Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rough draft....keeps getting shorter

I know when you're writing a rough draft, you're supposed to keep going, never throw anything away. Damn the torpedoes.

Or anyway, if you're a pantser and working under deadline, that's how you should do it. I guess a pure plotter would have worked out the twists in their heads and their outline before starting the book. Though I've heard enough stories about people who plot before they write and then what they write ends up veering in a completely different direction and they have to change their outline.

There are many roads to Oz, as Jennifer Crusie says in amongst all her other writing advice.

I had the clear vision of a scene in my mind where two young women meet. They are both lesbians, but each doesn't know the other is. One is young and arrogant and, if not beautiful, then well-dressed and coiffed and seemingly perfect, along with being a bit smug about how smart she is. The other is a few years older, ex-Army mine sweeper, average looks and tired and stressed, still finding her feet and needing help with her academic writing. And in my mind, they clicked. On the page, they didn't. So as I was writing this first chapter, it was OK, but not grabbing me.

Then I wrote the other part of the first chapter, the part where some of the guys from my semi-fictional small college go to a protest in a nearby city and my other main character meets a beautiful young woman -- or meets her again, because they knew each other slightly in high school when he had a crush on her older sister, who is now a politician and speaking at the Black Lives Matter rally.

And that's where the story is.



My soundtrack is U2 this time, Best of 1980 - 1990, so I've moved into the Eighties. The first song is "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and is about Martin Luther King Jr. So yes, it's a tumultuous time in my book.

Maybe 60s girl groups for the next one. So far, I've been choosing albums that are sort of iconic in their own right in one way or another. (The Big Chill because it was Baby Boomers with 60s nostalgia, Rolling Stones Hot Rocks, and now the greatest hits from U2 from what's probably their most iconic years.) I don't know if there's an iconic-in-its-own-right album of the Supremes or Motown Women or something. Or stay in the 80's and use Madonna songs? On the other hand, I might use Simon and Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park.But I feel like I haven't been giving women artists their due.

All right. I need to go fix lunch and start Chapter Two, "New Year's Day," about the Solidarnosc protests in Poland. So yeah, more protests.

October 2016 and forward from there, so it's going to be depressing. Cathartic too, I hope.

If a certain 'winner' doesn't get us all blown up.

Oh god. I'm depressed again.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Galley Slave: Keep Rowing! Squirrel!

I have started reading through my galley for copy edits, proofreading, and all those last-minute, tiny edits.

I have spent the last couple hours clearing off the top of our TV stand/bookshelf.

Massive procrastination.

But my living room looks slightly better.





Just, you know, don't look at the rest of the room. Or even slightly lower than this picture. Or even the pile on the right side of that, which is NOT MY STUFF.

And my daughter (who's nine) just came in from the backyard to say she thought she saw a snake and there's a snake skin. So I went out and we retrieved the skin with a stick and it was this:
which, you might notice, has legs and is not a snake skin. We have big, nasty alligator lizards in our yard (and yes, they are called that and yes, they look like alligators, though their snouts aren't so long. I found them right away when we were first trying to identify them by googling "lizard looks like alligator"). So we're going to hope that's what she glimpsed and heard and that it's not a rattlesnake. Because those scare me.

In tidying, I found my old camera with its fabulous zoom and flash and need for actual film. My kids are messing with it now. The battery still works and everything. I should go get them some film.

Oh wait, I need to update my book spreadsheet with the book I finished reading this morning...

And now my middle child's bestest buddy just showed up, so I had to show him the picture I found of them when they were six. The flame jacket is my kid and the boy next to him wearing red and blue and swinging a stick is bestest buddy.
With other buddies, too. And my oldest on the right (who would have been almost nine, given that these were taken near Christmas 2008 and I know that, because there was another picture of us moms and I'm carrying my tiny baby girl in a sling), giving them bunny ears.

Oh, and it's the anniversary of Young Cat's finding day. The day he was trapped under my friend's mom's deck and came to live with us (and for a while we had his two sisters, too).

This is him two years ago, when he weighed less than half a pound and half his weight was fleas. He weighs fifteen or so pounds now and beats up on Old Cat.


My oldest is reading to me from the California Driver's Handbook. He's supposed to have already finished his online driving class and have his license. AHEM, BOY.

We're sitting around chatting, because I take almost any moment to chat with teens who aren't always communicative. Even if we're all talking nonsense today.


Bestest Buddy Iz Ded.



And now they're spinning on office chairs. Because reasons.

I worked for a little bit while they went outside to hit each other with foam swords. Then my daughter tripped on the retaining wall and cut up her feet, so I helped wash and put band-aids on her and generally got sidetracked.

Right. Buddy had to leave because his mom came across a stray dog. Or something? And my kids have settled down to play some online game in Minecraft.

It's quiet again.

OK. I can work for forty minutes, right?

Procrastination train is leaving the station.

GO READ MY FOUR BOOKS WHILE I WORK ON THIS ONE, OK?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Keeping a Day Job

I started a day job this week. It's a temp-to-perm job doing data entry. It's not straight up "Here's the form, enter it and click on all the answers to the questions," it's more puzzling out if all the info is there and what the people need and running it through two different complicated systems with an 84-page instruction sheet (and side instruction sheets for various aspects).

And we'll be shadowing current "Application Specialists" for the next couple weeks, too. This is serious business, y'all.

So anyway, it's been a long week.

Not as long as it has been for April and her overdue giraffe calf....

She's got her tail up right now. Is she pooping or pushing?

Sorry, I had to toss that in.

The company where I'm working appears to hire most of its staff - at least the data entry and call center staff - as temps, then whoever makes it for a while has a shot at a permanent job. And I'm talking hundreds of people. Some of the people who started in the training didn't make it all week. One poor woman, who I bet will be back because she had made it that far, had minor surgery the weekend before training started and was there on Monday. She had to leave halfway through Friday because she was suddenly in pain and had to go for a CAT Scan.

I have a lot of thoughts about a business model that's based on the impermanence of workers and nonchalance about them and their benefits. But I will wait and see, because this actually seems to be a good job with some advancement opportunity. At the very least, I can do it for a long time and use that on my resume to get something bigger.

But right now, I need to get to work on all the stuff that I haven't been doing all week because I've either been at work or too tired from the unaccustomed schedule. (This weekend: groceries, child to buy a birthday present, then to a birthday party, do layout of RWA chapter newsletter, make kids mow the lawn, find birthday present for husband and make his birthday pie, trying to make up for the few hours of my kids' lives I miss by going to work (Mommy Guilt!), maybe shopping for a couple more nice blouses for work...

Oh. And of course I'm blogging and I just cleaned out some old emails.

Ready to get to work now!

The anniversary of the publication of Book 2 of Chateaux and Shadows is coming up very soon. It's one of my favorites in my series (which.... there are 4 out and they're all my favorites. They're siblings, so I'm not allowed to play favorites, right?), because the couple are both quiet and reserved and have such a strong core of decency and of hidden passion. No, it's not super sexy, except all the smoldering. And I introduce Marcel Fourbier who has been one of my favorite people to write.

So go forth and read!