Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Writer's little helper

I warn all readers that I've been a bit sick, so I apologize if I ramble.

I don't really have a sense of how many people read this blog, but I propose that everyone should thrown in your best suggestion for progressing your writing. Here are my top 5 ways I get writing.

1. I listen to music

2. Running

3. I search the net for pictures of people I think look like my characters. (same with setting)

4. I find my favorite piece of art and describe what's happening in the piece. If there is a person in the piece, I write the scene from their point-of-view.

5. Unstructured daydreaming

Now, it's your turn

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Boy and my bad choice of professions

So the boy decided he needed a new job last week. He sent his resume out Monday, got the call for an interview Tuesday, interviewed yesterday, got the offer today, and starts next Thursday. He's a programmer writer.

In comparison as an editor (technical and not), I will go through my last job search. I decided I needed a new job. I sent my resume out, got a call a month later for an interview, but that didn't pan out. I got another call about two months after that, but I wasn't quite right. I then got another call the next month, interviewed once on the phone and again in person, and they decided I needed to meet more people. They called me and asked if I could come in that day, but I was on vacation, so they said they would call in a week. I email them when I got home. Then I waited. I did the hokey pokey and other deeply influential dances. A month later they called back and offered me the job.

I should have been a programmer writer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Today was one of the first days that I actually felt like I was making real progress in my life as an editor. I need to step back a bit to explain all of this, so excuse me while I reminisce.

Back when my whole desire to work as a journalist started, I was told that the most prestigious positions at the paper (at the time the junior high paper) were the editor's positions. I do understand now that they are merely different roles in the real world, but at the time the positions were given to the students who were responsible and good with the trades of an editor--grammar, spelling, style, tone, etc. So being as competitive as I was at that age, I set out to achieve this goal. I never made it though. There were some positive reasons; I was a good writer and an excellent interviewer. I was good at getting people to talk and was rarely intimidated by anyone. This made me perfect as a reporter. Still, there was the negative reason I was not promoted. I lacked the attention to detail that made a good editor. My editors loved what I had to say in my writing, but my work took, well, a lot of fine tuning.

Back to now. I started working seriously as an editor about two years ago. A number of people I knew needed help with books, articles, etc. I needed money, so that was that. I still was shaky on a number of concepts, but I made it through it all. Still I could tell that the same problem that was consistent through all my schooling, including college, was still there. I had no process that I followed to ensure that I did a complete edit. I lacked resources or methodology, and considering my background in science, I was appalled. So I sucked it up and went into a technical editing program to try to find a process or create one. Sure enough, in a program that focused on editing (my BS Journalism really only taught me how to write and research) they had a great process. *phew*

Today I set out to edit a rather large booklet. I knew where to start. I knew what problems I might find. I even knew to double check trademarks. It's so nice to have a process again.

BTW, I know that all of these entries probably have editing issues. I still can't edit my own work. :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A small party

I need to throw a small party for the boy tonight: he completed his first novel! I couldn't be more happy for him, and he is happy to have it out of his head on paper now.

It was great. I came home last night from knitting, and he was all glowing with the excitement of it all. It made me reflect on when I finished Continuum. I don't know if I remember much besides writing "The End" and wanting to cry. I was so excited to have done it, to have actually completed a book. At the time, I knew a number of people who set out to write books, but they'd all gotten about 40-100 pages in and quit. I would worry late at night that that would be my fate, but alas it wasn't. And now, it's not the boy's fate either. Hooray for finishing what you started!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Character Files

I love reading about other people's favorite writing tactics. I've heard some amazing ones from vision board to index cards to making a t-shirt that has a phrase that sums up a character (that being one of my favorites, and it's fun to try to think of one for your main characters). That all being said, I thought I would share one of my favorite things to do to help with character development and writer's block.

I love pictures. I know, I know, it's all about the pretty pictures, but it helps me think through a scene or a character. So, on days that my writing is going slowly or I just plain can't think about what a character looks like, I like to surf the Web or flip through magazines trying to find the person that looks like my characters (or setting seeing that I treat the setting like a character). I don't remember where exactly I picked up this idea, although I think it was from Deborah Schneider at the PNWA conference. If it was her, I have to thank her because it is invaluable to me. And before anyone mocks me, it isn't just about looking for attractive people, it's about the process of finding my character. Think about it for a minute. As I search, I have to more and more tightly define WHAT my character looks like, her/his mannerisms (because they really do come out in photos), what they might wear, etc. While looking for photos, I formalize who they are to me.

The same thing goes for the setting, especially if you treat setting as a character. I have tons of pictures on my desk, in files, stuck to the wall, all bits of a world that I am trying to put together.

Well, that's my bit for today.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Halfway there

I hit the halfway point of G project (reading wise), two nights ago. So far the voice hasn't drifted nearly as much as I first feared. On the other hand, I realized that there are a number of parts that need to be expanded. That's ok though, it's better than voice drift.

Currently, G project is at 56,000 words. I have three more main cruxes to get through, and then the book is done. My guess is that to end the book will be another 10,000 words. After that, I'd say that I will probably add another 5,000-10,000 words expanding the sections that need help. All in all, it's about a month or two worth of work.

It's amazing to me how much smoother writing this book has gone as opposed to Continuum. I think it took me two years to fully write it, and G project is almost done in half that time. I can't imagine how fast G project would have gone had I not gotten a new job in the middle of the whole process.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thinking about it all ...

I had a long conversation with my boy a couple of nights ago about his writing. He was feeling down about is novel and worried that it had all been a waste of time. Needless to say, I felt for him. I don't think I know a writer that hasn't felt that way at least hundred times per book.

For me that project is Continuum. I love my book, and I think it's a better story than G project, but wait until I sent G project out. My guess is that it will be with an agent much faster than Continuum. My heart goes out to that project because I love the story and the characters so much that I was compelled to write that story, which didn't even bother to contain itself to one book.

But back to the boy .... He asked me how I pushed through these times. All I could say was that I wrote because I felt like I had to get the story out. I love writing. I keep going by typing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Reading to write

Today, as was the case for the whole weekend, I read G project. It's amazing to me how much I forget about my own book from the time I start it to the time I am approaching the end.

The good news is that I am actually really enjoying reading it, as opposed to the first time I read through Continuum. I remember reading Continuum start to finish and wanting to cry. It was clear that it needed a lot of work. And it got a lot. I shifted from 1st person (several point-of-view characters) present to third person past.

This time I started with the right voice, tense, and narrator. Hooray for learning from my mistakes.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Back on the horse ...

I just sent my mostly done book (G project) to Kinkos to be printed out. It's just been too long since I started writing this beast, and I feel like my voice and tone is drifting. I hope a reread of the first 300 pages will help me wrap this puppy up (I'm in the endgame of the book).

While I was already getting that done, I got my first book printed out, too. So much has changed since I last had a print out for myself, and I thought it would be nice to get another copy. I think only my agency has this copy, which included the changes that my then agent had me make. Too bad he left before I ever found out what he thought of those changes. *sigh*

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A start to the new year

This blog is about my writing life (or editing life when work creeps in).

I am a speculative fiction novelist with my first book at an agency. I'd give you my status there, but I'm not entirely clear what it is at the moment (I was orphaned by my agent).

Over the next year my goal is to post everyday about the goings on of my writing and editing world.