2/13/05: Progress on several fronts

Word count: 120818 | Since last entry: 2715 | This month: 2715 Well, it appears to be about two weeks since I last posted. Sorry. I have been writing, honest (as you can see by the wordcount above), but on those days when I was writing I was too busy to post and on those days when I was not writing I was… er, also too busy to post. The main thing that has been consuming my energy of late has been the day job, where I still am nearly full-time on each of two projects (a situation unlikely to change any time soon). I have been too brain-dead on most weekday evenings to do much more than watch television, a rare activity for me. Mind you, the new Battlestar Galactica is actually very good. Lost, on the other hand, after a strong start, is beginning to annoy me with its increasingly elaborate tricks to keep the characters from learning anything at all about the mysteries of the island. The 2700 words above represents about 800 additional words on the novel and 1900 words on the unicorn story — which is now complete, yay. I need to crit it soon and send my suggested changes to Sara. I feel pretty good about it; it’s definitely a story that neither of us could have written by ourselves. I think the main character could be emotionally strengthened, the antagonist made more sympathetic, and more sensory detail added, but one thing’s for sure: this is a unicorn story unlike any other unicorn story you have ever read. The 800 words on the novel represents a complete redraft of the first bit of the first Jason chapter, which used to be the Prologue and is now Chapter A. This draft focuses on Jason’s grief and anger over his parents and replaces exposition with emotional description. (One of my themes for this rewrite is: Add Emotion Through Description. I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone, and so far I think it is working.) At this rate it will take me at least several more writing days to complete the new Chapter A, and then I have a heavy new scene to write in Chapter 1 in which Clarity goes to New York and sees with her own eyes when Vigor falls ill. This is the third time I’ve written the beginning of this novel, but it really is getting better each time. After that will come a thorough revision pass on the whole thing. Probably won’t get it in the mail by my birthday as promised, but soon, I tell you, soon. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate revisions? I got some late comments from a couple of my first-readers, which indicated that they would have been lost without the time map at the top of each chapter. I’m also finding it really hard to nail down the chapters in time with sufficient precision to prevent confusion. Despite Dean’s feedback, I might put the time maps back in. I also might compromise and put a single time map at the beginning. I wonder what the procedure is to include a map in the manuscript? Is it a numbered page? Apart from the novel, this has been a week full of good writing news. I got an email from David Hartwell looking to buy “Charlie the Purple Giraffe” (from the June 2004 Realms of Fantasy) for his Year’s Best Fantasy anthology; the same story was also mentioned in the Locus Recommended Reading List and has picked up two Nebula recommendations. And “Tk’Tk’Tk” (from the March 2005 Asimov’s) garnered me two fan emails today, plus several very positive comments on the Asimov’s message board (“a very memorable story”… “one of the more powerful SF stories in recent memory”… “an intensely visceral read”). Plus Gardner Dozois mentioned me twice in his Year in Review column for Locus. So I am a very happy writing puppy. Apart from the revisions, that is. Japanese class tomorrow night. 7 AM teleconference with India, followed by offsite customer visit, on Tuesday… bleah. More writing Wednesday, maybe.

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