What Is This?

So, I haven’t blogged at all this month. (The one post I’ve made from August 2011 was one written up by author friend Tristi Pinkston to promote her wonderful new book.)

Life has been busy. First, the month of July was met with my wife’s family reunion and joining my dad, his wife, and my step-sister and her family at Disneyland. (Spoiler alert: Disneyland is still awesome.) Plus, I had a lot of other things going on in July that involved video games. August has also had video games taking up time. But both July and August have been busy with work and…well…work. I haven’t even had time to work on my book.

Not like that would matter much though since I technically lost it. What does that mean? Well, it means that I own a flash drive and it is nowhere to be found. On that flash drive are so many files that I’ve put a lot of hours working on. It has all the versions of my Eli story on it. The one saving grace is I still have a full printout of the entire book (which will require a massive amount of transcribing). Also, I have the first 30 pages I sent to writing buddy Graham Bradley with his snide comments.

The strange thing was, I didn’t seem to care nearly as much as I thought I would. Yeah, it really does suck. But I’ve been very unmotivated in writing. Last year at this time I was stressed with trying to get Eli ready for submissions. And really, it took a full rewrite between then and now to make it 10x better than it was. And somehow, I’ve lost all writing motivation.

One problem I’ve had is I’ve been distracted by a lot. See, a few months ago, Netflix added The True Story of Wrestlemania and a few other WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, former World Wrestling Federation) “shows” to watch in their instant stuff. I bet a lot of you have said “wrestling is stupid.” And you know what, I’ve said it too. Guess what, I still say it. But I’m addicted to it again.

Another addiction is my friend Andrew introducing me to this game called Terraria. It’s awesome. At least, it is to me.

But with all that said, I feel an end of my writing break coming. I’ve been met with looking at different stories I’ve wanted to write. Part of me wants to give up on Eli. But part of me says that he just needs a refresher and it’ll be even better. Either way, I’ll get there. Lately, I’ve felt very disorganized with everything and I need to do some personal organization of my life. Once I get things in order, I will be back on my blog more, bringing you hilarious mashups shared between Casey and I, random 10 things that hopefully have something to do with one another, and of course, the most random topics I can come up with.

Before I sign off, let me tell you about 2 books I’m excited about:

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch: The link you get with the book’s title will take you to a special 4-chapter sneak peak at the book. And when you’re done with chapter 4, you’re going to want more. Seriously, took me less than 30 minutes to read the whole thing and I’m a slow reader. I love the cover, to begin with. And even better, I loved what I was introduced to.

And of course….

Variant by Robison Wells: Yes, everyone whose known me over the past few years has watched my fanboy status change from one a-maze-ing author to this guy. Besides being awesome (which is how he introduced me to Sara Crowe at Storymakers back in May), he’s an awesome author. Okay, I haven’t read this book. But I’ve read the first page or two and that was enough to make me want to steal the book and miss the movie. (Glad I didn’t though.)

Currently: I’m attempting to read Catching Fire at home and I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells while I work out. I’m failing on all accounts, but I’ll get there eventually. I still have Possession by awesomesauce Elana Johnson to read.

What have you been up to?

I guess this blog is long enough….so until next time….

ALIEN ABDUCTIONS ARE INVOLUNTARY, BUT PROBINGS ARE SCHEDULED.

You Know You’re In Revision

Yes, this taking a lame stab at Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck if…” jokes. But you know what, these are so true that I find them humorous.

You know you’re in the revision process when…

You’re reading a professionally prepared textbook and want to yell things like “Comma splice!” or “‘You’re’ not ‘Your!'”

You’re reading a non-self-published book and say “How did they miss this?”

You’re reading a self-published book and ask “Why didn’t they let me go through this with a red pen?”

You’re wanting to edit what everyone else is saying.

You go somewhere and see a sign and think “if they said ____ instead, it’d be clearer and more concise.”

It takes you five times to write a blog post because it just isn’t ‘right’.

You avoid talking to others because they know you’re in the editing process and if someone asks “how’s the editing going?” you’re afraid you’ll strangle them.

You seethe when another author says “Done!”

You close your eyes and all you see are words and commas floating around.

You do anything you can to avoid being with your manuscript.

Time to get back to editing (at some point). As always,

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.



What You Know Can Be Wrong

I’m back with another annoyance about critiques I’ve received in the past. You all know I hate it when someone wants to say “Gnome” or “Dwarf” CANNOT be capitalized and I say it can just like I’d capitalize “French” or “Hungarian.” Well, here’s another one I hate.

And in all honesty, this post isn’t a result of someone telling me I did this wrong. No, it’s actually my friend Rosanne suggesting that I do break the general understood ‘rule’ and go with the ‘rule of flow’ instead. In this case, my friend is right. Let me give you an example here (I’m making this up as I go along):

Bob got up from his chair and looked around at his dinner guests. “I am sure that one of you is the murderer. You have killed my butler, so I am sure that he didn’t do it. And before this evening is finished, I’m going to figure out who it is.”
In his mind, Bob saw Clay as the biggest suspect. Bob knew of Clay’s hatred toward the butler. He just wasn’t certain if Clay had a good alibi. “Clay, you hated the butler since he wouldn’t submit to your blackmail any longer. Where were you at the time that he was killed?”

(Okay, not my best work, but it hits my point.) So what is the perceived problem here? Well, I would have people tell me something like “Bob is still talking, it should all be one paragraph.” Seriously, I have gotten bitterly annoyed at anyone who has said something like that to me. Okay, I’ll admit that occasionally I have one person speak in two adjoining paragraphs that needs to be one. However, this is not a rule. If it was then there are some failed people who edited Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Mistborn, and I can go on.

Seriously, this isn’t a rule. Why am I right here? Because Bob in my example has two completely different points. It’s like writing an English paper. If I were to talk about a murder and then talk about the murderer in the same paragraph, I would have to defend it, not the other way around. These aforementioned books do this many times. Katniss in Catching Fire speaks all the time in two adjoining paragraphs. But it seems like most people who have taken a pen to my work seem to think that I’m breaking some sacred law. No, it’s perfectly okay to split one person speaking into multiple paragraphs. I’ve seen it ALL THE TIME. I keep looking at traditionally published books and waiting for the split monologue. And you know what, I find it.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Month End

Work. Write. Work. Write. Work? Write? Work? Write? Work? Revise? Work? Revise? Work? Revise? Work. Work. Work. Blog. Work. Blog. Work. Blog.

Yeah, that’s basically how life has been for me lately: a bunch of confusion.

See, at my job, I prepare the company’s financials. This means that every month I have gather to make monthly entries into our general ledger, tie out the balance sheet accounts, prepare a gazillion Excel spreadsheets, and then input data into more Excel spreadsheets (which make up the final financial package). I then present this to my boss for review and wait for her dozen or so phone calls, emails, and/or instant messages. Then, my boss and I present this (mostly me) to the General Manager.

During this time, I want to rip out my eyes because they’ve been staring at a monitor for so long that I swear they were literally glued to it. But, you know what is important about this ‘month end’ time period? There is literally 31 days until LDS Storymakers. Even better? I have a pitch to desuckify and perfect. Even better? I have a crapload of craptastic words to remove from my book between now and then. Not that I have to, but I feel the need to. (And yes, I end sentences in prepositions. Is it proper? No. Do I care? No. Why not? Because that’s the way people friggin’ speak in the 21st Century! People not being able to spell, that’s a different horror in this world.)

From the way this post is reading, it seems like I’m freaking out. Yeah, a little. No wait, a lot. I have so much to do that sometimes, I just need to blog to help relieve that stress. Much better.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Editing vs Revising

Maybe I should start a ‘match-up’ category since I like to pit to things against each other. Nah, I’m too lazy for that. Plus, I’m sick thanks to my son who learned how to share his cold. Yay!

Anyway, there has been a question as to the difference between editing and revising. I’ve been stating that I’m going through revisions with my book as opposed to saying that I’m doing an edit. Is there really a difference?

First, I looked up both words at dictionary.reference.com (a writer’s friend). It is interesting to see one definition of edit: to revise. But under revise, we don’t find the word edit. (Look it up if you don’t believe me.) Based off this information, I don’t see a real difference.

But, like most things I say, the difference is in my head. Here’s what I see: revising encompasses the story as a whole. When I revise–yes I did mental finger quotes on that one–I am looking for failed plot points, places I need to develop my characters, areas that need a little more or a little less–usually that’s a lot more or a lot less–detail, as well as anything that is out of place or out of character. Sometimes, I mention something later on in the story that needs an introduction earlier on or it is too confusing.

However, editing to me is different. I guess there are two types of editing: copy editing vs line editing.

First, “line edit” has no definition according to dictionary.com. However, in my internet research skills, I did see line edit defined as “reading the story for content and narrative flow.” To me, this is a light compared to full revising. (Yes, Sarah Eden, my research included Wikipedia. And no, I didn’t use the definition it gave.)

Second, people who do copy edits are who I would refer to as “Grammar Guru” or “Grammar Nazi”. I do have tendencies to be a GG or a GN. However, when I’m revising, I need my story looked at more. Why? Because I can easily most of the grammar problems. Yeah, I need help. No doubt. But in my mind, my story works perfectly, then I can worry about comma splices and homophones. (FYI, I do know what both mean.)

Anyway, those are my definitions mixed in with the “truth” that is found on the internet.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

 

Revision Hell

Yep, I’m there. It’s revising time. But you know what, I’m not giving up.

Plan of action: Despite what I thought I wanted to do before LDStorymakers, which starts on May 6, it doesn’t seem feasible. So, for now, I’m focusing on my first six chapters. I feel they need the most work and the most storyline adjustment to match what happens at the end of the book.

I printed off all 120+ single-spaced pages and am making notes on everything I can to make my book stronger and better. In one word, I’m going to desuckify my book. Wish me luck.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Drafting Done

So, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I have completed the “first” draft of my novel. It hits above 72,500 words. “First”, by the way, is in quotes because I’ve written the same book about 5 or 6 times. This time, I have it right. The other versions were craptastic and craptacular (as my writer friend Elana would say.)

I know that I haven’t blogged lately. But if I spent time blogging, I wouldn’t have been writing my book instead. And you know what, that was more important at this time. I’m forcing myself to take a breather from it, despite the fact that I so desperately want to start looking at revisions (mostly to get them done and over with). It’s time to relax though, something that’s difficult to do.

So, I got to go to an LUW Workshop/Class today (it’s Saturday). For the first part of it, we were supposed to be critiquing. Well, the person I was supposed to critique with didn’t have anything. I didn’t have anything. So we enjoyed a nice conversation while I worked on finishing my book.

Even better, the aforementioned Elana came to speak to us. I got to hold her ARC. (For those that follow me on Twitter and Facebook, that’s 2 ARCs of yet-to-be-released works I’ve got to thumb through this week.) But her presentation (what I listened to since I was so desperately trying to finish my book) was awesome. Honestly, I’ll be emailing for a copy of it. It was nice to hear her affirm the non-outlining way that I write.

So, just an FYI, I’ll be in revision hell for the next little while. I don’t know how well those revisions will be, but at least I’m done with the final version of the story. Time to clean it up. And until I’m done, always remember:

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.