Monthly Archives: November 2010

Shifting gears, and with good reason

Hello, everyone…

Now that I’ve started to get back into the flow of writing, I’m also going to take some time to do some preliminary editing. Now, don’t shoot me. *LOL* I’m not going to stop writing altogether, but one of my new Facebook contacts is an editor who asked to see a sample of my writing. Of course, I was flattered (and, of course, I was excited), and of course I sent her something right away. I sent her Chapters 4, 5, & 6 (prior to the most recent editing updates) because those are the three chapters that I’ve already paid a lot of attention to and are some of the most mature writing I’ve done on this project to date. It’s also work that I’ve already read a lot at writing groups and I’ve already gotten good feedback on and this made it a good choice so I could compare her suggestions to those that have been made already, something that I suspect should be a fairly reliable gauge of her editing ability. (Since evaluating ideally goes both ways, I should be evaluating her editing while she’s evaluating my draft.)

What she sent back to me after a few days was pretty encouraging. She made some suggestions for the first chapter I sent (Chapter 4) which were of questionable reliability (completely understandable, given that she was deprived of being able to read the first three chapters) and many suggestions which surprised me. She found grammatical awkwardness in a lot of places I had missed (apparently I am a pronoun whore *LOL*) and some of her suggestions showed me where I could be doing a much better job of conveying what’s happening in a clear and imaginable way. As a writer, these can be the most difficult mistakes to catch because the writer knows precisely what they are trying to convey, they know with absolute clarity the scene they are trying to write. Thus, we can never know exactly how readers perceive what we write and how closely it matches what we intend for the reader to perceive. We need lots of feedback AND reliable editors to help us to uncover where our writing fails to paint the picture we’re trying to portray.

So, along with the suggestions she sent to me, she asked me to edit Chapter 4 taking her suggestions into account and to apply those same suggestions to Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and send them back. She said she would then take a look at how I implemented her suggestions throughout (presumably to see how well I respond to specific suggestions and to see how well I improve my writing overall as a result).

I’m eager to get to work on this since I could possibly have found an editor! How exciting would that be?! 🙂

Chapter 8 – Scene Two is posted!

Hello everyone!

The story continues… The girls in the orphanage are all in a panic. What happened??

You’ll find out when you read the scene I call “Rude awakening”.

Let me know what you think!

Chapter 8 – Scene One is up! – – Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hello, everyone!

Doesn’t progress feel good?!

Chapter 8 – Scene One is finished and posted. It’s a little heart-warming, something appropriate to read on Thanksgiving. I hope you all enjoy it. This being the first new scene after such a dramatic shift in setting was kinda tough to get a handle on, but I think I did okay with it. Take care and have a very happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving, everyone.

So good to feel like I’m ‘moving forward’

Hey, everyone.

Just a quick note to report that tonight I’m working on… wait for it… Chapter 8! YES! For the first time in months I feel the sheer elation of feeling like I’m ‘writing forward’ rather than ‘fixing backward’. I am, as promised, picking up the story of our central character at the orphanage. I want to thank all of you who put up with me going back to address my concerns about the beginning that ‘just weren’t right’. Not that it wasn’t ‘good’. It just wasn’t ‘right’. I just felt that without that foundation of a solid beginning I was unsettled and apprehensive in my writing, not sure if it would all ‘fit’ correctly, nervous about creating logical inconsistencies and continuity errors, like I was coming into the middle of my own movie. But now that the beginning feels much better and all of the gaps are filled, I feel much more comfortable picking up where I left off at the orphanage and I’ve written almost 200 words already. A slow pace, even for me, but it’s coming back. And now, as the central character, now called “Elizabeth” (or sometimes “Liza”) continues to recover from her injuries, I’ll be able to benefit from all of that character work in the earlier chapters to really find her ‘voice’. Thanks again, for bearing with me. I think it will have been worth it.

Mortality, Interrupted hits first major milestone!

Hello, again!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that with the new content and the latest edits, the draft for Mortality, Interrupted is now 7 chapters and just broke the 30,000-word mark! Given that the average novel is about 90,000 words, that puts the draft at about the 1/3 mark at just the point where we’re moving into the middle section of the book! Right on target!

Okay, back to your day, everyone! Move along… 😉

Draft completely updated

Hello, everyone!

Just want to send a quick “thank you” to everyone for putting up with the update notices. The entire draft is now up to date and there are no gaps remaining in the storyline! Woohoo!!!

So, for those of you who haven’t read the entire draft in a while, you might want to give it another look. See if you can spot any editing mistakes I made while you update yourself on the revised storyline.

Now, I’d love to present myself with more wittipensity but my poor brain has been awake for far too long. Must go to bed. I do hope you like the revisions. G’nite!

Heads’ up!! Scattered changes coming throughout the entire draft!

Hello, everyone!

I apologize for all of the update messages you’re getting and are about to get, but now that I’ve got the beginning caught up to the middle I’m going through those middle chapters making small edits to account for anything that needs to be changed to bring the draft in line with the slight revisions in the storyline.

You can ignore these if you want to, or if you’d rather you can check them out. The differences are mostly minor, some even inconsequential, but hopefully you’ll notice an improved readability.

Once I do these edits I’ll go back through it all again and apply some excellent editing suggestions I received from one of my new friends on facebook. There’s even the tantalizing possibility that more editing recommendations could come my way. Stay tuned!

Thanks, everyone! Happy reading!

Just added: Homecoming scene updated with exciting, new conversation!!

Hello, everyone!

Just me, slaving over a hot keyboard, and things are really starting to take shape! Those of you who have the password to read beyond the first three chapters will be able to see the new Homecoming scene. This is a scene I wrote back in August that portrayed the baronial family returning home to Torda. I pulled this scene from the site when I decided to revamp the beginning and I subsequently decided to use the conversation I originally wrote for this scene in the third and final scene of Chapter One.

But this scene was still needed, but now it just needed to have the conversation in the coach updated to reflect the evolving storyline. I’m very pleased with the results, but as always, don;t spare my feelings if you don’t agree. Telling me what I need to know is much more important than telling me what I want to hear. I know I can count on you guys to give it to me straight, so have at!

CAUTION: Construction Zone!

Hello everyone,

As I continue to work on this draft, I’m reminded of the old adage that legislation, like sausage, is something people really wouldn’t want to see being made. I’m thinking that this draft of my first book might be something like that, too. I’ve written scenes and re-written scenes. I’ve changed names, locations, settings, and time periods. I’ve inserted new scenes into the middle of ‘completed’ chapters and moved scenes forward and back. It’s sometimes confusing even to me where various parts of my book stand from day to day. If I didn’t have a kick-ass (and FREE!) writing program (yWriter 5 from Spacejock Software by Simon Haynes – how’s that for a plug, Simon?) I would be a complete mess!

But I decided a long time ago that the best thing I could do for those of you who are supporting me and encouraging me is to let you watch this thing grow, to give you something like back-stage access so you can see how your input becomes a part of it, to show you how your efforts help me write this story. It’s my first crack at this, too. I had no idea when I started how messy this could get and I still have no idea if it will get messier still before it’s done. This is a journey of discovery for all of us and I want you all along for the ride to wherever it leads. If I get this story as good as I can write it and none of the publishers want to pick it up, I’ll be very disappointed, but I’ll have some vanity press somewhere run us all some copies of it anyway and we can all have something to hold in our hands and say “WE DID THIS”.

But to get back to what this blog entry is about in a more specific sense, I’m re-writing a scene I’ve written before, the scene where the baronial family is returning to Torda. I cannibalized this scene for conversation that now appears earlier in the story; but now I still need this scene to happen, but with the content I’ve since added I now need to plug different conversation into it to reflect how the story has changed since I first wrote this scene back in August.

But this has a domino effect in that material I’ve already written is getting moved around to accommodate these changes. Chapter 3, in particular, is radically different; and some scenes are now grouped with scenes they weren’t associated with before in a reshuffling of those scenes into an altered presentation. I’ve lived with some of these scenes for so long that I can’t tell if these changes are an improvement or not. My guess is that they are, but I feel very uncertain about the new chapter/scene lineup because I just can’t look at it with a perspective that’s detached enough to be able to tell me that. So, once I get all of this finished, hopefully you all will be able to look at it with fresh eyes and tell me what you think.

Thank you!!!!!!!

A special Thanksgiving message – PLEASE READ

Hey everyone!

I want to express a sincere “thank you” to all of you for the MASSIVE support you’ve given me. Please don’t underestimate how much that helps to keep me going. Having a story inside that you’re dying to tell is only the first part of writing that first book. Believing that there are people that are just as eager to read it is critical to overcoming the natural doubts that every new writer must face. Quite literally, this book could never be written without every one of you encouraging me to write it.

For creative people with innate talent, conjuring a compelling story isn’t the hard part. It’s fleshing out the details and putting them down on paper in a manner that unfolds naturally for the reader that’s hard. That’s not so much talent as it is skill. Someone can be the most creative person on earth, but if they lack that skill, their fantastic story will still fall flat as a board and be just as tasty. Writing is a blend of talent and skill. Creative talent, you’re either born with, or you’re not; and there’s nothing special about a person that has it over someone who doesn’t. Writing, though, is a skill that no one is born with and can only be learned. Commercially-viable writers, then, must be born with creative talent. If they have that, they must then learn the skill of writing if they want to have a shot at commercial success.

I thrive on the praise I am given and I’m grateful to each one of you who, by coming to this site and reading my story and posting comments on these pages, invest your precious time and attention on my efforts. Don’t think that because you might not be a writer that your input couldn’t have value. In fact, it’s the opposite that’s true. Your input is invaluable because you are readers first and foremost. Books aren’t written for writers, they’re written for readers. I need input from a broad spectrum of readers to know whether I am on track or not. Without that input I have no rudder by which to steer. Input from fellow writers can tell me how to improve my writing skills in very concrete ways, but only input from readers can tell me with absolute clarity what I need to work on.

I’m still at the early stages of learning the skills of writing. That’s not being self-deprecating, nor is it false humility. I have a great deal to learn and I have a great deal of work to do to become the kind of writer I believe I can someday be. As we prepare for Thanksgiving this week, I want to give thanks to each and every one of you who are playing such a critical role in my development as a writer. If I should beat the odds and become a commercial success in the future, it will be because each of you cared enough to help me become successful, and no value can be placed on something that precious.

Financially, I’m broke; but I’m living fairly comfortably because of my incredible luck at being born into a charitable and loving family. Unlike many in my shoes, I don’t go hungry and my worries over money are not overwhelming. My life has zero frills, but I’m getting by okay. I’m eternally grateful to my family for their support and if I ‘make it’ as a writer I will have a whole host of people to thank for it. But for even getting this far I have all of you who have supported me with your thoughtful comments and heartfelt encouragement to be thankful for. I don’t just think about this on Thanksgiving, but every day whether I write that day or not. But on a day set aside for the sole purpose of giving thanks, how can I not take the extra time to express in detail what I feel every day?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.