Tag Archives: manuscripts

The Sugar Crush

Hi, Scribe Friends. Suze here. Glad you could stop by.

I’m working on the second novel in my mystery series (details of which I hope to be able to release soon!), and while I’m excited about it and making progress, I’m also finding myself not making my 1,000 word goal most days. And that’s a problem, because I want this puppy done by August 15.

I’ve also found myself procrastinating on other items on my to-do list, simple things that can and should be accomplished in ten or fifteen minutes (or less) but are nonetheless piling up and stressing me out.

thCABE2757But do I blame myself for all this? No! It’s not my fault! I blame …

Candy Crush Saga. This stupid, insanely addictive game is the world’s biggest time suck! There’s a sister game, by the way, called Farm Heroes Saga, but I just can’t warm up to those overly cute vegetables.

Anyway, the first step to conquering a problem is admitting you have one. Over the last few weeks the game has dragged me deeper and deeper into sweet, sticky oblivion. I’m at the hard-crack-ho stage on the candy thermometer. Just one more game. No, just one more game until I win. What? I’m out of lives? Sure, I’ll gladly wait twenty-eight minutes until I get another one, and in the meantime I’ll just surf the web and ogle Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum, or google recent archaeological/anthropological finds (did you see the one about the Siberian female tattooed mummy? Click here, but only if you trust yourself to come back!). Wash, rinse, repeat until hours have gone by.

When my son gives me attitude, he loses privileges. It only seems right to give myself consequences, too, when I’m misbehaving. Therefore, daily, until further notice, no Candy Crush until I’ve completed the following:

  • Write 1,000 words on my manuscript
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise
  • Complete the most-pressing thing on my to-do list (the ones that take 15 minutes or less)

I’ve already been detoxing for a couple of days. So any of you Facebook friends out there, don’t expect me to be sending you lives or extra moves for a while until I get this under control. Or until I make my daily goals, above.

And come August 15, when this book is done, there will be one giant Sugar Crush. Tasty!

How about you? What’s your biggest time suck and how do you handle it? What are your personal addictions?

There’s a New Scribe in Town

Suze here, with some big news for Scribe fans.  Guess what?  There’s a new Scribe in town, and we could not be more thrilled to have her join us.  (Never fear!  Viv will be rejoining us from time to time).  Our newest Scribe is . . . drumroll, please! . . . Thea Devine!  Please give Thea a big welcome.

Greetings, everyone, happy new year, and welcome to my first blog at the 7 Scribes. I’m so happy to be here, and I’m so appreciative of your kind comments and responses to my interview.   (Click here if you missed it.)  I do beg your pardon for not commenting that day — we had a death in the family, our beautiful, communicative, joyful and much adored mini-doxie passed away that Thursday.  She was twelve and a half years old, originally my mother-in-law’s dog whom we took in when she was a two year old yappy, snappy, untrained puppy.  She grew to be the The Best Dog ever over the ten years we were privileged to love her.                                                                         

She is by no means the first pet we’ve lost.  Five years ago, our elegant calico, Emily Bronte Cat passed away (yes, there was a Charlotte, an orange tabby fraternal twin).  As we said good bye to her, I promised to memorialize her by putting her in a book.  Which I did.  Emily was a major character in “Satisfaction,” (Kensington Brava, 2004) and “Satisfaction” was the book about which a friend called me and said, “Your writing is different.  Was it deliberate?”                                                                

I had no idea what I had done to make my writing “different.”  I’d gone back and now again and looked at writing from my high school and college days, and I could see there were vestiges of how I write now, in the rhythm and juxtaposition of the words especially.                                                                                                                               

And it became clear to me (this is in response to Casey’s comment) that the more you write, the more you figure things out — like you don’t need twenty descriptive sentences to go from here to there when two will do, or there is one word that could take the place of four or five.  Or there’s a more direct way to get to the crux of a scene.                                                                                                                               

Back when I started, we were writing 125,000 word manuscripts.  There was lots of room for description, different points of view and subplots.  It was also a daunting amount of white paper (this was pre-computer) –and eventually blank screen to fill.  Books were denser then, rife with details, spilling over with emotion and multiple plots.                                              

But now we’re writing for a speed read generation.   Time is of the essence, even in romance, and we need to get from here to there in the most direct way.  (Then again, the response to “Downton Abbey” kind of disproves that.)                                

My writing is different in some ways.  I used to love to luxuriate in the imperfect tense — a lot of “was”s and “were”s — and I adored conjunctions — “and”s, and” but”s —  until I realized that the line editor was cutting them right and left because it made the story sound more immediate.  And more direct.                        

Lesson learned.  So I’m trying to be more economical with my words while still maintaining my voice and the essence of the way I write.  I ask myself if there’s a better way to phrase things, another way to get at what I want to say.  My goal is to make sure the line editor has no work to do when s/he gets my manuscript (hardly ever happens).                                                                                     

It does make things more challenging.                                                                               

My advice always is to keep writing and don’t let external things deflect you.  It’s a solitary business and you have to learn to love your work, to trust yourself, and to retain your power over your fictional worlds and words.                       

By the way, everyone loved “Satisfaction” and Emily the cat.  I’ve reread it because I still don’t know what I did in it that was so different. But (oh those “but”s) I keep trying to figure it out.                                                                                   

What do you think?  Has your writing changed?  Have you found that by writing more you learn more?  Have you used a beloved pet in a story? 

Thea's most recent book, The Darkest Heart
Thea Devine is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance.  She’s the author of a dozen novellas and twenty-five historical and contemporary romances, the latest of which is The Darkest Heart  (Gallery, June 2011).  She’s currently working on a sequel.