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Progress Report
GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:14 AM
Woot! Finished editing chapter 10 into a final draft & next is chapter 11, The Vault.This may take awhile. I enjoy exploring this place in my imagination the real action begins and much of the story turns here. Who knew writing was so much fun?
Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:51 AM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Thanks to Timothy Maguire's review, I'm going back to A Kaliphian Matter: Revelations (the first book) and making some changes there in the first few chapters (mostly with respect to Ben's characterization) - changes that will ripple over into the second book, no doubt.

So, in some respects, I'm back to square one, but in others, my brain is being stimulated and challenged - and that's always a good thing.


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:23 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I've been working steadily on chapter 28. I only have one more scene to write and it's on to 29. I'm so close to the end I can taste it, but know I still have lots of work to do.
Timothy Maguire
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:18 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272


Nicki, I've done a review of your first three chapters. Good luck.

Nicki Hill
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:23 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Thank you, Timothy. 

GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:53 AM

Tara, you could look at the work my illustrator did at
http://thephoenixdiary.com/
Keep in mind I am responsible for the actual look, content and mood of what you see there. Meaning, she can do other kinds of illustration.

If you want to contact her, email me at the address on that webpage & I'll forward your email to her.


Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:25 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


Applying edits to Blank today. Trying for five hours of writing-related work a day. So far have an hour and fifteen today...
Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:41 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Phew, Robert, 5 hours a day??  That's significantly more dedication than I have, the exception being those days when the words just flow.  Good luck!

I spent a few hours at the local Panera this afternoon, working on tweaking/editing chapter 1 of Strains.  Let me tell you, Florence + the Machine is like a freaking muse, because the writing was completely rocking with Ceremonials on repeat.  Progress was dead slow - I only got rewrites done through the first page and a half - but it felt high-quality all the way.  It probably also helped that I left the laptop at home, so I was unplugged from distractions; and it always feels good to have that solid, visceral feel of ink-on-paper, especially when scribbling out and rewriting, scribbling out and rewriting.    I'm hoping to get chapter 1 finished by sometime on Saturday (earlier would be better, but tomorrow's booked and I dunno how much more time I'll get this evening, so I'm going to try to think practically), and then I'll post it and move on to chapter 2.

And a huge thank-you again to everyone who has left such detailed reviews of where I'm going awry.  They have been so ridiculously helpful, and if I ever get published, you'll all be getting such a shout-out in the acknowledgements. 


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:49 PM

@Robert
You Wrote:
"Trying for five hours of writing-related work a day. So far have an hour and fifteen today... "

Are you counting time on Book Country? I kinda do, myself. Anybody else consider time spent here as writing-related work?


Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:05 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


I don't count time on Book Country as writing-related work, because it distracts me from the work of actually writing!  It's kind of almost as bad for me as having a Facebook account, really, because I'll get on here and get distracted by what everyone else is doing and saying, and then I want to throw my two cents in...whoops. 

At least it's a more productive distraction than Facebook...


Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:19 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


I'm with Nicki in this one: time spent on Book Country - while highly informative, entertaining, and rewarding - is time being distracted (but in a good way!).

On nights I'm home, I usually turn on my laptop within an hour or so of getting home from work and do some editing/writing (with a few minutes here, a few minutes there detours to Book Country, my e-mail, Google News, and FB [shortest amount of time spent there]) until I can't see anymore (which is usually some 4 to 5 hours or so later). So, basically, time spent on Book Country sort of happens at the same time I'm editing/writing.

Now, mind you, this is on top of a full day at work staring at a computer screen (actually two) and EDITING. This week's joyous topic: Kidney stones (Yeh, I know, you're all jealous of me at the moment. Don't worry; it'll pass.).


Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:06 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Oh, Angela, I hope that pun was intentional, because I'm cracking up over here. 

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:15 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Time spent on here is more productive than FB, but it's still a distraction. To get anything done, I write on my typewriter, and edit my hardcopies at work where I have no access to my computer. Even though my phone does fancy stuff, it's still limited. I can't get on BC. ;p

I did editing on chapter 24 today.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:21 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


@Tara: You have a DA account too? I'm http://blewskymoon.deviantart.com . My account is kind of not used, yet I check it everyday. I'm hoping to get back into my art work, but novel finishing first.
Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:09 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Alas, Nicki, no. More than likely, it was a subconscious choice of words on my part.

GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:13 PM

@Tara: I visited your art page at http://mythian.deviantart.com. Excellent work! You don't need an artist, you just need the time to illustrate your novel. It may even read better if you did the art as you wrote it.

@LeeAnna: Your "Tao Concept Sketch 1" at http://blewskymoon.deviantart.com is strong and evocative. The character's personality shows in her stance & facial expression. You're better than you claim

Wish I had some of the talent you two have.


Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:43 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Ugh.  I'm feeling a little bummed out tonight because I had hubby read what I've rewritten so far (I hand-wrote it out a second time, far more neatly), and he was in a cranky mood and basically said that he didn't like it.  I've gotten multiple reviews advising me to stay away from opening with a nightmare/dream, so I'd come up with an alternate beginning that I personally really like, and so his rejection kind of stung.

So now I'm not sure whether to keep pursuing this new vein that I've tapped, or if I should go in a different direction yet again.  Does having fallen in love with my prose mean that it's better (since I felt much more ambivalent about the "first" draft than I do about this one)?  Or does it mean I'm just too enamored of these words that I slaved over for three hours today like a narcissist preening in the mirror, and it's really just a flowery load of garbage? 

Oh, literary existentialism...


Atthys Gage
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 12:24 AM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Nicki.  You have to give a new approach a little seasoning time.  I've gone gaga over new stuff at first, only to decide the original approach was better.  At any rate, a cranky spouse is probably not the best final arbiter.   Give it a couple of days.   Work on something else.  
GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 11:09 AM
@Niki - Ignore (even beloved) people who don't like to read what you write. Tastes vary. I've read enough of Strains to believe there are readers who will like your work. Go with it!
Nicki Hill
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 1:03 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Thanks for the encouraging words, GD.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 1:43 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Thanks for the compliment, GD. I really need to start doing art again. It's been 5 years since I really did anything, so I'm as rusty as it gets. My strongest medium was charcoal, but mine is all worn out. Guess I should scrape some money together to buy some more.
Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 6:27 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


I swear, LeeAnna, I think art supplies are some of the most expensive things out there - especially painting and drawing. What I paid for one tube of watercolor pigment last summer when I took a painting course, I could have bought 25 pounds of clay and 3 bottles of glaze. But, I'm glad I have all the painting supplies. So, when the painting bug bites me again, I won't have to go out and buy anything. Definitely scrape the money together and get yourself some charcoal. I believe that the time I spend working with my hands actually helps me think a little clearer when I shift back to writing/editing.

Nicki - I'm with GD on this: You can't take to heart what every reviewer/reader says about your work. People really do have a wide range of tastes (and opinions).

Here's a summation of some of the criticisms I've gotten on my work both here and elsewhere:

Too many dialog tags/Not enough dialog tags

Easily distinguished characters/Characters that blend together

Not enough action at the beginning/Too much action at the beginning

Too much of what's going on inside the main character's head/Not enough of what's going on inside the main character's head

Not enough back story/Too much back story

Too descriptive language/Not enough descriptive language


You get the idea. Ultimately, you know your story and what it is you want to convey to your readers and how you want to convey it.

Progress-wise: Have done some rewrites of chapters 1 and 2 of the A Kaliphian Matter: Revelations (book 1) and have plans to revamp Chapter 3.



Atthys Gage
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:24 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Angela is right.  When Flight of the Wren was in the Amazon.com contest, I got, frankly, nothing but plaudits for the writing.  Even people who didn't like the story or the characters still liked the writing.

 Except for one reviewer.  Asked to say what he thought needed improvement he said "The writing."  He singled out a phrase from the book and said, "This just doesn't work for me."

All of that's fine, but there was an irony.  The phrase he (or she) picked out was the same phrase that had been noted in three separate other reviews as an example of why the writing was so good! 

Taste is personal.  I mean, good is good, but even highly acclaimed writers get dissed on a regular basis by folks who just don't like them.  Or get them. 

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:49 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


@Angela: I know. I used to do oil glaze paintings (and should get back to them) but the paint, brushes, and even surfaces to paint on cost buku-bucks. It doesn't feel fair. I also want to invest in some ink and nibs because I got quite proficient at ink work, but I was using other people's materials. I really need to just get back on the horse.

On the topic of taste, that is true. The writing classes I've had were taught by a man who hated fantasy and science fiction because he thought it was an escape from reality. (He was the one who told me about Book Country when it went open beta.) Despite his ideas, he liked my work. He's the one who said that my genre doesn't over ride the core of the story, something that I've strived for. But hardcore fantasy fans, they don't love my work so much because not everything is drenched in the cliches I find so hard to stomach in most fantasy I read. Taste is subjective. Critics usually don't know that.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 3:02 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


Sadly, it's apparent I won't meet my July 1st deadline. Here it is June 30th and I'm still slogging through Chapter 19. I believe I need about 6,000 more words before the story is over. The inspiration is there. Real life just isn't as accomodating as I would like it to be. So I guess I'll set a new goal of July 15th. Hopefully, it won't take as long.


Charlotte Elise
Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 5:12 AM
My book, Saving Isondier, was up here a little while ago but I've taken it down for a serious rewrite. So far I have finished the prologue and three chapters. Finally getting somewhere!


Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 11:28 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Thanks again for all of the encouragement, guys.  After a couple of days away from it, I came back to Strains tonight to add some stuff to the epilogue (it kind of got thrown together in a hurry because I was ready to be done, and it was missing some relatively important things, etc).  It still needs work, but I feel better about it as a cohesive ending.  And then I typed out the new beginning to chapter 1, and...I'm really liking it.  I realized that what was missing from the new beginning was character voice - there was a lot more description, which I thought was good, but it was totally overshadowing Trev, which was not so good.  So the new beginning got expanded to include his voice, and now I'm so much happier with it.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to splice it into the existing chapter 1, and then I'll throw it up on here for anyone who's interested to take a look and let me know what you think.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 2:18 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


Glad to hear (read?) that, Nicki. I know I like to put some time between writing something and editing it so that I come back to it with fresh eyes. I plan to do that with "The Wedding Game" once I finish it. (Which I am a few hundred words closer to doing).
Laura Dwyer
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 2:00 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


Glad to see people making great progress here! Me, notsomuch. Last week was much too busy with work and life in general kept me from cracking the laptop at night. *sigh*
Though, I think I've had an epiphany on the fantasy work. We'll just see if it works on paper as well as it does in my head! 
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 2:08 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I currently am doing what I always do. When I get towards the end of a chapter I have a tendency to slow down and procrastinate. I'm forcing myself to sit down and work on it everyday instead of playing Skyrim, reading, or dicking around online. Today I'm cleaning.

Angela Martello
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 7:02 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Imagine just how much more productive we'd all be if we had "people." In my next life, I'm gonna be rich enough to have a personal staff. . .

I spent most of the weekend cleaning indoors (too stinking hot in Philadelphia to spend much time outside; not to mention the &(#*$)@* mosquitoes!). But I did manage to get some more editing/rewriting in book 1 (Revelations) done.

Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 3:21 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


I'm marathon writing this week to get ready for that contest.  I skipped out on my class at the gym this morning, even knowing that the gym will be closed tomorrow for the holiday (I'll go tonight when Hubby gets home...).

The motivation is there, thank goodness.  With the opening rewritten and much more attention paid to showing-versus-telling, I'm falling in love with the story all over again.  I'm also shortening the chapters up a smidgen (okay, I'm dividing them up so now each chapter is about half the length of a chapter from the original), and I'm incorporating more material from Noah's POV, especially at the points where nothing really of interest is happening from Trev's POV.  So, essentially, I'm rewriting the same scenes from the other perspective.  It's been a really interesting exercise - I've learned so much more about Noah, and it's just feeling much richer to me.  I'm excited to post the first few rewritten chapters soon! 


Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:12 AM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Ack! While doing some rewrites/edits of A Kaliphian Matter: Revelations, I found some major continuity issues in a couple of chapters towards the middle of the book. Will be going through the remaining chapters VERY CAREFULLY. Hope to post the entire draft this weekend (if I don't melt into a puddle of goo on a Philadelphia sidewalk during the next few days).

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 11:17 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I'm hoping to finish second round edits on chapters 24-27 by the end of work today. I've been kind of lax in working on my writing (big surprise). Seeing everyone doing well on here makes me want to put my nose to the grind stone.

In other news, it's cold and windy here in crazy Cali.
Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 11:22 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Lucky you, LeeAnna - it's been sweltering here in Michigan.  My car said it got up to 105 degrees yesterday, and the A/C was working its tail off to try to get our apartment below 80 (second floor, lucky us!).  DisGUSTing.  At least it makes me want to stay indoors and be productive in the cooler climate. 

Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 4:01 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


I finished the rewrite of chapter 1 today; it's now chapters 1 and 2, and I've started on the new chapter 3.  I also renamed the book; I still wanted it to be something related to music (except more obviously), while also still having double meaning, so I picked Key Change.  I'm still not really sure how I feel about it, but a lot of that, I think, is because it's weird to call my book by a different title after all these months of calling it Strain(s).

Atthys Gage
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 5:31 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


I like it. 

Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 5:44 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


I think Key Change is a great title.

Timothy Maguire
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 5:59 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272


Having read The-Novel-Formerly-Known-As-Strains, I've got to say that the new title does work a lot better. How much that's due to Strains making me constantly think of bioterror thrillers is an entirely different matter....

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 8:01 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Key Change is a nice title.

I finished my 2nd round edits on chapters 24-27. Now all I have to do is put them in the computer and print them out before I do it all over again. One more round, and they'll be up here on BC!

In other news, I hope to finish 28 soon. I just need to stop procrastinating, or being busy.
Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 8:36 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Thanks, guys.  Hope you'll all feel the same about the changes in the first couple of chapters.  I'm going to post them tonight, I think - I was hoping to get chapter 3 done first, but my computer froze up on me when I was 3.5 pages into it, and nothing of those pages was saved.  So I had to reconstruct them to the best of my ability, and time was lost there.  Thankfully, I actually remembered most of what I wrote, so content was salvaged, but oh, were many tears of anger and frustration shed before that happened!  But between remembering most of it and getting it retyped, and getting to yoga tonight, I am feeling much more zen about the whole thing. 

Nicki Hill
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 3:04 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Okay, the first four revised chapters are up on here; my goal is to finish chapter 5 and then focus on writing my synopsis by Saturday night, since the contest deadline is Sunday (eep!).  I am feeling so much better about how the book is playing out now, though.  It's exciting to feel this excited about it!

Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2012 7:52 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Where did everyone go?  Hope you're all busy with your projects, or taking a lovely 4th of July vacation! 

I entered that contest today.  It's rough, knowing that I just willingly tossed my baby out into cyberspace for the express purpose of having it judged by serious romance people.  Completely different from how I felt posting it here, which I think should be a little weird, but it's not.  Completely different situations and end goals.  Anyway.  I think this is me going into shock that I actually did it.

Now...I've actually gotta finish the rest of the book again.  Writing a synopsis for all new (as-yet-unwritten) middle material was the hardest part of the whole thing, but at least now I've got some direction.


Alexandria Brim
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2012 8:58 PM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


Haven't been feeling well this weekend. Puts a damper on writing.

But good luck in the contest, Nicki!
Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:08 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Aw, bummer, Alexandria.    I hope you feel better soon.

Thanks for the luck!


Angela Martello
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:38 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Been going back and forth to the hospital since Saturday morning. Had to bring my father in. He has COPD and emphysema and ends up in the ER at least once every spring/summer. They admitted him yesterday afternoon. Lots of lung treatments, diuretics to get rid of the fluid build up, and monitoring. Also have been spending a lot of time on the phone with my siblings scattered around to keep them all up to date.

Nicki - Good luck with the contest. I did read the new drafts you posted and added a comment to my initial review. Good stuff.

Alexandria - Hope you feel better soon.

Despite the craziness of the weekend, I did finish editing/tweaking the first book (too freaking hot to do anything else). If it didn't take so dang long to upload chapters to this site, I would do it tonight. Maybe I'll upload some of them. . .


Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:53 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Oh, Angela, so sorry to hear about your dad.    I hope they get him cleared up and out of there soon!

Also, I did get your comment, and just posted a reply.  Thanks so much!


GD Deckard
Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012 9:59 AM

Finished basic editing of chapter 11, The Vault. I love writing about ancient vaults. What could you find there? Next: edit ch 12, The Rooms Of Per. Now, that will be fun. Rooms in the ancient vault put there by advanced life forms. Woot!

I started this basic editing because some of the editing tips at
http://www.yatscoffbooks.com/2011/12/10-rules-to-self-editing-basic-1st-draft-editing-the-last-5/
made sense to me. So, I stopped writing new material long enough to apply what I've learned so far to the first half of the story.
In the process, I've smoothed out story bumps, made the plot line brighter & added depth to my notes on what happens next.

OK, so this won't be completed by the end of June. But I now have half a novel I'm not afraid to show anybody and confidence in my work. I like that. Only one impediment on the horizon. LeeAnna's rhapsodic posts on Skyrim made me order it. The gods only know what a first class video game will do to my schedule.


Tom Wolosz
Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012 10:46 PM
Joined: 5/25/2011
Posts: 122


Hello To All,



   Just finished reading through about a month and a half of posts and decided to add in my two cents.



    Too busy to do much on Book Country starting about a month ago, and then two weeks ago headed out to camp in the Adirondacks.  No internet, cell phone service a joke – the modern version of roughing it!



   Worked like mad to finish draft 6 of “Agony” before leaving, then reread the entire book in a screen house (keeps away the bugs) and tent in between fits of kayaking and canoeing.  I read a hard copy print out, made some corrections (mainly my poor writing) and then took out the laptop.  Between the two batteries (the original is pretty bad, lasts about 50 minutes; the cheap Chinese knock-off gives me an hour and a half) managed to make all the final corrections.  Got back and uploaded the story to Bookkus (thanks for suggestion, G. D.).  Well, we’ll see what happens.



    Also got another reject on “And the Last Shall Be First”.  Managing editor didn’t believe the Prime.  He said Captain (guess he wanted Kirk), and was obviously unfamiliar with academic administrators.  Oh well, tried another venue, still waiting.



    @Angela, best wishes for your father.  Been there, done that, so you have my heartfelt best wishes too.



Tom


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:32 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


@GD: I'm sorry to announce that Skyrim has just released a new DLC as well. So instead of 3 months getting sucked away, it will be 3 months and an week. Especially since they managed to tie the DLC into the main story line. They do warn, don't start it until you're level 10. I can see why. The best part: armored, vampire slaying huskies.

 

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