Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Tag: work in progress

Late Night Rambles

What. A. Week.

Kids are back in school, thank god! and oh, how I miss them! Seriously, trying to keep to my writing schedule with the shorties around is going to take some work once summer hits. And it’s not like I toss them bread and scare them off with evil glares and fist shakings.  We do stuff. This spring break, we skied. Oh my lord, the best snow hit just in the last week… and I am on a deadline. I MUST find a way to get a day up there….ah. Ehem. Sorry. Got distracted.

Anyway, scheduling for summer is something that will take some consideration. Right now, we’re considering camps, LOL. Can I be squeal-ly mom for a moment? My oldest wants to take the week long sailing camp! I am so excited! He and I got out in October and had a wonderful afternoon, and we saw kids his age heading out and he was instantly intrigued. I am thrilled that at least one of my kiddos is going to (hopefully) love the water as much as I do. The younger one wants to do roller hockey. I’m totally in favor of it, as long as there’s a mouthpiece. And drama. Whatever they are interested in. We’re still searching for the thing they really love to do. I didn’t find mine until my twenties. So if they don’t, it’s fine.

Okay, enough with the distractions. I dumped quinoa on my work space this week. An entire bowl. And I was all pleased with myself because I was going to finish reading something and eat and be ready for a conference call. Ha ha! Not quite how it went down. But the quinoa is gone.

Here’s the baddie – I lost 7,000 words this week. I don’t know what happened – it’s like I didn’t even work that particular day. Nothing I worked on saved. And I saved throughout the day. I searched for the lost work, but no joy. It’s a bit alarming. On a positive note, I rewrote everything that I lost, and it was tighter, and had a better flow (like how I’m doing that?) and I moved myself into the next piece of Exciting Plot much more easily than I expected to. So that’s good.

My turn-it-in-or-you-get-banned date to Amazon is this Friday. I’m going to make it, and be in good shape, but Amazon is sending an email a day, and it makes me nervous. But I’m glad they send out the reminders. If I was still working outside the home, I’d need it.

Speaking of which, how did I get anything done when I was working? I am glued to a schedule now, and I don’t have to do anything other than shop, the errands, and some doctor appointments. All things I did when working. But I try and put in at least five hours a day on writing/writing related concerns, so I think I get edgy when I feel other non-writing things intrude on my work hours.

What else? Oh. I LURRRRVE my editor. She is a copy editor by trade, but as she reads the genre I’m writing, I asked for a reader POV. Her comments are hilarious. I scrolled through just the comments yesterday. At one point I was practically crying. And yet she swears she doesn’t like to write. But she’s so funny!

I joined another critique group. It has a different vibe than my original group – which is not bad. I really like it. It’s why I decided to keep going when they invited me to stay. I am so fortunate that I don’t have the words to express how fortunate I am. I have two groups of talented writers that I get to work with. I can tell you that even with the looming deadline this week, I’ll come home refreshed and stay up too late after each group. Because you leave there fizzling with ideas. It’s marvelous.

So I’m off. Just took a break because I can’t make my girl go where I want her to. I figured a break would be good for both of us. Maybe she’s a little less sulky. Maybe I am too.

writers block 2

Thoughts on Publishing

So my publication date is just under 2 months out. I’m so excited, when I can get a chance to think on it. I am awash – awash, I tell you, in things that need to get done. (Gratuitous plug – See my Welcome page for my gorgeous cover of Thea’s Tale, the first book in the Sisters Of The Curse series. That is a real woman used as the model. She is HAWT. Seriously.)

Edits, fiddling, edits, more fiddling, and the big one – Marketing. So I have done what many before me have done – headed to Dr. Google, to see what I might find.

One of the reasons I have decided to go indie is because I love the idea of charting my own course, steering my own ship, captaining my own destiny (I think I miss sailing!) – even if I don’t have insta-success. I look at this as a marathon. Part of that whole chart/steer/captain thing is how to prepare your book to be read by the crowds and how to get your book to them.

There are many authors who are willing to help you with this. I have found an absolute wealth of information on the Writer’s Cafe in the KBoards forums. There are pros and cons as there are with all public forums but you can lurk and read to your heart’s content. I highly recommend it. You’ll learn a lot, even if you never make a single post. The authors there are wonderful. And they discuss everything, so poke around.

Compare that with the services you, as an indie author, might need. There are some services you should pay for if you can’t do it yourself. For me, that was a cover. I can barely manage Paint. Another is editing – I love commas and long sentences. I also love to begin sentences with ‘So’. I need help. I don’t mind paying a reasonable price for it.

Here’s where Dr. Google comes in. Do your homework. If you need a cover, go and seek out cover artists. Read the KBoards, or Absolute Write, and see what other authors are paying. Same with editing. Or blog tours, or whatever aspect of publishing assistance you need.

As I have been working through the things I need to do, and need to know, the scams I come across are wretched. Absolutely wretched. Most of us get into this with a small budget. We don’t have tons of cash to throw, and have to manage it carefully. So do your homework before signing up for a service that promises to do it all for you. As referenced above, I have a few things I am absolutely paying for. But others – I am doing it myself. I’m still going for commercial quality and a professional product. That doesn’t mean I have to pay tens of thousands to someone to get that.

This was brought on by reading some of David Gaughran’s blog posts. He’s a great resource if you are going indie – and he consistently champions ethics in the author services industry. Go read his blog. You’ll find lots that will be useful.

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/

This is kind of a ramble, I know. I mentioned that I am overwhelmed, and that’s not an exaggeration. I keep reading that there has never been a better time to write, and I think that’s probably true (I’ll give you more of an update on that after I publish). I know that I have been able to find out more about the mechanics of it, and how to make it happen for me than I ever thought possible.

The tl:dr shortcut – do your homework. Don’t just throw money at it. See how others have done it before you. See what may work for you.

And keep writing. Today was a bust (I was hauling some tasty items that I scored on the local yard sale site) but yesterday, and Wednesday – 16,000 words. Shoved my girls across a bridge of hell in terms of plot. It left me wrung out over the keyboard, but hey! More words, and the girls are now where they need to be.

Step Away From The Smart Phone…

 

So it was another weekend up at the shalack. That’s our little mountain hideaway that is a cross between a shack and a lovely chalet. Just so you know.

If you’ve come visiting us, you know we don’t have much in the way of technology. No cable or satellite, no internet, no phone. I can usually get a cell signal for calls, but not for much else. Not even texts. Part of me mourns a little when we go up there. I do love my techie stuff, and I do miss keeping up with my tech world.

But when I get home, I am always struck, when I look over what I’ve done during the weekend, how much I accomplish. This weekend, and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know this already – I managed over ten thousand words. That is just astounding to me. I did the bulk of it Saturday night, after a long and lazy day with family. Our big event was going to the hot springs and cooking ourselves lobster style. Well, and I walked around town (it’s a small town) hitting the local yard sales. Scored an amazing cast iron stove for the deck.

Back on topic. I know we all love technology, or you wouldn’t be here, on WordPress. It’s fun, and I love keeping up with those I care about who don’t live close. And yet, when I step away, how much does life improve in certain aspects?

No, we don’t do much. One of the reasons we go there is to just get away, and because we love the pace of a small town in the mountains. It’s quiet. Our house is in a part of town that is generally composed of residents. There’s not a lot of tourist traffic.

The best thing? It’s the hummingbirds. My long suffering spouse, who generally indulges me has put up a number of feeders, and adjusted and fiddled to get the birds to come and visit our feeders. We sat, both mornings, watching the birds fuss and fight and generally carry on with one another. There are six regulars that go between the four houses on the corner of our street. They make a wonderful whirring noise – and all of them have a slightly different whir. It’s louder than a hum, LOL.

And then, my spouse takes a well-deserved break and sits on the porch with first one, than another of the kids, and they sit with camera in hand hoping to get the perfect hummingbird shot, and I go write.

The old saying of ‘sit ass in chair and write’ is so true. I was reading an interview with Diana Gabaldon, and she writes between midnight and four am. She says that it’s the best time for her because the house is quiet and she can work without distraction. And that she writes every night. Even if it’s only half a page, one has to put it in the schedule as a habit.

Which brings me back round to the idea of stepping away from the technology. It’s addictive, and I am as guilty of it as anyone else. But when we move away from it, even for a time, we can be productive outside it, and then utilize it for good.

I have to admit, I missed being able to look stuff up. I make notes and do research while I’m writing. It feels weird to not be able to follow my normal habits. but it’s not a bad thing to break away from habit once in a while.

So in my continuing interest of sharing what is fueling my writing, because I have some self-imposed deadlines that have to be met this year and that means I must be organized, here’s another tip I’ve learned the hard way. If you’re finding you can’t seem to settle into writing, which is never as easy as it sounds, then log out of Facebook, Twitter, and any of your other instant notification media. Set a timer, and sit in front of your computer, or with pen in hand, and see what happens.

It could be amazing.

At a crossroads

So I have finally finished Book One of the Saving Sylvah series. THE SEARCH is done. Not only is it done, it’s edited. A LOT. It’s been an amazing process, learning how to get my story out better.

I’ve been basking in the ‘It’s Done!’ of it all, and then this week, started thinking about Book Two, as of yet unnamed, I struggle with titles, btw. I don’t feel like there’s a clever bone in my body when it comes to trying to appropriately title my work. Anyway, back on topic here. I’m thinking about Book Two.

My problem is that I am thinking too much. To the point where I am pulling over while driving and making notes on the phone. LOL, I could do it via voice, but my phone is really bad getting my voice sometimes. The few emails I’ve sent have scared the recipients, so pull over and write it down it is.  There are so many ways I could go, as I added a different ending to B1 than I originally planned on.  Where to take it?

The best thing is that I have already found my tension-maker. One of the things that will string the story along a fine line throughout the whole book. And when it came to me, it was like “BAZINGA!” because I just KNEW I would like to read this if it were someone else’s work, and it would be something I could keep on with til the end.

I dunno what it is. I was really feeling in the weeds and behind the eight ball and all the other struggling to get done cliches before the end of the year, and now, I am feeling like I am actually getting shit done.

Well, I am behind on my critique group. *sigh* And my costuming. Anomaly Con is a couple of months away and I have some of the necktie corset to finish, and the Cthulhu fascinator to finish as well. My tentacle fingers are nearly done, I just need to put the gear suckers on them. I’ll need to see how the blouse looks. I also need to do my Leia steampunk headgear. I feel like I’ve really gotten far away from my cons and costuming, and while I adore writing, and feel so good, I adore the costuming. This one is probably the costume that will have taken me the longest, other than my Inara gown.

So while writing is going along, I suppose the worrier in me can be at ease with the fact that of course there’s more to do, LOL.

Goal for this week – decide on the outline for B2, get the critique inbox cleared, and figure out what to do with the tentacle fascinator.

Now THAT’S a To Do list.

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