Working Wednesday, January 16, 2019

So I’m looking through my works-in-progress files trying to decide what to finish next, and I pull up a really old one, fifteen years ago, called You Again. And the thing that’s surprising is that it’s good. There are about fifteen different versions of each scene, but the writing is good. And my first thought is, “I can’t write like this any more.” I’ve lost the sounds of those people’s voices. Also, the plot? Not great. So I’ll keep working my way through the files to see what’s in there, but I’m not sure about that one. Although I have newer scenes, maybe only eight years old that have Alice as a teenager in there. Huge potential.

That’s my work this week, finishing a book and resuscitating the dead (manuscripts). What are you working on?

55 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, January 16, 2019

  1. Good luck with the book work.

    Let’s see, last week I said that we were getting our floors redone. That’s still a work in progress for. . . reasons. They’re coming back tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m keeping my expectations realistic. I’m not in a hurry, but I do want to feel like progress is being made.

    Oldest has speech therapy today and other than that I’m looking forward to puttering and getting stuff done. And a run. I really have to run. I’m running in a 10 mile race in April and I’m not even close to ready.

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  2. I’m working on getting my head back into the voice of a book I wrote five years ago. It’s not easy, but I’ve been promising the sequel for years and I am committed to fulfilling this promise. I do wonder why, though.

    Last night, I went out to dinner with some writer friends. In December, I published my NaNo project. As absolute self-publishing as you can get: I wrote 50K words in November, added another 10K in the first week of December, made a pretty cover for it, read it through a couple of times, and published it. I knew it would make some people laugh, I also knew it would mostly drop unseen into the world, a tiny drop in the ocean of self-published books.

    One of my writer friends last night told me it was the best thing I’d ever written. I’ve spent years working on this sequel I’m working on, and it’s a sequel to the book that I had professionally edited, NY editor, real money invested… but my NaNo project, whipped off in a month (a very fun, very entertaining month!) is the best thing I’ve done? But I don’t disagree with her. I just feel like the lesson I need to learn is to quit overthinking and have more fun.

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    1. You can’t leave us hanging. What’s it about? What the title? Did Jenny do a post on it?

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      1. Ha, sorry. I don’t mean this as promo, though — it’s just a thing that happened that I’m still thinking about this morning as I try to write. (And browse the internet instead.) But the book is called Cici and the Curator. On my meta keywords — the things that readers never see but that Amazon uses for searches and that serious authors spend hours polishing and fine-tuning and agonizing over — I put “Doctor Who plus Warehouse 13” so if anyone ever searches for Doctor Who plus Warehouse 13, they’ll find Cici. I’m going to guess that I am the only person who would ever search for that keyword combo. 🙂

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          1. NO I DID NOT AND IT’S SO GREAT.

            Literally started laughing out loud.

            I haven’t even finished the book yet (paused at Chapter 19, and this is why we have chapters) so that I can get back on this website and find this comment and tell you that THIS IS SO GREAT. I have not enjoyed a twist like this in FOREVER.

            Still giggling.

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          1. I think I’ve used the word “cavalierly” myself, but I prefer “fearlessly.” “Cavalierly” has a heavy connotation of carelessly or indifferently, and I wasn’t those things — I just knew that I had some readers who would enjoy Cici as she was and that it was reasonably unlikely that anyone outside that pool of people would ever stumble across her. (Also, realistically, that my usual level of obsessive perfectionism isn’t serving anyone, not me and not my readers.)

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    2. I think your conclusion is good, Sarah. Don’t write that sequel unless/until it really grabs you. I enjoyed Ceci. Guess I feel it would be really good if you went bigger/deeper, and then wrestled with structure à la Jenny.

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      1. I’m pretty sure that “not overthinking and having fun” and “wrestling a la Jenny” are mutually exclusive things for me. The book that I did the most “wrestling a la Jenny” on pretty much turned me off the whole business entirely. Writing Cici was an attempt to discover whether it was possible to enjoy writing again. It was, yay.

        (Also our stakes are really different — she has to care about whether the people who’ve made her a New York Times bestseller will do it again and I have to care about whether people who read my blog will laugh at the idea of dogs naming one another after the scent of their pee…)

        But I’m glad you enjoyed Cici!

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        1. You know, you can’t care about the NYT list. It’s so arbitrary and depends on a million things that have nothing to do with the book. It’s not even reflective of how popular the book is, it’s about velocity not sales. That is, it’s about how fast a book sells in the beginning, not about how well it does over the long term. Lots of books that never make the NYT outsell the NYT bestsellers. So I don’t think about that stuff. That’s a New York Publishing Game.

          I think the reason I’m so analytical in rewrites is that I have no innate story-telling ability. In the first drafts I just write down what the people in my head are saying, I have no idea what the conflicts are, where the juice is, I’m just screwing around with dialogue. It’s also why I end up with HUGE plot holes that I have to fix (like why are people killing princesses in the fairy tale series? why would Zelda agree to pretend to be a maid in You Again?) so I end up working overtime to just get a coherent plot. I wasn’t born to be a writer, so I have to compensate with craft.

          But if you have an innate sense of story so that the plot works when write off the top of your head (I hate you), jeez, grab onto that with both hands.

          7+
          1. No hate necessary! My plots are dubious. My dad says I write onions, he keeps reading to see the layers, but not because he thinks they’re necessarily taking him anywhere. I accept that as an entertaining and perfectly valid critique.

            2+
  3. This past week has been chock-a-block full with work and other commitments, but I did carve out some time for crafting. I finished one of the baby afghans for the twins, and started a similar one for the other baby. I didn’t get to the longarm shop to quilt the baby quilts, but hopefully that will be a task for tomorrow or next week.

    I’m apparently the fiber expert for my family. My aunt found a cross stitch sampler from her youth and sent it to me. I’m getting it framed and will send it back to her. Meanwhile, my cousin was helping her daughter and laundered a piece of linen to shreds. She’s sent it to me in hopes I can somehow restore and stabilize it. I’m still in the thinking process for that. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

    I did put some time into another work-in-progress. My quilt guild challenge (for their ruby anniversary) is to come up with a red quilt. It can be red with neutrals – but when you look at it, you need to think “that’s a red quilt”. I found a kit on sale at a drastic discount last year, and have been putting it together. It’s nice that even though there are 20 different fabrics in this, they are all from the same fabric line, so all of the reds are similar. I’ve gotten one border on since this picture, and should be able to get the other one on today or tomorrow. It will be huge – queen size I believe. Then I need to decide if I’m quilting this myself, or handing it over to the professionals.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BsjURktBGsK/

    So far, still holding true to the “no new craft supplies” determination, although I was sorely tempted by some gorgeous fabric this morning. I managed to escape that temptation by turning off the computer and heading to work. Maybe I’ll be over the impulse to buy this evening. But, if I still feel it worth the money, I won’t beat myself up – I’ll have put in a significant waiting period, so it won’t be an impulse buy.

    15+
    1. I, too, am tempted by fabric and it happens once a month, EVERY month. This wonderful fabric store is 2 doors down from my hair salon and the hairdresser is always running 15-20 minutes behind. What could be more natural than to stroll down to the fabric store and LOOK around! We all know how much damage can be done to a checkbook in 15 minutes in a fabric store!

      4+
  4. I’m working on PT this week. The therapist thinks I have tendonitis and not a torn deltoid muscle. So it’s ice, whatever pain relievers are working and some gentle exercises last week. We’ll see what today’s appointment brings.

    7+
  5. Made two music mashups, but I’m dissatisfied with them. Making the tempos match caused some unpleasant cuts to the instrumental sound quality, so I’m planning to redo them both and experiment with different tempos to reduce that effect.
    It seems that speed up instrumentals does way more audible “damage” than slowing them down, while vocal tracks can bear more speeding up.

    Finished the new Constance Verity book, and it was very good. A. Lee Martinez really has been my best bet for a writer I can rely on as much as Pratchett, delivering genre satire with heart and humor. (Though I’m also hoping for more from F.C. Yee)

    Also still mired in fanfiction. It’s a very popular pairing with a longer run of source material, so there are a lot of well done epics, one of which was even adapted for publication as an original. It was also a case where the source material was so uneven, so the fanfic writers were very passionate about doing right by the characters, which further ups the quality.

    7+
      1. So I take the vocals-only track from one song, and lay it over the instrumental of another song. The internet has been a huge bounty in finding instrumentals and vocal tracks to popular pop songs.

        I use a free audio-editing software to change the tempos and keys of each track to match, and then it’s just a matter of chopping up the tracks and moving the pieces around to match each other, like a puzzle.
        It’s easy if the song structures are the same (verses/prechorus/chorus/interlude the same number of measures each), less easy if the key changes are really whacky and the structures are different. (Do I cut this rap section? Do I double the instrumental to fit the double verse length of the vocals? This part of the melody clashes a bit, do I do some select pitch shifting to fix that? How about layering sections, and experimenting with the fade-ins/outs to make the transitions invisible?)

        For these two, I was combining Demi Lovato songs with songs by Asian groups.

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  6. I’m so happy to hear that You Again is back!

    Anyway…I am doing general journal writing and trying to knit a rainbow resistance hat. Will not be done in time for this weekend, but it’s Pussy Hat weekend anyway.

    8+
  7. I’m boring. It’s just writing this week. Although come to think of it there is a Fiber group meeting in the next town over tonight. I might go even though I’m hopeless at fiber arts and always use a loom. I’ll take some quilt pieces and hand sew them together.

    A little exposure to humans might be a good thing.

    8+
  8. This morning I contemplated ideas on what to do with leftover waffles. I don’t know if this idea has made it into diners or fast food chains but I decided to make egg McWaffles. The theory being that if you can add an egg to spaghetti or a steak (have not tried the chicken and waffle version) you can do the same with a waffle. So I lightly toasted a waffle and put butter and syrup (the usual) on it then sautéed a few pieces of ham put that on and made a sunny side up egg (gooey) and put a slice of cheese to melt and came up with an interesting breakfast. Next I’ll try Waffles Strata. The possibilities are endless.

    14+
    1. There’s a diner I used to go to that used leftover waffles as boats for green chili and eggs. They were fantastic. At home we are lazy and use them for grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches which is also very good. They also make good replacements for biscuits in biscuits and gravy. The leftover waffle is strikingly versatile.

      6+
  9. Starting the year off right with two consecutive Sundays (and New Year’s Day) spent playing with fabric (a plan for the new year is to take off Sundays and major holidays and not do any work then). And on a separate day I made a little quilted bag (because my hundreds of other screenprinted totes and quilted zipper bags just wouldn’t do for a specific purpose), using a bit of left-over fabric, scraps of batting and the lanyard from a medical conference for decoration/handle. It’s here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BstEwWPFyOs/ I need to come up with more ideas for ribbon-style lanyard reuse. I hate just throwing them out, and they seem to be more common now than the shoestring-style lanyards I used to see all the time and that I couldn’t find a reuse for. Also doing work, but editing a manuscript is neverending and not very visual for Instagram.

    8+
  10. Not up to anything exciting myself, but chiming in to say I remember the bit(s?) of “You Again” you posted and loved it/them. I am sending ethereal messages to the “fictional people” level of the cosmos to encourage these characters to start talking to you again.

    13+
  11. I’m going through the graphic novels in our library. Some need to go, some need to be moved out into the non-fiction section, and some just need to be put back in alphabetical order. It’s as if the students toss the shelves like a salad somehow. They get upside down, sideways, tucked in back, moved shelves away . . . I’d have such an organized library if we could keep people from touching the books! 😉

    11+
    1. I once proposed to our head librarian that we turn our library into an old-timey-store-type library where patrons came to the counter and told us the books they wanted and then we got them for the patrons. There would be far fewer chicken bones hidden behind the books and book theft would drop considerably. She didn’t buy it though.

      6+
      1. As a patron, I would hate that. Most of the books I read are whim pick ups based on something that drew me to them when I was wandering the aisles. If I can’t browse, I can’t “shop.” But as a fairly anal/tidy type person, I can TOTALLY see the desire as a librarian!

        1+
      2. I think that is what putting books on hold is for. Place an order and they will contact you and tell you your book is ready to be picked up.

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  12. I remember You Again! Lot of good stuff there….

    I knit three rows of ten stitches last night, after re-teaching myself to cast on, and teaching myself to knit Continental style. Tonight I’ll tackle purling Continental style. This is all in service of one of my 2019 goals, to knit a shawl. I’m having to rein in my native impatience, and *practice* before I start in with the good yarn, but it came (back) to me surprisingly quickly, so there’s hope.

    10+
  13. I remember seeing a scene from You Again a couple of years ago and loving it. Of course, I love pretty much all the manuscripts I’ve caught glimpses of. Glad to hear your thoughts are turning to the next project, because that must mean you’ve finally got this one tamed.

    9+
  14. Whatever speaks to you of course, but I am dying for Alice’s book. Or anything more on Alice. I love her tough as nails core.

    Personally, I overdid it yesterday with painting and am a little burned out today. But I am happy. My productivity has soared since changing my living arrangements and getting a work space. Not rocket science, but still, it makes me happy 🙂

    11+
  15. I so, so, so want you to finish “Haunting Alice” I’ve read and reread the discovery draft a hundred times!

    9+
  16. I remember You Again too. Yes, please!

    I am watching other people work and getting very little of my own done. That is to say, I’ve had two plumbers here for two days (adding heat to my previous unheated upstairs), then an unexpected service call for a leaky boiler this morning, and now the electrician has arrived to finish putting lights and new switches in the new upstairs bathroom.

    Don’t get me wrong–I am VERY grateful to actually have all these guys show up and do their work (and they’re all nice and reasonably neat) but OY, THERE ARE WORKMEN IN MY HOUSE. Also, the cats were shut up in the bedroom all day yesterday and all day today, and I feel like they’re probably going to do something evil to me the next time make back is turned…

    8+
  17. Besides having my usual dozen or so half-finished projects, I have ordered a bunch Icelandic yarn and knitting patterns. The box arrives tomorrow. This is my first foray into color work knitting. As usual, I jump in at the deep end, although I will be doing a hat before I start on the theee sweaters. 😁

    The reason for the Icelandic yarn is because my best friend and I are going on an 8-day knitting/hiking tour in northeastern Iceland in September. Costs a bomb, but we decided to treat ourselves anyway—it’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing, which includes, among other things, a day helping the local farmers round up apthe sheep who’ve been roaming the landscape and sort them to their owners for the winter.

    So, why am I doing color work now? Because we’ll be doing Icelandic lace during the week and not traditional color work. But I can’t be the only one who doesn’t show up with a couple of good sweaters 😄

    I am so geeked. Can’t wait to get started!

    13+
  18. Over the past week I’ve done a little bit of updating and new writing on the blog, a tiny bit of FB engagement, published another novella (#22 as written, but #19 as published), gotten material to do a cover for the next one to be published, started designing covers for the paperback publications we want to roll out ASAP, started compiling the novella bundles for same, and written another 10K words (total) on New Novel Projects #5 and #6. Wasn’t intending to write those simultaneously but they have overlapping timelines and it just seems to be … working … this way. LOL we’ll see.

    3+
  19. My fantasy is You Again, and then Haunting Alice, then Stealing Nadine!! XD I think I got those titles right….

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  20. Yes to You Again.
    Been busy setting up promo for my upcoming release and going crazy. I hate, hate, hate filling out forms. On the plus side I thought I was retired but this weekend started listening to the voices in my head and today wrote 1,500 words. Maybe I have another novel in me after all. Hah.

    12+
  21. My work this week has been around my diet. I got a pre-diabetes diagnosis last month. I’ve lost (and gained back) weight lots of times, but I never jumped on the low carb bandwagon, so I’m floundering a bit. A lot of my go-tos are off the table for now (alas, poor oatmeal, I knew thee well.). But I’m working on adapting.
    And like the rest of the world, I’m KonMari-ing my drawers. Seems effective so far.

    3+
  22. What I’ve done today is cook chili and take it to work and ate it with konjac noodles and a mini-bagel. And read, when I’m not busy with work they pay me for. I also changed the headlights on my car.

    I finished re-reading “The Alexander Inheritance” by Flint, Goodlett and Huff. That put me in a mood, so I re-read “The Demons of Paris” by the same authors. A few hours ago, I started re-reading “Maybe This Time” by, well… Anyway, I’m reading your blog post and I get to ” Although I have newer scenes, maybe only eight years old that have Alice as a teenager in there.” My brain melted.

    4+
  23. HAHAHAHA. It had to be *this* post that I’d miss. Me, the champion of You Again.

    I’d given up on You Again and was pushing for Nadine and Alice. Hahahaha.

    Don’t watch any new TV, Jenny. You don’t need another book idea! 😉

    2+
  24. I ‘helped’ the kids Marie Kondo the hell out of their bedrooms. Then the instructions said: now do your books. He ha ha ha ha, fuck no. Get your freakishly tidy mitts outta my bookcase.

    8+
    1. Yeah, that’s the part that I’m looking at dubiously. Problem is, I’ve got books I can’t put on my bookshelves (and no space to add more shelves). I’m parking my scarves and books as the last-to-do as hopefully by that stage I’ll be much better at saying thanks and goodbye.

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  25. Would be lovely to hear Alice’s voice again and perhaps just a few words from Carter, North and Andie😁 loved them all. In fact Maybe This Time is sitting on my coffee table having just been reread! I’m actually working despite having retired (yet again) someone waved money at me 🤭

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