Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taking a Ride

I took this photo several years ago and clearly it's not Orlando. It's California.

The best thing about a sudden snow storm is when you've already made plans to leave town, and you're departure is scheduled a few hours after the storm has  hit. And better yet, those plans do not include a trip to the airport.

I'm taking a train from DC to Florida. Train travel is one of my favorite means of transportation, especially when I want solitude and the chance to write, write, write. This trip will involve quite a bit of reading and writing and work, but that's okay. It should be 40 degrees warmer where I'm headed, and that sounds like heaven to me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They Keep Pulling Me Back In!

Taken by Moi in New Orleans and Yeah, It Kind of Looks Like the Way I Feel!

A writer's life is filled with deadlines, ghosts, and outlines and then somewhere in the midst of all that is actual story telling, right? No, I don't think so. Let's take a look at the obstacles that have plopped down in front of me in the last two weeks.

The first and foremost is that I didn't get my entry in the Marlene Contest submitted on time. Why? Well, it's my fault. I waited until 10 minutes before the deadline and sent it to the wrong email address (don't ask me how I did that when I thought I'd cut and pasted the email address) - but I did. So by the time I got the 'undeliverable' email notice it was 11:59 and guess what the deadline was? Yes. You got it! 11:59!

So that was January 15 - and since then, well let's see what else has hit the fan.

I got great feedback from my writing coach on 150 pages of story. But I also added at least 10 new chapters to the story via an outline that took me a day to write. At least tomorrow, I'm going to get help from my critique partner on the outline - the plot is a beast that's raging out of control.

Then there's my writing class. Yes, I signed up for another Gotham class, originally, it was going to be for feature article writing, but no I got out of that class. It would have required me to change my focus from fiction to journalism and even with feature articles, which is a lot less stiff than news writing - I didn't want to divide my time even more. So now, I'm in an advanced science fiction writing class, which I've taken before, but I feel smarter now:)...

The true dilemma in my life these days is not writing though. It's my day job. The one that pays the bills. It's lost its smiley face and that's disappointing and stressful. How do you balance that life and the writer me?

We'll just have to figure that one out won't we?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Sunlight Bouncing Off of Baltimore Skyscraper

My day in front of the computer on Saturday, which was when I meant to post this blog, was all about plotting and what that means when you're 87 percent done with a manuscript (and on the third round of revisions) and you're hating it (and yes, I mean the book), and I'm also hating the plot. It's too complicated (Notice I'm not mad at my characters. I still love them bunches). But finishing the book is the goal! Then get it out to editors and agents (which I've already done, but still). Rewrites are torture.

But there's a good side to this agonizing process (besides the joy of finishing), I'm learning how to write and finish a book. From first draft (boy, do I know what to avoid next time) to character development and plotting (the torture I'm going through now), etc. and a lot more.

I'm also daydreaming about my next book. After a great critique group session Friday, I created an excel spreadsheet with each scene of the current POS outlined and the key plot points listed and organized. It also includes the sequence of events that provide the suspense for solving the 'crime' and how the bad guys are revealed, and how that fuels the romance and the conflict and compassion between my two main characters - shit - see what I mean?

Too many thoughts.

The bottom line is that this morning I feel like Wonder Woman, and I'm back in control. (It should last an hour).

Here's a list of writer-related sites I've discovered this week that some of you may already know about, but here goes anyway...

Chase the Dream Contest - legit, easy and free
Scott Westerfeld Blog - scroll down and check out some good tips

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! And Let the Resolutions for 2010 Begin!

Photo taken by Denny S. Bryce 1/1/10 in Baltimore, MD

Good thing I'm taking a feature article writing course beginning next week. I swear some days I have no idea how to kick start my blog post. It has to do with how my brain works. I have at least a dozen story/article ideas a minute, all of which I think are good ideas at the time I think them. Then when I'm in front of the computer, fingers poised, I go through a kind of panic and I'm stuck.

And damn it - this post should be the easiest of the year. It's the first of 2010 and I have no reason to feel defeated about anything because nothing has happened yet.

Anyway, here's the deal. I'm hanging out in Baltimore, wanted a change of scenery for the New Year and wanted a neutral environment where I could reflect on 2009 without being reminded of failed goals (my living room sofa can do that sometimes). Top of my list, of course, is what's up with the manuscript. I'm somewhat frantic about it on a daily basis. I feel I have no control over when my writing mood hits (and 2 a.m. is getting old, people). So I need control, it's going to be one of my resolutions for 2010. Carve out a specific time during the day for writing, another time for reading, and another time for work (the gig that pays the bills). I'm going to make it easy on myself in the beginning. I am committed to writing (working on the manuscript that is, because I write all day long) a minimum of two hours a day. Those two hours cannot begin before I've exercised and had breakfast, period. The final resolution is the two hours can't start after 8 p.m. Today, I've completed the first two - exercised and ate breakfast (didn't get around to breakfast until 1 p.m., but day 1 is shaky on the 'resolution train'). So next I need my two hours of writing, writing, writing.

In the meantime, this weekend, I've got to complete my Marlene Contest application (PS...I guess I have to enter for real. I just paid the $25 entry fee!) and finalize my agent list. I've got two so far. But what should I do about the one I submitted to this past summer following RWA? I haven't heard from her since August. Should I resubmit? Anybody got ideas?

Also, I reorganized my blog this morning. Got rid of things I don't need on it - and kept things I do. It's definitely honing in on the real me. That is the Denny S. Bryce me. She's a writer of fiction, so anything that distracts me from that doesn't have a place on this blog. Okay!

Yeah. I thought you'd agree.

And Happy New Year!



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