Friday Fess-Up: June 22nd

Happy Friday Everyone!! We Made it!!

Before I get into the meat of today’s Fess-Up post, I’d like to mention that the “Two Questions With…” blog tour will soon be heading into its third, and final week on Monday.

In case you haven’t heard,”Two Questions With…” is a blog tour where I and some amazing author friends of mine will each be answering two questions on each other’s blogs. Come join the discussion to find out what makes this small group of writers tick. It’ll be a great time.

Who are the other authors, you ask?

They are:

Janet Walden-West

Pat Esden

Anne Raven

What questions will we be answering? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and find out.

Here’s the schedule:

June 11th – Janet Walden-West and I, and Pat Esten and Anne Raven.

June 18th – Pat Esden and I, and Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven.

June 25th – Anne Raven and I, and Pat Esden and Janet Walden-West.

On with the post:

Ok, so it looks like Five Thing Thursday is going to become a regular thing. I’ve enjoyed doing it and it keeps me on my toes during the week, looking out for awesome stuff that I might otherwise have breezed past. Win-Win for everyone. You can check out the latest Five Thing Thursday here.

I think that I might finally be on top of the whole Allergies thing. I still haven’t slept a solid eight hours since Balticon but I’m also not dripping like a leaky hose*.

Be that as it may, I still must confess to only writing two days this week out of the usual five. Getting enough rest is still paramount, but it still stings to be out of action as much as I have been.

I have discovered something new, lately: Writing by hand appears to be becoming a thing. I’ll get up in the morning, get the coffee flowing, and start by writing out two pages (ish) long hand. Apparently, I can type faster than I can think – well, now that I think about it – That’s probably not what’s going on. What I do know is that the slower flow of the words through the pen somehow allow me to get the words lined up one after the other easier.

We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of going, I’m closing steadily on 50 k words on the current project (Working Title: Jade Moon Waning). I wasn’t sure if I’d get this far – for a number of reasons, most of them rooted in self doubt. Now I’m in a space where I was recently talking about finishing off the next 50 k words as a matter of course.

And that, friends is a good place to be in.

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Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular post.

Also be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

Don’t forget: The third, and Final week of the Two Questions With… Blog tour kicks off Monday! Stop by the Events page for the full schedule and to get caught up with the previous questions.

 

*Now it’s more like wet concrete in my chest. I really dislike allergies

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Five Thing Thursday: June 21st

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are five things I want you to know:

Thing #1: 

The “Two Questions With…” Blog tour will be going into its Third and Final week on Monday, June 25th

Join me, Janet Walden-West, Pat Esden,  and Anne Raven as we each answer two questions on our respective blogs!

What questions will we be answering? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and find out.

Here’s the schedule:

June 11th – Janet Walden-West and I, and Pat Esten and Anne Raven.

June 18th – Pat Esden and I, and Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven.

June 25th – Anne Raven and I, and Pat Esden and Janet Walden-West.

Come join the conversation with me and some of my amazing writer friends!!

Thing #2:

In an attempt to broaden my horizons a little bit, I challenged myself this year to read some things that I wouldn’t ordinarily read. This has led me to an interest in the biographies of Creative people.

I’m always interested in finding out how someone got their start, and the paths they took that brought them to where they are as a creative professional.

This last round of books have included some singers and the thing I want you to know is that there is a hell of a lot more to singing than meets the eye.

On some level, I knew that there was work involved, but professional level singing is so far out of my experience that the intricacies went clear over my head until I started reading about them. 90 minutes of warm up was a stunner for me. The sheer number of places in the mouth, tongue, and throat for sound to bounce off of was staggering. And pros are cognizant of this. They can target specific areas to achieve a specific kind of sound. Different kinds of illnesses can impact certain aspects of a professional’s voice while leaving others completely untouched.

There is way more to it than I thought, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Thing #3:

The New Zealand Women’s Rugby team: The Black Ferns recently became the first professionally contracted Women’s sports team in Rugby history!

Go Ferns! Go Women’s Rugby!! I wish this were a bigger thing in the States.

Thing #4:

I am also making an attempt this year to broaden my horizons musically. I’ve spent time collecting and listening to new bands (in most cases, new to me) and I plan on mentioning them occasionally.

Unleash the Archers is a Canadian Power Metal band and they are amazing!! If you’re into power metal and you’re not listening to them…you probably should be.

Thing #5:

If you’ve been on any kind of social media this week…well, it’s a trash fire out there.  The fifth thing that I want you to know this week is this:

Whatever you are struggling with, whatever battles you are fighting, or are about to fight, I want you to know that I see you. I believe in you. Be sure to take the time you need to take care of yourself. You got this.

See you on Friday!

 

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts

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Two Questions With… Pat Esden

This week I am very happy to host my friend Pat Esden on the second round of the “Two Questions With…” blog tour.

Huge thanks to Pat for taking the time to participate. I’m really glad you came along for the ride.

Now I’m going to step out of the way and let Pat do her thing:

Hi everyone—and a huge thank you to Ken for inviting me to be here today. My name is Pat Esden. I’m the author of the Dark Heart series and the Northern Circle Coven series. My novels are contemporary paranormal for adults with a touch of darkness and strong romantic elements.

  1. What attracted you to your genre(s)?

I write fantasy set in the contemporary world because I love the idea of magic being within our grasp. What if the things we dream about or imagine are real, the dangerous and the wonderful? I also like how fantasy can empower the average person to make a huge difference, something I believe we are capable of doing with or without magic.

  1. Do you see any issues in your genre and how are you addressing them?

I wouldn’t say as much issues as the importance of keeping up with the fast sweeping changes in my chosen genres. I straddle the line between romance and fantasy. My books feature some open door sex, so things like consent, safe sex, as well as gender and sexual identity need to be considered at length when I develop my stories and characters. Today’s romance novels are not the same as the bodice rippers from the distant past, but they also are different from the romance of even five years ago. Reading newly published books and being aware of changes is beyond important.

PRE-ORDER TODAY

HIS DARK MAGIC (Northern Circle Coven series book 1)

 

 

Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle’s real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .

Now Merlin’s demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin’s uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can’t defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.

|BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | IBOOKS | AMAZON |

BIO:

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.

She is the author of the contemporary paranormal Dark Heart series from Kensington Books, and the upcoming Northern Circle Coven series. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle, George Scither’sCat Tales Anthology, and the Fragments of Darkness anthology.

 

WEBSITE |GOODREADS |FACEBOOK|TWITTER | BLOG |PINTEREST|

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Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to check out the other blogs on the tour today:

Janet Walden-West

Pat Esden

Anne Raven

And be sure to stop back next week for another Two Questions With…

 

 

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Revision Progress

Happy Sunday Everyone!!

Before I get into the meat of today’s post I was to take a moment to say:

Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Father’s day to all of the dad’s out there. Thank you for doing what you do.

And Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you. Thanks for being the kind of guy that I can always look up to – no matter how tall I got.

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So this brings us to the end of the three part series on Progress.

If you recall, two weeks ago, I talked about Drafting Progress. Last week I switched gears to talk about Editing Progress.

This week, we’re going into revision.

I’m going to keep going with the sculpting metaphor here and, hopefully it stays together better than it did last week (I did warn you..).

At the end of the editing process, you’ve got your sculpture down. You’ve got your shapes, and contours, and you’ve gotten rid of all of the grossly unnecessary stuff that isn’t part of the story. You’ve also probably added stuff to your sculpture (which is where the metaphor fell apart last week), to flesh out the bits that needed it.

All of your heavy editing is done. During the revision process, you’re polishing the work, smoothing out the rough patches. This isn’t the time for hammer and chisel, this is the time for intimacy.

This is where you lay your bare hands on the work and – with increasingly fine sandpaper – you’re smoothing out localized rough patches with care. You’re adding the touches that only you can add, using fine rasp and sandpaper to get the curve of a shoulder just right, to get the feel of muscle just beneath the surface.

This kind of Progress is hard to quantify. Doing it solely by word count becomes ever more elusive. You could spend ten minutes on a single line of dialogue that doesn’t sound completely right, then change a single word, which changes the entire line to where it’s just what you wanted to say.

Do that for an hour and you’ve got 6 words which isn’t a realistic representation of that hour’s worth of work.

Pages edited isn’t an accurate counter either. This time around, you’re not starting at Page 1, word 1, and working your way through the entire work. This is all about polishing, adding texture to make the work really shine.

Since they are usually localized pieces of the work, you might be jumping around through the manuscript,* polishing here, adding texture there.

If you’re focus is on word count, I’m going to continue to recommend that you use the same technique you used during the editing process: One hour of time = an average of the usual number of words you can type during an hour of drafting.

During this phase, I’m more concerned with the total number of individual polishes that need to be made. This gives me a finite number, and I tick individual items off as they are completed.

This approach will only probably only make sense to you, since it relies a bit on internal shorthand. If I were to Tweet that I’d knocked out five revisions today, well that makes it sound like I’ve revised five manuscripts, and…well lets just say something that starts with, “Not on my best day…”

As I get more and more into the revision process, I begin to think of Progress in terms of Time spent revising.

It’s more personal – but so is revision.

 

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If you’ve stuck with me this far, I want to thank you for coming along for the ride.

Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

Also, be sure to stop by Monday for the second round of the “Two Questions With…” Blog tour.

This week I’m hosting the amazing Pat Esden

For the complete schedule of the Tour and who is participating, check out the Events page.

Be Safe Y’All!!

 

Time – 12:58 pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Wheel of Time

 

*Unless you’re like me – linear. In that case, you start at the first rough spot, and work your way through them in order.

 

 

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Friday Fess-Up: June 15th

Happy Friday Everyone!! We Made it!!

Before I get into the meat of today’s Fess-Up post, I’d like to mention that the “Two Questions With…” blog tour will soon be heading into its second week.

In case you haven’t heard,”Two Questions With…” is a blog tour where I and some other authors will each be answering two questions on each other’s blogs and it’ll be a great time.

 

Who are the other authors, you ask?

They are:

Janet Walden-West

Pat Esden

Anne Raven

What questions will we be answering? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and find out.

Here’s the schedule:

June 11th – Janet Walden-West and I, and Pat Esten and Anne Raven.

June 18th – Pat Esden and I, and Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven.

June 25th – Anne Raven and I, and Pat Esden and Janet Walden-West.

You can find Janet’s Two Questions here.

On with the post:

So I’m not going to beat around the bush this week.

I confess that I barely wrote anything this past seven days.

I also confess that I almost fell victim to one of the classic blunders. I–No I did not, in fact, get involved in a land war in Asia–I nearly counted all of my chickens before they hatched.

Let me back up a little bit and try to shed some light on things.

I have a lot of irons in the fire, as it were. It might not seem like it on the surface, but that’s because you don’t see the hustling that goes on. But it’s true.

So true, in fact, that when something happens to throw me off my game, it often derails several things for several days.

Or one thing for a few days.

That brings me to my first confession. For those of you that don’t know me, I suffer from some pretty intense seasonal allergies. Summer and Fall tend to hit me the hardest. This year…has been pretty intense.

I won’t go into detail other than to say that I’ve taken to carrying around an inhaler, just in case. This is something that I’ve never had to do before.

So, for most of the week – especially at night – I’ve been spending my time indoors and using the serious 4 to 6 hour antihistamines* to fill in the gaps that the 24 -hour stuff couldn’t cover this year.

Sleep has been, lately, a broken-into-pieces affair and I am just not built to run like that anymore.

The usual; 5:30 Am Writing time fell by the wayside in favor of getting enough rest.

Sleep in essential, and Self-Care is a must. I know these things, but when the writing suffers…

Well, there’s judging. I admit it. I can get pretty harsh with myself.

Which brings me to Thursday – yesterday – and the second confession.

One of the things I do to stay ahead of the game is to write stuff up ahead of time when I can and schedule it to post later.

So, on Thursday, I had a bit of time and I thought I’d jot some ideas down for today’s post.

While I was feeling stuffy and lousy, and my lungs were making a kind of “EEEEEE” sound when I inhaled, because I forgot the inhaler.

I’m not going to say that trying to get some ideas down while I was feeling vastly less than stellar was a mistake because I think that a great deal of what I wrote down – which won’t make it into this, or any other post – needed to come out.

I wrote until I couldn’t feel my fingers.**

At the end, I felt lighter mentally, but I didn’t want to think about Friday. It was bound to be just as lousy as Thursday was, and all I really wanted at that moment was the weekend, so I could be this snuffling hermit for the next 48 hours.

Yes, that night, I still needed the inhaler and the extra pills. Yes, I still woke myself up at two in the morning and had to re-up the pills, and hit the inhaler before settling back down to sleep. But all the extra rest, or something, started to pay dividends.

The 5:30 alarm went off and I actually got up. The gravitational pull that the bad had for most of the week was mild.

I got up and I got some work done.

And that changed the entire day for me.

It was a huge reminder that regardless of how life is going, you have to take each day as it comes. On its own.

Because you just don’t know what’s coming until it shows up. So you do your best to put your best foot forward when it does.

Sometimes it’s more of the same. Other times, it’s a chance to get your feet back under you.

 

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for Story Excerpts.

And don’t forget to stop by on Sunday for the usual post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All!

 

 

 

*You know the ones I’m talking about. Where you need to provide your driver’s licence and a small vial of your blood to even look at the box.

**If you know me, it wasn’t like I was sitting there writing for hours. It was more like 15 minutes, because my wrists are utter rubbish, but the sentiment was there.

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Five Thing Thursday: June 14th

Hello everyone! Welcome to another installment of Five Thing Thursday.

Here is a list of five things that I want you to know:

Thing #1:

Chasing the light is out!

Actually, it’s been out for a couple of weeks now, and it’s doing pretty well.

Once upon a time, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Faith Hunter and award-winning authors David B. Coe and John G. Hartness agreed to mentor a group of rising authors—the Roaring Writers. Chasing the Light—with tales across the spectrum of science fiction and fantasy—is their celebration of success.

It is also a tribute honoring Melanie Otto (aka Melanie Griffin), one of the founding authors, who died unexpectedly in 2016. Melanie critiqued many of these stories at the Roaring Writers’ annual writing retreats, and the authors will never forget Melanie’s sparkling eyes and delighted laugh as she found passages she loved in each. With this collection, including stories by Melanie, the Roaring Writers share her light with readers everywhere.

This anthology is chock-full of awesome stories. I’ve got a story in there titled “The Intern.”

Click for an Excerpt

Thing #2

The Two Questions With… blog tour has begun!

Join me, Janet Walden-West, Pat Esden,  and Anne Raven as we each answer two questions on our respective blogs!

What questions will we be answering? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and find out.

Here’s the schedule:

June 11th – Janet Walden-West and I, and Pat Esten and Anne Raven.

June 18th – Pat Esden and I, and Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven.

June 25th – Anne Raven and I, and Pat Esden and Janet Walden-West.

Come join the conversation with me and some of my amazing writer friends!!

Thing #3

On May 1st, V. E. Schwab gave a Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College, Oxford that she called “In Search of Doors.”

You can find it on You Tube here  I’ve listened to it three times so far (not all of them back to back, thank you). The talk is moving, thoughtful, and entertaining. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. It is well worth the time.

Thing # 4

Hummingbirds!! I’ve got a feeder hanging outside on the porch, right outside my window. They’ve been coming around for the past couple of weeks and they are a joy to watch.

Thing #5

Margarita Recipe!

I don’t remember where we got this recipe from, but it’s become the default when we’re doing margaritas.

Ready? Here goes!

Start with:

  • 2 ounces of Tequila. Doesn’t matter where you get it from, just get two ounces of it.
  • 1.5 ounces of Lime Juice. Do yourself a favor and buy limes and a hand held juicer. Don’t buy that crappy, plastic lime.
  • 1.5 ounces of Simple Syrup. Sugar and Water in equal measure, bring it to a boil, done.
  • A splash – Bear in mind that your definition of “Splash” may vary from mine, but I think you get it – of Orange Liquor (We’re using Triple Sec.)

That’s it! Mix well, pour over crushed ice, and you can thank me later. Just in time for the weekend, no less.

See you next Thursday!

Until then…

Be Safe Y’All!

 

 

 

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Chasing the Light – Remembering Melanie

June 1st saw the release of an anthology titled “Chasing the Light.” I have a story in there titled “The Intern.”

Click for an Excerpt

Like all books, this one has a story behind it.

Once upon a time, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Faith Hunter and award-winning authors David B. Coe and John G. Hartness agreed to mentor a group of rising authors—the Roaring Writers. Chasing the Light—with tales across the spectrum of science fiction and fantasy—is their celebration of success.

It is also a tribute honoring Melanie Otto (aka Melanie Griffin), one of the founding authors, who died unexpectedly in 2016. Melanie critiqued many of these stories at the Roaring Writers’ annual writing retreats, and the authors will never forget Melanie’s sparkling eyes and delighted laugh as she found passages she loved in each. With this collection, including stories by Melanie, the Roaring Writers share her light with readers everywhere.

I met Melanie for the first time in 2013 at ConCarolinas. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m going to have to back up a tiny bit.

I am a massive introvert. Even with people that I know, and am friendly with, it takes a considerable amount of mental energy to go over and join a conversation. 2013 ConCarolinas was me traveling to a place I’d never visited before, alone, to see folks that I’ve never, actually, met before.

It was a little terrifying.

Melanie was one of the first folks that I met there to make me feel comfortable. She had an easy smile and a kid of joy around her that made it easier for me to get past the anxiety. It still took me two days to really get comfortable.

It was at the end of the con, at the end of that second day where we started talking about forming a writing group. I remember it being an animated, and exciting discussion. We were going to be a group. We were going to organize annual retreats, after the con, where we’d get together and write, and critique, and grow as writers. It sounded ideal, and I was a part of it.

Just before we all went our separate ways for the year, I was catching up with each of my new friends to say goodbye. One of the last things Melanie said to me was, “We were kinda worried about you. You know, whether you were going to come out of your shell.”

I told her that I had been worried about myself too. I told her how difficult the trip had been.

At the end, she asked if she could give me a hug. I said yes, and when the embrace was over, she said, “I’m glad you made it.”

That’s the kind of person Melanie was.

Over the next couple of years, we met at the retreats, and shared stories. She’d sent me jokes and encouraging emails during a particularly low point in my life. She encouraged me to see the light up ahead.

That’s the kind of person Melanie was.

She had a boundless energy, and a passion for the things she found cool, and my world will forever be a little darker without her in it.

That’s the kind of person Melanie was.

Although Melanie never got a chance to read the story in this anthology, I think she’d have thought it was cool.

I miss you, my friend.

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Two Questions With… Janet Walden-West

This week I am Pleased and Proud to host my friend Janet Walden-West in kicking off the “Two Questions With…” blog tour.

Huge thanks to Janet for taking the time to participate. I’m really glad you came along for the ride.

Now I’m going to step out of the way and let Janet do her thing:

Ken,

Thanks for inviting me to drop by and talk shop during the first part of the “Two Questions With…” blog hop.

 

1.What attracted you to your genre(s)?

 

Ooh, good question.

I fell into SF/F by accident. Like many kids, I was horse and dog crazy and would read anything with an animal on the cover. After I exhausted our small library’s story options, out of desperation, I picked up a couple of books with weird creatures on the cover, rationalizing that shaggy werewolf-thingys were sorta like dogs (Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain), and unicorns were sorta like horses (Jane Yolen).

Okay. This science fiction and fantasy stuff was pretty awesome. Then, I stumbled on Terri Windling’s Bordertown shared world anthologies/series and Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde mysteries. Wow, did those stories click. I’d found my writing-home in Urban Fantasy. I adore the rich mix of mythology, history, and magic, twisted and reimagined, and set against a contemporary real-world backdrop.

 

  1. If you could give Past You one piece of advice, what would it be?

 

Not that Past Me would listen, because I always do things the hard way, but don’t query too soon.

Let me repeat that.Don’t. Query. Too. Soon.

FOMO is a thing. I get it. But you only get one shot at that agent with that story. If you send in a pretty good version because it feels as if everyone else is querying or getting agents or getting publishing deals, then realize…hmmm. Your story wasn’t ready? You’ve lost a chance.

Keep your eyes on your own paper. Take your time. Send your story to CPs. Digest their notes and examine how to address anything that resonates. Revise. Send it to more CPs. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Do this as many times as necessary.

Ditto for your query. I also recommend sending queries in small batches, evaluating your request rate, and retooling and tweaking as needed.

Trust me. The agents and publishers will still be there when your promising diamond in the rough is finally a polished five-carat gem.

 

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BIO

Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print.  She has an unseemly obsession with dusty artifacts, great cars, and bad coffee. A founding member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance and The Million Words craft blog, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America. She pens Urban Fantasy that escapes the neat confines of the city limits in favor of map-dot hillbilly towns, and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance. A #PitchWars alum, her first short story, Road Trip, is included in the Chasing the Light anthology.

 

Find Me At:

Website: http://www.janetwaldenwest.weebly.com

Twitter: @JanetWaldenWest

Instagram: janetwaldenwest

 

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Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to check out the other blogs on the tour today:

Janet Walden-West

Pat Esden

Anne Raven

And be sure to stop back next week for another Two Questions with…

 

 

 

Posted in Blog Tours, Two Questions With | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Editing Progress

Happy Sunday Y’All!

If you recall, last week I kicked off a series of posts where I’m talking about Progress.

I said that, despite thoughts to the contrary, Progress was not, in fact, a linear progression from point A to point Z. Oh you still get from point A to point Z, but the path you take to get there can be – and often is – a twisty, eely, curvy, thing that is never the same route twice.

In addition, I managed to break progress up into three distinct types:

Drafting Progress

Editing Progress

and Revision Progress

This week is all about Editing Progress.

So what is Editing progress? For that matter, what is Editing?

I’m going to slip into metaphor here for a bit with the advance warning that it will soon fall completely apart. You have been warned. Ready?

The entire process of crafting a story – start to finish – can be compared (loosely) to sculpture.

I’m talking large-form sculpture here. Real Statue of David kind of stuff.

Drafting your story can be compared – startlingly closely – to procuring a 10 ton block of marble, and moving it into your studio. By yourself. Sure, you’ve got tools, but getting that massive, unwieldy, chunk of rock right where you want it, that’s all on you.

Also, like moving a mass of marble into your studio, when you’ve finished your first draft…

You want to take a bit of a breather.

When you come back, you’re ready to begin editing.

Like sculpture, you start the process with a hammer and chisel or, maybe, a concrete saw.

You’re knocking off great chunks of things that don’t belong there. Passive voice, clunky dialogue.

“Those damned, said bookisms,” he said angrily.

That character that died fifty pages ago, only to mysteriously come back to life…to be killed again.

All of that stuff needs to go. Chisel it right the hell off of your story.

Now here’s where the metaphor falls apart. I told you it was coming.

The editing process is also where you add stuff – which, as far as I know, cannot be done in sculpture.

You add in more world building, you flesh out character arcs, you fill in plot holes, you realize that you have turned off the heat on your characters and, in correcting that, you’ve broken something else. Fixing that, breaks something else and, before you know it, you’ve added 5 or 6 additional chapters that simply weren’t part of your original 10 ton block of marble when it arrived.

So what do you call Progress during this phase? How can you measure what you’ve done when, at the end of 2 hours of editing, your net word count is -12?

There are a couple of ways to approach this.

The first is to take a look at your drafting speed. How many words per hour can you get down while you’re drafting? I know this number is going to vary. Some days, I’ll knock out 200 words an hour, other days I’ll fall into the zone and end up with 700 words, or more. The idea is to get an average – and be honest. For me, that average is around 450-500 words.

So, if I’m focusing on word count, I can say fairly honestly that an hour of editing is roughly equivalent to 450 words (I usually round down).

Another way to look at it is in terms of overall pages. One of the first things I do when I’m prepping to edit is to print out a copy of the story. I do this regardless of length, and I do it for two reasons.

The first is that changing the medium by which you read your story, also changes the way that you read the story. At least it does for me. When I’m holding a page in my hand and reading from it, I catch things that have slipped by me while reading on the screen.

The second reason is that I can make notes directly on the page Without being tempted to correct them right there! This pulls me away from the larger picture mindset that I have while reading and drops me on a more granular level that I don’t want to be at yet.

So, if you’re focusing on pages, you can simply look at the number of pages that you’ve set aside as “Edited” and say, “I’ve made 20 pages of progress today.”

Personally, I prefer to mark my progress by pages while I’m editing. For me, word count is part of the drafting phase and if I see that I’ve progressed “Backwards” by 500 words, after an editing session, I feel discouraged, even if I’ve somehow managed to edit what I was working on brilliantly.

And that’s editing progress: Taking your newly arrived hunk of marble and chipping away at it in places, adding more marble in other places (I did tell you that the metaphor would fall apart), so that by the end of that first pass – and there may be many to follow – your story has definition. A shape that you will continue to bring forth in subsequent editing passes.

Next week, we will put away the heavy tools and talk about revision.

Until then…

Be Safe Y’All

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story excerpts.

Also, be sure to check out the Events page for the Two Questions With… blog tour schedule, that I will be a part of for the next three weeks.

 

 

 

 

Time: 12:35 pm – ish

Music: Mother Nature – Rain (no, there’s no link. It was actually raining. I’m not even sure if there’s a band calling themselves “Mother Nature”)

 

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Friday Fess-Up: June 8th

Happy Friday Everyone!!

We made it through another week, and what a week it’s been.

After quite a bit of scrambling this past week, I think I’m finally on top of my allergies. I confess that it’s been rough. I’m taking two different antihistamines concurrently. One is a 24 hour variety, which contains portions of the wet mess that I become without it. The other is a every 4-6 hour type that I’ve got to provide my drivers license and a small vial of blood before I can even look at the box, let alone purchase it. That covers the rest..to a point. I’m not an asthmatic, but I do get hit hard enough to where it constricts the old airways, and I’ve got an inhaler – something I don’t think I needed to use for the entirety of 2017.

This year I had to crack it open. That’s how bad it is. I’m already looking forward to the next Freeze.

So what else has been going on this week?

Turns out there’s a whole bunch going on:

First, I’ve had a book launch!

This is an anthology that I and the rest of my writer’s group – The Roaring Writers – put together to honor one of our own.

Melanie Otto was a dear friend and I’d like to think that she’d have dug my story.

She’d have dug them all.

We put together this anthology, donating each of our stories to benefit Melanie’s partner to help defray final costs.

 

I miss you, my friend.

 

You can pick up your copy of Chasing the Light from Amazon.

You can read an excerpt from my story “The Intern” here.

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Another thing that’s been going on is that I’ve launched a new feature on the blog!

I call it Five Thing Thursday. I don’t plan on it being anything elaborate, just five things I want you to know. You can catch the inaugural post here.

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Finally, I am pretty jazzed to announce that, beginning Monday June 11th, I and some of my fellow authors are going to be kicking off a blog tour titled:

For the next three weeks, we’ll each be answering two questions on each other’s blogs and it’ll be a great time.

Who are the other authors, you ask?

 

They are:

Janet Walden-West

Pat Esden

Anne Raven

What questions will we be answering? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and find out.

Here’s the schedule:

June 11th – Janet Walden-West and I, and Pat Esten and Anne Raven.

June 18th – Pat Esden and I, and Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven.

June 25th – Anne Raven and I, and Pat Esden and Janet Walden-West.

I confess that organizing this has been a learning experience. It’s the first thing of it’s kind that I’ve ever tried and it has been mentally heavy in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed working with the other authors to put this thing together. There were a lot of moving parts, concerning the questions, who was going to be involved, when we could set it in motion where it would run for three weeks without interruption.

All sorts of stuff.

And none of it was writing. I’ll call it “Authoring,” which is a different animal altogether (and which might just be the subject of a post).

I still got up to write this week. Here’s another confession: I really didn’t want to this morning. Sleep was calling, but by the time I’d gotten up, cleared out my sinuses, etc. I was only looking at maybe laying down for an hour, and those kinds of naps just wreck me.

And there you have it. Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular post, and you really don’t want to miss the kick off of Two Questions With… on the 11th.

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for Excerpts, and make sure you stop by the Events Page for the Blog Tour Schedule. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Oh, and GO ALL BLACKS!!!

New Zealand Rugby vs. France on Saturday June 9th!

Kia Kaha, Kiwis!

 

Be Safe Y’All

 

Time: 8:37 Pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Bright Eyes

 

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