Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I don't know that I have ever seen this much snow in this neck of the woods ever, let alone at Christmas. It's beautiful, but...

I am very glad my folks live within walking distance, so they can still come for Christmas Eve. And Matt's mom is on her way from Holly's place, so hopefully she drives carefully and makes it ok. Tonight's feast is not to be missed: Our traditional fondue, with veggies, chicken, beef, and this year's Exotic Meat... Wild Boar. I can't wait.

Thank goodness, too, for my sharp eye that noticed the water trickling down the basement wall last night, entering where the main enters the house. We managed to set up a bucket overnight and caught about 8 litres of water. But the plumbers are here and it...might be fixed now. 

All is good. I haven't showered yet, coz the water's been off, but that is ok, I'll get there. The mulled wine and spiced apple cider are filling the air with their Christmassy scents and we have lots of food, lots of firewood, so if the power goes off we'll be fine. We're healthy and happy, and Santa Claus will make it through any weather.

Merry Christmas to all and sundry, and I wish that everyone has as delightful a time as we will have.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas and Rewrites

Spaghetti's cooking away, the toboggan hill is awaiting our arrival and all those incredibly loud rumbling noises have been identified as the train pulling in in The Polar Express, which is playing downstairs with the surround sound on. That scared the heck out of me, man. 

I want to thank everyone who so kindly sends us Christmas cards, even though we never send them. I do love receiving them, and have them all hung on a string above the pony wall in the living room. I tried to send Christmas cards once or twice but didn't make it through the project and it just became a huge dark cloud of guilt hovering over me. So I just said, NO! to doing Christmas cards. Man, I can't even seem to get the kids' school photos organised and sent out to friends and family. I suck at that sort of thing. [sigh] I love that everyone still sends me cards, though. That's very big of them.

Had a nice chat with Rob today, even though he's sick with the flu, poor fellow. Also talked to Colleen, which I do quite regularly lately, mostly because we're talking writing so much. I told her about my Stream of Consciousness writing I did t'other day. I wanted to find out what was truly going on in Kyer's mind once she gets taken by the enemy at the river. So I just wrote and wrote, occasionally checking back with the story to find out what happens next. I wrote in her dialogue, and her reactions to the things others said to her, but no narrative, just all Kyer's inner monologue. It was very interesting to discover some new things:

1) Kyer notes that Con is a coward. To finally pick her up but require eight men to do it, shows her that he's afraid of her. This knowledge keeps up her confidence for a lot longer than she might otherwise have lasted.
2) This also leads to a determination not to be broken. There are limits, of course, to how much she can take, and she's about to learn about those limits. However, during the trip to Ronav's headquarters she manages to keep her courage up.
3) Kyer compares her current situation to an event that occurred in the schoolyard where it took eight boys to beat her up. She still did them some damage AND walked home. They won the fight but they did not defeat her. Another source of courage for Kyer to draw on during this current little get-together with Con and Gyles and friends, whilst on their way to Ronav's headquarters.

And what a surprise awaits her when she gets there...

Now I need to figure out what nasty things to do to Janak. Derry, Jesqellan, Janak and Phennil are attacked by an ogre at the same time that Con & Co. are picking up Kyer, and I need Janak to incur some damage. Something that prevents them from following after Kyer, and something that royally ticks him off, so he can blame it on Kyer.

This has been the trickiest rewrite I've ever tackled. Don't know why. But I'm finally making headway. Making my characters suffer... what larks. Merry Christmas, guys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rejection: Get over it

Jonathan just nagged me to blog, coz I've neglected it. Ok fine. I thought about blogging about the Canadian political circus, but then I decided that some people are afraid of clowns, so I'd better not. It's a busy time, coming up to Christmas. School concerts, shopping, dinner guests, decorating... My advent calendar says we're supposed to buy a tree today. Considering I haven't done the advent calendar tasks I was supposed to do yesterday nor the day before, I can't guarantee that the tree will happen today.

Really, what I want to talk about today is rejection. Again. I got a letter from Eddie Schneider yesterday. It simply was not tos his taste, and there's nothing I can do about that. Rats. But you know the worst part about getting rejected, once I've gotten through the initial drag of reading the letter and a bit of, "Why am I doing this to myself? Why don't I pursue some other career instead?" Really the worst part is telling other people. I always feel like I'm giving bad news. Like a doctor who has to say, "Sorry, your tests results showed a positive indication for [insert Really Crummy Condition here]." 

Everyone cares so much and they get excited for me whenever something cool happens in this long and often painful process, and I hate having to go around and tell people that it was just another false alarm. There's a small part of me that cringes and wants to hide away and pretend it didn't happen, but that's because there's a niggling fear that being rejected means my work is bad; and maybe it's a greater fear that if I tell people my work was rejected, they will believe my work is bad.

As Tom keeps reminding me, Jasper Fforde received 75 rejections for The Eyre Affair before he hit paydirt. 

The point is that the announcement of a rejection needs to be just as matter of fact as the announcement of the request for submission. Work through the misery and dejection and despondency (a process which should take about... 13 minutes) and then hunker down and get back to work. So here goes: Ladies and Gentlemen... I received a rejection from Eddie Schneider yesterday! 

Now where's my pen?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Editing madness

Colleen said to me on Monday, "You're going to hate me." Why would I do that? Because she's editing my MS, and came to a part that she thought was totally lame, and said so. Grrrr.

It's never easy to hear a comment like that, and if you ever get the privilege of being edited by Colleen, you will learn that she doesn't hold back, she makes her points VERY clear with lots of comments, honest reaction, and even a little sarcasm. I take criticism in that way from her because she's my friend and I trust her. (Plus there's that little bit of knowledge in the back of my mind that turnabout is fair play and I'm going to be editing for her some day very soon!!) I brace myself for her negative comments and take lots of deep breaths, but I listen to them and remain objective. I don't get all pissy and mad... because she's... well, she's right. It's refreshing to hear someone say, "I really wanted something bad to happen to Kyer in that scene, and it didn't, and I felt totally let down." Believe me, there was more to it than that. Ouch!

That kind of feedback is crucial. I appreciate her candor, and said so. I don't want an agent to read my book and feel "totally let down." I'd rather get it from a friend in a timely fashion, allowing me to fix the problems before they can be read by an agent who might then reject the whole thing.

So, I've worked on the chapter in question, using a scene I wrote for book two but removed because it didn't really fit. See, that's a reason to never reject an idea: always write the scene, even if you don't wind up using it where you planned. It has found a place elsewhere.

Now Kyer is in bigger trouble than she was before, and furthermore, she tries to talk her way out of it, but it fails, and boy oh boy is she in for it. And hopefully the reader response will be, "Oh NO! How's she going to get out of this?!"  

And THAT is the kind of reaction I want. So once again, thanks Colleen, for being so very nasty. And no, I couldn't hate you if I tried.