Monthly Archives: May 2016

Off to the Editor!

On Thursday night, I passed in War Mage. I’m not happy with it For one, it’s too short, 34,000 words. It’s honestly not my best work. I’ve been worried about following so many rules that it seems like a hodgepodge of rules.

A beta reader read the second draft, and gave me some pointers, which I tried to put in. However, some things I meant to follow based on my reading of some writing books. I really wonder whether writing books are worth it. They create so many rules that I realize I’m not following, that I feel like I’m being forced to write in a box.

Take romance, for instance. I always throw in a twist. I’ve read more books on writing romance than actual romance books. On the books about romance, there’s a certain formula that does not include the twist. So does that mean I’m not writing a romance?

I’ve been reading some books on general writing, and these come up with the formula for sellable books. Maybe that’s my problem? I don’t write sellable books, but I write stories.

I started listening to a book called Crimes Against Magic. I liked the premise, a modern sorcerer/thief. The first thing that turned me off was the prologue. Is there a point to a prologue? I honestly do believe that a prologue is there because it’s a cool scene and the author has no place for it in the book. I liked the description, even if the scene was stupid and made no sense.

Then I started listening to the first chapter. The scene was just too easy, too contrived, too, I don’t know. There was  a lot of improper sentence structure that grated on me, but I listened through it. Finally, when the guy gets his object (within ten minutes of the story), and the final bad sentence I could stand, I deleted it.

And this was published by a big publisher?

Dear God, what the hell is wrong with people! There’s no accounting for taste or editorial ability.

Next on the list: rewrite of Grimaulkin.

Finished the rewrite! Now if they’d leave me alone…

I finished the rewrite, at least on paper. However, I need to transcribe it to the computer.

I don’t know about you, but writing, to me, is a solitary activity. I need to have no one in the same room as me. I don’t know why, but I need to have it absolutely solitary.

Unfortunately, my computer – the computer that’s in the cellar – is also near the only working TV in the house. My kid prefers to watch TV. So he’s downstairs watching TV, while I’m upstairs doing this instead of transcribing the rewrite.

It’s like reading. I need to be transported into that other world as fully as possible. I used to be able to put my feet in both worlds at the same time, the writing world and the real world. Then I got old and cranky, and have to deal with rules. One of those rules is to write with the proper music or in silence. Rewrites need to be in silence because I’m editing and thinking about writing.

I had planned on getting it done today, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be done today. Maybe tomorrow?

Rewrite continues; ARIA meeting results

Two chapters left to rewrite. To tell you the truth, this is where it gets fast. Things start happening too fast and I need to slow it down, describe it more, come up with more scenes. I’m probably going to put it aside and take one chapter at a time to flesh it out.  Chapter ten starts, “For the next couple of weeks…” I need to come up with a timeline. I was thinking of doing it for the chapter headings, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.

In my rewrite journal, I have a calendar. I need to write down what the dates are, when the chapters are, and how long has passed until “For the next couple of weeks…” shows up.

I went to the Association of Rhode Island Authors’ meeting. I was going to pay for my membership then but I realized they didn’t take cash. So I’ll send them a check or money order when I get a chance.

They had an editor there. She was nice but nervous. She suggested the Chicago manual of style, which I believe Laureen uses when she edits. (I don’t think that Paper Angel has its own style guide other than “anything but courier.”) I asked a question about semicolons. It seems that no one is using them these days anymore. I was told that the semicolon has been replaced with the em-dash.

Well, that pissed me off. I like the semicolon for two reasons. One: it’s a pregnant pause, something to connect two ideas but makes the person take a breath and absorb the first half of the sentence before continuing on the second idea. Two: It’s a mental health symbol. There are semicolon tattoos that mean something like, “My story isn’t finished yet.” It’s a fad, not something I would do. But, dammit, it’s there to be used.It’s more than just a blinky smile-face. So to hell with modern fiction; I’m using it.

Another thing about ARIA is that they’re out to make money. I have to pay $35 in dues. Then I have to pay upwards of $35 for a spot at their table. I mean, really?  REALLY? I have to shell out $35 for some spots, $50 for others. $250 for RI Comicon and $100 for the Big E.Paper Angel has asked if I could represent the press, too. I’m going to try, at least for some of the smaller venues; I only have one book, and it’s not necessarily going to be a big seller.

Also, there was a cute guy at the meeting. He sat behind me. Part of me wishes I could have talked to him, but the part of me that won out was “I have to get home.” I hope to see him again and I hope I have the balls to talk to him. He’s doing RIComicon. I’m not. I’ll never make that money back – I’ll need to sell 25 copies at least. And although I have Marc Durrow as my artist, I’m not sure how much pull that will be in the arena. And then…there’s people. So. Many. People.

Went shopping also for a tablecloth. You know, they don’t have the camo pattern I’m looking for? Desert pixel; how hard is that? I found something like it, but it had swirls and leaves. I might go back and get some – it will match my book as it is. However, I have to get something that will match Grimalkin’s book, too.

That book cover I’m trying to design in my head. I was thinking of having it look like a composition notebook, purple, with a hand-drawn gold pentacle in the center of it, the title beneath it, handwritten. The other option is having the entire thing be a light purple with the title written diagonally along the right side, the gold pentacle on a chain, and the sigils for Belial and Andromalius somewhere on it in silver or black,floating in space.  Not sure how that would look, or if it looks too busy.

I’ll need to see it. I’ll have Marc draw a sketch. I was supposed to have him draw Jake, but I changed my mind since I’m going to put my name on the second and third books.

So plans are: Finish the paper markup today of War Mage. Work on the computer updates between today and tomorrow.. Submit to the editor on Tuesday; print out a copy for my beta reader on Tuesday also. Start the rewrite of Grimalkin tomorrow.

When your heart’s not in it

I pulled out Grimaulkin, draft 3, and gave it to someone to read. “Other than the gay parts,” he said, “I loved it.” And he gave me the reasons what did and didn’t work, so I wrote them down and I plan on rewriting that one.

War Mage, because I’ve been staring at it for about a year now, I’m sick and tired of. I know where I want the story to go, but when I sit down with it, I say to myself, “Meh, I don’t want to do this anymore.” Because of my ADD, I want to dump it and move on to something else. But with this one, I can’t. I have fans! I have people who have actually paid to read the first book in the series, who are waiting for the second book to either answer questions or continue on where I left off. I have a duty, an obligation, to continue the series.

But I’m so frustrated with how the rewrite’s going, how I’m consolidating characters and shoehorning other characters, how I’m deleting scene after scene and rewriting or inserting new scenes…I want to toss the whole thing and work on something else. Like Grim.

Duty to my fans vs. boredom.

I’m sure a lot of other professional writers run into this issue. Do you write to the market or write to the heart? Is it true that if you do what you love the money will come? I personally don’t think so. If that were the case, I’d be rich by now.

I’m going to finish this scene, then do the fun things I want to do. (I’m procrastinating while I write this blog, doncha know.)

Next comes Jagermeister which I’m going to give to my captive audience, I’m going to have to severely rewrite it, though. I read through the first few pages and saw typical first-time writer issues that I avoided with the other two books. I know my captive audience is not going to like it.

What I didn’t do

I had hoped to have the second novel done by yesterday and off to the editor.

No such luck. My time has been distracted by work, gaming, and other methods of procrastination. I’m making some life changes, like I’m avoiding meat for the next couple of weeks because of intestinal issues that I’ve been having. I’m trying to see if that will help change things. I know that limiting milk from my diet has really helped.

I’m also working on DBT skills. In case you’re wondering what that is, it’s a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that relies on “skills” or ways to think about the world. One of its central skills is something called “Mindfulness.” It’s a way of meditating, of “being in the now”. The idea is that if you practice these skills when you don’t have to, you’ll be able to use these skills when you do need them and they’ll come automatically.

So body and mind…live healtier, think healthier, and I need to work healthier. My day job is becoming stressful, mostly because, honestly, I’m doing it in a half-assed manner. This is something that I don’t usually do. I usually care deeply about my work, making sure I do it, I’m doing it right, and I’m thorough. For the past month, I’ve not cared. I’ve done stuff if asked, but as for initiating, I’m not. I don’t care. I am a simple cog in a big machine, and I don’t feel wanted or needed, just used.

This is unusual for me. It will be 10 years at this company next year, the longest I’ve ever been at a company. I don’t want to be here anymore. No matter what I do, it’s not good enough. Instead of getting pissed off about it, I just don’t care anymore.

And now…to bed.