Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Could it Be?

I'm a little weirded (not precisely a word, but it is used in the common vernacular) out right now. For what feels like the majority of my life (how's that for melodrama!), I have been editing and formatting and otherwise preparing The Osprey and the Crow for submission to competition. It seems like I'm almost ready. I'm so almost ready that I'm likely to be really ready by the end of the day.

So, naturally, the doubts have set in.

Disclaimer: these doubts will in no way impede the submission of the manuscript. Don't panic. I'm still going to submit.

These doubts are niggling little things. Things like: you suck. Also, things like: it's a good story, but not really what the judges are looking for, is it now.

The biggest issue is the shape-shifting. There are a number of instances when characters shape-shift. Granted, they are Gods, or otherwise supernatural beings. However, the entry guidelines did specifically state that all things must obey the natural laws - the laws of physics. Shape-shifting is not so much in keeping with the laws of physics.

They didn't really mention shape-shifting. They used ants as their example. An ant must be ant-sized, or else it's skinny, weak little legs wouldn't be able to hold them up. That was, not in so many words, their stipulation. I think my shape-shifting might disqualify me. However, my ants are ant-sized.

They also did say that "the possibilities are endless." So I'm focussing on that and submitting anyway.

I'm terribly nervous. I don't know why I'm terribly nervous. What's the worst that could possibly happen? I won't win. Boo hoo.

Here is a reason to celebrate - I'm right on schedule. Granted it is the first-one-didn't-work-so-I-made-a-new deadline that I'm celebrating being on schedule for, but it's still a celebration. I'm finished a day before my (albeit second) deadline. Yippee!

Well, with the excitement mounting, I must do my final reads and, hopefully submit. Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010


This weekend went by very quickly. I was also an idiot this weekend. Here's why:

Someone had locked the front door of the apartment building this weekend. I had been away looking after a friend's dog, but I did return to the flat to feed the cats and change the litter Saturday afternoon. I couldn't even get to the front door of the flat because I was locked out of the entire building.


I ran around to the back to see if my front door key would work on the back door. Nope.


I ran back around to the front to see if my flat's front door key would work on the building's front door. Nope.


I banged the door and screamed in the hopes that whoever was on the top floor apartment would hear me. Nothing.


The cats needed to be fed. They had probably run out of food by now.

Panic. Guilt.

Remembering that I had left my bedroom window open slightly to allow for fresh air to enter the apartment, I ran around to the back, pulled out my keys, cut a me-sized flap in the mesh outside my window, hauled open my window, used the new box of litter as a step stool and hauled myself into my bedroom.

Well, I was in. I could feed the cats and not panic. However, I was furious! I now have to pay for a window/mesh replacement. I left a blunt, slightly angry note at the building door telling people not to lock it, and left to go back to the puppy.

I vented to my flatmate, who spent American Thanksgiving in Boston, who emailed me back the following message:

The front door key works on the building door too. I've tried it.

I must have not tried the lock properly in my panic-induced haste. I'm now mad at myself. Grrr. Ah well, such as life, I suppose. In a fortnight I'll be looking back at this and laughing hysterically. I hope.

Writing wise, I have much to celebrate. I put in massive amounts of overtime on Friday and finished the 3rd round of edits.

Happy Dance.

Today is devoted to a brief re-read of the cover letter and synopsis, and making edits as necessary and then (this is the really fun part), mucking around in the map-making software for the maps I need at the start of the manuscript.

Once that's done, all I have to do is another quick read through of the manuscript, and then I can send it off. November hasn't quite finished yet, so I might be right on my deadline. If not, only a few days late.

Happy Dance.

Then I can start writing again and forget about editing for a little while.

Happy, Happy Dance!

So, on that note, I'm off to have fun today. Enjoy your Monday!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I've said it before, I'll say it again. I love snow. There's just something magical about waking up to a world that has suddenly turned white. Sigh.

It snowed last night... after the freezing rain. It's just gorgeous.

I intend to take full advantage of the snow this year. I'm not a skier (I tried, can't do it). BUT a friend of mine has wanted to take up snow-shoeing, and this gave me an idea. I can walk. I do it often and for long periods at a time. I very much enjoy walking. Thus:

I want snow shoes. It would be lovely to go out on the weekend and walk the snowy woods for a day. Talk about magical, imagination-building time!

I'll also have to buy a good pair of winter boots, ski pants and jacket, and a good hat....

I'll let you know how that goes.

There is no writing news. I was supposed to edit yesterday, but that plan failed miserably. Today I have to do some major overtime to catch up on everything. If I'm very, very, very lucky, I will be able to finish it today. If not, then Monday or Tuesday.

On that note, I have to go and get a move on. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's John Preece

To amend my post yesterday, I have it on good authority both here and facebook, that the actor whose name I could not remember is John Preece.

Mr. Preece played a spectacular Tevye at the N.A.C. Tuesday night.

Writing wise, I'm making good progress. I reached my goal of 100 pages yesterday, and will be aiming for the same today. The 100 pages I edited yesterday were nowhere near as terrible as the first 100 pages - not so many missing words! If I manage the 100 pages today, I may do overtime tomorrow and have finish the rest. I was intending to finish it Monday, and finishing ahead of schedule will make me very happy.

I like to be happy.

There isn't much else to say. Starting this evening, I'll be dog-sitting for a friend who will be away in London for the weekend (which means no training - boo!). The cats are well looked after, so I don't have to worry so much, though I do feel bad leaving them. Ah well, it's not for long!

Also, Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Righto, I must get stuck into work. Have a good Thursday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Night Out

Good morning, world!

Firstly, my apologies for the late past. I received an email asking for advice which required more immediate attention than today's post. I am very flattered I was asked advice, really.

In writing news, and some advice for aspiring writers, if you're ever wondering if you should go through and edit again, the answer is always yes! I made some pretty extensive changes in some sections of the manuscript, and some pretty minor ones in the rest in the second round of edits. This time around, I've spotted missing words (which I probably accidentally deleted during the second round), sentences that are fairly awkward (for which I am famous) and some very few formatting errors.

I am so glad that I'm going through the manuscript again.

Even though I despise the process.

It's going quite quickly, actually. I went through eight chapters (roughly 109 pages). If I manage to keep up that pace, I ought to be finished in about four more days. If I can manage that, I'll actually meet the deadline I set for myself. Excuse me while I faint from surprise.

With the writing news out of the way, I've have to tell you about last night. It was an incredible night out at the theatre. It's been such a long time since I've been to the theatre. I really ought to do it more often.

As a birthday present, my most excellent flatmate bought me a ticket to see Fiddler on the Roof at the N.A.C. For those not in the know, that's the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It was opening night last night.

Quite normally on a Tuesday I go to training. I'm quite devoted to my Martial Arts training, and don't normally skip class. In fact, when asked if I would go to the N.A.C. on a Tuesday, I almost said no. I'm very glad I said yes.

J.M-B. and I got all dressed up to go last night. I do not understand people who attend the theatre in jeans and torn T-shirts. It's the theatre. That's just me, however. I was raised to dress nicely for the theatre. It's very old fashioned, I suppose.

All in all, it was a brilliant night. There were some things I would have done differently, particularly in the second act, but it was a stellar performance. The gentleman who played Tevye, whose name I simply cannot remember now, was by far and large the best person on stage. It's no wonder. He's been in over 3 000 productions of Fiddler on the Roof, and has played Tevye in 1 500 of those productions. He was very good.

I laughed, I cried. It was awesome!

I noted in the programme that The Lion King is coming to the N.A.C. this coming summer. I will gladly skip training again to go see it. I have the money for the ticket right on reserve!

Oh theatre! If I had the money, I'd be there much more!

It was a brilliant night. Thanks so much, J.M-B. That was a wonderful birthday gift!

Alright, I must get to editing. Have a lovely Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Yesterday was an incredible day for no other reason than the fact that it was a good day.

I was in a superb mood almost all day. I was so energetic and happy and ready for anything, I think I could have run a marathon! Part of this energy, I think, was because it felt like I was actually achieving something.

I wrote a cover letter and edited my synopsis yesterday. Then I went back and re-read the rules to find that my synopsis was 265 words over the limit. What was supposed to take roughly an hour took the better part of the day. However, I somehow managed to cut the 265 words. Of course, that means I have to leave it for another week and edit again, just to make sure that I still make sense.

I was very proud of myself yesterday. So proud was I, that I allowed myself time to play. I redrew a map of the world I'm writing. It now makes much better geological sense. However, I'm having trouble isolating a part of the map and blowing it up to include more detail... which I need to do if I'm to include the maps at all. The software is being troublesome.

In any case, I'm going to leave the map-making for now. I promised I'd start the 3rd round of edits today, and start them I shall. Hopefully it won't take nearly as long as the last round, and I'll be ready at last to submit the manuscript before the month is out. That's my goal at least. That way, I'll have two weeks to fix up the maps!

Righto, I should get on it. Have a great Tuesday everyone. I certainly shall. I'm going to see Fiddler on the Roof at the N.A.C. tonight!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Stuff

Stuff is officially the technical term, in case you were wondering.

Last weekend (that would be the weekend just finished for those who are unfamiliar with the nomenclature of 'this weekend' meaning the weekend coming up) was a great time.

Friday night, J.M-B. hosted a marvellous Harry Potter evening. We sat around and talked over such delicacies as 'Crookshanks' Hair Balls' (they were actually very tasty) and 'Devils on Horseback' (which are my favourite things to make). We drank warm Butter Beer and talked and laughed. Some of us watched a Harry Potter home movie created by J.M-B. and starring her family members, and a large cast of teddy bears. She was in grade 7, I believe, when she made these Harry Potter films. Yep. This gal was destined to work in the film industry!

Around about 7:30 we all piled into a couple of cars... well, one car and one van, and we headed down to South Keys, Cinema No. 10, to watch the latest instalment of Harry Potter. I have to admit, I was impressed. I generally enjoy the Harry Potter films very much and this one did not disappoint. My absolute favourite part of the film was the animation of the tale of the three brothers.

Another favourite of mine, though it wasn't in the film itself, was the young man behind my row who clearly needed to read the books. I can't remember everything he said, but the two that did stand out were:

As Hermione is pulling objects from her bag, "Her bag has everything!"

and (spoiler alert),

"Oh no! Not Dobby! He's my favourite character!"

There were other amusing exclamations that had me giggling furiously throughout the film.

All in all, it was a great night. Before you ask, yes, we went in costume. Well, most of us, at any rate. It was an evening that called for costumes. Yes, we're geeks. I would like to proudly point out that we weren't the only ones. To those brave souls who were at the 8:30pm showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, good on ya!

Saturday and Sunday did not stand out. Saturday was Lion Dance practice and teaching Kung Fu as usual. Sunday was a blissful day of not much at all. I lounged around, watched some BBC's Merlin to catch up, did a load of laundry, organised the dishes, and watched Qi until late in the night. It was the first day in a long, long time that I had the opportunity to do nothing, and I took full advantage of it!

My rest time is over, however. I must edit my synopsis, something that is like to take well under an hour, as it is only two pages. Then I must write my cover letter. Then I must turn my attention back to the manuscript for the third and final round of edits. I won't be finished by the first of the month, I fear. The deadline is fast approaching (Dec 31st, for the forgetful), and I have to get cracking!

On that note, have a lovely Monday everyone! Back to work for me.

Friday, November 19, 2010


It's not from embarrassment. It's from the cold. It was a very cold walk in this morning. Winter is here!

In other news, there is no other news. I've been staying away from my synopsis. I need to create a little distance so I have a little more objectivity when editing it.

In the meantime, I've been watching QI, a brilliant and hysterical panel show from the U.K. Stephen Fry is the quiz master. That should be reason enough to watch.

Tonight there is a party. With the release of the latest Harry Potter film, there is always a party before we all head off to the cinema. It is something of a tradition for my flatmate, and it's tonnes of fun. The problem for me is coming up with a costume....

Perhaps I'll be completely dull and go as a muggle? No. That is unacceptable. I'll come up with something.

Since there is so little news, I'll leave you be for another weekend. Do enjoy it. I certainly plan to!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Self,

I know you've been feeling a little down for... well.... awhile. To be perfectly honest, I can't say I blame you.

You're not exactly where you though you'd be at this stage of your life, are you? I mean, you were supposed to have finished your Master's Degree and be working on your PhD right now. You were supposed to be some genius academic, highly respected in your field, and working at a University. You were going to be offered a tenure, remember?

Instead, you're too poor to even begin a Master's degree, even though you've found the one you want to do, let alone think about your Doctorate. As far as your professional life, you're working in a job that has no chance of upward movement, for a wage that is only marginally better than the crappy retail job you left behind.

Outside of your profession, you were supposed to have met someone wonderful, have bought a house together, and be planning a wedding right now. Remember when you were seven, and thought that everyone should be married at 26? I mean, all your friends are either married or getting married.

Instead, you find yourself without anyone piquing your interest, and those very, very few that do... well, you don't pique theirs.

No wonder you're feeling down. You feel a bit like a failure, no?

Well, let me remind you of all the things you have that you ought to be incredibly proud of and thankful for!

So, you haven't gotten a Master's degree. So, you're working in a job that is menial and dull. Whoopty-fikkin'-do.

You've written 6 complete novels, and 1 short-story anthology - with illustrations. They're not small things either. Each one of your novels is well and truly over 90 000 words. Most are over 100 000. Who the hell can say that by the time they were 27 years old, they had 7 completed books under their belt? That almost one book every four years since the day you were born. How awesome is that?

Sure, you aren't published. It's only a matter of time before you are. You know that right? That's all beside the point. 7 books. You have written 7 books. What an achievement! Go you!

So, you haven't found that someone. You have a close circle of friends and family who love you very much. Do you know how many people would kill for the circle of love and support that surrounds you right now? And you have to admit, your friends are incredible! I mean, K.C., P.M., A.H., T.H., P.B., J.M-B., T.J., K.B. and A.J. - just to mention a few - are incredible people. You are so very lucky to have them in your life, and you know it! And your family is fantastic too! You know of people whose families don't support their dreams. Yours does. Yours is amazing!

So, you don't have your house. Who cares? You're living in a terrific little flat with and incredible flatmate, plus two cats, and having an awesome time! Think back to you-know-who and the terrible things she dragged you through. Now look where you are. How lucky are you, right now?

Last but not least, you have something that so many others do not. You have found a direction, a purpose, a reason to march through the daily grind. You're not just going through the motions like so many other automatons you know. You are fired up. You are full of passion. Every day is fresh and new and full of possibility. So many would kill for just a taste of what that's like.

You are so incredibly blessed.

So, dear self, I want you to return to this post every time you're feeling down. Every time you receive a rejection, or find that you've momentarily lost your fire, come back to this post, and read through it.

You are so very, very lucky.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What to Do?

I had planned on continuing to write my synopsis today. Unfortunately, I can't continue.

It's already written.

I'm suspicious of this written-in-a-day synopsis. Trying to write a synopsis for The Third Prince turned me into a deranged wreck for the better part of a week. This latest one, by comparison, was relatively pain-free and stupidly fast. I expect that it's a rubbish synopsis and will have to be completely rewritten.

I'm going to distance myself from it for a day and look it over again tomorrow. I now have the rest of the week to edit it into some kind of shape. Then I'm going to leave it alone for another fortnight while I start, and hopefully finish, the third round of editing of the manuscript itself. Then I'm going to go back and edit the synopsis again.

Then I'm going to submit it and hope against hope that it's good enough at least for an honourable mention. Being short-listed would be better. Winning would be better still.

We'll see.

In other, non-writing related news, I am so sore. The muscles in my thighs are protesting the learning of a new form in Kung Fu training. It's one of the fundamentals of Plum Blossom Praying Mantis (our school primarily does Eight Step Praying Mantis, I think). It's a brilliant form, and will help with sparring immensely as it teaches the body how to move in and out, around and up and down very effectively. I like it a lot.

It's brutal on the thighs, though!

I'll not complain. I'm lucky to have thighs. In reality, I love this kind of hurt. It reminds me that I'm doing very cool stuff like Kung Fu.

Right, I have to go and figure out what I'm going to do with my day now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Cue the party music, I'm done the second round of edits! Yippee!

Now I have to write the synopsis! *abrupt end to party music


I also have to announce a winner. Karen R. won the Facebook Costume Competition. Her prize is a Nox Arcana CD (Grimm Tales) and a signed original illustration which makes its appearance in The Dying God & Other Stories.

Were there enough links in that paragraph, do you think?

Congratulations to Karen!

I shall leave it here, as I have a tonne of work to do today. Have a lovely Tuesday everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Aaaaand Still Editing

I cannot wait until I can write about something else!

The happy news is, however, that I only have 100 pages left to edit in the second round of editing.

The unhappy news is that after I'm done this round, I have to write a synopsis. I'm making a face right now.

The unhappier news is that after writing the synopsis, I have to go back and edit all over again.

After that, I will be submitting the story, and I can forget about it until March. Those who are short-listed will be informed in March of next year (the winner announced May following). If I don't hear from the competition in March, it means I didn't make the short list. That, in turn, will mean one of two things:

1) The story was utter rubbish, or,
2) The story was good, but there were at least 6 other stories that were better.

To protect my fragile ego, I intend to pretend the latter if I do not make the short list. Chances are slim. Guaranteed the competition is going to be tough.

Sorry! I have someone who gets mad at me every time I try to be realistic. So, for his sake:

"I'll take you all on, and I'll WIN! Even if I'm full of arrows!"

Aaaaand back to reality.

If you're not interested in my life beyond my writing, stop reading................... now!

My birthday was Sunday. Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes yesterday. It was a lovely day. I spent it almost in entirety with my father. We went for a Yum Cha brunch. Here in Canada, Yum Cha is called Dim Sum. If I recall correctly, Dim Sum refers to the dishes eaten at Yum Cha. I'll have to check with my Sifu again.

I also saw my flatmate for the first time in over a week. She had a hellish week, and it was nice to just chill with her for a while.

Most of my friends were away at a training/sparring workshop in Toronto, and I'm not really the party-hearty type in any case, so I didn't go out for my birthday. However, P.M. did drop 'round Saturday and delivered some tea. Tea, by the by, is an awesome birthday present! The only thing that beats tea is, perhaps, a book.

I had another small breakdown Saturday afternoon before P.M. dropped by. It was the typical "what am I doing with my life?", could've-driven-me-to-drinking kind of breakdown. Unlike the major quarter-life crisis I experienced shortly after my 25th birthday, this one lasted only a few minutes before I laughed at myself.

It is hard, though; trying to make it as a writer, not making it (yet), and not really wanting to do anything else. All sorts of doubts creep in. What if I don't make it? What then? Will I have wasted my life on an impossible dream? Am I going to end up old and alone, with nothing for company but a pile of unwanted manuscripts?

It all sounds crazy and melodramatic to the outside eye, I can imagine. Still, these thoughts do occur. It's something every person who seeks to make a career out of being creative goes through. Only when you've been faced with countless rejections that continually tell you that what you've got to offer isn't wanted can you possibly understand the crazy melodrama that people such as myself must grapple with.

And I haven't been at it for that long - a little over a year. I can't imagine how people with years and years of this stuff must feel!


O.K. That's enough depression for one morning, thank-you! Today is my Kung Fu brother's birthday. So a big shout-out to K.C.! Happy birthday, bro!

With that, I must get back to catching up on everything and try to finish the second round of edits today. Have a wonderful Monday everyone (especially you, K.C.)!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Stuff About the Weekend

I forgot to post yesterday. That's not a bad thing, as there really isn't any new news. At all.

Man... I'm boring!

Today will be spent editing.

See? Boring!

I do have to say, though, now that I semi-kinda know what I'm looking for, editing has become a lot easier and a little more enjoyable. The challenge, often, is coming up with better ways to say what I want. Also, shorter sentences. Also, active voice.

This weekend, I turn 27. Shortly after I turned 25, I had a meltdown. I didn't think there was such a thing as 'quarter life crisis.' Yeah... there is. My meltdown was pretty horrific - like one loooooong panic attack. My thoughts at the time went something like this:

I'm going nowhere.
I'm so untalented.
What the hell am I supposed to do with my life?
I can't afford anything.
Why does no one love me?
I want my mother!

And other ridiculous notions that had me feeling like a GIANT loser. Let's face it. My life was going nowhere. I was in a dead-end job. My writing had no nibbles from anyone. My dating life... well... what dating life?

Two years later, nothing's really changed. Except my attitude.

I'm going somewhere.
I am talented, dammit!
I will be author - that is what I am doing with my life.
I still can't afford anything... yet.
I am loved.
But... I still want my mother.

So, I have no qualms about turning 27. Ask me again in three years. Perhaps I'll have an issue with that. For now, however, I'm good.

On that note, I have to get editing. Have a wonderful weekend, all. I know I will!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

STILL Editing

I don't think this will ever end, this editing thing.

I made record time yesterday, managing to get through 70 pages of work. That speed has me highly suspicious. I must have missed quite a bit. There'll be a third pass of editing, I have decided.

This pass is the major one though. Already I have done some major restructuring of one chapter. I've added tonnes of dialogue, and tried oh so hard to get rid of my tendency to write in passive voice.

Once this pass is done, I have to come up with a synopsis. It must be an adequate synopsis, one that is exciting and intriguing and will make people want to read the actual manuscript. If there is one thing I hate more than editing, it's synopsis writing! I never know what to write. I find it ridonkulously (hush, it's a word... now) hard to separate myself from the story enough to be able to leave out things that could be left out. Mucho practice is needed in this department.

I was supposed to have finished editing by the middle of this month. It doesn't look like that is happening, so I've given myself to the end of this month. That doesn't leave a lot of time for me to write the synopsis and do a third pass of editing before the submission deadline hits.

I'm starting to get stressed.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I tend to work better when under the gun, as it were.

Right, I should stop procrastinating and get to it. Before I go, here's a formatting tip I did not know prior to being helped out last week:

Despite what I was taught in school, never put a double space after a period. It's single space only. Why? I'm not entirely sure. The book I read said it indicated that you were a technology dinosaur (not in so many words, but that was the gist). I'm 26, and a technology dinosaur.

That's a depressing thought.

On that note, Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Back Kicked In

This is going to sound odd, because, well, it is odd.

The most exciting piece of news I have today is that last night, during Kick-Boxing training, my back was kicked back into place.

I told you it would sound odd.

I've had issues with my back since I can remember. My lower back specifically. It's always been out of place and sore. To the point, sometimes, that it gives me killer headaches. It's not fun.

Last night, we were practising lead-leg side kicks. I was holding the bag as I always do, being kicked as I always am. Then suddenly, as one kick landed, ccrraaaack. It wasn't very loud. I'm pretty sure I'm the only who heard it. I sure felt it though. The entire lower portion of my back, from my hips right down, shifted one vertebrae at a time in rapid succession.

I paused, half-expecting my legs to cease functioning.

Nope. There was an odd sort of anti-ache left in my lower back. Does anyone else understand what I mean? You know, when aching is so commonplace that you don't notice it. Then when it stops suddenly, you notice its absence?

I trained the remainder of the three hours, then went home. By the time I lay down in bed, my back was sore again. Where the vertebrae shifted was a little swollen, so I put on some ice and went to sleep.

Best. Sleep. Ever.

I woke up this morning and my back feels great. There is no ache. No headache either. I have full range of motion. Nice.

And that's my exciting, and odd news.

As far as writing goes, well, I'm still editing. There will be a giant dance party when the editing is over! On that note, I'd better hop to. Have a great Tuesday all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Musing About Writing

Apologies for the late post, again. It's Monday and the computer has been off for two days. That means that the first day it is turned on, it processes at speeds that would embarrass a snail. Thus the late post. I think I'm going to stop apologising every Monday and just issue a blanket apology that covers every Monday ever in the future of Mondays... and also every Tuesday that follows a long weekend.

Thus, I apologise for the late post on every Monday here on out, and every Tuesday following a long weekend. The computer is being, well, the computer. It's time we all made peace with it.

Now, onto the subject of today's post - musing about writing.

Certain friends of mine throw their hands up in the air at my writing process. To be fair, if I had been formally trained as they had, I might get a bit annoyed as well. Actually, I probably wouldn't. I'd be interested in the different process, but reserve judgement. Let's face it. There's not one correct way to draw, or paint, or sculpt. Why would there be to write? I digress.

I've explained the process before, but in case you did not read that post, I'll cover it again.

I plan virtually nothing. The main character/protagonist jumps into my mind almost fully formed, along with a scene or two about what it is they are up to. The next thing that comes into my head is the ending of the story.

It's as if a ghost appeared before me and said, 'I am [insert name]. This is how I died/won/lost/insert other appropriate ending. Now let me tell you about how this came to be.'

That's all I have before I start writing. The character, a couple of scenes, and the ending. I write one of the scenes, and the entire story flows through until it ends. That means when I begin any one story, I have no idea how long it's going to be. I don't know what exactly happens to my characters. The story is as much an adventure to me writing it as it is to those reading it for the first time.

The Seraphimé Saga began this way. It ended up being two books.

The Great Man series began this way. It ended up being five books.

Every single short story I have ever written had started out this way.

My afore mentioned nosey friends laugh about how mixed up my stories must be. Surely there are major plot inconsistencies? There must be gaping holes everywhere one looks. Then they go on about how poorly everything must flow, how badly fleshed out my characters must be, how terrible my imagery, place-setting, etc.

All without reading a single word.

Sure, I didn't go to school to to be formally instructed on how to plan every step of a story. Sure, I do it differently than they teach at those institutions. That doesn't make it wrong, or inferior. In fact, other than a mix up with seasons/time in The Seraphimé Saga, most everything turned out as if I'd painstakingly plotted every single point.

Here's the thing, nay-sayers. I trust my characters. When that ghost of a person floats around in my head and says, 'Let me tell you how it came to be.' I trust that they will tell me how it came to be. They've yet to let me down.

In fact, my characters, or rather, these characters (they are far too free-willed for me to make any claims of possession), are so insistent on telling me, that if I try telling them (i.e. - plotting the story before I write it), I run into serious, serious trouble. The example that most sticks out in my mind, and it's the same example I use each time because it turned me into a complete wreck, is during the writing of the final part of The Great Man series.

A character I was extremely fond of died. It was a very brave, very noble death, mind. But he still died. I didn't want him to die. I fought that death tooth and nail. Fighting with the story had me stuck in limbo for fully six months. The story refused to budge until that character died. It took everything out of me to write that death. I wrote with tears streaming down my face. When it was all said and done, I was in such distress, I had to call my mother. Even thinking about it now, I get all bleary-eyed.

Once that death was written, however, the rest of the story gushed out of me like a dam had burst. Three weeks later, the entire series was more or less written.

The weird thing is, I had plotted out The Great Man series at the very earliest stages of writing. Once I had the ending, the protagonist and a couple of scenes, I set about marking every single plot point I possibly could. The story, however, had other ideas. Once I started writing, I found that the flow of words was inescapable, and that flow was taking me places I hadn't planned. When I tried to swim against the current, as it were, I found myself drowning. Things became a lot easier when I went with the flow. The story I have now is vastly different from the story I had plotted. I'm not sorry about it either. Julian's version is much, much better than my own.

My writing process is very much intuitive. It isn't as structured as some people's writing processes. Both have their merits. I have found that the structured approach just doesn't work for me, though not for lack of trying.

As far as editing afterwards goes, I have found that I'm editing for much the same things as someone with a more structured approach would. I'm editing out passive voice (or trying very hard to), spelling and grammar issues, and so forth. These are all things people who write from a pre-prepared plot edit as well. I've very rarely had issues with continuity. The characters know their stuff.

So, people who tell me, or anyone else, that their writing process is 'wrong' or 'inferior,' go jump! It works for me, just as yours works for you. There is no one 'correct' way to write.

I really should have titled today's post 'Ranting About Writing.'

What about you? What is your writing process?

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm so sorry this post is so late. I completely forgot about my blog this morning. Oops!

I'm feeling quite rested today. I didn't go to training last night, though I probably should have. Instead, I opted for a night in of unhealthy food and alcohol, talked a bit to family via skype, then retired early to bed. I slept so well!

I had strange dreams in which I did a lot of yelling at people. I don't remember it well, just that it had something to do with Kick-boxing and I was annoyed a lot.

Some most excellent news regarding the editing of The Osprey and the Crow. First round is over - a whole day ahead of schedule! Go me! That means today, I am giving myself permission to slack off. By slacking off, I mean daydreaming. Also, I have that book Carlos sent to me to read over. What I learn there should help serious edits, round two.

I had intended to have this submission ready by my birthday, but that is looking unlikely. I'm going for the beginning of December instead. The deadline for submission is December 31st. I'm starting to feel the pressure now. This is a good thing. I tend to work best when under the gun.

Right, I'm off to read that .pdf file. First, however, I have to answer a lengthy email from my dear friend M.K. (nee M.). Have a lovely weekend and, barring some sort of apocalyptic occurrence, I shall be back Monday. Huzzah!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Keeping At It

I am so very tired today. Must have stayed up far too late last night. It also doesn't help that it's all dark and gloomy outside, making 7:30 this morning feel like 5:00am instead. It was a very groggy, very unhappy start to the morning.

Such is life, I suppose.

Famous last words.

I haven't much to relay to you. I'm still editing The Osprey and the Crow, though I'm almost done those particular edits. I should be finished tomorrow if I stay on track. That is to say, if I don't spend all of today fast asleep! After that I have to go through the manuscript again using everything I have been newly armed with.

Yep, this writing schtik is serious hard work!

However dull I am at the moment, I do have some interesting news. There is something for the flash fiction writers out there. Neil Gaiman will be judging a contest. You MUST enter. You can read about it here.

As long as I'm providing links, buy my book here. Enter this contest here. Or this contest here.

That is all my news for today. I have to get editing. Can't you tell how excited I am? Ahem...

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All Fired Up!

Listening to this song while writing this post. Awesome. I should have been born about ten years earlier than I was, I think.

In any case, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle that is the enormous challenge that is editing The Osprey and the Crow.

I have finished formatting it. Finally. It only took two full days. I really underestimated the amount of time formatting would take!

Now it's time to return to the editing. I feel less overwhelmed by it now than I did a few weeks ago. There is one reason for this - people.

My last post in which I grovelled a thousand heartfelt thank-you's to Carlos J. Cortes for his incredible help received a great number of comments. All of them were encouraging and supportive and so filled with goodwill I actually believe in pink unicorns now.


Alright, perhaps not, but you get the idea.

Instead of the 'I can't do this!' feeling that had me playing cards instead of editing (games on a computer is the stupidest idea ever!) almost all of last week, I now have a little buzz in my chest that says, 'Let's do this thing!'

I am, in a phrase, all fired up.

So, let's do this thing!

Have a great Wednesday all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reality Check

Well, I have something to say about myself. I ain't as good as I thought I was.

When I was at a low point last week, a published author offered to take a look at a section of my work and critique it.

I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. Most people send about 100 comments for the entire manuscript. He asked for just one chapter. I sent him the first chapter. The shortest chapter in the whole series thus far.

I got back an email so detailed and thorough I think it thrust me headlong into shock. I won't relay to you everything therein for fear of a) boring you to death or b) have you read a computer screen until you go blind.

The gist of the email was this:

I've got what it takes, I just can't write.

No one get mad at him on my behalf. This is the stuff I need to hear if I'm ever to improve and, hopefully, get published. I'll quote from the email, so that you might understand:

you have what takes. You can write, you have a superb sense of setting and imagery and judging from what I’ve read, the plot and characterization of your novels is excellent. Now, the only thing you need to learn is fiction writing or, in one word: technique.

My biggest problem? Passive voice. This one is going to be tricky for me to fix. I tend to write as I speak. Thankfully, the same said author provided a lovely .pdf book that I can read through to help me fix this enormous problem of mine.

I also tend to tell rather than show. This is something that had me confused for a long time, but I think I've figured out how to get around it.

Also, I write very, very, very long sentences. That one will not be too difficult to fix, I hope.

There were a whole slew of other problems that I won't detail here, but do intend to fix. See another long sentence. Hmph. Fixing this is going to be tricky.

Here's something else I didn't know. Formatting is not exactly what you think. Pressing tab to indent a paragraph is not sufficient! There's no such thing as double spaces in a novel manuscript (which is weird because I distinctly remember primary school in which the teacher insisted that periods are followed by a double space). Another long sentence. Lord help me.

It was incredibly generous of him to take the time to review my work and provide so much help. I am so incredibly grateful. I owe this man an enormous thank-you. Thus, Carlos,


I'm still working on The Osprey and the Crow to submit to competition. At the moment, I have abandoned the edits by a Beta Reader in favour of fixing the formatting. Once that is complete, I'll finish the edits suggested by the Beta Reader, then go over it again, using the knowledge I now possess to tighten it up. Wish me luck!

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Have You Ever Had...?

...One of those weekends?

You know, where anything and everything that can go wrong did. Well, that was my weekend, more or less.

[cue dreamy harp music]

It started Friday night. I had just finished going over The Dying God & Other Stories not long before the work day ended. I figured I'd just email the thing to myself and convert and upload it tomorrow morning before I headed off for Lion Dance training. Ah... but other things were in store for me.

I forgot to both email the document to myself and save it onto my USB. It is saved on my work computer. I realised this after I left work, when I was supposed to be hanging out with friends. I swore a lot. Luckily, my friends, T.H. and K.R. were very kind about it. We went back to K.R.'s place and I immediately jumped on her computer and went through the older version I had on my USB stick. I think I got most of the changes I had made. Grrrr.

So, instead of relaxing and celebrating Friday night, I spent it mad at myself, stressed and editing. My favourite thing. Not.

Saturday morning rolled around and I felt great. I quickly read through the eBook before attempting to convert it. It would only take a few minutes, so I woke at 8:00 to get on it as I had to leave the house at 9:00. The computer froze. Then crashed. Then crashed. Then froze. Then....

Three hours later, I had converted the document and uploaded it. I missed Lion Dance practice. I am still not impressed. So, instead of hanging out with friends and playing the drums and dancing around with a paper maché lion head, I was stuck in front of the computer, stressed and swearing.

That afternoon ran pretty much as scheduled. I taught Kung Fu, then immediately after met Dad for a movie and dinner. It was his birthday Saturday, so dinner was my treat. The movie we saw was RED. It was funny. It also had Bruce Willis and Karl Urban. I was happy. I recommend it. If you like action, and you like comedy, this is the movie for you.

Dinner was lovely.

Then it started to snow. I'm talking flakes the size of my thumbnail kind of snow. Contrary to popular opinion on snow, this isn't one of the moments that went wrong. I love the snow. It was so beautiful to watch it come down in great white drifts while sipping a Creme de Menthe and Baileys hot chocolate from inside the pub. Happy sigh.

The amount of snow was substantial. There is still snow on the ground today. It is unusual for this time of the year. Usually if it snows this early in the season, it's gone that night or by the next morning.

Sunday was hectic. I cleaned the kitchen before having to dash off to attend my dear friend's convocation. I am so proud of you M.M. That, thankfully, was not a disaster, although I did manage to leave my keys at home, thereby locking myself out of the apartment. Luckily J.M-B. was home and I didn't need them to get in.

I hurriedly dressed while cooking some Devils on Horseback. I was so busy applying the face paint that I forgot about them, and they burned a little. I must have done a good job with the face paint, because the first guest to arrive, my friend G.F. asked me if I was home. Ah hah hah hah! For those who don't know, I was a black and white Harlequin Doll.

I will be uploading pictures of the event as soon as they are made available.

The party was fun. In attendance was my Honours Thesis supervisor, M.T. I hadn't seen him in an age! It was nice to catch up. Many people came. They brought food and booze and I'm going to throw a pot luck party again when I need groceries. There is so much food left over, I won't have to go shopping for another couple of weeks! Go me!

Thanks everyone for feeding me.

I read at the party. I generally don't like people looking at me. It makes me uncomfortable. Even if they're people I know well. Reading was a big deal for me. I read a poem entitled For My Sister and the beginnings of two short stories, Imp and River Woman. You're just going to have to buy the book if you want to know precisely what I read.

It's $9.99. I believe that's USD.

The party ended at around 11:00pm. Some would call that an early night. I don't ever recall a party ending much later (maybe midnight) that I've thrown. 11:00 is usually about my bedtime anyway. Lame, I know. What can I say? I like my sleep.

I washed the copious amounts of face paint from my face, then fell into bed and promptly fell to sleep.

This morning I feel good, but exhausted. My eyes are red and stinging a little. I think I got some face paint in there. I'm closing them as often as possible without looking like I'm asleep at my post!

That was my weekend and my Hallowe'en. How was your Hallowe'en?

Don't forget, I'm running a Facebook contest for the best Hallowe'en costume. There's music and an original of one of the drawings I created for The Dying God & Other Stories to be won.

This is a long post. I apologise. There was a lot to relay. It is also a late post. I apologise again. There was a lot to relay. Also, it's Monday, which means computer-is-waking-up day, which means everything is running incredibly slowly. Have a lovely Monday everyone. I think mine will be great!