Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Weds ROW80 Check-In: Take the plunge . . .

I'm on the brink. Cleared the desk. Printed out the entire manuscript of Years of Stone -- all 70,000 words. Then I went through my files to find some suggestions about how to tackle a read-through and found Holly Lisle's "One Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle."

I want to be a believer. I love her no-nonsense style and the fact I'm working with pen on paper rather than the oh-so-easy to get distracted on-screen version.

Part 1 Discovery is done. All this entailed was writing down (again) the theme, sub-themes, main characters, story arc, and blurb.

Part 2: The Manuscript Slog looks more daunting. First step (today) is to analyze every scene, starting right at the beginning. That's why I'm writing this check-in for ROW80. Oh, procrastination! I'll be back on Sunday with an update on my progress.

Yes, I was waffling over how to continue on two major projects at the same time, but I really knew that I work more or less effectively (and deeply) on one at a time. Thus Rivers of Stone is set aside (except for reading research) at least for the coming week.

ROW80 Check-in of sorts:

WRITING: Slower progress this week because of that nasty cold. I'm behind on writing blog posts for this week, but several ideas are percolating. Did get that quilting article finished and in on deadline. Started journaling, an idea borrowed from Sandy Jensen to create something daily that draws on (sorry for the pun) the more intuitive side of the brain by mixing art, poetry, and writing. I haven't drawn in so long that my pencil and pen feels awkward.

READING/COMMUNITY: Reading Alison Alexander's nonfiction bio of Lady Jane Franklin for those insights into her daily life and character. Up to page 89. Have two beta reads pending. I would love to finish one by Sunday. Barely staying current with ROW80 posts and reading what others have written.

MARKETING: Since Sunday? Aargh!!! Contacted another book club. Most of my energy has been expended on sneezing and setting up the new computer, doing all sorts of technical tasks that hover just beyond my skill level (yes, installed the new router, got internet back up finally, registered the programs, downloaded my favorites to find updates). Nothing to do with marketing. I did find two possible book review sites and will report back on these.

Self-published authors must be tenacious in their indirect marketing so that 'the book' gets out there and noticed by readers. I'm still circling that goal, not sure that what I've tried is actually working. A few folks who are currently reading Standing Stones have reported they love it and will write reviews, so I'm encouraged by the atta-girls.

Today is WIPpet Wednesday, March 3, so here's a snippet from Chapter 3 of Years of Stone. It's November, 1842. Following a shipwreck, Deidre and Amalie, the little girl who shared her cabin, have safely landed in Van Diemen's Land (present day Tasmania).

Deidre shuddered. Something jolted against her. She could hear a man cursing. Her head lay on someone’s lap.  Her stomach roiled, and she tasted sea water. Her body felt battered from head to toe. She shook her head, and a line of pain seared her skull. Was it only this morning the whalers, cursing and rowing, had brought them to Sandy Bay?
Deidre winced and opened her eyes, a slit against the brightness. “Amalie?”
Amalie leaned over Deidre, just as the cart they were in went over another rough patch on the road. Both of them bounced against the sideboard, and a man’s leg plopped over them.
“Can’t you slow down?” cried Deidre, shoving the man’s leg aside as she sat up suddenly.
The man driving the cart swung around, his bearded face twisted in a scowl. “They said to get to Hobart Town in a hurry. We’re getting.” He cracked his whip. The two horses leaped forward, the cart jerked again, and Amalie grabbed Deidre.
Deidre braced herself against the side as the cart swayed. She gasped at the loaded cart, filled with bodies, some silent, some groaning.
“Don’t get sick again,” said Amalie. “Doc Harris said he would find us in Hobart Town.”
Deidre’s head swirled. Truly they were on land and safe.  No matter Mac was still a prisoner. The sun dazzled her eyes.
More about WIPpet Wednesday here. See what other writers have posted in this lovely sharing of writing-in-progress organized by Kate Schwengel. Why should we participate? Because putting our work out there sharpens our own critical reading. Yes?
May your week go well. 

14 comments:

  1. I can just imagine what Deidre is feeling--very vivid. Nice!

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    1. Thank you! It was surprising just the process of posting this led me to chop away to hopefully heighten the tension.

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  2. I feel for them both, there is nothing worse than having to endure a tough journey - and the conditions sound tough. I hope things look up in Hobart!

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    1. Thank you for empathizing with my characters. Ah, but they will suffer!

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  3. How awful! It sounds almost like they've landed themselves in a plague cart. I gather not many of the people they're traveling with enjoyed the sea journey.

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    1. Not a plague cart, Regi, but they did survive a shipwreck, and most of these are prisoners, malnourished and injured. I think their ability to enjoy the trip is sadly limited. But thank you! I'm glad the "awfulness" came through.

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  4. Van Dieman's land, eh? I know little about it, but I'm looking forward to learning more. Although getting there doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

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    1. Thank you, Xina. I think travel in the 19th Century took a lot more courage.

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  5. I'm having a bit of trouble imagining the scene, Beth. As ReGi noted, it sounds more like a plague cart with bodies tossed on wily-nily. Though that image certain set a lot of tension.

    Editing procrastination.... I know it well. But you'll be glad you did it. (I've read Holly Lisle's idea and it just didn't work well for me. Doesn't hurt to try hough. It works for her.)

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Eden. This is an interesting process to post a 'snippet' for the reader must build the context. Glad at least the scene creates tension. Also, I don't know if I can follow Holly's ideas all the way through, but so far (day one), the results are useful.

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  6. I like the sense you give of Deirdre's confusion and disorientation contrasted with the way Amalie is a lot surer of what's going on.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. Posting this scene and reading these responses makes me much more critical of the scene. Now I'm wondering if Amalie comes off older than 10, especially given the situation. But the feedback for WIPpet Weds is great!

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  7. I wondered about the cart as well. It sounds as though there are dead bodies in there among the living? Either way, you certainly do convey they less than optimum traveling conditions they find themselves in. It doesn't sound like a pleasant trip in the least.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I didn't think of dead bodies. Maybe. And maybe traveling conditions seem so deplorable because I'm thinking with a 21st Century pov!

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