Monthly Archives: October 2008

Um…Where Am I Going?

I had one of those true writer moments this morning. I was driving the kids to school – a route I take every day – and was so engrossed in what was going on in my head that I completely blew past my turn. I couldn’t tell you where I was going. I was too busy trying to figure out how to make David seem less schizo. And in the process became schizo.

I don’t drink and drive. I plot and drive. Wonder which is more dangerous.

If it’s any consolation, I was actually stopped at a light when I realized I was zoning off. That was about the time the kids asked me where I was going. Good damned question, guys.

Oddly enough, it was just that question on my mind in the shower this morning – where am I going? Career-wise, that is. My immediate plans are clear: edit Let’s Dish and market my brains out, and try to sell Another Time Around to my editor. And market my brains out.  But then what?

I have three more manuscripts waiting to be edited, re-written, etc. and I have another plot in my head that I’m going to need to get out soon before I lose it. It was a lot more concrete a few months ago. That makes me nervous. I want to start looking for an agent, but feel like I need to have one of those manuscripts completely ready to go before I even try. And I want to do it NOW!

I have no patience. I want these three books to just be done so I can go out there and sell sell sell! But then I saw the fatal flaw in my plan: if you put out more than one book in a year, folks will expect you to keep doing it. That’s all fine and dandy while I’m running through my backlist, but once I have to start coming up with new material on demand? Well, we’ve got trouble right here in River City, and the capital P stands for Plot*. Eventually I will be able to sell on a partial (three chapters and a synopsis). Problem is to write that synopsis, I need to plot. I don’t do that well. So I need time to write. Time. Something I’m not giving myself right now.

So in short, I need to chill.  I need to let myself take some time to write, to enjoy the process, and not be sell-crazy. Just like this morning, when the drive took a little longer than I’d anticipated. The kids still got to school. Eventually I’ll get to my destination, too. Wherever the hell that is.

* Apologies to this unfamiliar with The Music Man. What can I say? I did fourteen performances of that musical in six days once upon a nightmare. The music is burned in my brain forever.

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No NaNo for Me

For the first time in five years, I am not even going to attempt NaNoWriMo. There was one year I started and didn’t finish due to a family medical issue, but this year I’m not even going to start. I wanted to. I signed up, have a novel in mind (since last summer, actually) and really, really want to do it. But the business of writing is going to get in the way of the fun of writing.

I have an edit on Let’s Dish due on the 30th. No, that doesn’t interfere with the NaNo time line, but my brain is in that book instead of the one I want to write. No plotting means no word count.

Okay this is where I have to take an aside. I pride myself on being a “pantser” as opposed to a “plotter,” but I have to add a caveat to that. I don’t do charts, I don’t do graphs, and I don’t do sticky notes. That doesn’t mean I go into a book totally blind. I have point A, point B and point C in my head. In between those points, I pretty much riff. But before I put those first words onto the page, I have scenes in my head. I have characters talking to me. I know their personalities, am in their world, and know where I want them to go. The only voices in my head right now are Maggie and Kevin.  So Alex and Jeff from Happy Medium are sitting in a corner pouting because I haven’t talked to them since June.

But even with my head in Let’s Dish, I could get my brain wrapped around a new book within a few days. So that’s not the real problem. The real problem… well, it’s not actually a problem. It’s a good thing.

This summer while I made the requested adjustments to Let’s Dish, I sent my now-editor another manuscript to look over. She liked it, but it needed some changes, too. She’s hinting at me now that she’d really like to see those changes. Considering I’ve made it to chapter four, and that book has twenty-two chapters, I think I have a way to go. So my November will be dedicated to Another Time Around, where I get to have fun with Brin, Max, and David. Yup – a triangle. But one guy’s not exactly present.  You’ll find out more – I hope – when it comes into print.

So now I’m off to finish up my second, tear-down edit on Let’s Dish. March will be here before I know it, and I only get one more crack at this thing before you all get to see it. So NaNo? Maybe next year.

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My Cat’s in Love with My Curling Iron… and Other Tales of Domestic Bliss

You read it right – my cat is in love with my curling iron. Well, more accurately, my hot air brush. Most cats are afraid of loud noises, but my Charlotte adores the noisy, blowing, warm thingy that I use daily in an attempt to fluff my stick-straight hair. The second I turn on the brush, she hops on the counter and starts yowling her head off begging to be brushed with the magic warming thingamabob. She kisses it. Seriously. I catch her in the bathroom pining for the warm air when it’s not turned on. She’s totally in love with the thing. The husband says he did not sign up for psychotic cats.

Then again, there’s a lot in this marriage that he didn’t sign up for.

When we got married, Ron didn’t know I was a writer. I know, bad Cate. But I was closeted back then – writing for fun but not for profit, as it were. Never intending to do anything with it. Until I got The Idea. The Idea turned into a hidious book – horribly written, plot so full of holes it might as well be cheese, omniscient third person. All the no-nos. But The Idea led me to the Next Idea, and then the New Idea, and then The Idea That Sold – Let’s Dish. It was the fourth book I wrote, and I’d love to say I’d figured it all out by that time. I hadn’t. Still haven’t. But as I sit here at the laptop night after night, I work on my craft. And my husband stares at me like I have three heads.

When I first started writing again, he was supportive enough, but didn’t “get” it. It was my time-consuming hobby at that point. The hobby that kept me from doing dishes and laundry. But one night when I had just had it with the book, with the kids, and with the husband, I came out of the closet. I told him I was a writer and that was that. One day I was going to be published, and to do that I needed to write and figure out what I was doing. At that point, he understood. And said he couldn’t believe he’d married someone with enough talent to write a novel.

Well, who can be mad at  a man who says that?

Fast-forward five years, and here I am working on my first official edit. Our pillow-talk consists of how far I’d gotten that day and if my characters were starting to cooperate. he listens along happily, and I end up apologizing for not cluing him in before I started down this whole crazy road. But now he gets it, even it is an odd existence.

So when he said he hadn’t signed on for psychotic cats, I just stared at him. I mean, the guy listens to me going off about fictional characters for hours on end but our cat’s affection for a small appliance has got him wound up? And he thinks I’m the crazy one.

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How to Kill and Afternoon -Now with motion!

UPDATE: I fiddled a little. Now I have zoom!!

So on the Samhain author loop, they’ve been discussing book trailers. And since I’m avoiding actually working on the book…

It’s a work in progress, and the end will be replaced with the cover when I get it. But what the heck! It was kinda fun.

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Tough Time to be a Writer

Just when I get my golden ticket, it seems the publishing industry has gone to hell in a handcart. I won’t name names, but in the last few weeks three people I know have gotten huge blows from this industry. One – a multi-published author and brilliant lady – had her book rejected. Not unusual, I know, even for someone who’s published before, but it is my understanding than the editor in question asked her to write a proposal for this book, and then turned it down. She’s now off contract. Another friend of mine was low-balled so badly on a project that she let it drop, affectively ending that line of her writing. A third had a book that was due out next summer that a publisher cancelled. They had purchased it, put it in their lineup, and then killed it.

These are intelligent women with smart, tight, and well-written books. They are incredibly talented and amazing writers, and the industry has managed to beat them down. For now. Let’s hope they keep at it, and come back twice as strong.

But with the economy the way it is, people just aren’t buying books. I know of at least one NYT best seller who’s ready to hang it up and call it quits. So why am I busting my rump to do this? Good question.

But I am doing it, and am happy as all hell to be doing it. Because for all the pain it promises, for all the hard work it is, this is what I love. And if I can somehow hold on by the skin of my teeth through this downturn, I can make it through anything, right?

Let’s hope.

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