Crafting Worlds

So here's the thing with editing. It's a problem that I think many people have, and is by no means unique to me.

I like creating. I like taking nothing, and making something.

This doesn't just apply to writing. Sure, it's deeply satisfying to take blank paper or an empty screen and fill it with words, but it's also pretty awesome to take silence and make music, or to take white and create colour.

That's the amazing part of creation. That's the thing that gets me out of bed, that keeps me in front of the computer. I love to create.

But here's the problem: that first attempt? It always sucks. Like, always always. In art, you create something awful, you throw it out, and you try again. In music, you practice by yourself, over and over, getting it wrong over and over and over, but eventually you get it right.

In writing? You write, and then you edit. That part there is the key difference... sometimes you throw out what you wrote, but as a usual rule, you refine and modify and *adjust*, not throw out whole hog.

And that part? Gods, it's so frustrating!

Anyway. Back to work! Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

A Diversion

While editing continues (endlessly, I suspect) I wanted to take a moment to talk about 2 other things.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about Sera and Garrus.

For context, I've been listening to "Sera Was Never" on loop for the last 20 minutes. Just so we're all on the same page.

Basically, I love these two characters. Both are from completely different franchises (Mass Effect and Dragon Age, specifically), and they are very different characters.

Sera is an elf rogue who is the head of a network of spies, assassins, and common folk standing against the nobility and their corruption. She has a dry wit, and is very sarcastic. She is also utterly endearing. The greatest gift you can give her is telling all the other members of the party that you're a couple: rather than finding it touching, she laughs at the thought of how uncomfortable it must've made the more conservative members of the team.

Garrus, on the other hand, is a Turian ex-soldier ex-cop who is a crack shot, dabbles in being a vigilante, but mostly calibrates really big guns. But, again, totally adorable. A completely confident soldier and utterly unflappable during combat, his awkward humour and wry view of the universe is refreshing, and honest.

The games are good. I mean, they're really, really good. But a big part of why they are fantastic and memorable is good writing: both Sera and Garrus are believable, despite neither being human and the games themselves being quite unbelievable (aside from hefty doses of suspension of disbelief). In fact, the games are riddled with great characters (I would argue Tali is my favourite character of all time, actually, but she's also from Mass Effect and I wouldn't be able to do her justice in the limited space/time I've allowed myself today), and it all comes down to some fantastic writing.

The kind of writing I hope one day to do... although not for games (although that's a noble thing!).

The kind of writing that I should be editing right now... back to the grindstone, my friends.  Back to the grindstone.

Arrogance

What conceit. What gall.

What pride to think that I can bring something new into the world. Something hopeful, something bright, something warm and welcoming and familiar but still unseen before.

Such arrogance.

Who am I to do this thing, to craft this future that becomes increasingly unlikely each passing day. To ignore the dark, the faded, the ragged and torn, the overwhelming and mounting evidence that we are well past the point of no return. That mankind is doomed, fated to never escape our little gravity well, to never see distant stars with naked eyes, to never have colonies on other worlds, other stars, other galactic arms, other galaxies.

Such arrogance.

And why? Why sit here, nearly penniless and frayed from working to pay for editing for books that will probably never see publication? To incorporate edits that hint that this pursuit isn't worthwhile, that I have learned nothing, that, worse, I can teach nothing, have nothing to say that should be said. Why bother?

Such arrogance.

Back to work. Those edits ain't gonna do themselves.

A Day of Rest...?

So today may be my last full day off for the rest of the holiday season.
I mean... it might not be, depending on how work goes for my colleagues and if anybody falls sick or anything like that. But it's the last day I'm assured to have off.

And so I finished the last 20 minutes of Logan, turned on the heater downstairs, and settled in to edit. The novel has to get finished, the edits are waiting, and I've been slowly working my way through them for the last few weeks (as those of you who frequent here know).

No distractions, no other obligations for right now... just editing. And of course updating this here website, of course.

So if you'll excuse me, I have about 20 chapters to re-write... still. Gods, I hate editing...

Heading into the Holidays

Ah, winter. Missed a few key moments this year (specifically, emptying the water storage outside, to make sure it doesn't freeze/break the barrels over the winter...), but overall I'm happier that the weather is getting cooler.

Ah, winter tires. Forgot to put those on as well. Blargh. I guess I can do that tomorrow.

Anyway! Another nice thing about the weather getting colder is that I get to stay home and do more editing/writing! Mostly editing these days... in fact, almost exclusively editing these days... woo... but hey, it's getting done.

So that's something.
In fact, that might be the *only* thing. I'm not a big fan of cold weather overall. Or at all, really.

Anyway! Back to work, back to work.

Chapter 1 Done... again!

So I finished the edits on the first chapter of Starconvoy EH-76.

I really need to come up with a better name for that novel. Anyway.

Edits are going well! It's weird to rewrite the first third of the book, though, and I'm a little concerned that it's starting a bit too slowly now, but that's a "When finished with this round of edits, consider again" sorta issue.

Anyway, progress! It's nice.

In other news, I finished reading the "Leviathan" series by Scott Westerfeld. Lovely, lovely books, and the artwork is a nice touch. I can't say I'm totally satisfied with the ending, but overall it was good and I really don't have any complaints about the world or story he crafted. If you haven't read it and have any interest in good YA Steampunk, I highly recommend it!

Hopefully someday somebody will talk about my work as positively... but that won't happen at least until I finish this novel! Back to it!

Happy Halloween!

Happy end-of-October, everyone! Hope your candy desires have been sufficiently fulfilled for the immediate future.

As for me, I handed out some candy to kids, but thankfully bought way more than I donated and therefore will have candy bars for weeks to come! Additionally, I spent the day editing, painting, and doing a little paid work, which was a generally positive way to spend the day.

Story is coming along well. Some heavy revision (reordering the first 4 chapters, for starters!), a lot of rewriting, but I'm really enjoying the process. Just wish I could have more time to do it... I'm working 6 days a week now and until Xmas.

Oh well! Progress, regardless.

Apparently "Tomorrow" means 8 days!

In a shocking turn of events (for nobody), I have only just now sat down to actually do the editing for the book I got back from my editor on the 16th.

Oh well! I have maple whisky, I have coffee, I have a big ol' pot of beef stew stewing in the oven, and I have nothing else I need to do for the next 5 hours or so.

Let us do this.
 

Book Editing Done!

I received "Starconvoy EH-76" back from the editor yesterday. I am going to sit down with a tall bottle of maple whisky and some ice and dig into all those changes I'm going to have to do...

... tomorrow.

Excited/terrified/excited!

Ah, Physical Illness. The Worst.

Just a quick note to say I've been a bit under the weather, which is always a bit rough.

I'm on the mend, though, and that's important.

Anyway! Hopefully healthy soon, hope everyone else is doing great!

20,000 Words Down, 80,000 or So to Go!

Making pretty good progress on my second Tintian novel (I've changed the title of it... although it's still just a working title...), which is nice. I just got back from a short trip up to Tobermory, which was lovely, and let me get another 4,000 words written, bringing me just shy of 20,000.

I really have to step up the pace, though. I want to be hovering in the 100,000 word range by the end of the month, and that's going to require about 15,000/week, more or less. But it can, and will, be done.

Oh yes. It will be done... (I hope!).

5 Hours to Write! Luxury!

Today I have about 5 contiguous hours to write. I intend to make the most of it (I'm hoping about 6k words, or so!).

That is all! No more news, just writing!

A Good, Exhausting Week

On Tuesday, I sat down and crunched some numbers.
The basic numbers I crunched are these: I write about 5,000 words in a given day. However, I only write twice a week (Tuesdays and Sundays, if anyone is keeping score). This amounts to approximately 10,000 words a week.

Realistically, this is closer to 9,000, but let's go with 10,000 to make the math easy.

A first draft of one of my novels is usually around 100k words before the first series of cuts (which usually brings it down to around 70-80k). 100k words for the novel, 10k words a week... 10 weeks to write a novel at this pace. Usually, that's all fine and well.

However.

The reason I only write Tuesdays and Sundays is because of my pays-the-bills job, and Tuesdays and Sundays are the only days I get off. As we head into November, I'm going to be losing one of those two days. As we head into December, I will lose both and be working a solid 7 days a week until Christmas.

That means... no writing days. Less in November, and probably none in December... and that's not a good thing.

So on the one hand: yay for money to pay for editing, cover art, and food. Yay!
On the gripping hand: I have to write faster. I think if I can manage 15,000 words a week, I should be able to finish the new Tintian before November, which means I can send it off for editing during the time I have no time.

Plans! Woo. It's a start, at least.

Reading Some Steampunk YA

Technically speaking, I am neither a YA author, nor a Steampunk author. I mean, the genres both interest me in a "ooh, that's cool" sorta way, but I'm reading this series ("The Leviathan Series" by Scott Westerfeld) on the recommendation of an artist friend.

They're fun! Not super deep, but good action, some really interesting fusion of bio-tech and steampunk ("Darwinists" vs "Clankers" in the parlance of the book). It's a neat spin on an alternate-world WWI, and the lead characters are both interesting and fun.

They were certainly good enough to push me through reading the first two in a couple days... I'm languishing a little on the last one just because I hate saying goodbye to cool characters, and this is the last book they're in (for now, at least).

Anyway! Thoroughly enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to incorporating some of the better aspects into my own work.

I'm also past the 9,000 word mark on my first draft of the new Tintian book (again? I think I was up past 10,000 a little while ago, before cutting an entire chapter). Slow, but happy progress.

Found an Editor!

Not much else to say today. Found an editor out of PEI, who has started work.

I'll keep everyone posted about progress, but this should be a very positive step!

Finding an Editor!

So I've gotten a couple freelance editors to do a sample chapter substantive review of "Starconvoy EH-76". A couple look really, really good, and a few less so (not "bad", necessarily, but not quite my style). Still, one in particular looks almost exactly like what I want... so I'm just waiting for the last one to get back to me to see if she's even better, and then I'll pick.

On the one hand, it's a lot of money (I think I've mentioned before? The cheapest was around $750, the most expensive just shy of $3,000). On the other hand, it'll be nice to have it done, and then dive back into the work with a fresh perspective and some expert commentary to help tighten up the story.

And then... off to publishers and agents. Hopefully before mid-November, otherwise it has to wait until January (nobody sends out work in December if you can at all help it... editors and agents are just too busy).

Progress!

Looking for an Editor

So it's time to send out "Starconvoy EH-76" to an editor for a good substantive edit.

The story is done, but as any good writer will tell you that's really only a fraction of what needs to happen to turn a good story into a great book. Substantive editing is tough work, and while I've done a few passes on the story (obviously) to clean it up a bit and tighten it as much as I can... it's time to get better, wiser eyeballs onto it and see what we can do.

Editors are expensive (I mean, in an absolute sense... relative to what a good editor can do for your work, they're cheap as heck!), but I've saved up enough that I should be able to afford it without too much of a hit in my lifestyle for a few weeks.

Anyway! I've sent out some polite inquiries to some Canadian editors, and we'll see what happens! With any luck, by the end of September to mid-October, they should have their feedback back and I should be ready to polish this one off to agents and publishers!

Glee!

Almost September!

Yeesh, this summer is just blitzing by.

Oh well! Writing is going well. Finished the first 3 chapters on the new novel, and am actively searching for an editor for the last one. So that's something. I have enough money in the bank to pay for a cover artist if this one isn't picked up by an agent/publisher, and all things considered, I'm moving slowly but moving.

So, that's something, at least!

Rewatched "The Force Awakens" last night. Good sci-fi is still so rewarding... I'm excited for "The Last Jedi", of course, but am doing my best to avoid any of the previews or spoilers. I just want to go in as blind as I can and hope for the best!

Anyway, back to the book!

A Day for Gaming...

So I have a day off from my job that pays for my writing (a tragic, yet necessary, aspect of modern writing for many). Usually, that would mean a day to write... but today, I'm packing up a few games and heading into Toronto.

On the one hand, I feel weird about this... I have time off, I should be writing!
On the other hand, I deserve some time off occasionally... right? Hmmm. I wonder.

ANYway! Finished my first chapter of the new novel (well, finished the first draft), hoping to get the 2nd chapter mostly finished tonight on my return... see, even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing.

Messy Desk, Clean Mind

I'm not actually sure what a "clean mind" is... but I definitely have a messy desk, so anything positive about my mind I will take!

... unless it means "empty mind", which is okay in the Zen-sense, but less okay in the "gotta write stuff" sense. Ah well! I'm still taking it as a compliment.

Finishing up Chapter 1 of the new book today! Like pulling teeth, but it's getting done!