27 February 2011 0 comments

My analogy tank is dry.

The hard-copy read-through of Black is now complete, finally. It took roughly a week, given the three-day weekend break I took from it.
Problem spots identified, and I've one or two scenes to expand upon, a few minor alterations to make, through the middle of the story, to get things flowing properly. And then it will be ready for synopsis-writing.
I laugh at myself, every time I get scared by the prospect of writing one of those. It's hilarious. I know how to write an executive summary of a detailed business report, after all. How hard can a simple synopsis be? Not hard, Rhi. Get a grip. Jeez.

Third round edits will be coming my way from Aleks, soon. Going to knock out what I can until then, and then Black will take the back-burner for a few days while those are addressed. I expect I'll have Black off my desk and on his way to the editor at Carina by the middle of the month...

Fingers crossed, hoping it goes that smoothly at least. Life does seem to have a way of rearing its ugly head and disturbing my well-laid plans. Just when I least want it to. Haha. :)
24 February 2011 1 comments

Happy Writer is ... Happy.

Like, big cheeseburger-eatin' LOLcat grin.

Editor sent back FOAT for round three tweaks. This is the last of it. From here on out it'll be all line edits and typos. She was absolutely ecstatic with the way Aleks and I reworked the ending/plot climax & resolution. It's a much stronger story for the changes, Just some minor content changes to be made... and we're still a couple weeks to the good.

Creating a hard copy of Black is turning out to be my saving grace. Actually reading it on paper seems to be resolving the issue I was having reading it on the screen. Mainly, I couldn't remember what was actually in the story, and what had been there versus what I'd altered. It was all... getting muddled. This is the "cleaning pass" read. Red pen in hand. I don't understand where the lack of clarity was coming from, but this is working much better than I even hoped for. I can see where the development tweaks need to be, and after reading it this way, I expect that writing the synopsis will be a breeze. Or, I have my fingers crossed and am hoping it will be, anyways. It's coming along nicely though, and the frustration with the alterations is gone. I'm able to see the beauty in it again, like I wasn't able to for a while there.

So very glad my knife-stabbing episode didn't kill this one...
17 February 2011 0 comments

My Shiny.

I got called into the day job on my day off, of course.
Returned home that evening to a huge box with a UPS label sitting outside my door.
Latest addition to the writing space is a nice shiny laser printer. And pardon my geekiness, but I think it's sexy.
Of course, I had to use it right away. That's Black, in all its 370 pages of glory, sitting on my newly acquired office chair. Printing it out had become a necessity. It's too huge a file for me to handle edits on the computer. I needed to see it. To be able to spread it out on my desk a few chapters at a time and see the various threads of the plot at a glance. I'm a skim/speed reader, but it's difficult to get that same at-a-glance effect of summarizing on a computer screen. Word can throw up four pages at a time but the text at that point is too small to be practical. Unless I had a 32-inch hanging on the wall serving as a secondary desktop.
Yeah, maybe some time in the future.
If nothing else, this will help me build a timeline, an outline, for the synopsis-writing purpose. It'll also help me see the balance between character development and plot development. Where additional scenes that I want to insert should optimally go to maintain a balance.
Something else I noticed. When I was writing Black, I elected not to use numbered chapters. Instead, each chapter has a heading that gives a general idea of what takes place. Almost like an anthology of short stories. Some of the chapters are only five pages long. Others are ten, sixteen, or twenty. Not sure, from a reader's standpoint, what that does for the pacing. I'd like to keep the "titles", but a good number of the chapters need combined. And I'm giving serious consideration to doing away with the "titling" entirely and reverting to numerical labels. There's enough that's different about this story as it is. I don't want that to be excessive, to contribute to the reader's discomfort even further. An alternative would be to combine them into numbered chapters, and retain the existing title segmentation within them since the labeling is roughly done per scene.
It'll require some thought.
While I let that rest, I need to work on the reinsertion of character development scenes that I excised during the rewriting of the second half of the story. They need to go back in, I'm just working on spacing and pacing them appropriately.

Wanted this one off my desk for my birthday, but it looks like it'll be a tad late simply because of the day job's impromptu demands. Soon, though. Very soon. It's almost there.
13 February 2011 0 comments

Oh, Teh Agony.

...Of being stuck at The Day Job. And have the muses enlighten me with how, exactly, to fix and finish Black's story.

I was flailing. It was hilarious, in hindsight. There I am, doing the artistic equivalent of a pee-pee dance, trying to hold it all in until my hour-long meal period. Chanting in the back of my head, "for fuck's sake, just hang on a little longer, please don't go away, just WAIT A LITTLE LONGER, ohgodohgodohgod..."
I have no idea how many people backed slowly (or quickly) away from me during those couple hours, praying for a safe retreat from the crazy lady with the psychotic, schizophrenic expression on her face.

I scribbled furiously in my notebook (a small 4x6 leatherbound thing that I go Nowhere without for reasons that should now be obvious) for an hour straight, and managed to catch it all.

And then stayed up until 2 a.m. typing with the same passion-driven fury.
Hello, Organic Mayan Black Onyx brew, I love thee. Shall I count the words? I mean... ways?

Slept for six hours.
Woke up five minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off.
Wrote for a few hours on FOAT, enough to finish up the second-round edits and the rewrites that were required for the last couple chapters.
It just... flowed.

I love it when that happens.
I've been feeling slightly hung-over since, but it's difficult to care. Because, like any artistic medium, the true execution, done with energetic, driven motivation, creates a finished product that is a sight to behold.

And that, in the end, is what I strive for.
It doesn't happen too often. Hasn't really happened, to be honest, since last summer when Aleks and I wrote FOAT in one fell swoop over the course of six weeks.

Madness, I'm sure, by some definitions. But then, artistic inspiration is like that. Dancing in the gray area along that line, flirting with the dark side. Learning to tap into that energy, without letting it get out of control.
Much like a racehorse, breaking from the starting gate. You get a fistful of mane in both hands, make sure there's plenty of slack in the reins, and pray to Saint Francis you don't get outbroke.
11 February 2011 1 comments

Yet Another Step Along The Way

Some time back before Christmas, Carina had emailed the official contract to Aleks and I to be signed and returned to them.

From London to Pennsylvania took roughly one month. The editor was stressing out a little bit, trying to figure out if we were just being spastic. Under normal circumstances, the transit shouldn't take more than a week.
Under normal circumstances, it doesn't.
But holiday glut, and less than optimal weather on both sides of the Atlantic put a substantial crimp in the travel time.
All's well that ends well, though, and yesterday I received an email notification that the release date was officially set for August 15th, which means they've received and countersigned the contract. I expect I'll receive my copy some time in the next week or so.

In the meantime, we're still hammering away on the second round edits, which are demanding a heavy rewrite to the final couple chapters of the book. I'm confident that it'll be done long before deadline, but I am reluctant to send it back too early. Would rather sit on it and give the last few chapters a final read-through. That's the incessant editor in me talking, though.

I haven't reached that point, just yet, where I'm sick of looking at it and just want to slam my head into the desk until the oak is saturated with blood. I do expect, however, that this point is swiftly approaching... *lol*

Our editor is a good one, though. Very thorough, with a talented eye for strengthening plot and character development. She's also quite adept at communicating what it is she's looking for. And a good editor is a blessing, to say the least. She's helped us polish the entire book to a high-gloss, showroom shine.

And I've got my fingers crossed that we won't have to change the name. I've grown attached to it in a way I can't describe. Like... at this point, no matter what the book's published name ends up being, it will always be Father of All Things to me.
In more ways than one.
04 February 2011 0 comments

Delay... obviously.

But for good reasons! I swear!

Black's "Meet The Muse" interview is on hold, for the moment. Mostly because I have someone who would like to perform the interview, and the prospect of sinking into character for the conversation is a great idea. I'm eager to try it and see what comes of that approach.
And finding the time for that...well. It's going to have to wait a little bit.

The line edits for FOAT came in a couple days ago, and everything is taking a back seat to getting a handle on this. Getting it under control, making sure the alterations that need done are plotted and manageable, and making time to schedule the tandem writes with my partner in crime. Those things have priority.

I'm discovering that I'm one of those writers who can have many active projects on my desk, but can only work on one of them at a time. It was that way with the trunked novel. It was that way during Black's formative years. And it was that way with FOAT. Each project consumed my attention to the exclusion of everything else. I can switch back and forth between them, but that shifting of gears doesn't come as easily as posting a trot on horses with different strides. My sister envied me that natural sense of rhythm, when we were kids. Relax, and go with the flow. Feel it. I haven't developed that talent as writer.
Not just yet, anyways.

The other factor influencing all this is that FOAT is my first actual publication. There's a certain level of expectation (self-induced) and the associated stress. That voice in the back of my mind screaming, "Holy fuck, wench, don't screw this up!" My name's not the only one on this book. My reputation as a writer, as an author, isn't the only one on the line here. I want this to be great. I want this to be awesome. I want the story to be its best. Putting more pressure on myself than I should, and I know that. It's a learning experience. I'm feeling my way through something totally new and unfamiliar in every way. And at the same time, I'm doing it with someone who has more experience at it than I do. The last thing I want to do is trip up or otherwise hinder the efforts of someone else. I've never written with someone on a project of this caliber, this scope. So, a lot of firsts for me, all at once. And there are moments, many moments, when it's daunting. Overwhelming.

And as someone said of me recently... "Damn, for a writer, you kinda suck at communicating."

Yep. I do. Working on that. Haha.