anghara: (Default)
It'll have to be fairly quick and dirty because I'm doing six other things at once (not least the tax returns which are still with the accountant and which I probably am going to end up filing with an extension...)

We drove down to Seattle rather than our usual method of taking the Airporter bus - I have a new toy from under the Christmas tree, a baby GPS, and, really, the reason we drove up was because I wanted to play with it. I've named it Hal - as in, the occasional "I can't DO that, Alma..." seems to be par for the course [grin] - but this time Hal seemed to perform on spec (the trouble is that it performs best when you already have some idea about where you're going...)We got to the Doubletree on Thursday in good time, got my registration materials, and then had to stand in line for an hour to get [ profile] rdeck squared away - but we finally did all this, and then I had a panel. Right from the word go. Hit the ground running and don't stop don't stop don't stop.

The panel, "Story crafting from your subconscious", was a surprisingly good one, and with a surprisingly healthy audience for a panel this early in the proceedings. We had a range of writers from those who outline everything to an inch of its life before they start working on anything to those who run from outlines screaming in pain and either write the STORY or don't write anything at all. Turns out novels can grow from all kinds of seeds... but it was fun discussing seed placement anyway. Then I had an appallingly badly scheduled reading - I had a small audience, but apparently the person who was scheduled right after me had nobody turn up at all - it was a THURSDAY, before half the people got to the con at all and half of the other half were still trying to register. But, eh, them's the breaks. The people scheduled for their own readings on Sunday afternoon, when most of the con attendees were either gone or scrambling to be, probably have the same kvetches, from the other end. We showed our faces at the Small Press party that night, but the level of noise in the party suite quickly got to beyond casual conversation decibellage and I still had a LOT of talking to do that weekend so instead of shouting at people for the next couple of hours we decided to call it a night and retire relatively early.

Friday kicked off with one of the best panels that the con threw at me - a 10 AM panel with standing-room-only audience, "Creating Emotion-driven SF/F". Two of the panelists self-identified as "new" or as too afraid of tackling the emotional aspect of the craft to do it justice, and frankly said that they were on the panel to learn how to do it - but I think we all learned something, and there were plenty of insights being supplied by our "newbies", too. I think it was a great panel, it opened up a lot of areas of discussion, and audience participation was fantastic. From that, straight onto panel#2, "Writing Magic 101", the rules of magic and what they need to be for the story to succeed. It was in a bigger room and the audience seemed sparser but that might have just been the fact that they were scattered so much more freely in far more space - still, some good questions were asked, and (I thought) some fabulous answers given by the panelists. Then I had a break, during which I attended at least one other panel as an audience member ("Writing YA Books") and had things to say from THIS side of the panel table, and then there was the other fabulous panel of the con, "Plot, Setting and Character: Who's on First?" The panelists included [ profile] wolflahti (who is my soul-twin when it comes to writing method, and who growls at outlines with just as much gusto as I do), my friend and colleague [ profile] kenscholes, and the amazingly talented Kevin Radthorne (whom I discovered, at this convention, to be an accomplished artist as well as a writer) - and things got fast and furious very quickly. I was describing what my research notebooks wound up looking like at the conclusion of a spirited bout of book research - scribbled all over, in increasingly crabby handwriting, with stuff underlined or highlighted in different shades of fluorescent, multi-coloured post-its fluttering from it at every angle, and I said that I was sometimes astonished that something as coherent as a novel ever comes out of what I described as "a dog's breakfast of monumental proportions". [ profile] kenscholes promptly whipped out a pen and wrote that phrase on the back of his name tent so that it did not get lost or forgotten. I am now famous.

We adjourned for dinner with [ profile] jpsorrow, and then eventually meandered off to the pro party where we hobnobbed with the likes of [ profile] cscole and [ profile] mkhobson and others too numerous to mention, and yet again withdrew before the witching hour and retired to bed... because I had another panel in the morning.


It was a surprisingly well-attended panel for an early Saturday morning ("How do you name your characters?") and although it wasn't one of the best panels of the con it was interesting and a few important points were made. But the prize of the day was the next panel, "Writing the young female protagonist", where one of the panelists, um, actually WAS one. She was an articulate, well-spoken, well-read teen with opinions she could ably communicate and defend, and I was highly impressed with her - so much so that you might well see her guest blog in this space very soon. Watch this space, a star is being born - this young lady has the presence and the mind and the spirit to do great things with her life.

The first autographing session started in the room across the hallway straight after this panel, and we had to fight the hordes of fans who were already starting to queue up to have their books (a lot of them freebies supplied by the publisher at the con) signed by GoH author R A Salvatore - let me just say that this line was STILL merrily winding its way across the room by the time I was winding up my OWN autographing session, two hours later. As for me, I signed a couple of books and a HEAP of con souvenir programs and talked to a gaggle of both friends and strangers who wandered by and expressed an interest in the books - many of the latter got signed bookplates and are likely to meander into a bookstore and recognise the name and buy the books to go with them. So it was all good. We had a very pleasant dinner with [ profile] radconbob, and indeed found ourselves at the Radcon party not too long after that. [ profile] radconbob was in fine fettle throughout. There. Are. Pictures. From. That. Party.

Ask him.

I also had the first of the two writers' workshops critiques on Saturday afternoon, and that one went better than I expected, actually, seeing as all three of the critiquers had quite a lot to say to the writer - but he took it well, and wrote copious notes, and perhaps all will still end well there. My second crit session, and my last official responsibility of the con, was on Sunday morning at 10 AM, and once that was done we packed up our bags and fired up Hal and drove off to visit with family for a couple of hours. Driving home was a nightmare of hard driving rain and copious spray from the drenched roads and miserable visibility - but we made it home well before dark, the cats were happy to see us, and, well, there was a to-do list waiting for me in the office.

Consider this con report one of the things I just scratched off it as DONE.

I have a busy few months ahead - going back to my edits now - and that was Norwescon for another year.

See you all at the next con.
anghara: (book and glasses)
- mainly because I don't have ONE of the chapters with me in its final form and I think the wordcount is different from the version that I've got here with me - but I wrote the epilogue last night, and I snatched an hour out of my convention weekend to finish up the Author's Note which needs to go along with the whole package. As I say, I'll post the stamped and sealed official wordcount from home, but let's just leave it at this for now.

The Author's Note is about 1000 words long (damn, I can't even write short Author's Notes...)

NOT counting that, to the best of my current ability to swear to it, the wordcount of the novel itself stands at... 199 500.

I'm about two pages shy of 200K. I think I'm proud of myself [grin]

Ladies and gentlemen of the writing group, from the point at which you left our two protagonists - who had, remember, Just Met - you're in for one helluva rollecoaster ride from there. And I do so look forward to sharing it with you.

But the first draft of the finished novel, as it currently stands... leaves for New York on Sunday night. It will be on my agent's desk on Monday. After that... que sera sera.

I feel quite, quite, quite giddy.
anghara: (book and glasses)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
196,288 / 200,000

I have the Epilogue to do. The way I envisage it, it's going to be considerably shorter than an average chapter, and it'll bring it all to a conclusion - maybe 3000 words or so, not much more than that.

And I'm done.

And I'm about to head off for a convention where my head is going to be in quite a different place. But I'm taking my laptop with me and maybe by the time I get home... it will be complete.

And this thing... packs a punch.


Off to gather up my chattels now, and go to the next con. Onwards and upwards. Another story... is told.
anghara: (book and glasses)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
182,343 / 200,000

Yes, I finished a chapter while travelling. I updated and fixed and brought it to a first-draft-final conclusion today, when I could sit down and pull it all together and correct all the infelicities that might have crept in during the less-than-ideal conditions of concentration and execution that prevail when one is writing a vastly complex piece of a work in progress from a sheaf of hastily photocopies notes brought along for reference purposes, in a noisy airport waiting area or snatching a few free moments here and there at a conference that is constantly keeping one's head full of other and completely unrelated stuff.

I've broken 90%. Whooo! I think what I have left is either one LONG chapter or two relatively shorter ones - depending if and when there is a break in what has to happen next. That, and the epilogue.

Just one more corner to turn. And then I'm home. And another novel is written, another story told.

I love my life.
anghara: (travel icon)
I'm off again - off to the Kidlitosphere '08 conference -

Will be taking computer with, this time, so blogging shall probably occur - as will writing, since I've got a while on planes etc. which can be put to good use. I aim to at least finish the initial version of chapter 30 while on the road. After that, there's two more chapters at the most of story left to do, plus a shorter epiloguey type end-bracket. I'm figuring - including #30 when it's finally done - maybe 15000- 20000 more words.

Which makes it come in under 200K. So THERE [grin] (Hey, [ profile] csinman, if come in under 200k do *I* get chocolate?...)

20000 words. It's a doddle. It's three days' work, tops.

Of course, then I have to go back and go over the whole thing again and neaten up any straggly loose ends, which will likely take me another week or so. But it's SOOOOO nearly done.

I'm getting the first bands of end-of-novel antsiness already, like an approaching hurricane.


Off to do some last minute packing. Flying out tomorrow morning. Portland here I come (again).

(Note to self. When the kilitters go on the outing to Powell's, *leave wallet at home*...)
anghara: (book and glasses)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
171,858 / 200,000

I am, I think, about 4 chapters from the end now (shut UP, [ profile] debtaber, I can hear what you are thinking).

The trouble is they are all exceedingly complex chapters. I am capable, in full flight, of doing a chapter a day - 5000 words worth a day - but these babies, they will need some coddling. And I have a conference this weekend, and a convention the weekend after.

Hmm. It might take me closer to two weeks.

But I can see the end from here. Almost done. AAAAAALMOST done.


Make that

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
177,294 / 200,000

Chapter 29 down.

Chapter 30 coming up. One of the most important chapters in the book. This one is going to need a little bit of time and TLC to achieve its full potential.

But I managed another full chapter today.

I am pleased.
anghara: (book and glasses)
Some time ago Joshua Palmatier ran the Plot Synopsis Project I, where authors shared a synopsis of a bookd which sold and shed light on a process as arcane as casting spells. I'd wanted to participate back then but the timing was inauspicious - so I said I'd do it this time - and I STILL managed to be one day late. You can find more about the current project here, including a list of participants and links to their posts on the subject.

So here, as promised, is mine... )
anghara: (book and glasses)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
160,640 / 200,000

Yes, I know. I upped the final number of words. I am working on what I KNOW still has to happen in this book and the minimum number of words I figure I will need to cover that material. I'll try very hard to come in UNDER that 200 000 ceiling, but no promises, no promises at all...

This also means that I have finished with Part II of the book, and the very next chapter begins the third and final part of the novel. I am - oh - maybe eight or nine chapters away from the end, here (but do remember, my chapters average 5000-6000 words...) I am close, so close. I can SMELL the end from here.

And I think there are moments of real raw power in here.

(Well, REALLY raw, in a lot of ways. Once I'm done with the whole thing I'll have to print out the whole entire current version and file off the rough edges - and I am now on page 531 of the manuscript, so it's going to be a ream of paper, here, or at least half a ream given that I'm printing out double sided for the editing purposes, no point in wasting more paper than I need to.)

But I'm aaaaaaaalmost there. Just one more major corner to turn. (Of course this is the most intensely "political" and complex part of the book. It's one more major corner, to be sure, but heaven alone knows how much the road leading to that corner is going to twist and turn before I get there...
anghara: (book and glasses)
I just finished another chapter, 7500 words of chapter. I won't keep them all, probably, because looking at it even I can see that there are words that need to be not kept, and [ profile] rdeck has promised to look through it tomorrow and see what he can see. But most of the words will stay in some form or another, or else some of the stuff to be cut will have to be replaced with a more appropriate word graft, and I'll probably still end up with a chapter that's between 6000 and 7000 words long. But still - it's a good chapter, a good day's work. And it's a complex chapter. It's one of the pivotal chapters in this book, in fact. It's a chapter where I have to work very hard because my protagonist does something very cold, but for wholly understandable reasons - but those reasons have been set up and foreshadowed throughout her development as a character in the entire book so far, and this is a test of faith, the reader's, because if I can keep the eye of sympathy on her - if I've done my homework well so far - this is going to be a shattering chapter in so many ways...

Writing group guys?... you're about six chapters away from this one [grin]

But just remember, on Sunday, They Meet. Don't miss the party.

There may be champagne.

Update -

Aug. 25th, 2008 09:31 pm
anghara: (book and glasses)
- make that FOUR chapters of Part the Second, just finished tweaking another chapter, I wrote and polished up a WHOLE CHAPTER today, damn near 5500 words. And it's a pretty pivotal chapter, and it works.

Am pleased.

Can sleep well tonight. Did a good day's worth of work.

(Oh, and apropos of nothing my pair of kittehs just double-teamed, cornered, and *ate* a very large spider which had found its way into my study. Good cats. Treats and rewards upstairs in a moment, both of you.)
anghara: (coffee beans) fo the search phrases that has led people to my website appears to be "cartoon goldfish".


Uh, yeah. Okay.

In other news, three chapters into Part the Second, the entire work currently standing at approximately 120 000 words. If I am correct in my estimate, the things I need to fit into this section will require a minimum of five further chapters to contain them - quite possibly six or seven, depending on how things pan out. That would mean that I still have, oh, 25 000 to 35 000 words or so to go - IN THIS SECTION - which would bring the book to roughly 140 000 - 150 000 words.

And then there's Part the Third to come.


Work to do. Excuse me. Another chapter or even two will come home to roost this week. Off to get more coffee, and then back to the story...
anghara: (book and glasses)
I just realised how much needs to happen in this part of the book.

190 000 may be optimistic.

We shall see where this goes...
anghara: (book and glasses)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
104,393 / 190,000

Part the First is now DONE. Please do take into account that the final word count is at this stage very much an estimate of the final product, and is likely to change as I continue to write - but just as a ballpark figure, here we are, this is where I'm at right now.

One. Hundred. Thousand. Words.

And yes. They met. [ profile] debtaber and [ profile] csinman know whereof I speak.
anghara: (book and glasses)
Okay, officially past the 100 000 word mark on the WIP now. The New Project is officially a doorstop (seeing as I am just about to tie up Part the First, and there's still at least as much story to come...)

And yes, [ profile] debtaber, They Are Just About To Meet.

I don't want to rush the scene tonight so it will get written tomorrow. But it is about to get written.

Don't faint. [grin]
anghara: (book and glasses)
Finished a requested rewrite of one story. Just submitted another.

Wrote half a chapter more in the WIP. With a bit of luck the rest of the chapter will fall in line by the end of the week.

Still things on the To Do list which date from before LaunchPad (including - oh joy - a date with the dentist. Can't wait.)

September is going to be here before I know it and September will be hellish - I'll be at various conventions, conferences and events for a LOT of September, much travelling, much to-and-fro-ing, much planing and deplaning, much sleeping in hotels, argh.

October, another convention.

November, trip to California, another convention.

Then it's December. Christmas. Silly season.

And I SWORE I would have half this book at least written by the end of the year. Unh huh.

Lots of work to do. Gotta go. See you.


Jul. 9th, 2008 12:52 pm
anghara: (Default)
Ever wondered what it means to call yourself a writer? Go read this.
anghara: (book and glasses)
There are times it seriously feels like two steps forward one step back. I wrote most of the current chapter and then looked at the scene I had just penned and went, unh, NAAAAAH. So I wiped 3/4 of the chapter and went back to where it started to go bad.

I finished the recalcitrant chapter today, and it's good now, MUCH better... except for one minor mingy little detail. I am not at the place where I was supposed to end this chapter. I'm at least another chapter away from that place.

Which plays meerry hob with the internal organization of this novel so far.


I guess reorganization later is the easy part. I should look on the bright side - I finished 5000+ good words today. A good chapter.

This is WORKING, dammit. It's just working slower and in a more convoluted manner than I would like it to be.

Well. Back to the grindstone tomorrow. I'll write those next necessary couple of thousand words and then we'll see where it all fits in. It's just that I am not where I wanted to be come the middle of the year...
anghara: (book and glasses)
There was a Q&A with her in a recent issue of TIME magazine which came to hand (the May 19 issue for those who want to track it down), and reading her initial responses, ye gads, it was scary - I was listening to myself.

But the thing that I really want to quote her on here on my blog. The question was pretty damned inane - it boiled down to the usual "What advice would you give to aspiring writers?"

Her answer:

The work is in the work itself. If [your daughter] writes a lot, that's good. If she revises a lot, that's even better. She should not only write about what she knows but about what she doesn't know. It extends the imagination.

It's like I've always said - fantasy isn't a sub-section of "literature" - the converse is true, ALL fiction is fantasy of one sort of another byt the simple virtue of not being true.

Huzzah for imagination. That's where fantasy lives.

Welcome to my world.
anghara: (book and glasses)
...but just so as to keep this place interesting, here's something to think about.

[ profile] rdeck just forwarded me an interview from "Shelf Awareness" with an author called Tom Rob Smith. In case he is someone whose name you are not familiar with, here's his bio as it appears in the interview:

Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father and
studied English Literature at Cambridge. He worked on Cambodia's
first-ever soap opera and wrote screenplays until he started work on
the novel Child 44, just published by Grand Central. Film rights have
been bought by Ridley Scott, and Richard Price will adapt the novel.

Amongst other things, he was asked what book he might want to read again for the first time.

His reply:

I know exactly what you mean by this question. You come to the end of
the book and you feel kind of sad, like you're saying goodbye to a
friend and you can't recapture that friendship by re-reading the
book, because that's almost like looking through a photo album rather
than re-living the experience.

Oh, I so know what he means.

There are books I would love to read again for the first time without knowing the things about them that I know now and did not know when I first touched them. I can never read the Narnia books again with the same kind of innocence with which I read them when I was a child and I did not know who C S Lewis was, what he believed, and what the subtext for those books (intended or not) is or was. I can never read again for the first time the book that I remember crying over when I first read it - in translation - and understood the power that words would always have over me ("My son, my son" by Howard Spring, for those who want to know).

So, over to you folks. What's the book that you carry on your heart?

May 2009

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