What I’ve Been Doing

I have just over 4700 words on my third and final attempt to write the sequel of To Touch A Unicorn. Three times a charm, I hope.  I ended up going back to Holly Lisle’s techniques in How To Think Sideways and they, of course, helped me figure out what I needed to know to write the story. I think I have several more scenes to write and it is done. There might be one or so more but I’ll know more after I get the crucial scenes written.

After I write something I like to let it sit for a week or so because it gives me fresh eyes. My favorite part of writing is rewriting.  Yep, you heard me right. I love going in and tweaking, adding or deleting. It’s like a puzzle, fitting and moving things around to fit together. It’s hard to cut words you’ve labored over and pushed out onto the page. My work around is actually not to delete. The secret is to have a ‘notes’ page. I just put the deleted stuff there in case I can use it later. When I do that I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy therefore making me want to hang on to something that doesn’t work.

As a matter of fact I used the technique quite a bit this time around. On my third attempt to write the story, with a tweak here and there, I was able to salvage a scene or two. Of course I could still end up deleting some more scenes but it’s ok. I’ve got my ‘notes’ page.

First Snowfall, the second short story I wrote and sent out, was not accepted for publication. There could be a number of reasons why it wasn’t accepted, I really didn’t get one. Of course I can speculate all day long. One reason could be because of the ending which is left open. A couple of people did read it for me after it was rejected and they gave me their thoughts and suggestions. It might be I’ll just put it up on Smashwords free and let it go at that. I may or may not try to submit elsewhere. Technically the story was done as a writing exercise never meant to see the light of day beyond my notebook. But I got enough of an enthusiastic response I decided to try. For now I’m tucking it in the back of mind to think about until I complete Whispers Of The Unicorn.

Other than that I’ve done some beta reading for writer friends and family. I’ve come to enjoy beta reading quite a bit. I learn a lot from the process to help in my writing. It’s also teaching me how to articulate why I don’t like something or why I do. I tend to be very blunt but I’m learning to recognize and include the positive along with negative. Sometimes that’s not always easy to do, especially when time is short. 

One of the songs I listen to when I’m writing is called Violin Strange Sun Natseon Hae:

 

Peace.

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To Touch A Unicorn

Buzzymag has published my short story! Here’s the link:

http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Please check it out and let me know what you think, good or bad.

There’s several people I have to thank for helping me: Diane J. Cornwell, Josh Gosselin, Leia Coleman, Tracey McGill, Holly McGill, and Theresa Bane. They all took time out of their busy schedules to read the story for me,  giving me feedback and making it the best it could be. I also have to thank Chuck Wendig for his Friday challenge to write a short story containing the word ‘unicorn’. I’m glad I accepted the challenge.

I found this incredible picture on Bing Images. There was no one I could find to credit except Bing.

Doesn't this spectacular image nearly depict a scene from the story? http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Doesn’t this spectacular image nearly depict a scene from the story? http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Peace.

About Writing on Wednesdays: Updates on To Touch A Unicorn and First Snowfall

Well, I’m here in Maryland and have been for nearly two weeks. I was supposed to go home last Friday but the car broke down in Virginia. Fortunately it was late in the afternoon so the heat wasn’t too bad for humans or dogs. Thank goodness because Rex has a hard time in very hot weather. Still, it was hot enough that he whined a bit.  As a matter of fact I whined, too. Belle Amie and Paul did pretty good. Hot, thirsty, and in Paul’s case very dirty from working on the car, we all survived.

The editor from Buzzy Mag contacted me last week while I was here in Maryland about To Touch A Unicorn. I have to admit I was a little intimidated and put off reading her comments until this week. But honestly? When I finally read them it wasn’t bad. Everything she pointed out was dead on and I have no problem with making the changes. My feelings are not hurt and it is a lot like working with Beta Readers. I love working on the story to make it a great read.

Diane and Terry both beta read First Snowfall for me and loved the story. They tell me it’s creepy. Yay! I finished the edits they suggested in the middle of the night this week. There was no else around except me, Rex and Belle Amie. My own story creeped me out. Belle Amie kept barking and shaking at nothing. I’m pretty sure I just made this story up in my head. Didn’t I? o_o

After the story marinates a few days I’ll read over it, during the day, and send it off to see if anyone wants to publish it. I’m crossing my fingers. Many thanks and much appreciation to Diane and Terry for their time, critiques and encouragement.

The sequel to To Touch A Unicorn is in the works. I had to trash most of it although I hope to salvage some scenes. The fact I was having such a hard time moving forward in the story should have been a big clue I was writing in the wrong direction. I like the new start better and hope to have the story finished soon. It may end up being a novella. I’ll find out once I sit down to plot a few scenes. I should have done that to begin with anyway. I do know better.

Moonfire is calling to me. You know? My writing has grown and I might just be ready to get back to that story and get her done. One thing I’ve realized is that I was trying to write to an agenda. There are certain elements in the story that make it easy to cross a line and sermonize instead of telling a great story. I have enough maturity as a writer now to recognize that fact and hopefully fix it.

 

 

Peace.

 

References:

The clip art used is from ClipartPal.

 

About Writing On Wednesday: A Patriotic Concert and Writing Biz

The Concert:

Please enjoy some music while you read the post although if you’re interested in seeing the groovy moves of the 70’s you might want to watch the first video, :-).

 

Music and dance popular around 1776:

 

 

Fife and drums:

 

 

From the movie The Patriot:

 

 

Jimi Hendrix and Whitney Houston have performed unforgettable versions of The Star Spangled Banner. Even Slash performs a decent variant. Now here comes Madison Rising with their excellent rendition:

 

Happy Fourth of July!

 

Writing Biz:

There are several things I want to share.

First is news about To Touch A Unicorn. I did get an email advising I have been assigned a new editor who should contact me in the next couple of weeks. I both dread and look forward to it. What I look forward to is learning from a professional on how to make my story a better one. I just hope I’m up to the task. My fingers are crossed.

Dread is because at some point, once the revisions are complete, the story gets published. I know, I know. That is the point. But what if no one likes it? I’m afraid I’ll run the first time someone (readers) hollers, “Boo!” Not everyone will like what I write, I know that in my head, but will I be strong enough to keep going in my heart?

Second, I want to point to the excellent blog about self publishing versus traditional publishing my friend Diane wrote. She does a good job of explaining why it’s all about being professional. While you’re there check out the new fantastic covers for her Broken series.

Third, Tracey and I finished our writing prompts from last week. We both ended up with over a thousand words. She has stated she doesn’t want to share hers although I think she should since it is a good read. I feel squeamish about putting up my story, too. What I will do is put up the revised beginning:

The back door was open. Scarlett Miller paused in her kitchen to stare. Oh, God. This is bad. She called Ginger, her German Shepherd mix, to her side before approaching the door cautiously. An old trunk full of books sat sideways in front it; moving the trunk to the side, she opened the door the rest of the way. She and Ginger looked outside.

It was the first snowfall of the year, the pristine beauty marred by tracks leading up the steps. They did not belong to Scarlett or her companion. Ginger growled. When Scarlett looked down she could see the hair standing on the dog’s back.

A chill worked its way down her back raising goose bumps on arms. The lid on the dark well in her mind blew off. Memory’s dark tendrils began to ghost out. Almost paralyzed in fear, she slapped the well’s lid back down. If she lost it now, she was doomed.

Calming, she knew two things stopped the intruder from coming in: an old trunk full of books and her dog. Patting Ginger on the head she said, “Good girl. You get a steak tonight.” Still a little shaky, Scarlett called the police before getting her camera.

 *****

Tracey tells me she didn’t like the part about the well and I just realized I mention the trunk twice.  I’m not going to correct it for now. I’ll set the story aside and maybe come back to it later.

What’s your favorite patriotic music? How do you feel about publishing? Do you have plans on the fourth of July? What have you written lately? Have you ever played a fife or banged on a drum? Are you in the mood for a revolution?

Peace.

Good Bye 2011

Its been fun but it’s time to look forward to fresh experiences, reach for more goals and meet new challenges.

Year End Wrap-up

My photos of the gender reveal party weren’t all that great. What a coinkydink, I just took a new Photoshop Elements course and I’ve been working on them this last week. I should have them up by this Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I didn’t use a flash and didn’t stop to check what was happening and they were a little dark and off in color. The lighting really was awful in that room.

Everyone was either looked like a zombie or had huge shadows around their eyes.  Not a problem but it’s taking a bit of time to fix them. Yeah, I’m enjoying myself. 🙂 Otherwise, we had fun at the party and I can’t wait to share.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, yeah. I revised To Touch a Unicorn one last time (I swear!) and submitted it to a magazine a couple of days before Christmas. I’m still cringing over it but I promised a friend I would and I did. Wish me luck! Also, I started the sequel to the short story called Whispers of the Unicorns.

Hmmn. I finished up the Photoshop Elements course just after Christmas. I am not doing that again. What was I thinking to start a class just before the holidays? I ended up with a 94 on the final exam that I’m extremely happy with. The funny thing is I did great on the hard stuff and missed two simple questions. One question I still think was subjective but I’m not quibbling cause I got the hard stuff.

The last couple of lessons had some really cool stuff like denuding tigers and making polar bears disappear. It was a lot of fun but I felt so sorry for the poor tiger I gave his stripes back.  I gotta work on that technique anyway.

No goals were really set for this year.  I ended up 2010 sick and started 2011 sick.  January 2nd has not been good to us these past two years.  Resolutions were forgotten or not started because of that and Paul lost first his sister and then his uncle on January 2nd of 2010 and 2011. This year I am going to believe that January 2012 will be a month to remember for good things not sad.

But I can say that it has been a good year in spite of its rockiness and sad times. I went to my first con and met Terry Bane there. It took us over six months to hook up again but it’s been a pleasure to get to know her. Terry and her husband are role-playing gamers. Glenn actually designs his own games. They invited Tracey to play his new game and Terry told her she will be credited for that. She plans to join another session with them early in January.

Health wise I finally managed to kick the virus that hung of for so long to the curb.  All I gotta say is Sage tea is awesome, if you’re congested it’s the way to go. Green tea is a great substitute or addition.

Even though I signed up for the worst possible time of year I still loved the Photoshop Elements class. Fun, fun, fun. I learned lots and I want to take the second class if I can.

The best of this year was when we found out Holly is expecting. The second best was when we got to see the first sonogram of The Peanut. Nothing can beat that. Holly’s belly is rounding nicely.

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About Writing on Wednesdays: What’s Up?

Well, I’ve been writing of course.

You might be surprised to know I have blogs written but not posted. Most are 3/4 written or just need to be polished up but I’ve yet to do this. I may never post them and just start over.

The problem is allergies are killing me this year. Not literally of course but there’s been a couple of days all I could do was just boil some water with sage in it and ride out the runny nose, coughing, sneezing in the bed with a box of tissues.  The worst part is when my eyes swell, itch and water making it difficult to see let alone type.

I bought one of those sinus cleaners and I came to the conclusion all that controversy about water boarding may be exaggerated. Cause hel-lo, Americans pay good money to waterboard themselves when they purchase one of these products. I thought I was going to drown myself the first time I tried it last night.

Huh? Oh, yeah. Right. Writing.

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Curio’s Past, Shhh.