Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Discipline

Tonight, I wanted to work on East of Yesterday. Things are really coming together in my mind. However, I was disciplined and I opened my file for Forging a Legend instead. Nighttime writing time is for revisions. I can draft on the weekends, using my Neo.

I'm really trying to be more disciplined about not hopping from work to work. I recently finished a novella and a short story, and they are in simmer mode, where they will stay for another week or so. Once I started working on each of them, I made sure I finished. I'm trying to be better about this.

I also need to be better about submissions. I do fine for novels -- I query dozens of agents, then I revise, then I query dozens more. I don't seem to ever give up (except for the trunk novel). But for short stories, I fizzle out at about five submissions. Which just about gets me through the pro magazines, where I have almost zero chance of acceptance anyway. I really have to force myself to keep submitting. But honestly, I wonder if I shouldn't just display the short stories on my website and forget about trying to sell them. At least that way, some people will probably read them. But as far as novels go, I think my plan of drafting one work on the Neo and polishing another work on my computer might satisfy my apparent need for variety.

I started working on Forging a Legend in 2004. That makes it five years, now. But in the same amount of time, I wrote another novel, a handful of short stories, one novella and 20,000 words of two additional novels (East of Yesterday and A Hollywood Miracle), both of which I do want to finish. A third novel start, Any Woman, is trunked, probably permanently.

There must be some reason I keep going back to Forging a Legend. And the biggest reason I can think of is I really want to finish it. I love Abriel, and I love the story that I've come up with for her. Book 2 -- if I can ever get the chance to write it -- really ends with a bang and it's got twists and turns you'd never expect. Wait till you get to meet Husband #2! And Book 3 is where I finally get to tie up the many plot threads that I laid the foundations for in Forging a Legend.

Have you ever written anything that has stayed with you like this, and resisted all your attempts to set it aside?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Catch-Up Post

Ok, I'm posting too infrequently -- so infrequently that I have to review what I posted before so I don't repeat myself. I'll try to pick up the pace.

The foil character who I blogged about last time is working out excellently in East of Yesterday. (I know I said I'd be working on Forging a Legend, and I am, but I can't revise when my daughter is awake, so I revise FAL at night and draft during the day on my Neo. EOY is the only novel I'm drafting at this time.)

Anyway, I decided to call him Brad, and he's a muscle-bound moron. I decided that too many muscle-bound guys are the romantic love interests, so I'm going for muscle-bound villains instead. It will make the job for my good guys all the harder. Here's a brief description from Ashley's eyes. It's short because she tries not to look at him much:
He was about 5'8", with spiked brown hair and arms as big as his head. He wore a tight golf shirt and a thick gold chain.
And that's about all her glance takes in. This isn't one of those she-hates-him-but-grows-to-love-him stories. She really despises him. They've known him since they were all about 1o or 12, and he's been trouble every moment.

Here's an example of the kinds of trouble he's going to get them into. This is just after they found out they are traveling back in time. Mike has sent Brad into a convenience store to find out what year it is. This excerpt has stronger language than you have ever seen on this blog; my apologizes; I'll bleep it out to keep this blog with a PG (or so) rating.
"What do you think?" Mike asked.

"I think Brad's voodoo woman theory has merit."

"How the heck are we supposed to -- oh s--t!" He sat forward in his seat. Brad's posture was evident -- he had pulled a gun on the cashier.

"Where the f--k did he get the gun?" Ashley shrieked.

"He always carries one -- he's got a concealed carry permit."

"Yeah, but you're only supposed to use those in a LAWFUL manner."

Brad came running out. Mike threw it in reverse. By the time Brad was opening the door, Mike was putting it in first gear. They pealed off.

"Money problems over," Brad said, flinging a fistful of twenties in the air.

Ashley whacked him on the side of the head. "Don't you ever do that again!"

"Look, all you have to do is go down the road a mile or two, and the crime never took place and no one is looking for us. It's the perfect crime!"

It's fun. I just get them to a certain place and I think, what's the worst thing that Brad can do now? I've barely started and already the word count has gone up 2000 words.

Have you ever just had fun writing about a complete jerk?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Novella Finished

I finally finished my novella version of "The Sevenfold Spell". I sent it off to my writing mentor and I'm putting it out of my head for a few weeks. This is the first time I've ever written a happily-ever-after, and I had to write it four times before I ended up with a version I liked. It still needs lots of work, but my head needs a subject change.

I came up with a great new foil for East of Yesterday. Kimber An taught me about foils in one of her amusing Protagonist Cafe posts. My two main characters are twins and while they squabble, there wasn't enough conflict in the time travel scenes. Now, they're going to have Mike's annoying semi-friend along for the ride, for what they think is only about 80 miles. Boy are they in for a surprise. Brad (the new character) is a major jerk, and he's going to be a huge thorn in their side. Should be fun.

But I'm not ready to write that yet. I asked myself which story would give me the most bang for my buck (or time)? And I decided that the answer was . . . Forging a Legend. I've had enough distance from it that I think I can work on it again, ONE FINAL TIME. (Yeah, I know I've said that before.) And when I'm done with this revision, I'll be sending it directly to publishers. And I really need to get it done before January or so, when all the NaNo novels will start swamping every publisher in existence.

Then, I'll have had closure with all these novels, and I'll be able to work on East of Yesterday with a fresh brain.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Purchased Publisher's Marketplace Subscription

I broke down and purchased a subscription to Publisher's Marketplace. It's 20 bucks a month, which is pretty expensive when you consider the accumulated annual price. However, I've already sent a query package (which included a partial--love it when they let you send partials with the query) to an agent I hadn't seen on any of the public boards. And today I'm going looking for more. Some of them look like absolute noobs -- or scammers. One guy only has a yahoo account listed as his contact method. Another was broadly discussed and ultimately dismissed as a scammer at Absolute Write. But there are some gems in there.

Now that everyone is NaNo-ing (well, not everyone; you guys all seem to be skipping it), I'm hoping the agents have a noticeable drop in queries, thus having time to give some attention to mine.