Friday, May 24, 2013

The Division Report: May 24, 2013

I've always found it interesting where English-speaking Canadians celebrate "Victoria Day" on the third Monday in May, and a week later our neighbours to the south have their unofficial start to summer with "Memorial Day." Regardless of where you are in North America, I hope are enjoying, or have enjoyed your long-weekend. Here's how my week has gone creatively...

Every Day I'm Editing: After weeks of chopping and rewriting, I've completed the latest draft of my debut novel, Scarlet Siege. What was originally a 50,350-word, 24-chapter novel has been condensed into a 44,600-word, 17-chapter novella. I realise there might be other revisions to come ("Ms. Hired Editor, where are you?"), but in lieu of that, I have sent the latest rendition to a few beta readers to see what they think of it.  It should be interesting to see what they think as they do not write in the detective/mystery genre, but one I will be experimenting with in the near future. What that is, I cannot say; that's between myself, the betas, and my pen name.

With Scarlet Siege taking a breather, I've commenced the re-edits for the second novel in the Gary Celdom series, Barbadian Backlash. At the time of this log, I have edited three original chapters, and have condensed them into two. I'm not sure what the original 51,000-word, 26-chapter novel will look like once it's completed; however, if it's anything like what I've done with "Siege", it will become another novella.

Reading is Fun-damental: Speaking of betas, I have been enlisted to test-read the work-in-progress by a dear friend of mine, C.S. Janey. She is one of the people I've asked to go through "Siege," and in kind, I agreed to go through hers. I will admit, it is different from what I'm accustomed to. However, as I mentioned before, she writes in the genre my future experiment will be done within. So far, I've read the first three chapters, and not to give anything away, it is a personal eye-opener. I hope when I switch over to my pen name persona to commence work on this future project, I will be as good as her.

As for The Best of Down Goes Brown, I have made minimal progress in reading the book. At the present, I have read 58% of the tome. It appears I'm falling into my problem where I've had too many irons in the fire because it wasn't the only thing that has suffered during the past seven days.

The Write Stuff: If there was one aspect that has fallen by the wayside this past week, it was my writing. I promised myself to have the short story I commenced work on last week completed by next Friday, but with next week filled with my usual personal commitments, the challenge will be tougher than before. I'm not sure if I will be successful in my original goal, but I am willing to give it "the ol' college try."

That's all for another week. I will return in seven days time with my final May 2013 edition of "The Division Report." If you're a resident of the U.S. of A, enjoy your long weekend, and if you're holding a BBQ, make sure to save a hot dog for me, please. Otherwise, happy writing.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Division Report: May 17, 2013

It's been a hectic week between my usual commitments and some personal matters I've had to tend to; however, I did find time to squeeze in some creative activities. Here's how the past 7 days have shaped up...

"Every Day I'm Editing": The latest round of edits on Scarlet Siege have been coming along well. Last week, I mentioned it had been converted from a 24-chapter novel into a 22-chapter novella. Seven days later it has been modified into a 19-chapter novella. More words have been chopped and rewritten, and six original chapters have been condensed into three. At the present, I'm foreseeing my debut work will have another one or two chapters merged together to make "Siege" a 17 or 18-chapter novella. Mind you, it is still a-ways from being re-released on the market. (Is my Hired Editor still out there?) However, I feel my revisions are making the work more "air-tight" than it was before.

"Write Like The Wind": With everything that has gone on, one has to wonder if my writing had gone by the wayside. However, I am pleased to announce I have started work on a short story last night. It is about a man who believes he's holier than thou over his neighbors; however, he has his own indiscretions which come to the surface. The piece does not have a title yet, but I was able to stick my proverbial toe in the water. I'm hoping to have it finished and posted here on my blog within a fortnight.

"Reading is Fun-damental": In between writing and editing, I was finally able to finish On Writing - A Memoir by Stephen King. The book does give a few pointers about how one can hone their craft; however, it left me wanting to learn more. As a memoir, it does detail King's younger years, and how his life-experiences shaped his career as a famous author. It's true how some writers say they draw on their past to enhance their stories; I'll admit I'm one of them. On the whole, On Writing - A Memoir is a fulfilling book, but fell short in my expectations. Rating: 3.5/5

With King's book returned to my local library, I have resumed reading a sports humour book I had purchased a few months ago, The Best of Down Goes Brown by Sean McIndoe. The book is a collection of entries from the renowned ice hockey blog. There have been a few articles where I've found myself "busting a gut," and I hope it will continue to entertain me. At the time of writing this entry, I am 58% of the way through the collection, so expect my review of the tome in the first Report after I've finished.

That's all for this week. I will return in seven days time with the latest from my desk. Until then, keep writing, and enjoy the weather while you can.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Division Report: May 10, 2013

I've decided to borrow a page from a few of my fellow writers/authors, and create a weekly progress report of how I've been coming along in my writing and editing exploits. I figured it would be a pleasant change from my sporadic posts, and will establish some personal benchmarks for myself as I continue to march forward in my ambitions.

On the writing front, I posted a short confessional story on my blog this past Monday, entitled "Different Worlds, Different Hearts." It's a brief tale about how a former couple -- who support rival sports teams -- were never really meant for each other; yet, one of them still thinks about the other, even though the other has moved on. Feel free to check it out right here.

Editing-wise, I have taken myself to task on my debut novel, Scarlet Siege, with the goal of re-releasing it. This July will be the one-year anniversary of when it was first published, and while I might be asking too much at the present (Hello, Ms. Hired Editor), I'd like to have it reissued on or around then. In the meantime, I've been reading On Writing - A Memoir by acclaimed horror writer, Stephen King. It has given me some good tips on fine tuning my manuscript; as has, a few articles on my aforementioned Hired Editor's blog. As a result, I have been tinkering and hacking away at it. Four chapters have been merged into two; thus, turning the 24-chapter novel into a 22-chapter novella. Unnecessary words have been removed, and one of the characters has had their name and description modified. As of writing this entry, I am currently 55% complete of this latest round of modifications. There will be more once I receive the recommendations from my "editing superior." Admittedly, it is a slow process, but one I'm taking on with a more careful eye for detail.

That is all from my desk for this week. I shall return in seven days time with the next edition of The Division Report.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SHORT: Different Worlds, Different Hearts

I know we were from separate worlds. We had no business being together in the first place. Yet, for some reason we were linked together by fate.

My friends told me I was a fool for dating a rival. She favored the blue and white, while I support the black, red, and gold. I live in the big city, and she called her rural town home. By all logic, we should have been the unlikeliest of couples. However, we both shared a common bond; a love for the sport the nation holds dear to its heart. Our only problem: our support for clubs who have been embroiled in a territorial feud for over two decades.

Despite our initial differences pertaining to distance and respective loyalties, we developed deep-rooted feelings for each other. As time passed other discrepancies arose. I wanted to settle down, and she didn’t see our relationship lasting for the long-term. It was a slippery slope that would have led us both to lives filled with unhappiness. After looking within ourselves, we came to a conclusion to part romantic company. It appeared to be both an easy and tough decision, but one we’ve both grown to accept.

We still communicate on a regular basis; however, it has been three months since we have last seen each other. She has brought to my awareness a new beau in her life. However, if my relationship with the rival supporter appeared ill-fitting, the new man in her life cheers for her team’s biggest rival of all; clad in a Québécois “bleu, blanc, et rouge.” I should be supportive of her happiness, but I am skeptical of her new relationship with another opposing supporter. I hope he treats her right; however, part of my black, red, and gold heart remembers how things were with the raven-haired lass in blue and white.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Failed ideas, Works-in-process, and The Editing Express

To say my attempt to write a novel this past April during Camp NaNoWriMo fell short would be stating the obvious. As much as I tried to create a world separate from my usual tales of Gary and his crew, the words failed to transition from my brain to the page. Upon reflection, I will attribute this to poor advanced planning.

I had conjured up the idea of The Tundraville Trio within two weeks before I was scheduled to start writing, and by the time April Fool's Day arrived all I had come up with were the names of my three main characters. I had no real plot thought out; just the premise of three 40-somethings banding together to become a small vigilante faction. I had no central conflict planned in advance, and I dove in blindly. Because of my poor planning, the story fell into disrepair, and will need a drastic restructuring before I resume work on it. However, that was not the only iron I've had in the fire recently.

My muse has been, to borrow a lyric from Kid Rock, "jumping around on stage like a bunch of wounded ducks." First, came the idea to create a second persona, and start writing a novel in a different genre than I'm accustomed to. I was able to jot down roughly 1,250 words before I hit the wall; it has since been put on the back burner. The thoughts were soon pushed out of my brain by the idea for a work of fan fiction where I would crossover the worlds of two of my favorite television series. I began work on it, but am currently slowing to a crawl; as I'm attempting to write the scene where the two casts first meet. This is currently sitting at about 1,600 words, and in desperate need of getting shocked by a cattle prod in order for the writing process to be restarted.

Lately, my mind has turned to "my first-born," Scarlet Siege. In less than two months from now, it will be the one-year anniversary of when it was first released. Since then, the novel has been put into my hired editor's Foster Care with the ambition of it being revised and released as a stronger story. Unfortunately, the process has been slower than expected. That being said, I have taken some of the matter into my own hands by utilizing some of the tips and strategies showcased on my editor's blog. As it stands right now, I have completed 35% of the latest round of revisions, with another sixty-five 8.5" x 11" sheets to go through. I must confess it's tough to take the shears to my "infant child," but if I want to make this into a better debut novel I need to do this. The real challenge will be when I have to do the same for Barbadian Backlash, as I feel it will need more rewriting to go with the accompanying hack-and-slash job. The sad thing is, my hired editor has yet to see Rouge Numbered Week, and I haven't even begun the first round of edits on it yet.

It seems like the work of an aspiring writer is never done.