cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
why, oh why do I have a short story in my head screaming to be written, when I have a novel to edit?

I might be able to get it written in a couple of hours, but still. NOVEL! EDIT!

Gods.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I listened to a podcast story a couple of weeks ago, by Peter S. Beagle, called Gordon the Self Made Cat. It was cute, and it had a clever ending that I should have seen coming. And telling others who are unlikely to bother hearing the story, others guessed the ending when I got to that. It made me think, "why didn't *I* see it coming?"

And then I remembered a critique I got a year ago on the novel version of the Eyelet dove, where the critiquer said, "I know you're writing, and I should have seen that coming, but I didn't think about it, I just kept reading..." (this critiquer is going to love "the Box")

I think there was an immersion factor. The same way a stand-up magician redirects your attention to his other hand while he sticks the orange foam ball in his pocket. Then the ending comes up faster than you can stop to think about what the ending is going to be. When you're paying attention to the story, as long as the pacing is good, you don't think about what's going to come next. When I was telling the story, there wasn't that immersion, and the ending was obvious. Avatar was similar, it's so pretty and so real, that most people don't stop to think "This is an old story told a million times already."
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
The Box is up to 53k words now, with the scenes I've added, and will probably be well over 60k when I'm done, with the scene I still plan to add. Which is a nice length for YA; for once I'm not agonizing over trying to shorten it; it has room to grow.

The thing I hate about editing is I have to be alert. I can do nano completely exhausted, jotting down bullshit tow get the story down and finished. But editing, there's no "bah, I'll fix that later." Later is now, and I have to fix it now.

And I'm so wiped after the stress of work now, that my brain just doesn't want to cope with that when I get home, and the caffeine has worn off, and I don't want to drink more caffeine because I have to go to bed and get up at 5:00 am to go back to work. It's not that I hate my job; it just takes up so much of the time and energy I wish I could spend writing. I think I will have to start abusing the caffeine again in order to get any real writing done. I made a goal of having a first rewrite of The Box done by the end of march and I'm quite a bit behind; chapter 6 of 14.

Plotting

Mar. 2nd, 2010 06:10 am
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
Plot has always been my strong point in writing, but even that had room to improve. I come up with plots in my head as a series of scenes that I want to fit in, then string them together in a way that makes sense and fill in the gaps between. The gaps between can be difficult sometimes, when I know what I want to happen, but not always how to get the characters there without using a fragile plot device.

The problem with that is that the story tends to be segmented then, with each chapter starting from status quo, and only one major thing changing at a time. And I keep telling myself I need to get as much out of each event and scene as possible. The plot of novel version of the Eyelet Dove is starting to come together in my mind much better, with several events happening all in the same scene, instead of isolated; which will make it all more compact and the story move faster, with fewer scenes needed to be set up, so I can pay more attention to the scenes that are set up. The battle for Avalice, for example, has a lot more characters involved, and where the characters end up in the end is a quit a bit different. It's now amalgamated about four different events into this one battle, so that I don't have to bring the action level up four times, just once, and keep it going.

Critiques

Feb. 8th, 2010 06:47 am
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I have 5 critiques now on the first two chapters of "The Box", my Nano novel, and the general consensus is that it needs "polishing." Not rewriting, just touching up. Of course, it's got rewritten anyway. I had to, to smooth things out. I've cut a character, and took three characters I originally introduced in chaper 3, and used them in chapter 1. It helps pull it together. But it sounds like it doesn't have far to go before being publishable. The next novel submission package workshop they get going on the OWW, I should be able to get in on. Though, my pitch is already pretty good; it's got more than one person to start reading.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
All the professional authors I stalk on livejournal know one another and they've been doing this meme of first lines. They post the first lines of all the stories they've been working on in the past year or so. It's a writer thing, so there's only one other person on my lj that I think might perpetuate this, but I would like to, just to say I'm doing a meme with elizabeth bear and marie brennan, even if they'll never look at it because they don't know me.

Anyway; so my works in progress or finished stories for this last year are:

"Bitch in Heat" - "Are you sure this stuff'll work?" Ted glanced nervously at the small bottle of yellow liquid in Monty's hand.

Flash fiction that actually got published. It's short and cute in the vicious dog way, and that's all it could hope to be.

"The Eyelet Dove" - Maddie's father was a glass blower, and thus had Maddie come by a strong sense of things that were fragile, such as vases, stained glass windows, and the status quo.
 
This is the current first line. I'm not entirely happy with it, but it was an attempt at making Maddie a more interesting character. I think I need to think her though a bit better. Once I'm finished editing "The Box", I will start working on this one in earnest.

"The Box" - Feisal lived in the Right Lily orphanage, a large building built of sand coloured mud that kept it cool in the hot summers of Casparia.

My nano novel. I'm quite proud of having managed nano, and also of how well the story actually came out. The edits are going well.

"Blood and Snow" - It has not been winter in Iskale since the day I was born.

The title is mediocre, but the first line is the most kickass first line I've so far written.

"The Eternal Army Of Kharduev" - On the 18th day of the Gottmen's invasion of Kharduev, Nikolai Rusnikov of the first battalion of cannoneers was struck in the head with canister shot and killed.

I really like this story too. Unfortunately no one willing to pay me for it has yet. Still working on it, but I think I've got the story as polished as it's gonna get. It was a stretch for me; not something I normally write.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
A couple of years ago, I switched to using Open Office, because it was free and non-Microsoft. About six months ago, I realized that the reason my typo situation has become so horribly deplorable is not because I've been freeing myself to fix those things later, but because I no longer have Microsoft's auto correct fixing things for me and underlining things it thinks are wrong so I can catch myself as I type. Unlike some, this has never slowed down my creative process. That, and Open Office has some file compatibility issues. It likes to put grey spaces in place of tabs at the beginning of paragraphs if I download a file off of google docs, and it's annoying to fix. *That* slows down my creative process; the having to fix things when I'm wanting to sit down and work.

So I set about going back to Word. But I wasn't going to pay for it. The only hack I could find doesn't work because I had a sample version, not a trial version, that came with my computer. Trying to order it from work has been a hassle, and still would cost around $30, but with the transition to HP, I'm not even sure if the link I have to buy it is still valid. I don't want to use my old Office 95 version, because it doesn't have as sophisticated an autocorrect function, and I'll end up having problems opening docx files, if I ever have to.

I have finally found a solution, though. The Beta version of Office 2010 is available. Don't know how long that will work for me, but I will continue with that until a work copy is more easily available. I know I'm a microsoft whore, but I'm a cheap one.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I just thought about it, I had ten index cards with like, four to six lines each scribbled on them for an outline, and about five characters planned, at the start. And from that I got 50K. The Eyelet Dove had a ten page outline, and twenty characters planned.

Dove is gonna be a doorstopper.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I have finished editing Blood and Snow, and it still hasn't cracked 10k words, so it's still very much saleable. I really liked that story, and I think I will write a novel sequel to it. With a new main character. Just, in the same world, and throwing the new main character into a very similar position to the old main character, but have the new one deal with it very differently. I think it's one of my best works thus far.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
So like three months ago, Thaumatrope was looking for steampunk stuff in 140 characters or less. So I took one of my planned lines from the Eyelet dove, squeezed the meaningful bits into a phrase that says more than it says, and sent it to them and they just sent me back saying it was accepted. And though it's too short to be considered a pro publication, it's the first paid one to my name. Even though the payment is $1.20, and paypal transfer fees will eat it.

I am a paid author :P

http://thaumatrope.greententacles.com/
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
K, so I'm gonna post my nano novel here anyway. It will not be friends only, it will be posted to a writing filter. I only have about four people on that filter, so if you would like to be able to read it, respond to this post and I'll add you. If you can see chapter one, which I'll post shortly after this post, then you're already on it.

Nano update

Nov. 3rd, 2009 12:47 pm
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (steampunk brass pipes)
The widgets aren't working yet, I don't think (they disable them to improve bandwidth early on in the month) but I broke 5k last night. Then my brain shut down and said no more tonight.

But my main character has got his head out of the water and met the Messiah. Now they have a plan and are about to execute it.

I'd post it but nobody ever comments on my writing on LJ, so I don't think anybody actually reads it here.

progress

Nov. 1st, 2009 11:59 pm
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (steampunk gasworks)
Day one, in which our hero is captured and tortured into confessing that he believes in the messiah.

2717 words by midnight.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
So, about twelve hours before Nano starts, and I'm more excited than any other year, because I expect I'll make it this time, with the extra time off work and all. And I have a more detailed outline than I've ever had before.

I was talking to the MIL about it, and explaining the rules, and the 50K by november 30th, and she says, oh, but you want quality as much as quantity, don't you? And I explain, no, not really at all. The key to winning nano is allowing yourself to write utter, complete shit.

So in celebration of writing utter and complete shit, I give you my first *ever* writing project. No, this isn't Swansong. That wasn't my first. This is before swansong - I stumbled over it a couple weeks ago, wondering why the filename was all in caps and didn't include the whole title of the story, and realized, ah, I know why - because windows didn't register case or allow spaces in filenames when I wrote this! I was about 12, and a hopeless romantic, and though that a noblewoman falling in love with a pirate would be an original story idea. (I can hear you snickering, it's ok.)

Yeah, there was more to it on paper, this was typed out while I was still learning to type, so this is a couple of evenings tedious work (at 1500 words) and seemed like a lot of material at the time. I haven't been able to bring myself to read it all the way through, just skimmed little bits because my brain balks at the badness of it. I have resisted the knee-jerk reaction to fix the horrible, horrible spelling mistakes. And lack of quotation marks in the first half.

Here there be 12 year old drivel, not for the faint of heart.(srsly, omg) )
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I finally have a plot and ending for the complete reworking of Swansong. Oddly enough it was Nathan who gave it to me. He said, of Regal's guilt complex, that Regal just needs to get over it. Heh heh.

I already have a story for Nanowrimo though. If I don't think of anything else by november 2010, I'll do it then.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I feel like crap today. I haven't been in a bad mood or anything, just feel run down and starting to feel a bit sick. And the apartment is hot tonight and my stomach's a bit upset. Tried to sleep, but I have a headache, so I got up and found this in my email:

fromNathan Rosen <microhorror@gmail.com>
to"lindenfoxcub@gmail.com" <lindenfoxcub@gmail.com>
dateThu, Sep 10, 2009 at 8:23 PM
subjectRe: Submission: Bitch in Heat
mailed-bygmail.com
 
  
Cute story, Lindsay. Thanks. It's up on MicroHorror now.

Nathan


It's not paid, but it's publication! Progress. Something to put on a curriculum Vitae when sending out more stuff to tell them "hey, someone other than my mother thinks my writing doesn't suck". And it's out there for the world to see - I read over some of their other stories, and mine seemed like it fit in with the quirky, smart-ass style the editor seemed to like, and I liked what I read.

Here's a link to it: http://www.microhorror.com/microhorror/author/lindsay-kitson/bitch-in-heat/

So all my friends need to tell their friends to go read it!

*happy dance*
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
I'm adding magic to the list of words not to use in titles. It now stands as follows:

Heart
Moon
Star
Crystal
Blade
Shadow
Quest
Dream
Dark/Darkness
Magic

In thinking about the list, and what goes on and what doesn't, I've found, in my mind anyway, that there are three classifications of words in titles. And by that I mean the working words; nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, not one like the, at, of, etc. There's words that are awful and will ruin a title, there's words that are neutral, and can be made good or bad by other words, and then there are the unique words capable of making neutral words awesome.

Examples of neutral words: the name of any animal, season, month, time of day, plant, natural phenomenon (eg, weather), reference to family position (son/daughter), position of government.

Examples of unigue words: this is difficult, since I'd need to be good at titles to pull them out of my ass, so the easiest way is to throw out some kickass titles, which I hope will show how the right word makes a neutral word awesome: "The Stainless Steel Rat" - I haven't read it, but the title makes me want to. The one title I have that's really good, I totally ripped off a lingerie store: "The Eyelet dove" Both a name of an animal, with a random, unique, catchy, word to make it interesting.

Two (or one if it's a one word title) mediocre words generally make a mediocre title: Autumn Twilight, Daughter of the Oak, Stormcrow, etc. Yes, I concede that Blood and Snow is a mediocre title.

Watch what happens when you combine those neutral words with ones from the list of terribad words: Autumn Magic, Twilight Star, Daughter of the Darkness, Oakheart, Shadowcrow, Storm Crystal.

Keep in mind, this is not an end-all, be-all instructions to come up with good titles. Hell, if it was, I'd be able to come up with reliably good titles. Lots of titles just can't be classified this way.

Incidentally, I've decided on a system of coming up with working titles for stuff I haven't come up with a decent, presentable title for yet. I will combine some aspect somehow relevant to the story (character name, idea, place, whatever) with one of the words from the list of awful titles. Just because it amuses me.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
Has been overwhelmingly positive!?!!?

Four votes for keeping the title, and none saying the title sucked, so the title is sticking.

But the most satisfying thing is it's the first time I've ever been told the opening of a story I wrote was good and drew the reader in, and two people have specifically said that. All the more awesome since I know exactly what I did different to do it again. I went and looked at the openings of stories that I remember drew me in the fastest, and they started with an introduction, whether it was a few paragraphs or 4-6 pages, of the viewpoint character. It's less jarring than starting in media res, as seems to be the height of fashion these days. So that's what I did, and it worked.

The ending and buildup to the climax need work though, so I'm going to do that before sending it to friends. And I'm almost done the first rewrite of The Eternal Army of Kharduev, so that will go out en masse first.
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
Here's the characters:

Iskalei: viewpoint character, the chosen one who's birth hailed the beginning of a golden age for her people, which are an land/nature/harvest worshiping culture.

Minister Alleuvi: Minister in charge of making sure Iskalei doesn't do stupid shit.

Weili: a Satanan refugee from a dying land. He and Iskalei fall in love.

Hian: Weili's little sister. Dying from some or other disease at the beginning of the story. Too young to talk.

Zhuang: A Satanan assassin sent to kill Iskalei.

I may give one of the guards a name, just so I have a name for the one she talks to in some of the final scenes, but I won't count him at this point.

The challenge: guess which ones are still alive at the end of the story.

Prize: Signed copy of the first draft, minus a couple of typos, that you can sell someday when I'm famous. :P
cl0ckw0rkf0x: (Default)
Title: Blood and Snow (so far - open to a better one. It's better than the first one, and you don't even want to know what the first working title was.)
WC: 7709

I was promising myself to finish this two and a half weeks ago, but work has got in the way. i blame turtle for going to gencon rather than writing night and making me finish amped up on energy drinks. :P I've been so tired lately, I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe I'm coming down with something and my body's just trying to fight it off. Anyway, will post the story sometime when I've had the chance to double check I haven't said anything stupid or illogical or lacking in continuity in there.

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