Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tackling the In-Box

What a difference a day makes. Monday was the hottest day of the year. Today, it's still in the 70s. I celebrated by going shopping after physical therapy. It would have been a nice day for one of those open air, fake old downtown shopping centers that have become popular around here, but those are all far away, and the stores I wanted are at the mall just down the road from the therapy place. Or I thought they were. I hadn't been in a mall in a couple of years, and a few things had changed. But still, I managed to actually find a few things. It was a moderately successful shopping trip. I even celebrated the end of the heat wave and the approach of fall by buying a cheap hoodie at Old Navy. Not that I expect to be using it anytime soon, but I hope to get in lots of quality outdoor time this fall. Today, though, I'm enjoying drinking hot tea in the afternoon and having my windows open with a fresh, cool breeze blowing. I'm afraid I'll be terribly disappointed when it goes back to being moderately hot.

I'm just about done with the proposal for the new project, aside from the synopsis. That could be a wee bit tricky, as I'm still not entirely sure how the whole plot should go. I have a general idea, and it's possible that trying to put it into synopsis form will help solidify it. The plan is to finish the partial manuscript today and do some outlining of the plot. Then I can let it rest and maybe do some thinking about it while I drive to and from Austin this weekend. Who knows, something said in an ArmadilloCon panel may spark something. Then next week I'll revise what I have. I'll let it rest during Labor Day weekend, then I'll read through it all again -- out loud -- and then send to my agent to see what she thinks. I've got that tingly "this is it!" sensation about this book. I do know I'm going to have to change the name of a secondary character because I realized as I was reading that this name looked a lot like the name of a major character in print. They'll probably never share a scene, but even I was getting confused by the similarities already, which I think is a bad sign. The major character name is one I really like. I pulled the secondary character name out of thin air, so I need to dig to find something better.

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday working on the in-box and starting to answer some of the backed up mail. After spending about an hour replying to fan e-mails I ran out of steam and just started sorting through the in-box to clear out the junk I let pile up, like Facebook and LiveJournal notifications, Borders coupons, Google Alerts, etc. I managed to cut the size of my in-box in half so that just about everything's that left is stuff I have to deal with. It was rather frightening to see that the backlog goes back a couple of years. Yikes! I need to develop a better system for dealing with all this, but it took me an hour to answer one month worth of e-mail. It may take me a while to get through it all, and meanwhile, new stuff is coming in all the time, and then the people I replied to reply to my reply and, well, you can see why I have a bad habit of not wanting to deal with it all. I love getting mail from readers, but answering is a lot more difficult. I don't want to resort to any kind of automated reply since each message generally has a specific question that needs to be answered.

And now I'd better get to work, since I have choir tonight and I took the morning off entirely.

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