Notes from a Drama Queen


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I got so caught up the effing book that I forgot to post. I finished in a blaze of glory, came back home (hobbled back home), spent three days on revisions and then sent it off. And because it was so late my Darling Baby Boy Editor (or DBBE) says it's nicely creepy and he only has a few notes.
Such a sweet boy!

So now I'm sitting here with ice on my knee, ready to start on my fabulous historical series. And I can't freaking wait!

In the meantime, just to catch you up to speed, here's the Facebook abridged version of my marathon.

Anne is at page 200 of her read through, making copious notes, and is now too tired to work any more. 10:20pm
Anne has eaten three more mini-croissants, is on her second Diet Coke, has immersed herself in the hot tub and gone back to work. 6:53pm –
Anne is finished reading through the mss. and going out for a late breakfast before she dives in. 11:10am -
Anne is about to start piling up the pages. 12:46pm
Anne has just finished writing 10 pages in one hour. And she's just beginning. 2:01pm -
Anne has written another seven pages (17 so far today) and downloaded Nick Cave's Murder Ballads to keep her in the mood. 2:40pm
Anne has just written ten more pages, bringing her to 27 so far. 4:54pm
Anne has written a new prologue and a new scene for still another ten pages, making it 37 for the day. And the night is young. 6:53pm
Anne has gotten to page 60 on revisions, as well as writing a total of 45 pages. She is a goddess. And now she's going to bed. 12:20am
Anne is awake, and written five new pages. 10:47am
Anne has decided that the Murder Ballads are just too freaking gross for the frail, delicate flower that she is. 10:49am
Anne had lunch with writing friends and is now back. 6 pages and a bag of potato chips later. 4:25pm
Anne is climbing the Word Twist ladder! 4:35pm
Anne 's done 15 new pages and ordered room service for dinner. 10:57pm
Anne 's written another seven pages. 11:14pm
Anne is eating bagels, drinking DC, and starting to work . 10:44am
Anne just looked up the history of "jump the shark". Don't ask why. 11:11am -
Anne is climbing the Scramble ladder! 12:07pm
Anne has written 25 pages, killed the bad guy, and is bringing it on home (figuratively as well as literally). 5:56pm
Anne is climbing the Word Twist ladder! 5:59pm
Anne is now doing revisions. Tomorrow she gets to go home. Yippee!!! 7:53pm –
Anne is hoping her editor doesn't notice she's doing word games every now and then instead of working. 7:54pm -

I didn't actually write the last scene until Monday, but I still figure it was basically done by 5:56.

Is there any doubt that I am a goddess among women?

Day 3

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Out of bed around 9:30, ate mini-croissants and drank DC. Keyed in changes and wrote another new scene for Chapter four, giving me five new pages, then off to have lunch with writer friends. I'm limping around like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, popping ibuprofen and tylenol like made, and it's not doing any good, so I stopped and bought a heating pad on the way back to the hotel.
I was so miserable I fell asleep for three hours -- then awake again, trying to figure out how to get comfortable enough to write.
Happily I discovered that the computer desk/tray thing I bought, that was doing more harm than good, had legs that extended, and suddenly I was (relatively) comfortable, so I wrote a fast 17 more pages. The hero is tied up, the maguffin is drugged, the heroine has just leaped at the villain with a kitchen knife in her hand. Such excitement.

Yes, I've been eating junk food but I suddenly realized that all this ibuprofen is doing a number on me. Since it doesn't really keep me from hurting I might as well switch over to tylenol completely. I ordered room service and a big bucket of ice and I'm sitting here drinking diet lemonade and trying to figure out how much more I have to go.

Tomorrow's a day long challenge - if I need to eat I'll get room service again. I'm better off not trying to walk anyway, and I probably need at least forty pages to bring this baby home.

You know, serial killers aren't really a whole lot of fun. I think I'm better off with men who kill for political reasons, not for fun.

Time for a break. That makes it a total of a mere 25 pages today, but tomorrow, no more excuses. Onward and upward, to infinity and beyond!

Day 2 afternoon

Friday, September 05, 2008

So we're at 27 pages so far. I downloaded Nick Cave's Murder Ballads and they're so freaking creepy that I'm going to have a hard time getting them out of my head when this book is done.

Our heroine has finally gotten her shit together and decided to leave her husband when, like Bluebeard's wife, she discovers proof that he's the serial killer. Now she's got to rescue her daughter and kill her husband and have a happy ending. Mind you, I have about 85 pages to go.

And only two and a half days to do it. Can I make it? Of course!

Here's some of the stuff on my playlist:
Can't Win [Live] 9:13 Richard Thompson
Death Is Not the End 4:27 Nick Cave
Wall Of Death 3:42 Richard & Linda Thompson Shoot Out The Lights Rock
Running Up That Hill 5:00 Kate Bush
Here Comes The Night 2:47 Van Morrison
The Ghost In You 4:16 The Psychedelic Furs
Revolution 4:33 The Pretenders
Both Sides Now (Remastered) 5:47 Joni Mitchell
Nightswimming 4:18 R.E.M.
Where the Wild Roses Grow 3:57 Nick Cave Murder Ballads
Shoot Out The Lights 5:24 Richard & Linda Thompson
The Curse of Millhaven 6:56 Nick Cave
Here's Where The Story Ends 3:53 The Sundays
After the Goldrush 3:46 Neil Young
Neil Young - Castles Burning 2:58 Neil Young
Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime 4:12 The Korgis
Crow Jane 4:15 Nick Cave Murder Ballads
Sanctuary 4:17 Utada Hikaru
U2 - All I Want Is You
Stagger Lee 5:15 Nick Cave Murder Ballads Metal
Henry Lee 3:57 Nick Cave Murder Ballads Metal
River Knows Your Name 4:26 John Hiatt
Love Theme 4:58 Vangelis Blade Runner
O'Malley's Bay 14:29 Nick Cave Murder Ballads Metal
Goodnight and Go 3:52 Imogen Heap
Don't Give Up 5:55 Peter Gabriel
Hidden Track 3:32 The Wallflowers
Killing The Blues 4:17 Robert Plant/Alison Krauss
Whole Wide World 3:55 The Proclaimers
The Kindness of Strangers 4:39 Nick Cave
Lovely Creature 4:14 Nick Cave
Song of Joy 6:48 Nick Cave
Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed? 4:56 Richard & Linda Thompson
Fearless Heart 4:07 Steve Earle
Crash Into Me 5:18 Dave Matthews Band
Bury My Lovely 4:01 October Project
Right Here 4:14 Staind
The Departed Soundtrack - Van Morrison feat. Pink Floyd & Rogers Waters - Comfortably Numb (Live)
Red Rain 5:35 Peter Gabriel
River Road 4:07 Jimmy LaFave

So maybe I get a short break now. Eaten a big breakfast at Denny's (midday) to make up for my lack of dinner last night, and three plain bagels and a couple of DCs. I'm actually even sitting at the desk instead of in a chair -- I haven't written at a desk for years and years. But there's no recliner in my hotel room, so what can you do?

Day 2

Dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 9:30, grabbed a DC from the fridge and finished the read-through. Now I'm off for a huge breakfast since I didn't have dinner, then swing by the grocery store and then lock myself in again.
The page counts come next.

Marathon step 2

Thursday, September 04, 2008

So it's now 10:21 pm, I've gotten to page 200, and I'm exhausted. I've eaten a package of mini-croissants and half a bag of potato chips, had a Diet Coke, a bottle of water and two mugs of Diet Lemonade, went swimming, sat in the hot tub because I'm full of aches and pains, and now I'm going to go to sleep.
(Dinner, you ask? Who needs dinner when you've got junk food?)
The book's better than I thought. I need to add another point of view character and change some of the scenes to her voice. I need to clean stuff up, like what color are my heroine's eyes, is the villain a Vegan or a vegetarian, etc.
But now I'm ready to crash. I'll wake up tomorrow, go out and grab an Egg MacMuffin, and come back and go through the final 100 pages. And then, excelsior!!!!
Onward and upward.

The Time has come

So I jumped into my car and drove 70 miles to the elegant Burlington (VT) Sheraton. I'm all settled in -- I had to go out to buy a new lap desk since I forgot mine and my computer's too heavy on my legs.
Also had to get the necessities of life -- potato chips and whole grain Goldfish and croissants and Diet Coke and light lemonade (plus pitcher and mug and straws), plus some water. And now I'm all settled in for the time being, ready to work.
Step number one -- Read through the 300 pages I have so far, making copious notes. I also have notes from my two Beta readers -- Lynda Ward and Sally Fifield.
So here I go, teetering on the high platform, ready to leap off backwards doing a double half twist.

More later.

The End

Monday, September 01, 2008

The end of what, you may ask. The end of the first draft of SILVER FALLS. I've been slaving away like a madwoman, tearing my hair, rewriting and rethinking and looking at it sideways and upside down. But we're coming into the homestretch. I've printed up the first 280 pages, plus sent it to two good griends to get their feedback, and I'll take it with me when I drive my sister and mother 95 miles down to Dartmouth for my sister's hip replacement. I'll read through it in the hotel room the night before, and in the surgery waiting room tomorrow, scribbling all over the sucker, considering whether to give one character a POV, considering whether I want to change who the killer is (I've done that before). Then back for a day, then off to a hotel for a marathon, to finish the draft in four days.
You'll love my marathons. I keep track of my battles, my page counts, the garbage I eat, the craziness of an insane push to finish a book with room service. (The hotel has the room service, not the book).
I've done this on and off for years. The first time I tried it was with my second historical, SHADOW DANCE. The longest period of time was for PRINCE OF MAGIC, where I wrote half the book in five days. I still have a copy of my marathon report for that -- I'll dig it out and upload it because it's a hoot.
In the meantime, for the big push I'll be taking my Clairfontaine notebooks ad Pilot pens, my Alphasmart, my Mac, Lagoud. I'll be bringing notebooks and my iPod and diet lemonade and my bathing suit (swimming in the hotel pool is a necessity to keep me from beating my head against the wall).
Comfortable clothes, clean underwear, my wrist splints and an open mind.
So let me tell you why I'm having trouble with this book. It's a serial killer book, and because of that I can't get into the wild, romantic adventure of it. It's fascinating, compelling, the characters are complicated and intense, the murders really nasty, the threat real.
It's just not a whole lot of fun.
I need to be careful when I get an interesting idea -- I should do research before I decide to write about it. Serial killers are seriously gross, dude. And toning mine down just weakens the book. I have to grit my teeth and write it .
But it's going to be brilliant, even if I have to wrestle the damned book to the ground and sit on it.

Finishing a book is always an intense, fast, insane undertaking. I've fought and won before, I will this time. So wish me luck.
Think of me
like a Valkyrie, read for war.

I shall ride into battle with this PITA book and I shall conquer!

Ridiculous trivia question -- what's the name of the divine cartoon that illustrates my battle with my muse (who this time around tends to be Elmer Fuddish)?

And a question for the day -- anybody got advice for someone about to do an absolute blitz of hard work? Food suggestions, drink suggestions, music suggestions, life suggestions?

You'll be getting daily reports -- wish me luck!