March, 2022

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Heading Upta Camp

April 1st is right around the corner, which means it’s about time for me to head upta camp (Name! That! Reference!)…

Camp NaNoWriMo, that is.

Camp NaNoWriMo, for anyone unfamiliar with this event, happens twice a year: April and July. It’s part of the NaNoWriMo organization but is different from its November counterpart in a few ways. Camp events offer participants more flexibility with their goals. You can set your word count goal to anything at all that you want. 50k, 10k, 100k. Whatever. You can also work on an already existing novel without labeling yourself a ‘rebel’. They even offer a couple of different tracks for people writing memoirs or people trying to finish those already existing projects. They even allow participants to set editing goals.

Which is what I’ll be working on next month.

I’ve participated in Camp NaNoWriMo many years, but this will be the first year where I have set an editing goal. I have no idea how it’s going to work, or even if it will work, or if it’s a remotely obtainable goal for me.

Also adding to the unknown this session is the fact that my significant other and I have some family and friends coming to visit in early April, so I won’t really be able to give Camp NaNoWriMo my full attention (or as close to my full attention as anything gets these days, anyway…) until about halfway through the month.

So I could be setting myself up to fail. I really don’t know. It’s an experiment, and it doesn’t really matter how it goes. Either way, I would be working on editing Full Circle, so I figured why the hell not give it a shot.

So, stayed tuned, I guess, for editing and Camp updates.

Provided I have some.

Hey—it could happen.

That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. It’s always appreciated.

Stay safe and well, all.

John Oliver’s Broadway Dreams (A I Dreamed a Dream post)

Welcome, all, to my new segment on My Pet Blog (not that it’s really called My Pet Blog anymore. This blog doesn’t really have a name, and if it did, it would probably be something like ‘That Thing I Mostly Forget Exists But Somehow The Spammers Never Do’) in which I tell you about some weird, funny dream I had. Or at least as much as I remember in the time it takes me to wake up and decide to write about it and then do the actual writing. I don’t know how often this segment will appear, but I suppose that depends on the quality and quantity of my dreams.

Anyway, I had this dream over the weekend and it made me laugh, so I thought I would share it with all of you…

Okay, so, my brother and I were in a critique group with John Oliver of Last Week Tonight fame. We went to his house for a meeting. His house, by the way, was located in one of those neighborhoods that are so freaking popular here in the God-forsaken swamp state—identical, cookie-cutter homes with the smallest amount of space between them that could legally be counted as space. (Or, at least, Florida legal…) I don’t know if we were in Florida or not, but that’s what the neighborhood looked like. His neighbors also looked like extras from The Golden Girls, so maybe we were in Florida.

I know what the neighbors looked like because they were all having a big to-do about…something. Bingo, probably. Or some stupid made-up HOA violation. (Interesting and not-at-all irritating side note: My significant other and I were recently in trouble with our HOA for having the audacity to paint our house THE EXACT SAME COLOR IT ALREADY WAS. The horror!!) And they were having their big to-do in John Oliver’s driveway.

Maybe because he decided to have a group of writers over to his house and the HOA has rules about that kind of thing.

I don’t know. Probably not super important.

Anyway…I don’t remember how we got around the gaggle of Golden Girls extras, but we made it through the obstacle course and got inside the house.

Once there, my brother and I sat at the kitchen table, all ready to start our meeting, but John first told us his big news: He had been cast as Alexander Hamilton in the London production of the Broadway musical Hamilton.

And I was all, “OH MY GOD” because I thought that would be the most amazing thing ever because I could not imagine John Oliver playing Alexander Hamilton in the broadway musical Hamilton—no offense, John—and was convinced it would either be a huge revelation or a huge train wreck. Either way, I wanted to be there to see it.

So I turned to my brother and was all, “Dude, we gotta go to London for this show.”

But…I apparently didn’t want to get tickets for our entire family—sorry, family, but Hamilton tickets are expensive— so I then said, “But I don’t want to get tickets for everyone, so let’s tell them we’re going to Tampa to watch baseball games because none of them will want to do that.”

Sadly, however, I woke up before we made it to London for John Oliver’s Hamilton premiere. I’m not gonna lie—I was super disappointed to have missed out on that. I told my brother abut the dream and he wisely advised me to do everything the same the next night in hopes of recreating the circumstances that led to that dream.

It didn’t work, though. Instead of watching John Oliver on Broadway (or whatever the London version of Broadway is called), I instead was recruited to join a battle to save the world.

I told them fine, I just had to go home and get my swords first.

But that’s a story for another day…

See y’all next time (unless I have scared you away with this terrifying glimpse into my psyche…)

Stay safe and well.

Editing Update: Onto Step Two

In case you’ve missed it, the theme of my year (and possibly next year and maybe even the year after that) is editing and revising a little hot mess of epic proportions I like to call Full Circle, the third book in my epic-ish fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles.

In my last post, I talked about Step One of the process. Or, you know, my process. There’s no one process that works for everyone. We’re all delightful individuals, so what works for me may not necessarily work for someone else. Which I imagine is true. I mean, it barely works for me, so I can’t imagine it working for anyone else. But whatever. That’s a different post for a different day, maybe.

But, to recap, Step One involved printing out a hard copy of the manuscript and reading it and making notes (many, many notes) about what changes need to be made. These changes could be minor fixes, such as typos and missing words, misplaced commas, etc. They could slightly more involved fixes, such as awkward word choices or over used words (seriously—my characters nod so much, it’s amazing their damn heads haven’t fallen off) or awkwardly phrased sentences or interrupted story flow. Or they could be even more involved fixes like continuity issues or characters who mysteriously disappeared who need to be found, and a whole host of other things such as dialogue that adds length but not substance to the story, and narrative that serves an overall story plot arc that no longer exists. This step involves a lot of pens and highlighters because, as a first draft, this story is a mess.

But now, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I’m moving on to Step Two. I completed the read-through last month, and now I have a 755-paged manuscript with pages that looks like this:

So now, I am hard at work (or perhaps hardly working) on Step Two. The step where I attempt to fix all of those problems I found during the read-through, as well as the problems I’ll find while attempting to fix the other problems because I missed them the first time around, and the problems that will inevitably appear because of the snowball/avalanche effect that automatically comes with making changes to a story.

I tend to start off with the smaller, easier fixes and work my way up to those requiring more brain power. I keep track of those tougher problems in my notebook in a section usually titled “Editing Shit Deemed Too Difficult To Deal With The First Time Around”, and round and round I’ll go until all the changes have been made and I end up with something resembling a second draft.

Which has served me reasonably well in the past (meaning that, eventually, I do actually finish a second draft), but this time, there are some big, labor-intensive fixes early on in the book that need to be addressed RIGHT NOW because they will determine how some later scenes will go.

Which means I am not exactly crushing it right now.

Step Two is labor-intensive and time-consuming (at least for me), and I anticipate this will take me months to complete. Because, you know, it always does.

Right now, my goal is to have it done by April, as we have some family coming to visit early on in the month, and it’s also the first Camp NaNoWriMo session of the year and my focus will be on those two things. Is this goal at all realistic? Hell, no. Not in the least. Could I surprise myself? Probably not, but it could happen.

(Narrator: It would not happen.)

If it doesn’t happen (Narrator: It won’t), I’ll revise the goal, assess where things are, and pick a new date.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Until it’s done.

So, that’s gonna do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by—it’s always appreciated!

Stay safe and well, all.