Author Archives: Amos M. Carpenter
Right, so I’ve spent several weeks now going through and editing and editing and editing my manuscript, and… I’m calling it.
What? No, not that way. “I’m sure the manuscript could’ve been something if it had held on a bit longer, but, uh… oh well. Time of death: 17:14.”
No flatline, no meeeeep. Not at all. It’s alive and kicking. It’s just that it has this annoying habit of, well, looking almost done. I wanted it to be just done, without the almost, but it looks as though every time I give it another readover, it reveals a few more slight flaws here and there. *Sigh*. Maybe that’s just the perfectionist in me… but if so, why can’t that know-it-all just find all those flaws the first time?!?
So, since I am now acutely aware that I won’t get everything perfect, I’m calling it. Calling it “done”.
Look up done in the dictionary in a few months, when my request comes through. By then, they will have changed it to mean the same thing as almost done. Soft of like a reverse “mostly harmless”, for those who get the reference.
‘Sides, it’s nearly Christmas. I wanted to be done by Christmas. (That’s reasonable… right?)
I wanted to send out my shiny new manuscript before Christmas to a few wonderful people who’ve volunteered (or been volunteered, by yours truly) to beta-read it. I’m sure they’ll find even more to correct… So, some final formatting tomorrow (no more corrections for now, though!), and then it’s off to see the world. Well, meta-digi-phorically (yes, that’s a word) speaking. Some small parts of the world, granted, but… nevertheless. Early days. (Now stop picking on my analogy.)
And while I’m at it: Merry Christmas! (Because at the rate I’m going, I doubt I’ll be posting again before the New Year.)
I’m facing a bit of a dilemma. Well, ok, not really a dilemma, more of a bit of uncertainty. I’m getting close(r) to having my manuscript in a state where I’m ready to submit it to agents/publishers, and I’ve written several versions of my blurb.
So here’s my question: Should I blurt out my blurb on my blog? Bleh.
(On a less serious note, should I leave alliteration alone a little? ;-) )
I’m well aware that the chances are overwhelmingly against my manuscript ever being so hugely successful (even if it’s really as awesome as I believe it to be) that anyone will care whether the blurb was already “out there”, but on the off-chance that against all odds I do get extremely lucky with finding the right person to read my work, can it hurt to put up some initial versions of a blurb on a blog site?
Hmm… I sort of doubt it, but if you have any experience with this sort of thing, or just an educated opinion, please let me know in the comments!
So it’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally there. I finished writing the first draft of my first book.
For the past few months, I finally knuckled down, didn’t allow myself any distractions, and just wrote. I didn’t blog, I didn’t read others’ blogs (sorry!), I didn’t allow myself to sit down to read another book (more on that below), I hardly did any of my other various favourite time-wasting things. I got into the zone and wrote and wrote. Sometimes, at the start of a writing session, I went back to earlier bits and changed things I’d made notes on, but while I was in the zone and writing, it felt fantastic and I didn’t dare break myself out of it.
Want to know one of my main factors of motivation? (Apart from the wonderful support of my family, and the pure joy of writing that is its own reward, that is.)
Well, I’ve been looking forward to the release of Robin Hobb’s second book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, Fool’s Quest. So have my wife and my daughter, who are also hooked on Robin’s books (have I mentioned that I met her?!?). The book was due to come out on the 13th of August 2015. Well, I promised myself that I wasn’t allowed to read it until I’d finished writing my last chapter. Today is the 18th, and let me tell you, the last few days have been… excruciating. That was a mean, mean thing to do to myself. But you know what? It worked. I wrote more and better than ever before. (At least, the “better” part is what I’m telling myself. Shh! Don’t ruin it. I’m still riding that high.)
I know there’s still a lot of work to be done before my work is submittable, even to beta readers. I still have a few “[TODO]” markers in my draft that need attending. I’m pretty good (why am I being humble, I’m awesome! Like I said, shush!) with spelling and grammar even while I’m writing, but I’m sure there are occasional typos, and I’ll need to check for inconsistencies of PoVs, use of pronouns in my paragraphs, do cross-reference checks to make sure I’m not getting any names of minor characters muddled up, and so on.
But… I’m over that hump. Plus, I’m allowed to read Fool’s Quest now! Yay! My wife has already read it (finished about an hour after I got done writing, in fact), so now she’s in the position that I’m usually in after I’ve finished reading a book and have to wait for her to catch up so we can talk about it. I hope the book will have fewer errors than the last one, but other questions are much more important. Will Fitz finally Wit-bond again? Will the Fool pull through? (He has to, or the trilogy wouldn’t be named well… right?) What happened to Bee? Will we see more chapters from her perspective? Grrr.
Getting started on it as soon as I finish this blog post, which should be right about… now.
Nearly two months without a blog post (which was just a rant about something that seemed important at the time)… I’ve really been dragging my knuckles. Slacking off. Procrastinating. Sorry.
I’ve come to realise that the ending, which had seemed so good initially, was missing a certain something. Not that it wasn’t exciting the way I’d planned it, but, the closer I got, the more obvious it became that I needed more connections between characters, more things that I could hook into in later books. I don’t just need to end a story; I need to wrap up the first part of that story while setting the stage for bigger things down the line and weaving in hints and threads to be tied in later. I love reading the conclusion to a trilogy or series, and thinking, “Ah! So that‘s why she put in that morsel of information in the first book!” I want my readers to experience some of that as well.
Because of this uncertainty about how I could manage such a thing, I’ve been having a really hard time sitting down and writing the ending that I intended. Whenever I tried, I got that nagging feeling that I’d forgotten something, that I should improve something before I wrote the ending. And I just couldn’t bear to compromise on the quality of my story.
For weeks, it escaped me what that something was, and I was less productive with my writing than I’ve been for a long time. A bit of editing, a few pages of new stuff, working on background notes and the like. Just not really writing, dammit! Sure, I’ve had plenty of times where I hadn’t written much for a longer stretch, but that was always because of external influences, like work, family, or other projects (yeah, let’s call it “projects” – sounds better than “passing fancies”, doesn’t it?), not because I was stuck. I’ve never really suffered from writer’s block (maybe I just haven’t been at it long enough to experience that?), but I guess this is the closest I’ve come to date.
I found myself putting off writing during the few precious hours each week that I’m able to dedicate to writing. As a result, I wasn’t inclined to write up a new blog post, either. It just didn’t feel right; I’d just done a few non-writing-related posts in a row and wanted to be able to report on some sort of tangible progress.
A few days ago, it finally clicked in the deep, dark recesses of my head.
And you know what? It even helped me with one of the other things I’ve had a really hard time with: writing a blurb. I’m not sure how the two things are connected, but connecting Book One to the larger story helped me to see more clearly what the essence of the first part of my story is, and helped me to make the choice of which bits I could leave out in my blurb – something that always seemed wrong to me before. (“But that‘s an important component of the story, and so is that part, and I can’t leave out that bit!”)
Now I know what I need to do. It won’t be easy, and I need to make some changes that will ripple through other parts of the story, but at least I’m out of the doldrums.
Better get to it. Better get back on that horse.
Who’s heard of something called Earth Hour? Oh yeah, it’s one of those treehugger events that’s in the news once a year, and then everybody goes back to their old habits and forgets about it.
Well… no. Like this
moron person in New Zealand, you completely missed the point. Ever heard of symbolism? (Sorry, I don’t usually disparage people. Officially. But those who put down and rant against a global event due to willful ignorance, and because they think they’re already doing the right thing, well, they kinda deserve it. They deserve a counter-rant.)
It started as an event in Sydney in 2007, where they turned the lights off for an hour, including on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, to raise awareness about climate change and that individual people can do their bit to help
save slow down the destruction of our planet. Since then, it has spread and become a global phenomenon.
Will it make any difference in terms of the globe’s energy use, or its climate, if you turn off your lights for 60 minutes (out of over half a million minutes in a year)?
No. Pretty close to zip, zilch, zero, nada, nuffin’.
So what’s the point in joining?
Well, what if just one kid, because of you having your lights out, asks just one question: “Why are we doing this?”
What if, years later, that one kid remembers Earth Hour as a yearly thing, and it doesn’t fade from her memory every year after the event is over?
And that’s really what it’s about. Raising awareness. Getting people to quit yapping for just one hour about all their oh-so-bothersome first-world problems. Get them to remember that, the way we’re going, our planet’s use-by date is fast approaching. Change the world, so that one day, instead of people rolling their eyes at those who speak up and suggest we all do something, the kids of today who’ll be making the decisions by then will roll their eyes at those few (hopefully very few) who are still too lazy to get off their butts to do something about the world we live in and think it’s Someone Else’s Problem.
And if, after this hour, you should end up making no difference to yourself, the earth’s energy problems, the climate, and end up affecting not a single child in any way… how exactly can one hour with some lights off hurt you?
(Yes, you may still watch TV if you want. No, don’t bother switching off your fridge. Pay attention, dammit!)
Read what it’s all about, and what an amazing difference the WWF-sponsored event has made last year, at http://earthhour.org. Donate, if you want, and if you can afford to. Just don’t bury your head in the sand. If you really don’t believe any of this can make any difference (have you watched the video?!?), at least don’t rain on everyone else’s parade.
Okay, okay, I’m getting off my little soapbox now.
My Earth Hour in Perth, Western Australia, starts in an hour and a half, at 8:30 pm local time. I’ll be turning my lights off. How about you?