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March Summary

Weordan Series:

I haven’t been keeping track of word count this month.
About halfway through the month, after a rejection and a long talk with Eric, I decided that quality was suffering for quantity.  Instead, I kept track of what I did, scene-wise.  Spent a lot of time doing rewrites, but Divine Fire did grow by nearly 6000 words.

  • Began the month by working on several clean-up edits and rewriting “Ricard Gaining Marie’s Trust.”  Happy with that scene for the moment.
  • Spent over a week screwing around with “Transfer of Information.”  Wrote 500 words, got stuck, talked to Eric about it, deleted it, wrote 1000 words on it, agreed that I should talk to Eric more because the first 500 words wouldn’t have been written in the first place.
  • Reworked “Balito’s First Scene.”  I’m making an effort to be more active in my writing, trying to get away from my passive style.
  • Re-read, had Eric read, edited and added “Marie in Lys” to the manuscript.
  • Reworked existing “Party Scenes” and added a second one from Marie’s POV reflecting recent minor plot changes.  Eric still need to read these.
  • Did minor reworking of  “Sneaking Around,” Eric need to read that too.

As I mentioned above, I’m trying to get away from my very passive style of writing.  In order to this, I’m trying to tailor my fiction reading to teach me some lessons.  I read two books and several excerpts with these goals in mind.  Particularly was aware of the pacing of sentences and descriptive detail.

Market Stuff:

  • Sent Lucinda at the Window to a new market.  No reply yet.
  • Received a rejection on “Wicked, but Effective.”  Sent it back out.
  • Received a rejection on Pas de Chat.  Need to get her out to a new batch of agents.

Other Writing:

  • Free writing – 20/30 days
  • Associated Content Article written and published:  Saw Apologist

Never did get around to that short story.  Probably won’t unless I decide to work on it on the weekends.  And I probably won’t then because I’m either DMing or working on HTML / CSS stuff.

  • Finish up reworking Divine Fire scenes.  There’s one scene at least that’s going to need a solid rewrite.  I’d like to get one brand new from scratch scene done.
  • Send Pas de Chat back out to agents.
  • At least one AC article.
  • Daily free writing.
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We won last night.  Yay!  Had the whole team minus two.  Started out with terrible drops.  Then the wind picked up.  After being down by one or two for most of the game, we finally tied it up at 8-8.  And then just scored the rest out to 14-8.  The wind proves just how much my handling still sucks.

My mom called.  My grandma was back in the hospital.  ‘Course, no one told *me*.  The graft didn’t hold well and needed a quick fix.  Nothing serious, but she thinks I don’t care because I haven’t called.  ‘Cause no one *told* me.  Yes, I should probably call more often anyway.  But I don’t call people.  I don’t email people either.  Kind of a hermit, ya see.

The tips of my fingers hurt…

And I need caffeine. 

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Book #8 – The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The first time I read this book was probably sometime in college.  I’ve never seen the movie, but the book struck me as pretty darn creepy.  The last time I read it was in 1999 or 2000, sometime after moving here.  Still creepy.  This time…  Not so much.  Maybe it’s because I’m reading it for style this time.  Maybe it’s because in the last three years or so there’s been a bit of a jump in how much we know (and how much I know) about the workings of the brain/mind.  Maybe it’s because I’ve turned much more skeptical in my world view.  I will say that I don’t think Blatty writes an atheist well.  Chris is more just not religious than a non-believer.  Also, his dialogue just isn’t very good sometimes.  Sometimes spot on, sometimes reflecting things no one says…ever.

My last notes, craftwise:

Before page 120 or so I had made this observation:
The priestly scenes are all full of doubt, often with fragments showing memories, feelings.
Medicine, very clinical.  Strong, sturdy, correct sentences.
Psychiatry: dialogue, quick giving of information.
Showing how Blatty thinks of all these things.

But after about 120, it’s all somewhat bland.  There’s a few  nice passages, but there’s something that I was looking for in Blatty’s writing that is not there.

I observed:
The triple repeating of a charged phrase: bone-white crucifix (pg 189) brought tension to a kind of bland presentation of events.  What makes the pounding in The Haunting of Hill House so effective versus the pounding here?

And I proposed: cadence, rhythm.

Looking at two passages in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, that’s exactly what I found.

pg 161
Eleanor and Theo in the dark, the “whose hand was I holding” scene.
The repetition, the rhythm.  There is a breathing pace to these sentences.
Another interesting thing about that particular passage is that Jackson starts right in.  No preamble.  It’s right at a subchapter break.

Pg 127
Again jumps in.  Of course isn’t afraid to be in Eleanor’s head, but then the book could almost be written in first person.
The cold is more effective here too than in Blatty.  Instead of it just being cold, Jackson gives it…malice.

In Block tooโ€ฆ the characters try to convince themselves there’s nothing to be scared of, all while the phenomena is taking place.

This pattern, is it a trademark of writers of a particular time?

I’d like to read some Stephen King next.  Wish I had a copy of The Shining, but I’ll settle for Dolores Claiborne  or maybe one of the Different Season novellas, which are the only things I have around.

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Random:  Do people who grew up with vinyl records treat their CDs and DVDs better?  I can’t believe how fingerprinted and gucky some DVDs I rent are.  What do people do with their DVDs?  And then I remember my brother with CDs and DVDs tossed to the four winds around his room, his apartment, and his efforts to later buff out the scratches.  Or (to sound really old) is it just that people these days don’t take care of their things?

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Our game last Thursday was canceled.  Still wasn’t too inclined to exercise, but I did run on Friday and Eric and I ran and threw on Sunday.  Really stretched my hamstrings yesterday.  Didn’t run today, instead I did house work.

Had dinner at BJ’s with Sylwester and a bunch of other people.  Too many people really, but it made up for lack of socializing on Thursday.  DMed a bit.  No Rifts, yay!  But, no Chris either though.  He wasn’t feeling well.  That boy’s always sick.   Watched Casino Royale.  I’m gonna have to buy that movie.  Watched the extras today, including one about Bond girls.  Halle Berry was going on about growing up watching the franchise and wanting to be part of the female niche in the films, that of the Bond girl.  Nope, I never wanted to be a Bond girl.  I wanted to be Bond.  These days I’d settle for being M.  Judi Dench kicks ass.

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Lesson 3, part A: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Did I mention with Bloch the technique of describing it then naming it?  Good example of stepping around and past an emotion and then totally nailing it (pg 12).

Give a character a very obvious nervous habit?  (pg 14)

Blatty  works his fragments differently.  Smaller.
Like page 36:  “Chris was setting down the bird when she noticed the Ouija board.  Close.  On the table.”
I’m not entirely sure these work.

Also uses fragments to compress time. (pg 118)

Good at setting up voice.  Chris’ voice, different from Damien’s.  The clinic scenes are clinical with sturdy, correct sentences.

Dialogue is rough though.  Too many words when shock and fear are the emotions.

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Today has been slow.  Did housework.  The part scene needs a change.  Thinking about it, what needs to be done.  Reading some.  My work schedule have been nights lately.  I find it hard getting anything done between 1pm and 6pm.

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What’s this?  Divine Fire has reached 40K?

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I’ve been doing it right all along.

Heavy coffee drinkers show no blood pressure rise

“In the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that healthy women who drank upwards of six cups of coffee per day were no more likely than abstainers to develop high blood pressure over the next decade.

On the other hand, women who drank coffee occasionally or in moderation — reporting anywhere from zero to three cups a day — had a higher risk of developing high blood pressure than the heavy coffee drinkers or the abstainers.”

Saved by lack of moderation!

Generally, if I make a pot of coffee, it will not be less than three cups.  Add to that several sodas and the occasional energy drink.  I generally don’t have problems with jitters or hyperactivity, though yesterday I did over do it in an effort to stave off PMS migraines.  I drank a 16oz energy drink and two cans of Dr. Pepper.  I became very scattered after that…  But it’s good to know my blood pressure wasn’t affected.