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September 09, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  2 Comments

Editing editing editing, get that editing going, editing editing editing, RAWHIDE!

Hey, you edit a 140k manuscript. Then look at a mistake and go “WTF?” and then realize “oh, I did that” followed by “need more scotch!”

In random news, two of my Beta readers are primed and ready to go. Soon my pretties, soon. Both are well-read in general lit and my genre. We’ve had literary disagreements before (not over my writing), but nothing that has come to blows. Yet.

I ked I ked! We share a love of books, and have been good friends for many years.

Now I just need to find two more critical readers and I am good to go. And I can start writing again! Yeeeessssssssssss!


September 08, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  3 Comments

Draft 2: 216 out of 345 pages down. I have cut 10,262 words since I started.

Editing. Is. Driving. Me. Crazy.

I have sworn off writing anything new until I am done with this revision pass which includes incorporating Grammatically Correct Wife Unit’s editing suggestions. Why?

If I did not, I would never finish. It is not a painful process, more like jogging in the loose sand at the beach. A labor of love, if you will.

Except blogging of course, because I love my 7.3 readers!

Brenda over the shark tank

September 07, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot  4 Comments

I must have 10,000 6,000 words around a very interesting news reporter, Brenda Doe of KORI Seattle. Only, she is not vital to the plot. The story works without her, and it tightens considerably in my imagined edits.

Damn it all! I was liking Brenda. She lent a certain city sophistication to the country bumpkins. She was fun, nosy and fundamentally a good person. I thought she moved the plot along several places, but absent her efforts, the plot moves along without her.

Here I go. Sorry Brenda. I love you, but not as much as I love (spoiler deleted).

Edit: That was a 6,000 word CHOMP. I saved Brenda to my cuts.docx file. She would make a great chick-lit main character, if I knew anything about broadcast news reporting. Maybe I can stick her somewhere out of broadcast. With guns. And an attitude. Brenda Doe, ex-KORI Investigative Reporter… who, um… takes her ex-husbands guns in the divorce settlement… and… decides to keep them! Little does she know that hidden in the stock of one of the old civil war rifles is a…

Can guys actually write chick-lit crime mysteries?

Probably not.


September 07, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, The Craft  0 Comments

Since finishing Bunny Trouble, I have cut 5,269 words! I am on page 166/360 of my readability pass, at exactly 149,000 words.

Literary nom nom nom nom…

Major edits to one of my key action scenes. It is less graphic, but strangely those edits made it darker, more edgy. Creepier, even.


September 06, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft, The Wife Unit  1 Comment

Apparently, I don’t need a proofreader now. Seems The Wife Unit takes great umbrage at grammatical errors. Here’s how I know:

Hack Writer: The Big Green Writing Chair
Wife Unit: The Couch, reading my manuscript

Suddenly The Wife Unit bolts from the couch, rolls up chapters one and two and smacks me with it.

“It is”








“As in”


“The former or the latter!

(Thwack! Thwack Thwack!)

True story.

Cats explained

September 05, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  2 Comments

The cat is a killing machine.

Wife saw a bobcat today. It looked like a very large domestic cat with spots, a nifty tail and a fuzzy face. We actually have a pixie bob as a house cat, so said lynx looked like a larger version of Tigger (said pixie bob).

Q: What’s the difference between a bobcat and a cougar?
A: The reclusive cougar thinks you’re tasty.

Seeing a bobcat is a special treat out here in the boonies. If you ever see a wild cougar, well, she’s just taunting you before ripping you to pieces after stalking you for several hours.

Thankfully, cougars are very reclusive. The next time one complains about the behavior of the common house cat, just remember: little fluffy is the descendant of a shark with fur.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by Anthony Pacheco, The Hack Writer. No need to thank me, that’s just the kind of guy I am.

Girl Power

September 05, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot  0 Comments

Girl Power

Up goes the windmill

The most amazing thing

We have ever done

The blades cut their air

In clear ownership

Of the dream of all

Practical dreams


Now we have to dig

For the wire that goes

From the windmill

To the other power thingie

Where the house is


Dig, pipe, wire

Dig, pipe, wire


Now we hate dirt.

We get in the truck

We rent a machine

It digs the rest of the

Way in a single hour


“We’ll let that be a lesson to us!” she says.

I agree. My hands have blisters.

“What’s next?” I ask.

“The septic tank!”

“Nooooo!” I shouldn’t have asked.

“Power and Poop little girl, power and poop.”

She smiles. “If we can control those, we can control anything!”

Hardcore creativity is a learned process

September 05, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

Nicole reminded me that hardcore creativity is a learned process.

You can read endless musings and books on this concept, even so many forget this truism. The necessity of understanding the inner child that wonders, and putting this thinking to paper, is so vital it almost defies description.

Here’s how The Hack works on creativity following the rule of three:

Write everyday
Hang with Writers (virtually, in person, wherever)

Write everyday
It is not just a habit. It increases my writing talent. I become better at writing because I frequently write. A part of that is the self-encouragement of creativity. Such a simple concept really. I’m a simple man.

Hang with Writers
When I was young…er I would read books and flip to the author bio. Many of the books I enjoyed went like this:

…blah blah blah, currently lives in New York…
…lives in upstate New York…
…resides in New Your with his family…
…New York…
…New York…

What gives? As I got older, I contributed that to laziness and elitism. That’s where the publishers and agents were, that’s where you had to be. While there is a small smidgen of truth to that, that assumption was grossly unfair. These authors congregated geographically like the thirsty to the well. Creative people are drawn to other creative people in a glorious feedback loop of critique, improvement and revision.

Their friends, lovers, associates, co-workers, etc., all lent to the creative process. They were learning, and it made them better writers by being in the writing environment. What a golden age that must have been! How exciting to live in that time!

Globalization of information, of course, killed this era, but that is a different story. Let’s consider, however, this imaginary NY exchange:

Writer #1: “Hey Frank, how is the new novel coming?”

Writer #2: “Bloody awful. Just can’t seem to push past this one plot point.”

“When’s the last time you sat down and banged away at it?”

“Last week.”

“Well fuck, Frank, how the hell is the book going to write itself?”

“I know, I know…”

“Let’s go. Let’s down a few martinis and get you laid.”

“Oh, twist my arm!”

Now tell me, is this exchange that imaginary? Frank is a creative person at his core, but Writer #1 (a true friend) is feeding his creativity and not just by being a supportive, but helping Frank in his quest to put to words something magical. Frank is not experiencing life–he is learning. He’s not going to magically forget how he pushed through to continue his writing.

The interwebs is a wonderful tool to connect with likeminded people. For the creative process, it is a spooky level of reinforced feedback approaching ecstasy.

I’m a sucker for a good, creative story.  Reading to improve The Craft, Can Not Be Denied. It’s not just a hobby now, it makes me a better author of fiction! How awesome is that?


September 04, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft, The Wife Unit  4 Comments

The Wife Unit says she could not put down my manuscript today. This is a good sign. I was out of fingernail trim.