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a year's worth of Tuesdays

I have big news.

Five minutes ago, I finished my Chrysalis edits. This is why I'm a day late for my post. Last night I wasn't done and I was so close and I decided I wasn't stopping for anything. I'm actually ready to let people read my book and tell me what they think. If they've read Chrysalis before, I really want the reaction to be, "Oh my gosh, this is so much better."

So, a little background on why this happened this week as opposed to all the other weeks I said I was going to finish and didn't.  Saturday was the one year anniversary for when I finished the complete rewrite. I spent Saturday in a funk, telling myself I was an abject failure for doing something so awesome a year ago and not following through with any sort of timeliness. After all, I "let" myself get writing sick, right? I was only doing silly little histories and alternate Chrysalis realities and future books that had no business being written. I wasn't seriously writing or editing or even rough drafting.

I was a freaking failure and never going to realize my impossible dream.

Sunday was pretty awful too but for reasons having nothing to do with writing. I woke up Monday morning and something flipped in my brain. It just switched. Gwynne, I said to myself, stop being an idiot. You've got this.

I opened up Chrysalis and was reminded of so many things.

  • One: This draft is freaking amazing. I fixed so many pacing and plot problems. I'm sure it's got new issues but that doesn't mean I can't fix them.

  • Two: The histories and alternate realities have taught me how to reimagine my plot, potential scenes, and how to rewrite things I originally thought were set in stone. Because nothing is set in stone. It's set in a word document.

  • Three: I rewrote the last third of the book in two days. Like completely rewrote it.

  • Four: I cut two entire chapters and had to rewrite entire chunks from the alternative point of view.

  • Five: My dream isn't impossible because I'm a writer. I've written every day for over a year. That's never going to change. Eventually, I will write a book that will get an agent and be published. It may not be Chrysalis but that's hardly my only or best idea.

  • Six: Resistance isn't the boss of me. I can do anything I freaking want. I went from yellow to green sash in four months and that's way harder than writing.

  • Seven: I'm awesome and don't need to apologize for it.

Next week, I'll have a query letter.

Since Last We Met

I’ve written a paltry 2,261 words for The Dying Shrine (that’s another chapter done) and 204 words for a random Cold Iron drabble (to lift Mary Beth’s spirits while she was stuck late at work). While a little progress is still progress, this all means that I’ve been spinning my wheels. I really want to show off Noriko’s home life before the next plot coupon tries to kill people, but right now that feels like an unnecessary indulgence. Unless I can figure out how to ninja in some plot (or trio development) into the domesticity, I am going to have to do a time-skip of about four days. This shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but I’ve skipped very little time in the story so far, and to skip so much time annoys me.

I have been watching a lot of kdramas lately, including a complete rewatch of Secret Garden. Two and a half years and several levels of feminism later, I found a lot more problematic elements that I had either forgotten about or missed entirely, which made me sad. The bungled magical plot thread also bugged me a lot more this time around. (The first time around I was so thrilled that maybe we could actually have a Happily Ever After that I didn’t mind if some nonsensical shortcuts were taken by the writers.)

Then again, I always feel a little bad for criticizing the last four or so episodes of kdramas because I know that the writers, actors, and staff are suffering under crazy live-shoot system deadlines. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that if they had additional time they could have made the show better than it ended up being. That’s the luxury of novel writing, I suppose: I have lots and lots of time to edit, re-write, and figure out what on earth I’m doing.

This weekend I need to decide on a book for my next Rich in Color review. Now that it’s mid-June, I am craving a couple of books to read by the pool.

Flailing Tuesday

It is 3am and I'm composing a mental rant about cooties. You'd think my brain would save this for the waking hours, but no, it waited until 130am to keep me awake and angry. And reminded me that I wanted to sleep without HoKing >.>

I've discovered that when you decide to start a tumblr critiquing female characters, all of the sudden you discover so many that you don't know who to start with. I'm sure all of you assumed that Buffy would be my first but I'm actually not going to do her. (I feel like when people write their doctoral thesis about the Slayer, there is much I can add to the conversation, other than YOU REALLY NEED TO WATCH THIS NOW). I've started making a list of cool women because I wanted to start with positive examples of different kinds of women.

I was a little worried I wouldn't have enough.

Enough is not my problem. I've got a list of close to twenty thirty. I don't know where to start or how to start or how I'm going to do this. July is so close!

However, I do know that I need to start gathering other people's commentary to reblog/comment on. I think that's a good place to start as far as blogging something every day, even if it's not my own original content.

I continue to work on the 3rd!Event. It's a comfort to know that not only to I have a world history, I have some pretty cool stories should I ever need promotional material to pull from.

Now. Excuse me while I flail.

The Holiday Weekend

I had forgotten how much time and effort goes into prepping for a holiday weekend, having a holiday weekend, and then recovering from a holiday weekend. (That said, I loved seeing almost all of my immediate family again—and a good chunk of the extended family, too. I also learned how to make a cheesecake that didn’t crack. Please expect a recipe and pictures in the near future once I can make a pretty one all by myself.)

My word count for the last two weeks is unsurprisingly low due to the aforementioned holidaying: just 695 words. However, I managed a respectable 6,308 words in May (just 700ish short of my goal), which carried me to the next major area of the story. Unfortunately, the things that are stalling me now are 1) trying to figure out the main character’s family and 2) Heian weddings. I may just plunge ahead and include notations such as [research wedding clothing] or [we’re just going to assume there is a party, figure out the rest of it later] in the manuscript for the sake of maintaining momentum. I’m also going to have to write period-appropriate poetry, which should be an exercise in hilarity. At least I’m guaranteed to have the one terrible poem I need.

I’ve spent a lot of time working on Rich in Color. Last night my co-bloggers and I had a productive video chat, the highlight of which was definitely brainstorming who we could ask to stop by as future guests. We’ve already gotten two acceptances, and I’m hoping for many more.

Life continues onward, and I’m pretty optimistic about it. My goal for June is to hit 7,000 words. Wish me luck!

Hijacking Thursday Again (Sorry!)

Let's pretend again that it's Wednesday. Actually, no.. Wednesday I was on campus working from 9am until almost 1am. Let's stick with Thursday night, because today I turned in all my final projects and am officially done with my first year of grad school. And I'm awesome.

Something I appreciate about my school (or, at least, my experience so far) is that the last day of classes is usually a high. No other day gives you so much perspective on how you're doing, what you're doing, and why you want to do it. It is really something wonderful to look at all your progress over the term and get an assessment for how far you've come and where you're going next.

Once again, my hard teacher gave me a glowing review on my studio project (the Swamp Thing one). Remember how I said this project was going to stretch me? So many aspects of these pages were new to me, and my teacher said the experimentation and struggle and growth were exactly what he wanted to see at my stage, and that in this sink-or-swim situation, I swam. In my personal conference, he added that my storytelling, my camera angles, my drawing, my concept approach - all really good; the thing I'm struggling with now is the actual mark-making, which, he said, is the easy part. Just takes practice. And I'm taking an inking class in the fall, so it'll come.
I've posted the pages HERE on my blog. :)

Self-Promo today involved a mini-convention in the classroom! We set up our convention tables (I taped my Muse banner to an old banner+stand my teacher had in his office), and we critiqued each others' tables and practiced interacting with con-attendees. Sometimes they were passing professors/students from the hallway who stopped to see what the spectacle was. Here is a photo of my table (with classmates in the back)!

So here's where it stands: I have projects to do this summer! I need to WRITE WRITE WRITE, and also do those sample pages for Marvel, a dummy children's book, my Scarlet Pimpernel minicomic, and get Muse back up and updating on schedule. I may also participate in an anthology one of my classmates is organizing this summer, and there's my mermaid story I could continue with, too. So, yeah! Remind me of this list when I start whining about not being in school.

Word count up to 11,205!

Working Again

After a slump and a delightful visit from my mom, I can report that I worked on my project...two? three? (ahem) two or three days in the last week. Shockingly enough, I am actually reaching the end of the storyline, which means that it should only be a couple of weeks at most before I can start going back through, comparing what I have with my outline, writing the missing scenes, and revising the existing ones. Which will probably only take forever. But that's ok, right? There are Other Things that must be done.

Including the prospectus. The one that I WILL FINISH. Soon. I got nice, detailed feedback from my adviser on the last draft, so once I rearrange and polish some things and whip my bibliography into shape, I should be good to go. Again, this should only take...a while. I'm hoping to have the draft itself in really good shape by the end of next week.

Deep breath. We can do this. (And I am totally allowed to speak/write in the royal "we" when I'm pregnant. Because, you know, there are two of us.)

Yes. We can do this.

Folding Patience into Tuesday

These last few months I've rediscovered my love of origami. I learned it while I lived in Japan as a child and pick it up every few years. I've always longed to be an artist of some sort, usually through music or writing, but origami and other paper art pulls at my heart.

Last night, it pulled me all the way past midnight while I struggled on a new kusudama I'm attempting to make. Then I spent three hours today thinking it was still Tuesday. *headdesk*

Working on kusudama has taught me patience. I've struggled so much with this splorting writing sickness I had. I write and write and write but stumble through editing and reshaping because it is hard and sometimes there isn't a clear plan on how to make it through.

Folding kusudama, which are those lovely modular paper balls, is a lot like that. You fold anywhere between 30 and 120 little modules and then attach them to each other to get the really cool shapes. Folding the modules isn't hard. Once you learn the steps, it's easy to crank them out.

Putting them together is a completely different experience. Sometimes the bits and tabs and folds and unfolds work logically, like they're supposed to and everything fits together. The kusudama holds its shape with very little poking, prodding, and paperclips. I can step back and look at it and feel ridiculously proud of my paper folding capabilities.

Then there are times, even though I've folded the modules perfectly, nothing I seem to do works. The directions are unhelpful. The videos I watch assume I'm a kusudama and geometric tessellation MASTER and can just figure it out by using google translate to understand the French or German youtuber.

I'm not a geometric tessellation master so patience is required.

Writing and editing are kind of like that. I know how to make the little modules (draft 1) and I know what I want the finished product to looks like (draft many, many, lots) and somewhere between 1 and lots, I fit the pieces together. For every kusudama I make, I practice with boring, simple paper, before I try again with prettier, sometimes more delicate or even thicker paper to achieve the look I want.

It's okay to practice first. I don't know why this hit me upside the head this week but it did.

I'm happy to report I'm plodding along in all of my writing goals. As I flush out my character commentaries, I struggle a bit with my self imposed 500 word limit. When I bemoaned this to Audrey, she pointed out that I didn't have to spend a lot of time on summarizing background, which is what I had been doing, because the people who are going to find these particular commentaries, are already searching through the particular tag, and already have a good background on these characters.

This suggestion led to some restructuring of my format. Yay editing!

I'm utilizing my writing sickness to do background for 9th!Event. This last week I wrote about 17k for the 3rd!Event. It's been fun >.>

This week I want to work on my website. It's not a hard goal but a whimsical desire. Hopefully, that means I won't rebel against it. 


Plotting Along

I'd like to say, first, that I totally wrote last week. And it was like 1500 words long. But for some trick of fate, whether because my internet was crapping out or because LJ was, it is currently lost to cyberspace. Too bad!

Right now I'm on campus, whittling away at the boatload of work I have to complete in the next seven days, and desperately hoping I don't fall on my face. As per usual finals protocol.

The past few days I've been working hard at my mermaid story synopsis. It's supposed to be rather detailed, but I don't think I'll get it to that point in time (since I still have to do 5 comic pages for next week, too, plus my other class). I'm hoping for a complete rough storyline for tomorrow. (I've also been trying to figure out the visuals for it, and it's been very frustrating.) But anyway.. I'm filling in plot points according to last term's beat sheet template, and it's proving to be a lot of fun. I'm excited to go more in-depth with it when school gets out and I can put the thought and time into developing the story properly. :)

I also have been preparing my convention table stuff, which is going to be really cool. I sent in my banners to get printed (including a six foot tall Icarus banner, for Muse!), and I went to Hobby Lobby last night to pick up some organizational and display helps. Since I don't have real minicomics or buttons to sell at my table, I get to make fake placeholder merchandise to put on my table. The fake convention opens at 8:00am next Thursday!

Anyway, gotta get back to work. I will try to update this post with a word count once I'm done for the day.

Energized Tuesday

Goodness, do I believe in the power of massage therapy >.>

Over the last three weeks, the lethargy of lingering ick has really demoralized me in all of my projects. I started up Kung Fu again and it was painful to be so soft after a month away from my beloved martial arts. Tonight, I explained to my therapist my trials since she last saw me, so she did something magical else. My mind raced with all of my a fore amorphous thoughts and I came home to outline four of my feminist character studies.

  • Cordelia Naismith/Vorkosigan: (Lois McMaster Bujold) I'm really excited about this one. I think it'll be my first one. I'm only going to focus on the two books told from her point of view. Mostly because I haven't read the other 15 or so in the series and I'm not sure I want to. I'll explain why in my commentary >.>

  • Red/Ruby (Once Upon a Time): She's not a main character and that appeals to me. Also makes me sad because I think her character arcs are subtly fantastic.

  • Kate Beckett (Castle): I just finished the current season and there's some interesting things going on that sparked a lot of thought and commentary.

  • Joan Watson (Elementary): This show gets my feminist feelings all excited. It's gender-bent two main characters and one secondary character and it's done it well, considering it almost competes with the very popular Sherlock.

Goal Number One is to have my outlines flushed out by next week. The Rule will be working on commentary before working on my other writing. Which is something I'm tots excited about as well.

I forgot to mention that during March/April I wrote a substantial history for 9thEvent. I was reading through my draft to start taking notes on what world building and history I needed to lock down for my rewrite (scheduled in my head to start in July or August). I ended up working on the history for the main character's parents because it has a huge bearing on the plot of 9thEvent. I did it under 55,000 words. I'm ridiculously pleased with myself. It could be a "short" story. I've called it the 2ndEvent for now.

This evening my mind has raced about this as well. My experience writing Chrysalis histories is really going to help turn my 125k outline of the 9thEvent and turn it into a draft worth showing to other people.

Goal Number Two is to make a list of the histories I need and vaguely outline them.

Goal Number Three is to get rid of my softness by martialing my spirit for more Kung Fu. Because I need a third goal or my list is unbalanced.

Rising to the Challenge

The week before last was a difficult one—I only wrote one day out of seven. While it was an awesome day (to the tune of 1,180 words and the end of chapter seven), my consistency left much to be desired.

I decided this week to change that and challenged myself to write at least a thousand words every weekday. In the end, I didn’t achieve perfection, but I did write four out of five days. Those four days gave me 3,942 words and the entirety of chapter eight. All of those words didn’t come easy, especially since I am still writing without an outline. But they still came—I just had to sit down at my computer for a few hours each day and force myself to write.

Rich in Color continues to be a highlight of my week. Jon has been working on the site re-design—it’s fantastic. I read The Summer Prince last week in preparation for our upcoming group discussion on the book, and I’ve asked another author if she would be willing to do a guest post/interview for us. She has accepted, but we’re still working out the details of it all. Our followers continue to grow on Twitter (67) and Tumblr (77).

In other words, life is good. I’m going to challenge myself to write a thousand words a day this upcoming week as well. I also need to finish Range of Ghosts and ready Awakening. Wish me luck!

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