I Was Only Pretending to Procrastinate

I just finished my first real read-through of the first draft of book three of The Songbird River Chronicles, The Fount of Magic.

I finished writing that draft… um… a while ago.

And while I did, in fact, beat myself up over the fact that I was spending all of this in-between time NOT editing it and preparing it for publication, I find now that the distance has actually been extremely helpful.

First off, I had a chance to forget some of the story. Oh, I remembered the big overarching skeleton of the piece, and lots of chunks of the flesh, but some of the details had escaped me. I actually went back and reread books 1 and 2 as well to get back into the story.

Second though, and more importantly, I’ve had time to grow as a writer between finishing the draft and now. I’ve been reading a whole lot for pleasure lately, as well, something I haven’t had time to do since I was in high school, really. I’ve been critical of the books I’m reading, picking out things that I think work really well and things I can see don’t work at all, and I’m analyzing them as best I can. It’s been really fun going through my own work now and using those skills to see how I can make the second draft actually work.

That isn’t to say that the draft is broken, currently. It works, the story is there, and it’s pretty decent. Pretty damn good in lots of places, to be honest. It’s just the bits in between those “pretty damn good” chunks that need some reworking.

And that’s where this whole distance thing is coming into play. Because, when I first finished the draft and immediately turned around and read through the thing again to attempt some clean up, I floundered. I knew it needed something, but I just could not tell what it was. I knew particular chapters flagged, but for the life of me, I had no idea how to make them crackle the way the other chapters did.

So I got frustrated, and I put the draft aside.

And now, many, many months later, when I opened it up and read through chapter one (which needs some not insubstantial work, though is by no means the worst offender) the answer immediately snapped into place in my head. The same thing happened when I got to my other trouble chapters.

Two chapters will need heavy rewriting, and I mean total scrapping, tossing out the window, light those suckers on fire because just GAG me already they sucked. Most of the rest need some light reworking to adjust the information flow, or to adjust for the major changes in those rewrite chapters.

But there are some that I’m just not touching, because as far as I can tell, they are in exactly the form they need to be. Those are the chapters that I was reading along, and suddenly realized I’d forgotten I was editing them. They’d sucked me in, and I’d just been going on a ride with them.

Like I was reading a real book! An entertaining one! With plot and characterization and pacing that worked properly!

And when that happened, I stepped aside, patted myself on the back (because, as writers, we don’t acknowledge our own good work often enough. I say, if your own work carries you away like that, let it! That’s the whole point of writing, after all!), and made myself reread the section more critically.

So, long story short, I no longer feel so guilty about the procrastination. Well, I do, but I feel it worked out for the better this way.

I’ve got the house to myself this Saturday. I’m planning to make some decent headway into this thing, now that I’ve got my edits outlined. Maybe I can even wrap it up before we leave for our Germany vacation in a week?

So long as I don’t start procrastinating again…

Advertisements

New release announcement, and reflections on Detcon1

So, my new book is published! The Southern Dragon is available now through Amazon, Kobo, NOOK, Smashwords, and Google Play, both in print and ebook formats! You can find links to it in my Books and Stories page above. The price on Singer has dropped, as well, in celebration! Check it out, and if you like it, please leave a review in your preferred reviewing location. It’d be much appreciated!

#

As I mentioned, I had some plans for this past weekend’s Detcon1 surrounding my promotion of the book. While my sweepstakes to win free copies of my books didn’t pan out, I did manage to pass out a number of my business cards. I’m hoping to see some results from that at some point, though we will just have to wait and see. The con itself was fun, with lots of interesting and useful panels surrounding aspects of the business. Of course, there were lots of whimsical panels as well, but I kept myself to the business oriented ones. I listened to Neil Clarke (the publisher/editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, to whom I have been furiously attempting to sell my short stories) speak on two panels, one about the state of Science Fiction magazines today, and one about what sorts of things editors and agents are looking for in stories and submissions. I heard another panel talk about the economics of self-publishing, though I can’t say that one was particularly useful to me, since I’ve been doing this for a little while now and have already experienced a number of the things they talked about. I also attended a panel discussing covers, which was interesting from an artistic standpoint.

It’s definitely interesting to listen to other people who are essentially trying to accomplish the same thing as you are talk about how they have been going about it, or what else they plan to try in the future. The debate on whether or not to go full indie publishing or to hold out for a traditional publisher’s notice still rages, with both sides giving good arguments. For now, I think I intend to remain an indie publishing author, but I am trying to keep my mind clear and unbiased as I go forward with this venture.

Anybody else have Detcon experiences to share? I’d love to hear about them!

Wearing the Publisher Hat

I’ve been working for the past week or so on things to get ready for publishing The Southern Dragon. It’s getting really close now! I’ve got the proof copy in my hands, and am pouring over it to make sure it’s up to snuff before hitting that ‘publish’ button. I’m hoping to publish in time for Detcon next weekend. I already have some tweaks I want to make to the cover, and we’ll see how the interior goes as I read through it. Hopefully there aren’t too many mistakes!

In the mean time, I’ve also been working on some other business-y things, such as getting more organized with my finance tracking and putting together some promotional plans. I’ve got these snazzy little business cards that I’ll be handing out at the convention. They have information on my two books and my publisher website, including a QR code to it. They’re meant to be easy hand-outs, and I’m hoping to get them printed up sometime early this week. I’ll also be running a sweepstakes, I guess? I’ll have a sign-up list and be giving away three free e-copies of Singer and The Southern Dragon to randomly selected participants. The hope there is that these lucky people will read and review my books, thus bringing me more publicity.

I’m considering doing something similar on twitter, once I can figure out how the logistics will work.

I also have plans in the works to set up a newsletter soonish. Still working on that, but would like to have it set up and the first issue out this week if possible.

I did manage to get some bits and pieces of writing in during this time, and actually finished the first draft of a short story yesterday, but to be honest, the publisher stuff can be distracting sometimes. It’s got its own sort of fun-ness to it, and it feels hella productive, but when it comes down to it, doing your publishing duties is necessary, but not a substitute for writing. I’m still learning how to balance my time between the two. I’m in a scramble to be all publisher, all the time right now due to the upcoming con, which I think is okay, but once it’s over, I’ll be returning to more focus on writing for a while. I had been hoping to start on my next novel earlier this month, but it will probably end up having to wait until after the con just because I’m so busy getting ready for it.

 

In other news, it’s the last game of the season for Detroit City FC today, unless we make it into the tournament… I dunno, I’m not the knowledgeable one on soccer in my family. But we’re going to the game and screaming and shouting to push them to a win today. I know a lot of people who aren’t ready for the season to be over yet.

 

How Soccer Hooligans are Bringing a Recluse Out of Her Shell

Okay, I suppose I’m not actually at the level of being a recluse, but I definitely have a hard time in social situations. I don’t do well conversing with people I don’t know well. The art of easy conversation is difficult and intimidating. What if I have long, awkward pauses, because I cannot think of a single thing to say to this person? And I will, without fail.

My husband and I are members of a soccer supporter group in Detroit, which means that we often go to games and other events, where I am by definition in close quarters with a very large number of people with whom I am not very well acquainted. We’ve been doing this for long enough now that I am actually, FINALLY, becoming more comfortable just hanging out in the same space as so many people. I know a lot of them well enough now that, while I may not be able to carry on conversation adeptly, I am aware that they don’t think I’m some strange, awkward person, or if they do, they mean it as a compliment.

When we go to events that are not soccer games, I often bring my computer or a notebook and at least attempt to get some writing done. It’s really very comforting to me, even if I don’t manage to get much work done, because I know that if the crowd ever does get too overwhelming for me, I can dial myself back into my own world for a while.

We went to a party to watch an away game at a bar today, and I used this tactic. I wasn’t actually feeling overwhelmed at all, and to be honest, it was probably the most comfortable I’ve been at one of these events so far. I set myself up at a table with my writing, put one earbud in so I could listen to my “writing music” (despite the noise of being in a bar), and did some writing. Did some people watching. Did some more writing. Actually conversed with people other than my husband.

Also made $25 selling the last five copies of the first edition of my novel ‘Singer’ to these guys.

They’re really a good bunch of people, and if you happen to be in the Detroit area and interested in soccer, you should look them up. The Northern Guard Supporters for Detroit City Football Club.

Even if you’re a shy introvert who likes to stay inside. They don’t bite, I promise.