Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wizards his and mine

That is Harry Dresden and one I just invented, even though I don't like to call mine a wizard.

Reading Jim Butcher's "Side Jobs", an anthology of short stories about Harry Dresden. I won't give away any major spoilers--maybe one or two very minor ones :).
Two of the stories were written from the POV of other characters. Very interesting to see Harry in another light. I think Jim does a good job of thinking out how those characters would see him and then to write it out. Nicely done.

Now mine:

The first story about Jim Greek-not totally his real name--is for WotF Q3. But wine lose or draw---not sure how you draw there I thought maybe HM and/or Finalist but that's still losing.  Anyway, win, lose or draw I will be doing other stories about Jim. In fact I probably already have done one. I didn't set out to make it about Jim just doing an idea from maybe a year ago but it fits too close to Jim...except for maybe where the new guy lives.

So I already know where he lives, New York(Maybe) in what house, that even though he has a car he hardly ever uses it, as I've heard a lot of New Yorkers don't have them so that isn't so strange. I know what he does for a living when not wizardering or Mageing that in his case. No, not a PI, he's an artist-a painter. He does work for the police as a consultant but officially he's an expert on the art community unofficially he helps with weird cases. He has a girl friend even though not super close still she likes him. Not sure yet if she knows about his other occupation but more than likely she will learn one way or another. His in with the police is her father.

The house he lives in isn't on any map of the city and is difficult for people to find that goes for delivery people so he has a mail box in a mail box store plus he has a second place where he paints and practices his mage stuff. The fact that it is hard to find isn't his fault it was that way when he found it. I'm not sure if he pays rent to someone-something or gets it free. He goes to a gym where the membership is free to him because he helped the owner.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And more venting

Probably should save this for a few more rejections but...

I haven't felt this way for a while but feeling mediocre and stuck on that plateau. Thought I might be finally doing better but still on the same level.

Nothing can change that.

Posted a second version of a story on the universe annex forum. Told them to have fun tearing it apart. They did.

After five years one would think I would learn something about writing. I keep thinking I have. Could have sworn I have but...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Venting Two

One of the times I feel like quitting. Not only the usual rejections even for the stories that have had help with critiquers making them better, and not even a note- with the probable exception of one-but I can't even send in a clean story.

I just got the story back from WotF and posted it on the universe annex forum. All kinds of problems with the writing plus as usual tons of nitpicks.  THERE SHOULDN't  be hardly any. After two hatrack groups looked it over, after the new spellchecker and proofreader and double checking certain words the thing should be almost clean enough to eat off of symbolically speaking. Two people mentioned the number of nitpicks made it hard to read.

My latest story for a hatrack challenge is probably going down in flames as usual. Can't even write good enough to be a fourth place in a three place contest. This opening should have had all it needed. A couple of minor glitches but nothing major. But...

 Seriously thought about withdrawing it, not going to win or even place. My opening didn't even place fifth out of 14. But I may not be in last place either. Once I got enough votes to be in the middle. So that might be why I don't take it out. Maybe I'll be in the middle instead of last as usual.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Update May 19

Worked on Two Struggles--finished chapter one and chapter four. That leaves nine chapters unless I divide a chapter again. Or was that on another novel. Well I do have nine chapter more at the moment.

Wrote on Stone Within. Chapter five now. I need to get to her to meet with her friend that's a crazy homeless person--thinks he's the hero Jason temporally lost from his crew...or is he crazy? Need some type of mentor for her, someone who can teach her where she gets the strength and such from. I've thought about using jason but I'm not sure.  Wish I could write more on this one even though I don't know where it's going. I have an idea for the ending but I have just the nugget of an idea who the bad guy is and what he is trying to do. Of course I could make him another friend. (Shoulder shrug) cliche-ish but it still works.

Wrote on Angel Kin. Tessa has realized she is being followed, and is about to start the digging finally. But she needs a fight on top of this very tall scaffolding--yes there is such an animal here. Must be fifty feet tall with boards between the uprights. And I need her to be chased down a certain highway twice.

Still waiting for news on WotF Q2. Not even word that it was being delayed...which is obvious because of Wentworth's death but an E-mail with some idea of how long would be nice.

Just realized that I'm not work on anything new at home. The two novels and a stream punk story are ay work. But I've just been dong revisions and crits at home. Well, one story was half way rewritten and I added a a thing or two to a couple revisions on my novel but nothing new. I need to change that. In my rejection from extreme planets it sounded like they really did want another story before the end of June-the deadline. It could have been a form rejection but a long one if it was.

Have a story in a challenge in hatrack thought it would be better than usual but not quiet sure about that. Need to start the final revision of the story for Q3. Right now I think I will be resending my first HM to Q4.  

Seems like there was something else but I can't think of it now so there might be a PS note.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Left out

I say one reason for this post is to vent... So I'm VENTING.

UGH!!!   Been feeling left out. There are people on the hatrack forums who are getting books done and out or E-published with great reviews.

But it's my fault-growl, I keep letting myself get distracted with short stories. I tried to dedicate April to one novel but didn't even get half way through it. Blast it.

To top it off I can't blame anyone but me. Maybe I will have to take a quarter off from WotF and a month for Just revising--no stories, no or barely any hatrack, no writing new stories and no revising of old ones. I can do that in Nov with the National Writing Month I should be able to do it with My own revising.

I have three novels partially revised. Need To Get Them Done.

Another May 9 PS

I think I figured out which story I thought I was working on. One of the series of short short stories I wrote a couple of months ago. I mentioned them on a post or two.

Anyway, there's one that could be related to the one I will be sending to WotF Q3. I didn't set out to do that but the two MCs are too closely related. The short short-which isn't really that short-could be the second in a series about this guy.

So I had been kinda of working on the story in my head. I've already revised a couple of the stories in that batch so that one could be next.

Been working on revising stories so didn't work on Two Struggles that much the last week...need to do it now. But got to work on Stone Within a little extra. I don't know much about the tale for that novel yet but I like it. I need to add a scene with Jason the homeless guy who might be more than he seems.  And invent someone that becomes like a mentor to Stone. To help teach her why she is the way she is.

Revised another short short to send to Sword and Sorceress 27 today was the deadline. Amazingly enough I got a response back in an hour or so. Didn't have the right feel for SS27, I should send it to another market.  I'm not sure how the editor meant that last comment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Update May 9 PS

Made one small mistake on my last post. I thought I had another newer story to send to F&SF this weekend but nope. Must have been thinking about either the story for WotF Q3 or one I redid for a challenge on hatrack. But I still think there is another story floating around. Of course there are another eight to twelve I still need to revise.

But I need to decide which one to send to IGMS. An older story or a newer with what I hope is better writing. Of course so far I only have two or three people who critted two stories who made comments like it is better.

Rats there was something else but I forget what but it's getting late so there might be a second PS

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

UpDates May 9

Just had that thought maybe I should date my updates instead of trying for different names.

Anyway, working on the revision of what I am calling Two Struggles at the moment.

Had to go back and finish ch 1 and now I'm back on ch 4. NA, my MC, is fighting a Griffin in the middle of the night on a city street. When I wrote it I original thought she defeats it and sends it back home but as I wrote I thought characters like her have strange friends and partners so instead she makes friends with it after a tough fight. I won't say how--read the book when it comes out :)

I may have two readers for it which is good.

Have written a story for WotF Q3-- it has already been critted by one group and I just sent it off to another. I think it's already lots better. And my new Word processor which can be a pain has a Proofreader which is great. It does help. I changed a few things. Found too many sentences that started with But, some are okay however I think too many would bring it down. I also changed a few phrases at the proofreaders suggestion. And the new word processor's Find feature is better than Applework's. It has more and makes the word glow for a moment plus I can use the dictionary-thesauruses feature without putting away the Find feature. Anyway, the story is better because of it. I think anyway. Now if I can get a couple of compliments on this version as I did with the first one and the people at WotF think my writing is better. :)

I decided to send the story I got a HM on to IGMS, the opening is a bit better thanks to couple of suggestions from hatrackers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Face Off"-Mark Del Franco

"Face Off" is the second story in a series by Mark Del Franco. The  Laura Blackstone series.

I don't want to put in too many spoilers but if you read the first one you know she has a developing romance going on. In this book it develops more but I'm almost at the end and I suspect something is going to happen.

I forget if I ever posted this one but "Face Off" was a good book. If you like UF-paranormal stories read this series. And del Franco's other one.  Good stuff.  I have one in the other series waiting in my to read pile. 

The Craft of Writing

        Finally something about the actual craft of writing. I have neglected this part of my blog.  I haven’t really felt like saying something about what I have learned in the writing craft for a couple of reasons. One thing is that I haven’t learned that much new stuff lately, it’s more like I keep going back over the techniques I know. Or should know. Second is that I’m not always sure how to articulate what I learned. There’s a third reason too--I just need to get around to it. 

     On Hatrack we have had a couple of discussion dealing with how subjective editors are. In other words each editor has his-her own ideas of what constitutes a certain technique. That would include passive vs active, Tell vs Show, how much setting to put in a story. Since it is subjective there is no need to work on each technique just concentrate on writing.
     While I think this side has a point--no two editors are the same and what they like is subjective--I believe that as a whole they know what readers like. Some are very good at picking stories that will appeal to a lot of readers and go on to win awards.  I have challenged one or two paradigms: readers will be disappointed if a MC doesn’t change someway or another but at the same time there are techniques that attract readers. So we still need to work on the techniques that readers like even though what editors like and what they are looking for is subjective. 
    Going along with that is something I was told a few years ago that I think I am finally really grasping. You need to do your style of writing, if you try to force something it won’t work. But at the same time you need to learn certain ways of doing things. So the idea is to work on it, practice-read about it-see how others do it-until it becomes a part of you. Then it slips naturally into your style. At first it might be forcing it into a story but as you work on eventually it becomes a part of you or your style. 
   One last comment, I have noticed--can’t say if someone pointed this out or if I just noticed it or both--pros use fewer than-s and and-s and that-s. Obviously you need some of those words but three or four and-s in a sentence is usually too many. Even two can be too many. It cuts the flow and makes the sentence too long. Both of which can interfere with the reader. So I am working on cutting those down. It just sounds or reads more professional. It could be that little added something to lift your writing up...I hope so in my case anyway. 
    Ironic thing about that though. I just finished revising a story for WotF. On hatrack we have a group that looks over each other’s stories-a new group for each quarter-one of the people pointed out that I had too many that-s, oops I should have seen some of those but at least it is something I’m working on. Going along with what I said up above maybe one day it will happen naturally.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lisa Shearin- a kinda side issue-writing T-shirts

Lisa Shearin whose books I love even though I just found that this next book out this month-I think- is the last in a series. UGH.

Anyway she has some interesting T-shirts here

The top few are for writers but the rest are from her books.

If you like fantasies READ hers. If not read them anyway they have adventure-roamance and other stuff for the average reader.

But buy a T-shirt or three. I want to.

WOTF-KD Wentworth-me

For years WotF had a first reader by the name of K. D. Wentworth. An accomplished writer on her own and from what I understand a good, fun person. She died a few weeks ago. I was hoping to meet her at a WotF awards ceremony but to my sorrow I won't be able to now. She is the one that decided on all of my Honorable Mentions.

I'm still not quite sure how it worked but evidently She read all the stories that came in and decided on the HMS and which ones would go beyond that stage. At that point other judges took over. That set of judges changed every so often and were well known writers. About everyone you can name in the SF- Fantasy fields were judges at some point. Well, with the exception of some of the newer ones.

I have sent and posted my condolences to everyone I could but I wanted to honer her too. Someone on hatrack went to great trouble to go through her advice and post it. Some of it is aimed at WotF contest but some is general. It would be worth the time for any writer to read through it. I mean time, there are pages of it.

 Her advice

Which leads me to me.

She had read my story for the last quarter she judged before her untimely death. and declared the story to be a Honorable Mention. Not as good as a Finalist-which isn't as good as winning- but still I feel honored that my story was one of the last HMs.      

I assume the story still needs some significant work-of course KDW may have thought it needed more struggle or just not what they wanted at WotF or ? but at the same time I think it's safe to assume it needs something more. 

It got as far as it did thanks to some great crits from hatrackers. It's just under 6,000 words long. Space Opera but more. I was surprised it got a HM. The sections that deal with my MC's emotional issues I believe need help. I added to them because it seems like WotF likes stores with struggle in them so I went back and emphasized the emotional struggle more. I don't know if that was a good idea or not. Most not have been too bad but I will never know if it cost me or helped me.  

Patricia Briggs--"Wolfsbane"

I am reading "Wolfbane" By Patricia Briggs (Wonder why I keep having thoughts of Star wars when talking about her) 

The book is the sequel to Briggs first published novel-"Masques". I read that one a few months ago. I either misunderstood something in the forward of that book or she contradicts herself. I'm betting I misunderstood--or misremembered. 

I thought she wrote "Wolfsbane" quite a few years after the first one was published because she kept thinking about it and/or her fans demanded it. In the new "Masques" she said she went back and revised her first one because she had learned so much by than she was surprised it was picked up at all. I read the revised reprint. 

She considers "The Hob's Bargain" her first professional novel. Which I remembered from the other forward. In this forward she says her sells didn't really take off until "Dragon Bones" which I read. I'm not sure actually how close it came but she seems to feel that at one point she was almost let go because of low sells and the lost of the editor who was a big help with her. But she kept on. At that time I noticed that she didn't seem to like to do series. Two, at the very most three books was it about a certain character. But now she has two paranormal series. I wish she would do another Dragon-Bones that is not Stealing- book. 

But her "adventures" as a writer would make an interesting study and maybe lesson for us non pro writers. 

I almost said wanna be writers but we are writers already--published or not we write.