Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun With Editing

As I write this, the second draft of my book, as I proceed through the first round of editing, is 52,027 words long.

I'm pretty excited about that number, because while I'm getting close to the end, I'm not there yet. That means the book will be long, but not too long. The other week I put together an estimate draft of all the rough pieces, not altered at all, copied and pasted into one document, just to see. It had 52,269 words.

Yes, I did add some story at the beginning, to ground the main characters and allow a picture of them at the most normal their life will ever be for the rest of the story.

I'm excited that this book is getting longer than I thought it would be, and intimidated by the fact that other books in the genre have more words. The Hunger Games, for example, has around 90,000. I Googled that, by the way. I don't nerd that much.

Me and editing have a love/hate relationship. I love that the story is taking shape and becoming more of what I want it to be. I hate that I can't just turn out the perfect book in one shot, but that's really not possible.

So it's been quiet on my end because I've been trying to truly finish this book. This draft is for working out all the typos that resulted when I typed from the raw draft and only focused on getting words on the screen. Working at an insane pace means I can get to the meaty editing, where all the story kinks will be worked out. Hopefully that means I'll have some bits at the beginning of the book, which I'll up here and probably on Wattpad or something. Fiction Press, too, if I feel so inclined. Once I'm happy with it, it's time for formatting and cover design, because this baby's gonna be an e-book first. Then I'll dive into print book design.


Also, it's Friday. Who doesn't love that?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

So Little and Yet So Much

This post will be very short.

I'm currently in the editing process, and hoping to have some actual excerpts of the finished product up soon. I found this poem from a Lovecraft story I haven't read yet. When I read it, the poem felt so fitting with my book, its plot, and the ideas therein. It's from the story Polaris. Please enjoy.

    "Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,
    Six and twenty thousand years
    Have revolv'd, and I return
    To the spot where now I burn.
    Other stars anon shall rise
    To the axis of the skies;
    Stars that soothe and stars that bless
    With a sweet forgetfulness:
    Only when my round is o'er
    Shall the past disturb thy door."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Where Was Twilight When I Was a Kid?

 A couple days ago, I read this article on It's called 9 Reasons to be Grateful for Twilight, and it's a pretty good article. (The site's awesome, too. Seriously, check it out if you love sci-fi or anything geekish. It's great.) I'm gonna zero in on one point, though.

Twilight made young adult books cool.

Growing up in the early 2000s, you'd think that publishers just assumed that teenagers didn't read. It's not like the entire young adult genre was non-existant; it just didn't get a lot of attention. Back then I didn't read the Harry Potter books, and even if I had, that was only a few books, because not all of them had come out yet. My local library was pretty disappointing anyway, but even big chain bookstores like Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble didn't have much to offer beyond those horrible coming of age novels about puberty and survival or some junk. 

I did have the Lord of the Rings books, and I did read them five times. I have The Hobbit, which has been consumed three or four times. I also read a few of the Princess Diaries series. I actually have the first five of those. They're pretty beaten.

And folks, if you're counting, that's a grand total of nine books. Add the Christy Miller series, and that makes twelve, but they were extremely short novels, between 150 and 200 pages each.

So beyond an epic, much imitated fantasy and a blip of teen chick lit, I didn't read all that much of any variety. I was ecstatic when I discovered the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon, hiding at Books-A-Million one afternoon. But I needed more. I wanted adventure books, with swords and fighting and action and maybe a little romance and possibly some sarcasm. I couldn't find anything I liked at stores because there wasn't anything to find, or at least anything I liked. I mean, I'm picky, but come on. I wanted something more. When I started writing my book, I took it as my mission to provide some sort of epic fantasy to my overlooked generation.

I kept writing my book and looking for stuff to read and chatting on internet forums (though most of that had been LOTR, and didn't last to long after the last movie came out. I'd also probably be more excited about The Hobbit if this year was 2005.) I graduated from high school and headed off to college, met a lot of friends who loved to read as much as I did (and who also enjoyed LOTR) and my angsty, whiny self calmed down and took a backseat and went shopping a whole lot. At some point in 2005, Twilight made its PG-rated debut on bookshelves and became a bestseller. I guess that's when publishers and booksellers began to notice an entire demographic.

When I finished my junior year of college, I decided I needed a break from Bob Jones University. I wanted to take some time off, work, and finish up a correspondence course on the Protestant Reformation. I applied, and finally, late in the summer, got a job at Books-A-Million.

I've talked before about the business effects of the first Twilight film, which came out in 2008, at the same time I was working in the bookstore, and how it led to more people purchasing books (and us running out of New Moon right as Christmas shopping picked up.) By that time, the fourth book was out, and selling crazy. At some point that year, Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games came out. I remember seeing it at B&N in Greenville SC.

Suddenly, what I wished for in high school has come true. Yeah, it took a minute, but the YA section at B&N is much bigger than I ever remember it being when I was a teenager. I still browse every so often, checking out cover design (because I straight nerd over stuff like that.) I like to see where the trend is going. Looks like vampires and werewolves are still pretty solid, but the really cool kids are post-apocalypse survivors

I still read YA, and I'm not alone. No, I'm not trying to reclaim my youth. I'm 26 and I don't feel that age anyway. A lot of YA is just plain good, quick fiction, which is what I've looked for. Something I can curl up with at night, under a blanket. Something that will give my brain a break because I'm working on my own stuff.

I admit, I'm a little jealous. I wish there had been more books for teens when I was a teenager, more of the adventurous stuff that I craved. But I'm glad that demographic is no longer ignored. And hey, if I get some good entertainment out of the deal, all the better.

Because let's be honest. At the end of the day, there is nothing quite like a good book, a warm puppy, and a nice cup of coffee for curling up with on a lovely rainy day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Tomorrow (or later today, if you like) I will be participating in my third presidential election, and I'll be home tomorrow night to watch the results come in. I'm pretty excited about that part; it's something I've always enjoyed. The last time, in 2008, I was working during the election results.

I was working at a bookstore that is now closed because the economy has gotten so bad.

I did not vote for Obama in 2008, and I really wasn't thrilled about either choice (mostly because I do prefer governors as presidents.) However, I especially don't like when people pretend to be what they are not. I pity those who try so hard for hipness that they lack the substance of a real personality. I didn't like Barack Obama as a candidate (and I still don't) because he carried with him that air of privilege that so pervades the career politicians in the Democratic party. Because I've found that I'm more libertarian than anything else, it didn't sit right with me. He talked about hardship when he had gone to private school; he jogged freaking everywhere; he rolled his sleeves up while talking to blue collar workers, which is something that rubs me the wrong way when baby boomer politicians do it; it reeks of falseness, like Jimmy Carter and his peanut ads in the 70s. Give me a break.

This time around, I'm supposed to care more about $9 a month birth control than keeping my job or paying my school loans back. I'm also supposed to be scared that, because I'm a woman, I have to vote for Obama because I can't take care of myself against the big bad Republican party.

Frankly, I'm insulted. I can take care of myself just fine.

What does worry me is that I've watched government get huge since 2008, and probably before. Either way, the economy hasn't gotten better, and if Obama remains the president, I don't see that changing at all. The worse an economy is, especially the way it's been molded and shaped to end up since sometime last century, the bigger government can get. Yes, that's simplistic logic, but if the American people want a hand to hold, not a person to lead, then absolute control can sneak up on you. I've seen on a very small, very personal level what can happen when local government decides that what they offer is above criticism. It's terrifying.

Back to that bookstore. I read an article the other day that put forth the idea that people like me, who self-publish, who price their work lower in order to get it into readers' hands, and who have decided to do something different than the old way, are responsible for the death of the publishing industry. We deviants will single-handedly destroy publishing and maybe books because we want to get our ideas out there for others to see without having to gain the approval of whatever intern or acquisitions editor is dealing with insomnia or maybe a hot flash that day.

I can assure you, not one of us caused that bookstore to close. Books are a luxury. In an economy where it's food vs. Stephen King, as far as your wallet's concerned, guess which one wins for most people?

Right now, my country doesn't need a buddy to hang out at the gym with. I sure as heck don't. I don't need a few people running the country and telling the majority what to do. That doesn't cut it where my book is concerned, and it certainly doesn't cut it for my country.

And that is why I will not be casting my vote for Barack Obama.