Thursday, October 28, 2010


Still boogie-ing through my revisions. I actually think I'm gonna make it by my self-imposed deadline of Sunday night, which rocks like nobody's business. I'm feelin' GOOOOOD about this thing!!

And in other news, I've run across a spattering of Awesome Things on ye olde internet this week that I just have to share. So here goes.

First up, the most awesome NaNoWriMo song ever set to the tune of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" from Pirates of Penzance:

Next up, the good ol' BBC gets some love:

Next up, a special NaNoWriMo preview version of Scrivener 2.0 is being offered for FREE through December 7 (for Mac AND Windows) here. I've fallen in love all over again! Trust me, it's AMAZING. GET IT YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!

Next up, a review of the fantastic Sufjan Stevens concert I had the privilege to go to last Friday. Me and the roommate got to sit ten feet from the stage which was AWESOME, and I tried to take some video but it didn't work out because I accidentally pointed the camera at the ceiling, which was NOT awesome. But you'll have that. This gives you a small and rather inadequate taste (we had much better seats than this person!!) of the awesome.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Revision Ponderings

I'm sitting in my living room, waiting for pot pies to finish baking (store bought—I'm not that domestic yet), and listening to the cars on the road and the sounds of yet another football game emitting from the elementary school across the street. (Before I moved here I didn't know that they had football games at elementary schools. But that's really beside the point.)

As of earlier this evening, I've made it through Chapter Eighteen of ye olde revision, and despite the fact that I've eleven chapters still to go and only six days left in the month, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Who knows, maybe it's possible to revise eleven chapters in six days. I'm going to find out.

I also have a mini confession to make:

In spite of my bellyaching about how much I HATE revising, I've come to realize that I sort of like it. Okay, "like" might be too strong of a word, but there's something satisfying about making one's writing better. Having enough distance and presence of mind to recognize the inherent crappiness of certain sections and then proceeding to fix them is all kinds of wonderful. It's really quite nifty to be able to reshape a story so that it more closely adheres to the original vision. It's hard and frustrating and sometimes makes you just want to run off screaming and become a botanist, but ultimately I think it's  even more rewarding than finishing a rough draft.

At least I hope so. So far I know Draft #2 is vastly superior to Draft #1, and that's a really, really awesome feeling.

Pot pies are done. Time for a late dinner!

Monday, October 18, 2010



It's been giving me all kinds of trouble, and this is an immense accomplishment. Plopped myself in Starbucks (last non-free-wireless zone known to man) this afternoon and plowed (wow—just spelled that "ploughed"; I've clearly been reading British fiction again) on through. YAYYY!! Now it's on to the really good stuff: true love! eeeevil! revelation of dark secrets! KISSING! :-D

Erm. Anyhoo.
Guess I'd better get back at it if I expect to have this thing wrangled into shape by the end of the month…

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fifteen Books

So over on the Blueboards everyone's posting fifteen books that they'll never forget.

Here's my list:
  1. The Lord of the Rings (especially Return of the King), by J.R.R. Tolkien—as much as I love the movies, the books will always be better, if not least because book-Faramir/Eowyn are vastly more amazing than their movie counterparts. Frodo lives! :-)
  2. Middlemarch, by George Elliot—an immensely great novel (and oh my gosh WILL LADISLAW!!).
  3. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky—intriguing both for its subject matter and the way Dostoevsky makes you sympathize with a guy who killed two old ladies with an axe.
  4. Beauty, by Robin McKinley—a gorgeous little novel I've loved and re-read for years. Poetic and stirring and just really special.
  5. The Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis—deep and haunting and disturbing in places; I'll never forget the time I stayed up late to finish the ending of Perelandra. Still gives me the shivers (in a good way).
  6. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte—I both loved and hated this book. It was lyrical and beautiful and immensely frustrating.
  7. Persuasion (well, everything), by Jane Austen—I didn't really appreciate this novel the first time I read it because I found it so frustrating, but a re-read illuminated just how brilliant and beautiful it really is.
  8. The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye—haunting, gorgeous, epic: this is the novel that nearly made me break down sobbing in the middle of Panda Express.
  9. The King of Attolia (well all of the Attolia books), by Megan Whalen Turner—I know I always talk about these books, but they're really that good. Really.
  10. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones—so not what I expected, but gripping and fascinating and just all around awesome.
  11. Crown Duel, by Sherwood Smith—I've read this so many times I'm pretty sure I could quote the entire thing from beginning to end.
  12. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud—still in awe of these.
  13. East, by Edith Pattou—gorgeous fairy tale retelling, with fascinating multiple POVs.
  14. The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein—haunting.
  15. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine—another one I've loved for years. Vastly better than the movie.
And I've gotta give an honorable mention to Brian Jacques's Redwall series, most especially Mattimeo. I devoured those when I was younger and absolutely adored them.

So that's my list. What's yours?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Currently reading…

Finished Linger yesterday (sniffle!) and am partway into The Shining Company (can you tell I'm on a Rosemary Sutcliff kick lately?).

What are you reading?

Monday, October 4, 2010

From the Mixed-Up Archives of a Youthful Novelist with Aspirations of Grandeur

So I have a box in my closet that looks like this:

It's stuffed with miscellaneous writing projects, the earliest of which date back to when I was short and little and didn't need to wear glasses to see things more than six inches away from my face. Yes, folks. We're talkin' THE EARLY NINETIES (oh, the horror!).

Today, I thought I would inflict you with the first story I ever wrote, complete with illustrations. This dates to second grade, that illustrious time when I was reading a ton of Bobsey Twins. Here goes:

And with the immortal line "The four mystery solvers
walked down the road," a career was born.

As you can see, this was before the day the
concept of spacing meant anything to me.
Or capitalization, for that matter.

Because everybody wants a shed!

 Not really sure what the big deal is about the chalkboard…

"The four grils" heeheehee

 Gotta love the Bad Man's evil laughter. :-D

I love that I misspelled "right" as "wright."
Who DOES that? :-)

Things I love about this page:
1. The Bad Man is wearing an ape suit.
2. The Bad Man is giving out balloons.
3. Anna wants a balloon even though
they're being handed out by the Bad Man

There's a lot of note passing in this story.
Also, glad to know our heroines could take the time
from mystery-solving to eat some ice cream!

For obvious reasons, I never finished this story.
I like how I managed to rhyme the last couple of lines.

And now I will demonstrate why I gave up on illustration:

The Bad Man in the infamous ape suit.

Clearly there is LOTS of happiness. And food.

So there you have it. The very first (unfinished) story I ever wrote. I like to think I've come a long way since then… :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2010

So I have this thing about first drafts.


I love brainstorming and outlining them. I love writing them. I wish I could write first drafts every single month of the year!!! They're so SHINY! So INSPIRING! So EXCITING!

The only problem being first drafts aren't perfect. They need revising. And revising takes a lot of effort, and isn't as much fun, and is really really HARD.

After a while, those first drafts really start to pile up.

Let's review.

Summer 2005:
I discover the existence of NaNoWriMo, and am inspired to push through to the end of a floundering draft and actually FINISH my very first full-length novel, On Journeys Bound.

NaNo 2005:
I discover that it is possible to write an entire first draft in a month, and complete my very first fantasy novel, The Rose Queen.

Spring/Summer 2006:
I wrestle with revisions of The Rose Queen, and manage to wring out a second draft. I also start Draft 2 of On Journeys Bound somewhere in there.

NaNo 2006:
I discover that it is possible to write 100k in a month, and complete Draft 1 of The Whale and the Tree.

Spring/Summer 2007:
Third draft of Rose Queen, more work on Journeys, and possibly a bit on Whale. 

NaNo 2007:
I discover that I have Very Big Ideas, and write only half of the 209k tome later to become Draft 1 of The Fire in the Glass.

Summer 2008:
Second draft of Whale.

NaNo 2008:
I don't really discover anything groundbreaking, but I do write over half of the 190k tome later to become Draft 1 of The Silver Crane.

Summer 2009:
Attempt at revising Fire. More revision on Whale. Queries sent out. A pitiful attempt at another revision of Rose Queen. A bit done on Journeys. First draft of a not-all-that-short-story (18k), Seraphine.

NaNo 2009:
I discover that sometimes my ideas are not as great as I thought, and write 40k of the as-yet-unfinished The Last Garden, and 50k of the as-yet-unfinished The Blind King, which is a sequel to On Journeys Bound.

Spring 2010:
First draft of Seer, completed early March. Revisions commencing a few weeks later. Much procrastination.

Summer/Fall 2010:
Still floundering in revisions for Seer, poking at Journeys 'cause it won't leave me alone.

Which brings me to some Stats:

Completed first drafts—6
Completed revisions—2, (but they're not REALLY completed—both Rose Queen and Whale need re-drafting. Again.)
Revisions in progress—2 (though Journeys is more a rewrite than a revision)
Incomplete drafts—2
Unrevised novels—2

All that to say, and the data is pretty clear—I have yet to successfully figure out HOW TO REVISE. Or at least how to FINISH a revision. Kind of frustrating.

Which leads me to my point (I do actually have one):
I don't think I have any business starting a Brand New Novel for NaNo when I have SO many more projects to work on that I feel are more important to furthering the Hope of being able to hop back on the submission wagon again sometime this century. I know I can write a book in a month—it's super fun and I adore doing it, but I need to prove to myself that I can FINISH a revision, not just a first draft, which leads me to the conclusion that I should sit out NaNoWriMo this year. :-( :-( :-( :-(


If I finish my second draft of Seer by the end of October, I have decided to issue myself the following challenge (reward??) :

To write the second half of On Journeys Bound AND the second half of The Blind King during the month of November, thereby joining the frenzy that is NaNo (albeit as a self-declared rebel), and finishing two projects I've been meaning to get to for YEARS.

And those are my long, rambling, and conflicting thoughts on participating in NaNoWriMo this year.