the book cover and places it on a lovely screen book shelf. The program automatically supplies all sorts of information about the book, including its' present value if one were to sell it used on Amazon. I could make a lot of money if I sold off my library. But I could never bear to part with them. I hoard books like a dragon hoards jewels. So far, I've scanned in about 100 books, a mere sliver of my collection. It will be fun to scan them in over the several weeks -- or months, depending on how long it takes. Now if only my house had enough real bookshelves to hold all my gems. We have a very tiny house, and my husband, completely unreasonably, doesn't want every single wall lined with books. Most unfair...

Beautiful Thinking

My loved ones all know to gift me with books, and I have many delicious new ones. One is called "Eunoia." It means "Beautiful Thinking." It's neither fiction nor nonfiction. Here's a taste, in which the book explains itself: Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech. These sentences repress free speech. The text deletes selected letters. We see the revered exegete reject metred verse: the sestet, the tercet -- even les scenes elevees en grec. He rebels. He sets new precedents. He lets cleverness exceed decent levels. He eschews the esteemed genres, the expected themes -- even les belles lettres en vers. He prefers the perverse French esthetes: Verne, Peret, Genet, Perec -- hence, he pens fervent screeds, then enteres the street, where he sells these letterpress newsletters, three cents per sheet. He engenders perfect newness wherever we need fresh terms. It sounds a bit odd doesn't it? The only vowel used in the paragraph above is the letter &qu