Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bar Pages, Post-CWC

One of the fun things about having the laptop is being able to do OOTH pages I don't have to transcribe later. It does wonders for getting pages pounded out. And then I can do a blog post at the same time :)

Last night, the gang talked about the first 50 pages of Cass. They had some good comments about things that need to be fixed, as usual, but the best part was that they're into it. I was concerned that I was going to hand over this thing that I'd been goofing off with, entertaining myself with, and they'd say I should go ahead and keep it to myself. But, it was a good reminder that a lot of the time, there are reasons why we like the stories that are our favorites to tell.

I can sum it up with a cool thing Deb said, "I can tell you had fun writing it, because I had fun reading it."

Now I'm sitting at the bar, drinking a green cocktail, and playing a bit with a scene that needed to be expanded. It's a scene that takes place in a bar which I loosely modeled after the one I'm sitting in, so it all seems very fitting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

CWC Ambush

This month has been busy, and this past week or so busiest of all. Between revving up for finals week, socializing, pounding out an introduction for my thesis, and miscellaneous other things, it was yesterday before I really realized that the CWC meeting is tonight. Yeesh.

I'm kind of hesitant about the meeting, which is unusual for me. I think it's because I'm trying something totally new and I'm not sure exactly how the gang are going to respond. Though, from a couple comments at dinner last night, I'm a little reassured that at least Jenny & Deb don't hate it.

Jenny is pretty happy because now she has a concrete reason for me to finally read Harry Potter - research for Cass. It's funny, in all my thinking of and looking for similar books, I never once thought about Harry, but once she mentioned it, yeah, I see the overlap. Dang it.

And, along with having Jenny & I on the chopping block, we're going to have some official CWC business to sort out tonight as well. Fleur is currently too busy working on a big (and paying) project and working on her novel with an agent, so she has had to go on hiatus. We'll miss her, but it's the best possible reason for someone to have to pull out of the group. Yay Fleur! On the logistical end, Fleur's leaving means reshuffling the submission schedule and possibly adding a new member. It's bound to be an especially interesting meeting tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Printing, Printing, Printing

I've put everything together and, as I write this, I am printing out the full version of my thesis for Katherine and Ted's review. 134 pages, all written by me. Whew.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Preface Feedback, Part 1

Juan just handed my preface back to me with comments. Much to my relief, after hearing stories about some of my peers having to make massive preface overhauls, most of his comments are about expanding on specific ideas and maybe moving a paragraph from here to there. I've got things to revise, but it's minor. Thank George.

I'm thinking today might be a good day to do those revisions. It'll come in handy that I've left my kitchen table a mess of piled books, notes, and miscellaneous papers. Everything is just where I need it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Log Line Exercise

A couple of posts ago, I posted a link to a neat exercise to help work up a log line. Here are a couple of possbilities I've come up with for the Cass book by doing the worksheet:

  • When the stubborn spell maker Cass McKade does Papa Legba a favor, she expects a favor back. Instead, she gets a monster-hunting ex-boyfriend who needs her help protecting a twelve-year-old girl from the same vampire that killed Cass's parents.
  • Papa Legba owes Cass a favor, but he's got his own plans for repaying it. So, when her monster hunting ex-boyfriend shows up on the anniversary of her parents' deaths with a young girl in tow, Cass finds out that a nemesis from her past is up to his old tricks. In order to protect the girl, Cass has to face the vampire who killed her parents and finally come to terms with her past.
  • Crafting spells and making deals with a voodoo spirit is nothing strange for Cass McKade, but admitting that she cares about someone is. When her monster hunting ex-boyfriend returns to town to ask Cass for help protecting a twelve-year-old girl, she will have to do all three in order to face down the girl's attacker and come to terms with the deaths of her own parents.

Wow, even with a "cheat sheet" it's still pretty tough. I'm not sure if I completely like any of them, but it's a start.

How about you? What have you got?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And Then There Was a Preface

It isn't perfect, and it may not be all that pretty, but it's a complete draft that includes all the important things I needed to talk about and it's to the minimum length. Tomorrow, it will be in Juan's mailbox.

I have never been so glad to have a first draft of anything before in my life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Speaking of Queries

I just read a nifty thing about pitching your novel. It's a guide on how to take your whole novel and boil it down to a log line in a useful way. Check it out: How to Put It Together Into One Neat Tweet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Celebratory Bowl of Ice Cream

I'm eating the last of a bowl of chocolate ice cream with bananas because earlier today I finished the last two stories in my most recent round of revisions. Now I need to finish drafting the preface and it's off to my committee.

Next week. That's the plan. It'll be in Katherine and Ted's hands next week.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Two-fer, or We All Need Our Demons

Amanda's been giving me a hard time lately. See, her husband has been relocated to Arkansas for his job, which means she's moving in June. This also means that she needs to have her thesis done and defended by then. Since she just started working on her thesis in January, this puts her on a tight schedule.

The hard time comes in with the part where she's having to whiz through her thesis and I stalled out on mine.

Amanda: What progress have you made with your thesis this week?
Me: Um... er...
Amanda: (gives me a look that says she's totally unimpressed) Ali, you need to work on your thesis. I have to get mine finished by May so I can defend it in time. May! How long have you been working on yours?
Me: Uh, a while.
Amanda: If I have to haul butt on my thesis, by God, you're going to work on yours.
Me: I am, really, I am.
Then Amanda crosses her arms in front of her and scowls at me.

This is a conversation we've had a few times. Most recently, being today. Yesterday I cleared off my kitchen table, making it just right for holding my thesis and critiqued copies of my thesis to work from. Today I sat down at said table and revised two thesis stories.

So there, Amanda :p

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shutting It Down

It's kind of funny to me that my main goal for April, a spring month chock full of fresh starts and new beginnings, is to wrap things up.

The classes I'm teaching are going to be over by the 1st week of May, so I'm wrapping that up. More importantly, I'm going to be kicking my own butt about my thesis. My progress on the thesis has been quite unremarkable of late, and that makes me irked with myself. So, I need to get all of this set of revisions done and my preface drafted by the end of the month.


For you, I'd challenge you to do the same. What's that project you've been dragging your feet on? Now's the perfect time to make a push and wrap it up. Then it's on to new, exciting things, right?