Archive for the ‘#dystopian’ Category

I received the best email this morning: the previews for the promotional materials for my book! They look great, and it’s lit a new fire under me to get my revisions done ASAP.

Unfortunately, I’m still mid-move, so that throws a bit of a wrench into things. I can’t just wake up early and open the laptop and get cracking. I have to pack boxes and get those things ready. That’s in the mornings; the evenings (after work) are for unpacking said boxes in the house. We’ve gotten maybe half of the apartment moved over, but the remaining half is the tough stuff. Clothes, dishes, electronics, deep freeze, food, bed, TV, and all the little piddly stuff that’s been left. I don’t know where I’m going to get the time. Well, I suppose I could cut back on what little sleep I get….

I’ll get it done by the deadline. I have to. I’m not giving myself any other option.

It’ll be nice to finally be in our house… But I can’t let my guard down. I’ve got to remember that I’ve still got work to do.

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It’s nearly done! After almost two years of planning and 7-8 months of building, our home loan has been approved! This Friday we sign the loan, and Monday we’re officially moved in (okay, so we’ve been moving our crap in ever since the builders told us that we could start).

Some of this early, early morning (thanks, Rory) has been spent packing boxes. I may or may not have gotten distracted looking for my first SCA award, which we plan on getting framed along with all the others and hung in the Olrun-and-Floki-SCA-Hall-of-Fame, but it was found safe and sound and now is with all the other awards we have received that are yet to be framed–except my husband’s Queen’s Cipher. He put that….somewhere. He’ll have to find that one.

Once I ran out of boxes, I decided I kindamaybesorta need to get cracking on revisions. Yep, my latest round of line edits has been returned, but I was so frustrated at comments or suggestions that didn’t make sense to me that I took a step back from it. Now, though, I have to somehow manage moving to a new home, working full time, and completing said revisions. Oh, and SCA life. And crafting. No sweat, right? Right. Sure. I can do this.

Rory and River have figured out that there’s something going on–we’re excited, we’re moving stuff around, boxes are appearing and stuff is disappearing–but they don’t yet know what’s in store. I can’t wait to see them chasing each other around the house!

Yeah, my commute to work goes from 5 minutes to 25. Yeah, it takes longer to get to the grocery store. Yeah, we’ve gotten spoiled by the small-town nothing-takes-longer-than-10-minutes-to-get-there life. But soon–SOON–we will be home.

Our home.

Our house.

Finally got my line edits back…and I’m once again feeling out of my depth here.

There were a lot of things that I thought I had “fixed,” or at least to the point of acceptability, but nope. I’ve got adverbs and passive voice and (apparently, though I’m not sure yet where or how) head-hopping. The last problem I thought I had taken care of by removing the chapters with a different POV, but with a book that centers on a main character who is telepathic, it’s kind of hard to figure out where I could have “head-hopped” where it wasn’t part of the story to be “inside” a different character’s head.

I’ve been up for hours, but I’ve only really read the introductory comments prior to the actual edits and maybe a couple of pages of edits. It’s a lot. And it makes me doubt myself a lot.

I know I need to keep a thick skin when it comes to edits and not take it personally. The publishers want a good book, so they want it to be the best it can be. However, I find myself pretty much in tears just thinking about all I have to fix. In three weeks.

So what have I done these past few hours, besides stare at pages and pages of red lines?

Yeah. I’ve cruised the Internet, created the eleventieth draft of a possible badge design for SCA (which took a considerable amount of time, given that Photoshop was being a jerk), and stared at the Word icon on the taskbar with a sense of dread. I think part of what makes this so overwhelming is the fact that, with my first book, I had edits in spurts–a few chapters at a time, with several people commenting on the chapters at once. I had more time to fix the problems as well, as I was self-publishing and didn’t have a set deadline. Now all the edits–all of them–are in one fell swoop, all the revisions need to be done in one fell swoop, and it’s intimidating. I feel like the worst writer ever, even though I’m sure I had the same quantity of critiquing with Whispers of Death.

I’ll have some time to work on it this afternoon and this weekend. I’ll have time in the mornings before work, as I always do. I’ll have some afternoons here and there when I’m off (provided that I’m not mid-move–the loan paperwork has been submitted, so that is also looming on the horizon). I can do it, but I’m still full of doubt. I just see myself failing all over the place. So discouraging.

Maybe this afternoon once I get off work I’ll be in a better frame of mind to focus on the story and on the revisions that need to be made. Right now, all I see is a failure of a writer, a hack, and that frame of mind isn’t going to help me at all.

Sequella

Posted: January 25, 2018 in #dystopian, #publishing, Critique, Novel, Sci-fi, Writing

Can’t ever make things easy for myself, can I? I think I finally figured out how to fix my problems with Book 2’s first draft. The problem with the fix to the problems? I’m probably going to have to rewrite 90+% of the damn thing.

It started innocently enough. I was thinking about the working title when I realized: the title had been intended for X to happen, but X never came close to happening. Y, Z, Q, R, and W happened, but X kind of got lost in all the other stuff that came up. Characters went off all willy-nilly and ignored the direction I wanted to give them.

My creative drive is renewed now, though, and I think if I just open a new Word document and copy/paste all the keepers I’ll have a decent start. Re-start. Whatever.

The Creative Development team at Rhetoric Askew are still hard at work with me trying to make Book 1 the best it can be before publication, but there’s still a lot to do. I’m a stage where they’ve got the manuscript hostage for edits right now, so I can only do so much of the stuff until I get it back. So once I acknowledge some folks and blurb the thing (and maybe write another 3-4 author bios in the hope that one sounds decent), I can dive into Book 2 until it’s time to return to Book 1.

Oops! I did it again … telling, telling, telling. Many authors will relate on this one: the “show, don’t tell” dilemma. I have been particularly guilty of telling too often, and in my rereading of Book 2 (which, granted, is just in its first set of revisions following a very rough first draft) I see that I have quite the workload ahead of me.

I’m getting better at the showing thing, but I have a lot of fixing to do for Book 2 to eliminate the telling. I don’t know how I put so much of it in there without realizing it, but what’s told is told and I have to un-tell it … somehow.

There’s another problem that I see after looking at my work with recently-critiqued eyes: exposition. Yeah. I got some of that going, too. I took it out of Book 1 (based on said critiques), but I worry that the point isn’t going to get across with the way I took it out. There are things that I feel aren’t explained adequately, major plot points, but I’m at a loss as to how to convey the things without telling and without boring the reader. It’s not something I think beyond my ability to do, but the fact that I can’t figure it out right away is frustrating.

It doesn’t help that I think about other series that I’ve read, and that I know the exposition is often there to quickly explain what happened in the last book, a “Previously, on … ” kind of thing that you see in TV shows, if you will. So it happens in publication all the time, right? So–why am I concerned? I guess I’m trying to predict what issues the publishers will have with the next book, and even though I see this type of thing quite frequently when I’m reading I still envision my publishers’ potential comments, and it is throwing me.

Maybe I need to back off and not worry about the second book for right now. Take some (more) time off from it and mull a bit. I don’t know. I think I’m overthinking.

Pacing myself

Posted: January 2, 2018 in #dystopian, Critique, Novel, Sci-fi, Stress, Writing

After reading through the latest beta read/critique on Book 1, I think I’ve worked out most of the bugs that were found…except for one pesky thing: pacing.

Apparently my pacing is off somehow, though I’m not sure how exactly. Are things happening too fast? Too slowly? I tried reading the book through in its entirety, but I guess since I’m not unbiased I don’t see what the publisher is talking about. I’ve got to learn how to read through a reader’s eyes, not through an author’s eyes.

It’s tricky stuff. When you’re writing, you either think it’s crap or you think it’s brilliant. Clearly I hit the “brilliant” stage too soon, because there was a lot of work left to do on it when I got it back. Still, I think I can get it all polished enough for publication if I just keep working at it. Nose to the grindstone and all that. 😉

There’s another thing that is going to give me a lot of work in the coming weeks/months: the ending. I had to rewrite/expand on the ending to make it stronger, which means most (if not all) of Book 2 needs to be rewritten. Especially the climax–that part hinges on a factor that is negated in the new ending of Book 1, which means I either have to un-negate the factor or find a workaround…which I think is doable. Maybe. Probably.

Once these revisions are sent in to the publisher, I’m going to seriously get cracking on Book 2 and revising it to the point of readability. Submittability. Sense and sensibility. Or something.

As for Book 3 and onward? Those are still there, simmering in the back of my brain, existing in the grey matter until I put fingertips to keyboard and let it all out.

Soon.

Just a few more days until Christmas! Not that I’m Christian, but I like to celebrate the spirit of gift giving this time of year. I think that giving presents to friends and family to show your appreciation of them is something I can totally get on board with, regardless of the religious reason for said gift giving.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m not going to get done sewing one present in time to mail it out, and that I wasn’t able to get to the post office to mail out another one. Then there’s the one I ordered last-minute the wasn’t on the Prime program, so it won’t arrive before Christmas. And it took me forever to figure out what I was getting my husband–so that will be late, too. Boo. None of the recipients mind that their gifts will be late, but I still feel guilty that I didn’t get everything in on time.

Despite the fact that I create an Amazon wish list every year of stuff I’d like to get, I’m not really concerned with what I end up getting. Its the spirit of the season, those friends and family that I mentioned before, that really matter. Seeing how happy they are with their gift(s) (or pretend-happy, depending on how good a job I did of selecting/making said gift) is what makes me happy, not necessarily what kind of haul I end up getting. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d even be disappointed in the slightest if I got no presents–so long as I still was able to buy/make for those I care about.

As the year draws to a close, I think back on my one “resolution”/goal for the new year: to get the first draft of my WIP in finished. I blew past that goal and even finished the first draft of the sequel, plus got a publishing deal. I’m still amazed that I accomplished that much.

This isn’t where I usually post my goals for the next year, but since I mentioned it let’s just get that post out of the way, shall we? Here goes:

  • I want to continue working out with my husband and my friends to gain strength and endurance (and hopefully lose a bit of weight)
  • don’t want to break my motherfucking foot again…or any other bones
  • I want to continue to learn and grow in my rapier practice–maybe win a small tournament? We’ll see
  • I want to get Book 2 finished enough to send it to my publisher for consideration
  • Oh yeah, I want Book 1 to be published. I want to see it in print in a bookstore. Maybe some book signings? We’ll see on that one, too. Oh, and to get at least started on Book 3 🙂
  • I want to make it through my current sewing project list and then some (that one might take up the entire year lol)
  • I want to do my hardest to push back some of this social anxiety to the point where I can enjoy SCA events more and not get overwhelmed by the number of people I don’t know that are around me
  • I want to learn a new art/craft. I’ve already started trying to embroider something, but that might be my “new” thing seeing as how I’ve only just barely started
  • I want to stand up for myself more. On those occasions where my social anxiety is not under control or for events/meetings that I don’t want to go to, I want to be able to say “Hey, honey, I don’t want to do Thing X; can I stay home/in the tent for it or maybe do Thing Y instead?”
  • I want to move into our own home and out of this freakin’ apartment

This probably isn’t a comprehensive list of goals for the coming year, but I think they’re all reasonable. Attainable.

I used to grab a 3×5 index card and jot all these goals down, sticking the card on the fridge for “motivation,” but I don’t think I’ll do that this year. I can keep a running tally in my head of things I’ve accomplished that I set out to do.

Speaking of things to do, I had better get cracking on the gift I’m currently working on. It’s taking a lot of hand sewing because I can’t figure out a good way to use the sewing machine on the weird angles without screwing it up.

Until next time!