Edits and Sophomore Year

It’s almost halfway through the sophomore fall semester at Colgate, and there’s a lot of new updates:

  • The Tapestry first draft is finished, edits are going forward.
  • I’m going to Wales in Spring 2016
  • I’m now officially a mathematics and computer science double major.
  • I’m planning a new novel.

The Tapestry

A writer friend read through the entire book and gave me some great critiques for fixing the ending. The book will be ready for beta readers by the beginning of November, then I’ll hopefully have final edits and perhaps another beta finished by February, when I’m hoping to actually publish. But we’ll see. I was going to finish the book completely so many times before this.

The new book

The new book is only just now being planned. It’s based on a Blackfoot Indian legend, and the setting is based in the Arctic. This is actually for a class, and I am outlining the entire novel (or at least creating some type of query package) by the end of the semester.

College

Number theory is fascinating, calculus 2 is boring me, and my other classes range in levels of fascination. More to come, if I feel like it.

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Trouble with The Tapestry

The alliteration in the title of this post frustrates me a little… partially because I feel as if there should be no alliteration in a grown-up post. But there you go.

I’m rewriting The Tapestry… which is something of a process. I planned out the entire novel (in its entirety! THE WHOLE THING!) in January, in little things called incidents. Which, if you look at the idea, is something like this:

Explanation of Incidents

If Emeli wants to take X action…

A determined/sad/desperate/ridiculously-happy Emeli, after/before/at some period of time, attempts some Big Thing (or small thing, it’s really your choice), and experiences a setback.

^ That thing leads into another incident, either another action incident or… a dilemma incident!

If Yazmeen is deliberating on X problem…

After/before/at some period of time, a perplexed/frustrated/dying-of-hunger Yazmeen needs to make a decision between X and Y thing. After a ridiculous amount of deliberation, a yak butts Yazmeen in the head/some action happens to force him to make a decision.

And onward to another incident!

So that’s the gist of it. Please note that I did not invent it. Rather, Ruv Draba off Scribophile did—or at least, that’s where I got the technique.  I wrote 150 of those little incidents instead of the 50 I’d planned on writing in December, because the book kept expanding (and scaring me). Now I’m faced with actually writing those scenes. I’ve written up to the 42 incident mark… which according to my guesstimations means that the book itself will total about 120,000 words. < This is a scary number. I would have loved this number when I was 15. Now it just tells me it’s a bit too long.

However, even that marvelous discovery does not solve my current problem—the fact that I am now entering the scary middle part of the book, where Emeli, Yazmeen, Margya, and Lizzi (and Nakong!) all have interesting things going on at the same time. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to have six adults living in close quarters. I don’t think I’m yet skilled enough to keep them all happy with the amount of screen time they’re getting, nor do I feel as if I know what two-thirds of them are doing at any given time. It may be a writer myth that we’re supposed to know that… because I certainly do not.

The next book will feature fewer mandatory characters.

In any case, the trouble currently is that Emeli has one thing that she needs to prepare, Yazmeen has talks and errands to run, Margya is beginning to get out of the house, Lizzi and Nakong also each have their own deal that must be resolved and is rather a big thing for the rest of the book. And I’m not certain any longer how to fit it into however many chapters I have left.

But! I suppose that probably just requires a small piece of white paper so that I can hammer details out of how I want the next three chapters to go. Thankfully the true hard work was done in January.

Updates

It has been a long time since I posted… hence a few updates before I (try to) post here on a more regular schedule.

College I started (and finished) my first year of college. Soon I’ll declare a mathematics major, and afterward either a computer science major or minor. We’ll see. Thus far I’ve learned Python, first-semester single-variable calculus, and first-semester multivariable calculus. I’m rather annoyed with my math department for not offering a second semester of multivariable calculus, but that’s what studying abroad is for.

Writing Still working on editing Perfume, which I retitled The Tapestry. I’m currently doing a rewrite of the whole book. The entirety has been planned out and I am currently at Chapter 11, at about 29k.

Reading If I had a schedule I’d be behind. As I don’t have a schedule, I can consider that instead I’m woefully unread this year. Currently fighting through Ivanhoe, which would be interesting if I had the patience to sit down and read it in one or two sittings.

Hair I’m growing my hair out and trying to figure out things that make it happy. This includes styles, washing methods, what ingredients work well with it, etc. It’s about 25″ long right now, which puts it at about midback level. Or, according to the LHC’s (and other’s) length markers, about one inch below Bra-Strap Level (BSL). Typically I practice benign neglect with my hair, so I fully anticipate that once the semester starts I’ll forget about it completely.

Languages According to the Parisian language school I went to for two weeks this summer, I’m now at a B2 level in French. I’ll be taking FREN 202 this fall and hopefully that will be at a good level for me… if I’m slightly above where I should be for the class I’m planning on taking Italian. (I’d take Russian or Arabic, honest, but the language will be my fifth course on top of a busy dancing and tutoring schedule, so I’m going for something that will be easier to learn.)

Ballroom Dancing I’m part of the Ballroom Club at Colgate University and am planning to lead it with a good friend by junior year, and just with myself and my dance partner by senior year. So I suppose I ought to start coming up with ideas about now. Thus far I’ve learned enough dances to make it into the auditioned dances.

 

 

Accomplishments #9 and #10

June 30th:

– Finished Return of the King, which was great.
– Also Finished Two Towers, before Return of the King.

July 1st:
– Woke up using Sleep Cycle, which was very fun except for the factt that I stayed in bed 20 minutes over time in order to check out the graphs and such. oops!
– Cleared out my gmail inbox, which does not understand when I delete something in Mail. It’s clean. I’m happy.
– Formatted Perfume for printing.
– Formatted the One-Pass Revision by Holly Lisle into a quick checklist to refer to regularly.

 

Accomplishment #8

I cleared out my inbox and parts of my archives and parts of my folders (then stuffed foldered emails into four folders: Writing To Do (which will be deleted ASAP), Scott Young, School, College Reference). School is for Romanian literature in the public domain, and College Refreence will disappear May of next year. I cannot wait. College searching is no fun when you have to put everything on hold for two weeks. All I can do now is locate textbooks for something to do in the next few months (and that is a whole other complicated thing I tried but didn’t succeed at today, because the parents have been away all day and I find I need an older-person opinion).

Also, I read a lot of things on how to edit, in preparation for Camp-NaNo-which-will-be-called-Editing-Month. After reading all those, I figured out a ‘quick’ 13 step process that I think will work best for me. Here it is, reproduced for your benefit. (you can find all the resources I used by googling ‘how to edit a novel’ and clicking all the links on the first page, then googling ‘one-pass revision’ and using the Holly Lisle link that pops up)

1. Read through. Check for bad plot, bad storytelling, etc. Use Chuck Wendig’s two column thing for the writing and storytelling.

2. Re-outline the beast as you read. (chapter, plot, core conflict and changes, comments)

3. Have the theme, subthemes, micro summary, main character story arc, and blurb written down. Print them out, hang them somewhere where reference to them is easy.

4. Do 10 scenarios. Find the best way to tell the story.

5. Do the re-re-outline, based on one of the ten scenarios. (same as the re-outline)

6. Take a deep breath. Print out the manuscript if you’re going to print it out. If not, save the Scrivener file somewhere, back it up, and duplicate the first draft somewhere. Don’t touch the first draft).

7. Print out the One-Pass Revision checklist which you either have created or will create.

8. Begin the One-Pass Revision. Take notes in a notebook next to the computer if necessary. Keep revising. NEVER GIVE UP.

9. Having finished the one-pass-revision, you will have good scenes, lovely grammar, and pretty spelling. Few typos, also. Make it clean, now, by making sure that there’s only black text. If you do the print-out, this is the ‘type-everything-onto-the-computer’ stage. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got

9b. Fix any typos you may have made while typing up.

10. Print out again, this time in ‘book’ form (or perhaps a Kindle). Read the whole thing out loud. Fix any malingering typos or weird sentences.  fix the typos on the laptop.

11. Give the manuscript to an ‘editor’ or ‘agent’ (or very good friend you trust to critique it)

12. Make any other needed revisions suggested by the agent-editor-friend.

13. Regale in awesomeness.

Tomorrow comes the step of assigning each of these steps to a certain day in July. I’m definitely not expecting to FINISH this in July, as actual real-life camp will interfere for 14 days, but I am planning on getting at least part of this done. Wish me luck!

Accomplishment #5

The accomplishment for today is quite simple. Last night I couldn’t fall asleep, mostly because I was trying to figure out how to do a todo.txt file with a Command Line Interface (CLI).

Well, the problem was that the other two times I tried to do this, it didn’t work. I’m not sure what I did wrong back then, but I did do something wrong, and so I gave up in a huff– twice. Today, however, I’m not sure what I did, but I basically went through all the problems and the ideas until I got through it all the way.

So, as shown here, this is what my todo list likes.

The second accomplishment, perhaps a bit smaller, is that I totally took back everything I said in regards to the Camp July Novel and suddenly (not really suddenly, it’s been coming on, I think, for a while) decided that I would be editing Perfume, from Camp… May, I believe, of last year.

And the reason for going into this and editing it now, I believe, is partially because I don’t really have a plot, and I don’t want to expend energy to figure out a new plot. I want to figure out an old plot. And Perfume, I think, was my favorite story, which is why I think I’m starting to edit it.

ACCOMPLISHMENT #2

You’ll probably be able to tell how happy I am for the day by reading the list of accomplishments. Today there’s more than one.

1. Finished The Fellowship of the Ring. At the same time this makes me sad because I will definitely beat my brother in our reading race (he’s reading part of the Anne of Green Gables series and I’m reading The Lord of the Rings series in order to force ourselves to expand our reading horizons.) Winner gets $100 from the loser. As I’m more concerned with not losing my hundred dollars, this contest does not make me particularly happy, since I have no wish to deprive my brother of $100. Still, I made the bet, and I have no intention of giving up $100, so I guess I’ll have to win.

2.

I think I’ve figured out how the July novel will be written:
1. Grab a random noun or verb generator (or a list of peoples’ words for the year) (This would include oneword.com, but as they only offer one word a day, I need to branch out)
2. Write on that word for 1 minute.
3. Move on to another word OR expand on that one word.
4. (Remember to save the word’s output in Scrivener)
5. Write the characters, year, and main plot point on the index card in Scrivener.
6. At the end of the day, organize things all prettily, draw conclusions, make chapters, etc.

I think it will fit perfectly with the title, Inklings, and also the nature of how this story is coming into being.

Accomplishment #1

Today I finished the rivers for the regional map of Tibov, which is a fictional location and will probably be used for a lot of novels. I also touched up the mountains. The rivers still need a little work, but I think it’s pretty good so far.

End of the Year

It’s almost the end of the year— three days left.

I have 50,000 words (give or take a thousand) to write before December 31st.

Aaaaand… it’s not working out very well for me. If November was a month of fantastic writing, December is one full of sluggishness.

Sometimes I think I need to start a really happy, silly novel. Maybe writing something about really small people that bounce up and down all the time. Something with magic. And cats.

Magic and cats always help, for some reason. Usually the cats talk, also.

… Sometimes I wonder if I need a plot or just more time. In a way, I really don’t want to not get the fifty thousand. It feels like much too much work. In another way, I’ve been working at this for 363 days so far.

Surely I can pull the last few things out of my brain and get the amount of words I know I can write in this amount of time. It shouldn’t be too hard. I just have to turn the internet off, realize that my entire life will now be occupied with writing (for the next three days), and write. It’s not so hard. I did it in November.

How are your end-of-year goals working out?

Experiments

The really interesting thing about NaNoWriMo this yeear is that I’d decided I wasn’t going to try to write another novel on the 23rd.

What happens next is that two days later I start getting this itch. I made a map, you see, of the world of my Camp NaNos this year. In June, when I wrote Perfume, I had the idea for the stories of two other characters, dubbed them sequels, and wrote the first sequel, Incense, in August. I was going to write the third, Spice, in November, but that fell through as I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic about it.

Well, now I’ve started Spice, and instead of making it my priority, it’s my reward for all the other work I’m doing in writing blog posts, selecting pictures, reading Silent Spring (one of the most depressing books I’ve ever encountered), and clearing out my e-mail archives and action folders. I started this on the 27th, so we’ll see how far I can get in writing it by the 30th.

I find it fascinating that my brain, once I tell it it’s not allowed to write at all suddenly comes up with all sorts of ideas. What would happen if I didn’t allow myself to write on Wednesdays, for instance? Or I could only write on Sundays? I can’t wait to experiment on this in December, or perhaps even 2013.

I’ve experimented before, but I’ve never actually put that name on it before. I’ve found that if I only allow myself to do push-ups every other day, I can’t wait for my push-up days. (This plateaus at about 7 push-ups though, when I start getting angry at the fact that past 8, I start collapsing). It would be fascinating to see what bearing this has on writing.

What sort of experiments do you conduct in your own writing?