The Well Maintained Blog

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Think about these stats for a second or two. There are over 402 million people viewing more than 4.1 billion pages on Word Press each month. A whooping 39.3 million posts are put up each and every month. There are 61,140,001 sites worldwide. (check out this Word Press stat page – just watching the map for a few seconds is mind-boggling) The above number will almost certainly have jumped up when you go to check it out. People are signing up to create new blogs on the Word Press site as you read this.

At any given moment, veritable hoards of bloggers are publishing posts filed under hundreds of different categories. All of these bloggers are after the same things I am – having others visit their site, getting people to press the like button, hoping to have produced something interesting enough for someone (out of those 402 million people who view posts each month) to make a comment on. I imagine those other bloggers want to be followed just the way I do. There is a lot of competition in the Word Press blogosphere, so getting these things to happen takes time, patience and a lot of work.

In today’s post, I’m going to describe a bit about what I do to try and draw people to my site and in turn, I’m hoping that some of you will share what you do.

First and foremost, I try to write something that will be worth reading. I’m asking other people to take time out of their own busy schedules to look at my blog. That means careful attention to a variety of topics, rewrites and proofreading. I always include a photo that links up in an interesting way with what I’ve written. Basic stuff – most everyone is probably doing these things, too.

I had been blogging on Word Press for well over a month before I learned about categories and tags. These are essential. I also learned, through trial and error and a query to the wonderfully helpful Word Press people, that to appear on the Reader you may not have more than a combined total of 15 categories and tags. Believe me, you want your post to appear in the Reader so your followers and the entire Word Press community can find you (remember that number from above – 402 million people looking around at posts every month on Word Press).

I learned early to have Word Press automatically link my posts to Facebook and I have recently added links to Twitter and LinkedIn. I also link each post up to a board I created on Pinterest. I’m very new to Twitter (I promise an upcoming post soon on how that is going) so every now and then I go back and link an older post up to my Twitter feed.

OK – my post is out in the blogosphere world and I’ve spread the word that I posted onto social media platforms. Now what?

My next step has to do with paying attention to the people who have come to my site. I check out the blog of each person who has liked one of my posts. I’ll read an about page or a recent post. If I like what I’m seeing, I’ll press the like button. I may make a comment, if I can think of something useful or witty to say. I do the same thing when a fellow blogger decides to follow my blog. It goes without saying that if I write a post that is interesting enough to generate a comment, I make sure and reply to that comment and check out the blog of the commenter.

I really try to keep up with the posts that the bloggers I follow have written. These are all listed on the Reader, so all I have to do is scroll down, go to the post and enjoy. This is getting harder as the list of people I want to follow grows, so sometimes I do have to pick and choose.

When I have a free moment, I try to check out some of the bloggers that the people I follow haven chosen to follow. (It’s nice if you feature a spot on your blog where others can see some of the blogs you follow.) I’ll also occasionally check out the people (through their gravatars) who have liked the same posts I’ve liked. We might just have something in common.

What about all the rest of the 61 plus million bloggers? How do I tap into some of them? I call my attempts to do that, trawling around the Word Press world. I go to the Reader section of my Word Press page and I do a search for posts in the categories of writing, or self-publishing, or indie publishing, or blogging, or art, or architecture – or anything I feel interested in at the moment. I read posts and if I like it, I press like and once again, comment if I have something of value to say.

For the record, I just want to say that I never press like without reading a post all the way through. No one would know one way or the other, right? It’s a personal thing. Integrity is how you act when no one else is looking.

The stream of blogs being posted at any given moment can seem overwhelming (remember that number from above? 39.3 million posts each month). I have developed a personal strategy for deciding which ones I will open and read in their entirety and the ones I will pass over.

When it comes to passing over – unless I am absolutely gripped, I won’t open a post over 1500 words. I’m sure there are some great lengthy posts out there – but let’s be realistic here. We only have so much of our lives to spend on Word Press. If the words – sorry, I haven’t written in a while – appear anywhere in the opening lines – I pass by. For some reason those words turn me off. They strike me as a bit arrogant – like, oh sorry I haven’t been around, but of course you’re still out there looking for me. I also pass over anything that appears to be a piece of fiction that has had no introduction to what the blogger wants to achieve by posting it. Actually, I hardly read anything that is being serialized on Word Press. Hey writers out there – you don’t need to give your work away for free, but if you explain why you’re putting up a piece of your writing, that’s different.

I am drawn to blogs that offer interesting, creative, moving posts and these can be related to a wide range of topics. Something funny in the first few lines can usually get my attention. A beautiful photo that fits with a title or gets me thinking about what the connection could be between the two, will have me clicking to open the whole post.

The work of maintaining a blog is time consuming. I would love to hear the maintenance work you do to bring visitors, viewers, commenters and followers to your site.

The Nike of Samothrace

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My highlight purchase of our recent trip to Southern California was a small Nike of Samothrace statue – fifteen inches high and exquisite in detail and form. We found her in the gift shop of the Hearst Castle.

I’ll let Izzy and Lisa-Marie describe the statue for you. (a brief snippet from my first novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight, which will be available in March – shameless plug – hehehe)

With the two glasses of water in hand, Izzy led Lisa-Marie to a shaded bench across from the garden house. Lisa-Marie studied the headless, winged statue standing to the side of the small building’s French doors. “Once you look at her you can’t seem to stop,” she said and her hands itched again for a camera.

The Winged Nike of Samothrace. She is beautiful,” Izzy paused to take in the beauty of the white statue, which was five feet tall on its concrete base. “The original is in the Louvre in Paris. I saw it there when I travelled to Europe in my early twenties and I never got the image out of my head.”

Izzy glanced over to see Lisa-Marie studying the statue carefully. She tried not to sound like a tour guide as she continued, “The original was discovered on the Greek Island of Samothrace in the mid-eighteen hundreds, but she was sculpted long before that, around two-hundred years before Christ. They think she might have sat in a corner of an open-air theatre on a marble pedestal that was shaped like the front of a ship. Apparently she was meant to look like she had just come down from the sky, like she was leading a triumphant fleet of ships.”

“Did she have a head or her arms when they found her?” Lisa-Marie’s head was tilted to one side, her long brown hair sweeping down to the bench she and Izzy shared.

“Good question,” Izzy said as she sat back on the bench stretching out her legs. She sipped slowly from the plastic glass of cool water and focused her attention on the statue, only stopping briefly to pluck a leaf of lemon balm from the outcropping by her end of the bench and crush it lightly between her fingers. The fragrant leaf released its pungent, lemon smell. “They found her just the way you see her. It seems to me like she is more fascinating because of what is missing. I’m not sure, but there is something about the way she is straining forward and how her dress has been sculpted to look as if it is blowing back in the wind. You can almost imagine how the wind would shake the feathers on her wings. I find her totally compelling.”

Lisa-Marie nodded silently, she could see exactly what Izzy meant.

“I had a poster of the Nike for years and then when we finished the garden house I wanted to find it again and have it framed for that wall,” Izzy gestured to the wall behind the statue. “Caleb said it would fade and moisture would get behind the glass and stuff like that.” She shrugged at Lisa-Marie as if to say, men know that kind of thing, but it sure is irritating.

“Anyway, Caleb said why not get a statue; and who knew it was so easy to order a statue online?” Izzy laughed and then continued in a quiet tone, “When we had her here, I felt like the garden was complete somehow, maybe a bit like my victory.”

Lisa-Marie pondered the statue’s fluid sense of movement and considered an angle shot from the bottom of the stairs looking up. “You know what? I don’t even care what her face was like. She’s perfect just the way she is.”

Izzy nodded her agreement. “There are lots of good replicas in museums and galleries but you know what is really odd?” Izzy paused, “The best replica is supposedly outside of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas,” she laughed and added, “Celebrating another type of victory, I guess.”

 

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while, may remember the post where I described our little side trip on the Las Vegas strip to see this statue.

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Why does this statue fascinate me to the degree to which it does – so much so that I had to include it in Izzy’s fictional garden?

I first discovered her when Bruce and I crossed the Canadian border to Buffalo in 2008 for a tour of the Darwin D. Martin Complex – a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, in the historic Parkside neighbourhood. The Martin home is considered to be one of the finest examples of FLW’s Prairie style homes.

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Bruce has always been a FLW fan (see his blog post on another great FLW house – ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE – KENTUCK KNOB ) and we have been fortunate enough, on our travels, to tour several buildings Wright designed. The Martin Complex was in the process of being restored by the Martin House Restoration Corporation.

When we visited in 2008, the main house was still very much a work in progress, but one feature that Wright had created was stunningly restored. When you entered the front door of the house you could see right through the entire bottom floor, down a long outdoor pergola to the conservatory. There, prominently located and clearly visible from the front door was the Nike. She was stunning – overwhelmingly beautiful down that long passageway standing amid vines and greenery.

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Here is what Martin House curator Jack Quinan had to say about the significance of the Nike’s placement, “The Nike vista also carried a powerful personal message for Darwin Martin, one that is key to the experience of the Martin House. Upon passing through the principal entrance to the house, one’s vision was immediately drawn to the distant Nike, the ancient Greek personification of Victory, brilliantly realized by its anonymous sculptor as a synthesis of human and animal forms caught at the moment of alighting on the prow of a ship at sea. By placing Nike at the vanishing point of the long pergola, Wright transformed into architectural and sculptural terms a narrative of Darwin Martin’s life – the long and difficult journey fraught with loneliness and adversity that culminated in wealth, prestige, a splendid home, a stable family.”

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As I wandered over the complex after the tour, I found a plaque that summarized the significance of Wright’s use of the Nike for this particular building.

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At the time of seeing this quote, I was immersed in my own connection with the idea of story – narrative as a research methodology. Part of the trip was a stopover in Toronto to give a presentation at a Narrative Conference based on a storied DVD production of my Master’s thesis. Seeing the word narrative connected with the Nike just wormed its way into my subconscious thoughts and I couldn’t let go of it.

I bought a poster of the statue and when I got home I took it to an expensive little shop and had it framed. It now hangs in the entrance to the cabin – the first thing you see when you walk through the door. As close as I can get to that unbelievable feeling of seeing the Nike down that pergola at the Martin Complex.

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This statue has become an icon for us on our various trips. We ran into a wonderful replica in the State Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho.

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Of course she showed up on the strip in Las Vegas and again in the gift shop at the Hearst Castle. She follows me around and I look for her everywhere.

Early on in my blog writings a commenter asked how a writer could find such inspiration in the Winged Nike – after all, she is headless and armless – no head to think with and no hands to write with. I still don’t have an answer to that question. I just know I can’t write without her. Maybe it’s like what Izzy says about falling in love with Caleb – Sometimes the complicated twists and turns of life, the endless questions of why this choice and not that one, can be understood and answered that easily – we’re just looking in the wrong spot.

Love is a Country–The Wallflowers

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Love is a country that’s better crossed when you’re young . . .

JJakob-Dylan-c02[1]akob Dylan, lead singer for the Wallflowers, has a voice that is richly textured and sexy. He does have the legacy thing going, right? After all, his dad is Bob Dylan and those have to be pretty good rock and roll genes to get started with. But the voice of Dylan the elder, though always interesting and breathtaking, one in a million for sure, it is not something I would be too quick to describe as sexy and smooth. Well – except for when he sings those lines – kick your shoes off, do not fear, bring that bottle over here, I’ll be your baby tonight. But I digress.

Jakob Dylan knocked me back in my chair with the song Love is a Country from the Wallflowers come-back album Glad All Over. And I was a bit stunned to find, when I watched a couple of You-Tube videos, that there is definitely a Dylan family resemblance. (I may have been the only person in the world who had never seen a picture of Jakob Dylan and it shouldn’t have been surprising that he resembled a younger version of his father. It guess it was hard to imagine that anyone could resemble Bob Dylan.)

I’ve got two links for you and a suggestion. Pull up this first link to an acoustic version of the song and then shrink it so you can follow along with the lyrics – which I will provide for you further down the page. After you’ve done that, pull up the more rock and roll version from the Wallflowers’ appearance on the Letterman Show and just enjoy the difference.

Love is a Country

No, there won’t be an ambush anytime soon
If the birds are returning, it’s safe enough to say that much is true
In the desert that borders between me and you
Where more than a few good men have failed to come back or get through
And the only things living around here don’t wanna talk
And the wine isn’t working and the vacancy signs are off
The hardships of marching they’ve only just begun
Love is a country better crossed when you’re young

I’m staring in the window of a moving train
That looks almost human as she barrels down the tracks and comes my way
This no good dog of mine’s got the heart of a stray
And is down in the ditch lights before I’ve even a chance to call his name
I’m watching the clouds overwhelming the evening sun
It’s just after lightning and before the thunder comes
When nothing really happens and suddenly then it does
Love is a country better served with someone

I remember the evening you last came home
It was warm as the devil sat back up with his boots put back on
He said you never get boring, you keep me young
There’s more work than ever and still only one of me to get it done
Now her ring’s on the seat riding shotgun next to my hat
With her name on the window where fog settles down on the glass
Nowhere in the middle of somewhere that has no past
Love is a country you leave and not welcome back
You leave and not welcome back

Love is a country that won’t be overcome
That won’t be overcome

OK – are you still with me. Was it everything I said it would be? Nice, right?

Let’s delve into those lyrics. Right out of the gate, in the first verse, we’ve got a lot of war words – ambush, borders, a few good men have failed to come back, and the hardships of marching, but don’t be drawn down the wrong path. No way is this song about serving your country in battle – just a metaphor for relationship, folks. This is a love song, or more accurately, a lost love song, a song about the ways love is a battlefield, a country you are going to have to suffer to march through.

There’s a desert between him and her and more than a few good men haven’t made it through that type of situation. And the hardships of getting through have only just begun. Love is a country better crossed when you’re young.

He’s got the heart of a stray and I guess we all know what that could mean. Maybe it’s too hard to be alone and love is a country better served with someone – anyone.

He remembers the last time she came home. He was the devil sitting up with his boots still on, telling her she never gets boring, she keeps him young. But there’s work to do and only him to get it done.

It seems reasonable that whatever that work was, it drove them apart. The next line is the most heartbreaking of all – now her ring is riding shotgun on the seat next to my hat, with her name on the window where fog settles down on the glass. Oh man – that is beautiful. Lyrics like that pluck your heart right out of your chest and give it a good squeeze. Nowhere in the middle of somewhere that has no past, love is a country you leave and not welcome back.

I’ll just go now before my tears threaten to do something bizarre to my laptop.

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Pricing–it’s not just complicated, it’s Machiavellian!

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The end of the almost ten straight days of rain saw the sky a brilliant blue and snow touching the mountaintops like frosting. Of course sunshine streaming through the windows told me one thing – get out the dust cloth and the vacuum and get busy. But first, off for a walk with the octogenarian dog.

Got back to the cabin psyched for the cleaning. I decided to check my email first. Note to self – never let anything divert you from cleaning once you have finally set your mind on doing it. Anyway – my email contained a new message from my author account manager at Friesen Press. It is now time to set prices for the e-book, the paperback, and the hardcover editions of Disappearing in Plain Sight.

I was warned this stage of the publishing process could be complicated and that is not an understatement. There are many things to consider. Friesen Press does supply a handy little calculator that allows me to see royalties going down as I drop unit price. And it’s more than just what I think the market can bear in terms of my book. Working with Friesen Press, I have two distribution channels to consider – them and everyone else. They offer me a higher percentage of royalty return per book sold, which means I can set the Friesen Press price lower – making them a more competitive choice in the online marketplace of book sales.

But even that is complicated because the other distribution channels are going to immediately discount the price I set for the book by 20 to 30% – so I need to make sure the Friesen Press price comes in a bit below that mark. I return to the EEEKKKK of my title.

Forget about the calculations based on when I might recoup the investment I’ve made to produce the book – the number of sales required to accomplish that seems pretty pie in the sky, at least for this moment in time. But an author is nothing if not optimistic. What else would keep us going on our solitary projects for months at a time (or dare I say, years)? I’ll keep you posted on how this all works out.  But for now – I think the above photograph says a lot.

E-Books or Real Books – Which do you prefer?

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( I love a library full of real books)

This week, the Word Press weekly writing challenge asked that I vote for my preference: e-books or paperbacks. Then I could  write a blog post about why I voted as I did.

I found it hard to vote because the poll wouldn’t let me choose both options. I imagine I am not unlike many readers of today – I love the convenience of my Kindle but I wouldn’t give up books I can hold in my hands without a fight. In the end I chose the paperback option because if I were forced to give up one or the other, I know which one it would be.

I have found that some situations lend themselves to the convenience of my Kindle. I grab it whenever I leave the house. It’s great for those inevitable waiting times because it allows access to a wide variety of reading options. A forty-five-minute wait at the doctor’s office is different from a five-minute wait at the bus stop – or say an overnight wait to get your soon-to-be five-year old signed up for Kindergarten in your catchment area (I kid you not – my daughter and son-in-law just went through this – it’s a crazy world).

I have read books on my Kindle that were every bit as engaging and gripping as books I held in my hands to read. I have forgotten I was using an e-reader and have actually reached forward with one hand to try to turn a page rather than just click the page turn button.

My Kindle has expanded my book reading choices. In the past I wouldn’t have put out the cash to take a chance on certain books. For 99 cents to maybe $2.99 and the instant gratification of whisper-net technology, I’m quite willing to try out something new. And that’s a good thing, especially for a writer. I’m all for broadening horizons.

Why do I still believe that when I settle into the recliner with a fresh cup of coffee or a glass of wine, I need to hold a real book in my hands? Or that cuddling into bed at night to read would not work with my Kindle?

It may be an old fashion idea related to value. Many traditionally published novels are expensive when purchased for an e-reader ( expensive compared to so much that is available in e-format, but still not as expensive as buying a hardcover.) Why would I go out and spend $20.00 to $35.00 for a hardcover and feel that has more value than spending $18.00 for the Kindle version? It’s a good question and the only answer I can come up with is that with a hardcover, I hold something tangible in my hands. It has weight and it takes up space, ultimately gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in my home. I could pass it on to my husband to read or lend it to a friend. The former would not touch the Kindle to save his soul, but in the case of lending a book to a friend, I would so rarely do this voluntarily that it makes a thin argument.

It might have to do with being a book hoarder. (Which, by the way, might explain my reluctance to lend.) Seeing all the books on the shelf is a visible sign of successful hoarding and gives me a guilty ping of pleasure.

Maybe it is the inherent distrust that a fifty-plus-year old has about electronic gadgetry. What if the Kindle breaks down? I do know that all my purchases are safe with Amazon. It’s just too bad that knowing with the rational brain and believing are two radically different things.

And then there is the issue of upgrading. I’ve never felt the urge to upgrade a book. I am now on my fifth laptop in less than ten years and I have to admit, all the old ones still work. I didn’t upgrade due to system failure – I wanted the new and improved model. I purchased my Kindle two years ago. There are much nicer ones on the market now. Thus is the nature of electronic wizardry.

I suppose I should acknowledge all the trees that could be saved if everyone read e-books instead of the paper and ink kind. It’s a valid issue, but what about the amount of energy that is needed to supply the mainframes and servers of the worldwide web so that e-books can exist and fly through cyberspace to our readers? Surely we should consider that as well. But, like many issues, nothing is black or white. With online purchasing there is no need to build and maintain large stores that consume energy resources, while of course employing real people. I’m starting to make my own head spin by going back and forth so many times.

When all is said and done – here I sit – spanning two worlds of the written word – one foot firmly planted in the old world of print media and the other tip-toeing through the new world of electronic books. And the truth is this – I don’t want to move either foot.

Young-Adult Fiction – A Good Story or a Morality Tale

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I’m a bit confused by the genre young-adult fiction. When I was younger I never heard of a specific group of books just for me. I read whatever I could get my hands on – my mom did draw the line when I came home with a trashy Mandingo paperback I found in a closet at a friend’s house. There were limits to even my mother’s idea that a kid reading anything at all must be a good thing.

Wikipedia defines this type of literature as: written about, for, and marketed to young adults aged twelve to eighteen.

I went on a search for books in this genre that I could download to my Kindle. I have been reading self-published books lately in the hope that I could write a couple of Amazon reviews. One good turn deserves another – I hope someday that someone might read my novel and give an honest review on Amazon. Because, believe me, that is the only type of review anyone would get from me.

I feel OK saying what I’m about to say on the public forum of my blog because I’m not going to mention any author or book title – no one knows how many books I’ve downloaded and read or how many reviews I’ve done. I’ll just say that I’ve read more than I’ve reviewed. That is because I will only give an authentic review and I will never name and trash anyone online.

Back to the idea of young-adult fiction – I’ve read three examples this past week. I know that’s not enough to make a definitive statement and believe me, that isn’t what I’m trying to do. I’m writing in an attempt to work through my own thoughts.

I believe young-adult fiction should be written for the same reason any good piece of fiction is written. It should be entertaining, it should tell a darn good story, and it should allow the reader to gain an insight of some type – either into themselves, other people, the world they live in, or the world that others inhabit. Two of the three books I have read seem to take a different approach from what I would call good fiction. Frankly, I’m not sure these two authors have ever known any young-adults and I’m fairly certain they’ve never actually listened to how young people talk. One is an attempt to jam the ideas that a bible thumping adult would like to hear coming out of a young person’s mouth, down their throat in the form of dialogue that anyone with even a bit of sense knows would never come out of a young person’s mouth. The other simply violated so many rules of good writing that I can’t even comment on the content.

The third book was a story I think I would have enjoyed when I was the suggested age for a reader of young-adult fiction. I would recommend this book and I’m working on an Amazon review.

I can hear people saying – hold it! What about morals and values and shouldn’t there be a place for books that promote positive values for young people. The tricky thing about that is this – whose positive values are we talking about? I’ve heard this kind of rationale before – I guess that’s where all the Christian rock bands came from. I don’t buy any of it – not with stories and not with rock and roll. A story that reflects a young person’s reality, that has young people speaking and acting the way young people do indeed speak and act, can promote positive values.

I believe it would be better to encourage young adults to read well written books that tell good stories and forget about promoting any particular brand of positive values.

Never forget – a story well-told can change a life and a thinly veiled morality tale will always be seen as just that.

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(The top photo was taken at the University of Arizona in Tucson, of an art class. The bottom photo was taken on the Stanford Campus in California – just random shots of random people)

A Weary Writer’s Lament

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https://disappearinginplainsight.com/2013/02/01/a-weary-writers-lament/

If you are getting this post twice, I apologize. When I posted this yesterday, it didn’t seem to come up in the Reader for any of my followers. No idea why. I thought I would give it another go today. If I’m doing this correctly, you should be able to click on the link above and go to the post.

A Weary Writer’s Lament

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I’m not quite as doubled over as Amarante out walking his pig in the movie, The Milagro Beanfield War. We had an opportunity to visit the little town of Truchas, New Mexico where Robert Redford directed this beautiful movie. We took the above photo in the State Capital Building in Santa Fe. It’s informally called the roundhouse and is the only round State Capital building in the US. Well worth a visit if you’re ever in Santa Fe. And please see this movie if you ever have a chance.

I am feeling a bit weary with writing. I thought it would be wise to assess my progress. The output on The Light Never Lies has been good – averaging about 2000 words per day. The first draft of the first section of the book is almost complete and that is weighing in at about 60,000 words. In my outline for the novel, I had blocked out the first section to set everything up, place all the characters on stage and get most of the back story that needs to be told out there. The second section will probably be about the same length. All the major action of the story will unwind, leading inevitably to the climax. Section three will be much shorter. I’ll get through the climax and then wrap everything up.

A little aside here – what does first draft mean? For every writer, this term probably amounts to something different – from point form ideas, to a wild writing marathon of spewing thoughts onto the paper as fast as one can type, to a piece of writing created according to a strict outline, it could even mean that preliminary editing has happened.

My idea of first draft is that the bones of the story are there. There may be far too many bones and I will definitely have to flesh some of them out more. I’ll probably have to rearrange some of the bones and of course there will need to be a lot of bone cleaning. But after that first draft, someone reading the novel will know what the story is about. They will know the characters, understand the main conflicts and the story arcs. They should have a clear sense of whether the book is any good.

I’ve done much more work with my post-it note outline for this novel that I did for the first draft of Disappearing in Plain Sight. I’m hoping this will mean less need to rearrange blocks of material as the novel progresses. We’ll see.

At the same time as knocking out the words for The Light Never Lies, I’ve been taking care of the final edits on the e-proofs for Disappearing in Plain Sight. It seems like I’ve been saying that over and over. How many times can one do the final edits? Good question.

Friesen Press offered me two rounds of revisions with the package I purchased. When I saw the e-proofs on the first round, I had requested several formatting changes and about 150 small text edits. When the e-proofs came back, I had to go through and ensure that all of those requests and edits had been done. Naturally some were missed. This is to be expected. On that second round, I had five formatting requests and about 60 small edits. Yesterday, I received the e-proofs that should have had all those changes. I still couldn’t move to final approval because a very small number of things I had asked for hadn’t yet been done or having been done, they created other problems. For example, asking for a word change at the end of a piece of dialogue was done, but in so doing, the quotation mark was lost.

Apparently, we are nearing the finish line. All the formatting issues have been taken care of, I really like the way the cover has turned out. I’m feeling good about my author bio and pic. I should be able to approve those final few little-bitty changes by next week and then sign off.

My reflection on this e-proof editing is that is an extremely difficult and time-consuming stage of the publishing process. Every requested change has to be checked and rechecked. And working with the pdf tools to make changes wasn’t exactly user-friendly.

The other challenge I’m experiencing has to do with moving back and forth between first draft writing and intense proofreading, between a sequel and a first book. Pouring out a story for the first time then switching over to proofreading involves a major shift of gears. And it’s hard to keep skipping back in time with the characters and the storylines.

No wonder I’m feeling a bit weary. I’m glad to say that writing for the blog is one of the bright spots in my day. I love the way a blog post cleans the palate. Short enough to give satisfaction, but long enough to really say something.

Today I’ve decided I won’t write anything but this post. I’m going to go for a walk and do some housework and relax. Where are you at in your writing process? How do you switch gears between tasks? What do you do to rest and refresh your weary, writer’s mind?

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