Moving Forward

For the first time in 6 weeks, I’m actually editing further in the story. Last night I began chapter 27.

Part of the heavy-duty editing (and the biggest reason for this rewrite) is to make everything, but especially the beginnings of chapters and sections, more immediate and interesting. So, instead of having a character “tell” what is happening, the words should flow such that the reader feels it is happening to them.
It’s something I’m still learning and working on. 🙂

For example, this is the original beginning of chapter 27:

When I came to, it took a couple of minutes for me to get my bearings again. Something felt wrong inside, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was stretched out on my stomach on the Stone Altar with a pillow under my head and one hand resting in the opening to the Core of Fire. Tobin was intensely massaging my leg, and I was grateful that the heat from the Core dulled the pain he was inflicting.

“How do you feel?” he asked, not looking up from his work.

I flexed and moved every part of me until I made certain that I was fully healed. “Aside from what you’re doing, I feel pretty good.”

“You’ll thank me later when you don’t get a charley horse.”

“I’ll thank you now; I hate those.”

And this is what I changed it to:

Sudden excruciating pain in my calf made me cry out. Charley horse. I grabbed my leg.

Warmth and tingling spread through me. “Relax. I’ve got it.” Tobin gently pushed my hand away then squeezed and massaged my muscles. “Not how I’d have chosen to wake you, but welcome back to consciousness.”

As the cramp eased, I opened my eyes to the dim light of the chapel and found myself face-down on the altar, a pillow under my cheek. I still wore my training outfit, but he’d changed. I frowned at his robes. “How long have I been out?”

“It’s after dark.”

At least it was still the same day. Had Vincent returned? I couldn’t feel him, but that didn’t worry me after his surprise the night before.

Tobin worked his thumbs around my calf muscle. “Other than this, how do you feel?”

At the same time, my husband and I are still working through the list of overused words in chapters 1-26. Last night we covered “sudden/suddenly” and “up”. We went through 474 uses of “up” and deleted 70 of them. Every little bit helps.

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Not Ready Yet

Tonight I caught up with an author friend of mine. Both of us have worked really hard over the last couple of years at honing our craft through different resources. Both of us are currently editing our first I’m-really-going-to-publish-this books.

The difference is that she will likely have hers up for sale within a few weeks while I still have to finish mine and then wait to find out if the editor will publish it. Whenever I hear about self-publishing, a part of me feels like it’s chomping at the bit and ready to crash through the gate. So, why am I continuing on the path I’m taking instead of jumping feet first into self-publishing?

God.

My talent is His gift to me. What I do with it, is my gift to Him. So it stands to reason that I seek His direction for what to do with it. I gave my writing to Him; I gave this story to Him. He sent me to the conference last year, and the direction I heard there was, “Rewrite the beginning and send me the manuscript.” I’ve prayed for His timing (and the conference did a LOT to show that I and my novel were not ready for the big time yet). I am a firm believer in God’s timing and leading for things. After all, He made the universe, and has a plan for my life. He has a much better sense of when things need to happen than I do. And how.

It’s only by His grace that I could hear, “This beginning is boring” and not feel crushed. It’s the biggest lesson I’ve received about speaking the truth in love. So, I will finish my editing, send it where it has been requested, and trust that no matter how much time will have passed, it will be received as it is meant to be received. God will lead the way from there.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28

By the way, I am very happy for my friend and wish her every success! 😉

Editing

A friend posted a list of extra words she searches for in her writing; getting rid of too many, or unnecessary, uses of these really smooths things out.

I’ve decided to ready the first part of my novel for a professional edit rather than wait for the full thing to be completed, as she can work on the part that’s finished while I fix the final chapters. Hopefully this will shorten the time between completing my edit and sending it off to the publisher. So, my husband and I have been working our way down the list, hacking and slashing with the best of them.

I hadn’t stopped to look at the effects until last night when I noticed my word count was down by 300…and we’re only ¼ of the way through the list. Nice.

Editing is like cleaning a litter box. Leave the important stuff, but remove the shit.

March 17th

Try as I might, I cannot escape the magic of this day. Yet, it has nothing to do with my Irish background.

March 17, 2009, I turned the last page of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, picked up a pen and began writing the current version of Fictional Boundaries.
March 22, 2010 (I tried for the 17th), I wrote the last line of my book.
March 17, 2011, I finished the taxes and began the serious rewrite necessary to ready FB for an editor.
March 17, 2012, I finished the taxes and am about to begin editing again after more than a month off due to surgery and busyness.
(I even began the short story that this grew from on September 17. What is it about this day?)

I have mixed feelings about how long this process has taken. I thought my writing was better than this; I thought I knew more than I did. At least I didn’t have to go through professional rejection to learn otherwise. My own perfectionism won’t allow less than my best for this story. It’s too big, too good and too important to do otherwise.

For tickles and grins here’s the opening I originally wrote:

He shouldn’t be here. And yet the irony was so overwhelmingly funny that he could almost envision losing the careful control that barely contained his hysterics. Everywhere he looked, brightly colored bits of scraps and plastic accoutrements passed for creatively designed replicas of charades. At least he had the decency to bring the Real Thing–even if it was currently peace-bound and slung across his back. The hilt left no doubt to the respect he should be afforded, if not the intimate knowledge he possessed of his weapon. He defied anyone here to know more than he did and, save for the peace-binding, would gladly have bested them all at once in a demonstration that would leave them gasping for air as his awesome power blinded them to just what exactly had hit them.

An amused chuckle sounded at his elbow–barely contained. “They are mere babes; not a half-witted warrior among them, Vincent.” Trey, always quick to find the humor in any situation, easily conversed aloud or in thought with his two brothers and one sister.

Though this is the main male lead, this scene no longer exists this way thanks to a friend’s suggestion about POV. The book is still written with a 1st/3rd split, but I gave away too much information too soon. To say nothing of all the telling in the above paragraphs. (As if we needed more examples of why the original draft should never see the light of day.)

Here’s the beginning of the same scene from my main protagonist’s point of view:

Music swelled over me like a wave; the bass line thumped against my chest and reverberated off the walls of the ballroom. I altered my movements to match the fast beat while threading my way through the throng of colorfully costumed convention-goers. They twisted and weaved, their glow sticks tracing arcs and patterns of fluorescence through the semidarkness. Pulsing laser lights pierced the sweet-smelling smoke swirling through the crowd.

I paused, rising on tiptoes to gauge my progress toward the deejay booth where Heather leaned over her laptop. Her long white wig reflected the blur of color and light from a nearby projector screen; the flashing scenes were almost hypnotic.

The song morphed into a different melody and I pushed on. All around, the crush of people pressed in: a mass of bodies draped in cotton, taffeta, spandex, silk and—seriously? A duct tape bikini? I averted my eyes as I passed and knocked into a guy wearing a makeshift proton pack, holding a little girl dressed like a green blob.

Off I go to finish this beautiful monstrosity. It deserves its day in the sun after getting a good spit-shine.

Status Quo March

Main Project: Editing novel (requested by Editor at conference in March 2011 – yikes)

Status: Chap 27 of 33

Current Progress: Slogging through lots of overwriting/telling. Rewriting a character’s moment of truth. Also discovered a LOT of over-used words and phrases and need for more/better beats.

Reason it isn’t finished yet: Recovering from a busy month plus surgery.

Future thoughts: Uh, get back into it? 😉

Word count:
nodded 79
smiled 76
grinned 36
sighed 14
frowned 47
laughed 27
chuckled 23

(this does not include any other forms of these words)

Apple, book publishers face e-book antitrust lawsuit

I wish I had posted about the huge discussion my husband and I had on Sunday, Feb 26 while on our way to a friend’s birthday party at Kobe Steak House. I was telling him about how frustrated I was that the writing community seemed up in arms over Amazon, thinking they were trying to become a monopoly, blah blah blah (basically, some of the stuff I posted and things I read from Kristen Lamb’s blog and Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds).

My point was: does no one remember what Apple did? That the reason Macmillan books and buy buttons disappeared from Amazon in 2010 was because of the struggle for the agency model – THAT WAS ORIGINATED BY APPLE? But because Apple isn’t trying to become a publisher like Amazon, no one really cares…except the consumer.

This is the reason that traditionally-published ebooks cost more than $9.99. And the reason I don’t buy them.

And the writing community hated Amazon for this. Um, yeah. I’m not saying Amazon was innocent, I just felt that Apple and Macmillan unfairly escaped any blame over the incident.

Today, the WSJ published an article stating: “Justice Department Threatens Lawsuits, Alleging Collusion Over E-Book Pricing”

Apple, book publishers face e-book antitrust lawsuit | Digital Media – CNET News.

Yet another big trembler as the earth continues to move under the current publishing world.

Bananas

Years ago, my sister’s school sent home this simple recipe for banana topping, and our whole family loved it.

Ingredients:

banana

orange juice

1. Cut up banana into bowl (not entirely necessary, but I took a picture ;-))

2. Mash 🙂 (You can leave it chunky or go for mush)3. Add juice (start with a little; you can always add more)4. Mix together 5. Perfect on English muffins, toast, Publix zucchini nut muffins…
For variation try different juices.
I used Dole Orange Pineapple when making this one. Next time I plan to try it with Piña Colada.