stephaniecain
10 December 2012 @ 07:14 pm
According to my novel outline, I’m 9 scenes away from finishing the novel revision. And I’m stuck at the scene that takes place right before the major showdown. I have to get Character C and Villain A to a certain physical location and set the scene for the showdown to come… And I can’t seem to find the right entry point to this scene. Character C is at the end of his rope, heartsick at what’s been demanded of him throughout the novel, and terrified of what he’s going to have to do next. And for whatever reason, I absolutely cannot find the right tone for him in this scene.

I’m going to make another attempt at the scene tonight. I spent last night setting up a new Windows 8 laptop and playing with Skype for the first time ever. (Skype scared me. It still sort of scares me, but I think I’ll get used to it.) It just occurred to me that I’ve set the computer up with almost all my necessary software–except Skyrim–without using a single disc. Technology blows my mind.

And I managed to get Christmas cards and presents in the mail today. This is an accomplishment, since last year my Christmas presents got mailed…sometime in the summer? Yeah.

So time to knuckle down and get to writing.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
24 October 2012 @ 11:41 pm
Wow, hi LJ! *dusts off blog* How is everyone doing? I have been focused so much on work and novel and SWC blog that I have been almost entirely absent here.

I love my job. Every single day I go to work and feel like I have made a difference to my coworkers and employer, and that I have given an excellent experience to our visitors. I don't think there's any way I wouldn't like a job where the mission statement was to "celebrate and renew belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture." And one of these days, I'll even finish reading Ben-Hur.

About three weeks ago I swore off Facebook until the election was over. Too much vitriol from either side of the aisle, and frankly I was tired of losing respect for people I had always liked. Tonight I took a cool quiz at www.isidewith.com and, to no great surprise, learned that I side 76% with Barack Obama. (What surprised me more was that I actually agreed with Mitt Romney about...well, um, anything.) The website had sharing links, so I took a deep breath, bit the bullet and outed myself on Facebook as someone who's voting Democrat this year.

Of course, now I'm too cowardly to go read my friends feed, with its three lonely liberals. Ah, the loneliness of being a moderate. You may get to poke fun at both ends of the political spectrum, but you also have twice the number of people pissed off at you. *G*

Because of a request one of my beta-readers made, I've been spending my writing time this week working on an episode in the backstory of five characters. It's not something that will appear in the novel, except as each of those five people remember it from their various POVs. But the more I work on it, the more I love it, and I'm gaining all sorts of new understanding of these characters I've been living with for...um...over 22 years now. Well, most of them. Poor Ranulf, he didn't show up until draft 3, I think. *G* Anyway, it's fun.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I made a miserable attempt at Camp NaNo this summer, which consisted of me signing up for it and promptly refusing to write for nearly two weeks straight. That led to some consideration of my novel-writing process, and I decided that, while NaNoWriMo is awesomely fun, I have learned all that it has to teach me at the present, and I really want to concentrate on finishing my current novel revision. So I'm setting NaNo aside for 2012. I may go back to it in future years, but not this year. NaNo taught me how to plot a novel, and NaNo gave me characters like Zeva and Edmund and Fithian, and I will forever be grateful that I discovered NaNoWriMo. But this year, it isn't in the cards.

In other news, still looking for a second part-time job. Retail and waitressing are out, unfortunately, because as much as I love my job, it requires a lot of energy for someone who is an introvert. I think adding a second job that requires too much interaction with the general public would make me a wreck. And in the meantime, I'm squeaking by financially. I had to borrow $10 from my dad until payday on Friday, but since that $10 is going to keep his and mom's cell phones working along with my own, I think that's okay. And one of these days I'll get around to selling my Gaiam balance ball chair and that Boonton ware I inherited from Gedna and have no use for.

A while ago Eowyn brought me a present, in the form of a not-quite-dead mouse. I'm not afraid of mice, but I don't particularly want them in my bed, so I carried her back downstairs (mouse firmly in her jaws) and put her in a large box. She proceeded to kill the mouse and jump out of the box, leaving the mouse behind to feed me, I guess. I think she's getting the hang of this hunting thing. :)
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
18 September 2011 @ 07:00 pm
To give myself some motivation to keep working on the revision, I'm posting an excerpt of the novel I'm currently revising (again) to try to get it ready to query agents. Any and all critiques are welcome. This is the first eight pages of my novel Maze of Moments, a modern faerie story.

***



Forget writer's block, artist's block was the real bitch. Zeva Couran shut the door of her house and studio, locked the deadbolt with her key, and took a deep breath. She'd spent the past hour and a half staring at the clay and feeling like she was suffocating. Maybe a walk would get the creative juices flowing...or release some frustration. The sun set late during June in Illinois, and the neighborhood she lived in was down at the heels, but not truly dangerous.

The Rottweiler at the yellow house down the street barked. A crow answered from the maple tree in front of her house. Zeva pocketed her keys and walked west on the sidewalk. After a block her stride lengthened as her muscles stretched. The air was sultry but comfortable, and she could see stars beginning to struggle out past the street lights.

Four blocks and two sets of train tracks later, there were fewer street lights, and half of those were burnt out or flickering on and off in drunken rhythms. No one stood around on front porches. No cars drove past. As she tried to pick up her speed, her boots clumped louder on the cracked pavement. Her arms, bared by her tank top, prickled as if something had brushed against her. Refusing to glance over her shoulder, she rubbed her arms and tried not to think about why she didn't want to look.

Read more... )
 
 
Current Music: Donna Lewis - Agenais
Current Mood: determined
 
 
stephaniecain
03 August 2011 @ 11:38 am
And lately some of the casualties have been a couple of scenes I always liked and a character who, honestly, sort of annoys me.  But fortunately I've discovered a few foxholes, like a couple of scenes with a new character I like more than I expected, or a way to rearrange the plot in a way that both speeds up the lagging pace of the novel and also salvages what I liked best about my favorite deleted scene.

Another casualty of the revision process lately has been my confidence.  I've been saying for years that I think this is my most readily marketable novel.  This is the first one I plotted out in advance, and it has series potential but stands alone, and it does a lot of things I want the novel to do.  AND I'm suddenly not sure that I'm doing it justice yet.

I've been vicious with this revision.  I've looked at every scene and asked what it actually accomplishes, what purpose it serves, if it puts me to sleep rereading it.  A lot of scenes have simply been slashed out of existence because of that last reason.  And now I'm wondering:  If, after 7 years of living with this novel and thinking about this novel, I have deleted about a third of it, what's to say that after another 7 years of living with it, I wouldn't realize another third of it needed to go?

This morning while I was doing some mundane stuff at my paying job, I got to thinking about the main conflict in my novel and started wondering if it's really as compelling as I think.  What if the "bad guys" are right?  Will readers look at the situation and go, "You know, they have a point.  Why IS it that way?  Who actually benefits from this situation, and why shouldn't they try to change it?"  Because that's absolutely NOT the reaction I want.  But maybe I'm setting myself up for that.

It isn't enough to tell a good story.  I want the story to make sense.  I want the conflict to tug at readers' guts and make them root for the good guys.  And suddenly I wonder if I'm doing that.
 
 
Current Mood: worried
 
 
stephaniecain
26 April 2010 @ 10:55 pm
After a frustrating start, I've managed to be pretty productive tonight. I cleaned off my desk so I'd have a lot of space to spread out the manuscript printout that I'd scribbled all over...and then couldn't find the first 27 pages. After a while I remembered (vaguely) that I had done some revising on the novel back in September, so it was possible that I'd recycled the first 27 pages after making all the changes I had marked.

Of course, that was before the Writers' Digest Editors' Intensive, where I decided to eliminate one character entirely from the novel (she can be introduced better in book two anyway), and make my main character live alone in her dodgy neighborhood. Plus I'm trying to make good use of the critique I got there, so I'm doing some tweaking on the opening scene in general.

So despite the slow start this evening, I moved forward another 1650 words, so I'm 1820 words total into the revision. Just 98k to go!
 
 
Current Mood: pleased
Current Music: Mychael & Jeff Danna - The Blood of Cu Chulainn
 
 
stephaniecain
29 August 2009 @ 07:50 pm
*cue hysterical laughter*

Sometimes it seems like I'll do anything to avoid writing, whether subconsciously or not. For the past few weeks I've been on a crusade against dust kitties and unused junk in the house. A couple of weeks ago I got a new Dirt Devil vacuum and have been cleaning with a vengeance ever since. I've discovered that with the new HEPA filters in vacuums, I can clean without stirring up too many allergies. So I've turned the Room of Doom (aka Merlin's room) into something that is once more usable and mostly tidy. I've rearranged my desk to make it easier to keep organized and to streamline my work-flow. I've finally taken the Harry Potter books out of my primary bookshelf and replaced them with criminology books and non-fiction accounts of the FBI's behavioral analysis program.

But have I done any actual writing?

Well, of course not.

I haven't even made any in-roads on revising the novel that I want to submit 50 pages of for the Writers Digest Editors' Intensive in October. I haven't even looked at it.

I have managed to make a scene-by-scene chart of the book I'm co-writing with [livejournal.com profile] buggybrowneyes, but since she's still rereading it so we can finish it in September (yes, JD, you saw that right, finished by the time you get here, no excuses!) that's about all I can do on that.

So why isn't Shaper getting revised in the meantime?

*sigh* I have no idea. I LOVE writing. I love the process. I love discovering what the characters are going to do next. I usually even enjoy revising. But maybe since I'm revising the first novel that was written with an outline and a plan, I'm having trouble for some reason. Holly Lisle's One-Pass Manuscript Revision isn't working for me. It's too much to keep in my head all at once. I think I need to do a character-and-plot revision, then go back through for a spelling-grammar-and-word-choice revision. Two-Pass Manuscript Revision?

I promised [livejournal.com profile] astraea36 that I would get to work on it this weekend. Okay, back at the beginning of the year I promised her I would have it done by our trip to Vegas. But she forgave me for missing that deadline. I'm not sure how many more deadlines she should forgive, though. I need someone to be strict with me, and at the moment I'm failing at being strict with myself.

Instead, today I leveled my rogue twice in Warcraft. Yeah, that's productive. *sigh*
 
 
Current Mood: annoyed
 
 
stephaniecain
02 March 2008 @ 08:07 pm
I keep wanting to finish revising my novel and submit it...and I keep not revising it.  I stare at the file, I flip to LJ and wonder why no one has updated, I stare at the file, I play in Photoshop for a while, I stare at the file, I go through and tag some old LJ entries, I stare at the file...

It isn't like I have no idea where to go with this. I know of at least two scenes that I need to write, and I know there are some nuances I need to insert in already existing scenes. I'm just not doing it.

I do feel like all the novels I've written since learning how to plot have come out cleaner in terms of focus and action...I just sometimes don't know all the nuances and connections before I start writing, and since I am still discovering motivations after 20,000 words, the earliest scenes are often most in need of revision. But for whatever reason, I can't bring myself to do all the little things that need to be done before I have a novel ready to seek an agent.

*headdesk*
 
 
Current Music: The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Current Mood: frustrated