Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking to yourself/about yourself

So I was reading an article about writers and their blogs.  The author had several points but the one I thought was nifty was his comment that the writing needed to be interesting.  Even blog posts needed to be about something.  Given that this blog in particular is dedicated to the trials and tribulations of writing my first novel, I thought I'd take this post to give a bit of background.  Not the official bio type stuff but more the "real-life" person.

First up, I'm a wife and mother.  My husband and I have been married since 2000.  We'd dated for about 5 years before that so we've been together a bit.  One of the things I appreciate about him is that even though he gets the short end of the stick when it comes to cons (by default, he becomes Keeper of the Geeklet), he still encourages me to write.   That support is pretty critical especially when I start getting stalled like I am now.  My daughter, said Geeklet, is 3, almost 4.   And while she is an amazingly good girl, and has been to more cons than most kids her age, she doesn't always get that sometimes Mommy needs to write.   And when she says "Mommy, I need your "tention," I don't want to pass up that time with her. 

Second, I work a full-time job.  I am the Employee Relations Coordinator for a manufacturing company.  This, of course, means that any writing I do does not normally happen between the hours of 8am and 5pm unless it's lunch or an incredibly slow day.

Third, I have way too many other commitments.  I'm a Pirate re-enactor and I play D&D, which is kind of the one regular social activity I get.  Rarely, I'm also a costumer - and have belonged/belong to groups like the 501st and the HMA Titania, a steampunk costuming group.  I also like to read and watch a few TV shows.  I'm the coordinator of most of our get-togethers, holidays, trips, etc.    We are also contemplating, very loosly, the idea of starting another con...which means that in addition to everything else, I'm trying to work on that.  It's kind of stalled right now through and I don't know if I'll be able to do anything until after the new year.  All of which take up time that I could be using writing.

Lastly, there are the things about life that take up time.  Paying Bills, cleaning house, trying to exercise regularly and visiting with the family.  We're trying to declutter our lives and it's incredibly time consuming and heart-breaking at the same time.  This weekend, I threw away my cap and hood from Greensboro College.  I don't need it.  It's been sitting in a box for the last 15+years.   I'd rather keep things that are truly important...like the cross-stich of me and a dog from the Italian landlord we stayed with when I was 2.  But the decluttering is a massive project.  It's amazing how much stuff we've accumulated in just 10 years.  And I know I need to be more ruthless in letting things go but it's been a bit of a challenge as is just finding time to go through things. 

So given all that, it is no wonder that I'm having trouble keeping my BIC (Butt in chair!).

You know how that rabbit feels/Going under your speeding wheels
Bright images flashing by/Like windshields towards a fly
Frozen in the fatal climb/But the wheels of time
Just pass you by

Between the Wheels, Rush

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hook...

Magical Words

So...Faith just posted a great article on the why's behind her first few paragraphs in her third novel.  It seemed like a very good exercise so I thought I'd post the first couple of paragrapha of my Steampunk novel and walk through it.

Ella stood over the body, her hand covering her mouth.  The early morning fog slithered along the ground, covering and uncovering the fallen man.  The corpse lay sprawled across the cobblestone streets of London.  One hand reached out grasping over the pavement.   

Okay so, opening paragraph.  The novel is a mystery in the vary traditional sense.   First scene is off the dead body.  I also want to introduce the main character and set the tone.  I'm still not terribly happy with the first scene.  I do kind of want the impression that the fog is snakelike as it moves across the body and I want to let people know that it takes place in London. 

Kneeling down, she gingerly turned the body over.   The brown eyes of her courier, Julian Cole, stared up her.  Her shrill scream sliced through the fog and then echoed across the empty streets.   With a presence of mind, she did not know she had, Ella walked over to the police alarm and pulled it.  Soon the blue lights and whining siren filled the morning air.
Okay, now, we've set the scene in terms of time - early morning, empty streets.  I want to show that our Hero is stunned by the fact that it is someone she knows but still is aware enough to sound the alarm.
She walked back and stood over her friend.   His face was black and blue except for a long red scratch across one cheek.  His overcoat and vest were wrinkled and wet from the morning dew.  She noticed his pockets were askew as if they had been turned out but his pocket watch lay on the ground beside him.  A part of her noticed the face had been shattered and the time stopped at twenty-three minutes past three.
Here I want to describe the murder scene.  Clues here need to lead to our first suspects.

One of things I've noticed immediately, is that I'm setting this in Victorian England w/ a Steampunk twist...and nothing in my first 3 paragraph sets that up.  This could easily be a modern death scene so I need to add something to make the era more obvious - maybe a mention of her skirts??

So, I definitely need to keep these kind of things in mind as I start editing.  Of course, I'm a long way from editing.  I want to get the actual novel written first!  And that is my nanowrimo project so feel free to follow along. 

We travel on the road to adventure
On a desert highway straight to the heart of the sun
Like lovers and hereos, and the restless part of everyone
We're only at home when we're on the run
On the run...
~Rush, Dreamline

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stalled momentum

So I've reached a creative stall.   I had some time to write yesterday, while the Geeklet was sleeping but couldn't come up with anything.  Is that sad?

On an unrelated note, I saw briefly that Under the Black flag has a pirate themed short story contest going.  Max words is 4000 though and I think that Making History is more than that.   I have the twingiest of an idea for another pirate story so I may see if I can get enthusiastic about writing it...of course, still need a plot!

Maybe if I can get a bit of momentum going toward one story I can pick up speed on others.  It's a bit of a struggle right now.   And that sucks given that I'm supposed to be a guest at 3 cons in the spring, I really need to get some work finished and/or published. 

It's such a cloudy day
Seems we'll never see the sun
Or feel the day has possibilities
Frozen in the moment -
the lack of imagination
Between how it is and how it ought to be
~Rush, How it is

Just saying...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Publication Date Change and some upcoming thoughts

So due to some contract changes, Spells & Swashbucklers release looks like it will be delayed until March 2012. But we will be getting ebook and traditional books when it comes out!

In other news, I've been working on the short story for Fortannis. I finally have it all plotted out and now it's just a matter of actually doing the writing.

A friend of mine, also reminded me of the Jim Baen memorial Short Story Contest that is now open. I have the vaguest idea around a story...something about space pirates and the privitization of space exploration. That or there is this really amazing picture of a woman on a space ship holding a sword...I swear there is a story in there as well but I'm not 100% certain the picture isn't supposed to be of Weber's Honor Harrington. I also have a chase scene in my head a la Red Barchetta in space but since it requires asteriods, I'm not sure if that is too close to Star Wars.

I do plan on doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Concentrating on the Steampunk mystery of course. So I'm spending a lot of time plotting, writing up characters, etc. Hopefully, that will allow me to just dive into the writing part in November.

Wind in my hair/Shifting and Drifting/
Mechanical Music/Adrenelin Surge
~Rush, Red Barchetta