Tag Archives: Fragments of Legend

Another round of goals: publication date, draft completion and more

After all the editing and marketing and ebook publishing I’ve been doing so far this year, I really need to get my writer hat firmly back on and concentrate on writing again. My main goal will be to write at least 2500 new words a week. If I can stick with that, I should have close to a complete first draft of Fragments of Legend by the end of June. Of course, I don’t know exactly how many words total it will end up being, but I already have over 70,000 words in draft and notes. This won’t be the same kind of epic monster as Yseult and Shadow of Stone, at least I don’t think it will, *g* so another 30,000 words should put me in close to finished territory.

I do, of course, also have a few more epublishing goals. Shadow of Stone has an editing slot from April 16 – 27, after which I will need to review the changes and do the ebook formatting. I will also be consulting with the cover artist, and have to take that into consideration. I’m shooting for publication in May, which I think is still realistic, even if I maintain the weekly word count.

If time allows, I would also like to get another short story collection out, but only if life and my other goals make it feasible. I don’t want to be concentrating as much on the epublishing as I was in the first couple of months of this year. New material is important, even when you have a fairly respectable inventory of previously published material to fall back on.

In the spirit of new material, I would also like to revise and polish at least two short stories and get them out on the market.

I’ve been invited to do a guest lecture at the University of Stuttgart, so that will also have to be written. Although it will be non-fiction, and in German, perhaps I will allow myself to count that towards my weekly writing goals so as not to get too stressed out about it. 🙂

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Becoming a writer again — switching from editing to writing

The last few weeks, months even, have mostly been spent either revising Shadow of Stone, or tweaking old short stories, formatting, and putting together collections. But for Shadow of Stone at least, an end is in sight. I wrote five freelance copy editors / proofreaders and have heard back from three. I should be able to make a decision on who to hire by the end of the week. Right now I’m going through the manuscript one last time in order to make a glossary, but of course I can’t resist tweaking as I go. 🙂

Once the book is off, though, I will have the time I was spending rewriting for writing again, which I am very much looking forward to. I plan to resist the temptation to put together another collection for at least a month so that I can get some languishing short stories finished. I also need to get back to my novel Fragments of Legend and finally finish that. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten how to actually make new words rather than shoving words around that are already there.

Reminder: my award-nominated novella “Looking Through Lace” is FREE today! Believe me, you’re doing me a favor if you grab yourself a copy, so please be my guest!

Writing Progress Report

So, I’m mostly on track with my new goals. Since we got back from Norway, I’ve added 5000 more words to the medieval level of Fragments of Legend. I’ve also worked on two story collaborations with Jay Lake which should soon be ready to send out. (I think I’m going to have to revise my goals for sending out new stories upwards!)

Goal check:

– Write 5000 words a week – DONE!
– Get three short stories revised and out on the market – WORKED ON IT!
– Update my web page – No progress 😦
– Put two new collections of previously published stories up on Smashwords and Amazon – No progress 😦
– Get my novel Yseult up on Smashwords and Amazon before Christmas – No progress 😦 — but I am working on strategies for how to market it when I do get it up!

I need to add two more goals to the list:

– Fix file for Looking Through Lace on Smashwords (requires modification)
– Upload Looking Through Lace to Amazon again (I uploaded the new cover a while back, but it never got replaced, so I think I’ll just upload the whole thing all over again.)

When writing projects stall out

Got another 20,000+ words done — on the translation. It’ll be close, but it looks like we’re going to be able to finish this project before we fly. That’s means lots of Euros, which is a good thing.

The downside is the lack of word count. Just about all I’ve gotten around to is sitting down with pen and notebook and brainstorming plot and character details for the medieval level of Fragments of Legend. I’ve also bought some reference books for my Kindle and chosen a couple of physical books to take along. (I’m a research addict — sometimes I just can’t move forward if I don’t know that one detail. I’m working on my addiction, I swear.) During one brainstorming session in hard copy, however, I did get a complete outline of the section of the novel I’m hoping to work on during our vacation. We’re trapped on a ship much of the time, after all. 🙂 I’m very happy about the hard-copy outline, and it will be coming with me, as well as my text directory, which is even now being copied to my external hard drive, after which it will go onto the mini-computer. Wish me luck on getting some writing done while cruising the fjords!

Since I don’t know if we’ll have Internet on the Hurtigruten ship (don’t worry, it’s not the one that caught fire a couple of days ago), this might well be my last post for a while. If we do have access to the wider world, I may try to get some pictures up and report on our trip and whether being on vacation is better for writing than having a deadline.

Shifting priorities

In the last few days, I’ve gotten over 20,000 words done — unfortunately, it’s not original fiction, it’s technical translation. That would be a feat, if I could get so much creative work done in such a short time! Maybe I can train my writing muscle …

Recently, I touched on the difficulty of taking time to write when doing freelance work as a real job. Since I feel guilty about only having gotten a few pages of editing and drafting done, I’ll elaborate on this a bit. The thing is, whatever we don’t finish on this translation project before we go on vacation is money we don’t make. The deadline is a week after our flight to Bergen. If we aren’t finished by then, we have to hand this very lucrative project off to someone else to complete the rest. Normally I try to write an absolute minimum of 500 words a day; right now I’m concentrating on translating a few thousand instead.

Greed? Hell, yeah. At the same time, a fat project like this is a bit like a ticket to more concentrated writing time later. I just have to use it effectively, and not squander it like I too often do.

I’m taking my little EEEpc with me on the Hurtigruten cruise. Translation or no translation, I have to get my mini laptop set up before the trip and hope to have enough of an outline for Fragments of Legend finished so that I can get some writing done beneath the northern lights. Now that’s a fine prospect!

New cover and some drafting

Still pretty busy with the latest translation project, and I haven’t had much time for writing fiction. That’s the problem with freelance work — when I have a deadline, it’s very hard for me to take time time off for fiction. I did, however, make a bit of a dent in my fiction to-do list. I did a lot of research for the medieval level of Fragments of Legend and did some tweaking on my outline. I’m hoping to get a more logical and compelling plot brainstormed than I had originally and then try to write the whole medieval story line more quickly than I usually do. I’ve noticed that I write faster when I know what it is that needs to be written, so this is a bit of an experiment. I want to see if getting a more detailed outline written beforehand will help me get a complete first draft written faster.

But first, this translation job has to be done.

With my daughter’s help and a little instruction in Photoshop, I also did a new cover for Looking Through Lace:

Looking Through Lace

What do y’all think? I uploaded it to both Smashwords and Amazon, but the Kindle version hasn’t updated the image yet, unfortunately.

I also received my first blog award this week, the Liebster Blog Award from Elizabeth Anne Mitchell! Thank you, my dear. 🙂 I will try to send it along in the next few days.

When reality is creepier than fiction

The other day, a friend of mine tweeted me about the sneakered feet that have been washing up for years in and around Vancouver, BC. Her comment was that it “creepily reminded” her of my story, “The Old Man and the Sneakers” (Farthing April 2006). I have to admit, the similarity had never occurred to me — my sneakers didn’t have any feet in them, after all — but once she mentioned it, I realized she had a point.

The funny thing is, the inspiration for that story was also a true incident, not the least bit gruesome, which you can read about here. The short version: a container ship lost a couple of containers of tennies during a storm, and after a while they started washing up on the shores of Oregon and Washington, my old home turf. This struck me as a wonderful starting point for a humorous story, which is what I used it for. Here a brief excerpt:

It began the summer the Nikes washed up on the beach by the dozen—but never by the pair. The old man knew it was a sign. Young people descended on the sleepy town on the Oregon coast to collect sneakers, descended on the towns to the north and the south, beachcombing for sandy, wet tennies as if the shoes were the rarest of treasures. They held trading parties in the Safeway parking lot, big public gatherings characterized by laughter and loud music.
That was when the dancing began.
It was all wrong. They danced in the parking lot, wearing mismatched Nikes and cutoffs, an intimate dance, hip and hop and hot, rubbing their body parts against each other, in public.
The old man watched, and his face grew red and his chest grew tight.

Now if the shoes had feet in them, I’m sure I would have written a very different story.

My progress on new fiction in the last week has been minimal, and I need to get back to a daily word count. But I’ve done a lot of editing on two different projects, both Chameleon in a Mirror and Yseult, as well as some brainstorming and organizational work on another novel, Fragments of Legend. Mostly however, I’ve been doing translating, the work that puts food on the table. We have a big project right now that needs to be done before we go on vacation — less than two weeks now. Nothing like a little pressure to make you work harder!

Writing a synopsis (again)

Here I am, writing another synopsis, probably the most despised of all writerly tasks. And I’m not even finished with the first draft of Fragments of Legend yet! So why am I doing this to myself?

1) I’m trying to learn how to use the synopsis as a tool for finding holes in my plot

2) The next Villa Diodati workshop is coming up, and I can get some valuable feedback from my fellow expat writers

Anyway, while I’m at it, I thought I would put together some tips I found useful, both to share with others and for myself, so that I would have them all in one place.

– Give your synopsis a hook, a reason to keep reading. If you can’t come up with one, then maybe your novel still needs one too. This is what I came up with as my hook:

“What if the most famous epic of medieval German literature, the Nibelungenlied, had been written by a woman? Kyra Silberburg, an American book conservator in Germany, discovers evidence in the backing of an old herbal that could mean precisely that.”

Ok, so it’s a literary mystery, not a Big Idea plot in which the goal is to save the world. But I like literary mysteries, and I like stories that challenge received notions of gender, and this beginning would promise a reader like me precisely that.

– Leave out the sub-plots

This is going to be a bit difficult with the synopsis of this book, since it plays out on three different levels: the modern level in which Kyra discovers the manuscript fragments; the medieval level telling the story of the woman who wrote her own version of the Nibelungen legend; and the mythic level of the events surrounding the downfall of the Nibelung Burgundians.

But since I’m mostly writing this for myself right now, I don’t have to worry about that yet.

– Don’t include every step along the way to the resolution, only the major turning points

This is turning out to be very useful for me as a writing tool. When I started doing this for the modern level of Fragments of Legend, I soon recognized a number of logic gaps on the one hand and unnecessary scenes on the other. Hopefully now that the important turning points are clearer to me, I won’t have to write as many questions to myself in my manuscript. Maybe I will even be less likely to get stuck on a regular basis!

Some useful links:

How to Write a Synopsis
http://www.meredithbond.com/Synopsis.html

5 Steps to Writing a Synopsis:
http://www.vivianbeck.com/writing/5_steps_to_writing_a_synopsis.htm

A page with links to a lot of links to different articles about writing the synopsis:
http://www.charlottedillon.com/synopsis.html