Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Possible Slight Delay

I'm working as fast as I can, but with only two days left, I'm probably going to miss my deadline.  Right now, I'm in the middle of scouring the book for flaws.  Yesterday, I got a whole page worth of notes and fixed them and that was only the first 33 pages.  Little things, like a missed comma here and a weird word there and a 'why did she call him that?'.  Nothing major, but it all needs to be fixed before I send it out into the world.

I also realized that I still have formatting to do once all these things are fixed.

And I remembered that before I can sell the book I need a blurb.  Frankly, I have no clue what to write there.  Jeni did some stuff again?

AND I have to think of a series title and put it on the covers of both books.

If I work like a madwoman, I might be able to get it all done in two days, but I am not inclined to work like a madwoman.  I still have household management, a sneezing geriatric cat, and an unplanned shopping trip to squeeze in there.

So, I will do my damnedest to get this done on time, but don't hold your breath.  If not Friday, I will have it done by Monday at the latest - barring acts of man, nature, and Armageddon.

Thanks for your patience.  And here's a taste of what I'll be sending out into the world soon...

 Ugly and the Beast

Chapter One

“Oh, my gawd, Jeni!  What happened to your face?  Ewww!”
Apparently, only Sleeping Beauty gets to awaken to princely smooches and happy woodland creatures.  As Sleeping Ugly, I got a short, shrieking supermodel instead.
I hadn’t planned on Mara Lightfoot, my best frenemy finding out anything about the curse I was under.  All I wanted was a little normal after the utter strangeness my life had become.  A movie marathon with my best friend sounded like an amazing idea.  After which, I’d quickly usher her out the door before midnight struck. 
But we’d gotten to drinking.  Time passed.  Then I got kind of snoozy.  And WHAM! I switched from the pretty phase of the curse to the morning fuglies. She’d squeaked like a midget mouse and then began laughing.  And pointing.  And then laughing some more. 
“What the hell happened to you?” she asked once she caught her breath.
My shoulders slumped.  “It’s a curse.”
“Well, duh.  It’s sure as hell not a gift.”  She poured herself another shot of cinnamon whiskey and downed it in one gulp.  Once the fire subsided, she said, “No wonder you missed all those photo shoots.  I tried to cover for you because you told me you were sick.  And let me tell you, hon, this is certainly sick.  So, tell me, who cursed you?  Jealous wife?  Jilted guy?  Oh, I know, psycho stalker!”
I’d already ruled out all three of her options.  And I didn’t want to tell her the truth right then.  First, I needed to figure out why she was taking this so well and wasn’t on the phone with the police or a mental hospital.
“Curses don’t exist, you know.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Weeding Crutch Words

I'm hitting the crutch words right now.  For the uninitiated, crutch words are those words an author relies on too much - like, that, just, etc.  I have a list.  It goes on and on.  Sometimes I add to it because my editor or proofers tell me they noticed other words I used too much. 

Before I hit the manuscript to start weeding out the crutch words - either deleting them or replacing them with something better - I print the list and count each word to see what I'm up against.  (MS Word is awesome for this.  In the Find function, type the word you're looking for, go to Reading Highlight, Highlight All, and it gives you a count.)  Here's a sample of the counts I got before I started the weeding process:

that - 439
like - 346
just - 74
said - 317
think - 153
thought - 130
know - 109
when - 202
well - 96
still - 68
even - 118
which - 92

Weeding out that and like took me a day each, off and on.  I've gotten the that occurrences down to 219 and the likes down to 146.  It's the best I can do.  I also hit actually because one of my proofers said I used it too much in this book.  Took it from 31 to 10.  One of my characters was using his brows too much, too, so I snipped away at that, too. 

One thing I should've done was weed the manuscript before I sent it to the proofers, but I forgot.  Well... actually... I repressed the need to do it because I hate this part so much. 

Over time, I've gotten better about not using certain words in my first draft.  My justs have dropped way down.  That one used to be three digits on a regular basis.  And the thats and likes were always higher.  I'm working on it.  And what I don't catch on the drafts, I try to catch in edits.  It's all good.

Anyway, I'm slogging through and trying not to just say 'fuck it all' and skip this step.  The urge is strong, but I'm fighting it because I want my books to be the best they can for my readers. 

I was thinking about this last night.  As a reader, I don't really notice authors overusing certain words.  I get dragged into the story and that stuff doesn't seem to throw me off.  Unless I'm editing my own stuff.  Then I see every single one of my crutch words in other people's work.  Ugh. 

How about you?  As an author, what are some of your crutch words?  As a reader, do you notice when a writer overuses a word? 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Updates and Junk

Well, hello there!  It's been almost a month since I posted here, because, well, it's been longer than that since I actually did anything writerly or had anything writerly to talk about.  If you want to see what I was up to, go to The Writing Spectacle.  When I'm not here, I'm generally over there.

Things have been bad here with regard to writing or anything writing related.  The last time I worked was March 15th - you know, before it all went to hell.  The last time I sold anything was March 20th.

Since it had all gone to hell in March, I didn't even bother updating my spreadsheets to show the month of April.  And it's already getting near time to do May.  Yep, yep.

All of that changed over the weekend.  I made it change.  As I said on yesterday's Sunday Update post, this chaos crap has already taken up too much of my time and mental real estate, and it's time to get back to business.

To that end, I made myself sit down and work on getting Ugly and the Beast ready for publication.  I had hoped to have it to you by the end of last month. Well, hope in one hand... right?   The new hope is to have it to you by the end of this month.  Good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.  All I have to do is finish these edits my wonderful proofer friends sent along to me last month, weed out some crutch words, check it all over again, and then format the sucker.  (Your work was not wasted, proofer friends, just delayed a bit.)

Meanwhile, I have the next scenes for Cinder Ugly waiting for me to write.  I'm not promising anything with regard to dates for that yet.  Until I have the first draft completed, I can't even hint at a date.  All I can promise is that I seem to be back on track again.

Not sure what this'll mean in the long run.  Will sales climb out of the dumper?  Time will tell.  All I know is that I've had enough of this and I'm ready for a return to normal again.  I have no control over what happens out there in the world, but I can control what happens in here.  Time to take control again.