Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNo post

Ok, I've decided to write/explore The Monster of Dewsberry Drink as my NaNoWriMo project. I'm not sure I'll win NaNo this year. I just don't have enough writing time in my schedule to be able to do almost 2,000 words a day. But I'm going to try!

(And yes, Scrivener is every bit as cool as I thought it was, even in the Windows Beta version that doesn't do everything yet.)

My husband has offered to buy me a copy of Scrivener for my birthday, so trying to win doesn't have that extra pressure on me :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Scrivener for Windows (and free trial for NaNoWriMo!)

OMG! I've heard about Scrivener for ages, and always had Mac envy for that alone, since Scrivener was Mac only. I've tried other software for novel writing, some free and some not, but deep in my heart I believed that nothing was as good as Scrivener. For a while, I contemplated getting a Mac, just so I could get Scrivener, but decided $2,000 was a little much for just one piece of software.

Now, courtesy of Lifehhacker, I discovered that Scrivener has a Windows version and they're offering a free trial in honor of NaNoWriMo! (I made that link extra long, so you wouldn't miss it.) Plus you get a 50% discount off the price if you're a NaNoWriMo winner! How cool is that? Now I'm going to have to sign up for NaNoWriMo and see if I can win again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Revision Class

Sorry in advance, but this post is going to be full of links. It's link soup goodness!

Several years ago, I joined an online writer's group called Forward Motion. (It's free.) It was founded by Holly Lisle (this is a link to her Amazon book list, not her website...yet). The idea is that published authors "pay back" by helping out budding authors. Holly left Forward Motion just about the time I joined, to devote more time and energy to her writing, so I don't know her, even in the internet sense of the word when you "internet know" someone.

(As a side note, I took the 2 Year Novel Class at Forward Motion, more later if anyone is interested, and used that to write my first draft of Troll Wife. I loved that class.)

Holly also has a website. And she has lots of good articles on her website. I have a link to her "one pass revision" article up in my side bar. I joined her email list a few months ago, and yesterday I read that she's offering a 21 week How To Revise Your Novel class. This class is not free. It costs $49.95 a month. It's a subscription, so you can quit any time along the way.

I'm seriously thinking about taking it. Yes, it would mean that my hoped for end date for revisions would get pushed back, but if it makes my book stronger, it would be worth it. My big issues/fears are:
1. I've never had a class from Holly, so I don't know what it will be like. On the other hand, I do like her One Pass Revision Article, so chances are pretty good that I would like the class.
2. Am I just putting off the date for starting my agent search?
3. The cost. Ouch! I don't think I can afford it, though I always manage to find room in my budget if I want something enough.

I'm afraid the second one is the biggest one, because how can I tell? If I'm making a strong story, that's good. If I'm just avoiding the next phase (querying) that's very bad.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the info, in case anyone needs help with revisions and wants to take a look at the class outline.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Opening Line

This is how it works for me. I get the opening and the story grows from it. So here's the new opening I got yesterday.

"I finally picked the guy I wanted to kill me. Finding a way to end my life was harder than you might imagine. I couldn't kill myself, because I didn't want friends or family to be the ones to find my body. I didn't want to hire someone, because what if the police thought my husband did the hiring? That would suck. I didn't just want to walk in front of an oncoming car and give some decent person nightmares for the rest of their life.

Nope, I needed to pick a jerk. A real scumbag, who wouldn't feel bad after mowing me down, and I wouldn't feel bad if he went to jail after killing me."

Ugh! Not another first person book! But I'm not sure the inner turmoil of the woman could be carried by third person. This one would probably go one of two ways. Either she finds a reason to live after all, or she discovers that the more you learn about a person, the more sympathy you have for them. So her "total scumbag" isn't as totally a scumbag as she first thought.

Eh, doesn't make me jump up and down. Let's see if it haunts me over the next few years.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Parent/Teacher Conference Day

Today is Parent/Teacher Conference Day. Today is the day when I go to each of my son's teachers and find out:
  1. How is he doing in class, since his dad's death?
  2. How are his grades?
  3. What is the teacher doing to help my son with his learning disability?
Naturally, question number one is new. (Note to self, bring tissues.) Question number two is pretty predictable. This early in the year, his grades are always good. Question number three is the one that drives me crazy. Because I can guarantee that each teacher will look at me and say, "What learning disability?". This while Michael is running in circles around us, dancing (complete with jazz hands), or checking to see if he can actually jump high enough to bite himself on the forehead. (He knows he can't, he just likes to try.)

I have had this conversation with teachers every year since Michael was diagnosed. The irony to me is that his teachers did *more* to help him before he was diagnosed. The teachers since then either don't know that he has a learning disability (despite the fact that I tell them, in person, at Meet the Teacher Night; that it's in his file; and that I send them a note on the first day of school). Or because he's very smart and at this point of the year he's getting A's, they just don't believe he has a learning disability.

What makes me scream (and if it happens this year, I may literally scream) is when the teacher's comments note that Michael "doesn't concentrate on his work" or "is disorganized". That's like a P.E. teacher noting that a kid in a wheelchair doesn't run enough in class.

And all of the above is why I am writing the non fiction ADD/ADHD parenting book "Michael is a Verb". Because I know there are other parents out there in my same situation. I know, because I can hear them screaming.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Play lists

I've always wanted to be a writer that had a playlist to go with my books. I want it more than ever, after reading BuildingMyLife's playlist posts for her WiP "Lighthouse". 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The fact is that while a song might inspire a story, or while I might think a song has a similar theme to one of my stories, I don't have play lists. I can't write and listen to music at the same time. I've tried, but I'm just one of those people that tunes out the sounds around me when I write.

However, I've been thinking of trying to find ways to create playlists for my stories anyway. A kind of "If I could listen to playlists, these songs would have been on it for this book". Or if I ever make a book trailer, I could use those songs as the music for trailer. (Oops, then there's the whole thing about getting rights to use those songs.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dulcinea - new book for the to do list?

This idea has been hanging around for a while. so I've finally decided to grant it status on my "to be done" list. It's called Dulcinea (may change this name).

It's a retelling of the story of Dulcinea after Don Quixote has been taken away and "made sane" again. While she thought she would be relieved once the crazy man who has made a havoc of her life has been taken away, she misses seeing the world through his eyes. She convinces Sancho Panza (who also finds life duller without the Don) into coming with her and rescuing the Don from the people that are "healing" him.

They arrive too late. Don Quixote is no more, and it is only Alonso Quixano that they find. They spend the rest of the book trying to get Alonso to turn back into Don Quixote.

Since it's a retelling, it won't be set in the same time and place, which means the names will have to be changed. I also kind of like the idea of setting it in the future. That's the bones, anyway. I'm not sure where I'll be going with it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Droid post

No I'm not posting from my Droid (though I probably could), I'm posting about my Droid. This is actually a piece of advice to anyone that owns a Droid or is thinking about getting one.

In my opinion, the very first thing you should do when you get a Droid (after re-learning how to answer the phone and turn the device on and off) is sign up at AppBrain. It's free. (Oh, and I don't get anything for "advertising" it.)

AppBrain is the Droid App Marketplace, only with a user friendly interface. Also, there are some great Droid power users on AppBrain, and you can follow them. Yeah, kind of like Twitter, except there are no tweets. You can just see what apps they're using. I'd recommend following Gina Trapani. I've found a lot of good apps by following her. (She was a founding editor of Lifehacker, so no surprise that she's one of the most followed people on AppBrain.)

Back to AppBrain. You can install apps to your phone directly from the website. You can let people see what apps you have (or keep them private). You can find out what apps are the most popular by country, gender, or age.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Continuity Error!

Ack! If the instructor gets injured in chapter eight, he's not going to be able to teach Troll Wife the next night, no matter how quickly he's healed.

This means that the substitute (evil) instructor will have to take her out the next night. This means chapter nine needs to be totally re-written!

You know what, I'm ok with that. In fact, I'm eager to write it!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Progress Report

I finally got past chapter eight this week. It's not beautiful, but it's there. This round of revisions is all about getting the scenes in the right order. I'm afraid I'm going to have some left over scenes when I get to "the end". Then I will have to decide if I am going to try to shoe-horn them in, or just cut them completely.

Chapter eight is one of my favorites. That and chapter twelve. I've been trying to figure out why I like those best. I'm afraid that it may be because those are the chapters where the worst things happen to Troll Wife. Which makes me afraid that there isn't enough of that in the other chapters of the book. I'm trying very hard not to worry about that right now. Because if it's true, I'm afraid the book will get trunked.

I'm working on chapter nine this morning. I'm frustrated that I'm not already done with this. Why is this revision taking so much longer than the writing? Why is it so much less fun?