Monday, April 26, 2004

The three days to finish editing Muse worked. I have it done and off to a poor, unsuspecting volunteer of a Beta Reader. And now I'm back to work on site stuff and things for Vision, which is coming up far too quickly!

Ah well. I'd hate to get bored or have some free time or something, right?

In my last glance through Muse , I felt as though it still had some rough spots, but I think over all the story is there, finally. I have all the pieces put together, and while there may be a couple I take back out -- depends on how the Beta Reader and my husband react to them -- I have it in the order and the events that I want.

I started editing Eliora's World last night. This is the next Dark Staff book. It went VERY well, I'm happy to say. Maybe I've gotten into the feel of editing. I'm happy. I should have it done quickly.

Well, but I do need to get the rest of Vision put together. Running out of time there!

I intend to take at least one weekend a month to do some serious writing/editing work from now on. It should be fun!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Just dropping in at 4 am to say that the editing on Muse is going well. I'm taking this weekend to finish it up. I've come to realize that I need to take a few days now and then just to devote to my writing again. Lately I've been just dithering around with various pieces. Muse should have been done long before this.

I only have five chapters left to go in the big stuff, and then a reading again and fix of little stuff. I think I can have it done by Monday.

This is one of those books that amaze me when I read it. It's not like what I normally write at all. And while I won't pretend that it's perfect, I have to admit that as I read it I'm pretty surprised by what a good story it is. The novel is only going to be about 75,000 words, I think -- but all my mystery writing books say that's long enough for the type of story I'm telling, so I'm going to stop worrying about the word count.

I'm anxious to be done with it -- not because I want it finished, but because I want to read the whole, instead of pieces that I'm fixing.

However, it's now about 4:30 am. I've been going back and forth between this and the story for the last half hour, and I'm really not making progress on either one. I think it's time to call it a night and get some more sleep before I tackle the last few chapters. There is a significant change to the ending, so I'll want to be mostly awake for that one. (grin)

What am I going to do with it when I'm done? I'm not entirely certain yet. I might look for Beta Readers -- which I normally don't do because my own over crowded schedule makes it nearly impossible to return the favor very often. It's almost more than I can do to edit the material for Vision some issues, let alone get out there and critique more. And thinking about it, I'm going to be very busy with the 2YN stuff to read for others.

Well, whatever I do, I'm going to have Muse done soon. And that puts me in a better mood. I was right to take a couple days off just to work on it (and the occasional Vision article editing to break it up and get that work done as well).

It looks like a good weekend.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Things are good.

Oh, they are far from perfect, of course -- but then life rarely is for anyone. Russ is scrambling for work, but we've gone through that before and it's not like we're suffering. The cats, because it is spring, are not only in the moods from hell, but have actually been fighting. It's the first spring with the four new ones in the house. I've seen it far worse with young cats and older cats, but I'm older and less tolerant of cats yowling and fur flying. And the amount of cat fur this group sheds is just incredible. (Sweep, sweep, sweep... and the dog doesn't help any!)

But, still... Life is pretty good tonight.

I'm reading that incredible set of books, Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia -- which after this will be referred to as GALE. It's 13 volumes, and I'm missing 6-9. I've found 7-9 on the Internet in this edition. It might take me a bit more work to find 6, but it's not like I'm going to finish all the others this week. (grin). I've seen that there is a new 17 volume set out, and it's running about $2000 complete and a bit over $100 for each one alone. Even the used books for this older set are running about $20 a piece. That's not too bad -- and I got an incredible deal on the nine I have since it was a sale with all hard bounds at $1 each.

I'm 100 pages into the first book and learning about unicellular animals. It's like reading about aliens. Fascinating stuff. I can see entire alien worlds coming into existence in a sort of detail that I've never managed before. My background has always been historical, and even that relatively light in most works.

The editing on Muse is going VERY well again. I completed two more chapters tonight. There is a chance that I may really, honestly have the book done by the end of this month. I'd be a very happy person. This has gone far too long, and yet every time I sit down to work with it I'm very happy with the results. I suspect that there's just too much else going on.

I have not started on my longer list of submission packages yet. I want to get ahead on a few other things first -- the 2YN class most of all. I did finish another short story last night, and if I get Muse done I'll feel like I'm much closer to my goals again. Oh, and there is Vision to do, of course. That's the work for this week. Whenever I have Vision hanging over me I just can't bring myself to start on some other big project, so the last couple weeks of every second month sort of gets bogged down in that work. Good thing that I generally like it, too.

I'm doing very much what I want to do in life. That's pretty amazing when you consider it. So many people never even figure out what they want to do, let alone do it. I wouldn't mind having more money, of course, but I learned a long time ago that I'm happy with just enough paper and a pen, as long as I'm with Russ and the kitty gang. Okay, these days it would have to be computer (grin) and an Internet connection isn't a bad idea. Keeps me busy and mostly out of trouble.

But the truth is if you can't be happy with yourself then no one else is going to make you happy either. It's always easier to hang all the emotional baggage on someone else and demand that the person make us happy, or blame them when things don't go right. I learned very early on that nothing is ever that one-sided, and in fact the problem was far more often on my side. Of course it still happens -- it's part of human nature to try and blame everything on anyone but ourselves, I think -- but I matured out of the worst of that phase.

Now I blame it all on the cats.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

I picked up some books at a book sale yesterday -- mostly animal reference material including 9 out of 13 volumes of an Animal Encyclopedia. I can find the rest on the Internet (already checked). I started reading the first one and couldn't put it down. I realized that I love to learn things. Animal behavior is something relatively new to me, so I just began devouring the material. The books are about 500 pages each. My arm hurts from carrying it around. I even took it to bed with me last night and read for about another hour.

For years I've done this with history. And while I can't claim to really know that much about history, I have read enough that the average books on certain historical subjects just don't give me the 'learning something' feel any more. I picked up the first of these animal books and the rush of 'I didn't know that' was great.

I think I'm going to treat these like I did The Story of Civilization by the Durrants and the Cambridge Ancient HIstory books -- set X number of pages per day, take a quote from each day's work, and keep a log of them. Maybe I should even log the quotes here.

The Story of Civlization and the Cambridge books gave me quotes that led to story ideas. I don't know that I'll have the same thing here, but I will definitely have some nice worldbuilding ideas, especially for science fiction stories. Amazing how so much of the real world sounds alien when you read about it.

In other news, spring has finally arrived. We're almost up to 80f today! It's lovely out. A shame Russ has to work tonight. Or maybe not. I have work to do, too.

I'm going to try to get him to take me back to the sale, though. I realized something I want to check out. It might be fun.

In fact, I think I'll go talk to him about it right now...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I just spent time I should have been sleeping (maybe) sorting out all my finished manuscripts. I have pulled out a list of nineteen novels, totaling over 1,500,000 words, to prepare for submission. One of them is actually already out. I'm going to get the others ready for submission packages to publishers and agents. As I take a closer look at some of them I'll likely take them off the list and put them in the 'rewrite it completely' list. But I expect to get at least ten or so novels out of this.

There are two mysteries, three young adult mysteries, seven fantasy and seven SF. One of the mystery novels is already out, but it is long over due and I suspect I need to query to make certain I didn't miss something.

I think what I'm going to do is choose one from one of the other genres to do next, and then another genre, etc. I'll run out of mystery and YA mystery fairly fast, but it will still make this kind of fun.

How long do I think it will take me? Well, I would love to do one a week. That's not totally impossible, but probably still a bit more than I can manage. And I might run out of viable places to send some of the stuff and have to wait for one to be rejected before I send the next. Still... maybe I should just have the packages ready to go. Get them all done and have them lined up and ready.

I kind of like this plan.

There are other problems. I should have been working on Vision tonight, for instance. And doing some site work at Forward Motion. But I needed a day with my work, to look at options and to make plans. Otherwise I'd be likely not to find the time.

Okay, so I'm going to be doing the cover letters and synopsis stuff for a while. I don't like it, but I can do it. Query letters for those who take them.

I think this will be a fun adventure. Really!

Or maybe I just haven't had enough sleep lately...

Friday, April 09, 2004

I have finally figured something out about myself -- something that should have been plain a long time ago. I finally figured out certain things drive me nuts.

Let's look at the situation of Forward Motion. And this is not about any particular situation. It's something I've seen a number of times during the last six years or so. It's an odd pattern that I finally put together in the last couple weeks.

Here is a site where a number of people volunteer their free time. They get nothing in return except knowing that they are helping others. Most of them are rarely even thanked for the work they do.

There are no fees for anyone who wants to join the site. Nothing is asked of those who stop by. If they find something that helps them, that's great. If they don't, they aren't required to stay. No one, in fact is required to do anything at FM. It's there for those who want to take advantage of it.

And yet there are people who, finding Forward Motion doesn't work for them, have to insult the place. They find it necessary to say something rude or attack the people doing the work because they didn't make it perfect for that particular person.

And this really drives me nuts. If it were a site or class where you paid a lot of money to get into and found that it didn't work... well, then maybe there was a reason to complain. But in a site that asks absolutely nothing from anyone except to check it out and enjoy what you find if it suits you... I think a bit more politeness might not be a bad idea.

It's that lack of politeness that drives me mad, and even drives me to say things that are equally impolite. Knowing it... maybe I can control those reactions. Maybe I can laugh at the people who think sites should be just for them and feel that insulting others will somehow make them look better than us.

It might happen. You never know. (grin)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I spend a lot of time talking about my goals, my obsession with writing, and the fact that I write every single day -- not because I have to, but because I love to. Oh sure, there are days when I might barely get 500 words because I've hit a difficult phase or I'm tired or ill...but I'll tell you a secret: If it weren't hard now and then, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

Anything worth doing isn't always going to be fun any more than it will always be difficult. If it never changes it's just something you do by rote, and that can't be creative. Yin and Yang is a symbol that appeals to so many Western minds as well as Eastern because there is such a universal truth expressed in it that we can all accept the fundamental to life just looking at it. Nothing is ever all of one thing or the other.

Personally, of course, I prefer the days when the writing sails. The week of March Madness was great and just what I needed. Now I'm working hard getting caught up on the other things like classes, articles, etc. and my fiction writing has taken a nose dive. Well, except that I have edited some fifty pages of Muse, so it's not all been a loss, either. Not that doing the class and articles is really awful, but I do get that 'fiction' urge when I spend too much time doing nonfiction.

But this is bringing me to the point of this little essay -- really.

The two year novel course is as much about two things. The first is looking at new possibilities and experimenting with different things you might not have done before. Not all of them work for everyone, but you never know when something is going to touch off that spark of imagination that gives your story a little added twist.

The second important part of this two year course is dedication to do the work. So far that work has been just the assignments, and I've kept those relatively light. But soon we're going to start writing the novels themselves, and I am trying to think of ways to keep those who have gotten this far motivated to keep writing to The End.

I don't have much of a problem there on my own. Reaching The End is the reward I'm looking for when I start a story. I want to get there, and pretty much nothing is going to stop me. I think I've proven that much.

But now, as the work on the class material draws closer to that part -- the part where people are going to have to really commit to doing the work and to find the determination to keep going... I'm just going to have to look harder at ways to make sure it stays fun for most of the time.

5:20 in the morning might not be the best time to try and work out little questions like this.

I think I'll... you know... go write something.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

From winter to summer.

Well, life is odd. We're in one of those flux states here. The place where Russ has had steady work for the last year and a half is closing on the 9th. Really sorry to see it go for a number of reasons, and not just the loss of income.

But Russ already has a couple leads on other things to take up the slack. It means a little slow time for us, but with luck it won't be long.

In the mean time I've made arrangement to at least partially fund FM through donations. It would be stupid to assume that everything in our life will turn out fine and I'll have the money when I need it.

In other news, I've just been so worn down over a number of things that I've mostly slept for the last couple days. I need to get my thoughts back in focus. I did do quite a bit of editing on Muse last night, so that's a good sign. I'm working on Farstep Station and even tracked down the outline for it again.

But right now I need to get the next set of info done for the 2YN class and get it ready to post in a couple hours. It's mostly finished, of course. Just have to go over it all and work out some little end pieces.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Okay, here we are in April. I've survived the March Madness and I'm starting to sort things out at the site again. I have my new 'to do' list up on my wall, with certain things blocked out for the rest of the month -- Muse, 2YN, Vision work, etc.

It's all looking pretty good, really. I sold a story tonight to Fables. I have two stories out in a new print anthology from DDP. I think the Fables anthology will be out soon, too.

My week long vacation from reality was a lot of fun, but I'm anxious now to get back to the other work. I've put Wind and Sand aside and pulled Farstep Station back out. I think I made some sort of story error early on in Wind and Sand, and I might start over on it as well. But I need to rethink what I'm doing with it.

I also have an odd little short story playing at the back of my brain. I might get it out as well. It's good to feel productive again, at least!

It's a good night. Had an odd occurance this morning where someone accused me of considering making steps of disntinction or some such thing at FM and how the site is elitist... you know, I hear that term paroted from one person in to another, but it's amazing how no one has ever actually sat down and said what they mean.

Not that it really matters. We have a lot of very happy people at FM. There seem to be a lot of unhappy people elsewhere, and I think FM just has become a convenient target for a lot of them. The site keeps growing, more and more people are happy with it, so we're doing a lot of things right. We won't work out for everyone. That's a given in any kind of thing we do in life.

But it's fun to be there for the ones who do appreciate the amount of work it takes, and who are anxious to join in with the fun and the work.

It's a great site to be involved with.