Monday, February 20, 2017

February is Two-Thirds Done

How did THAT happen??

I'm at 54% through the revision. I really am over the hump of the heavier revisions, though. I have one (short) entirely new chapter to write, and near the end of the book I am making significant changes to another (short) chapter, but other than that it's all little clarifications and cosmetic line editing. Still, I dunno if I'm going to finish this thing by the end of the month. It's school vacation this week, which means less time to work on it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mid-Month Report

I'm at 26 hours of writing for the month so far, and I am 45% through the revision!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Checking In

I'm at 16.5 hours for the month so far, so right on track.

I'm currently about a third of the way through the rewrite. I wound up making massive changes to one chapter, and that took a while. I've also shuffled the order of a few chapters, to try to get the external action of the story going earlier in the book.

I'm hoping to be done by the end of the month, but we'll see. As long as I'm working a reasonable number of hours a month, I'm going to try and not get impatient about my progress. It isn't even a year since I started writing the first draft!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Goals

The past two months I've set my goal at 60 hours and failed miserably. So this time I'm taking into account the shortness of the month, the beginning of the busy season at work, and the potential for being derailed by illness, and setting the goal at 40 hours. If I do more than that, great.

I am deep into the revision now, and starting to enjoy it. I've radically revised the opening from three chapters to one chapter of two long scenes. It's still not as short as I'd like, and I still think the first 2-3 pages need more oomph, but overall I think the changes are good for the story as a whole. Now I'm shuffling the order of some scenes to get the plot points rolling earlier. I do think that most of the heavier revision will be in the first half, while the second half will be line editing and clarifications.

In other news, I have a new beta/sensitivity reader lined up to read this draft once I'm done with it! We've swapped, so I'm reading her novel now and then she'll read mine when its done. A few weeks ago I was feeling really antsy to be done with this book and move on to the next project (probably the stand-alone Sci-Fi I mentioned earlier), but now I'm feeling like the quest for publication is such an agonizingly long process, an extra month or two spent polishing the book won't make much difference in the long run.

And that provides a nice segue to talk about my quest-for-publication goals. I still haven't submitted TOB to the final 10 agents on my list, maybe because subconsciously I'm trying to delay the moment of giving up on getting that book published. I think I need to move on, though, so this is the month I'm biting the bullet.

It's also Pitch Madness submission on Feb. 24. I've had mixed luck with pitch contests, but I'm going to give this one a whirl and submit a pitch for Mender. So another goal for February will be to perfect a 35-word pitch and edit the first 250 words of the novel.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap-Up

I made my modified goal for January-- 25 hours. According to my calculations, I am 16% though the revision of Mender.

I also read 11 books this month, including 5 for my "read the next book in series" reading challenge, so a big win there!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Best-Laid Plans, Etc.

So I have WAY overestimated how much rewriting I'd be able to get done in January.

The main issue is that I needed more time than I realized to absorb the critiques from my beta readers. With TOB, I'd worked on the book for so long, I could tear through the feedback and dive right back into the rewrite. This time, I got a round of feedback and had to think about it a while. Then I started working on the rewrite... and then got another beta reader critique, and had to think about that one a while. Not heavy-duty pondering-- more like I had to let it all sink in and subtly re-shape my thoughts about the book, and then organize that vision into a plan.

The issues I need to work on seem to be:

1) My worldbuilding needs be made clearer. I didn't want to overload the text with infodumping, but from the reader feedback it's clear I went too far in the other direction. I need to add much more explanation and clarification, because right now there are too many things that are confusing and/or coming off as poorly thought out.

2) There are a few plot holes that aren't exactly holes-- more like places where all the plot logic didn't make it from my brain to the page. I need to fill those.

3) The beginning is dragging on too long, and throwing off the pacing of the first half of the book. This was my major concern about the book when I sent it out for feedback, but getting the critiques has given me the courage to take a deep breath and radically revise the opening.

So it's only now that I'm getting back to the rewrite. As of today I've worked for 15 hours this month, so my original goal of 60 hours for the month is clearly not going to happen. I'm revising that to 25 hours for the month, which should be totally doable.

At the moment, I'm working on the opening, which needs by far the most revision and will undoubtably take the longest. The first three chapters/10,000 words functioned almost like an extended prologue; I am ruthlessly cutting them down to one chapter of no more than 5,000 words. I have already cut over 4,000 words, but I'm needing to add some worldbuilding stuff as well, so it's complicated. I would not be at all surprised if it takes me the rest of the month just to finish it, but then I expect the revisions will go faster and faster the further I get into the book.

That's the State of the Writing!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My 2017 Series Reading Challenge

Back in July, I posted about all the series I have in progress and plan to finish, as well as about the series I'm undecided about finishing. My reading goal for this year is to read the next book in 24 of these series. That's two a month, and should be totally doable.

I've only included on this list series in which the next book I need to read is out and waiting for me. There are plenty more series I will doubtlessly continue with this year, but I am waiting on the next book/volume.

The list, in no particular order:

1) League of Dragons by Naomi Novik, 9th and last book of the Temeraire series.

2) Blackout by Connie Willis, 3rd book of 4.5 in the Oxford Time Travel series.

3) Olympos by Dan Simmons, 2nd and last book of the Ilium duology.

4) The Turning Season by Sharon Shinn, 3rd and last book of the Shifting Circle trilogy.

5) The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron, 2nd book of 5 in the Eli Monpress series.

6) Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, 11th (? hard to say) book of 21 in the Vorkosigan Saga series.

7) The Barbed Rose by Gail Dayton, 2nd book of 3 in the One Rose trilogy.

8) Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi, 4th book of 6 in the Old Man's War series.

9) The Shores of Spain by J. Kathleen Cheney, 3rd book of 4+ in the Golden City series.

10) Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn, 3rd book of 4+ in the Elemental Blessings series.

11) I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotterill, 11th book of 11 in the Dr. Siri Investigations series.

12) The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill, 4th book of 4+? in the Jimm Juree Mysteries series.

13) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, 1st book (technically) in the MaddAddam series (I read book 2 first).

14) Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, 2nd book of 6+ in The Expanse series.

15) Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley, 2nd book of 2+? in the Rook Files series.

16) Octavian Nothing: Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson, 2nd and last book in the Octavian Nothing duology

17) As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, 7th of 8+? in the Flavia de Luce series

18) The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, 2nd book of 3 in the Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy.

19) The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, 2nd book of 5+ in the Queen's Thief series.

20) Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer, 5th book of 7 in the Artemis Fowl series.

21) Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter, 3rd book of 3+ in the Jackaby series.

22) Fire by Kristin Cashore, 2nd book of 3 in the Graceling Realm trilogy.

23) Ms. Marvel: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson, 5th book of 5+ in the Ms. Marvel series.

24) The Iron Hand by Scott Chantler, 7th and last book in the Three Thieves series.