A bright and sunny Sunday outside, makes yesterday’s trouble with Shadow Walk seem minuscule, but still, after a week of wrestling with the story, I’m feeling frazzled and anxious. It’s the last day of Grand Prix weekend, could hear the furious buzz of racing cars from Shoreline all day yesterday. April’s progress so far . . .
Finished Dust, short story, draft was 8014 words, edited final 5743
Finished Werewolf, Zombies, Sunrise, short story, 1311 words.
April 5, attended Literary Orange Conference, Irvine. Excellent conference. Really enjoyed the “Modern Ficton” panel. Emily St. John Mandel was the morning speaker. Bought her book, Station Eleven, and got her autograph too. The afternoon speaker was Annabelle Gurwitch, actress, activist, and comedic writer.
Shadow, horror short story, published in The Horror Zine Summer Edition.
Revising and editing Shadow Walk, horror novella, at 28,152 words, (wrote 4,747 words this month so far)
April 15 – 17. Attended online IndieReCon 2015. My first time; great conference for independent publishing. Took pages and pages of notes from the many video seminars, learned much, saved a number of seminar blog posts too. Recommend it. Also, discovered writer Roz Morris
Started a new short story, working title, Brenda. Wrote 581 words.
Romancing the Night, vampire romance novel for April Camp Nano, stalled at 8049 words. Don’t think I’ll make it this time.
Prepared A Terrible Thing, horror short story, for submission. Second time.
Finished Dust yesterday, 8,014 words, 35 pages. I love the story, think it turned out well, and I was so happy to find the end. I’m letting it cool before going over it again. I expect to do a fair amount of editing because I’ve got a fair amount of unnecessary verbiage, some redundancy, and it needs polishing too. I’m looking forward to the job. Word crafting and sentence polishing are two of my favorite writing tasks. This phase is also where I get deeper into the character and also improve setting details.
April 11 is the annual Literary Orange Conference–looking forward to that. Anne Perry was supposed to be a featured speaker, but looks like maybe not. The site says her appearance “cannot be confirmed at this time.” Oh well.
I signed up for Camp Nano. The plan is to write my vampire romance, Romancing the Night. Right now it stands at 6,284 words. The goal is 50,000 by April 30, and it is this month’s project at RWA’s The End competition, where you have to write at least 2000 words a month during the year.
Also on the agenda is finishing the third rewrite (officially) of my horror novel, Shadow Walk, which has languished for a long time.
And then there’s the coming week’s short story challenge. I’ve set a goal of writing one short story each week for the month of April. One down, four to go. Looks like I’m going to be a writing fool in April! May will be a whole new round. My ultimate goal this year is to greatly improve my production. Let’s see–what else have I got in development …
A Lamentation of Swans, fantasy
A Useful Blind, steampunk western mystery
Chained, fantasy romance
The Foreigner, fantasy
Tempting Fate, fantasy romance
The Friendship Killers, contemporary thriller
The Seventh Queen, fantasy historical (brand, brand new)
Today is another golden So Cal day. Such a treasure!
Wrote 843 words of a new scene for The Friendship Killers (formerly Lake of the Rose), finished the scene, but it could do with a little more detail. The novel seems to be coalescing, however there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the narrative–still wandering in the misty woods. I can feel it coming together almost. It slips away every time I try to get a firm grasp, but that’s okay, I guess. This was 2014’s Nano manuscript and now I’m rewriting it, mostly from the middle.
Decided to use Vaughn Keller’s point of view as well as Summer’s. Summer is the main character so Vaughn’s point of view won’t have equal weight, but it does open another door into story. Besides when I was writing notes about Vaughn in my Moleskine, many questions popped up and he started taking on depth. Always a good thing for a character, especially for Vaughn since I’m showing Dani through his eyes in the way I’m using Josh to show Summer. And of course it gives me insight into Vaughn and Josh as well. That’s the fun of writing, mixed right in with all the hard, frustrating work. I’ve got this mystical vision in my head of sitting down at the keyboard and writing effortlessly. Mystical visions are delightful; reality not so much.
Also had a very good train of thought about Romancing the Night, an additional perspective on my vampire hero, Austen. The danger of eternal solitude, spinning the mind into alienation, the rise of decadence in the soul–something Austen fears will happen to him if he doesn’t find love.
I’m in the final quarter of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Diary, and I’d like to get back to John Fowles: The Journals. I’m about halfway through. Years ago I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and it remains one of my favorite novels. In my book cabinet is a 1969 edition I bought at a used bookstore. I’m going to read it again. I can’t quite remember what I thought about the movie starring Meryl Streep. Maybe I’ll find a dvd somewhere and watch it again. I’d love to find the essay John Fowles wrote about writing The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Today I’m not sure what I’m going to write for The Friendship Killers, or if I’ll write anything at all on it. Maybe I’ll work on something else. Romancing the Night perhaps? Or maybe The Foreigner.
A 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
Establish Penpanther Publishing
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
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).
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
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
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
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
Sleight of Hand retitled A Useful Blind, 14,600 words. Finished.
3,778, Romancing the Night. This morning the brain informed me that it was taking the day off; what could I do? I meant to write at least 500 words, if not a thousand, on Romancing the Night, but the brain folded its virtual arms and said not doing it.
I spent part of the morning catching up with the latest two issues of Randy Ingermanson’s (the Snowflake Guy) Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine. I roasted tomatoes, took myself out to lunch, and drove to Century City to meet a friend for a drink, on the way I stopped at Big Lots on Sepulveda and did a little shopping. Some days are like that.
I’m at loose ends this evening, feeling a little guilty, but the brain is still on vacation, so I’m going to watch replays of Sleepy Hollow at the Fox site. November’s a long way off and I miss Abby and Ichabod!
Romancing the Night, total 2,774. Did well yesterday (1,694), but late start today ‘cause had to run a very important errand. But once home again, I wrote 1,080 words. Had to push some to make it to the thousand, and the scene will need considerable revising, but I got it down!
The leaves of the basil are incandescent with sunlight, the pot sits in the bathroom window, and I sit facing the start of Romancing the Night for Camp Nano. One sentence at a time, I tell myself. I’m aiming for 1000 words each session. Don’t know if I’ll make it, but one sentence at a time is like one step forward on a long path. I don’t expect to finish the novel this month; I’m not aiming for 50,000 words like in November. At first I thought I’d try to finish it this month, but no, too much stress–instead I want to write 5 chapters and get the story engine rolling. So, 5 chapters, one sentence at a time. One of the nice things about Camp Nano is it’s a free-for-all writing journey and you can do what you want.
I want also to continue writing the vampire essay. I’ve got it started, but have not worked on it in over a week. And then there’s Sleight of Hand in revision hell, 16,406 words.
I’m reading Deborah Harkness’ marvelous A Discovery of Witches, sighing with envy at the beautiful writing and the entrancing story.
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.