May. 18th, 2010 01:34 am
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
I'm alive and I can emerge from my hidey-hole of Must Finishdom where I've been hiding since mid-April in my never-say-die effort to get this draft done with so I can move on to other projects. And finally, I am done! Wooo!

The first draft of Soul Machines (the Vampire Novel o' Doom) is now officially complete. It's overdue and overweight, but at least it's OVER!

It stands at 186,513 words (by Open Office's account), but I think I should get points because I finished it on vacation with a case of swimmer's ear so bad that the doctor gave me darvocet for the pain and two different kinds of ear drops.

Yeah, that's hardcore.

So I'm going to enjoy a couple days of relaxing and letting my brain blank out before I a) start a new job and b) start a new project.

Oh, and if you've been wondering why I've been absent from the world for a while, it's because I've been finishing a novel, taking an epic road trip home to Tennessee (guess what, we arrived just in time for the flooding in my home town of Jackson - an hour and a half outside Nashville) and then flying to Florida and then getting a new job (which I start on the 20th) and generally being busy.

Now, once my life finally reaches cruising altitude again, I can get back to work on whatever is next. Which I think is either the Untitled Steampunk Extravaganza or the Hell!Romance thing or maybe finishing up the nanoproject, Bound for Canaan. IDK. It all depends.

For now, I'm going to get some victory sleep.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
This is one of those obligatory "talk about what you're writing" posts that I suppose I have to do every once and a while to keep up my cred as a writer and not just a talker-of-shit-on-the-internet. I think the formal term is blogger, but yeah.

Right now I've just written 10,000 words on the wrong story and before that I wrote 4300 on another story that was not what I was supposed to be working on. My brain does not want to stay on task, even though I am a mere six chapters shy of finishing Soul Machines. I'm near the end! Why can't my brain just motor through this last bit of the first draft. Then we'll have all the time in the world to work on these other things!

I suppose I should enjoy the time to be slow about drafts and have no formal deadlines. When I'm all published and famous I won't have that luxury. [/foundless optimism].

So what are you working on, internets? Tell me about your projects and plotlines. Is your brain staying on task any better than mine?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I'd comment on the whole Amazon vs. Macmillan dust-up except as far as I can tell, there's not much anyone can do except go elsewhere to buy Macmillan books and hope Amazon doesn't get any stupider. As far as the whole e-books thing goes? I'm sticking with paperbacks until the price comes way down and there's a reader that actually makes sense. Nothing on the market is even feasible. Sony's model can't handle temperatures under 30 degrees (and in NYC, that's bad), the Kindle is too expensive and Amazon can take your purchases back any time they want, and I'm not buying a damn iPhone just for the reader.

I'll get interested in about five years when there's an ebook reader that doesn't cost more than a week's worth of groceries for my household. So, Amazon, why don't you just hit me back in 2015 when you've got something I can afford and use? Thanks.

This is why I loved used books. Cheap reads and you know (to a reasonable degree of certainty) that the author got paid for their work.

As far as writing, I'm working my way through the last half of Soul Machines, because I love that story and want to tell it. And after that I'll move on to something else. But like I said, I took my double dose of fuckitol and don't care about the market right now. It feels good to be writing again, le sigh. Whenever I get depressed about The Year of Epic Failure, I remind myself that I can always write. Maybe nobody will see it, but the story can still me me happy. It might as well. If I'm gonna not get published, I might as well not get published with something I enjoy revisiting.

As far as reading, I'm depressed that I've taken longer than my allotted time on my current book. I really need to learn to read faster. How do people who have jobs where they have to read ALL DAY LONG get through manuscript after manuscript like this? I'm lucky if I clear a book a week. I couldn't imagine a book a day.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Right now I should be continuing on with Bound For Canaan, because I've come to realize it's a tale worth telling. And I like it. And I think the premise is good. And it's probably marketable.

However, I'm not. I'm wrestling with how to fix the Urban Fantasy novel I was halfway through writing before Nano rolled around. It's harder because I haven't shown any of it to anyone and I'm not sure how much of this is me just not being able to be objective about my own work.

I know that I'm struggling to shape the premise into something that isn't just Yet Another Urban Fantasy novel, because I feel like I'm treading on oft-explored ground here. Some of my characters might not be conventional, but I don't think that's enough to carry it off.

One of my frustrations with the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genre as it stands is that there is so much promise, but so many authors keep repeating the same old, same old over and over again. I don't want to do that, but I'm not sure how to find a premise that isn't one big collection of cliches.

I keep trying to find the unexplored corners, the "oh, never thought about that" places - 'cause I know they're there but it feels like I can't quite get there mentally. And then I try to think of what hasn't been done at all, or rarely done - but that, too, seems to elude me.

I feel like I'm digging in a freshly fertilized field. There's a thick layer of crap in between me and the seeds of something that might bear fruit.

I think I'm going to go read for a bit, eat some lunch, get other work done and see if this resolves itself. If not, I'll get back to working on the story that I do know what to do with. s
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I just discovered that I started Invisible!Book about twenty pages early, and that it should start around the middle of chapter two. Luckily, I discovered this 6,000 words in rather than 30,000 words in like I did with Soul Machines. I'd be writing faster, but, my computer is in it's death throes. *sigh*

I want to write faster, because I feel like I'm failing right now in all aspects of this and I really don't want to fail.

But enough about me, have some links:

Conventions and Writing, or Schmoozing 101 by Mary Robinette Kowal - a good guide for networking and interacting for writers at conventions. Since one of my biggest New Year's Resolutions is to network with writing and publishing folk and not just on LJ or the interwebs, this is really useful stuff. Especially since I've never been to a convention, ever. (Thanks to the ever-awesome [ profile] ecmyers for the link via Twitter).

Alien Water World found. Kind of awesome science stuff. I'd never heard of ice-seven, but now I just have to use it in a story somewhere because it just too awesome. I didn't realize there were different types of ice to begin with, but apparently there are many ice phases, even up to an Ice XV. Wow, they keep making ice like Saw sequels. Subway Map. A very useful tool that I can't believe I'm just now discovering, but it's actually better than Google Maps for getting places. I mention it because those of you who write about NYC but don't live here might find it useful if you need to plot a character's travel route through the Big Apple. It plots the route for you, so you can see what landmarks your character might pass.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
1. I still have no idea which idea to write for NaNoWriMo. I tried flipping a coin. I dropped it and it rolled under my desk never to be found again. I am not even kidding about this.

2. Have realized that enormity of the editing necessary on Soul Machines is epoch. As in, it will probably take me several geologic ages to wrest a coherent, marketable story out of this mess. And I'm not even done with the first draft!

3. I have an orange kitten diligently watching me type. This morning he tried to eat my copy of Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell. At least he has good taste in literature. *badum-ching*

4. I am so behind in posting reviews. I have Thebes at War by Naguib Mahfouz, Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy, and Personal Effects by J.C. Hutchins to review, plus the book I'm near to finishing up.

5. Since I have a few bucks left of wedding money, I'm about to purchase some books - but there are a few books I'm undecided about.

For instance, Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire.

What Sounds Good:

1. The part where the heroine spent fourteen years as a fish sounds. Wonder what that would be like. Would you be more or less fond of water/swimming? What do you do while you're a human who is now a fish? Does it take time to adjust to being human again when you're not a fish. Inquiring minds want to know.

2. No leather, skimpy clothing or tramp stamps to be found on the cover. NONE! Could it be the start of a new, leather-free era for my genre? Is there hope on the horizon? Should I buy this book just to encourage publishers to keep up the de-tramp stamping of urban fantasy?

What Sounds Terrible:

1. The book is written in first person narration by a white, straight, able bodied heroine with special powers/heritage who is as a private investigator. Which is like Every Urban Fantasy Novel That Has Annoyed Me ever. Seriously. Enough with the private investigators, cops, bounty hunters, and other law enforcement positions. You'd think someone who got turned into a fish and wants to avoid faerie things would become, I dunno, a teacher or a clerk or a salesperson in an office.

2. It's about about Faeries and the Faerie court and a heroine trapped between two worlds, forced into a conflict she wants no part of. I think I read this book before. It was called Blood and Iron.

3. It takes place in a major U.S. city and the only mythology mentioned is Celtic faerie mythology. Why is it that all the books about faerie I have ever read are about white authors deciding that people of color don't count and the stories, legends, myths, and tales from their heritages are completely powerless/non-existent in the face of Euro-centric mythology? So far every Faeries-In-The-Big-City type book I've read involves a complete erasure of all other mythologies and the people that go with them. I've been burned by this before, so it's a subgenre I deeply distrust.

4. It's recommended for fans of Jim Butcher and Kim Harrison. Neither of whom I liked. Kim Harrison's "Dead Witch Walking" was the most appalling piece of garbage I've had the misfortune to lay eyes on this year.

So, if anyone has recommendations one way or the other - and I'm willing to be surprised. I just want to know that there's a surprise worth getting to.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Last night an agent emailed to request the full manuscript. I duly fired it off to him ASAP, and now I'm waiting on pins and needles for his reply.

Which brings the Query Score Card up to:

Rejections - 7

Requests - 3

Timed Out - 6

Still Pending - 3

And now is it nice to have some good news right now. Because it's been raining for two days solid and I'm very sore from trying new exercises and feel a bit crappy and still have a buttload left to write on Soul Machines before I move on to outlining my NaNoWriMo novel -- and really all I want to do curl up under a blanket and sit on the couch and watch reruns of Hu$tle or Leverage or something. Because only watching ridiculously hot people commit fabulous, over-plotted heists can heal my wounded soul.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to finish Soul Machines before NaNoWriMo time. I'm close, but not close enough that I think I could wrap it all up in six days. Maybe in ten or fourteen, but not sixteen.

I'm still doing NaNoWriMo (and I still don't know which idea because the votes for them came out in a tie and I can't make up my mind), but I may be doing NaNoWriMo and finishing up this project at the same time.

I've never done two projects at once, so it should be interesting. Though, maybe that's a good thing. I've won NaNoWriMo the last five years running. I won't say it isn't a challenge every year, but in recent years, it's become less and less of one. I know I can, with enough enthusiasm and discipline, handily pump out the requisite 1667 words per day. I regularly do 3,000 words a day just as a matter of course.

So maybe seeing if I can stretch myself to multitask is exactly what I need.

Though, I am tempted to see if I can write both of my ideas at once and not only make the 50k mark on each in a month, but finish them completely. Of course, editing would be a gigantic mess because the only way to write at that kind of high flying speed (for me, at least) is to write very, very messily. The kind where I'm leaving out words every other sentence.

This is, coincidentally, why I don't advise anyone start querying their Nano novels come December or even January. Writing 50k in a month is lots of fun and a big feat, but you're not writing your best. You're just writing your fastest. You do need to edit, and given the speed with which you write in November, edit extra carefully. Which is why there's National Novel Editing Month is for. And why it's in March.

Heed the many agents who advise you to let your NaNo novels sit in a drawer for a while. They are wise and their advice is to be taken to heart.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I'm back from Florida and finally sitting down at my desk at home to take care of long neglected business. I'm suitably sunburned -- which actually happened because of the open-top carriage ride I took to and from the ceremony -- and now a married woman. For the curious, the ceremony went well and fun was had by all.

I now have to try to catch up on my writing before NaNoWriMo because I really do want to do that. But I also want Soul Machines finished. I suppose this means I will need to write like a fiend for the rest of this month and November as well. But I am somewhere around half way done, and I can probably get this finished.

For those wondering about the Query Score Card, it remains the same. In a couple of weeks, some of the other queries will start to time out based on various stated time frames given by individual agents. Which leaves it at:

Rejections - 7

Requests - 2

Timed Out - 2

Still Pending - 8
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I've got a week and a day left until I get married next Saturday (October 10th for the interested), and four days left until I fly down to Florida for the big event. Feel free to shower me with ridiculous amount of cash to wish me the best on my upcoming nuptials. You know, if you happen to have ridiculous amounts of cash just laying around. If not, a simple "congrats" is both sufficient and heartily appreciated.

I tell people I'm just getting married for the cake. But I'm also marrying because there's cheap health insurance in it for me. And because I like this guy enough to steal the covers from him for the rest of my life. That, too.

My only sadness? I have a number of friends attending who could not do the same thing because the state says their genitals are the same and thus they are ineligible for cake and health insurance. On the day that my country comes to the sane and compassionate conclusion that this ought to be remedied, I feel that they owe the same-sex couples of this country one big goddamn cake for their trouble. With doilies and buttercream icing and gum paste flowers and the works. Like, epic cake we're talking here. Epic "I'm sorry we were such buttfaces to you" cake. The kind you'd see on cake wrecks, except it has to be photographed aerially.

But, writing wise (because I know my personal life is oh so interesting to you) that means I'll essentially be on vacation for a week or so. My goal for finishing the first draft of Soul Machines is November 1st and I have no doubt that with my nose to the grindstone, I can accomplish just that. I'm more or less 40k in and that's half of where I intend to be. I'm not precisely half way through the plot, but I'm close to halfway and that's doing pretty good given that all my books tend to come up way over budget and I have to go back and trim them like unruly hedges.

Unless things go badly, I do intend to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I've won five years in a row, it's fun, and it gives me a reason feel like the slain turkey on my table is both festive and celebratory. Did I mention that all the best things happen in autumn because it is the BEST SEASON EVER and I am so sad that it doesn't last long enough?

As for today? I'm basically going to watch a lot of movies and put the heating pad on my aching shoulder and if I should trip and fall and accidentally hit the keyboard and get some writing done, so be it.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Strange bit of writing therapy: I wrote out the query letter for Soul Machines. Of course, I have no intention of sending it anywhere I've finished this draft, edited it, had it beta-read, and then polished it within an inch of its life.

But it really helped, because it took pressure off of the queries I'm sending out now. It made me realize that I really will get other chances at this, maybe not with the Tower!Guy novel, but it's not all-or-nothing. It's not zero sum.

There will be other queries, other novels, other opportunities.

Speaking of Soul Machines (boy do I love having an actual title for this thing), have a progress update:

Project: Soul Machines

Wordcount: 40540 words

Goal: 80,000 - 100,000

Deadline: November 1

Reason For Stopping: Not stopping, just updating

Exercise: Walking, shaking booty, cleaning things.

Stimulants/Chemicals: Naproxen, caffeine

Musical Inspiration: KK & Akriti Kakkar - Marjaani (Kilogram's Balkan Mix); Andrew Bird - Dances of Death; Bear McCreary - Heading the Call (from Crossroads, Part 2) Battlestar Galactica: Season 3; Rihanna - Breakin' Dishes

Other Creative Activities:

Reading Materials: Personal Effects: Dark Art by J.C. Hutchins; The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir (re-reading)

Darling du Jour: "Yes," Ty said, rolling his eyes and sounding extremely exhausted. "Unnecessary bodily harm to any of my people, including Master Monteagle, will void our deal."

"But necessary bodily harm is okay?" Ruby asked, perking up.

Mean Things: People in dog kennels, racism, abuse, torture, rude questions, being held prisoner, blood hunger

Things Learned/Discovered: The pair of Manolo Blahnik thigh-high leather boots one of my characters is wearing is worth more than the blue book value of my car (don't ask). The Japanese -san and -chan honorifics are often confused/abused by stupid Western people (I include myself) and mean different things. Several interesting Spanish-language profanities (hijo de puta being my fave). Obscure but fun thing: the first official Chinese mission to a Western nation was Russia in 1729. The emperor sent envoy T'o-shih to congratulate Peter the Great on his coronation. Only, the czar snuffed it before T'o-shih got there, thus forcing the poor envoy to return to Peking for new credentials to negotiate with Peter's successor, Anna Ivanova. I don't know what the Ancient Chinese translation of "son of a bitch!" would be, but you just know poor T'o-shih was mumbling it under his breath all the way home.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (sex goddess)
I'm back from Florida, yay! I read all my books on the airplane and did a few pages of writing on Soul Machines (the novel formerly known as UF!2girls), so I feel it was a productive trip. I've got a bunch of reviews to write up.

Plus, I got to meet [ profile] fashionista_35 face to face, and yes. She is even more fabulous than she seems online, if that's possible. It was really nice to be able to talk shop with a fellow writer, and going into Barnes and Noble with her was a hoot! There is just nothing like scoping out the cover art and mocking the bad while oohing and jealousing over the good for entertainment.

I really need to get some writer friends here in NYC. I know I have a few people on my f-list who are writers or SF/F fen here in the Big Apple, but I've never met any. That's sad. I need to rectify this pronto.

I got two rejections and one that timed out from April that I was still sanguine about but have now abandoned. Both rejections were really polite form letters. This brings the Query Score Card up to:

Rejections: 5

Requests: 0

Timed Out: 1

Still Pending: 11

So, you've been duly updated on things as they stand. Because I'm sure you were all just holding your breath to know all that.

I'm still catching up on the f-list, but if anything really exciting, important, or otherwise noteworthy happened, please drop me a comment so I can know about it. Or just tell me how the state of you is going. What are you working on? How's your day/week/month/year been going?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
1. Jeff Vandermeer tells you how to figure out how old you are in writer years. Is it better to be really young or really old?

2. On the query front, the Query Score Card remains the same as it was the last time I reported in. However, it was a holiday weekend here in the U.S. and I really hope the agents I queried were out having a good time instead of stuck in their offices. Because I certainly wasn't writing, I was out getting sunburned.

Still, for those keeping track at home, the score card (as of 1100 EST) stands at:

Rejections - 2

Requests - 0

Still Pending - 14

Time Outs* - 0

I'm adding a new category to the score card because some of the queries are reaching their second week out with no response and my cut off time is six weeks. I figure after six weeks the agent is either not interested or so busy that even if they liked my project, they don't have time for me - which is fine. Agents should be focusing on their existing clients more than queries anyway.

3. I'd like to clear the air after having posted about the rude rejection I got last week. I want it known that I posted about it because it was such a shock. 99.999999% of the agents I've queried have been consummate professionals, very polite, and even really helpful.

So when one agent out of the 40 (ish) I've queried since April was so rude in his rejection, it really surprised me. That agent's colleagues had done such a good job at showing me just what wonderful people they are, after all.

I'm not bitter about it. If anything, I'm amused. I must have caught the Agent In Question on an abysmally bad day to get a response like that. So, onward and upward and all that.

I don't know that I'll be getting a lot of work done this week or next. I'm off to Florida to finish off the final details of my wedding and get things set right for October. Most of the work is already done, thank goodness.

4. I actually have a working title for my current project! UF!2Girls will now be known as: Soul Machines. I think that's snazzy, don't you? I was very pleased with myself for coming up with something that wasn't a cryptic assortment of words and numbers with an exclamation point thrown in. I can't come up with titles for beans.

5. I don't have a fifth thing. I'm going to go write about imaginary people now.

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