Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ups and Downs

Yesterday, the crane at work was pitching a Mercury-retrograde snitfit.  On the other hand, I got four breaks in five hours, and I found 12 pieces to the puzzle in the break room. (Bit of an aside: we have running puzzles in the break room to keep us from going crazy, and the current one - a 2000-piecer - has been fighting us for ages.  At this point, it's a grudge match... and it feels all the sweeter when a piece finally locks into place.  So a 12-piece day is really a big thing.)  So work was an up and down thing.

I finally sold that phoenix drum at the store, and got a request for another drum.  Unfortunately, I completely slacked off and didn't do more than stare at the story in revision.  An up and down day.

Today, the crane was much happier at work, enabling us to take a good swipe at the backlog we'd accumulated.  On the down side, I caught my pants on a protuding bit of metal and got a nice-sized rip in the leg.  Didn't actually get me - the only thing wounded was my dignity - but I had to use bandages to tape up the rip for the last hour of work. (I keep bandages with me on the job because I sometimes catch nails or pick up papercuts.  Never thought I'd have to use them for field repairs of clothing...)

This really has been an up and down week, in retrospect... and it still technically has one day to go.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stuck in the Sketchbook

Operation Story Revision has just hit Chapter 4.  I honestly thought I'd be further along by now.  After all, I got Chapter 1 rewritten in a day.

Or so I thought.

After rereading what I wrote, I decided that it was a weak opening.  To fix this, I went back and added a prologue, using something I hadn't mentioned until later in the original draft.  Then I decided the prologue needed some work to make it more interesting.

This made the first chapter seem even weaker, so I had to tweak it again.  Finally, I hit Chapter 2.

You guessed it, Chapter 2 meant I had to tweak Chapter 1 again.  And I rearranged parts of the new prologue.

I just finished Chapter 3 - or a version of Chapter 3 I choose to live with - and am doing my darnedest to keep from going back and nitpicking the previous two chapters and the prologue.

This is the kind of behavior that has kept me from finishing a second draft in ages.

I often think I'd do better if I had some sort of outline.  A nice chapter-by-chapter overview of what I want to happen.  I even tried it once.

Did it work?

I'll let you know if I find the outline.  And the story it was associated with.

They say that editing is a process.  One cannot think of a story in editing in the same way one thinks of it during its original creation.  The first draft is the rough sketch, maybe the color study.  Editing polishes it for public consumption, filling in details and removing tangents and perfecting composition.  The final picture may vary radically from the rough sketch, but only as a result of the revisions; it doesn't do to keep going back and scratching away at a sketchpad when one has a canvas to fill with paint.  At some point, the sketchpad has to go away, or at least be relegated to spot-sketches to solve specific problems that crop up in the polishing process, and the canvas itself must be tackled.  So, I've been trying to think of editing the story as I'd think of drawing a picture, moving from the gesture studies of the NaNoWriMo-spawned rough draft to - hopefully - a presentable work of art.

Unfortunately, I haven't finished a picture in ages, either...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gentlemen, Start Your Spellchecks...

Computer, note-taking materials, and flash drive?  Check.

Cats asleep, relatives dispersed?  Check.

Worst of the year-starting bug over with?  Check.

No clue what I'm doing, but determined to do it anyway?  Check.

Running out of things to do to procrastinate? Check.

Okay.  It's officially Revision Time.

The monster that came into being during NaNoWriMo 2009 is about to be dismembered, gutted, reassembled, clipped, scrubbed, and polished to within an inch of its life.  How long will it take?  I don't know; I've never successfully edited a second draft before.  But, before 2009, I'd never written a rough draft in under a month before.  As the saying goes, there's a first time for everything. (I wonder who said that first?) Online estimates indicate that a full revision of a 50,000+ word draft will take about a year, unless one devotes every waking minute to the task.  My hope is to have something presentable before next November.  We'll see how that goes...

I already did the initial read-through.  As I suspected, it needs serious help.  The first step is writing down what I have... that I want to keep, at any rate.  Character descriptions, places, world history notes, that sort of thing.  Then, with these notes on hand, I'll start the rewrite proper.  I expect I'll end up doing most of it from scratch, with the first draft serving mostly as inspiration.

Well, I suppose I ought to stop blogging about revisions and actually get started with them.

Away I go...

Friday, January 01, 2010

The 2010 Resolution List

For accountability... or a laugh in 2011, at the very least.  Since the "bonus" idea seemed to help last year, I'm trying it again this year; mainly, they serve to clarify what I want out of each resolution.
  1. Increase Monetary Income.
    Bonuses: Sell something online; Investigate/obtain business license; Start some sort of long-term investment.
  2. Decrease Personal Clutter.
    Bonuses: Reorganize my room; Reorganize my workspace.
  3. Spend at least 1 hour daily, 5x/week creating.
    Bonuses: Start working with color; Work with Wacom more often; Improve digital art skills; Learn 3D graphics; Resume penny whistle practice; Do at least one Daily Sketch Group (ConceptArt.org) per month.
  4. Finish at least a rough draft of three stories.
    Bonuses: Edit a story into marketworthy shape; Send a story to a beta reader; Submit a story for contest and/or publication; Win NaNoWriMo again in 2010.
  5. Exercise in some form at least 3x/weekly.
    Bonuses: Increase walking range; Healthily lose at least one belt notch of weight.
I suppose the first thing I ought to do to start the year off right would be to head off to bed. (And tomorrow I get to sleep in... nice way to start a new year.  Gotta love workin' for the library!)