Friday, October 31, 2008

Introspection and planning

This week turned out to be all about the short stories. A surprise idea and rough draft for "Strong Enough," a finished first draft for "The Blue Wall," and an expedition into my back files which turned up an additional FIVE children's short stories that are all in at least first draft condition and which I had either forgotten about entirely or were better than I'd remembered. This put me in the enviable position of having more stories than I do markets to submit them to and sent me scurrying off into planning and scheduling mode. I have finishing and submitting the children's short stories all penciled into my schedule now, but while I was planning I realized that most of the markets I'll be submitting to have a turnaround time of 6 months in responding to submissions. When I sold "The Frost King's Bride" to Cricket, it only took about half that time for them to get back to me, but the potential for it to be May/June of next year before I hear back remains. That was, of course, a little disheartening for the part of me that was leaping around gleefully after finding I had seven stories to submit to my favorite children's markets.

I also realized that I really don't need to write any new children's short stories for a while, now. And with "Wings" and "Pale Roses" finished and out doing their thing, I think I've proved to myself that I am perfectly capable of finishing projects. Which means that really, I could focus primarily on Crowmaker again any day now. It still has a fair amount of work that needs done--additional layers of story and character to add, for starters. Still a couple of months worth of work until a second draft, I think, and then another rest period before I can determine how close it comes to really finished at that point. Again, a little disheartening to realize a finished novel is still out there on the horizon. I took a stroll through my bibliography and recollected the work I've done over the past 10 years or so, to reassure myself that I've come along pretty well in terms of craftsmanship and just flat out knowing what to do (as opposed to just staring at a blank screen and hoping I think of something to write down). At this point, it's all about patience, I suppose. God help me--patience has never been my strong point.

I also shared the first draft of "The Blue Wall" with a couple of friends. There's one transition that covers a couple of time periods, and I wasn't sure how well it worked, and sure enough, it threw off at least one of them, too. So, yes, Lori, you really do need to fix that up a little more. I also realized that, since my story took off in a different direction than I'd originally thought it would, I somehow missed the part that explains just why the blue wall is blue--a case of the writer knowing something and neglecting to get that little detail on paper. And it occurs to me that if that detail isn't critical to the story, I should also spend some time considering how to tie it in just a little better. Something for me to fiddle with this afternoon before I really put that story to bed for a week or so.

All in all, not a bad week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Garden of first drafts

Under the category of today's accomplishments: Finished a round of revisions to "The Blue Wall" which made the structure feel a great deal more solid. There's one more tiny angle I need to work in, and then some tweaking of descriptive details and language. The rough weighs in at 1,900 right now, which for official word count method will likely take it a little over the 2,000 word top limit for its intended market. Plus there's that additional angle I mentioned that still needs added. However, my first drafts are typically full of sloppy wording and fluffy bunny filler words, so I'm confident that tightening things up until it's back under 2,000 words won't be an issue.

I also exported it from WriteWay to my plain vanilla word processor for easier formatting of the finished product. In the process of looking at previous manuscripts to copy over the title page formatting, I realized that I have at least one, if not two, completed first drafts of nonfiction pieces for children. And the one I browsed for a few seconds is, at least at first glance, not a bad piece of work. It just got swept under the rug during that two or so year phase when I threw a tantrum and declared I was just going to give up on writing. So those go on my honeydew list, along with the first drafts of "The Blue Wall" and "Strong Enough" and Crowmaker. Lots of revising to do in the next few months. I think I can hold off on starting anything completely new for a while.

That ought to keep me busy enough to prevent any obsessing over the fates of "Pale Roses" and "But He Had Wings." One would think.

Joey was still running a fever last night, so I kept him home again today. No fever so far today, however, and that horrible-sounding cough has started to clear up. This is good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If only you believe strong enough

Yesterday was mostly comprised of taking Joey to the doctor and then making trips to the pharmacy, bank, and post office to get errands caught up. In between, I made phone calls and emails to assorted teachers, school administrators, and the doctor's billing office. (Ongoing insurance errors, and my doctor's office is the ONLY place that will actually work with me on them, even though it isn't THEIR mistake.) Then there was a parent-teacher conference. (The first one of the year is mandatory, even if the child is doing well, and Michael definitely is.) Joey's, of course, will have to be rescheduled, since the conferences at their school are student-led, and he obviously was in no condition for it yesterday. The doctor proclaimed a secondary bacterial infection caused by the cold he's been trying to shake, which was about what I'd assumed. Antibiotics, another day out of school, ibuprofen for the fever, and a return visit if it doesn't show signs of clearing up in the next few days. He's still running a fever today, but his color and his eyes are looking better.

I sketched out my basic ideas for the 6-9 year old story yesterday and surprised myself with a finished rough draft today. It's only 875 words (upper limit is 1,000 words), it's sillier than anything I've ever written (but it's supposed to be silly), and I'm unsure of how well it works. The structure is sound, and it feels like something my kids would've enjoyed in that age range. I'll let it sit for a week or so and then revisit it. A line from this Native American story became the foundation of "Strong Enough," but all similarities to that story vanish at that point.

I re-read "The Blue Wall" yesterday and found that my hunch about what I needed to do to scratch its itch still appeared accurate. I also decided that it's probably still in the Cricket Magazine age range, after all. It's next on my list of revisions, either this afternoon or tomorrow.

But first, there might be a nap, since I was up every couple of hours last night obsessively checking Joey's temperature.

If you didn't check out this Holly Lisle blog entry when it popped up over on my sidebar, you might find it inspirational. As is the case when one strongly opinionated person reads commentary written by another strongly opinionated person, I don't always agree with everything Ms. Lisle has to say. But damned if she doesn't nail things often enough for me to just say "read that, that's what I'd say if I were capable of articulating it that well."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Re-entering life

I wasn't going to blog first thing this morning, since I've had stories nudging at me for a couple of days now--they know it's time to get back to work, so I was going to dive right into them. I find, however, that the blog entries help me make concrete my vague ideas about what I've done, what I'm doing, and what I need to do. Which is sort of the reason I started the blog to begin with (in addition to that old writerly exhibitionist tendency).

For having been on vacation, I still managed to fit in a good deal of "work." I read a longish article/shortish book on writing scenes that I'd been meaning to read for a while. I read a YA novel (Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic) and was surprised to find that I liked it more than I'd expected to, even though it turned out to be more middle grade oriented than teen oriented. Which led me to thinking about YA novels in general, specifically in my previously unconscious attitude toward them. I never expect to like a YA novel, at least not at the same level that I like, say, a Robert McCammon or a Tad Williams--a book that I'm reading just for me, by an author I know I love. Which made me question why, then, I think I can write one. Which led me to dissect what I do like about the YA novels I've liked, as well as how well Crowmaker meets those criteria. So, not a bad exercise in familiarizing myself further with the market. I also managed to muddle through the copy of The Prince of Tides on the bookshelf at the villa where we stayed. They also had a copy of the movie, so I watched that. There were pieces of the story that really seemed to sparkle, but there were other places where it tasted kind of flat. But I learned things about writing from reading/watching it, hopefully, so I count that as more "work" effort.

Over the weekend, I did some internet research on Tamora Pierce and followed links around to research some of the other writers and books suggested in a discussion of good books with strong female protagonists for teen girls. I probably can't get around to reading all of them, but I should really get my hands on some of them. I have a reading list from the boys, too. Research! All of it counts as research!

On the actual writing front, "The Blue Wall" has developed an itch. I know it's not quite right as it is, and I have some vague ideas on how to scratch the itch. It's starting to feel less like a story for Cricket, though, and more like a story for Cicada. Which is perfectly fine, except that Cicada is currently closed to submissions. So I may wind up having to hold onto "The Blue Wall" until I find a more acceptable market for it. In browsing some articles related to the Carus Publishing family of magazines, I came across a recent interview with one of their editors in which she mentions wishing for more submissions for Spider. That's a younger age group than I've written for before, but I may have an idea that will work there. I'll spend some time, hopefully this afternoon, doing some doodling and idea charting and see what shakes out. "The Blue Wall" is on my list of stuff to doodle and idea chart with, too.

Crowmaker is still bubbling on the back burner. I have moments of revelation now and then, so I jot down a note or, as was the case this morning, write a quickie couple of paragraphs into the ms for a partial scene--this morning I had the first post-climax scene occur to me, so that's a good sign, I think. Some of the plot that I trashed along the way still tickles at me now and then, but the possibility that those pieces belong in a potential sequel also tickles. Whether that's a real possible sequel or just my subconscious trying to convince me we don't really need to do the work of adding plot back to the story right now, I can't tell yet. For the moment, I'm just taking notes for maybe next week or so, when I sit down for a more serious look at the story's status.

In the meantime, Joey's fever is back, and we're off to the doctor. And then there will be makeup homework for both boys, from the vacation days missed. And a few odds and ends of errands that I need to get caught up on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More huh

So, uh... A couple of things happened yesterday. First, I faced up to the fact that I could fiddle with acts 1 and 2 of Crowmaker all I liked, but there really wasn't a lot of writing left to do for the ending, and my Muse was giving me that full, really pregnant feeling that indicates whatever I've been incubating for a particular story is ready to be born now. (It's a pressure kind of feeling. A something in the air that I can almost feel, sometimes. Or maybe it's just a weather front moving through.) In any case, once I acknowledged that yes, the ending was ready to happen now, it happened. I'd known from the beginning what was almost certainly going to happen at the end, even if I didn't know everything about it back then. But the "facts" of fiction are not the same thing as the "truth" of fiction, and once the truth of the ending had me, thing #2 happened.

Thing #2 was a writing binge, which extended into this morning. It's still rough, particularly toward the end. It's got holes and rough edges and nonexistent transitions. But Crowmaker is a finished first draft, at least as I define a first draft. It has almost all the necessary pieces and most of the supporting pieces. There's still a good deal of work to do on it before I share it, even with my beloved beta reader type people. It finished up at about 41,000 words, although that's word processor count and not official method count, so it's probably closer to 44,000. It'll likely build up some with story element editing before I start paring at it for line level editing, so that's not a bad weigh-in for the first draft of a young adult novel.

It's a really odd feeling, finishing a story. I feel satisfied, yet empty. Empty like a burden's been lifted, even if temporarily, but also empty in a scary way, like I've let go of something I've been nurturing so it can try its wings on its own.

I hadn't planned to finish the first draft for another month or so, so I also have an unexpected windfall of time on my calendar. I will, of course, put the rewrite/revision of Crowmaker into those slots, as well as moving ahead with the planned short stories. If I can manage to land a short story or two in a reputable children's magazine to back up my sale of 3+ years ago, that would look nice in a query letter to book publishers and/or agents.

But first, there will be brisk ocean air and walks on the beach. And fresh seafood. Lots of it. Including she-crab soup. Mmmmmm. Nothing like a week off to wash your brain clean and clear out the clutter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Little things

I've been beating my head against the wall on some character turning points that are important to subplots in Crowmaker, with said subplots and their turning points being, in turn, the handful of seemingly small happenings which support and drive the main plot. And more specifically, the story's ending. I've been thinking consciously about them for some time now. I have notes inserted in the ms that say, essentially, "write this scene here (when you figure out what exactly it is)." This morning, in the time it took me to crawl out of bed and walk to the bathroom, the Muse handed me three of the most critical scenes I'd been looking for--I could see them with perfect clarity in my head, hear the character's voices as they spoke. Which is a great thing, when it happens, because I had no time to write anything down for them, and having them whole in your head like a memory instead of just something you made up, makes it much, much easier to remember and write down later. I had another such flash as I came in the door from dropping Michael off at school. I can't remember what it was about, now, but I'm hopeful that when I run across the "write this" note in the ms, it'll come back to me. If not, then maybe it wasn't as great a moment as I initially thought.

None of these scenes were big scenes. The core of what I "saw" will take a paragraph or two for each to get into writing. Then, of course, the scenes will need to be expanded to include other action that goes along with them. But the important bits are in those small moments--which is why I called them turning points. But those tiny moments can be what holds all that other word count together, that give them meaning and make a bunch of words into a story.

Michael had to write a letter for school, inviting his parents to all school mass tomorrow. He showed it to me last night, and we discovered that although it was his letter with his address in his handwriting, it was not his name signed at the bottom of the letter--although the name appears very much to be his handwriting, too. The name is unfamiliar to both of us--not someone in his class or anyone he's heard of in the other classes. (And it's a small school, so he knows pretty much everyone in all the classes.) He has no recollection of having written that name at the bottom of his letter. The only thing we can figure out is that maybe he was looking at something with that name on it when he was signing his letter, and he subconsciously wrote that name instead of his own. (Not farfetched. I have done this in both writing and speaking, much to the amusement of my children. "Put the dog on the dishwasher. Leash! Put the dog on the leash.") We laughed about it, he's going to show his teacher and see if she has a clue what happened, and that was that. But of course there was the writer-me in the back of my mind going, "What if it wasn't just a silly little thing? What if it turned out to be a big, scary thing? Under what circumstances would something weird but trivial like this turn out to be ominous in retrospect?" Which is, quite honestly, not a terrible seed for a story idea.

Joey is home sick today. So, on the ride home from school this morning, as I was recognizing my writerly instincts above and connecting them with my Muse pearls from earlier and thinking about turning points and not always recognizing them because they seem small at the time and how useful it is in fiction and how they make fiction seem more realistic, my subconscious popped helpfully in with, "What if it isn't just a little fever? What if it turns out to be ominous in retrospect?"

Not. Helpful. But painfully honest, because in any tragedy (or triumph) of life, you can look back and see the little turning points--the innocent-seeming symptom that heralded the beginning of a terrible sickness, the turning your back on a kid for "just one second" that 99% of the time never amounts to anything, the tiny exchange of mutual respect with your sometimes difficult mother-in-law that just seemed like a nice moment until she died a month later and it turned out to be the last meaningful thing that happened between you. Little things. Little things that turn out to be huge.

In other news, I wrote a very cranky blog entry in my mind yesterday, but writing it in my mind made me feel somewhat better, so I didn't post it. This morning, the WotF newsletter was in my mailbox, and lo and behold... an article covering very much the same topic. "If Only I Had the Time," by Kevin J. Anderson.

Apparently I'm not the only one who gets tired of hearing it. I don't have the time, either. Now more than I did in the past, when I did the largest part of learning how to write and slowly building my ability to write a story and get published, certainly. When I started really trying to make something of myself as a writer, I had two children, both still in diapers. My husband was not part of the parenting equation, since he was either at the office or on the road. For several months, during relocations, we didn't even live in the same state. I had no local family for backup. It was just me and the two little guys in towns we didn't know, trying to muddle through as best we could. In earlier writer bios, I stated that I wrote an hour a day, 5 minutes at a time. I was not exagerrating. I wrote longhand, in a steno notepad left on the kitchen counter where I could stop and scrawl down a few lines before moving on to the next "real" thing that needed done. I read how-to books during naptimes instead of sleeping. I crammed in all the things that I needed to learn and do to make stories and get them published, and it was hard work. I'm blessed now, yes, to have a block of hours during the weekdays. But even now, I still have other work to accomplish in those same hours. I put in somewhere between 40-60 hours a week on kids and housework. (Yes, I really do. I keep track.) I have to fend off the lure of online games and blogging (ahem) and chat rooms and Gtalk, and I put in another 15-20 hours a week at writing. It's still work. It's still HARD work. It requires me to set aside the time, to put in the hours, and to get it done instead of just talking about doing it. Is it sometimes wonderful? Oh, yeah. Do I do it because I love it, even when it's hard? You bet.

But I DO it. I make the time, and I put in the work. Can the people who spout "I could do that if I had the time" turn out stories and get them published and make me look like a rank amateur? Maybe they can. But until they've made the time and DONE it, every time they utter those words to me, it's a slap in the face--an utter lack of respect for and a complete dismissal of what I've accomplished and am still working to accomplish.

Rant done. We now return you to your regularly scheduled cheerful person, who in turn is now going to take some of her own medicine and go WORK instead of blogging.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I could learn to love this job

One of the things I try to do on a semi-regular basis, as a writer, is to read. This is, of course, a commonly-mentioned "thing you should do," but sometimes, in the limited hours and burning desire to finish what I'm writing instead of taking time away to "just read," I let myself off the hook. So yesterday afternoon, I dragged out our stack of Cricket Magazine back issues and had Michael bookmark some of his favorite stories from them while I checked out some non-fiction articles I've been meaning to read.

The non-fiction articles were on the subject of plot structure. When I first started writing, I struggled, HARD, with plot structure. As in, it was a familiar phrase but it didn't really mean anything to me. What was it? How did I use it? I mean, yeah... rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, yadda yadda yadda. But it didn't MEAN anything to me. So I spent a lot of time reading about structure and how to use it to shape a story. Which means that, at this point, I am pretty well read on plot structure. And part of my process for writing any story is to sit down and sketch out a structure for that story, to make myself think the story through enough to find all the necessary bits and pieces that will make it a story and not just a collection of cool imagery and/or dialogue.

I hadn't done that yet for "The Blue Wall," not in any concrete form, partly because I was still waiting to see if the Muse had anything new to add to the mix. So of course, as I was reading the articles, which covered information I already know even if I don't think specifically about it in those terms, the Muse inspired me to scribble down a plot structure diagram for "The Blue Wall" based on a slightly-different paradigm than the one I normally use. (But also very similar to the one I use. We did a "new" one for Crowmaker, too, and found that it matched up very nicely to the structure I already have in place for it. Which perhaps means I'm on the right track there.) I didn't get the plot structure for "The Blue Wall" in its entirety, but it gave me enough that I could feel the Muse in the background fiddling with the pieces.

At which point I took the stack of Cricket Magazines Michael had bookmarked for me and sat on the back deck in the awesome mild weather and read through the stories he'd picked out. Not all of them are the types of stories I would choose to write, although some were. But in reading the stories other people have written, I get the chance to both consciously pick apart how they did it and to subconsciously absorb the rhythm and flavor and feel of the stories--and I think, sometimes, that the subconscious portion of that process is just as important if not more so.

I jotted down a few more points on my diagram for "The Blue Wall" last night, in the midst of doing other things. And this morning I went to it first and jotted down a few more things. I discovered that the physical location of the story is right, but that the time period was wrong. I did additional research to get a grip on the setting and to inspire some additional details. And the Muse smiled and handed me a couple of complete passages to add to the existing rough draft, including one that contains echoes of the entire story's theme and gave me shivers.

All in all, a good day at the office. If I could manage to make a living at this, I would never, ever need to retire.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seeing rain

The sunshine came through today, as forecasted, but it took a while to soak in and rid me of the blah's. I accomplished not very much on Crowmaker, aside from fumbling back and forth between scenes on my screen and making some half-hearted notes about things I already know. I finally gave up, fed myself a bowl of ice cream, and took the rest of the day off. I think part of my problem is that I'm at that stage where I keep stumbling around in the stuff I've already written, moving scenes around and trying to figure out if they really go where they do and see what's missing, but I'm doing it on screen (the lazy way) instead of printing it all out and hacking it up with the red pen. Because I did the red pen with the first five chapters, and it went swimmingly. But then I got all confident because it was going well and stopped. So tomorrow, more printing out and red pen.

Received my renewal card for SCBWI this afternoon. When I added it to my bibliography page, I noticed that, hey... I've had a fair chunk of stories published. I even look like, you know... a real writer. With a professional designation and everything. Cool.

Joey borrowed my computer to print out some homework this afternoon. I had Crowmaker open in the background. When I came in to check on him, he had Crowmaker open, reading the first couple of paragraphs. "Looks good so far, Mom. I fixed a typo for you."

God love him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Here It Goes Again

After the high days comes the inevitable downswing. I've come to expect them, and I've learned to deal with them, but they're still not exactly my favorite days. Clouds and a light, misty rain rolled in yesterday afternoon and have yet to leave, too, so I'm sure that's exacerbating things. I'm listening to upbeat music and consoling myself by dealing with more administrative/technical writing tasks instead of trying to force a creative mood, since I know that would only end badly. I have most of my point of view issues fixed now. (I'd written one partial draft of Crowmaker in first person and a second in third person; I finally picked one and am working on making everything third person.) I sorted out some confusion I'd created for myself regarding some plot elements, and even though I couldn't whip up the energy to write the new scenes required to clarify things, I did make the small fixes necessary to existing scenes. There's also an old scene I can tweak and bring back in. So there is work being done, even if it's not entirely new stuff.

There is no deadline, Lori. There is no rush. You're putting in the hours, you're making progress, and there is sunshine due tomorrow.

And on the bright side, when I forced myself to walk today even in the mist, I discovered that the cool, moist air seemed to have a great effect on my breathing issues. A cool mist humidifier may be in my future.

YouTube linkages related to the day:

That OK Go video.
Some version of Sugarland's "April Showers" (Because I have seen rain before. Haven't we all?)

Monday, October 6, 2008


I spent most of the weekend working on household/family type stuff and wishing I had the time/ability to focus for writing instead. This morning, the alarm went off and my first urge was to shut it off and go back to sleep. "Ugh," I thought. "I don't feel like doing ANYTHING today." Being a responsible mother, I got out of bed anyhow and dragged myself through the morning, sadly noting along the way that I had not a creative urge stirring and that today would likely be a complete waste. Oh, woe is me. I cut myself a deal--sit through one hour of something writing-related, even if it was just doodling pretend notes to myself about "The Blue Wall."

So, yeah. Almost four hours of writing time in today, a really short, really bare bones draft of "The Blue Wall" (600+ words) and a full revision of my most recent "pigs from HELL" scene for Crowmaker, which included a depressing amount of cutting existing words followed by writing new words, but which turned out encouragingly well in the end. It's hard to tell since I cut all those words at the start, but I'd guess my total new word count for the day on both stories to be in the vicinity of 1,500 words.

Not bad for someone who really wanted to slap the snooze button on the entire day.

About four years ago, the boys and I sat down and picked two boys of similar ages to them to sponsor through Children International. Joey and Michael are both required to set aside certain amount of their weekly allowance to save for such things as buying Christmas gifts for other people and for the monthly sponsorship amount for "our other boys." We spent some time learning about the places Julio and Krishna came from, we read through their information that tells how they live, and we talked about how their lives are different from ours. I write to Julio and Krishna on a semi-regular basis (enough to let them know I'm a real person who cares about them, but not so often that they have to spend a ton of time writing obligatory return letters).

We got a letter over the weekend stating that Krishna's parents have decided to take him out of the sponsorship program. They didn't have details on why, but he's twelve now, and it's not hard to imagine that he can bring in more money working alongside his father and brothers than comes into the family through the sponsorship program. I don't know what that means for him. I don't know if he'll have the chance to continue any kind of schooling at all. I don't know what he thinks of the choice that was made for him, whether he's fine with it or not. I'm left feeling a little sad about it, but I suppose that's only because the situation of so many children all over the world was personalized for me. (Which is, of course, the entire point of the way Children International operates.) I'm left feeling remotely guilty that my life and my children's lives are so easy, relatively speaking, and blessed beyond belief that we have so much. We don't sleep on dirt floors or go hungry or have to haul water from blocks away. We have luxuries and leisure time in spades.

We'll be sponsoring another little boy in the same area. They sent his profile along with the letter about Krishna, there was no way I could say no to the smiling, hopeful face in that picture. Joey couldn't, either. But I've kept Krishna in my prayers (such as they are), and I hope that wherever his life leads him, he's safe and finds his measure of happiness.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pigs from HELL

OK, no, this blog entry has nothing whatsoever to do with pigs. The reference is to a line I've been known to utter when leveling a character through Hellfire Peninsula in World of Warcraft. Those of you who play with me know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. WoW is fun. Getting to Hellfire Peninsula is fun. Those first couple of levels out there, however, let's face it--they can be pretty rough going. As in, you just think you're making progress and doing well and WHAM! Out of nowhere, demon pigs chewing on your ankles.

That's what today's writing has been like. The chapter I'm currently working on needed a LOT of reshaping and new scenes. It took me forever and half a red pen to work out, and then just when I thought I had progress, I had to sit down and make heads and tails from my notes and locate all the cut scenes in my scrap pile to paste in and type in new material and... Yeah.


The up side is, when you finish that last quest and move on to the next chapter... err... zone, you get to thumb your nose at the demon pigs and leave them behind you.

Of course, then there are the warp hunters. And the invisible wolves.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why yes, I really should be working instead of blogging

Found while nosing around over on Grizz's blog:

Otherland MMO? Being a huge fan of Tad Williams' I can only say... Yeah, I'd probably give that a spin. As the reviewer points out, it's way too early to determine if anything will really come of this. But the concept is cool.

No word count updates yesterday, but I have been working. I have printed out what I have written for acts I & II and have been busily scribbling in the margins and on looseleaf paper to fill out missing threads and scenes. Two things will come of this: I will have lovely scribbly pages to bring to the desk and make the first two acts much better, and I will have a better idea about how the last act comes together. (I think I answered some of the most puzzling aspects of that Most Important Question, "And uh... how does this all work out at the end, again?")

So, progress, even if the progress wears red ink at the moment. And it's funny, I used to loathe red pen marks on my papers--it screamed at me about something I'd done wrong. I just this second realized that I no longer hate it. Now it's more like... jumping and yelling and showing me places I can make my story even better.

Yeah, I agree. I probably need to be more awake before I write blog entries.

In other news, "Wings" has visited F&SF and sent back another classic "Alas" note for my files. I have never been rejected more politely than I get rejected by these guys. I regrouped and sent the story to Strange Horizons last night.