Friday, August 22, 2014

Renovations and Revelations

Day 36 of my quit smoking journey is here and I'm really coming out of the brain fog, so much that I'm getting the urge to write. That hasn't really happened since I had my first smoke free day on July 18th! It feels great being back into it. I really missed seeing an open manuscript in some form open on my taskbar, and didn't have it all summer. I didn't want to risk messing things up while I was still waking up after being blindsided with BS for the last three years and still going through the "just quit smoking fog". 

"Away to Me" went into Draft 3 mode at 11:20 a.m. ADT today, and I've started another reread/edit on it. I'm focusing on things my sister in law has pointed out to me so far, along with things my longtime friend D noticed.

So far, so good. My sister in law is one hell of a great editor and caught a LOT in the first 8 pages of the manuscript. It may not seem like that much considering the manuscript itself is only 138 pages long at this point, but if she's catching that many mistakes already, awesome. It also shows just how awful I am at editing, and how much I need to learn about it.

D notes that I have to work on certain areas and has prescribed time with a certain breed of dog. No problem, I know who has two of the cute fellows and will be seeing them all on Tuesday! *Grins!* Other than that, she liked the story overall and said it needs to be polished.

Hey, I knew that much. My writing isn't perfect, I admit it. It needs a lot of work even in sixth draft, or it does in my opinion at least....

So, it looks like "Away to Me" may be deemed "good enough" to send out to publishers in time, once my sister in law, and my best friend are finished going over it for me. I may get someone from one of my writing forums to give me a critique on it too, just to be extra safe. There are some awesome folk at both of them, who know what they're doing...

I've also made a few changes with the Alpha and Beta Teams. Local Alpha A has been changed to "Critique Reader" and will be just reading the story to see how it flows overall and if it's good story wise, and believable. D is still Alpha Reader #1 and my "breed expert". Sister in Law and Bestie are the Betas.

D also noted a few things about something I thought she wouldn't read and comment on until after "Away to Me" was off to publishers... A while back, I had sent her a current draft of "Family Portraits" (sequel to "No Regrets") and told her not to worry about reading it. I'm not revamping those two for a while - IF EVER - and I want to focus on writing the shorter, less complicated stuff before I tackle THAT task.

She read it anyway...

And didn't like it.

The one thing she said that's really sticking out for me is that it didn't feel like it was me writing it. It felt like I was writing like someone else and it didn't work. She said a few other things and well, by the time she was done, I was thoroughly embarrassed that I had sent it to her. It's in horrible condition and if she didn't like it, it's gross.

Now that my brain fog has cleared and I can see the truth, I can easily understand D's point. Like "No Regrets", that story was heavily influenced by someone else, someone who wanted me to write their "ideal" romance story. Because I was stupid and listened to this person instead of my gut, my natural talent was so darn muffled and dulled, you can't read "me" as an author at all in it. It was like I was trying to ghost write for this other person, and it turned into a huge "FAIL", for me as an author and it is now one of the worst stories I've ever written.

No wonder why those two stories do not feel like "my" work, and now I can see why I'm so darn detached from them. It wasn't "my" style coming through, it was someone else's style and ideas.

I am rather ticked off at myself right now, for writing that story the way I had, and all of the hours/days/months/years wasted on two manuscripts that aren't worth using for kindling. Maybe if I had followed my gut and wrote them the way *I* wanted to write them when I first came up with the original idea four years ago, I wouldn't be feeling this way now.

Lesson learned, Uni.

I really don't know if either are salvageable or not. I'm thinking they're probably not, even if I rewrite them in my style and let my talent really shine. I have a feeling that hearing all of this stuff from D and knowing what I know now was the final death blows to the "Legacies" series. Hubby thinks I should rewrite them, after I have a few more books under my belt.

I don't know. I really don't know. I'm too damn embarrassed and ticked off at myself right now.

Boy talk about a revelation, a huge one.

Again, lesson learned, Uni. I got it this time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rejuvenation, Healing, and Corgis....

It's been an interesting two weeks.

I haven't done anything writing wise, but conditions still aren't ideal for it. I'm still feeling rotten physically and that's keeping my concentration at a bare minimum, which isn't good for writing or editing. I've been so bad the last couple of months that I've had to retire from admining all but my author's page and two of the groups I was running. I was too darn sick to watch those, but left them as "inactive" during the worst of it. I'm only starting to get my author's page going again, and I'm still not doing a lot with it.  

My sister in law is still sending me edits for "Away to Me" and I'll soon be hearing back from D and A, along with my best pal and her suggestions.

My goals for the rest of the month include giving "Away to Me" another read through while doing suggested edits, and going over Ten to see what can be kept, what can be tossed, and what has to be rewritten, and so on.

I'm starting to come out of the "just quit smoking" fog a little more so hopefully I will have the mental energy to do that soon. I'm on Day 23 now and things are finally starting to ease up in more ways than one. I'm finally bringing up interesting and gross gunk now, and I'm able to breathe a little easier. This is part of my lungs healing after abusing them for over 20 years, and heavily for the last 8 or so.

Tuesday, one of my longtime friends and alpha readers D and I spent the day together. It was so much fun! We went to my favorite beach, where she took some photos of me, and we had some fun with one of her corgis, a sweet fellow named T. He is so gentle and cuddly. I fell in love with him instantly!

I wish I had been smarter and worn shorter jeans but in the end it was worth it. Some of the pics turned out great and all of us had a great time. We went to her house for a few hours after that, and I met two of her other dogs, a Sheltie named "S" and her other corgi named "S". Sheltie S was pretty timid and wasn't sure of me at first, but she was soon accepting any treats I dropped for her and even let me touch her nose once or twice. She's a gentle and sweet girl, and so gorgeous. Corgi S is out of this world gorgeous, and he exudes a really upbeat, silly and fun energy one can't resist.

D's dogs are amazing. They stole my heart!

Fun fact: Her dogs are the inspiration for a dog in one of my manuscripts. She's helping me with getting the movements and everything else down pat in that story, that way I won't get lynched by the breed's loyal servants!

In other news... As part of my quit smoking journey, I'm giving myself rewards once in a while, as motivation to keep going and have something to look forward to. Part of my "Surviving Heck Week" reward came this week... Bejeweled 3 is one of the things in Part One of the reward. I did have it years ago but lost my copy of it before I purchased my current system. Son didn't like not having it and kept asking me to get it. I saw they finally had it on sale in an online store and ordered it. He's now VERY happy and is playing it a LOT during his evening computer time.

The other part of Part One of that reward is a CD I've been wanting for a while... "Proof of Life", which is the latest solo album by my favorite singer of all time, Scott Stapp, who also happens to be the frontman for my favorite band of all time, CREED. It's GOOD and I now have a lot of the songs from it in my main play list on Media Player.

The final part of the reward will be here within the next couple of weeks, it came from a store that advertises on this online shopping site. It's Bejeweled Twist, another game I had on the old system and lost the disk for it. Son didn't play that one a lot but he said he wants to learn this time... Okay with me as long as he doesn't mess up the computer or MY stuff at all! LOL

Have a great weekend everyone!