Cheryl Angst, Writer

Writer of strange tales – because no one ever accused me of being normal.

Plotting, Plotting, Plotting! July 12, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 1:57 pm
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Rather than spend my summer lazing about poolside, I am using my copious amounts of free time (ha, ha, ha – did I mention I have small children?) to start work on another project.

The textbook people are planning on getting in touch with me shortly, so my freedom is about to be cut perilously short. I must use the hours that remain to their maximum capacity because I don’t know how many (or how few) are left.

So,

Now I’m plotting.

You know what’s really cool? Having an agent to bounce ideas off, that’s what’s cool.

I wrote out these character sketches and a short pitch outlining a book I’d like to write and then I sent it to Brianne. I had some specific questions, but was mostly concerned with, “Should I write this, or is the idea so atrocious no one will ever want to pick it up?” And you know what was really awesome? She wrote back! (I was not surprised by this, as she is very good at communicating with me, but the whole novelty of having someone in the publishing field who will answer my newbie/weird questions still floors me sometimes.)

I would ask you to guess what her answer was, but I kind of spoiled it for you at the top of the post, so we’ll just move on as though we’re all squeeing together at the discovery that my agent likes my new idea. Ready? *SQUEE!*

Being me, I couldn’t just jump into writing (I am SOOOOO not a pantser) – no, I had to whip out a spreadsheet and map the whole thing out. And, ZOMG, I had so much fun! I would post a pic of my spreadsheet, but I don’t want to give away the surprise…

Aw, who am I kidding? Look what I made!

Here's what I'm currently working on

Plotting, Plotting, Plotting!

Don’t be too upset if you can’t decipher what’s written. For one, it’s all set-up and nothing exciting happens. Two, I just wanted to show off my pretty little columns and rows. This isn’t a full chapter-by-chapter outline, more like an event-to-event one. There are key elements that must happen in the story for it to play out the way I want, and I need to get them in order before I start writing.

I did something very similar with Nikko, but I used index cards (and then stupidly recycled them so I had nothing to refer to when I wanted to create this spreadsheet). Seeing as Nikko landed me an agent, I figure the system must not be too horribly flawed. ;)

I still have a few boxes to fill in, but I should be able to do that this afternoon, which means… Da-da-daaaaa! Tonight I will be writing!

A new book!

Writing!

A brand new, shiny book!

*happy dance* (Well, happy dance until such time as the textbook people come calling…) :(

C.

 

The Magic Kingdom March 27, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 1:09 pm
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Hello everyone!

It’s been awfully quiet around here lately, mostly because I haven’t posted anything in, like, forever.

Let’s see, what’s been going on?

Well, I started pushing through the teacher’s guide for the textbook in the hopes of getting it done prior to Spring Break, but while I made good progress, I still had a ways to go when the break finally arrived.

Also during that time I battled a wicked cold and report cards – talk about a deadly combination!

However, it was worth it when, last Saturday, we boarded the plane to take the girls to DISNEYLAND! We spent five days wandering between Disneyland and the California Adventure Parks. We survived monsoons, urban flooding, swarms of snails, and throngs of happy people. We deliberately chose to spend all five days in those two parks and not try to squeeze any other sights into our visit. As a result, we had a very relaxing stay, we did what we felt like when we felt like it, and we didn’t stress out about lines or weather or anything.

Now we’re home and I’ve been told to wait on completing the teacher’s guide until they get back to me with changes for the student workbook. So, with a week left before work begins again, what’s a writerly girl to do?

Last night I re-read my WIP for the sequel to The Firestorm Conspiracy. 55,000 words of not-bad-ness. ;-) Actually, a lot of what was written is pretty darn good – I found points in the story where I had to keep reading even though I knew what was going to happen.

On the less-than-spectacular side, I discovered some significant plot gaps… I seem to have been on a serious character-relationship tear when I began drafting the story because right now the B plot takes centre stage and the A plot pops up to make an appearance every once and awhile to remind us we have a purpose for flying around in space.

Tonight I get to dive into the WIP again, and start to flesh out what should be the A plot. I’m thinking this book may come in closer to 100K than the 75K of the first one.

Cheers!

C.

 

Delayed Gratification Hurts! March 5, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 11:45 pm
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My agent delivered her notes on Nikko as promised. I nearly died (in a good way) when I opened the document and discovered eleven pages of comments. I spent Tuesday night reading, re-reading, and processing every word. I shivered in the waiting area of my daughter’s gymnastics school, but the cold didn’t bother me, so focused on the document was I.

Do you know what the worst part was?

After nearly 5,000 words of feedback, I wanted nothing more than to quit my day job, toss the textbook deal into the fire, and relegate the raising of my children to the pack of wild raccoons in the cedar tree out front. The desire to dive into the manuscript, to work with the bones and sinews on the page, was so visceral my stomach ached in response. Alas, I am still gainfully employed, the contract is not ash, and my children have not gone feral on me.

I *know* I cannot start on this project until I have dealt with my other commitments. I *know* this. But, damn it, I *WANT* to immerse myself in the novel and play around with my agent’s suggestions!

So, if I seem a little grumbly and out of sorts for the next month (yes, my schedule looks like I’ll be waiting until early April to tackle Nikko again), you’ll know why: Delayed gratification sucks.

C.

Oh, it’ll feel *real* good when it comes, but right now? It. Sucks.

 

Update Time January 24, 2011

Filed under: Contracts,Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 9:39 pm
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I’ve been silent for a week and I didn’t want you to think I’d run off to Mexico with the pool boy or died or something.

Honestly? I’ve been swamped with the math textbook. I’m still glad I accepted the contract, but the amount of focused thought required to get through as few as 200 words is frequently mind-boggling. It isn’t unusual for it to take me more than two hours to write out the fully worked solution to one of the student questions.

There are times where the pace of my progress is painfully slow (see above), and others where I feel like I’ve accomplished something – and by something, I don’t mean 1000+ words, more like 350+. I’m roughly halfway through the student portion of the contract and hope to send the pages off by the end of the first week of February.

My deadline isn’t until the 28th of February, but I want to get some feedback on the workbook pages before I create the corresponding teacher guide pages. If I’ve messed up with one, I don’t want to have to re-write both.

While it seems like I’m giving myself quite a bit of wiggle room with regards to the deadline, it’s not as much of a buffer as it may first appear – I also have report cards to write at the end of February/beginning of March. And, at some point soon, my agent will be sending me her notes on my ms and I REALLY want to be able to work on those.

So, it may seem like I’m ignoring you with my extended periods between posts, but I’m not.

Okay, let’s be honest, I am, but it’s for a good cause.

*wanders off to explore another mathematical concept*

C.

 

Short Story Desire December 14, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 6:01 pm
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I’ve been bitten by the short story writing bug. I want to write some flash fic, some short fic, and maybe even some vignettes. It’s probably because the number of days remaining before I have to give up fiction in favour of Grade 12 math is rapidly dwindling.

Regardless of the reason, I think I will indulge myself over the holidays (assuming I have time). I may even treat my cheerleader to some short fic involving some of the characters from my novels… Hmmm… is it “fan fiction” if it’s written by the original author? ;)

C.

 

Housekeeping December 13, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 10:35 pm
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Now that the dust from NaNoWriMo has settled, I decided it was time to look around at the other writing projects I have on the go and see what needed attending to.

I glanced at the 30 lbs of resource materials for the textbook then quickly looked away, determined not to think about it until the Christmas Break.

I wandered over to check on Toni and Matthias (I had left them in a rather compromising position in a hotel elevator after all) and discovered they’d been booted from WEBook but were doing quite well on authonomy.com.

I have a couple of short stories I’d like to write, so I spent some time planning those out in preparation for sitting down and actually composing the tale.

Then I finally checked in on poor Nikko. I think he’s been lonely. No one seems to love him. Even agents had stopped calling about him. He seemed dejected – his spreadsheet data gathering dust from lack of input. I shook my head then did what any mother would do, I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, dusted him off, and threw him back outside with the admonishment to go out and make new friends instead of moping around here. Can’t you see I’m trying to cook dinner? You’ll be lucky if there’s anything on the table if you keep hanging about underfoot!

Well, maybe I didn’t mention dinner, but I did go through my spreadsheet and re-send some queries to agents I’d contacted at the end of August and who had yet to respond (I crossed the “no response means no” ones off my list, not bothering to pester them again). I know the holidays are fast approaching, but it felt good to being doing something active towards furthering my writing career. And, a day later, I’ve had two replies! One was a standard rejection but the other was a request for a partial. WOOT!

As I get ready to dive into the world of textbook writing, I find I am looking at the remaining days as though they were the end of summer vacation (except I am exhausted, not well-rested). I want to pack as much fiction writing in as possible because I don’t know how much time I’ll have for that once I start on the non-fiction. But I’m also tired, and I want to lay back and stare at the ceiling, hoping time will magically fly and I’ll wake up to discover it’s Saturday morning and I don’t have to go back to work until 2011.

Oh well, I believe I hear a short story calling me… I must get in all the “fun” stuff while I can.

C.

 

Day Twenty-Five 2010 November 25, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 8:18 pm
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2360 words last night!

I am 917 words from the finish! I will not go to bed tonight until I reach 50,000 words and WIN NaNoWriMo 2010!

I received more information about the math textbook project, and I am really interested! I talked it over with my family–as it will entail giving me some time to write–and they agreed to support me in this. So I’m going to read through the materials that were sent and give my decision, probably tomorrow.

One more night of NaNo madness!

C.

 

 
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