What’s Up Wednesday? Call me a Shriner

September 17, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! Looks like there’s a header tweak in WUW-land this week. Inspiration is out and perspiration is in! 😉

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:

The second Richard Kadrey Sandman Slim book, “Kill the Dead.” I’ve also started reading some new short stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies and an old Crossed Genres collection. And on Audible, I’m nearly at the end of “Annals of the Heechee”

What I’m writing:

Gotta Have That Look! I did my Short Story Shrine for the new revision on Saturday, and I’ve nearly finished writing my ‘hot mess draft.’ 🙂 The Shrine outline was different enough that it’s pretty much a page one rewrite (again,) but I’ve got a good sense of the characters that is helping me hit the ground running, even if their circumstances have changed.

What works for me:

Still working on the bus; I’ve brought the Alphasmart to work yesterday and today, and got quite a lot of words done on it. Also, the Shine process is something that really works well for trying to plan a big revision; setting aside all of the critiques and just finding the true story in my heart, writing that down.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not that much, it’s been a pretty quiet week. Dropped by my Mom’s place to help her out with her new iPad. Made it out to a write-in on the Pier Sunday afternoon. Played around with my music rating stuff and put the new refurb laptop through its paces. It’s looking pretty reliable so far. Oh, and I’ve been watching “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finally!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

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A few quick updates

September 24, 2012

Had a GREAT time at the Doctor Horrible screening on Saturday – got a chance to catch up a little on ‘The Guild’, though I really need to watch some more of it, and sang my heart out. I also won the biggest charity auction lot of the evening, including the Joebot ‘Doctor Horrible’ t-shirt, which I’ve been keeping an eye out for ever since I missed it on teefury. 🙂 And I had a great time at the Pauper’s Pub shindig.

I’ve been making some good progress on my end-of-the-month goals, including making notes on the home-workshop stories to critique, and putting together the Block Revision draft of ‘Children.’ I had one scary moment when I thought I’d completely forgotten to do any revision whatever on scene 18 – there wasn’t a file on the Alphasmart called block18, so at first I figured that I’d edited it entirely on the printouts, but there was no editing markup on any of the right pages. Finally I found the content at the end of the block17 Alphasmart file. 😉 There hadn’t been a clear dividing line between the scenes so I just kept on typing.

And I’m just one story shy of my ’52 books in 2012′ goal, since I finished “Star Trek TNG: Behind Enemy Lines’ on the bus this morning.


Finished with Block Revision – for now…

July 31, 2012

Well, it’s the last day of July, and I’ll be working on a new story for Camp Nanowrimo starting tomorrow. 🙂 Which means that I’m going to put the Holly Lisle ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course, and my Block Revision, aside until September, even though I’ve only finished 35 scenes out of fifty-seven.

Even though I’m still a little disappointed with my progress, I’m really pleased with the revision so far when I look at what I’ve accomplished in the past few weeks. I’ve rewritten the majority of those scenes in their entirety, because I could see what I wanted, but not find enough of the right words in my first draft. (sigh.) I’ve learned how to edit in pen on paper where the scene was ‘green’ enough to do that, with my own little markup notion of insert scenes from the Alphasmart Dana where needed.

I think that the break will do me good, and I’m looking forward to getting back to Holly Lisle in September… around the 4th or so, because for the first few days of September I’ll be much too busy at Dragon*Con to do any revising! 😉

I still haven’t packed up all the revision stuff on my living room table, (some of which I haven’t really used – the blank typing paper, the scotch tape and pens, most of the post-its, three colors of pens, and the jerky.) It’ll probably get packed up somewhere safe over the next few days.

So – how are your summer projects going. Is anybody else looking forward to Camp?


A little more about my Block Revision process

July 23, 2012

Block Revision is still doing pretty well; I got up to scene 24 at Williams yesterday with Elizabeth Twist, then went back to add on to scene 20 this morning. Sometimes the going seems slow, but that’s probably just because I had the crazy notion that this was something I could plow through in a week just because Holly Lisle put it in one lesson. 😉 It’ll take as long as it takes, and I’m getting lots of great work done.

When I’m not at Williams cafe, though, I’ve been noticing that my way of approaching Block Revision has become very formal and ritualized, and that probably helps me get into the right mindset for it. It starts with the setup – making sure that the big tall lamp in the living room is plugged in. I hook my iphone up to a traveldock speaker, set the timer for 45 minutes or however long I think I have to edit in this session, and start playing the ‘Monastery’ playlist, which is almost all instrumental tunes. If I feel any need, I’ll make sure I have sugar-free koolaid in something with a screw-on lid, and some peanuts in a bowl.

Then I go to the Focus Outline cards that I had printed up from my notes, find my place, and get down to work. After comparing the sentence on the card with the pages indicated, I figure out if I can start by marking up a passage in my printed first draft, or if I need to start with fresh stuff on the Alphasmart Dana. Quite often I start and finish the scene on the Dana, without using anything from the page, just marking ‘Block Scene 22’ or whatever somewhere in the margins in blue pen, updating the page number, and doodling a little red box with an X through it, to indicate that the entire page is to be cut as-is.

I haven’t done anything with cutting and taping so far, or really used the post-it notes, and I only occasionally refer to my consistency laundry list or my worksheet printouts. Maybe I should be leaning on these more, but I’ve got a system that works and that keeps me paying attention to enough things at once already. If I’m making a mistake at this point, I probably won’t figure it out until I’m done the course.


Block Revision progress update!

July 20, 2012

Well, I’ve got fourteen scenes done now, out of fifty-seven, and I’m excited about making more progress over the weekend. A lot of scenes were nearly-complete rewrites on the Alphasmart, which does take longer, and I was starting to get depressed about it. And then I hit three scenes this evening that I could mark up off the first draft, (along with a few inserts on one of them,) and that made me feel better that I can make it through this before the end of the year.

And it still feels good to know that I’ve got this process for tackling the revision, and so many months of prep work that I’ve done to picture the book that I want to have when I’m finished. Exciting stuff, even when I feel a bit bogged down. 🙂


Block Revision is finally underway!

July 14, 2012

It’s been an interesting warm-up week leading to my first revision cuts on “Won’t somebody think of the children” this afternoon. As well as the preparation I told you about before, I spent several hours yesterday evening cutting up the printout of my Focus Outline and taping each scene sentence to a 3*5″ index card… which was kinda fun, especially since I could catch up on some Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice while I worked. And just this morning, it occurred to me that I couldn’t use the spiral-bound copy of my manuscript that I got at Staples last December for Holly’s cut-and-paste technique – because it was double-sided, and so there was no way I could cut two passages that happened to be on opposite sides of the same page into different scenes. So I printed out a new copy of my draft document on the laser printer. (Now I’m wondering if I was possibly a bit hasty, but what’s done is done.)

I’ve done revision on two scenes and part of a third so far – out of 57 in my outline. This is probably not a process that I’m going to finish in a week. I might be lucky if I finish lesson 17, which is the first pass of Block Revision, by the end of July, but I’ll see how it goes. I did scene 1 entirely with pen markup on the original draft pages, and scene 2 was entirely typed into the Alphasmart, because I didn’t see any passages from the original version of the scene that seemed good enough to include with changes. It looks like scene 3 might go the Dana-only route as well; it’s certainly starting off that way.

But I’m having fun, and I think this approach is working fairly well.

That’s a photo of my table laid out for revision – you can see a binder open to one of my worksheet printouts, the pens, post-its, scissors, tape, my pile of to-revise pages, the Focus Outline colored cards, my laundry list of continuity notes, and the Alphasmart sitting on top of the pile of blank typing paper to cut and paste onto. The pile of edited pages is mostly cut off the right edge of the picture. The empty space in the bottom center is where the scene that I’m editing at the time would go. Snacks would be off to the left, beyond the binder.

I never really thought of my living room table as small until I started to lay Holly’s Block Revision process out onto it.


Preparing for Block Revision with Holly Lisle

July 10, 2012

I’ve taken over five weeks off from my Holly Lisle ‘How to Revise your novel’ course – heading into June, I decided that I couldn’t manage my Summer of Shorts Camp Nanowrimo project and revising at the same time, which was probably a good choice for my sanity. But Summer of Shorts is over, I’m back from Kansas, and it’s time to dive into Lesson 17 – Block Revision.

Or at least time to dive into preparation, because Block Revision is apparently not something you should dive into without all the right gear. 😉

I’ve got a to-get list set up in my ‘Holly Lisle’ folder, and some of the items are X-ed off:

  • Pages to rewrite, from the spiral-bound revision draft copy I had made at Staples in early December.
  • A break timer – I figure I’ll be using the iPhone for that.
  • Spill-proof cup (Nanowrimo!)
  • Printout of the surgical marks to make on the pages.
  • Laundry list of consistency details to remember.
  • My Alphasmart Dana. (Not from Holly’s Block Revision instructions – more on that later.)
  • Scissors
  • Typing paper, mostly for cut-and-pasting.
  • Pens
  • Sticky notes.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Calendar pressure is getting to me.

January 31, 2012

I think that I might be taking the ‘Calendar of goal tracking’ a bit too seriously. I’ve been ignoring great television queuing up on my DVR, and getting to bed later and later so that I can scratch out just one more letter on the calendar. Seems like it’s time to take a break.

I did mark a few letters today, (including keeping up my consistent Reader’s chain!) but I haven’t pushed myself on it; caught up on some television, and hopefully I’ll make it to bed early. And I spent some time working on something that won’t be on the calendar: trying to get a user’s manual sorted out for a word counting program I wrote for the Alphasmart Dana!

Tomorrow, the February goals and projects will begin…


Taking a little programming break

January 13, 2012

Between trying to keep up with the Holly Lisle lessons, my JanNoWriMo writing, reading for critiquing, working the slushpile, and my other daily targets for the calendar, I’m starting to feel a little bit creatively exhausted. And I’ve got a good idea for something else that I can do this weekend to give myself a bit of a break and recharge my batteries.

It may sound a bit weird that I love to write my own programs in my spare time, even though programming is what I do for most of my day job. But being able to pick my own objectives and work with different software environments and device types makes a lot of the difference.

Here’s my list of programming goals that I want to start working on this weekend:

Dana-specific:

  • Manual for MultiCounter
  • (Any changes that seem necessary in order to write a sensible manual)
  • Manual for AlphaFiles
  • (Any changes that seem necessary in order to write a sensible manual)

Song rater:


Even the Ruby servers are meditating…

October 29, 2011

…to prepare for Nanowrimo, of course! 🙂 I just got this message when I went to http://www.nanowrimo.org/

I’ve never seen that error message before. Must be a Ruby on Rails thing.

So, what am I meditating on, with two days and odd hours before November 1st? Well, I’ve been planning on how I’m going to take the Alphasmart Dana with me everywhere, and swap out files in progress using the memory card for when I want to write on the laptop. I’m pondering banning myself from watching television until I’ve reached my quota of 2500 words a day – I’ve got to hit 50k by the 20th of November, so I can ring the bell at the Night of Writing Dangerously!

I’ve been thinking of what I know about my characters, realizing that Melissa Dempsey isn’t entirely a sweet ingenue, that she’s got a mean streak, and putting that together with everything else I ever worked out about the Star Patrol universe.

And I’m also loving the notion of ‘Writer’s Improv’, thank you Storywonk, which reminds me of Worldbreaker, which was an improv-like worldbuilding game, where everybody added one more detail in turn until the details started to get so specific that they were more like plot than background.

Can’t wait for Nano. How about you?


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