Daily Check-In, editing, journa, Writing

Small Victories

Today in Mommy-Land

Trying to get back on the blogging horse! This morning, Andy, the Little Man, and I went out with my good friend K— to breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn (deeeeelicious). Little Man had tastes of pancake, non-spicy sausage, potato fries, and french toast, which he loved very much. While K— and I caught up, he and Andy walked around. My mother got him some itty bitty baby shoes with good soles on them, and now that he’s discovered walking outside (it’s been so beautiful, weather-wise lately!), he almost never wants to stop. He looks so big wearing shoes! Like a proper toddler, and not much of a baby at all.

Yesterday, we took him to the library park for the first time, and he rode on the baby swings (pretty fun), sat on a wobbly thing (with support–kind of fascinating), spun on a whirligig with Mom (okay, kinda weird), and slid down a slide with Daddy (NOT FUN AT ALL, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING MEEEEE?!) Then we went to Mine Falls in Nashua, and walked around for quite a while. It was so beautiful out, and it’s been spoiling me something rotten to have Andy around mid-week. We figure we’ll soak it up now, since come July, I probably won’t see him for a year. XD

We also bought a pint of kumquats to try, since we’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a kumquat plant, but weren’t sure if we’d like it. I’m pleased to report, we do! They’re very citrusy–like an orange-lemon combo–with quite a tart kick, but very sweet, edible rinds. I, personally, prefer to remove the rind, since it has a way of sticking around in my teeth after I’ve eaten it, but otherwise, they’re quite tasty.

Today in Writer-Land

As is always the case when Andy’s around these days, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, though I did start the retyping of a short story I’m editing on Monday, so that’s making slow but measurable progress. I also found out that one of my short stories, “Snap,” is being held at a really nice little small press publication, so fingers crossed on that one! Got two other rejections yesterday and today (rawr…), but got them both resubmitted this afternoon (yay!).

In keeping with the title, my small victory is this: I counted my total rejections from 2014 and 2015 (so far), and last year I got a total of 19 rejections, and so far just within the first four months of 2015, I’ve gotten 21! Now, this may not seem like a victory, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: in previous years (prior to 2014), I’m not sure I even submitted fiction 19 times. So that’s Victory #1. And then on top of that, I’ve already topped my 2014 total submissions, so I’m doing better than last year!

Here’s a question: What metrics–writing-wise–do you find helpful to track/keep a record of?

I’ve determined I need to focus more on competing with myself when it comes to writing, rather than constantly measuring myself up against more successful authors. For one, it’s not a fair measurement, because I only see the good things going on for them, and oftentimes they’ve been in the field a lot longer than I have. For two, it takes the focus off the writing, which is really the only thing I have control over. So I’m doubling-down on self-awareness and trying to be mindful about the kinds of discouraging thoughts that pop into my head on a near-constant basis. I also want to start tracking my own process metrics (total submissions, for example). I’ve been considering metrics like personalized-to-form rejections ratio from markets I submit to often, maybe word count (though that’s tricky with editing, which is most of what I’m doing these days), maybe length of project (how long it takes from when I start a new story vs. if/when I finish editing and submit it), etc. So what works for you/what data do you find interesting to follow?

It's all about the Data...
It’s all about the Data…

Beginning the New Year

So I’m not even going to try to disguise the fact that I am BLATANTLY AND UNABASHEDLY copying fantastist and brilliant author Cherie Priest’s blog style for the time being. (Also read my interview with her and her story in Apex Magazine here!) I’ve yet to find another format that so succinctly captures what I enjoy in a writer’s blog, so for now, I’m just gonna do what any beginner does: I’m going to copy the masters. :)

Basically, these will be brief, daily posts to keep myself on track and remind myself what I actually got done over the course of the day, even if that’s just getting in a much needed nap. They’ll be primarily writing-related, but I’ll probably add in a few little things about the day in general here and there when interesting. :)

WRITING PROJECT: In a world where wars are waged in shadow and the separation between man and machine is shrinking by the day, a war-droid wielding cyborg-girl begins a secret battle against those who would control her and destroy the only chance of a future she’s ever had.

Working Title: Shadow Games: Book 1 of the Shadow Engines duology
Added Words: 2,431
Total Words (to date): 86,305

Happening Today in the World of Fiction!: Well-meaning Keon finds himself in hot water again, returning to his home only to find that his return was perhaps orchestrated by his psychotic half-brother, Sarad. The local police are not amused, but at least the hostages are being released, so that’s good, right? RIGHT?

Notes: Continuing this project from NANO, and trying to wrap it up into a completed rough draft. Shouldn’t have too much left to go, really–just a handful of chapters–and things are clipping along rather nicely after the holiday break (surprise!).

EDITING PROJECT: Ghosts and legends and Bluebeard, oh my! The cold Maine coastline! Haunted grounds! Ribbons and bitter, ghostly wives! Dueling secrets! True love? Perhaps!

Current Editing Project: Nobody Here But Us Monsters
Accomplished in Edits: I’ve been going through the first couple chapters of David Madden’s Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers, because for those of you following this blog, you’ll know revision has been my major tripping stone these past few years. Today, it was more of a thinking day. I have something of a good core for NHBUM, but I’ve been struggling with the PoV–how much to show, from whose perspective, how best to effectively show the character dynamics without giving too much away too early while leading to a good payoff at the end. I wrote several aborted drafts in first Bluebeard’s POV (1st Person), and then an alternating Bluebeard/NewWife POV (both alternating 1st POV), but neither of those worked.

The latest, completed draft, was of the New Wife exclusively, in 1st again, but attempts to determine to whom she’s speaking and why she’s relating this story, and how to tell it without giving her secret away too much while still playing fair–Eh, needless to say, it’s been a minefield.

After today’s thinking, I think I may be on the right track, starting from pseudo-scratch using 1st person but this time from the plural perspective of Bluebeard’s seven dead and bitter wives who still haunt the manor. Instead of them trying to save the New Wives, these dead women are so humiliated and enraged by how they were tricked and trapped by this terrible man, that they instead seek constantly to prove that they were not stupid to look, that it was not *their* fault that they gave in to his test, and therefore attempt to prove this by sucking in all the new wives and getting them to look. It offers just what I needed in terms of tension and dynamic that both shows and hides the secrets of both Bluebeard and his New Wife, and yet ultimately should still make for a good payoff in the end. Anyway, got about 500 new words on the rewrite done, so that’s something, and I’ve got a clearcut path now. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings!