Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 74

Continuing the catch-up posts with a question I need to ask myself: if you can write, why would you choose not to write?

Today, I finished watching Disenchantment (which was very good. Don’t believe the anti-hype; this is the latest example of TV critics, feeling bored and mean, deciding to collude with negative reviews to ruin a series’ chances for the sheer sport of it). Took a couple of naps; I think I’ve mentioned before that stress during the week leaves me with a big sleep debt I always have to make up on the weekends). Played WildStar, and got back to the second season of Santa Clarita Diet. No writing got done, although I pondered a little on the idea of getting most of the characters together to move into the third(?) act.

So again: why didn’t I write? For me, it’s a mixture of reasons that wax and wane: day-job stress, mainly, which leaves me too wrung-out when I get home. I just want to veg in front of the TV and pet the cat.

But a lot of it is the changing nature of writing. It’s rock-and/or-hard-place where writing is concerned nowadays: either sign with a publisher/agent and get shafted, or do it yourself and be too busy running a small business to get any writing done! Part of me chafes at the fact that my hobby, which once used to relax and inspire me, is now just another stress-inducing job. Add to this the mandatory requirements of that job — extroversion (which I’ll never possess); constant engagement on social media (even less time to write!); and all the myriad, picky, idiotic things necessary to keep a business running (shoot me now).

I suppose I could just write “for the trunk,” as the saying used to go, or write and put everything up for free on a blog, either of which would free me and (in theory) make writing fun once more. But if there’s a chance, even in the one-in-a-trillion category, that I might make a little money off my work…how can I say no?

It’s a good problem to have, I suppose. “Oh, woe, the struggles of an artist!” But it’s no less irksome despite its ultimate lack of consequence.

One or two more days of talking about this, and catching up, and then I’ll get back to the writing. Today, as I was doing this post, a switch clicked on what to do next with FACE AFTER FACE, and it got me a bit excited to resume writing it…

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Onward!

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Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 75

Have some catch-up posts to make, but they’re going to be different than usual. The reason is, I didn’t get any writing done the last three days. No illness, no real-life responsibilities…the writing just did not happen.

So what will I post about? Not writing, I suppose. Why I got no writing done. Eventually, I’m going to talk about self-sabotage and my chances of finishing this project if I keep failing to get things done.

Those of you reading this who are writers will probably know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, the mechanisms upstairs just crap out and stop spinning gold (or at the very least, pyrite) from the straw of random, disorganized thoughts. Sometimes, even though you know all you need to get started is to place butt in chair and start typing one word after another, you can’t even do that.

It’s quite fashionable to claim one has never had writer’s block; that the words flow easily and freely every hour of every day. This is, generally, used as a psych-out tactic against other writers, to discourage them, keep them from writing, make them feel as though there’s something wrong with them because they don’t match your level of (claimed) productivity and maybe, just maybe, make them give up, thus eliminating competition.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a human being. I get blocked sometimes, and that’s another thing I’ll talk about over the next few posts. I have off days. I have days where I’d rather relax than engage in the tense, stressful process of writing, and I took three such days in a row. But now I’m ready to get back to work.

As for today, I got my Kickstarter copy of Ron Randall’s latest Trekker graphic novel in mail, read a little of Michael Grant’s Front Lines, and, after a nice pizza, watched the first five episodes of Disenchantment. Thought about writing, but it was one of those thoughts that skidded, frictionlessly, off the surface of my brain without catching hold and spurring me into action.

I’d missed a day or two so far already, and figured it wouldn’t hurt me to miss another. I figured I’d earned it.

I figured wrong. More in the next post…

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Onward!

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 76

Getting back to the novel with baby steps.

FACE AFTER FACE: 516 words today as I got back into the swing of things. I’ve seen a way to converge plotlines and begin working towards an ending; it’s just a matter of getting there in the time I’ve allotted myself for this project. Doing 500 words a day isn’t going to cut it. I think weekends are what will make this whole thing possible.

The next writing session should put me past 80K words. FACE AFTER FACE is the longest thing I’ve written, and might always remain that way.

Also, started thinking about other things that need doing, like revising all my existing ebooks, dealing with some old domain names, and such. The workload ever increases…!

***

MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Onward!

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 77

Another piece completed, but there’s much more left to do…

FACE AFTER FACE: Finished reading through the work-in-progress. Deciding what to do next, as far as completing the novel. What I’m juggling: the story needs to be finished, but in a way that fits the pacing of the book so far. I can’t just rush to a conclusion. Also, I’ve got multiple POV characters, so I need to find a satisfying way to tie up all their individual arcs. I don’t know how long all this will take, time- or words-written-wise. I foresee several marathon writing sessions during upcoming weekends!

I started writing FACE AFTER FACE in 2014. Among the many now-outdated cultural references I’ll need to change during re-writing are such things as: Toys ‘R’ Us, Celebrity Name Game, the Nintendo Wii…can’t wait to replace them all with references that will themselves be dated another four years from now!

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 78

…And this post gets me caught up!

FACE AFTER FACE: Resting, puttering around, and napping after being up late for the concert the night before kept me from getting much done on the read-through. I’m going to say I’m 55% done now. Have found one gigantic continuity foul-up where I established a character as an I.T. support staff member, then later had him be a lawyer…! I’m reminded of the bit in one of Gilbert Gottfried’s podcasts where they discuss the Problem Child movies, and mention how Gilbert played the same character throughout the series, except in one movie he ran an adoption agency, in another he was a dentist, and so forth…

This should be the last time until Labor Day that real life interferes with this project (he said, just before contracting the Black Plague). Looking forward to finishing the read-through and getting to work completing FACE AFTER FACE. I’m shooting for the end of August to finish writing the book.

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 79

The first of two posts today as I play catch-up.

Didn’t get anything done on the project today. Went out of town (again!) and saw a concert (again!) In my defense, this was my first (and likely only) chance to see ELO. They were a big part of the soundtrack of my high school years, and it was a great show. No regrets!

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 80

Twenty percent done with the challenge, but am I twenty percent done with all the tasks it will require? Continuing on…

FACE AFTER FACE: 50% done with the re-familiarizing read-through. Getting better at curbing my urge to re-write as I go along. Not much else to report, other than I’m continuing to like the book. I’d forgotten a lot of it!

I may not get a whole bunch done tomorrow because of other real-life stuff, but we’ll see…

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 81

Slow progress, but it’s entirely my fault.

FACE AFTER FACE: 25% done with the re-familiarizing read-through. It’s going slower than I planned because, as I was worried I might, I’ve been pausing to re-write as I go along. I need to quit it and just read, but then there’s a little voice in the back of my head saying ‘but what if you skip over this bad part now and miss it when you do the official re-writing read-through?’

But all in all, I’m pleased with the book so far. It may not require much re-writing, other than my usual changing word choices and continuity fixes.

***

MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 82

Not a lot to report today. Started re-familiarizing myself with the next book.

FACE AFTER FACE: Began re-reading what I’ve done so far. Got about 10% in. Hope to power through a lot more of it tomorrow. It’s rainy here in my part of Texas, so I’ve got an incentive to stay in and read!

Also, I remembered long ago I’d planned to make a Spotify playlist for VOIDVILLE, based on the book’s chapter titles. Added that to the to-do list.

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MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Spotify playlist; Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Slouching Towards Halloween – Day 83

Okay, as with LANTERNS, here’s the rewrite breakdown for VOIDVILLE. I’ve listed what was done as it corresponds to the original day-to-day VOIDVILLE posts on this blog. If you get the eventual paperback or ebook version and are interested in the revision process, you can follow along with the original posts and the rewrite references below…

I mentioned it earlier, but I accidentally deleted this list at one point, but was able to put it back together at about 95% of what it was. There may be a few changes here and there that aren’t documented below.

As before, I’m not listing changes in punctuation, adding/removing line breaks, and other minutiae.

(And needless to say, if you want to be surprised by the story, don’t read the revision notes, as I’ll be revealing plot details here and there!)

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DAY 1: Updated ‘peak’ to ‘capacity’.

Updated ‘flying’ to ‘which flew’.

Made global change to capitalize ‘Leviathan’.

Pluralized ‘bracelet’ and ‘wrist’.

DAY 2: Continuity: Benjamin gets in trouble for promising Eury she can play then ditching her. I put that promise in here.

DAY 3: No changes!

DAY 4: Changed ‘drove’ to ‘passed’. Andi’s too young to drive. She might have been in a car with her parent, but specifying that would have been too much detail for a quick thought.

Changed ‘she’ to ‘the girl’ for clarity.

DAY 5: Removed ‘gleefully’. The passage of time is presented as a mechanistic thing, so the adverb felt tonally wrong.

Changed ‘inclined wall’ to ‘rows’. Tried to be poetic and failed.

Added ‘separate’ to ‘two pep rallies’ to clarify.

Changed to ‘as one of the custodians prepared’. Flowed better.

Added ‘a’ to ‘there was decorum’. Flowed better.

DAY 6: Removed ‘in’ from ‘I believe in that’. Sounded strange.

Removed ‘little’ from the description of Andi’s bag. It’s got a dress and makeup kit in it, after all — it can’t be that little!

DAY 7: Changed ‘The other guys’ to ‘Other…’ Later events would suggest Cy hasn’t had a girlfriend, either.

DAY 8: Continuity: updated ‘Carson’ to ‘Carter.’ (Sigh.)

Shifted around ‘blast’ and ‘fun’ and ‘great time’. Flowed better.

Changed ‘furry glove’ to ‘big hand’ as we already established Randall was allergic to fake fur.

Changed ‘bid’ to ‘bade’ to fix the verb.

Changed ‘happy’ to ‘truly happy’. Flowed better.

DAY 9: Added ‘she does’ to ‘Dad and me’ to clarify.

DAY 10: Added ‘in that case’ to ‘with a warning’ to clarify.

Removed the section about the parents having ‘the talk’ with Eury. It felt too farcical for the scene.

DAY 11: Continuity fix: referred to Cy’s sister as ‘Rose’ in some places and ‘Beth’ in others. (Sigh.) Standardized it to ‘Beth’. What is it with me and changing characters’ names halfway through? Remind me to tell you some time about a short story of mine that actually got published with a character’s name changing midway through…

DAY 12: No changes!

DAY 13: Changed ‘tend’ to ‘tended’.

Changed ‘you’ to ‘your’ in ‘honor you father’. (Sigh.)

DAY 14: Rephrased ‘A little more advanced notice…’ The good old corkscrew syntax that comes from my being a lifelong Texan…!

DAY 15: No changes!

DAY 16: Removed ‘up’ from ‘Stuff me up’. Perfect prepositional (mis)use for Texas, but confusing to the world at large…

DAY 17: Changed ‘once’ to ‘one’. (Sigh.)

DAY 18: No changes!

DAY 19: Changed ‘prank’ to ‘joke, only a joke.’ It fit Benjamin’s frazzled mindset better.

Removed ‘inside, outside,’ because it made it sound like they’d left the house when they hadn’t yet.

Removed ‘back’ from lawn. Redundant.

Added ‘with’ to ‘no way to make things right. Flowed better.

DAY 20: Went through and standardized the capitalization of ‘Flags’ and ‘Flag Corps’ where needed.

Lowercased ‘Heaven,’ since it was being used informally.

DAY 21: Added ‘of’ to ‘couple school’. (Sigh.)

Added ‘like’ to ‘her peers did’ for clarity.

DAY 22: Rephrased ‘like Andi had been over’. Crazy syntax strikes again!

DAY 23: Changed a ‘said’ to ‘continued’. Oh no, I’ve committed a ‘said bookism’! But sometimes a different word works better…

DAY 24: Added a ‘ma’am’ to Andi’s ‘no problem.’ The teacher would expect more deference.

Added ‘at’ to ‘100%’. Flowed better.

DAY 25: Changed ‘didn’t’ to ‘wasn’t’ to match verbs.

DAY 26: Clarified ‘the world’ with a reference to Voidville.

DAY 27: Changed ‘self’ to ‘shelf’. (Sigh.)

DAY 28: Changed ‘a full head shorter,’ as I’d already used that phrase to describe Wren.

Continuity fix: Randall’s family were Church of Christ, not Baptist. As someone who was raised Baptist, I really ought to know the difference!

DAY 29: Changed ‘Joseph’ to ‘Jacob’. Just being picky here, as I’d already used Joseph as a possible Voidville character for one of Randall’s brothers.

Changed ‘sleep’ to ‘slumber’. Felt like a better word.

Removed ‘at first’ in Andi’s eating description. Felt unneeded.

Added foreshadowing to the invitation rewrite below.

DAY 30: Rewrote the section where Andi invited Cy to the dance with a letter. Couldn’t find a good place to foreshadow that. Replaced it with a phone message.

Added ‘And’ to ‘I have the power’. Felt better, as she was ending a list.

Added ‘else’ to ‘Or I let’. Flowed a little better.

Removed the apostrophe-‘s’ from the end of ‘Andi’. (Sigh.)

Changed ‘girlie’ to ‘girl’. Didn’t feel right for Mrs. Vail.

Expanded Mrs. Vail’s rejection of Benjamin.

Tweaked the bit about stealing the bicycles, as they were fleeing from Mrs. Vail.

DAY 31.1: Changed ‘At nine’ to ‘By nine’. Needed to be a little imprecise.

Changed ‘scuttled’ to ‘lumbered’ to reflect the huge crab’s size.

Added ‘Ziz’s’ to ‘the throat’ to err on the side of clarity.

DAY 31.2: Added ‘that version’ to ‘you’re playing’ to clarify.

Added ‘honestly?’ to ‘And I’. Flowed better.

Expanded Cy’s monologue to give a bit more info on how he came back to life.

Added a section to ‘as she looked at the arrow,’ to further demonstrate Andi’s mindset and build up the reveal of her being able to alter reality.

Added a bit after ‘Go get him,’ to show Benjamin actually getting to he feet before running. (Sigh.)

Changed ‘flying’ to ‘failing, desperate’. Benjamin’s not that coordinated.

Altered the bit with Benjamin laughing at Cy’s joke. Felt a bit too much like Batman: The Killing Joke.

Changed ‘come’ to ‘go’ to fix the verb.

Continuity: made a big deal about the rat-thing Andi sees earlier, but never called back to it or tied it up. Took care of that.

Added ‘He looked her right in the eyes’ to add a beat to Benjamin’s explanation.

Slightly expanded Andi’ debate on whether or not to go with Benjamin.

Softened Benjamin’s reference to the ring-toss game. Felt a bit spiteful.

Continuity: added a bit where Benjamin turns to face Andi before he falls backwards into the portal.

Continuity: added a small bit as Benjamin falls calling back to the sheet-draped Lloyd stand-in.

DAY 32: Removed ‘on’ after ‘clicked’. More Southern syntax.

Added a bit more dialogue to improve the pacing before they go to Eury’s truck.

Changed Eury’s dialogue so she refers to herself as Europa.

Changed ‘had’ to ‘took’. Felt like a better word.

Changed ‘awful’ to ‘horrible’. Better word choice.

Changed up the part as Eury asks Andi about her life to make the emotional shift flow a little better.

Continuity: Amended Andi’s statement about no kids, since passing stories on to her children was one of the reasons she didn’t follow Benjamin.

Changed ‘it was’ to ‘these trips were’ for clarity.

Changed ‘you’d’ to ‘you’ll’ to fix the verb.

Removed ‘Fighting for us’. The more I came back to it, the less I liked it. It felt a little too hero-worshippy for something both Andi and Eury have *extremely* mixed feelings over.

Changed ‘in the witching hour’ to ‘during…’. Better word.

Added a bit of action and dialogue to Andi’s ‘I try’. Felt a little abrupt before.

Added ‘tiny piece by tiny piece’ to ‘this world is eating me’. It’s a gradual, insidious process, as we all know.

Changed ‘Leviathan’ to ‘Ziz’ to fit Andi’s experiences.

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Next up is reading what I’ve done so far on FACE AFTER FACE, to re-familiarize myself before I begin the task of completing it…

***

MUCH TO-DO ABOUT NOTHING

FACE AFTER FACE (Book 1) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
VOIDVILLE (Book 2) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
LANTERNS (Book 3) – Cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish
TAPEWORM (Book 4) – Finish writing; printout markup; rewrites; cover art; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; publish

Onward!