Tag Archives: editing

A Few Odds and Ends

I have posted a new link on the side for the “It Gets Better” project. They have a good blog on tumblr and on the web. I’m reblogging this from their web site (June 10th, 2013):

trans children

They support, as their pledge says: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better.

Dan Savage and Terry Miller have a video up on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcVyvg2Qlo

It’s very cool.

On another completely different note, I am delving into the Regency era. I ordered a lot of 23 Georgette Heyer books (the woman who in essence started the Regency novel as we know it today). No pun intended, but that’s a lot of books. I also ordered a book by a woman who studied Georgette Heyer for her Ph.D. Her Ph.D, folks. That’s fairly serious business. But, she wrote it up, all of her research and notes on the Regency period (roughly 1811-1820)–it all makes perfect sense once I figured it out–the period between poor mad King George III, when he was no longer able to rule starting in 1811, with the Regency Act, until his son came of age in 1820 and became King. Seeing that, according to wiki, King George III had fifteen children, it’s a wonder both he and the queen consort didn’t go mad.

I found a page that looks to have a lot of potential but haven’t completely scoped it out yet:

http://www.writersandeditors.com/for_editors_57430.htm

There’s not a lot out there on being an editor. There’s a lot on self-editing. There are books on technical editing and scientific editing, but not so much on editing fiction. I’m guessing there are so many books on self-editing now because of the rise in self-publishing and the fact most people can’t afford to hire editors to go over their books.

Chat

Review: Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Bear, Otter, and the Kid, eBook   by TJ Klune
Dreamspinner Press    Release Date: August 12, 2011

I have to admit that I’m torn about this book. I did something with it that I normally don’t ever do. Usually, as soon as a derogatory term against the disabled community appears in a book I stop reading it, mark where I am, what the term was, and write up a quick note on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog about it. The worse offenders are YA novels, which is really disturbing. The term in this case was “retarded,” one that seems to be on the upswing these days, sadly, as it had been slowing down for a while. The fact that it’s appearing in so many YA novels is really disturbing, I think, because it’s showing a whole new generation it’s ok to say those things. It’s being incorporated into their culture.

It’s something I think editors need to be aware of, possibly more important than a misplaced comma or a maligned semicolon.

It shocked me to see it in a m/m romance book, though. I hadn’t seen anything of that nature, that I remember, out of everything I’ve read so far. I contacted Mr. Klune, but haven’t heard back from him. What I think is truly ironic, however, it that it’s someone from one marginalized group demeaning another group that’s marginalized.

Just to take a quick side-step here, and forgive me, because my memory’s not always that great and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken these classes. Brown vs Board of Education was a groundbreaking case for more than just, at least in the eyes of the law, the judgment that separate educational facilities were NOT equal, starting the beginning of desegregation. This is important because it had a ripple effect, it was the beginning of civil rights movements for many groups, including gay rights and rights for people with disabilities, among many others. Both groups had to fight, and both groups still face countless challenges. Politicians and religious groups turn sexual orientation into something they have no business in, people with autism are refused heart transplants because the doctors don’t know how they will react in a hospital. Illegal restraints are used on children with disabilities who are nonverbal, and they can’t tell anyone because they don’t have a communication system and people who know are either too afraid to speak up or punished if they do. Gay men are attacked simply because they’re gay. WTF? I meant to keep this more positive, but I feel this deeply, because I’ve advocated for people with disabilities who can’t speak, who people don’t listen to if they can speak, and who people treat as “retarded” just because they’re nonverbal. Just because they’re nonverbal doesn’t mean they don’t understand exactly what you’re saying. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he can’t love just as deeply or truly as any other human being. Feel passion any less.

So what do I do? I finished the book–I liked it, other than the fact that “retarded” was used three more times. So now I feel conflicted and upset, the more I think about it.

I advocate for the right to love and marry whoever you want to, to have or adopt children if you want to, and I advocate for people with disabilities to have their rights respected. What do you do when two things you feel so passionately about conflict?

To everyone else this may seem like no big deal. It’s just a word. There are no such things as “just words.” Words influence, they hurt, and they bully, because there are people behind those words who are capable of inflicting pain, whether it’s physical, or mental or both.

This isn’t intended as an attack on Mr. Klune, and I’m sorry if it’s taken or seen that way. It’s more built up frustration. For anyone who writes and uses terms that are derogatory. The fact that I feel like people snicker at me–“oh, it’s that crazy lady who gets all worked up about people with disabilities.” I have a lot of reasons to get worked up, I won’t go into them here.

I just wish I could have read the book and enjoyed it without knowing those words were there, because they really ticked me off. And I really would have liked it so much more if they hadn’t been.

Optimized-homophobia_only_oneattitudeslittle girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blatant Self-Marketing

I realized I could add a link for my book to the side of the page, which doesn’t blend in very nicely.

Now, I linked to the Kindle version because I think the price for the paperback is outrageous ($18.50). I wrote it and if I hadn’t and was looking at it to check it out, I don’t know if I’d buy the paperback. The Kindle version I’d chance. (As I have been chancing way too many Kindle books considering the fact I’m not working and shouldn’t be buying any).

I do have to admit that I am torn right now. I am in the process of revising the current edition (slowly, it’s not happening at the speed of lightning or anything). I’m having trouble with the second book because the first one doesn’t fit right in some places (I had never intended to write a sequel, then there were several, and now Aithin is sort of a precarious foundation). I have people telling me they like the first edition (because, really, I have hundreds and hundreds of people swamping me about this. Not.)

I’ve taken a side step into another project for a bit, since I finished the story for the other project. I used to think that once you’d finished something, it was set in stone. In this age of electronic publishing, it isn’t. I still don’t think that should be taken advantage of unless absolutely necessary, simply for ethical reasons–I don’t think it’s fair to readers. I think I would still offer the first one (the original) for free, and allow the new one for free for a while as well–I would definitely want anyone who had bought the first one to have a copy without having to pay for it. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

OK, very sorry, Edith (Piaf) I need to change you off from iTunes. Now it’s Mozart. I simply can’t settle on anything today. Maybe I should just play the sound machine. Mozart isn’t doing it either. Sound machine it is. Better.

I can’t even remember if I’m supposed to sell anything from my page. Officially, I’m not. I’m have to link to amazon so they can sell it. Or lend it. Anyway, nothing is anywhere near being done on that front yet. so no need to worry for a long time yet. That would be the last edit for that one, though, unless I miraculously picked up a publisher, in which case I imagine it would be subjected ruthlessly to the delete key. I’m reading the in-house rules for editing and finding out I’ve been formatting some things wrong all this time. I’m glad I at least know that now!

Sorry for such a boring post. It’s been an odd day. This morning the internet, my mail, everything was completely messed up. I was tired so took a nap. Woke up, and it was like the Elves and the Shoemaker–everything worked. Except for my ‘My Y!’ page, which I’m a little afraid to mess around with, with the though it might have been part of the problem, and maybe I should find an interesting page somewhere and make that my homepage. Hmmm.

Have no Fear

Keep calm we're all mad I found this in an image search, and I believe it came from a very clever person on tumblr. I have a similar thing as a signature for my email, only it says “Keep Calm and Release the Kraken.” There was a nifty little site that you could make anything up and put your own saying in.

I realized I should really try to put up at least one post a week. Truly, I’m being downright neglectful. And when I came here this evening, I realized I’d never logged out from the last time I was here.

I have been busy writing a short story for the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. It’s roughly 12,800 words, so I did manage to keep it manageable. I’ve finished it, and I should really be editing it right now. I printed out a copy because I was going to be out and about and was going to work on it some then, and this made me think about the difference between editing solely on the computer, which is what I usually do, and actually having a hard copy in front of you. One reason I stopped printing out hard copies was that the manuscripts were so long, sometimes up to 800 pages. That’s a ream and a half of paper and a lot of toner (although my printer is lying to me right now–it keeps saying the toner is low and I just put it in. I’m going to have to take the cartridge out and shake it around some more). I used to buy paper by the case, and having the laser printer does make things faster. It does make me nervous, having lived in two houses built in the 50’s or earlier, where the wiring is a little squiggly, when I turn the printer on and the lights in the house dim for a few seconds. It also sounds like a Cesna getting ready for takeoff, and the clunks it makes are worrisome. I think the third cylinder might be misfiring. Oh, wait. That’s my car. The check engine light came on and sits there and stares at me, demanding to be taken to the garage to be read by the little computerized gizmo. Last time it was the 3rd cylinder misfiring. I don’t know how I remembered that when I can’t remember where I put important paperwork.

But back to the topic of editing. I thought I was doing a good job editing online, and I still think I do, but I think I see things better when they’re printed out, and this is even after reading on my Kindle for months. I’ve transferred the document to my Kindle, actually, and done some editing there through Dropbox. It’s possible when you turn the Kindle on its side so the keys are a little bigger. I’ve written reviews on it before. The story is only 37 pages, so I didn’t feel too badly about printing it out. Possibly the equivalent of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree we had one year. Seriously. We had a road kill tree when I was a teenager one year. It was sort of like a flattish, medium sized frond. My family always did such strange things we were just sort of “OK, this is the tree.” Possibly because when we lived in Costa Rica, there were no evergreens, and my dad built a Christmas tree, sort of fit slot A into slot B, and painted it green. In the shape of Christmas trees you color when you’re in elementary school (see, I didn’t precisely know this, since I was home schooled until 6th grade). Now it all seems very matter of fact that the little swoopy shape of Christmas trees is how they’re supposed to look, but I’ve worked in elementary schools now and seen the pictures on the wall.

Backing away from the subject of trees–actually, one more tree thing. In my last classroom, there was a little first grader who would head immediately into this huge fir that was easily 12′ around. The first time, I started to follow him, then realized that was ridiculous. He is much smaller than me and could just weave around those branches like a squirrel. I’ve had to develop a mom voice over the years, which was hard for me. It worked with varying degrees of success. I said, “[student’s name], you get out of that tree right now!” and he shot out like he’d been catapulted. I was amazed. He always came out when I asked him to. I think he remembered that I’d worked with him for a little while the year before when he was in Kindergarten and he was like a little piece of never ending popcorn–up and down in his seat, literally climbing shelves to get to toys he wanted, at recess throwing himself off the tallest playground toys he could find… He scared me to death (not literally, obviously) as a Kinder, but he was so much better in 1st grade, and all the playground equipment was so much shorter, I just let him drop off of anything but the tallest bars. He would listen when I asked him to be careful. I loved working with him even though he could be so frustrating. We’d be sitting at our desk working and he’d suddenly say, “I just can’t take this anymore!” One day I told him I couldn’t really, either, but we still needed to do the work.

This is a little rambling. I am in a transitioning space. I quit my job because my mental health (hence the above image) was suffering, All this time, while working with individuals with disabilities, moderate to severe, I hadn’t really considered the fact that I do have mental illness and it is considered a disability. That is still sort of sinking in. At work they were treating my symptoms as something they could treat with a “plan of assistance,” which wasn’t possible unless they intended to procure a new brain somewhere, and with my luck, they’d get Abby Normal’s. I was given an unfavorable observation report and the list of the teacher’s complaints, all having to do with my mental conditions, and I just kept thinking, “This is it, I quit.” And I did. That was a Thursday. That night a wrote a very fluffy letter of resignation attempting not to burn any bridges (although truthfully the place I worked for already has steady streams of smoke rising on its own), emailed it to everyone it concerned, and took a hard copy to my supervisor the next day (after my teacher let me leave early–she was surprised I had come in at all. ??). So I’m in the process of going through Vocational Rehabilitation, trying to find and/or get the skills to get a job that is more suited to me, more accommodating to my needs. I still want to work, I just legitimately need something where I’m not around a lot of people and stress, because that’s when the problem starts. I had no problem with the kids, I miss them so much. It was my co-workers, the teacher, and everyone else. They don’t know how to deal with mental illness. They can’t see it, touch it, so for all they know I’m just making it up. It’s a little funny that I was in a job working with students with disabilities, and then I ended up being discriminated against because of my own disability. I’m not going to whine about it. It just makes things different. I’ve been dealing with parts of this for nearly thirty years, it’s just gotten worse as I’ve gotten older (and I thought acting immature would keep it under control). <g> Knowing that I’m eligible for special services (most likely) because of it. It just feels weird. I had a meeting with the Voc Rehab counselor, and some jobs we identified that I could train for were as a proofreader, possibly a low on the rung editor, medical transcription (depending on my typing speed–left hand still a little wonky from elbow injury and those two fingers not working so well–still don’t use pinky to type, but I’ve sort of made up for it–I think I can use it for shift and a. I looked. I can) given that I need to take medical terminology again, or medical billing, and I’ll keep looking to see if I can find more real things, not the “I’ve made $10,000 in a week” sort of stuff. <g>

Anyway, hard copy vs. on a computer. I don’t like entering changes from a paper copy into the computer, which is another reason I like doing the editing directly on the computer. I don’t do the tracking stuff, I just save the previous edit and number the next one sequentially so I have a copy of what it was before the next changes are made. I need to learn the tracking, for Word and Scrivener.

I haven’t written a short story in a while, and I’m pretty happy with this one. I didn’t think I was capable of writing a short story. Frank reminded me that I am supposed to be editing now, not additing. So far all I’ve done is taken things out. That’s good. I hope. Except there are three snakes in it and it sort of wants me want to get a snake. I have issues with the feeding, which will probably be what keeps from from doing it. The species I chose to use was Boa constrictor imperator, and they’re beautiful. Supposed to be pretty friendly if they get the handling they need, which is why they’re popular, and stay fairly small, rarely over 4′ long and about 13 lbs. There’s a part of me that’s always wanted a snake, it was always the feeding thing that got in the way. I had to feed a friend’s snake when he died, while trying to find a new home for him, and that was traumatic on all counts.

Well, gee. I meant to talk more about editing. I did get a copy of The Copyeditor’s Handbook. My dictionary is telling me that Copyeditor’s is spelled wrong. I find that a little funny. The book’s right here. I checked, because I thought that would look really stupid if I made a mistake on the title. Tribbles. The dictionary doesn’t know that one either. Platypus. Ok, it knows platypus, so the world is safe. Of the three, which is the most (or is it more? I’m questioning myself on everything now) important: copyeditors, tribbles, or platypi. Is that the plural? It doesn’t like that. So you can only have one platypus. Some days that’s just the way it goes.

Demotivational Posters

Demotivational Posters

Trouble With Tribbles - Star Trek

An Author’s Responsibility

I posted this review at Goodreads and Amazon after starting and getting about 140 pages into Forbidden, by Syrie James and Ryan M. James:

I didn’t actually finish this, I only reached page 137. It is your average paranormal high school angel romance, enough that I would have finished reading it, most likely, and probably given it a decent rating. So why did I stop?

I have noticed an increasing trend in young adult books using derogatory terms in reference to individuals with developmental disabilities, in this case, on page 137, “Holy crap,” Erica said. “We’ve been so short-bus about this.”

Teenagers probably think this is funny and just read it, laugh or not, and go on. As someone who writes and also works with children with disabilities in an elementary school, where we are trying to stamp out bullying and engender understanding, it truly dismays me when I see this happen in books that have recently been published. The children I work with are kind and loving, they are just different. They have autism or cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, in some cases other syndromes. There are some wonderful students at our school who come and volunteer as peer buddies to students in our class, and become their friends and understand their differences better.

Yes, sometimes people with disabilities act differently in public, make strange noises, or do strange things. They are honest, they don’t hide who they are. Just because some of them can’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t have things to say, they just need people willing to take the time to listen.

Authors have a responsibility, to an extent. If we put something in a book or story that’s derogatory, there needs to be a good reason for it, not simply put it there to make fun of people at their expense. There’s nothing wrong with people who are gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, transgender, bi-racial, a difference race than our own, etc. etc., and if comments were made about anything like that, there would possibly be a stir about it, but often if it’s making fun of disabilities, it doesn’t get mentioned.

It is not open season on people with disabilities. Authors need to remember this, think about their audience, and remember that what they write sinks in. It encourages further devaluation of a population that doesn’t deserve it, and includes some of the best people I’ve known.

It’s truly a shame, because I think this book has promise. I just think that authors, editors, and publishers such as HarperTeen should think about these things a little more closely. Just because someone with a severe disability might not be reading your books, someone who loves someone who is might be.

Violence in Writing

Madd Hatter's Tea PartyPainting the Roses RedThe Red Queen

All prints are from Arthur Rakham, in a 1907 Edition of Alice in Wonderland. I love his illustrations.

I suppose I should have said violence in my writing. I think I’ve addressed this before. There are no epic battle scenes because I have a hard time reading them–I tend to skip over them. Unless they’re very well written, I sort of find them tedious, and don’t want to read about people getting hacked into pieces. This doesn’t mean I leave it out altogether. In Aithin much of it is “off stage” so to speak, except for the short battle at Port Kaldon. You can see that something is going on at Hovenswold with Geoffrey’s troops and Rory’s because of the lights, but not what. From Geoffrey’s reactions to it afterward, it was obviously bloody and awful and changed his opinions about war, which he was always so eager for. That one event changed him significantly. He became more focused, with a much greater sense of protecting his family and a sense of justice for the sake of justice, although he hadn’t quite lost the desire for retribution. He’s not such a loose cannon anymore, though.

Much of the violence ends up taking place either off scene or either with characters coming in at the end of it. A friend commented that he wanted to see that part. For the above reasons, I don’t think I’d be very good at writing it, either. I think I’m better leaving it out than writing it badly.

The illustrations are mostly because I’ve been thinking a lot about Alice in Wonderland lately. I haven’t read it in a long time. I didn’t know Arthur Rakham had done any illustrations for it, and he’s one of my favorite illustrators. I’d also never tried putting any pictures into a post.

Now, what made me think of all this? A couple of things, but mostly Geoffrey and how things go for him in the second book. Well, third, I guess. I can’t say much, it would give too much away. In the plethora of writing I did over the last year (including the huge sections I tossed and started re-writing) I just found myself empathizing with him more, which I hadn’t expected. He doesn’t like war, but because he grew up seeped in that knowledge and in tactics and strategy, he can’t help but look at everything without that filter. He can’t help but look at a castle and think about how it could be better fortified, where guards should be posted and why, and he filters through ideas as quickly as you can change radio stations until he lands on an idea that works. Even as he evolves, it’s something he can’t shed. I don’t think he particularly wants to–it keeps people safe, and even when not at war, that’s still important to him.

The second book is still mostly Madeleine’s. And someone else’s as well, but I won’t give that away. I don’t know if it comes as a surprise or not.

The problem was, I had finished the second book and was about to publish it on Amazon, then suddenly decided I didn’t like the middle, and would just do a little rewrite of the middle and join it back up with the end. Except it didn’t happen that way–it went horribly wrong. I just kept writing and not finishing until I had this gargantuan file in Word, and then I bought Scrivener and started to use that, and I had a gargantuan file in that…  I think I have the next books in the series all written out for quite a bit. I had to find what I hoped were good places to split what I’d written into separate books, so they are what I hate, cliffhangers, since it was a continuous document. But the good thing is that it’s all written, mostly. I need to edit, but it’s not like it will be a huge wait between books like it was with the first and second one. All because I didn’t like Madeleine’s reaction to something. I didn’t think it seemed like her. So now I’m editing and trying to stick little things in that make it fit with what happens later on better.

A lot of weird things happen. At least, I thought they were weird, until I read Flavorwire’s 10 HBO shows with the creepiest sex scenes, and then I didn’t feel so badly. It could still be considered a little odd, but doesn’t hold a candle to that description (Game of Thrones was number 1). I have to reiterate that it hadn’t been my intention to write a series. I hadn’t even intended a follow up to Aithin, but it just happened one day, and then grew wildly out of control like some mad virus last year.

I think that’s enough for now. I actually did do a little editing today. I need to keep reading. I’ve only read 51 books so far this year, and I set a goal of 143 on my Goodreads Challenge for myself. I was impressively ahead earlier this year, now I’m not much ahead. Well, that’s another subject entirely, but that reminds me I was going to put up a list of recommended books (which is somewhat egotistical, but I guess that’s why they’re recommended, not must reads <g>).

Writing Page

I realized last night when I decided to go a little crazy and try a new look for a bit that there isn’t anything under the Writing page. There may be a couple of reasons for this. The first is, I think people can offer advice, and I think that’s what I’d planned to put here–FAQ’s from some of my favorite authors–no one can tell you how to write. People can give you suggestions, but if you keep writing, eventually you will develop your own style and your own voice. It’s just that it takes a long time to find it. Unless you’re one of those lucky young graduates who have just finished their MFA programs and are truly, disgustingly talented. 🙂 But most people have to work hard and for a long time to get to where they feel like they’re doing a decent job, and even then they still have occasional lapses into the “Oh my gods what I’m writing is terrible, I can’t believe I’ve written this long and what I’m doing still sounds like crap when I read it.” Um-hm. Or maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think it is. I’ve been writing for a long time and all I have to show for it are a bunch of folders on my desktop with different novels in them, a different folder for the one I’m working on now, which very well may be the end of me in the end. I still don’t have anything published except for what I’ve published myself. I was happy to publish it myself, and it’s what I’m going to do with the second one, hopefully having figured out some way to convert it to a Kindle friendly format (for free). One can dream. Last time, I paid $150, and now it’s gone up to $200, and I haven’t made enough to even remotely justify that. 

From what I know, one of the most important parts of the process, other than to really try to polish your manuscript (truthfully, by the time I’m “done” sometimesI can’t tell anymore if it’s shiny or looks like a piece of sandpaper), is to edit, edit, edit, and then maybe edit again. If you can afford to get a professional editor, do. I have my MA in English Lit and I still wish I could afford a professional editor. I am fairly good and finding errors–wrong form of a word, misspellings, having left a word out. What I’m not so good at is the fact I constantly switch tenses. Sometimes I find it and fix it, sometimes it still sounds alright to me, so I don’t know. I start sentences with and and but, and so. When in doubt of grammar use my faithful friend the em-dash. I love those. You will find very few colons or semi-colons in my work, but enough em-dashes to swing at a large mammal and do some damage with (I suppose they are pointy on two sides). I do own a copy of Elements of Style, one with a nice silver dust jacket, and I’ve read parts of it for school and for trying to figure things out that have perplexed me for years–the whole lie/lay thing, for example. 

What I do want to do, and will probably put up another heading for, is start a list of books that I personally like and think are good examples of well written books (with caveats if there are certain things that I know are stretching it). I’ve actually read quite a few lately.

Instead of dumping the writing page, I’ll keep it for now and try to find things I think look interesting. I did delete the pages with a lot of my own work on them. For one thing, the stats showed no one was looking at them, so I figured it was a waste of space to have them up there. The novel is for sale at Amazon (I know, I know, corporate giant, etc. etc.) but it’s $2.99 (I think I get $0.18. There really is no key with a cent sign on it anymore. It must have been the 6, who now does this: ^. We could go the way of Canada and get rid of the penny, I suppose. That makes me feel badly for the penny. They used to mean something. You could buy things with half a penny. 

Speaking of Canada, I may be going up to Victoria over the summer, so I checked the exchange rate. It was absolutely even. Unless there was something wrong with my widget. Nope, not the widget. I can’t remember that ever happening before. So all that about Canadian books being more expensive, that’s all a rip-off now for the Canadians. That makes me feel badly. From when I worked at a bookstore and even before, I always noticed the Canadian price was higher. If their currency is going to be equal to ours, possibly better, is should reflect in that. They shouldn’t have to pay more simply because they’re on the other side of a border. Honestly. I can see it when there was a difference in the exchange rate, but now? Of course, this is in the midst of the price fixing battle on eBooks, one thing I am disappointed in Steve Jobs for setting up, and also for the big 5 in publishing for following. It used to be the eBook was the cheaper alternative, now sometimes they are more than the paperbacks. It’s crazy, and don’t get on the author’s case for it, unless they’re self-publishing, because if they’re being published by any of the f major houses, it’s the published setting the price, not the author. They have about as much control of it as you or I would. Unless you’re like J.K. Rowling and the eBook world was just evolving when she started writing, as well as the fact that things were handled a little differently in the UK, and she maintained the digital rights to her books. (as if she needs any more money, but hey…) The prices aren’t too bad, actually. I just checked–they start at $7.99 and go up to $9.99 for the thicker tomes, and you can get the whole plethora of them for $57.54. You can still look around and find used copies cheaper, but hey, some people prefer digital over the real books–Kindles, etc, do seem easier to carry around than some of the books I’ve had out from the library.

I think I should go. Tucker has this problem of deciding when I should get up. This morning it was almost 7, after I went to bed at 2:30, it being a weekend night and all, and he decided I should be up around a quarter to six, probably convinced I was late for work. He’s asleep in his bed again, job done (I’m up now, after all, just bleary eyed and considering returning to bed, but then I’ll sleep longer and feel like I’ve wasted time, which is an all too precious commodity since I went back to work). Spring break, at a week with two snow days the week before, was enough to get him used to us sleeping in , and then we had to confuse him by getting up early again. Poor guy. He definitely looks like he’s suffering over there in his nice warm bed. Oh, actually, he’s looking out the window, so he’s officially on guard duty. He has to protect us from neighboring cat Spanky, who keep trying to come into our house because his owner is currently gone and he’s feeling neglected. Not that I blame him.

OK. Maybe I will go take a little nap, now that he’s happily ensconced in the window and will possibly leave my glasses alone (his little trick is to try to knock them off the nightstand, and then I have to look for them them very carefully, because I can’t see them). Maybe not. I’m afraid if I go back to bed it will be more than a little nap and I’ll wake up at 10:30 or something. Yuck.

Anyway, not entirely sure what to do with Writing page, will figure something out.  

The Process of Ripping Things Apart

As things get more bizarre in my revision, I start to wonder, “What am I doing?” Then I read some of the things about the second season of Game of Thrones and think, well, it’s not that bizarre. I truly have tried to read those. They look interesting, I have gotten about three quarters of the way through A Game of Thrones twice. I have the first season on hold at the library (I think I’m 50 of 94 now, which is much better than it was). I’ve been reading articles on the second season, about how it all boils down to power.  Of course, I think George R.R. Martin’s world is much, much more complex than mine, with many more characters. Mine doesn’t have incest, though, unless someone’s messing around behind my back when I’m not looking. That makes me feel like mine isn’t so odd after all. And mine doesn’t have children tied in bags getting trampled to death by elephants (not George R. R. Martin–ha! Wouldn’t that have been a good April Fool’s for someone who hadn’t read the books. Which I haven’t either, so I guess it would be one on me if he did have that in one of his books). No, I’m thinking of a different book. That scene did have a purpose, although it could have been carried out much more humanely, I thought. But that wasn’t the world it was set in. I found it incredibly disturbing, which is why, I guess, I remember it. There was quite a bit of violence in that trilogy–I ended up skipping over it as much as I could. This is why I’m not sure I’m Game of Thrones on HBO material, although I’m extremely curious. I’m a sucker for really well done costuming and armor, and it looks pretty awesome.

Sort of strayed from the point. It’s just that there’s been so much about it, and between that and The Hunger Games it seems like things are getting a little crazy, as if the higher the body count, the more money it makes. Maggie Stiefvater an interesting take of her movie experience on viewing it on Goodreads. I’m diverging again. No wonder it takes me so long to edit.

I get bored and start to hop around, which leads to the possibility of continuity errors, that will (hopefully) get caught in later edits. I changed one character to be nicer and now I’m sort of returning him to his previous incarnation, so I have to rewrite him to the way he was. Isn’t that sort of like painting the roses red? Just because I changed something later on that will probably make readers go “Huh?” and “That’s completely unbelievable–I’d have to suspend my suspension of belief to a greater suspension of disbelief.” I’m not entirely sure I find it believable, and the way I’ve done it, I have a very short time to make it believable without using flashbacks. I’ve thrown one relationship out and put another one in. Why? Because it seems so unlikely, and Madeleine is prone to doing unlikely things. Or unexpected ones. And, as my SO said, Dionel is the character you love to hate. That’s still there, it’s the other relationship that’s gone, and they’re just friends. (It’s not you, it’s me).

This is short (amazing), so I’ll give you a link to a song that is annoyingly catchy (you don’t want to know how many tries it took me to spell that). It’s disturbing, and from the same people who brought you The Ding Dong Song:

The Gummy Bear Song (you can increase your international awareness, as you can listen to it in Hungarian, Swedish, Spanish, and French)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=astISOttCQ0

And, since you may already be there, it isn’t quite a complete experience unless you also check out The Nuki Song. Sung by the same Gummy Bear, it’s possibly more interesting than The Gummy Bear Song.

Truthfully, though, I think these are really pretty awesome in the sense of looking at what other cultures (well, French, I guess) look at as children’s entertainment. It really is fascinating. There isn’t any violence, it’s just sort of…mesmerizing, with songs you’ll find yourself humming at inappropriate times, unless you work with kids. Then you can explain it to them.

OK, driven by my research/have to know instincts, here is the link to the official (I think) site: http://www.gummibar.net/  NOTE: I am not endorsing Gummy Bear. I am curious about Gummy Bear. Is he trying to take over the world. Apparently, according to the site, he is huge in Greece. I’m still trying to find out where he’s actually from. Germany? There’s a list with countries’ flags and the number of hits they’ve had from those countries. It’s pretty amazing. They have an actual Gummy Bear flash drive. Really. Alright. I had to Wiki it. It was written by a German composer (originally a 30 second spot) and has been translated into 25 languages. There. My curiosity has been sated for now. Whew!

Naked Mouse?

Did I mention at any point that if I could pick a superpower, it would be to understand everyone? No language barriers, communication barriers for any reasons at all. I could talk to animals, etc. etc. I have always been interested in communicating.

Well, maybe I have always been interested in talking. My middle sister once said, I think it was when I said I had a sore throat and it hurt too much to talk, that she actually got to say something. I was talking on my way out of the dentist’s office after having my three remaining wisdom teeth pulled (hm) and my mouth stuffed full of cotton balls and I was talking–I think I was arguing that I had never been out for forty-five minutes having my teeth pulled. The evidence was sort of stacked against me on that one. Yes, three empty sockets in my gums and bloody cotton were pretty good circumstantial evidence. I will talk until I just about lose my voice and I sound squeaky and my voice breaks. One time I was complaining about having a sore throat and my SO said, “Well, you could stop talking,” and I looked at him as if he’d grown another head. I talk to my plants, when I’m not killing them from forgetting to water them, I talk to my car, I talk to my computer, and of course I talk to my cat. He even answers back. He’s the perfect cat to ask “Kitty say what?” because he’ll meow at you right on cue.

I thought about this for two reasons. One, I got together with a friend today and we talked non-stop for over two hours. Two, there’s a little guy in my class who also likes to talk, only it’s very hard for me to understand him sometimes. I truly do try. Today he was standing a little way away from me telling me “Naked mouse.” At least, this is what my brain heard. I asked him if he could please repeat it, because I didn’t understand and I wanted to. “Naked mouse.” Sequels to Naked Lunch aside, I could not for the life of me figure out what it was, until suddenly it struck me that one of the words was the name of one of our other students, just the way he says it. I never got the second word. But he was happy I got the one word, and didn’t say anything else about it. How would I feel if I went around and felt like people only understood me fifty percent of the time? There’s always the possibility that’s true, because i have been a little on the incomprehensible side lately, putting wrong words in sentences, calling students by the name of the last student I looked at instead of the one I am looking at. But that’s just me being in the state of mind I’m in, or my synapses misfiring, or melting. This little guy tries very hard. My teacher in the class had a great strategy when he first started–she’d ask him questions she knew he knew the answers for, so she could find out what sounds he made for what letters, etc. I think it’s awesome, that she took the time to do that. But now that phrase is indelibly marked on my brain. Naked mouse.

In a way, this does segue over to writing (I really did want to write something about writing–my SO and I have discussions about interrupting each other–mostly him interrupting me, but I do it too. He said what really drives him crazy is when I interrupt myself and jump to a completely different topic. I can’t help it. My mind jumps. It may leap and bound as well. The rest of me is a bit too sedentary.)

I am in a bit of a conundrum. I put out Aithin, people have read it that I don’t know and have liked it enough to ask when the second one is coming out, because they actually want to read more. This has really happened. From someone I don’t know. On their own, they weren’t prodded by hot irons by my friend who recommended the book to ask the question.

At the moment I’m in the middle of completely vivesecting the first one to make it flow better with the rest of them. However many of them there are. I use that term because in a way I do feel like it’s alive. It’s fluid. I’ve ripped it apart and changed things, some drastically, some not at all. I don’t like the way I wrote some parts of it. It seems fake, and some of the explanations for things don’t make any sense. I started the “revised” edition a week or so ago. Two weeks ago, I suppose, but I really didn’t stop to think about the fact that there are people who liked it the way it was. Ultimately, who do I want to make happy, me or them? Maybe they’d be happy with the new version. They’ll still have the old one. Maybe it’s like a Choose Your own Adventure book except it’s choosing the beginning, not the end. Will this cause problems for me later on? To have different versions floating around?

I feel like my writing style has changed since I wrote it. I’m not sure if it’s a better writing style or just different. I know authors evolve over time. I’d sort of like to have at least the one series sound the same. Not sound the same, just have the same sort of flow to it. I’m getting deeper into the characters earlier–other people seem to think there’s character development in the first one but I don’t see it. Of course it’s going to need to be edited, and there will be parts that are just plain stupid that will have to be taken out. Or parts that just drag. But am I doing it a favor by doing this to it? Should I just leave well enough alone and chalk it up to the fact that it’s the first one and there are going to be differences, they’ll get better as I go along?

I’ve always felt a little like once things are down on the page and “published,” they are somewhat sacred and should be left alone, no director’s cuts, unedited versions, versions with words changed because they might be offensive (not that I have any, just saying), turned into 3D novels or anything like that. It’s done, committed to the page. If you don’t like it completely, well, it’s sort of too bad. Move along, folks, nothing to see here (just a vivsected novel lying in the middle of the floor gasping as it’s creator tries to figure out what to do with it).

So, maybe what I should do with it is let it lie. Just not work on it for a bit, and see if I still think it’s a good idea when I come back to it. If people like what the original is, and want more, shouldn’t I be happy with that, and look to improving the next one? Not rip the first one apart? Yes, there are parts that make me cringe, and parts that make no sense. My friend still thinks it’s better than a lot of the things she’s seen out there when she looks for something to read. Am I trying to talk myself into leaving it alone? RIP, Aithin, you are what you are, in your strange green and purple cover, overpriced because you’re too long (talking too much).

This has given me more to think about, now. Are you pondering what I’m pondering? Nah, probably not. Narf.

Naked mouse.