Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ROW80 Update 9 - New Goals for August

Well, the learning experience of Summer has shifted me into a different gear.  I am more focused, and more importantly, I'm focused on different things.  As a result, I'm making more changes.

I'm Going Dark For August

I might crop up and post something spontaneously, but I'm going to try to resist.  I also want to try to unplug a little more from the social places I hang out.  I have managed to mostly pull back on the comment community at Passive Voice.  But I'm now spending that time on Kboards and ROW80.

The place I will remain social and available is Twitter, because that seems to stay under control.

While I'm more or less off-line, I will be doing several things:

Getting Ready to Publish Some Things

I'm piling up mostly-finished drafts, and the only thing that will get me over the hump on some of them is to say, "Okay, I'm going to publish that next week."  So, just to give me time for random emergencies, etc., I plan to publish something on August 28, and then start publishing on the 15th and 28th throughout the rest of the year.

However, some of these publications will be under pen names.  Also, if I wanna cheat, I might publish a paper copy of something already published in ebook form.

I plan to start with A Fistful of Divas, which I plan to rework and expand from what I did here as a serial.

Whipping Some Business Matters Into Shape

I need to upgrade my existing books.  I want to have them adhere to a more professional template -- a logline in the front matter, mention of the mailing list in the back. Not so much on the samples.  Also, where possible, upload a better done ePub version to Smashwords for the distribution network.

I need to update my website, which currently says "This page is not up to date, check out my blog."  Instead I want to have all my books, and maybe some breakdown of my genres and series.  Also, a link to the mailing list.

I'll do some similar stuff for the blog. (As well as maybe start drafting some regular blog posts, for posting in the fall.)

I also still have some loose business matters to take care of vis a vis my savings and stocks and things.  Also, I have acquired some nice little display cases for my toys.  I need to dust the toys and display them properly.

Getting The Next Set of Projects in Line

I have been struggling with the MacGuffin for The Man Who Stepped Up, but I think I have finally got a handle on it. I also have one or two Mick and Casey trunk stories and some script outlines I think would make good novellas. I want to be able to keep the momentum up -- so I want to end August with a pile of projects ready to go, as well as a bunch of new drafts.

So while I might breeze through at some point, you probably won't see me until September 1. (Which begins the grandest month of year!)

See you in the funny papers.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ROW80 Update 8 - Started a Mailing List

I had great plans for today, but I woke up two hours late.  I think I caught up on my sleep.  (BTW, I am really beginning to dislike peri-menopause.)

The progress I've made has been mostly on the swashbuckler novelette, which I've decided to publish under my own name, so I might as well give you the working title:

Feral Princess

It's a romantic adventure pastiche in the vein of Zorro and The Scarlet Pimpernel, which takes place in one of those little made up Eastern European countries, like Ruritania, Lichtenberg, or Valeria, in what seems to me to be the late 18th century.  (As it is a backward sort of place, it could be more recent.)

There's an outlaw hero running loose in the background, called Vespero (named after the Evening Star). In the meantime, the last descendant of the old tribal princes who used to rule the valley, Princess Magda, is under pressure to grow up, civilize herself and take a husband.

I suspect there will be more stories in this series -- all novelettes, though I expect to collect them into larger books too -- which I think I will call something like Adventures of the Evening Star, or something like that.

And, if you are intersted in being notified when I publish this story, you can sign up for my new mailing list.

(Okay, as the list is monthly, you'll probably find out quicker by following this blog, but still....)

A New Mailing List and Newsletter!

Folks have been bugging me to set up a mailing list to announce when new books have been published.   I finally decided to give it a try this very afternoon.  I am using MailChimp, which is recommended by a lot of writer friends.

I plan to publish a newsletter once a month, on the first of the month.  In it I will announce books I've recently published, books I expect to publish before the next newsletter, things that get published around the web, sales and prices changes.  I may also do a sum up of anything interesting from the blog.

Since this will be monthly, that means that you won't necessarily hear the very instant a new book appears -- if you are so eager you have to know as soon as possible, you have to subscribe to this blog.

Here's the link to the subscription page on Mail Chimp.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

I have added this link to the top of the sidebar, and will probably put a subscription form on a contact page some day.

I'll create a test run newsletter for August 1, which will list all of my current books, with links to various vendors.  If you're interested, sign up before then so we can see if the mail gets caught in your spam filter or anything.

See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ROW80 Update 7 - Shifting Priorities

This half week saw another flash of hot weather, and then finally a break!  Whoo hoo!

Sunday, Day 21 - Figured out the character relationship arc in Starling and Marquette for the next 6-9 books.  Did maybe 500+ new words on a Swashbuckling novelette.

Monday, Day 22 - Over a thousand words on the Swashbuckler. And plot work on Starling and Marquette -- a whole concept and arc for book four or five. It's perfect. 

Tuesday, Day 23 - Uhhhh, didn't keep track.  Quite a lot on The Man Who Stepped Up, and a little on the Swashbuckler again.

Another Series. Why'd It Have To Be Another Series?

It's pretty clear that swashbuckler which I did the first week of this dare -- which is growing right now -- is probably the first of a series. And it also seems pretty clear that it's something that belongs under my own name.  It's a fictional historical country, retro-adventure tale.  (This time a kind of pastiche of Scarlet Pimpernel or Zorro type story, only in a little fictional East European country maybe a half century earlier.)

And as such it seems perfect for writing more novelettes in the same series.

Like I need another freaking series.

However, this summer project is sorting out a lot of issues for me.  For one thing it has revived my interest in my most commercial series, which is also the one that is the s-l-o-w-e-s-t to write -- Starling and Marquette, otherwise known as the "Man Who" series.

A couple of things in the overall character arcs for the series have busted loose, and now I see a clear path of 6-9 stories to get to a certain point in the series.

Of all the series I have, that's the one I would most like to actually focus on.  Except, you know, that it's so freaking slow to write.

But I feel like something about this summer exercise has changed that, and I can maybe make that series priority one again.   And that my other series now kinda make sense to fit around that -- because all of them actually kinda fit into a shorter format. (More about these other series in another update.)

When You've Got Way Too Much on Your "To Write" List

I would say that creative gridlock is probably my biggest problem.  But I haven't really thought about it since I lost the Day Job.  In some ways it got worse because I thought "Wheee! Now I can get at everything at once!"  Um, no.  I can't.

What I have discovered is that 1000 words is the new 500.  It is now something I can accomplish even when I am lazy and migraine-y and obsessed with something else.  That's a non-work day now.

And at 1000 words a day, I have two books and 6 novellas (or 12 novelettes) done in a year.

I should be writing 2000 words or more in a day.  I can do that in the effort it used to take to do 1000.  But I also have more business and planning and art on my plate. 

So here is what I really want to do right now:

For the remainder of this quarter's ROW80, I am technically sticking to my original goals (though I might change them in August).  I can't meet those goals without doing about 2000 words on most days.  However....

I want to get outlines for the mystery aspect of the next several Starling and Marquette stories.  (Mystery outlines, for me, are different than plot outlines.  They aren't so much about what happens as what has happened off screen -- the killer's story.)  So any day I do two hours of concentrated work on that, I will be happy with 1000 words of actual writing.

Once I feel ready with those outlines, I might just ditch the current goals altogether, or I might finish whatever I'm working on first, but then I plan to dive into The Man Who Stepped Up.  I'll continue to sometimes split my time between writing and other work -- only it'll probably be publishing work on the novelettes, rather than outlines.

But even if I only write about 1000 words a day, I should be able to finsih that next Man Who book before Christmas.  We'll see.

See you in the funny papers.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

ROW80 Check In 6 - Back to Original Plan

Oh...kay.  I am not ready to call the smut experiment a failure, but it is currently a non-success for the purposes I dove into it for.  Specifically, it takes me too long to write.  This may be due to the doldrums of summer or some other temporary or seasonal factor.

Current plan is to write these once in a while and save them up until I have a critical mass, and then I'll do a bunch of covers and publish them.

In the meantime, I'm back to romantic suspense and romantic adventure novelettes.  Which means it will be tougher to make my goal, but maybe I'll do some short fiction in there too.

I did have a great day today working up two new suspense stories -- one adapted from a thriller screenplay I never wrote, the other inspired by a path not taken by an episode of Peter Gunn.

I'm considering turning these into post-war period stuff.  They really have a bit of a retro feel, and plotting can be easier without cellphones and also when ladies weren't expected to be as independent, but people didn't find it the least bit scandalous when they were, because, you know, Rosie the Riveter.

Also, one of them just might be a great for the overarching plot of a Starling and Marquette story.  (Might even do with Gwen as the woman-in-jep, as she definitely has a helpless 1940s dame vibe....)

And I'm still uncertain as to whether to use a pen name for this romantic suspense line of stories.  The goal is to be consistent in appeal to the romance audience. But, since I have a tendency to turn romance expectation on it head, I might have to wait and see if bothering with a pen name is worth it.

(For these, it will be an "open" pen name and you'll know.)

See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ROW80 Check In 5 - Writing Season

Since what I'm writing right now will be published under a pseudonym that will not be revealed, I've decided not to talk so much about the specifics of what I'm doing right now. Instead I'll do a quick update and talk about more general writing issues.

ROW80 Update 5

I can't report exactly what I did this half week. I didn't keep track. I took a little more time off, then started making adjustments to all sorts of things, and got down to work.

A lot of that work was editing.  I got one story done, and another maybe a third to a half done.  I have decided to wait until I finish the second to publish the first.  (And since I'm writing stories in overlapping waves, I'll probably have a good chunk of a third done at that time.)

I also have a cover which only needs some tweaks.  And I finally settled on a pen name for the naughty stuff.  Which I shant tell you, but I will say that I chose it based on typography. More about that in another post.

For today's post, I want to talk about weather, or more specifically about seasons:

Writing Season

I hate summer.

I hate hate hate hate hate summer.

I have some reversed version of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I think.  Light overstimulates me and makes me miserable and I can't sleep and yet I'm sleep deprived and can't stay awake either.  My eyes and head hurt from the glare most of the summer.

And heat?  I can't abide heat. I lurk in basements until nearly dawn because it's too hot to sleep, and then it's too light to sleep.

In the meantime....

I have been in school or working in an academic institution for pretty much my entire life.  The academic calendar is supposed to be great for writers.  You have summer to get all sorts of writing done. It's supposed to be vacation!  Like being a kid, who can run FREE during the summer.

And I have fallen for that line every year of my life.

Somewhere around February, you start thinking "Oh boy when summer break comes, I'll really get something done!"  And as the spring semester wears on, you look forward to it more and more and more.  Boy, you're really going to see some writing THIS summer. Man, it's gonna be GREAT.

And then Daylight Savings Time hits, and sometime later in May, the days just get too freaking long, and then in June the heat starts in.  And sometime in July, I'm curled up on the cool tile floor of the basement bathroom, whimpering and wishing it would just end.

And then, just as August decides to cut us a break with some cool nights and shorter days....

It's time to start ramping up for the new school year.  After all, the summer plans have completely failed by then.

Fall, on the other hand....

I love Fall.

I love love love love love Fall.

September, imho, is the best of all possible months. (With the possible exception of any other month with an R in it.)  The days might be balmy or brisk, but all within the perfect comfort zone.  At least in Michigan.  If it snows, it'll be warm the next day, and if there is a blazing heat wave, the nights will be cool.

But of course, when you work in Academia, September can be the Month From Hell.

September is when you find out just how badly an idiotic administrator can screw up critical things when nobody is around to stop him/her/it (and how well they can hide what they did until the very moment that critical thing is most needed).  September is when all the new, confused and tearful students are panicking and lost (often because of the idiotic thing done by administrators over summer).

September is when academic support people are working overtime (and often off the clock) to make sure classes actually happen.

September is when academic support people don't even NOTICE what time of day it is or what the weather is, or that it's even September.

And just the other day, I realized something.

This time, for the first time in almost fifty years....   the coming September is ALL MINE!  It belongs to me me me me me!


If I can just survive July and crawl through August to grasp it.

See you in the funny papers. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Higher Prices in Effect (and a Sale)

NOTE: because I'm no longer doing some of the things that motivated me to change prices, I've decided that this is a bad time to experiment in higher prices.  I may run this un the spring or next fall.  In the meantime, I have adjusted prices close to where they were before.  It may take a while for prices to trickle in to all vendors on all books.

*  *  *
I decided to raise my prices to a more professional level, where I expect to keep them for at least six months to a year. 

Doing this can be a lengthy process -- but I saw today that the new prices have now trickled through to all the Smashwords vendors, so I just put in for raised prices at Amazon.  These prices should be in effect by tomorrow (Tuesday).

To ease the transition (for anyone who has a sample and was waiting to buy later) I timed this change to go with the...

Smashwords Summer Sale!

ALL of my books are half price at Smashwords this month. (Half off the new price, which puts it lower than the old price.)

Here is the page with all books listed: Camille LaGuire at Smashwords

Note that when you go to the sales page they are listed at full price.  You will need to use a coupon code to get the sale price.  Luckily that coupon code is printed right below the list price, and just above the purchase buttons: "Use the code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off during our site-wide promotion! (Offer good thru July 31, 2013)." 

But to be sure you get it: the coupon code is: SSW50

So What Are The New Higher Prices?

The price points for my new list are as follows:

6.99 - Big books (over 90k in length, of which I have none at the moment)
5.99 - regular novels between 60k and 90k
4.99 - Short novels 40k - 60k
3.99 - Novellas 17k - 40k
2.99 - Shorts and novelettes 8k-17k

As of this moment, I do not plan to publish anything under 8k, (except pen name stuff).  The Curse of Scattershale Gulch is skirting the bottom end of this, and I'm considering lowering that price to 1.99.

Part of the reason I'm doing this is to bring my regular prices more in line with the prices of The Experiment.  Therefore it is possible I will change my mind as this experiment develops. Therefore I may change the prices again in as little as six months... but I really would also like to see a full sales cycle at this price, so I'd rather leave it for a year.

See you in the funny papers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

ROW80 Check In 4 - With a Little Sex In It

Happy Bastille Day, everyone.

Changed my mind on what story I'm doing next. I am doing off the cuff short stories after all. More below.  An then I changed my mind again, (see further below).  First, the update:

Wednesday, Day 10 - 2168 words.

Thursday, Day 11 - 2035 words and a cover.

Friday, Day 12 - 527 words.

Saturday, Day 13 - 548 words.

But With a Little Sex In It

In the wonderful depression era comedy Sullivan's Travels, Joel McCrea plays a Hollywood director who wants to make a big, important literary movie  -- something about the real experience of the downtrodden and dispossessed -- and as he tells his producer about it, the producer keeps interjecting, "but with a little sex in it." (Watch the first ten seconds or so of this clip: Sullivan's Travels Opening.)

I was having the opposite problem of Sullivan: when I tried to write erotica, the story kept breaking off into strange, quirky literary directions.  Directions which made it cease to be erotica.

And this was a problem because, when it comes to the strategy of writing a ton of short stories and selling them for a premium price, erotica is king.

So my plan has been to write romance novelettes of various sorts.  And on Wednesday of this week, I sat down and reviewed my work on the next novelette...

Then I took an internet break and saw an update by an erotica writer who is doing the same experiment I am.  She was writing 5k stories and doing very well.

And it struck me that maybe I was trying to write the wrong length for smut.  Five thousand words is still in the "take a concept and run with it" length.  Novelettes demand some depth.  Maybe that was my problem.

The point of this whole experiment is to see if I can make money -- you know, "Mercenary Writing" --  and finding out what I can write a lot of really fast that will sell for a premium price.  So... I decided to see how many 5k stories I could write this weekend (that is Wed-Sat).

And it went amazingly, phenomenally well for two days.  It went well in spite of the fact that I took time out to research the market on that length and price point, and did some cover work, and did the usual stuff with friends and family.  When I wasn't doing that other stuff, I just sat and wrote.

For two days.

Third day, I crashed. Fourth day, I crashed more.

I can see burn out as an issue with erotica writing.

The Problem With Short And Hot

Is this irony, or what?  Writing short erotica turns out to be incredibly easy, and also utterly exhausting.  At least for me. 

And it's both easy and exhausting for the same reason: It's all about intensity. This makes it very easy for writing off the cuff.  You just start somewhere, and build a wave of intensity, take a breath, build another wave of intensity, take a breath, build a big wave of intensity.

It's easy because that's it.  You start with a concept and run with it.  It's exhausting because it starts intense, visceral and emotional, and you go more intense from there.  That's why people pay big bucks for it even though they can get it free on the internet.

This week was worse because this is new to me. I burn up extra energy on "Hey, I can do this!"  Excitement over something new -- especially something that could give good tangible results soon -- fires neurons. Makes you start thinking overtime, about the market, about plans, and about the writing itself. And these are all "anticipation" neurons, which are the same ones you're using to write the stuff.

And that's the worse thing -- because short erotica doesn't have plot, just intensity, thinking about it and plotting ahead can be as exhausting as writing.  It's not only not necessary to think and plot ahead, it's counter productive.  So the habit of thinking about the story outside of writing time is a problem too.

I expect that at least half of the energy burned was completely unnecessary -- just the usual energy of getting started, and having the wrong habits.  

So anyway, on Thursday I was thinking "Hey, I could have three or four stories done by Sunday!" and today I have decent portions of two. One is really almost done, but what's left requires a functioning creative brain. I was hoping to publish one of these on Wednesday, and I still may do that, but first I have to find a way to manage my brain power.

What I'll achieve in the next three days? You'll find out on Wednesday.  I do feel that, if I can get this energy management thing under control, I'll ultimately have more time and energy for the rest of my writing.  I'll be able to do this in shorter sprints and batches, and then get back to my regular writing.

In the meantime, it's Bastille Day.  And the day of glory hasn't quite arrived.  No watering of the fields with the impure blood of tyrants yet. (Hey, La Marseillaise might sound really rousing, but man is it bloody.  No wonder the Nazis shut down Rick's Cafe after the customers stood up and sang it.)

(I always watch that part of Casablanca on Bastille Day.)

(Oh, and BTW, there was a LaGuire on the committee that voted to behead Louis XVI. Just so you know.  This may be why my superiors decided to treat me unusually well when they laid me off.)

See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ROW80 Check In 3 - What's Next?

This is the wrap up for Experiment Novelette #1.  At this point, it's hard to track word count because I'm putting the pieces together and backfilling small gaps and cutting redundancies and trying to make it all work together.

Sunday, Day 7 - Not a Clue.  Today I re-outlined and knitted together what I had. I realized that the best of the material from the cut first chapter can work with Chapter 3.  (I really think we have to meet the count before the end.)

Monday, Day 8 - More than 1000 words.  But I really don't know how much because it's mostly knitting and backfilling.  A hundred words here, fifty words there.  A thousand words there, but then a eight hundred words cut.

Tuesday, Day 9 - Okay, I had a good start on my backfilling, etc., but I didn't get anywhere near as far as I wanted to.  Still I'm going to work a little further on it tonight, and then stick a fork in it.  I think I have a total of about 10k and it will probably end up with another 2-3k when I come back and finish it.

What Next?

Okay, I "finished" a story.  It needs work, but I have declared the rough draft done.  I didn't even think about what I'd do next while I wrote it.  I had some vague ideas that I ought to do more of the same in this genre, and maybe this book would have a sequel or two. It has some possibilities as a series, even if it is romance.

This, I realize, could be a problem for my plan.

For the original Dean Wesley Smith plan, it's not a problem because short stories are a kind of "make it up and go" length.  But that's exactly why I don't like writing that length except for microfiction.  If I'm going to sit down and just write something off the cuff, I want to have it finished when I get up from that writing session.

I like novelettes because they have more plot to them, more complex movement. They have things to weave together.  They require a little more thought ahead.  And to successfully write 2000 or more words in a day, I have to have a sense of where I am going.

I have considered the following:

*Take the few days off to "fill the well" -- develop up a few more of these ideas and then dive in on Sunday.

Why I don't want to do that one: I'm trying to develop better habits here.  I'm just getting on a roll.  It is not time to take a break.  That's why I'm sticking a fork in the current story!  To force myself to keep moving.

*Don't give in! -- Write the 2000 words a day (Or 1500 or whatever I decide to set) on anything at all, including major novels I won't be working on for some time in the future, while I figure out what I'll do for my next project. Then dive into the next story on Sunday.

Why I don't want to do that one: This one is tempting, and was my actual plan until yesterday, but I know myself, and if I do this I will get scattered and actually accomplish nothing.

What I'm actually going to do:

*Recognize that I actually have several stories in a pile waiting to be written -- even if I had lost interest or confidence in them while writing a different genre. Even if they were turning out "too long" for this experiment. 

Lost Interest? I've written something very different in between, I am refreshed for a contemporary romantic suspense again.

Lost Confidence? That's the other thing this experiment is about.  It's part of the point of writing a bunch of short fiction.  If it sucks, or I'm doing the wrong genre, it will be over soon, and there are a bunch more stories to write that won't suck and will be in the right genre (whatever that is).

Too long?  Hey, at least they are ready to write.  No need to take time off to come up with a different, shorter idea.  They aren't that much longer.

When I'm done with these two stories, then maybe I'll have been at this long enough to take a few days off to brainstorm new ideas, or flesh out some partial ideas. And when I do that, I'll have three new novelettes/novellas under my belt!

See you in the funny papers.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

ROW80 Check In 2 - Definitions of Complete

This segment of the ROW80 challenge:

Wednesday, Day 3 - 1113 Words.  Started well, but later in the day started coming down with either a sinus infection, or just a reaction to all the gunpowder in the air.  (Turned out to be a silent migraine, actually.)

Thursday, Day 4 - Holiday - what time I didn't spend with friends and family, I spent sleeping and not breathing.  So it was the day off. (Also, started playing Risk on my iPad.  Mistake.)

Friday, Day 5 - 2297 words.  Enough with the set up, cut to the chases and kisses and stuff.

Saturday, Day 6 -1682 words.  Major final chase scene.

Will this story be complete in the requisite 10 days?  For certain loose definitions of the word "complete"... uh, yeah. (Complete with redundant, incompatible scenes and jumps and stuff. Also, the characters will have changing names.)

But I've decided to go with loose definitions of complete, and to keep bulling through as many stories as possible.  Keep building momentum and better habits.

So as of the next check in on Wednesday, we'll see how close to done I am. Then I have to move on to another story.

I might do another in the same series.  It's only a novelette, so there's lots of material yet to explore.  Particularly since I have discovered that he villain is not only courting the heroine, but actually in love with her.  (The poor guy deserves a lot more torturous development, and maybe even a redemption and a girl of his own.)  And the hero hasn't even quite given her a kiss yet.

I have pretty much decided that I will be publishing this under a pen name, but I am undecided as to whether to keep this pen name a secret.

See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ROW80 Check In 1 - Cut the First Chapter Rule

You know how they say that you should just cut the first chapter from the story, and the whole beginning will be better?  Had some illustration of that this segment.  (More below.)

In the meantime, I got off to a rocky start (ironic considering what I ended up writing -- more on that below too), but things moved along.

I'm aiming at 2000 words on the days I am mostly writing. While I had a story lined up to work on, I decided start with something more spontaneous, simply because I thought I could rip out the words better.  So I came up with an outlaw swashbuckler.

Sunday, Day 0 - 1602 words.  I had a great start, but I kinda pooped out in the evening.

Monday, Day 1 - Nada.  My afternoon session ended up being a plotting session.  It was useful, and given the kind of stuff I came up with, the evening session should have been fruitful.... except then a friend had a cat emergency and we ended up spending the whole evening in the Kitty ER.  Kitty is fine. We think she probably ate a bug that had some really irritating substance or something.

In the meantime, friend is rewriting a class on vector illustration and needed examples to show students the right illustration styles for the form. (Many students shoot themselves in the foot trying to do Photoshop or canvas style arts.)  So we had some fun talking about great illustrators, such as Milton Glaser and Saul Bass, and I found myself coming up with lots of examples of the things I've been studying.  (Like WPA posters!)

Tuesday, Day 2 - 2086 words.  Screwed around, made bread, and still had several good writing sessions.  Here, however, is where the "cut the first chapter" rule kicked in.

That Annoying First Chapter

I started the story in the middle, as I often do, to get a sense of it.  I thought I had a first half of a story in mind, and I knew the kind of things that should happen in the second half... but something satisfied me about my mid-point.  Even though it seemed like an awfully unsatisfying straight-line plot.  Still, shorter stories are often like that....

Until I realized that all it needed was for me to start earlier, and flesh out the set up properly.  Then the end would work fine.

So today I went back and wrote the beginning.  It was awkward and jumpy, and I knew there was a lot of unnecessary exposition. It was rough, exploratory writing.  I wrote a thousand words and I thought, "I'm going to have to do all of this from scratch, but I've got my voice and ideas in line..."

And then it hit me -- I didn't need to rewrite it, I just needed to dump it.  I had gone back too far, started too early.  It would be perfect to start with the very next scene -- a horse race on rocky ground.  Everything I need is there, excitement, flow, a chance to let the characters talk about expositional issues.

This is the classic "cut the first chapter" situation.  When you're trying to set something new up, you have a tendency to blather, and explore in various directions, make some false starts, get used to the voice of the story.  The story often only gets going in the second chapter. 

Unfortuantely (fortunately?) this story is stretching out, and will probably be longer than I expected.  The writing is quick, but it means I should try to up my daily quota.  We'll see.

See you in the funny papers.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Test of the RSS feed for this blog

Today Google is shutting down its RSS Reader.  Many people are fearful that, unannounced, Google will shut down Feedburner -- the service that many (if not most) Blogspot users use to provide RSS subscriptions to others.

If you see this message in your RSS feed, all is well.  Either Google did not shut down Feedburner, or you didn't subscribe through the Feedburner link.

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