Angel Behind Me, Witch At My Side

Busy, busy day, though not as busy as I might have been.  Editing, shopping, lunch, more editing, TV, and finally getting my Halloween story set up in Scrivener.  Up at 6:30, down at 11:15.

Not a bad stretch.

TV consisted of sitting in the dark and watching the last Doctor Who episode until Christmas.  We sat in the dark because the Internet said we were suppose to do this, probably to make The Weeping Angels that much more frightening than they already are.

It was a good departure episode, for it was time for the Ponds to leave and make way for a new Companion.  As I like to say, Moffat is Evil–I should make a meme out of that, but I’m too lazy–and he teases you, yes he does.  He loves to play with time, as well, but then, what would you expect from the man who invented Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Whimey Stuff?

After the show, then it was up to get my Halloween story ready.  I’ve through of a basic concept, and my daughter gave me some ideas that I may, or may not, use–some of which I’d love to use–so all I needed was a title, which was driving me nuts.  I finally hit on something, which brought about the response, “No one can pronounce that!”  Not my problamo, dig?  I’m just the writer.  Besides, I know what it says, so I’m not worried.

When dream time came, I was pretty much ready.  I took a nap during the day, so it was probably closer to midnight when I finally fell asleep, but then came the dreams . . . oh, my.  Talk about not so much out there while being out there.

There was a company, and a lot of dancing in a huge space where we were building something.  One of my friends was a female humantaur (looking like a human with four legs; think of a centaur without the horse body) dressed pretty much as I imagine one of the characters in my story will be dressed–and she even had a pointy hat.  There was driving around and visiting towns with friends.  There was my trying to pick out a tie for the owner of the company.  There was a lot of coffee–like, we’re talking, twenty gallon vats.

Oh, and there was a Weeping Angel going around trying to zap people into the past.  I know because I saw it a few times as it followed me around.  I think it was avoiding me, though, because I was with a witch friend, and I was in my witch dress and hat–yeah, I was.

I’m a cute witch, too.  You gotta trust me on this.

After the depressing dreams of the night before, last night was much better, even for all its strangeness.  I don’t know, but there was a frivolity that said, “Don’t take this seriously, just go with the flow.”  I wonder if this has something to do with my Halloween story, which is going to be, well, light and fun.  Not with all the death and revenge and murder I had in my last story.

Naw.  This’ll be fun.  You know it’ll be fun when the first line is, “Hey, Witchbaby!  Come here!”

Now all I have to do is write.

I See What You’re Doing There, Dreams

Back to the Real Home, back to editing . . . back to my dreams being a pain in my butt.

Though the drive was long and stressful, I managed, after a little rest, to get back into Her Demonic Majesty.  There was a chapter waiting for me, the second one of Part Three, and since it was only about thirty-four hundred words, I figured I could knock it out pretty quick.  With some help from Genesis (I’ve been listening to a lot of their live shows on YouTube, in particular one great bootleg recorded in Zürich in 1977), I got through it with few problems.

The next chapter was up, and it was about 9:30, but seeing how the waiting chapter was a little over fifty-four hundred words, I decided to leave it for today, which was tomorrow yesterday.  I know:  wibbly-wobbly timey-whimey.  Don’t worry; I got this shit.

So it was off to bed with the Luna Moth.  The window open–which I can’t do at The Undisclosed Location because of noise–and the cool air entering the room.

Then the dreams hit . . .

I’ve been remembering bits and pieces of my dreams lately, but nothing that I would call complete.  But this one last night–it was vivid, it was long, and it was sort of condescending.  To make a long story short, it seemed most people I knew had a device that would tell you just about everything important about anyone you picked out.  Nearly everyone I knew was checking out things on everyone else–famous people, not-so-famous people, and people in our own little circle of friends.

When they got to me, the readout was always the same:  blackness, with nothing written upon the dark background.  The slate was, so to speak, completely blank.

The only thing everyone in the dream took away from this was that I was not an interesting person, and nothing important had ever happened to me.

This went on for what seemed like hours.  Even with all the running around I did trying to find things to do, to find people to interact with, to conjure up some magic in this world that would make someone sit up and take notice–nothing.

The screen remained black.

Yeah, I know what you’re doing there, Subconscious.  All this talk I’ve given, and the words that I’ve written, about sending off my novel–this is your way of saying, “Hey, loser, stick to coding, because that’s something you at least know how to do.  If you’re gonna fail, fail at that.”

As people may, or may not know, I have made no secret that I have suffered from great doubt at times.  I think everyone who gets it in their head to do something creative, to try their hand at making something that can be appreciated by other, always reaches points where they step back and say, “This totally sucks.  Why am I wasting my time?”

I’m no different.  I have had more than a few “Worst Novel Evar!” moments, and I believe I’ll have them for some time to come.  It’s the way the creative mind works:  you are your own worst judge, your own worst critic.  Even when you’re creating something good, you think it’s the pits and should be left in an alley for the rats to consume.

But, I can look at this dream in another way . . . see, the screen was black, because the future, for me, hadn’t been written.  If there ever was a tabula rasa, that device was it.  My life hasn’t been written, and I can do anything I want.  I don’t need to worry about perception, because that hasn’t occurred.

I can look upon this, not in a negative way, but as the Schrödinger’s cat of dreams.  It can go anywhere, depending upon observation of events.  Until there, there is not future, and without a future, there isn’t a past.

So bring it, Dreams.  I’m two-thirds of my way through that big chapter, and I’ve got a story to write.

You really think you’re gonna hold me back?

Re-imaging the Vision

There was a point last night, during the editing of Chapter Sixteen of Her Demonic Majesty, that I found it necessary to slap the side of my head.  I was probably half way through the chapters, and the editing was turning into a bit of a rewrite.  Not that I was changing the tone of the chapter any, but I was cutting here and adding there . . . at one point I was forty words down from where the word count had started, and by the time I slapped myself I was just a hair over one hundred words over where the chapter started–

I sort of mumbled, “I can’t believe I sent this off for publication.”  Because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered during this edit, it’s that I should have never sent Her Demonic Majesty for publication back in June of this year.

It’s not that it’s bad, but there are so many little things that needed correction, and more than a few areas where it needed elaboration.  With Chapter Sixteen, it was really a case of changing around how some things were said, getting rid of a few things that were unnecessary–I sometimes used two or three words to say something, where one was sufficient–and made things a little clearer.  I think there was only one part in one chapter–Chapter Fifteen–where I realized something was likely happening in a room, and I never indicated what, if anything, was done to fix that issue.

So seven chapters remain.  My original plan was to finish up by Saturday evening, put my submission package together Sunday, and fire everything off to Harper Voyager on Monday morning, 1 October.  That will not happen.  I’ve got a new story to start this weekend, and at best I might edit four chapters.

So . . . I will get Her Demonic Majesty off to Harper Voyager before the deadline closest, but I’m not going to be the first out of the gate.  Because to rush at this point would be to half-ass the edit.  And half-assing at this point is little more than admission that I, the writer, does not give a single shit about getting published.

That is about as far from the truth as one could get.

I am under no illusions that I am sending off something perfect.  But, this copy is going to be damn good.  It’s already damn good; I’m in the process of making it better.

Some might say, “Why are you putting all this upon your shoulders?  Get someone to help you.”  The time will come when I will get help, but right now I am sharpening my skills.  I am learning an art form that I didn’t know when I started on this path–and that is the art of editing.  And while editing Majesty, I’m seeing what it takes to sharpen a story.

I am making it sharper.  So when it hits the desk at Harper Voyage, this time it’s going to make someone take notice.

Or such is my hope.

If there is one think I take away from writing, it’s that I don’t know everything.  I am learning each day, and the more I learn, the better I become.  I know now it’s only a matter of time before this is recognized.  All that was really necessary was for me to do the work.

And understand that not all visions are right the first time you see them.

Museday

This is a strange thing to say, but I once had an idea for a story . . .

It was a very simple story, about a writer and his muse, which is nothing like that movie, The Muse, which was something of a Hollywood insider movie, and the muse in question may or may not have been a crazy person.  Mine is different, naturally.  And it’s not about a guy who was successful–it’s about a guy trying to find that success.

The gist of it is this:  the guy goes to bed one night, and he’s shaken awake by someone, a very pretty girl–think Manic Pixie Dream Girl type–who’s telling him that he’s got a great idea, and he needs to write it down now.  Of course, he does have one, and he writes it down, and when he goes back to bed, the girl is gone, vanished, totally ghosted.

But not for long.

She starts coming into his life when he least expects it.  She just shows up:  at home, at work, while he’s shopping.  She brings him ideas, and she won’t leave him alone until he starts writing.  The more he writes, the more she’s around, and eventually, as he works upon this epic novel, she’s living with him pretty much all the time.  He and she both know what she is, and they’re happy with that–

Or are they?

That was really as far as I ever got with the idea.  There was so much going on in my life at the time that I was lucky to find the time to even consider the idea, much less flesh it out.  But I’ve just added it to my idea file, so there!

I talk about my Muse a lot.  To me, she is a real person, with real feelings, real needs, real ambitions.  She doesn’t exist merely to get me off my ass and into writing–though, in order to write, I have to be on my ass, if you know what I mean.  She’s there to do her own thing as well.  It’s just that one of the things she does is inspire me to do great things.

I haven’t done those things yet, but I keep working at them.

There was a time when my Muse was the only thing that kept me writing.  She was the only one who believed in me, who encouraged me to push myself, who said, “Keep going.”  I listened to them, and even when things were so very dark for me that I didn’t know if I could continue, I kept going.  Because my Muse would be unhappy if I ever quit.

In my unpublished story Echoes, Albert recollects a dream he had about someone he once knew, a woman named Marissa.  There is a line in the story:

But Albert was in the mood to talk—or, if nothing else, to finish describing his dream. “She said, ‘I hope you are touching others as you touched me’.”

You touched me.”  I have heard my Muse say that to me from time to time.  At least, I think that’s what she’s said.  You know how it is with Muses; one moment they’re very happy, and the next they’re pulling a knife on you.

Like the character in my idea, I would love to be able to sit and talk to my Muse.  To enjoy lunch with her.  Or dinner.  Or to wander a book store.  Connect with her in a way beyond the, “Me Muse, You Writer!” relationship.

It’s not possible, though, because my Muse is real only in my mind.  But . . .  She’s there every day.

Today is Museday, her special day.  How will I please her?

I’ll keep writing.

Waking Up in a Snowbound Valley

The last few nights have been, shall we say, pretty mediocre.  I’ve been getting my sleep, but the thing I’m really missing out on are my dreams.  When I was back home–the Real Home, that is–I was sleeping in and getting some rest.  Now that I’m back at The Undisclosed Location, the sleep is back to being languid, and while I’m getting rest, I’ve had better.

I’m missing my dreams, though.

I’ve been keeping up with my editing, though.  Knocked off another six thousand or so words just last night, and a little over four thousand the night before . . . I’ve probably edited close to thirty-five thousand since just Thursday or Friday, and I’ve probably another twenty thousand or so to go.  I’m being realistic in thinking I won’t make my 1 October date for submission to Harper Voyager, but it will go out next week.

This is all good, but something happened this morning that’s never happened before.  Let me set it up:

I was in bed; I think I’d woke up the first time about 4:30 AM.  I was dozing back and forth between being half asleep and half awake.  I let the alarm go off, then laid there for a while, because I don’t like to get out of the bed right away.

It was during this time that I started to doze again, and when I feel that coming on I’ll do something to remind myself that I shouldn’t fall asleep, or I’ll be late for work.  And I wouldn’t want that, would I?

So about the time I was suppose to be hauling myself out of bed, I found myself in a state that was . . . well, it was one of those strange moments when I could have been awake, but I didn’t feel like it.  As my eyes opened, I caught myself saying, “Don’t worry, Emma.  We’re gonna get home.  I promise.”

That wasn’t me speaking; that was one of my characters, talking to another character.

It was strange that I did that, however.  Yes, I was thinking of a scene with those two characters the night before, and they were on my mind before I dozed off to sleep.  But I didn’t dream of them; I don’t remember what I dreamed about.

But when I said those words, I knew where I was:  I was in a tent, in Quebec, up near the James Bay Project, and there was a blizzard raging around us.  I had to get up, break camp, and head for home by . . . lets just say we had to fly.  There was little food, and the feeling that our chances of making it home were low.

But I was feeling up.  I knew we’d make it–or, at the least, I was trying to appear that way, because I knew it was going to be a long day.

This is going to be a long day; I know it.  I felt it last night, and I’m feeling it today.  Things to do, people to meet, and writing to be had.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get into bed about midnight.

Then do it all again tomorrow.

Sometimes, I think I’d rather be flying through a blizzard with a good friend at my side.

As least I’d know that if I go down, if I don’t make it, I’m not going alone . . .

Time Enough to Bring the Strangeness

The drive to The Undisclosed Location wasn’t without its moments.  Not only because everyone seemed to drive as if they were possessed by the spirits of old people from Arizona who were frightened to death by some non-white person they thought was coming to do them harm, but because I was able to think things out for a story.

No, not those stories:  another story.

I had time to think.  I had time because to not think would have done a lot to put me in a bad mood, and I didn’t want to be in a bad mood as I rolled into town.  The last thing I want to do is show up at my apartment at 8:30 PM, knowing I have things to do, but to do it all feeling like I should just take a two-pound mallet to my skull, so . . . story time thinking!

I revisited some territory I’d seem before–namely, my character Jeannette, from Her Demonic Majesty.  I’d like her to continue, to carry on, to have many adventure that I can write–and lay around for people to read.  It seems like I do that with most of my characters:  I seek out additional trouble for them to get into.

Jeannette is no different.  After diving back into the final edit of Demonic, I’ve found myself liking Jeannette a whole lot more.  She’s a great character, and I need to have her grow.  So I thought about her yesterday, while I was on the road–

There was a story I once talked about, taking a couple of character close to my heart, and pulling them into Jeannette’s world.  I decided to forget about that particular story, but yesterday I was wondering–what if only one of the characters showed up on Jeannette’s doorstep, and she knew this was wrong, because she knew there should be two, not one.

With that, I was off.

Yes, I had a story there.  I won’t say it’s a great story, or even a good one, but there’s a story there.  It’s all in the telling, as they say, and not by just throwing words out there for people to consume.  By the time I made it to my apartment, I had my cast of characters, I had schools, I had events.  I knew how I wanted things to go.  There was just one point near the end that was, shall we say, a bit sticky?  Yeah, sticky.  I’ll leave it at that and say I’ll need to think about what comes after, because I know it involves something that is likely to pop up in another story.

But, wait!  There’s more!

See, as I headed into work today, something else came to mind.  A line, spoken by Jeannette, as she was sitting in a restaurant:

“This place has always bugged me.  It’s full of people acting big time, and not having the faintest fucking clue what that means.  They’ve tried their damnedest to cover up their hick bullshit with a thin veneer of culture, but it’s a total fail.  What we got here is nothing more than Deliverance, without the mountains.”

I know where this story goes, but that was the line running about my imagination as I headed towards where I park ever morning before work.  It’s a good line–

It could end up being an even better story.

Half Way Up the Pole

That long race to the end of the Harper Voyager finish feels like it’s almost there–but not quite.

This weekend was, in terms of writing, very long.  Did a lot of editing; a lot of editing.  Only six chapters in Her Demonic Majesty were put under my watchful eye, but when we look at the total wordage, we’re talking about twenty-four thousand words.

That is some cranking, my friends.

I’m half-way through the novel.  Most the of short chapters are out of the way, and there are some monsters left.  I’ve got one that’s about eighty-four hundred words, and that’s going to take most of whatever free time I have to get it into shape.

So even though I’m half-way finished, I have to place my work on the novel in the context of real life, and the time I have to do this work.

Today and Friday are “travel days,” which is to say, “I go from my home to The Undisclosed Location, so I can drag my ass off to work, the come back home when it’s over.”  Friday I’ll have a little time to do some editing, but tonight–probably not. It really just depends if I can find any time today.  Or tonight.

Not like I gotta sleep, right?  Not that I do anyway . . .

I need some time to put the submission package together, which should happen Sunday, but I’m finding that I’ll need to start working on my next story for the Storytime blog.  Four weeks starts 1 October, and I need to make the first chapter sing.  Or mumble the words if nothing else.

I’ve yet to begin my research for NaNoWriMo.  I keep saying I’m going to do it, and yet . . . nothing yet, folks.  As I did last year, I’ll probably start throwing the Scrivener project together about the second week of October, and jam, jam, jam.

Even though I’m half way to the end, my expectation that I’m going to wake up on 1 October, walk over to the computer, and kick off my package first thing that morning, is wishful thinking at best.  Between travel, work, and writing, I’m likely going to have to let the timetable slip just a bit.  Maybe a day or two, but it’s still a bit.

I know:  I have until the 14th to get it off.  I don’t want to be one of the last, I want to be in the first wave.  I want to get whatever news is coming to me as soon as possible.

The edits are good.  I’m getting a good feel during this reading, and I don’t feel like the novel is a piece of crap.  I’ve fixed what needed to be fixed, but the plot is good.  It’s all in the mechanics at the moment.

There is a lot of work ahead of me.  Don’t worry; I’ll get it.  I be a writin’ fool, you know, and I’m gonna make this chance a good one.  My odds of getting picked are as good as anyone else, and if it’s meant to be, it will.

In the mean time . . . damn, I need to do some writing, don’t I?

The Need For Make Believe

It may not look like it, but that’s Iceland and Hatsune Miku in the picture to the right.  Oh, sure, it looks like a couple of girls in funny, costumes, but trust me on who they are.  I know, because I spend the day with them, and I’m familiar with their back story.

Yesterday was a day spent at a local anime con, and while I wasn’t all that much in a hurry to go–mostly because I had a lot of editing to do, and being there was going to take away from that time–I went, mostly because my daughter wanted me to go.

While I walked around a bit, and mingled with the otaku crowds–and even spoke with a few old friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years–I mostly found a place to sit, plug in my computer, and chat a bit while I snapped pictures with my phone and uploaded said pictures to my Facebook page.  And I wasn’t being a creeper; the one time I snapped a picture of someone else, I asked if I could take her picture.  There is a certain decorum one should maintain when you are at a con, and people–particularly woman–are in costume.

Otherwise you should stay home and leave the people having fun alone.

There was a time when I had my own anime fandom.  I like to tell my daughter I’m “Old School,” which is a way of saying, “None of the stuff I watch has been around for decades.”  But I’ve worn by share of crazy tee shirts, and sat through my share of films that, back in the day–aka, twenty years ago–were subtitled by fans because that was the only way you could see that stuff that, at the time, wasn’t suppose to be seen outside of Japan.

The only time I’ve every gotten into costume goes back even farther:  1984, to be precise.  It was at a Doctor Who convention in Chicago, and I decided to dress up at the Forth Doctor, complete with a twenty-one foot scarf.  It’s unfortunate that no pictures of this event exist any longer–the ex-wife has them all, I believe–but somewhere there is a picture of me mugging to the camera while I stand next to a Dalek a couple of guys made in there high school auto shop.  Good times, let me tell you.

Since I don’t have that picture, I’ll have to give you something else, which is likely to be a bit frightening.  So here you go:  me as Hatsune Miku.  Kawaii!  You’re welcome.

I wish my earrings had been longer . . .

There is nothing wrong with getting up in costume–or, as the kids called it, cosplay–and having a good time.  Make believe is what I do for a part-time living, remember?  Maybe I’m not getting into a costume every time I write, but I am getting into there heads.  In a way, I have to be my characters so I can deal with them, deal with how they are suppose to be feeling, and help them figure out where they’re headed within the context of the story.

You have to get inside their skin, put on their clothes, and walk in their shoes.  When I read a story, I can tell when someone has gotten into the mind of their character, and when they are just “writing them out.”  And I’m not talking about Mary Sueing someone; I mean when you have sat and thought about what the character is suppose to do, how they are suppose to feel, knowing their dreams and aspirations, their fears and flaws.  Particularly those last two, because what is a real character if they have no fears, no flaws?  I’ll tell you who they are:  someone named Mary Sue.  Please, you may love the ground I walk upon.

Getting in touch with an inner child is important when you write.  Neil Gaiman said it best:  “Growing up is highly overrated.  Just be an author.”  Think about how much fun it was pretending you were someone else, and channel that feeling into something that brings a feeling of wonder to some place inside yourself that hasn’t been touched in a while.  Sometimes you gotta break out the imagination.  Some times you gotta remember what it was like trying to wear mom’s high heels.  As a famous doctor once said, “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.

As for getting the mind limber and going to different places . . . Miku-chan (not me, the one at the very top) had reddish hair under that wig, and she said she wanted people to call her Pepper Potts–who, as we know, is the only thing that allows that drunk Tony Stark to do the things a normal person does–though I’m sure a fifth of Crown Royal helps.  Thinking ahead, I told her she should keep her hair color, and come to the con next year as Rescue, wearing her own powered armor suit.

If you look at the picture to the right, you can see just how fetching an Iron Pepper would look.  Who cares if it’s gonna be a lot of work to put it together, because if you show up at a con looking like that, you’re going to rock.

So let that cosplay flag fly.  Use it in your daily life, because we don’t have as much fun as we should, and if you aren’t having fun day-to-day, then what’s the point.  And let it come out and play when you feel the need to create something that’s going to entertain others–even if that “other” is only you.

And you know what?  I look good in a wig.  I don’t know about the blue hair, though.  Maybe something in a red, then I can say, “I wear ginger now . . . gingers are cool.”

Catchy line.  I should use that more often.

Quintessential

First there was my 100th post, then my 200th, then came the 300th . . . what happened to post four hundred?  Does anyone really give a shit?

Here we are, five hundred posts down, and I’m writing this at 10:02 PM, on a Friday night, after a long day of editing.  Really:  about ten thousand words were read and changed, removed, or add, and three chapters to Her Demonic Majesty look far better than how they started.  I also blogged this morning about my crazy dreams, and edited a blog post for a friend.

Sounds like something a writer would do, doesn’t it?

In my 200th post–which came on the last day of 2011–I said there were a lot of things I wanted.  I started with a lot of hope, and not a few life changes.  By the beginning April, when post three hundred was written, I was waxing semi-poetically about what I’d done, what were I felt I was in my life, and where I thought I hoped I would go.

I’d have probably been better of waxing my car, because the summer of 2012 was one for the Book of Strangeness.

I was sick for two months.  I had a mental breakdown that really threatened to turn serious–probably not as serious as it might have seemed to some, but trust me:  there were a few moment when I came damn close to checking myself into a “facility” for a few weeks because I didn’t know what I might do.

Through all that I wrote.  I submitted work.  I still have one work hanging in limbo, and another that was outright rejected–the rejection coming right at the start of my breakdown.

I was also in the middle of a story that, as much as I wanted to get it written, was depressing me.  Maybe it was the material, maybe it was my state of mind–maybe it was both.  No matter:  I finished it, another short novel under my belt waiting for the Editing Fairy to come along and kick my butt.

But something has changed in the last six weeks.  Call it another outlook on life; call it finally starting to change things around; call it whatever the hell you’d like.  But I feel different.  There was a moment, probably right at the end of July, beginning of August, where I was about to say screw it and do what every other “burgeoning writer” does–stop.

Just freakin’ stop.

I was going to shut down the blog, shut down writing, kicked it all to the curb–kill my dream, as Jim Butcher called it.  Crawl into a hole and let things be.

I didn’t.  Really, I couldn’t.

There was a drive, a long drive back to The Undisclosed Location, where I knew that if I killed my dream, there wasn’t much of a point of going on with anything.  I didn’t though.  Despite the depression and the suicidal thoughts that seem to hang around like angry flies buzzing around some roadkill festering in the summer sun, I couldn’t do this last thing.

I couldn’t do it, because it wasn’t right.  And because my Muse would have haunted my ass, even in whatever passes for an afterlife.

I changed.  Work sucks, but so what?  I’m dealing.  Writing is hard:  tell me something new.  Finding time to do all this shit–I’ve already given my views on that, and I’m sticking to it.

I’m back writing–well, editing my butt off, actually.  I’m going to submit Her Demonic Majesty and not look back.  If it’s accepted, fantastic.  If not, I’ll look again.  And again.

And write more, and send it out.  Because that really is my dream, and killing the dream is the same as killing myself, and damned if I’m ready for that.

There’s too much happening to me these days.  Some is good, some is bad, and some goes right back to when I said 2012 was going to be a year of change.  Yeah, baby, change is coming.  New feeling, new attitudes, maybe even a new life.

Regardless, the dream continues.  I’ve spent most of my life hiding, worried, scared, and unable to do what I wanted to do.  I’m moving on; the hell with the old.  I ain’t got time to be sad, and though I might get depressed, I know I’ll come back out–eventually.

I have to.

I’ve got another five hundred posts to write, don’t you know?

See you when that happens.

But I Liked It

Oh, you miserable day.  Why does thou torment me so much?

Actually, it’s not this day; this day is just getting started, and who knows what it’s got lying in wait for me?  No, no:  I’m talking about yesterday.  Well, not just yesterday–last night.

My dreams.  You killed me with such strangeness.

Don’t ask me how I was back in college without actually taking any college courses, because that’s the way dreams work.  They aren’t suppose to always make sense, but here I was, hanging with friends, driving at breakneck speeds down a country road–like that have here in Indiana by the butt-loads–the windows rolled down, the radio cranked up, the wind whipping everywhere.

And like that–it all went to hell.

Somehow we drove up a huge ramp and launched out into empty space–as in, we were flying over everything.  Then the ground dropped away, and there was about a two hundred foot fall for us to enjoy in what seemed like very slow motion.  You know, you’re falling, but the fall is taking forever.  I even expected my life to flash before whatever was functioning as eyes, but apparently it’s too boring for even a quick death scroll.

Then, we hit bottom . . . and everything was fine.  Seriously.  It was as if we’d just suffered a minor fender bender; the car wasn’t even damaged that badly.  We just stumbled out of the car in shock and collapse wherever we though was a good spot.

That’s when it happened . . .

One of the passengers in this flying death machine was a pretty cute redhead, and as she grew near me, I reached out and gave her a kiss.  Not just a kiss, but one of those, “We survived death; lets make babies!” kiss.  I felt everything:  the touch, the warmth, the tenderness, the excitement . . . I don’t normally feel things in a dream, save for terror or sadness, but this was so nice, so wonderful–

Of course, that meant it also had to go to hell.

Once we all found our way back to whatever crazy ass campus where we stayed–which was so cool it had an indoor baseball field–and no sooner we were back in a library, one where we were the only people there, the girl I kissed came up to me, all pissed to hell and screaming, telling me that I didn’t mean it, that I’d only kissed her because–and here she waves a paper at me–it was all for an assignment!  Apparently there was something on the paper about finding life affirmations and stuff like that, but that’s not important:  the woman I’d kiss was totally burned with me ’cause, when I kissed her after surviving freakin’ death, I didn’t mean it!

Which mean I wasn’t getting any others.

The dream went into a tailspin quickly after that, mostly because I really did want another kiss.  It’s been a long time since I’ve kissed in real life, and the dream one was beautiful.  So to be told that I didn’t mean it, no chance you’re getting another one, loser, really burned me hard.  Not only that, but I lost my car in the snow–which popped up overnight during the summer–and then I couldn’t find my shoes . . .

Man, when things go to hell in my dreams, they go to hell.

Oh, I’ll edit today and put things behind me.  Forget the cute girl who said I didn’t mean my kiss when I totally did.  Forget I cheated death again.

I wonder what the hell I’m gonna get thrown at me tonight?

The Marathon Cruise

First, lets recognize a couple of birthdays.  First, we have George R. R. Martin, born in 1948, which if my magic calculator is correct, means he turns 64 today.  I offer this as a public service to all my friends who follow A Song of Ice and Fire series, only to remind them that he’s another year closer to not finishing the series.

Second, we have the birthday of a certain Malcolm Reynolds, who likes to wear a brown coat and tight pants.  Of course, he won’t be born until 2468, so if my magic calculator is still working correctly, we only have to wait 456 years before the blessed event occurs.  Take heart, people, you have plenty of time to get flowers out to Shadow.

With that said, lets move on to the other insanity.

Writing is hard:  I think I’ve said that on more than a few occasions.  If you want to create a story, and do it the right way, you gotta work at this stuff.  You gotta write every day, even if it’s just a little bit here and there.  And you have to edit.  It’s not enough to get it slick the first time around–you gotta polish it up even more after you’re through with the story.

Last night was like that with me.  Two chapters of Her Demonic Majesty, about six thousand words.  The first chapter disappointed me; found all sorts of things that needed fixing, so I fixed them.  By the time I was finished, I’d cut out about one hundred words, rewrote more than a few paragraphs . . . got it nice and pretty.

Then I looked at the next chapter:  another three thousand words.  It was 8:30 PM.  Did I want to get into that?

You do what you do, right?

This chapter was much better.  I rewrote a few paragraphs, but the net result of this edit was to add words, to make everything clearer.  Stuff was removed, but the net result of this edit was to bump the word count.  By the time I was finished, I found my word count was pretty much a push:  I was about twenty words ahead of where I’d been when I began working.

It was 9:45.  I was tired.

You never realize how tiring this work is until you get into the actual doing.  It’s a matter of concentration, trying not to miss anything, reading everything so that it makes sense.  It’s actually a lot more work than getting the story down, because you’re looking, thinking, feeling . . . wondering.  You see the words on the page before you, and you’re mind is going in circles, deciding if what you are reading makes sense, and if it doesn’t, how should you go about fixing those words.

Two move chapters into the “Done” category.  That’s six total.  I have eighteen to go . . .

The next chapter is fifty-four hundred words.  The chapter after that is about forty-five hundred words.  No matter what, I tackle the first chapter, and put Part One to bed.  What I might do, after I’ve finished that first chapter, is take on two shorter chapters in Part Two and kick them out of the way.  The more out of the way, the more likely it is I can have this all wrapped up by next Saturday.

I’m not in a sprint:  no, this is a marathon, though it might not look that way.  If you’d rather, think of it as a short triathlon–similar to the one Sunita Williams did the other day.  She swam half a mile, biked eighteen miles, and ran four miles in one hour, forty-eight minutes, thirty-three seconds.

Oh, I forgot to mention:  she did this in orbit, aboard the ISS.

From that perspective, I’ve got it easy.

Locking Down the Ego

To say yesterday had its ups and downs would be an understatement.

At least the down came quickly after leaving work.  While driving home, on a four-lane, one-way street, some clown in the right-most lane decided he had to go to the parking lot on the left side of the road, and so came to a complete stop, then turned slowly across three lanes to reach his destination.

He did this right in front of me.

Fortunately, my anti-lock brakes locked, and I missed the front of his PT Cruiser–aka, The Hipster Wagon–by a foot, maybe two.  He’s lucky I was awake yesterday, ’cause if it had been Monday afternoon, when I was suffering from sleep deprivation, he’d have either lost the front end of his car, or he’d be sleeping off a dirt nap.

(And just to prove this isn’t an isolated case, while making a right turn from a road that has two turning lanes, the woman on my right slid right across the front of my car, missing me by inches, and ended up in the lane on my left.  Guess it was asking too much for her to have made the turn from my lane.  One day I’m going to paint, “Deathmoble!” on the sides of my car, and start taking these losers out.)

Enough of this crap:  onto the writing.

The goal was to edit Chapter Two and Three of Her Demonic Majesty, and I hit Chapter Two first, because it was the larger of the two.  I started into it, giving it a careful read, and . . . damn, Sam.  I found mistakes.  I found clumsy sentences.  I found things that didn’t really make sense.

I wasn’t happy that I’d not only written this, but that I’ve edited it a couple of times, and submitted it for publication.  What I found was, frankly, embarrassing.  Because this is not how I want to work.

It would have been easy to say, “Wow, I suck!  I should just give up now,” and began looking for strange porn.  But I didn’t.  I slapped my ego and got into fixing the chapter, and ninety minutes later, Chapter Two was a touch lighter of words, and looking a lot better.

Chapter Three wasn’t as bad; it only needed a little work.  It also needed things added to it, and those additions went into place.  When I was finished, some things were less confusing, and words that weren’t needed had vanished.

Two thing kept me going through what could have been a bit of a meltdown.  One, my Muse once told me, “Put your ego in check.  Do you want this to be good, or do you want this to be the best?”  That got me onto another line of thought that I’d seen a few days back.  Don’t know if it was a “real” quote, or something that someone cobbled together from another source.  But the quote was to the point:

 

Amateurs talk about doing things; Professionals do them.”

 

So I discovered my chapter was a touch on the sucky side.  Rather than piss and moan, I fixed it.  As I will fix the others that need fixing.

Because I want to send off the best work I can to Harper Voyager.

And it’s time to do.