weeds and daisies

The Palace Guard.Gerome

The Palace Guard, Gerome

Down to a couple boxes of manuscripts now. Time to think about my writing schedule. First up is The Bone Box, still in planning stage. Have lots of story notes and a corkboard scene layout in Scrivener. Ideas are still coming, weeds and daisies. The Bone Box is this year’s Nano book. I want to be ready when November gets here.

I’ve cleared the deck, all moved in, all unpacked 99% with just those last couple boxes of manuscripts to organize. All my novel files are now in the Cloud, but I’ve got 2 boxes of paper to clear. Paper, paper, paper–makes me crazy.

And then —

  • Want to finish my Danube Waltz cruise posts
  • Want to find a market for Terrible Thing, again (Dust is out seeking a home, finally)
  • Want to re-plot A Useful Blind (finished, but it’s a hot mess)
  • Want to think about The Redemption of Cainan
  • Also, my Regency, The Serene Widow
  • And there’s: A Fall of Diamonds
  • And: A Lamentation of Swans
  • And a new short story

In my head this list is longer.

 

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Meditation on A Lamentation of Swans

Carnival of Harlequin.JoanMiro

Carnival of Harlequin, Joan Miro

I’ve got a monster in a box. It’s been in that box for several years and every so often I open the box and poke my head in, and then I pull it back all chewed and slobbered on, and close the box.

The head-chewing monster is my fantasy novel, A Lamentation of Swans. Every year I swear I’m going to get it written, but I don’t. I’ve worked on this book for a long time. It’s no longer the book I began originally, not quite the same, and I don’t really have a book yet. What I’ve got is a great premise poorly executed. The basic idea is good, but where to go with it? Where I’ve gone so far has led me nowhere. The book lies in a devastated country of words, its characters caught in a diaspora of failure.

I’ve decided to start over. Keep my main idea and develop it better. I’ll need more than one point of view. Two, I think, maybe three, though I’d rather keep it to the two characters who have the most going on–the inquisitor Rijjan Mira and the Chaelmaeca assassin, Ferrant. I’ve got a great premise, a fascinating society and compelling characters–how could I screw it up so badly?

Right now it’s confusing. Despite all that I’ve done, I still don’t know who the antagonists are nor what the big conflict is, nor the theme. I’ve got ideas, but nothing solid. Yet I’ve somehow managed to write 300+ pages. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

So I’m turning the box upside down and shaking the monster out into the light of day. No more head-chewing.

 

2015!

N08542-52-lr-1A week into the new year and I’m home in bed with a stomach bug. But the nasty pains have subsided momentarily enough for me to think. Must greet this new writing year with my goals. But first a shout out to Becky Lang. Her first novel is at Amazon: The Changelings. Congratulations, Becky!

2015 GOALS, DREAMS & RESOLUTIONS

  • Write Book In A Year (RWA challenge) – will write 2 actually:  Runaway Heart, a contemporary romance, and Tempting Fate, a fantasy romance
  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Participate in Nanowrimo – November Novel 2015
  • Research and write next vampire essay
  • Finish short story, Dust
  • Write one blog post a month
  • Danube River Cruise – June 2015

DREAMS

  • Establish Penpanther Publishing 

RESOLUTIONS

  • I resolve to make weekly writing goals. 
  • I resolve to write every day except Friday:  Saturday and Sunday – writing days and Monday – Thursday – write for 30 minutes each evening after work

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

  • Renew RWA membership
  • Writing Saturday meeting – First Saturday of the month
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • Attend 2015 Literary Orange Writers Conference

Projected Quarterly Goals for 2015

January, February, March 2015 – 1st Quarter

  • Finish writing Runaway Heart as soon as possible
  • Continue with Tempting Fate

April, May, June 2015 – 2nd Quarter5

  • Write Tempting Fate
  • Attend Literary Orange 2015
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Plan vampire essay

July, August, September 2015 – 3rd Quarter 

  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Finish writing short story, Dust

October, November, December 2015 – 4th Quarter 

  • Plan November Novel – October
  • Write November Novel – Nano 2015 – November
  • 2016 agenda – December

2014 ASSESSMENT

It was a raggedy year writing-wise; didn’t get much done at all, most of my plans remained on paper, but there were a few successes. I was especially happy with writing The Dark Angel’s Dilemma, the kick-off essay of a series of vampire essays I pan to do. It was good to finish another draft of A Useful Blind (formerly Sleight of Hand).

JANUARY

  •  Began the year with A Fall of Diamonds, a fantasy historical. Story planning and development. Recorded total of 14 hours work time, although I did much more, forgot to keep track. Wrote 4,936 words. Total ms. @ 26,297.
  • Finished discovery draft of Sleight of Hand, a mystery short story, 14,190

FEBRUARY

  • Edited and revised Sleight of Hand, Word count: 14,725.
  • Organization work on A Lamentation of Swans
  • Romancing the Night. Manuscript total: 2,499 words
  • Worked on Chained, story notes. Revised Manuscript total: 20,712. (2008 NANO)
  • Attended Publishing and Marketing Your Book, Sonia Marsh, El Toro Library

 MARCH

  • 2-day self-designed writing workshop on Chained. 8,431 words.
  • Began drafting “Soul-less Perhaps” for pendrifter. Vampire essay.
  • Expanded Romancing the Night. 2,392 words.
  • Sleight of Hand 2nd round edits/revision
  • Wrote review of Indelible Beats
  • Signed up for Camp Nano, for 4/1. Project: Romancing the Night
  • Attended Little Fict meeting

APRIL

  • Attended Literary Orange Conference, 4/5/14
  • Dropped Camp Nano but continued writing Romancing the Night
  • Sleight of Hand edits, 14,717 words
  • Placed Romancing the Night on hold

MAY 

  • Sleight of Hand retitled A Useful Blind, 14,600 words. Finished.
  • Indio Retreat. Worked on A Useful Blind edits
  • Dust, 2836 words
  • Submitted Parting Gift short to Everyday Fiction
  • Chained, 19,418 words
  • Lake of the Rose story notes
  • Worked on The Foreigner
  • RWA meeting, 5/10
  • Huntington Library meeting w/Michelle, Quarterly Progress Report 

JUNE

  • Finished A Useful Blind edits
  • Story notes: Chained
  • Writing Retreat: Los Angeles Public Library. Worked on Chained

 JULY

  • Published blog, vampire essay, The Dark Angel’s Dilemma
  • A Useful Blind edits
  • Completed insurance study and took California Insurance Licensing exam. Passed.
  • RWA meeting
  • Completed editing Ch. 11, 12, 13 of Becky Lang’s The Changelings

AUGUST 

  • Worked on Lake of the Rose

SEPTEMBER

  • Retitled Lake of the Rose to The Friendship Killers. 17,729 ms. Total.
  • Rewriting A Useful Blind

 NOVEMBER

  • NaNo: A Useful Blind, 50454 words.
  • Continued writing short horror story: Dust

 DECEMBER 

  • Writing Dust. 7312 words 
  • Blog posts: 34
  • Monthly accountability meetings w/Michelle
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • RWA meetings

pink

english_romanesque_ornament_2 copy

I’ve not looked at Sleight of Hand in several weeks. I seem to have lost my way with it. The completed draft rests on the top shelf of my desk, gathering dust. I have not forgotten about it yet I’m not inclined to pick it up and continue revising it. Today was absolutely gorgeous, a golden day, hot and sunny, the kind of day that attracts people to California. I managed to get a little sunshine, but mostly spent the day inside working on the vampire essay and I gave an hour to the start of a new beat sheet for the Gaius and Annasara story. I’ve decided to pull it out of A Lamentation of Swans and write it as a separate story, but I don’t want to get caught up in it yet so an hour is all the time I gave it, and I probably won’t look at it again this week.

I’ve got pages of notes for the vampire essay, but my thoughts on it remain unorganized right now. I finally came up with a working title for the vampire romance, Romancing the Night, finished the beat sheet and even created a cover for it, although I think I’ll get a professional cover artist for when it’s finally done and ready to be published.

Camp Nano starts April 1. I may sign up for it for Romancing the Night.

face to face

N08542-52-lr-1

December is the face to face month, the month when I look myself in the eye and ask “What have you done for me lately?” meaning how did the writing go this year? I’m in the middle of preparing my assessment for the end of year accountability. My writing progress is much like the weather–cloudy with a little sunshine one day; overcast with occasional rainfall on another day; hot and sunny on some days. Each year I aim for hot and sunny.

La Muse is drifting about with her hands in her pockets, pretending like she doesn’t care if she gets credit for the successes, casting sneaky looks my way. Honestly. What does she expect me to do?

There are a few sparkles: finishing Shadow Walk (again), and then shelving it, and completing Broken for NANO. And returning to work on A Lamentation of Swans, I’ve made considerable progress on Sleight of Hand, which is now at 10,360 words. I probably shouldn’t tot up the failures, but can’t help doing that. Besides, the unfinished fictions are not really failures (not really dead), just in the first stages of growth–seed and bud, no leaves or flowers just yet, and their day in the sun will come.

It’s been a discombobulated year and I hope I have it more together–writing-wise–in 2014.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving was wonderful, went to my sister’s. My nieces are a kick–all three of them are witty with a great sense of humor. I spent a lot of time laughing in between happily stuffing myself on my sister’s mouthwatering turkey, eggplant stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cheesy biscuits, and I contributed a favorite–cranberry-tangerine relish, which my sister expects at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then there was pie–pumpkin and pecan, earthquake cake, and ice cream. I confined myself to pie.

We usually go to the movies after dinner, but this year we stayed in and watched a double feature from my sister’s dvd collection: The Wolverine and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Enjoyed both, particularly liked The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It made me want to buy the books. Friday I joined a friend for sushi lunch and another movie: Philomena. Very good. Recommended. Dame Judy Dench is a marvel.

It was wonderful to take a break from writing, and reconnect with the energy of just plain living.

almost there…

A_Fair_Reflection

47,493 NANO YA Horror. Thought I’d finish yesterday, but for sure today! Still need a title. I’ve returned to work on A Lamentation of Swans too. This will be my December project. I’ve wrestled with this book for a long time and would like to finish it soon, maybe in the next 6 months. We shall see.

less than 5,000 to go

Friedrich_von_Amerling_M_dchen_im_Profil_mit_schwarzer_Mantille

Mädchen im Profil mit Schwarzer Mantille, Fredrich von Amerling

45,372 NANO YA. I’ve been lax in keeping the word count at pendrifter, but the final week is coming up. It’s been fun and crazy and aggravating as usual. I bought myself a bottle of Fetzer cabernet sauvignon 2010 to celebrate…well had to do a little celebrating beforehand too, but there’s plenty left for the official celebrating!

The manuscript has leprechaun’s pot of good ideas that I hope to develop into a really good story later.

Meanwhile, yesterday, I worked on A Lamentation of Swans (the Mira version). It’s at 5,632 words (Scrivener count). Word gives me a different count–5,559. Don’t understand why I get two different counts.

Writer’s group meeting today. Read from Sleight of Hand and also the first 8 pages of the untitled NANO manuscript–just for fun. Received good comments on both and suggested fixes from the group. The NANO manuscript will go into the file for a while–until it stops steaming–and then I’ll have another go at it. Sleight of Hand–hope to finish it soon.

Happy writing!