The end of my working vacation

He glares at me through two oily black eyes, taking my confidence and all joy from the things I've created. Everything I've ever written, or ever will write becomes utter crap under his gaze.

This raven doesn't need three eyes, like a popular fantasy series and television show. He does just fine with two hateful shining orbs. His name is Doubt, and I am his bitch for the next few weeks.

The walls of the writing office close in around me, and nothing matters beyond my collection of short stories, and Doubt.

He kawed raucously over the fact that I miscounted the number of vampires in a coven. There were six, then seven, then six again. He pecked at my hand until I changed it to seven in every instance. Seven is a classic fairy-tale number, and will resonate better in the story.

That seemed to be his only complaint with the story. I set it in Baltimore, and Doubt is a huge Ravens fan. Is he manipulating me to support some kind of cause?

He paces back and forth across my desk muttering one of the few words he mimics, “crap, crap, crap.” Maybe he speaks with purpose, he is no ordinary raven. This one is from Mt. Olympus and is nearly treble the size of an ordinary raven. He was a gift from my Muse, but he seems more like a punishment.

Lorelei, the Muse, told me I must learn to overcome Doubt if I ever want to succeed as a writer. I've taken this to heart for seven different books now, but it never gets any easier. Real authors get something to market. I don't want to put out crap, crap, crap, so I edit to the best of my ability. Always under the watchful eye of my gift, my foe.

He doesn't like my attempt at an epistolary style tale. This is the one he thinks is crap, crap, crap. I breezed through it quickly, and will have to return later. My bloody hands couldn't take it any longer.

I drank coffee, so I know Lisa the robot brought it to me. I just can't remember her being there. Such is the power of Doubt during our editing sessions.

He didn't have much to offer in the story I called Magpies. There is a raven in the story, and I wonder if he has some ulterior motives. I'm tempted to replace the raven in the story with another kind of carrion bird just to spite him. I'm afraid he'll peck my eyes out. The raven remains out of fear.

He didn't offer much in the story about the girl with a fever. This concerns me too. No story is perfect. Maybe I should change it somehow, but how? Is he quiet because it's good, or so bad it's beneath his contempt?

I stopped just before the only fantasy in the collection. There is a battle in this story, and I'm afraid he'll make me add ravens to the scene.

There is more editing to come, and I need to break it up into smaller pieces. My mind is full of doubt right now, and I don't want it to get overwhelming. I need to watch some cartoons or something to change the mood.

I left the writing cabin around 1:00. My working vacation is over. It was productive for what it is worth. I added new words to my novel, finished up my short stories, and assembled them into one long manuscript. I need to edit them, and create a table of contents. Maybe I should look into a book formatter this time. That way my italics will come out correctly. Does anybody have one they would recommend? I'd hire them for the table of contents and an Amazon ready file that I could add a cover to.

I think I'll spend the afternoon playing with Otto, or seeing if the coyote will catch the roadrunner. Maybe Pinky and the Brain can actually take over the world.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and I'm serious about a reasonable formatter.



Filed under Muse, Writing

35 responses to “The end of my working vacation

  1. I say roast him, but then, he does have your best interest at heart. I swear he has a twin in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And triplet in Southern England!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Editing has to be the Hellchild of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that he likes the Baltimore Ravens. šŸ™‚
    Creating a table of contents isn’t hard. I think I have a document saved somewhere with the HTML code that explains how to do it if you’re interested.
    Doubt’s a tough critic, but you’re a good writer, so I no you’ll reach a happy medium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I made my last one, and it turned out fine as long as I used the Mac. iPads weren’t up to the task. I had some real issues with italics in The Playground, and since I use them in the new Notebook too, maybe it’s worth a few bucks to not have to worry about it. If they’re doing the MS, they can do the TOC too. (I’m an old Steelers fan, and it’s just another reason Doubt and I don’t get along.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a very good online friend who is a huge Steelers fan (she’s originally from Pittsburgh) so we often joke about the Ravens/Steelers since I like the Ravens and I’m from PA!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I slacked off on football in the last few years. College football around here is huge and is more fun when you have a local team. Baseball is my preference, but it’s almost all pay per view now.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I do my own formatting, so I can’t be any help there. What happens with the italics?

    Be careful that Doubt doesn’t cause you to make changes for the sake of making changes. That can cause a big mess. Always thought Doubt had a double-edged beak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m guessing it happened in version something point something. Either with Apple Pages or Amazon itself. When I use even one italicized word, the whole paragraph defaults to italics now. Never was a problem through six published books. Ultimately a guy at Amazon converted my MS for me, but told me it was a one time deal. Do Starwind Eagles eat Ravens? Maybe we can make a deal.


      • I’m guessing Starwind Eagles eat a lot of big animals, but a Raven could be an appetizer or snack. Hope the guy told you what went wrong, so you can prevent it from happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That was the downside. He solved the immediate issue, but never told me how to prevent it again. My ePub file was perfect, but once it went through the Amazon Mill there it was. This is the same way I published all my previous books without a problem. I think Doubt is an immortal, so it probably wouldn’t help anyway.


      • Funny things happen with Amazon formatting. I remember one book I formatted the way I always did had large tabs on the paragraphs. Thankfully, I found it before I published. All I did was upload it again and it was fixed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did that too, but the situation repeated. I’m willing to pay for a little peace of mind, and someone who can address the problem without me having a panic attack.


      • I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that issue when I publish a book with a character who speaks in italics. Been a little worried about that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like them for single word emphasis, news broadcasts and such. It’s maddening when the single word defaults the whole paragraph. Never had a problem until the last book.


      • I need to use it for telepaths or anything speaking from an object without a mouth. Otherwise, it looks weird. Don’t blame you for going mad over that problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a perfect example.


      • I’ve had a similar thing happen in my latest ePub with stylesheet italicised parags. ‘Luckily’ I’m going to have to do a revision quite soon as I’ve gone ahead and published to Kindle without a Foreword (that’s still being worked on).
        If I can work it out then I’ll let you know šŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cool. I never had that issue until the most recent book. Maybe I won’t have it this time??? I think it has to do with updates to word processors and such.


  6. I dont know why Doubt is having such a hold over you… sounds like you got on just great. And certainly achieved a lot. Formatting is a drag, isn’t it? It never gets any easier, no matter how many times you do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think the doubt-monster gets us all. It’s hard sometimes to know what works and what doesn’t, sometimes even if we have someone critique something the opinions leave you second-guessing yourself. I did that too often in the past instead of listening to someone with more knowledge. I’m starting to try to weigh my opinion about how a story should go more. Sometimes, like you’ve said, they don’t see how the book’s going to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Be glad you only have a raven. I have a condor.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t have this sorta feathered nag, probably because I like to oven roast birds at my house. It’s great though, that you have one, and that I get to read about it. He no doubt keeps you sharp. Still…Doubt is a pain in the ass, wouldn’t you prefer gravy? šŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

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