Monday, 29 September 2014

September 21-27

Writing count: none!  Vacation time.

Steven King says he does 100 words per day, weekends, holidays, family time.  That's great for him.

I can't do it.  I need periodic breaks.

I find some time away helps me to be more objective and lessens the roller-coaster of emotional ups and downs (it's brilliant, it's crap, it's brilliant, it's crap).  Every writer I know goes through the exact same cycle.  Fear of discovering your work wasn't as good as you thought can end up holding you back.  But I find that if I give myself these little breaks, I come back with fresh eyes and I can see both the good points and the flaws.

Now it is time to buckle down and get Revelations ready for the next stage.  Starting next week, I'll let you know how many chapters I've revised.

Monday, 22 September 2014

September 14-20

Word count: 1500.

Pitiful, it's true.  But life took over as I prepared for a trip next week.  Something had to break and it was unfortunately the writing time.

But I did get a nice surprise this week: the developmental editing notes for Revelations.  It's left me with a  dilemma.  On the one hand, next week, I will be on vacation and I want to give my mind a rest.  On the other hand, I really, really, really want to know what they said.  (Because the mean little voice in my head is saying the story is horrible and the optimistic one is claiming it is more brilliant than Shakespeare.  This is why I need outside opinions, I have too many inside my own head to make sense of them all.)

It's a detailed report, over 30 pages, plus a bunch of notes in the actual manuscript.  My brief skimmings suggest it's mostly tweaking details and perhaps some minor rewriting.  I have a feeling that I'll drive myself crazy if I don't look but I still want my vacation.

I've decided on a compromise.  I printed out the report and I'll bring it with me.  Then if I need a handy excuse for some alone time, I can pull it out.  Gee, Aunt Maureen, I'd love to hear about your hip replacement for the fifth time, but I've got this deadline ... gosh, darn it.

Once I get back, I'll have to take some time off from new writing to work on polishing up Revelations.  I've asked for a December reservation for my line edit.  Hopefully it all comes together nicely.

Monday, 15 September 2014

September 7-13

Word count: 3200.

Too much life interference.  Teachers meetings, school paperwork, doctor's appointments, all sort of glommed together on this week.

But I did get one very amazing and awesome surprise.  I got some preliminary text layout for my cover:

I really like it.  I like the gothic-esque lettering.  I love having my name on the bottom.  I can't wait to see what kind of art imagery Streetlight comes up with.

Perhaps it's egotistical, but having something like this makes everything feel more real.  Sometime soon, I'm going to be holding a copy of my book in my hands.  A book I imagined, wrote, rewrote and shaped.  A story which didn't exist until I put it out there.

I hope I never get jaded and blasé about that excitement.  I hope it always feels as jump-up-and-down, do-a-dance happy as it does right now.

Monday, 8 September 2014

August 31 - September 6

Word count: 4500

Not bad for a hectic week of back to school. 

I'm about a third of the way through my planned plot for the Revelations sequel and its starting to come together.  I can see how the various elements need to intertwine to form a solid story and which bits are starting to look like extras. 

This is only a first draft and I expect there will be at least two more after this (more likely four) before it's ready to go to the professional editors.  But I am pleased with how quickly the draft is coming together.  I just need to keep up my writing pace.

My hope is to put out at least one full size novel each year for the foreseeable future.  I've got dozens of ideas floating around my head and in my computer.  Most probably don't deserve the light of day but there are some nuggets waiting to be revealed.

I know some writers can put out 2 or 3 books a year.  In fact, one promotional site recommended trying to issue a new book every 90 days.  Maybe there are people who can do that and still give each story the time and energy it deserves but I can't.  Aside from the time required to physically type out the story, I need breaks and time away before I can start to see around some of my own blind spots.  Not to mention time to research and understand what I'm dealing with.

A good critique partner is mandatory.  Preferably more than one.  I have one who helps me during the development stage and others who will help me restructure everything when I've got my first drafts down.  I couldn't do this without them and I'm always grateful for their insights.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Upcoming Event with Capital Crime Writers: Guns and Gangs (September 10)

Guns and Gangs

Speaker: Acting Staff Sergeant Ken Bryden
Time: 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Place: Honeywell Room, Ottawa City Hall

Street gangs are involved in gambling, drug dealing, stealing from other drug dealers, prostitution, intimidation, assault and even murder. They are not only in West Side Story or U.S. ghettos. Members of the Crips and the Bloods do live in Ottawa. Ottawa Police Service’s chief, Charles Bordeleau, has identified guns and gangs, road safety and violence against women as his three top concerns. For good reason. The level of street gang activity has kept OPS’s Guns and Gangs/Dart (Direct Action Response Team) Unit busy.

Acting Staff Sergeant Ken Bryden from Guns and Gangs/Dart will provide information on that unit and update us on the street gang situation in Ottawa, providing statistics and results. He has eighteen years of service, most of it in the Criminal Investigations Directorate. That includes time in the Guns and Gangs, Drugs, and Criminal Intelligence Units, all parts of Special Operations in that directorate. Staff Sergeant Bryden previously served on the front lines as an emergency response officer. He also served as a foot patrol officer in the Byward Market and as part of the Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

Monday, 1 September 2014

August 24-30

Word count: 4600 for the week. 

I'm pleased to be getting back on track for the sequel to Revelations.  And although I'm looking at a delay for when Revelations will be available, I'm glad I'm taking the time to do it right.

I'm speaking with Streetlight Graphics about doing my cover now.  They won't be available to get started until December but they come highly recommended.  And since I'll be doing a developmental edit in September and couldn't have a line edit until November, I decided it really wasn't going to cost me that much of a delay.  Now I have to get their questionnaire done and returned to them.  I'm not rushing on it since there's 3 months before things will get started.

In my internal paranoia, I'm wondering if I went too far when I spoke to Nathalia about my ideas for a cover.  Did I come across as a control freak (which I am, but not that bad, I promise!)?  But in my saner moments, I don't think I need to look further than her stated reason for not wanting to pursue it: she keeps to a strictly PG rated theme and was concerned my story would be over the line.  I respect that.

Meanwhile, it's back to school next week which should make things a little easier for me.  My boys have been suffering from terminal boredom while I hack away at a keyboard.  It's been hard to carve out time for my writing when I know they only have a limited time to enjoy their summer break.