From the Word Mines

I haven’t updated the blog much lately, which can usually signal one of two things:

1. I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like and am too ashamed to fess up publicly, or

2. I’ve been very busy writing and don’t have a lot of time for updatery

Happily, we can mark option two this week here on Comedy and Tragedy. I’ve got several writing projects going at once right now and, coupled with my day job, I’ve had little time for internet tomfoolery.

In addition to hammering out those final chapters of Project Awesome, I’ve also been working on a new short story. I’m determined to finish the first draft by the end of the day. It’s a sort of fantastical historical fiction set in 15th century Spain with airships and elemental magic and an adventure into the unknown west. I’m having fun writing it.

Here are the opening lines: “Word went out from the Castilian court that renowned elementalist and adventurer Christoforo Colombo had vanished on his journey beyond the edge of the ocean. Any man of birth and breeding able to recover him would be rewarded with the Crown’s greatest jewel, the hand of Her Royal Highness princess Lupita Mendoza of Aragon and Castile.”

Rest assured that Lupita is not the kind of princess to sit in her high tower and wait for some stupid prince to do all the heroic rescuing and have all the fun without her.

I can’t spend all my time on this, though. I have a deadline for a critique submission this weekend and am working on edits of a story I sold to Fictionvale that will appear later this year. Those are due next week. Busy, busy.

In other news:

It’s midterms!

Not sure this is actually deserving of an exclamation point. Midterms always make me nervous. I want all my students to do well, and I hope I’ve done everything I can to teach them and prepare them, but ultimately this is the moment where it’s up to them to put in the work and sink or swim. So, that’s always a little stressful for everyone involved. Plus, I loathe grading. That probably goes without saying, but still.

Winter is starting to show signs that it might clear out soonish. Like fish and house guests, we’ve long been desiring its absence. We had some beautiful days in the 50s and even 60s earlier this week but now it’s back down to 20 with a windchill of 4. So, that’s insulting and horrific.

Well, that’s about all the news. Time to go layer on 800lbs of clothes and head out into the cold!


ABSENT is, at last, present

Yesterday afternoon I finished the most recent (and hopefully final) major revisions to ABSENT, my archaeological time travel novel. It clocks in at 95,700 words. This version was the third full rewrite of the book, coming on the heels of an extensive round of reader feedback.

There’s no denying this is an important milestone in the life of the project, but finishing up yesterday felt anti-climatic–I suppose because I’m still facing down several editing passes.

I’ll do one for word and sentence level issues (10% Solution-style), one for character consistency and body language, and one for white-room correction and description issues. One section of the book is set in the 1920’s so I’ll also do a sub-pass on that section for period details. Then the novel will go out to a smaller group of readers for minor tweaks and, barring large plot-level issues cropping up, I’ll start prepping it for agents.

I have to say that while it might have felt like a non-event yesterday, being done with the rewrite portion of the draft feels pretty fab this morning–as if a hairy, three-toed monster with six eyes and bad breath has finally been banished from where he was lurking over my shoulder. This revision took longer than I planned or wanted, and I have a number of other projects in varying stages of completion that have long been angling for my attention. It’s glorious to know I’ll be able to turn to them soon.

Spring break starts at the end of this week, which means I’ve got seven days of beach time coming up. This beach, to be exact:

Spring Bay Beach, BVI
Spring Bay Beach, BVI

This offers the perfect editing deadline to shoot for, as well as the perfect opportunity to load the finished draft on my Nook and give it a proper look for readability. Plus, if I identify serious problems, there’s always a bottle of Caribe to drown my sorrows in 😉

So, yes, at long last I am done with major rewrites on ABSENT. I would be amiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my Beta readers. The changes I’ve made to the novel are substantial and many were inspired by the insightful feedback I received on the previous draft. So, thank you Steve, Cath, George, Micah, Christian, Eric, Kris, Barbara, and Phil — as well as my crit groups from the Vegas workshop and Paradise Lost II.

Okay. So, my reward for finishing the draft is a weekend spent grading exams, followed by heavy manuscript editing…thus, no time to waste!

Back to work.