Editing Update

All right, so this blog has been largely ignored this entire year. Because that is what I do. But, in the event that you don’t already know, I have been working on releasing into the world the second book in my fantasy series, Second Nature.

With mixed results. Naturally.

The going has been slow, progress has been minimal, and I fluctuate daily (sometimes hourly) between loving and not loving this story. Right now, I’m in the latter category.

Which is not to say that I hate my book. Because I don’t. (Well, maybe on occasion.) It’s more…I don’t trust how things are going, or that I have managed to do anything even remotely close to the way it should actually be done.

You know, normal things.

Yet, despite of this, I seem to be making some semblance of progress.

Here’s how the To-Do list was looking when I started this “final” editing stage about a month ago:

—Implement the proofreader’s corrections/suggestions

—Complete corrections on the editing run-off list you will inevitably compile while implementing the proofreader’s corrections/suggestions

—Complete front and back matter (Acknowledgments, Bio, and Blurb)

—Contact formatter/book designer and get on her schedule

Where Things Are Today:

—Implement the proofreader’s corrections/suggestions

Done.

—Complete corrections on the editing run-off list you will inevitably compile while implementing the proofreader’s corrections/suggestions.

Nearly done. There’s one sentence with which I’m still not super happy. Just haven’t hit upon the right wording yet. It’s possible that I’m being entirely too picky about it, but I suppose there’s no way to know for sure.

—Complete front and back matter (Acknowledgments, Bio, and Blurb)

The bio is done, and the blurb is…mostly done. There’s one sentence in the blurb with which I’m not entirely pleased, but I don’t know how to fix it yet. Or even if it needs to be fixed. I’m still working on  the acknowledgements page. I’m struggling to find the right flow. Transitions in and out of paragraphs, and whatnot. Occasionally, I’m tempted to just write “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHY I LOVE YOU” and call it good, but they deserve better than that.

—Contact formatter/book designer and get on her schedule

Yeah. So here’s the thing…apparently, the woman who did the book design and formatting for Effigy is no longer in the book design and formatting business. Which is a bummer because I was looking forward to just handing over the manuscript and saying, “Please do what you did with the first one.” But now, instead, I have to find a new designer. I haven’t started that hunt yet, but I imagine I will be soon. I’m running out of other things to do. Though I do seem to be making those other things last as humanly possible.

Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator, I guess.

But, however long it takes, I’ll keep working at it. And I’ll try to keep you informed of the progress.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Maybe This Time

Happy New Year, everyone! May it be somehow better than that dumpster fire known as 2016.

This is my now-traditional start-of-the-year post in which I lay out my big goals for the coming year. (note: these are just the broad, ultimate goals. The breakdown as to how I might actually accomplish said goals does exist, but for brevity’s sake, I don’t share it in this post.)

Usually, this post begins with a recap of how well I did with the goals from the year before, but we’ll be skipping that portion this time around. Mostly because I have a lot of the exact same goals. Mostly because I failed to accomplish them the first time around.

But it’s okay. I’m totally cool with it. Really.

no-it-not-okay-gif
Well…maybe not.

Onto the goals! First up, as always, is…

The Writing Goal

Publish Second Nature.

As it was featured on various social media sites multiple times over the last year, you may remember this picture:

20160101_152815 (Medium)
It was taken on the first of January 2016, and marked the start of my editing process. Turns out, I can post it again today because I. Am. Still. Editing. Part of this is because of the amount of time I was forced to take off last year, but a larger (and much more important) part is that I’m not yet happy with it. I can’t put out a book I’m not happy with, so that’s that.

As of this post, I have nine scenes across five chapters still awaiting my attention. Four of which I have absolutely no idea how to improve to my satisfaction. (There’s a woman in my critique group who believes I have some kind of manuscript dysmorphia. Which is probably a blog post in itself.) The other scenes are, in theory anyway, easier fixes. Just time-consuming.

At any rate, finishing these freaking edits once and for all is Priority #1.

Then I’ll worry about the rest of it. (Except that’s kind of a lie. I worry about everything all the time.)

I’m aiming for a May 30th release. I know that’s only five months away. And I know I’m probably just going to end up watching as it sails on by, but I have a book fair event scheduled for the start of June, and I would really love to have Second Nature ready for that event. Again, I don’t know how realistic a goal this is (It’s not. At all.) but go big or go home, right?

The Reading Goal

Read 40 books this year.

This goal just keeps shrinking and shrinking. I used to set much larger reading goals, but keep on falling short. Last year, I only managed to read thirty-something books. Low thirties, even. Not my best showing. I must improve in this area.

The Fitness Goal

A few years ago, I was actually in a good fitness routine. Regular work-outs, actual willpower when it came to oversized baked goods, that kind of thing—and I was healthier and happier. (I think. It’s been a while.) And then, something happened. I don’t remember what the something was, but I fell out of the habit, and it’s gotten worse since I’ve been living in this ridiculous, entirely-too-warm, swamp state Florida. (I do not like to go outside in Florida. I like to sit in front of my air conditioner and weep.)

Hence, my goal is to get back into that fitness routine. Some way, some how. Probably not jogging, though…

Ann on Jogging

The De-Cluttering Goal

This is probably pretty self-explanatory. There’s way too much clutter in certain parts of the house (i.e., the rooms I happen to inhabit. I don’t know why.) and I would like to change that. Or, at least improve on it. We’ve been in the Florida house for almost two years now (whimper…) and I still have a bunch of stuff in boxes. Which means I could probably get rid of all of it. Most of it. Well, maybe just some of it.

Anyway, it’s time to get organized and whatever. This goal, I like to think, will become Priority #1 once Second Nature actually makes it to the proofreader. I’ll need something else on which to focus then…

We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

Well, except for the books and weaponry, of course...

Well, except for the books and weaponry, of course…

And on that note, I am outta here. Those edits will not complete themselves. I should know…I’ve certainly waited long enough for that to happen.

Did you set any goals for 2017?

Coming Attractions

Today, I have a big announcement.

Well, big for me. For someone else, it might not be quite such a Big Deal, but it kind of is for me. In large part because what I am about to tell you terrifies the living daylights out of me. The dead daylights, too. (Well, if there is such a thing.) All the daylights are terrified out of me.

But it happening anyway.

To paraphrase my good friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

What is the terrifying thing, you may be asking yourself. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s this:

writers-forum-ad

Recognize that name in the middle? You know what it means?

This Saturday, I will be making a public appearance. As an author.

And I am terrified.

I don’t exactly excel at talking about myself. Or my work. Or, talking, for that matter. Unless I’m gushing about my eternal love for the collective works of Joss Whedon, my verbal skills are about on par with Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. Only, I’m not nearly as articulate. And, truth be told, when I am gushing about my eternal love for the collective works of Joss Whedon, I quickly become a incoherent fangirl who sounds as though she’s attempting to communicate with dolphins.

And I can do neither of those things on Saturday.

So I don’t know how I shall pull this off, or what on earth I will talk about, but I imagine that it will involve me spending a lot of time this week practicing in the mirror, the shower, the car, and probably other locations, too.

Just as soon as I figure out what to talk about.

The Year of Doing Better (The 2016 Edition)

Happy New Year, everyone!

This is my now-traditional post where I lay out my goals for the brand-new year. I have a lot planned for this year, partly because I like to set myself big and challenging goals, but it’s mostly because I had a pretty terrible 2015, where goals were concerned.

I now feel the need to make for that.

So here we go…

The Writing Goals

1. Publish Second Nature.

If you follow me on other social media sites, you may have already seen this picture:

20160101_152815 (Medium)
That is my manuscript—all 841 pages, and 325,000 words of it. I’m aiming to edit approximately 60 pages a day (Naturally, I’m already behind) with the hopes of getting it into the hands of the beta readers in February (Do you hear that, beta readers of mine? I’m coming for you…). After that I don’t know. There’s just darkness and some dragons (Name! That! Reference!) but should we get through the darkness and the dragons, we’ll working toward publication.

2. Complete first draft of Full Circle.

Full Circle is book three in my fantasy series. There’s currently no real plan for it because the events of Second Nature blew the original plan to smithereens. So this year will be about figuring out a new plan and getting the damn thing written. I honestly don’t have a lot of faith that I can accomplish this goal this year, given the other writing goal that’s in play, but I’m going to be working on it anyway, so why not make it a goal?

The Reading/Blogging Goals

1. Read 50 books this year.

I really dropped the ball on the reading goal last year. I had a goal of 60 books, and only managed about 32. My personal worst, by a long shot. This year. the number is set at 50 in order to accommodate that whole “publishing a book” goal I have. I will admit, though, it kind of makes me feel like a slacker.

2. Be better about reviewing the books I read.

I used to do this all the time, but for some reason I fell out of the habit of doing so. I need to correct that. There’s really nothing more to be said.

3. Be better about updating this blog.

My reading and reviewing were not the only things to be neglected last year. My Pet Blog was woefully ignored, so I’d like to get back to my old blogging schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, with Fridays being set aside for guest posts. So if you’re an author out there with a book or two or twelve that you’d like to promote, please let me know! Otherwise, I might have to talk about all the TV I watch.

The Fitness Goals

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 750 miles this year.

Another goal I neglected last year. Don’t want to do it again. I’m not off to a very good start, but I can totally catch up. Probably.

2. Eat healthier.

I add this goal to the list every damn year. I have yet to accomplish it. But perhaps 2016 will be my year. Probably won’t because I have zero willpower where cake is concerned, but it makes me feel better if I at least say I’m going to attempt it. But stranger things have happened, so who knows?

I do. I know.

And on that happy note, I’m going to sign off for the day. I still have a good 700 pages to read and edit. I wonder how many highlighters and red pens I’ll go through. Place your bets below!!

Come On, Get Happy

Some time toward the end of last month, I managed to do something that I quite honestly never thought I would do.

I finished writing Second Nature.

So, you may be wondering why, if such a momentous occasion occurred, you didn’t see a post filled with some choice Happy Dance gifs such as the following:

Moses Supposes His Toeses Are RosesLeslie Knope Happy DanceJimmy Fallon Dance
And maybe just one more (because I can never resist using this gif when it suits the situations…)

Drunk Ron Swanson
Doing posts filled with Happy Dance gifs has become my habit/tradition upon the completion of a draft. Well, maybe ‘habit/tradition’ is too strong a word/phrase. I mean, I did do it that one magical time that I actually managed to finish a draft, but I didn’t do that post this time. So maybe it’s not a habit or a tradition or anything else.

But whatever you call it, or don’t call it, I didn’t do it this time.

Because, here’s the thing: When it comes to the finishing of this monster novel of mine (and at 325,000 words, it really is a monster), I’m feeling more like this:

Stephen Colbert Unimpressed
Maybe I’m just tired. Or sad. Or both.

Or maybe I’m just not happy with how it turned out.

I mean, I know it’s the third one. Of course it’s the third one. The other two may be contributing factors, but the truth is that I am not happy with how it turned out. I just think I screwed it up.

Now, if I came on the blog and talked about how pleased I was with my work, you’d all be running for the hills trying to escape the invasion of the body snatchers, or whatever, because me being hyper critical of all I do or don’t so (*coughcough* exercise *coughcough*) is just what I do. Along with being sarcastic and worshiping at the altar of Joss Whedon.

But I did the Happy Dance post before, so even if I wasn’t particularly pleased with what I had written (and given that I’m still me, you know I wasn’t), I was pleased that I had done the writing. I was pleased to have written.

This time…not so much.

And it’s stupid, too, to feel this way, given that the manuscript in question is in its first draft. First drafts don’t have to be good. They just have to be written. They just have to be done, and I did that.

So why am I not happy about it?

Right now, it’s sitting in a drawer where it will remain until I decide to look at it again. It’ll be a month, at least. Probably two. Maybe three. Maybe I’ll never look at it again.

Probably not that last one.

Time away between drafts is a good thing, I think. It allows one to look at a story with fresh eyes, which makes needed edits much more obvious and clear. It is my hope that time away will not only give me those vital fresh eyes but will also get me to that Happy Dance place (I don’t know why I keep capitalizing Happy Dance. It just happens.).

I want this story to be good. Better than good, even. Or, as good as I am capable of making it, I suppose. This story contains my absolute favorite character, and I want to make sure I can do her story justice.

So I’m waiting. Patiently, as only I can.

Sam Winchester Waiting