Category Archives: deadlines

Revision Update and Agent Fears

Here I am, hip deep in my out loud revision pass and getting on to some much cleaner chapters. There are a number of pitch contests and (self-imposed) deadlines coming up this month that I hope to have CROW’S BLOOD ready for. I’m still on schedule for my goal of querying agents by the end of the month.

I’m going to update the progress bar on the right to reflect how far through this pass I am. It’ll be a rough estimate, but it’ll do.

Querying is something that absolutely terrifies me. I find the whole idea somewhat paralyzing.

The problem stems from Twitter. You see, I started tracking Agents down via Twitter (which is an awesome resource for writers to get to know other people in the industry) and following them.

In the course of following them I’ve connected with quite a few. Some to the point where I greatly value their connection beyond an Aspiring Writer<=>Agent connection. Those connections have gone on to the point where I’d like to hang out with these people even if they weren’t a potential resource for my writing career.

Our personalities seem to mesh, and damn it, I like their style! It also helps that they’re all great at their jobs and know what they’re doing enough to freely give help to the community. It’s because I like these people and value them so much, they’re exactly the agents I want to query. They’re people I think I can work with.

That’s where the problem comes in.  I’m afraid to query them! What if they don’t like what I send them? What if they find out I’m a hack who takes 5 revisions before his story even resembles a cohesive mess? What if they don’t like me any more? How will I face them on Twitter or at Cons if I reveal so much of myself to them through my writing? What if I, in all my awesome horribleness, am the “writer” that makes them close their “please submit your next work” door, or even quit Agenting (I know it’s not a word!) altogether?

I picture cabals of agents I adore getting together for a good maniacal laugh over a brandy in a NYC bar while scribbling all over my book in red marker.

ARGH!!!

Breathe damn it.

I’ve considered only submitting to contests, which, while entertaining, and a great way to meet other writers and agents, still doesn’t necessarily get me working with the agents on my top 10 list (yes, I have one).  I’ve actually considered querying agents I don’t know… Just so I won’t potentially damage the pseudo-relationships I have with the agents I like… How broken is that?

The other pitfall of this neuroses I’m developing is endless revision. When will I ever consider something “good enough” to send to the agents I like? How do I let go? What if I let go too soon?

To you other writers that read my ramblings, have you gone through the same things? I sometimes wish I’d started writing before the internet made connecting with people so far away so easy.

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Filed under Agent, BookB, Critique, deadlines, Ego, Id, Query, Twitter

Draft Progress and… Destilting?

I’m going to keep this blog entry short, as I’m completely bagged and need to get to bed.

I mentioned in my last blog entry that I was moving to a single Main Viewpoint Character, and that I was going to have to drop a few sub-plots.

There was one particular subplot that I really wanted to keep, as it punches up the story and really adds a level of individual conflict for a particular important character.  I think I’ve found a way to bring that back in and hopefully make it fantastic.  We’ll see.

I know one area I’m going to have to do extensive work on after this draft is polishing my dialog.  The chapter I’m working on currently is pretty dialog heavy and I’m trying to keep it tight, but I know some of it is going to look like a train wreck in a day or two.  I don’t think it’s horrible, but it could certainly use sprucing up and “destilting” (despite spellcheck that is a real word, Google it).  I intend to finish this pass on the draft and use the age-old method of reading it aloud to see where it goes off the rails.

I’m nearly back up to 40K words after reworking my outline and slashing and burning a few chapters worth of material.  I still have a LOT of editing to do to the chapters that are there to clean up the story and get it all on the new track.  It’ll be worth every silent little scream.

I’m setting a deadline for this draft to be done in late December or (paying job workload dependant) early January.  Then I’ll do some cleanup and get it out to my Alpha Readers as a more complete book.

That’s all for tonight.

– Grimm

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Filed under Alpha Readers, BookB, deadlines, dialog, Editor, Grammar/Spelling, Learning, Outline Writing, Real Life™, Revision, Viewpoint, Word Count

A good night.

Well, after such a good start last week, the whole thing kind of went to hell in a handbasket.  A pretty important presentation and project at work took most of the week’s writing time away from me.  Then there were family functions on the weekend.

Tonight though, I did my 5k run, showered, got my protein bars ready for work and some laundry on, then sat down to write.

I did a second pass on 2 scenes from last week and tidied them up, then hammered out the first pass on a scene that was really badly broken by the end of the last revision.  This rewrite (so far, not 100% done) should work a lot better with the changes to the whole story.

Here’s hoping this coming week allows for more writing time, though the project that took up most of last week is entering a pretty busy period.

I WILL find the time to write.

– Grimm

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Filed under BookB, deadlines, family, Real Life™, Revision

That’s a LOT of words.


50,000, 50K, fifty-thousand.  No matter how you write it, it’s a big number, well, as long as you’re not talking sports salaries anyway.  I crossed the finish line of NaNoWriMo this evening at 10:43PM EST.

This being my first ever NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. When I started out, I didn’t even know if I’d finish, and crossing that line tonight, I didn’t know what I’d feel when it happened.  You know what I feel?  Elated, satisfied, exhausted, surprised, and most of all, confident that I can do this if I really stick with it.  You see, even though 50,000 words is a lot of words, and it really is, it’s ~200 pages in a standard print paperback, I still have a LOT of work ahead of me.

I’m about half-way through my outline, which has had some major revisions as I went along, and I don’t want to cop out on the ending either, so I can’t just make one up and tack it on.  I built this story backwards from the ending so all the pieces would fit, and I can’t, in good conscience cheat myself of that effort.  Not at this stage where I’m still working on the process of how I’m going to do things.

Once I have the story completed, I have to start making it readable by other people.  There’s a few pieces here and there that turned out ok in what’s done of the first draft, but a lot of it needs some heavy revision, and back-filling of details and descriptions.  Something tells me “They Fight” isn’t going to get anyone’s heart racing.  Oh, and some of my dialog is dreadful!

So I mentioned that this was my first year doing NaNoWriMo, well, it certainly won’t be the last if I have anything to say about it.  I’ve learned SO MUCH from this endeavor that I can’t imagine not doing it again next year to learn some more.

Working with the deadline of 50,000 words in 30 days means you have to get ~1,667 words written per day.  That means you have to either find a few really great days for writing, or do what I did and set aside an hour or two each evening to work on it.  That process, that dedication of time and forming the habit of pushing forward was the biggest step forward for me.

My biggest problem before this event was the endless revisions I would do on the first 2-3 chapters of the book, all the while expanding and expanding on the world building and outlining.  While self revision is a great thing, nothing I ever write would be anything but eye-bleedingly bad without it, if I had kept allowing myself to do it, I would never have come close to 50,000 words.  It was the first hurdle I had to cross, and it took me nearly a week to get past it and get my butt in gear on the rest of the story.

I’ll try to do more blog posts as I go about this process, to let you know what I’m learning along the way.  As for this blog post being a bit of a train wreck.  Tonight I’m ok with that, I can always come back and revise it later 😉

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Filed under 50K, BookB, deadlines, NaNoWriMo, Outline Writing, Word Count, World Building

Real Life™ tends to get in the way.

The real downside to being an Aspiring Writer, as opposed to one who is published and actually gets paid to write, is that you have to do something else to pay the bills. Many Aspiring Writers have the wherewithal to work a job that requires only small doses of set hours during which their minds don’t have to be fully engaged.

I, on the other hand, work in building Proofs of Concept. Which basically means I build things to demonstrate cool products and interactions between existing products which were never really intended or thought of. That sometimes takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, especially on the mental side of things, it’s been that way lately, with a project ramping up to full speed and hurtling towards an ever-present series of deadlines. That’s not very conducive to sitting my posterior in a chair and spending time writing.
Outside of work, I have a family. I like them more than I like work, they’re why I work to pay the bills. They take time too. My eldest daughter plays Goal for an all girls rep hockey team, and is on the cusp of being a moody teenager.
My youngest daughter is in the formative years of toddler-hood, learning new words and ways of expressing ideas to other people every day, and she has the cutest temper tantrums if she doesn’t get her beloved crackers.
My niece is at the wonderful age where she’s starting high-school, dating, frequently changing hair colour, and has weird eating habits, I mean seriously, who in their right mind doesn’t eat bacon! (I’m not exempting religious reasons).
And then I need to spare some time for the wonderful woman who puts up with me on a day to day basis.
Again, all this doesn’t leave ample time for writing. Still, I managed to sneak in some time this evening. I only got about 1500 words down of actual story, and another 800 or so of outline details and slight changes, but it’s something, and it felt good doing it too. I’d love to have a first incredibly rough draft done by November, Real Life™ may not make that possible.
I’m writing this on the edge of falling asleep in my desk chair, it was only the sheer volume of screwed up rewrites of a single sentence which clued me in that it was time to stop and go to bed.
I figured I’d write this first. Hopefully it’ll make sense.
-Grimm

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Filed under BookB, deadlines, family, Real Life™