Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Found This

Twitter told me this morning that it's Rachel Morgan's birthday, so I wanted to send her a card.

(And yes, she is a fictional character. What are you saying about my mental stability?)

So a quick google search sent me to this website, Has anyone else been there? It's pretty cool. There's not a tonne of different cards to choose from, and I'd love some more control on the design (though that might just be the designer in me) but it sounds like they're fairly new. And the options they do have are varied enough that I'm sure you can find a card suitable for whoever your recipient is.

Anyway, it let's you pick a card, add a message, and choose your twitter recipient. It adds a post to your timeline saying who you sent the card to, what your message is, and adds a link to the page to go view it. Like I said, it's pretty cool.

This is the card I sent to "Rachel"...

Anyway, that was my early morning discovery. Hope Friday is good to you all.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Me: Editing

When I get notes back from my critique partner (in a Word doc) I copy them into a text document inside of my "Critique" folder. This way I don't have to keep Word open and jump between programs while I'm editing.
My Scrivener "Binder" on the left. Critique chapters in all caps and my MS chapters above.
Critiqued chapter six on the right, with her changes in red, and her comments in purple.

When I'm ready to start going through her edits I change my revision mode to "First Revision" in Scrivener (or second, whatever the case may be) which will colour any changes I make to my MS in red. It's like "track changes" in other text programs, and it's great because I can easily see what I've changed and later, when I re-read the whole thing, decide if the change made it better or worse.
Revision Modes

So I go through, scrolling both my MS and the critique side-by-side, and consider the her comments. If it's an obvious change I make it right away, and if it's something I want to think about for a while then I highlight my text and make a comment.
My MS on the left (ch10), critiqued chapter ten in the middle, Scrivener sticky notes on the right.

By the time I've gone through all the chapters like this I've usually got a few bigger parts of the story that I'm thinking about changing, based on either my own ideas while re-reading, or my critique partner's comments. I can select my entire MS and review all the sticky notes, which gives me a clear picture of the overall changes. Then I write out plans (cuz I like a good plan) for what I want to change, where, how, and why. Those plans go in another folder in the binder, so I can refer to them the same way I referred to the critiqued document. Side-by-side and everything.
The whole binder, with my planned changes as text files under "Notes"

When I'm ready to take those notes and start making changes to my MS, I switch to Second Revision mode and start hacking and cutting larger sections of text and rewriting. I can still keep my sticky notes column up (or not) if I want to refer to those, I can pull up my notes and plans in a side-by-side window, or I can go into full screen mode and just write, ignoring everything else and just see where the story goes. I can always check and see if I stuck to the plan afterwards :)
Second Revision in blue.

So that, friends, is a quick snapshot of how I edit, and how Scrivener helps me do it. I'm sure I missed something I wanted to show you, but I have to get my ass into work!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Miss the Writing

So far 2012 has been all about editing I Had to Fall. I started with my critique partner's notes and worked through all the minor changes she recommended. She'd brought up some bigger issues and ideas, so I allowed those time to percolate. Lots of percolation time.

The trade show business is busiest here from early March until early June. I end up working ten hour days and weekends (paid overtime, thank god) and, after I get the house tidied and dinner done, I basically go to sleep. So I had a bit of lull during those months where the editing was on hold.

I picked up my work again after the Global Petroleum show and worked on it fairly regularly. So I'm clipping along at a good pace now, getting about a chapter done (the major edits now) per day. Which is great. I like where the story is going. But...

I miss the writing! I can't even remember the last time I was working on something I was actually writing instead of editing. I miss plotting, and dialoguing, and finding things out about my characters I didn't know, or having them take me places I didn't expect. Don't get me wrong, I love editing - it appeals to that side of me that likes to have to-do lists for my to-do lists, all alpha-numerically organized of course. Writing is the creative side, and I really miss it.

I've got at least three more weeks until I'm finished editing I Had To Fall. I'm not sure what I'm doing with it after that - trying to find another beta reader, or querying it into the world - but I know what my next project is going to be: something that needs writing!

That was my little rant for today. Since I discussed so much editing, I think tomorrow I'll show you all some pieces from Scrivener and how I use that in my editing process. Until then...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tunes... oh dear...

You're all going to have to forgive me for this one.

When I drove back to Kenora for the May Long weekend I found a stack of CDs in my old bedroom. It was funny to run through them, in an "omigod, I can't believe I used to listen to this" sort of way. Some of the tunes weren't bad, honestly. Green Day's Dookie album still rocks. But No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom was in the stack, and for some reason I felt compelled to download most of those old CDs into my iTunes.

And then this song got stuck looping through my brain, so I've actually added it to a couple of playlists. To be honest—and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it—I've got more than a few Tragic Kingdom songs on my writing playlists now. I'd like to claim it's just a nostalgia thing, but that might possibly be a lie... sorry!

Try to enjoy it. I was in like grade four when this hit shelves, so cut me some slack —.—

I'm also home sick while I write this. Caught some kind of flu bug, lucky me. But I'm determined to get a few chapters edited and some critique work done anyway!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fingers Crossed

I wish writing was my day job, the one that pays the bills. But it ain't.

However, my office building was undergoing renovations that started on Friday at noon and are supposed to have been completed last night. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that the contractors fell behind schedule (it does happen!) and that when I roll up at 8:30 I end up getting sent home because the building isn't ready yet.

Wouldn't that be nice? I could probably finish the edits to chapters five, six and seven if I had the whole day off today!

But let's face it. Today is Monday, and Mondays never go well for me. Hell, I'll probably end up having to work late or something.

Anyway, chances are it will be a regular ol' day at the office, in which case I'm just going to sit down tonight and hopefully get a full chapter of critique done for my beta reader, and at least finish my edits to chapter five.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 2

Today is Sunday (in case you didn't know). I'm tired after a long day of editing. It was good, lots of sunshine and I made it through the content edits of chapters two through five, but I am tired. So today I just have a little excerpt for you, from chapter two.

To set the scene, Alicia is trying to convince Deyl not to head back into the city where she was attacked by Hunters the day before.

"Listen," Alicia said, her voice snapping me back to reality, "if they don't already know where you were staying you're only more likely to lead them to it. How do you know it was even you they were after? Maybe they were trying to get someone else, and thought snagging you would lead them there? Hell, maybe it's your friend they're after."
"Maybe," I answered noncommittally. Not bloody likely though. Luke was human. Maybe it had been a random Hunt, maybe I had done something in the grocery store without realizing it. Or maybe someone else from The Depot had been captured, and spilled the beans on the rest of us? I rubbed the sore spot above my ear again. Red had ripped a decent chunk of my hair out by the roots, and it friggen hurt. 
My hair. Fuck.
Panic, sharp and scorching hot, ripped through me. I felt Ed pushing at the barriers in my mind, felt her rage as a mirror to my sudden fear, and forced her back. They weren’t just Hunting me. They were after my fucking genetics. That was why Red had run, instead of fighting. Hunters never backed down from a fight.
This was bad. This was really fucking bad.
So that's Deyl's "aha" moment, the complication that drives the whole story. Deyl's got a genetic secret, and she can't let it get out. Thoughts?

Hope everyone out there had a great weekend, and that we all survive another Monday!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Trying to write...

Just a mid-afternoon break, that's all.

I was on a roll yesterday with my plans for the next round of revisions to I Had To Fall, almost ready to dive in a start making the changes. But then I felt it necessary to go out to Tipps last night and celebrate my friend Duke's 28th birthday... it was a late night.

Mmmm... Electric Popsicle

"I'm actually crying, you bastards!" -Duke, after the Prairie Fire shot

Elliot. As usual.

Just a grand ol' time at Tipps.

First thing this morning I had to roll out of bed and whip this house into shape for a viewing (the house is for sale...), but the viewers never showed up! Bastards!

So then I squeezed in about an hour of work—in the sunshade outside, most excellent!—before our guests showed up. And then of course I feel obliged to entertain for a few hours, just enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

Yes, summer. Love of my life.

I have high hopes for more writing time in a few hours, when my guests head off to the UFC show at the Saddledome. I'm thinking I'll dive right in and start making those changes I've been so meticulously planning...

Keeping my fingers crossed that life stops interfering for a few hours!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Epic Fail: TGIF

TGIF. I'm not really into the "thanking god" part, but I am really happy that it's Friday.

Our tech guy came into the office after hours last night to add another computer to our remote access system, as well as fix a couple of other minor problems. Did he call this morning when we opened to let us know what he did and to make sure everything was running smoothly? No, he didn't. Because if he had, I could have told him that it absolutely was not running smoothly. Neither did he answer either his work or personal lines, or respond to the text I sent him letting him know we had urgent problems. With our office undergoing renovations starting at noon today, and with the boss going away on vacation this afternoon, we need everything to be working. Right now.

That's how a business operates. Our systems need to be up and running during office hours, or we can't do our jobs. Running his own business, our tech guy should understand that. He should have called this morning to check in on us. At the very least he should make sure he had time to answer our calls or texts. And if he knew he wasn't going to be available to help this morning, he should have let us know in advance.

So today is an epic fail for our tech guy. TGIF and I get to go home at noon, sit back and relax with a margarita, and maybe finish off some of those editing lists I've been working on.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Putting off the inevitable

I'd like to think I might fit in some editing time tonight, but I'm not sure if that's going to pan out. I returned home from our vacation in Kenora, oh, five days ago, and the house is a disaster. Dishes, unpacked luggage, some random dirt on the floor, stuff everywhere, laundry that needs to be put away... well, you get the idea. So it's time to really get back to reality and spend the evening cleaning house. Sometimes though, and this is true for a lot of things, the longer you put something off the more daunting the task seems. But once you get down to it, it's really not all that much work.

Here's me hoping that's true tonight, and that the house will clean up real quick, leaving me free to make editing lists and notes to my heart's content...

Hope, rainbows. It seemed to fit.

Tomorrow I'll let you know how it went O.o

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Them Crooked Vultures

I really should look back through my posts and see if I've already done this song... but I'm lazy, and I'm 90% sure I haven't.

Them Crooked Vultures only has one, self-titled album out there. But it's an awesome chunk of music. That being said, it's a little too laid back for my usual writing tunes. Great for editing to, though! Very relaxing when focusing on those troubling logic problems. And for whatever reason, I really love this album on repeat while I'm designing at the office.

Not now, chief. I'm in the fucking zone.

And I realize I haven't posted since last week's Tuesday Tunes, which isn't very good of me, considering that I recently resolved to post more often... oh well. I made it back to Calgary in time for the weather to turn shitty again, making me wonder if everyone lied about the nice weather they had during Stampede. Hm?

On my return I found my garden in total disarray, but still growing strong. Mostly. I definitely have a slug problem. Let me know if you have toads to sell or give away. The strawberry patch is thriving, and I've found more time for editing than I'd anticipated.

I've finished the simple and easy revisions: the little problems like repetition, grammar, word choice, etc. that my critique partner pointed out. These were mostly changes that I didn't have to spend much time thinking about, it was a simple matter of keeping what I had, smacking my forehead at obvious mistakes and changing it, or a short deliberation and then writing something new or cutting something entirely.

But along the way I've made notes on the bigger issues. These are going to take some serious think-time and list-making. Like introducing Deyl's split personality, which I had halfway decided to cut but my critique partner has convinced me to include. Which means the dual personality parts need to be beefed up, and that affects the entire story in a lot of different ways. I'm also taking another look at how quickly Deyl's knowledge and use of power develops, and thinking about slowing it down. Seems to make more sense if it takes her longer. I also need to clarify a few things throughout the entire work, like what Deyl's weaknesses are and how the fae use their powers. All of these things will affect larger parts of the story, so I want to be sure I have a road map for the changes before I make them.

Since my critique partner is in China until the end of the month, I'll move on to the list-making process while she's gone, and see what I can come up with. Onward!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Clutch

I've had Clutch's album Blast Tyrant on repeat for a couple of weeks now. I love the southern rock sound with the heavy rock energy. Though their Wikipedia page says they've been around since 1992, I only first heard their music about a month ago.

This song is Ghost. It might not be my favourite off this album, but I find it great for writing to. Maybe it's the pace. Who knows. It just works.

I finished editing chapter twelve this morning, after a couple hours of critique work. I'm hoping to get chapter thirteen done and get into fourteen this evening...

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the same beautiful weather I am!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy Little Bee

It's unlikely I'll get much writing done tonight. Maybe a bit of critique work before bed, but there's a good chance I'll be too tired. I started the day with a four hour hike through the woods, cutting, hacking and sawing down some trails at my camp. Lost my Drivers License at the bottom of the lake while swimming, snorkeled until I rescued said I.D. card, then drove into town. Ate some Lake of the Woods poutine—which was fn delicious—did some banking, only to come home and start working on tearing up the carpet in the master bedroom.

The new flooring in the living room. And what will replace the carpet in the master bedroom.

Believe it or not, that's the condensed version of my day.

So I'll be tired. But I fully intend to get up at dawn tomorrow morning, head back to the "office" (see yesterday's post...) and start writing. With any luck I'll have the loons calling and the sun shining.

Which reminds me of a sign I saw last week at the Kenora Farmer's Market: "If you're lucky enough to live at the lake, you're lucky enough."

I may be exhausted, but it's a good kind of exhaustion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Return of the Jedi

In this case, I am the Jedi returning, after a long hiatus from the blogverse.

No matter, I'm here again for a while. Critiquing, revising and writing a short story. I'm just starting week two of my holidays, and thought I'd share a photo of my office for the week:

Now, to the writing!

Hopefully I'll be back on here tomorrow...