Monday, December 12, 2016

What I read -- November 2016

“The Essence of Budo” by Dave Lowry. A friend lent this to me back in maybe February, and it was time I gave it back. And also why leave stuff around the house if I don’t need to? Probably I shouldn’t read more than one of his books in a year because this seemed… the same as the previous one. They’re interesting and well-written, but I felt like I’d read some of the essays before.

“The Grace of Kings” by Ken Liu. It was the oldest thing in my library queue, so I set it to active and… well, it’s really fat. By the time I was 200 pages in I was engaged in the story, but I had a hard time keeping track of the characters. I was having a hard time with the style, and then I realized he’s turned something I’m always trying to purge from my writing into a strength. 

“Voyage of the Basilisk” by Marie Brennan. I will be completely honest: I did not finish this book in November. It just feels kind of lame to have only read two books, so I waited until I finished this one. Ed got it for his birthday, and asked me if I’d read this yet, so I figured I’d better. I liked it better than book II, I don’t know why. I hope December goes better than November did, or 2017 is going to be grim.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

In process, November 2016

1st draft
Continued Season 11 Writing Excuses exercises… Got to write one short I’d kind of thought about for a while, but it sort of turned into a high school English writing exercise. And then Rabbits (see below).
“Labyrinth Moon”. Did a final draft before letting beta people read it, including the beta readers in my house, who I asked to help me solve the problem of what the OWW beta readers all commented on.
“Top of the Stairs”. This was on OWW.
“Rabbits”. I’ve apparently been carrying forward a note to do another draft of this one for FIVE YEARS. Though the note was something about fixing the main character, and to be honest, that is the main problem with this story. I’ve been thinking all along that plot was my problem, when maybe it’s always been character.
And then I read The Yellow Wallpaper, and realized this story is a descent into madness. So lots of rewriting!

Critted 8
My goal is to do two a week. I’ve been following a couple of people who are doing novels, and to some extent what I was afraid would happen has happened: it cuts into my editing time. But then so do Sudoku and crosswords, so I’m not quite sure what to do about that.
Got back 1 on the older story, and 4 on the newer. And 1 on the one that had gone fallow, but it was an Editor’s Choice, which is really cool.


Ann Boleyn (1998).  Almost finished that first sleeve.
Gift (other other thing). Broke a needle, more than half done.
Duck Baby booties. So cute! So well-received! You might as well make small things as gifts, because bigger things will not garner proportional joy.
Mittens (for me!). Finished one.
I also sewed a tank top.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

What I read -- October 2016

“This Census Taker” by China Mieville. Got it for my birthday. It was on my list. The worldbuilding is so good.

“Goldenhand” by Garth Nix. Got it for my birthday. I’d mentioned to the boy probably two months ago that it was coming out and that it would make a good gift, so he did very well remembering. This was unputdownable.

“Disappearance at Devil’s Rock” by Paul Tremblay. Gemma Files mentioned it on Twitter, and her taste and mine often align (she’d probably feel weird to know how often I buy music she mentions, but sometimes you just need a black mass when you’re on crunch time at work, you know?) I borrowed it from the library, just to mix things up a bit. My sister and I were chatting about horror novels versus horror movies, and how the latter leave you messed up but the former not so much. This book had some really creepy moments – there’s one where a character refers to another one looking in their window, and then I had to go to bed… well, that wasn’t the best. The gradual unpeeling of the truth of what the boys had been up to all summer was really messed up in the most well-written way. I googled the state park too, which really exists. And the rock. It didn’t need to be, but it was neat to see that it was real.

“The Tropic of Serpents” by Marie Brennan is book 2 in the series. Ed got books 3 and 4 for his birthday back in September, and I got book 1 for Christmas the year it came out. This year I got book 2 for my birthday so I can read them in the proper order. I found this a little bit plot-free, but I really liked the female perspective on Victorian adventuring. It seemed more real than most of the fantasy I’ve read before, menstruation being more than just a mild inconvenience, etc. Usually the only inconvenience is clothing, and women apparently don’t menstruate in fiction like ever.