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.
I figured out the major malfunction with the novel this week – something I’d identified while we were on the trip, but didn’t have time to fix. It’s been dealt with, though there are still a few things to do to make sure all the plot points have been accounted for. Yesterday I was at The Day Job, but today I’m going to make significant progress if it kills me. So that’s that.
I forgot to update yesterday, but we arrived in Syracuse without any trouble. We visited with family yesterday, and I have to say that I’m wiped out this morning. Most of the folks staying at the house are over painting so that Matt’s aunt and uncle can move into their new house next week, and I’m supposed to be working on the manuscript. But I can hardly stay awake. I think I’ll try taking a quick nap and coming back to the writing. Letters and pictures on the screen are blurring together, and I can’t imagine that will positively affect my revisions.
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.
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:
I’m writing today. Or, at least, I will be writing. Soon. Really, I promise.
And since I know you all need entertainment while I work, and since I don’t have any pictures of Shiloh handy, I give you (trumpet fanfare here) AN EXCERPT! Okay, so it’s more of a tiny sample, but you have no room to complain. I could have just not posted anything at all.
Anyway, this is from Kerris’s point of view. (She’s the heroine.) She’s snuck away from her aunt and uncle’s country manor to relax:
A ribbon of light brown road stretched before me against the patchwork of green fields. I jogged the mile or so to the southern hay field, paused for a last set of stretches, and started my first lap. Each deep breath, every firm strike of my heels and push of my toes for another stride chipped away a piece of the unseen weight I carried every day.
When Tynan and I arrived at Ashbourne after our parents’ death, Vanora took one look at me and resolved to turn my attention to ladylike pursuits. She said it was clear that my parents had let me run wild. I didn’t tell her how often my mother scolded me without effect for my behavior, but I soon found that Vanora possessed an iron will my mother had lacked.
There you go. Marginal proof that I am, in fact, writing a novel that has words and sentences and paragraphs and characters with problems to solve. I know, none of you say anything, but I know you wonder what I really do with all my time. There’s a book! I promise!
And now I must go revise it.
Awake and Dressed: Check
Sitting in Coffee Shop: Check
Ate Fabulous Blueberry Mini-Bundt Cake: Check
Have Bottomless Cup of Coffee: Check
YouTube Diversion Finished: Check
Have Manuscript To Work On: Check
Looks like there’s no further excuse to put off the work. Here’s to a productive day.
Yesterday I made notes on another quarter of the manuscript, and today I started in on translating those notes back to the computer. I worked through a whopping six pages of manuscript today, which doesn’t seem like much on the surface. On the other hand, these pages were the former opening of the novel, which means a lot needed to be adjusted – a lot of backstory and setup for upcoming events has already been established with the new beginning, but I had to be careful that I didn’t cut important details that hadn’t been mentioned yet.
And, of course, about halfway through the second scene, it was like Donald Maass was looking over my shoulder, pointing to bits of my scenes and saying, “Why is this so easy for Kerris? You need more tension! There needs to be some sense that she might fail!” Garrrr. More work, but it will make the book better, so it’s worth it.
At any rate, tomorrow’s my day at the office that pays me by the hour, so I’ll have to wait until evening to work on the novel.
Ah, and for the sake of keeping up, I’ve ironed out 24% of the draft, based on word count.
I’ve split my time today between doing lots of laundry and working on the novel revisions. I’m happy to announce that almost all the laundry is done (one load to fold, one to dry and fold, then towels to do tomorrow) and that I can consider myself solidly finished with revisions on 21% of the novel.
I reached one of the scenes I skipped writing out in May in favor of covering the full story arc, so I’ll have to write that tomorrow, and then I’ll be moving into material I first wrote a year and a half ago. Once I get that one scene written, I’ll be finished with the prologue and the first 8 chapters. Not too bad for a week’s work, eh?
Also worth noting, I took care of several large-scale issues in my revisions notes – things like fixing an italics discrepancy with a few words throughout the whole manuscript. I think I caught all of them, but we’ll have to see.
I hope your Monday was as productive as mine.
*happy novel dance*
Of course, “done” means the whole plot arc is there. It also means there are 8 pages of notes about things that need to be done, scenes that need to be rewritten or just plain written in the first place, and seemingly endless hours of revisions and edits. I expect I’ll add at least 15,000 words to the total before I’m done. But I know what the important bits are now! I know how it ends for everyone! I made myself cry! It must be good!
And I’ll even get six hours of sleep before I have to be up for church in the morning.
And now it’s off to bed, dancing.
*happy novel dance*
Betsy says it’s supposed to be a nice day today, which means she might open the door to the porch this afternoon. Then I’ll get to go out and eat all the bugs and watch the birds flying around and it will be lovely.
She’s still working on her novel, but she seems happy with the way things are coming along. She still seems to think she’ll get most of it done by Saturday night.