Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday is the New Monday

Oops. Forgot to write my check-in post yesterday. Not that I have much to say these days. It's just that usually a long silence from me means I'm not writing, and I am. I've been really consistent about working on TOB for an hour a day, and I feel good about it. This week, I've been using more or all of the hour on editing instead of doing exercises, and have made some good progress.

Now I'm contemplating what I want my goals for Feb. to be. I'd like to increase the pace a little, but not so much that I get overwhelmed. I also have some ideas for slightly more interesting blog content than this!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mid-Month Check-In

Consistent. That's the word for this month. I'm consistently doing an hour a day-- half editing, half exercises. My pace is slow but I feel really good about the changes I'm making. I felt like I was flailing a little in the last run-though of the draft-- I was making things sound better, but wasn't sure what else needed to change to make the story have the impact I want it to. The exercises in 21st Century Fiction are just what I needed.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Check-In

Not much to report. I've been consistent about working an hour a day, usually a half-hour of exercises and a half-hour of editing. I'm halfway through Act I now. Not changing much-- just a little shaping and sharpening to better lay the foundation for what's to come.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Edit Update Monday

Not the catchiest title, but it sums up my intentions nicely. I have decided to spare this blog the daily blow-by-blow of working on the edit, and will instead update every Monday until the thing is done.

My update for this week is pretty dull: Still chugging along at an hour a day, still working on the exercises in 21st Century Fiction, still repairing plot holes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

So Far, So Good

I've been working an hour a day. My plan to January is to spend 20-30 minutes a day writing about what I'm writing (using the zillions of questions and exercises in 21st Century Fiction), and the rest of the time working on the edit, starting over on page 1. I expect the first half to go very quickly; it's already had an editing pass, and according to my woven-together arcs it is structurally sound. I just want to make sure I'm laying all the threads I need to for maximum impact later. Also, it's helping to get my head back in the story, which is what I need most right now.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read in 2014

Time for my annual roundup! I read 103... things... this year, including a few comics and short stories I hesitate to count as a "book". 

103. That blows my mind, man. When I started this blog, my goal was 25 books a year.

First I'll list everything by category and then yammer a bit about my favorite reads of the year. 


Middle Grade Fiction (read with The Son): 20

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

The Roman Mysteries: The Colossus of Rhodes by Caroline Lawrence
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood
Beowulf adapted by Robert Nye
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger
The Battle for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett by Tom Angleberger
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights retold by Howard Pyle
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
A Samurai Never Fears Death by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Young Adult Fiction: 8

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Vintage Veronica by Erica Perl
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Powers by Ursula K. LeGuin
Feed by M.T.Anderson

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Adult Fiction: 34

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Slash and Burn by Colin Cotterill
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Call by Yannick Murphy
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Long Shots by Christine d'Abo
Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach
Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Lexicon by Max BarryHeaven's Queen by Rachel Bach
The Family Man by Elinor Lipman
The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
The Thirteenth House by Sharon Shinn
The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman
The Billionaire Submissive by Joely Sue Burkhart
Dear Sir, I'm Yours by Joely Sue Burkhart
Hurt Me So Good by Joely Sue Burkhart
Yours to Take by Joely Sue Burkhart

Non-Fiction (including books read for professional development): 12

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Complications by Atul Gawande
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Writing the Fiction Series by Karen S. Wiesner
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life by Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill
Twelve Assignments Every Middle School Student Should Write by Gary B. Chadwell
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
I Read It, But I Don't Get It by Cris Tovani

Elements of Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Comics/Graphic Novels: 27

Saga Vol. I by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Saga Vol. II by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Zahra's Paradise by Amir and Khalil
Saga Vol. III by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Legend of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Rat Queens, Vol. I by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Sex Criminals, Vol. I by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Explorer: The Lost Islands edited by Kazu Kibiushi
Explorer: The Hidden Doors edited by Kazu Kibiushi
Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibiushi
Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibiushi
Amulet: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibiushi
Amulet: The Last Council by Kazu Kibiushi
Amulet: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibiushi
Gunnergrigg Court by Tom Siddell

Short Stories: 2
"Hunting Monsters" by S.L. Huang
"Enoch" by Robert Bloch


Instead of Doing Hits and Misses, I'll just do recs for each category. And anyway, I have have way fewer Misses now that I have thrown off the chains of the "Must Finish All the Books" tyranny.

Middle Grade:
Book Everyone Should Read Immediately: The True Meaning of Smekday
Book Destined to Be a Classic: The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (books 2 and 3 of the His Dark Materials Trilogy)
Book That's Just FUN, Dammit: The Lost Hero (Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus Series, and the debut of my new book boyfriend, Leo Valdez)

Young Adult:
Book Everyone Should Read Immediately: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Book Destined to Be a Classic: Feed
Book That Challenged my Genre Expectations: Graceling
Book of Jaw-Dropping Mastery: Powers (Ditto for the first two books in the Annals of the Western Shore Trilogy)

Book Everyone Should Read Immediately: Bel Canto
Book That Challenged my Genre Expectations: Mystic and Rider
Book That Turned my Brain Inside Out: Lexicon
Book of Jaw-Dropping Mastery: Cryptonomicon
Book That's Just FUN, Dammit: Fortune's Pawn, Honor's Knight, and Heaven's Queen (Paradox Trilogy)

Book Everyone Should Read Immediately: Nothing to Envy
Book That Made Me Grow the Most as a Teacher: I Read It, But I Don't Get It
Book That Made Me Grow the Most as a Writer: Wonderbook
Book That's Just FUN, Dammit: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Graphic Novels:
Book Everyone Should Read Immediately: Saga
Book That Turned my Brain Inside Out:  Locke & Key
Book That's Just FUN, Dammit: Rat Queens

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Arcs Completed (Mostly)

The Political Intrigue arc is long and complicated, yo.

The good news, part 1: I think the first half of the book is 95% sound. There's one scene I'll need to chuck, and will need to tweak and add little clues and misdirections here and there.

The good news, part 2: the last quarter of the book is about 75% sound. A few scenes will need to be shifted and overhauled, but other than that the same basic sequence of events occurs.

The bad news, part 1: the third quarter of the book is going to need a more extensive overhaul. Most scenes will need work, some will be cut, and a few totally new scenes will have to be added.

The bad news, part 2: I still have a few plot holes in my Political Intrigue arc. Just a few steps I've starred because I know what needs to happen, but I don't yet know how to make it make sense. My goal for tomorrow is to make some progress on those stars.