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  • Draft 3 of By Duty Bound Complete

    Last Saturday I finished Draft 3 of By Duty Bound, which is a lot of progress. I’ve taken a short “break” in the interim, both to unwind from the grueling pace I set and to compile materials I know will help me with the next step: Proof Reading. I keep a checklist of common grammar and spelling mistakes, and a list of common issues I’ve noticed crop up in my writing. For instance, during my last editing pass I noticed that I am using the words “just”, “really”, “simply”, “immediately”, and “actually” far too often. Obviously I tried to fix that during my last edit, however this checklist reminds me to do a very through check by using common word-processing functions like Find and Replace, allowing me to locate every instance of these sorts of mistakes and be sure I fix them.

    As I was editing Draft Three I was helped by a new beta reader who gave me some good comments (in addition to some flattery). Actually implemented most of his suggestions to some degree or another, in addition to fixing some other issues I noticed. There is only one major thing that he pointed out that I haven’t fixed, although not for lack of wanting to. The problem is that he believes (and I agree) one of my characters is underutilized. Unfortunately, correcting that would mean rewriting large swaths of the book and I am so late in the process that it would basically send me back at least 4, and likely more, since I would need to restart editing process.

    In any case, I’m not exactly sure how long it will take me to work my way through this new checklist. It is about 9 pages long, and once I reach the end of it (and do a couple other things) I can say that I am finished with drafts and move on to release candidates. Doubt I will have the book ready by May like I hoped, but am definitely going to have it out by summer. Already thinking about how I want to go about handling the launch (if I want to have it up for preorder or what have you). Those are all business-y decisions, however.

  • Pens

    This is a post I’ve been wanting to make for a while, which feels really weird to say considering this is going to be all about pens. How long you ask? Well, instead of launching into a hyperbolic story I shall answer you with a single image:

     

    Those of you with keen eyes will notice that the Last Modified date for the post was in December of 2015, nearly 2 years ago. If you have bothered to look you will also notice that it was just a few months after I first launched my blog. I have sat on this for a couple of years, mostly because I wasn’t sure I should ramble on about what I like about pens.

    Continue reading  Post ID 804

  • Adventures in Vertigo

    So just as I hoped I was getting over my illness, I got struck down by new (even worse) symptoms. Not sure if this was unrelated to the initial sickness or just a sign it had moved elsewhere in my body, but if I thought constant coughing, congestion, and sore throats were bad I was about to get shown something far worse: Vertigo. Initially very intense vertigo.

    At first I assumed it was just a sign I had stared at my computer screen too long (sometimes that can disorient me), but when I took a break things didn’t improve. Instead they got far, far worse. I was effectively unable to move. Literally. I was lying in bed, and even moving my arms or legs caused the sensation to intensify, regardless of if the rest of my body remained stationary.  All I could do was lay in bed and try to keep completely still while focusing on my breathing. An hour later the dizziness had subsided enough that I was able to get up and function, but I remained disoriented until that night.

    In the days that followed things were never quite that bad, but I kept having spells of dizziness and light-headedness. These got fewer and more mild as time went on, thankfully, but kept me more or less incapacitated until recently. Obviously certain activities made everything worse (basically anything that involves me looking up and down a lot, or has me turning quickly).

    That said, it has given me some ideas for how illness can play into a story. So often sicknesses are portrayed as the usual symptoms: coughing, sneezing, fever. All that is fine, but I can imagine how something like an inner ear infection could cause bad headaches and vertigo, which would lead to different challenges for a character beyond merely feeling bad.

  • November NaNoWriMo plans, book update!

    Just a short update before I start having regular posts going up here once more (I’ve got a backlog built up that should carry me through November), but I wanted to officially say that I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Everything is already set to go, I just need to throw the switch and start working on it.

    There is one slight caveat: because I will be traveling by car for Thanksgiving I intend to start 2 days early (tomorrow) to make up for the time I will lose driving. For a time I actually considered starting 5 days early (enough to cover the entire duration of my Thanksgiving plans), but ultimately decided that didn’t really fit the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

    To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit nervous about this undertaking. This year hasn’t been the greatest for me when it comes to writing, so I’m a bit wary of my ability to complete this. That said, I’ve found that doing the thing that keeps me feeling safe is rarely the way forward.

    For those that are interested, I am also beginning the next editing pass on my novel. This is less about major story changes, and more just cleaning up what is there, tightening the prose, and so forth. At this point I am committed to launching the book in Spring of 2018, but I am not yet ready to set down a specific date so keep an eye out.

  • Eclipse (Aug. 21st, 2017)

    So the big news today pretty much everywhere in the US is the eclipse. To be honest, I had an opportunity to drive about an hour north to see the totality region, however as I didn’t buy any viewing glasses (and was reluctant to deal with the traffic that would be caused by everyone else who had the same thought), I decided to stay home.

    Still, my area is pretty close to there. If I had to guess I would say around +90%. That still ends up being pretty bright, around sunset levels of light, but that still makes for a pretty sharp contrast. As I write this we are about 15 minutes past our darkest point.

    Continue reading  Post ID 804

  • Slow, Steady Progress

    Currently about 40% done with this revision of By Duty Bound, and in the midst of the parts that need heavy structural changes. This always feels like a serious slog, and now is no different. Fortunately I know that putting the work in NOW will mean less work overall later.

    That doesn’t make it any less of a drag though.

    I mention this because I have just run into the first chapter that needs a lot of changes (including one whole scene that requires a complete rewrite). In all about 5 (maybe 6) chapters that need this level of care. Everything else can be fixed more quickly, unless I am misjudging my notes. If I do my job well then the next drafts will get to delve into the nitty-gritty of grammar and story flow. Oh joy.

  • 1st Draft Done, Revisions Begin

    Today I finished the 1st Draft of my book and have started on the major revisions I decided needed to be done in service to the story.

    If you look at my progress graph you’ll see that I am already 32% done, however this is misleading as I was casually working on this already and I track my progress by how many chapters are “done.” In this case the work is not evenly distributed between chapters (a few scenes and even chapters need something approaching a total rewrite, while others need significant work but nothing so serious that I cannot rework what is already there).

    By my estimation, most of the “heavy” work is contained to five or six chapters. No deadline yet because I want to attempt tackling at least one of these to see how long it takes before I make any estimations.

  • Back in the Swing

    Recently started making progress again!

    I’ve had quite a few thoughts about getting back into work. Keeping up this blog, editing, and writing are things that I know I was doing all at the same time prior to my grandmother’s death, so re-learning how to balance all of it is an interesting experience.

    There are a lot of thoughts I’ve had as a result of everything that’s gone on in the past few months (I figure that is pretty much unavoidable when a family member passes away). Nothing that I would consider unique by any means. Mostly I was taken by surprise by how hard I took it, especially since I felt like I was ready for when this happened. On top of that what I felt was so delayed that at first I didn’t realize it was connected.

    In any case, I’ve been plowing back into work again, and gradually adding more on top of it as I feel able to take it on.