Laser Focus

I’m hard at work on my edit.  I thought that I wrote relatively clean and strong prose.  I quickly learned otherwise.  While I haven’t removed any entire scenes, I’ve chopped out about 3,000 words and will be cutting more.  I’ve focused in on fixing those problems.

So focused, I forgot that I needed to post last week.  Oops.

I’ve looked at my schedule for the rest of the month and made the decision I won’t be posting again until the 9th.  I’ll be doing my usual Things That Go Bump In The Night series.  After that, I may have something to announce.

So see you all in October.

Developmental Editing

Two weeks ago, I dove head first into my developmental edit for Chaos Wolf.  It has been enlightening, to say the least.

I won’t subject your eyes to the sea of red I’m wading through. There are many comments that I’m in the process of absorbing. I’ve come to the conclusion that when I’m on, I am on.  But when I am off, I am definitely off.  I’m about equal parts on and off at the moment.  I’m at about the half-way point.  Right now I’m fixing the small things.  There are comments that I have skipped over because I’m going to have to put a lot of thought into how to fix it, and I don’t want to vapor lock when I could be making progress.

In a case of synchronicity, I listened to a podcast earlier this week about developmental editors, and are they really necessary.  In his opinion, they are not.  A good “first reader” should be able to provide the same input and not cost you a thing.

I arched an eyebrow.  Then I deleted that podcast from my phone.  I have given my story to beta readers and first readers.  While they have given me invaluable advice, they have not given me the in-depth information that my developmental editor has.  And I can’t ask them to.  They have helped point out problem areas.  I do not expect them to go over the document with a fine-toothed comb, strengthening language the way this edit has done.

Perhaps with his writing process, he can do this. With my writing process, I cannot. I would not hesitate in recommending a developmental editor, such as Michelle Dunbar.

I Will Not Be Silent

Normally on Fridays, I’d be posting a list of fun links.  Not this week. I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to address the events in Charlottesville, NC.  No, thinking isn’t right. I’ve felt an overwhelming need to.

When I started this blog, I decided that it would be a politics-free zone.  I wasn’t going to bring up my personal beliefs.  I was going to stick to writing and knitting and pictures of my cats.

Then the election of 2016 happened.  More or less, I stuck to what I had decided my blog would be, despite my feelings on our elected president.  Other than a few comments and likes on Facebook, I kept quiet.  I expressed my support in other ways, such as making donations  and knitting pussyhats.  My friends know my politics and my beliefs, and I thought that was enough.

Then Charlottesville happened.  I watched in horror the people marching in the streets with torches, the slogans being shouted, the car being driven into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters.  If it had been in black-and-white, I would have thought it was 1930s Germany, not modern day America. And I realized that what I was doing wasn’t enough.

Now let’s get one thing straight.  I don’t want to be talking about Nazis, Neo-Nazis, the Alt-Right, or whatever they are branding themselves this week to normalize themselves.  Because this isn’t normal.  We fought in wars against what they espouse – racism, genocide, and flat-out hatred of our fellow humans.

But I am going to talk about it. Because silence is equal to consent and agreement in these peoples’s mind. I am not going to be silent.

Costume – Poncho Design

This is a friendly reminder that this post may contain spoilers for my 2018 Masquerade Costume.  I’m trying not to put in spoilers, but you may be able to piece together what I’m making.  Read at your own risk.

One of the main pieces I have to construct is a poncho in camouflage colors. It is essentially a large rectangle with a neck hole and a hood.  Easy enough design.  The trouble will be making the blotches. There are a lot of yarns pre-patterned in camouflage colors, but they won’t pool the colors in large areas.  That’s yarn-speak for none will create large blotches for the look I want.  So that means I will be using multiple yarns and a pattern. This is where I get creative.

I found a pattern that I like online, except it had a logo in the middle of it.  Etsy is a godsend to crafters. I contacted the creator of the pattern.  She was happy to sell me a copy without the logo.  Pattern in hand, I went to Michaels to purchase yarn.

A lot of people ask me if I use high-end yarns in my costumes.  I would love to.  However, given the yardage required, I have to stick with cheap acrylic I can purchase on sale, usually at Michaels or JoAnns.  I grabbed the yarn colors listed on the pattern and came home.  I looked at my reference picture.  Turns out the pattern is four colors and I picked a six color pattern.  Oops.

Time to dig in and start some design work. I downloaded a four color camouflage pattern online.  I overlaid a grid graphic, so I  now have my pattern.  Another trip to Michaels and I exchanged the yarn for the appropriate colors.

Because of how the grid falls, I decided to crochet it instead of knit.  It will allow me to make changes on the fly much more easily.

Now I’m ready to begin the actual construction.  First I have to finish the second of two baby blankets and a few amigurumi for gifts and things I’ve promised. Then it’s onto the costume.  This time I plan not to be crocheting furiously as a step on stage.

Word Output

I’m proud of my word output, minuscule though it may be.

I’ve written over 8,400 words in the last two weeks.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot for most professional writers.  In fact, I know it’s not a lot.  I listen to podcasts where people talk about a daily output of 1,000 to 2,000 words a day.  In fact, I heard one where the person (humble)bragged about being able to write 5,000 words per day.  Makes my average of 560 per day seem rather anemic.

That is when I stop, take a step back, and remind myself of a few things.  The people who I’ve heard talking about writing massive quantities of words and put out multiple books a year are people who write as a full-time job.  They have a supportive spouse and family that they can depend on.

Me, I’m juggling my day job, caring for my mother, and behind-the-scenes work of self-publishing all on my own.  And did I mention that Sherbert likes to help me write?

Sherbert “helping” me write.

So, yeah.  I’m not going to be one of those people who put out a book every three months.  At this point, I’ll be lucky to put out a book a year.  My day job isn’t going away anytime soon.  My mother, knock on wood, won’t be either.  So I’m learning to not compare my output to people who can sit in front of their computer for eight hours and do their job.  Those people put out multiple books a year.  Does that make me a failure to only be able to do one book a year?

No, it does not.

Now once I start publishing, things may change.  I’m fumbling around right now, learning everything as I go.  And I know there are a few tricks I could use to up my output. But here’s the important thing.  I get to decide what success is.  If it’s writing 840 words a day, good.  If it’s writing 8,400 words a day, good.  If it’s writing one word a day, good.  It’s all up to me.