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Holy F*ck

Feb. 28th, 2015 09:33 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
I have finished the edits from my classmates. All of them. For a novel and, um, a quarter of a novel. I have just one piece left.

Of course, that one piece is the edits from [livejournal.com profile] tainry, which pretty much means me going through the entire novel again.

But holy cow, I've gone through two whole foot-high-plus stacks and found space on my desk!

Also, it is raining. Life is good.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Body feels better than yesterday, head feels worse.

Stuffed all of yesterday's weeding efforts into the yard waste bin, then lopped off all the suckers from the 40-ish trees lining our backyard, as well as the branches dipping down into walking height, and the ones blocking light from the windows on the north of the house. The yard waste bin is now full, so unless I borrow the neighbor's bin (which I might do; they have like no yard so never use it), I'm not pruning the rosebushes today after all. :/ I've also swept half the house and started the week's laundry.

Time for a sit-down break, which will probably consist of sun tea, painkillers, and more going through my backlog of edits on Queen's Choice. I've been powering my way through twenty pages a day, and it feels good. Both in the getting it done and clearing space on my desk sense, but also in the continual tweaking of the story for a smoother read. My word count isn't dropping much (currently at 118,124 words), so I'm also trying to identify subplots and characters I can cut if needed. 120K words is kind of the absolute upper limit for this genre, with 100K a safer goal. I think I've got one set of threads I could cut, if I can finagle the words to still make sense, but I'll need to be careful if I do so, because it's entwined with characters I cannot cut.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Adventures in YA Contests has posted round two of the "Pitch Plus Five" contest. This time I'm entry 23. I beat out twenty-five other people to end up in round two, which is nothing to be sneezed at!

Though I did wonder about the two (anonymous) blogger judges I got for round one. One said "Loved this!" (literally, that was the entire comment) while the other made comments that made both Wonderful Husband and I scratch our heads and wonder if she'd actually bothered reading what I wrote. Most puzzling.

Round two, though, is where my revised first five pages (no major changes, just a bit of tightening up) and my query pitch get read and commented on by professional authors! And of the twenty-five of us in this round, only ten will move on to round three. Nervous....

I feel a bit strange asking people to read and comment again, but if you can, and are so inclined, I'll love it, and any of the other authors you leave feedback for will also really appreciate it! (And, if you're curious and want to compare the drafts and revisions, my first five pages from round one are here.)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Too fragging hot today to do much. Fortunately, last night's find that I'm in the second round of the Pitch Plus Five competition shifted things around so that my priorities are (1) revising my first five pages, and (2) coming up with a 150-word "query pitch" (which are usually two different things). Which are both due tomorrow by 9pm PST. While dealing with the distraction of Squiddle playing with his new noisy toys.

But. I've got a first draft of the query pitch done, and some thoughts for what revisions I want to make to the first five pages. Onward!
sakon76: (Sakon)
I'm through to the second round of Adventures in Young Adult Publishing's Pitch Plus Five contest!!!

I need to stare at my first five pages, figure out how, where, and what I want to revise, and also come up with a 150-words-or-less query pitch by midnight Monday.

sakon76: (Sakon)
A couple days ago, Tamora Pierce announced on her tumblr that she was going to be a judge on the Adventures in YA Publishing "Pitch Plus 5" contest. So I went and poked around to see what it was, and basically, fifty writers of unpublished Young Adult novels got to submit their first five pages to go on the blog to be read and rated. All fifty entries are now posted there, and comment threads are open.

Including mine. I decided that while Queen's Choice could be either adult fantasy or YA fantasy, what the hell, its protagonist is eighteen, I might as well give it a shot.

So, please go read the first five pages of my book and leave some comments! And, while you're at it, please read the other entries too. Writers love feedback. It has effects rather like throwing gasoline on a fire.


Apr. 25th, 2014 03:35 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
I've got a project started of going through the foot or so of reviews from my writing classmates that're stacked on my desk, and condensing down the edits I want to make to my copy of each ten-page section. And a number of the edits are good and thoughtful.

But then there are the sticklers for grammar who keep going "no semi-colons in dialogue!" and I just want to bash their heads in. WHY THE FRACK NOT? Some I take out, but some, I would genuinely speak that way, so I'm leaving them. (I find it hilarious when they circle semicolons with that note about dialogue, without bothering to realize the bit they circled isn't dialogue.) Also bugging me in the category of "slavish adherence to the rules" are the people who swap phrases around so that every single fricking sentence ends on the strong word. (They do this in their own writing too.) And I just look at it and wonder if they've tried reading some of the sentences aloud, because the way they phrased it does not sound right in English.

Of course, there are the classmates who comment that my writing is "smooth like old whiskey," and I just stop and take a moment to savor that. Because my writing has improved, particularly in the last hundred pages of this book, to the point where I'm enjoying each section as I edit it to turn in to class.

Mind, I still have to go revise the first two-thirds of the book to the same par....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Tuesday night Squiddle slept the whole night through for the first time ever! Midnight to eight a.m.! Alas, he did not repeat this venture last night. Tuesday evening he also thought Wonderful Husband and I sitting down to dinner was the funniest thing ever. He did not stop laughing for at least five minutes. Seriously. ^_^;;

Last night, my writing class started up again. Wonderful Husband and Squiddle came with me for the beginning of class so that my classmates and teacher could coo over the cute baby. Which they did. Me having been away for the last term, I got given the first slot, so I got read in class, and the submission was generally agreed to have been one of my stronger ones. Yay! But once I got home, I found that Squiddle had not been happy about being sans mommy for the evening, and had been taking it out on his daddy. Ah well. Squiddle will just have to get used to hanging out with daddy one night a week, because I'm not giving up my entire life in favor of mommydom.

And, today is Squiddle's four-month birthday! In celebration, we took him to meet his new doctor, who I think we quite like. The baby's pretty much on track for where he should be developmentally, and physically at the 90th percentile for his age. He weighs in at 18 pounds even, and is now 25 inches long. He also got his next set of vaccinations today, which he definitely didn't like, but his dislike of them was less than his dislike of the last set. At least in volume, anyway.

But for now the baby is sleeping, the laundry is chugging away in the washer, and I am going to put down my current book (The Story Of My Life, by Helen Keller) and edit my next ten pages to turn into class next week.
sakon76: (Sakon)
The college website was still broken (though again in a new and different way) this morning, so I hied over to the campus and registered in person. (My class starts on Wednesday, so I was no longer willing to wait on them fixing the site.)

Got petrol in my car, booked said car in for its tuneup on Friday, finished the ironing, and booked Squiddle in to see his new doctor and get his four-month shots on Thursday.

All I have "left" to do on my list for the day is edit the next ten pages, plus a "the story up 'til now" cover page, of Queen's Choice for the aforementioned writing class. Why do I have the suspicion this will be more arduous than all the rest put together?

EDIT: Editing done. Yay! Bedtime now.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Ha! Have gotten better at using the pump, and tonight Wonderful Husband experimented with Squiddle and found that, yes, he will drink from a bottle. Squiddle also got taken in to my writing class this evening (I am not attending this term, but will start doing so again in January), and unsurprisingly had an adoring audience.

Given that Queen's Choice was written very much from an emotional point of facing infertility and childlessness, with a goodly portion of my pain from that experience poured into the writing, I wonder how actually having a child now is going to affect Field of Stars. When I can get back to it, that is!
sakon76: (Sakon)
I've edited and printed out my final ten-page submission of Queen's Choice for this term's writing class. It ends, quite neatly, on the titular decision. Wonderful Husband said that I should just move the line break and leave everyone hanging until September. I, on the other hand, would like to escape the classroom alive next week. So he was unable to sell me on the idea.


Apr. 10th, 2013 10:12 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
I have a list of reasons my writing class teacher frustrates me. (Yes, I know I've ranted about her here before.) But high on the list is the fact that she just doesn't pay attention. At least not to my submissions.

"Who is this character?" "It just said, Maralys, in the paragraph above this one." "Oh." Grr....

Honestly, when it gets to the point that she reaches one of her own notes for a correction and says, "Oh, well now that I've read it, that makes sense," I just want to throw something at her.

I realize she's a senior citizen. I realize she does not read or write my genre, and thus has no knowledge of its vocabulary and conventions. But when she doesn't even respect my writing enough to bother parsing what the words mean, I get a wee bit testy.

Of course, I was also cringing when she was talking about one of my fellow student's family history (sorta memoirish?) submission tonight. Particularly the part where she was talking about one of the people in it as a character, and I had read ahead to find out the "character" in question is my classmate's grandmother.... There is a certain discretion and respect one should be able to expect when talking about kin. Even when they're framed in written words.
sakon76: (Tsubomi)
Got reviewed in class tonight, pretty much all goods and greats. Sadly, everyone already knew what an incubus was. Or at least nobody asked. Because I would have loved to give that explanation in class! But at least I did get a slight head-skritch about the new character being the daughter of an incubus and a sugar maple. (Though in general my classmates loved her.)

I have a line prepared for anyone who ever asks about the mechanics of that conception. It is a simple, slightly snarky one-word answer that I think is brilliant. Thus, I will never ever get asked the question. "Knothole." Alas....

(Why the incubus wanted to, that one remains a mystery to me.)
sakon76: (Default)
HA. Screw my dread and depression, I've edited ten pages of Queen's Choice to turn into class this week, along with a summary page for the handful of newbies, and the first fifteen pages for Pat to take down to the writer's conference in San Diego next month. Which involved hunting up proper MS format, and oh frag, what do you mean I'll eventually need to turn all italics in the nearly 120K-word document into underlines?

Fanfiction has so spoiled me for using the actual emphasis type I want.
sakon76: (Default)
Yesterday, Pat, one of my writing class classmates, e-mailed me about the San Diego Writer's Conference (~5 weeks from now) and asks if I'm going, together with a "oh, and submissions for advance readings are due in by this Saturday" (I paraphrase).

Which, together with the cost, pretty much settles it that I am NOT going. If I'd had two weeks, maybe. Five days? Including mailing time? On top of the $425 registration + hotel costs + $50/advanced reader? In reviewing the conference website this morning, I've actually had a small panic attack. I can't do this. I've been too stressed over health and holiday crap, don't have enough prep time, and my first 15-20 pages aren't ready enough.

(I am, in fact, beginning to accept that the entire goddamn book may never be ready enough. Let alone the sequel, which is fighting me hard. I can write pretty good fanfiction. Original stuff, apparently not so much. Maybe a fanfic writer is all I really am.)
sakon76: (Default)
Since it was raining off and on yesterday, Wonderful Husband and I went to see The Hobbit. It was fun, but not quite as good as the LotR films. I think part of why it seems to drag a little bit is the inevitable problem with making one book into three films. Part of why LotR paced so well was the ruthless cutting out involved; there was no Tom Bombadil, there was no razing of the Shire. The Hobbit, in contrast, seems to have the filmmakers stuffing every single bit of padding they can think of in....

That said, Martin Freeman is brilliant and I was quite pleased to discover that my hindbrain was not hearing and seeing him as Watson through the entire film. :)

And, of course, I wrote. I will likely stop posting fanfiction relatively soon, as I have made a pact with myself that January is a month to concentrate on writing novel #2, Field of Stars. And oh god I am not looking forward to going back through Queen's Choice for like the fourth time to add tension and drama to it, but I know it needs to be done. It's non-saleable the way it is now. I'm also still debating whether or not I'm going back to Maralys' writing class. My frustration with her reigns supreme.
sakon76: (Default)
My writing teacher just told me that I have too many characters and need to cut out about half of them.


A couple of my classmates at least had the decency to point out the number of characters I have is a standard for the genre I'm writing in. Which is Epic Fantasy. So, yes, I goddamn well do need them all. Every single character in the book is there for a reason.

Try reading LotR with only half the Fellowship. Or Game of Thrones, but take out House Stark. To cut down on character count, because, you know, we have to treat the readers like idiots since they can't keep track of more than half a dozen characters. Not that I'm anywhere near as good a writer as Tolkein or Martin. Yet.

This is the closest I've ever come to quitting this class. But as it's 95% of my feedback, I can't afford to.

Me and my copy of The Hobbit are going to bed, because otherwise crying may be involved.
sakon76: (Default)
I'm doing the turn-in-every-week thing in the writing class, as there aren't too many others submitting this term. Kind of odd, but also quite nice to be getting feedback on ten pages each Wednesday.

This week my class hit the scene with the dragon council, which I knew was problematic, but I didn't know quite why, or how to fix it. Maralys wants me to cut it/them. I can't. This scene, and its associated handful of new characters, is going to be significant later. In book 2 or 3. I need to set it up now. But I did come away with the idea of working at least a couple of the characters in earlier. Which means writing new scenes but possibly truncating this one a little. This is probably going to push me back up over 120K, though. Grr! Fixfixfix.

I wrote up the grand list of stuff I would like to get done/have done by Thanksgiving, and handed it to Wonderful Husband. We'll see how much of it actually ends up happening.
sakon76: (Default)
Have finished second editing pass on Queen's Choice!

Now to put on shoes and a hat and go pull weeds.

Non-stop thrills, chills, and excitement around here, y'all. :)
sakon76: (Default)
Writing class resumed tonight, and for a change we have a full 25 people! (We'll see how many drop out between now and the end.) This means I got my photocopying guess almost right; I need to make one more copy, for Dan, who wasn't there this week but will be next.

We went around the room and everyone did a brief intro and description of what they write. Dorsey, who has been submitting a very good book that I can best describe as Romancing The Stone meets the Mexican drug wars with Navy SEALs instead of Jack Colton, described her work as somewhere between thriller and women's fiction.


I mean, do we categorize things as "men's fiction"? Why is there this special genre called women's fiction, and what the hell does it consist of???? It's not romance, though those are books (mainly) targeted at a female audience.

(Wonderful Husband postulates that "women's fiction" is the literary equivalent of a "chick flick." I feel he is likely onto something with this description. He also thinks it's one of those things that's hard to define, but that you know it when you see it.)

So now I'm trying to decide - all but one of Tamora Pierce's books have a female main character. Are those "women's fiction"? Marin is the nominal main character of Queen's Choice. Does QC qualify for the category?

Also, I do not have a romantic interest for Marin. Not even in book 2. I have a veryverymaybe/outside possibility for one, who she hooked up with when I was first envisioning her narrative, but he doesn't even exist in the written word yet and I'm not sure if I have room for him or not. Especially since he ended up dead in the version in my head. But then Higami doesn't get a romantic partner either. Terren comes with three ready-built in. Brise has had one (Tragic First Love Who Never Loved Her Back and hoo boy I know where my hindbrain got that motif from... Jason from middle school), and gets maybe-probably another later, and I have no idea yet how that relationship's going to turn out.

Not having a romance for my main character rules out at least one publishing house, but despite suggestions in the past from Maralys that I import one... Marin isn't ready. She's not in a stable social position, and not interested until she is. She also has too many things to learn, too much growing to do. To paraphrase one of my teenage-reading books, she is not ready to be a we until she knows who she is as an I.

In short, trying to figure out what this category "women's fiction" is, and whether, given my main character is a woman, my book qualifies for it.

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