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Deliberate Imperfection

I read once that Islamic artists deliberately leave imperfections in their work, because only Allah has the right to be perfect. I also read once that stories are never truly finished; they are merely abandoned. In the spirit of these things, I progress through the final edits of my novel.

Bi-la kaifa.

Genius Engineer Husband Strikes Again!

Upon learning I was about to undertake a somewhat complex revision process, my GEH (short for Genius Engineer Husband) rises to his feet, points his slide rule in the air and proclaims, "I can make a spreadsheet for that!"

And so he did.

It's a fine creation consisting of a page for each chapter plus one for the template and one for calculating how close I am to completion. I spent the day today gathering my notes, his notes and my beta reader's notes into an outline and then breaking that into overall, section and chapter edits. Afterward, I plugged them into the spreadsheet, and now all I have to do is go from chapter to chapter ticking each item off as I address it.

When there are Casbahs which need rocking, the GEH arrives, and he rocks them.

Bi-la kaifa.

Section Edits for TWSP Complete

Last night, I finally completed section edits for Part III of TWSP. I still hope to get some planning done for whole-novel edits this evening using a very fine spreadsheet Sean created for that purpose. Tomorrow I'm occupied with a number of errands, but I'll begin the final pass through the book on Tuesday and start polishing a synopsis. I hope plan to have it polished and ready to send out by the end of the calendar year.

An Observation Upon Revising Chapter 16

I'm finding that the more worldbuilding I packed into my chapters, the better the prose tends to be upon revision. Chapters 14 & 16 were tough to write because they were so alien, so I assumed they'd be harder to revise. But it's the other way around. The harder the chapter was to draft, the easier it is to edit. Maybe I was paying better attention to the hard stuff, or something.

Beginning Final Edits

I've taken the requisite week off after finishing the last chapter of Twilight of the World Sea People, and I begin a section pass tomorrow for Chapters 13-17. I'm really looking forward to it too; they were the hardest and most alien chapters to write, but I felt great about each one as I finished it. I honestly don't think they need much, but I owe them a look before I begin the final edits.

He showed up in my head.

I used to think it was somewhat cliché for a writer to claim that characters 'arrived' in her head and needed to be written 'their way'. I know better now and would add that one of the great joys of writing is discovering where the story is going before anyone else does, as it unfolds on the page.

I have some interesting places to go in Book II.

Very close to the end of Book I. Writing the last 1000ish words today and tomorrow.

Pre-draft Research Bibliography

At one time, this bibliography represented the body of my research for Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom. However, I realized many years ago that for the better part of my species and planet-building (alien physiology, land ecology, etc.) I neglected to add my scientific sources to this list. Since most of those were Internet science resources, and since I didn't bookmark them, there are gaps in my bibliography where these subjects are concerned.

Therefore, this is a best-effort bibliography of my pre-draft researches, reasonably accurate with the aforesaid caveats to 2007, when the primary world-building for this series was completed. I have excluded resources I reviewed and subsequently discarded along with resources specific to world-building and the writing craft in general.

Of course, none of the individuals whose work is represented here have endorsed my novels, and any factual errors present in the final series are surely mine.

Two Hard Lessons

I've always tried hard to walk the line between speaking my truth and remaining professional in my public journal space. I value truth-tellers and bold speakers who do not cower behind political correctness and herd mentality, even when I disagree with what they have to say. However, I am uncomfortable with finger-pointing and ad hominem attacks as well, so I try hard to refrain from those things. All this by way of saying that I hope you'll forgive the abstractions in the following entry; I'd like to discuss a couple of hard lessons I've learned this week, but I'd rather not mention names.

ENG 223: Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature

I wrote this course in compliance with Eastern Maine Community College's requirements as a Liberal Arts elective for second-year students who had already completed a composition course and a general literature course. I am providing this information for those educators who want to add Science Fiction and Fantasy literature to their curricula or to expand existing curricula to include such literature. All downloadable files on this page are compiled in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format, and you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view them.


Course Proposal & Syllabus

(Right click and choose "Save Link As" to download these files and stay on this page at the same time.)

[inline:eng223courseproposal.pdf]
[inline:eng223syllabusspring2005.pdf]

Over-editing is a time-sink and kills sustainable writing goals.

I've just finished a paper read (as opposed to a screen read) of TWSP Part 1 and learned some valuable lessons. It has taken me a year to write the 160-odd pages I've just read, and that's far too long for anyone hoping to earn a living as a writer. That time wasn't entirely spent in drafting though. I draft at a respectable pace; I can put down 1000 words a day easily, and that's a sustainable level of work for a novelist. The problem has been the amount of time I've spent editing the manuscript along the way.

First, there was the initial edit of the previous day's work. Then there was the edit I did at the end of each chapter scene. After that came the chapter edit and the final edit I did of Part 1 over the last two weeks. Each of these entailed a plotting component to ferret out story problems and a mechanics component to look for sentence-level issues. Honestly, for every hour I spent putting words on the page, I spent another six to ten looking back at them.

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