Random Sunday Thoughts

  • I had a productive weekend overall. Lots of reading, writing, editing, and knitting. The only damper on the whole thing was how terrible the weather was on Saturday. With the wind blowing, it felt like 35 degrees out. That’s ridiculous for April in the south!
  • Regarding reading, I finished a book on my Kindle I’ve been meaning to read for a while (it was just sitting on there for months) and now I’ve started reading a book that has been on my to-read list for almost three years. I’ve been trying to clear out my to-read list. At one point, it was over one hundred books. I think I have four on it now, though I’m sure I’ll add more.
  • I’m trying out a new blog theme called Dara. I’m not sure if I like it or not. Any thoughts on how good or not good it is are welcome. Update: Right after publishing this post, I noticed the Dara theme wasn’t playing nice with some Russian words I have in my sidebar. Obviously proper display of Russian characters is integral to this blog, so I guess the Dara theme won’t be happening. I’m back to using Penscratch. Even though this theme is supposed to be for writers (and I am a writer), I worry it’s too boring.
  • I wish I could stay home from work tomorrow and work on some writing! You really can’t blame me for not being motivated to go to work…
  • I got rid of some old papers today and it was very liberating. I didn’t realize how many random, useless old papers I have saved. I also didn’t realize how cathartic it can be to get rid of them. I highly recommend getting rid of your old useless papers if you have any. It’s a very freeing feeling.

I hope everyone has a good Monday! (Or is that an oxymoron?)

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Round One Edits COMPLETE.

Yesterday, I finished the first round of edits for one of my manuscripts. I want to take it through another round on my own before letting anyone read it. I also want to forget about it for a bit so I can look at it with fresh eyes (again) prior to the next round, so I’m setting it aside for a bit. In the meantime, I’m editing the novel that I finished back in February that I referenced in that link above. It’s been almost two months since I last looked at it, so I decided now is as a good time as any to dive into it.

I’m still at the beginning, but one thing I’ve noticed is how much outlining and structuring up front has helped my writing. Yes, it’s a ton of work up front, but this book already reads so much smoother than some of my earlier work. I thought I was going to hate it when I went back to it… but I actually kind of like it.

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

We get a ton of rain where I live, but this winter and spring has been a tad ridiculous. It rains multiple times a week. In some places, the ground seems to have become perpetually muddy. As I type this late on a Friday night (I just finished working on some fiction writing), it is pouring outside.

A typical cloudy day back in March.

I guess the good thing about rain is it sounds peaceful at night. And it makes for good reading and writing weather. That’s what I’m going to go do right now: read.

Happy Friday, everyone!

February and March Writing Reports

Editing is weird.

When I’m working on a rough draft, it’s easy to count how many words I’ve written. The convenient little word count feature in Scrivener shows me how much I’ve written that day. It’s relatively simple to write 500-1,000 words. They may not be the most beautiful words and they may need to be edited later, but still, the actual tracking of words written is easy. Therefore, progress is easier to see, too.

Editing is different. It’s more mentally draining, so I can’t do it as long as I can write. It’s also harder to estimate word count. Parts get deleted and rewritten. I’ll read over a couple thousand words and rewrite some of those, rearrange others, and leave the remainder alone.

That being said, I spent most of February and all of March editing. So while I do have writing reports for both months, they’re a bit different than usual.

In February, I wrote 8,824 words. That’s an average of 315 words per day. Most of those were written on or before February 10, which is when I finished the draft I was working on (yay!) and started editing a different manuscript. I missed 14 days that month.

In March, I wrote 8,396 words. That’s an average of 270 words per day. That was all during my editing process and I missed 16 days.

The good news? I’m approaching the end of my first round of edits on this manuscript. I’ll probably let it sit for a little bit while working on something else. Then it’ll be time for another reread and probably some more edits of what I missed the first time around. I have a feeling I will be very tired of this book by the time I’m finished editing.

Adjusting

Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post. I recognized some commenters who I didn’t realize still read this blog—not that I’m complaining, of course. I love my readers! And I do plan on replying to those comments tomorrow, hopefully.

I am still in a bit of shock over the situation. But I’m adjusting—and more importantly, job searching.

In Shock.

I was going to post my writing reports for February and March today—really, I was. I didn’t get a chance to draft that post last night, though, because I was reeling in shock from some news at work.

A whole wave of promotions went out yesterday. The bad news: I, your humble correspondent, was not promoted. (Not that I expected to be, since I would have had advance notice prior to the announcement, and I did not receive such notice.) The worse news: one of the people promoted is someone who started at the company around the same time I did and barely does any work. She rampantly takes time off work, claims to be sick and then doesn’t record in our system the full time she takes off, and definitely doesn’t meet the criteria for promotion. Yet, she was promoted to the next level. I was not.

I felt so demoralized I almost didn’t show up for work today. I did end up going in and getting a lot done, though I was a bit later than I expected to be. My internet went down this morning. Prior to the announcement of promotions yesterday, I would have waited until I got home from work to call the internet company. Now, in light of the promotions? I called this morning before work and went through the little automated troubleshooter to fix it. Hey, if people who barely work get promoted, why should I stress over ten lousy minutes, right?

I don’t regret coming to work for this company. I was in a very toxic situation before. As one of the managers at my toxic old job said, “You’ll see things here that you won’t see in ten years somewhere else.” He was right and I was right to leave. But what yesterday made clear to me is it’s time to move on from my current job. People, I busted my butt working last year. The slacker I mentioned above barely worked at all. Yet she was promoted and I wasn’t? If that’s not a clear sign it’s time to move on, I don’t know what is.

‘Thrawn: Alliances’ Excerpt is Posted Online!

So, if you’ve been reading my blog regularly or following me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m really, really, really excited about the impending release for a certain science fiction book that’s coming out this July called Thrawn: Alliances. It’s the sequel to Thrawn, which came out in April of 2017. Thrawn is an excellent book—if you like science fiction and haven’t read it, you definitely should read it.

I’m pretty sure that Thrawn: Alliances will be just as awesome. I’m not crazy about the title, but that certainly isn’t going to stop me from reading the book and enjoying it. And how am I so certain I’ll like it? Simple. On March 23, StarWars.com posted an excerpt from the novel and it is going to be amazing. I can’t wait!

If you’re as excited about the book as I am and haven’t read the excerpt, go read it! I don’t really think there are any big spoilers in it, assuming you know the basic premise of the book.

Now if only a publicist at Del Rey would see this post and decide to send me an advance copy… hint hint. 🙂

A Month Away

Wow, you guys. I just realized I spent over one month without blogging. I didn’t blog at all in March! I blame The Crisis that began last year and is still going on. Sigh. It’s stolen so much writing time from me (both fiction and blogging), which is so frustrating.

Anyway, what have I been up to for these past several weeks? Let’s see…

  • Performance reviews took place at work back in March and mine was really good. I got a raise, too. It wasn’t too much, but it was more than I had last year.
  • I’ve been reading a lot—what else is new, right?! 😉
  • I’ve been slowly editing one of my manuscripts. Editing takes forever, you guys. My word counts have been low but I’ve made progress on a lot of my scenes. I still need to post the writing report from February in addition to March!
  • I’ve been doing my best to keep up with Russian. I don’t really read political news much anymore, but I try to read articles on cultural and history-related websites. And I am rather partial to craft blogs, especially those of knitters and crocheters.
  • I changed the theme of this blog back to Penscratch but I’m not sure if I like it or not…
  • Thrawn: Alliances comes out in fewer than four months! (It was exactly four months as of March 24.) Get excited if you’re a Star Wars fan. Or a Thrawn fan. Or a Timothy Zahn fan. This book is going to be so awesome and I will tell you precisely why tomorrow.

I hope everyone had a good March and is having a good April so far.

Oh, and by the way: Happy Easter!

Admitting Defeat

There are no defeats—only temporary obstacles.
–Admiral Alexander Kolchak

Almost a year ago now (I’m embarrassed to even type that), I started reading Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard in Russian. As I write this right now, I still haven’t finished The White Guard. I haven’t even made it halfway. In fact, I’ve decided to give up on it for now.

I feel bad giving up on it because I like Bulgakov. His magnum opus, The Master and Margarita, is amazing. We read that during second semester of my advanced Russian class. It’s fabulous and fantastic and I can’t say enough in praise of it.

I did not feel this way about The White Guard. I found most of the story plodding and the characters tiresome. I may have been able to power through that, though, if I had a better Russian vocabulary. I felt like I was looking up every other word. Bulgakov writes a lot of complicated sentences, too, so once I’d looked up all the words I didn’t know, I’d have to figure out the sentence structure. By the time I figured out the sentence structure, I would have forgotten some of the words already. Imagine this repeating with every page I read. It was enough to drive one mad!

So that is why I must bid до свидания (goodbye) to this book. I’m not saying I’ll never give it another try. After all, my lack of Russian vocabulary is just a temporary obstacle, right? For now, I’m going to read something else. What that something else is, I don’t know. Suggestions are welcome in the comments—either contemporary literature, nonfiction, or the classics. I’m open to suggestions.

Diving Right In

Ten days ago, I finished the third draft of a novel. I’d been working on it for… far too long, considering the end product. Including my time outlining, I was occupied with the thing for over a year. (I started outlining in December 2016.) And I’m not even close to being done with it. I know it needs a lot of editing, starting with some cuts in the beginning. The first act of the story, which should be approximately the first quarter of the book, is a tad on the long side. Plus I’m considering redoing the entire book in third person rather than first. First person is really, really, really hard to write well, in my opinion. (I will point you to the many mediocre first-person novels out there. There are a ton of them.) I’m not sure if this book really requires first person, the more I think about it, so a rewrite may be in store.

I don’t like to edit immediately after finishing something, though, so I put that manuscript aside. The day after I finished it, I started editing something else. It’s another manuscript I finished back in 2015, meant to edit, but then never got around to it. A writer’s work is never done, you guys. Anthony Trollope the prolific (and financially successful!) Victorian novelist wrote every day—even if he finished something. As in, if he still had time left to write after finishing, he started on his next project that very same day. Brandon Sanderson, a modern novelist who is very, very successful (he writes fantasy and supports his family with his writing, which is basically my dream), wrote thirteen or so novels before he got published. And it wasn’t the thirteenth one that was published first. It was the sixth or seventh that managed to spark an editor’s interest and launch his writing career.

Now, I don’t want to jinx anything or get ahead of myself… but that manuscript I mentioned above, the one I finished in 2015 that I’m editing now? I actually sort of like it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot in it I have to fix. I’m reading through it now and have almost five pages of notes already. But I feel like it has actual potential. I’d love to get it into a state where I actually feel comfortable pitching it. Because I’ve never pitched a novel before and that’s something I want to do this year.