Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Novel Progress (page 2 of 5)

Uneventful Eventfulness

Have I really not posted since Tuesday? I blame Matt. And, you know, the manuscript. But mostly Matt.

See, he got his wisdom teeth out on Wednesday morning. Yes, yes, he’s a little old to be getting wisdom teeth pulled out. And no, things aren’t going badly–no excessive swelling, no bruising, no infection–but there is at least the usual amount of pain, discomfort, boredom, and malcontent about eating soft foods. Though I must say I make a mean batch of instant pudding, and I’m getting good at peanut butter banana chocolate milkshakes.

Unfortunately, it’s my turn to have my wisdom teeth out in a few weeks. And yes, I do have an excuse for being this old without having them out. Even now, mine are only partially exposed, which means I don’t even remember them coming in. For a while, I’m pretty sure I remember thinking I just didn’t have any. But they’re there, partially exposed, and apparently in danger of collecting plaque and other bad things to have collecting in my mouth, and there’s a risk of infection if I just leave them, and I’m sure I’m telling you all more than you wanted to know.

At any rate, I already knew I was going to be a total wuss about my whole wisdom-teeth-removal-recovery, but now I’m even more apprehensive. See, since mine aren’t exposed, are in fact mostly covered by my gums, I think I’m very likely going to need stitches. I have never, ever had stitches before, especially not in my mouth. If I have stitches, I’ll also have to have them removed. I am not excited about any aspect of the possibility of stitches. In my mouth.

And then there’s the fact that I have chronic problems with my jaw, and I’m afraid that having them put me to sleep and prop my mouth open as wide as it will go for an hour will end up with me being entirely unable to move my jaw, much less chew anything for days (not that I’ll be chewing much anyway, of course). And then there’s the fact that, you know, when I actually open my mouth all the way I have to do this sideways pop thing to get it to close again. I can just imagine them trying to close my mouth while I’m still sedated, unable to do it because it’s locked open. Fabulous.

Matt tells me this is why I’ll have a consult appointment before we schedule the surgery, and that I shouldn’t worry, but I don’t feel anxious. I’m not worried. I’m just realistic, and the reality is that it’s really going to stink. A lot. And it’s going to hurt. A lot.

So now that you all know why I don’t want to get my wisdom teeth out, I should probably mention that the novel is coming along. My percentage meter method of gauging progress is entirely unhelpful at this point, so I’ll just say that I’ve written two scenes, fixed another scene and a half, and still have to fix/finish half a scene and then write two or three legends. Myths. Stories that form the structure upon which an entire culture builds their worldview. You know, the little details are always best to save until last. Oy.

But really, things are going well. Honest.


The State of the Novel

Three scenes need to be finished/rewritten. Three scenes need to be written in the first place (I’ve known about them for quite some time). I need to go through my To Do list one more time and stick in bits and pieces here and there to make everything consistent and multi-dimensional. I need to read through the last half of the book aloud, and go through the entire thing one more time for typos and spelling errors.

And that, my friends, is all that needs to happen before I can mail this thing off. It might even be done early. I’m not even kidding.

And just in case you were wondering: yes, I am wearing my dancing pants. And I’m utilizing their innate tendency toward dancing as I celebrate how very, very close I am.


Glitch and Progress

The fall theme I chose doesn’t let me display the links to my website pages other than the blog, which is problematic. I’ll see what I can come up with to fix it in a suitably autumnal fashion.

Also, for those of you who are keeping track, I’ve revised through 76% of the manuscript. You know, except for the bits I still have to write. There are some of those. But woohoo more than 3/4 of the way done! (Sorta.) Woohoo!


Non-Writing Things

It’s cold outside today. No, not just “I might wear capris instead of shorts” cold, 53 degrees cold. That’s like. . . 30 degrees colder than yesterday. And I have to say, I love Colorado. You just never know what you’re going to get.

Also, the jeans I was so happy about last week? They’re still fantastic, thanks.

Shiloh has turned into velcro-dog this week. She’s been extra-cuddley, extra interested in being nearby, to the point of settling down next to the Wii Balance Board for her morning chew while I exercised this morning. She’s currently leaning against my desk stool.

Mom and I were talking this morning, and realized that there might be a connection between my recent discipline in exercising every day (okay, 8 out of the last 9 days) and my positive outlook on the manuscript work. It certainly isn’t hurting, at any rate. And I’m still having a good time with it. I’m less of a push up weenie already.

Pretty much everything else proceeds as usual. I’ve got one scene that needs a bit more emotion, and then I’ll be reading the latest chunk of manuscript out loud before I send it along to critique partners and mentor. And then I’ll be jumping right in with revisions on the tail end of the book.

And since I haven’t posted an excerpt in a while, here’s a bit of Kerris’s-rusty-horsemanship-meets-headstrong-horse for you:

I lost my stirrups and hung on somewhere halfway down Zayiit’s shoulder. Beating hooves drilled out any thoughts except trying to haul myself back into the saddle with the untrustworthy fist full of mane I’d managed to hold onto.

Barak appeared on foot up ahead, though I had no idea how he got there. He shouted commands and set himself to block the horse’s path with his considerable bulk. For a moment I almost believed if he could get a hand on the reins Barak could haul the horse to a stop, but in the end it didn’t matter. The last tendrils of Zayiit’s sparse mane slipped through my fingers.

Good times, good times.



63% done with the general revisions/edits stuff. One read-through of chapters 10-22 out loud, and I’ll be moving on to the tail end of the book, and hopefully working through it fast.


Novel Progress

Aside from one scene that I still can’t find the right way to end, I’m functionally 60% done with the novel revisions. . . maybe a touch more. The numbers are misleading this time around (if you’ll note, I was 48% done on August 5th) since I figure the percentages based on word count, and how far through the document I’ve edited. But this last 12% of material had a lot that needed deeper adjustments than just a quick line edit or wording tweak. Several scenes got rewritten, several got written in the first place, and it became essential to really map out my adjusted timeline, among other things. So I’m feeling quite good about this progress – there’s still a bit more that will need more extensive adjusting, but then it will ease up again toward the end.

At the moment, I’m pretty sure my head won’t explode, after all. Don’t worry, by Tuesday there will be explosion warnings again. Just you wait.


The State of the Novel

It’s been a rough week in terms of writing, and I’m not sure why. “Frustrated” and “overwhelmed” aren’t the adjectives I’d really like to use to describe my mindset a month before The Last Deadline, but that’s been the deal so far this week. I haven’t been idle, though. The house is cleaner than it’s been in months, and I’m making good progress with catching up on our financial records (it’s been six months since that happened, which probably contributes to the money meltdown I’ve been having recently). I did some reading for my critique partners, though I still haven’t sent them comments and I feel horrible about that.


  • I found jeans that actually fit me, waist, hips, and length–and they’re only $50. It might be a certified miracle, and I might be a Wrangler girl for life. For any other tall, thin gals, check out both styles of their Ultimate Riding Jean. They are love.
  • While I was at the store looking for jeans, I found a fantastic pair of boots. Too bad I don’t have a real reason to get them, other than their utter yumminess.
  • We’re in the market for a french coffee press so we can cold-brew our coffee without as much fuss as it currently takes. Cold brewing leaves out the acid and oils that upset my stomach, but maintains all the benefits of full, rich flavor. Matt usually drinks his coffee iced, anyway, which means up until now we’ve been brewing hot coffee and cooling it. And, you know, I can heat it up if I’m in the mood for hot coffee instead of iced. Unfortunately, to get one that seems like it will serve us well for some time to come, we’ll need to spend a bit of money. See the aforementioned money meltdown to deduce my feelings on that score.
  • There’s a fantastic incentive for hosting a Pampered Chef show in September, and I’d love to take advantage of it, but I fear that between The Last Deadline and the money situation, I’ll have to watch it pass by.
  • So far, staying on track with the Wii Fit stuff. I am such a push-up weenie.
  • I’m going for a bike ride to clear my head before returning to the novel for some manuscript-kicking this afternoon.

I’ll Be Quiet For A While

Manuscript progress is at 48%. Woohoo! I intend to work on bits and pieces this week, just to keep my toes wet, but most of my time will be taken up by WorldCon/Denvention. Loads of fun! I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

Have I mentioned that one of Shiloh’s new favorite activities is going outside after dark to play with the toads? She noses them. They hop. She gets all excited. She noses them. They hop. She gets all excited. You can see how this could go on for quite some time in puppy-land.

Have a good week!


The Rewards of Diligence

I started off the day getting an oil change and all the other check the car stuff that seems wise before a cross-country driving escapade. Then I proceeded to the coffee house, where I occupied their lovely leather couch (very comfy), ate a piece of blueberry coffee cake about half the size of my head, and drank my bottomless cup of coffee. Adrianne and Allison showed up while I was there, so on one of my breaks I got to spend some time with them, which was nice. I like having friends to bump into at the coffee shop.

Then I came home with fantastic intentions of doing all the laundry, which didn’t happen. And after some reading, I came back to work on the novel. It’s been a good day. Low stress, fair to high productivity, and generally a good vibe. I’ve hit 40% on the revisions, though I do have to go back and finish a scene in chapter 11. It seems to be flowing better when I bounce back and forth to it rather than pounding on it, trying to make things happen. One more scene to tweak in chapter 13, and then I’m on to chapter 14 for tomorrow. Still a touch behind, technically, but I’ll be ahead by close of day tomorrow.

Here’s another bit of teaser from the novel:

Hoshea’s body twisted in another violent convulsion and then lay still. Lemuel knelt to comfort him, but I could only stare in rapt horror at the spot just above the priest and the boy. Dark as fresh ink and swirled with sick yellow tendrils, the shadow writhed in the air. A heartbeat later, it dissipated. A wave of hate and black rage rolled over me and a shiver ran through the crowd, and then everything lay calm.

Cool, eh?

Finally, this might be one of my favorite signs ever. I took this picture myself. The sign really exists–it’s in the parking lot of Panera Bread on Montgomery Road just east of I-71 in Cincinnati. And I just wonder how many people backed into the pole before they put this up:



Do you ever put something off because you think it’s going to be harder than you want to deal with right now? Do you ever feel ridiculous because you know it’s not going to get easier the longer you put it off? Are you a master of procrastination and the inevitable guilt that follows because you didn’t get anything done?

I do, I do, and I am.

And really, I just need to remember that it’s never That Bad. The scene I’ve been avoiding working on for the past four days? Done. Yeah, it took longer than I might have liked, but it took a lot less than three days’ worth of work, which is what I turned it into. I must be certifiable to do that. Good thing I’m on meds. ;)

What tonight’s message boils down to is this: it’s not that hard to find the creative groove again once you feel you’ve lost it. Chances are, it’s not far off, it’s just hidden in the underbrush of Life’s Other Stuff That Creeps In. Soon as you start looking, there it will be. Right where you left it.

And, since I can give you tangible stats tonight, 35% of the manuscript is done. I’ve got to add one scene tomorrow (can adapt it from a ‘deleted scene’ I wrote early in the process) and make major fixes to another, then line edits on two more scenes and I’ll have the first twelve chapters finished. Cool, eh? I think so.

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