Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Hard Week's Work

Setting my weekly goals is really helping me stay on task. I did finish those edits for Medallion and send them back for The Keepers of Sulbreth. I had a wonderful editor who gently led me through the process.

I did go see the kids play their sports. Some excitement, some boredom and even a little sunshine instead of bitter rain.

I did some promotion on my yahoo groups. Does anyone know if that really does anything for sales or directing people to a blog or website?

I visited my favorite blogs most days. I do really enjoy that. It provides a real feeling of connection when I'm sitting at my chaos-plagued writer's desk and yearn for a gallon-sized goblet of wine.
Today I actually planted some ground cover around the maple tree in my front yard and squirted a little chemical death on a few stubborn thistles determined to crowded into my flowerbeds.
I'm calling last week a success in the goal department. I have to keep it going so forgive me if they're all starting to sound the same.
#1 - Get back to editing 'One Good Woman.' Yes, I've decided on a title for the fourth book in the Solonian Chronicles. I'm nearly half way as I hoped to be this month despite the pause to work on The Keepers of Sulbreth.
#2- Clean up my writing desk and organize my expense list and income spread sheet.
#3-I'm going to make my writer's meeting next Saturday, someway, somehow.
#4-I'm going to make some changes on my website. I think I have some deadend pages. Duh.
#5-I'm going to do a little more outside work. No promises on how much, just SOME.

Now #1 might have to be adjusted if I get my manuscript back from The Wild Rose Press to do first edits on To Tame a Tiger.
Thanks for all the support over the past two weeks. I'm going for number three.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Cover

I'm still working on my edits for Book#4 in The Solonian Chronicles, but I have to do a small interrupt here to show off my new cover for To Tame a Tiger coming soon from The Wild Rose Press.
Isn't it lovely? This fantasy romance is hopefully the first in a series and if all the covers are so wonderful, I'll be thrilled.
Now back to my weekly chores with one added:
Chore#FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT: meet 7 day deadline for Medallion on edits for The Keepers of Sulbreth.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Are the Chores Done Yet?

I've been very busy trying to complete my chore list. How did I do? Well, let's see. I visited my mother, did my Easter shopping, watched my children at their athletic events, worked hard on edits, and even updated my website. I didn't do the outside work. My excuse. It's so darn cold and 'unspring-like here in PA. I did do some cleanup in the garage. Does that count? I didn't sleep in every day until eight but I made at least seven each day so I'm happy with that. As far as drinking coffee, I took some of the advice I received from friends on Twitter. I sent for some cold-brewed coffee concentrate and I'm going to try it. It's supposed to have 67% less acid than hot brewed coffee. If it works, I'm going to buy the system. So I met that goal though the final results aren't in until I actually drink it.
Listing my chores helped me stay focused on doing them. I tend to work on only one thing at a time instead of trying to juggle all the balls at the same time. I don't like to juggle, but this week I did it and am pleased with what I accomplished. On the other hand, if I had skipped juggling I might have those edits nearly completed.
So my chore list for this week is shorter.
I have an athletic event to attend each of the next six days starting later today.
#1 chore-go watch the children
#2 chore-visit blogs and comment every day
#3 chore-do some promotion on the multiple yahoo groups I belong to
#4 chore-keep working on those edits
#5 chore-stop worrying about all the yard work I'm not getting done
If you have a chance, check out my updated website. It makes me feel like something I did this week for my writing actually mattered if my hits go up. LOL

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On My Days Off

Like so many of you, the Easter weekend comes with a few extra days off that dreaded day job. That job that pays the bills but takes up time that I'd rather spend writing. Now I like my bill-paying job, but I could retire on one day's notice if I didn't need the money.
When I have a few days off though, I fill them with all kinds of plans. In my part of the world(PA), the weather has been miserable. Wind, bone chilling cold, and really, really no fun to work outside. I have a country home with lots of flower beds and landscaping challenges. There's rumor our day time temperatures might climb into the sixties.
Chore#1: I'm going to do some yard work.

This weekend is Easter. Even though my children are older now, they still expect things in their Easter baskets. We've never been the chocolate bunny kind of family. Little gifts usually grace their baskets with a few peanut butter eggs and some gum and a new tooth brush. And I still haven't bought a ham for dinner or any of the other goodies to have a big sit down family feast.
Chore#2: I have to do some shopping.

My dear 81 year old mother lifts a couple of hours away. I try to visit her once a month, but it's been nearly two months since last I saw her. Talking on the phone isn't the same. I have to use one of my days off to visit her.
Chore#3: Visit my mother.

My third son is a senior in high school and he has a big track invitational this weekend. My daughter plays softball for her high school and has a game against her arch rival and another game that should be competitive.
Chore#4: I'm going to watch my kids play.

I'm deep into edits on Book#4 of The Solonian Chronicles. I have no title yet, but it continues the saga of the futuristic romance adventures of some characters introduced in The Greater Good, The Lesser Evil, and A Ruthless Good. I'm about a sixth of the way done after only one week. Surely with a few days off, I'll get a lot more done.
Chore#5: Continue Edits on unnamed book

I swear I'm going to update my website. I promise. I am determined.
Chore#6: I WILL update my website.

Those of you that know me know I love my coffee but for the last two years, it's been giving me heart burn. I miss my coffee so much. Well a few of my friends on twitter suggested something called a 'cold-brewed coffee system.' I'm going to hunt one down.
Chore#7: I'm going to figure out a way to drink coffee again.

My last chore is something I've been looking forward to for weeks. I've been counting the days until this vacation so I can sleep in later than 5:30 am.
Chore#8: I'm going to sleep in until 8:00 each day.

I hope everyone has some time off. I didn't leave any room for reading, baking or surfing the net. I'm going to focus on the eight things above and hopefully when I go back to the 'day job' next week, I'll be feeling very proud of myself. Do you have plans for the weekend? Will you rest or try to squeeze so many things in you end up more tired than when you started?

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Process

All writers have their own process that carries them from idea to finished manuscript. I've read many blogs and sat through conference workshops about plotting or writing on the fly(pantsters) and I think I don't fit into either category. I used to write an outline but found I seldom followed it beyond the first two or three chapters. Now I guess I'm mostly a pantster. I roll the idea for a book around in my head for a while, usually coming up with the conflict and the resolution before I even figure out my characters. Then when I have that figured out, I sit down with my book bible.
My book bible is an inexpensive journal that I buy at a discount store. I usually have a few blank ones on hand. If a book is part of a series or set in the same world as another book, it goes in the same bible as the previous book. That book will have facts about the fantasy world, things like money, climate, politics, religious beliefs and even a map. It can be very important to keep east and west straight as well as keeping perspective on distances and other geographic items.
In the bible, I'll give each of my main characters their own page and jot down physical details as well as some emotional and historical things of interest. Then I'm use another few pages for secondary characters and antagonists. If the world is magic, I might use a page to describe those elements so I don't confuse them with a previous book. The bible stays beside my keyboard whenever I'm working on that book for reference and in case I need to add something.
Now I'm ready to write. I always know where to start and I know the ending. It's a matter of filling in that middle and making sure it doesn't sag anywhere along the way.
I write that first draft as quickly as ideas and time allows, and it IS rough. Often I find I needed to add something to chapter three to set up what happens in chapter ten. Or I decide I don't want to give away a plot point in chapter five so I can create more suspense until more is revealed in chapter fifteen. I jot down notes of changes as I go. So I type the mess up and print it off. Viola, I have a very detailed outline.
My next step may sound like it takes a long time but it goes quicker than that first rough draft. Using that first mess as a guide, I completely retype the book. All the big things, plot holes, loose ends, etc, get the attention they need. It's also the time I can check for all those dang words I tend to overuse as well as find ways to vary my sentence structure. Since I already know what I want to say, I find the words to show the action instead of telling it.
All this may sound time consuming, but it works for me. I can usually do my final draft of a 100,000 word novel in about eight weeks using this method. The first draft is likely to take up to 12 weeks. With each book I polish this way I get a little faster.
The point of this blog is not to convince people to write my way. I only want to explain one way that happens to work for me. I actually started this method after reading something Judith McNaughton had written about her method. Again not comparing my work to hers, LOL. I know many of us get frustrated when doing edits or trying to polish the same book several times. My advice is to experiment with different processes and find the one that is comfortable and works for you. I know some writers who spew out a first draft that is nearly error free. I envy them but I don't try to write like them. This works for me. What works for you? And have you tried different methods?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Decision Made

After a few days of dithering around, I'm taking some advice from friends and starting on the project I know is the right one to do. I've sent my 'dragon fantasy' out to a few more agents and made a list for the third, or is it fourth, round should all these choices reject me.
Tonight I'm pulling out the rough draft of my fourth book in The Solonian Chronicles, as yet unnamed, and getting to work making it saleable. I actually think it's a stronger story than the third book in that series, A Ruthless Good, though I won't know until I'm done. It is the last book I'm writing set in Solonia, the future Earth, but I have another series I hope to sell to New Concepts after this one. I only need about ten more hours each day so I can get to that.
I wanted to thank all my friends who gave me suggestions on what to dig into next. It's causing me some stress to have so many projects needing my attention. If my writing ever needed me to quit my day job, it is right now. However, letting go of that paycheck would mean I'd be writing in a tent and eating mac and cheese out of the book for dinner every night like I did my senior year in college. Still have some trouble looking at that stuff even though my kids like it.
I'm finding some excitement in getting this book(geez, I really need a name for it) finished. I do love my characters. My heroine is especially complicated and as the story unfolds, my hero turns out to have many layers beneath his seeming perfection.
I'll update the progress of the last Solonian Chronicle periodically and maybe even think of a title.