Sunday, March 30, 2014

April A to Z Challenge

I was totally on board with not participating in the April A to Z Challenge this year. Wasn't gonna do it. No sir. Didn't have the time or ambition and had other things I really need to focus on, namely the novel I'm cleaning up...that needs a new name.

But like a story idea that won't shut the hell up, the idea of participating in the blogging challenge using the theme of why I'm not participating keeps niggling at me. So yeah, that's what I'm doing. The entries will be short. I totally admit that I'm writing them all ahead of time, because I really am too busy to do this everyday. However, its a challenge, and I have a hard time saying no to those, especially when I've done them before.

So onward we charge into April and twenty-six reasons why I hadn't planned on participating this year.

If you would like to sign up, there are 1800+ blogs out there waiting for you to join them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Short Story Published

Sunset Cruise has been published on the Writing Through Your Divorce Blog. This is a great collection of stories of all sorts from people dealing with all angles of divorce.

Though mine was long ago and relegated to 'things we don't talk about anymore' territory, it was still therapeutic to write this story and share it with others.

May all your relationships be free of shining knights on horseback.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Estate of Waiting

I should have chosen "Wait" for my one word resolution or perhaps "Patience". Not only I'm I waiting to hear anything on (some for a very long time) several submissions and a couple accepted shorts to finally be released to the big world, but after wasting over four months with a bank who kept dragging their feet and offering every excuse in the book (which finally pushed us to kick them to the curb), and three productive weeks with another, we finally got our construction loan. The new house is in the works!

An hour after massaging our hands from the strain of signing all the paperwork, we gleefully called our builder to let him know we were ready to roll. That's when we learned that even though it's barely started to thaw around here, the seasonal road weight restrictions had gone into effect. The same damn day. No kidding. The excavator can't get his equipment there. The basement wall people can't get their crane there. We're dead in the water, again, until probably May. Thank you so very much extreme winter. You suck.

In writing news, work on Sahmara's story has being coming along at a good pace. Weaving all the strings tighter is definitely my favorite part of novel writing. Just when I start making progress with my 10k of fleshing out goal, other words need to be deleted. At chapter five, I've managed to add all of 1,000 words. This may take a few passes, or perhaps, one more and then tossing it out for critique. That's usually a good place to get nudges as to where I'm too bare in the bones. At least there's progress somewhere, right?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Popping out of my writing cave for a breath of fresh air

Sorry for blinking in and out of following blogs and returning critiques, but I've finally reached the end of completing the first draft of Sahmara's Sunset. When I get into novel writing mode, which has been rather rare these days, I go into hermit mode in my writing cave.

This particular novel has been a nine year process of rushing through 50K for NaNoWriMo, shelving it to finish Trust (and write several other novels), then returning to during two other NaNos to add more words, and now, finally filling in in the last gaps.

Some of the original bits are just plain horrible. A few even scenes made me laugh out loud. Sadly, they weren't supposed to be funny. Anything in those two categories has been rewritten. A third of the original text fell into the 'wow, I wrote that?' category. That stayed. The newer sections weren't half bad and the newest stuff is too fresh to objectively say one way or the other, but I feel safe in saying it's a good start at being a decent story.

One big issue is that I need a new title. I was so proud of myself for this particular one because I'm not usually (like near never) a title first kind of person. Apparently there's a good reason for that. The story has outgrown its original plot and, now, being more, needs something that fits better. This is going to be hard one to wrap my mind around changing because it's been with me for so long.

I have greatly enjoyed dropping into novel writing mode again, losing myself for hours in weaving another life in another world. It's keeping that momentum going that has been my big issue in the past couple years, which is why I've ventured into writing short stories. We're all about the instant gratification these days, aren't we? There's nothing about a writing, editing or a submitting a novel that's instant. Not that shorts are all that instant either in the submitting arena.

Much better notes were taken this time around as well as a summary outline of each chapter. With that big task out of the way, its time to spend some time with the summary and see what areas need to be expanded. I'd like another 10k to fully round out the story. It feels rushed in some places yet and the beginning needs some weaving work to mesh with the new end. Speaking of the end...

Sahmara's story was the first novel where I proved to myself that I could buckle down and finish a damn novel. Before this one, I'd been reluctant to write those words, scenes or anything resembling a halt to my merry rollick with my beloved characters in their world. But once I did write that ending, something clicked  and I discovered that finishing something felt pretty good and wasn't the end of the world I'd invented. Trust finally got an ending shortly after. Finally. And I was able to move on to other novels. Also, finally.

However, the ending I'd originally written for Sahmara no longer fit all the new meat I inserted into the missing middle of the story. So, join me waving goodbye to roughly 8K as it swirls down the drain. Bye bye pretty words. I do like the new ending much better so that takes the sting out of it a little.

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Reading

The snow just hasn't let up around here. Even in the few moments of sun we've been getting, the flakes are still falling. This is the most white stuff we've had to move around in all the seventeen years we've been in this house. It's getting a bit absurd. Enough already.

The one thing snow is good for is giving me an excuse to stay inside and attempt to be warm. Warm is best accomplished on the couch or bed under layers of blankets. Which means more time for reading.

Okay, so it's not exactly reading, but I did make my way (there wasn't much making, as much as there was careening) through the entire series of Breaking Bad. I hadn't watched a single episode while it was originally airing, but that turns out to be a good thing, because the best way to appreciate this amazingly written series is binge watching. The last season's writing was particularly excellent.

Hugh Howey's Sand was next on my list of things I'd been meaning to get to. This dystopian world centered around sand and heat and a dysfunctional family in a lawless land of hardships took a little edge off the chill. I don't have a lot to gush about on this one. It was middle of the road for me and the repetitive wording did get on my nitpicky nerves in some spots.

Now I'm going to gush.

Ever have one of those moments at a bookstore when a spine just catches your attention and you must pick up that book? I had that while meeting with a bookstore owner for work. I wasn't even looking for a book to buy, but yes, I bought this one. It cried out to me with promises of awesomeness. And it fulfilled them the next day when I couldn't but the damn thing down. All day. I'm sorry, Douglas Hulick, your ten years of effort in writing Among Thieves was devoured by my hungry eyes in a single day. And what a tasty meal it was.

What made me pick up fantasy novel full of swords and intrigue? I admit that it might have been the guy on the spine in those first seconds. Then it was the endorsement quote on the cover. I usually ignore those, but the words funny and twisting caught my eye. I love a little funny and a lot of twisting. I was sold after reading the first three sentences. The first page so reminded me of Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos Series and my favorite character, Shadowspawn, from the 1980's Thieves' World Series, that I nearly jumped for joy...right into the nearest chair so I could start reading. Full of swordplay, sarcastic wit, and a twisting plot full of mystery and colorful characters, there was nothing to pick at and everything to enjoy. I was blissfully whisked away to a land of reincarnating emperors, thieves with agendas and angels who may or may not actually exist. Now I have to wait for May to get the second book. Is it May yet? Must. Have. More.