Monday, August 29, 2011

More Editing Notes

I'm a third of the way through the first book, and I'm into my second really tough section. The issue here is that I hit the fast forward button and only provided a summary of what happened when I wrote the first draft:

"Over the next several months..."

Like a montage in a movie, but with even fewer details. It makes sense from one point of view: I had the section in there because it helps move the story forward. That said, what we're skipping over is the first few months of a friendship and a lot of research/exploration. That kind of stuff is a treasure chest of opportunity, so I'm working at fleshing it all out. It'll take a while, but I planned on this one being the biggest hurdle.

Also, since I've already written all three "books" (50 - 60k words each), I can go back now and "retcon" some facts/scenes to make things work better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Edits, Part Two

Eight chapters in and this is hard work. I'm finding that I get distracted easily, and then getting back into the work is hard. I love the story, and I know what I need to do to fix it, but it's "hard" work. It's not just fixing typos. It's moving sections around, grafting and transplanting, and then fixing all the plumbing so all the pieces line up.

An hour or two per day, I tell myself. Just that much time and I can be done with all three Jute books in time for November's NaNoWriMo. I can do this!

Today was interesting because I found that I had a slow "flashback" section up near the beginning of the story, but it really didn't need to be there. Instead, that information could easily be included in a later conversation/scene and I could have it explained from the MC's point of view, rather than as a momentum-killing infodump. So the day's work is clear, but making it happen is not, er, happening. I find any and every excuse to context switch away (hello, blog entry!).

Anyway, removing/dealing with the show-don't-tell sections (I don't think there are _that_ many of them) is always an interesting challenge. I don't want them to seem contrived. Each one is a puzzle to solve.

Now, if I could just stay away from flickr/twitter/blogger long enough to solve a few of those puzzles...

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Edits

Today I went through the comments and suggestions and edits from an editor I hired a little over a year ago. She dissected my Nanowrimo novel I wrote for my daughters. I've mentioned the book before, it's the first of three in a series for the "Middle Grade" audience about some girls who discover they can make magic charms. Before you roll your eyes, at least there aren't any zombies/werewolves/vampires/Biebers. Just sayin'.

Well, I actually went through every comment, every line and really tried to see a larger picture behind them, rather than just the one sentence or word or section they mentioned.

And I think I have a good understand of what she was trying to say, and after not really looking at the book or the edits for a year, I'm really in a good place to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of them, while not taking anything personally or rabbit-holing on minor points.

The end result was about 1000 words in a new scene, and about a thousand ideas for places and ways in which I could improve the story. I'm off for the weekend, but I hope to get back into this same writing groove next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Slows (and a garden rundown)

Yes, it seems that I've slowed down quite a bit, eh?

Well, that's only because just about everything else has fallen into a kind of quick pace. Seriously, time is flying past all too quickly. I'm finding myself scratching my head, wondering "where did the week go?"

The garden is growing. Tomatoes coming in (yum!). Oddly enough, the pests seem to be leaving the tomatoes/cucumbers/peppers alone. Heck, even the blueberries are safe. Can't say the same for the poor strawberries though. All season long we only got about two of them. The rest got chomped.

We never did follow through on our threat to go crazy planting corn. Instead, we ended up with a lone plant, something one of the kids brought home. It grew to about waist high before a squirrel (I presume) gnawed through the middle, cutting it down like a beaver fells trees.

I trimmed the heck out of the pomegranate during the late winter. It's tripled (at least) in size since then but unfortunately it's returned to its former habit of dropping every single blossom. It's frustrating.

Anyone know if peppers can cross pollinate? We have a plant that produced two measly jalapeno peppers last year. It survived the winter so we left it growing. Yesterday we harvested what should have been a very large jalapeno. Instead, it was a somewhat small bell pepper.

The sweet potatoes we planted got shaded/crowded by some squash and so they're still relatively small. No idea if we'll tear out the squash or just let things go. See, we're lazy. Not really "I'm too lazy to go outside" lazy, more of a "I don't feel like experimenting in the garden" lazy. It's sad.

The potted lime tree is zooming along, there has to be at least 20 limes on there now. Can't wait to start harvesting. The lemon and key lime... Well, let's just say they're not participating.

And the chickens! They're doing well. We only have the three, but they lay enough that we're always falling behind, giving away eggs occasionally as the fridge gets packed. One of the birds, Mohawk, goes broody every couple of months.