Daily Dabbling

A2Z-2013-BANNER-900_zps1a85732aTaking you through my edit probably wasn’t the best idea for this year’s A-Z Challenge; I didn’t even get to edit today!

Well I did, actually.  But it was work stuff—not nearly as interesting.   So without actually telling you what the book is about (yet), I’m going to talk about daily work.

So how does a person write and edit a book, anyway?  It’s like that old elephant thing:  how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

“I hate that stupid saying. Don’t eat me.”

Image:  nickandmel2006 / via Wikimedia Commons

Angry elephant aside, there’s only one way to finish a book.   And that’s to sit your ass down and do it, one word at a time.  Every day, if you can.

Why write daily?  If you’re planning on doing this for a living (good luck with that one, by the way), it’s like any other job.  Your boss may schedule you for a set number of hours each week.  The same goes for your writing.  If you sit down at a prescribed time each day, before you know it, those words will be out of your head and on the paper.

Because I work at a job, I like to use my lunch hour to write and edit.  I get my file open and ready to go, clock out, and go make my food.  Then I come back and get right to it.  If I do any work at night, it’s the same drill.  Weekends get a more varied schedule.  For example, I might work after I come back from skating on Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays), or wait until afternoon if I have errands.

The point isn’t to get as many hours in as you would at work.  It’s just to pick a time, and write.  Like any habit or routine, the more you do it, the easier it gets.  After a while, you won’t have to make yourself sit down; you’ll just find yourself there.

It's like working out, which I know we all love—don't we?

It’s like working out, which I know we all love—don’t we?

Image:  imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now I’m going to spend a couple of hours on my homework, and then I’ll do more editing.  See you tomorrow.  In the meantime, please enjoy this compiliation of Maru, the internet’s cutest kitty, in various sleepytime poses!




I’m culling bits from my book as I edit.  It’s like picking my knee scab (sorry, I’m trying really hard not to do that!)—painful, but necessary.

Well, the scab thing, not so much.

At the beginning of the edit, only little things come out.  A sentence here, a word there.  Small changes.

In time, new scenes may replace old ones.  I’ve already done that with a pivotal scene, one that sets the the climax into motion.  That one had to be completely rewritten.

Stuff may get moved around.  As that happens, I’ll insert this, and cut that.  Think of it like making a big jigsaw puzzle:  chapters and scenes are the pieces.  Or a game of Tetris.  Only with words.

Someone in chat just said “Ooo, editing a book sounds like fun!”



Image:  Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, I lie; I like it.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have taken a job where I edit all day.  However, some days, when I’m very tired like today, even doing Tunerville isn’t a barrel of laughs.

Rose’s Hostage had several protagonists; this book only has one main one.  There are only a couple of other viewpoints, and they either illustrate something, or get you closer to the villain, into whose head I have chosen not to dive this time.

I’m not sure how I like that most of the book is from Chris’s perspective.  I’m sure it will be shorter that way.  Working with the hostage, the bank robber, the detective, and the serial killer (that sounded like a bizarre version of The Breakfast Club, didn’t it?) added so much material to my last book that culling is still going on.

Okay, which one is the serial killer?

Okay, which one is the serial killer?

Image:  starpulse.com

Bullet Points


Yeah, I know; this is yesterday’s post.  Sorry about that.  I’m getting busier at work and lunchtimes have been devoted to editing Tunerville.  Guess I’ll have to save that for evenings and write my A-Z posts at lunchtime instead.

I’ve put several of the things I’ve been doing on it into bullet points.  Because I couldn’t think of anything else that began with B, and I’ve been editing reports all day.  Ha!

  • At lunch, I’ve been working my way through the book, making chapters.
  • I’m still finding unfinished scenes and places where I noted “DO THIS HERE—SEE NOTES” and just left it.  Slowly, I’m finishing those, getting transitions set up and doing some foreshadowing here and there.
  • On this read-through, I’m tweaking bits here and there where Word flags misspellings, grammar issues, and restructuring paragraphs.  I don’t know how to explain how I know where a paragraph break needs to go; I just do.  Perhaps years and years of reading?

I think bullet points are the best way to organize my time.  Each one can stand for an hour or two (or several).  It should go something like this:

  • Get up , drink coffee, play on internet, get dressed, and go to work.
  • Work all night on a drink of RUM!

Come, Mr. Tallyman, tally me bananas!

Image:  Enzik/Wikimedia Commons

Okay, it’s been a long day.

  • Write a blog post at lunch.
  • Go home.
  •  Drag myself through whatever exercise I have to do that day:  Pilates, walking, or the PT for my destroyed shoulders that doesn’t work (time to go back to the doc, I think).
  • Nom nom nom.
"Hey! What about me?"

“Hey! What about me?”

  • Oh, sorry.  Feed Psycho kitty.
  • Do a bunch of homework.
  • Do some book editing.
  • Get in bed.
  • Read until I get really sleepy or it’s time to turn out the light, whichever comes first.

There is serious rebellion going on in my brain over that New Year’s resolution to read more.  I haven’t had time!  Part of me just wants to chuck it all and lock myself in the library with a blanket, a pillow, and a bag of munchies.   There’s a Panera Bread right next to the branch closest to me; that’ll do.

If I say "bagel" three times, will that make a sandwich appear?

If I say “bagel” three times, will that make a sandwich appear?

My summer is school-free; there wasn’t anything on the schedule I needed.   Once this class is over in May, I can do whatever I like until August.  I’d like to get started on the Rose’s Hostage sequel.  And maybe have some actual fun for a change.



Happy Easter, everyone!

I didn’t get as much done this weekend as I wanted to.  On Wednesday, I took a walk in lovely weather and, coming back, stepped on one of those evil alien seed pods from my sweet gum tree and fell on my left knee.

The doctor said I might have injured my meniscus—a squishy thing in the side of your knee.  If so, it wasn’t very bad; it’s much better now.  I skated on Saturday.  Hey, if they didn’t send me for X-rays, I figured I’d be okay.  So the rest of the holiday weekend was spent dealing with the world’s largest itchy scab and resting it as per orders.  

Instead of grossing you out with a picture, here is one of some lovely sea anemones.

Image:  Nevit Dilman/Wikimedia Commons

This morning, I had to disrupt my routine (!!!) to enroll in fall classes at 7:00 a.m. (when registration opened up).  I have a report to edit at work, and although I finished my homework today, I’m sure there will be more posted any minute now. 

So there’s a lot of “Aaack!” going on right now, as I try to organize my time. 

I started my book editing by merging the entire thing into one document in PageFour, and then exporting it to a Word document.  I do this so I can put it on a flash drive and cart it back and forth to work, instead of dragging my laptop with me. 

The first step is dividing it into chapters.  I could have done that in PageFour but didn’t want to use the laptop any more.  On this pass through the entire book, I will read it through, without really concentrating on too much rewriting or line editing. 

The chapters at this point are fluid.  As rewriting commences, they can move around, or begin or end in different places.  Sometimes I add scenes or take them away, which changes their dynamics. 

Right now, it looks like this.

Image: Downtowngal/Wikimedia Commons

It’s best to end a chapter on an unfinished note, impelling the reader forward to see what happens next.  I don’t want to tell you too many of these tricks I’m learning, because I can’t read anymore without being aware of them.  I remember reading that Mel Gibson once said, “I can’t watch movies anymore.  I can see the strings.”  That is actually true.  Once you learn how something works, it’s hard not to think about it analytically. 

So today, I’ll work on this book at lunch, and a bit in the evening too. 

Hopefully, when I’m done, it will look like this.

Image:  Manfred Heyde/Wikimedia Commons

Happy April Fool’s day, and happy A-Z! 

Blogging from A-Z Challenge Plan of Attack!


It’s almost time again for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, during which I kill myself by attempting to post every day for a month!

A very special thank you to Tossing it Out’s Arlee Bird, founder of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  Thanks, Arlee, for coming up with this idea.  Not only do we get to push ourselves, but we often find new and interesting blogs to read and follow along the way.

Once again, I’m blogging to you from beautiful downtown Crapville, Missouri, where I’ll be currently busting my ass at a new job, making myself crazy with schoolwork, and frantically working on the new book!

This year, my posts will be all about Tunerville.  Let’s see if I can involve you in the process without actually telling you what the book is about (someday, just not yet.  Muwahaha!).

I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Image:  marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ll start with this:

I finished the book during NaNoWriMo.  Then I sat on it for a while.  A long while.

Next, I went back and tweaked a few bits here and there.  And after that, I made notes on some of the things I still needed to research before I could finish the damn thing.

Lucky for me, I have a very flexible work schedule, so if I have to meet with someone or have a phone conference, I can do it.  In the meantime, following the example of several writers I know who are vastly more productive than me, I started researching the sequel to Rose’s Hostage.  You might think it presumptuous of me to start on a sequel when I haven’t even published that yet, but if a later work gets out there, I’d like to have something in the bag.  Besides, I like Detectives Pierce and Rossberger, and I want to torture them play with them some more.

Look for several elements to my A-Z posts this coming month.

  • How I am handling the time crunch.
  • My goals with the book.
  • My process—each thing I work on daily, from a technical standpoint.
  • Things I’m having trouble with.

I want to share what it’s like to edit a book with you.  It’s not a glamorous process.  I hope to have the bulk of the work done by the end of the month—hell, I finished writing it in a month; I can do this.  Cake, baby, cake.

Chocolate Cake

Not a lie.

Image:  John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If I can finish most of the editing in a month, perhaps I can start querying before the publishing industry has its annoying August shutdown.  Because between Thanksgiving and the end of January, I might as well forget it then too.

Ah, publishing.  Kind of like banking, only more ruthless.

I also want to apologize for not posting more often.  Hopefully A-Z will get me back into the habit.  Truly, last year sucked more than any year ever.

  1. I lost my job.
  2. Egon left me.  Yes, his loss.  No, you’re not the only one who thinks that.
  3. My heart broke.
  4. My car broke.
  5. My fridge broke.
  6. My bedroom AC broke.

Seriously, it was like a bad country song.  But things are slowly looking up, and hopefully they’ll surpass my wildest expectations in the year to come.  Meanwhile, what better way to get going again than with good blogs and awesome commenters?

Thanks go out to the A-Z Challenge hosts for putting everything together:

Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/
Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs http://amloki.blogspot.com/
Alex J. Cavanaugh http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
Tina Downey at Life is Good http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0 http://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com/
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie http://izombielover.blogspot.com/
Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse http://thewarriormuse.blogspot.com/
Matthew MacNish at The QQQE http://theqqqe.blogspot.com/
Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small http://nothoughts2small.blogspot.com/Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs http://breakthroughblogs.blogspot.com/
Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia http://leaveittolivia.blogspot.com/
L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick’s Tips http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/
Nicole at The Madlab Post http://www.madlabpost.com/