cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 164
Total words: 164
Overused word: smelled
Gratuitous word: fathoms
Type of scene: the opening
Challenge(s): Fighting off the backstory hobgoblins.
Which line is it anyways? The first one: The night the ringmaster died, so did the world.
Notes: Beginning a story is rough. I am not ashamed of this wordcount. Okay, just a little.
Other writingy stuff:

And...catching up on posting writing logs....

08/08/10, Sunday, extra hours working from home on day job project
* Finished working out the plot and began actual writing on "The Circus of Brass and Bone."

08/07/10, Saturday
* Balancing a character's pain: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2010/08/slush-lessons-balancing-pain%E2%80%94things-to-consider-when-throwing-rocks-at-your-character/

08/03/10
* Responded to agent partial request for Vicesteed.
* Wrote up and posted CONvergence notes, except for profanity panel.

07/30/10, Family reunion

* Wrote 2 pgs on "Remediation Village" while listening to family meeting updates.

07/22/10, Thursday, extra hours on day job project
* Posted freewriting, writing log.
* Heretic's Hope, beg. 10:10, 21,310 words - end

Waiting

Jul. 20th, 2010 10:26 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (russian)
I do not like waiting-to-find-out. It may be one of my least favorite things ever.

I have a lot of waiting-to-find-out these days. Personal health stuff, family health stuff, major writing project stuff, minor writing project stuff....

I hates it, Precioussss!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
I've been working on a day job project for full-time+ for the last week (no weekend for me, alas), so I haven't gotten much writing stuff done. Except no work today. Blissful productive freedom! Scary beginning projects! Lots of writing stuff (hopefully--except I already spent the morning paying bills).

07/12/10, Monday
* Assembled ("wrote" doesn't feel like the right verb) "Magic Blue Pill For Cure Cancer." Yes, it's the spam headlines story. Thanks to everybody who shared their spam!
* Writing and a Faith Perspective: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2010/07/on-faith-and-friction/

07/11/10, Sunday
* Attended MinnSpec writing workshops.

07/08/10, Thursday
* Posted writing log, freewriting.
* Re-read Tree of Life in preparation for writing on it again. Ulp.
* What 81% of Agents Expect on the First Page (funny): http://stiryourtea.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-81-of-agents-expect-on-first-page.html
* Why Smart Characters Make Dumb Mistakes: http://www.plottopunctuation.com/blog/show/why-smart-characters-make-dumb-mistakes
* Writing Realistic Injuries: www.users.totalise.co.uk/~leiafee/ramblings/realistic_injuries.htm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

I write like
Bram Stoker

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




My first results said I wrote like Dan Brown. Reader, I was distraught. But then somebody else pointed out that I may have had religious symbolism in my first chapter, so I selected randomly from somewhere in the middle of Vicesteed, and the result was much, much better!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
07/05/10, Monday, no work (4th of July observed!)
* Queried last 2 agents on my A-list for Vicesteed. Now I'm done with Vicesteed until I hear back from somebody, or at least for a couple of months--at which point it'll be time to query my next batch of preferred agents. Whew! Also, this feels so weird!
* Submitted "Demons of Disease" to Bizarro Magazine.
* Submitted "Gone Huntin'" to Flash Me Magazine.
* Submitted "Good Help Is Hard to Find" to Title Goes Here.
* Submitted "Look Back to Keep Her" to Flash Fiction Online.
* Submitted "Road of Dreams" to Neo-Opsis
* Read WritersMarket and Duotrope newsletters and updated market list from them.
* Nonstandard Structure: http://mrissa.livejournal.com/727223.html

Tried to see where I could send "Salvaging Scottwell" next--and blanched at the lack of options for an 11,000 word reprint. Yoiks. Well, I'll Escape Pod it even though it's longer than they usually take, but beyond that...hrm. It's a really good story (other people think so too!) but what to do with it? Small press publication as a novella? Is that too short? (Ideas, [livejournal.com profile] mmeriam?)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
And now, I get to decide what to do next.

Short Stories
Stories to be written/rewritten*: 2
Stories to be edited before submitting: 8
Stories to be submitted for first sale: 7
Stories to try and get reprint sales for: 11

* These are not my standard short stories--not including "Remediation" in this. In my mind, the handwritten stories are a totally unrelated thing. Not for standard writing time consumption. Note to self: "Spam" and "Coral".

Novels
(Does not include the letter game novel I'm writing with Andre.)
Agents on my A-list for Vicesteed that I still need to query: 2
Novels in progress: 1

That novel is Tree of Life, which I think I might end up calling Heretic's Hope. And I'm only 18,000 words into it (thought it was more), but I've left Leander, the poor main character, stranded in this horrible place for a long time now! Poor bastard. I mean, he's deserted from the military, committed blasphemy (to save his faith), and fled his dying homeworld. He's trapped on a refitted generation ship that's a labyrinth carved out of an asteroid, and he just had the everliving shit beat out of him...by gravity. He's about to be blackmailed into doing Terrible Things. And he doesn't know if this will even work, or if he's damned his soul for nothing. Is it any wonder he's been bugging my brain, wanting to get through this to something better?

P.S. Oh, and I want to pick up the Twitfic thing again. When I got sick and life got busy, I kinda dropped the ball on that goal.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
Edits to Vicesteed are ALL DONE. Finally!!!

I don't even want to think how long this took--part of that was because of significant time-eating life events like multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy, and part of that is because it took me far too long to realize that really, I needed to make editing the focus and not try to just allot an hour on the weekend to it and focus on other writingy stuff during my regular writing time. (This is why I have another novel that's 30,000ish words along, and I've written several short stories in the meantime.)

Now, I'm not actually for-reals done with Vicesteed yet. I need to apply the final coat of polish in my traditional read-aloud draft, but that should take less than a week (fingers crossed). Then, mandatory stop. I have to declare a process and an end-point to the editing, or I could fiddle with these things forever. The read-aloud draft is a bit of an indulgence, at that. And I need to edit my summary for agent queries and then send out the rest of the queries to the agents on my A-list. I've already sent out some "query letter only" queries.

And I managed to talk myself into (very subtly) setting up a Vicesteed sequel with the ending. Which I hadn't planned on doing. But during the last part of the edits, when I figured out that I needed "enforcers" to keep the tech level restrained, I came up with Jacquard House. And they're totally going to be running an investigation of this outbreak of forbidden tech. And there may happen to be a "cute librarian"-type archivist who discovers that the original purpose of Jacquard House has been twisted. And there may be secret factions within. And just possibly the asteroid bombing of Old Earth didn't destroy it as thoroughly as these people think. Ahem. I guess that book, if it's ever written (I don't write sequels unless I sell the first book, for obv. reasons), would be called Jacquardian.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
It is odd how one remembers the different and unique words linked with a particular scene. When looking for a particular fight scene, I know that the keyword to search for is "giraffe." I am amused.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Hopefully it makes more sense now? Comments?

Read more... )



.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
So, in Vicesteed, lo those many chapters ago, there was a long and protracted scene about how much the Valinda hated silk stockings because they reminded her of her sensorium treatments. And it recurred a couple of times later, plus there was some feedback about how she wore the sensorium stockings and gloves for the finale. I checked the last scene and it didn't seem to matter for anything real, so I took all the references out.

Now I'm actually revising the ending, and it turns out that yes, it was a key motivational thing that I need to keep. Damn it.

Or...maybe I can just have the sound of a gunshot serve instead? Ooh. That could work...

But then I have to explain other stuff. Which I would anyway, I guess....
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
06/19/10, Saturday. Lots of weeding, not as much writing time.
* Read Duotrope newsletter and updated markets list from it.
* Started working on editing changes to Vicesteed ch. 32.

06/18/10, Friday
* How warfare will work in the future (SF research): http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/05/28/the-big-idea-david-j-williams-2/
* Redmarked Vicesteed ch. 32.
* Finished Vicesteed synopsis.

06/17/10, Thursday
* Posted writing log, freewriting.
* Finished writing Vicesteed summary, posted asking for critiquers and uploaded to MinnSpec for critique.
* Messed about with the problematic beginning to query letter.
* Sent off the 1st 10 pgs of Vicesteed to the agent whose critique I won.
* Read Writing-World.com and WritersDigest newsletter.
* Worked on synopsis.
* Found a good new writing blog (by published fantasy authors): http://magicalwords.net/
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It's been brought to my attention that my 1st draft query has, er, a first paragraph sucks* problem.

[Poll #1579710]

Original:
Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Revision:
Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park that recreates the vices of decadent, evil Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed dying at her feet. During the clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and flees. She plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world where she'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Variant:
Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, a person who enacts dangerous or taboo scenarios and has their sensations transmitted to an unknown audience. She lives inside a theme park that recreates evil Old Earth in the 21st century, but she believes that this is how the world really is. At least, she does until one of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed dying at her feet. [Then the same as the rewrite version.]



* Phil used other terminology. If you know Phil, you can probably guess what. He was not the only one commenting, he just said it most bluntly.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
06/16/10, Wednesday
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Put query in line-up for Bransford's query crit Monday.
* Worked on synopsis. Was actually quite enjoying writing it and was quite peeved when I had to quit to go to work.
* Read Critters newsletter.
* Worked some more on revising the query letter, interacted a bit on the message boards. Still need to work out a few bits, and see if I can get more feedback on it.
* Worked some more on the synopsis. It's *hard* getting it to flow right while taking out the non-essential plot bits.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Any volunteers to critique the Vicesteed summary? No prior Vicesteed knowledge required. It'll be about five pages double-spaced, and I'd like critiques back within a couple of days. If so, respond with your email in the screened comments below.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
06/15/10, Tuesday
* Posted writing log
* Did freewriting--and I can't believe it's been so long since I've done it. What was I thinking?
* Updated market list from Ralan newsletter--apparently it didn't get sent out to anyone.
* Ran through all my favorite query-writing/agent-hunting articles and drafted a rough how-to guide for myself.
* Activated the Writer's Market subscription I won and searched for agents who rep SF.
* Went through and researched/ranked agents I've come up with from other sources (Locus, Guide to Literary Agents blog, etc.)
* Wrote query. Fortunately, I already had some misc. summaries that were basically a query.
* Submitted query for comments to Bransford's query forum, Query Shark, my blog, and the new query crit thread at my writing group.
* Pushed out Aswiebe's Market List update.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
So, this is the rough draft for my query letter. Suggestions are absolutely 100% welcome! No previous knowledge of Vicesteed required.

Dear [Agent]:

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.

Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery.

I have had short stories accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe
[contact info]
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
I am a big bouncing stress ball lately. I have writing deadlines on top of writing deadlines, one of which used to be self-imposed but just became outside-forces-imposed. All of these things need to get done in times ranging from "tomorrow" to "end of June." I look forward to being past these deadlines. Sure, I did one of them to myself when I planned to write what is now being called, "Remediation Village (Probationary), Inner Mongolia" but one is finishing massive edits on "Alien/Whore/Mother" by tomorrow, and one is sending out agent queries which just got a lot more urgent, and I have a presentation to give on social media (thankfully, with others, and we're going with a pretty relaxed format) this weekend for my writing group, and crits done to get an MPC to get RV critted before the sub deadline. There is money stress, because of an not-yet-sorted-out but probably in the $1000s medical bills on top of old (smaller) debt. I wince away from money stress. There is personal-life stress, although at least I finally know where I'm at with that. There is upcoming family reunion, which is also stress over money and other things.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
05/27/10, Thursday
Goals status: 4 days into goals
- on track for Vicesteed at partway through making editing changes for ch. 31
- a little behind on Alien/Whore/Mother.
- Nowhere remotely near on "Remediation Village" or whatever it ends up being called. Doubt I'll get it done for crit meeting. Might get it written and edited before submissions deadline, but it's going to be one of those "please crit it?" sort of deals.

* Posted writing logs.
* Finished redmarking Vicesteed ch. 31 and got partway into making editing changes.
* Redmarked through the beginning on pg. 4 on Alien/Whore/Mother. As much fun as banging my head against the wall.

It's funny. Usually this much stuff done would mean I'd had an okay, if not great, day. But because I have higher goals, it means it's a not-good-enough day. This isn't actually a bad thing in terms of me getting more done, though. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing, I'm more of a stick than a carrot sort of girl.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Deleted from Vicesteed, ch. 30

Old chapter wordcount: 8,871
New chapter wordcount: 6,366
Vicesteed Draft 1 wordcount: 207,877
Vicesteed Draft 2 current wordcount: 137,860
Notes: Mostly taking out some unnecessary ruminations and a descriptions of The Juicy Plum. The latter made me a bit sad. Ah, well.
Reason for deleting scene: The searching and ruminating and revelations? Can get boring. Sometimes telling (in one sentence) instead of showing (in three pages) is the way to go. Trust me, there's still plenty left.
Deleted scene. Here there be spoilers! Also, writing logs. )

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