Friday, April 29, 2011

Psst...I finished ScriptFrenzy

The last day of ScriptFrenzy is tomorrow. I reached 100 pages at about 2 AM on April 29th--and then promptly crashed.

Whew, this was a close one.

Anyway, if you would like to entertain yourself, if you want to see what the hell one can produce in a month, drop me a line and I will send you a PDF version of the ScriptFrenzy script.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Music Tuesday


You might know Glen Hansard from the movie Once. He's also the frontman of an Irish rock group called the Frames--and this is them covering a Joy Division song called "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

As I've been writing the ScriptFrenzy, I've been putting songs into the script as I go along for my "soundtrack." It's really to take up space to move the page count along, but it's been interesting trying to decide which song goes where, in what scene, and why.

Do you have a favorite soundtrack or movie song? If you could have your own "movie style" soundtrack in real life, what songs would you have playing?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A New Direction

I've been mulling over ways to revise at least two of the works that have been written since I began this blog, namely The Keegan Inheritance and Last Request. They're completed--at least to a first draft or a first draft and a half--and never having had a longer work of my own to revise before, I'd put them aside and chased other ideas around.

I'm still not sure how to revise Last Request, but the Keegans have been resurrected.

Here's a quick refresher:

Miles Keegan comes from an aristocratic English family, but he has made his own way in the world as a merchant sailor.

He has one daughter, Alexandra, with an American-born mistress and his second child, Madeline, with his black Barbadian wife. When his wife dies, Miles decides that he's had enough of the West Indies and brings himself and his girls back "home" to England.

I opened Madeline's story first, in 1814, after Miles has died and left the girls (and their stepsister and stepmother) with a large fortune. The family is still reeling with grief, the stepmother is sickly, Alexandra notices that they won't have enough money to cover their expenses in the next quarter and the stepsister runs away.

I was trying a few months ago to rework the completed Inheritance ms.  I entered the first draft into a contest last year and got good feedback, for what the work was at the time. A friend STILL jokes about the "it reads like a history textbook" comment. I was complemented on having mixed race characters in a Regency-historical setting, because it's damn near nonexistent to have mixed race characters in historical fiction and in particular, in romance. But that's another rant for another day.

Then I tried to write the second story and...it kind of fizzled out.

Then I re-read Eva Ibbotson's A Countess Below Stairs and watched (and re-watched) Downton Abbey and did NaNoWriMo and tried to write a historical epic that bogged me down in research hell. I read The Queen's Dollmaker and A Royal Likeness. In other words, I got some new influences and as you know, new influences always equals new ideas.

The romance novel idea went away. I love to read them, but it feels too limiting because there are certain parameters in romance.

  • Everything is focused on the hero and heroine
  • Other characters are merely wallpaper. Unless they're the villain. 
  • It has to be, you know, romantic
  • Larger-than-life qualities
  • It's nice if the hero has a title, like Duke or Earl, if you're writing English Regency romance

 He he. I wasn't quite meeting those standards.

Why can't I just use the existing story ideas and write it slanted towards historical fiction of the lighter-with-kickass-heroines/ more historical background/ less ridiculous dukes and other romance tropes variety?

So that's what I've decided to do.

Except that I've started with Miles. He insisted. I'm re-reading Bury the Chains so that I can reacquaint myself with an aspect of 18th and 19th century English history that certainly isn't mentioned in romance novels. He is pre-fatherhood at the moment, becoming successful as a businessman, taking over some family-owned land on Barbados, where he will be faced with a moral dilemma and a very beautiful woman that he isn't supposed to fall in love with.

And then he has two kids in one year by two different women. Yikes.

Books mentioned in this post: 
A Countess Below Stairs--Eva Ibbotson
The Queen's Dollmaker--Christine Trent
A Royal Likeness--Christine Trent
Bury the Chains-Adam Hochschild

Friday, April 22, 2011

My New Song of the Moment


It's poppy. It's a fun breakup song. It's David Cook's new single.

Oh, yeah!

In addition, due to ongoing migraines, I haven't really been writing much beyond a page or two of script for ScriptFrenzy, but I had been thinking of revising a past project--the Regency idea--less romance novel, more straight up historical novel with kick ass heroines.

Well, for whatever reason, the father of the heroines has piped up and said his story should come first. I'll have to keep chanting "don't overdue the research, it's fiction" to myself.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Script Frenzy: Day 13

I think I've finally managed to distill the utter WTF-ness of being an employee of a certain branch retail chain. 


Let's see how my protagonist, Carly, learns about the weekly scorecard. 


Leslie leads Carly to one of the empty, unused registers. She pulls out papers from her folder. It is a chart of numbers, labeled Period 2, Week 4.

Leslie

These are the weekly metrics.

With a manicured finger, Leslie points to the different statistics on the page.

Leslie

Every week, this comes out. Your net sales, gross sales, returns. How much of your goal you did--I want that over 130% or else you don't get the full percentage...

Carly seems puzzled by that.

Leslie

You only got 101% of your goal this past week. Ring more, then it'll go up.

Carly

But I passed my goals. 101%

Leslie

But they don't give you the points for anything below 120%.

Carly

Huh?

Leslie

The points system. If you call out, you get points.If you're late, you get points...but those points are different from these points.

Carly

Right....(huh?)

LESLIE

It's twenty points for sales goal, then ten points for your average sale. Your average sale has to be over 51 every shift.

Carly and thus we, drift off to look at one of the signs nearby. In black and white, it reads: Jessica Simpson Jeggings, $19.99. Another sign advertises shirts for 40% off original price.

Leslie

You know how you get that 51 dollars? Guess. Sell Guess. Dazzle the customer into buying anything Guess.(pause) Moving on, there's IPT. Items per transaction. 

Leslie points to the page.

Leslie

Yours is good. Could be higher. That needs to be 2.3. Sell the customer more than one item. Ring customers that only have three or more. Then there's credit...you need to get me a credit. Here.

Leslie hands Carly a brochure for a Henley's card.

Leslie

It's worth twenty points.Show this to the customers. Explain the benefits. You know, the 15% percent off. The coupons. You know that. Okay.

Leslie begins to step away.

Leslie

I want you to get me a credit by the end of the night.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

TurboTax, Will You Marry Me?

I just did my taxes tonight. On my own. No parental guidance. Only TurboTax guidance.

Refund from federal and state on my way!

Makes this proudly cheap girl quite happy.

This, by the way, is the first year that I've had to file taxes.

I am still working on the script for ScriptFrenzy as well--not nearly as exciting as completing my first tax return though. I feel so grown up!

On the other hand, my ears are shot to hell. Vertigo. Try not to get it. Feeling like you're going to fall over for an entire week is not desirable.

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Iggy aha moment

I just had, as Oprah would say, an "aha!" moment, so bear with me. I promise this little homily will have a point.

So, as one may notice if one has been reading this blog in any half-assed capacity, then you'll notice that there are a lot of posts relating to Iggy, the latest writing adventure/ self-inflicted torture/ "Hmm...won't know if I can write historical fiction if I don't try" project.

As you may find through the tag archives, I have my moments of complaining about my stories. Quite a lot, in fact. Storywriting is not all fun and games. At times, it's actually quite wrenching. Writing a harrowing scene or working yourself up into a state so you can write something angsty and dramatic is not what I would call fun. Hearing very insistent voices in your head is also, at certain times, not fun; in fact, it's downright weird. Not having your stories turn out the way you imagined is also really not fun. And when you suddenly don't connect with your story or your characters, it's annoying.

I can't even imagine the frustration of having writer's block.

Well, since I began this blog with Book The First, the subsequent two have been fairly easy. I don't mean that they were necessarily la-di-da, so easy to write, but they certainly came more easily than anything I'd tried to write before Book The First. So despite my issues with Last Request and the flatness of The Keegan Inheritance, they weren't, in general, torturous to write. And I did finish them.

But Iggy has been torturous to write. After NaNo ended, I found myself with this terrible manuscript in front of me. I figured that NaNo was over, now the real work had to begin. I thought that it was the amount of research I've had to do into the era that felt stifling. Or maybe it was that I didn't know enough about the time and that was stifling. Or maybe it was because I didn't quite know my characters. Or that I had too many.

I think I may have figured out why it's been so difficult. It's an amalgam of things. It's a heavy story. There's no real clear plot. Tons of characters. Most of the drama is actually religious and, um, while I know more about Catholicism than people assume I do, it's still kind of weird to be writing about it. And I'm not sure that I really empathize with my characters--I'm not feeling what they're feeling and that's a huge problem when you're the only one who hears these damn people and they're demanding, but you can't quite get the nuances of their stories down.

To be honest, I don't know if I'm mature enough to write this story yet. Sometimes that happens. You have to grow into your ideas.

So, I think I'll be putting Iggy aside for a little while. I'll continue researching--you can check that out on the wiki, if you are so inclined. I'll write my script, noodle around with the Regency-ness because I have some new ideas that will make them less romance novel-y and therefore, less cringe-worthy. You know how you have that one girl friend who has to be with someone at all times? I have to be writing something at all times. I mean, think about it. How many of you have ever known me when I was not writing a fanfic or a short story or a blog post or passing a note in school?

Ha! This is me sane. Imagine me if I wasn't writing at all. Yikes.

I'll come back to Iggy at some point, in the same way that I've drifted back to play with the Regency stories or in the way that I've gone back to read parts of Last Request and thought of different ways to fix that up. It's not goodbye forever. And even if it were, who cares? I'm not under contract! I'm not on deadline! Writing is supposed to be fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

ScriptFrenzy: Day 3

I have written 12 pages of script so far. I have no idea if it's any good or not, but it's entertaining because I decided to write a script about my day job.

You know, Adventures in Retail.

So far: the main character, Carly, has her job. We meet her family. We will meet her friends soon. And she's figuring out the procedural business of her job--crap like who makes the schedules, the fitting room schedule, rods, out of town and next up, Carly's first opening rally.

Time to layer on the "DAZZLE." "Dazzle" is the script's version of Magic Training. I am not going to tell you what is stands for because I haven't figured out the last two letters yet.

I'm not sure what my erstwhile companions this month are writing--they haven't updated page counts yet--but I feel less stressed, at least in my writing, because I don't have to overthink it. I can go back into Iggy's world with a fresher perspective.

I'm also nearly done with the first of two books a friend gave me. They take place around the French Revolution. The history's there, but it's not overdone. The heroine is cool. It's an adventure story. Kind of reminded me of what I wanted Iggy to be when I first started outlining it.

And a friend and I agree that a mutual friend should create her own blog.

Friday, April 1, 2011

ScriptFrenzy: Day One

This post will likely be edited throughout today.

I decided to do ScriptFrenzy, 100 pages of script in 30 days, by the same people who bring us NaNoWriMo.

It's a contemporary piece and I've no idea where this is going to go--but it's kind of nice, so far, to have something else as a break from Iggy and his Tudorness and the seriousness of all of that.

Then again, ask me how I'm doing with writing both in a week. Yikes.

So far: 4 pages. So far: a girl gets a retail job and has just finished training and is now getting acclimated to her department and new job.

Two scenes. That's all for now.