Writing

Posts about writing.

Inspiration Comes From the Weirdest Places

One of the plot holes I’ve been trying to solve in Cerulean Bound revolves around a scene near the start of the book, when Eris and Varrin go to a place that has security-bots with facial scanners. It’s really awkward, because they’re supposed to be having a fun time, but at the same time you’re reading the scene and going “How are they so carefree, they could be identified at any moment!”

I was thinking about making them wear disguises, or something, but would that really fool the scanners? (In the Imminent Danger world, probably yes, lol.) Then inspiration struck!

So I’m sitting at my desk, noodling around on Facebook, when Mother announces she’s off to the post office to get the mail. This is more interesting than what I’m currently doing, so I get up and go see what’s happening. She’s in the bathroom in front of the mirror, using a concealer stick on her face.

“I should get one of those,” I say. “It’s a concealer stick, right?”

“Yes,” Mother says. “But be careful – if I put it all over my face, you won’t be able to see me! Hahaha.”

“Ha,” I agree, dubiously. “More like I won’t know who you are, because you’ll have concealed your identity.”

Our eyes both go wide.

#Inspiration

So now I totally have a way to conceal their identities! I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but it’ll be some sort of black market cream that refracts light (OR SOMETHING) which messes with the security-bots’ facial scanners. That way they don’t have to wear elaborate disguises, and they don’t have to spend half the scene ducking and hiding every time a patrol rolls by. Woot!

In conclusion, inspiration strikes when you least expect it. That’s one of the things I find so fascinating about writing — how I can be stuck on a plot point for weeks, and then something totally mundane happens and all the pieces suddenly fall perfectly into place. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

That’s all! Hope everyone’s having an awesome week.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

My brother introduced me to a band called Porter Robinson over the holidays. This my current jam.

 

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Editing Fun #1

I’ve officially received edits back from my editor and alpha reader on Draft #2 of Cerulean Bound, so it’s time to start sharing some of the more ridiculous “edits” they’ve done.

In today’s showcase, I present to you the first and last pages of the manuscript my editor (/mother) returned to me yesterday.

 

Anyone have a guess on what the bread means?

Right before I sent Mom the manuscript, I reminded her of the “sandwich” approach to critiquing, which is to bookend all the “fix this” “fix that” with positive comments. I.e. the first piece of bread is positive crit, then you delve into all the stuff that needs changing (the meat of the sandwich), then end off with another piece of bread/positive crit.

Mother, bless her, took this literally. As you can see, she put actual pieces of bread into the manuscript. And, in her words, the bottom piece of bread has jam “to make it extra tasty.”

This week I will be going through her comments, as well as revisiting my alpha reader’s comments, to come up with a gameplan for fixing whatever’s broken in my book. I’ll start with big picture stuff (my alpha reader suggested adding a couple of scenes from Grashk’s perspective, which I really liked), and then deal with the nitty gritty details.

Hope everyone’s having a great week so far! Stay awesome 🙂

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Finished Cerulean Bound Draft #2

Phew!

After noodling over the second draft for about three months, I finally got the darned thing done! I have my editor and alpha reader to thank for this: my editor, for reminding me that she has a ton of free time over the holidays to read it, so finish it already, and my alpha reader for promising to read it over this weekend if I could get it to him by noon today. Technically I got it to him at 12:15, but hopefully he’s willing to overlook the tardiness.

The first draft clocked in at 142,000 words, and I managed to get the second draft down to … drum roll … 110,000! There is still some chopping to be done, of course. I’d like to get it down into the 90,000 range, which is more reasonable for a quick-paced YA story, not to mention that forcing myself to get rid of ~15k words will make the story tighter and better. But I’m pretty proud of losing 30k words in one fell swoop. Hopefully I didn’t cut anything too important …

Anyway, draft 2 is off to my editor and alpha reader. I should hear back from my alpha reader by Monday (we’re doing lunch), but as for my editor … it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s difficult to say with her. It’s the off-season in the B&B world, so hopefully she’ll have lots of time to devote to tearing the manuscript apart. Fingers crossed!

In unrelated news, I’m still at my dad’s house for the holidays, hanging out with him and my brother and generally “chillaxing” as the young’uns like to say. We play a lot of Civ 5, go on walks in the frigid outdoors, and occasionally watch movies (just saw Jumanji yesterday — hilarious). I’ll be heading back to Nova Scotia this upcoming Tuesday, which hopefully will not be buried under a mountain of snow when I arrive.

Happy New Year to everyone! My resolution is to write every day. So far I’ve managed it, but we’ll see how that shapes up once I get into the busy B&B summer months. Maybe I should try getting up early and writing before I head downstairs to cook breakfast and clean. Then again, I’m so not a morning person, so maybe not.

Until next time!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Every time I listen to this song, I want to conquer a foreign country. Possibly I’ve been playing too much Civ 5.

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

20k Words Cut from Cerulean Bound!

Woohoo!

I’ve fallen into a really productive schedule this holiday season, which is basically to wake up, eat breakfast, and then edit until my brother wakes up around 12 – 1 p.m. Then we go do Christmas-y stuff. This works great for me, because when I have the entire day to edit, it’s an intimidatingly large block of time, and I’m more likely to procrastinate. Whereas if I know I have a set end time, I’m able to focus better and actually get stuff done. Hence, 20k words cut from Cerulean Bound — and counting!

I’m about 75% of the way through the manuscript, which means I’m now coming up on the ending. I expect the editing to slow down significantly, because the ending is, obviously, the part of the book I’ve gone over the fewest times. So it needs the most work. I don’t imagine I’ll fix all the problems with this go-through, but I should at least be able to make sure it all makes sense before I send it off to my editor and alpha readers.

Also, sushi! I’m off to all-you-can-eat sushi this evening with a few friends, and I’m super excited because usually I live in a very small town that has literally zero Asian restaurants. But now I’m back in civilization, and I fully intend to stuff my face with sushi, dim sum, pad thai, pho, and every other delicious non-fish-and-chips food I can get my hands on. I’ve actually been having dreams about dim sum. Sheesh.

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful holiday season! Stay warm, and stay awesome.

Categories: Writing | Tags: | 9 Comments

10k Words Cut from Cerulean Bound!

Editing on Cerulean Bound proceeds at … I want to say a “good clip,” but realistically it’s more a slow crawl. I had started November with the intention of getting the second draft done by mid-December (a.k.a. right now) but then I got laser eye surgery and things went a tad sideways.

Long story short, either the LASIK people didn’t do the surgery correctly, or my eyes are just being difficult, because my vision never got up to 20/20. It’s supposed to take a couple of days to clear up after the surgery, but by seven days out, I was still seeing blurry. The surgeon says I’ve “regressed,” which is supposedly something that usually happens around the 3 or 6 month mark, so I guess I’m just special. This means I’ll have to go for a touch-up surgery in the spring, and until then the world is ever-so-slightly out of focus. I can still drive, but the signs are blurry, and I have to make the text on my screen bigger so I can read it.

All this is to say that my editing plans got completely derailed by the surgery, and I couldn’t properly read (let alone edit) for a good two weeks after the surgery. Then my eyes had a bad reaction to the steroid drops (because of course they did) and that knocked off another week of productivity. By the time I got properly into editing, it was basically December.

But! Now I’m back home in Ontario for the holidays, so I have a good two hours every morning of (relative) peace and quiet to get my editing done. There are the occasional (read: frequent) interruptions from my father, who’s very excited that I’m home, but they’re brief so I can usually get back into the editing groove without too much trouble.

As of today, I have officially knocked 10k words off my whopping 142k first draft word count. Now, YA books are generally between 70k-100k words, so I still have a ways to go, but I’ve been able to streamline scenes and even delete a few extraneous characters, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get down into the 110k words zone by the end of this edit. That leaves 10k-15k for my editor to chop, which is fine, because my editor loves chopping. If editing doesn’t work out for her, she’d make an excellent lumberjack.

That’s all! Just wanted to check in and let my devoted fans (all six of them) know that I have not, in fact, forgotten about book 3. I’m hard at work, and am doing my best to get it ready for a Spring 2018 release. Stay tuned, and stay awesome!

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Music for Editing Sci-Fi

I am neck-deep in edits for Cerulean Bound, and have been searching for the appropriate background music to keep me in the zone. I was rocking “alpha wave music for studying” mixes for a while, until I stumbled across this:

I don’t know what it is in particular about this soundtrack that makes it the perfect editing mix, but I love it. The electronic vibe meshes really well with sci-fi, and a lot of the songs have a dreamy quality to them that in turn helps me dream up solutions to the editing problems I encounter. I don’t think it would work well for heavier, more dramatic sci-fi, but for my particular brand of wacky, light-hearted sci-fi, it’s the best.

Speaking of my editing adventures, I am about a third of the way through the book, and have thus far knocked the word count down from 142,000 to 136,000. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve already resolved a lot of the problems my critique group had with the intro, so I’m quite pleased by that. I also had a revelation while watching Avengers about my final battle scene, so that’s something I’ll have to mess around with when I get closer to the end of the book. My editor wants the second draft before Christmas, so it’s crunch time!

In unrelated news, I got laser eye surgery at the start of November! It went … interestingly. Don’t worry, I can see. Just … not so well. I’ll write a separate post about that when I find the time.

Live long and prosper!

Categories: Writing | 3 Comments

New Year, New Cerulean Bound Update!

Happy 2017, everyone! As one of my New Year resolutions is to blog more often, here comes the first post (of many). And since most of you are here because you’re fans of writing and/or Imminent Danger, let’s kick this post off with an Cerulean Bound update:

I have officially written the epilogue!

Now, granted, I haven’t actually finished writing the book yet. But I’m getting there! After a very productive holiday spent back in Ontario with my brother and father, and several long walks in the woods working out plot details, I now know how the book will end. It’s going to be epic! All that remains is to get the words down on paper.

My current goal is to get the first draft written by the end of January. Yes, that gives me roughly two weeks to finish the book–which is approximately 75% written, with 50% of that needing a re-write to conform with the directional switch I made to the ending. But the re-writing shouldn’t be too extreme, and I do finally know how the last 25% will go, so I’m feeling hopeful I’ll make the deadline.

In other news, I’ve been toying around with the idea of finding an agent and trying to get Imminent Danger published by one of the big publishing houses. I gave it a shot back in … gosh, 2010, I think? … without success. But now I’ve got two books under my belt, and I think they’re pretty darn good, so hopefully it will work out.

On a related note, I had an “angel card reading” done yesterday (one of our B&B guests does it for a living and offered to do a reading for me) and apparently I just need to visualize the perfect agent, and write down what I’m looking for, and put my positive emotions out there, and success will come. I have a feeling sending out some query letters might help as well, but a little positive energy never hurt anyone, right?

So, that’s the update! Potential first draft done by the end of January, and the beginning of an agent hunt. If things go unbelievably well with Cerulean Bound I may be able to get it out by the summer, but considering the editing for book 2 took a full year, I’m thinking that might be an unrealistic goal. Nevertheless, fingers crossed, everyone!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

yhapmll

 

 

Categories: My Works, Writing | 9 Comments

Cerulean Bound (Imminent Danger #3) Update!

Okay, before everyone gets crazy excited, no, I have not finished the first draft. That remains a work in progress. But I figured you guys deserved an update after many months of silence, so here it is:

Cerulean Bound has officially crested the 70k words mark!

Now, what does this mean for the book itself?

I am about halfway through the story at this point, which means the book is on track to be about 140k words long. That, of course, would be the word count for the first draft. After extensive editing and chopping and revising, that number will hopefully be down in the 90-100k words range. So there’s still a while to go before the book is ready for eyes other than mine to see it.

On the upside, 70k words in and going strong! B&B season is gradually coming to a close, and NaNoWriMo starts in a few days, so I’m hoping to bang out the rest of the first draft by early December. Then the editing begins.

My very tentative hope is to get the book out next year. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect it in the spring — probably more like the fall — but miracles can always happen, right?

So there’s the update! Happy Halloween to everyone, and if you’re going to attempt NaNo this year, happy writing!

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day in the Life of an Author / Innkeeper

6:30 AM — Wake up to the gentle chirping of cellphone alarm.

6:31 AM — Nope. Still too tired. Re-set the alarm for 7:00 AM, fall back asleep.

7:00 AM — Wake up to the gentle chirping of cellphone alarm.

7:01 AM — Fall back asleep.

7:10 AM — Wake up in a panic, remembering that I do, in fact, have to get up.

7:15 AM — Realize I’ve been lying in a daze in bed instead of getting up.

7:16 AM — Proceed to washroom and get into the shower.

7:26 AM — Realize I’ve spent the last 10 minutes contemplating my novel instead of shampooing my hair.

7:45 AM — Escape shower, look at cellphone clock, realize I should already be downstairs, panic.

8:01 AM — Stagger downstairs, fully dressed and more-or-less awake.

8:05 AM — Start making breakfast for our guests.

8:37 AM — Stomach starts to gurgle, scavenge random odds and ends from fruit salad bowl, toast crumbs, ham slices, etc.

9:02 AM — Halfway through cooking four different dishes, run a platter of jam and maple syrup out to the dining room because Mother forgot to bring them.

9:03 AM — Stay on my “I’m so competent I never forget things” high horse for an entire minute before I realize I forgot to make bacon.

9:07 AM — Hover over the stove, with the bacon pan on high heat, begging the goddamn bacon slice to cook faster.

9:33 AM — Get the last meal plated and sent out to dining room, immediately start cleaning kitchen.

10:00 AM — Check out time! No one is ready to leave yet.

10:07 AM — Hover around kitchen, putting random stuff away, stomach rumbling, waiting for guests to leave so I can eat.

10:33 AM — Eat breakfast!!!

10:55 AM — Start cleaning.

11:55 AM — Still cleaning.

12:55 PM — Still cleaning.

1:55 PM — Still cleaning.

2:55 PM — Still cleaning, Mother is starting to panic we won’t finish in time for check-in, take off earphones so I am able to hear her freaking out and respond accordingly.

3:47 PM — Finished cleaning!!! Told you we’d be done in time, Mother. Pffft. Why do you continuously doubt me?

3:51 PM — Crap, didn’t make cookies.

3:52 PM — Make cookies.

4:00 PM — Check-in time! No one is here.

4:37 PM — First guests arrive! Give them tour of the house, get breakfast order, show them to their room.

4:41 PM — Sneak back downstairs, flip open laptop, open up my novel file, and try to get a few words in before the next guests show up.

4:44 PM — Next guests arrive.

5:26 PM — Tour done, guests safely in rooms, return to laptop and try to write some … nope. New reservation came in. Deal with reservation.

5:32 PM — Writing time!

5:33 PM — More guests arrive.

6:01 PM — Okay, now it’s writing time!

6:04 PM — Last guests arrive.

6:27 PM — Seriously, do I finally get to wr–nope, it’s time to water the garden. Come on …

7:33 PM — Gardening done! Stomach’s starting to rumble, so that means it’s time for din–

7:34 PM — Realize the grocery store closes at 8 PM, and we need about a gazillion things to make breakfast tomorrow.

8:00 PM — Stagger back into house loaded with grocery bags, unpack groceries.

8:06 PM — Dinner time! And then maybe after that I can retire up to my room, sit down, and finally get some writing done …

8:37 PM — Iron napkins for breakfast.

8:43 PM — Set table for breakfast.

8:52 PM — Help Mother fold fitted sheets.

9:01 PM — Get ice and glasses for guests who want to drink rum and coke before bed.

9:07 PM — Go to turn lights out in parlour, get drawn into discussion with guests about their vacation plans for tomorrow.

9:28 PM — Grab laptop and phone and run upstairs before anyone can ask me to do anything else.

9:31 PM — Finally, writing time! Open up laptop, put fingers to keys … and am so tired I can barely string two words together.

9:35 PM — Watch an episode of whichever show I’m currently binge-watching.

10:30 PM — Resolve to actually get some writing done tomorrow, crawl into bed, pass out.

 

Doom and gloom aside, I actually am really enjoying running a bed and breakfast! It’s just a lot of work. So. Much. Work. And I never get any writing done. It’s driving me crazy. Hopefully once Mother and I get more comfortable with being innkeepers, we’ll have more free time and then I can actually get some work done on Cerulean Bound. Until then … onwards and upwards!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Truly excellent stock photos …

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Writing When You Have a Terrible Memory

I have a terrible memory. Readers of my blog will not find this surprising, as it’s something I’ve mentioned many times before. Or have I? I can’t remember.

Badum-tish!

Right. So, I have a terrible memory. Which can make writing very difficult, as where other writers would be working on a scene and think, “Hmm, did I already mention this earlier? Yup, I did. Okay, moving on,” I go through the following thought process:

Did I already mention this earlier? Yup, I did. Or did I? I should probably check …

*Scrolls back through manuscript to appropriate section. Finds nothing.*

Okay, I’m good. So I can mention it here, and then … hang on. I definitely talked about this. I’m like 73% sure I did. Maybe it was in a different section?

*Starts at beginning of manuscript and starts scrolling. Halfway through Chapter 3, notices a typo.*

Dammit. How did I manage to misspell “the”? It’s three freaking letters! Hang on, I remember this scene being funny. Let me just read a bit … no, she wouldn’t say that, let’s change it … ha! Good one, Michelle. This bit should be longer though, to drive home the joke …

*Three hours later.*

What was I doing again?

As a result, writing tends to take a while.

This blog post was brought on by my valiant attempts to write the first draft of Cerulean Bound, in which I introduce the space rock band Hail Oblivion. The drummer is currently named both Flurgeluff and Snorgeluff, as I apparently changed his name halfway through and didn’t notice until I went back to double-check the spelling. In my defense, I got the second half of the name correct, and that’s really all that matters, right?

RIGHT?

Wrong. I seem to be incapable of remembering characters’ names. I’m lucky I remember my own name half the time. Then again, I grew up with my father frequently referring to me as “Cocoa,” which was our dog’s name, so I suspect it’s genetic.

In conclusion, remembering things is hard.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

 

 

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 13 Comments

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