The outline is expanding scene by scene (jotted down 17 yesterday - didn't write them, just noted what they would be) and last night (just before bed which is always the way) I finally figured out why Niall would have been sent on such a detail on his own - it's a punishment for not playing well with others. So I can incorporate that into the scene list/ layout.
My outline this time has a mongrel pedigree - I've read bits from Alexandra Sokoloff's blog on the three act structure; Lynn Viehl's (Paperback Writer) blog posts on Quantum Writing (1 and 2) as well as other bits and pieces filtered from the intarweebs and am using those pointers to help build the skeleton. We shall see!
Plotboarding is done - or at least the post-it note writing phase. All twenty-seven chapters of the (still) unnamed YA UF have at least one post-it attached so all that remains of this phase is to stick them to the board when I get home.

The downside is that there are a number of chapters where there's only one post-it; luckily, the main character's colour but still, it may be too many solos and I'll have to add some more plot points. Having this done (finally, truly done) by September is beginning to look like a pipe dream, but it really *has* to be done by then because from mid-September to the end of October is the glory of induction and if I've got time for a cup of tea I'll be doing really well. (Sleep is optional.)

Perhaps I should have given up at Draft 1, Attempt 3. In all probability I should really have given up by Draft 1, Attempt 7 but, last night, just as I was about to turn the light out (and isn't that always the way?) I finally realised where it should start. I wrote the paragraph before I went to bed - much to the disgruntlement of the two collies and two cats draped around the room - and nodded off relieved that I have a starting point which will hopefully lead to the end point I already had in mind.

The book is nearing the end of its seclusion period. I've got nearly two weeks off over Easter thanks to the profusion of Bank Holidays and weekends so I shall use that time to do the first set of revisions. I'll let it sit for another three weeks or so after that and then do a third pass. Hopefully it will not remain broken when I've finished with it.

Things to do this month:
Outline four shorts that I only have bare bones ideas for
Play with the notes for a couple of novels that I have and see which one's likely to be up next for writing.
Revise the (still) untitled YA Rural Fantasy
I managed a few more words yesterday to bring the count up to 81,330 which isn't bad. I'm hoping to be able to spend a bigger chunk of time on it at the weekend after I've taken Mama Bear to the vets for her blood test to see how her thyroid pills are working/ not working. Certainly, the smells-of-hay misxture we've been adding to her food for her joints seems to be doing the job, so here's hoping that the thyroid tablets are too.

Things accomplished in fiction: We managed to use magic to heal a plant instead of turning it into a triffid - but the confidence that brought this about is going to cause trouble further down the line. Cheeky young not-yet-werewolves are cheeky.

Things accomplished in real life: day job work, read Trent Jamieson's Death Most Definite - {loved it. Great characters - Steven de Selby is quite a funny chap and he's a psychopomp. What a fantastic word. Psych-O-Pomp. You can really get your lips round it. Anyway, had to finish it before I went to bed last night because I had to find out what happened which means I'll definitely be going for book two when it comes out in 2011.} Also, did baked potatoes for tea with Colliers strong cheddar, Genoan ham, lime pickle (for me and chum #1) and brinjal aubergine pickle (that was just for me) and we rounded it off with strawberries and marscapone for dessert - YUM!

Rural Fantasy Progress
81330 / 100000 (81.33%)

Tansy-cat has setlled in nicely. She feels quite comfortable in coming upstairs at night although she sleeps on the bath mat for some reason. China has taken to sleeping posessively next to my head with a paw on my face or shoulder, but seeing as Tansy is, in fact, in the bathroom the 'this huyman iz mine' effect is rather lost on her.

Re-reading of the UF is nearly finished and new writing is soon to commence. I am determined to ignore the TBR pile(s) staring reproachfully at me every time I enter my room although I do have a bookmark in the Fuller Memorandum and at the weekend I read Fledgling and Saltation by Lee and Miller. I *love* the Liaden Universe and I've re-read the books so often it's a good job I've got two sets. Unfortunately, reading one of them (or two) makes me want to read the others, in order, and there are a few of them now. Must. Resist.

Saw Inception for the third time at the weekend and loved it just as much; will definitely be getting it on DVD but I'm glad that I saw it at the cinema first to really take advantage of having it all on the big screen - even if, for the third showing, Chum #1 and I had to sit in the front row because the film was sold out. Luckily we'd bought our tickets before we went for our meal otherwise we'd never have got in. As it was we barely had time to get the icecream. (Fairly nuts - I cannot adequately express how fantastic that icecream is. Nom.)

I will endeavour to get picspam of Tansy on the camera rather than the phone so I can put a picture on here - I have no idea how to get it off the phone. I have a feeling that somewhere in the detritus of the back room there is a box that may have instructions/ discs etc. in it but I'll have to psych myself up for that kind of excavation and it really will be quicker to grab the camera. At least her fur's growing back now after her operation and she's finally beginning to fill out with all of the food she's snarfed. She's looking quite healthy now. Cat rescue FTW!

The short story is in the mail so I can forget about that for a bit and get back to the novel which nearly had a fatal pause last November. I'm 72,000 words in and only half-way along which means that there will be a significant amount of hack 'n' slash revising it from Draft One to Draft 2. I'm aiming for a draft one completion date of no later than mid-September - the new semester starts then and I'll barely have time to sleep, let alone do anything else for a month/ six weeks. Revisions have a tentative date of the start of December, but we'll see how the day jobbe workload goes - it may be possible to start a bit earlier than that.

In other's raining! Yes! Actual water FROM THE SKY. I am (no doubt temporarily) free from the tyranny of the watering can. This is good; the garden is not large but even so it takes a lot of watering cans to get round it because I seem to have cleverly planted lots of water hungry plants and trees in pots. ::sigh::

In other other news: I am listening to Rasputina. This came about as a recommendation (and I can't remember who that was - sorry) and then in a burst of synchronicity [personal profile] matociqualablogged that she was just off to one of their concerts so I decided to check them out and downloaded a couple of tracks from iTunes: Sweet Sister Temperance; Holocaust of Giants; Snow-Hen of Austerlitz. I may go back and get the rest of the album though because I like what I hear.


Jeff Vandermeer's blog is being updated regularly by rachel_swirsky with news from Launchpad 2010

via sartorias Co-evolution and speculation about ways and means, by Judith Tarr - like sartorias, I communicate with the collies and the cat all the time so this makes very interesting reading.

Mike Brotherton has a list of online astronomy resources for writers

Thanks to a recommendation by Mark Newton I have been listening to Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi - a collection of piano pieces that are so fantastic and sweeping that I've had it on repeat since I downloaded it from iTunes on Saturday.
Einaudi is an amazing composer and pianist (I already had the album Echoes, bought because I initially wanted a couple of tracks and ended up loving the whole thing) and his music is incredibly moody; not in the sense of being dark and angst-ridden, rather, in the sense that it can inspire moods as all the best music can. It can uplift you, make you contemplative or imagine you're on the prow of a huge sailing ship ploughing through the waves. Wait, maybe that's just me?

It also makes me wish I'd never stopped playing the piano, or that I knew how to dance, but I did and I don't so I shall have to do what I always do with music: use it to relax, to recharge the mental batteries and to provide an avenue to daydream down, to fuel the scenes in my head by giving them their own music as they play out.

What do you use music for? Daydreaming? Blocking out the world? Background as you write/ paint/ read?
Yesterday was fairly successful on the revision front as I managed to get through 21 pages on various breaks throughout the day - I didn't get home until late so I didn't do any more then. The last few pages (about 4, I think) I'll do today and then there'll be a final read-through before sending off. Then it's: tweaking Earth and sending it back out; a non-fiction article; and then--finally--back to the UF and the dreaded read through of the 235 (MS format) pages I've written so far.

However, while lying in bed trying to get to sleep last night, I realised something about my main character which would (a) excise two characters and a fair amount of words and (b) increase tension a bit more as there really won't be anyone to rely on. I decided not to depend on my brain to remember what I'd thought so I dutifully lurched out of bed, navigating round the cat and two of the dogs, who just drop wherever their energy runs out, and wrote myself a note. I love notes. And lists. Lists of lists. Lovely. ::hugs lists::

Ahem. Anyway. I'm on holiday in a week so I've booked in the UF kick off for then. I want  the first, full, draft completed before the hell of induction etc. starts in mid-September, as for the first 4 weeks or so I'll be zombie librarian instead of incredibly alert and well-rested librarian. Hmm. I need a zombie librarian avatar.

We're halfway through the day and the weekend is almost here! Chum #1 is working 'til 22:00hrs on the literature festival so I shall have the duty of picking up the dogges from the grandparents (it is a duty rather than a joy because they do not like my car. Henry only has two doors, whereas the Chum's car has four  which means the collies have their own door onto the back seat. (They also have their own electric window button which Mama Bear uses whenever she gets too hot.) When I walk Baby Bear out and he see's it's my car he tries to run back into the house. ::sniff:: I could take it personally.)

Anyway, I have another four-and-a-bit hours before the end of the work day and then it's dogges! washing up! dogges! & cat! (the feeding of)revisions! dogges! (the walking of), and then it will be sleep - hopefully early because I'll be up at 06:30 to take the dogs out for another walk before heading off to alt.fiction for the day. Lunchtime tomorrow should be interesting as the Quad is near the Big (TV) Screen and, according to East Midlands Today, there's going to be a demonstration there to protest  the fact that the council won't be paying for the public to watch the World Cup on it. Police, cordons etc. Let's just hope that they're either not too rowdy or that the Quad has got good soundproofing. The last time I went to alt.fiction I attended a panel by

[personal profile] jemck , Sarah Ash, [personal profile] desperance (and someone else?) and they had to compete with the Ladyboys of Bangkok singing in a tent outside! With any luck it'll be quieter this year.

Anyone else going to alt.fiction tomorrow? I still haven't decided which panels I'm going to so that will have  to be added to the jobs list - something to discuss with Chum#1 when she gets home.


feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)
( May. 25th, 2010 09:20 am)

The one day spec fic convention known as Alt.Fiction is back in Derby (Derbyshire, UK) on the 12th of June

The day is made up of a number of different types of sessions, including author talks, Q&A sessions, discussion panels and workshops. There will also be a number of publishers in attendance, including Angry Robot Books, Gollancz, Solaris, Abaddon and BBC Books, while genre agents John Berlyne and John Jarrold will also be sharing their considerable experience.

Authors attending include: Chaz Brenchley, Juliet McKenna , Mark Charan Newton, Graham Joyce, and Sarah Pinborough among others. I went the last time it was held and it was (a) very interesting (in an almost anthropological kind of way) and (b) good fun. So if you fancy a day at the Quad in Derby come along (although tickets are, apparently, selling fast.)

The sun shone magnificently yesterday and as it was far too hot to take the beasts out in the middle of the day we decided to do the next best thing - bath them! Two out of the three were scrubbed, disgustingly brown water was sluiced off and we even managed to get a bit of a brush through the wool of Bear's trousers so it was a productive afternoon. He's still going to need a set of professional clippers to get the underfur out quickly - he really doesn't like being groomed overmuch - but at least he's now clean and shiny. Dog no.3 will be done next weekend, weather willing. I just need to buy more shampoo.

For your delectation, a picture of shiny Bear at play...

Merry is snowed under in dayjobbery at the moment. She'll be back when she's unchained from the oars.
feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2010 11:03 am)

17 days before I hop on a plane at the crack of dawn and make my way over to Dublin (after carefully measuring the suitcase to ensure it conforms to cabin storage dimensions.) This does not bode well for the return journey of course; after all, what will I do with the books I buy when I'm there? I shall have to ensure that I keep 30 euros spare for emergency hold stowage, just in case.

Convention details are here, along with lists of guests/ attendees etc. It'll be the first time I've (a) been to this one and (b) been to one that lasts longer than a day, so I'm really looking forward to it - although I am now regretting that I didn't book in for Odyssey 2010 as well. No time/ money now, especially as I'm going to a reader's retreat in Normandy in April with chum #1 who reviews for newbooks magazine. We won't be going by plane for that trip, though.

Anyone convention-going soon?
Today I'm feeling cold and sorry for myself. I started to get a sore throat on Wednesday and now I've got the head cold from hell (why do they always go to my head?) and I'm sitting on my bed sharing the hot water bottle with my cat. One of the collies is sleeping at the other end of the bed making me feel tired with her delicate snoring. (But, as a bonus, at least I'm not having to convince the cat that sitting on the laptop's a bad idea - she thinks the hot water bottle is much better for resting on.)

I'm off to collect my car from the garage in a bit (health check) and I shall swing by the chemist and get some lovely wild berry and hot orange Lemsip to attack the lergy with. The thing about the hot orange flavouring is that it reminds me of being a kid in the winter and my mum would make me squash with hot water in. Nice memory to have when you're feeling lergyfied and in the doldrums.

Any minute now I shall leap into action. Leap! I tell you.

feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2010 12:36 pm)

I had hoped to have finished the Cthulu short I've been working on but I didn't like the direction it was going in - it was too meandery and waffly so I'm rewriting, aiming for 3K. So far (she says cautiously) it's going okay.

Once that's done, it's revision time for the three first-draft shorts I have waiting. First lines meme to follow in a bit.

Via John Scalzi's Whatever blog:

Author Greg McQueen has put out a call for short stories (not exceeding 1000 words) to go into a charity anthology : all proceeds to go to the Red Cross to help out in Haiti.


100 Stories for Haiti 
We want short story submissions to help raise money for disaster-stricken Haiti. Out of the submissions, 100 pieces of fiction will be chosen to appear in an e-book, the proceeds of which will go to the Red Cross.
If you want to send a short story, please follow these guidelines: 
  • Do not exceed 1,000 words. 
  • No stories containing graphic violence, death or destruction. 
  • Send all stories in the body text of an email to Stories sent as attachments will not be opened. 

Go to Greg's blog here; the 100 Stories for Haiti website; and remember that the deadline has been extended to this Wednesday the 27th by Midnight (wherever you are on the planet) so brush off a story if you have one or dash one off if you're a speed demon.
feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)
( Jan. 15th, 2010 08:55 am)

Well, it's been absolutely ages since I last posted. The new year went well but I spent most of the first week working from home because I couldn't get the car out of our street. It was great for dog walking, not so much for driving; but, the snow (and more importantly the ice) is now melting. When I parked the car at work this morning it was raining and foggy so I imagine the news will start saying things like "The Big [British] Melt as opposed to Freeze.

Yesterday was slightly traumatic; first I had to have a new car windscreen because there was a large crack across the middle of mine. Then I had to take Baby Bear and Mama Bear to the vets; the former for his boosters and the latter for her free six monthly check (it's not really 'free' - I pay a monthly amount so I don't have to pay when I turn up.) Baby Bear was fine; he didn't cry for the needle and the vet thought he looked very fit and healthy. Mama Bear has put on 5 kilos and is on rations, but because she's overweight we're going to have to alter her exercise regimen to avoid damaging her joints. No long walks, instead she'll have a number of shorter (no longer than 30 minutes) each day. The vet said it'll be the rationing rather than the exercise that will drop the weight off her, so I'll have to get the parentals who dog-sit to make sure she can't eat the other dogs' food and I'll have to remember to hide the cat biscuits when I go out/ go to bed. She will not be happy, but it's all in a good cause.

This weekend I'm aiming to get my Lovecraftian-style short finished - I did about 1K yesterday - and then I'll be free to re-read the YA UF novel so far and crack on with that again.

If you're driving/ walking anywhere that is still plague with snow and ice - take care!

First things first: Felicitations of the Season to all and sundry!

Christmas was good; I had Christmas Eve off work so I boiled and baked my ham (with cloves and maple syrup) which worked fantastically well once again so Chum #1 was happy, as was I. Christmas Day I made my cranberry sauce with ruby port which went down well, and as that was the only cooking I had to do all day I was pleased too. We went to Chum #1's parents' house for dinner, along with my mother and another friend - we didn't eat too much, it was all just right, and we played an excellent game of Trivial Pursuit (the new one with a twist - abbots, no less). Then we went to my mother's for Boxing Day and ate and drank with the pseudo-nephews and nieces and their parents.

Yesterday, we rested by going to see Sherlock Holmes which I thought was good, silly fun. The relationship between Holmes and Watson was reminiscent of that portrayed by Roxburgh and Hart in the more recent Hound of the Baskervilles, and Watson came across as being smart which was a relief. I can't stand the depictions of Watson as a bumbling idiot. >.<

Christmas presents: a fantastic telescope that the chum and I will have to put together (the horror of instructions that start with an item's individual pieces set out on a big sheet on the floor o_O ); lots of non-fiction books on Georgian history/ society; Doctor Who Season 4 and other lovely things (including socks!) are having a 'December belongs to Cthulhu' fest and although December is almost over I had a Lovecraftian moment while dog walking in the woods so a story will shortly be committed to paper in honour of the Old Ones. Cthulu ftagn!

It's strange to think that 2009 is almost over. Britain is still in recession and looks as though it may be for some time to come (not to mention being horrifically in debt as a nation) but I hope that 2010 will be better; higher household bills notwithstanding. The family's healthy; we all have roofs over our heads, and we're all in work so we have no complaints on that score. We are content with bursts of happiness.

So here's to the impending 2010 - may we all be, if not perpetually happy, then at least content with bursts of happiness and rich in friends and loved ones.

It's almost Christmas Eve and there is snow on the ground! It was a bit dodgy trying to leave my street this morning as we are not blessed with gritters (being unworthy dwellers of a dead-end road) but once the ice of two and a half streets was navigated it was plain sailing.

Although I don't enjoy driving in snow (driving back from Newcastle on Sunday was exciting for all the wrong reasons), I do love snow itself. Chum #1 and I took the dogs out for a walk before bed, as is our wont, and we decided to extend it because the snow was fantastic, the collies were hyper, and it was just a brilliant, cold, and shiny night. I hope that the snow stays until the 24th at least - I've taken the day off work and it would be nice to get a long walk in -- through snow -- before the madness begins! (I have a ham to bake, among other things - oh, God, the WRAPPING!!!)

I have bought a number of books in advance of the holiday, so at some point I will have to structure some kind of reading list otherwise I'll dither and end up re-reading books while I try to decide which new ones I want to read. I also need to get back on the wagon with the unnamed one as that ground to a halt with illness and work being busy. (I am trying to resist my brain's idea of getting back into the flow by writing a short on a mad galvanist that I had a brain-tickle for. Although, amazingly, I did manage to get some articles from the 1800s about galvanism that will help the research. But still, resist.)

I need to clear the workspace downstairs again so that there's room to work, and I also need to update everything on the laptop as that hasn't been done since the 29th of October, just before I went on holiday. Jobs, jobs, jobs. ::sigh::

I've got editing planned for this week; I'm at work on Monday, and then it's writing for the rest of the week and into January. Cobbling together bits from pbackwriter and Jeff Vandermeer's Booklife I've fleshed out a business plan for 2010 as well as looked at breaking things into weekly tasks, and creating a five year plan. I have to say that I found the mission statement idea (from Booklife) *really* difficult to do. Interesting, but difficult, and it still needs work.

So, what about you? Do you do a business plan every year? Do you break things down into small tasks to make them more manageable and trackable? Do you have a different method for organising your life, or do you just go with the flow? Inquiring minds want to know.
feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)
( Dec. 4th, 2009 09:05 am)

Phoenix Con 7 here I come!

Chum #1 has booked us and her mother on the convention, which is taking place in Dublin from the 5th - 7th March 2010. It will be great to meet some people face-to-face that I've only spoken to online. All I need to do now is sort out accomodation and flights and that'll be job done. Fantastic.



feed_your_muse: Kneeling woman with Ravens (Default)


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