This is something I've wanted to do for awhile: I want to plot out an entire book live online in a chatroom, where people can come in, watch, and ask me questions while I write. Not that I think I'm a spectacular plotter, but seeing how I go through my version of the process may help other writers come up with a more workable system of their own.
Since I have to plot out two books this weekend, I'm going to try a dry run today over at FM, starting at 5:00 pm EST in conference room one. I'll be making a transcript for anyone who wants one, but because of spoilers I won't be posting it on the boards. Wish me luck.
I heard tonight from someone -- you know who you are -- who reminded me that not everyone out there can hear audio (or anything, for that matter.) I hereby promise faithfully to post text captioned versions of whatever I record via audblog. I think this will also work out well for Kevin, with whom I commiserate. A clone of my mom's voice coming out of the computer would kind of freak me out, too. :)
I've snagged 36 minutes of recordable posts to play with over the next three months. The posts are two minutes maximum each, which is plenty long enough for whatever I have to say. Another suggestion was made that I read my own work here. Ah, no, not even if you douse me with narcotics. I do a pretty good imitation of TssVar, though, when I tell my "How many Hsktskt does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" joke.
The technology continues to amaze me -- what will Blogger/Google think up next?
audblog audio post
Text for my hearing impaired friends: "Well, everyone wants to know what I sound like, so here's my voice. I'm not feeling particularly Southern this morning, but I guess I sound that way. This is . . . This is interesting. I could yell at people from my weblog. This has definite possibilities."
How Others See Us:
I was introduced to a friend-of-a-friend yesterday. Nice man, safely married so it wasn't a set-up, and evidently a voracious reader. He seemed a little suspicious of me -- he had that "You're a celebrity, yeah right" look in his eye. I thought maybe it was my Tigger t-shirt; not very authorial-looking. We talked about books for a bit but I had to go.
Our mutual friend called me last night, and she was laughing so hard she could barely get a word out. I could hear her husband laughing in the background, too. Finally she told me that their slightly suspicious friend had called them after checking me out on the internet, and was astonished to discover I was really that
S.L. Viehl and that he'd read all of my books. But that wasn't the funny part.
"I asked him what he thought of you," my friend told me. "He said, `She seems like a really nice woman, but I wouldn't let her near the kitchen knives or my father.'"
We Have Ignition:
Drefan's main frame is finally up and running, and while I'm still de-glitching a few application reloads I've recovered everything. Phil is in pieces now and part of him will be headed for the repair shop. I have backed up to the tenth power and taken other measures which will prevent this from ever happening again (unless the planet blows up.) I also should have picked up some stock in writable CDs; I think I just sent the share price up two points.
Thank you to Gateway, AOL, Drive Savers, and my friends Jessie and Rob, who have all busted their asses helping me out of this mess. You guys are simply the best.
Word came down from my editor on the new romance -- like my agent, she loved it -- and a new contract is about to hit the table. More I can't say but it's looking very good. I've got contracts for two new books in the mail and pending talks on three more this month. Four more proposals nearly ready to go out. Despite the double meltdown, this year won't be a repeat of 2002. The hard work over the holidays is finally paying off.
Now I think I will go to the bookstore and buy myself a reward. :)
Licensed to ...?:
When I picked up my 8 year old daughter Kathy from school today, she proudly informed me that she had started a girl's club, and had seven members (plus one boy, but he's the one all the girls love and is rather like their mascot.) She made club packets for everyone, with caches and paper wallets -- we're big into origami at my house -- with official club ID and mini-computers drawn in crayon on the inside hidden flap. None of the club members has a name, they all have eight digit alpha-numeric codes. She also came up with a secret handshake involved both hands reversed behind her back.
This is definitely my
DNA at work.
When I asked her what the name of the club was, she made me swear not to tell anyone. I dutifully swore under pain of death. Kath looked cautiously from side to side, then whispered "The CIA."
Hi to everyone, as he's back online and the restoration is in process. Looking very good. :)
The Big Reboot:
My newly repaired, 100% recovered drives will be back this morning, so I'm going to be down for a few hours while I do the necessary transplants. I'm nervous but optimistic. I'm also considering investing in a fourth system, to supplemente Phil. He's been great but at this point I really need two Drefans -- I can't afford a week of limping along like this; I was just lucky I had no deadlines pending this time.
The lesson learned? My two sets of backups need to be four, and I need to do something about e-mail. Not sure what yet but I am not letting jerks like this cut me off from the world. No caves for me.
The quotes helped a little, but not enough. We talked, and I came away thinking I can't forge from words and jokes the armor my friend needs (and I know you will be reading this, and you know why I'm putting this on the weblog.) It's frustrating, because I want to help and I can't.
Some -- maybe even most -- authors are too close to their work, too invested in it. They're dreamers and idealists, and that's what makes them great writers. I do realize that even while I have a hard time dealing with it. I've seen what they suffer; their books to them are what my children are to me. If someone spit on my children they'd be picking up their teeth from the pavement in short order. If they were still ambulatory. So I do understand, even if it's not my thing.
Or maybe it really is self-image. I am not my books, my characters, or my job. Spit on that, oh well, you know house policy: Can't expect everyone to adore me.
Spit on the ones I love, however, and you're messing with what I truly love, where my dreams truly live. You'd best have the comprehensive dental plan.
I think too often writing consumes a writer so much that there is nothing else in their life. I could have gone that way very easily, had I not been born with a restless brain set permanently on hyperdrive. Nothing is ever enough for me, I have to do fifteen things at once and try other, new things regularly. Maybe variety is the key to better emotional stability for writers. Not
putting all the apples into one cart.
The other side is to clearly see who is attacking you, and why. See what they are, and you can almost see how they got there. How sad and small they are, that they can do nothing but spew bile from that inexhaustible fount of envy within. They're what we become when our dreams wither and die.
I feel kind of put out now that I've posted my quotes. I'm not longing to extend the boundaries of literary art, or wanting to explore new dimensions of the human spirit. Literary art of any variety generally sucks with teeth, and the basic dimensions of the human spirit are butcher/breeder/polluter/coveter/abuser/miser. An occasional decent but abberant soul thrown into the mix to keep us all from killing ourselves before the age of thirty, if we're lucky. Why extend/explore that? Ick.
Another friend spoke a few weeks ago about becoming a hermit away from the world, for some excellent reasons, and I see more merit in that every day. What stops me is knowing there are decent/aberrant souls out there who would be that much more alone if I did say the hell with it and found myself a nice comfy cave. Maybe I should embroider that on a quilt or something.
For a friend who recently suffered a hatchet job on her work, I've put together
The Top Ten Best Quotations About Reviewers and Critics:
1. "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do." -- Dale Carnegie
2. "Critics are to authors what dogs are to lamp-posts." -- Jeffrey Robinson
3. "In judging others, folks will work overtime for no pay." -- Charles Edwin Carruthers
4. "Literary critics, however, frequently suffer from a curious belief that every author longs to extend the boundaries of literary art, wants to explore new dimensions of the human spirit, and if he doesn't, he should be ashamed of himself." -- Robertson Davies
5. "Reviewers are usually people who would have been, poets, historians, biographer, if they could. They have tried their talents at one thing or another and have failed; therefore they turn critic." -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
6. "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." -- Brendan Behan
7. "It is very perplexing how an intrepid frontier people, who fought a wilderness, floods, tornadoes, and the Rockies, cower before criticism, which is regarded as a malignant tumor in the imagination." -- Edward Dahlberg
8. "Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl." -- Nellie Mcclung
9. "The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews." -- William Faulkner
and my personal favorite:
10. "Beware of the man who denounces women writers; his penis in tiny and he cannot spell." -- Erica Jong
FM Community Announcement:
Just FYI, the regular site chat is not working at the moment, but Holly and Zette are aware of it, and the situation is being resolved. Until it is, you can use the alternate chats listed on the Kablooey Links page.
I must be allergic to this day of the week or something -- that's the only explanation for what I endure on Mondays. We were late to school because of a two-household laundry mixup (children of divorced parents must maintain two wardrobes, and inevitably my kids end up leaving uniforms at Dad's house.) Traffic was snarly because of the rain and people were running red lights like maniacs. I had to reboot Phillip three times this morning because he doesn't like something I've done to his software. Finally, when I went out to have my morning commune with the felines, Rush threw up his breakfast on my neck and hair. Note to self: do not
cuddle The Sickly One for an hour after he eats. I'm also cranky because I may be losing one of my editors, the one I really like a lot.
I did get some work done last night, though, and the new novel idea has gone from nebulous to solid gold. This will be a reserve novel that I work on in my (cough) spare time, but I think it's got real potential or I wouldn't waste the energy on it. I've used up most of my saleable novel inventory now so I'm thinking of doing a couple partials and putting them on hold in case I need them as relief pitchers.
Time to quit whining and get to work.
Talk to the Hand:
Spent most of yesterday in a marathon quilting session to finish my contribution for an AIDs patient fund-raiser. The quilt came out fine and will probably raise a good-sized donation, but I felt restless afterward. The bloodstained quilt has been bugging me -- there's a story in it, but I'm not sure I want to write it -- and there are career things hovering on the horizon that need to be decided soon.
I went out on the balcony to watch the sunset and brought a pad and pen with me. I started jotting down whatever came into my head, playing with word combinations and concepts. This, believe it or not, is relaxing for me. Two hours later I had solid foundations for three novels and a short story series. One of the novels is really strong and needs more development immediately; the other two will go in the need-an-idea file. The story series will round out what I had planned for the web site this year. I also felt a lot better, like I had channeled a bunch of subconscious unhappiness into the work. Writing always bails me out.