Fly-By: No really, I’m still here, just going on hiatus

*Writing Cat is ded from edits*

Apologies for the lack of substantive posts lately.  The Day Job hasn’t been insanely busy, but it’s been consistently busy, which means I have not had a moment to pop online and do any posting.  Plus I’ve been doing a lot of offline and personal things well, so I don’t always have the time to pop in and post.

And yes, I’m still editing.  That’s going to be a while. *sigh*

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, and it’s high time I act on it.

I’m going to take a little time off and think about what I want to do with this blog.  Of course I’d like to keep it going, but it seems to have lost its direction.  Or more to the point, I never gave this blog much of a direction other than posting thoughts about writing and all the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes along with it.  One can only be a pantser for so long before one runs out of ideas and starts repeating themselves.

More importantly: I’ve been VERY lax with the business end of the writing biz lately as well, and that is not a good thing.

I have two books out there doing diddly because I haven’t been trying to sell them.  They’re just…out there. In a void.

And that needs to change.  I need to put them under the spotlight again.

Plus — and this is a BIG plus — I have some publishing-related plans that I’d like to put into action.  More on that at a later time, but for now, those plans need serious attention.


I’m not sure how long I’ll be afk, but I won’t be posting again, at least with any susbstance, at least until mid-August.  I may do a fly-by or two, but that’s about it.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.  I’m hoping I’ll be recharged and a hell of a lot more active when I return.

Y’all play nice while I’m gone, now.  🙂

Spare Oom Unplugged (again)

gravity falls
courtesy of Gravity Falls

Yes, I’d have to say it was definitely a good idea to work longhand with this edit.  The evenings where I’m focusing solely on this project is when I take the binder to the loveseat across the room and settle in.  I’m not chained to the desk, but I can still have the tunage going while I work.

Which brings me to the subject of unplugging again.  It seems every six to eight months I need to unplug from the internet and do some IRL things.  Or more to the point, needing to remind myself to unplug from the internet and do some IRL things.

What this usually means is that, even though I kvetch about it from time to time here at WtBt, I don’t always follow through.  Sometimes I’ll just have a long day at work and want to goof off online and watch cat-drifting gifs all night.  Or I’ll consistently distract myself with the Twitter feed.  Sure, I’ll catch myself and shut down the browser right there and then and do something more productive with my time.

It’s not like I haven’t eased up on the distractions over the last year.  I’m not as passive about them as I used to be.  In fact I’ve become quite tight with my latest writing schedule of practice words, blog entries and exercises, balancing them quite nicely with the Day Job and the regular writing work.

This time out, however, I’m thinking about actively unplugging for a bit.  I mean, doing some serious longhand work, for various reasons:

–Obvious:  Less chance of distraction.
–Health:  Reasons for me to start moving around and getting out of the chair more often.  Also, considering my Day Job is to look at a laptop all day, and following it up by looking at a PC later that evening, I really should give my eyes a break more often.
–Personal:  Sitting with A. instead of hiding away in the back room all day and night.
–Mental:  Focusing solely on the task at hand because, well, it would be the only thing I have at hand.  Also, I have something a little more tangible to work with, rather than having to remember where I was in the document, especially if I’m flipping back and forth.
–Physical:  Handwriting tends to be less straining on my wrists than typing, even with my new PC and its wireless keyboard and mouse.
–And let’s be honest here: when I write new projects longhand, I need to be able to write on the fly.  The habit of editing on the PC is far too ingrained right now, thanks to the Epic Trilogy Editing Seasons.  Once the trilogy project is done, I can reassess.

But yes…it’s one thing to say “I’m thinking of doing [X] to make my work better” or “I’m going to close the browsers now so I can work”, but it’s another to make good on those statements.  And unplugging does seem to be the only way to do this cleanly and efficiently.

Does that mean all my blogs are going on hiatus?  Nope, not this time around.  Those will still be around, as long as I have something to say.  I don’t have to unplug for mental reasons this time.

I just want to be a better writer is all. 🙂

Cooler heads

west side story cool

Cooler heads have presided, and the edit of The Balance of Light has been reeled back in.  I’m keeping it a single book. It won’t be the sprawling epic that my Writer Brain threatened earlier this week.  Heh.

Printing out the manuscript seems to have worked wonders, as I figured it would.  Having done a galley edit with a test copy of A Division of Souls (which helped me find a lot more issues I’d missed), doing the same for Book 3 seems to be working out just fine.

Which reminds me — remember that first chapter I deleted a month or so ago?  Yeah, it’s back in again.  Why, you ask?   Well, again, cooler heads.  I realized that starting the story on the original Chapter 2 was an even WORSE idea.

So…what does that mean?  I need to delete at least 50k words somewhere in this behemoth.  Where the hell is that going to take place?  Well, that’s a good question.  This is another reason for the printing out of the ms…so I can give it another reread and find those soft squidgy spots that can be cut out.  Scenes I can merge or leave out.

This is still going to go far past my original deadline, but again — I’m okay with that.  As long as I’m going in the right direction, that’s all that matters.

It’ll End in Tears

The problem with my writing process is that sometimes I have too much of an open mind to new ideas.

So here I am, printing out the 2014-15 version of The Balance of Light (the version that still has the original first chapter I excised a short time ago), all 566 pages of it, and knowing that it’s way too damn long for a single book.  I’m still trying to figure out a way to edit this story so that it’s a) solid, b) comprehensible, and c) retaining the original ideas I set forth.  It’s going to take some time.  As you’ve heard me say numerous times here already.

And of course, while printing all this out, running it through the hole-puncher, and putting it into a big three-ring binder, my mind starts wandering…

WRITER BRAIN: Hmm.  Does it really need to be a trilogy?

EDITOR BRAIN:  STOP.  Stop. Right. There.


EDITOR BRAIN:  I know what you’re thinking.  You want to keep what you’ve got and divvy it up into two parts.

WRITER BRAIN: What’s wrong with that?  Writers do it all the time.

EDITOR BRAIN: You don’t want to go that route.  You’ll have even more chaff than you already–

WRITER BRAIN:  Look.  A. said that she liked Book 1, but felt it was too long.  I distinctly remember she said it could have been two books.

EDITOR BRAIN: That doesn’t–

WRITER BRAIN: Okay, maybe that one doesn’t need to be divvied up (or maybe it does, but I won’t go into that right now), but you know I’m already going to be going through Book 3 for the thousandth time to see where I can cut things.


WRITER BRAIN: And you know we’ve always had issues with the beginning.  Even when I was writing the damn thing it felt wrong.  There’s no beginning to it.  It just….there’s no build-up to Act I at all.  It just starts about a third of the way into Act I.

EDITOR BRAIN: …I’ll give you that.  But–

WRITER BRAIN:  Which means we have two ways we can go about this.  We can either look at what we’ve got, do some shuffling and revising, maybe a bit more writing.  Yes?  I guarantee we’ll have even more pages than we started with.


WRITER BRAIN: You said it yourself.  You don’t want to follow the preordained rules with the project.  You want to do it how you want to do it.  How it makes sense to you.



EDITOR BRAIN: …yes, you’re right.

WRITER BRAIN: So why close up an avenue that might actually help the story?  Who knows?  Maybe cutting The Balance of Light into two books makes more sense, as it gives us more breathing room to sufficiently cover every plot point that needs covering.


WRITER BRAIN: Face it, EB.  You know I’m right.  Why does it have to be a trilogy?  I mean, yes, I know the psychology behind it.  Weird as it is.  But there are just some stories that make more sense when they’re not constrained by a rigid format.

EDITOR BRAIN: It’ll all end in tears, you know.

WRITER BRAIN: Yes, I know.  But you never know until you try.


So yeah…that happened.  This writing gig can get a bit…weird, sometimes.


Fine.  Let’s just get this out in the open:  I’ve got some serious problems with The Balance of Light.

What problems, you say?

–A directionless beginning full of scenes that aren’t working.
–Flat dialogue that doesn’t work.
–A bloated manuscript that needs to be cut by at least a third, if not more.
–A lot of ‘stage direction’ prose.

I’m sure there’s more, but I won’t go into it.  That’s not what this post is about.  I’m trying to be optimistic, damn it all!  🙂

But there it is.  I knew this was the Problem Child of the trilogy.  I knew there were a lot of issues that needed to be fixed.  I will fully admit to doing a lot of “I’ll fix it later” when I was writing it.  And during all those rereads and edits, I’d been making mental notes of what worked and what needed fixing.  I wasn’t quite avoiding it; more that I wanted to focus more on the first two books, before putting all my focus on this big beast.  And guess what?  That ‘later’ has finally arrived.  I have to fix it NOW.

Here’s a secret in the creative world:  when a writer or an artist or a musician goes past their expected deadline (even if it’s just a personal one), chances are good that they’re currently in the same boat as I am at present — that their work needs…well, a lot of work.  And more to the point, we would really rather not put out a half-assed piece of crap.  Or as Judith Tarr said to me once: don’t phone it in, the readers will know.  Trust me when I say we’re not procrastinating or ignoring our creations.  We’re trying to sculpt a giant statue out of a giant mountain and we want to get it right.  Quite often while juggling a Day Job.

So what does this mean for The Balance of Light?

Well.  First off, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna blow right past my self-imposed autumn deadline.  I kind of had a feeling that would happen, anyway, so I’m not that worried about it.  I’ll keep everyone updated on it who’s interested.  I’m planning on going a bit old-school and printing it out so I have a tangible copy of it to work with.  There may be some further revision and rewriting.  But I will get it done.

And for that I thank you all for being so patient!

A Positive Outlook

ganbatte kudasai

Not gonna lie, when I first started working on this writing gig with some serious effort, I was just like every other n00b writer: I’m gonna shake up the literary world with my unconventional ideas!  All my stories are going to be accepted by agents!  They’re gonna love my stuff!

Of course, age, maturity, knowledge and perhaps a bit of bitter reality has thankfully made me think otherwise.  I’m a writer just like anyone else, and the chances of my writing being a smashing success are just about the same as any other writer’s:  a complete crap shoot.  Luck, a bit of sales smarts and a decent story are the only constants in this job.  The rest depends on getting the right agent or editor and whether or not they think they can do something with your work.

This popped into my head the other day, while thinking about the fact that I’m on the back end of an extremely long-term writing project.  Lately I’ve been comparing how I viewed the Bridgetown Trilogy during its Phoenix Effect years, how I viewed it during the trilogy rewrite, and how I view it now that I’ve self-published two of the three books.

The pre-Belfry years (the True Faith era) was when I was the cockiest, that was for sure.  I knew I wasn’t the best of writers, but that didn’t matter — I had an awesome story that I wanted to tell, and it was going to sell tons (once I finally finished it)!   The Phoenix Effect era was a little more down to earth in terms of outlook; I knew I was far from professional, but I was doing all the required homework and revising it the best I knew how.  It was that era when I wasn’t exactly sure where I stood in terms of heading towards being a professional writer.  I was stuck in that phase for a long time.

Now I’m at the point where I’m looking at the trilogy and accepting where I may have gone wrong over the years.  Doing major rewrites was one part of that; deciding to take control of the entire production was another.  I don’t think the trilogy is a failure, far from it.  No book is completely one hundred percent perfect.  Are there things in the trilogy I think might still need fixing?  Of course.  All writers think that about their own books, and I’d be surprised if a writer didn’t feel that way about their precious projects once they’ve signed off on them.

There are many reasons why I’m self-releasing the trilogy, and that’s one of them: the ability to learn from my mistakes, fix them, and re-release the end result.  Self-publishing is great for things like that, if you look past the ‘but it’s out in the world already so it’s ruined forever!’ irrational fears.  Maybe I released the book too early; I can always sit on it for a few years, do an overhaul maybe five years from now, and re-release it.  There will always be a new potential reader who’ll be willing to give it a chance.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned about the entire trilogy project is to accept that I should not strive for excellence in writing, but to do my best at it.  Being professional doesn’t exactly mean ‘being famous’, it just means knowing what steps one needs to take to create a positive end result.  Perseverance, knowledge, and maturity.  And having a good solid goal (other than I’m want to be famous!, of course) does help significantly, whether it’s to be professionally published or to self-release.

I don’t need to be Phillip K Dick or William Gibson or Neil Gaiman or Ray Bradbury or whoever.  I just need to be me, to the best of my ability.

Coming Soon

Not too much to report on this slightly cloudy Friday afternoon here in Spare Oom.  Just waiting for the Day Job to end and for the weekend to start!  I’ve been all kinds of busy the last few days.  I’m still neck deep in the edit for The Balance of Light; the Walk in Silence entries are coming along at a good clip, and will be hitting a multi-entry ‘interlude’ before continuing with the story; I’ve been hitting my daily practice words almost without fail; and I’ve been making slow but consistent plans for the next non-MU project I’ll be writing.


I will say, however, that I have a few fun announcements to make pretty soon, regarding the Bridgetown Trilogy, as well as with the business end of my writing projects!

Let’s just say that it’s going to be an interesting ‘release’.

Stay tuned! 🙂