Beginning and Advice from a Master

I’ve begun revising some old work that will fit into the Rose’s Hostage sequel.  It’s painful to see how labored and idiotic it was.  The actual scenes themselves aren’t bad, and what I already did will save me a ton of research.  It’s the writing itself that makes me cringe.

Right now, I’m mostly changing names and tweaking references.  I’ll go back and excise all the purple prose when I fit it in.

I’m also starting to think about the other novel–in fact, I think more about it than I do about this one, sometimes.  I like to make playlists for writing sessions that are specific to each work.  With this one, I went to my dusty record collection and found an old orchestral thing I used to use as background music when I played restaurant as a child.  It’s perfect.  AND IT WAS ON AMAZON.

God, I love the internet. 

God, I love the internet.

 Image:  amazon.com

Man, my parents had so many crazy old records.  We grew up listening to stuff from the 1950s and 1960s, everything from “La Bamba” to Mancini.  I credit them for sparking my obsession with soundtrack music.  When you’re sitting there coloring listening to Bernstein’s The Ten Commandments and Morricone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, how can you not love it?

Speaking of the ‘rents, they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 19 (which was also Benedict Cumberbatch’s birthday.  Happy birthday!).

Congratulations, Mom and Dad!  I’d post an awesome picture, but I want to stay alive a little longer.

While I go attempt to organize myself for the evening, I’d like you to take a look at this Business Insider article.  It distills some great advice from Stephen King from his memoir/advice tome, On Writing.  Every author should have this book on his/her shelf.

You can buy it here.

Too Many Feels about Writing

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen this exchange:

Encouragement

When people say things like this, I feel great.  For a while.  The monumental effort involved in this endeavor, especially when contemplating the vast desert expanse before reaching publication, is enough to crush even the most positive mindset.  It’s fragile, and the slightest jar can be enough to shatter it.

Writing (or any creative profession, really) carries a lot of feelings with it.  Some people have great difficulty dealing with them.  If you’re inclined toward addiction, you might cope by self-medicating.  I don’t do that, but I’m quite sure the stress will cut years off my life.

In no particular order, here are some of the feelings writing has been poking me with lately.

Impatience

Publishing takes a long time.  I’m not the most patient person on earth, and I’ll never be any more so than I am right now.  I find myself saying, Enough already, Universe.  Let’s get going.  It would probably help if I had something in my personal life, but alas, the Big U has implied that the books will come first.  This vague revelation leads to hurt, because I’ve waited long enough, thank you.

Panic

Did I cross all my I’s and dot all my T’s?  Is that query letter as good as it can be?  Answer:

It can always be better, but the time to realize that is not after you’ve hit Send.

Elation

This strikes at odd moments and may be unrelated to writing, since I’m going on vacation soon.  I booked my train tickets this weekend.  For two days, I walked around with a heightened sense of anticipation that sent energy surging through my body, almost like an adrenaline rush but without the shakiness and rapid heartbeat.  Elation makes me hyper-aware of things—if I listen to music, I hear every note, every chord.  The sky looks bluer, the future brighter, and at those moments, anything seems possible.

Stress

Elation also leaped up after Brian posted that tweet (seriously, a horror Grand Master said he likes my book!), but then I stared, unseeing, at the screen and it all turned to pressure and stress.  What to say next?  How to say it?  Why can’t I put what is in my head down on the page?  I know what’s going to happen.  Why am I so goddamn tired?

Jealousy

Creative people do get jealous of each other.  Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha made me so jealous I could hardly see straight.  It helped that I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  The best way to deal with professional jealousy is to examine the work and observe successful elements you can translate to your own work, to make it better.

I have little to say about personal jealousy, except that if it leads to obsession, you better get rid of it fast because you won’t be able to concentrate long enough to write a coherent sentence.

 It mostly comes at night…mostly. 

It mostly comes at night…mostly.

 Image:  ign.com

Despair

I’ll never be good enough; I’ll never be published, and no agent / publisher / reader will ever give a shit about me.  Here’s where the dearth of personal involvement cuts deepest.  It hurts when no one you’re not related to is there to say “Hey, I love you no matter what, and I think you’re brilliant.”  The evil little voice inside my head says that since no other person wants me, clearly no agent ever will either.

Hope

This is the cruelest one of all.  It makes you delusional.  You feel that possibilities are endless.  Writing by its very nature forces you to imagine them, and this hones your ability to hope.  It becomes a tool that can turn on you in an instant and cut deeper than a surgeon’s scalpel into the most tender and vulnerable part of your psyche.  Reality is hope’s most dangerous predator.

Oh hello….didn’t see you there.  0_0

Oh hello….didn’t see you there.  0_0

 Image:  Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And then there’s this.  Although I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t feel the same, you never can tell.  Dreams up close can be rather frightening.

————

Feelings aren’t always rational, and neither are the thoughts that go with them.  They aren’t good or bad, either; they just are.  What you do with them is what matters.

Writers can use healthy mental exercises to curb thoughts like “I’m not good enough.”  If they are actively practicing their craft, they will get better at it.  I guarantee you Brian would not have said he liked a manuscript of mine two books ago.  The fact that he’s saying it now lets me know that I’ve grown as a writer.  By doing what?  Wishing?  No, by writing.

You know that thing the Universe has apparently sent to someone else (grr)?  Well, wishing might help here, and praying might also, but so will preparing myself to receive the opportunity if the Universe should reconsider.  And that’s what I have to do for writing too.

When it’s your turn to cycle through these emotions, don’t try to push them away.  Let them come.  Clamping a lid down on feelings only ensures their eventual explosive release.  And don’t let them talk you into giving up.  The only book that is never published is the one never written.

How to Drive Yourself Insane

Hope everyone in the US had a safe and fun Fourth of July.  Mine was safe, though dull.  As I had nothing to do, I sat on the couch all day sipping tea and pretending I was British and didn’t care.  I didn’t even get in the shower until three in the afternoon.  It was kind of nice, actually.

Except I have been going INSANE.

I’ve gone through all my materials for the Rose’s Hostage sequel–working title An Unsettling Calm (meh)–and the really diabolical plot I wanted to use is falling by the wayside.  I had abandoned the original plot as too sensational, but I reread the beginning and it was GOOD.

I’m going back to it.  It’s like returning to an old lover, one you didn’t date long but who thrilled you for a while anyway, and who still makes your pulse race when you think of him.

Reunions are sweet.  Unless he stole your purse last time. 

Reunions are sweet.  Unless he stole your purse the last time.

 Image:  nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ll save the diabolical thing for Book Three of the Detective Pierce Chronicles.  I couldn’t tie the villain in with the subplot, no matter how I tried, but Original Plot and I still have some connecting we can do.

The mini-NaNoWriMo may not be a thing, since I wanted to start it on the first of the month and I didn’t get to it (my fault entirely—I’ve been taken up with stupid mental crap).  But I decided I would attempt to write two things at once.  Horrors!

The other book I can’t tell you about at all right now.  But I will be sporadically working on it, with the bulk of the effort going toward Pierce Book Two.  I should be able to get a lot done in the next two-and-a-half months.

Here are some bona fide ways to drive yourself insane and guarantee that you can’t get a project started.

Ambitiously plan to write two books at once when you usually only do one

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Put research ahead of the actual writing

This is a bad one.  I’m guilty of this.  I can get so caught up in research that I actually do nothing toward whatever I’m working on.  Example:  I have yet to complete one single dollhouse or room box, but I now have an extensive knowledge of Victorian household gadgetry.

Watch too much TV

Or Netflix.  My shows aren’t on right now (The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Doctor Who), but that doesn’t stop me from consuming every British comedy series my little red online friend has to offer (Little Britain!).  It’s so tempting to schlep home tired from my day job, do a workout, and then go straight to the My List page.  Bad writer.  Bad.

I laughed so hard at this show I almost coughed up a lung. 

I laughed so hard at this show I almost coughed up a lung.

Image:  mirror.co.uk

Read too much crap on the internet

Oh, Buzzfeed.  You are such a frenemy.  I love your quizzes, your silly GIF posts, your hacks, and how your UK edition constantly shoves more cool London stuff that I will not possibly have time to do right in my face.

I know there are apps or plugins that block you from the internet so that you can work, but I’m afraid if I try one that I’ll tear a hole in my computer trying to get past it.

Plan a vacation

My UK holiday is almost completely set up, except for train tickets to Cardiff (too early to book yet) and a possible quick jaunt up to Loch Ness in the beautiful West Highlands of Scotland via sleeper train (a bucket list item).  Once that is squared away, I can just STOP PLANNING AND GET TO WORK ALREADY.

Or, I could just trust the thetrainline.com email reminders and STOP PLANNING AND GET TO WORK ALREADY.

You did promise me, you know.

You did promise me, you know.

Image:  imageevent.com       

 Yes, sir, I know.

Think way too much about things that in real life will probably not happen but are not impossible because the world is a magical place and the Universe really needs to reconsider and fork it over anyway

The less said about that, the better.

———–

In the coming weeks, I will blog to you as I write, so you can vicariously experience the madness that is me trying to do more than one thing at a time.  In the words of the immortal Bette Davis:

 

Querying and Outlining and Ed Sheeran, Oh My!

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d come in and give you a short update.  I’ve started outlining the Rose’s Hostage sequel, while waiting for an expert to answer a few questions.  I’m also reading something related to catching the villain (can’t tell you yet).  And I got a very good idea about some research I can do while in London.

The Universe gave me the finger on that special request (dammit), unless it’s got something planned later down the road.

Dream crusher!

Dream crusher!

Image:  arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Still, maybe the Universe isn’t saying no; maybe it’s saying not right now.  But because of that nice little chunk of bad news, I didn’t sleep much last night, and still I worked all day and did two sets of stair climbs.  So you can imagine that today hasn’t been a great day.  Here’s hoping I sleep tonight and don’t dream about it.

In addition to all that, I’ve been making notes and tapping out a few things here and there on a much more ambitious work, which the special request sort of would have helped (dammit again).  It’s something I’ve been sitting on for a while, but it requires specialized knowledge I don’t have.

Plus, I can’t decide on a period for it and that would make a difference.  It’s fighting to get out, so we’ll see if I can settle it down and work on two things at once.

Possibly; or maybe, I’ll just lose my mind. 

Possibly.  Or maybe, I’ll just lose my mind.

Image:  Wikipedia.com

I’ll catch you up more later.  Meanwhile, please enjoy this video of Ed Sheeran’s catchy new single, titled “SING.” The album x comes out June 23.  I love this guy.  Yeah, I know the video is a little weird; just roll with it.

 

A Notable Birthday and an Update

Sir_Arthur_Conan_Doyle_1890

Image:  Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896) / Wikimedia Commons/PD: US

Happy birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!  Born May 22, 1859, died July 7, 1930. Creator of our favorite high-functioning sociopathic detective, Sherlock Holmes.  :)

So what have I been up to since the A-Z Challenge?  Well, I’ve finished the semester of course, and I’ve queried Tunerville  twice (and been rejected twice). Yeah, it sucks, but rejection is part of the process.

Hat Sherlock

Of course it is.  Now get back to work.

Image:  benedictcumberbatch.co.uk

There’s something in the book that’s been bothering me–I’m not sure I got it quite right, so I’ve reached out to an expert for assistance.  Since no one’s asking me for pages or a manuscript, I can take a bit of time to check it.

This upcoming holiday week, I’ve taken some extra PTO and will begin chucking crap out of The Crumbling Albatross (my house) and get some research and outlining done on the RH sequel.  Look for another vocabulary post coming soon; I’d like to finish that series.  I think we left off with S before the Challenge, didn’t we?  So T will be next.

I’ve got two things bouncing around in my head that are dying to get out.  One might be novel-worthy.  It’s been in there for a long time and may be literary in nature.  I’m not sure.  Nearly everything I write has some weird component to it, so we’ll see.

 The other one is only a vague, half-formed notion at this juncture but will probably end up being my fledgling attempt at a screenplay.  Part of my self-imposed curriculum this summer is to learn how to write those.  I’ve got some study materials recommended by a screenwriter friend, so I’m ready to go.

BUT FIRST:

I’m taking a long-needed break, during which I’ve started the UK version of The Office (hilarious), watched the world’s saddest movie (you can rent it on YouTube), and become enamored of Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow and the world’s saddest song (it plays over the credits of the world’s saddest movie).

Seriously, get back to work. 

Seriously, get back to work.

Image:  imageevent.com

Of course, Mr. Holmes.  I promise.  :)

Tunerville Update and Principles of Design

Just a quick dash in to let you know that my friend and first reader Jim Allder finished with his reading of Tunerville.  He liked it!

He said it reminded him of a cross between Michael Crichton and Bruce Joel Rubin (author of the screenplay for Ghost; probably because there are ghosts in it).  High praise indeed.  To be compared to the great Crichton made me squee.

Rest in peace, sir.  You left us too soon.

Rest in peace, sir. You left us too soon.

Image:  michaelcrichton.net

Next, I will incorporate his suggestions (one was something I was thinking about doing anyway, which tells me it was on track) and then print it out for its first hard copy edit.  D’aww!

Although that means I have to haul it around in a binder for a few days.  Ick.  Also I better buy some paper.  And revisit my copymarks, most of which I’ve forgotten by now.  I still have my study sheet.

That’s all I have time for right now, since I’m drowning in homework (the four principles of design are:  Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.  Acronym:  C.R.A.P.  Tee hee!).  But I’ll be back soon, when I get my edit finished, and I might even post a wee bit of text.

‘Til next time, people.  Keep your feet warm.

What do you do when you don’t want to do what you’re doing?

I’m five posts away (four? I lost track) from my 300th post.  I still plan to reveal Tunerville to you then (see end of post for an update)…and do a cookie giveaway.  I want someone to get cookies!  Most likely, it will be a commenter, so comment already!

Shifting to downer status, I haven’t been blogging much lately; I started a technical writing program at a local state university.  You might know I got a job as a departmental admin who edits software assessment reports for a technology services company.

This program has a placement rate of 90+ percent.  It should fit right in with my day job, hey, all is going well, oooh yeah, fabulous and fine and wonderful.  Right?

No.

I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong; my day job is fine.  I like it, the people are nice, and it’s very flexible (in addition to paying a wage I can actually live on).  What I hate is all this pressure.  Bear with me here, because I’m going to unload on you.

  • I hate doing homework that takes up SO much time I have no time to work on Tunerville or the Rose’s Hostage sequel, nor will I have time to work on Rose when I get it back from Brian Keene (arrgghh!)
  • I hate going to class on a campus with 20,000 teenagers when I’m not one.
  • I hate not being a teenager anymore.
  • I hate that I can’t join in any campus life stuff because I’m a non-traditional (read:  old) student.
  • I hate being invisible because I’m old.
  • I hate the stupid bear statue in the middle of campus; I’m afraid of bears.  And everything is bears—bearbucks, bearpass, bearwear.  (Okay, maybe I like all this; when I’m bitching, everything is fair game, okay?)
  • I hate this semester-long project where I have to edit a document for a “client” (I’m doing a work document) and I have do it before I even know what the hell I am doing.
  • I hate online classes where you have to email the teacher to ask a question and then wait for a response.
  • I hate doing all this alone.

What is the point? I really don’t know.  I haven’t figured it out.  Everyone thinks my job is the Holy Grail—“Ooh, you got a job! Yay for you! Ooh aren’t you happy, aren’t you thrilled, you should be so relieeeeeeved!!!”  Well, yes, it’s nice.  And it’s not.

Grumpy-Cat-Le-Miserable

Image:  betanews.com

It isn’t what I wanted.  Again, I feel like I have to settle for something.  I don’t have the energy to keep starting over, and I’m almost out of time for what I really want, which is a family.  Writing is not enough.  Books are not enough.  Being able to make a living isn’t enough.  I can’t share anything I have, which renders it meaningless.  This isn’t living; it’s existing.

And I’m afraid.

I feel like a competent fiction writer, if not exactly as polished and experienced as, say, Brian.  As a technical writer, I fear I’m gonna stink.  I don’t feel smart enough for this.  And, if I have to spend this much time on it, the fiction is going to fall to the wayside.

I busted my ass to get back into novel writing; I don’t really want to ditch it NOW.  I’m so close to getting published, if I could just hit the right mark.  I feel it just out of reach.  This is pushing it down even further.  And I’m neglecting you, dear readers.  I don’t want to do that.  I want to produce something besides this blog for you to read.

I thought about sharing some of the things I’m learning at school with you.  There is a lot, and it’s not all so esoteric that you can’t understand it.  Maybe I can do that for next year’s A-Z Blogging Challenge.  I am NOT going to bail on that next year; I don’t care how short my posts have to be.  But I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

When I figure out what to do, I’ll let you know.

Tunerville update

In writing my synopsis, I have discovered I need to restructure the novel.  It’s okay; that’s fine, this happens.  As I told the story, I found myself reordering certain parts of it.  That probably means I really need to reorder certain parts of it.

Did you know “derp” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary? Yep, it’s officially a word.  Good thing, since I derp so much.

Did you know “derp” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary? Yep, it’s officially a word. Good thing, since I derp so much.

Research is ongoing; because of the school stuff, I’m not sure when that will be complete.  One of my professors does research in a field that directly relates to something in the book, so I plan to pick her brain extensively.

K, that’s enough for this Saturday.  I’m working on some time management strategies, so hopefully, I’ll be posting more often.  See you then.

 

 

A view on second drafts–article by Moira Allen

I subscribe to the Writing World newsletter via email.  While catching up on issues I haven’t had a chance to read, I came across this article by Moira Allen.  It’s very relevant to my current situation with Tunerville.

The only exception here is that my first draft experience sucked dog doo.  I enjoyed writing Rose’s Hostage; not so with Tunerville.  On everything else, though, Moira nails it.

Coffee on the Deck – by Moira Allen

January 24, 2013:
Do You, Author, Take This Novel….?

It should be fairly evident to anyone who has been following my editorials that I’ve been having just the teensiest bit of difficulty getting to the second draft of my novel.

I’ve found this reluctance a bit of a surprise. While I approached the first draft with a certain amount of trepidation, the experience was actually a delight. I loved writing that first draft. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed writing task quite so much. I couldn’t wait to sit down to the computer and begin the next scene. And much to my amazement, that first draft actually got finished.

And that’s where things came to a screeching halt. Oh, I said, I’ll just give myself a bit of a break, and come back fresh. Maybe a bit longer break. Maybe a sabbatical. Maybe a round-the-world cruise, followed by a lengthy quest for enlightenment at some remote monastery, and then another cruise… Suffice it to say that time has passed, copious amounts of water have flowed under bridges, and the second draft is no closer to being begun.

Now we stand on the brink of yet another New Year, with that first-of-the-year urge to set goals and tackle the important stuff, and I’m asking myself… why? What is it about a Second Draft that makes it such a different, and more intimidating, prospect than the first?

And then it came to me. The first draft was romance. The second draft is marriage.

The first draft was a dance of delight without commitment. Put simply, I could enjoy the relationship without worrying about whether or not I could actually make it work. One of the mind-games I played was the classic “It’s a first draft, it doesn’t have to be good.” The words don’t have to be right. The rhythm doesn’t have to be perfect. Plot holes can be filled in later. Research gaps can be noted and attended to in the future. We’re just having fun together, my novel and I, spending time together and seeing where it goes without worrying obsessively about whether it’s going “in the right direction.”

But now, it’s time to ask harder questions. Tackling a second draft is not just a stroll in the park. It’s a commitment. One can no longer get away with saying, “The little things don’t matter.” In a second draft, they do matter. One can’t say, “Hey, I don’t have to worry about making it work” — because making it work is the whole point of a second draft.

Nor is it just a commitment to “hard work.” If hard work scared us away from writing, we’d never get anything done. There are lots of writing tasks one can undertake that involve every bit as much work as a novel, but nowhere near the amount of commitment. Because the commitment isn’t just about effort. It’s about emotion.

Writing a novel is, in many ways, a process of embarking upon and committing to a relationship. A novel is something you’re going to spend time with — a lot of time with. It’s going to consume hours of your waking life. Even when you’re not working on it, you’ll be thinking about it, worrying about it, perhaps even having conversations with your characters in your head. You’ll know more about the lives of your characters than you may know about some of your own relatives. When things are going well, you’ll wonder if they’re really going well, or if you’re just deceiving yourself. When they aren’t — well, stock up on the chocolate ice cream!

It is an emotional commitment. It raises doubts, fears, concerns. Is this the right book to commit to? Is this really something I want to dedicate the next X months or years of my life to? Do I have what it takes to make this work? What if I don’t have what it takes to make it work?

Like any relationship, we come to it with hopes, expectations, and dreams. A novel isn’t just a certain number of words. It’s words into which we have invested our hearts — and we hope that investment will “pay off.” We want that novel to be a success. We want others to read it and fall in love with it, just as we’ve fallen in love. We don’t want it to end up on the remainder shelf, or worse, never make it to the top of the slush pile. And if the relationship doesn’t “work out,” we’ll blame ourselves, and perhaps start to wonder if we have what it takes to make any novel work.

In short, a novel has a unique power: It has the power to fulfill our dreams, or break our hearts. Mere “work” alone does not have that power. Only a relationship has such power.

So if you are finding yourself shying away from a first draft, or a second draft, or a third, take heart. You’re not lazy. You’re not afraid of work. You’re afraid of commitment — and everything that a commitment means. Deep down, we realize that only by giving that relationship our all, and holding nothing back, can we truly “make it work.” It’s no small step to take.

But without taking that step, we fail before we begin. So perhaps, as we look ahead to a New Year, we need to say more than simply “I will.” We need to open our hearts, embrace our fears, and say… “i do.”

Copyright © 2013 Moira Allen


Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts Mostly-Victorian.com, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer’s cat. She can be contacted at editors “at” writing-world.com.

Computer Blues and Book Updates

I have three computers.  All of them suck right now.

One, my primary computer, is a 15” Toshiba Satellite laptop (check out the hilarious old lappy at that link!) with Windows 7, named Littleun.  It’s a fast little bugger and much more portable than its predecessor, a 17” Vista-infested, weighs-a-ton Satellite named Biggun.

Littleun is also broken.

 His fan had been going “WhhhrrrrRRRRRRRrrrrrrWHHHRRRRrrrrrr” for a while.  I knew it was probably the fan, but I was hoping he’d hold on until I can get a little more caught up from a year of unemployment.

Then I turned him on one night last week, thinking he was awfully quiet.  Not noticing his silent distress, I booted up Netflix for a Season 9 Bridezillas extravaganza, and *PTT!*   In the middle of an amusing screamfest, an overheated Littleun shut down.   I rebooted him to make sure the fever hadn’t fried his brain—it hadn’t, but it wasn’t safe to leave him on, so down he went.

My computer-savvy friend and I both agreed that the fan probably up and quit.  He will repair Littleun for me (I’m sure the inside is filthy—I really don’t know how to take him apart and clean him).  It can’t be soon enough.  Biggun drives me crazy, now that I’m used to Win 7 and Office 2013.  Word 2007 and Vista just aren’t happening.

But Biggun has a couple of games on him I need to finish, so perhaps I can get those done finally.  I know that at least one Myst title won’t play on Win 7.  It’s just a pain in the ass to save out documents and links I have to transport from one computer to the other.

It could be worse—I’m actually happy Biggun is available.  Unfortunately, his wireless thing doesn’t work very well.  It drops the signal all the time.  So I rolled my eyes and went to Best Buy, where I purchased an instant-gratification, overpriced, 50’ Ethernet cable and jammed it up Biggun’s port.  Now he’s online steadily, although without portability.

In the course of this operation, I discovered my long-lost short cable.  Yay!  Now the third computer, a Best Buy Insignia Windows XP Pentium IV named Old Wheezy, who refuses to die, is again online.

Old Wheezy, in his natural habitat in my craft/sewing/whatever room.  Love that CRT.

Old Wheezy, in his natural habitat in my craft/sewing/whatever room. Love that CRT.

Photograph by Elizabeth West

 Why do we have such an attachment to our machines?  We get used to their feel, their operation, and when something changes, we feel all out of kilter.  I have Tunerville on a flash drive, so I can edit at lunch when I’m at work.   That is a different machine than Littleun—a Lenovo Thinkpad—but it has Win 7, so it’s almost familiar.  But it’s not quite the same.  And I don’t get to lounge on the couch while I’m working (but no TV to distract me, hehe).

I suppose it’s better than writing the way I used to, with a pen and a spiral notebook.

———–

TUNERVILLE UPDATE:

Still working on editing.  Two scenes need complete rewrites, as they are clunky and unsatisfactory.  I also need to add a couple of things and complete a bit of research.

ROSE’S HOSTAGE UPDATE:

Apparently, the manuscript is still in the capable critiquing hands of Brian Keene.   He posted on his blog that he still had five for which he was waiting on publishers to see if they would want to take a peek.  Since I haven’t received mine, I’m hoping like mad it was one of the five, although he didn’t actually say (BRIAN, DO NOT MAKE ME COME UP THERE).

The suspense is killing me.  Maybe it sucked, and it’s just lost in the mail.  I must never, ever, tempt fate by getting my hopes up, but I really do wish something would sell so you could read it, dammit.   Right now, I just want to get Rose back and begin a re-edit; I’m sure Brian has lots of excellent suggestions.

If you want to make your writing better, never pass up the chance to have a more experienced person look at your work.  (Make sure they know what the hell they are doing, of course, especially if you’re paying for it.)  Grow a spine, thicken your skin, and learn to take criticism.

Well, I’m off to figure out what to bring to a weenie roast I’m invited to this afternoon.   Everyone have a safe Memorial Day!

Mem day doggie

Image:  Humane Society of Tampa Bay

 

Update and 5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves–Matt Mikalatos

I have a final to finish and then I am done with school for the next few months (until the fall semester).  So I get to spend the summer paying off a bunch of old bills to some nasty-ass collection bitches (do they have a special bitch class when they get hired?  I mean, really.) and getting all the loose ends tied up in Tunerville.

It’s nice to finally be able to do it though, and not have it hanging over your head.  That would be the bills AND the book.  For so long, I wasn’t able to put anything in on both of them.  I knew they were there, but at the end of the week, there just wasn’t anything left.

I got an email today with a link to a great guest post on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog I’d like to share with you.   If you’ve read this blog for a while, you might remember an interview I did with him a few years ago about his humor book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

Guest writer Matt Mikalatos has something to say in this article that might not be so funny.  It’s called 5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves (And the Truths That Can Get Them Published).  To paraphrase Pink Floyd, if you’ve ever banged your heart against some mad bugger’s wall by trying to get something published, you need to read this.  You might not want to hear what he has to say, but it’s important.

Once you’re done with that, you can cheer yourself up by watching this hilarious video by gloveandboots about how time travel sucks.