davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Literary agent Beth Phelan's #DVpit twitter pitching event  is happening tomorrow, details here.

The idea is that if you have a submission ready manuscript with diverse characters and/or are yourself diverse, then this is your chance to pitch to a bunch of agents (over 50) looking for diverse authors/stories. You have a single tweet to sell your manuscript to watching agents, so it really hones your precis skills!  (You're actually allowed one tweet an hour over the 12 hours it runs).

I'll be taking part with my Pitchwars novel, and I also blogged about #DVpit, SF/F Disabled Voices and #DVpit on why it's so desperately needed for SF/F and disability. (TLDR: no one has a clue how to do a decent job of it, or to recognise when they don't/)

Sadly #DVpit has become somewhat controversial. While the initial rules made it clear you could be non-diverse, but submitting a diverse manuscript, some people have set out to police those people out of the running, and as a consequence, some people on the margins of diversity, e.g. those with invisible disabilities, and LGBT folks who aren't out, are being driven away. It's sadly ironic when the pro-diversity camp adopts the "you aren't genuinely disabled" tactics of the forces of oppression. ETA: Beth Phelan seems to have come out in favour of own voices only, but the tweet wasn't exactly clear, I read it the other way around, but seem to be in the minority.

And then there's the non-diverse writers with non-diverse manuscripts whining because they can't enter. Tough, enter the next #pitmad or #pitchwars, there's no shortage of pitching events

We had #Mockpit earlier today, a trial run for your tweets, which was valuable as it turns out people can't work out what "w/chair user" means, and some were even unhappy with 'wheelchair-user". I very politely explained why "wheelchair bound" is not an option (because I'm not writing 50 Wheels of Grey!)

Jami, my #Pitchwars mentor, came up with a couple of good tweets for me:
"#DVpit Adult UF #Own. When forensic sorcerer Laura's husband is shot and her daughter stolen, she'll face down demigods to get her back."

" When a necromancer with a grudge targets wheelchair-user Laura's family, he pisses off the wrong forensic sorcerer #DVpit Adult UF Own" - This is the one people had problems with, no one could parse "w/chair using forensic sorcerer", not ever after I expanded it to wheelchair-using. *Headdesk*, long way to go....

While mine are mostly variations on the theme of:
"Laura's many things:CSI, wheelchair user. witch, but mother first. God help the man, or demigod, who threatens her 3yo #DVpit Adult UF Own"

Now to go finalise my 12 tweets.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
So I completely failed at prepping in case of needing to talk with agents.

And then couldn't face looking at how the Agent Round was progressing (it ran 3rd through 5th, so is just about done as I write). OTOH several 'Are you okay, we knew it was a tough sell' tweets from lovely mentors made it pretty clear I wasn't getting the love (their other two mentees have had a couple of requests - and all four of them were talking up my submission on twitter, which was really nice).

I surfaced today to say hi to the other mentees, cheer on the ones getting the agent love (23 requests and 2 offers of representation!?! - damn, we knew that one was a real prospect, but still) and commiserate with the others stuck on the zero requests thread  - turns out I'm by no means the only one in a bit of a funk.

While I was doing that I decided to post about how neurodiversity and needing to deal with new people in pseudo-authority roles weren't a good mix, and said I'd be back later to answer anyone else finding that agent-stress and not-needing-to-talk-to-agents-because-no-requests-stress actually feed on each other rather than cancelling each other out.

Except when I did check in again there was lovely mentor KT saying "OMG you got a request!"

It's just a request, she may not get any further through than the synopsis, but damn, that makes me feel a lot less stressed about zero requests. OTOH that not prepping for talking to agents may be about to come home to roost....
davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)
I've been having one of those subtly unsatisfying weeks, and finally pinned it down to the whole week being essentially avoidance behaviour because there was a change I needed to make in the novel and I was avoiding facing up to it.

The intimidatory part of this was it's the opening scene, literally page 1, chapter 1, and it has some really vital set up in it, and dialogue I don't want to lose. But it used to be a much larger scene and now it's a couple of pages tagged onto the rest of a chapter that happens somewhere else and with a different aesthetic. KT flagged it up as something that might want looking at right at the start if this, but it wasn't an absolutely must be changed, and I couldn't think of a good way to do it. So I put it off, and didn't have time to deal with it before I had to throw the entire novel back to KT and Jami for line-editing.

But I've been sitting here for a fortnight waiting for them to get back to me*, and time is weighing heavily, and there's that one job outstanding....

So last night was the third all-nighter of the week, and the first where I managed to actually  set cursor to screen, because suddenly I figured out how to make the scene work. Reader, I physically moved it! I kept everything I needed, I just physically moved the whole scene from the stationhouse to the front of the warehouse where the rest of the chapter kicks off. Add in one order to the protagonist to go inside and figure out what the hell just happened, and it's no longer a semi-detached opening that has seen better days, it's an integral part of the chapter, and the novel, that throws our heroine at the problem and tells her to fix it.

Result! And now maybe I can get back to normal life?

* Initial feedback is good, KT: 'you kicked arse with those edits" (spot the Aussie) and Jami: "fantastic job, just a few minor..."
davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)
I finally sent the latest draft off to my mentors at lunchtime today. The original plan had been to send it off Wednesday, but we had a last minute realisation I'd forgotten something - American spellings. I'm British, KT's Aussie even if US resident, we're both unconsciously happy reading the UK spellings, but this time it's off to Jami for a complete line-edit, including checking spellings for submissions to US agents. So I had to load in the Word US dictionaries and spell-check the whole thing. Adding a dictionary, no problem. Deleting a dictionary so it no longer thinks UK spellings are okay, almost impossible. I had to google a solution in the end, and that looks like a kludge rather than working as designed. Add to that a last set of checks for filter words and passive voice and it took a few days extra, but that was worthwhile, Jami and KT could't have gotten to it earlier anyway, and I cut the length by another 800 words in that pass, one word at a time.

But it's gone now, and I can take a rest for a week to 10 days before a final manic incorporation of Jami's line-edit and KT's work on the start and agent submissions prior to the agent round on November 3rd. My first draft was 144kwds, I cut that to 121kwds for the Pitchwars submission, it's now just under 100kwds, which I wouldn't have believed possible a month ago. And pretty much all of that is rewriting rather than deletions. It's now a more marketable length (120k was possible, but pushing it) and a much tighter piece of work. Really pleased with how this has gone.

Gonna go sleep for a week!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I have actually written The End

Well, not quite, it was already there, but I have reached that line in the re-write.

All three protags now have a balanced input in that climactic chapter, and I've got a version of the last line that I like and that says what I want, at least for now.

And that torture scene still sends shivers down my spine.

I even got it down under 100,000 words, even if only briefly. (Current length 100,750 words, which considering I started with 121k means I've cut one word in six)

I've salvaged the fight with the undead St Bernard, because how can you have a climax in a pet cemetery on Halloween in a snowstorm and not have an undead St Bernard?

I've been rewriting for three weeks now, and I really, really need to take a break and sleeeeep for a week.

But for now I get to put it aside for a few hours and sleep.

And then I pick it up again and spend the rest of today and tomorrow idiot-checking it before sending it off to my mentors for line-editing.

Oh, and there was that one extra scene I was meant to be writing, that will be really difficult to get right.

And ...

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
When I was still working, I got into the habit of writing late at night. As in post-midnight. I find it a really peaceful time to work. Even though I'm not working any more I tend to find I'm still at least as likely to end up writing late in the evening as during the day.

Add to that all the hesitation and prevarication I felt at the start of the #Pitchwars revision process and I ended up doing the post-midnight thing again, and because I'm somewhat obsessive, and enjoy the process of writing, starting writing after midnight has generally ended up with finishing writing after dawn, sometimes well after. (As a bonus it also works reasonably well for chatting with my American mentor).

Things went well over the weekend, worked through several more chapters, cut a couple of thousand words - though the cut on the last chapter's wordcount was only 3%, I must do another pass and figure out why, my average is closer to 20%

Then yesterday I needed to go to the bank, which of course meant being up during the day. So of course I worked right through Sunday night. That's okay, thinks I, I'll just nip out at 10AM, go to sleep after that. But of course getting my sleep-deprivation-addled brain working enough to get me out of the house was a bit more complicated and it was mid-afternoon by the time I'd sorted myself out, add an hour searching for the paperwork I needed and it was 4PM by the time I got into town.

In the rain. first time I've used the chair in the rain. Yuck!

The banks (two of, opposite ends of Chatham high street)  were actually straightforward, but, dammit, I'd forgotten (actually more a case of I'd never noticed pre-chair) that they've added cobbles to Chatham high street, plus lots of ornamental gutters that you can't avoid. Someone in Medway's engineering department hates wheelchair users. And apparently my hips still haven't forgiven me for Athens.

So I got home, changed, sat down in front at my desk and thought "at this point I may as well do some writing and see if I can get to sleep at a reasonable time".

Well, my brain thought that, all my body heard was "Sleeep!"

I woke up in the chair at god knows what time, coccyx screaming at me because it had been taking my weight for god knows how long, staggered through to the bedroom and went splat face first onto the bed.

I know I woke up at 2AM, because I looked at the clock and thought "Bugger! Oh well, maybe another twenty minutes snooze". Also at 3AM, 4AM, and finally 8AM.

I'm not quite sure exactly how much sleep I got, but a minimum of 12 hours, and probably significantly more.

Pacing, it turns out it's not just for books!


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

September 2017

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