cathschaffstump: (Default)

Right. So I’ve revised chapter seven. I’m all ready to go into chapter eight.

Or I was. Bryon suggested to me today on the way to the surgeons that there are lots of ways Sara and Amanda could be folded into one character, and I agree.

So, goodbye to Sara Wolf. Amanda Welkin will take her role in the story, and still be a corner, magical, all that. That means I’m going to have to go through the Esme’s Trial part of the book and make that happen. It’ll make the book better though, I can see that. I will do it as quickly as possible, breeze through chapter eight, and move into the Errol’s Trial section, which will require much more direction and polishing.

Meanwhile, it’s gall bladder surgery on the 9th or the 11th, and A WEEK off after. I’m supposed to walk and relax. I wonder if there will be writing time? I wonder if I will feel like it? If so, it’ll be a great opportunity to catch up to where I want to be.

Happy writing, all!


Originally published at Writer Tamago. You can comment here or there.

cathschaffstump: (substance)
Well, the gall bladder won the skirmish yesterday, and after a painful day returning from the hotel and waiting for the cardiologist (no heart trouble as predicted--we are blessed), there was only heating pad and sleeping. I did get my surgery consultation moved up two weeks, so I did win a minor battle. As soon as we get this bad organ out, the more predictable my health will be.

Meanwhile, something new from chapter seven. It's here to redefine Andrew's character, build tension, and move things along in a more definite direction. It's an argument scene, but it is new to some of my readers from the past.

Stephan argues with Sam while Andrew tries to apologize )

We're being graced with another heavy snow storm here in Iowa. AT LEAST this one isn't happening Saturday, the day of two postponed family Christmas gatherings. We'll see what this does to website plans for the day, as I intended to go into the city...

Stay warm, all of you!


Chapter 7

Dec. 26th, 2007 10:47 am
cathschaffstump: (isis)
Yesterday I did nothing but decadate all over the house. :) Niiiccceee way to spend Christmas when your health has been trying: good (and healthy for your gall bladder) food, champagne (which doesn't affect any of my organs in the least...), romance, relaxation, presents. You wonder why life can't be this good all the time!

Today, Bryon and I are off on vacation. So I exercised my discipline and worked on chapter seven. The lion's share of chapter seven is revised and ready for proofing. Tomorrow, when I get back from my appointment with the cardiologist (I'll be glad when we can finally tick heart trouble off the list, moving us closer to the appropriate surgery), I will do the following:

Proof what has been revised of chapter seven.
Rewrite Esme's trial.

Esme's trial is important, and needs to be tightened and expanded. I need Andrew to have a role, and I need Eustace, Laurence, and Miranda to try something...really, anything...on camera. Then it'll be a matter of taking away a blahblahblah scene with parents and teachers, and waiting for Esme to wake up. I figure this scene gets a whole writing day of its own.

On the other hand, chapter 8 is already a thing of beauty, and all I really need to do there is sharpen a bit and proof.

Then we start activating Errol's trial. So, we make steady progress.

What happens after I get this guy revised? Back out to Agent A, as well, as the new 5 queries a week. Then (and you will all be very bored) I have to work on a paper comparing the way English is taught in Japan and the U.S. I have this conference in April.

I also have several paper proposals to shoot off for conferences, we've got to get the Wiscon multimedia reading shored up, and I've got to get the website up and running again. And new fiction. :)

I hope you're all enjoying the holidays.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
You want progress? Okay. :D

Chapter 5 is done. New scenes added, the whole thing revised, and proofed. Chapter 6 is about half done, new scenes added, the whole thing revised, and proofed. This whole process took 79 minutes. I know this, because I played the new Battlestar Galactica Season 3 CD that Santa brought me in my stocking this weekend.

If I can get up more gumption tonight, I'll hit the latter half of Chapter 6. There are four scenes left--one in need of heavy revision (by virtue of eliminating one character and substituting another. Can I use character folding as a technical term? Is there a technical term?). Two are in great shape and need tightening. One has to be produced from the ground up anew.

Then we're into Chapter 7. Chapter 7 has Esme's trial in it. Critical decisions. Do I keep the whole Michael Hamwich prediction thing? I need a layer of bad kids acting badly at the trial, so I need to weave that in. What sorts of bits are in there that I like that don't move the plot forward? It's a pivotal chapter, so I have a lot to do with it.

Chapter 8, the transitional section to Errol's trial isn't too bad, although I have to introduce the main bad cheese in it for the first time in this version. So I'll have to shine that up.

That's as far as I want to look right now.

I'm pleased with today's progress. It's a lot like being a full time writer today.

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, has some cooking in it, and maybe a church service, so both writing and meal preplanning have to be done. Do I take the day off on Christmas? Probably not. Why? I'll be vacationing on the 26th and getting tortured by doctors again on the 27th. (Really, it's a consultation with a cardiologist, and I have no idea what, if any, exciting tests they'll want now that I have a demonstrative hepatobiliary scan on hand.)

[ profile] manzabar, it's looking like the 28th for website stuff, barring zany, horrible testing. Pretty excited about getting that done!

I hope you're all warmer where you're at than we are here in Iowa.

cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
We continue to live with the whole health thing, as we won't be seeing the specialist until January 14th.

But talking about that is NOT why I am here. I have a whole 'nother place for that. On to the writing update!

Today, I broke down the Esme's trial section of the novel, all three chapters. I made notes of new scenes I want to add and changes I want to make. I'll start on the first of those new scenes the next time I write, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow depending on a plethora of factors.

I also added several scenes from the novel in its first incarnation to the manuscript, as I think I will be going farther forward in time than originally conceived. Right now I have 86K words in the darned thing. I want to wittle it down to somewhere in the 80K zone.

We're making progress.

I hope you're all doing well.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
*sob* Good bye Crystal Vortex scene. You were witty and cute, but redundant, especially now that there was no reason to run casually into Amanda Welkin.

It looks like chapter 4 and chapter 5 are going to become one room. The other half of chapter five and six, also. Expect more bullying, and expect more Andrew stuff as well.

Yes, I did do some writing tonight. Why do you ask? Nope, I don't have a new snippet for you yet. Not yet.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
Okay. Part One: Mistraldol and Prologue turned into 90 pages of fairly relevant action oriented prose that doesn't really repeat.

Prologue and first two chapters proofed.

Third chapter needs proofing, and then we're off to Part Two: Esme's Trial and Chapter 4.

All in all, a good night's work.

Tomorrow: If I can find a plug in during the nativity display at Faith, I will work on chapter 3 proofing and chapter 4. If not, I continue reading Foundling by D.M. Cornish, which those of you found of seafaring, Dickens, and orphans might like. Oh, and monsters.

Productivity rules!

cathschaffstump: (substance)
Well, that's chapter 2. The chapters are cashing in around 20ish pages now, which I think will also make them friendlier to a YA audience.

Here's a brand new scene, so those of you familiar with previous versions of the story might like it. This is how we introduce Professor Borgia this time around, give Stephan a little confidence, and clue you all in on what happens sometime in book 2, which has yet to be written (this guy, although no one really needs to know, is book 3).

Cauldron Gazing; Italian Meeting )

I went ahead and looked over the first two scenes of chapter 3, which introduce necessary characters and conflict. I think they mostly stay, and I can't see a whole lot of necessary tightening. That takes me to a very blahblahblah scene. I'll be substituting some active, scary villainy. Let's see what my dark side can come up with.

Priorities are in the right place. NOW to check some papers.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
As predicted, was home yesterday because of ice storm.

If chapter 2 were a room I were remodeling, yesterday could be best described as knocking out a wall and hanging some dry wall. This evening's work will be finishing that room.

Tomorrow morning I'll have lots of lovely medical testing! If all goes as it's supposed to, I'll be back at work in the afternoon, and back writing tomorrow night. Crossing my fingers for that.

So, just writing, surviving the ice storm. Hope you guys are writing, and enjoying your holiday season!

cathschaffstump: (substance)
Here it comes!

Tiredness, flagging enthusiasm, and just plain ole don't want to slog through editing any more.

It seems that I haven't worked on anything brand new in a surprisingly long time (reality says since May). I look forward to Hulk Hercules like a hungry wolf eying a beef steak. Anything new that makes me feel sparkly again!

However, and rightly so, I want to get this revision back to Agent A in a timely fashion. I do wish there was a break from Substance to be had now, but there isn't.

I'll just ride the wave and roll up my sleeves. I am curious, because I know this happens to all of us writers, no matter how much we love our stories. How do you combat the slog? And if it's drinking, well, I need another solution.

Bored now.

cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
I'm writing brand new scenes for Chapter Two that introduce characters while moving the plot. I'll show you something when it's a little more polished. I also have to add in some stuff about Elaine and make Borgia more intriguing here. So, yeah, some stuff to do without overplaying my hand.

Gods, but I'm a wordy writer! I wish I'd bought stock in the word "just."


Meanwhile, I've inadvertantly discovered what fan fiction really is: fan fiction is a response to the void left in the cosmos when all that stuff authors want in their stories, is cut out because it affects the plot movement and marketability of their book. You know the stuff I'm talking about, and yes, it should be cut, but it doesn't change the idea that you know it and you want it in there, and it's not there, and fans want stuff like that, if you have fans.

No one cares about the void with a lesser known author, but should your characters gain a life of their own, other people want to fill in the details they are sure you haven't thought about. Nature, even fictional nature, abhors a vacuum.

You have, of course, written material to plug the vacuum nicely, but your editor/publisher/agent won't let you keep all that hubris in, in spite of the wishes of your loyal readership to know whether Errol Klarion, say, prefers sugar or plain. (sugar, by the way) The reason? Only the most fanatical of fans want to know the answer to sugar versus plain. You of course, want to know too, and you want to share it with the world, but no, clearly that path belongs to another. Even if they get it wrong.

(At this point Catherine wonders if authors go on line with pseudonyms and already written hubris about their own characters. You know, Elvis did enter an Elvis impersonation contest in his later years. He came in fourth. I wonder how plausible your backgrounds about your own characters are. Will anyone ever believe your own "fan fiction" about your characters? Hmmm....)

Back to writing about shadows.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
Apparently, part of my writing agenda today is to procrastinate, to respond to other people's writing, and to seek out interesting opinions in the blogs of my friends. You might have noticed more chattiness out of me today, for example.

I'd like to suggest that this is all about me percolating ideas for the revision of Chapter 2 and a couple more intense scenes I want to put in there. I would not like to suggest that this is me avoiding writing an Elements of Writing syllabus for next semester, which is what good English Language Acquisition coordinators would be doing now.

Allow me to live the lie. Please.

More writing tonight, I'm guessing, because I'll bet dollars to donuts inclement weather will cancel my friends coming to dinner.



Nov. 30th, 2007 10:41 am
cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
All righty. Went on a salvage mission and got about 14 pages out of draft one that I'm gonna need for the Substance rewrite.

Expect deep reading to begin during awful weekend ice storm. Have canceled dinner engagement (:/), but expect lots of time to work on writing. And remaining Christmas plans.

cathschaffstump: (substance)
All righty then. I've cut everything I'm cutting out of the old draft of Substance.

I've taken some notes on extra things that need to be added into the draft to activate the plot. You know, things like action and confrontation? Things your average 13-17 year old can relate to? Also things that lead up to major confrontations and revelations.

I've got to go through and decide how to activate some necessary exposition as well, or at least reduce the blahblahblah factor of it. Yes, that is a technical term. You can quote me.

And I have to go back to the ancient days of when this was on the internet and reinstate the poisoning plot.

But I've gotten as far as I can tonight, because the poisoning plot is at school on a disk, not here at home with me.

Tomorrow, after I plan for Saturday night's dinner with Dana and Peter (I get to cook! Wow!), I'll start a deep deep comb through. The first chapters will go easy. It's the Rowther chapters that need the most work. I probably need another good Enid scene before Stephan goes to school as well.

I need readers for the rewrite. Can anyone still stand to read yet another version of this story?

cathschaffstump: (isis)
So, that's through chapter 7 whacked. That's through Esme's Trial, and 2/3 through.

I probably don't get to revise tomorrow, as I have company coming. However, we'll be back in the saddle on Wednesday.

I'm probably going to add some things onto the end, and then go through and really activate the prose where it's a little more lackluster.

So, moving along.

cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
Well, Mistoreth's Eyes came back rejected from Apex and Abyss.

The comments are fun.

I wish you the best success in placing your story elsewhere, and hope to
see more of your work.

The first few sentences are quite lyrical, but the last sentence of the
first paragraph is unfortunately hilarious and breaks that illusion
(forget for a moment that The Farmer's Wife is an inn, and read the
sentence with the title as regular words).

After that, the feel of the piece changes -- it's no longer the poetic
piece it started as, so this needs some revision.

I did go back and read that, and yup, the name of the inn will have to change. Oh dear.

You know, when I wrote the first piece, it was a river. Then, I revised it into something else. Sometimes if you try to turn a piece into something it isn't, you can break the original spirit of the piece.

Well. Won't be coming back to that one anytime soon. I've got a lot to do before I'll have time to play with that again.


As to Substance, I've whacked out about 7000 words. Some of that hurt, but it wasn't exactly related to the main story. No more Welkins Menagerie scene. No more Hamwich family scene. No more warm and fuzzy Klarion family scenes. I liked them, but I don't think they need to be in there. Missing them doesn't detract from the story. You still get the idea of the piece with all those scenes off camera, and the characters still exhibit those qualities.

What this does mean, though, is I probably will go a little further with my original source material, and rewrite the Stephan unbound scenes. Stay tuned. Because I've whacked 7000 words out of the first six chapters, and I don't know how much more I'll whack out of the remaining ones.

At any rate, I've whacked through chapter six. I'll continue whacking, add a couple more relevant scenes for the ending, and then read things with a roller coaster meter to make sure the action is rising.

And if it's rejected again, well, we're no farther behind than we were before.

Time for Christmas decorating.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
Oh, I've eaten soooo much food...

But I spent the afternoon while everyone else was napping whacking words out of Substance. I'm looking at it with a kid's eye, and yeah, there's a lot of expository blah, blah, blah in there.

So, I've whacked the prologue and the first two chapters. Chapter three will require both whacking and rewriting.

Hee. I'm about to become one of those authors who knows more than the readers do. That means I will have things to talk about at press conferences. You know. All those press conferences. That I have in my head. And in my sleep. Yeah. :)

I hope you're all having a great holiday.

cathschaffstump: (isis)
And then, Sister Night, Sister Moon was done. With a better ending. Would any of my writing peeps (you know who you are) want to see a terribly melodramatic story with an unhappy ending? It's all about the angst! It's all about the clothes! It's all about 12K words.

I need to give it another quick proofread, and then send it out to my two markets, one next week, and one after December first.

Received contract from Cats Curious. Looking it over, thinking about deadlines, based on what happened today.

Sorry, Gossamer and Viridian fans. Looks like you'll have to wait through a little longer. But I will get to it, I promise.

The question is this one: how long will it take me to revise Substance, and write Hulk Hercules? I think I need a time table. :)

A bientot.

cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
And now...

Rejection from Denise Shannon.

[ profile] sonyamsipes is sending a contract soon for Hulk Hercules.

And this:

I read 130 pages or so of your book. There is definitely something compelling about these two boys who are children, but speak like grown men. as well as the curse, demons in the form of animals, and the dark tone that pervades the whole story. But for me, it was a bit plodding, and I'm afraid young readers would find it even more so. Unless you can move things along a bit more quickly, I'm afraid it's a pass.

Followed by this from me:

I usually don't ask this question, but, given the unless statement in
your message about the pacing, I wonder if you would be interested in
seeing a faster paced rewrite of it? If you are, I'd be happy to send
it again after tweaking it a bit.

Followed by this:

I am definitely open to reading a revised version. As I said, there were
certain aspects to the book that I found compelling. So, feel free to send
it to me when you are finished.


This changes a lot. I'll finish and send off Sister Night, Sister Moon, then get back in the saddle with Substance of Shadows. This agent is worth courting, given her agency and connections. This is VERY good news. Not necessarily the easiest or the best news, but good news. I think it may sound familiar to many of you who have landed an agent, especially [ profile] frost_light. I consider this a rock moving up the furthest I've ever had it up the hill. At any rate, good news I think.

At the same time, there's the Hulk Hercules book, so soon it may look like I have plenty of writing to do in my spare time.

I'm putting off plans to send out more queries until after the revision of Substance is done and I've sent it back to Agent A. Agent B is still out there with a partial.

Keep taking rice cakes and sake to the gods of publishing. It seems to be working. And send me A LOT of caffeine, 'cause I still gots the day job, so I'll need energy.


PS Will talk about Fantasy Matters some too. It was very, very good, and I got to see some cool people. I could go to conferences like that every weekend, but I would turn into a well-educated sleepy zeppelin.
cathschaffstump: (gossamer)
Well, me and the stationery pdf files will be going to FedEx Kinkos tomorrow for some cash type expenditures. Today I bought labels and big envelopes.

I've done the tutorial on how to print envelopes and labels. Good. I will have to configure and experiment with the labels on my rather funky leftsided (but oh so pretty and professional!) stationary. By Wednesday, I should be able to enter the land of the snail mail query, head held high.

Then there will be this conference in Minneapolis, and then I will return next week to send out my little soldiers. March boldly, little query buddies, when your time comes. I tend to think of the equeries as more pilots than infantry. Maybe you shouldn't ask.

So, here's a sanity check from [ profile] blackaire which was crossposted in [ profile] fangs_fur_fey.

Finally, expanded and rewrote the ending for Sister Night, Sister Moon tonight. It has a nice twist now, that diabolical Xiao Ping! It is stinky pipe laying right now, but I'll comb through it this week and polish it up. After that, I'll search for a market. It's about 12,000 words, give or take. I know there are some novella spots out there.


ps Hot tip of day: Number 9 envelopes fit wonderfully into number 10 envelopes, and I'll be using printed number 9s for responses. No folding because we're trying to look tres pro.


cathschaffstump: (Default)

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