Archive for October, 2008

Trials and Frustrations…and Successes

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2008 by Jaym Gates

Invariably, hardware works great until you are in that last crunch to finish. Your software is fine, your back-ups work perfectly, and everything is dandy.

And then, 5 days before your deadline, something happens, and sends you screaming into the void of frustration. Well, that’s what happens to me anyways.

My computer crashed Tuesday night. Now, I back up everything. Except I hadn’t backed up what I worked on that morning, because I ran out of time. I KNEW better. Yup, it’s still there. So’s the book. But both are in .odt Open Office format. And neither my back-up laptop (which is actually my mother’s…), nor any other computer I can use has Open Office. Sooo, no work on that right now. Write a New Name is also .odt. Of course. And so far it’s taken 5 days for Best Buy to get it done, which I have to talk to them about today, because they seem to be going above and beyond what I asked. I don’t want above and beyond, I want my computer back!

But, I finished the editing, and I do have the first 50 pages available. So tonight, (assuming I’ve got the damn thing back), I write the first query letter. Did I mention there were about 175 viruses on the computer? Oh, and I have two spam guards. Awesome. Poor thing is lucky to be alive.

Anyways, Halloween week has proven to be its usual evil self. And I say that without any irony or overstatement. Traditionally, this is a bad week for me, and I have no real clue why. I got some bad news from my family that may change my plans for the future, drastically. I’m trying to work around that, but if I want the property I’ve been planning to inherit, I may have to take it over 4 years sooner than planned. Along with other issues, it’s really driving home the point that pretty soon, I’ve got to choose between supporting my family, which has done so little supporting of me, or supporting my own life. Not fun. And I’ve been sick and in pain all week, and been leaning heavily on my closest friends to keep me going.

But the first long road is now finished. I’ve written a book! I don’t have a final word count, but guess it to be somewhere around 143,000 words, 52 chapters. Bigger than I planned. Now my winter will be spent plotting Iron Cross, working lightly on New Name and Shadow and Soul, and wrapping up the website to get it launched.

A gigantic Thank You to everyone who made this possible. Fifthwind Forums: Ken Kiser, Bread and Believer, Bobby, BJ, Shadow, Lox, and all the other members. Those of you here that I’ve been encouraged by. And from the real world, Greg and Michelle, Chris, Travis, Jamie, Nicolle (who offered to let me use her laptop while mine was dead… this is my boss people, and one of the best a girl could have!), Angel, Kim, Ju’leia, John, Bev (Happy 75th to the Queen Mother!), Chad and of course, my mom and grandfather, and great-grandparents. And anyone else I’ve forgotten for the moment! You all will get signed copies when, WHEN, this gets published.

Now, what to do with my day. That’s the burning question, ’cause mark it on the calender, I’m BORED!

New Story?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2008 by Jaym Gates

The only problem with finishing a book is that then I have to edit it. And that means no original writing sprees, unless I can find some spare time to play. With a casual side-project in Shadow and Soul, there’s no such thing as spare time.

So what happens when I have a dream of an epic and truly interesting quest, and wake up to write 800 words about it before I even get dressed, just so I don’t forget any of it?

That’s right, a new story. 2500 words in 2 days, a title, and a really good idea of plot. I swear the story is sitting in my fingertips, ready to be written. Only sub-characters are named so far, I’ve done NO world-building, but I’d like to get this hammered out to a 90,000 rough draft by January. Yes? No? Maybe? We’ll see.

It gives me something to work on when I’m done editing, and frustrated with Shadow and Soul, like I am now. And it’s more my flavor than Red Sun, which is a little outside my comfort zone. Classic high fantasy, mythology, horror, a quest story, vengeance and desire, and a dash of romance add up to a potentially intriguing story.

Stay tuned for more news about “To Write a New Name”!

Editing!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2008 by Jaym Gates

First off, I’d like to thank the faithful few who keep commenting on these posts, your words mean a lot to me. I’ll try and make a regular update schedule and reply to comments better. My schedule in life slipped a bit over the last couple of months, due to things outside of my control, but I shall rectify that soon!

Secondly, I’ve been struggling with the edits. Not sure of the relative quality of my work, I’ve been a little hesitant with editing it. I’m my own worst critic, so on the one hand, I don’t think it’s worth looking at. On the other hand, I have this incurable optimism, probably brought on by too many people thinking it’s great, that says it’s going to be a best-seller. Hmmm…

And, I get stuck when I’m trying to edit from the beginning, in just reading. But then I stop noticing things, and I feel I’ve wasted time.

So, since I’m good at reading backwards, I will begin at the end of the document, and take it one sentence at a time. We’ll see how that works. It will be easier for me to track too.

A Process of Words

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2008 by Jaym Gates

I often am asked “what’s so hard about writing? I can do such-and-such, it’s easy!”, and I’m sure nearly every writer has had the same questions. Really, the answer to a question like that usually takes about as long as “what do you write about?” and “why do you write?” and “why do you think civilization is going to crash?”.

Writing in itself is easy enough. Any kid can sit down and scribble out a story, and about half of those will be pretty damn decent for being kid’s play. A college student can write a 10,000 word paper, although you’ll hear plenty of bitching and moaning. I’m sure there are plenty of people even who can, eventually, write a book. It’s not that hard to write.

It IS hard to be an author. Yet, try and describe your life to people, and they give you a funny look, and a pat on the back, and then tell you to get a handle on real life. In fact, sometimes I have to agree with them. After all, I have a studio in my house, a place littered with an organized chaos of books, jewelry, art supplies and music, the things that make my life not only tolerable, but downright enjoyable. I spend time every day cooking, reading, catching up with the things going on in the world. I sit in a comfortable chair in my jeans and t-shirt and listen to range of music, from EuroMetal to early classical pieces, and daydream like a child. I am so thoroughly happy with what I do, and where it’s taking me, that I understand how some might not understand the trials and struggle of being professional and an artist.

My schedule is rigorous, usually. I sleep for 8 hours, get up four-five hours before I have to leave for work. Three hours of that is spent writing, following strict word-count standards and guidelines. Once I’ve done the required work on my current WIP, usually about two hours, I’ll move to another project, usually either Shadow and Soul plotting, or Thunder Songs short pieces. After that, I have 30 minutes to get ready for work, and another 30 minutes to get there, a minimum of 8 hours. I work retail, a compromise in money and physical exertion to keep me in shape and allow flexible hours, and during the holidays, I’ll often bring my work home with me, or work 10+ hours. After work, I have 2 hours once I get home. This is when I talk to friends, catch up on my life, browse the internet, and do the daily things that I can’t survive without.

On days off, all I do is write, cook, clean, and maybe spend Friday evening with a group of friends. I don’t date, I don’t attend social events even through work, and I seldom take vacations. The little luxuries I allow myself in life and the pleasure I find in them are the compromise for the bigger things.

It can be hard to get those words down. I ruthlessly critique and second-guess everything I do, and with a background in classical music and literature, I measure myself against the masters, an unfair comparison at best. Beautiful language and intricate plots must be believable, and the common reader has to be able to follow, without the subplots I always have in my head. Thousands of tiny details slip around to trip up the unwary, and at times, I hate writing more than I can imagine hating anything else. There are moments when I want to be one of the in-crowd, to go back to California now and immerse myself in the wine, fine food and fashion of my home state, or to simply take a road-trip through the states. I’ll do all of those things, eventually, in moderation. But I’m impatient, and I want to do them NOW.

Being a writer is easy. I could do everything else I wanted, if all I did was write. But I want to be on that best-seller list, see my name listed against some of the great literature masters, and more than anything, I want to create the sort of stories that once sparked my imagination and pulled me out of a dark valley and into a fairy-tale kingdom.

It’s like everything else. You get what you give.

Progress!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2008 by Jaym Gates

Editing: Rough edit on Red Sun: 10 chapters

New: Synopsis for the “My Glory Calls” and “Shadow and Soul” series, about 1000 words total

Plus lots of work with food, and and argument with a good friend, and a discussion with an ex. Interesting day!