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Liz A. Vogel
04 February 2016 @ 08:02 pm
Highway of Mirrors revisions: 2489
original short fiction: 16
Total new words in January: 2505

I'd have liked more, but wordcount is not the point of revision. And the revisions are going well, all things considered. I've gotten stuck into the plotty bits in the later chapters that I was afraid were a disaster; in fact, they're just... not quite there. With surprisingly small changes of actual text, I'm taking what were strands running parallel to each other and knitting them together so they converge on more or less the same point, which I think may be the difference between a handful of events and a "plot". I'd like to claim that this is what I meant all along -- I mean, the bits are all there, seemingly waiting for this -- but I can't say it with a straight face.

I've also changed one thing from being data that my characters are given, to data that they find out. It's not a big thing (just the code name of an operation), but I think it's having an impact beyond its size, making them seem much more investigate-y and clever.

The characterization tweaks I added to the earlier chapters were things I meant from the start, but now they're actually on the page for the readers to share. ;-)

I'm laughably over my mental deadline, but my deadline was laughably unrealistic -- or rather, I'd figured on a week to do the logic-fix I turned out not to need, and maybe a couple of the easier character-tweaks, and then print it out to review for plot issues and give it to the alpha-reader simultaneously. That's somehow turned into a full chapter-by-chapter review (the chapters out of order, which is an interesting focusing technique) and everything-I-can-catch overhaul, which turns out to be a lot more than I thought I could do without hard copy. Once I've got the last of the currently-handwritten bits wedged in (which have come to me variously over time), and the last of the newly-introduced brackets removed, and the knock-on changes from the above followed through, then I'll print it out for both the housemate and myself to do a full read-through. And then we'll see what we shall see.

Oh, yeah; I also got one short story submitted.

For February: Finish this revision pass and get the print-out printed out.

I'd like to get another short story finished. The idea that spun off from a library presentation on screenwriting last summer recently acquired a half-page of handwritten fix, and the main character now has an actual reason for being where she is. (That one, I think was in the back of my brain all along; it just took a while to get to the front.) That might be a good candidate.

Everything that can be in a slush pile right now, should be.

The email issue remains. I wish I could switch gears better; maybe once I get to the print-out stage of revision, I'll stop feeling like every free day has to go to that, and can catch up on some admin work.

But mainly, the revisions.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/149382.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Depeche Mode, "Nothing To Fear"
Liz A. Vogel
14 January 2016 @ 06:39 pm
Money was tight this Christmas, and the cats are so spoiled that it's hard to find something new and different to buy them, anyway. So I took the box that the new microwave shipped in and cut a couple small doorways in it, and now the kitties have themselves a box fort.

There's something fundamentally delightful about listening to a large cardboard box purr.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/149031.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

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Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: U2, "Love And Peace Or Else"
Liz A. Vogel
10 January 2016 @ 01:14 pm
Well, that's embarrassing.

Turns out the logical inconsistency that I've been stressing out about in Highway of Mirrors... doesn't exist. (Short version: It's not the existence of the Sekrit Facility that $character uses his Sooper Spy Tricks to suss out; it's who's there and when. The place itself is officially known of. So it's perfectly all right if said character shows up at said facility later on.)

I'm still digging into the revisions, though. There's a lot of stuff that I think I can do better now, and one or two things that I've never been entirely happy about. (I still don't know what to do about those, but it feels like time to give it another try.) The previously "final" version is backed up in several places, so I can dink around to my heart's content and always go back if something proves to be a bad decision.

Have not yet devolved to spending all morning taking a comma out and all afternoon putting it back in, though I expect that will come. But for now, onward.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/148823.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: Franz Ferdinand, "Come On Home"
Liz A. Vogel
07 January 2016 @ 06:14 pm
Oh, god, why did I think I could revise this thing? Someone, please, shoot me now.

No, no, it's okay, really. Breathe. Fix the logic inconsistency, then print out a nice, clean copy and give it a read from there.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/148682.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

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Current Mood: workingworking
Current Music: Muse, "Map of the Problematique"
Liz A. Vogel
05 January 2016 @ 12:25 pm
I had meant to do some writing on the first, to start the New Year off right. Instead, I got sucked into errands and tasks, and haven't gotten unsucked yet. So it looks like the new year is carrying on true to form. ;-P

So what did December have to say for itself?

original short fiction: 1920

Total new words in December: 1920

Disappointingly low, but then I did give myself permission to go easy in December. Plus, that total represents two completed short stories, both of which were previously stuck, as well as tweaks to a third story which got it to the point that I'm willing to send it out. So actually I'm pretty darned satisfied.

No queries sent, and there won't be until I've found a new email service that doesn't randomly delete messages with the subject line "Re: Query...."

Short stories submitted: 2

So overall not bad, given the limitations and the time of year. I'll take it.

For January: The laid-back approach still seems to be working, so I'm going to carry on not stressing about word-counts for a while longer.

I did finally make a list of all the works-in-progress (credit less to willpower than to curiosity). It was not as traumatic as I'd feared; stories-started-then-stuck made up a much smaller portion of the list than I'd anticipated. And it was useful as a focusing tool. So:

January's main goal is to dig into the Highway of Mirrors revisions. At minimum, fix the logical inconsistency, and sort through the other notes I've accumulated to see what fits where. It may be worth trying to recruit fresh betas between the logic-fix and any emotion-conveying revisions. (Psst, hey, anybody wanna read an old-school-inspired spy novel with a complicated-romance sub-theme?)

Stretch goal: Finish a short story (probably "Measure", the one that needed the railroad research).

Carry on submitting stories as opportunity presents.

In a writing-related vein, get going on the email research. I've been concentrating on cleaning out my existing accounts, and not that that doesn't need to be done, but that doesn't have to happen before new accounts can be test-driven. And too much is waiting on having new accounts established.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/148294.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: Bis, "Two Million"
Liz A. Vogel
31 December 2015 @ 01:13 pm
I considered doing a round-up of all my works-in-progress (or should-be-in-progress), but it would probably just harsh my mellow. And I'm feeling pretty good about writing these days. In the past few weeks, I've finished a story that was doubly-stuck, on what-happens-next and on an indecisiveness of tone ("A Cold Day In Spells", for the record); finished another story that's been an opening in search of a story for about eight months (not sure "Dinosaurs Taste Like Chicken" lived up to the promise of the opening paragraph, but done is still good); figured out the vital Thing to un-stick the Mars novel; and, just recently, found the tweak to take a story that's been in not-quite-right limbo for several years from "this needs something" to "this could go out now" (and hit Send on it today).

(Writing is cool. Also weird. What that story's been waiting for was a better punchline. What it got instead was a line or two of character-reaction just before the end. While a better punchline still wouldn't hurt, what's there now works, because the earlier tweak refocused attention on the characters, and now the existing punchline means more. I was startled.)

And perhaps the best bit of un-sticking, which I am intermittently giddy about, is something I thought of yesterday for Highway of Mirrors. I haven't talked much about it, but my last round of revisions introduced a small but significant inconsistency. It took me an unconscionably long time to realize it was there, and once I did, I didn't have a clue what to do about it. And it's been really bumming me out. But this new idea not only doesn't involve either cutting the clever bit in Chapter 4 or mutilating the new scene in Chapter 10, it may even introduce an additional cachet of ominousness (ominousity?) to the central story issue. And it's a fairly small tweak (not that those can't be as hard to wedge in as larger changes). I still need to ponder it to make sure it'll work (and won't inadvertently introduce a new problem), but the prospect is making me excited to have another go at the manuscript, whereas before I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not come out.

So, after a year of mostly poor productivity, things are starting to look up. And that's enough of a round-up for me.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/148021.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

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Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: MIdnight Oil, "Sleep"
Liz A. Vogel
29 December 2015 @ 04:40 pm
I'm not sure I even knew there was an Internet Speculative Fiction DataBase, let alone that I was in it.

Yeah, that's kinda cool. ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/147966.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: amusedentertained
Current Music: Kaiser Chiefs, "Thank You Very Much"
Liz A. Vogel
21 December 2015 @ 02:54 pm
About a month and a half ago, I started a new job. It's nothing glamorous, just a part-time gig at the local hardware store, but it's a little steady money coming in, and it's a little me getting out of the house. No question that both of those needed to happen, but I was concerned what the effect on my writing would be.

Well, within the last few weeks, I've gotten un-stuck on the current short story (figured out what the thing my characters were investigating was meant to do, figured out how it tied together with some other things I wanted to include, and worked out how it all gets resolved). I've also, and here's the bit that needs a fanfare playing in the background, gotten un-stuck on the Mars novel! It's been stalled for months because I needed my character to discover a Thing, and while I knew the general parameters and what kind of effect it needed to have, I had no idea what the Thing actually was. And now I do! It fits nicely, it has possible implications for later, and it will really mess with his head.

And I do think the job is why this inspiration is finally happening, or at least a part of it. The amelioration of a certain amount of financial stress is probably a factor (I love doing freelance/contract work, and it's great when the clients are there, but it's a fiscal crap shoot). However, I suspect most of the credit goes to simply getting new input for the brain. It's a lot easier to have new thoughts when the neurons have new things to process, even if it's only where the mouse traps are or what kind of pipe to use for gas vs. water. Like any other part of the body, the brain works better when it's exercised regularly.

On the other hand, having come up with the new idea for the Mars novel, I haven't had a chance to do anything with it beyond the 250 or so words of jotting down the main concept.

The down side is the time management issue. I know lots of writers manage to write around full-time jobs, and I don't pretend my couple of days a week ought to be a major obstacle. But I'm still having trouble finding my footing. I'm not an every-day writer anyway, so the days when I've been on my feet for seven hours are obvious choices for no-writing days. But it seems like all the other demands of life are ganging up and overwhelming the remaining time even more than they already did, and if I do manage to beat them off and declare a writing day, I come up for air to find rubble and chaos everywhere. ;-) Trying to fit in writing in less than all-day chunks hasn't been working at all. Or at least not very well; I'm getting better, but I still need a lot of boot-up time before staring at the screen turns into putting words on it.

So as far as writing is concerned, the job is a net good, because all the writing time in the world won't help if your brain is mired in stale sludge. But all the new ideas in the world won't help if you don't make time to put them to use, either.

I need to be very careful about taking on any new demands on my time (especially this time of year, when baking and crafts will Eat My Life if given half a chance). And I need to establish a better balance of life maintenance and writing.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/147654.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: Supertramp, "The Long Way Home"
Liz A. Vogel
09 December 2015 @ 06:47 pm
Gods, I need to do a wordcount post for last month. If I'm not writing anything, I can at least total up what I've already written.

original short fiction: 5721
Falling From Ground: 248

Total new words in November: 5969

Hey, that's not bad! The short fiction is entirely "Cold Day In Spells"; a chunk of it's the same chunk that's been recycling around various versions, but there's plenty of new attached to it now. The FFG bit is the solution to my extended stuck-ness (about which there'll be a proper post someday, probably), so those few words carry much weight.

No querying, because in addition to working on a new query, my email provider has decided to randomly delete emails. Or not so randomly, as all the ones I'm sure are missing have subjects starting "Re: Query: ".... I need a new email provider, obviously, and querying's on hold til I find one.

December will be taken up with baking and the usual this time of year, but I'll sneak a few words in.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/147368.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: Dire Straits, "Your Latest Trick"
Liz A. Vogel
06 December 2015 @ 03:05 pm
One year ago today, our kitten disappeared, and didn't come back for two agonizing weeks.

He's been unusually jumpy about outside lately. Maybe he's just been picking it up from us. Obviously, he's a cat, and doesn't know from calendars. But if he associates the similar weather, shortness of daylight, etc. with being cold and hungry and alone, it would explain a lot.

Today, he and I went for a nice long walk. He didn't venture far into the woods, not more than twenty feet or so. At one point, he did seem interested in following the track between the neighbors' properties farther back than I was comfortable with, but I managed to dissuade him, and redirect his attention with an extended neck scritch. Mostly there was a lot of tree climbing, and pouncing on things rustling in the grass, and much returning to the human for pets and even picking up and purrrrrrrrs. At one point he did decide to investigate the other neighbor's front flower bed; not sure why the big open expanse of their lawn seemed fine to him when normally he sticks to cover, but when I caught up he turned and headed back toward home fairly agreeably.

All in all we were out about three hours, and he seemed very satisfied indeed, both with his walk and with coming home at the end of it. And I can't think of a better way to spend a morning.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/147048.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: lovedloved
Current Music: Depeched Mode, "World In My Eyes"