Post-Nano interview approaching.

December 5, 2012

Well, I’m still in gliding mode, working on archiving the old Stringing Words, trying to figure out how to apply Holly Lisle’s revision program to a short story, and learning the ropes of the new dashboard upgrades. But there’s something new that I wanted to let you know about.

Rhianna was one of the wrimos that I did a spotlight interview with in late October,  and she’s asked me to return the favor now with a post-Nano interview for her blog. She’s sent me the questions and it looks like a fun interview, but it won’t be scheduled until January.

Still – I wanted my friends and followers to be the first to know!

Goals versus Expectations

September 15, 2012

I’m on Holly Lisle‘s mailing list and get some interesting tips from her on a weekly basis. There was a particularly great email yesterday talking about Goals and what she calls ‘expectations’, which a lot of people confuse. Basically, in her terms, a goal is something that you can achieve, (pretty certainly) if you work at it hard enough, but expectations are the things where all you can do is keep trying, do your best – and hope. Like being signed by an agent, being published, having a best-seller, or winning awards. I think that’s a pretty good way of looking at it.

On the other hand, I’m also a bit of a nit-picker. One of the examples Holly gives as a goal is accumulating X many rejection letters from submitted stories. Myself, I would say that submitting stories X many times is the goal. A rejection letter is an outcome that you have no control over, just like a sale, so you can’t necessarily reach X many rejection letters just by hard work. You’re quite likely to, but that’s not the same thing, because by fluke luck you might keep getting sales.


Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much of a difference in the real world, but I like to think about the remote impossibilities as well.

So – what goals are you working on now, and what hopes and expectations are you entertaining?

Getting back into the swing…

July 9, 2012

Okay, so it’s my first full day back home, and it feels like it’s taking me a little while to get back into my usual rhythm. Had a fairly busy day at the office, but nothing too bad. Picked up where I left off in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ this morning, and really digging the mystery. 🙂

I decided not to bother getting a local bus pass for July, particularly because my trip out of town coincided with the best times to find passes for sale. So I’ll be driving a lot more, and maybe walking to the store and back on the weekend when I can and such.

And I devoted a lot of this evening to catching up on regular domestic chores – getting some laundry done, and cooking up a meat sauce to take into the office for lunches. (Along with a mix of ditali and Gnocci-shaped shell pasta.)

I need to get started on the Holly Lisle revision stuff soon. Maybe I can review the lesson PDFs tonight before I go to bed. That’s one of my big targets for July – finishing 3 more lessons.

What are your goals for July?

Novel revision: Structure and conflict

August 21, 2011

Well, I had my final class session for the Storywonk revision class this afternoon, and overall the class wasn’t really what I was expecting.

I learned quite a lot, but I guess I thought that the manuscripts that I had were ready to the point where they just needed some fairly small changes made to them and they’d be ready to get queried.

Now, I don’t think that anymore. Most of the class wasn’t about the small-changes stuff, though Lani did cover that in ‘The paper edit’, which was today’s topic, actually.

But everything up to this point has been on more fundamental stuff – the structure of the book, the conflict, the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist, the role of the major supporting characters – and I’ve started to see that I have a lot of work to do here. I think I’m nearly finished rewriting the basic structure of “The way back home” to up the stakes of the conflict between Naveli and Merlik, but I’ll have a lot of rewriting to do to match things up to that structure.

Which in a way, should be exciting. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m terrified or just disappointed.

So, here’s the first part of my structure – what do you think, does it sound like a story that you’d want to read? Are the stakes high from the beginning? Do things keep on getting worse?

Opening scene: While having fun with her friends at the Royal Jubilee, Princess Naveli is taken prisoner by rebel agents, along with her pet ferret Ereyu, her friend and bodyguard Tuma – and her possibly-crush, the Lady Jenna.

Things get worse: At the rebel fortress, Naveli meets Merlik (change name?) the warlock who arranged for her capture. He scoffs at her references to ransom, and tortures Tuma and Jenna in front of her to try and break her spirit. Naveli tries to use magik to escape, but the rebels have taken precautions against the few elementary wind magik spells that she knows.

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First drafts…

July 8, 2011

We’ve been talking quite a bit about first drafts versus revisions here at the workshop, especially because a lot of the process is critiquing and revising. One thing that I thought was interesting was the notion that a lot of the participants, and apparently a lot of sci-fi/fantasy writers, prefer revising to writing a first draft.

I can’t really understand this. I usually have a lot of fun writing the first draft, and less so when revising – because the revising is where the hard stuff starts. (Not a hard and fast rule.) And Chris M said something to me when critiquing my scene yesterday that maybe I should try to concentrate on writing the best word, and not writing too many words. That’s good advice, but I’m not sure that I’ll worry about it too much in my first drafts. There’s plenty of time to focus on that level of detail with revisions.

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