still synopsizing

still synopsizing

I’m still working on the REDEEMER synopsis. I’d been living in this magical-thinking place where I thought I could the half-worldbuilding-totally-SPLAAAH synopsis I was roughing as the Actual Synopsis, since I wasn’t going to have to send it to anybody.

Turned out I can’t, even if it’s *not* going to anybody else. It was too chaotic and unstructured, so despite the fact that I’ve got thousands of words of worldbuilding & synopsis, I’ve now got…thousands of words of new synopsis. I did about 8K–actually, including the *original* synopsis, more like 9400 words–of worldbuilding/synopsising/brainstorming questions (and that doesn’t even count the responses to peoples’ thoughts on my brainstorming filter, which adds another several hundred words; call it 10K total, probably), and I’ve converted about 3K of that into solid, useable synopsis. :)

I’m actually finding it rather interesting that I’m obliged to do this, er, Properly, even if it’s basically For My Eyes Only. It’s totally not fair, but it’s interesting. *laughs* (And another TooMUSH alumni who is working toward publication says her takeaway from this is that I’m teaching her she’d better not slack on learning skills like a good synopsis. :))

I’m definitely gonna count all of this toward my YTD wordcount, though, because ye gods, this is a lot of prep!

falling behind!

falling behind!

I’m falling behind on my Recent Reads and film commentary stuff. Suffice it to say we just got to s3e9 of Person of Interest and they could probably hear our scream of agony in Australia. And I’m not speaking in the royal We, I’m speaking of me and Ted both shrieking “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” at the television.

A friend of mine says she’d read spoilers and that she will not go beyond s3e8. This is not necessarily a bad solution. #heartbreak

I went to see Jupiter Ascending a second time, and liked it much more the second time when I could appreciate it for what it was instead of what I wanted it to be.

I read Matt Fraction’s run on Uncanny X-Men, which I largely enjoyed, and STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONIST, which I’d read the first couple chapters of online and THOROUGHLY enjoyed, and then today I accidentally read the first of Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork books and was forced to buy the other two, which is not the *best* way to get through the TBR shelf. :) (Someone suggested I now move all first-books-in-a-series to the end of my “read all the books i own that are written by people i know” goal for the year queue. This is a good suggestion. :))

This evening I’m wearing a new National Geographic pullover thing. Ted, in some surprise, said, “You have a National Geographic jumper?”

I said, “Oh yeah, I started working for them.”

Ted *immediately* got an expression that indicated that this was not outside his realm of probability, which I thought was pretty great. :) (The jumper is actually something that comes with renewing a NatGeo subscription. :))

two steps forward…

two steps forward…

I’ve been working on my detailed synopsis for REDEEMER this week. It’s going pretty well, actually: I’ve done about 5k–well, I’ve probably written 7 or 8K, including random thoughts about worldbuilding and stuff–and I’ve opened it up to my Brainstorming Filter, which–I’ve always brainstormed with Ted and my friend Trent, but previous to STONE’S THROE I’d never done *much* brainstorming outside of them. I needed help with STONE’S THROE and opened it up to a small group of friends and writers (don’t ask, I won’t put you on it), and had so much fun brainstorming I’ve been making it a more regular feature of my writing.

This, combined with the detailed synopsis that comes out of it, is a great boon to the forward motion of a book. If I’ve done it right I’m not hitting any snags while writing, which means I’m far more likely to hit my max possible wordcount (around 2K) in an hour, which…well, helps, obviously. Maximises writing time, which is great, and makes the 10-15 hours spent wrangling the synopsis well worth it.

So yeah. That’s going well. Two steps forward.

One step back: my agent reports there’s sufficient editorial backlash against post apocalyptic dystopic young adult books that nobody wants to buy my own such book, which is…not surprising, but disappointing. I was hoping it was good enough (because it *is* good) to get past the fact that editors (if not readers & fans, because I haven’t noticed anybody stopping with THE HUNGER GAMES or DIVERGENT) are tired of it. Editors were tired of urban fantasy in 2003, too, when I sold URBAN SHAMAN; UF was On The Way Out in editorial opinion, but readers carried it along for another decade before starting to hit any kind of real fatigue. So that’s too bad, because I did like it a lot and would have liked to have told that story. Ah well.

Recent Reads: The Art of Asking

Recent Reads: The Art of Asking

I found THE ART OF ASKING to be a rather strange read.

A lot of it was familiar to me in one way or another: I’ve watched Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk, I followed her Kickstarter and its aftermath, I periodically read her blog, I used to read Neil Gaiman’s blog regularly, etc. I’m not a fan of either Palmer or Gaiman, which is to say their art doesn’t particularly speak to me, but I’ve met them both, albeit briefly, and it’s hard to be in my line of work and not know who they are.

So basically the thing is I’ve never read an autobiography by someone I know, or am modestly familiar with, and that’s what TAOA ended up feeling like. There were things in the book that illuminated tweets that made no sense at the time, for example, and that’s a fairly strange experience. Or–there was one particularly surreal moment in the book where Palmer writes about talking to Gaiman during a week he spent in Ireland, nominally writing but actually totally laid out with the flu; that week a friend of mine (who had never met him before) saw on Twitter that he was flu-ridden and brought him carrageen and spent some time with him and so my perspective of that particular moment is…reading about it in TAOA was like encountering an unexpected funhouse mirror. It was a very strange read.

The book is nominally about making art and crowdfunding, although it’s also greatly about Palmer and Gaiman’s relationship and the art of asking for things within the context of a relationship and could arguably fall under the category of self-help, as well. Overall it’s a nice symbiosis, and given that I read it in one afternoon, it’s clearly a *very* readable book.

It’s also about building a community, and how that community is what comes together when you run a Kickstarter. It’s how Palmer made a million dollars on her Kickstarter, how Evil Hat made nearly half a million on one of theirs (and I have no idea how much they’ve grossed total from their Kickstarter projects other than ‘a lot’), and how the two Kickstarters I’ve run have succeeded beyond expectation: you start ten years ago and build up a group of (listeners, gamers, readers) who dearly love what you’re doing and are willing to support it. Then you go crowdfunding and come out looking like an outrageous success.

From the point of view of trying to learn how to do my own personal community-building better, it’s…well, several things.

One is that it’s clear that the more you live your life online, or the more open/raw/unfiltered you seem to be, the more passionate your supporters become. They feel like they really know you. That’s something I’ve observed in the past anyway, and I struggle with, because part of me is deeply, profoundly envious of the ability to make that kind of connection and harness legions of followers.

Another part of me is either unable or unwilling to throw myself into it that hard, and I’ve become more reluctant to do so since I’ve had a child, as he didn’t sign up for a semi-to-public life. I’ve had a blog for literally twenty years, but I have only a fraction of the readers that (Scalzi, Wendig, Palmer, etc) have. I don’t have enough of a theme. I don’t post often enough. I don’t swear at people (often); I have none of the shock jock technique that others (including Palmer, IMHO) have employed. My life is not generally a train wreck and when it is I don’t expose that to my readers.

And I’m not, as musicians often are, on the road all the time and able to meet readers in real life that way. I don’t know how to bridge that gap, although I’d love to be able to. I often feel as though I’m perhaps failing, not just myself but my readers somehow, and perhaps even potential readers, by *not* being as good at community-building as I’d like to be.

So it was an interesting read, but not, perhaps, enlightening in the way one might hope.

Family dynamics FTW :)

Family dynamics FTW :)

Over on FB I linked to this website about a sustainable village being developed in Ireland and said I still wanted go live there.

My mom said I could be the Village Writer. My sister has friends living there and they’re the Village Dancer and the Village Baker.

My mom’s younger brother said, “Do they need a Village Idiot? I might be available.”

Mom said, “Funny, I was thinking of offering myself as the Village Wise Woman!”

I said, “I now really want to write a story in which a brother and sister are the village wise one and the village idiot. Ideally at the end you’d be unsure which was which…”

Their older sister said, “I’m still not sure!”

*laughs and laughs and laughs* I love my family. I really do. :)

Redeemer ho!

Redeemer ho!

I got REDEEMER into Scrivener today, did some edits (there’s a thing I’m trying to do with it which will almost certainly take seven thousand edit passes and I will still not entirely succeed), and actually wrote a thousand words, which is pretty remarkable, because I am no Alexandre Dumas; I do not finish one book, reach for a fresh sheet of paper, and begin writing the next.

Except I truly do have an extraordinary amount to do by the middle of the year to reach the (far too ambitious) goals I have, and would like to try to continue to make actual writing progress while trying to do revisions and write thingies. Synopses.

There’s basically no chance of it actually happening, as new words, revisions and synopses all essentially use All My Brain, but I’m trying to catch up with a friend of mine who’s written well over 120K already this year and if I stop forward motion I’ll never catch up. :)

Anyway, it was nice to dip my toes in a little, and if I can somehow manage even just 1k a day I might get some momentum going, which would be great. :)

ytd wordcount: 77,100

i finished it!

i finished it!

I went off this afternoon to write and meet up with a friend, and accomplished some 3750 words before our meeting. I was pretty sure I’d broken through the Novelist’s Event Horizon, and thought maybe if I went back to write a little more, I could finish MAGIC & MANNERS sometime tomorrow. So I went back and blew through 2000 words in an hour (that’s about my top speed), said on Twitter that I thought I might keep going, wrote another two sentences, and was like “no wait i’m done!”

I stared at a minute and concluded I was, in fact, satisfied with that, and now MAGIC & MANNERS, which I started about five years ago, is finished! At least in rough draft.

The truth is that I’m not usually all that “yay!” about finishing a book anymore, but in this case I actually feel quite yay! Not sure why, but it’s a lovely feeling!

The next month is going to be full. of. revisions. MAGIC & MANNERS, a straight-up Regency, an Old Races short story, and my nephew’s book all need revision. Between revising I’m going to be writing the detailed synopsis for the second Regency and for REDEEMER, which I had hoped would be my March writing project but which is realistically going to be the April-May project.

In the meantime, MAGIC & MANNERS will be being edited, revised to editorial specifications, given a cover, copy-edited, laid out, made into e-book files, and released in its full shiny format to its patrons, and then relatively soon thereafter to the world.

Whew!

ytd wordcount: 76,100

long day on the home front

long day on the home front

Poor Indy has a cold and last night ran very long for all of us. Ted and I switched out sleeping with him a couple times, thus ensuring nobody got enough sleep, which was possibly not all that smart. :) Anyway, the end result has been being essentially awake since about 4:30am, which makes it Very Impressive Indeed that I got my 2K in today. I did the first 1200 or so between about 6-8am, at which point my brain just turned to goo, but around noon I shut off the internets and got the other 800. So go me. :)

Tragically, I did not finish the book. It’s at 122.somethingK, and I’m going to be distressed if I don’t wrap it up by 130K. I said a little desperately. :)

That’s about all I’ve got here. I’m going to watch this week’s Arrow and then go collapse in bed, because, uh. Well. Because I got up at 4:30 this morning, obviously.

oh but guys OMG jason momoa as aquaman OMG! O.M.G! did you see? DID YOU SEE?!?

aquaman

ted was all like “O.O is that a photoshop of drogo or is that real” and i was all “IT’S REAL” and he clutched his heart and got verklempt. SO. FREAKING. AWESOME!

as i said to another friend, i am indifferent to aquaman (he’s fine, i don’t dislike him, i just don’t, like, dig him) but i am VERY INTERESTED IN JASON MOMOA AS AQUAMAN and holy shit this is what i wanted him to look like, O.M.G!!

ytd wordcount: 70,300

event horizon

event horizon

I have crossed 120K–the approximate length of the original PRIDE & PREJUDICE–and I am firmly within the Novelist’s Event Horizon. I have 3-5 chapters left. I will continue to have 3-5 chapters left until I am suddenly done. This is how it always goes at the end of a book. I’m not quite at the stage of being ready to scream because it’s not yet done, although I’m going to have to wrap it up pretty quick to not get to that stage.

This morning on Twitter someone was bemoaning the fact that she was not getting a Thing done because she was writing, and why was it that her time management skills disappeared when she was writing? And the answer to that is because there are no time management skills for writing, because when you are writing there is nothing as important as writing. There just isn’t.

That, incidentally, is probably the best way to know if you’re doomed to be a professional writer. If you would rather be writing than doing anything else, like, say, maintaining any kind of life, or work/life balance, you’re pretty well screwed and may as well embrace it.

Also, you can tell when I’m writing a book because it’s all I ever post about. :p

ytd wordcount: 68,300

almost there

almost there

I don’t know what’s going to come first on this book, 120K or the end. I suspect 120K, as I’m at 113.4 or something now and I have at least two chapters before I can get to the wrap-up, so yeah.

Still, I’ve cracked 60K for the year and have had pancakes for dinner, so things can’t be all bad. Also I just got a lovely email from one of the MAGIC & MANNERS patrons saying it had gone far enough off the PRIDE & PREJUDICE rails that she really doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and I’m really very happy with that. :) :) :)

I calculated this morning that if I write 2000 words of fiction a day from now until my birthday I could complete two full books by then. That could happen, right? Right? …right?

Yeah, okay. So anyway. :}

Uh. I was going to say one other thing, but…nope. It’s gone.

ytd wordcount: 61,400