Two At Once

I typically work on two, sometimes three, projects at once. This gives me a chance to walk away from a project and sink into another one for a while. Then when that one needs a break, I can go back to the first one. Yes, one of them usually suffers from it and that’s okay. One is always designated the “major” project and the other then “minor” one although twice now that designation has switched.

Sometimes my brain gets so excited about different ideas, that if I do not write them down, or at least get them started, I lose the momentum altogether. And that’s just sad for everyone. It may not go very far, that idea and the momentum, but it is there for me to pick up later.

Like right now, the two I am working on, one is Butch Girls 2 (I just cannot decide on a real title) has been written about half way in two different plot lines. I finally forced myself to pick one and I am writing it from the beginning to get another BG book out there for my screaming (and stalking) fans. Meanwhile, I dug through my massive archives (I am such a data hoarder) and have started to pump life into a massive manuscript I love but just can’t seem to let go of. I flip between the two projects–which are so very, very different–and soon one of them will win and I’ll feverishly get it finished. The BG book will be the winner because it has to be done first. It just has to be. Stalkers are demanding.

And, to prove to you I really am working, here’s a bit from BG2:

The next one rudely explained how she was looking for someone who had a “firmer grasp on the English language since they were in America, after all, and the short, simple reply clearly demonstrated” that Ellen was “most likely Phillipino or, on second thought, Puerto Rican”. Ellen stopped reading the very long diatribe at that point. She pulled back up the reply she had sent to her and read it aloud, in a Hispanic accent like her friend Toni.

“Nope, doesn’t sound like something she would say at all.”

The third was from the southern lady: “You bring the coffee, I’ll bring the brownies. The dating site has a built-in chat room we can use. How about Wednesday afternoon, 7pm Eastern? Whoever gets there first opens a private chat room with their username with only the other one able to join? I think that’s how it works.”

Ellen glanced at the corner of her monitor. “Dammit, it’s only Monday.” She sent off a quick reply, agreeing to Wednesday. She resisted the urge to complain that Wednesday seemed so far away. She then set several reminders for herself so she wouldn’t forget. “Am I that desperate?”

“I am that desperate.” Nikki set the alarm on her phone and put a big note on her fridge to match the one on her monitor. She and Spam, who was following her everywhere, returned to her office. She went to the dating site to test out how to open a chat room. It wasn’t as difficult as she thought. But staring at the blank chat window was depressing. Then text appeared.

“I see you got it to work.”

Fast Forward to Chapter Six!

Usually, the beginnings just explode out, all messy and nasty, like a can of Coke from my nephew. Then it settles down and I go with the rhythms of the characters and the story, sometimes the setting, too. That rhythm may usually will include some plot holes and some kicking and screaming but, gah, that screamin’ don’t usually happen so dang early!

Butch Girls 2 (aka BG2, aka Butch Girls and U-Hauls, aka Butch Girls: Intentional, aka What the Hell Am I Going to Call It?) is about Nikki Rogers and Ellen Hess. I actually started it before BGCFA but I didn’t like it and set it aside. Then I wrote BGCFA in NaNoWriMo ’04 and the rest is herstory. For one, I could never agree with myself on how the two of them were supposed to meet. And I guess I still can’t.

Option 1 was to have Ellen and her friend Samantha move down and be on Nikki’s mail route.
Option 2 was to have Nikki and Ellen meet online somehow.

I’ve written both ways several times and both has potential but I like Option 2 the best because it can be more, plot wise. Anyway, maybe because I went back and forth so many times, mostly on the dang beginning, that here I am doing it AGAIN, that my brain just says “WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME!?!?!?!”.

Anyway, I need to get to writing it and stop whining it. Right? Write? Wright?

Showing Off the Craft

I got this friend/acquaintance (seriously, I have several) who is this crafter/knitter/sew-er/creator kind of person. And a waitress who knows her stuff in that arena, too. I recently “friended” her on FB (wave at Sammi everyone). Most of her stuff on her page is all pics of her craft. Really cool stuff, really creative. Makes me uber jealous. Writers are crafters, too, but we really have no daily pics to show off. Sure, we have books as the final products but…you know, one every six years is just not enough.

So I thought I would share some of my work process.

This is the folder I have for To Dream.
– “Awakening” was its initial name but, obviously, I changed it. When I did the rewrite (Awakening is the raw-arse draft), I saved the original and started fresh, basically. I’m a document hoarder.
– “Beta” is what I sent to the Beta readers, bless their hearts. It also contains their responses in all its brutal honesty.
– “Edit chunks” is when I realized Google Drive had eaten a huge chunk of the manuscript. I was editing heavily, taking out what I had edited and putting it into a new document. I then had to go through both to figure out what pieces were missing. Yes, I saved these, too.
– “Images” are some drawings I did of maps and some houses I built in Sims3 so I had an idea of what their house looked like. Yeah, I am that freakin’ weird.

The rest are the actual current documents. The .doc files are the ones I put on my tablet. The program I use there only uses .doc format, dammit. There’s one that can use .odt but it is awkward as heck to use.
– The “~lock” ones are the currently open documents. It is how OpenOffice works in doing their autosaves and recoveries I think.
– “ack-ded” is the acknowledgements and dedication that goes into the front of the books. I keep track of this so I don’t leave anyone out. I have a short memory.
– “synopsis” is, duh, the synopsis.
– “cuts” is what I remove as I edit. I save those because sometimes there’s a word or phrase I can use later. I said I was a document hoarder, get over it.
– “edit” is, duh, the edit version.
– “wb” is the world build document
– “To Dream” is the final version before I started this edit.
– The .txt file is one that I brought over from the “To Sleep” folder. It contains some quotes about butterflies, mostly.

I use a variety of tools, just like Sammi. Although mine aren’t as colorful, dangit!
WordWeb Pro – way cool thesaurus, dictionary, reference. I have the paid version but the free one has a lot to it.
OpenOffice – a free word processing program that also has a spreadsheet (excel), database (access), presenter (powerpoint), a drawing something, and something to do math equations.
IrfanView – an image program that resizes and does other stuff. Simple and to the point, the way I like ’em
NovaMind 5 – it is called a “mindmapping” program. I call it a “brainstorming” program. Works either way.
SimpleMind – While NovaMind has a lot of bells and whistles, it doesn’t work with my tablet. SimpleMind does. So sometimes I use it instead.
Notepad 2 – a simple alternative for Windoze Notepad. Much better for those who do coding, too.
SyncBack Pro – After my disappointment with Google Drive, I needed some other way to keep everything together. My bro pointed me toward SyncBack Pro and I love it. Syncs, backups, both. Does both via FTP, too.
Dragon Premium – I recently got this again. I don’t expect my hands to completely fail but there are days where typing is impossible. And there are days where sitting is difficult. So I’d be stupid to not give it a go. The problem with Dragon is you cannot edit what you have not used it to write with so I can’t edit with it. I got the Premium because I can dictate into my phone and then load it into the program on the desktop later. My goal is to do one of the Butch Girl books completely with Dragon. One of the characters in BGCFA was Rain who had multiple disabilities including the loss of both legs. I plan on doing her book via Dragon as it feels appropriate to do so. I have two others to do first, probably three. That gives me plenty of time to learn Dragon before I jump on the Dragon Wagon. Heh.

On my Samsung Note 10.1 tablet, I use:
Kingsoft Office – good software.
LectureNotes – I am soooo freakin’ glad I found this. What a great program. And makes me glad I got the tablet with the pen! For real students, they have some other excellent software.
OpenDocument Reader – allows me to view (but not edit) .odt documents. But I can’t figure out how to point it to the external card
AndrOpen Office – OpenOffice for Android. Has nearly everything OpenOffice has which makes it clunky on the tablet. Not giving up on it yet though!
WordWeb – yep! Got it on my tablet, too! And my phone! And my iPod Touch! I really love this program.
SimpleMind – the Android version (which I don’t use as often since I found LectureNotes)

Oh, and one last thing. Want to know another reason why I prefer OpenOffice to Word? Go back up to that image. Look at the file sizes of To Dream Edit.odt and To Dream Edit.doc. See the difference? Totally unnecessary.

Writing Is Much More Funner

I currently have one book in Official Edit (To Sleep). One book in rewrite/edit (To Dream). Four books in rewrite/JGTDTF (BG and Stereotypes, BG and U-Hauls, Simple Sara, Long Lea). Three Four books in the writing stage (BG4, BG5, Butterfly Effect, Centric). One in planning stage (To Die). And several others that have been written (mostly) but are in limbo (’cause they stink).

Yet I have this urge to just start another from absolute scratch. Not linked to any of the others. Not a sequel or prequel or series or nothing. Just brand new.

I love writing. I love watching the screen to see what happens next. When it is done, it is a raw, organic, fresh from the fingers and brain novel. Then I have to edit. I hate editing. I probably wouldn’t hate it so much if I could do it faster. Get the pain over and done with.

But I must stick to the schedule I have in my head.

To Dream MUST be done and submitted by Mid-August. (it was supposed to be submitted by yesterday)
BGaS MUST be done and submitted by the end of October. (sooner would be better)
BGaU SHOULD be written and edit started by the end of the year.
To Die MUST be written, edited, and submitted by May (June at the latest) of 2014.

In between all that, I’d really really love to get Simple Sarah done and submitted. Bless her heart. I started that back in ’02 or ’03. I’ve cat licked it to death several times. Poor Centric will never be finished. I’ve accepted that. Don’t make me any happier, though.

And She Says “Done!…again”

To Dream is finished. Thank goodness.

To Sleep was a walk in the park compared to this one. I was hoping for at least 90K and got over 109K words in To Sleep. I really like that story. So I jumped right in and started working on the next one.

It was originally titled “The Awakening” but I realized that’s not what it was about. Well, kinda, but not really. So I changed it to To Dream. Again, I hoped for about 90K. Holy crap, I reached 120K. So I edited and rewrote it. Dang if it didn’t end up even higher! And now I just finished again and, you guessed it. It’s higher again.

To Dream just finished at 144,192 words. I could actually cut it in half, put some scenes back in, and make it two books. Not sure where the break would be but that may be what happens in the end. And I like this book just as much as the first. Which is a good thing.

In To Sleep, the reader is introduced to Karen Miller, a nurse studying to be a doctor in Philadelphia. Then aliens come and everything changes. This book picks up the story about a year after the first one ended. Karen and her friends now are dealing with their new lives. I could tell you more but it would absolutely ruin the first book. Not sure how I am going to do the synopsis, actually.

So, it will be going out to the beta reader(s) soon. Then another edit then I will submit it.

It ended, finally

I just said The Freakin’ End to The Awakening, sequel to To Sleep. Holy cow. It’s huge. Absolutely freakin’ huge. As in over 140K words. 141,964 to be exact. My fingers, they are tired.

I really like this book. It is very woo-woo, metaphysical, metaweird. But me likey.

I’m going to let it sit and stew for a while. I need to think about where it ended up and how to get there in fewer words. The MC can’t seem to keep out of the infirmary and I need to decide if that was necessary. Someone once said that every lesbian fiction has to have a shower scene (got that, several), a concussion (actually have two of those), multiple orgasms (yeah, got that too), and a misunderstanding. Ooops, missed that one. There’s a lot of not understanding but no misunderstanding.

Oh, and I made sure I got the Prologue right. Would you believe the submitted version starts off with the Epilogue? Yep, I totally screwed it up. And I didn’t catch it for about 2 weeks into the submission. (insert image of P banging her head on her desk and her niece laughing)

Snippet for the needy:

Prologue
There’s a parable of sorts about these two little boys. One is an optimist, the other is a pessimist. The little boys are shown two stalls in the barn, both stalls full of manure. The pessimist is disgusted but the optimist starts shoveling the manure. “Because underneath all this shit? There has to be a pony!”

Well, we certainly have been through enough shit that there ought to be a pony for all of us. The ‘we’ I mean is me and my friends: Julie, Gin, Chris, Frankie, and Helen. And Mona. Can’t forget her.

and from the first chapter:

“Hey, time to get up.” Julie said. For the fourth time.
“Don’t want to.” I mumbled into my pillow.
“Do you want me to send Frankie in here?”
That did it. I got up. Last time she sent Frankie in with the command to get me up, I got dumped on the floor.

(and yes, I know I got the punctuation wrong in the dialogue. I got them all wrong kinda sorta but not really on purpose. All will be fixed in the edits. I hope.)

I know I’ve said this before, but

I. Hate. Editing.

So I started editing The Awakening because it got to 120K and wasn’t really going anywhere. I stopped writing and backed up to go through and remove/trim several tangents. Which I did.

So why the heckaroni did the novel GROW, rather than SHRINK?

And now I am going through it AGAIN to trim yet another tangent. I like what this one adds to the plot but I agree I do too much dialogue within it. As I go along, I am trying to also narrow down the purpose of the book.

In To Sleep, the reader discovers several things. It ends with the MC and her friends going somewhere to recover and decide what to do next. In The Awakening, they are starting the task of “awakening” others like them. I need to decide if awakening them is the single purpose (besides growth of the characters). If so, then do I need to include the details of that or just the growth of that. And how much does the reader really want to know? Does the reader want to know every single meeting or just the results of the meetings? At the same time, I need to keep the MC grounded. She cannot go from a simple Human to being what amounts to the head of the new nation unless she is strong enough. The reader needs to find this believable. And they can’t find it believable unless I show her growth. And I can’t show her growth without displaying the details.

‘Round and ’round I go until I, like, barf.

And meanwhile, the wee little novel fairies sneak into my computer in the morning (between 8 and 10, to be specific) and add random words so that the word count rises instead of falls. Either that or I’ve been drinkin’ a wee bit too much Buffalo Trace and/or Knob Creek.