Thursday, December 18, 2014

Books on Editing - What I'm Re-reading

Mr. Happy

Hi Friends!

The office was buzzing with excitement today. The holidays and the start of a glorious two-week shutdown is only a day away. I am so grateful for the firm's generosity. I don't talk about my full-time job much but it needs to be said: I couldn't have landed a better opportunity. It's been five months into my new job and all I can say is "wow."

No really.

I'm not one to just drink the company cool-aide so I can fit in--having always felt like a misfit, it would have been an easy thing to do--but quite honestly the high level of work, the fast-pace, the client relationships, and the company perks make this gig just right.

It's been a blessing to be able to take breaks in my writing and getting lost in another form of work that I can be equally passionate about. There are times where I want to keep writing and never stop, and tearful wishes that I had more energy after work to write, but most days it's a nice reprieve. (And a consistent paycheck does well to ease the artist conscience...)

Most of my writing is done on weekends. Uninterrupted 4-5 hours (sometimes 6-8!) lost in my fictional world. With the first draft of Snow Dolls complete, I've been waiting for a long vacation so I can dive into the editing with little to no interruption. Even with the holidays (*rolls eyes* I say that like I'm sad the holidays are intruding on my two-week vacation), I'm going to have the uninterrupted hours I need to focus.

In preparation, I'm rereading a few of my favorites books on writing:
  1. Thanks, But This Isn't For Us: The Compassionate Guide to Understanding What's Wrong with Your Writing
  2. Words That Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing
  3. Self Editing for Fiction Writers
  4. How Not to Write a Novel
As you can guess from some of the titles, I enjoy reading the more humorous works on writing. It's serious stuff, but it doesn't need to feel like boring, painful homework. I actually remember the content in these books. These titles are filled with realistic expectations, soft (and some not-so-soft) chastisement, and a healthy dose of encouragement. Check out my other favorite writing books listed on my Goodreads shelf.

Happy aka Golden-eyed Surprise

In Other Awesome News...

Happy is the sweetest kitten, and we are definitely in love. We found out recently that the poor guy had Giardia, a pretty nasty parasite in his intestines which caused him to have terrible diarrhea--and likely the cause of his noxious, head-rearing farts. He's being treated for it now and we can't wait for it to be out of his system completely.

And speaking of my firm's generosity: they are multiplying all donations made this month by up to four times (4x). So I made a donation of $200 to Nine Lives Foundation (Happy's previous home), and am excited to see the possibility of them getting up to $800 in addition to my donation! Thanks for everyone who purchased a book a in November and December and made the donation to NLF even meatier. December's not over yet, so you can still help us add to the donation!

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season! :)

Fitz wants to know if you got him something for Christmas. Preferably not another kitten. Because he's not convinced the last one was a kitten at all. He thinks we took home a small black squirrel which we refuse to allow him to eat.

Oh you didn't get him anything? He's going to check anyway. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Writing, My Latest Insecurities

Durham, North Carolina - Duke University 

There's a wonderful group IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group), led by author and blogger, Alex J. Cavanaugh, where every first Wednesday of the month, writers come together to express their fears and doubts.  

I was late to join this December which is no surprise because it seems like my writing is late, late, late on nearly every facet. My current novel-in-progress is trudging along excruciatingly slow because the world is big, the p--------------------------

Sorry, that was my kitten standing on my keyboard. 

As I was saying about my latest work: it's progressing slowly, but I am so very proud of how far it's come. And that feeling of pride and certainty is why I'm okay with a little delay. Quality is what's important and not worth sacrificing for the sake of a soft deadline. I'm polishing the first draft of the current title, Snow Dolls, and working hard to tie everything together, adding in all the pertinent details, answers to questions readers would have, and important touches to help paint a vivid story. I slog through about 1-5 chapters a weekend, depending on how rough the chapter is. My day job has a two-week holiday shutdown and that means uninterrupted time for editing, editing, and more editing! I'm about halfway through with nearly twenty chapters left to tackle. Wish me luck! 

The topic of insecurity is what led me to consider today's post. It's been a long time since I talked of anything but writing, but that's my life, and the ultimate purpose of this blog. However, over the years it has served as a journal, a chronicle of moments in my life I wanted to share, to ponder, to mourn over, and to cherish. What a phenomenal journey it has been. With the impending New Year celebrations, I find myself thinking about time and just how much I have learned to embrace it rather than fight it--or race through it. Which has only been marginally successful. These past 2-3 years, I fled through the days and months, running faster and farther than I ever dared. Get me as far away from the past, I prayed. Layering one moment of happiness on top of another until the scars of the hurt I endured gave me no more pain than a pin prick on my finger and a dull headache. And still, I ran harder. At the same time my arms were spread wide, my fingers grasping at the threads of my dreams hoping they could catch up with me. That I hadn't severed any in my hurry for I had so many dreams yet to fulfill

Why the race? All these twenty-nine years and I am still uncomfortable in my skin. I am a walking vessel of internal conflict. Oh, the fizz and pressure has reduced slightly, but I'm no less itching at the seams, ready to step out of my skin at any moment. And still, I wonder if that feeling will ever truly go away. An old colleague once told me that it wasn't until she turned thirty when things began to change for her; the years when she finally grew to understand herself and embraced every puzzling and remarkable piece.

Next year, I turn thirty. And though I'm certain to be running at a fast pace, I am aching to slow down. It's going to be hard to beat the awesomeness (yes, I used that word--I am most definitely from California) of this last year, but I look forward to every second of it. I am toasting early to the New Year. Doh! I'm doing it again: anticipating the future instead of consciously existing in the present. Oh well...Rome wasn't built in a day... 


Kitty says, goodnight. 


*     *     *

In other news:

In my previous blog, I announced my support for Nine Lives Foundation by donating a portion of the sales of Violet StormNine Lives Foundation is a no-kill shelter (they even care for older, unwanted cats with illnesses). They are determined to care for cats and kittens, and protect them from high-kill shelters and at-risk situations. Nine Lives Foundation does not receive any funding from any local, city, or state government agency or major corporation, and relies solely on private donations, adoption fees and funds generated through the clinic. All donations go directly to the cats and kittens in their facility.

All the books sold in November and December will qualify, and I will personally match the donation (thereby doubling the amount). Please help me in this endeavor and give the gift of reading this holiday season by getting Violet Storm for that special book-lover in your life.

Purchase options: 

Meet Happy. We adopted him from the Nine Lives Foundation this past weekend! Happy has a long road of healing and recovery, but we are no less excited to welcome him to the family! Fitz now has a little brother whom he swats more than he cuddles…but we still think he's happy about it. Heh, get it? 0_o  Happy is an unfortunate farting machine…we're working on that.