I've been missing Rob Brezny's Real Astrology column, so I did a search and found his website with, yes, horoscopes! He'll even email them directly to your inbox. (Naturally, I signed up. And told my husband I was a Gorgeous Genius!) His site also <a href="http://freewillastrology.com/writings/started.html" target="blank">has an article</a> about how he got started writing his column, which explained to me why I'd always loved it. It's a great description of my own view of what writing is.
Today's the last day of BIAW, so I'm off to the Dreamtime. I did 0 pages yesterday; had a sudden attack of tiredness. But I've kept to my goal all week otherwise, so I'm pleased. And today is a good day to write, to paraphrase a battle cry.
Did my author chat yesterday and it was fun. Lots of questions, I really enjoyed the interaction with readers. I got to talk about the research behind Love and Rockets, why I write these kinds of stories, and all sorts of other things. A very fun and interesting group!
In the middle of the chat, I found out Yule Be Mine got a <a href="http://www.fallenangelreviews.com/February2005/Jean-YuleBeMine.htm" target="blank">5 Angel review</a> from Fallen Angel Reviews. Hurrah! It's really a stunning review, I'm very pleased. It's going up on Yule's page with the other reviews probably later today.
BIAW: slow day yesterday due to the chat, but I did get through all the changes. Not sure how many pages that translates to, but it was a decent amount of work. I'm pretty happy with how far I've gotten on Dangerous with all the other things I've had going on this week (new release, another project to revise, rename and return, chat day).
Lastly, if you who haven't heard about Dara Joy's upcoming release, you can <a href="http://officialdarajoy.com/" target="blank">preorder your copy</a> anytime up to March 31. Sounds like another fun read!
Under A Spell is revised, returned, and the new official title is Love Spell! The front page will get changed to reflect that. BIAW group said those pages counted towards my total, so I went over my goal for yesterday. Hurrah!
The fun part about revisions, aside from cursing Word and all denizens of Redmond (I mean, can somebody tell me why hitting "delete comment" does NOT delete the comment?!), is that it's the first reader feedback I get. Lois McMaster Bujold wrote a beautiful piece about the silent collaboration between writer and reader which you can find in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0915368536/qid=1109342532/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-6952121-5281528" target="blank">Dreamweaver's Dilemma</a>, and it's true. A piece of writing doesn't feel complete until it's been read and responded to.
So yesterday along with agreeing that I'd misused more than one comma in Spell, I got to read the first comments on the story. I'd had a general "I loved it" when I got the contract, but this was more in depth; a paragraph highlighted with comments on how beautifully the action demonstrated the hero's character and central dilemma. More sentences and sections marked to tell me how well it worked. Until I get that feedback I don't really know that I've pulled it off, that I've succeeded in what I wanted to do. I know it works in my head, but will it works in a reader's? I have to wait to find out. And the revisions are the first confirmations.
I'm still working my way through Dangerous and getting the same experience. I'm also looking forward to reader response coming in from reviews and other readers as Love and Rockets gets underway. Writing a book is like starting a conversation and then waiting for somebody to answer. I'm my first reader (I write for myself first, because it's the story I want to read) and then I wait to see if others feel the same way.
These reflections brought to you by remarks around RTB and other blogs about who a reader is. All writers are readers. Editors are readers. Agents are readers (see <a href="http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/index.php?p=97" target="blank">JJ's RTB column</a>). Reviewers are readers. And the person trying to decide whether or not I'm worth $6 and a couple of hours of time is a reader. We're all readers or we wouldn't be in this business. I don't know about you, but I'm here because I think it's the greatest way to spend my life there is. I may not be rich and famous, but I'm happy because I always have a story and somebody to share it with.
Got the revisions back on my Cavemen anthology story that releases in June. I'm putting aside BIAW temporarily to get that done. It should be pretty much accepting changes (where Wonder Editor fixed my punctuation and inconsistent verb tenses) but I need a new title in a hurry. Turns out there's a recent anthology with a too-similar title. I had a couple of other working titles for this project that I'll dig up, and I'll see if anything better comes to mind while I revise and get it ready to return.
I am still on track for BIAW. Hurrah! Well, I did want to clear the decks and this will do it. I'll have nothing between me and finishing Jane's Addiction, the next installment in When Sparks Fly.
20 years later: it's dawned on me recently that 1985 plus 2005 equals 20 year high school reunion. So I went out and signed up for one of those find your classmates websites and lo, there's a reunion in the works for August! I posted a thing that said I didn't know if I'd make it (it's a month after my due date), but here's what I'm doing now and love to hear from anybody. Not one hour later I get an email from one of my best high school friends! Turns out she's living about 4 hours away in the same state so even if I don't make the reunion we can get together. How cool!
And here's my public service announcement for the reunion planners: there are about 300-odd graduating members missing and not heard from yet. Soooo...if you or anybody you know is a Capital High School class of 1985 graduate, <a href="http://www.classmates.com" target="blank">go register</a> for the reunion! It's free to sign up with the site, you don't have to commit to going, but check in and say hi. We're all curious about what you've been doing.
Of course, this led to lots of Deep Thought on my part about what I've been doing the last 20 years. "Learning to write" sounds glossed over, but that does sum it up. I'm a self-actualization Mazlow freak and I do believe life is about becoming more your authentic self. My authentic self is a writer so that's what I've been working on all this time. In the process of growing into myself, I've been discarding all the pieces that weren't really me.
Anyway, I've put the August reunion down on my calendar with a tentative maybe. If I make the trip it seems I ought to combine it with business, so I will put out some feelers about doing a joint signing at Borders or Waldenbooks or both.
Today's the big day. Rockets has been moved from "coming soon" to "new releases" on my front page. Happy day!
BIAW continues to go well. Met day 2's goal. In fact, if I wasn't trying to add 10K to Dangerous Games, the revisions would be done and returned already. This is a solid, tight story. I think there were 15 edits in the entire manuscript, which I point to as proof that BIAW works. Yes, I did my own revisions and cleanup before submitting it, but I wrote it fast. That and I keep honing my craft so I make fewer mistakes. I really do believe fast writing gets to good, strong stuff, though. You don't have time to second-guess or back away from it.
Don't know how productive I'll be today but I plan to keep working towards my goal. I am giving myself a little time to enjoy success, though. This is a landmark event and I want to celebrate it, not just rush on. A book I wrote 8 years ago because there wasn't anything else like it and I wanted to read that kind of book has reached publication after I don't even remember how many rejections. Whoopee!
You can launch your own <a href="http://www.fireworks.com/interactive/fireworks_show/default.asp" target="blank">fireworks display</a> to celebrate with me. Happy Wednesday, everybody.
Day 1 <a href="http://www.sff.net/people/april.kihlstrom/BIAW.htm" target="blank">BIAW</a> went well. I started off by doing the math and breaking it down to pages per day to finish the entire project in a week. I met my 1st day goal and I see two key scenes so far that I can expand and enhance to add to my word count. I've also been thinking about the final chapter (which may run to two chapters given some of the scenes that have come to mind for it). Lots of good stuff coming out!
Rockets releases tomorrow. I'm very excited about that. There won't be an RT ad or review until the Sept. issue, but other reviews should start coming in soon. Did I mention I love the cover? There's a beautiful <a href="http://charleneteglia.com/images/stories/loverocketsban.gif" target="blank">animated banner</a>, too, courtesy of my genius husband. I've been amusing myself by playing it. : )
Other stuff: I'm fascinated by the amount of discussion around blogs about Romancing the Blog. That alone tells me it's off to a good start. I know I gave a lot of thought to my first column and what it ought to reflect. I finally decided to write something like I'd write for my own blog but that would stand alone on the grounds that I was invited to be a columnist based on the contents of my blog. So presumably that's what I'm there to contribute. It's a neat thing, so many different people, different aspects of the industry, different perspectives all giving their view in one place. If nothing else, we can clearly see how broad and diverse the industry is. I'm looking forward to hearing from the other columnists and seeing what takes shape as it goes forward.
I've joined a new BIAW group that goes once a month on the 3rd week. Thanks to <a href="http://sallypainter.com/" target="blank">Sally Painter</a> for telling me about it! (Sally also does a paranormal workshop, check her site out.) Dangerous Games is my BIAW project, since I have lots of new words to add in the course of doing the revisions and I'm excited about that.
I love BIAW for many reasons. The goal-setting, the focus, the comraderie. But most of all I love to write fast. There's no time to stop and self-censor or judge or dismiss something as ridiculous. You just get the words down. So all this week I'll be enjoying getting the words down, and the following week my focus will be on cleanup and making sure I've got a nice, coherent, error-free complete revision that addresses everything detailed. But this week is for writing at high speed!
I love that I get to add another chapter to this book. In fact, I'm trying to figure out how I can add two more chapters. Because I love these characters and their world and I really hated to leave it. I have a sequel in mind and maybe I can use this opportunity to set that up a little more.
Off to write! Happy Monday to everybody.
Today's my first day as Romancing the Blog columnist. To read today's blog, just click on the columnist button. : )
Until I was asked to join Romancing The Blog as a columnist, I didn't bloghop. I'd read Wil Wheaton's blog for years, but I didn't read anybody else's, except Laurell K. Hamilton's blog, which I periodically check for book release news. And then I saw the RTB site and I was impressed and curious about my fellow columnists. Who were these people in my neighborhood?
I did some bloghopping and now I have some favorites that I check regularly. I've met some new virtual neighbors and I like them so well I'd invite them over for coffee. It's actually expanded my view of the romance community.
Here's a list of some of the blogs I now drop in on with my coffee cup in hand:
I'd visit Cheyenne McCray's blog, but my browser crashes every time I try to load it.
I'm enjoying this virtual neighbhood of romance writers. And without RTB, I might not have even thought to look for it, let alone guess it was out there.
*I didn't put links to all of these because I have a pile of work to do and it would be time-consuming, but you can visit all these blogs via the columnist list on RTB. Just click my columnist button and there you are!
I have lots of new blog readers now, so I thought I'd give an overview of my writing process. I sometimes sound very organized and plan-oriented. And other times I sound like I'm working with no rules at all. This is because I believe in giving the right job to the right brain.
When it comes to story (and creative innovation outside of story), the brain in charge of symbols, dreams, and making the impossible reality is the one for the job. When it comes to planning a career, choosing an agent, targeting a publisher and so on, you need the tool-using logic-oriented brain in charge of things.
Terrible results happen when you give the wrong job to the wrong brain. Creativity is stifled, plots and characters are lifeless. And the creative mind run amok in your marketing, eeek. I see plenty of writers out there who I can only conclude are spending their hard-earned dollars as their little voices tell them to, instead of putting those voices in charge of writing new stories and putting logic in charge of spending.
Marketing is my current hot button in the business. It's completely derailed me from my POV rage. Marketing is important, yes, so important your career might depend on it, so be smart! Get a marketing plan. Marketing plans include actual numbers that prove that there's a reason to spend your money in one place as opposed to another. Put those little voices in charge of stories, put your whims and fancies there, too, and put logic in charge of the business.
Logic is useful in the editing and revision process, too. Let creativity run wild to get a story down in the first place, and then logic can be of real help. Is it topheavy over here and undersupported over there? The thinking, reasoning brain will point that out. I revise to the best of my ability before I send a story in, and my editor tells me it's a pleasure to work with such clean manuscripts*. Then the next stage editing begins and once again, logic brain is immensely helpful. Creative brain is, too, and both of them need to be on the right job.
Editor says we need to achieve X goal. Logic brain confirms this is true and looks for ways to go about it. Creative brain is called in. Is this possible? Oh, yes, sure, just do blah blah blah, easy, see? Can I go play now? Logic brain works out the particulars, creative brain skips off to start making new scenes, new dialog, even a new subplot if it's called for or a way to develop a potential subplot that's been overlooked.
Writing is a complicated thing, the writing business is complicated, too, but all of it can be done without losing your mind if you put the right brain in charge of the right job. Works for nonwriters, too.
*note* I mention this because we don't get to choose the amount of talent or brains we get, but we CAN control how easy we are to work with. You don't have to be the best or the brightest. But in today's competitive marketplace, suppose a publisher has to choose between two equally good manuscripts but one will be twice the work?