Monday, July 22, 2013

Recommended Reading

By popular request (and by popular, I mean Rena asked), here is a post about all the books I've read recently, and think you should too. Peer pressure! Peer pressure! Peer pressure!

In absolutely no particular order (seriously don't read into this (ha! get it? Read into this? I cracked myself up)):

The Mindspace Investigation series by Alex Hughes. This is a light science fiction series that starts in the near future. It reminds me of X-men in all the most awesome of ways.

Wicked As They Come and Wicked As She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson. Steampunk alternate world romance with an excellent eye for worldbuilding and believable characters. Yes please!

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff. Gorgeous prose, haunting eerie story with fresh ideas. I love this book and I plan on checking out Yovanoff's other work.

Geekomany by Michael R. Underwood. Hilarious and fun urban fantasy with more geek references than you can shake a stick at.

The Deacon Chalk Series by James R. Tuck. Gritty urban fantasy with old school magic and vampires. Finally some dark urban fantasy that's actually dark.

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. Brutal beautiful prose about a girl who can see how you die by touching you. 

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman. Split worlds between Earth, Faeryland, and an inbetween place where society resembles Victorian London with it's rigid caste system. There's a gargoyle with a soul, and capricious fey, and feuding families. 

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest. Vampires become awesome again as spies and victims of government experiements. 

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire. Cryptozoologists fight to study and protect creatures we don't acknowledge as real. Midnight Blue Light Special is the next in the series, and why this is on my recently read list, but if you haven't read anything, you should start with the first in the series. :D 

Also by Seanan McGuire is this bit of brilliance: a serial. It's called Indexing, about people who work for a secret government agency protecting the world from...faery tales. Every two weeks your Kindle is updated with a new installment of the story, but McGuire does a good job of wrapping up each episode so you don't feel ripped off.

These last few aren't recent, but since we're listing books I enjoyed, here you go:

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. No words can describe this book. It broke me apart inside, and then made me whole.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Man who gets badly burned is nursed to health by a nurse who claims they were lovers in ancient Germany. Fantastic storytelling.

Shelter by Susan Palwick. Science fiction in the near future, about two women's lives clashing.

Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section. 

P.S. For some reason while gathering all these links, I had the urge to Rick-roll you guys. Put Wally Lamb's link with Chuck Wendig's for example. But I resisted, because I'd like for you to actually read some of these books if they catch your interest. You're welcome. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The House That Structure Built

Update: editing hasn't kill me. Yet. 

Neither has packing, although there was that time with the boxes of books that almost ended poorly.

Honestly, these update posts make me self conscious because I know I'm editing at the speed of a glacier. Most of my writer friends have started and finished their edits. Writers all over the blogosphere announce how happy they are to be done editing.

And still, I am revising. I'm not even done with the macro stuff yet. 

I worry there's something wrong with me. That maybe I just suck, and can't edit my way out of a paper bag, and that's just it for me. But then I kick some sense into myself, and realize it's not really me, it's the book at this point. Because sweet magnolia cupcakes, this book has a lot of things wrong with it. My rough drafts are messy to begin with, but this baby was written in ten months, starting when my son was five months old and I was carving out fifteen minutes during nap time to write a few sentences. I suppose it's no wonder there's some serious issues such as structure, tone, and voice, all the way down to the minor stuff like how I fell in love with the word "just". 

Or how I need to replot the entire thing. And kill some characters. And fix the plot holes. You know, the basics.

It's been very discouraging, because I feel like I'm taking too long. That I should be done now. It doesn't matter I only have about two hours a day, less lately since the son has decided to wake up between the hour and hour and a half mark from his nap. I've taken to staying up late a few nights to get some more time in. That lasts for a few days, and then I crash.

Lately, the moving thing, the whole let's go through our entire house worth of stuff and get rid of 50% of it so we can afford to move to Puerto Rico has cut into the writing time as well. My husband reports to work the first week of September, and now that our original plans of him staying in a friend's place for a month have changed, he has to get a place to stay a week after getting there (and staying in a hotel in the meantime). We're shipping our stuff over there a month earlier than expected.

So yeah, there's other stuff going on. But I still need to make time for writing, I still need to keep progressing even when that evil voice tells me I should just start all the way over. Again.

Because, here's the thing folks. Revision doesn't just teach you how to fix THIS book. I mean, yes, that's what you're doing when you revise. You're making the words not suck. But ideally, while you're revising, you're getting better at writing, so when the time comes to start a new rough draft, you're not making the same mistakes over and over again.

To do that, and to revise properly, you have to figure out what you did wrong the first time, and how to fix that. 

As easy as it sounds, it can be very hard. Very mentally taxing. I find drafting emotionally draining (or rejuvenating, depending on the scene in question), but revision is mentally taxing. You're picturing the book in it's entirety and thinking about what happens if you shift this scene forward. Or you're just focusing on one scene, and reading through each line for the moment where the pacing slacks off. Either way, it makes my already tired brain tired. 

So that's where I'm at, folks. I'm still editing, still toiling away. I'm making a lot of progress, don't get me wrong. I can see how each day of editing is moving me forward, and as soon as I figure out the new plot order, I can start the scene by scene stuff. But it still feels like it's taking forever and I should be done by now and I'm doomed and omg I'm just going to eat some chocolate and hide from the world. 

Then I remind myself it's taken other authors years to finish their edits, if we're going to play the compare yourself to others game, and then I don't feel so bad. 

So, sound off people. Where are you at in your writing? What do you do when it feels like it's taking too long?