Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ah, the joys of editing

So yesterday was a productive day. I managed to get 80k of edits done on two different projects. I'm rather stoked about it all.

That's the good news. The bad news is that only 50k of it was on Asphodel; that means 66.66% left to go. *sigh*

It could be worse. Fortunately, almost all of my edits were technical nit picks instead of plot snags. Trust me: plot snags are MUCH worse. It's still not that encouraging to discover that you have a *that* and *was* problem in addition to the *adverbs* *dialogue tags* and *superfluous comma* problems. As if I NEEDED more technical problems.

I did receive compliments on handling POV and passive voice, however. I guess I finally fixed those issues. My English professors would be SO proud.

Some of you may have noticed my new graphic. *smirk, smirk* You can now find Elf Killing and Other Hobbies listed on Authors' Blogs, which is easily found at Apparently there are a lot of other writers out there with the same problem as me: *grin* we have our own website. Go check some of them out!

In other news, my sci fi vampire post apocalyptic story is going swimmingly, thank you. It's amazing how much I enjoy destroying things other than Elves. Quite a departure. The Requiem is my current favorite among WIPs though. I'm not quite sure which genre it will eventually end up in. I know that it will NOT be an erotica though so I'm quite happy about that.

At any rate, now that my edits are caught up (THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!) I intend to get a lot of writing done tomorrow. I want to see what the muse brings me next.

And if I don't like it, I'll shoot her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sorry I've been AWOL...

...but I spent the weekend at the NCAA tournament in Columbus. Oh, the joy! Allow me to say that I consumed copious amounts of beer, saw lots of great and a few mediocre basketball games, watched my team win and go to the Sweet Sixteen (YAY! GO VOLS!) and got absolutely nothing else accomplished. I was able to justify this to myself by thinking that the tickets for the aforesaid games were my anniversary present for my husband (our anniversary is tomorrow) but then was forced to admit that in actuality, I was too lazy to get any work done.

So, let the work begin.

I'm currently brainstorming my way through a new project. I've kind of decided that the Requiem vampire story will not be erotica (go figure) so now I have to come up with something else. Hmmmm.....what shall I write about? Something that will sell hopefully. As soon as I figure out what that is I'll let you know.

The new Pirate of the Caribbean trailer came out today. YOWSA! If the trailer is any indication, then this one will be the best of the three. I can't wait! May 25th I'll be yukking around the movie theatre for my annual Johnny Depp fix.

Did I mention GO VOLS????

I thought I had.

By a peculiar coincidence, Tennessee will play Thursday night for the chance to proceed to the Elite Eight. Who do they play?


I am now officially the least popular bartender in the state of Ohio. Oh, the shame of it! What time is it? 6:09 p.m. EST and the Buckeyes still suck.

Just had to get that one in.

Oh well! The windows are open, the air is balmy, the brat is begging for Hamburger Helper, and I'm going to pull an all-nighter. What a glorious prospect for a writer in the spring! More later.

Monday, March 12, 2007

And Two Power Cords Later....

The laptop is working again. Thank GOD. I've been going through withdrawal.

Isn't that funny? A couple of weeks ago I was complaining about all the work I had to do and I lose my ability to write for a few days and my body develops DTs. Totally unfair. Does that mean writing is an addiction?

What a thought. I guess in this house, at least, it is.

At any rate, when I wasn't working at my *real* job, I was reading. I re-read the entire Harry Potter series over the course of the last few days and remembered exactly how much I enjoyed it. Just for kicks, I've started Eddings over as well. *grin* I thought I could torture you all with more Eddings character references.

But for now, the plan is to WRITE---well, and edit too. Can't get away from that. I wish I could, but alas! No such luck. I'm hoping to kick out the vampire novella by the end of the week and then, perhaps, dig into my newest project. Yep, TBA. No one gets more of a clue until I am caught up with my planned track for the next few months. Mwahahaha.

Yes *grumble, grumble*; that means I'm finishing Darkshifters too.

Oh well! Time to hit the grind again. Hopefully I can develop a character as fully realized as Eddings' Ce'Nedra; maybe then Bibsy will respect me.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Discovering Your Voice

So I've been thinking....

I know. Never a good start.

Character is starting to fascinate me once again. I was looking through some of my favorite books today and wondering why it is that I'm so caught up in them that I will reread them for years. For example, I was looking at David Eddings. Yeah, I know--all of you purists will boo. But this is how I look at him.

First off, he has a masterful way of developing a character. His earliest works, specifically The Belgariad series, was wonderful. I was a young teenaged reader, coming into 'adult' fantasy from the breeding grounds of C.S. Lewis and Alexander. The first Eddings book I bought? "Queen of Sorcery." Why? The cover and the fact that I thought it was about a female protagonist. Back in those days, there was very little fantasy written for or from the viewpoint of a woman. The book hooked me. The characters were instantly credible, breathing and walking on the pages while I read. What makes that so spectacular? It was the second book in the series. I had to go back and buy the first book after I finished the Belgariad entirely.

There's a lot to be said about an author whose characters are so vivid that they can bring a picky reader (and even then I was) into the middle of a series and keep them there--and I was a loyal Eddings reader through four series, thank you very much. I mean, Garion was such a lout, his aunt was such a know-it-all (and a woman of extreme power, thank god! One of the first ones I ever read about in fantasy) and then there were the rogues Belgarath and Silk. He even managed to give Ce'Nedra some charm.

There are flaws I see now that I didn't see then. But still, I have first edition Eddings books on my shelves and I still read them occasionally to remind myself of the magic I encountered in his stories--a magic that eventually lead me to write.

Besides, a man who finds a way to use the word defenestration in speculative fiction and it DOESN'T get edited out is my hero.

With this in mind, I looked at a few other old favorites. Tolkien wasn't a huge character-builder, but when it comes to world development? Whew! He has no peer.
Madeline L'Engle's work is still extremely fast-paced for me; her work just slips from the page like a well-greased slice of bacon. Marion Zimmer Bradley is another along the lines of Mary Stewart--prodigious research and the ability to enjoy taking risks. Newer favorites? J.K. Rowling has a masterful touch with plot progression and the ability to let her literature age with her characters--absolutely brilliant. I read the first Harry Potter book under protest and now I'm hooked. Jacqueline Carey is with imagery the way Degas was with paint. Her Kushiel's series is so realistic that it exists for me.


Oh dear. Did I digress? I did.

It's all intertwined. What one author lacks, another one makes up for. An author I'm reading a lot of right now is Gore Vidal. His historical fiction is meticulously researched, his characters are beautifully drawn, his descriptions are lush. It's actually quite sickening.

What I'm driving at is this: every writer should be able to look at their work and determine what his/her strengths are. I started a list today, looking at the edits for Asphodel, and added questions to each section for my own use.

1. Character development. Are they two-dimensional or fully-fleshed out? Cardboard or living?

2. Description. Does your story read like a movie (translation: can you 'see' the scenes in your head as they play out?)

3. Plot progression. Is there natural build in the action? Is each step up in the plot a logical progression from the one before it?

4. Dialogue. (this I stole from theatre work and I think dialogue is one of my stronger points as a result) Here, too, are natural builds and plateaus. Does your character's reactions make sense? Can you keep the players straight? Are the emotional responses honest ones or dramatic ones?

5.Emotional Veracity. Can you believe how this character feels? Is the intimation of emotional moments easily grasped by the reader?

6. World building. How real is your world? Is there a viable political, social, monetary, religious, geographical, and historical system in play?

No one expects us to 'compete' with the greats. We're expected to find our own path as writers and develop what comes most naturally to us. But I think it's pretty important to think about these issues and similar ones when embarking on any fiction writing at all.

You hear a lot of people in the business talk about your *voice* as a writer. What most people don't realize is that inexperienced writers don't really HAVE a voice. What they have is a mish-mash of the writers they most admire. Unfortunately, most younger writers don't admire the true greats of literature: no Dickens, no Austen, no Bronte, no Hemingway, no Faulkner. The greatest practitioners of the written word in the last two centuries are almost out of favor with young readers and writers alike. Why sugar coat it? If your *voice* is going to be an imitation of other writers, why not emulate the best? Do I think that young writers can read Faulkner and instantly have his way with words and his beauty of imagery?

Hell, no.

To be quite honest, although I own Faulkner and read him frequently, he's not my favorite. But, as a writer myself I can appreciate his ability to turn a phrase with succinct incisions and pray to the muses to find that ability in myself.

So, my new goal, one that I am implementing in edits, is to refine my own voice. In order to do that, I must be willing to look at my entire product and scrutinize my own flaws very carefully. Although I can build one hell of a world, I can't give it the justice that it demands. Although I can create some fairly interesting characters, I'm not that good at adding those little idiosyncracies that make them real. So now I have to go back and find a way to bring more of myself--and less of Eddings or L'Engle into them.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery--but not in the arts. In the arts, any art, innovation is the only route for a serious artist to take. Despite all indications in the industry to the contrary, that means that all of us who are writers must strive daily to find our own voices.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Behold the power of Duct Tape!


I taped the power cord into the laptop tightly and got it running. I'm going to start my short story on the Yagremlins now -- the deadline is midnight. It is now 12:15. I have a three thousand word limit.!

...and Oh! The Irony!

The day has gone black. Someone has REMOVED the word programs from the family computer.

When the brat gets home from school, I may just kill her.

The gods must be crazy....

Okay, dangit. Snow today....almost sixty by Friday. Did the weather gods smoke some crack while I wasn't looking?

And now for something completely different.....Celina gets a day off.

No seriously. I was supposed to work the day shift today (hurls) but I got a phone call about an hour before I was supposed to go in informing that that I didn't have to come in. Rats. Doesn't that suck?


So today I'll work on my Yagremlins short (don't ask; it's wacky) and try to get some work done on my new vampire novel. Oh, and don't forget the edits.....*sigh*

Aside from that, things are going aft agley and aft aglier. The power cord that the fucking dog chewed through (now with another home, I might add) is completely dead. Oops; there goes the laptop. I should get my replacement in a few days. So I'm trapped on the family computer, much to the chagrin of my daughter who is now prevented from Myspace as long as I'm working.

"Mom! Why do you have to work so much?" (Imagine the whining in her voice and then imagine me cringing)

"To feed you. Now, go away."

Sometimes simplicity is best.

I'm feeling good today. I'm listening to "The Magic Flute" for one thing.... and ENJOYING it. Oh my god; if someone had told me ten years ago I'd willingly be listening to OPERA.... There's new snow on the ground outside, but not on the roads, and it will be gone by the weekend. I'm hoping the weather breaks so I can start on my big spring project: the front yard and porch. I neeeeeeeeeeeed my garden, darnit.
The house is nice and clean (I splurged; thank god for cleaning ladies) and my deadlines are all caught up. Life is good.

Wait a second. *frown* I sound cheerful. How is that possible? That's easy. The muse showed up today. I feel like writing--and writing lots.

It's amazing how a last-second reprieve can change the course of a day. It's almost like spring around here. Oh well. I guess even I can stand to be cheerful for a day.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In for a penny, in for a pound

The Shequanti is done. *gasp!* I thought for a while there it was never going to happen. I have written--get this--TWELVE different endings for the book. Twelve. I think I finally found a way to resolve my least I hope I did because the editor has it now.

At any rate--freedom! Glorious freedom! Nothing going on but big edits! I could take some time off, maybe READ a few books, catch up on critiquing at the Dragon's Den...



I am now over 3k into a new project. Damnit. After hearing for several months now that I needed to write something *more commercial* I was putzing around yesterday trying to come up with ideas. Werewolves? There have been a lot of werewolves lately. Shapeshifters? Already working on that-- (remind me to tell you about the yagremlins some other time). Vampires?

Ah, vampires. The mythos of the vampire is portrayed so perfectly in Anne Rice's early books (I'm not partial to anything after The Vampire Lestat) that I'd never consider writing about them. I would hate to fall into the vampire cliches. So I'd made no decisions and was just wandering aimlessly around the internet trying not to get mad at myself.

It was at that point that I decided to get some more Mozart to replace what I lost when the computer crashed. It was as I was downloading some of "Don Giovanni" that I got interested in the story behind the Requiem Mass. I was talking to a friend of mine on messenger when all of a sudden, I had an idea.

What if Mozart hadn't died? What if--follow me here--a vampire had turned him into order to keep his brilliance intact? I got all excited for a while about that, and then lost my enthusiasm. Too cheesy.

But then inspiration struck again. What if a vampire was consumed with guilt because she didn't save Mozart?


A female vampire, cut loose in the decadence of Vienna is the 1790s...mourning for one lost genius, settling his scores, and finding new prodigies.

Uh oh.

Tentative title: The Lost Requiem. *grin* Let's see where this takes me. Anything will be better than Elves for a while.