Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cool distraction of the day!

I word-clouded my manuscript with Wordle and "like" wins, "one" is in second place, followed by most of the characters' names.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

rereading your work via a new medium

I know that agents and editors have been reading manuscripts (or fulls, as they're now called, apparently) on some sort of e-reader for years, but writers? Not so much. That's all changing, of course, thanks to the ubiquitous nature of tablets, Nooks and Kindles. So, not wanting to be left in the electronic dust, I bellied up to my own Amazon email and sent myself my manuscript, pdf'd and formatted to single space.

This was a leap of faith for me, I must confess. My wafer-thin Kindle, whilst much easier to tote on the plane to Arizona yesterday, seems to resemble a "book" as much as does a stone tablet, or a message-in-a-bottle, even. But when I slipped it out of a slim pocket of my satchel and slid the power button to on, and saw my pages illuminated in front of me, I have to admit, I felt somewhat delighted.

But here's the real take-away. Reading my book in its e-form, brought a whole new layer of intake. Like a former mentor had suggested in his counsel to read a manuscript in a new environment to take advantage of the sensual stimulation that ensues and sharpens the editorial muscle, viewing THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES through the interface of an e-reader filtered my "seeing" of it through a slightly alternate neural pathway.

My notes revealed new edits, and my overall impression of the book took on a larger context somehow--one separated a tad more from that of the creator.

And another cool function--because the Kindle offers a percentage read, I can more easily diagnose structure and plot points. Pretty cool, actually.

Monday, February 07, 2011

plotting like you mean it

So tonight at workshop, after everyone was settled in with their whiskey and Xanax and whatnot, I passed out my pages. It was a troublesome plot-filled chapter of Empress, one that never quite did its job and I was open, really open, to having it eviscerated and fixed. A tummy tuck, maybe. A little light brain surgery.

My group came through, as they always do, with aces. Money stuff. A slew of concrete solutions. And then it was Chuck's turn, and he asked, "Why do we put dogs in a story?" (I had two in this particular chapter.)

I stumbled through some lame possibilities:

Because they're cute?
Comic relief?
Emotional fodder?

Wrong. Wrong and wrong.

"So we can kill them," he said.

Ah, (palm-to-forehead smack), of course! And in my particular case, by poisoning the spaniels, I'd be killing two dogs with one stone: raising the stakes by foreshadowing a bigger death, and ending the scene on action rather than conjecture. Always a better choice.

Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and poison the pooches!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

homage to men. Yup, men.

Men. can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Actually, I can more than live with men. Good men make it possible for me to do what I do best and know that the leaves will be raked, the oven fixed, the bathroom wallpaper scraped off and my car kept in good running order. Oh, and it was men who bailed me out of my pc virus debacle last week, and more men who introduced me to the wonders of Mac as backup. There's even a man doing my laundry right this very minute!

I love men! Here I am, scything through my social media obligations, my research, my e-missives and my work orders--none of which would be possible without the good old y chromosome.

Just thought I needed to get that off my br...um...chest.