Archive | October, 2011

$20 Amazon Gift Card

I’m a little swamped today. All the usual, plus, I’m pitching a proposal to a new client that I’m really excited about.

So today I’m just taking the opportunity to remind everyone that I’m giving away a $20 gift card on November 1st. All you have to do to be eligible to win it is to comment on my blog here. You could share your thoughts on writing fiction, tell me about your own blog, or just tell me a joke. You could even write “I want that gift card, baby!”

Only five days left. Get in while the gettin’s good.

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100 Days of Writing – Day 31

Well I’m officially a month into the 100 Days Of Writing Challenge. I’ve missed four days, for a grand total of 27 successful days. My goal was to write one page a day on the Northern California book I’m working on for Eye Muse Books. The book is set to have 100 pages, and I had 18 when I started, so I’m at 45 – almost half way done.

The first week was easy, the second was okay, but now, four weeks in, I’m realizing how very hard it is to sustain a write-every-day habit. It’s amazing how easily a day can slip by. Some days I’m just being lazy (on Saturday we babysat a friend’s little one so she and her husband could go to a wedding, and having one more kid around the house was the perfect excuse to bail on work), and other days I’m actually using the time for other work (yesterday I spent the time working on a proposal for a new client).

So while I haven’t been perfect, I think a 87% success rate over 31 days is pretty good. Last year I only made it to day 12.

The thing I’m afraid of is that it isn’t going to get any easier. Family is coming to town this weekend, and soon the holidays will be here. My husband’s birthday is coming up and our little guy will be turning one on December 10th! I can’t believe it. I will likely miss more days ahead, but I’m going to keep trying. I will keep getting back on this horse, no matter how many times it bucks me off. I really want to finish this book before the end of the year. It would just feel good.

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New Headshot

I am super excited for tomorrow morning.

My friend, and amazing photographer, Paul Giunta is coming over early to take some family photos for us. As of right now – this is the best family photo we have. I think we can do better.

While he’s here, we’re going to try to get a good solo shot of me to use as my new writer’s headshot. The one I’m using now (check out my bio page, or any of my social media) was taken when I was pregnant. If you look close you can tell that I’m leaning over to camouflage the belly. It’s been a fine filler, but I want a really great headshot. Something I would be proud to put on the cover of a book.

I guess I need to get busy looking at some examples. I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier to get something fantastic if I can tell Paul what I think fantastic is.

ps- don’t forget that anyone who leaves a comment between now and the end of the month will be automatically entered to win a $20 gift card to Amazon (my way of celebrating the redesign of the site). I’m sure you can think of something to say…

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Ta-Dah!

Welcome to the new and improved Unfolding Tale.

I spent the last few days transferring my blog posts from the old site (good ol Weebly didn’t have a way to do that automatically, booooo!), which was a fun, if tedious, stroll down memory lane.

One thing I realized is that I used to only post two to three times a month, whereas now I post that much in a week. I also used to write much longer posts. I still occasionally take my time to opine freely, but these days I tend to get to the point a lot more quickly. I also used to only write about fiction, but now that I do so much writing of all different kinds, the topics of my posts have grown much more diverse.

A few notes on the new site – I tried to transfer photos as much as I could, but not all of them made the cut. I also lost all of my comments. This is truly sad, as the discussions that have taken place in response to some posts were awesome. My apologies to everyone whose thoughts were lost to the ether. Now that I’m on WordPress I shouldn’t have that trouble again, even when it’s time to update the site in the future. Next time the transfer will be easier, and I’ll be able to take my photos and comments with me.

So this is it!

As promised – I’m celebrating by giving away a $20 Amazon gift card. Anyone who leaves a comment on any post written between now and the end of the month will be automatically entered to win.

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A Blind Woman Reading A Map In The Dark

In November my novel was 247 pages long. I still refer to that stack of paper as my first draft, but by January 11th I was back down to 35 pages. The story changed so much as I wrote it that by the time I reached the end, the beginning I had written months before no longer worked. I had to trash most of my work.

I’ve heard great writers talk about how they always trash their first hundred pages – that it takes that long to figure a story out. One writer (Isabel Allende I think?) even refers to those as pages -100 to 0, then she starts with page 1.

So even though scrapping over 200 pages seems extreme, I’m willing to accept the loss as part of the process. The thing is, now that I’m back up to page 120, the ending I wrote in my first draft doesn’t seem quite right.

Here’s my nightmare: I figure out the next 200 pages, but by the time I get to the end, my current beginning is no longer any good. So I rewrite the beginning again, then the end doesn’t fit. This cycle goes on indefinitely, and I never, ever finish my novel.

Am I spiraling down into a tighter and tighter story with all the interesting characters and moving plot points that will keep a reader turning the pages? Or am I chasing bubbles in the breeze? I’m going on faith that this process I’m engaged in will lead me to a finished product at some point, but at times I get nervous that I’m going nowhere.

All I can do is keep writing.

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Happy Birthday, Unfolding Tale

How does one celebrate the second birthday of one’s blog?

 

By taking it down, of course. HA!

But seriously, though, I am taking the plunge and paying an actual web designer to make me my very own site on WordPress. No more of this Weebly business, no more blogger. I’m moving on up.

Because the thing is, I’ve really come to like blogging, and since I intend to keep it up indefinitely, it’s about time I have a site all my own. I hate it when I’m browsing blogs and come across this very template at someone else’s url. It’s like showing up at the prom with the same dress as the queen, and you’re thinking “well, I look pretty, but dang, she does too.” Then all you can do all night is compare yourself to her. Bah.

 

So Happy Birthday to the Unfolding Tale. In a couple of days this url will bring you to an “under construction” page. A short while after that I’ll be back, in my shiny new digs. To celebrate I’m thinking of giving away an Amazon gift card to one of my readers, so stay tuned (read: “like” my Facebook page), so you know when the grand reopening goes down.

TTFN

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More Support for Giving It Away

I was in San Francisco this weekend to help my mom out with her exhibition at the Ceramics Annual of America. It was a beautiful show, with many talented artists, and I noticed a lot of the visitors taking photos of the work on display. I asked my mom if it bothered her when people took photos of her work. She said that some artists get really upset about it, but that she personally doesn’t mind at all.

Her reasoning is this: the work she does is so uniquely hers, that there’s really no way anyone could copy her. She can’t even duplicate her own work. There’s no way the photos that are taken are good enough to be of commercial quality, so really, the images are for personal use. There is an off chance that someone might post a photo of her work online, but really that’s just publicity.

So there’s another artist’s vote for giving it away. While I’m sure there are exceptions, it seems that most agree, the benefits of exposure far outweigh the risks of piracy.

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“Steve” the Pirate Makes His Case

I mentioned on Monday that my friend “Steve” sent me a full novel in a text file. Just as if he had handed it to me except that it came over email (and was therefore copied). I gladly accepted it, and look forward to reading it, but was feeling guilty about stealing content that someone worked so hard to write.

Steve read my blog post and sent me an email saying “…this ‘Steve’ guy sounds like a self-important ass, and I suspect he might be a Bolshevik. You should avoid him at all costs.” He then went on to tell me about a favorite author of his (Cory Doctorow) who claims he was only finally able to make a living as a writer after he started giving his goods away for free.

I’ve heard this before, the “give it away” plan for gaining fame as a writer. The main crux of the argument is that for most of us starting out as fiction writers, piracy isn’t the biggest problem, obscurity is. Can’t argue against that.

At this point, should I ever actually finish my novel, I don’t think I would mind if it was pirated. I think I would be flattered. Even if I only sold say 500 copies, but 5,000 people read it. Well, I wouldn’t be making a fortune, but that’s 5,000 people that now know me as a writer, and might buy my next book, right? Or they might just pirate that one too.

What if 50,000 people read it without paying for it? That might hurt a little more, but the truth is, very few people are getting rich on literature anyhow. If that many people love my book, odds are one of them works in Hollywood and will offer me an option. Hollywood’s where the money is. Who reads books anymore anyway?

Point is, I write my fiction because I love it. Should it ever replace my business writing as a means of income then praise jeebus, I’ll enjoy it. Until then, I’ll simply enjoy falling into a good story.

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The New IBC Site is Live

The new Innovative Business Content website is now live. Thank you all for your feedback on the logo. As you can see I settled on #8. Your votes were pretty evenly distributed between 1, 2 and 8, so I went with my gut. I have to say I’m pretty happy with how it all came together. Check it out when you get a chance: www.innbizcon.com.

In other news, I will be adding a new feature to my Facebook page. I’m calling it my Nerd Word of the Week. On Fridays I will post an obscure, nerdy, yet usable word and its definition. It will be kind of like those word-a-day calendars, except that I’m hoping to surprise and delight readers with words they don’t actually know yet. So if you like cool words, make sure you “like” my Facebook page.

That’s it for today. I’m heading up to the Bay Area this weekend to do an interview for a piece I’m working on for BETA, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s monthly publication. The story will be about how mixed HIV status couples live and love despite the virus. Should be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

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My Friend Steve, the Pirate.

A friend of mine, who I’ll call Steve, sent me an email this weekend about a piece he heard on NPR. It was a rebroadcast of an interview with Franzen about his latest novel Freedom, and Steve thought it might be interesting for me, given that I’m working on a novel myself. Then he wrote briefly about Franzen’s other novels (which I haven’t read) and then said “I took the liberty of attaching a copy of ‘The Corrections’ to this email…” 

Whoa. Hold the phones.

I scrolled down and opened the text file and sure enough there it is. The entire content of the novel. It’s not pretty, but I can send it to my kindle, and read it like any other book. WTF. I have no idea how he did this. How did I have no idea that this was possible?

Then my brain starts in on the ethics of it all. Stupid brain.

On one hand, it’s just like borrowing a book, but from far away (Steve lives in San Diego). Also, I wasn’t planning on buying the book anyway, so it’s not like this is a lost sale for Franzen. Still, it is kind of like, no actually, it IS, pirating creative, proprietary material. So I guess I feel a little guilty, but I’m still going to read it. 

I guess my morals are weak. Or maybe my super-strength morals are simply corrupted by my serious book addiction. Addiction makes a person do stupid things. 

Whatever the case, I find the whole thing fascinating. In the future, you can borrow books over email. 

The future is now.

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