Progress – January 21, 2019

Boy did I make my inner artist-child angry last week!

She got so mad at me that she hijacked the ship. Every time I went to get my words in, I felt her sticking her tongue out at me. I will share more about this later in the week. Trust me, my artist-child is such a brat!

I went over the weekend to Boise to watch the Dragon Ball: Broly movie. Certainly not as good as Spider Man: Into the Spider-verse, but it was fun to spend time with the boys. They also let me pop into Guitar Center so that I could play with some microphones. I found one I really liked. Now I can’t wait to get it hooked into my booth and get to working with it. I still have the second half of Oxygen to record before I do that though. I might keep my AKG mic and do character voices on it, but this new mic will be great for narration. I’m so excited.

It has taken me a week to get through the audio on the first part of Oxygen which I recorded last week, but I’ve been happy with the editing speed. It’s much more reasonable. The channel strip I added works well.

I’ve also been working on the edit for Tangled Magic. I haven’t gotten in time every morning, but since it’s a new habit, it’s taking time to get into place. As I had figured it would.

That’s really all I have for this week. Let’s look at the numbers.

Fiction words written last week:  2,914 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,533 words.

Daily word goal reached for 163 days! Weekly word goal reached for 26 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  16,020 words

Writing year to date total: 16,020 words

Drawing/painting last week: I only got in a little 5″x7″ painting. Better than nothing.

Audio: I spent 3 and a half hours editing audio.

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Progress – January 14, 2019

I’ve still been working on the story about Martias and Steigan heading to the Palin Wars which I referenced last Wednesday. I’m trying to slant it so that a reader could pick it up at any point in the story, even before reading Quest for the Three Books, without much in the way of spoilers. So far, so good.

It is a little strange because while I have known Martias’ motivations for quite some time, I hadn’t every really thought about where his head would be at when he and Steigan ran away to the Palin Mountains. We’ve “chatted” about how he felt when he first arrived at the Temple, and even how he felt when he was nominated for the position of Holy Sapere, but I hadn’t really needed to know how he felt along the way on that path. So, this provides me with interesting insights into his character.

I also love his view of Steigan. I’m so use to being in Steigan’s head, where he is always so noble and upstanding. Let’s face it, even when he had no memories, I knew who he was because I knew how he’d act on instinct alone. Admittedly, that might be why I’m having issues working on book 5 (The Missing Thread) because Steigan’s headspace is so messed up that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. That, and the fact that I have no idea about Keteria waking up. I know when I write the correct scene, I’ll know it. It just hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, that aside, it’s fun to see what Martias thinks about and what he withholds. Steigan is cut and dry. He speaks his mind. Marias, he refrains. Again, that’s not something new with Martias — I’ve known he doesn’t always tell Steigan everything, but I see how he is event the trickster character in his own mind. It’s fun.

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Progress – August 13, 2018

For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling myself that “this weekend I’ll get to go upload audio.” Well, this last weekend was when it came true.

When I upload an audiobook, I like to go sit at Starbucks. First off, coffee = yes, please! Second, I don’t often go to Starbucks (I usually go to Barnes & Noble which is a cafe serving Starbucks coffee. It never quite tastes the same. I have yet to have a drink at B&N that tastes exactly like Starbucks — and I prefer the way B&N does it, so double yes please to books and coffee). So a trip to Starbucks is actually a break from my usual routine and and therefore a treat. Thirdly, killer Internet! I can upload the files much faster than anywhere else I’ve found so far.

Now, I just sit back and wait for my files to be approved. Fingers crossed on that one. I’m a little worried. Plus, I didn’t do my final listen through on this book (another worry). After spending 6+ years trying to record this book and trashing so many rotten versions, I just can’t listen it to once more. You know, this book is the whole reason I threw in the towel and bought myself a Whisper Room; I despised the sound I was getting, not to mention having to wake up at 2 a.m. on the weekends to record so I didn’t have noisy neighbors, cars, birds, cat fights, barking dogs, owls, crickets, etc. in the background of my recording. When I had the rain and wind in the middle of the night, plus I was a wreck for several days afterwards from a strange sleep schedule, I decided trying to have my own homemade studio was not what I wanted to do. I wanted it to be quick and simple: a good recording, quick editing, done and released to the world.

Quest for the Three Books audiobook cover small

Yeah, let me tell you, even with the Whisper Room, it’s a journey I’m not sure I’ve ever been prepared for or one that I will ever be successful at. And I feel this way every time I release a new audio. I never feel like it’s good enough. I know there are still flaws in this, which is why I had to let it go. If I went through it again (and I can say this as a fact from where I’ve re-listened to parts of it in trying to find something I wanted to use as a sample), I would ditch all the audio again and re-record it over again. No matter how careful I was when I was going through it, I was always going to hear something that needed fixed. You get the loud clicks out of an audio and all the small ones come jumping back at you.

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Progress – January 29, 2018

Jugging projects.

That’s been the description for this week.

I’ve been working on Onesong. I had a couple people who read my post on Wednesday as me: what do you mean you’re not working on it?!? I just shrugged and said, “Creative procrastination.” As I knew would happen, the other book, Stonecharmer, settled down. I knew it would happen. I wish I could describe the feeling. It’s kind of like putting a tractor in neutral after you’ve had it going in 4th gear for a while and just letting it roll until it settles into its parking spot. Yeah. I was cruising along with Stonecharmer, then it just eased back. I felt it slowing down, not necessarily the story but the writing. The time for its “creative procrastination” has come.  That means I get back to Onesong.

The two-page spread I’ve been working on for my children’s book has more detail than any other pages so far and I’ve spent all week working on it. I also got a few additional pages inked, but I feel like the whole week has been dedicated to these two pages.

I got a cover done this week and worked on mocking up another cover.

Corrections for Prince of the Ruined Land are coming along.

And I recorded the audio for a short story.

All in a week’s work.

I just want to remind you that I don’t say all this to impress anyone, but rather to impress upon you that if you decide what you want to do and focus your mind, you can achieve big things. Choose and act. That really is the magic formula.

Let’s get to the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week: 5,470 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,275 words

Writing month to date total:  32,766 words – I currently have a writing streak of hitting my daily word goal for 26 days and hitting the weekly goal for the last 4 weeks.

Writing year to date total: 32,766 words

Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 3 and a half hours working on my kids’ book. I didn’t get any painting done last week. I do regret that — I really meant to spend some time on it over the weekend, but it didn’t happen.

Audio: I spent 7 hours recording and editing audio. This included my short story (and I keep asking myself why I’m spending time on this – craziness as part of the creative procrastination process? I probably would have been better off painting.) and working on Quest for the Three Books.

And now that I’ve had a moment to ponder why I would use audio work as creative procrastination, I wonder if I use audio as a way to procrastinate on painting. That would certainly make sense, considering that I swapped my planned painting time for working on audio. I will have to examine this more because I think there might be something to it.  That’s one tractor I’d certainly like to get out of neutral.

Until next week…

Tongue Twisters

I never imagined myself being able to say the “She sells sea shells down by the sea shore” tongue twister very well. I always preferred “Rubber baby buggie bumpers” myself. I’ve even started to make up a few of my own: “Ghastly green goblins gagging on ghosts,” “Saint Steigan’s sword standing,” and “The only girl in the world for Arlyn.”

So what’s the point of all this?

I’ve been busy recording The Three Books as an audiobook. I’d love to say that I was nearly done, especially since I’ve now recorded the book three times (a prophecy in the title maybe?) and partially gotten through it I don’t know how many times but at least two more. I thought I had a good recording when I was done with it the second time through, then I discovered this wretched hum over the top of the vocals and trying to get rid of it just mangled the audio. I never imagined that I’d learn so much about audio engineering.

It was supposed to be simple: record the audio, edit it to clean out bad phrases to make it follow the book, and upload it.

Wrong.

Now I’ve never been one for perfection, but cleaning up mouth clicks is a booger. Sometimes I think I push it too far. I’m learning to let go. Let’s just say that I’m to a point now that I can step in my booth, say my tongue twisters, and record a chapter without any hesitation. Editing cleanup work later is the part I’m starting to dread. It takes so long.

Okay, enough of my complaining. I really just wanted to let you know that I’m still working on the audiobook and that it is coming along, just not as fast as I would hope. If I could just keep my tongue from getting all twisted and making all sorts of weird sounds. You just don’t notice them until you attune yourself to them. I recently bought some Thayer’s Dry Mouth Spray. I haven’t yet listened to any of the chapters I’ve done with the spray, but I hope it helps. The dry mouth spray came as a recommendation from Eric Stuart at Anime Oasis. I’m so glad he took the time to answer my question as well as to hear about my silly little project. When you’re doing everything right but still having issues, it’s time to get additional help. Now I dread having a recording so good and so clear in those last few chapters that I decide to go re-record the earlier ones before the throat spray. How many times through would that make?

Yeah, recording an audiobook when you’re not a profession is not an easy thing to do. It takes time, patience, research, and perseverance. I feel like the universe keeps asking me, “How badly do you want this?” Badly! I want to be able to do it myself too, because once I have my small backlist done, I want to be able to keep up, preferably on a daily basis. That thought alone probably qualifies me as insane. Here’s to hoping.

If I don’t lose my mind on this first book.