Friday, June 29, 2007

Golden Compass

Okay, I couldn't resist this one. Who wouldn't be curious about their animal alter-ego?

You can find these at

Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten is completely blank. I got to shuffling scenes, trying to address the revision points Bob and I had discussed, and somehow everything ended up getting moved out of Chapter Ten and into other places. So now I'm trying to figure out whether I really need to add anything new into that chapter, or whether everything else from Eleven on simply gets moved up to fill the gap.

I thought it might help to read through everything I have revised so far, from Chapter One on. But as soon as I started reading it, I had to start tweaking it. Dang it! I'm not sure whether it really needed tweaking, or whether I was just reading it too late at night to be properly objective. That's probably the case. I'll try again tomorrow.

We're about to go on a five-day camping trip, and of course, there's plenty to do to get ready. I was greatly tempted to just let the family go and stay at home by myself, but #1: my car's in the shop as of Friday morning, and I might not have a vehicle if I stayed in town. And #2: I promised I'd go with them. It's one of the family vs. career things, and in the long run, the family is most likely to stand by my bedside if something happens to me, so...I go camping. But I'm taking the laptop. So there! Who knows--maybe a change of scenery will jog something loose or mysteriously help me figure out whether we need to see another Colm/Brenna scene or a Niall/Colm/Brenna scene, or.... Argh!

If a tent in the forest inspires me into figuring out Chapter Ten, I'll go camping more often.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Just Life

I guess sometimes I don't post because I don't feel I have enough news on the writing front to post a good, thoughtful piece about writing. But maybe a few posts about our day-to-day life would keep the blog up to date and fill the wait between writing-specific posts.

Phouka's been at it again. Anyone who's read the posts I made back in 2005 about my Ford 500 car, Phouka, knows what I mean by that. This time it may be the computer. I don't know. You know how you need a problem to repeat enough times reliably so it can be diagnosed? Well, this is like that. The other day I went to start my car in a parking lot and it started flashing "check engine" and "check transmission" at me. All the way home, it wouldn't shift gears. Then we put it on a code reader, it flashed another nonsense code just like it did two years ago, and after we cleared the codes it behaved perfectly, shifting and everything. Then the next day, I was idling the motor in Park mode at a fast food drive-though window, (ironically at another Taco Time like two years ago) and when I went to shift it into Drive it gave a weird clunk and started flashing the same messages as the previous day. So, another drive home at 35 MPH stuck in first gear. Then I got it into my driveway, the Huz went out and messed with the clear info buttons on the steering wheel, and the next morning when he went to start it up, it was fine--started up fine, shifted fine, everything. We even took it to a meeting that evening and it behaved fine the whole time. If the transmission was shot, I'd expect that it would behave differently than this--but then, I'm no mechanic. However, it seems more like the computer is wigging out or something. Fortunately, those parts of the car are still under warranty. But I'll have to get it to wig out again so that when I take it in to the dealer, they have something to diagnose. Otherwise it's just the well-named mischievous Phouka acting up again and taking me for a wild ride. Hmph.

Otherwise, it's life as usual. Weeding the square-foot garden, putting nylon stockings on all the little apples on our tree to ward off codling moths without using pesticides...and trying to clean the house after letting it get so very disorganized during our last three hectic months of the school year. Then there's the vow renewal of a friend of ours this weekend, and a planned camping trip coming up one day soon....

And writing??? Um, going to do that now, actually. promise. The revision's almost done, assuming I hit all the points I knew about in the way I was supposed to.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Good Crime Was Had by All

Okay, the silence is probably getting ominous, so it's time to squeeze a blog into the already crammed schedule.

This last weekend I attended our local mystery conference, Murder in the Grove. I took a master class on Friday from Margie Lawson. She had some interesting techniques for diagnosing and evaluating a manuscript, mostly focused on how you've handled the various story elements with regard to character emotion and highly charged emotional moments. It was a good class and certainly gave me a few new tools with which to tweak the rewrite. I also met Sharan Newman and took a class from her on Saturday--her information on research and accuracy in historical fiction was right in line with what I've always believed, and Sharan is as gracious a lady as anyone who has read her books could hope to meet.

The kids and I are about a heartbeat away from being able to mail the last of the homeschool packets for the year, and then I'll be hitting this novel revision with a sledgehammer. Next year I'll be ruthlessly dividing the schedule up into very focused blocks, which should result in my getting lots more writing time and the kids keeping pace or getting ahead with their schoolwork. Oak Meadow's such a great school program, we'd really like to be able to continue with it.

Meanwhile, onward....

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blue Moon

I'm still here, still working on the rewrite, still trying to get the kids through this school year. We're close now--just a little way to go and we're done. We even took part of today off to go and see the new Pirates movie. Good movie and lots of fun, but they left one piece of story unexplained in either a prime example of bad writing or bad editing. When I read a possible explanation online, I liked the story better. Supposedly the missing piece of information was in a deleted scene, if the rumor is at all credible. I hope it is. Seeing it on DVD will probably clear up my one objection to the script. I know it was a long movie, but sometimes the scene that gets cut is the one scene that makes sense of the whole thing. I hate it when that happens--in any medium.

I finally feel as though I might make sense of the one scene in my novel that was sort of hanging fire. I think I even managed to find the right place to include a particular detail that Bob mentioned over the phone. Now it's just a matter of finishing a couple of scenes, making little tweaks to a few others, and then taking a read-through and seeing whether the story hangs together with the changes I made.

That's about it. I didn't have a lot to blog about. I know it's been sparse lately and today's blog probably doesn't add a whole lot to the existing picture. But since I haven't been managing a blog a week lately, I figured I could at least blog once in a blue moon....