04 Aug

State of the Revision: Week 1 of 13(?)

I’ve chugged so much instant “cappuccino,” I’m sweating artificial flavor. I’ve been trying to get away from the chemical diet, but sometimes I weary of the labor of healthy food preparation and want something I can just stir and swallow. And pizza rolls. A crappy diet has added two hours to my day. Thank you for coming to my time-management TED talk.

I finished the week’s revision with two extra days worth of work completed. I try not to get too excited because the early scenes were more thoroughly developed than what comes later, so of course they’re more easily revised than something I’ll have to rewrite from scratch, but I can see the evolution and feel good about where it’s going. When you’ve written all the way to the end and go back to revise the beginning, you find all these little ways to set up and foreshadow what comes later, and it makes the whole story hold itself together better and gives it resonance. Four days and 6,600 words in, I’m as positive as I ever get. I will drag this confidence kicking and screaming into Week 2 and crush the next 7,700 words (at minimum to stay on schedule).

I felt artistic and roughed up a cover. It will be tweaked a bit before publication, but probably not so much that anyone but me will notice the difference. Keeping it super basic, commensurate with my graphic design skills. It’s parked on the Books page, if anybody’s interested.

Part of the worldbuilding in my secret future writing endeavor is based on a discussion about pie — specifically, removing a slice and shifting the remaining pieces to hide the theft. Once I came up with that analogy, almost everything else fell into place in one of the rare “oh, right, THIS ORGASMIC SENSATION OF BLAZING GENIUS is why I continue to torture myself with the rest of this miserable writing gig” moments. I feel pretty good about that note pile growing off on the side, too. It’s always nice to have a project to look forward to instead of dread.

28 Jul

Status report

We have a first draft, sugar people!

Rough draft word count of 47,470

It’s a few thousand words short of my original estimate, but that was overinflated by the level of polish on the initial chapters compared to the roughness of what came after. (I always tell myself THIS TIME I’ll clean up the rough draft as I go so there’s not as much work to do later, and I always give up on that idea by chapter two.) The ~47,000 words I ended up with will double to a good length once I expand all the [describe thing] and [insert action here] and shorthand fragments to actual sentences. And let us not forgot [sneak into arena, evading guards], which I’m sure will be an amazing scene once the night-shift elves write it for me.

I had the perfect title for a related book I was going to write after this one and wanted this book to have a coordinating title to show the relationship, but now that there’s a -112% chance I’ll write the other book, I need a better title for this one that stands on its own. I have two variations on a possibility. Here’s hoping something amazing emerges during revision.

I’ve looked at stock photos for cover art and perhaps found a headless guy sturdy enough to represent Phin without being off-puttingly massive. (Let me clarify: a headless guy sturdy enough without being off-puttingly massive who’s not grabbing his crotch or doing something weird with his arms. There were plenty of bodies that would have been fine, but cripes, what are they thinking with those poses.) I might need to buy a font to dress things up because I’m not getting more artistic than mantitty. The nonexistent budget this time won’t extend to a cover artist.

I doubt I’ll bother publishing a paperback version. They don’t sell well. I might just do a proof copy to complete my own collection and never push the listing through.

The next phase of my “writing career” is dancing around my feet like a circus poodle begging for attention. I’m excited about the ideas, but that’s not unusual — ideas are fun; putting one word after another in a sensible and entertaining fashion is a drag. Bets have been placed that the hard part will be easier when I’m writing the kind of stories that are more in my wheelhouse, but none of the gamblers truly grasps the degree of my wordfinding struggles. It can take me hours to work out a blog comment. Trust me, I’m never going to whiz through a novel, no matter how stoked I am about the daggers, dragons, deception, and damnation.

Now I get to escape the computer for a while (my carpal tunnels rejoice…) and get my hands inky tearing this mess apart word by word.

Printed rough draft, spiral notebook, and pen holding the laptop closed

27 Jul

Reading Challenge: July 2018

This got so wordy (fun medication side effect), I’m not going to let it go for the usual two months.

I finally finished 24 read-all-the-way-through books! Who’s ready for the victory parade?

Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking. I should have celebrated with ice cream.

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25 Jul

Letter sent to RWA

I’m sure I’m “grouping” wrong, but I figure the whole point of joining an organization is to participate and have my say in how it’s run. Accordingly, I sent the following email to the board of RWA to counterbalance whatever alternative point of view they’re currently receiving:

I came back to RWA just recently only because I believe the organization is trying to move in the right direction at long last.

Add my voice to the pile of support for more diversity, more equality, more opportunity, more inclusion, and more fucking swearing about injustice wherever it arises.

Pearl-clutching dinosaurs who demand that a group of mostly women play nice, maintain the status quo, and not offend any delicate sensibilities do not speak for me, my daughter, my readers, or any woman I consider a friend and ally. We are the blazing comet that’s going to wipe out the cold-blooded in this lifetime. They are cordially invited to either evolve or go extinct.

If RWA continues to move forward, I’ll happily remain a member. If it’s allowed to regress because progress makes historically privileged members itchy, I’ll leave it again to the fossils.

I feel melodramatic, but sometimes my heart does that to me.

12 Jul

Point of View

I recently attended an editing workshop hosted by a trad-pub romance editor who said, “Head hopping is fine! All the greats do it, and it works fine!” I didn’t catch much after that because of the steam whistling out of my ears, but I’m pretty sure we’d disagree on other fundamentals.

Then I came home and started reading a fantasy novel that I was pretty psyched about until Chapter 5, whereupon I had the damnedest time figuring out how the point-of-view character, who had specifically been described as telepathically “deaf,” was able to know what another character was thinking and feeling. I eventually deduced, after coming to a dead stop to read the page five times to unravel what happened, her impairment didn’t spontaneously resolve. The author simply decided to be done with that character and jump into another one with no transition, and his editor thought it was fine.

For those unfamiliar with the term, head hopping is a not-fine technique in which the point-of-view character changes without a scene break or chapter break to indicate you’ll be spending the next chunk of time cozied up with a new character.

Let me tell you when it can work before I rant about why it doesn’t.

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