Editing, no one told me there would be editing…GAH!

Sent the first scene/chapter off of “The Einstein Fallacy” for critiquing.  Should have all the results back around April 20th, 2017. I may post a before and after.

I wish I had a drinking problem. Even though I trust these people, and they are excellent writers, fear still invades me at the thought of having anyone read my work. Why?

Why?

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I suppose it’s because if they don’t like the writing, they don’t like me. The subconscious me wants them to validate my writing so they will validate me. My mother always said I was a fragile child, and it appears that I am. Aren’t we all fragile children? Somewhere hidden inside we fear being known and at the same time want to be known. That inner self. To be identified with, to know we aren’t alone. The exposure of true self is guarded.

But lets return to the skill of editing. I don’t have it. It is so much easier for me to write drivel on a page then it is to go and edit the writing. Having said that, I can learn to edit. Here is my current process in a nutshell:

  1. Tea and a Timer. Normally Peppermint and the Pomodoro “Tomato Timer” https://tomato-timer.com/ I work 25 minutes get up and take a break for 5 and then back at it. I try to do a min of an hour.
  2. I start with Passive Verbs, spelling, and adverbs, and remove them – as Stephen King said:

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.” Stephen King

3. Once this is done I print a hard copy, double sided, 1″ Margins, double spaced, and read it out loud to myself and make notes in the text with a red pen. I go all the way through. This time it took me three days over the weekend. If I see that I need to move where plot points are, I detail them on a separate sheet as well, with the page numbers listed.

4. Back on the computer, I read through a couple of more times and then send it off to an alpha reader that is unknown to my writing groups. If they reply with the “I want to know more” or “Well what happens next”. I submit.

5. Once I get the feedback. I make sure that I understand their notes, asking for clarification or examples when needed. Then I put these items away for 10 days to two 2 weeks. The urge to leap in and make the changes suggested to me is too strong. I have to take a step back, wait and then in cold sober calculation consider what needs to be changed.

The goal is to have all the chapters done in time for When Words Collide this summer and pitch it to a Publisher. Or as I refer to it, outa da fryin pan and into the fire…

As always, be well

dcd

oneRock

 

Fog


Outside sounded wrong. There was a lack of noise. No crunch of tires on the last snow of the year. The fog was just there. It didn’t roll in. I woke up and it was staring me in the face. A shapeless mass that peered into my soul finding the horrors of my life. I shuddered and closed my eyes ending the stare.

I opened them again looking for others. Dog walkers remained unseen, in fact, stayed indoors? Not enough foot traffic either. Looking at the empty swing I wondered if our silent unseen saint would ride to our aid, again.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner? Or “Now I have to edit this dam thing…”

A slap dash overview of my last month of writing – grammar optional.

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50,195 words in 29 days. The novel isn’t finished, perhaps, I wrote too much outline. It is looking like the novel will finish around 75,000 words.
What novel you ask? Why, Einstein’s Fallacy, thanks for asking. A high school physics teacher becomes the protector of a genius high school student who has discovered a mistake with Einstein’s work. An idea that is dangerous, in many ways. They travel to CERN the centre of Quantum physics where they meet Dr.Stephen Hawking. He introduces them to Dr.Tomas Cardona who will aid them in the development of this revolutionary idea and Leon Trask, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur.

Ben, the student wants to get to space. To, as he puts it, “Get off this damm rock and all it’s petty people.”

Lisa’s long term relationship over she wistfully wonders if she chose the right career path.  And gets a chance to be her dream, a researcher.

Dr.Brenda Sawyer, Lisa’s mentor at University and connection to CERN.

Tomas, realizes that what he has believed, researched, his life’s work is mis-guided and wants to regain a purpose.

Leon Trask, wise and wants to make money, more importantly make power his companion.

Katherine and Jason Hock – two to of the richest people in the world see the threat Ben’s ideas hold and want to control it. Ruthless would be a kind word for their tactics.

Three wise men who see the danger posed by the discovery who enlist the aid of Graywater and the Hock’s to manage the chaos they see coming.

Graywater – a private security contractor with no national boundaries. Protectors yes, mercenaries, certainly.?)

Be Well – dcd

 

My mistakes in writing

The biggest mistake I make in writing is the simplest. Avoiding writing. Sounds way to simple. But it is the biggest issue for my attempts at becoming an author. I talk a lot about writing, I read a lot about writing but I don’t do a lot of writing.  I have grandiose ideas and plans. Wonderful characters in great situations, at least I tell myself that, and sometimes others. In many ways, this struggle is the reverse of the trouble I had when I quit smoking.

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I had tried quitting many times before I found the way that worked for me. This is important. It’s important for you to know that I have tried many ways to write and to quit smoking. For me to quit smoking it boiled down to, “I won’t have one right now” or “I don’t need one right now”. I just had to beat the habit one cigarette at a time. One craving at a time. Sounds simple, right? But if you have ever tried to quit smoking or anything else, you know it’s not simple or easy. I won’t attempt to describe the struggles. That is for another day.

So for writing, I need to write today. I don’t need need to finish 70,000 words. I just need to write today, where ever I am, however, I feel. Even if I write 250 words a day that gives me 91,250 words in a year. More that what is needed for a novel, novella. Unless of course if you are a “Sanderson”, where 300,000 is the norm.

The silliest part is that I can be quite productive if I just sit down and write. I can crank out a lot of words in a short period of time. Crappy words, but words none the less. Its not that I am not trying.(double negative) I have started participating in two writing groups that will help my word count. One that meets and writes weekly and one that meets monthly. But those discussions are for another day. Yes I know, I have promised two more blog posts, one on my journey to quit smoking and one on my writing groups. Don’t complain it will give you something to look forward to.

As Always
Be Well…

 

The Mighty WWC

When Words Collide is just around the corner and its time to start preparing for the trip/event/happening.

First, a disappointment, from the pre-release program I can’t seem to find when Robery J. Sawyer is speaking. I was looking forward to hearing talk about his recent experiences. Most recently he was at StarMas 2016 with a veritable who’s who of the Space and Science world. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Chris Hadfield and that guy – STEVEN FRICKIN’ HAWKING!

I follow Robert on Facebook and twitter. You should too.

As I did last year, I am helping out on the “AV” team. Projectors, microphones and mayhem. The conference is well organized and this mainly making sure the presenter is comfortable and has what they need.

Usually I get stressed out going to conferences, I don’t deal with crowds well. This produces a lot of anxiety for me. This year I am feeling far more relaxed. I wonder why? A sense of belonging? Whatever the reason, its a great feeling.
Be Well…

 

Ebb and Flow

I was fortunate enough to attend the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Retreat  3 full days of writing, two  and half days of writing and two 5 hour drives (Listening to Writing Excuses) This will probably be two blogs. Lots to comment on. It will also be choppy and not edited.

The retreat is run by Randy McCharles, who also organizes When Words Collide. The retreat is open to authors, writers, and want-to-be writers, like me, from around the world to attend. There is not a specific genre focus. The focus is on you the writer coming to get work done, without distractions, in a community of writers.

Oh, the setting is pretty inspiring. The Rocky Mountains do that to a person.

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Did I mention the food? Three Words, Sticky Toffee Pudding. Uh-Uh, that’s what I be talk’in about. There is no reliable internet. So if you back up to the cloud be sure to bring something else to save your work.

Good News 16,187 first draft new words for the Mystery Novel being written for some colleagues. Once of the concepts I have learned in the last several months is that Sci-Fi and Fantasy contain other elements; like mystery, adventure and thriller elements. Writing Excuses describes these as “elemental genres”.  You can have a romance that contains a mystery. A mystery that contains thriller as part of the story. But I digress.

I learned some valuable lessons at the retreat. Writers, in general, want other writers to succeed. Even if you are in the same genre. Ask question to a write about how they write and you will get honest straight-forward answers. You will almost always get as many different ways to do something as there people responding. Here is an example:

How do you plot? (if you are a pantser this doesn’t apply)

  • Sticky Notes
  • Word Document Outline
  • The outliner in Scrivener
  • Excel
  • Recipe cards

I have been using Scrivener for some time. It has helped me tremendously. I have found that it is important for me to try out different ways of outlining. Maybe something will work better. Another person described her process as quilting. An apt analogy.

This kind of advice was offered throughout the retreat. I commented to several people on how writers as a group, openly share their secrets. I have been in other groups who don’t openly share their secrets or tricks. This is quite refreshing. There is no silver bullet. As I have mentioned before, there is no easy path to being a writer and author. You don’t decide to write because it’s easy.

Side Bar – Robert J Sawyer – Dean of Canadian Science Fiction, Author, Speaker, Teacher and as it turns gentleman, friend to the n00bie. I checked in the afternoon went to my cabin, went down wrote a little and visited ‘Cabin 13’.  (Cabin 13 is the lunch, break, chill cabin) Walked through the door, and there he was. A little bit of fanboi set in and I don’t know what to say. He proceeds to introduce himself and everyone else in the room, including what they write – ‘YA’ nominated for an aurora, Fantasy – working with Adrienne Kerr (editor extraordinaire)’. All I could spit out was, ‘Doug, noobie writer’. WOW – so articulate. Said, ‘Hi’ to everyone, chatted briefly, and went out had a nap and then went for dinner

The bistro restaurant that is part of the Baker Creek Mountain Resort  was wonderful. I grabbed a table for two hidden around the corner and started looking at the menu. Several minutes later, Mr.Sawyer and others walked in.

“What are you doing! No one eats alone, get over here.” Robert says.

I shuffled over to the table and was chastised by the rest of the writers. I suppose I could have hidden? But why? A meal with humor, insight and that warm sense that someone else understands the struggles you face as a writer. Plus! I got have sticky toffee pudding. Fortunately, another one of the writers helped me with it,  otherwise, all of that sugar could have turned me into giddy 8 years old. No one needs to see that…

oneRock

Rage against the end of the year

I am fighting to stop the end of the year. I don’t want it to end. I have to get more work done, well, more productive work done.

In truth, more work done that I want to get done. I am jealous of people that can just re-focus and get their personal goals accomplished. I don’t have that kind of will-power. I am missing the kind of disciplined life that  reflects the ability to change and re-direct daily habits. I don’t have that kind of will-power.

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Did I do anything that I wanted to do this year?

I supported more Kickstarter/IndieGoGo type projects Lazarus Risen and GravityLight 2: Made In Africa  and supported one Patreon Arvan Eleron’s Twitch Channel.  Which is better than none.

Miraculously, I no longer have a job that has me “on-call” and does not have me traveling at least once a month.

When Words Collide was once again great. I managed to attend it without incident. When Words Collide

Played board games with friends – this has been fun. Imperial Assault. Damm Rebels!

Discovered a new online stream that I love. Critical Role

So why do I feel that I have not accomplished anything this year?

I am the kind of person who remembers mistakes, not successes, remembers when I get angry and does not remember when he is happy…

I think I just found my “New Year’s Resolution”. just in time too – whew!

Be Well -dcd