Friday, May 31, 2013

What I read -- May 2013

“Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass. This talked me into my next editing project. It was sitting at the top of my pile for a while, but I moved it aside to read other things – you know, fiction.

“The Practice” by John Grisham. I hated this book. I did not engage with any characters except the one who inexplicably did something inexplicable at the end. JG seems to dislike people in general. Donald Maass made a lot of references to this, and I had it lying around, and hadn’t read a proper novel in a little while, and I was curious. The story sure does move along.

“Red Glove” by Holly Black. These are just as well-plotted as the Grisham book was, and with likeable characters. The magic system is really nicely worked out. Blowback is great.

“Black Heart” by Holly Black. In real life, adults constantly tell teens that the choices they’re making will affect them for the rest of their lives, but then tell them that their emotions aren’t valid. YA fiction doesn’t have that problem. The ending was great, though Cassel is a terrible role model.

“Crackpot Palace” by Jeffery Ford. Another one Amazon and Locus really wanted me to read. Also, I had to try out the new credit card I got after the incident of the Quebecois robots. “Sit the Dead”, a YA story, was my favorite. So funny.

“When Will You Rise” by Mira Grant. The boy really liked the Newsflesh trilogy, so of course he said “I’d read that” when the last book had an exerpt from this in its bonus materials. So I ordered it for his birthday. It was pretty cool, because it’s a special edition, numbered and signed by the author, which he seemed to think was pretty awesome. The story was good too, as was the other short story. MG must have an interesting set of friends.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oh, internet, stop calling me fat

You know the ads that are targeted to you on websites? Sometimes I'll look at a yarn store, and then I'll get an ad for Webs. I've gotten ads for the world's most powerful commercially available laser, and for motorcycle pants. But the most frequent ad I get is for Zulily's "clothes for every size".

I have nothing against clothes for every size. But, the only clothes I've ever bought online were a small t-shirt and a whole bunch of shoes, so I have no idea that Google AdSense or whoever decided I'm the target audience for that ad.

It makes me sad.

Monday, May 06, 2013

In Process - April 2013

First Draft
“The Fruit of the Summer Tree.” Done.
“This is the Church, and This is the Steeple.” A partly true story.  3000 words so far.

“Don’t Choose Astronaut”. One of the reasons I started editing short stories was that it seemed like it might be faster, a good way to get good at some skills that I could then use on the novels, once I had honed them. This has not turned out to be true. Now I'm thinking, is it really any faster to finish a short story than a novel? Does it scale? If it takes me a month to edit a 3000-word short story, would it then take me a year and a half to edit a 60,000-word novel? I don't think it would.
Take “astronaut” as an example. It's a 3000-word short story. Writing the first draft, I did tons of world-building, creating characters, researching their "situation", inventing the science that goes around it. I think it's the part that doesn't scale. The actual writing and editing of the words scales, which is why I can (I hope) keep the energy up for a short story, where it kind of dries up on a novel.  
Something I tried here when I was stuck with a section was I abandoned the computer. I wrote those bits on paper, copying the bad text that I knew was bad, using a pen, scribbling, etc. This helped.
“Lucky Kate”. Started reading, then the middle got me down. The start and end are good, but the middle… Maybe this one should just have no middle, I don’t know.
“Selkie Girls are Easy.” Typed. Made notes about missing scenes. This story is better in my mind than on paper, so far, but there are some things I can fix.

Ad Astra… I was considering bailing completely on this, and then just going on Sunday, but I wound up going Fri and Sun, which was good. I start to have some recognition of people at these things. I don’t know what that’s good for.  The cool thing was, when people were talking about books in panels (like they do, at least at the panels I go to) I didn’t feel as enormously poorly-read as I usually do. I’ve read some of those books! A lot of them! And I’ve heard of the others, most of them! So win.

1 out there.
6 rejects for 2013 so far.
One great thing about a rejection that says “the ending seemed weak to me” is that I know they got all the way to the end! It’s almost like a win. 

“Biohazard”. (pullover)  Still working on that second sleeve, really I am.

“Ceremonial Armour”. KF cardigan. Finished the second pattern repeat. Two to go, then it can be my mindless project! Well, after I figure out the sleeve top, that is. 

“Simone”. So I finished the front, then did the first lace panel, then the neck and armhole edges so I would know how much yarn I had left for the back, then finished the damn thing. Wearing it now, even though it’s more a fall sweater and today is the second day of real spring.
“Sunberry socklets”. Started.