Patreon stuff to get done, too, and harass my editor once again about my not-yet-arrived revision letter. And CampCon starts on Wednesday!
And, in all this, CatofSize has decided to be a grouchy old bear, including giving the Kitten a what-for at the foot of the bed, at 4 this morning. Thankfully, even half-asleep I know better than to put my hand into a catfight, but my voice was enough to send them running for opposite sides of the apartment. and then I had to spend half an hour calming both of them down.
They're still not particularly on speaking terms, but there hasn't been a repeat of open hostilities. This happens every now and again - the rest of the time they're affectionately tolerant of each other, which is about as good as you can hope for, with two unrelated male cats of different ages (CoS is 14, the Kitten is 4). I suspect I will wake up tomorrow with everything back to normal. I hope so, anyway. Two 4am wakeups in the row, an I might forget I really don't want to dropkick them out the sliding doors.
I need to not do that again. Fortunately, the manic phase of the anthology is starting to come to a close (these stories are SO GOOD, you guys), Unfortunately, I'm expecting revisions notes for Book 3 Any Minute Now, so that's going to take up the slack...
Compartmentalizing and time management. Those are my new BFFs.
I think we had nearly all of those iterations, this past weekend, ending with someone squeaking in 5 minutes before we closed (I'd gotten inventory done already, so I said 'what the hell.'). And he was a delightful guest, so I'm glad I did.
I am thinking, though, that I should do a "how to visit a tasting room" primer....?
Anyway, and now it's Monday and it's snowing (surprise! Pretty sure this was not in the forecast), and I intend to sit at my desk with a cat on my lap and a laptop on the desk and wear my writer/editor hat ALL DAY. Well, most of the day....
How be you?
If I wasn't completely aware that this new tertiary character is my lizard brain stepping forward, I'd be more worried. But still: One of these days I'll write a well-behaved book again, I swear it...
This morning, I spent an hour doing preliminary promotional stuff for the paperback release of SILVER (October) and the hardcover release of COLD EYE (January). Now I get to write more of Still Untitled #3 (late 2017/early 2018) and poke people about the proofs for COLD EYE, and news on Still Untitled #4.
Series writing means never getting to say "I have nothing to do."
Did you work today? Are you sure?
There is a trend among many writers, fostered by nifty word-count bars and graphics, to post metrics of daily word count. This is a useful tool. It forces accountability and many of us – lazy writers that we are – need that public accountability to get shit done.
However, the trend is also a dangerous one, because it leads to the feeling that unless you have nailed a certain word count you haven’t actually “done” anything.
We’re all guilty of it – “I did X and Y but I only wrote 500 words so the day’s a failure.”
Let me respond to that as pithily as I know how.
A story isn’t words. Words are what convey the story. The stronger and more effective your conveyance, the better people respond. That’s the goal. But there is more to “writing” than the actual act of crafting sentences.
There is research, and planning, and thinking. Note-taking and chasing down facts, and considering about how it all connects. It may not feel like writing, and it’s not always as much fun as writing (except to the few, the proud, the research junkies), but it feeds the writing. It creates a deeper, more layered and thoughtful story. More, research triggers ideas, and the ideas trigger thoughts, and those thoughts move the story in ways we-the-writer might not have anticipated or planned.
So how can that process be any less “writing a story” than the actual choosing/typing of words?
Idea + Plotting + Research + Word choice + Editing/revising = Writing.
Post your word counts if it works for you. If it doesn’t, if it makes you feel stressed out or unhappy because it highlights the fact that you spent the day ears-deep in research or inputting editorial corrections rather than laying down new words? Don’t. Deep-six the word meter and wallow in the fact that you were doing some damned heavy lifting.
Don’t allow yourself –or anyone else – to discount everything that comes before (or after) the laying down of words as “not writing.” Because you ARE. From inspiration to perspiration to polish. And you should give yourself credit for the whole damned difficult process.
(to find the collection this ended up in, check out
The advantage to writing outside your educational comfort zone is the shit you learn. The disadvantage is the shit you have to unlearn. Also, I now have an entire sideline story set just outside the Devil's West I need to write. Some day when I have time, or someone offers me money that buys that time...
And this weekend I am off to FOGcon in SanFrancisco, where I will be lightly scheduled but heavily socializing networking Friday through Sunday, and then Sunday night I shed my professional skin, slip into the weather-appropriate concert shirt, and head out with fellow fans to see Bruce Springsteen in Oakland.
And then home on Monday, and start the ride all again.
Meanwhile, with permission, I share with you evidence that yes, reviewing a book (on a retail site, via a book blogger, or even just a tweet) can make a difference...
The state of the meerkat right now is that I have a book, a novella, and two short stories to write before the end of the year (9 months from now), four clients lined up for the next four months, a heavy batch of traveling, and we're going into the start of Tourist Season at the side gig. So yeah, gonna be busy.
This is a goodness. I am happy about this. I am also going to be turning off the social medias more often, because y'all are distracting.
The thing about writing advice is that it's not only NOT one-size-fits-all, but we (hopefully) grow out of advice that did fit, once.
Therefore, be wary of anyone who says 'this works!' All they are saying 'this worked for me, maybe it will help you too.' Shop around. Don't trap yourself in something that's not helping - or worse, something that HURTS.
Yeah. And people ask me if I ever read my books once they're done. After an average of 10 passes, including the copy edit, would YOU?
Meanwhile, today there is more revising, and some editing of Other Peoples' Work, and dealing with the ACA for 2016, oh joy...
Tomorrow there will be socializing. And probably some whinging about the ACA paperwork. Because Tis the Season.
In which I talk about realizing the source of WHY I wrote SILVER ON THE ROAD, and how we are touched by the books of the past...
Mostly, I'm in favor of the new-fangled digital ways of doing things. But I'm seriously missing the old days of marking up a paper proof, right about now.
(and yes, I'm doing my stretches. They're not helping - or if they are, they're keeping it down to a mild roar rather than incapacitation)
However, in happier news - I'm wearing a long-sleeved shirt! Seattle summer, I'm glad to see you back to your more-usual self...
As seen via a series of tweets:
I can’t be the only writer who, when faced w/ page proofs, finds it uncomfortable/difficult to read even a beloved book One More Time? Y/N?
2nd-guessing foreign language usages in this book, now. Trusting my native advisors, and accepting responsibility for all errors.
How many pages of page proofs can the author proof if an author must proof page proofs? (300 pages to go…)
oh, @MetMarket, telling me you have dark chocolate-covered graham crackers and then only having milk chocolate is just CRUEL #sadtrombone
I’m missing every typo in this book, aren’t I? Must trust proofreader…. (never trust the proofreader).
No sunset photos tonight, and probably none for a while - they're subtly beautiful in shades of pale blues and pinks, but the awareness that the beauty is caused by the smoke drifting down from the BC wildfires makes me less eager to capture them.
Meanwhile, after a week of unreasonable heat, the wind off the balcony is refreshingly cold and smells of ocean and ozone. If I could sleep with the door open, I would (alas, the cats cannot be trusted with overnight, even with the gate up).
And that's all I got. How YOU doin?
Seriously, this would be SO much easier if the lizard brain would talk to the mammal brain during the FIRST pass of the draft, not the THIRD. But nooooooo, the damned lizard has to go and leave all these juicy bits, and force the mammal brain to slowly figure out how they all tie together, and what the characters are supposed to do with them.
And I'm pretty sure a fourth pass is going to be needed before I'm satisfied enough to let m'editor see it, so he can tell me what is needed in the fifth pass....
"Writing's easy," they said. "You can just whammy out a story every month, two books a year," they said. "Easy money," they said!
Where's the damned money and my cosplaying fandom, is what I want to know.
(or, failing that, whisky and a wedge of pont l'eveque.)
((cosplayers for the Devil's West would be so awesome, I don't even know how to say it. Except it would be so awesome and if anyone ever does I DEMAND pics. Um, please?))
And then I write something like this, and I think "yeah, fuck it, who cares, this is fucking gorgeous."
Gabriel dreamed of death.
He stood in the middle of a creek bed, dry and mud-cracked, the sun cold and heavy on his bare shoulders, and knew that he should not turn around, that the night bird waited for him.
Not for you.
“That doesn’t make it better.” His dream-voice was higher, lighter, the voice of a child, not a man. That was how the dreamspace saw him, Old Woman had said. Foolish, but teachable.
Be careful, Two Voices.
He was always careful. Too careful, Old Woman had said, in a tone that said it wasn’t a good thing, not like a hunter was careful, but like a coward.
Gabriel had never denied it.