Sunday, July 31, 2011

#Row 80 7/31 Check-In

This is the weakest check-in so far. I have a day with a big fat "0" on the word count. I goofed up somewhere in my scheduling and misplaced a day. I still can't explain what I was thinking or how I bumbled it so badly. I knew we were having company one night this week. I just marked the wrong evening. Anyway, guest came when I was not prepared and I lost a night of writing. I was a bad host and tried to sneak off at one point to get at least the 100 word safety net. It didn't happen. I'd like to say that I made up for it the next day, but I didn't. I haven't even gotten to it yet today. The only reason the file is open is to check my word count. Boo for me. But I have one load of laundry left on my to-do list, then it is just me and my WIP. Looking forward to a better check-in next time around. Hope everyone else did much better!

Oh, and I clicked "confirm". One more proof before publication. And yes, I survived letting it go yet again.

I had forgotten a certain wager between my husband and myself. He needed a push in getting his project Jeep fixed up, and I needed that push to pursue publishing Where to Belong. So we had a race to see who finished first. Would it be the Jeep all shined up and beefy or the book released and officially a book? As of Wednesday night (while I was so viciously debating my book's worth) Colt won. He rolled up in the Cherokee with a fresh coat of silver paint. It looked great. He forgot the bet as well. I thought he was just being nice since he's had to deal with my belly-aching for the past week. I mentioned it yesterday and he beamed. He slowed long enough to remind me that I could have won if I didn't drag my feet on this last confirmation. Then he was back to beaming. Neither of us remembered what exactly we wagered, so we settled on a Tombstone Pizza and some BBC Robin Hood with the phones shut off.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#Row 80 Check-In 7/27 & Major Doubts

On the Row front, I'm below my masochistic goal of 1000 per day. The 100 fall back has saved me. My lowest day resulted in 400. On the dot. My best was 707. I remember struggling for the 400. The only thing that stopped me from continuing after the 707 was the fact that I was slumping over on the keyboard and needed to get up for work in 3 hours. Story is finally coming, though. That is a huge relief. And I have to say that the fellow Rowers' comments are great. Thanks all around.

From here on is less Row80 business and more me semi-ranting. Warning - It will be lengthy.

So, I have an email in my inbox from CreateSpace that is asking my approval once again to go ahead with a new proof. This will be a printed copy. Good news, right? It would be, and I was ├╝ber-excited when I first opened it. The problem is that I was started another read-through of Where to Belong. I don't know how many times I've read it, but I can assure you that it is at least 2 dozen times. I've had it edited twice. Critiqued multiple times. I've rewritten it in ways that I cannot even begin to give an accurate number there. The only thing holding it up, once again, is me. I'm sure I am doing this to myself. And I know that one can tweak their work to death. But I'm looking at the message from my team and I can't confirm. It isn't that I want to tweak it. It's past that point. I now want to do a complete rewrite.

It is one of two problems: One - It does suck as badly as I think it does and I'm pushing for it to be released faster than what is healthy for the book. Or two - I am overly obsessing and need to pry my raving mad fingers off of it.

I know it will never be perfect. It would be naive of me to think otherwise. I'm not expecting perfection, but I am working for it to be close. And at the moment I feel that it is only dross.

This project was started with the goal of self-publishing in mind. I've done everything I can to keep it from falling into the pile of "vanity" work published for the sake of having a book in one's name. I've been careful not to throw some half-baked idea out there with the belief that it will rocket up the best-seller list. I don't expect much. I know that it will reach a very limited audience with taking the self route. I know there will always be critics and people who gripe & hate for the sake of griping & hating. I know some of them will be right. This is my first. I don't plan on it being my last. I desire to learn from any and all mistakes I've made along the way with it and hope that those mistakes don't brand me as a bad writer. I do want to eventually land an agent and contract with a publishing house. I admit that I chickened out with this one. I only submitted it to a pathetically small number of agents. No one replied, but then again, I assumed that much.

This crippling self doubt has been weighing on me for over a week now. Support from two friends has kept me from scrapping the entire project. One, I'll call a colleague, has been down this road before. He offered good advice and provided material that got me moving in a better direction. The other is a personal friend. He has had his share of trouble in his life as of late. He's a great guy with a less-than-ideal choice following him around like his own rain cloud. I hadn't told him of my attempts at writing. When he was hanging out with us this weekend, he asked why I was bumming around. I didn't realize that I was. Colt went on to tell him of my "hobby" and how I'm kicking myself as of late.

He didn't offer to read it or pat me on the back and say, "I'm sure it's great." He let me explain the main issue I am having with in my writing and why I want to pull it. He then went ask why I would even bother writing it in the first place. Well, I like the story and hope someone else does too. How do you find out if anyone else likes it? Put it out there. Publish. What happens if no one likes it? Then no one likes it. Will you stop trying? Well, no, I hope not. Cry like a baby, yes. But stop, nah. What do you have to lose? Oh, just any hope of a future in publishing. And if you don't try by first publishing? Yeah, point taken. And if I read it and think it sucks, will you kick me out and not let me crash on your couch?

The email is still waiting for my reply. I am very much torn. While I am wrestling with this indecision I will keep working on Oneiros. I'm pouring everything into it. This one is what I am aiming to charm an agent with. Maybe all this turmoil will help me give it more life and feeling as I try to continue growing as a writer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 7/24

The past few days were not nearly what I hoped them to be writing-wise. My set goal of 1ooo words per day did not happen. But I should mention that I have a silent goal of opening the WIP and typing in at least 100 words per day. I know that isn't very much and I won't get far at all with a goal like that, and that is why it was my silent goal. Plan B, if you would. I did accomplish that much. Last night was the only night that was close to the 1000 goal even though I fell short.

The entire WIP is only at 10,009 words. I shouldn't have looked that up because it is disappointing. For as much time as I've spent staring at the screen you would think that I would have at least twice that. One day it will click.

I do have to say the support from fellow ROWers has been wonderful. Hoping to visit a few here in a sec and see how everyone is doing.

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#Row80 7/20 Check-In

Not a bad check-in. But it isn't great either. One day was successful by means of my WC goal. The others not so much. I did manage to get a little done each day though. One night I went to bed without even looking at my WIP, then got up and put 100-something in. Not sleeping again. I should just stay up with it and put the insomnia to work. I think I'm trying to come down with something. Called in this morning, then went in after lunch. Should have stayed home. Crummy day. They needed help at the office, but I'm not sure I actually helped. I think I was more in the way than anything.

I did, however, get my first digital proof back on Where to Belong. I've only glanced over it so far. When I post this, I'll get back to it and read it through. If it is a go, I should get a physical copy in 7-10 business days. That was my one bit of good news for the day.

And I've had a few "Eureka" moments as of late concerning my WIP. I had the whole thing plotted in an outline. But now I have some new things I want to work into it. Just when you think you've got a story all figured out, the muse goes and changes things up on you. Maybe it's the not-sleeping that's to blame.

There you have it. One great day of word count achievement and a handful of not so great days. Still kicking.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Respectfully Deny"

I've been checking my email just about every hour since Friday. My team at Createspace has been working on my first digital proof for Where to Belong. They said it would be seven to ten business days before they would have it ready. They also said they have been able to prepare proofs in three days, and that they were already working on mine. Yes, I know I shouldn't be looking for it as of yet, but I can't help it. I'm getting super excited about this. I did the whole, "This is a mistake. No one is going to read this. No one should read it! It's terrible!" for a few days in a row last week. That might have been why I've been failing on my word count goal for Row80 ... Anyway, after talking with my team, I'm excited again. They said they remembered it from the first submission and cover art. Now I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Hoping for good.

Another reason I've been hovering over the email is because of a little something I was working on for by count down to releasing Where to Belong. I've been planning blog posts with little bits and pieces of different things I researched and found interesting or entertaining while preparing for writing the novel. Mostly about Chicago, train stations, the Great Loop, North Caicos, and a certain SUV that one of the characters drives. One thing I find irritating about reading fiction set in the real world is when the facts could have been better presented. So I did my best to cover my scenes and props from every angle. There were times when I spent nearly an entire day on one subject so I wouldn't misrepresent. While it was exhausting and borderline maddening, I did manage to dig up some fascinating and memorable pointers.

One of those long and unproductive searches was on the SUV I mentioned earlier. It is an SUV I knew of, but never really looked seriously at. It is one I know I most likely will never possess. Not because I don't want one. But because there is no way I could ever afford one. I remember the first time I saw one. I remember the first time I got to goof off in one, thanks to some random guy in Dallas who was oh so happy to let a bunch of high-schoolers crawl all over the beast of a truck. Rock on random guy. The SUV is a Mercedes Benz G-Class, aka G-Wagon.

I found plenty of info about it on-line and speaking with dealerships. Of course, there was not one available for a test drive while I was researching it. I don't blame them. I started each conversation with, "I can't buy this truck, but I am writing about it, kind of..." So no, I still haven't gotten behind the wheel of one. It wasn't just the features and options on the truck I was interested in, but its capabilities and performance when under certain conditions (gonna have to read the book to find out). In this area, the dealers were unable to answer my questions. Forums offered little to nothing. I needed to speak with an actual owner. Couldn't corner anyone. Trust me, I tried. I ended up getting the details I needed from an auto body tech who had recently worked on one. Go figure. I tweaked my writing to go along with his answers and hope I'm not too far off.

One thing I did come across while searching for information was a commercial for the G-Wagon. It was of a mock crash test where the truck drives through the collision wall and on through offices and work areas before plowing through the outer wall of the facility. It was not at all what I was looking for, but I thought it was funny. I wanted to post it on here for everyone to see and maybe entertain. So I checked with Mercedes. After several emails back and forth, I received the verdict. They said no. But they were nice about it. "Respectfully deny permission." They even thanked me for giving them the opportunity to respond. It wasn't the answer I was hoping for, but I tried. Sorry, no video. I'm still a little bummed over it, but oh well. I still love the G-Wagon.

The majority of the other topics I want to post are not so copyrighted. So in the coming weeks while Where to Belong is inching through the final stages I will do my best to keep the info enjoyable. I had fun learning the different sides of these places and subjects and I think it adds some color to the story. Little extras, that's all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

#Row80 7/17 Check-In

This is a good check-in. I actually hit my word count for one day. Yes, I missed it miserably all the other days, but that one day was a good boost. I wrapped up the scene not long after reaching the 1000 word goal and went to bed happy.

I've been reading others' post on how they've been exceeding 1k words by a long shot. It's good to know there are so many trucking right along. Then there are others who are struggling the same as I am. We'll all eventually get there. It's the fun and writing that counts.

The challenge isn't just about how many words we can pile into a document, it's the fact that we are actively forming these stories and getting them out of our heads. Now whether or not these will be coherent stories is another matter entirely. I can tell you here and now that this one will keep me plenty busy in the editing and rewriting department when it's "done".

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#Row80 7-13 Check-In (Yep, I'm late)

Again, this check in will be nothing I am proud of. I was doing good to get a few hundred words each day since the last check in. Hoping this weekend (starting now) will have better results writing-wise. I've been plotting galore, so that should help. I'm already itching to get to work, thus I will cut it short here, crank up the iTunes, and see you next time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

#Row 80 check in (2nd)

I've made a little more progress since the last check in. Still not at all what I know I can do, but at least it isn't as bad as the first. I've only achieved roughly one-thousand words over the past few days. I would like to make close to 1k each day, but that might be pushing it as of late. I lost an entire day formatting Where to Belong only to learn that the program I was using was not saving the changes. That was not fun. Took longer than necessary to fix the problem. But it was corrected and the project was uploaded for the next phase, so that is an accomplishment in my opinion. Now I can concentrate more so on Oneiros. It gets easier from here, right?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Found It

A few posts back I mentioned that I couldn't hear my voice in Where to Belong. It was pointed out to me. They didn't know it, but my writer friend drew a great big arrow to it. In a way. He made some notes in my manuscript about rephrasing things and swapping a few words out here and there. That's cool. That's what I was asking for. But some of those he highlighted and some of the suggestions he made just wasn't anything I would do. Because that isn't how I would have said it, or how the MC was thinking. I guess that's my voice. Kind of weird to find it like that, but it sure helped me a bunch. It's like a friend once told me: You never can truly see yourself. You may see reflections, or photographs, or images, but you can not actually see your whole self. I thought he was a loon when he said it, and I just went with it to avoid any more of the conversation, but now I think I understand what he was getting at. Any way, crisis averted. And if I don't change my mind or chicken out, I'm going to call my team tomorrow and upload this book and get it moving. Next step: review proof.

In other news, I found my new BSG, Firefly, Enterprise, Kyle XY. I've been out of a series to watch for far too long. We don't have cable and we haven't had cable for over a year now, so I've been relying on Netflix and friends to offer a TV series. Tried to get into several. Nothing clicked. Then someone on Twitter mentioned Roswell. I'd never heard of it. It started in '99. That was a super busy year for me. I don't remember anything TV-wise from that year. So I looked it up. Alien stuff. I don't usually like that stuff (though 3 out of the 4 I listed were all about alien/outer space type stuff). I fell in love with Roswell in the first 5 minutes of the pilot. I sat and watched the first three episodes in a row. And over the past week or so, I've managed to finish the first season. Colt sat in on a few of the episodes. He wasn't big on it. That's ok, BSG was the last one we agreed on and he didn't even finish it. So when he started asking more questions about Roswell, I got him up to speed and he watched the final 2 of season one with me.

I went to bed early that night, dead tired from all the mayhem life had to offer that week. He woke me up about 2am when he came to bed. I never wake up well when I'm that tired, so I missed most of what he was talking about. Then he started asking about Roswell again, asking if I wanted to start the next season in the morning, who I liked the best, who I thought was trouble, where I thought the show was going. I answered as best I could with the hopes of him letting me finally get back to sleep. He took the answers and said goodnight. When I settled back in and was beginning to doze, he leaned over and whispered that one of my mentioned characters dies in the next season. How wrong is that? He apparently watched it when it originally aired. He laughed at my shocked reaction, rolled over, and went to sleep without answering all the questions I had about it. That is just plain mean! I'm still watching it. My guy hasn't died yet. But I think it's coming soon, and I think I know who does it. Not fair. Still loving the series though.

Dillon arrived safely in Tahoe yesterday. He sent a pic of the house with all the Jeeps parked in front of it. Definitely a bachelor pad. They were heading out to stock the fridge. It was a long drive and he had more than his share of excitement throughout. So I did the big sisterly thing this morning and remembered the two hour time difference and sent him a "good morning" text at 8am our time. Had to laugh when he didn't return it until 11.

My coworker was off this week, so I was on my own managing the front and back of the office. It really isn't that bad with it being such a small business. All the clients know I am usually in the back and were patient with my lack of talent when it came to the computer and front desk stuff. Except for one lady, who did her best to take advantage of my ignorance. I was warned about her, so I was prepared, and not fooled. Win. But today, the last few appointments, which were confirmed, did not happen. Blah. I made a few calls and couldn't fill the gaps in the schedule. Doc came up and asked for a progress report, so I told him of the holes. He just shrugged and walked away, telling me to shut everything down, lock up, and go home. Yay! He beat me out the door though, and that was the funniest part. We were both so ready to call it a day.

I work tomorrow. The shuttle launch is tomorrow. It is the last launch, which is sad. There is no way you could ever get me in one of those things, but I still find the entire program to be absolutely amazing. I will be watching and hoping the weather cooperates. Please no scrub. Go Atlantis!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#Row80 Check-In

Not much to report. Well, nothing to report. I need to redo my goal. I was supposed to make a daily goal to go along with my 80 day goal. Ugh. Already blew both either way. I've accomplished absolutely nothing, and not just in my writing. I've had a rather unproductive start to the month in every form. If I made plans for it, it didn't happen. If it could go wrong, it did. So, let's make a new daily goal to not have this miserable of a report for the rest of the campaign (No, it's still not measurable. I'll get there). To go along with that, I'll be signing off here and getting right on my project. Sorry to flop on the first check-in. Hope everyone else has a better report!

Until next time!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Something New

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I don't like change. It isn't something I'm proud of. It is more of an annoyance than anything. While that is true, I am aware of it. I won't deny it. Still, I do try something new every now and again. After going over everything I have planned and scheduled for the next few months (and the rest of the well packed year), I signed up for Row80. I haven't officially decided on my goal. I know I can do 50,000 words in less than a month. I've done it before. But my home life was altered in the process. I have already put in for a week off in November to join NaNoWriMo once again. That combined with the usual week we get during that month will give me plenty of time to reach the standard goal.

But this month is not good for such a stunt. I've already gotten off to a bad start. This was the first day of a four day weekend, and I squandered it. Yes, the cats succeeded in forcing me to get up early (Oliver head-butted my nose when I wasn't up an hour after my usual time). After feeding them, I went back to bed. Was planning on having lunch with Colt and Dillon at Wingstop, but Colt had a business meeting come up and Dillon had errands to run. That's ok, rescheduled to dinner. So it was just me and a frozen pizza. I apparently didn't cook the pizza thoroughly. About half way into it, I bit a solid chunk of frozen dough and sauce. After scraping my tongue with the fork to keep from gagging, I didn't have much of an appetite. Tried again later for a much better result. Had several visitors during the day. Then Colt came home early. I got excited that we might go out and do something, but he had plans, and promptly left after changing into jeans. So it was just me and a frozen dinner. And Ever After. Which I cried through, again. Love that movie.

I've found myself avoiding my writing all day. I want to do it. I know I need to finish my own edits and formatting of Where to Belong. It's just getting on my nerves today. Can't really explain it. I've rewritten and read this story countless times. It has been marked as ready-to-go by Grady. Still, I can't do it. While working on it late last night (which might be the problem), I struggled to find MY voice in it. There is a lot happening in the story. I can't help but question why I wrote it this way. Maybe I'm doubting myself too much again. It happens. There are parts in it where I get caught up reading and following the characters that I forget to edit the words and structure. Isn't that a good thing? I try not to compare myself to other writers, but I've been reading others' work lately and I can readily pick out their voice in each book. They are all unique. Their stories are rooted with their voice. This captures my attention and makes me want to read the entire book in one sitting. I've had betas say that about mine, but I'm not feeling it right now. It might be that I'm putting too much pressure on the book, on myself, on the whole plan. I started this because it was fun and I enjoyed it. I don't want it to be a hassle or drudgery. Perhaps it was only a bad day.

Even still, the long weekend is already filled with less than joyous happenings. That means I'll be wallowing again. That's getting to be a bad habit. So, maybe I'll hide in my stories and make some progress with one of them.

Anyway, goal for Row80. Let's aim for the number I'm familiar with, no need to change there. But I'll lengthen the time frame. I'll shoot for 50,000 words in the 80 days. The project I'll be working on during the challenge is one I've been calling Oneiros. That won't be its final title, and maybe I'll pick one up along the way. It's kind of a cross between The Labyrinth and The Wizard of Oz. Most definitely the fantasy genre. That is my comfort zone as of late - building my own world and going by its rules.

I'll try to make the next post more cheerful. :)