Ready Set Write… just in time for the end?

August 25, 2014

Okay, it’s time for Ready Set Write again. RSWCoffee75I’ve only done this a few times, but apparently it’s time to wrap up for the summer already!

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

Exceeded them! I said I wanted to work through six critiques, and I finished off the entire stack, which I figure was at least eight. And I figured out a bunch of great stuff that will make my story better, once I actually figure out how much I’m ready to change with the next draft.

Summer Recap

Well, I think I’ve done pretty well. I went to two amazing writing workshops this summer, drafted four new short stories, finished two quick revision rounds for “TimeBubble Blues” and got started on some revision for ‘Gotta Have That Look.’

Favorite Line from my WIP

I’m going to pick another line that one of my critique partners from Young Gunns picked out as liking:

“I dunno, Jimmy,” Stephanie said. “I never thought you’d be one of those kids who chose to look like somebody we’ve all seen on the tabloid shows.”

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Trying to figure out how much I’m willing to change for this revision. I’ve got lots of great ideas, involving big changes to the plot and some of the characters. Not sure yet how they’ll all fit together, or if they all will.

Something I love about my WIP

The premise, with teenagers getting genetic therapy injections to look like anybody they want. 🙂

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!

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Ready Set Write, my week 2.

August 18, 2014

Okay, it’s time for Ready Set Write again. Let’s go RSWCoffee75‘write’ to the headings…

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

I finished my draft! And – well, I broke ground on revising ‘Gotta Have That Look’ based on the feedback I got at the Young Gunns workshop earlier this summer. That’s not much, but it is ‘measurable progress.’ 🙂

My Goals for This Week

Work through six more ‘Gotta Have That Look’ completed critiques from Kansas.

Favorite Line from my WIP

From ‘Gotta Have That Look.’ This was a line Jean liked enough that he wants to make it the opening line of the story somehow:

“It’s always hard to recognize people after a long weekend,” Bryan said.

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Hmm, not sure what to say here. Making time to write? Getting myself excited about revision?

Something I love about my WIP

The secondary characters, who are Jimmy’s best friend and his new girlfriend Stephanie.

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


I’ll give this a try – Ready Set Write!

August 11, 2014

Well, I spotted this blogging thing and decided to join in. Apparently calling it a ‘writing intensive’ is enough for everybody else doing it, though that phrase makes me ask ‘an intensive what?’ 😉 But they’ve got good headings of what to share, so here goes.

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

Well, I didn’t post any RSW goals last week, because I didn’t do it, and the goals I sent to Team Ambitious were for that two-week round, all about revision, and I didn’t really get anything done on them yet. But–I started a new story! And I did some work on the ‘How to Think Sideways’ course and worked on two story critiques, so that’s not nothing.

My Goals for This Week

Finish the draft of the xylophone story. Make some kind of measurable revision progress.

Favorite Line from my WIP

This is half a paragraph, but I can’t resist sharing it all:

“Petra was at the near end of the near bench, and at the far end of the other was Angelo, looking like he thought he was in charge–as always. He waved for Nicholas to come and join them, but Nicholas had a better authority to follow. Yes, even a cat was better at being in charge than Angelo.”

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Getting over the post-workshop crash from TNEO week in New Hampshire, especially since it was such a busy and stressful workshop–in good ways, but still I was tired when I got back home.

Something I love about my WIP

The idea I came up with during the A-Z challenge. This is the Xeroxxing Xylophone idea. I got some great help from Jeanne and others during the TNEO brainstorming session fleshing it out.

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


A change in the Calendar of Goal Tracking letter lineup.

September 21, 2013

Okay, I guess it’s nearly 21 months that I’ve been working on my ‘calendar of goal tracking’ productivity trick. 🙂 Over that time, I’ve added a few new letters, and one multiple-letter code, to record new activities that I’ve been time-slicing, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever completely redefined a letter, until now.

Ever since the ‘Team Ambitious’ critique program started up, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on critiques for my Odyssey friends, and learning a lot from them. However, I think I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending less time and effort on drafting and revising my own pieces because of this, and that really does need to change. One of the places to get that change started, I think, is on the calendar. Somewhere along the way, I told myself that working on somebody’s critique was enough to get me an ‘E’ for the day. That stops as of yesterday. E is only for editing my own stuff, just like W is only for doing my own writing, and so on.

But I wanted to keep tracking the Team Ambitious critiquing stuff, and I fussed over what letter to use. T is already in use for the Thinking Sideways course, and A is for my Art exercises, so I couldn’t use either of them, and trying to use them both together could be really confusing. C is for Cleaning, and so on.

But I’ve made a decision. O was originally for Outlining new story ideas, but I’ve never really used that much, (even though I have some outlining to do soon on the Steampunk Roswell/Area 51 idea!) As of yesterday, O stands for Odyssey stuff instead.

And hopefully that’ll mean a few more Ws on the calendar, and some E’s that actually mean my stories are closer to getting submitted!


Taking criticism is still tough…

May 24, 2013

The revised version of “Won’t somebody think of the Children”, the one that I spent nearly sixteen months slaving over, (with a few breaks to work on other projects,) is still working its way through the critters.org critique queue. Chapter 4 got sent out for critiques on Wednesday, and I’ve gotten one full critique back of the entire novel by a dedicated reader and I’m waiting on a few others.

The results certainly haven’t been universally encouraging. I really think that the story is much stronger than it was in the first draft, and I’ve gotten some encouraging validation from some readers, but there have also been a few responses that took some wind from my sails. One of the critiques I got from chapter four said that there was no conflict, nothing at stake; and offered three different rewriting techniques for improving a scene. I was disheartened when I first received that, and then twelve hours later, I got a short commenting on my colon use, with four paragraphs of praise and apologizing for not having more negative feedback. 😉

I guess I’m going to have to organize all my critiques, including the feedback from the dedicated readers who haven’t gotten back to me yet, and evaluate it all like a big pot of soup without paying too much attention to any one piece. And always bear in mind that the first revision I did was based off my own impressions of the book, and there are dozens of tools from the Holly Lisle revision course that I can still turn to and use to fix the problems that I never saw, once a critter has pointed out that they’re there.

It may be a tough job, but a writer’s gotta do it at some point!


Procrastinating on getting feedback.

January 10, 2013

I’ve started to realize that I’m procrastinating on on of my January goals – getting feedback on the new draft of “The Storm Mirror.” And I don’t really have the usual excuses of it being too much work and not enough time – yes, I don’t have a lot of time, but one of the Young Guns from the CSSF Short Fiction Writer’s workshops actually replied to an email I sent back in December how I was working on the revision, and said that he’d like to take a look and send me his thoughts. All I need to do is format the story up to SFWA standards and email it off.

But – well, I guess I’m nervous about the response I’d get. I’m very excited about this version of the story. I honestly think it may be one of the finest pieces of writing I’ve done. But the gentleman who has offered to do a critique is a really great writer with an incredible fund of knowledge about speculative fiction of all kinds, and he can be kinduv tough to impress.

I know I should get off my butt, send the piece off – and then take the critique with a few grains of salt when I get it back. But I’m not going to do that tonight. It’s late and I’m tired, after all. 😉


I’m all crittered out. (For now…)

January 7, 2013

Well, once again I’ve been racing to finish critiquing 10 different pieces of writing from the critters.org workshop queue, to earn the award that’s given out every week for “Most Productive Critter.” I like to shoot for an MPC every so often, mostly because the prize is a pass to go directly to the front of the queue of submitted stories, which can come in handy. The usual wait to get something critiqued on critters.org is a month, and I often get impatient when I have something new that I want to get feedback on.

The last time I earned an MPC, I kept the pass in my pocket for months, until I actually used it to see what the critters thought of the opening to “The Gnomes are Missing.” I actually haven’t really gone through all the critiques I got for ‘Gnomes’ yet, but they’re sitting in my gmail, and then I immediately sent ‘Time Bubble Trap’ through to be critiqued. TBT is going to be sent out Wednesday of this week.

And if I get a new MPC this week, I’m going to use it to get the new revision of “Storm Mirror” out next week – so I’ll have critters feedback on all three pieces I’ve been thinking of for workshop applications. Whoo-hoo!

Getting critiques of your own writing is obviously a good way to improve it, but I’ve found that critiquing other writers via critters has also helped me learn a lot. I’ve sortuv developed a sort of a pattern, which helps when I’m trying to get lots of critiques done quickly but still make them as helpful as possible to the authors:

  1. Read through the story or excerpt, making notes about anything that occurs to me but trying to look at the big picture, not the nits. (Kindle is great for reading to critique!) Read the rest of this entry »

How do I revise a short story

December 6, 2012

Yes, I’m still in ‘glide mode’ today, but I’m trying to get a bit more elevation above crash territory. I spent some time on the bus ride home critiquing a new critters.org story, and I’ve been thinking about the short stories I want to work with this month.

One is a ‘Not-really-rewrite’ of “Project Fast Track” – I’m not really using the same characters, the same plotline, or the same theme as that little contest tale I wrote nearly a year ago, but I’m going to go back to that vision of the future, specifically to TimeBubble Inc. I’ve got a new plot in mind and an idea for a main character and what his story’s about. Hope to talk it over with somebody before starting the first draft – maybe this weekend.

I also want to do a new revision – this going to be the fourth draft I guess, of “The Storm Mirror.” Some of what I want to do with it has been in my head ever since I left Kansas this summer, and some of it began to come clear while I was writing “The Witches of Arion” in August. (Which takes place earlier in the same universe.)

I like the idea of trying to apply some of the processes from the Holly Lisle “How to Revise your Novel” course to this short story, but I haven’t actually started with that yet. I should probably just dive in – work the worksheets, print out a copy of the third draft and start marking it up with colored pens. Onward! I can do this! (Those are the Holly Lisle taglines that she finishes every lesson with.)


Nano season is kicking off…

October 30, 2012

In my time zone it’s less than 27 hours until NaNoWriMo begins, and the excitement is definitely building. I had a great time at the Hamilton Kick-off party Sunday afternoon, and everybody seems to think I did well with my first official function as a Nano ML. The Hamilton Nano chat room has been registered, and I have three write-ins to go to in the next few days – Thursday evening, Friday late afternoon, and Sunday early afternoon. 🙂

My novel idea is coming together a bit more – it’s not the most planning I’ve ever done, but then, I think I do better and have more fun with Nano when I edge towards the pantsing side instead of plotting. I think I know where I’m going to start on Thursday morning, and that’s the important thing.

And my to-do list for October is nearly finished. It looks like one thing will end up partially unfinished; the novel critique I signed up for with critters.org  I finished reading the book, but I’ve still got over a hundred notes I took on my Kindle that I want to review and add as notes in MS word, and that just takes more free time than I think I’ve got. I want to give the author a chapter-by-chapter critique, though, and let her know that I’ll work on the line notes when I can, Nano permitting. I still need to work on that this evening.

And I’ve got a lot done in October, from ML preparation to a new short story, with plenty of ‘Goal, Motivation, Conflict’ and Holly Lisle revision in there too. I even tried a little sketching – more about that possibly much later. See you in NaNoLand!


Happy Revision day…

July 2, 2012

So, what did I do for Canada Day? Well, I stayed in the residence hall most of the day and kept plugging away at my revision of “The Storm Mirror.” I’m pretty satisfied with it for a weekend revision, though I realized after I sent it off that I’m probably still not torturing my characters enough. 😦

And today went pretty well – some emergencies popping up at work, but most of them got addressed okay, and my critique of “A Prayer for Healing” got some pretty useful feedback – and lots of complements on my wordcraft too! 🙂


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