What’s Up Wednesday? The Last Day of Winter…

March 19, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood on Audible, and Escape Artist podcasts, and started listening to ‘Culture: Excession’ again, though I feel like it’s a little hard to follow on audio, sigh. Finished the Secret Circle trilogy, and I’m branching out to some new markets of short stories, reading from ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine’, as well as catching up on Strange Horizons.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo clock count: 28 and a half hours! I’ve finished my revisions on ‘Gotta Have that Look’, and started making some big changes to my Orpheus story. I haven’t given up on HTRYN and “The Angel’s Charlie,” but going through the world triage seems to be dragging on a little, sigh.

What inspires me right now:

Write-ins, the Odyssey video chat salon, and getting back to using my Alphasmart Dana on the bus.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not that much lately. Waiting for more news from Kij Johnson about whether I get into the Novel workshop at CSSF, and organizing my huge Audible collection. 🙂

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

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What’s Up Wednesday? Another Blizzard!

March 12, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still working through my Secret Circle ebooks and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood on Audible. Read many Escape Pod stories this past week and no PodCastle, because I’ve been trying different ways of choosing my podcasts and Escape Pod was coming up first.

I also read through a little ebook I got ages ago, “Alias Recruited” while I was at Comicon on Sunday, mostly while waiting for panels to start. It was a fun little read, part of a paperback prequel series for the Alias TV show with Jennifer Garner, which I never really got into that much but is still on my ‘to watch’ list.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo revision, baby! I’m up to 17-ish hours so far, and pleased with the progress I’ve made, especially the HTRYN classes for “The Angel’s Charlie” which have been going much faster than the first time I revised a novel with them, and ‘Gotta Have that Look’ which should be ready for critique by Monday.

What inspires me right now:

Open mike night, hearing Eliza Dushku’s mother talk about the power of telling stories, and Billy Joel’s “Leningrad.”

What else I’ve been up to:

Had a pretty good time at Toronto Comicon over the weekend. Spent too much money on graphic novels and Star Wars picture books, and lost my water bottle, but what the hey? And I’ve been enjoying the nice weather when it shows up. (Glares out the window at the snow.)

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


IWSG: The Revisions Edition

March 6, 2014

Welcome Insecure Writer’s from far and wide! So, I’m six days into my personal version of National Novel Editing Month, and even though it’s been hard to find the energy to log revision time, I think I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m nearly at 10 hours out of the 50 hour challenge now.

I’ve been bouncing around with my revision projects so far, mostly between going through the Holly Lisle ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course on a second manuscript, “The Angel’s Charlie”, and a follow-my-gut approach to revising a science fiction short, “Gotta Have that Look.” I wrote this version of GHTL during Odyssey, based on an earlier Camp Nanowrimo short that I sent to Jeanne while preparing to attend the workshop, and I both loved and hated the feedback I got on it. I finally broke ground on the revisions back in December or so, and I actually really like some of the changes I’ve been making to it over the past few days. Hopefully I’ll be able to send it back to the Team Ambitious crew in a week and a bit, see what they think of all the new stuff.

One cool bit that I was able to take from the ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course and apply to GHTL was the Holly Lisle three-part fix for talking heads: establish the setting, give a character a prop, and involve a gimmick. (I won’t explain that in detail here: Go buy the course for yourself!)

I’ve been counting other stuff as EdMo time too; if you’re going to reach 50 hours in a month, you have to dig deep. I’m not going out looking for lots of critiques to do in March, but whatever critiquing I do for other writers counts. I’ve also been planning another rewrite of Orpheus, hoping to expand it for the I Am the Abyss anythology. And I’ve been looking for other shorts to revise, finding Jeanne’s feedback on my Odyssey application piece, “The Time Bubble Blues”, and updating a list of every short story I’ve written over the past 4 years or so.

So I guess I’m not feeling that insecure about my writing just now, it turns out. 😀 What about you?


What’s Up Wednesday, Edmo edition

March 5, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! (If you’re looking for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, that’ll be up tomorrow.)

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Well, I borrowed a book and a half from the library this week. 😉 Whoever published the original ‘Secret Circle’ trilogy in ebooks decided to make them two ebooks. I got the first half of the trilogy years ago, and finally finished up to the end of part 1 of ‘The Captive.’ The other half was available at the library, so I should be finished it another week or so.

Still listening to some Audible books, including ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood, which has become my go-to book for listening to when I’m washing dishes or doing other chores in No-screen time, because it’s what’s currently loaded on the little Audible Otis (which doesn’t have enough of a screen to count.) And enjoying the PodCastle and Escape Pod as much as ever.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo is underway here, as well as a few places on twitter. I’ve been working on revising my novel “The Angel’s Charlie” on the Holly Lisle revision plan, as well as some shorter pieces to rewrite.

What inspires me right now:

The monastery playlist! Old ‘Brothers and Sisters’ episodes. Camp Nanowrimo on the horizon.

What else I’ve been up to:

Let’s see. The office move happened on Monday, went pretty well though our network was down until 4pm. Had another good write-in over the weekend, great to see Elizabeth Twist and bond with her about revision. And I got my invitation to The Never-Ending Odyssey reunion workshop yesterday!

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


NaNoEdMo Eve (again?)

February 28, 2014

Well, it’s the last day of February, so tomorrow will be March 1st, and NaNoEdMo is starting all over again. My approach to revision and editing has changed a lot in the last year, (mostly on account of Odyssey,) but I’m still looking forward to getting 50 hours worth of editing in over the month.

So far, my revision possibilities list is fairly brief:

  • The Angel’s Charlie. I started working on the Holly Lisle HTRYN program with this manuscript last March, and then never really got back to it. It’ll be nice to get back to that.
  • “Gotta have that look.” Hopefully I can get the revision of this to a place where I’m happy enough with it to submit it to Team Ambitious by mid-month. (It’ll need to be good, since they all saw a draft back in the summer.) Then maybe I can submit it in the spring, get it working for my Race Score.
  • Expand “Orpheus and the Cameraman” for the Abyss anthology. Since the anthology call is for novellas of at least 10k, and my current draft is just over four thousand words, (from a first draft of 2k,) that’ll be a lot of expansion and new words, but I think the premise has enough to support that, and it’ll be nice to get to write some new scenes while still technically editing for March.

I just finished the last of my modest goals for Feburary, dreaming up some story ideas that I’ll be tossing out when the A to Z challenge starts in April! Of course, I still have to figure out some of the trickiest letters in the alphabet, but there’s time for that.


Nanoedmo – editing to the bitter end

March 27, 2013

Okay, so first off: the hour tracker is at just over 41 hours, which means I do have quite a bit of work to cram into the last 3 days of the month, but then, I’ve got the long weekend coming up, so it’s certainly doable.

I was making some good progress on the second novel I’m going through ‘How to Revise your Novel’ with, The Angel’s Charlie; I’m nearly finished the second lesson, promise counts, but I was also feeling that working on the novel was adding to my stress levels a bit. So, instead of working myself into a stress breakdown or giving up on EdMo, I decided to switch back to polishing fanfiction and see if that was better, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot and finding it restful by comparison. I’ve gotten a few chapters through the sequel to “Arrow through my Soul, A Roswell Alien in Metropolis. Not quite sure if I’m going to stick with fanfic through the rest of the month, or go back to HTRYN, but I’m sure I’m going to reach 50 hours one way or another!

And then it’ll be time for Camp Nanowrimo and my A-Z challenge. I think the lineup there is in pretty good shape; I have over 20 spotlight interviews already and more should be coming in soon. At least one of my Camp Spotlights is probably going to get held over until May, just because there won’t be room in the A-Z alphabet, because things never get slotted in quite that neatly. 😉 But they should make great reading even after Camp is finished.


Clarion sends their regrets

March 21, 2013

Well, I got another Watermelon in the face moment today… and I’ve decided not to worry about whether the little setbacks I need to rise above are watermelons or some smaller fruit. It makes me smile to call them watermelons, so that’s what they are.

So around noon, I got an email from Clarion UCSD. They thanked me for applying, assured me that my application was reviewed carefully, and then lowered the boom. “We regret to inform you that you have not been selected for admission.”

I’m not sure if every rejected applicant gets the same form letter or if there’s truth to the idea that they tailor it slightly to indicate how close you got. Mine included the apparently reassuring (but slightly weaselly) statement: “Many excellent candidates could not be offered admission.”

So, as they suggested, I will continue to write and apply my talents. For the time being, that means more Edmo and continuing to prep the revision of “The Angel’s Charlie.” I’m almost finished the despair reading, and have actually reached the point where I ran out of plot, and desperate to reach 50k for the Night of Writing Dangerously, started writing a teaser for a sequel.

And – wow, now I’m suddenly blown away by the notion that I had already been doing this blog for four months before I started writing ‘Charlie.’ 😮

I’m looking forward to Camp Nanowrimo. Six of the regulars over at Stringing Words have finally managed to nab a cabin together, on our third try. I think I may not have much time to prepare, so I’ll just pants it more than usual!


Walking through the Despair of revision

March 19, 2013

Well, I’m on my way. This week, I have started my second Holly Lisle novel revision. This time, I’m editing my 2010 modern paranormal romance/adventure manuscript, “The Angel’s Charlie.” And I’m looking forward to the revision process… mostly. I know that it’ll take a lot of time and effort, but I’m excited at the prospect of turning a first draft that I love into a much better story.

Right now I’m nearly two thirds of the way through the first read-through of my current draft, filling out the worksheet that Holly named ‘Despair’. (Possibly with a bit of tongue in cheek.)

For me, the process has been a little harsh and grueling, and I can’t keep at it for that long without taking a break. As you read, you make notes on where your book falls into five different categories; places where the story falls apart, character elements that add to the story or detract from them, world detail that either works well or doesn’t, places where you catch yourself skimming as you read, and places where the story is really what you hoped it could be. And it’s fun to dream just a little, as I work, of the places my book could go if it turns out to be that good all the way through when it grows up. 🙂


I sold somebody on How To Think Sideways – and bought into it myself

March 15, 2013

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Cheerfully,
Holly

That’s the email that came through around 4 pm this afternoon. If you bought something from my links to the Holly Lisle sale from a few days ago… thanks so much! I hope you get a lot of benefit out of the course. And I’d love to hear from you in the comments (or privately at chriskelworth at gmail dot com if you’d prefer.)

Myself, I’d been wavering up until this morning, but I finally signed up to the How to Think Sideways ‘Bring your own lessons’ plan: This means that it doesn’t include the original 29 lessons, which you can buy a la carte on Holly’s side, or through Amazon or Nook stores through her HTTS Direct program. My sister and her family got me the first 8 HTTS Direct lessons for Christmas. But the ‘Ultra Bring your own lessons’ package includes all the extra stuff beyond the basic lesson handouts – permanent passes to the HTTS student forums, examples of the process from Holly’s own books, audio and video materials, and bonus lessons.

I hadn’t been sure if I needed that, but decided to dive on in. I also scored a bunch of HTTS Direct courses – from nine through twenty-four, which seemed like a good place to stop for today because lesson twenty-five was quick revision stuff, and as you know, I’ve already been through Holly’s big revision course. 😀

So I’ve got lots of course stuff to go through, when I find the time of course. What else? Oh, I’ve officially starting my victory lap for ‘How to Revise Your Novel’ – while “Children” is out with critiquers, I’ve begun going through lesson 1 with “The Angel’s Charlie”, a very different kind of book, but one that I have high hopes for revising.

Lots of cool Holly Lisle-ish stuff goin’ on.


National Novel Editing Month update, week 3

March 21, 2011

Total time logged so far: 32 hours, 14 minutes

I’ll have to put in quite a bit of time this coming weekend to get to fifty, but I really do think that I can make it. Since I last updated, I have…

finished the critters crit that I started last weekend, sent it in – and got a very nice thank-you note from the author for my feedback!
Finished proof-reading and spell-checking ‘The Angel’s Charlie’ – and grammar-checked it as well.
Participated in the ‘Hone your skills’ blogfest – yes, I counted the time I spent reviewing and sending feedback to other blogfesters as Edmo time, for the same reason as doing any other critiques, and I still didn’t have time to read everybody’s work, because of all the Wizard World craziness.
Began doing basic spell-checking, proof-reading, and grammar checking on a Roswell raggedy edge fanfic I finished last year, “Roswell Calling” – I’ve finished the spell-checking up to part 3 of 18, while the other stages are lagging a bit behind that point.
And I spent a lot more time reviewing notes for “The Long Way Home” and coming up with my own thoughts about what still needs editing in that manuscript.

Grammar checking with Microsoft Word is a process that I have to be careful with, I think, because while the automated tests can sometimes flag truly atrocious sentences that I never seem to notice when I’m reading the manuscript myself, and that sometimes slip by other readers – if I follow all of the suggestions about avoiding fragments and so on, I definitely I lose some of the unique voices of the characters. At some points I actually found myself growling ‘That’s voice!’ to the laptop while clicking on the ‘Ignore this rule violation’ button.

I’m not quite sure where to go next with “The Long Way Home” at this point… I might try to just pick something from the list that I’ve made that would be a fairly substantial rewrite of a scene or multiple scenes, and just start writing, in the hopes that I can get in touch with my creative side again, because my Inner Editor is all over the place and doesn’t seem to have a regimented plan for whipping the manuscript into shape. (Not that it’s in such terrible shape at the moment, but I know that it can be better, though I’m unsure about how to get there.)

One thing that was oddly fun about writing my Long-way-home list of things to fix, was getting into the possibility of powering-down my heroine’s magik arsenal, since it stands to reason that if things generally go too smoothly for your hero, taking away some of their resources or abilities and seeing them flounder a little and have to be clever about doing more with less sounds like a good tack to take. It works quite well in the Robert Asprin Myth-adventures series, actually, where for most of the books the Great Magician Skeeve has really only a few basic tricks down pat – but they’re also reasonably versatile tricks, and he’s smart about using them in fresh new ways.

Wish me luck for the final ten days of EdMo.


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