thanate: (whirlpool)
I've finished another pass through the novel. Jess is now firmly Liss, and a bunch of other things have been cleared up, and my list of things to revisit after I've thought about them some more has changed a little and also gained a few entries. So has the list of changes for once I get back to book 2, which is good, as that's the one that thus far has only got two thirds of a plot.

Unfortunately, this last pass mostly eliminated words, which means I'm now just under 58k, which I think may be brushing the bottom threshold for what's "supposed to be" YA length, and as aanna_firemage pointed out, it's sort of flirting with the line between YA and middle grade anyway. I don't have anything against kids' books, but I really do want this to be YA for a couple reasons. Mainly, while this one could go either way, and works well as stand-alone, the sequels are definitely YA if not more, and if possible I want Mara to see print, not just Caroline.

It's a coming of age story about a 16-year-old, and the romantic sub-plot doesn't turn up until the end (for good reasons.) I've changed out the best friend's motivations to make them more teen-aged, but I'm wondering if there's anything else that pushes YA buttons that I could be playing up a little. Thoughts?

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (whirlpool)
I've finished another pass through the novel. Jess is now firmly Liss, and a bunch of other things have been cleared up, and my list of things to revisit after I've thought about them some more has changed a little and also gained a few entries. So has the list of changes for once I get back to book 2, which is good, as that's the one that thus far has only got two thirds of a plot.

Unfortunately, this last pass mostly eliminated words, which means I'm now just under 58k, which I think may be brushing the bottom threshold for what's "supposed to be" YA length, and as aanna_firemage pointed out, it's sort of flirting with the line between YA and middle grade anyway. I don't have anything against kids' books, but I really do want this to be YA for a couple reasons. Mainly, while this one could go either way, and works well as stand-alone, the sequels are definitely YA if not more, and if possible I want Mara to see print, not just Caroline.

It's a coming of age story about a 16-year-old, and the romantic sub-plot doesn't turn up until the end (for good reasons.) I've changed out the best friend's motivations to make them more teen-aged, but I'm wondering if there's anything else that pushes YA buttons that I could be playing up a little. Thoughts?
thanate: (whirlpool)
I went down to return some books to my father last week, and came back with my twin sized foam mattress to make daybed seating on the short side of the loft and a native rescue azalea. While there, I asked if my parents were aware that RA MacAvoy had a new book out, to which my father asked if I was aware that his brother had dated RA MacAvoy in high school. (and here I was still vaguely proud of myself for recognizing her as the Bertie MacAvoy mentioned in passing in Making Book)

The old bedroom is now set up as an interim library, and I've spent large amounts of the last few days running up and down stairs transporting large stacks of books. I may have slightly underestimated the amount of hardback fiction we owned, but it does (just barely) all fit on the giant shelf with the Pratchett double-stacked in its own cubby and my picture books filling the bottom row. (Yes, I have six linear feet of picture books... my mother used to be a children's librarian.) Grauwulf came up last night and found me sitting in the middle of the floor, momentarily distracted by The Nargun and the Stars, and said that this was me in my natural habitat: surrounded by books.

Also, I have now got two versions of Chapter 1, one of which includes a Jessamine who (pretends to think/) thinks she's a princess in disguise, and the other an Alisoun who's full of wild plans for how she's going to marry the prince. I'm considering renaming the dead princess (who, um... becomes important to book five, sigh) in the Alisoun version from Joellein to Jessamine, because I can. Evaluation to follow on which one of these chapters I'm actually keeping. Stupid beginnings.

On the subject of revisions, or was that goals... I've always wanted to do something terribly exciting for leap day, and never come up with anything good, so that is the day I'm going to send out a query so my top-choice agent can tell me she's not interested in this. (At some point I should also do some research into finding other agents I want to query...)

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (whirlpool)
I went down to return some books to my father last week, and came back with my twin sized foam mattress to make daybed seating on the short side of the loft and a native rescue azalea. While there, I asked if my parents were aware that RA MacAvoy had a new book out, to which my father asked if I was aware that his brother had dated RA MacAvoy in high school. (and here I was still vaguely proud of myself for recognizing her as the Bertie MacAvoy mentioned in passing in Making Book)

The old bedroom is now set up as an interim library, and I've spent large amounts of the last few days running up and down stairs transporting large stacks of books. I may have slightly underestimated the amount of hardback fiction we owned, but it does (just barely) all fit on the giant shelf with the Pratchett double-stacked in its own cubby and my picture books filling the bottom row. (Yes, I have six linear feet of picture books... my mother used to be a children's librarian.) Grauwulf came up last night and found me sitting in the middle of the floor, momentarily distracted by The Nargun and the Stars, and said that this was me in my natural habitat: surrounded by books.

Also, I have now got two versions of Chapter 1, one of which includes a Jessamine who (pretends to think/) thinks she's a princess in disguise, and the other an Alisoun who's full of wild plans for how she's going to marry the prince. I'm considering renaming the dead princess (who, um... becomes important to book five, sigh) in the Alisoun version from Joellein to Jessamine, because I can. Evaluation to follow on which one of these chapters I'm actually keeping. Stupid beginnings.

On the subject of revisions, or was that goals... I've always wanted to do something terribly exciting for leap day, and never come up with anything good, so that is the day I'm going to send out a query so my top-choice agent can tell me she's not interested in this. (At some point I should also do some research into finding other agents I want to query...)
thanate: (whirlpool)
We begin with three girls, almost done growing up in an village of an idealized* late-medieval-ish society. Our narrator, Caroline, is the blacksmith's daughter: clever, cheerful, and good at the mundane things women do to keep life tidy and comfortable. At sixteen, she hasn't yet figured out her calling in life, and so she assumes that she's ordinary because she's good at ordinary things. Her sister, Mathilda, is a couple years older and has always been the difficult one, full of endless curiosities and poorly-thought-out magical experiments. Their triad has recently been broken up by Mathilda's going off to the magic school in the city, and it's left a hole in Caroline's life that she spends a lot of time talking around because she doesn't quite want to talk about it head-on.

And then, there's her best friend, Jessamine. In the lost version Jess was called Alison (because she's the innkeeper's daughter) and I'm sort of thinking of reinstating that for reasons of naming consistency. In any case, she's drop-dead gorgeous, daydreamy, and is far more interested in gossip and inventing stories than in living in a small town, even in the inn where she's bound to see everything the place has to offer. The sixteen year old solution to this is the girl who wants to marry the prince and live happily ever after; the ten year old solution is the girl who decides she is the princess, hidden away instead of long dead. Right now, she's stuck with the latter, having (presumably) come up with it at an early age and made the mistake of telling Caroline. On the whole, this is all a bit of a side-note; Jess is the Belle who wanted so much more than they'd got planned, didn't get it, and eventually moves on with her life while her friends grow up to move worlds. We see her once, and after that she's pretty much just background for Caroline to refer to. This doesn't make her unimportant; her crazy dreams and ambitions are definitely a cornerstone of how Caroline has constructed her own identity, but I'm wondering if the 16-year-old (and more ordinary to YA) daydream wouldn't be a better character trait to drop in and paint with a few broad strokes.

Thoughts? Which would you prefer to read about?


*There's a reason for this, too, but it's not a large part of the first book.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
We begin with three girls, almost done growing up in an village of an idealized* late-medieval-ish society. Our narrator, Caroline, is the blacksmith's daughter: clever, cheerful, and good at the mundane things women do to keep life tidy and comfortable. At sixteen, she hasn't yet figured out her calling in life, and so she assumes that she's ordinary because she's good at ordinary things. Her sister, Mathilda, is a couple years older and has always been the difficult one, full of endless curiosities and poorly-thought-out magical experiments. Their triad has recently been broken up by Mathilda's going off to the magic school in the city, and it's left a hole in Caroline's life that she spends a lot of time talking around because she doesn't quite want to talk about it head-on.

And then, there's her best friend, Jessamine. In the lost version Jess was called Alison (because she's the innkeeper's daughter) and I'm sort of thinking of reinstating that for reasons of naming consistency. In any case, she's drop-dead gorgeous, daydreamy, and is far more interested in gossip and inventing stories than in living in a small town, even in the inn where she's bound to see everything the place has to offer. The sixteen year old solution to this is the girl who wants to marry the prince and live happily ever after; the ten year old solution is the girl who decides she is the princess, hidden away instead of long dead. Right now, she's stuck with the latter, having (presumably) come up with it at an early age and made the mistake of telling Caroline. On the whole, this is all a bit of a side-note; Jess is the Belle who wanted so much more than they'd got planned, didn't get it, and eventually moves on with her life while her friends grow up to move worlds. We see her once, and after that she's pretty much just background for Caroline to refer to. This doesn't make her unimportant; her crazy dreams and ambitions are definitely a cornerstone of how Caroline has constructed her own identity, but I'm wondering if the 16-year-old (and more ordinary to YA) daydream wouldn't be a better character trait to drop in and paint with a few broad strokes.

Thoughts? Which would you prefer to read about?


*There's a reason for this, too, but it's not a large part of the first book.
thanate: (whirlpool)
So, I'm revising this novel. This is the first time I've actually done that, rather than collect some feedback, poke at it, and put everything away to percolate indefinitely. It helps that my critical brain has begun to catch up with my reader-brain, after finally coming around from hating analysis for the kind of interpretations forced upon one in literature classes, often dealing with works I didn't much care for anyway. It helps that I now have writer-friends who have also developed critical skills tuned to editing rather than analysis, and who are willing to do beta reading. It also helps that I seem to have achieved some kind of state of zen where I don't really get much fussed about people mucking with my prose!!! or insulting it or whatever it is that people get all upset about. Good editing is helpful, even when it's telling you things you don't want to know about.

In any case, it's the process of revisions from feedback that I'm presently finding fascinating. There's a lot of having a beta reader say something which sets off my brain in a chain of "No, that's not right, because..." and sorting out the themes and meta things that I hadn't even realized I'd put in before. Once I know what it is I'm trying to do, I can write all that down in my notebook and go back and try to make it so that other people will see that, too. So the fact that one of my beta readers wants to be reading an action-adventure novel and doesn't care for my kitchen scene causes me to write "THIS IS A DOMESTIC FANTASY" in the margin of my notebook, and this is actually helpful. (It's also given me some useful bits to work into the mess that is presently book two, when I get there, and a reminder about this not being a travellog of wandering the woodlands.) It's possible that no one else will actually consider it a domestic fantasy, because it's also adventure and coming of age, but the important part is that this is how the narrator sees the world, and what she does with it.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
So, I'm revising this novel. This is the first time I've actually done that, rather than collect some feedback, poke at it, and put everything away to percolate indefinitely. It helps that my critical brain has begun to catch up with my reader-brain, after finally coming around from hating analysis for the kind of interpretations forced upon one in literature classes, often dealing with works I didn't much care for anyway. It helps that I now have writer-friends who have also developed critical skills tuned to editing rather than analysis, and who are willing to do beta reading. It also helps that I seem to have achieved some kind of state of zen where I don't really get much fussed about people mucking with my prose!!! or insulting it or whatever it is that people get all upset about. Good editing is helpful, even when it's telling you things you don't want to know about.

In any case, it's the process of revisions from feedback that I'm presently finding fascinating. There's a lot of having a beta reader say something which sets off my brain in a chain of "No, that's not right, because..." and sorting out the themes and meta things that I hadn't even realized I'd put in before. Once I know what it is I'm trying to do, I can write all that down in my notebook and go back and try to make it so that other people will see that, too. So the fact that one of my beta readers wants to be reading an action-adventure novel and doesn't care for my kitchen scene causes me to write "THIS IS A DOMESTIC FANTASY" in the margin of my notebook, and this is actually helpful. (It's also given me some useful bits to work into the mess that is presently book two, when I get there, and a reminder about this not being a travellog of wandering the woodlands.) It's possible that no one else will actually consider it a domestic fantasy, because it's also adventure and coming of age, but the important part is that this is how the narrator sees the world, and what she does with it.
thanate: (whirlpool)
#1: Holly said before I left that I was about to miss the fun part, where the whole house came together; as it turns out, very little happened last week. Electrical wiring went in, but the service change over that was supposed to happen last Monday hasn't, and the light at the top of the stairs no longer works, either. The basement stairs are in, but they're still not going to jack up the house to replace the center beam until next week, which on the whole I would have liked them to do while I was gone... and a long list of other things that haven't happened and should have by now. In any case, the reason all this is on my list is that I let this stress & nonsense put me off writing for the last two months, and that's stupid. So the most important goal is not let that tension creep back in.

#2: One of the things I came away from VP with was actually the sense that I submitted the wrong thing. So, I think the novel I should have submitted is actually pretty close to beta-ready, and I want to do my last poking at it, probably break it up into chapters, and then get some feedback. I think I can do my part of this in the next two weeks if I actually work on it. So, goal: finish tinkering & send to beta readers before I start NaNo.

#3: That's an interesting question, now isn't it? I've got a few possibilities for NaNo, and some things I should think about finishing, and I did want to do something about my website. I'll keep thinking about this one as I work on #2.

#4: Once I've got feedback from #2, there WILL BE revisions, followed by submissions. This will not happen in November, but I'm hoping for January.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
#1: Holly said before I left that I was about to miss the fun part, where the whole house came together; as it turns out, very little happened last week. Electrical wiring went in, but the service change over that was supposed to happen last Monday hasn't, and the light at the top of the stairs no longer works, either. The basement stairs are in, but they're still not going to jack up the house to replace the center beam until next week, which on the whole I would have liked them to do while I was gone... and a long list of other things that haven't happened and should have by now. In any case, the reason all this is on my list is that I let this stress & nonsense put me off writing for the last two months, and that's stupid. So the most important goal is not let that tension creep back in.

#2: One of the things I came away from VP with was actually the sense that I submitted the wrong thing. So, I think the novel I should have submitted is actually pretty close to beta-ready, and I want to do my last poking at it, probably break it up into chapters, and then get some feedback. I think I can do my part of this in the next two weeks if I actually work on it. So, goal: finish tinkering & send to beta readers before I start NaNo.

#3: That's an interesting question, now isn't it? I've got a few possibilities for NaNo, and some things I should think about finishing, and I did want to do something about my website. I'll keep thinking about this one as I work on #2.

#4: Once I've got feedback from #2, there WILL BE revisions, followed by submissions. This will not happen in November, but I'm hoping for January.
thanate: (whirlpool)
No new words for Monday or Tuesday, but I began working through the first draft of The Witch, The Weaver & The Wood (Caroline, book 1) last night with intent to do things like clean up the chronology & continuity, write a summary, and um... break it into chapters. Sadly, I like it better as just a continuous flow, but I don't think that goes over very well in terms of marketing. I also wrote to the Viable Paradise people & asked whether they would look askance at something YA as a submission manuscript, since I think this could better use outside input than most of the short stories I've got right now. We shall see.

Several different people have been talking about hair care recently, and I am finding that the people who write hair care websites are working with very different sets of assumptions than I am. The general advice for curls or waves tells you not to blow dry (I don't own a hair dryer, so that's ok), and offers thoughts on "second day hair"... which is all very well, but for much of the year, if I want to do anything but lie about with my hair spread out around me (see icon) while it's drying, part of my hair will probably still be damp the second day. Other parts will be tangled and need brushing, and apparently nobody has attempted to come up with a way to preserve curls or waves through brushing; they just say you're on no account to do it unless your hair is wet.

Well, I have no particular desire to give myself hypothermia someday by going about with my hair constantly wet, and I have no desire at all to be bothered to wash it every other day. I've got a lot of hair, and so long as I brush it regularly I don't need to wash it more than once a week or so in summer, and at most twice a month in winter. But this means that for most of the time, anything I might want to know about how to get my hair to do exciting things is up to me to figure out, because the only "help" appears to be provided by and for people with much shorter hair who shower daily and get it wet all the time.

Someday, I will probably stop expecting any sort of standardly available beauty advice to apply to me...

Also of interest, from the artist Laurel Roth: Fascinated with women’s traditional use of fiber-craft to provide safety and comfort, I have been crocheting small suits for urban pigeons that disguise them as extinct birds, thereby (visually) re-creating biodiversity and soothing environmental fears. I am quite fond of the Carolina Parakeet, and impressed by the ivory-billed woodpecker's waistcoat buttons. If you follow the link to her main "works" page, she's also got some very elegant resin "crystal" skulls, and (speaking of beauty advice) a small flock of lovely peacocks made from hair clips and false fingernails.

Experimentally cross-posty from dreamwidth. Comments encouraged in either location.
thanate: (whirlpool)
No new words for Monday or Tuesday, but I began working through the first draft of The Witch, The Weaver & The Wood (Caroline, book 1) last night with intent to do things like clean up the chronology & continuity, write a summary, and um... break it into chapters. Sadly, I like it better as just a continuous flow, but I don't think that goes over very well in terms of marketing. I also wrote to the Viable Paradise people & asked whether they would look askance at something YA as a submission manuscript, since I think this could better use outside input than most of the short stories I've got right now. We shall see.

Several different people have been talking about hair care recently, and I am finding that the people who write hair care websites are working with very different sets of assumptions than I am. The general advice for curls or waves tells you not to blow dry (I don't own a hair dryer, so that's ok), and offers thoughts on "second day hair"... which is all very well, but for much of the year, if I want to do anything but lie about with my hair spread out around me (see icon) while it's drying, part of my hair will probably still be damp the second day. Other parts will be tangled and need brushing, and apparently nobody has attempted to come up with a way to preserve curls or waves through brushing; they just say you're on no account to do it unless your hair is wet.

Well, I have no particular desire to give myself hypothermia someday by going about with my hair constantly wet, and I have no desire at all to be bothered to wash it every other day. I've got a lot of hair, and so long as I brush it regularly I don't need to wash it more than once a week or so in summer, and at most twice a month in winter. But this means that for most of the time, anything I might want to know about how to get my hair to do exciting things is up to me to figure out, because the only "help" appears to be provided by and for people with much shorter hair who shower daily and get it wet all the time.

Someday, I will probably stop expecting any sort of standardly available beauty advice to apply to me...

Also of interest, from the artist Laurel Roth: Fascinated with women’s traditional use of fiber-craft to provide safety and comfort, I have been crocheting small suits for urban pigeons that disguise them as extinct birds, thereby (visually) re-creating biodiversity and soothing environmental fears. I am quite fond of the Carolina Parakeet, and impressed by the ivory-billed woodpecker's waistcoat buttons. If you follow the link to her main "works" page, she's also got some very elegant resin "crystal" skulls, and (speaking of beauty advice) a small flock of lovely peacocks made from hair clips and false fingernails.
thanate: (whirlpool)
I have come to an end, updated my wordcount on the site, and backed up my novel with fifteen minutes to spare. Which is, in fact, a first... there's some stuff that needs to be re-worked, of course, but I haven't actually gotten to the actual end of anything within NaNo before. The final total is 58,253 words, which is pretty good for something that in its first incarnation was looking like it might top out at 30k.

Although... I am horribly tempted to add an epilogue of some kind of reconciliation scene between the witch and the King. It would probably be mildly horrible, but could answer the rest of the questions left unresolved. I think... unless I've lost track of what *was* left unresolved. Oh well. Now I can get on with the etsy thing, and [livejournal.com profile] grauwulf will probably start pestering me to read it. Does anybody who's into children's/YA fairytales want to do a test-read in a couple months, after I've gotten around to cleaning up the chronology a little bit?
thanate: (whirlpool)
is good lighting in EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE.

er, sorry, don't mind me.

, but of course I am not done yet. When last we left our heroine, she was observing her great-aunt's house approaching while her uncle futilely attempted to cast spells upon a hare. And her familiar was in hot pursuit of a talking snake. I suspect they will still be there when next I return to them. Possibly as soon as tomorrow; we shall see.

Right then. Off to pack up the wheelbarrow. Or something.
thanate: (Default)
I do not know precisely what it was that I did to my arm yesterday (I assume this is a climbing-related injury, at any rate) but the muscles in my left biceps aches when I try to type. Ow. It feels like I just got a particularly nasty immunization shot or something.

It is possible that I will take my 39.2k and run with it, rather than doing any more typing tonight. :( I mean, it's not as if I don't have other things to be doing with my time... I just appear to be in that phase where writing is most of what I do, which is awfully hard on everything else I want to do as well. 10 days to go, and we're quite ahead of schedule. So, soon there will be other productivity, I trust. On something, anyway.

Hm, this has turned into one of those whiny boring entries nobody actually wants to read, hasn't it? Sorry. I'll shut up now.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Library was helpful. Spent around two hours, wrote around 2k, and stopped in the middle of a sentence at my target word count.

The end of the sentence contains a crucial plot decision that I am still putting off making. Thirty years ago, something horrible happened to Roland Forester. Una tried to take credit for it, but we all know she's delusional, besides being dead, and it could have been the witch who killed him. Perhaps I'll dream up a good solution tonight.

Meanwhile, I find myself in the happy circumstance of being able to go to bed before midnight, which should help tremendously in the getting up tomorrow morning. This morning I only got up when some girl called the house phone to ask me if I wanted credit card processing for my business. If I'd been more prepared, I would have told her that not only was I not at all interested, but that phone line has nothing to do with my business. Oh well.
thanate: (whirlpool)
I have run out of plot "outline" (or rather that half-remembered previously-written story which vaguely resembled this one) but I have determined much of the rest of the plot. I think I can live with this trade-off. And Caroline has inadvertently rescued the enchanted prince along with all the other creatures that the witch had locked up in cages.

Also, in keeping with the idea that I write better with non-distracting supervison (ie, random strangers who, um, might be wondering why I'm not writing? I have no idea why this is a motivation, actually, since I don't particularly care about other people's opinions under most circumstances...) I have now got both my obitsus staring at me wondering why I'm not writing anything:



And on an unrelated note, I am extremely glad I took this picture of the pretty fall trees outside of work last week, because when I went in this morning, there were a couple guys with a cherry picker and a chain saw hacking them up in possibly the worst pruning job I've ever seen.

thanate: (whirlpool)
Posted to the plot bunnies thread in the Nano forums: (it's at the bottom of page 9, if you care)

Well, I guess that answers the question about the pig... )

In other news, the fabric I ordered to make holiday wrapping bags has shipped, and there's a china doll head waiting for me to put it back together. Which latter is why I'm awake; I should do something about that, I guess.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Went to write-in, thanks to the Etsy lady I ordered tea from, to whom I said, "hey, according to your profile, you're less than ten miles from me, and it seems rather silly to ship stuff that short a distance," so I had to leave the house to meet her somewhere. Having agreed to do this, I looked up write-ins for today, and determined that there was one at the Caribou Coffee (which has green jasmine tea I actually like, as opposed to starbucks, which I boycott mainly because I don't want to drink anything they sell except hot chocolate) where we used to go all the time over lunch break on one of the projects I was on during the cold/snowy bit of last winter. So I even knew how to get there.

Anyway, except for the random friend of another writer who turned up and kept trying to talk to us, it was quite worthy. Possibly I should motivate to leave the house more often.

However, my pre-planned plot is about to desert me. I've added in another conversation with the snake to put that off as long as possible. And for some reason, there's a lot of religion going on in this novel. Only aside from priests and fanatics, nobody seems to think much of it.

25.3k woo!

Nov. 16th, 2008 12:21 am
thanate: (whirlpool)
And for the first time all month, I am actually caught up on my wordcount.

But also running out of story I already have planned out sort of. Una's tree is next (oh how I have missed Una's tree-- it may be why I'm redoing this thing at all, though there's other stuff that's good too) and then the fishing cabin. And then I've got to work out what the princes have to do with all this, and who killed Roland Forester thirty years ago. Oh and the sorcerer. And what to do about Una and the witch.

Also, I fear that Una's widower may come to a sticky end. If only so Caroline can have a good excuse for yelling at his son.

sleep now.

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