rainfall

Ohwhat'sthatinthehollow.edwardroberthughes

In the Hollow, Edward R. Hughes

My writing projects have kept me busy. I try to be productive, but I’m more like the squirrel on the wheel—running, running…not getting anywhere.

Quarter 4 Status Report (so far)

Worked hard on Possessed, (3rd draft) but ran into a block and set it aside for a bit. Figured out the block, but have not had a chance to get back to the manuscript—too many distractions. Will get back to it in December, I think.

Had a short story rejected. Bleh.

Had a proposal rejected. Bleh.

Revised another short story, but it’s still sitting in its folder, and sketched out another short story, but have not written it. Still ruminating on it.

Received back beta comments on my gaslamp murder mystery novella, but have not reviewed them yet.

Had another short story rejected. Bleh.

Summary

October was a patchwork quilt of writing work with only minor success in making progress. November looks like the dreary dumps. (Skipped NaNo this year.) December—maybe Possessed.

On the upside…

Enjoyed reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Beautiful writing, engaging characters, compelling story.

Took an excellent workshop, Writing the Romantic Novella, taught by Catherine Chant

The painting above by Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Robert Hughes, reflects my mood this month perfectly.

 

june!

Summer’s practically here in southeastern Alabama, but the days are still pleasant enough, not yet the anvils of humidity coming in July and August. The lovely spring with everything blooming and fruiting isn’t quite over. I’ve been busy with my Short Fiction Workshop–a self-designed writing workshop that I do Monday to Friday, from about 8 (or 9, if I make breakfast) till noon. The goal is to write more short stories, read more short stories, and improve my ability. It’s been fruitful. I’ve written three new short stories so far and edited two previously written ones into better shape. Two have been submitted and two more are on the launching pad.

In her book about writing, the Six Month Novel Writing Plan, Caitlan Jans quotes George R. R. Martin, one of my favorites, who said there are two types of writers: “…the architect who lays out the novel as if designing a building… and the gardener who digs the hole in the ground, puts in the seed and waters it with his blood and sees what comes up.”

I’m the gardener type and pretty much approach writing fiction the way I garden: I know what I’m planting and where I’ll put it. I dig a hole and drop in the seeds, add water and cross my fingers. Lately though I’ve tried to become more of the architect as I wrestle with A Fall of Diamonds. I’ve cut 40,000 words from the manuscript. It’s fully outlined, has a beat sheet, and yet still I’m mired in Part 1, trying to write my way into Part 2. I know what needs to happen yet can’t seem to get it written. Best I can do is keep pushing.

Today, seeing as it’s a sunny Saturday morning, think I’ll make myself another cappuccino and settle down to read through the latest print out of A Fall of Diamonds and do scene-planning notes.

Meanwhile I’ve got hailstones of thought for future books that I hope I live long enough to write.

 

acceptance!

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Woke up to a happy email this morning–sold a sword and sorcery story! :)) I love sword and sorcery! I once spent an entire summer reading Fritz Leiber, Ffahrd and the Grey Mouser, Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melnibone, Robert E. Howard, Conan the Barbarian, stories by Clark Ashton Smith, and Lin Carter, didn’t shake the clash of swords, barbarian yells and wizard’s magic out of my head until school started that year. (And oh yes I watch Game of Thrones!) So my story sold to one of my favorite online magazines. Details to come when it’s published.

I’ve been busy writing A Fall of Diamonds. Lots of deleting, revising and restructuring going on, but it’s coming along and will be at least two books, maybe three. I’m trying not to over-complicate the story so I stopped my crazy quilt pantsering and did a beat sheet and a detailed outline. I finished Book One, that is Part One of the first novel, and this week I’m tackling Book Two (Part Two) and trying not to drive myself crazy. I felt a slump coming on so the short story acceptance really made my day.

Trying to stay on target this quarter, although I did let one anthology deadline pass without submitting the story I’d written for it. The story wasn’t good enough. I’ll wrestle with it another day.

Happy writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the eaves drip

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Rained last night. This morning the grass is damp, the eaves drip, desiccated leaves stick to the soles of my ballet slipper flats. I walked around the yard hoping to spot Loki’s red tag but no luck.

She caught the bracelet collar on something, managed to pull free but it unhooked and her tag fell off somewhere. Luckily I’ve got the tag from her first vaccinations with the National ID number on it so I’ll keep that one secure.

I’m in that empty head state that descends once I’ve finished a major writing endeavor like Nano but I don’t like to drift so last week I did setting development work on A Fall of Diamonds and yesterday I read over the short story I finished in October to see how to improve it.

Alabama’s winter weather shifts every day. Some days are cold, a roustabout wind hisses about the house, some days a thunderstorm shakes us and furious rain beats down, and some days outside is humid, no breeze at all, just warm, still air.

Saturday frost slicked my car’s roof and Tuesday dawned warm and misty. The pecan tree is just about bare of leaves and the squirrels have moved out for the winter.

Today I’m going to run that short story through my mind again. Maybe it doesn’t need much more work, but I’ll see. There are a few things that need doing. It has a January 31st deadline for the anthology so I expect to have it ready to go soon.

I’m planning 2017’s writing agenda. I have two stories out right now and my fingers and toes are crossed. They’re both good pieces. I’ve got a personal essay to submit too but have to go over it, make sure it’s properly polished before winging it to the chosen publication, and in January for sure I’ll be back working seriously on the second draft of  A Fall of Diamonds.

My Christmas gifts are all mailed off, 12 more days–Merry Christmas!

 

in her dress of lifeless jewels

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October has So Cal in a hot daze, swaddled in uncharacteristic humidity, temps in the eighties and nineties. October is Nano prep month so I set aside The Bone Box and started preliminary work on The Serene Widow, the Regency romance I’ve been wanting to write for a long while now that I decided would be the Nano book this year, changing my mind once again from my original 5X5 writing plan.

The Bone Box, silent for the past weeks, started whispering to me again, resulting in 1,254 new words and a small advance in the word count. I’m relieved to know that the story is still alive and kicking. Sometimes it’s hard to reconnect when I’ve let a project lie for a while. I’m almost to the halfway point.Isabella.Pot of Basil

I’ve decided not to sign up for Nano because in November I’m off to Europe with friends and writing 7 pages a day while touring might happen when I have down time, but highly unlikely to be consistent and I don’t need the stress. Being stressed when one is on a fabulous trip defeats the purpose. Life is a journey and I plan to smell as many roses as possible.

This will be the first year in 7 that I’ve skipped Nano. I’m taking Viking’s Cities of Light river cruise (I love river cruises!) and I leave for Paris mid-November.  I could see how much of The Serene Widow I get done by then, but I don’t expect to reach 50,000 words since I’m not back until November 30. No worries. One of the advantages of the writing life is being your own boss.

However I’m going to work like a dog desperate to find the buried bone to complete The Bone Box by October 31st! Yeah that’s in two weeks. Life’s an ongoing challenge. It would be an absolute kick to finish by the end of this month!

Meanwhile, I revised a short story, The Obelisk, and got back a submitted story, Parting Gift, which I’m going to revise before sending it out again. And oh my goodness, I still have not sent out Dust! That will not do, Bear.

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