Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Common Sense Isn't So Common Anymore

What I'm Listening To: The Fray - Little House (Interesting note; this song inspired a really important plot point in Eden.)

What I'm Doing: Dying. TAT *headache* and getting ready to go to bed.

I randomly wandered over to blogger while wasting time (haven't written a thing today! DD8 I'm slipping!) and started reading through my watchlist, to see if anything interesting had been posted, and through a series of "So and so posted a fantastic article on such and such over at this blog today!" I found Alexander Field's blog. Two entries in, and I knew I had to follow him; he's very insightful and well spoken.

In the first post I found, he listed ten things NOT to do in your query letter, and while I was commenting on them, I said that when I first saw his list, I was afraid that I had/would commit most of them, but upon actually reading it, I realised that they were mostly common sense.

That's where the title of this post comes from; have you ever really looked around and noticed that these days? Common sense. Good ideas or thoughts or actions that are supposed to be common knowledge, such as looking both ways before crossing a street.

Yet I continually see the kids out front simply run back and forth with no regard to oncoming vehicles.

I'm sorry, I weigh less than three hundred pounds (by quite a large margin; you'll never get my true weight out me, however.) Those cars are upwards of one or two tons or more. They outweigh me by several thousand pounds and while the human body can take quite a lot of trauma, I'm rather inclined to keep it the way it is, thank you very much. I can also maneuver a little bit quicker than they can; if we don't see each other until they're almost on top of me, then it's quite a lot easier for me to fling myself backwards than it is for the car to fling itself backwards. But this may be just the way I was raised, which includes taking your hat off when you enter a building, and holding doors for people, which, while not common sense, belong to the equally rare and endangered category of common decency.

But I see a lot of the same axioms, maxims, and proverbs in my research for writing, as well as a hell of a lot of good advice. Three people tell me that a query letter isn't a post-it to your best friend on the fridge, it is a business letter. I think of it this way; if you won't go to a job interview in ripped jeans and a bikini top, don't be rude to the people you're trying to do business with. Their first impression of you is the query letter, and while there's pressure to make it good, it doesn't have to be a work of literary genius in and of itself. Tell them about your book. That's it. Make it interesting. That's it. Remain formal, and you're cool. The very idea that someone would write a lazy query (as in, "Sup dawg, so I wanchu to check out this piece of shit that I wrote last night when I was high.") is abhorrent to me. As is the fact that these people often send angry letters when they're rejected.

Dear agent,
I would like to submit for your perusing joy my novel A GIRL AND HER DOG.
It's about Little Lucy Lemon and her dog Snoopy.

And of course, any self respecting agent stops there and sends a form rejection, to which Little Lucy Lemon replies

ACK. GASP. SLDKGJ. That's like calling up the place you just interviewed with and telling them that you're going to blow the place up because they don't know what sort of fantastic worker they just turned down in favour of someone a little more sane.

Most people wouldn't do that. They wouldn't walk away from an interview in which they were rejected, then call them up and scream profanities at them. So it's completely beyond me why people would do that to agents. I think agents should have BOLOs for these sorts of people. Like, a whole interconnecting agent-link to which they can post "DO NOT ACCEPT A GIRL AND HER DOG FROM LUCY LEMON." and save themselves a whole lot of stress and trouble and angry tweeting.

Wow, I'm off-topic. XD I'm (in)famous for that on certain websites, in which 'off topic chatter' is unaccepted in the forums. This was originally meant to be a post about notable blogs I've found useful.

And this is in my head, so I can't possibly not say anything about it. I don't know who said this (I want to say Janet Reid at the Query Shark, but I don't know for sure.) about agents wanting something a touch personal in their queries and not To Whom It May Concern. They'll even take "Dear Reptilian Agent Standing Between Me And Fame" which just tickles me pink. And horrifies me at the same time.

What sort of maniacs out there saw that, and then promptly rewrote their query letter to say Dear Reptilian Agent...?

Anywho, onto the links!

Alexandra Sokoloff - I know I linked to her in my last post, but now you're honour-bound to check out her blog. She's the author of The Unseen, The Harrowing, and The Price, three horror/suspense novels, one of which won the Bram Stoker Award. I don't even have to know what they're about to be interested in them, just on the covers alone, but what really interests me are her posts on screenwriting tips for authors. Very, extraordinarily helpful collection of information there.

Editorial Anonymous - Editors seem to be more reclusive than agents, or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Anyway, the anonymous editor here generally posts helpful questions submitted to her as well as their answers, which can be a great help.

Editorial Ass - That's 'ass-istant', and she goes by the pseudonym Moonrat. Hysterically funny at times, she also posts words of wisdom as well as gems she finds in her inbox, and stories from her homelife. The most astonishing thing about Moonrat is that she's not much older than me; twenty four, twenty five at most. I had assumed she was at least in her thirties, possibly fourties. Very good reads in here, and she's very relatable-to. ... (hush, that's a word because I say it is.)

Miss Snark's First Victim - I'll be frank; she really intimidated me when I first found her blog. I'd heard rumours of Miss Snark, but I came onto the writing scene a couple of years after she stopped blogging, so I was never subjected to her full furious wrath. Not to mention she was posting contest-like things, Drop the Needle and the Secret Agent submissions. But Twitter and Facebook helped me out a lot, and now I recognise her blog for what it really is; a truly helpful tool, whose 'contests' (I realise they're not really, but I have a pounding headache in addition to it being one thirty in the morning, so excuse my lack of brain power for now.) are extraordinarily useful. Okay, so she tells funny stories, too. I may have a blogger-'type'.

The Query Shark - Is there anything more horrifying than the thought of someone ripping your query to pieces? Maybe someone ripping your novel to pieces. But also think about this from the agent's POV; she's got to sit and read through this crap every day. This is a fabulous, brave woman, who clearly has the patience of a saint to not be stark raving mad by now, dealing with the things she does. Some of the comments are amusing, and of course, the whole thing is geared towards helping you to write a better query.

The Blood-Red Pencil - This is one of the blogs I check religiously. I deliberately seek them out in my list, rather than just skimming the whole 'all blogs' thing. Absolutely amazing hints, tips, and tricks, with a healthy smattering of funny stories.

The Literary Lab - Another one I check religiously, for much of the same reasons as the Blood-Red Pencil. They're also full of really cool guest bloggers, who offer insights and insider's knowledge and general opinions not found anywhere else. Absolutely love this blog.

The Mystery and the Magic - Just found this one tonight; he's the one who prompted this whole blog post. I haven't read very far into his archives, but what I've seen so far, he promises to be just as inspiring and helpful as the others that I've listed here.

Okay. Now, I'm going to take seven or eight more aspirin and go to bed. TAT I have a small mouth anyway, and all my normal teeth plus four wisdom teeth (two on each side.) Since I don't have any sort of dental insurance, I have no way of taking care of this problem, and frequently, my teeth start shifting around as the wisdom teeth come in further, or move around, and this causes extreme pain that nothing but aspirin will take care of. Earlier, it hurt in three places; the bottom, near the front, the top near the front, and the top near the back. This meant that not only did my mouth hurt, but my chin, cheek, temple, and forehead hurt as well. Some unknown amount of aspirin later (I take them, they work, the pain comes back, I take more...) and I've got a pounding headache.

Also. We have three bearded dragons. (Really cute little lizards.) We feed them crickets at times.

They do not always eat all of the crickets at once.

There is one. ONE. cricket remaining, and it is silent all day. As soon as everyone else goes to bed, this fscker starts cricking as LOUDLY AS IS FREAKIN' POSSIBLE, and is NOT HELPING MY HEADACHE.

In a funnier story, we always assumed that we had two boys and a girl. They're all in separate terrariums, because the two boys would fight, and obviously, the girl couldn't be kept in with either of the boys because they would mate, and the girl came from the same clutch as one of the boys (making them essentially siblings. Inbred dragons. Can you imagine? XD)

Today, I noticed something strange in one of their cages (they are, in order from biggest to smallest, Draco, a boy, Gizmo, and Saphira, the girl.) It was in Gizmo's cage, and I happened to be walking past to do laundry.

There were several little white things littering the floor of the terrarium, so I waited until my stepmother came out of her room, and asked, "What's in Gizmo's cage?" and proceeded on my duty of laundry-switching.

I came out of the garage (where our dryer is) and she pointed at Gizmo's cage and shouted, "WE THOUGHT YOU WERE A BOY."

Gizmo laid eggs.

They're unfertilized, so we're not having baby dragons (but I still get to say we've got dragon eggs in our house. XD) but still. Our supposedly male dragon laid eggs. She/he acts like a male in all other respects; same mannerisms as Draco, although more mild, less inclined to asshattery (Draco is a pain in the BUTT. If anyone ever tells me 'lizards have no personality' I'm going to laugh in their faces. Our three have more personality than our dogs.)

Okay, anywho. Aspirin. Bed. Good night, all. ♥

Monday, June 29, 2009


What I'm Listening To: Metro Station - Shake It

What I'm Doing: Putzing around the internet before knuckling down and writing.

I think I've talked about this on Twitter, but I forget what I have and haven't kept up with on various places. (I know I'm quite behind on my LJ, for instance.) And I mentioned in on Facebook, definitely.

Anyway, I found Alexandra Sokoloff via The Blood-Red Pencil and she has some amazing articles on writing a book using screenplay tips. Now, granted, reading her all day ground my writing to a halt, but it also inspired a great deal of ideas for me. (Oh, I can do that HEERE, ah, I see where I've already done that, good, at least I'm not totally hopeless, etc.)

She mentioned that one of her books had won an award, called the Bram Stoker Award. I thought that was pretty nifty, but didn't really delve any deeper into it, until I saw someone else had won it (I forget who, now.) on Wikipedia, so I went and looked it up. The Bram Stoker award is given out by the HWA - Horror Writer's Association. I thought that was the neatest thing since sliced bread, and I immediately wondered how I could go about joining such an association. (Just because I'm not focusing solely on horror, doesn't mean I don't want to write it eventually. Besides, Dean Koontz was the president twenty years ago. That's a story in and of itself. "Yeah, so this writer's association I'm part of? It was presided over by Dean Koontz once upon a time.")

One of their requirements was that you have sold a short story of at least 500 words for at least 25$.

I said, "Oh."

Because I'd considered - briefly - writing short stories when I first began writing, but I had no idea what to do, or where to start, or anything, so I shunted it off to the back of my mind and began work on Eversong. Then I saw that, and it brought the idea of selling short stories back to the forefront, but I had absolutely no idea what to write about.

So I googled 'selling short stories' and read the various articles I found, and one of them was kind enough to offer links to places where you could sell short stories. The one I chose was Spinetingler Magazine, because they accept a wide-range of shorts, and the only other one that looked remotely interesting, their cut-off date for submissions is the 30th. XD

I'm a quick writer, but the way I've been going lately, not even I could have made that one. From no idea to complete with revisions in three days? *shakes head sadly*

And then I went on Twitter, and discovered Billy Mays had died. (The Oxi-clean/mighty putty guy) Ed Mcmahon, Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays in one week? I said, 'it reads like a laundry list of celebrity deaths' - and lo, there was my story idea. A serial killer targeting celebrities.

It evolved a bit, because it doesn't exactly take place in Hollywood, so 'celebrities' turned into 'models' and 'heiresses' (Take THAT, Ally!) - rich, beautiful women. And I won't give anything away; this is more of an instant gratification than my novels, so when it comes out, I'll direct everyone towards the magazine/ezine (not entirely sure if it's online or printed) where it's at, and if someone can't get at it, I'll possibly share. If you ask nicely. ♥ But not until it's out.

Eversong, as you all know, is complete to the first draft. Eden is giving me trouble (that 10k/15k a day that I had going sputtered and stalled out, and I'm having trouble getting it started again) and now I've got a mini project to work on, tentatively titled The Empress.

I also think that when the time comes to query Eden around, that selling short stories to magazines in the same vein as Eden, will look very, very good on my query. "Previous publication! Sold stories to magazines! I'm not totally useless/totally new!" Ditto, if I can find 'fantasy' mags to sell to (the one that cuts off on the 30th is looking for action!fantasy stories, but like I said; not even I can go from nothingzero to ready-to-sellsixty in three days).

This is also the time for an apology to Eric, who wandered over to my blog because I stumbled upon his, and discovered a massive post about bacon. DDDX My only excuse is to see my info *points to side bar* I did admit right up front that I was slightly crazy.

Friday, June 26, 2009


What I'm Listening To: The Fray - Heaven Forbid

What I'm Doing: Thinking about how nice some bacon and cheesy eggs would be right now.


Why is bacon so funny?

It's delicious. And smells heavenly when it's cooking.

But I'm feeling cut off from my friends lately, because my two RL friends just ran away to Texas, and there are really only two other people that I dedicatedly talk to; one of them is on MSN because she hates messengers, but my MSN refuses to connect, and the other one is on YIM because she didn't have MSN, and she works insane hours, as well as is revising one of her novels, and is on the west coast, so I have to either stay up insanely late to talk to her, or ... not talk to her. TAT And I've been missing both of my messenger buddies lately, but in a way, it's been a good thing, because I'm up to 50k words on my newest WIP, Eden's Gate (EG or Eden for short) and I started five and a half days ago. (Technically, three and a half, because I wrote for two days before scrapping the whole project and starting again.) So 50k in like... less than a week is nothing short of miraculous.

But enough about me.


Kevin Bacon!

Mindi Scott reminded me of it with her post about a conversation overheard at brunch, which left me in stitches I was laughing so hard.

But then it reminded me of another thing that made me laugh until I cried.

It's that one line, about 2/3rds of the way in.
You know what the kids need? Shit fucking tons of BACON!

I had to watch this five times the first time I saw it, because I was just laughing too hard to hear him the first four times I restarted it.

And this isn't really bacon, but still...

And there's another thing. Bacon is soo delicious when cooked right (I hate bacon that like... snaps in half when I try to bite into it, but I also hate bacon that's chewy. I'm so picky about it. XD) but it can also be among the most disgusting things you've ever seen.

(I interrupt this post with a few things that I found on google. Let me just say. WOW. Google 'bacon' one day. Seriously.)

Back to what I was saying about bacon being nasty. Raw bacon? Gives me the whimwhams. Knowing that it turns into something delicious, and smells great on the way there, doesn't change that raw bacon is just disgusting.

And there are some things that should never have been put through the Bacon Machine.

Such as donuts.
(linked to that instead of posting it full out because of the "EW!!" factor.)

X-posted to my LJ

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eden's Gate and Danvers State

What I'm Listening To: The Dresden Dolls - Good Day

What I'm Doing: Spazzing (again) over writing a book.

Two days after my last post, in which I rambled incoherently about a nameless story constructed of a few ideas, and here I am again to present you with my newest project.

Eden's Gate. It takes place in a fictional mental hospital (based off of real hospitals, that I've spent the last three hours researching) in New England, and follows a boy named Zander Jaden who's haunted by demons in the dark, demons that want to use him to break out of their world and into the human world. He makes friends at the hospital, and finds something worth being happy about, and still manages to save his own life in the process.

It's dark and twisty, I think, or at least that's what I'm aiming for. I'm more familiar with writing fluffy, happy stories, angst-filled but not 'dark.' I guess it's... supernatural/paranormal, because of the heavy ghost/demon influences, but the main relationship is slash. (99% of my fanfics are slash, but it was Mami who gave me the balls to write a full-length slashy novel.) It's something of a by-product, though, at the moment.

It's amazing how quickly it came together. Amazing. Two days ago, I was angsting about having no outline, and no plot, and was just writing aimlessly.

Last night, I sent little excerpts from what I've written so far to Schatzi, and talked mental hospitals with her. She helped me figure out exactly where and what Edensgate is, because it carried on through to today, when I looked up Danvers State Hospital.

It used to be in Massachusetts, and was built over the site of the home of one of the judges in the Salem Witch Trials. It was abandoned in 1992, and torn down in the early 2000's to be replaced by apartment buildings, of all things, but it... it was gorgeous while it stood.

(I have a thing for old, abandoned buildings. Don't ask me to explain it.)

Isn't it beautiful? Danvers State Hospital, built in the famous Kirkbride style (that broken arch layout of the main building)

It's very imposing.

This is one of my favourite pictures of it:

Also of interest is the fact that the 2001 movie Session 9 was filmed almost entirely inside that hospital, and the building itself inspired the intricacies of the plot; the crew went there with the vague idea that they wanted to make a movie inside a mental hospital, and when they saw Danvers State, they decided on what it would be. Without Danvers State, there would be no Session 9.

Anyway, I'm rambling (is as my wont when confronted with something I love, such as old, abandoned mental hospitals) Looking up Danvers State lead to looking up other mental hospitals built in the Kirkbride style, and led to the firming up of the plot for Eden's Gate.

It was very sudden. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea WTF the story was about. Three hours of looking at mental hospitals, and the plot zipped itself up into one neat little package, from beginning to end. Edensgate itself (the hospital) told me a lot about what it's like, and gave me some very keen insights into what happens. (Yes, settings can be characters. Hush. Eversong-the-world is it's own entity, as well.)

So now I'm back into the constantly-grinning, uber-excited "OMFG I'M WRITING A BOOK!" mood that hit me with Eversong.

Eden's Gate nearly didn't exist. I started on it because I couldn't figure out what to work on next, but like I said before, I had no clear idea of what it was about. Now I do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Stories~!

What I'm Listening To: The Dresden Dolls - Truce

What I'm Doing: Character creation for the newest, untitled story.

With Eversong complete to the first draft, and currently sitting with two of my best friends and awaiting edits/revisions by them, I've been going stir-crazy wanting to keep writing.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as Eversong was, because for that, I had Mami's AftG to look forward to for every landmark wordcount I reached. Not to mention that all of my current 'WIPs' were having hate for me - M&M absolutely refuses to come out of hiding, and Perfect is at a stand-still as I try to figure Ally out.

I go out walking often, mostly because I can't drive, and if I need to sell or buy anything, I have to walk myself to the store to do so. With nothing to occupy me while I'm walking, I think about characters. The problem there-in is I don't write well with just characters. I've talked about this before; generally I get a story, and the characters come later to fill it in.

So I had some vague ideas, involving ghosts, a klepto-character, a pack-rat character, and some other even more obscure ideas that weren't even complete enough to call 'ideas.' But if I've said this once, I've said it a hundred times - I do NOT do well with just characters. So I had them all crowding around my brain, clamouring at me to write their stories, but no stories into which to put them all.

Gradually, a title came to me. Heaven's Halfway, and the main character would be Heaven. At first I thought she was the one involved with the ghosts, and it morphed into possession by the ghosts, but I couldn't make it work, and the ghosts went away altogether and left me with the notion that Heaven was a multiple. (If it's possible to have a 'favourite' mental disorder, then DID is mine. For those of you who aren't obsessed with it, it's commonly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, or more accurately, Disassociative Identity Disorder. Two really fantastic books dealing with it are When Rabbit Howls, a true story written by "The Troops for Trudi Chase" - she's been abused for so long, and so harshly, that there literally is NO Trudi Chase - there's just other personalities within her. Almost 100 total, and the MS for Rabbit was contributed to by most of them. I'd give my left hand to see the original, hand-written manuscript for it, because they said multiple times that the handwritings change as each alter wrote their part. The other is a fictional book by Jonathan Nasaw, called The Girls He Adored, and it's got two of my favourite things - crime, and DID. The main character is a multiple who generally goes by the name of Max, and he's kidnapping women with strawberry blonde hair for nefarious purposes. It follows him, his prison shrink, and the FBI agent on his tail.)

Anyway, where was I? *skims up* Oh yeah, so Heaven became a multiple. I've got the 'who' - Heaven and her alters - the 'what' - are on the run from her abusive ex boyfriend - but not the 'why', aside from the general "he's abusive."

But tonight I was going through old CDs of mine, and I found one called A Dark Cabaret, and it's full of ... well, dark cabaret songs. The Dresden Dolls, along with other, less well known artists, and they're some of my favourite songs. Very dark and still upbeat, full of piano and creepy lyrics ("knock three times on the coffin if you want my love")

Well, I was listening to it, and I suddenly had the image of a boy in a mental hospital, because he sees ghosts and demons and such. And I will admit freely that AftG had some influence on it (it's going to be 'gay fiction') and I immediately sat down and started writing. After a little while, I switched to the Dresden Dolls' CD, and started on character creation. (It was a desperate struggle to remind myself that my main character is Alexander and not Andrew)

Between Zander's Story (it has no name as of yet) and Heaven's Halfway, however, I started on the outline for what basically amounts to a fictional account of my life (my life, presented as fiction rather than a memoir) and I made it through chapter 13 (it starts when "I'm" twelve, and by 13 the story has reached "me" at age 18 - names are going to be changed, but not the events. I've led a dark and twisted life, or as dark and twisted as life can get without excessive drugs or murder.)

But it was heavy in my mind when I was thinking about Zander's story, and I realised that I can waste a lot of time with outlines, and Mami's words about how she writes without outlines (I can't recall her exact words offhand, and I'm afraid my computer will crash at any moment if I open too many things to look it up) went through my head, and I decided to simply get my main cast of characters down on paper, so I know who I'm dealing with, and then just write, and see what comes of it.

But the idea of writing with no way of knowing where it's going, or how it's going to get there is kinda terrifying to me. My first full length novel - Eversong - had outlines up the wazoo, as well as Mami's constant support. I'm going into Zander's story with... basically nothing but names. I'm worried that without a concrete ending in mind, the story will go nowhere.

Well, before this can turn into a whinge-fest, I'll wrap it up there. Sorry again about the radio silence, folks! Eversong and AftG took up a lot of my time these past few weeks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Very Big News!

What I'm Listening To: Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

What I'm Doing: Reading Piers Anthony's Heaven Cent and getting ready to go run some errands.

Well. This is a day I thought would be far, far in the future. Around twelve thirty last night, I finished the first draft of Eversong!

Now the hard part starts, I'm sure, but it's written. It's there. All that's left to do is tidy it up. I'm so excited.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another meme!

What I'm Listening To: Hans Zimmer - The DaVinci Code OST; Chevaliers de Sangreal

What I'm Doing: Trying to get myself to stop procrastinating and write. TAT

Ganked this from some chick I found via google. Her version was posted in o7, so I won't bother to link to it. Just a simple meme about one of my favourite things: books.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? Paperback of any type. I don't like hardcover novels. They're too unweildy to carry around easily, and they're difficult to hold in one hand.

Amazon or brick and mortar? Brick and mortar. Amazon's good for the really obscure stuff, but I much prefer being able to pick the books up, flip through them, really examine the cover art, and just mingle in the general atmosphere of being surrounded by books. It's a plus if there's a Starbucks attached, so I can smell all the delicious coffee as well.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Either or. Borders is bigger, I guess, and generally has a nicer layout.

Bookmark or dogear? Ahahaha, dogeared. If my most loved books don't end up looking like the next time they're opened, they're going to fall apart, then something's wrong. Other people's books, however, no matter how loved, always bookmarked.

Alphabetise by author or alphabetise by title or random? Random, or sorted by genre. Unless I'm feeling really anal about it, and then I'm likely to sort by genre, author, and title, in that order.

Keep, throw away, or sell? KEEP. Who in their right mind would throw away a book?

Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep, for the most part. Unless it ends up like... horribly disfigured.

Read with dustjacket or remove it? Remove it. They're such a hassle.

Short story or novel? Short stories are okay, but I prefer novels.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? Depends on who the author is, and what the stories are about.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Harry Potter all the way!

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I generally try for chapter breaks, but if I'm exhausted, then I'm just as likely to put the book down when I can't hold it up any more.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"? Once upon a time, now and forever.

Buy or Borrow? Either or. Borrowing books (from libraries or friends) is a good way to discover new things you like without spending the money.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse? Browsing. I don't have the patience to read about what other people think of the book; I'd rather get out there and check it out for myself. If someone really strongly recommended a book, I'd be likely to check it out, though, too.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Hm. A little of both. I like the suspense; it gives me things to think about, but at the same time, I enjoy a happy ending occasionally.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? How about 24/hr a day reading?

Standalone or series? Doesn't matter. There are some standalones (Sunshine) that could really benefit from one or two more books (simply because I can't get enough of it) and series give you the opportunity to spend more time with beloved characters and watch them grow.

Favourite book of which nobody else has heard? Um. *scans book piles, tries to find something she hasn't raved about to someone before* I suppose, The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay. I think Mami would appreciate that series. I haven't read the third one, and it's been years since I read the first two, but it's a really ugly series. Very much all over the place, with very few happy endings (at least, through the second book. Still need to get the third, like I said.)

Favourite book(s) read last year: I haven't the foggiest. I don't remember what I read last week, much less last year. I have a tendency to reread things over and over, though, so it's likely Sunshine or The Blue Sword.

Favourite books of all time? Sunshine, The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword, Beauty, The Outlaws of Sherwood all by Robin McKinley. Crystal Singer, Killashandra, Crystal Line, The Ship Who Sings by Anne McCaffrey, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Battle Royale by (some Japanese dude who's name I can't recall, and I can't find the book), The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony, Anything by Michael Crichton or Teresa Medeiros.

Word Counts and Revising

What I'm Listening To: Buffy the Vampire Slayer OST, Once More, With Feeling! - Overture; Going Through the Motions

What I'm Doing: Reading A Spell for Chameleon and catching up on my internety things before I knuckle down to writing again.

It's been about three days since my last post. When I posted then, my wordcount had doubled from about 6k in words to about 12k. Three days later, it's doubled again. I'm currently sitting on about 22k in words, and am working towards 24k, for the next chapter of AftG.

This is amazing to me, the chronic unfinisher. I realise that the higher the words get, the harder this will be, but I've doubled my wordcount in three days. Imagine if I doubled the wordcount every three or four days? Can you imagine how quickly it will get written?

Janet Reid asked, How Do You Know When To Query?

And then she answered herself. It was not comforting, especially to me, (I have the attention span of a gnat, and the mentality of a magpie - OH, SHINY!).

She said before you query your first novel, write another one.

I said, '...what?'

She also said that the revision process should not be quick, and gave the example, "If it took you a year to write the novel, you should take six months to revise it," which left me in something of a quandary. It's going to take me... approximately a month, possibly as much as two months to complete the first draft of Eversong. By her 'half-time' rule of revision, this means I should only spend two weeks revising? I think not!

Before this rambles totally out of control, I'll get back to my previous points.

If I double my wordcount every three-four days, that means that by the seventh, I'd have 40k words. And by my brother's eleventh birthday, a complete novel at 80k words. Granted, it won't work that way. But can you imagine it? And by my own opinion, despite the quickness with which Eversong is flinging itself onto the pages, it's not bad.

I certainly won't try querying it immediately; the minute I finish it, I'm going to shunt it off to the side for a month or two, and either take a break from writing, or as Janet Reid suggested, start working on one of the other ones. It's a toss-up between M&M and Perfect; I'll figure out which one I want to write when I get there.
My first thought was that I'd immediately begin working on Return to Eversong, but I realised that that would be a Bad Idea. The point of leaving the novel alone for a set amount of time is to forget the characters, forget the story-line, and forget what you've written, and immediately launching into the sequel is not the way to do this.

But when my alloted revision time is up, I'm going to revise, and edit, and reread, and find a critique circle comprised of one or two friends and one or two strangers, so I can get both friendly advice and completely impartial opinions. And then I'm going to write my synopsis and my query, revise them both, and then begin building a list of agents to query who are outside my blogosphere.

People commented on Janet's post, saying that it's taken them anywhere from a year to fifteen years to write their first novel, and that it wasn't always their first novel that was accepted; often it was their third, fourth, fifth novel. If Eversong is not accepted immediately, I'll wait a year or two, find some new agents, and try again. I'm fond of all the ideas I've constructed, but Eversong is my baby, and I will not rest until it's published. I might be able to shelve M&M if it's never accepted, or Perfect (although my ego demands that I add, I doubt I will have many problems with Perfect. Granted, I haven't done extensive research into crime/suspense novels, but my gut tells me that it's a fairly original idea.) but Eversong will never be 'the book that never got published.'

Speaking of Eversong, if I want to think about querying it, I've first got to finish it, so I'll let you all be now, and get back to it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life Imitates Art, whut?

Okay, so I just updated my blog with something useful, and was rereading it to make sure it was cohesive.

My stepdad (Navy for twenty years) got home, and barked at my brother, "Front and Center!"

... ... ...

Riley, much?

I thought instantly of Riley and his military father telling him the exact same thing.

Writing For Something

What I'm Listening To: Crazy Loop - Crazy Loop

What I'm Doing: Reading Crystal Line by Anne McCaffrey, and poking at my novel, seeing if it'll want to cooperate today.

First of all, a shout-out to Tara Maya, who guest-blogged over at The Literary Lab with an utterly fabulous post on Epic Fantasy.

This post was spawned by the fact that Mami prodded me last night and said, "You haven't updated your blog for six days!"

My excuse was, "I have nothing to say!" but it's also been because my computer is going crazy, and refuses to let me do anything. I finally switched over from Firefox (which is constantly giving me seven-hour 'not responding' messages) to Internet Explorer for the duration. (Eventually Firefox will come crying back to me, and I am weak, so I will return to it.)

So, from IE, I blog again! Mostly about not blogging. But I did think up something useful to say this morning, as well, so you get an actual blog about writing, and not just some random ditherings about not being able to blog.

Work on Eversong was ... slow going, to say the least. I started writing weeks ago, and had only about 5k in words to show for it. When a friend of mine started updating her wordcount on Twitter, my competitive nature came out, and I realised I'd only feel better about it until I'd surpassed her wordcount.

Still, the inspiration was there, but the motivation was seriously lacking.

Until Mami shared details about her book, which she's currently in the process of querying about. (Good luck darling! I cannot wait to see it in print!!) I couldn't rest until I knew more. So I avoided work on Eversong in favour of figuring out her book, interviewed her on my favourite character, decided I was focusing too much on just one, started asking questions about the others...

And got the first three chapters out of her.

Oh. My. God. I'm a long-time fan of her fanfics, and knew she was a fantastic writer. I was still not prepared for how quickly it sucked me in, and how totally my obsession was cemented. I fell utterly in love with everything I'd seen so far, and immediately began plotting ways I could get her to send me the rest.

She said she felt bad, because she didn't want to take away from my writing time. I joked that I wasn't getting much writing done anyway, and was more interested in her book than my own to boot. Then I remembered that if I have something to work FOR, I work BETTER.

So I said, I'll set myself a goal of 500 to 1000 words written before I read the next chapter.

With the knowledge of her book waiting for me, a chapter at a time if only I could write, my wordcount exploded. Whereas it had taken me several weeks to get to only 5k words, over the course of three or four days, my wordcount doubled, and is currently sitting at over 12k. Knowing that I couldn't allow myself to read more before I got something written suddenly overcame the hesitancy in my writing, and it advanced by leaps and bounds. It actually feels like it's going to become a novel now, and not remain unfinished forever. I have the end of her book waiting for me to write some more, and as soon as I'm done, I'm already wondering if she'll continue this for the next two books.

Now, because I know she reads this, I don't want to guilt her into thinking she's got to send it to me - it will just be very much loved. And I can write without AftG... it just tends to be more along the lines of one or two hundred words every few days. I'm not sure what I'll do when I've finished reading it all.

Start again, I suppose. It's easy enough to do. I'm afraid that my love for her books will never be diminished, and will remain a lifelong obsession. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

What about the rest of you? Do you write for something, or do you just... write when the mood strikes?