Valiant or Vain (or Both): A Cunning Time Plan

So I’ve been floundering for a couple of months. A bit. Nothing new, really – so much to do, so little time. It’s a not-so-good thing that I’m not great at optimising my time, due to further not-particularly-new-or-unique reasons – too tired after work to write, kitty to be played with, songs to be sung – the usual.

But now, I will at least have a valiant/vain attempt. Weekdays without evening commitments, be ready. Hopefully getting it down will help with sticking to it – or trying, at least. Just imagine I have an approximate tilde before every time …

6.30 – get up

6.30 – 7.15 – morning chores and readiness for work

7.15 – 8.00/8.15 (depending on bussing or biking)  (or – 9.00/9.15 when I stop working overtime) – work on Treading Twisted Lines

8.00/8.15 – 8.54 (or 9.00/9.15 to 9.54 without overtime) – bus or bike to work

8.54 (or 9.54 without overtime) – 18.00 – do the work thing

18.00 – 18.45 – bike or bus home

18.45 – 20.30 – evening fooding, cleansing, chores, etc (maybe a bit of relaxing?)

20.30 – 23.00 – work on editing and reworking Embraced (first novel)/work on new novel, working title Shimmer, Child of Light/work on other projects. Alternate as necessary. But not on the same night. One night, one project. Things will get too muddled, otherwise …

23.00 – fall asleep instantly. I’m not so good at falling asleep, either …

We’ll see what happens, anyway. Given it’s one of my nights without evening commitments, I’m already flouting this – haven’t showered yet. And I suppose anything related to blogging/social networking/self-publishing/looking for not self-publishing agent-publishing people gets crammed in where it fits. Or relegated to weekend time. Not projecting this will last long. But at least it’s an outline. It’ll be good to use what time I have more wisely (if a bit ambitiously) while I still have that time. Am I an adult, after all … adult-ish, anyway. When the time comes for doing adult-ish things, I’ll probably laugh to even remember this post.

Here’s To Another Round of Bombarding Every Literary Agent I Have On My List Right Now

Sat up late last night double-checking cover letters, brief synopses of varying lengths, and preferred formatting of sample chapters before sending submissions of my more user-friendly novel, Missing Exhibit – the young adult/fantasy/psychological drama one as opposed to the not-so-young-adult/fantasy/maybe a little sci fi/psychological drama one, in case anyone was wondering… – into another six UK literary agencies.

Not exactly a relaxing evening, but a hopeful one.

I’m still surprised when I sit down for a spot of nervous editing (this is most of the time right now when I sit down to do anything remotely writing relating – just can’t focus on newer projects at the moment… and that’s getting kind of old) when I find most of it reads pretty well.  I like it, and enjoy reading it over. Almost a year after finishing Missing Exhibit, for the most part, I’m still really happy with it. I like to think that’s a good sign.

So I maintain hope that this novel will eventually stand out from amid its fellow slush. It only has to stand out to one person. Just one. That’ll be more than enough, for now.

I look forward to the day this unknown, but already much revered and appreciated literary agent can help my stories stand out to others, too.

NaNoWriMo is complete. Now, possibly, I shall blog once more

All done.

At least, the 50,000 words are done. The story is nowhere near done. I didn’t even get to the end of part 1 like I’d initially planned. Behind Glass is turning out to be an awful lot longer than I originally thought.

Oh, well. 50,000 words is still a big chunk no matter what the novel’s final size is.

Plans from now:  have a little break from writing. Just a short one. Then, for the love of all things sane, write the next short story in Treading Twisted Lines! Then, continue editing two complete, but still requiring work novels, working on slotting together and improving all that I have of Behind Glass at the moment in between. Then, depending on how agent hunting goes, either continue writing Behind Glass or begin the sequel of Missing Exhibit.

I’ve got a lot to do … but I think I might eat pizza and play computer games for a while.

Congrats to everyone who won NaNoWriMo this year and an equal congrats to anyone who had the guts and insanity in equal measures to give it a go. May see you back in WriMo Land next year.

Still Very Little Of The Blogginess

Excepting when I’ve been far away from any computer for an extended period of time, I think this has been the longest time I’ve been so seriously without the blogginess. At least on other writing fronts things are starting to look a bit better.

The other day while riding the bus and walking the rest of the way to work, I planned an entire Treading Twisted Lines story – shall probably be number 6 or 7. I had to stop in the middle of the path and just stand there for 10 minutes or so to record as much as I could on my smaller iDevice.  This story came from wanting to give the Four Free Areas its own dominant fast food chain and the observation that there were a lot more bugs around than usual that morning. I’m liking how it flowed so easily – much more like how I wrote the first three, not like how I’m still struggling with number 4. The day after that, I expanded on the basic idea of another Treading Twisted Lines story – I’m not sure whereabouts it’ll be in the series. Probably not too far away. I should probably write the ones that I actually know, first.

On another note, as this year’s NaNoWriMo approaches – I’m probably not going to participate, with work playing havoc with my writing as it is – I’ve dug out last year’s effort – Pulp Runner, if you remember – and am putting it through a harsh, split-screen, re-type edit. It needs it, unfortunately. I need to re-work the ending and thread more references to it and the villain character (if he can be called that – a rather pathetic villain, really) throughout, not to mention simplify the protagonist’s internal dilemmas. Well, not simplify as such. Just convey them more simply. Or better. Just better.

Will probably have to put the first novel through a similar split-screen, re-type edit, but decided to do Pulp Runner first – it’s much shorter and I’m a coward. Been putting stuff together in bits and pieces for Behind Glass, as well, and a story I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned on the doll thermometer, before. I’ll call it Leonard, here. Originally he was being entirely handwritten as something to keep me occupied at school in Japan when I wasn’t given any work, but I’ve just about decided to shift back to typing and use the rest of his notebook for planning.

Shall aim to write a randomly generated scene in the next week – it’ll be my first free weekend in what probably isn’t forever, but quite feels like it, at the moment.

Most exciting news that I think I forgot to mention in the gloom of upcoming elections and the misery of the aftermath:  I sent inquiry letters re Missing Exhibit to a few literary agents and one of them requested to see the first 30 pages. She’s had them for a few weeks, now. I’m keeping as many phalanges crossed as I can and freaking out every time I check my phone for emails during work, hoping that she asks to see the rest. But I’m feeling pretty good, even if she decides she doesn’t want to represent me 🙂 If I got past the first stage once, I can do it again.

So. There’s a good, long waffle on about not really very much. I’ll try to do better. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog again the way I did in the beginning, though. I could just go on about anything, hopefully in a vaguely interesting fashion. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve grown particularly as a blogger as of yet, unless it’s more lazy. I’ll try to figure out a new posting routine. Soon. Maybe that’ll help.

If anyone has any tips for keeping their blogs going strong when feeling quite swamped, feel free to instruct me in your wise ways 🙂

I’m Impressionable (And I Know It …)

Seeing much sadness and worse around. Current thoughts for the health and future of the son of a friend of my aunt’s and also for everyone who’s ever been made to believe being abused is a sin.

In an attempt not to dwell, time to poke some fun at myself.

I’m a pretty impressionable person and a champion procrastinator, but I think I’ve reached an all new low/high on both fronts: on reading the term “needlepoint” during the course of editing the other day, I was compelled to dig out all my old fun stitch patterns and spend most of the rest of the day (and following days) stitching teddy bears on rocking horses instead of continuing with said editing.

Cross-stitch

Still a lot to do …

My Poor Dear Blog Is Now Sullied

Freaking out because SUDDENLY ADS ON MY BLOG!

Considering other WordPress bloggers don’t appear to have this problem, I am guessing this is a result of my naive attempt to download an old freeware game and what I downloaded turning out to be not a game. Thought I got rid of everything by running the antivirus program. I don’t know much, but I’m guessing it maliciously twisted itself into my code or something.

I DON’T LIKE THIS! I NEED TO GET RID OF THEM!

Unfortunately, I have no idea how. I’ll probably have to wait for sister Frannie to finish exams and beg for aid.

In the meantime, I’m so sorry. If you are seeing these ads on my blog, please be assured that I do not support any of these products/scams/etc. Please do not click on them. Hoping to have my blog cleansed in the very near future.

In other news, it seems I’m apparently not able to keep up my past habit of blogging every two days when I now finish work so late every night. I’ll try to get a couple up every week, but don’t know how regular they’ll be. I’m sure no one will mind/notice.  Also, editing again. Going through Missing Exhibit and Embraced in no particular order, hoping to tart them up a bit. Just in case there’s suddenly a prospect of representation/sale.

Hope all’s well. Just a general warning to those bloggers such as myself who are not particularly technologically savvy and rely on the aid of others and the lovely simplicity of such sites as WordPress:

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DOWNLOAD

Top 10 Random Things I Can See In My Bedroom

Started writing haikus, but I need to get back to editing and then sleeping fairly soon after. Despite the long weekend, I’ve managed to do very little of anything useful. Instead of haikus, I shall now provide a fast list of the 10 most random things I can see in my room – my home, my writing space – in no particular order. Non-Evangelion fans may need to look up a reference or two.

10) A crochet narwhal

9) A box stuffed with writing notes from the last 12 years or so

8) Part of a spaceshuttle hanging on a picture frame

7) A Geo-front behind a collection of waving cats

6) A candle holder acting as a business card holder

5) A microphone with a charm for success hanging on it

4) A dragon’s shadow sitting on my light switch

3) Pearls draped over a wire heart

2) An iron frog

1) A cello wearing a hat

Chip Defeat

Got home at around quarter to three this morning. Had a midnight Anzac Day service to sing at in the city, then did the Pancake Manor with all the lovely choir peoples. At least it’s a public holiday – slept to around ten, then had a two-hour nap in the afternoon.  Not exactly helpful in carrying out my wishful plans of spending the day editing.

Back to the Pancake Manor. Ordered a bit less than I normally do – short stack of buttermilk pancakes, basket of chips, and a glass of coke. Twenty dollars for that.  Bit painful, I think.  More painful, though, is that the basket of chips (by chips, I do mean the hot potato french fries-y ones, not potato chips in a packet) defeated me. Suppose it’s a good thing that I can’t eat as much as I used to. But I hate wasting food, particularly chips. Chips are … I have a certain liking for chips.

Used to have a fantasy thought of travelling as a chip connoisseur and writing a book entailing chips around the world – all the shapes, seasonings, and the best cafes and restaurants that serve them.  We’ve already located the best chips in Australia – at least, of all the places we’ve been in Australia.  If you’re ever at the Flinders Chase National Park Visitors Centre on Kangaroo Island, order the chips.  Not McDonald’s skinny, not KFC thick, cooked in sunflower oil (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was) with the most amazing herb seasoning.  We had to order a second basket the moment the first was empty.  Don’t know if they’re still served there, though – this was quite a few years ago.

The chips aren’t too bad closer to home, either. The Pancake Manor, of course, has wonderful chips, hence my reluctance to admit defeat this morning. Another good place for chips is Wordsmiths Cafe at the University of Queensland. When I was eating them more regularly as a uni student, it was a small gamble to order these – one I always took – as sometimes they just didn’t arrive at your table right: oily aioli, lukewarm, or heavily under-spiced. But when they were cooked right – which was more often than not – they’re just brilliant.

Wordies chips are ingrained in my mind as part of a normal uni experience, so much so that they appear in my first novel.  I bestowed student Eva with one of my uni habits – often if I felt anxious about an assignment or an exam, I would go and order a massive bowl of Wordies chips and devour them, all alone at a little round sandstone table.  She does just that in chapter eight – I think it’s eight – only that time, it’s not uni that’s got her feeling a bit tense.

Can’t think of any other moment in my writings when chips get to shine. And I do so love writing descriptions of food.  Maybe I could pop a chips-in-a-paper-cone shop on the Fourth Crossroads in Pulp Runner. They could work in Missing Exhibit, as well – the world is based roughly on late 19th century England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales, so there would be chips around about somewhere.

Probably not important to include chips in writing. Might even be a bit silly. But they work with Eva.

And I do like chips …

🙂

March 1 1978: Famous for Chaplin’s Coffin, Volunteer Release, or Rabbit Plagues?

Couldn’t get in the right frame of mind for writing Treading Twisted Lines over the weekend, so I started editing my first novel again, instead.  That should keep me busy in the evenings for the next few weeks.  Or months.

Have a guess which option is true. Remember, no googling until you have a go.

*

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category:  Dates

1 March 1978

a) Charlie Chaplin’s coffin was stolen in Switzerland

b) Two British volunteers kidnapped in Vietnam were released after five years of imprisonment

c) New Zealand’s rabbit infestation officially reached plague status.

Editing Chapter 23 and Exciting New Titles

Laptop’s overheating. Need to wait for it to settle down before continuing with editing. So, thought I’d jump on for a brief blog. Break the self-imposed leave, just for one post.

Finished the first draft of Tom on Sunday, 24 February, I believe. Been in severe editing-mode since then. Currently working on chapter 23. Been getting roughly two chapters edited each day – I’ve split screened the computer, and am re-typing everything from scratch. I think it’s easier to spot errors this way, and realise when something looks/sounds just plain wrong. It can, however, get a little tiresome. Been feeling rather burnt out. Hence why I played roughly two hours of Sims 3 today.

A little concerned that I’m not cutting and/or changing as much as I thought I’d be doing in these later chapters, considering how quickly I wrote them. Perhaps I didn’t leave a long enough gap between the writing and editing, but I am fast running out of time. I don’t think I’ll make my original 10 March deadline; aiming now for between 15 and 20 March. If I use express post and what-not, I should still be fine to submit the story in time for 29 March. It only has to snail-mail it as far as New South Wales, shouldn’t be a problem from where I am. Might be a little expensive though, considering how many pages it’s going to be. Does anyone know if there’s a general rule when it comes to writing competitions, whether the hard copy manuscript can be printed double-sided, or if it has to be printed on one side only?

New and exciting news! Working with a title for Tom, a much more official one than just… Tom. Currently referring to this novel as Tom Ness Changes. I’ve run through a few other ideas e.g. To Keep the Memory, Preservation, Tom Ness and the Mystical Museum, and just plain Tom Ness. While I liked most of these, all of them seemed to place the story in a different, rather rigid box. Tom Ness and the Mystical Museum, though it sums up the story quite well, sounds like a book only for quite young children, which it certainly isn’t; To Keep the Memory sounds more romance/drama than fantasy,  and doesn’t quite suit the folksy feel I’m trying to go for. Tom Ness Changes has a kind of abrupt feeling that makes it quite appealing to me, plus multiple interpretations, which is always a … plus. I think it might evoke curiosity about the story more than any of the other titles I was working with.

And in other totally non-story related news for a change: had a job interview. Crazy. And it actually went well, so I might actually get the position. Which means working in the day, writing at  night, and doing all other stuff… never. Hooray! Entering the ranks of all other struggling working writers 🙂 Hooray … blarg.

Shall return to more regular blogging once Tom Ness Changes is all packed up and ready to send, complete with synopsis and 50 word author biography. Have to write those, too…