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Archive for July, 2007

Progress Report, in which I do not whine, for once

Finally finished the rewrite of “Gone Black.” I just need to print and submit.

I said earlier that I didn’t want to spend all of July working on this rewrite. And so I haven’t. I still have two days left. 🙂

In all, I removed roughly 4K from the manuscript, or 20% of its length. That’s a pretty significant excision, and almost all of it from the opening pages. Unlike some other cutting work I’ve done, this one hurt a lot coming out. You see, I had good reasons for writing those scenes–introducing all the major characters, establishing important relationships, setting up future conflicts–so it was damned difficult to make the story work without them. I’m not sure there isn’t at least some noticeable scarring, but I feel the benefits outweigh the negatives. The story now starts where it should, and I think the ending works a bit better.

And I am quite frankly sick of looking at it–a sure sign that I’m done.

Up next, something new. I have no idea what it is yet. I’m doing that Halloween contest thingy over on Codex again. Given my schedule for August, it seems better to work on a short story rather than jumping whole-hog into the novel rewrite. I will, however, begin the note-making process for the upcoming Petra revision. This means I will finally be looking at the comments from my beta readers, which I have been holding at arm’s length until ready. Now I get to see just how mean

  really is. 🙂

In other news, here’s something I should have mentioned last week: in case you haven’t heard, IGMS is now a SWFA pro market, retroactive to the first issue. This means that my recent sale to them will be my elusive third SFWA-qualifying sale. Coolness! (You’ll notice that Edmund, in his announcement, says he’s only bought two stories over 10K words. Mine is one of them. Pardon me while I swell with pride . . . )

(Hey, at least I’m not whining. For once.)

Write Club updates:

You know, I’m rethinking the practice of posting the details of my rejections here. It’s something I’ve been doing on a private discussion group for years. But this is a public forum, and that changes things.  It occurs to me that I’m coming a little too close to doing what this person is doing. And I never intended this to be anything remotely resembling that. I think that person’s an idiot.

I still see some value in logging one’s rejections. Hey, we all get them. We all get a lot of them. They come with the territory. So I’ll keep reporting them, but from now on, names will be redacted.

Toward that end, two rejections last week: a tier one rejection for “Friends in Low Places” and an encouraging note on “Take This, and Eat.”

Enough. Gotta roll.

Progress Report, in which there are no Harry Potter spoilers

Some improvement. I managed to work in extra writing over the weekend to make up for deficiencies earlier in the week. I almost feel like a writer again.

I’ve finally escaped the quagmire of the opening to “Gone Black,” and breezed right through the second act–most of which was pretty solid, I must say. I’m now into the third act, where the final hurdle remains. It’s a bit crowded at the moment. There are three separate climactic confrontations, one after the other. That seems a bit much, to my mind, and the pacing is off.

I’m hoping that the drastic changes to the opening of the story will pay some dividends here. One of the confrontations should be a bit de-emphasized, and I’ll be upping the ante on another. Ideally, these will occur in the correct order, with the most dramatic happening last. We’ll see.

If I can keep my schedule sane for the next week, I might even be able to finish this damned thing. But don’t tell anyone I said that. Let it be our little secret, OK?

And since I spent a good chunk of the weekend writing, I’ve only had time to read the opening chapters of Harry Potter 7, so no fear of spoilers here. I did, however, go to the midnight release party thingy happening at a local Border’s. My buddy Mark had pre-ordered his copy, and wanted to pick it up as soon as possible and read it over the weekend. I had not pre-ordered, but thought I’d pal along, just to savor the experience . . . and to see if maybe I could get my copy while I was there.

You in the back row, stop sniggering! OK, so that last bit didn’t work out, but I’m still glad I went. I figure that nothing like this will happen again in my lifetime; i.e., millions of people showing up at midnight across the country for the release of–gasp and swoon!–a book. The writer in me must smile at this. I proudly wore my “Co-ed Naked Quidditch” t-shirt, natch. Garnered a few giggles, it did. A couple of gals even took pictures of it.

(Oh, and by the way–for those of you wondering what will step up to take Harry’s place in the publishing biz, the answer is nothing. This is a one-time phenomenon. Sorry to harsh your buzz, folks, but that’s the way it is. So enjoy it while it lasts.)

No updates for Write Club.

Oh, and Voldemort didn’t kill Harry’s parents, after all. Turns out Dumbledore did.

(Kidding! Just kidding. I haven’t read the book yet. Hey, what are you doing with that noose? No, wait–)

Progress Report, in which I attempt to convince myself of something

As I mentioned last week, my schedule has been thrown all out of whack. Hence the delay in filing a progress report.

Aforementioned schedule issues have also utterly derailed my writing. At times like these, I wonder how I ever managed to bang out the first draft of a novel in four months. I also begin to wonder what it will take to get back to those heady days. Are circumstances simply beyond my control right now, or am I just being lazy? Should I take sterner measures and really buckle down? Or should I get all Zen about the whole thing, and go with the flow? Is this current disruption a necessary break after having completed the first phase of a major project? Or am I just rationalizing?

Gawd, the things we writers do to ourselves. To quote some of the wit and wisdom of my favorite band:

One day I feel I’m ahead of the wheel

And the next it’s rolling over me

I can get back on

I can get back on . . .

To my ears, those last two lines sound less like a confident assertion and more like I’m trying to convince myself that it’s possible.

I did manage some meager headway on “Gone Black” last week, retooling a scene. Said retooling should, I believe, position me to make some real headway on this draft–if I can ever get back to it. This week’s schedule appears a little more sane, but experience has taught me not to make any rash promises.

I’m a writer. Really I am. I can get back on . . . I can get back on . . .

Write Club update:

Cemetery Dance
bounced “Take This, and Eat,” but included a hand-scribbled note on the rejection: “Well done! Please try again w/another!” Response time, four months.

Gotta bail.