Tag Archives: writing

New Post in Writing Page

I put a link in to a post from Patricia Wrede about revising, which is where I’m at right now, and found it particularly interesting and useful.

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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.  

Shameless Self-Promotion

Just on a whim last night I looked (as I sometimes do) to see if I’ve actually sold any copies of Aithin on Amazon. No paperbacks. Usual. I sold one last month. Unusual. It always makes me wonder who it is. Someone I know, someone I don’t, that sort of thing. I recently signed up to have the eBook added to the Lending Library, which meant it was going to be free for a certain amount of time (I do need someone to look at those things for me–I just sort of click accept). I wasn’t expecting anything there, either. So I was in complete shock when 690 people had downloaded it for free. It had been 691, but one person returned it. Returning a copy of a free product? Why not just delete it? Or maybe they bought it when it wasn’t free. I don’t know. There were 9 random copies thrown in, and then 130 that people actually bought. Paid money for. I don’t get a lot from this (around $20?). But after seeing no copies there at all, it was pretty staggering. I don’t really care if they were downloaded for free, people still downloaded them (probably the way I do when I go look for interesting things and then download them and am now waiting for a chance to read them–but I can access Kindle for Mac from my Kindle for BlackBerry, so if I forget to take a book with me and am not worried about running my battery down…)  I like the re-edit so much more, and I was thinking, with the amount of people who had bought it, I could just give them free eBooks of the revised version. Now that’s not looking so feasible anymore.

So I am trying to erase all the things in my head I put into the new one and concentrate on what happened in the first one as it stands, remembering that yes, I did kill this person in the first one, and no, that didn’t happen. I feel odd about it, because I feel like the revised one, with a lot of editing for too much chattiness, is better. But now I suppose I should concentrate on the sequel while people are interested in the first one, which seems smarter even though I’m not necessarily happier about it. I started trying to break up the behemoth that is what happened to the second book last year and break it up so I can start working on editing the sequel. That’s a big switch in my thinking.

I do have my new baby now, which is very nice. My 21.5″ iMac (it looks so much bigger than the 17″ one!)–also bigger on my desk, unfortunately, but I can live with that. It has OS X Lion on it. I tried to upgrade to Lion after a long time trying to decide if I wanted to or not, decided to, and then my other computer was too old. And the hard drive was starting to make some sort of gronky noises I wasn’t too happy about, which also made me nervous. I do have everything backed up, but should do it more often. I’ve gotten a lot of the little things fixed, but Lion still won’t let me send page links from Safari. It says I don’t have a mail program. Hm. That’s funny, cause I’m using Mail… Whatever. It’s cut and paste until I figure it out.

Not much of a post today. Not feeling quite so optimistic about things in my little sphere of existence, plus there is a pile of dishes that need to be done when I get home today, not that a pile of dishes indicates the coming of apocalypse or anything. I am annoyed at myself for not being the person I think I should be–e.g. being a wimp and going with the status quo instead of speaking up and being an advocate like I should be. I am letting myself and others down. That could be why I’ve been up since three am. Ignoring the dishes every time I go into the kitchen. Bleah to you, dishes.

Unfortunately, now at 7:39, beginning to seriously feel the effects of having been up since 3. I used to have insomnia pretty badly, but that’s been pretty much taken care of. Also not feeling too well, which could be part of it as well. The Library Book Sale at the Fairgrounds  is this weekend, though, so I have to feel better. Even though I only found two books I wanted last time and was hassled by the cashier volunteers, who said, only two books? I just said I’m getting pickier, which is true. But they also didn’t have a very good selection last time, which I didn’t say. But I always feel like I have to find something so I did find the two things I did. Maybe I should take a picture of my corner of the room and try to include all the bookcases. That would take two pictures, actually, and the ones in the bedroom, and just say, we really don’t have any more walls to put another bookcase against. I don’t think they quite believed me at PT at first when I told them that I didn’t have any bare walls.

I am trying to figure out what to do. I’m not very good at this sort of thing. Yesterday had bad migraine and felt truly icky so stayed home from work. Today is a non-student day. We usually meet later than on a normal school day. I texted two people –co-worker who said about 8ish, and the teacher who said she’ll be there at 8 and we’ll be going over the new schedules at 9:15. Sometimes, and again I think it’s because I’m tired and don’t do well with vagueness, what does ‘ish’ mean? 8:15?  I use it all the time. “We’ll go around 5ish.” For me, that’s usually something to do with going grocery shopping, which I really don’t like to do, so I push it as late as I can. Sometimes it’s early if it’s someplace I’ve never been before and I’ve given myself plenty of time and then don’t get lost so I’m early. It does happen. I try to give myself “get lost” time. The worst time was when I was going to a meeting in Sacramento and got lost for two hours getting there, then two and a half hours getting back. It did improve my impression of Sacramento, though. I had always thought of it as being all brown and dusty, but they actually have a lot of trees. Probably the funniest time was when I first moved here and was trying to find the AT&T store. It was by VRC, but I didn’t know how to get there, so I got lost on the freeway twice and ended up  on the far side of Springfield. The second time I ended up at the Mohawk Shopping Center and just parked there. There was a pet store so I went in and watched a chinchilla take a bath with a boy who was probably around five. We both enjoyed it. I found the AT&T store on my way back to Eugene, but it had just closed. I found it the next day without any problems.

Alright. I think I will go get a coffee (white chocolate mocha, iced, even though it’s 44 degrees out) and go on to work. It’s 8 now, so I’ll be there 8ish. 🙂

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.

LARPing around

I was at the library looking at DVDs that were in (all the good ones are usually out because they’ve been put on hold) just because I felt like possibly watching something. I like horror movies, and there were two copies of a movie called “Darkon,” so I pulled one out to see what it was about. First I was disappointed because it wasn’t a horror movie at all, but then I read the back and it started to seem a little more interesting.

I didn’t really know what a Live Action Role Playing game was until my SO, his daughter and I were walking across the University campus and all of a sudden a few guys in costumes sort of burst out of the cemetery and onto the lawn, brandishing swords and yelling things at each other. It was curious, and a little odd, but it is Eugene, and strange things are pretty much the status quo. We watched them for a while and then went on our merry way.

“Darkon” is LARP on a much, much larger scale. It’s a documentary focusing on a few people from the two opposing sides (countries). There was a carefully worked out history, backgrounds of the characters, everything. This probably sounds funny to people who already knew what LARPs were. I feel too self-conscious to play paper and pencil games, much less immersing myself in a character.

These people are committed (note for the record I didn’t say ‘should be’ committed) to their alter-ego’s identity. That may be redundant. At first, I was just thinking, these people are really crazy, but as the documentary progressed, there were themes that kept coming up, and the main one I identified with was the fact that, for the most part, our normal, everyday lives are pretty damn boring. Being whimsical is frowned upon. You have to go along with the status quo or people think _you_ are the one who’s crazy.

Through playing this game, some people’s lives were actually effected in a positive way. One man had been very, very shy. He hardly ever went out, didn’t have any friends, didn’t have any self-confidence, but in the game he was the leader of the conquering lands, giving speeches and encouraging his men. His team did win in the end. In his real life, he was in management. His parents and his girlfriend said he had much more confidence than he’d had before he’d started playing the game.

The leader of the opposing side, in real life, said that there aren’t heros anymore. You can’t do something great and be recognized for it, or at least very few of us will be. There is no imagination, no fantasy, no creativity in our lives, and we just go on doing the same thing day after day. Another, younger man echoed that sentiment, saying we live in a world of McDonald’s and Burger King’s and Walmart’s and everything is the same. The first man played because he wanted recognition and glory, he felt he could be king someday. The younger man used it as an escape from everyday life, somewhere he could be someone exactly the opposite as himself.

Sometimes the people playing this game pack up and go for a week at a time into a wildlife refuge or some other remote place, fighting for hexes on a map. That seemed a little over the edge to me. Maybe because I didn’t do very well in Geometry, but that’s neither here nor there.

But then I started thinking about it more. I write in the hopes that someday maybe I’ll be published, but also to entertain myself, to escape into the world I’ve created. Sometimes it’s for hours at a time–I’ve had days where I wrote for probably a good 12-14 hours. That’s a lot of escaping. And escaping is exactly what it is–to get away from the ‘real’ world, my problems here–they all disappear for that time. It’s really not that different than playing a game. The rules aren’t as complicated and I don’t have to lie down and pretend I’m dead for six minutes after I’ve been stabbed with a black sword, or wait 24 hours if I’ve been assassinated (that would just suck). A big difference is that I’m controlling everyone, and I’m determining the outcomes for everyone. I have power in my world, whereas in real life, I’m less than even a pawn. More like a stickpin on a map. (The map does not have hexes on it–I am not sure what the map looks like, that could be part of the problem).

It’s liberating, a kind of release, to get away from everyday life, where my characters are my friends who are always pleased to see me, unless I’ve just done something horrible to them. In that case they like to make things difficult by refusing to talk. Mimes don’t come across well in books, and there’s only one character I can think of who would even try to do that. He’s actually gone from being one of my least liked characters to one of my favorites over the whole course of time I’ve been working on this book/series. Unfortunately, anyone who’s read the book only knows him from that, where he’s somewhat reformed and just in the very beginning stages of developing a real character of his own at the end.

I’ve completely lost my topic, which I suppose emphasizes my point. I can get caught up in just talking about a character, where people who play LARP get caught up in being the character. I might not look as silly to onlookers, just sitting behind my computer, but I’m off somewhere else (if I’m writing and not distracting myself on the internet)–I may be physically in the same room, but not always mentally. People who play LARPs not only build their characters (and their character’s clothes, armor, shields, etc., but they have the conviction and courage to go do it in public.

As long as we don’t end up with armless and legless knights, everything will be just fine.

Presents–Home Made vs. Manufactured

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation–things are a little squished financially. Presents are one of the reasons I start to get uptight about the holidays. I love getting things for people. I also love the lights, and fudge. The music I could do without, but sit me in a window where I could see lots of lights and fudge and I’d be a happy camper (which isn’t really a good term to apply to myself as I don’t like camping). In regards to the religious aspect of the holidays, I’m sort of a scattered agnostic. I was an atheist in high school, so I suppose that means I’ve gotten a little more optimistic. My family has always viewed it as a time to get together and see each other, and presents weren’t always the most important thing.

There’s always that impetus to get something for people, though. My mom and baby sister (I suppose I can’t really call her that any more–despite the fact she was born when I was 23, it’s been awhile. She’ll be able to legally drink next year.) are very craftsy people and make all kinds of things. I started thinking, “What can I do for people that I can do myself?” and came up with the possibly misguided idea of writing stories set in the world of my books. Is this a reasonable idea of a present? I’m only doing it for the people who are familiar with the book, although I will probably have to put brief explanations at the beginning because I’m jumping around in time with them. I had the idea of including the person I was writing it for as a character somehow, even if a minor one. The more I think about it, the stranger it seems.

I have been trying this, and I’m still working on the one for my SO, which has now been in progress for about two weeks, which is quite a while for me. I’m not used to writing short(er) works. It was up to 50 pages, and I finally realized what I was trying to do yesterday–write a chapter instead of a short story. Putting in too much extraneous detail and hints at future things that would take place, or things that took place in the past. Basically, just too much. I suppose this is actually good practice for me to be ruthless. Just stick to what the story needs.

One thing I noticed when posting the first chapter of Aithin, which, granted, is in different format (I’m still working in regular manuscript format on the story), but my chapters have gotten ridiculously longer. That first chapter is 10 pages. Somewhere in the second creature there is a chapter that is 137 pages long. What is the deal with that?

I suppose I should take a brief moment to explain about what happened to the second book. I was going to self-publish that one as well–nearly ready to do it, had the file all ready to go, and suddenly decided I didn’t like the way one of the characters handled a situation in the middle of the book. I thought it was out of character. So I wrote a new middle, and I haven’t been able to finish, over a million (seriously, I’ve been working on this for a year almost full time now) words and thousands of pages later. I’ve thrown out three possible directions it was going, but it took me about ten chapters into them until I decided that.

My conclusion was that there is more than one novel in there, and I just need to find the logical points to split it. Actually finishing it would be a lovely help.

But returning to the topic, I am being selective about who I’m doing this for–hopefully people who will be appreciative of it. I probably shouldn’t even say anything here because they may be some of the few actually reading this.

My question is, is this an adequate gift? I had thought I would be much further along in the process by now, but I’m not used to shorter works, and it’s really throwing me for a loop. Once I made the distinction between story vs. chapter, I think that helped. It just seemed like a neat thing to do at first because it was something I could do myself, but I’m having second thoughts now (possibly because I’ve only managed to edit 50 pages down to 49). I think I’m down to three or four people now to do it for, which means I need to get my act together and get cracking!

Today was one of those weird days where nothing really seems to get done, though. I had Physical Therapy this morning and then went to the library, didn’t get home until a quarter to 1:00, and the next thing I knew, it was almost 3:00, and I hadn’t done anything constructive at all. Hadn’t worked on the story, hadn’t done anything. There were a couple of odd things that happened after I got home, though, one of them being a call from my SO asking me if I could look for his wallet because he couldn’t find it anywhere. So I wandered around the house looking in all the places it might be, outside where his car had been parked, etc. He hadn’t been able to check his car. He works with young adults 18-21 with developmental disabilities, and they are out of the classroom a lot riding the city buses to get around, so he was afraid he’d lost it on one of the buses. He found it in his backpack. I have spelled the plural of bus busses and buses and neither looks right.

This is why when I am working and not pretending to be a writer, I work with elementary age children with disabilities, preferably K-2nd grade. Truthfully, there have been people who, when they find out I write, are very supportive.

I was actually going to attempt a review or two today, but that didn’t work out. I just finished Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, Hourglass (author escaping me at the moment) and the second book in the Poison Diaries series. I am going to start Across the Great Barrier, the second in Patricia C. Wrede’s series (I’m not sure if I should ever say trilogy anymore), which comes after The Thirteenth Child. Maybe I will try to do that tomorrow before things start to leak out and are gone forever into the crevices of the grey matter in my brain.