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At this point it's been AGES since twitter-people were talking about this but whatever, I'm still gonna talk about it. (Also, someone on my tumblr dash was asking about revisions, which kicked me back into thinking about it.)

So. Revisions. A lot of common advice about revising comes from a specific emotional experience of the revising process, ringed around with caveats sometimes but solidified into cultural touchstones that reify a particular emotional landscape. All of these must work for some people, or they wouldn't have come into usage, but none of them work for everyone—case in point, they don't represent my experience. But we have this idea that these are The Right (Easy) Way To Put Things, and that makes it seem like it's the Only Way To Go.

Here are some of those cultural touchstones of revising:

Take "Kill your darlings." It implies brutality, pushing past caring, doing the best thing for the story even if it's hard. But "doing the best thing for the story you want to tell, even if it's hard," doesn't have to be violent. You could frame the same thing—take out the lines you love if they aren't contributing to the story—as looking at the forest, not the trees; as focusing on the big picture; as lots of other things.

Take the idea of "tearing everything apart and starting over." Think instead about throwing clay on a wheel. I have not done this since I was much younger but according to my memories of it: if you are trying to make a specific thing, and it doesn't work, sure, you push it down into a lump again. Sometimes you put the clay aside and start with fresh clay, working toward the same goal. But reworking clay, to get at the same structure or shape you were trying for the first time, bears a very different emotional weight from "if it's not working, just tear your story apart!"

Take the inner editor. NaNoWriMo (and plenty of other people) tell us to "turn off our inner editors" for the first draft—implying that then you can let them out for the second draft. It is sometimes possible to just type and not think about it. My favorite (least favorite) of the things I've done this with is the "novel" I wrote in 24 hours for NaNoWriDay when I was in high school. It is about spoons carved out of cheese, road trips, and a performance of the musical CATS. It is completely and utterly awful and I am glad it got lost somewhere on a hard drive years ago, because I am never ever going to show it to anyone. Ever.

....okay, tangent. Anyway. Inner editors! The idea that, emotionally, you can and should separate out the part of your brain that critiques stuff as you write it...is an interesting one but in the realm of wish-fulfillment fantasy for me. It sucks to be writing something and have your brain telling you it's terrible. But for me, that's not an inner editor; that's an inner troll, the youtube comments section of the brain. The youtube comments section of the brain is pretty much never helpful—in drafting or revising. The bit of your brain that says "This description isn't working, let's come back to that later" is, for me, not really turn-off-able and is also somewhat helpful. I'm partway through drafting a novel first draft right now and I have lots of piles of Stuff I'm Gonna Fix Later.

But if I treat that part of my brain as Inner Editor Do Not Touch, Ignore, then when I go back and look at the first draft I'm probably either going to fall over under the weight of noticing all the terrible stuff all at once, oh my God, so much, or...my brain's going to be in the habit of ignoring the terrible stuff and will continue to not notice it. Both of which don't work for me.

Take the phrasing that you have to "develop a thick skin" for critiques. "Don't take it personally!" is another of these. The secret is that for many, maybe most, writers it is impossible to not take it personally. Stories are your babies except better, I mean, I'm never having actual babies, that would be far too much responsibility, what? (Practice does help. It doesn't make perfect. Practice getting short story critique and rejections kind of carries over to novel critiques and rejections but not really.)

As far as I can tell, this means, don't vocalize your first automatic defensive reactions about what people say about your story—to the people who are saying things about your story. This is because they are doing you a favor by taking the time to read your work and think about it and tell you what they think, but (unless you have that kind of relationship) they did not sign up for also helping you deal with your emotions about revising. (See also that Night Vale quote: it is not Monday's fault you are emotionally unprepared for your professional life. You can complain to your friends about this lack of emotional preparation—it is arguably impossible to be prepared—but don't blame Monday for its opinions about your short story! Er.)

...but that says nothing about what your personal internal emotional life has to be.

Putting that all together? I think we need a change in language. Because the way that I revise stories is, emotionally, more like carving stone (polishing down to the story I want to tell) or re-throwing clay (shaping and re-shaping a story until it comes out just right) than it is any of those phrases above.

With the difference—of course—that whenever I finish a draft (whenever I've finished going around the sculpture taking bits off, whenever I've shaped the clay again) I have a deep-seated emotional need to get it somewhere that is Not Mine. Otherwise I get antsy, and sometimes start fiddling with it again, but that's a bad idea. That impulse to throw it somewhere Not Mine is the indication that I'm done with it for now, so I send it to a friend or a reader or two (depending on what stage of revisions I'm at) (readers are also friends, I'm speaking more of what I request from them—this is a thing I wrote vs. I want comments vs. please critique this thoroughly).

If I didn't have that emotional response, I'd probably fiddle with it forever, and I think that would be a bad thing. It's usually an indication that I've fixed what I can fix, and that I need a new perspective now. But it manifests in me as a desire to throw it as far away from myself as possible, a desire for it to exist somewhere off of my laptop.

Emotions are important. Sometimes they're telling us things that we don't or can't understand logically (or acknowledge consciously). So I wish that the language around revising wasn't organized to deny any emotions except the approved, significantly violent ones.

But we can't just change the language to what works for me. We need to acknowledge the variety of Things That Work for different people and also different projects (my experiences of revising novels and short stories are different from each other too). Unfortunately, there's no snappy way to summarize all that.
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I refuse to believe that this is actually a draft; I am still somewhere in the middle of the swamp, slogging. I just ran out of words.

Still and all--44,100 words, or 224 pages in MS Word.

Which is shorter than the first novel I won NaNoWriMo with. Shorter than any novel to win NaNoWriMo, too (the first novel I won NaNo with was 75k). Nearly half the length of the zeroth draft of this, finished the summer after I graduated high school. And yet...and yet...

Darnit, now I have to follow through on the rest of that resolution and write a query letter. (Weirdly, that is the most real thing right now.) And sometime in the New Year, I will dig out all those manuscripts from VP and figure out how terrible my prose is.

And then maybe I will query agents on a novel.

Um. Okay. Wow. Hi.

I just finished revising a novel.
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Thanksgiving break has, this year, been not so productive. But that's okay.

I'm staying with Kate and her family and the two foster kids they've got for the weekend. Though I haven't interacted with the kids a ton, the forced perspective is interesting: how do you explain to a five-year-old the similarity between ice cream and sorbet? It has the same sort of texture, or maybe consistency, but are those words she's going to know? My vocabulary avails me naught!

This evening, I have had writing time. I didn't do anything last weekend, so me being into Part Three now is just catch-up from that; I'm currently at the end of the first chapter in Part Three and, having hit a scene that needs to be completely rewritten, that may be where I end for tonight.

I have this odd double vision: I know I am making the novel better, I can see where I am trying to take it, but I also have the distinct impression that even if I get it where I want it, it'll be vaguely boring and no one will really be interested to read it.

...then again, that may just be the middle of the novel talking.

Back to campus again tomorrow. It feels like I barely left yesterday, but it also feels like I've been gone for an age. Not looking forward to the run-up to finals--I just want it to be winter break, with a good three weeks where I don't have homework--but I am fairly well prepared for them, I think. Nevertheless, I will probably vanish again after I hit "post" on this. Such is life.
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Today I revised two thousand words of A Returning Power.

Just 38k to go...!

Seriously, though, if I'm going to revise this novel before the end of the year I need to get a move on. As in a thousand-word-per-day move on, ideally. Which will be a good trick, seeing as how the reason I could write today is that I had no physics class this morning. (We have a midterm this week.)

Some of it will need less revising than other parts, but at least a bit of it (at least a couple of chapters of it) will need a lot of revising.

I believe that I have a good draft/structure/whatever; I just have to go through and add more emotional arc for Shannon, and fix some of the worldbuilding stuff (part of which is, add in more nuance to the class-war situation), and make the prose tighter.


I'm of two minds about how to proceed on this novel: go through, revise it, and then send it out? Go through, revise, send it to some friends, tweak a little more, then send it out? But I know I can get involved in endless fiddling with the send-to-friends, tweak-bits thing. Maybe it would be better for me to just send something out to agents than to endlessly tweak? Gah. Who really knows?

Also also, a bunch of VP folk critiqued "Lightening" for me and now I want to fix that. But I can't because ARP comes first, darnit. (I have to be stern with myself on this one because otherwise I'll just get involved in short-story fixing forever.)


Apr. 16th, 2011 05:35 pm
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I have my second real analysis midterm now, but weirdly it's the homework rewrite due Tuesday that was frustrating me this morning--I have an idea of how to do all but one of the problems on the exam. I also figured out what I'm writing my second-to-last short essay for CST on! For some reason, "look at all your homework and figure out how to do it" counts as plenty of productivity for me on a Saturday.

Admittedly, this is enhanced by the fact that I cut off all my hair again today (yay--it had been getting long). Oh, and I spent a few minutes making the Scrivener scene files for this one sequence I re-organized on paper recently, though I haven't started modifying the text to fit what I need. Revising is an odd thing to get used to; it doesn't have an easy metric like "I wrote this number of words".

Yesterday I went to the theater department's production of Skin of Our Teeth. It is an odd play; I think it must have made more sense in 1942 or they wouldn't have given it the Pulitzer. Maybe not the whole hours thing in the last act, but the gender roles, maybe. And the sense that the world always gets destroyed and then we have to build it again--these days it seems like everyone thinks we're getting tiny apocalypses while slowly sliding into the abyss, and eventually we'll all just fall over the edge. (And the rest is silence.)

But the production was very well done--great costumes, great set (made out of cardboard apparently--the first time one of the actors picked up what looked like a flat and carried it off I was very startled), very good performances all around. Cute dinosaur. In the last act almost all the characters had half-size puppets of themselves with which they acted out the scenes, which was fascinating. They must have gotten a puppeteer in to teach them technique; they had clearly gotten trained in how to use puppets onstage, and it added a layer to all of the meta. What that layer means I'm still not sure, but it was really neat.

It's Spring Weekend or some such, which means vaguely obnoxious music drifting from the campus center last night and today--and a foam pit no one wants to play in when it's forty degrees out--but which also means that they had a fireworks display last night. Before the play Kate and I were eating dinner outside and saw them setting up. During the intermission I realized that the dull booms I had been hearing weren't sound effects for the play but fireworks, and promptly dragged her outdoors to look at them.

I love fireworks. The way they thump in your chest and the way that the new ones illuminate the drifting smoke-corpses of the last. It's vicarious, unreasoning enjoyment, and I adore it. Seen in the middle of Skin of Our Teeth it gave a sharp contrast to the affectations, the sometimes painfully self-aware meta... Just generally, too, I like the intellectualism on campus, but once in a while I need some fireworks to shake me out of my brain, send me running for the doors to watch them glitter and die.

I think I will be okay the rest of this semester. I've been having weird moments of doubt (mostly Do I want to be a physics major after all?), and--well, I have not really enjoyed real analysis this semester, which is Minnesotan Understatement for please get me out of this course it is breaking my brain. But all I have to remember is that no, that isn't all of life, not even my life, not even right now. I have fireworks and I have Kate and I have a ticket for the Janelle Monae concert in a couple of weeks, and I have some Scrivener files waiting for me to fill them with words. And I will get through the real analysis and the rest of quantum and all the rest of everything, and I will be okay.
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Elements for an excellent day:
- beautiful weather
- reading books (that might not be the greatest book you've ever read, and you might keep comparing it disfavorably with something else, but it's okay, I mean, you're still going to finish it)
- time to work on your novel
- hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] 1crowdedhour
- sitting out by the lake on the dock, barefoot, thinking about how to revise your last novel

Mix well. Most of these, I admit, could or do happen most days of this summer--except for hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] 1crowdedhour, which hadn't happened before and which rocked and which (I believe) should happen again.

Unfortunately for the last item on the list, I believe the next stage of the Novel Revision Plan might involve notecards. Which I own--once when I had a brief animation craze I asked for a whole bunch of notecards and a lightbox for my birthday, and I've hardly ever used any of them, so this aspect of the Plan might just be "I should really use some of those sometime"--but they're at the house I won't be at until a couple of days from now. So.

(Also I'm not really completely certain that the way I started thinking about last summer's novel is the best way to revise it. And "As Large as Alone" is still out, and I really want to have my copies of the Oresteia and Medea to hand when I'm revising "The Bodies of Erinyes", and you know what, I need another writing project.)

236 / 350

Flipping through a book catalog this evening, I stopped at a book called "The Tests of Time: Readings in the Development of Physical Theory". It's the discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Faraday, Maxwell, Einstein, Bohr, and Hubble in their own words--but when I glanced at I thought that it was going to be their discoveries retold in each other's styles. So, quantum theory told as Galileo would have understood it, or big bang theory as Copernicus might have written it up... I kind of wish that book existed.
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This post is large. It contains multitudes.

Fourth Street! )

While at the last panel at Fourth Street, I had an idea for a slightly related question.

How is your revision process (for novels, particularly, but short stories as well) reflected in the material things and/or software structures that you use?

(For example, if a writer restructures their novel in one stage and then goes through to polish, do they use notecards for restructuring, Scrivener, just work it out in a notebook? Do they print it out and go through to polish it, scroll through, check scenes individually?)

...however, it was not really relevant, so I am posing it here instead, or possibly will suggest it as a panel topic for next Fourth Street (if they let us submit panel topics) or WisCon or something. It seems interesting to me, at least. Some writing software is designed for certain things, and some for others, and since writers All Do It Differently, a certain amount of mishmash cobbling together of things is necessary, I should think.

Arrant pedantry, unrelated to both above )

I have a few more thoughts about Fourth Street (and conventions in general), Et Cetera, but right now I need to do my Ideomancer slush and work some more on my novel.
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I now have a fifth draft of "As Large as Alone". (Which is misleading. There were, for example, drafts 4.5, 4.6...) I have rewritten the beginning--yet again. I have changed several things. I have despaired over many things. In the grand tradition of my attitudes toward my writing, yesterday I thought that it was terrible and today I thought it was brilliant.

So I have declared this draft Done and started to send it to people. With luck this will be the definitive one (I say this every time, and if I say it enough times and say this enough times maybe I will start remembering it before I start saying it to begin with). Because arbitrary deadlines are useful, it would be nice if I could submit this somewhere by the end of the month. We'll see how that goes.

Also, it would be nice if I could start work on another story. I keep saying I'll start something, I have started something, but when I devote time and energy to writing somehow it keeps being spent on As Large as Alone. Once I send it out then I will have to work on something else. So there.
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So I have just registered for WisCon and Fourth Street Fantasy Convention.

Which means that yes, officially I will Be There (and, ancillary, yes, I will officially Be In Minnesota this summer--the physics people turned me down, which would be sad if it weren't for the fact that my summer is going to be equally awesome, just in different ways).

Also, I have no idea where I am staying for WisCon. Anyone have extra roomspace or anything?

Some other things have been happening lately: finally I know which dorm I'll be living in next year (yay!); I'm registering for classes today, and if nothing drastically changes I should be able to get into everything I want (double yay!); and also I did a whole bunch of financial aid stuff earlier this week, so even though there are still things left to do, well, yay!

There are less awesome things about--I feel like I have been losing focus a bit lately, it's so nice out and I want to spend all my time outside and/or with people, which is not so conducive to writing math papers on one's laptop/doing slush. Part of this is having just gotten done with tech for Dr. Horrible, I suspect. I should have some time today to catch up with things a bit more, and with any luck this weekend will also help.

(Also, I have this whole stack of library books on my windowsill I've been ignoring to read Dhalgren, which I feel vaguely guilty about.)

I'll also, I think, be calmer once I have the time to sit down and stare at "As Large as Alone" for a while with the comments on the last draft nearby. I've made some changes going off the biggest comments, but there are other things I still need to resolve, and looking at the items independently just makes me nervous. I still want to get this story Done With and Out. Gah.
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Some things that writers try to balance in the structure, word choice, punctuation, etc. of every sentence/paragraph/scene/chapter, A Short List:

- What sounds good? What won't break the flow?
- What is appropriate to the narrative voice, whatever that is?
- What makes sense?
- What presents events in the right order (chronological, etc.)?
- What would the characters in fact do?
- What moves the story and/or plot along?
- What enhances any one or several of a number of themes in this story?

Sometimes, many of these line up nicely. However, usually at least one is (or initially appears to be) (for the first few months) largely orthogonal to at least one of the others.

Rewriting: timestopped Tetris where you have to figure out what shape the blocks are by second- or third-hand testimony and staring at other people's Tetris games. Also, the board is circular but all your pieces seem to be made out of squares.
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I have an essay due and a midterm tomorrow, so of course after I wrote a bad draft of the essay this evening I worked on "As Large as Alone" instead.

The current problem with the story is that half or three-quarters of the people who read this story like it lots, and the rest don't seem get the main/surface plot on a pretty fundamental, possibly emotional level.

So of course instead of actually adding anything that explains--well--anything about the main plot, I am adding in tiny bits of exposition about other characters. The whole thing's from the perspective of the main character, though, so it's really putting in observations that she makes.

And that in turn should, if I am doing this right, make one of the main themes far more prominent. I have been startlingly non-obvious about this particular theme so far, which is probably why no one's picked up on it. On the other hand, this is what I see the story as being about, so it'd be nice if people could actually tell.

These changes will perhaps not do all that much to change perceptions, but working on it makes me feel better about myself for at least the period of time to when this draft hits people's inboxes and they tell me they're all still confused.

I said to someone around last-draft time that I had a third or a half of the story marked up to be fixed, and "the rest is bits that I haven't figured out yet what's wrong with them." Well, I am figuring out what is wrong with some of those bits. I certainly haven't changed every word in this story, or even every paragraph (every scene, though, probably), but it has been rewritten pretty thoroughly for all that.
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I am getting sick of As Large As Alone! (Edited to add: Also I am pretty sure it needs a different title.) I think this means that when I have resolved all my current issues with it, I should send it out to some people to see if in fact I have mucked it up beyond all repair.

Unfortunately, as soon as I resolve one problem, I realize something else that is wrong in it. Another sentence, another phrase, some other wrong note or chord. And then I glance through it and think that in fact the entire thing is flimsy, unsupported, and has no resonance to it at all.

I suspect this is what they mean when they say that works of art are never completed, only abandoned.

(Hey. I am making a work of art. That's pretty sweet.)
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Here's a theory, because I've felt inadequate a few times recently.

When most people think about writers, and the act of writing a story, we think about first-draft, putting words on the page. Outlining, just sitting and thinking, staring at that first draft and trying to see the shape of the story that's in there somewhere, chipping the story out slowly from the stone by changing one word or another... those aren't "really" writing.

So when I say I'm working on a story, most people think I mean I'm typing one paragraph after another. I think I mean I'm typing one paragraph after another. Not "I'm going through a Word document of my third draft, highlighting all the bits I want to change in the next draft, or that I need to think about, transferring notes from my paper copy like 'lifevest?'".

Surely it can't just be me who's gotten this idea? It's pernicious, because all the parts of writing are difficult, so degrading this aspect of the process is entirely unhelpful. And it sneaks in, through the inevitable cracks in your facade.

In happier news, a third of my story is now highlighted in cheerful turquoise! The parts which are not highlighted will have to wait for later drafts, because I can't see what's wrong with them right now.

I've been using an external mouse since my laptop's click-button died. It works very well, except when I want to sit on my bed and work on a story (again, the pernicious!). Then after half an hour my hand starts cramping up because the angles are weird. Oh, technology, why must you make me sad? (Anyone had experience with this problem? I have a MacBook, almost two years old now.)
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It is sort of astounding just how frequently I assume that I am Doing It Wrong when it comes to writing. Regardless of how many times I am told that there is no one way, et cetera, et cetera.

Still! Lately I have not started anything new. Instead I have been poking on and off at this short story I wrote in August. I wrote the first draft with great assurance and emotion, which made it hard if not impossible to look at it objectively. I still cannot really look at it objectively, but it's easier now to look at craft and not "ooh look at this shiny thing I found!".

A lot of the pieces of the story tie together nicely already. There was one loose end, though, and this morning I had some time to sit and think about it, and whether I should excise that element completely or weave it in, and if weaving, in what way. And I figured out how it could weave in, and how it should weave in, and does.

It will take some delicate touches, and hopefully it will work. Maybe it won't, and then I will be back to the drawing board. But there you have it.

So my point to myself is that this is part of learning to write, too. Eventually maybe I will learn to work on many things at the same time, but there are clearly still things for my head to work out about this one. Which is totally legitimate.

(The reason I had time to think about it was because of a happy accident of scheduling this semester. My math class ends at ten, my next class is physics at eleven. They're in the same building complex, so even though my dorm is less than five minutes' walk away, it makes more sense to just hang out there. If all my classes were done at eleven and I had an hour before lunch, I'd probably spend it checking my email, but since I am Out and Doing Things, I can focus on writing. Win!)
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Okay, so I have a theory about the novel-revision thing. This theory goes as follows: part of the reason why I can't seem to get my head around it is because I have only been looking at it on the screen.

However, it seems silly to print out 320 pages of novel if I'm just going to change a bunch of them.

(On the other hand, if it would be a useful exercise, it'd probably be worth it.)

So here's the question.

When you're revising a novel, do you print it all out? When? To what purpose? If I were to print it out, would you advise me to print out 320 full-sized pages, or cramp it in eight-point single-spaced two-pages-on-one-sheet to save paper?

(I realize that at least some of this, and probably all, is deeply personal--maybe one writer has to have it printed out double-spaced in Courier, and someone else can do it six-point font four pages on one sheet so they do--but I thought I'd get an idea of the range out there anyway, and an idea of where to start.)
aamcnamara: (alena)
One could call that an outline of the rough draft of that novel I wrote this summer. Ten pages, each chapter divided into scenes and noted for content, time, characters, setting. It's a little amazing how many new things I saw while going through it this way. Things like where the major events fall, both within chapters and within the structure of the novel. ("Chapter endings being major turns" starts happening near the end of the novel.) Things like how many scenes it takes for a specific character to fall in with Our Heroes (less than one, in some cases), how many scenes a particular character is in overall... there's a lot of stuff in here that I wouldn't have seen otherwise, that it'll take me a while to sort out and recalibrate.

So far, this month in college, my writing work has been pretty scattershot--I'll spend a day and a half one weekend revising a short story, not do anything for several days to a week, poke at the novel-in-progress to the tune of a few hundred words some day, do the last ten chapters of my novel outline the next evening.

After the ritualistic write-some-on-the-novel-every-day of this summer, it takes some adjusting to. I still would like to get back into the habit of writing every day, but some concession has to be made for various things. (Like having classes and homework and friends to hang out with, none of which were particularly urgent points this summer.)

In other news, I discovered in my first day of the Awesome Job that I need a watch to keep time with while I'm sitting in the rare book room (or I'll just stay there all day). Therefore, I will soon be the proud owner of a pocket watch.
aamcnamara: (alena)
I appear to have finished the first revision of the fondly-called Dead People In Lakes Story, which may, in fact, be called "As Large as Alone", except that that is as confusing of a title to parse at first glance as "The Only Thing I Know I Am Is Lonely" is. (Maybe I will do a poll eventually.)

Rollercoaster ride of emotions typical to revisions happened today. It was a blast. Literally five minutes between "this story rocks!" and "augh I can't find a way to fit 'sly' into this sentence, this story will never work".

Other than that, I had one of those gloriously productive days where you don't feel like you have any more energy than normal, but you get up and start doing things and then you do the next thing and it never quite occurs to you to stop. In this manner, I cut my hair, figured out how to open up a windowfan that's been in the bathroom window for years, cleaned it out for the first time in as many years, did laundry for college-packing... you get the idea.

So it's unlikely that anything else (see: novel revisions, drafting of new story) will get done tonight. Instead I may read more of The Pinhoe Egg (completing my reread of all the Chrestomanci books but Conrad's Fate, which is in a box on its way to college for me, and the rest of Magicians of Caprona, which I stopped reading the other day for no reason I can remember), and then go to bed.
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Today I made about 400 new words on the story I started working on yesterday. A lot of it is filler, but now I have a few more characters to use when I tighten everything up later, and know a little bit more about my main character. (Including that I need to do a bunch of research to get his narration right. Ouch.)

I also sent off my box of books to college--14" x 14" x 14" box, pretty much completely full. Sending it off terrified me. I was glad that the postal workers didn't start heaving it into any bins while I was still there, because if they had I probably would have walked around for several hours looking at things without seeing them. (I attach to books as physical objects. Also--those are fifty of my favorite books, right there! If that gets lost, what do I do? Cry and then buy new ones, I suppose, but still.)

Revisions on the dead people in lakes story are still pending, because I have too little brain for them tonight, but just enough brain for outlining the rough draft of my novel. I'm seven chapters into it, out of thirty, and already seeing many, many things that are wrong. My brain keeps going "Alena! Why do you need to outline the draft you have already written? You know what happens in it, after all..." but I cannot let myself listen. Even though it's painful, I figure I'd better keep going, because I'm guessing I'll find as many things wrong again in successive chapters.
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First, a rant about asthma and pharmaceutical companies! )
Writing news, however, is better.

150 words on a story that now has a main character, who even has a name. I false-started this one a couple of times, but this beginning feels way more solid than anything else I've come up with.

Also, I printed out what I now fondly call the "dead people in lakes story" to go through.
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This weekend has been sort of a zilch for new words on the Formerly A Notanovel. However, today I went for an unexpected walk along the river (accompanied by the sound of the AIDS walk on the parkway), and thought about the shapes that are starting to form in the novel, and scribbled down a few notes to myself about how things should go in revisions. Since this first version is nowhere near finished yet, and I know that it will surprise me many more times before it is, the notes to myself may end up being entirely useless, but it's good to keep a record of them anyway.

Spring has definitely sprung in Minnesota, and hopefully will stick around for a little while longer. I am enjoying it immensely.

Last night I went to see a play with a very long title, also known as That New Tony Kushner Play, with [livejournal.com profile] aliseadae. It was a piece of theater which was in some ways very strange and in some ways perfectly normal. Or trying to be strange in normal ways. This was true of both the writing and the staging. It made me think, though mostly about whether or not I liked it.

There is a conversation often heard among Twin Cities techies: "Wouldn't it be awesome if our set [could rotate, moved in and out by itself, had a working washing machine/fountain/stove, really rained, etc.]?" "We could do that. If we had the Guthrie's set budget." It was that kind of set.

The Internet informs me that what I thought was the second official performance, was, in fact, the second preview performance. I would be interested to see what the show looks like when it's made it to official performances, but find myself unwilling to spend sixty dollars I don't have for a ticket to see it again. (I got free tickets this time, through Project Success, which might be one of the coolest things about Minneapolis public schools.)

As noted above, I am entirely uncertain whether, in the end, I liked it or not. I am similarly uncertain whether to recommend it. Certainly, in the almost-four-hours it runs, I rarely found myself bored, which is something.

May 2017



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