Wednesday, March 31, 2010

bomb's away

Two submissions made today. Yes, I made my deadlines. The last one I made by about 15 minutes. :) But it's done.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

orchard tonight... all night

Hopefully not all night, but I haven't been able to get this opening quite right. I think I'm almost there. I was on page 4 of a 15 page revision, but I really didn't like the opening. This one is better. I just need it to take me to page 15 and beyond. This story is due tomorrow... back to the revisions.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

tiger princess cont'd and complete

Working hard and making progress, but not done yet. 8 pages revised today, with a total of 25 in the story (double space), so I doubt I'll finish tonight. Maybe in the morning, or over lunch? Here we go...

Edited 11:23pm to add: And v02 is complete! I'm printing and will reread in the morning before I send off for crit. It's my usual length, 5k (25 pages double spaced). I think it's good. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Full Time Working Mom of Two Makes Time for Writing (and stays sane, mostly)

I tell people I've been writing seriously for about ten, eleven years now. I thought I was writing seriously all those years. Granted it was a step up from hobby writing, so in that sense yes I was serious, but I'm on a whole new level of serious. Publication Serious. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning serious. I'm there.

I even have a typical schedule, created based on which activities I perform better at various times. All of this is subject to deadlines (like now, I've got two major short story deadliens, so ever writing session is spent working on those two stories) and also subject to family needs. My kids are too young for me to say "no this is my time". But I plan the writing to fit into times where they aren't around, or when they're sleeping, or when someone can watch one or both of them for me.

My day-job dictates that Monday through Friday I work from 6;30 am to 3:00 pm, and my household responsibilites run me ragged Saturday and Sunday. Working around that:

Morning Writing: 4:30 - 5:30 Mon - Fri (novel writing / other first draft writing)

Lunch Time Writing: Tues, Thurs, and when possible Sat/Sun - short story work.

After Work: 3:45 - 4;45 (4x weekly) @ the library near daycare for (novel) revision

Evening Writing: 8:30 - 10:00 pm  (5x weekly)- "Other" = Reading, Revision, "Developement" (plan, outline, analyze for revision), Submission prep, critiques, or whatever pressing deadline needs more time.

I guess that between the kids, work issues, weather related road delays, I tend to lose about a quarter of what I planned on doing during the day. The Evening Session will help me make up for those days, hopefully.

This schedule should theoretically allow me to accomplish the following in a year: write one novel, edit one novel, and fit in several short stories. I'll know better after this year, but I'm hoping that spending more time writing means revision will go faster than I've done them in the past. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

orchard revisions

It's been a rough couple of days. I haven't been able to make use of all my writing sessions, but the ones I've gotten in have been productive. The revision for Lonely Orchard is underway and going well enough.  Left arm is sore tonight - something is off about using the library computers for extensive typing. One library has wooden chairs so I can't adjust height, another library has horrible keyboards so I have to pound the keys. At least I've been able to use my evening writing session for reading and giving my arms a little break.

Monday, March 22, 2010

tiger princess... 1st draft done

Yes it's a crappy first draft, but I like the story. I can fix it. :) But first, I'm going to start on Orchard...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

continuing tiger princess

Friday I wrote another 1/3 of the Tiger Princess story, but Saturday and Sunday were nonwriting days (aka kids, kidfun, laundry, groceries, more laundry, etc etc etc). Finally, I have some time to myself after prepping for the week, and am almost ready to sit down and write. I'd like at least a scene tonight if nothing else. I should be able to finish up the story tomorrow with three hours of writing over the course of three planned writing sessions. I'm actually giving up the lunchtime writimg tomorrow to hit the gym.

It might seem silly considering I have two big deadlines coming up, but if this is what I'm going to do with my life, I'll always have deadlines coming up. If I don't fit in my workouts now, they'll never become a solid part of my routine, and it will always compete with my writing. Aside from those workouts I've managed to plan for a good 20 hours per week on writing, including attempts on Saturday and Sunday which don't always work. I figure I lose a quarter of what I plan on due to family stuff. So still, 15 hours a week on top of the day job? I'm happy with it. Especially since adding the early morning sessions. I'm been getting up at 4:30 and get onto the computer by 4:45, giving myself 45 minutes to write. This week, I'm moving it a tad earlier: up at 4;15 and onto the computer by 4:30. It's amazing how much the writing flows at that hour, and I found that I kept creeping past my 5:30 mark, and getting our morning going late.

Goals for this week: complete Tiger Princess first draft, revise Orchard and send for crit, and then start on the Tiger Princess revision.

Here's to a busy week, and a sucessful one! Good luck with your plans/goals.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

tiger tiger growr!

Engrossed in the tiger story, about 1/3 done.  Started early this morning, got a half hour in around 4:45am, and then again over lunch. I was going to take the kids to the library today, but. . . I think I'll be going alone and writing. Sorry kids, but I've got some momentum going which can be good for stories on a deadline.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I know I'm growing as a writer. Before, when someone critiqued me and tore my story apart, I bled. Me. I'd think I was a failure and question why I was doing this to myself. I'm done with that. Critiques are so neccesary to writing fiction. The world and story are so alive in my mind, that I cannot convey it all properly right off. Maybe if I had six months to forget the story and read it anew, that would help. But I'd still need the view of someone who hasn't had any exposure to it at all. It's invaluable.

So, Black Violas: I got back two critiques from writers, and two from non-writers. They all helped me understand what isn't working. It was an early draft, I knew it needed work, but I didn't realize how much I really tried to cram into a short story. It seems what I need to do is go in with a highlighter and find everything related to the single most important idea in the story, and anything that supports that. And start the next revision with just that.

It means cutting another character, and actually, I'm all right with that.  What's helping me is believing that the story as is, is a novel synopsis, so I can play with all my complications later on, in a stronger form. It's allowing me to let go of what isn't critical for this small piece to work.

There is less than a month until the contest deadline, and I have two other deadlines before it. This is definitely shaping up to be an interesting year--and I am not backing down from the challenge.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Lonely Orchard is prepped and ready for revisions. Considering a title change. Possibilities are: Her Father's Orchard, Valla's Orchard, Valla's Lonely Orchard, The Magic of Trees. I do like Lonely Orchard, and it has an underlying meaning that she sees the orchard as being lonely without her father, when it's truly her that's lonely without him. So maybe it'll stick.

Running out of time: stepping it up on the Tiger Princess draft. I think the title is going to be Rise of the Tiger Princess.  We'll see. I finally transcribed all my notes, organized them, and worked out the outline and ending options. I think I know which ending I want to go with, though the creepy one is tempting. I have to see how Vandana develops and see which one is more natural for her.

Oh and it doesn't help that I've found James D. MacDonald's writing posts on Absolute Write. I've been stalking the internet to learn more about the viable paradise instructors, and I'm actualling learning stuff about writing in the process. :)  I found a suggestion for an exercise, an idea I briefly considered myself a few weeks ago and dismissed, but am willing to consider it again.  The idea was to type a published short story or novel opening in order to study it. When I was in college, that was exactly how I studied: I typed out important notes and study guides. I learn through typing. There's just something about it. I thought maybe typing up someone's short story might give me a better understanding, but I figured it'd take too much time, and I have deadlines right now. But it is a good idea, and I might just do it when I have more time.

In the meantime, it's write write write. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

forging ahead

Resubmitted Fading Light after a quick revision. Definitely fixed some minor problems I didn't see with the story before submitting it to Writers of the Future. Darn it. Better luck at this next place...

Working on Tiger Princess, actual title expanded to Rise of the Tiger Princess. And it's got a whopper of an ending.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writers of the Future: Honorable Mention

My story Fading Light received an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. 

What does that mean? Top 10 - 15% of entries received this quarter. Pretty neat for my first entry.  My next story goes in in two weeks, and I've still got to revise it. I'm super psyched now.  :)

Oh and my friend Margaret is on the list too, so doubley excited.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Over lunch, I analyzed Lonely Orchard and I'm pleased at my results. This is about fifty percent rewrite, but the rewrite is worldbuilding and a specific detail about the conflict. The characters are spot-on, the scenes and structure are mostly right.

The biggest part of this revision is giving life to one people's fear and hatred of another. I need to create these two nations, including why Valla's people lost a war to them (or something that'll hurt as much). I also need to discover--aside from Valla's sentimental attachment to the orchard--why the trees are so important. I know the create magic, a balance of some kind, and even how it happens, but I'm missing why and the other side of how. Sorry if that doesn't make sense to you. It does to me, and I'll need the reminder later.

Trees and maps tonight, and maybe I'll get some more done on the tiger story too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Black Violas, revision complete

This story has gone through the ringer, but it's finally in good enough shape to pass onto critters. :) No not the furry kind, the writer kind. Yes, I'm loopy. I stayed up too late, but... it's okay.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

the magic of trees

Trees keep popping up in my writing, which may be an occupational hazzard for a fantasy writer, except that my trees are always more than just trees. In my published story, "Treischan Strength", the trees are an age-old race that record history. In Lonely Orchard, the trees are magic, alive, and aware, and communicate through a special song that only those gifted with the talent can hear. I'm also working on a SF story where the dominant species on the planet is a hive-minded race of flowers. And never mind the forest in Nighthunter's Bite -- it's not exactly alive, but it is mystical.

I know I've got enough varies projects going on, but I need to break from my current course and get started analyzing Lonely Orchard. I want to submit it at the end of the month, so I at least need to understand what kind of fixing it requires. It's old--years and years old-- so I'm afraid.

But to imagine what this story could end up being? I'm willing to lose sleep over it. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Applied

Can't get in if you don't apply....  My viable paradise submission has been emailed and the paper version of the application is awaiting the opening of my local post office.  Now I just wait for July to hear if I'm accepted.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

multiple projects

I've shifted over to the multiple/simultaneous project mentality. I flowed into it because some of my little bits of writing time don't always allow me computer access.  I outlined the Tiger Princess story, and started writing it today. The first scene revealed some information about the characters I hadn't realized--I thought the main character was my tiger princess, but someone else has claimed that title in a very creepy kind of way. Can't wait to get this one day and out. :)

I got some feedback on my letter for viable paradise, and the revision should be fairly easy. The submission is going to take a little while--Nighthunter's Bite is in good shape, but getting into this workshop is competetive, and I need it in tip-top condition. I'm concerned that I'm sending in my experimental story (1st person pov, present tense), but with proper editing I hope I can make it shine.

Black Violas is on a break (last night). I'm about to rewrite the ending, the right ending I believe, so looking at it fresh should help.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I spent my lunch break today analyzing three of the stories I have queued to edit, and I reviewed my submission needs with a realistic estimate of which stories I'll be able to get into shape by these deadlines.

The Tiger story is first, I need to get the first draft done so I can revise submit it by 3/31 to the triangulation anthology.

Nighthunter's Bite is next. My original intent was to submit it to writers of the future (3/31 deadline), but now that I'm applying to viable paradise, I want to submit either this story (2nd choice) or my Honor story, which is with JJA right now for the wizard anthology. So this story has priority for revision.

Dragon's Bard and Lonely Orchard require much more work than I anticipated. Only one of them will get revised this month, and at the moment, I'm leaning toward Orchard. Black Violas isn't due until 4/15, so after this round of revisions, I'll post it for crit, and then get to it early april.

At least now I'm organized.

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Progress / March Goals

February was a trying month, but also a huge learning experience. Black Violas has been an extension edit, and I'm covering in one long revision what would have taken me several versions as well as multiple critiques to correct. Now I'm seeing this stuff on my own.

February Results:
* Hunter's Honor - revised and submitted
* Black Violas - revised, revised, revised
* 1 critique
* started VP letter
* story research
* market research

March is going to be insane. I've set myself some potentially record setting goals in regard to short story revision, but I think I can do it. Several of the stories are in cleaner versions, except for one, which I need to actually write.  I'm borrowing a method from a writer friend and working on it in small bits--250 words daily--while working on my revisions. The deadlines I have are 2 stories for my VP application (asap), trianguation anthology (3/31 via email), parsec contest (4/15 via postal mail), WotF (3/31 via postal mail). If I need to, I can drop the story for WotF, but I'd hate to waste the quarter if I can get a story in decent shape.

March Goals: (edited for submission changes)
Black Violas: revision (contest entry, will be retitled later) 4/15 deadline
Tiger Princess: draft and revision and submission 3/31 deadline
Nighthunter's Bite: revision  5/14 deadline (aiming for 4/17 submission)
The Lonely Orchard: revision and submission 3/31 deadline
VP application
Crits -- 2

Yes, I'm insane. But it'll be a good test for deadline handling. I've blocked off four 45 minute writing sessions to do while I'm still at work but off the clock. I may take a personal day toward the middle/end of the month if my progress isn't far enough along. I'm also employing a dual-project goal for my evening writing to see if it helps my brain by swapping projects when exhaustion starts setting in.

I wanted to try waking up an hour early and writing then, but I already get up at 5am for work. So, I'll try it for a few days and see how it goes. At this point, I just want to get through all this madness. :)