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Oh The Joys Of Editing

It's been a while since I've posted. I'm posting faithfully on my Wordpress blog for NaBloPoMo again this month, and while I've managed to accomplish that easily, editing hasn't come so easily.

The problem might surprise you, though.

I'm having trouble editing because I like what I wrote too much to want to cut it in any way except the obvious grammatical errors and misspellings. So I'm forcing myself to read with as critical an eye as I can manage for the first read-through grammar check. As I go, I'm throwing in annotations on things that either need rewriting, consideration for possibly removing, or continuity checks.

I'm really enjoying Scrivener, too.

But at the moment, I'm barely through chapter 5 of the manuscript. There are 18 total chapters. I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to edit this monster, either. So we'll be lucky to see that proof copy after all.

Not only that, but I'm also taking care of my mother in the meantime (read: every waking moment of my day) due to a neck surgery she had on Monday. She's not recovering from the anesthesia very quickly, so I have to monitor her movements to make sure she doesn't fall, keep her from lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds, and try to convince her to relax. 

It would be simple for some, but my mother, the nurse, doesn't take to being a patient like some people I know. Add on to that a pubescent puppy with a penchant for my unfortunately in heat female dog and you've got a recipe for frustration. The puppy howls and shivers; it makes me hurt for him. He sees the female and goes berserk trying to reach her, and I want to slap him. He yips and yowls, and I chuck him in the kennel and shove it in the laundry room to dampen the noise. 

There's no rest for the weary...

...or for the aspiring novelist, or so it seems. 

Because I'm Crazy...

 ...I decided to write a mystery novella and have started working on it. In fact, I started writing it yesterday after I finished working on my editing for the day. 

Yes, I'm crazy. And I enjoy it. 

I got the idea to do the mystery novella when I went to Starbucks the other night. This particular story is a multiple murder mystery, which is probably a bit ambitious for a first-time mystery writer, but what's writing without a little experimentation? You never learn if you never try something new. And if I fail at this, I can only improve, right? 

I'm looking forward to the challenge. I have no experience with murder mysteries (unless you count that childish murder mystery short story I wrote for Creative Writing back in high school - which I did some research on, surprisingly), so it's going to be fun trying to work out all the details. 

Here's a short teaser: 

Jennifer Kesler just wanted to escape for a while. Unemployed and living in an apartment her parents were now helping pay for, she ditched her normal Wednesday night choir practice and instead visited Java World, her favorite coffee house. Seven other people were in the small shop, including the three workers who were serving up steaming mugs of espresso-filled drinks. 

Her relaxing evening of prayer and contemplation over a hot mocha macchiato centered her and filled her with purpose even as she used her headphones and iPod to ignore the sounds of the guitarist whose pitiful strains of "Puff the Magic Dragon" competed with the chatter of the couple behind her. Jenn's nerves were more settled once she left, and not knowing she'd been tagged, Jennifer went off to her home for sleep an hour before the store closed. 

The next day she went downtown to have lunch with her father. They heard people talking about a brutal murder of a young woman who was found in her boyfriend's house that morning after her arrived home from his third shift job. Jenn shuddered at the thought but put it in the back of her mind. 

When she arrived home, her apartment door was slightly sticky, which confused her. Thinking nothing of it, she unlocked the door and made her way inside, only to feel immediately alarmed. Something was off. There was an intense floral scent floating in the air, and her bedroom door, normally closed to keep the cooler air inside, stood open. 

Following the scent, Jennifer reached her room and flipped on the light switch. Her eyes widened, and her stomach turned at the sight that greeted her. Unable to do much more than grip the door, she bent over and threw up, eyes tearing up with the horror of the grisly massacre in her room. 

Interested? I'm calling it The Macchiato Murders. 

Let me know if you want to hear more about it. 

-Rae-

Introducing: NaNoEdMo

Well, it's March 1st, and that means it's officially time for National Novel Editing Month to begin. In that vein, I'm writing today because I am beginning the work on editing my novel, and it's going to be a tedious process indeed. I can already tell. But I'm looking forward to it because it's the next step on the path to becoming a fully published author.

With that said, I'll go ahead and mention that no, I did not join NaNoEdMo's website for this month of editing. There are a few reasons for this. One, I'm already a member of one too many sites and don't really need another one at the moment. Two, I don't want to do the requisite reporting that's required for EdMo users. I'll edit and most likely do at least 50 hours of editing this month, but I don't really need another website to keep me accountable. 

My goal for the month is to accomplish three edits. I've started by putting all my chapters into Scrivener, which is going to be interesting getting used to it. It's a fun tool, but like any piece of software, it requires some experimentation and tinkering to get it to work with me rather than against me. But, for the record, all my chapters have been added to Scrivener, and I've set up a new project solely for editing F&IB.

The three edits I want to work on are going to look something like this: 

Edit One - Do a basic read-through of the entire novel, chapter by chapter. As I read, fix any grammar issues and awkward wordings that come up with quick fixes that can later be changed to more efficient wordings. Make notes in a separate research page as well as annotations within the chapters for big plot holes and other problems I find as I read to be fixed later.

Edit Two - Do a second read-through of the grammar-edited draft. This time search for continuity problems of characters and places. Fix those that will cause problems and make sure everything flows.

Edit Three - On the third read-through, take in the major plot holes and begin the rewrites of those scenes that need massive overhauls. Find the most glaring issues of science, continuity, or plot and fix everything to my satisfaction.

By the end of edit three, I'm hoping to have a much more reader-friendly piece of fiction on my hands. I have no idea how it will look, and I've already read through the prologue and chapter one for grammar. I've fixed quite a few things that needed immediate intervention and made notes. 

It's going to be tedious, but it's also totally worth the effort. With that said, I need to go report on the NaNo forums that I've been good today and edited. So, wish me luck as I begin this process, and I hope to be able to say by the end of March that I have a much more polished manuscript than what I began with! 

-Rae- 

Orson Scott Card - The How Tos

I'm reading Orson Scott Card's "How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy" in order to prepare for my editing next month. It's been quite challenging so far, and I'm only halfway through the book. I'm loving it, though. 

Some of the questions I've gotten from the book have been pretty logical ones that I just haven't nailed down answers to yet, and others have been those pesky ones that I didn't want to have to answer in the first place. Either way, I feel like answering the questions will make Fire and Ice Bound a more well-rounded, organized, and developed novel. 

World creation was the second chapter of the book, and it was fairly detailed. Card explains that every world has its rules and that every reader expects those rules to be explained and set up within the first few pages of the book or at the very least shortly after the magic or science has been introduced. Otherwise, the reader is left wondering what limits the capabilities of this world. And, Card adds, without rules, there's no story.

It's a good point.

I need to work on developing my rules in a more concrete form for F&IB. I have them, obviously. It's simply not possible for someone to control every aspect of an element in my world. However, it stands to reason that there has to be a cap on something. So I'm going to have to pin that down a bit more and articulate the rules for myself before I can articulate them in the story for my readers. 

Then there's the question of geography that Card and my father raised. There were a few questions about the geography of my world that my father asked me that caused me to do some thinking. It's going to take some time before I can answer them succinctly enough for me, but I'm going to get those answered as well.

It's both good and bad that I'm reading this book. Good because it will make my story much better. Bad because it requires more development, editing, creating, and other things that I've been lazy about in the past. But if I can make it a good story, I'll be happy. That's really my main goal: writing a story I can believe in. 

If no one reads my story, I'm okay with that. After all, I'm not writing for readers. I'm writing for my world. 

But I'm losing time. March is coming soon, and I wanted to tamp down those loose ends before I tried editing. So I need to stop writing here and get back to work on reading Card's book. It's giving me lots of things to think about, after all. 

-Rae- 

Lent Offering

It's been more than a week since I finished F&IB, and I've managed a good seven-ish days of avoiding thinking about it.

In the meantime, I've been playing with Scrivener, editing a fanfic I began writing more than a year ago. Actually, it's a fanfic I haven't updated in more than a year. I'm debating about whether to finish it or not as it's not something I'm as interested in now. Original fiction'll do that to you, I suppose. 

Scrivener is a lot of fun, though, so editing this fanfic with the software has been good practice for using it on F&IB come March.

In addition, I started making the infernal high school scrapbook. I found, to my surprise, when I pulled everything out of the hope chest that I'd already started said scrapbook. I had at least four pages already finished, actually. In addition, I had a title page and a table of contents! And, yes, I'll go ahead and state that, like everything in my life, I have to make it relate to my love of novels. So I made the title some nonsense about my senior year of high school being a play in one act, and then I had the table of contents going 'scene' by 'scene' through various big events in my senior year. 

Quite creative if I do say so myself. I've done a few pages, but I'm a bit stuck on part of it, so I haven't worked on it in a few days. As much as I want to finish the blasted thing, it's more of a chore than a hobby for me, so I'm not nearly as into it as I might otherwise be. Oh well. 

Now to the actual subject of this post...

As it's Fat Tuesday, I've talked with some people and read some things about Lent. As a rule, I usually don't participate in Lent. It's not really a part of my religious observances, so there's nothing pushing me there, and it just isn't something I think about. On the NaNo forums, however, someone mentioned a different Lent goal. 

The person was going to write 2,000 words a day for 40 days. It's creative, and it keeps the writing going. I've been writing blogs daily over at The Book Wyrm, so I'm not lacking for getting my words out. I am lacking for doing the more creative writing. I'm thinking of settling on writing scenes from a tentative storyline I've played with for a few years. And the best way to do it is just to do it, so my Lent goal is to write on at least one scene a day from my new story.

The title of said story is: Tales From Lucy.

It's realistic fiction, pretty general stuff, but it's kind of different from things I've read before. I'm not sure there will be a full story that happens, but there might be. I'm hoping to make it long enough to actually be a full novel-length tale at some point. And as ideas fill my head, I can see it becoming worth pouring a little effort into.

I'm debating about posting installments on my blog. However, I doubt I'd post it here as this is 'technically' strictly for F&IB stuff. I'll decide that later. For now, I'm going to get started on that first, crucial scene. Scrivener it is! 

-Rae- 

Ultimate Superbowl Celebration

Okay, this is going to be probably the shortest post I've made. You know why? Simple... 

I FINISHED! I FINISHED! I FINISHED!

Yes, folks, that's right. For anyone who's still reading this poor LJ of mine, I am spreading the news. I finished writing my novel. My own. My precious. And that's just what this thing has become. It's the precious creation of my fantasies that will be something I cherish always. Gollum totally had it right.

The results of all my labor? 

90,066 words.

158 pages. (Single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font)

18 chapters.

I am thrilled that I managed to write a novel. It's such an incredible feeling. I wanted to share it with everyone because it's taken such effort and dedication and love. And now it's done. 

What's next on my list? 

Well, first off, I'm letting F&IB sit for a good three weeks during the rest of February. In the meantime, I'm looking for a job and working on the infernal high school scrapbook I meant to start five years ago.

After February? March is NaNoEdMo, so I'll be dedicating a significant number of hours to the three edits I have planned. Hopefully it will be resembling a real novel by the end of March, and I can begin letting some key people read it for proofreading purposes. 

Wish me luck! And enjoy the Superbowl if you're a football fan... I'll be enjoying good food and the occasional cheer for finishing a novel.

-Rae- 

A Draining Subject

I thought I'd write a quick update to my last post as it was only a shameless plug concerning my new software instead of an actual entry about my NaNovel. It's been an interesting couple of days as I attempted to work on getting the rest of my story finished (sort of).

Actually, after writing the climax of my novel, I realized I couldn't easily write the next chapter cause I'd never bothered to think it out. The result was me attempting without much enthusiasm to write a conclusion to a climax that was more emotionally taxing than I'd expected. And I do mean that it was emotionally taxing for me as the author. I suppose that happens when you like your characters.

Of course, this is a bad thing because I hate getting emotional. 

Well, I finally finished the next chapter in my novel after going through a bit of emotional turmoil to get there. I cried with Brenn as she realized the results of the previous chapter, and I watched her reaction when the news really sank in. It's enough to exhaust me, and I don't even have to be there!

In any event, that chapter is done. I'll go back and edit out all the nastiness I wrote into it, but it was honestly the first chapter of my novel that I wanted to simply finish because I was over it. Not so much over it as over the emotional-ness of having to write it in the first chapter.

...I can only hope I'm half as prepared for any deaths in the sequel.

Ah well, I finished it. I'm ready to move on to the next chapter and hopefully after that the ending. We'll see how that goes.

Wish me luck!

-Rae- 

Shameless Plug - Ignore if you Like

I admit it; I didn't write a thing on my novel yesterday. Go ahead, berate me for my fallacy. I understand.

Now, onto something really cool that I did do. 

One of the exciting things about NaNoWriMo was all the winner goodies people received. Obviously the most important one to me was that shiny proof copy that I'm still determined to get when all of this is over. (And, on a side note, yesterday I checked and found out that the code for the free proof copy at CreateSpace is valid until July 1, which gives me plenty of time to do three good edits on my NaNovel! I'm thrilled!) 

One of the other awesome winner goodies was a 50% off coupon for a little piece of software called Scrivener.

For anyone who doesn't know, Scrivener is a piece of Mac-only noveling software that is designed primarily for people who are writing longer works (i.e. novels). It includes such features as outlining, corkboards, split-screens for viewing multiple documents at once, and a whole host of other fun tools for writers.

I decided that since it was such a great deal I'd try it. Scrivener is normally $39,95, but with the 50% off coupon, it turns into a beautiful $19.97. I went for it. It's beautiful, and I can't wait to throw F&IB into it to edit. (Did I mention this software has editing capabilities, too?) The real clincher for me is that after I put it in Scrivener, change, add, edit, revise, and ultimately rework my NaNovel, I can export it in whatever format I wish (RTF, .doc, PDF) to my pretty little laptop for printing purposes. 

And just in case you're a Windows user, Scrivener also has something for you. If you check their links page, you can find a whole host of noveling and other writing software made specifically for Windows. The really sweet thing about it is that the Scrivener designer not only lists the links, he also discusses their merits fairly unbiasedly. So check it out if you're looking for a good piece of software!

Anyway, all that is to say that I have massively cool new software, a novel that's so close to being finished I can taste it, a father who's been helping me with the science aspects, and time on my hands to get everything done. I'm downright giddy about it. I'll update soon with more info about how the novel's coming along since I'm sure to write more today.

Thanks for reading and bearing with me if you did! More to come! 

-Rae- 

The Climax

As a matter of course, I wanted to report on my current progress since I haven't been around as much lately. 

First: to anyone who's actually reading this, I apologize for being so slow to update you. 

Second: I'm getting close. 

Fire and Ice Bound is coming to a close at a rapid clip. I'm determined to finish writing this novel by the end of the week. Why? Because it's been waiting so long to be finished, and I'm ready for it to end. But that's not all. I've been inundated by ideas, thoughts, concepts, plans, and questions concerning what will happen next. 

Last night I wrote a record non-NaNo month word count of 5,000+ words. It was the entirety of chapter 15, and I loved every moment of it. I also killed off the big character who's going to die in this novel. It's my first major character death, and I didn't cry. 

That may sound harsh to some of your writer types, but let me explain. Yes, tears pricked my eyes as I wrote it. I really do like this character. And, yes, I would have been happier not having to kill any of my good characters off. However, I've had this in the works since before NaNo began. 

John Doe* was going to die from the beginning, and that's a fact. My only concern is that I wasn't able to give him the dignity of meeting all his potential. I'm rather sad about that, but it's how the story went.

My outline for this story grew to a massive 13 pages in a Word document on my laptop. I've got several pages in a separate document of character profiles. I've written up universe creation theories, religious beliefs, government mandates, and other odds and ends that won't even appear in this novel.

At the very least, I have planned with care and precision this small world of mine. I can't say the same for everyone else writing NaNo, but this is my baby now. I can't let it fall by the wayside, and I refuse to let it die off without a fight. This story is worth the effort to me, and I know I'm going to do what I can to make it come alive. Even if no one else reads it, the world of Ezer Kenegdo and its characters are my story to tell. 

I apologize for waxing passionate about it, but it's been a rather taxing time. I've been exhausted, talked to several friends about how to end this monstrosity, worked through plot kinks, and wrote like a madwoman. Yesterday was the big day: I reached the climax. It's all downhill from here. 

I'm going to guess I've got two more chapters left, three at the most. And that'll be anywhere from 10,000-15,000 words to write. I'm looking forward to seeing the ending that I planned out. And then I'll let the book sit till March when I'll start editing. If I'm lucky, I'll even start the planning process for the sequel if I decide I simply can't wait for November to write it.

Look for more updates soon. I'll keep you posted on the denouement and my progress towards the finish line. Feel free to comment if you will. I love receiving new comments on my posts; it lets me know someone out there is reading!

-Rae- 
It's official. I am terrible at updating blogs. I have two of them, you know. One of them was a purely entertainment thing created to keep me amused while I attempted to catalogue my experiences (specifically in the restaurant industry).

The other, unfortunately, was this one. Yes, I created it for a purpose. I wanted to keep myself on track for NaNo, but this wasn't how I did it. I managed to add a very good friend to my MSN list during NaNo who helped me get through the month of November. I took great pride in being able to update my wordcount each night and know that I was ahead of him, even though he was a day ahead of me in terms of time. (He's Australian, of course.)

I beat him to the 50,000 word mark at the end of the month and then completely stopped writing. He went on to finish his story, writing a little bit more before he was done. And now I feel like a total slacker.

December was a good month. I managed to avoid writing for the entire month, graduated from college, and enjoyed my Christmas holidays. I moved into January and suddenly lost all desire to do anything. I've had to force myself to write, which at first was almost painful.

It took me till just a few days ago before I got past the writer's block that was keeping me from updating my NaNo at light speed. I wanted (originally) to finish by the end of the month. That's not going to happen now. However, I am still writing, and I've figured out a few interesting things to add to my story.
  1. It's an elemental story, so I was assuming all elements worked equally opposite one another, but now I'm discovering they can be combined to do some pretty fantastic things.
  2. I have a character who has been a pain in the butt about being in the story in the first place, so I finally let him do what he wants. He's angry; I'm angry, and now he's getting to main character status despite both our wishes. But it's going to be a good thing. 
  3. Now that I've only got a little bit left to write, I'm seeing how things will play out in brighter, more colorful pictures. I'm looking forward to the ending because it means it's time to write the sequel.
With that said, I'm still writing and hoping to finish the story somewhere in the beginning of February. I've got a whole list of goals in the NaNo forums that I'm working on this year, also saved on my computer. One of the big things I'm hoping to accomplish is to get my story completed, edited, revised, and rewritten in time to get my CreateSpace proof copy.

All that said, I wanted to come back and update anyone who might care to know that I'm still plugging away. I have around three to four more chapters to write before it's officially done. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out, but I'm afraid my ending might have to be altered. We'll see. 

I'll come back and make sure to update this more often with more news and maybe a few excerpts as well. Thanks for reading, if you did, and feel free to make any comments you want.

-Rae-