First of all, today is OPENING DAY!!!! It's FINALLY baseball season! (And no, I really don't care that the Yankees won yesterday. Who cares? It's April. Talk to me in August.) In approximately 35 minutes, I will be parking my ass in front of the tv with my crocheting, my rum and my shrimp cocktail, and enjoying my boys of summer.

Secondly, I've had some interesting conversations about being a professional writer lately with a few folks, and I think I've finally distilled my thoughts to where I'm comfortable with them. The first thing is: this is a business. As with any business, before you can sell a product, you need product. To get product in this sense, I need to write. So I'm going to be doing some promotion on the stuff that's already out (like the fact that you can get Horseman for your Kindle right now for only $2.39!!! and you can get your first episode of Tales of the Scorned Lady here for $0.99), and I'm contemplating ideas for stuff for the freebie table at Balticon, but it's not my primary focus right now. I need more content. I need to make more product. So I'm going to be putting my head down and writing.

I've got a bit more on the honey-do list for the year so far:

- 5 more episodes of Tales to Pirate's Cove (that's the entire arc)
- edit Last Rites and send it off to DMP
- edit Spells and Swashbucklers and send it off to DMP

That's the entire paying honey-do list right now. Then there's the other honey-do list:

- finish the Horseman podcast (this WILL be finished this year)
- work on my reviews for some friends (I've wanted to get the review section of this blog going for a while, and haven't had a chance)
- fix the website
- Write the Advent Murders
- Write Faerytale Princess (which is the other book idea trying to eat my head)

So I've got a lot of stuff to do. And I want to work on some possible other projects, but I'm not ready to talk about them yet.

I hope you enjoy From Molly's Kitchen, which is going to be a weekly feature on Thursdays. Speaking of, I need to figure out what I'm going to be trying next. Molly's got quite the recipe box, so if you have any suggestions, I'm open to it! I'll be baking each recipe before it goes up, so my goal to slim down by Balticon may be derailed. Then again, I need to work on tea stuff for the Needleworker's Tea for there, so there's a reason! :D

For today, I want to do the following things:

1. Watch the Opening Day Game
2. Work on the outline for Tales
I know, I'm getting chatty lately. But I'm reading a great book on writing craft, and I thought I'd share some of the thoughts it's triggered.

The book is called How to Write Magical Words, by the Magical Words crew. The blog, btw, is a great resource for writers, and if you aren't reading it daily, shame on you. Go rectify that. I'll wait. ([ profile] davidbcoe is today's blogger, and his post on Time Management is awesome.)

Now, I read Magical Words pretty much daily, although I don't comment a lot. I bought the book at StellarCon and have been savoring it - it's a collection of the best essays from the blog, and includes some of the comments from the threads.

The one that got me thinking last night was an essay on character wants. Basically, it's making sure that your characters WANT something, even if (as they say) it's only a glass of water. And it isn't a hard concept, but for some reason, it blew a clear light in my head. That's exactly the problem I have been having with a few stories. What the heck does the character WANT? What haven't I given them? A few clues fell into place, and I think the writing will be a little smoother from here. I just wish I'd thought of that before.

So buy the book. It's worth it!!! And it's even available for the Kindle!!!
So this year, I've been trying to keep track of how much and how often I'm writing. I love Excel spreadsheets, so I have one made up, a sheet for each month, tracking my various projects and when I'm working on them, and also when I'm doing my Morning Pages. I haven't even really added up any totals for the year yet, so I'll be interested to see how I'm doing. I feel like I haven't really done anything, but who knows.

Let's see what the spreadsheets say.

January 2011:
Wrote 5 days
Morning Pages: 2 days
Projects worked on: Tales of the Scorned Lady, Last Rites
Total Words: 3059


February 2011:
Wrote 8 days
Morning Pages: 6 days
Projects worked on: Tales of the Scorned Lady, Last Rites, The Sun Never Sets
Total Words: 12467

Better, but not great.

Total words for the year: 15526

I need to get better. This is why I don't have things to submit, or to even try and Kindle on my own. I'M NOT WRITING ENOUGH.

This needs to change, obviously. And just as obviously, when I write my morning pages, I tend to write other things. Ergo, I need to write more morning pages.

The goal for the next week: get up every morning. Get tea. And then go into the Lair, pull up my morning pages blog, and write my morning pages. Then, open one of the WIPs and write 350 words.

I'll be reporting back here on how I do.
I'm listening currently to Owner's Share by Nathan Lowell. and it's making me think about storytelling. If you haven't listened to and/or read any of Nathan's stuff, I highly recommend it. Although there's a bit of a body count in Ravenwood, his fantasy novel, it's the Ishmael Wong stories that have captivated me since I was introduced to them last year about this time.

I don't usually like stories that don't have what I guess I'd call "Save the World" plots. You know, defeat the big bad or the world as we know it will end. Then again, I like more fantasy/sword and sorcery/urban fantasy type stories. That, or horror. The stuff I write, usually.

The Tales of the Solar Clipper are not really like that. It's a journey, one that starts with Quarter Share and sadly, will end with the end of Owner's Share. It follows Ish from the horror of his mother's death (she dies in the first or second paragraph of Quarter Share, so that's not really a spoiler) right after his 18th birthday all the way through his life - his career as a spacer, his choices, how he deals with life in the Deep Dark. It's a fascinating listen/read, and I highly recommend it to everyone, not just because it's that damn good, but because it's That Damn Good.

Nathan is a storyteller. He spins amazing stories, with real, honest characters. It's not the production, although he's solid in that respect. It's that, when he reads his words, the worlds and lives he's created spin out like a movie, or one of the really good radio dramas of old. He's got everything, and even the minutiae of Ish making coffee or Cookie making dinner is fascinating.

I keep relistening to them, hoping to figure out how he does it. Kind of like going over and over to a magic show, watching the magician in the hopes of learning how he does the amazing illusions. And I think I'm starting to figure it out, just a little.

Nathan KNOWS his characters. I get the feeling, as I listen, that he knows every single little nuance of their beings, even if he doesn't realize it at first. You can hear it in the way he voices them, in the small details that seem like throwaways but really reveal the deeper character. These aren't just words on a page.

They're PEOPLE.

Stories don't work unless the characters, the PEOPLE, in the stories do. And that's what I'm beginning to realize is one of the keys to good writing. Folks care about the people in the stories.

I'm thinking that's why the Advent Story clicked so well. I was getting emails, not about the story, but about Molly and Schrodinger. What were they going to do next? What else could I come up with? I won't lie - the emails continued after the story ended. And that was really cool.

So I've got characters on the brain. I'm hoping you folks will like the next set I trot out (more on that soon, as soon as I can talk and post stuff about it). And I'm thinking about the next novel I want to write, when I finish Rites, which WILL BE THIS MONTH.

More later. Now, I gotta get to bed.
Wow, it feels weird not to be posting Molly stories. :p I can promise that there will be more (I think my mother, in particular, will disown me if I don't write more Molly stories), but not until oh, maybe February. I wonder what Drew will do for Valentine's Day....

Ahem. Sorry.

This post is basically to lay out my Projects list for 2011. I've got 2 writing lists and one writing-related list (because I'm anal that way). I'm still trying to do the 365 days of writing, although I've fallen off the last few days. Maybe I'll restart January 1? Dunno. I might just keep going.

Projects List #1 - Already Sold
Due Date: January 31, 2011
This needs to be done. As soon as goddamn possible.

2. Edit and release Spells and Swashbucklers
Due Date: Feb 14, 2011 for edits to authors, June 1 for final draft to Gwen
These are flexible and based on what Gwen says she needs. Very excited about this!

3. Write Tales of the Scorned Lady for Pirate's Cove
Due Date: one a month all year.
I'm aiming to have these done by the 5th of each month. 3k-7k per episode, magic and pirates and loads of fun.

Obviously, should I sell anything else, this list will change.

Projects List #2 - On Spec
1. Outline and write Sleeping Evil
Personal Deadline: March 1 for outline, July 1 for 1st Draft, September 1 for 2nd Draft

2. Outline and write The Redemption Machine
Personal Deadline: October 1 for outline, possible NaNo novel

3. Outline Molly/Schrodinger book
4. Outline storyline for Dreams series

These are obviously subject to change - if I get a smashing plot for Molly, for example, I'll write that one first. Right now, Gabriel and Tatyana have a plot, sort of, so they get preferential treatment.

Projects List #3 - Writing Related
1. Fix the damn website.
2. Edit the Advent Story and put it up for sale.
3. Finish the Horseman podcast.

These are projects that aren't exactly writing, but will help with the writing, if you follow my thinking.

Wow, busy year ahead. I should get writing.
Short to-do list today:

1. Molly December 15
2. Molly December 16
3. Read Chapter 5 for homework
4. Dishes
5. Class at 9 pm

I think that's it. Seriously. Not feeling well. But will be soldiering on.

Oh, and if you want to hear me and PG Holyfield (of Murder at Avedon Hill fame) talk about balancing the writer's life and the day job with the Galley Table crew from Flying Island Press, you can go here to listen to the podcast.
vg_ford: (writers write)
( Mar. 1st, 2010 04:02 pm)
If you don't read [ profile] ursulav, I recommend you at least read this article by her. Why? Because it is freaking brilliant.
I need to start putting goals down again. Goals this month:

500 words a day of honest WRITING. Not blogging. Not texting. WRITING.

Starting today.

Look for updates.
I'm working my way slowly through Julia Cameron's "The Complete Artist's Way" - it's a very dense book, and I've discovered that even though I read fast (I've read the HP books in an afternoon) I need to slow down and pay attention to this. I'm not doing any of the exercises, not yet, but I'm reading them, and the information is slowly sinking in. It's very Zen, which I'm not, and I'm having some issues wrapping my brain around some of it, especially the parts where she's saying to just let go and let your brain create. I'm a control freak. I have to be in control - I can't just "create." I need plans, I need patterns. And yet, when things really get going, I can sort of feel what she's talking about.

JC Hutchins tweeted something this weekend that really hit home with me. He said, "You can either tweet about writing, or you can write." I've done a lot of talking about writing here in the last year. According to Cameron, that's one of the classic signs of a blocked creative - someone who talks about creating but doesn't do a lot of it. I'm tired of talking about it. It's time to write.

Period. No matter if I have to get up early, squeeze in some time at lunch or in between calls, or after I get home from work. I need to write. I need to create.

Speaking of creating - I've got a special treat for you guys coming up in the next week. [ profile] irysangel's book Gentlemen Prefer Succubi comes out tomorrow - I've got two copies in my hot little hands, and she's agreed to sign one to give away! So I'm going to throw a contest, and she's going to stop by for an interview. Look for the contest announcement here tomorrow, and the interview in about a week.

Yes, I'm a tease. Sue me. :D
The lovely [profile] m_stiefvater posted a blog post that everyone should read, especially if you are planning an artistic career, but especially if you want to be a published author.

If that's the case, then read this:


Thank you to everyone who participated (and if you haven't, I'm leaving them open) - I was looking (rather unscientifically, considering how small a pool I have to go with) to test a theory.

I was in FM Chat yesterday, and the subject of author blogs came up. Specifically, WHY authors blog. The theory put forth was that pro authors blog to sell books, so they should only write things about the books and the subject matter of the books, not things like how to work with editors, how to write, stuff about their life, etc. This got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing) and I realized that while I was a pro author, I don't blog just to sell books. In fact, it's not even the main thrust of my blog.

(Not that I don't WANT to sell books, obviously. The cats still have to eat.)

I blog because I want people to read. I want people to write. I want to know about the people around me. And sometimes, I just want to whine or rant or rage.

So I wanted to see why others blogged. Not to disprove the theory - just for my own curiousity. I'm still looking for the black swan, you know.* I did skew it towards the author side, since that was the theory put forward. And of the 7 published authors that participated, not one put "promoting my books" as the primary reason why they blog.

Which I find interesting.

So now I throw another question out to the masses. No poll this time, just a question.

Why do you read author blogs?

*Looking for the black swan was an image my chem teacher in high school used to draw us in. He was always saying that science was the act of looking for the fabled black swan - even though all around you was white swans, the myth of the black one kept you looking for it, always exploring beyond your line of sight. I've always loved that image, and it describes my life pretty perfectly.
If you answered the prior poll, please answer this one as well?

[Poll #1343812]

Thank you, everyone!
vg_ford: (Default)
( Feb. 4th, 2009 12:56 pm)
[Poll #1343515]

Just to satisfy my own curiosity...

Again, this is a completely nonscientific attempt to understand part of the blogoverse...
Is that I have access to Twitter, so I can get the hints about blog posts like this one by Colleen Lindsay, which all writers should read.

And from everyone on my flist as well as Twitter: [ profile] jaylake on persistance.

Go read. Is good.


vg_ford: (Default)


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