Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year...'s Eve!

Here in Western Australia it's 10:15 am on New Year's So yeah, I get to say what's in my title!

I hope everyone has an excellently awesome New Year's Eve. I will be on the river watching the fireworks over the water, hopefully with a glass or two of champagne in hand. I will also be furiously thinking (when I'm not busy talking) about what I'm going to do next with my editing of SUNDOWN. Yep, lately I've got a one-track mind. But I will be thinking in general about the coming year, and all the exciting things I will have to show at the end of it.

Some things that will happen in 2011:

1. I will finish reading up to book 13 of the WHEEL OF TIME series, and depending on when the final book is released, may even finish the entire series. I'm too lazy to go and google that release date, so...yeah. I have the feeling there are going to be MANY tears when this is finally all over. Even now I'm emotional thinking it's coming to an end. It's sad that Robert Jordan isn't alive to see it end, but at least his vision is being realised.

2. We are probably going to be doing a weird HARRY POTTER read/watch combo, where we read the first book and watch the first movie and then discuss them. Should be...interesting. Hehe.

3. All my goals I've already listed here will be worked towards, and barring some unforeseen disaster, will be achieved!

4. I will see my brother married in the Canadian Rockies! Not right on a mountain, but in the town he's currently calling home. I will also be a bridesmaid. Yikes!!

5. I will turn...31. Gasp.

6. My cat will turn 3. Gasp. My other cat will turn...5? I don't know her age since she was a foster kit cat.

7. Summer will pass blessedly into the night, making way for autumn and then winter. But I guess that's nothing new, eh? Still, I can't wait! This heat is really getting old. Then again, for me heat is old before it's even begun.

8. Um...other stuff will happen. Yeah.

Okay, I'm ending this here. But happy New Year's Eve everyone! :)

P.S. Crap! I just remembered I have to finish the Reverb10 stuff. Maybe I'll do that on January 1st.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Chrysalis Experiment

Without further ado...*drumroll*

We're pretty much ready to go!

The Chrysalis Experiment, a year-long foray into the art and/or science of story writing - short stories of up to 10,000 words are admissible. And anyone who feels like participating is more than welcome to!

The first prompt should be up on Jan 3rd, and after that we'll be scribbling away. Well, typing more like it.

In short, I'm excited!!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Latest Sundown stats

Okay, so last time I put up stats, they were as follows:

First Revision
Word count: 147,000
Page count: 243
Chapter count: 59

Second Revision
Word count: 127,620
Page count: 225 (seems to be size 10 font...)
Chapter count: 51

Aaaand, now my latest (2.2nd draft) stats:

2.2nd Revision
Word count: 118,457
Page count: 212 (size 12 font)
Chapter count: 48

In short, I'm only about 2k off being back down to my first draft word count, but with a vastly improved manuscript (if I do say so myself :P). I also have to thank the people at AW who critiqued my prologue and prompted me to chop about 7k from my novel in one thirty-minute sitting.

So yeah, pretty happy with my progress so far!! My current (new) aim is to get below 100k. My critiquing buddy and I were joking about at least getting to 99,999 words, just so I'm in the double digit thousands. But I tell you, it's no joke!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Reverb10 days 15-21

I know I reported this when it happened (the finishing of revision part anyway), but I just wanted to reiterate that I have already crossed off one of my 2011 goals from the list. Which can be found at the link below.

Writing G O A L S + 2011

Namely the finish revision of Sundown and order the proof copy. So yeaaaah, ahead of the game I am! Feels good. I'm pumped. Watch out.

(That was meant to sound like some hot-headed boxer before a big game)

Now, back to what I intended to mostly use this entry for...the latest reverb10 crap.

December 15: 5 Minutes

I'll completely lose my memory of 2010 in five minutes? Well sheeet! What would I want to remember most? Probably my trip to the United States - lots of fun - and then all the writing achievements I had this year. And also the foster kitties I took care of for a while. Totally adorable, if ultra needy and...exasperating at times. Hehe. Oh, and discovering my absolute love of the band Lacuna Coil. Yeah, I'm slow off the uptake sometimes, but I uptook them big time!! My interaction with Billy Corgan on Facebook, before he took down his page (ahhh, the heartache!). The wonderful characters I spent time with during the year (mostly my own, but also those in books I read as well). Seeing the latest Twilight movie (sue me!) and the latest Harry Potter movie. Umm...yeah. That about sums it up. And I think my 5 minutes are up.

December 16: Friendship

I think I have to thank my critiquing buddies for how they've changed my life this year. They've really caused me to get more serious about my writing. I guess it's ironic to think I wasn't serious before, when I had already written such a ridiculous number of words across my lifetime. But the truth is, I write just for me, and yeah it'd be awesome to be published someday, but even if I'm not I doubt I could ever stop writing. It's not so much a love as a compulsion, but of course I do love it. Still, I want to thank my critiquing buddies for all the time and effort and enthusiasm and advice and inspiration they've given. You gals are awesome!

December 17: Lesson Learned

The best thing I learned about myself was probably that I am resilient, and can bounce back from stuff. I also have the ability to take advice and work with it, in other words I'm open-minded. How will I apply that lesson going forward? Well, the obvious answer is related to my writing. I'm not going to give up even when the going gets rough and I experience those waves of disillusion. I won't give up, and if I should ever start to lose the passion for writing, I'll make changes to ensure I'm not taking it so seriously.

December 18: Try

Next year I want to try and achieve the longest list of writing goals I've ever set myself (see links to goals above). I'm pretty confident I can do so, but it's going to be a pretty exhilarating challenge! I am going to try my best to stay inspired the whole year through. And I am going to try and get at least one novel ready for submission. Because I'm motivated, damn it!

December 19: Healing

I think my characters really helped me out this year, in that they went through the wringer and experienced some of the things I've been through myself (death, pain, loss, blah blah). Writing their stories was difficult at times, because I really felt mean putting them through all that. Then again, the story sort of wrote itself, so it's not really my fault. Right?

December 20: Beyond Avoidance

What did I not do/avoid doing this year? Try to get a date. Wait, was that really bad date with the spandex-wearing stingy bastard from this year, or was it last year? I can't remember. But yeah, I didn't try at all to work on my love life. I'm just not sure I want to. Imagine if I had a clingy boyfriend who wanted to take up all my time outside of work? How would I ever get any writing done?!?! So I guess that answered the last part of the question, that being "Will you do it?" I...don't know.

December 21: Future Self

Five years from now, I am hoping I will have published something, and will be fulfilled in my life, and still be inspired the way I am today. That's my fondest wish. Not too much to ask for, right? for myself ten years ago...yikes!! I'd say, "Don't worry, someday you'll have more than one friend, you will have travelled heaps and seen the world and proven to it that you're capable of being an independent self-sustaining woman. Congratulations to the future you, life WILL get better! Oh, and you will lose about 10 kg. Good job!"

Sunday, 26 December 2010

New year: book club? critiquing circle?

These things are meant to happen in the new year! The book club should be interesting, as it will involve an extremely varied reading list. The critiquing circle will be the same, I guess. The only thing we'll have in common is that we live in similar time zones and all are members of Absolute Write!

Meanwhile, I have to finish reading the Wheel of Time series (currently near the end of book 11), at least up to book 13, in anticipation of book 14's release. Then I have craploads of other books I have yet to read, which are piled up on my bookshelves - books in front of books in front of books! Well, okay, just books in front of books. Hehe. But seriously, I should stop buying more books until I've read all the ones I already own!

But isn't it nice, going into a book store and buying a shiny, sparkly new book? Or two...or three. The problem is, here in Aus books are not cheap. If you could get a book for $15.00, that would be a bargain. Especially if it was new. You can expect to pay $15.00 for second-hand books, and I mean just paperbacks, not even hard covers or large format books or anything. When I was in the U.S., I positively drooled over how cheap books were there in comparison. Aussies get ripped off, and it's not right!!

Anyway...mooooving on, 'cause I'm not bitter. No really, I'm not!

Hope everybody had a fabulous Christmas. Mine involved trying not to die of heat stroke (managed, just!); drinking champagne, and a delicious drink known as a Snow Ball (got to get me some Advocaat!); and eating food. Oh, and swimming in the ocean. That was probably the best part, aside from the Snow Balls.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Yep...still Thursday

I am on holidays as of this evening, and I'm already loving it! Watching episodes of MEDIUM season 5 - love this show big time. And that gets me to thinking about genre, and how I've never really gone much for writing murder mysteries/thrillers. Which is weird, because I really enjoy reading them/watching them.

Out of curiosity - do you guys stick to one particular genre, or are you more adventurous than that? case I don't post another entry before the big day, happy holidays everyone!! May the silly season not be too stressful, and instead be full of fun and joy!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

World o' hurt...epic slash 'n burn

Oka'...? Just kidding, thought I should add another apostrophe in there.

1. It is way way WAY past my bedtime. But after getting some harsh critiquing, I could. not. sleep.

I had to get up and edit my story. Damn it. Gonna be bloody tired tomorrow. But in one little sitting (like, in half an hour, dudes) I slashed about 6k off my wordcount.

E.P.I.C. edit!

So thanks to that pretty harsh critiquing, and a period of time tossing & turning in bed trying to convince myself I wasn't pathetic and a terrible writer, I got back on my laptop and checked the forum again. Only to see that I had a nice (and yet helpful) comment following up that first one. My writing is beautiful, I was told. Phew. Then the rest.

Anyway, I used the first comment (harsh) for my wake-up call, and a revelation I have no idea why I didn't have sooner (and to remove 2 chapters that aren't, I don't think, necessary to the story). And the second (gentler, but still honest) comment to slash another (estimation) 1k from the story (merging 2 chapters into one).

So...I'm totally going to bed now. Ow. Eyeballs. Tired.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Talk about 'taking a break'

I was saving DAPHNE editing for NaNoEdMo. But guess what happened? I gave into the compulsion to start editing NOW NOW NOW. I'm finding that the parts I haven't really edited seriously for 11 years (yes, I started this novel at the age of 19, which happens to be my protagonist's age too, and only finished it at the beginning of 2009, when I was 28.5 years old. Now can we got on with the blog post?! Cheers.) are kind of easy to edit. Of course, I cut out a whole chunk of Chapter 1, put the polished remains on AW, and got feedback very quickly that made me see how I needed to pretty much rewrite the chapter. Which I since did, and I'm a lot happier with the result. Got to wait on some feedback on that now. But I'm feeling positive.

Still, my whole point know how people say it's good to take a break once you've finished your novel, to catch your breath/gain some perspective/recover? Well, I guess I took a two-year break after completing the novel. But from the vast majority of it, I took a ten-year break! That oughta give me perspective, don't you think?

When I started this story, I didn't know where it was going. That's how I've written most of my stories. No clue how they were going to end. There have been a few exceptions, namely last year's NaNo efforts (SUNDOWN and friends), but for the most part, I've made it up as I went along. So I fully expect Daphne to be a complete mess (not just the character, I already know she's a mess; with that family, who wouldn't be?). But it feels good to already have some idea of what I am going to need to look out for during my edits/rewrites. I think it's really helped me, working on formulating a query letter for Daphne. I've been forced to think about what the real heart of the story is about (guess that's the glory of query letter writing, isn't it?), and I'm going to carry that into the editing process.

Anyway...what's NaNoEdMo gonna do without Daphne?

I'm thinking I'll either go back to Plan A, which was editing FIRE from last year's NaNo series. And that novel sure as heck needs editing (I won't even repeat the word count here, it's so obscene). OR I could look at this year's NaNo story, NAUSICAA. But...I don't know if I'll be ready to face that for a while to come yet.

Oh, and I should mention I did work a bit on writing out more of my travel memoir. But it's hurting my brain. I think my plan there should be to finish transcribing what I can of my actual journals (it's hard to read my handwriting sometimes...not good!), then print it all out, THEN get around to the actual writing out of the memoirs.

I think that's all I feel the urge to say about where my writing/revision is at for now.

I hope everyone's going well with their own revisions/story writing. And happy holidays to anyone who's going AWOL for Christmas/New Year's!

P.S. I also tried to get back to writing STORM, book 5 in last year's NaNo series. But there was no flow. I think my plan there is to re-read from the start, to get back into the feel, before adding any new material. And actually, THAT is a novel that could use a blog post all of its own, so I can discuss the peculiar 'disjointed' feeling I got while writing what I have of it so far. But yeah...some other time maybe I will get around to talking about individual works of mine, when I'm not in the midst of a "AHHH must edit EEEEVERYTHING in sight!" frenzy.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

I admit it...I'm slacking off

I finally got through editing the 2nd-last chapter of SUNDOWN, and now I've just got the last (a little 1400 word number) to go. But instead of doing that, I'm going to go out shopping. I have to, for a number of reasons. One, I haven't yet had breakfast, and it's 11:59 am. Time to stop editing. Two, I have to buy a gift for the Secret Santa thing at work. Three, oh I don't know, does there really have to be a three?

Anyway...the last third or so of the book hasn't yielded much chop-worthy action, or maybe it's just that I'm getting too close to the story to recognise which parts could be hacked. I did go back to the start and realise my prologue sucks in a number of ways, and I can maybe even remove most of the first section of it. So that's something to give me hope for the next round of editing (which will be Revision #2, resulting in Draft #3, if anyone cares about the details). I am going to finish this 2nd revision, then take a break from this novel (after ordering my proof copy of course). I've seen that recommended in so many places - getting some distance so you can return with fresh eyes & have your merry destructive way with your story. And it's not like I'm short on other projects to work on!

So yeah, just thought I'd report on my progress, and add with a fair amount of GID that I will be done with this revision today. Helllll yes!

Current word count in Scrivener: 128,115.

Yes, way too long. But there is still the future.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Travel memoir

I wrote journals while I travelled around the world with my dad in 1998, and again when I travelled solo on a 15-stop ticket in 2004. One year for NaNo I tried to write out my 1998 trip in 'book' form, and gave up after about 25k. I guess I got bored, even though I think I've got some great stories to tell. Homeless shelter at age 17 in San Francisco, hitch-hiking to my second cousin's wedding the next day, camping outside a large airport in Switzerland and waking to see people staring at us out the window (embarrassment!), drinking wine outside the hotel where Princess Diana fled the night she died...all that sort of stuff makes for a great story, in my humble opinion. And yet somehow I got bored, and that's one year I failed NaNo miserably.

Still, with how motivated I'm feeling about my projects in the new year, I'm wondering if I shouldn't tack this one on the end of the list too. :)

That 1998 trip was marked by many frustrating moments in which I disliked my father immensely, and yet the countless exhilarating experiences kept me going from February 2 - May 17 or so, before I finally gave up and fled for home. I skipped the last few stops, which part of me still regrets, and yet I had run out of money, and my emotional breakdown really was the deciding factor in the end. Dad kept going without me.

Anyway, I thought I would share an excerpt, a reflection on some of the characters we met while hitch-hiking down the West Coast of the United States:

Cars’ headlights shone murkily through the falling water, and most of them passed us by without a second glance. I shivered in the cold and wondered if I’d end up dead in a ditch somewhere, just as I’d told mum I might. I had survived this latest encounter with a person who wasn’t scared of hitchhikers, but how long would my luck last? I didn’t really believe that a grisly fate would befall me, so it wasn’t a huge concern for me. I guess you never think it will happen to you, and I didn’t – thankfully I wasn’t disappointed!

After a while a car slowed as it saw us, and swept past gradually slowing further. It came to a halt and Dad and I jogged towards it while trying to balance our packs on our backs. I looked forward to getting out of the rain, but not so forward to sitting next to some stranger for a potentially long ride.

It was a shoddy car, a watery silver-blue colour and probably 15 years old, although it looked like it’d been through the wars. It reminded me a bit of dad’s Suzuki which had transported us through the Australian desert. That had been what felt like a lifetime ago, though it was in actual fact only just over a month. I’d worn shorts and crappy tops during the desert stint. Now I wore torn jeans and Rachelle’s cardigan as I went to meet the first of our saviours for this part of the journey.

I can’t recall his name, but he was relatively young – perhaps thirty or so – and a bit grubby looking. He was skinny with pale hair and a bit of stubble. He told us in his scratchy voice to jump in, and explained the state his car was in – it was choc a block full of assorted items that were being transported down to his new home. We had a bit of a time struggling into the car – we all sat in the front seat, as there was no other option available – but we managed in the end.

I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been that Dad insisted I sit in the middle, next to the guy. My mum had told me how he did that in the past when she was travelling with him – put the young woman beside the guy, to “keep him happy”. I decided I’d insist that Dad took the next turn keeping our saviours happy.

Since I don’t recall the guy’s name, I’ll call him Bob. Bob was a strange man, but quite amusing. At one point during our trip south he asked our opinion of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky controversy that had gripped the USA at the time we were there. We gave him our input and he said, “Yeah, the way I see it is, I don’t care who he sleeps with, as long as he doesn’t want to sleep with me, ya know?” It was an unforgettable moment.

Bob dropped us off not long after we first met him, and we decided to stop and have ourselves a cup of coffee. Slogging through the wet but no longer rainy landscape, we reached a diner where we took a table for ourselves and ordered coffee and doughnuts. I enjoyed being in the warmth of the diner and didn’t particularly look forward to getting on the road again. But when we finally did, it didn’t take us very long to meet our next chaperone.

Naturally it's completely unedited, and I haven't even finished writing out the whole journey yet. There are large gaps, and sometimes I struggle trying to read my own writing in the original journals. Haha. But I think this would be worth working on, at some point anyway.

© Trisha W.F.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Reverb10 days 8-14

December 8: Beautifully different

I'm beautifully different in a few ways. Peer pressure has always sort of slid off me like water, the duck, you know? I've never had one puff on a cigarette, never taken drugs, etc. I like alcohol, but if I'm not interested in another drink, you can't make me have one. Everyone seems to think this is some inherent strength of will I have, but in fact it's just me doing what I want to do. I've never even been tempted to do drugs or smoke. It's not a struggle for me to stay away from those things, because I don't want to do them!

What do I do that lights people up? I guess I think I'm pretty funny. Mostly sarcasm, though. I know some people don't like sarcasm. But I love it, and I do it. Plus, I love my own company, so it never surprises me that other people do as well. Does that make me arrogant? I don't think I'm arrogant. I just appreciate the good things about myself. Not everyone loves me, this I know from experience. :) But I'm okay with that, most of the time. Sometimes it hurts to realise somebody actually dislikes you. But since I don't think about it most of the time, I don't hurt over it most of the time. OK, I think that's Dec 8 done. LOL.

December 9: Party Prompt

I would say that this year my favourite party night was my 30th birthday night, when all sorts of friends and some family got together, different groups at different parts of the night, and we had some drinks and listened to some great music and danced our little butts off. I wound up sleeping alone from about 6:30 am outside on my mum's backyard deck, and it was cold. But even that couldn't ruin my birthday. Even some really idiotic behaviour by at least a couple of guests couldn't ruin my night. It was a fun night, and the worst part of my hangover was lack of sleep.

December 10: Wisdom
The wisest decision I made this year? I honestly don't know. I didn't make any major decisions this year. Maybe I could cop out and say the wisest thing I did this year was start this blog. LOL. Seems to be panning out quite nicely.

December 11: 11 Things I don't need in 2011 & how to prevent them

1. Heartache/loss - not sure I can prevent this, but I can hope it doesn't come my way
2. Weight gain - will try to give myself treats when I need them but not as often; will continue to not drink during the week unless at someone else's house :P
3. Crime (i.e. house getting broken into, car getting stolen) - be careful to lock my windows and doors :)
4. Being fired - work hard, be proactive, make new projects for myself
5. Excessive procrastination (with my 2011 goals, just won't have the time!!) - stay motivated and inspired! I guess by switching to different projects if I get bored with one; keep up with critiquing group & other writing groups
6. Car troubles (doubt this will happen, what with my shiny NEW car!) - service car when needed
7. Yet another reason to have to travel to Canada (not that I hate going, it's just my bank account hates me) - this is out of my hands, sup to my brother
8. Maxing out my credit card again - be more careful with money! I know I can do this easily
9. Computer troubles - not much I can do to prevent this
10. Another year of being single - eh...not much I want to do to prevent this. That probably doesn't make sense
11. Getting evicted - don't think this will happen, landlady likes me, but will just have to continue taking care of the place; do more gardening! or weeding, rather

December 12: Body Integration This Year

When did I feel most integrated with my body? Um...probably when I was asleep each night. LOL. Or maybe when we were driving across the States and I was listening repeatedly to Lacuna Coil's "Wave of Anguish", or on the way back into L.A. when I was listening to my Purplene playlist.

December 13: Action

My next step for making ideas happen is to keep looking back at my 2011 Goals list and squealing over how excited I am, and to try and ensure I don't ever stop feeling excited. I can't wait to not only write new stuff but to (and probably especially this) hone the writing I do have already. Honing is my new best friend!

December 14: Appreciate

What have I come to appreciate most in the past year? My alone time each night when I get home from work, my alone time on the weekends, but the good times I've had with friends as well. And my family, of course. Still, I truly adore my alone time. I'd go insane without it. There's a reason I live alone, people. ;)

And now, before I go, the current SUNDOWN wordcount: 127,742. It's really creeping down at a snail's pace, but at least it's not creeping back up! I did however glimpse the prologue last night, and impulsively begin to edit, and even to wonder if I can rip out most of the first section. So yeah, I get the feeling my third revision could be the most productive yet.

Over 'n out! And thanks to everyone who's stopped by lately. :)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

His 'n hers novels

The problem with writing a novel from your female MC's point of view, and then writing a second novel covering the same events, but from your male lead's point of view? Editing one means you've messed up the other. Right now I am working on editing the heck out of the first, and I truly hope to have every single line of dialogue decided upon, before I ever get around to editing the 'mirror' novel.

It's hard to truly decide on what my characters are going to say, and when. When it comes to Jared, sometimes he talks too much. He's not like that. He isn't a social creature, deep down inside, though over the years he's learned to fake it incredibly well. So he needs to talk less, at least in the beginning. As Louise draws him out of his shell, naturally he will start talking more. But that's got to take time. He has good reason not to trust (he doesn't trust anyone, not even himself), and no matter how comfortable he may start to feel around her, he is never truly comfortable. Not until book 5. Here I'm talking about books 1 and 3. Book 2 is a prequel, documenting Jared's earlier days. Confusing?

So, yeah...Jared talks too much. And this is because, as I have discovered, I talk too much. Only in my writing. In reality I am rather sparing with what I say. But when it comes to writing, I can bloat out a story with the best of them. This is how I've managed to cut 19k from SUNDOWN so far. And I have no doubt I can cut a lot more, just by saying the same things in less words.

In future, then, Jared will talk less. Louise will probably continue to ramble, because he makes her nervous. He will continue to misunderstand things, no matter how far he's come since the early days. And I love how far he's come. The prequel, documenting his early days when he first met Adelai, was incredibly fun to write. His social ineptitude is one of my favourite things about him. And I don't want to lose that, just because he's meant to be better at faking nowadays. Jared = ineptitude.

So, in a nutshell...

Step 1: Get SUNDOWN dialogue so perfect I love every single line my characters say (slowly but surely getting there at present).
Step 2: Face the daunting task of editing SUNDOWN.

P.S. Gotta do Reverb10 week 2 next!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Writing G O A L S + 2011

2009 Achievements:
1. Finished off DAPHNE, after 10 years of writing it (I was 19 when I began, and 29 when I finished). Still needs editing!
2. Wrote little bits and pieces of stories, and edited bits and pieces of others, during the year, until November, when...
3. During NaNoWriMo I finished a 116,000 word story (the first in the Midnight SUNDOWN series) and quickly started in on its prequel, for which I wrote about 20k before the end of November

2010 Achievements:
1. Completed 3 novels in the Midnight SUNDOWN series, then realised that the 2nd novel actually needed to be divided in 2. The second half of it made a complete novel, but the first half needed some better ending. I still haven't given it that.
2. Started book 4 (which since the division of book 2 became book 5) in the Midnight SUNDOWN series, and still have not finished it.
3. Completed first revision of SUNDOWN, taking word count from 116,000 to 147,000. Yikes.
4. Cut about 19k from SUNDOWN during 2nd revision (have not finished this revision, but hoping to get there in the next week or so).
5. Participated in NaNoWriMo 2010, and won with a 94k novel.

And now onto the point of this blog entry: things I want to achieve in 2011.

Things I know I can do in 2011
1. Finish current edit of Sundown and order a proof copy of it via CreateSpace (this is free!!)
2. Participate in NaNoEdMo 2011, working either on book 4 of the Midnight SUNDOWN series, or my DAPHNE novel - at the moment I'm leaning further towards concentrating on Daphne
3. Participate/run the short story year-long workshop project with my critiquing buddies, possibly will be showcase this on Blogger - the Chrysalis Experiment
4. Keep my writing blog at Blogspot going & hopefully prospering a bit
5. Win NaNo 2011
6. Finish off first draft of STORM from the Midnight SUNDOWN series
7. Maybe look at doing a preliminary read-through/edit of Nausicaa (NaNo '10 novel)

Things I'd like to look at but probably will not get done in 2011
1. Preliminary edits of FIRE and EXCISION from the Midnight SUNDOWN novels
2. Figure out how to finish off CARNIVAL from the Midnight SUNDOWN novels series
3. Finish off 2008's NaNo novel (TURKEY BOURKE)
4. Get through 1st proper edit of SQUEAKY

Things I KNOW I will not get done in 2011
1. Finish off RAGEWATER book 1
2. Finish off SOMANA from the RAGEWATER series (probably has 40k to go)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Character progression

I was reading this blog entry, and it got me thinking about character development/progression, and more to the point some of my favourite characters and how they change over time.

If you don't want Harry Potter/Angel/Wheel of Time spoilers, don't read on!!

The first character, who was mentioned in the blog entry above, is Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter series. He starts out as completely clumsy and dorky, and turns into a bit of a warrior by the end. Of course, by the very end he's a teacher at Hogwarts and a little more low key. But I just love how he goes from clumsy dork to bad-ass DA soldier.

The second has a similar progression I suppose (maybe I've got a thing for dorks turned deadly machines? Haha). It's Wesley from the Angel TV series. He starts out as a complete and utter dork, far more so than Neville mentioned above, and turns into a bitter and twisted (not to mention scarred and totally buff) hardened warrior over the years. This is probably my favourite character progression.

The third character I can think of off the top of my head is Rand al'Thor from the Wheel of Time series, and I guess the way he changes isn't so much sexy and kick-arse as...sad, depressing, and a little scary. He goes from a lovely, warm and caring farmboy to a deadened, ice-cold machine who doesn't have time to cry over dead friends. I haven't read the entire WoT series yet, naturally since the last book isn't out yet, and I'm only in the middle of book 11, so I can't say how he turns out in the end. But time will tell, and at present it's looking pretty bleak.

I can't think of any characters of mine that undergo such dramatic changes, but it's something worth thinking about.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Flash fiction competition

I thought, Why the hell not! and entered this competition. Here is my entry.

Trying to download the new version of Scrivener, have tried twice now, but nothing appears to be happening. I'm not asked to pay the $25.00, and each time I complete the download it says it's going to install it and restart, but then when I restart (manually since it doesn't restart by itself) I'm back at square 1 with the notification that the new version is available. Hmm...yeah. I'm gonna check out their site & try and do it from there.

Meanwhile, got my SUNDOWN wordcount down to 129,461 today - in Scrivener, so it will be even less in MS Word. And merged 2 chapters into 1 after making one of them a lot skinnier. I now have 51 chapters. In the chapter I skinnified, I found parts that bored even me. When your own writing bores you, you know it has to go. Hehe.

Anyway, that's today's update.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Slash 'n burn...ouch

Current word count for SUNDOWN: 130,813 (let me note that in MS Word this would probably be under 130k!). My goal for a while now has been to get my wordcount down to 120k, and I'm confident I can do that. However, I was looking at some submission guidelines for a prominent romance publisher, and they like their romances to be around 90-100k!

So now I potentially have another get my wordcount down to 100k. This is daunting to me, because it would definitely require removing subplots, but...I love my subplots!!!

Could I bear to let go of wonderfully snide and antisocial Edgar Delaney, and his bizarre connection with Louise? Could I really bear to snip the eccentric and off-with-the-fairies Ever Bradley out of my story entirely? And what about Steven Brux, the annoying drunkard who gives Jared a reason to worry that Louise will leave the tour?

The prospect of cutting any of my minor characters or their minor plotlines makes me sad. But maybe I can do it just for submission to that particular publisher, and keep the full vibrancy version for those who don't mind larger word counts.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Reverb10: days 1-7

I saw this mentioned on Jenni's blog, and thought it looked like a fun way to end the year. I also took a leaf out of her book (no pun intended with the 'book' part) and decided to do it a week at a time, in 'digest' form. Ha.

What's Reverb10, you ask? Check it out here. And now let's get on with it...

December 1: One Word

The word I would use to describe this year is "travel" - I started out the year still in Canada after spending Christmas with my brother, his girlfriend and her awesome family. A more traditional Christmas I don't recall ever having. By the time I got back to Australia, my fondest wish was to never have to eat again. I did, of course, but it felt so good not to be stuffing my face and puffing out even more than I already had. Phew. Later in the year, August/September to be exact, I travelled again to the States to hang out with friends. We did a roadtrip from L.A. to Atlanta and back again. Awesome fun, but it was good to get out of that car at last. And then I had to plan my travels in January '11, when we're going back to Canada for my brother's wedding. It sounds like a chore, doesn't it? But somebody's gotta do it. And truthfully, I look forward to being able to spend money on other stuff at some point in the future. But I still wouldn't change it for the world! This travel bug ain't going away. Sometime I will have to write about other travels I've done - world trips and the like.

December 2: Writing

I guess if I didn't work full time, I'd get a lot more writing done. Theoretically. During November however, I realised that I was averaging 5,000 words a night on weeknights, whereas sometimes the weekend days yielded even less than that, and I often had most of those days free to write. I guess I haven't lost my procrastination skills even now that my studies have been left far behind. Still, I guess things that get in the way of my writing are other things I like to do online, like check out my charts, check my email, watch Billy Corgan (Official)'s updates on Facebook, and hang out with my WoT friends at A'vron Ayende. Again though, I'm not sure I want to trade any of that in for JUST focusing on writing/editing. Why? Because I'm sure I'd burn out in 10 seconds flat if I didn't have my methods of procrastinating, and then I'd get nothing done.

December 3: Moment

One moment during which I felt alive? Probably driving through a thunderstorm - and magnificent it was too - in Oklahoma, wishing it would turn into a real live tornado. Yeah, maybe I'm a thrill seeker, to a degree. Hehe. The clouds were truly stunning, and I got some great photographs. There was another amazing storm on the way back to California, when we were in Texas or possibly New Mexico. Got some wonderful photographs of raindrops from that. So yea, I felt alive, and glad to be, then.

December 4: Wonder

How did I cultivate a sense of wonder in my life? I guess I was just inspired right through the year, following on from last year's NaNoWriMo. My life is pretty fun, even if there are areas that are experiencing a severe lack. Some areas. I've got a cool career (librarian), I get to travel quite a bit, I'm loving what I'm writing, I live in a beautiful seaside town with photo opportunities galore, I've got lots of friends and a great's hard not to have a sense of wonder when reflecting on all this.

December 5: Let Go.

I probably didn't let go of anything this year. I think this year was a rather uneventful year in terms of breaking off ties, or getting rid of bad rubbish, or any of that. But wait, I did let go of something: my twenties! Yes, this year I turned 30, and I didn't hate it at all. Not that I precisely loved it, but my party was heaps of fun, and naturally it had a great playlist since I made that playlist myself. Hehe.

December 6: Make

The last thing I made was a painting (I hadn't painted in ages, and it was fun to get back into it, though I haven't returned to it since completing these two paintings). I think that's the last thing I made...

December 7: Community

Well, I've only recently started up this blog, and I am determined to make some good contacts via Blogger, hopefully get some new writing friends and sources of inspiration for me going into the new year. I am inspired already about 2011, but I want to stay that way, and if I can help others be inspired too, then that's even better. I've really enjoyed interacting in the NaNoWriMo community this year, and also the community is awesome as ever. And yeah, I guess that goes to show that I get most of my community interaction online, not in person. There is a great community in my place of employment, though, and I get to work with some of the most awesome people ever. So I'm very blessed there.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Dear crush...

During August of this year, I embarked upon an exercise which involved writing 30 letters in 30 days. Day 2 required me to write a letter to my crush, and this is what I wrote:

Dear Crush,

Does it matter that you're my own character in my own novel that I wrote for last year's NaNoWriMo? Does that REALLY matter? I don't think so.

Please don't be insulted, but I took inspiration for you from the Twilight series. NOT because you're like those characters. NOT because you're a vampire or a werewolf (for you are not any of those). But the inspiration I took was from hearing people say what sucked them into that particular series was that they craved the sort of chivalry that the likes of Edward Cullen show.

My inspiration for you was to think about what I really wanted in a man. And poof! There you were in my head. So I wrote about you, already knowing I was in lust/love with you. You are like no man I've ever known, sad to say. You're far from perfect, and you've got your issues. Big time hang-ups. But you're sweet, and kind, and you have the biggest heart. You're unconventionally sexy, too. That helps, I guess. You're not a pin-up boy. Hell no. You're ordinary looking, though nice and tall - but the more I get to know you, the sexier you really are.

So there you go. I love you, because I made you up, and damn my imagination has been kind to me!

Fondest regards, baby. :D


Sunday, 5 December 2010

147,000... what, too much?

I am working currently on editing the first novel from the series that was born last year during NaNoWriMo, and when I had my final "polished" second-ish draft ready to start working on, these were the statistics:

Word count: 147,000
Page count: 243
Chapter count: 59

For a romance novel I got the impression that the word count (not to mention chapter count) needed to be slashed to smaller figures, so my main focus upon re-reading and editing was to cull as much superfluity as I could. It's been surprisingly easy so far to cull 17,000 words, and I am only up to chapter 29. So, as of today, current stats are:

Word count: 131,743
Page count: 228
Chapter count: 53

And just for fun, the original rough draft was 116,348 words, and had only twenty chapters!! And it was 174 pages long.

Friday, 3 December 2010

From 13 to...30

When I was in my first year of high school (age 12-13), I wrote a "short story" that ended up being referred to wryly by my teacher as "the novel". It only works out at around about 5,000 words, but it was a lot longer than anything the other students wrote. So much so that the teacher let me hand it in late (apparently two weeks late) just so I could complete it. I got an A, but check out this excerpt from chapter 2...actually, this is chapter 2, in its entirety!

That stupid girl, he thought, angrily. I've got enough trouble as it is, and she's made me even more confused. That other girl wasn't meant to come so early. I hate it when this happens. They always mess it up! It was like this with Annelease. But I really did have to do it. She knew everything. EVERYTHING!!! Well, no one can find her! She's hidden well. But as for this new girl, well she…she will pay dearly. Just you wait! Just you wait and see.

No wonder I got a great mark, eh?

Honestly, when I look back at this story, I have mixed emotions: pride, embarrassment, and the definite urge to howl with laughter. I also feel...relief. At least I know I've improved somewhat since those days. Relief, indeed.

Still, my writing today is not perfect, and I have lots of lessons to learn still. My critiquing group is awesome for that. But I still feel proud of what I can do, what I do do, and I guess that's the feeling I'm going to try and hang on to.

© Trisha W.F.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

NaNoWriMo - is it evil?

I just wrote a novel in 30 days. To be more specific, I wrote 94,232 words in 30 days. That's not as many as I wrote last year - something closer to 114,000 in 20 days, and then another 20k by the end of November (on the sequel). Still, 94k isn't too bad.

What did I write? Surely it was absolute crap. Surely it wasn't worth reading.

Surely I feel sorry for my friends who asked to read it and whose requests were obliged. Ha.

Well, to be honest, I think the writing was around about average. It could be better (and will be, with all the editing it'll undergo), but it could also be a lot worse. I had a great idea, not a new idea to be sure, but a great one, and I managed to finish the story, a story that has been buzzing around annoying me for probably close to a decade. Well, maybe longer than a decade.

There are a lot of criticisms out there about National Novel Writing Month and how it supposedly demeans "real" writers. My question to those offended "real" writers is...why do you care so much if people are making a mockery out of your profession? How is NaNoWriMo damaging you, unless you're just feeling threatened.

It may be true that a lot of NaNoWriMo novels are absolute crap, but so are a lot of other novels that get published. I've read some of the suckiest. Not naming names. Or titles.

Anyway, the original question I asked was: is NaNoWriMo evil? And my answer? I don't think!

I think stifling creativity is evil!