When last we met, I was embarking upon another action-packed installment of Camp NaNoWriMo with an official goal of editing 50,000 words but an actual goal of just getting through the 33 pages of editing notes covering 27 chapters in my current WIP, Full Circle.
Because I didn’t care how many words it took, I just wanted to get these edits finished.
Well, as it turns out, it was a good thing I didn’t care how many words it took because I didn’t get anywhere near 50,000.
But here’s what I did do…
I came agonizingly close to finishing the vastly more important part of this goal. I started off with 33 pages of editing notes covering 27 chapters.
And I ended with just one note on part of one scene in one chapter.
This scene has been dubbed the Special Hell scene for…reasons I’m not going to get in to in this post (but any Browncoats out there may get the reference). It is, technically, a completed scene, but I can’t shake the feeling that it shouldn’t be a completed scene. Meaning that I think there needs to be something more added to it. I just haven’t been able to decide what exactly that something should be and how much of that something needs to be added.
There are other scenes in the book I’m not sure about, but those I feel are…good enough for now, for lack of a better term. Meaning that I feel all right sending them off to the beta readers as is and waiting to see what (if anything) they have to say about them. That’s most of the book right now. I feel like it’s ready for the beta round, which—if you know me—you know is a Big Damn Deal.
I don’t, however, feel the same way about the Special Hell scene. Which is why I’m still holding on to the manuscript. My current plan involves experimenting with some different possibilities to see if any of those change anything for me with the hopes of sending the manuscript out by the end of the week or possibly next week.
But we’ll see if I can up with any new reasons why I can’t let go of the book.
History would suggest I can. And will.
That’s gonna do it for me today.
What are you working on this month?
Stay safe and well, all.
Well, it’s July 6th, which means I am technically back at Camp NaNoWriMo for the second summer session. (I’m the ML for my region, so I sign up for every event.)
This is my favorite kind of camping, because it doesn’t actually involve me leaving the house and/or sleeping on the ground in the woods, surrounded by all the creepy crawly whatevers that this godforsaken swamp state has to offer. (Plus, I can still eat s’mores if I want to…)
The first camp session was in April. My goal then was to edit 50,000 words in Full Circle. I ended up with a grand total of 70,000 edited words. Of course, as Full Circle‘s word count is well over 70,000, I still had (have) a long way to go. And though it may not feel like it, I have continued to work on the edits since April. But, alas, as they’re not finished yet, my goal for July’s Camp session is exactly the same. Edit yet another 50,000 words.
This time, however, the process is a little different, because the editing is now based on the Labor-Intensive Editing Shit List. When I started working on this list, back in June, it was 44 pages long. As of July 1st, it was down to 34 pages covering 31 chapters. As of the writing of this post, it was down to 33 pages covering 27 chapters.
So while my goal on the NaNoWriMo website is listed as ‘Edit 50,000 words’ because that’s how the website works, my true goal is to just get through those 33 pages and 27 chapters, regardless of how many words it takes.
Because here’s the thing: I don’t know how many words that will take. Words will be added, words will be deleted. I still need to somehow fix the villain arc and the woefully underdeveloped subplot. That one pain-in-the-ass character is still being a pain in my ass (Seriously, dude. I let you live. What more do you want from me?). And yet, there’s somehow still more.
I may need more than 50,000. I may need less. (Though, less does seem less likely for some reason…) I may spend the entire month just making this face:
You know, like I’ve been doing since this month began. (And this year. And decade. And lifetime…)
Though progress is (slowly) being made, I keep bouncing back and forth between ‘I’ve totally got this’ and ‘I’m far too stupid to write this book’. Yesterday, I was firmly the latter. Today is feeling slightly less hopeless.
So far, anyway.
So that’s my goal: get through 33 pages of notes covering 27 chapters by the end of the month. If I make it, great. If I don’t…well, then, August will be a perfectly fine month to finish these edits. Or September or October or however much longer this project will take.
But for the purposes of logging progress (or the lack thereof…) on the NaNoWriMo website, I recorded Full Circle‘s word count before I started on Day 1 and then, at the end of each day, I noted (or will note, as the month continues) the change (if there was/is one). Here’s how it’s gone so far:
Starting Word Count: 227,006
Day One: 227,504 (+498)
Day Two: 227,486 (-18)
Day Three: 228,124 (+638)
Day Four: 228,532 (+408)
Day Five: 228,605 (+73)
Clearly, this will not be my most productive NaNoWriMo experience ever.
So far, anyway. There’s still plenty of time to change that.
What are you working on this summer?
Be safe and well, all.
Today’s post was inspired by awesome author Chrys Fey’s post, which was inspired by a certain recent (recent-ish, at least? Dunno exactly. I started writing this post a while ago and only just recently finished it, so the inspiration behind the post is likely not recent at all anymore) post by the New York Times in which I’m pretty sure they just said, “Hey, how can we make the most people angry about books with the smallest amount of effort possible?”
This will be a very bad and possibly not completely accurate recap, but basically they decided to publish a list of the 25 best books of the past 125 years. Or maybe they just wanted to know what the best book of all-time was, but ended up sharing a list of the top 25? And they asked for reader nominations and then just pulled this list out of their ass or whatever that they then published on all the social media platform things. Controversy ensured because, well, because people were involved, and wherever people go, controversy follows.
Chrys then published a list of her personal top 25 reads of the past 125 years. Her list contained some of my favorite books, and quite a few titles that have been hanging out on my TBR list.
Anyway, all this made me wonder which books I would include on such a list. Then I immediately panicked because I have not read all the books in all the world, which is, obviously, a silly thing over which to worry because of course I haven’t, but anxiety is a bitch that doesn’t often give a shit about that kind of thing.
But I decided to try it anyway.
Here are the parameters/disclaimers/whatevers for my list:
—Inclusion on this list does not mean a particular book is particularly good or has some universal appeal that makes it the best book of all time. It just holds some deep(er) meaning to me.
—I may or may not disclose that meaning to you. Some things are private and will stay that way.
—This will not be the most diverse list of books to ever exist on the face of the earth. I fully admit I have not been the most diverse reader out there. I definitely could—and should—do better.
—Some of these listings include an entire series or two, which may seem like cheating, but I did it anyway. So there.
—This list will not be in any particular order.
—This list contains both fiction and non-fiction titles, but mostly fiction because, as I stated earlier, I have not been the most diverse reader ever.
—This list, as suggested by the title of this post, may, in fact, focus more on the authors themselves rather than individual books. It’s a mixture.
—This list is, and always will be, subject to change. In theory, I will keep reading new books, and some of those new books may warrant a spot on this list. I won’t know until I’ve read them.
Today’s post includes the first half of my list. In theory, I will eventually finish and publish the second half. In theory. I mean, I know how long it took me to write this post, so that second half may never see the light of day. But at any rate, the first half is here now for your reading (and judging) pleasure.
Are we ready?
The President’s Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White
This is certainly not the first time I’ve talked about this four-book series on this blog. These books were HUGELY influential to me. When I was in middle school, I was reading a lot of Sweet Valley High books, so many that both my mother and my teacher begged me to read something else. Anything else. I went to my school library to wander the stacks and I came across The President’s Daughter, a novel about a 16-year-old girl whose mother is elected president of the United States. I quickly fell in love and became totally obsessed with the main character—a love and obsession which continues on to this day. My sisters also love these books, which is, quite possibly, the only thing on earth on which we all agree.
From a writing standpoint, these books showed me how to write better. They really crystallized what a distinct character voice should sound like.
Plus, one time, I totally was privileged enough to have a multi-day conversation with the author herself about Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica, thereby fulfilling a life goal I didn’t realize I had until it happened.
It was awesome. She is awesome. And so is her writing.
The Secret of the Unicorn Queen series by Josepha Sherman, Gwen Hansen, Dory Perlman, and Suzanne Weyn
My mother found these MG fantasy novels for me at our local bookstore 100,000 years ago (I look really good for my age). They tell the story of a ordinary American teenage girl who accidentally ends up trapped in a parallel universe filled with unicorn-riding rebels battling an evil tyrant guy. For some reason, my mother thought I might like them.
She was right.
These books inspired me to write my own fantasy novels. Thanks, Mom!
The Tillerman books and the Kingdom novels by Cynthia Voigt
Yep. She gets two series. I just love how she crafts characters and settings and just all the things. The Tillerman books tell the story of four kids who are abandoned by their mother and their journey to find a new home and expands beyond the Tillerman children to tell some of the supporting characters’ tales. The Kingdom novels are fantasy and are all connected but each book focuses on a different character.
Historical fiction. She can write some really lovely, poetic prose that just leaves me breathless. The Boleyn Inheritance is just gorgeous. Also, her novel Wideacre has an ending that has long struck me as a damn perfect ending for its story.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I wish everyone would read this book.
Again, gorgeous poetic prose. I’m a fan of many of her books, but The Scorpio Races took my breath away.
My sister and I started reading his Spenser series when I was in high school. Love the dialogue. Hate Susan Silverman. I have read his other series as well and most of his standalone titles, but Spenser was always the best, IMHO.
My favorite Spenser novels are probably Early Autumn and Small Vices.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
She’s written a lot of wonderful novels, but Speak is the one which had the biggest impact on me.
March by John Lewis
A series of three graphic novels I would most definitely have in my classroom if I were still teaching. Another series I wish everyone would read.
The Queen’s Man series by Sharon Kay Penman
Prone to info dumps (Well, random person living in the Middle Ages and therefore already well aware of how the Middle Ages work, here’s how the Middle Ages work…), this series is definitely not the best written, but I made an instant connection with the main character that has me returning to these books time and time again. My mom’s also a big fan of these books and this author. We were devastated when it was announced that Penman had passed away in 2021.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
A master class in how to write a story with multiple narrators and making their voices sound different. This book inspired one of my long-time unfinished WIPs that I still hope to finish one day.
I love the way he manipulated language and used the page to create poems meant to be experienced and not just read. If that makes sense. He also wrote a autobiographical novel called The Enormous Room as well as four plays. In case you were interested and didn’t already know.
Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer
So, when I was in college, I took a medieval lit class and we read a 15th-century poem called The Testament of Cresseid, which was a response to Troilus and Criseyde, which I hadn’t read. But the poem made me mad on Cresseid’s behalf and I wrote a paper about how unfairly she was being treated. My professor was all, “Hey, have you ever read Troilus and Criseyde?” And I was all, “No.” And he said, “Well, maybe you should read it.” And I said, “Fine. I will.” So, I did. And when I finished it, I was like, “Damn. That’s a good story.” Which was followed by, “Okay. Maybe I was wrong.”
For the first and only time in my life, of course.
All right, we’re going to stop here for today. Tune in next time (if there should be a next time…) when I unveil the rest of this list (if I should actually get around to making it).
What books/authors have had the greatest impact on you? Why?