Mark Terry

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dis, Dat & De Udder

December 18, 2009
I want to thank The Divine Ms. O for the last handful of blog posts. I don't know if they helped y'all, but I got a lot out of them. It helped clarify my thoughts on some things, deepened my thoughts on others, and kicked me in the ass a little bit, especially in regard to the two wips I'm dicking around with.

I may be a little scarce (or not) the next week or two. I really don't know. If I don't get around to it again, Happy Holidays! I hope they turn out the way you want them to.

On the rest-of-my-life front, this week I finished and handed in a 240-page single-spaced market research report. How long does it take you to write your novel? I'm often asked. Well, this wasn't quite a novel, I think it came to about 60,000 words and there are a lot of tables and charts and I was able to draw on some previously written reports. But the question is valid and in this case, I can say that I apparently signed the contract on about October 7th and my deadline was December 15th. And I can honestly say I wish I'd had more time, because the last couple weeks required me working evenings and weekends to finish on time. Also, this is the 12th market research-type report I've done (some are more comprehensive than others) and I turned it into the publisher and he came back with some edits yesterday (ongoing) and yes, I felt myself panicking slightly. I told Leanne last night that even after doing 12 of these things I sometimes feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Today I'm a little cooler.

On the same note, perhaps I had a revelation about these edits. When I read the e-mail from my publisher, I went into Panic Mode--oh, hell, I've got to do this TOMORROW and I'm tired and I'm getting over a cold and.... And this morning I thought, hell, it's not like he's going to publish it in the next 2 weeks. He'll get through the whole report in the next day or two and I'll have some time to give it my time and attention. But I realized, just the other day I got a phone call from my editor at Oceanview and we've gone through a round of edits on The Valley of Shadows, the Derek Stillwater novel that will be published in September 2011, and she wanted a few more. Most were minor, but there's one chapter toward the end they don't like much (it's a bit of a Morrie the Explainer and it involves a bunch of new characters talking about a bunch of old characters and it's apparently still confusing, even after my previous edits, but it's an important chapter in terms of wrapping up the politics of the story). I said to her, "Okay, but I won't be able to get to these tomorrow," thinking: God, I'm tired after finishing this market report and I need some time off and it's the holidays and... Pat, my editor, said, "Oh, we don't need it that soon. By mid-February's fine."

The point I'm making is that I just realized that my reaction to edits often is, "I'll get right on it right this instant." And once I get past that panicky moment (I'll fix it! I'll fix it!), I take a breath, realize the project is going to require a cool head and some deliberate thought and, I KNOW THIS, they're usually not that difficult to fix.

On other notes, my youngest son, Sean, swam in his first swim meet yesterday. He's in the 6th grade and he swims (as does our oldest son, Ian, though he's not interested in competing) in the Oxford Swim Club, which is a feeder program for the swim team. Sean's a hotshot (we call him Squidboy) and he finished 1st place in the 50 yard butterfly (I'm an okay swimmer, but I can't do the butterfly for 10 feet, let alone 50 yards); his group finished 1st in the 200 yard medley relay (he did the butterfly again). In fact, they were a full lap ahead of their closest competitors. I'm told he's actually even faster on his freestyle, but he didn't swim in that event. This was a club meet with ages from grade 1 to grade 8, so everybody won and they weren't really comparing 1st graders to 8th graders, but were more lumped in by seed times. Anyway, he swam a 200 yard individual medley (which for that you swim one lap freestyle, one lap backstroke, one lap breast stroke, one lap butterfly). He was swimming against other members of his team on that one and finished 4th out of 4. I asked him what happened, was he tired, and he said that when he hit the water on his dive his goggles came off and he swam the whole thing with the goggles strap choking him around his neck. His coach commented to me that normally he smokes the other three swimmers he swam against. One of the things I've been told is that his 50 yard freestyle time (which he did not compete on) is only 2 seconds slower than the high school girls' swim team record. Clearly the coach has hopes for Sean. So do we, and we're very proud of him. My wife and I want him to keep having fun, though, and not get burned out.

In the past I've been skeptical about reading books on a smart phone. Because I published Dancing In The Dark as a Kindle-only book, I'd downloaded the free Kindle app to my iPhone and skimmed through it, but never bothered trying to read a whole book that way, although I was impressed by the app. The other day I downloaded The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory by David Plouffe and have been reading it on the iPhone Kindle app. You know, this really is not a bad way to read books. I'm not sure I want to curl up on the couch with it, but when I'm waiting in the car to pick up my kids, or I'm waiting for a concert to start (or a swim meet), it's really terrific. Could be a game changer. About the only thing I don't particularly like about it is that I like to be able to look at a book and see where I am, either by having an open page or a bookmark, in comparison to the rest of the book, and the paradigm is different for that with an e-book, but I'm going to concede that this just might be possible way of reading books in the future. I suspect in 2010 I'll either invest in a Kindle or, if Apple actually comes out with a tablet-like product, as all the rumors suggest, I'll go that route.

Well, I've rambled long enough. What's going on with your life?


Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Did you self pub that book or did the publisher do that? Cool cover...

8:21 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

If you're talking about Dancing In The Dark, it was self-pubbed, but I paid someone to create the cover.

8:54 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Interesting. I've thought about doing that with a book I have. I got lots of replies on agents that the book is a fun read but the genre (high fantasy) isn't selling that well right now to take on new authors. Or I might just give it away on my website. Or both. Not sure. Next year I'll have to get to that...

9:05 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

If I were a man and didn't have a purse, I'd probably prefer reading on an iPhone. I just like the paper bit. Although, my husband loves his Kindle.

That's awesome! I was a big swimmer in the day, but I was never that good at butterfly. And then, randomly, in my mid-twenties, I went swimming and suddenly got the rhythm. Now I understand why people love it, LOL!

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I'd still like a bigger screen like the Kindle, and I really have no problem with carrying a paperback with me wherever I go, but the iPhone Kindle app is pretty impressive and handy. Even Leanne was surprised when she was looking over my shoulder.

I'm afraid I'm going to be nostalgic about paper books, but I gave a talk about publishing to the high school writer's club yesterday and I drew a picture of a castle and a moat (and a dragon) and called it publishing, and about how as a writer they needed to notice that the castle didn't have a drawbridge down and talked about agents, etc. Then I pointed out that they were all 14-18 years old and then I erased everything on the white board and said, "Well, publishing as we know it just got destroyed, boom, a bomb hit it," and talked about the Kindle and e-publishing and threw some facts and figures at them that they might have been bored with, although they seemed to be following it, about the costs of warehousing, paper, UPS, bookstores, etc., and how all that infrastructure might possibly disappear in the next 10 years or so and the current publishing model with it.

I wouldn't bet much money on hardcovers being around except for collectors.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

HAH! That's really funny, Mark. You could do a really funny comic-strip/whiteboard YouTube video like that.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yeah, they really liked that part. I had this huge whiteboard filled with drawings and figures and I'd been talking 20+ minutes and suddenly I take the eraser and tell them that everything they learned was in the process of being destroyed.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I enjoyed your writing conversations this week but I have to admit I simply don't operate at a high enough level technically to be able to discuss those sorts of things. Well, at least I am better at writing than swimming! Sean's feats in the water sound impressive. Probably one butterfly stroke would give me a coronary. Athletic competition aside, it's got to be fantastic for his health and stamina which will serve him well his whole life. Good luck to him! (Hey, he's got the hardest part of a triathlon down)

Like you I want to get edits/revisions out of the way fast. I hate to see them sitting around, indicatating that a job that was almost done, that I hoped was done, is not in fact done.

Don't think I'd care to read The Audacity to Win right now. I'd rather be reading The Audacity to Try and Get Health Care Reform Rather Than a Handout to Insurance Crooks. More than thirty years ago, when I was living in Brooklyn, for a period of several weeks, after the new Who album came out, there was a guy who blasted -- and I mean it made the whole building shake -- "Won't Get Fooled Again" so you'd think I woud've known better, even from that, not to expect much. Sigh.

We noticed, by the way, that Poisoned Pen Press, while having released a few of our books on Kindle has all of them for Sony eReader.

Have a good holiday. (Don't work too hard...)

10:34 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I love the castle and moat/drawbridge analogy! VERY CLEVER. And I agree with Natasha, you should do a YouTube whiteboard discussion on it.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I'm very frustrated with Congress right now. No, folks, I think it's safe to say that right now nobody expects to see a healthcare reform bill that promises healthcare to everybody. I'll be impressed if they can get anything passed. I was listening to a dipshit Republican this morning basically saying, "Because there's federal funding for abortions in this bill I'll turn down healthcare options for 40 million Americans."

Oh, wait. Maybe I was putting words into his mouth. Seems to me that's what he was saying. No federal monies for abortion or I'm killing the bill, no matter how important the rest of it is.

How about the Terry Resolution: We'll get rid of the abortion funding part of healthcare reform if every dickhead like you makes a legally binding agreement that you will NEVER, EVER run for office anywhere in the universe ever again.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

"I'd rather be reading The Audacity to Try and Get Health Care Reform Rather Than a Handout to Insurance Crooks."

HAH! That's hilarious!

Really, Eric! You shoulda said something! I'm getting them now. I have this obsession with reading in order, so I stopped after 2, because 3 was not yet available. I can buy them on Sony's site and convert.

(My word verification is "nomatter")

10:22 AM  

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