I just sent off Grimaulkin back to the editor, a day earlier than I promised. What’s next on the list of things to do?
Podcast. Dark Mystic Quill’s website will be up and running on the 30th. I just have to get the podcast finished by then. I’m 2/3 (or two topics) of the way through it, with the music buffers in place. I just have to talk about my bipolar disorder which is the hardest thing to do. It’s also the most authentic, I think, which is why it’s so hard. Not to say that witchcraft and writing aren’t authentic. It’s easier to bounce things off other things I read or hear, but when talking about the bipolar disorder, it’s all me, baby.
I have joined Sarah Werner’s FB group “I Am a Writer” and I’m trying really hard not to self-promote so I don’t get kicked off. I would like to inspire and be inspired by other writers–it’s what I’m missing around here. The RI Authors are so into marketing and selling that they don’t seem to be in the writing. They’re all about exposure to sell books. For example, today, there’s a “Meet and Greet” in Warwick which should actually be termed “Meet and Buy.” Whatever happened to authors wanting to talk about writing and not marketing?
War Mage. I am in the beginning of Lesson 4 which has to do with plot, subplots and beginnings of plots or plots that have nothing to do with the main plot (Anti-Chekov’s Gun, I guess). Eventually I’ll be figuring out what to keep, what to toss, and what I need to fix. I have two sub plots that really need to go, but then the word count will go down considerably. So that’s what I’ll work on for the rest of the weekend. And warming up. It’s cold outside!
I so far have laid down five minutes of my podcast. It’s about “Writing, Witchcraft and Woe, but not necessarily in that order.” I have music that I bought to use for the beginning tracks.
I went and bought a nice expensive Blue Yeti mike. Problem is, it’s too good, and picks up everything. It picks up my refrigerator when it runs (it’s loud, anyway), my furnace when it goes off, and the cars outside. And my cat purring. Being that I’m an idiot when it comes to audio, I suppose I have to do something on the mike to get it to stop picking up ambient noise. So I’m using a headset mike, which isn’t as good and definitely isn’t as clear.
What a pain in the ass editing is though. I have to cut so much space (I wheeze when I breathe). that it sounds like I’m not breathing. I can tell editing now on other podcasts. It makes people sound so intelligent. Now I know why.
I got my edits back for Grimaulkin! I could sit here and say, “Oh, my God, it’s such a mess.” Nearly every page has an edit on it. I’m up to page 92 and there were two pages without edits. I use way too many commas and I don’t believe in the Oxford comma (the one that comes before and in a list). Maybe I should crack open that Chicago Manual of Style book I have if I’m going to line-edit.
There’s a few edits that I’ve chosen to take as suggestions. Most of the edits, though, clarify things or point out whether I should/could do something better. I have the curse of the pantser: I often write description after the object is introduced, not before.
Noticing this, it helps me to work a little on War Mage. I’m still deep in that surgery as well. Right now I’m clarifying the scenes I’ve written and noticed 1) I have no plot and 2) I have no action and 3) Brent reacts to nothing. I think I have to throw in a murder
A few years back, I plunked down a goodly amount of money for an online course on how to revise your novel. It’s by Holly Lisle (someone I never heard of, and someone whose books I’ve never read). It was a fun course, though I never finished it, I found out a few things about how to improve my manuscript and between her and Rayne Hall, I’ve found ways to try an keep my writing clean.
Anyway, I pulled out War Mage and read through it and found out what a wreck it is. Between cutting and pasting, leaving some first-draft stuff, adding seventh (Yes, seventh) draft stuff on top of it, this story, as written, is not what I planned. Even though I knew in my head what I wanted, it didn’t translate on the page because I kept saying to myself, “I’ll go into that in more detail in the next book.” Well, no…I should go into more detail in this book.
One of the things Holly points out is that when you revise, you should start at the 30,000 foot level and then line edit at the very end. Start with the story, the structure, the scenes, then the words. She gives you worksheets to fill out, which might sound stupid, but actually distills your story to a workable form. Right now I’m working through characters, and finding out that my main character carries less weight than most of the secondary and even some tertiary characters. I describe people in detail that should just be “Sergeant So-and-so”.
I would suggest this course to anyone who’s looking at their manuscript and saying, “Where do I start?” Yes, it’s pricy, and 22 weeks might seem long, but you have access to it for a lifetime. I have given myself until June 1 to get this revision done. Also, in June should be the release of Grimaulkin.
Grim is at the editor’s. A few common errors were found in the sample that was sent to me, things that are common for pantsers, like description before the subject instead of after, and use of flat words instead of more specific words. Also the word “that”. I’m going to run a spell check through it and pull out as many “that”‘s as I can.
There’s going to be an author Meet & Greet at the Warwick Public Library April 22, and Grim won’t be ready by then. We hope to have it ready by June. I’ll launch it, do meet & greets, and book signings then, throughout the summer. Definitely not doing Comicon. The Association of RI Authors has a small clique of sci-fi (speculative fiction) authors that get together and do stuff. Because I am both old and anxious, I haven’t found a way to get into that clique. Besides, I have only one book. Maybe once I get a few books under my belt, I’ll get a little less anxious.
Grim 2 is up to 20K and I’ve already completed the main plot. Or have I? I suppose there’s room to maneuver something else in the main plot. Or change the main plot. Or I could do what I did with Grim, and introduce a whole new plot right in the middle. I feel like I’m dragging shit, putting stuff in there for the sake of putting stuff in there. Maybe when I’m done, I’ll be over 70K and have the luxury of pulling stuff out.
I’d probably be over 20K if I didn’t have to worry about my writing environment or timing. I used to write at work during lunch hour, but it always seemed like a warm-up, not actual “good stuff”. I write Champions stories during lunch, when my characters need to do something off camera.
I also have a writing computer where I’m writing this blog. It’s my iMac Mini named Hemingway, located feet away from the only TV in the house.. So what ends up happening a lot is that my son wants to watch TV at the same time I want to write. I can’t write 1) with a TV on in the background, 2) someone else in the room, 3) if it’s too darn cold. so I go elsewhere and let my muse stew. In the evening, by the time he’s done with TV, I’m involved in something else so I don’t write.
I sometimes write between 5-6, but once I get on my office/gaming computer, I’m doing gaming and not writing. Six to seven or eight is when I listen to the news via Sirius XM; 8-9 is when I game. I’m sometimes in bed by 8 or 9. If I wake up before the alarm, I will sometimes do some writing, but I mostly go into work early so I can leave early. That’s my weekdays. Weekends, I like to do my writing in the morning. After 4 hours or so, I peter out and can’t do anymore. Sometimes I’ll take a chores/gaming break, and then go back to writing at night.
Editing is different. Editing, I take as much time as I can and do that, because there’s a time constraint on that. I like to give myself two weeks to turn edits around, three if they’re really bad (i.e. War Mage). I’m thinking of pulling out my old “How to Revise” course that I paid $300 for back in the day and tackle War Mage with that. Of course, I have to find it…
So, at present, Water and Grimaulkin are at the editor’s. Grimaulkin Tempted is up to 10K words already and I’m in need of another subplot. So far I have:
Main plot: Scott’s ex comes back.
Subplot A: Becky, his cousin, is being followed by a mysterious person.
Subplot B: Mike is being used as the downstairs mover.
I need a magical subplot C, something to get the Rosicrucians involved again. Or a subplot D, another Satanic murder (though that’s going to be be in the third book, I think). Another minor demon involved? Not sure. Also maybe something involving Rufus, the dog.
Earth is going to be the next erotica series, I think. I need to do more research on the Earth signs to find out good places to put them, and what powers they control.
Also, I was reminded of War Mage. In my excitement over Grim, I’ve let that go to the wayside. I didn’t care much for some of the editing, and so I put it aside. I tried to rewrite it from the beginning based on my beta reader’s suggestions, but it just didn’t want to work. Jake Logan is a gay writer. L.A. Jacob can write both gay and straight, but the military has to come from Jake. L.A. Jacob reins in the sex part, which is why the sex is alluded to in War Mage, not explicit. The Dark Prison, the third book, has no sex (yet). War Mage has to be complete by July for a September release.
Man, I have so many irons in the fire. And I’m going to buy a microphone to start doing podcasts! Maybe. But I am buying a mike. The podcast will be about writing and magic. I will probably have it “sponsored” by Paper Angel Press and Zarra Knightley Publishing. In other words, I’ll shill their books. Not sure about author interviews yet. I’m not one of the best interviewers –it’s been a very long time since I’ve done interviews. There’s one podcast I listen to where the guy asks the same questions of every guest, and I don’t want to do that. You can tell he doesn’t do much research on the guests he has.
So that seems like enough for this week.