Tag Archives: editing

The Contents are on the Table

Uncanny_Issue1_FINAL_large1-340x510Several exciting Tables of Contents were released in the last week, that I’m invested in one way or another.

Uncanny Magazine #1 is available for purchase now! Some free content has been released on the blog this week and some will go up in December. But you can read the whole thing now as a complete ebook.

Featuring new fiction by Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Max Gladstone, Amelia Beamer, Ken Liu, and Christopher Barzak, classic fiction by Jay Lake, essays by Sarah Kuhn, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Christopher J Garcia, plus a Worldcon Roundtable featuring Emma England, Michael Lee, Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver, and Pablo Vazquez, poetry by Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, and Sonya Taaffe, interviews with Maria Dahvana Headley, Deborah Stanish, Beth Meacham on Jay Lake, and Christopher Barzak, and a cover by Galen Dara.

All of that plus two podcasts!

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Prelude to a Crowdfunding

All those people who asked what I was going to do with all this time once Jemima started Kinder? Well, yes. They can stop asking silly questions in future, can’t they?

Today was the first week I had the full three days (it alternates, two and then three) and it didn’t feel like nearly enough to get anything done – though at the same time I did get quite a lot done, AND had time to have a cold (seriously, my child starting school is the closest I ever get to sick leave) and had time to read and breathe and keep up with the washing up.

It’s like I don’t know myself any more.

My main problem, as I see it, is that I hit my month’s wordcount goal a few days ago, and while I promptly set myself a ‘stretch goal,’ I obviously didn’t believe in it because I haven’t written a word since.

cranky-ladies-logoI have edited a short story that’s appearing in a pro anthology later this year, and I did my BAS two days early instead of my usual one day late, so there’s that.

Also, finally, FINALLY, I finally ticked off the final stages of the SFWA Bulletin that has been filling my world since I committed to it back before Christmas. It is in the hands of printers and e-book designers now, and off my desk which means I can be fond of it again. I’m proud of what we did with it, but it’s going to be a while before I volunteer again to take on an editing job…


There’s this other project that has been waiting in the wings, ready to fly. Tehani and I have been plotting the Cranky Ladies of History anthology, featuring a bunch of exciting authors and even more exciting historical women of note. Tehani blogs about the project here.

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Editing Your Novel and the Art of Strategic Panic

So it’s a new month and along with hatters and hares, March is bringing a whole lot of new writing issues for me to talk about in what seems to be a theme of writing process vs. lifestyle this week (started with Writing – Mothering – Balancing and continued with Mothering, Writing, Pilating, Guilt).

My plan for this year is still pretty loose, but the big goal was to have the revised, polished and generally awesomecaked Nancy Napoleon novel ready to submit by the end of March. Which seemed pretty sensible to me – I had ROR at the end of January, and school holidays ended the middle of February, which gave me a whopping SIX WEEKS to revise the book at make it awesome.

But then I convinced myself that I had all these other bits and pieces of things to do, like writing my talk for the Horror film festival, and a few short stories, and… well the main thing was that at that point I’d put down very few new words since November, and much though my ‘no writing school holidays’ experiment was a great success, I was starting to get the itch. So I gave myself a different goal of writing 10,000 words on various fiction projects, and happily played with the idea of getting back into some kind of writing routine.

At least, that’s what the top part of my brain thought was happening. The public face of the brain. The secret, dingy underbelly of my brain had a whole different agenda, which I have been circling around for the last few days, waiting for the bad news to be revealed. Here we go:

The truth is, I hate editing myself.

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Saturday Soup

It’s been oddly productive around here, for a Saturday. Usually Saturdays are a mad haze of parenting, unrealistic expectations about work goals, a bit of hasty housework and occasionally managing to snatch a chapter or two of reading by flinging the children at my honey and locking myself in the library. Usually there’s guilt, either for not spending enough time with the girls, or for getting cranky with the girls after spending too MUCH time with them, or for not getting anything done, or for the house looking like a circus threw up on it.

But today I manage to hang out with the girls all morning (including a cranky teething baby), threw together a delicious lunch for me & my honey (leftover potato & cauliflower soup goes VERY WELL with added chorizo & bacon, served with hot cheesy muffins), put out some laundry, finished reading my 100th book for the year (a Joanna Russ, which seems appropriate), did a last minute podcast with Jonathan Strahan, got to the two-thirds mark of my copy edits, and played outside with the kids. I got to see Jem on a bike for the first time!

All this, and my honey is cooking dinner. Awesome!

Elsewhere in the world, Mary Robinette Kowal talks about how amateur writers should be given the same respect as hobbyists in other fields. I still can’t get over that Shades of Milk and Honey is a Nano novel! I had been meaning to lend it to [info] godiyeva already, but once I learned that, I practically forced it upon her, for inspiration.

John Scalzi puts his weight behind Nano being awesome rather than a waste of everyone’s time – I particularly enjoyed the comments on that one!

Ekaterina Sedia makes a great post about what you can say when men who don’t feel they’re sufficiently benefiting from the patriarchy derail a feminist conversation to talk about themselves.

Finally, some Bujoldy goodness. On Tor.com the very learned and well-read Jo Walton analyses the appeal of Aral Vorkosigan (lotsa spoilers) while on i09, Charlie Jane Anders asks whether Bujold writes “hard” science fiction, leading to many tangled comments as everyone tries to define what hard SF is. Sigh. At some point I am going to write my hard SF post. I think my philosophy comes down to “if Bujold isn’t it, and one of the best examples of it, then I don’t understand what it’s for.” Possibly I shouldn’t write that post.

Twas the Week Before Nano

It’s now less than a week until the end of the month, which is a little scary for me as that’s when my book is due in. But that also means it’s less than a week until NaNoWriMo starts! As good a time as any to link to the post I wrote last year about The Myths of NaNoWriMo that are regularly perpetuated by writers who haven’t actually tried it…

I adore Nano. I love everything about it. I love the frantic pace of writing, the PRESSURE, the word wars, the playlists, the self-imposed deadline to end all self-imposed deadlines, the creativity, the pressure. I love making writing dates with my friends, those who write all year round (and I never get a chance to see otherwise) and those who only clock in with the writing thing at this time of year. I love carting my big fluffy monster laptop bag around to cafe after cafe and living room after living room and playing Lily Allen through my headphones on an endless loop because damn it that woman makes me write faster.

Last year, I wrote with a three month old baby on my lap. It was challenging, to say the least, but it was also an amazing step in proving to myself that I could juggle new motherhood and writing.

This year, the buzz is starting, and we’ve managed to lure new flies into the web (HEY MILLIE) which is super exciting. But… I won’t be old schooling it this year. It was a big admission for me to make to myself, that the full NaNoWriMo was not on the cards for me this time around. I’m looking at finishing the most intense book project I’ve ever worked on this Sunday, and even I am not crazy enough to launch into a 50K marathon the day after. A mad riot of new bookery is tempting, but it could burn me out for months. I’ve been swamped in deadlines all year, and this is finally a chance for me to breathe and catch up on other things. Including, um, some rather major copy edits for Book Two, which my editor was nice enough to postpone a few weeks to let me get the much-interrupted Book Three finally done.

On the other hand, it’s FREAKING NANO and there’s no way I want to be left out. Plus, I don’t want to miss the chance to harness the magical November vibe and get some serious work done before summer holidays hit me and I’m back to full time mummying. So…

I’m making a list and checking it twice. Instead of one big 50K project, I’m going to put several smaller projects together, covering different areas in my life that have been crying out for some serious attention. Call it the Month of Manic Multitaking Mama – MoMaMuMa! Heh okay, maybe we won’t give it a special name. But here’s my November plan:

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I’ve spent the last several weeks sinking into a slow swamp of rewrites, but I can finally see a glimpse of sunshine, and if you don’t record the good days, somehow they get forgotten faster than anything else.

So today I:

edited seven chapters of Book 2, including three really tricky ones that needed New Writing, and one scene I’ve been planning to write for several months and only just got around to.

while also: shopping for baby food, doing laundry, ridding the kitchen of a scary large pile of washing up, cooking a beef casserole for dinner, baking a batch of cupcakes for Raeli to take for a school fundraiser tomorrow (Children’s Book Week means CAKE)

Partly I want to point out to myself that I can in fact do enough work to justify putting Jem in a full day of daycare a week (though she’ll be back to half days from next week – this was an emergency measure put in to help deal with a sudden extra workload.

And then I get worried that I’ll expect myself to achieve that level of domestic/professional awesomeness all the time, and fall in a heap.

Then I remember all the other things I should have done today – or, more properly, BEFORE today.

Then I tell myself not to be so hard on myself, because I had a good day, and the chances of a day available to work and a GOOD DAY’S WORK actually colliding are pretty rare, actually, and the very fact that I have only had a few full days of daycare in itself piles SO MUCH PRESSURE on that day that the fact that I get anything creative done is in itself a miracle.

So um yes. It was a good day, which is not something I take for granted. And I’m almost done with this book. Then I get a few days of leisure (ha!) to plan the trip to Melbourne, prepare for my panels, and hang out with my girls before I neglect them for a week.

Tomorrow I will take Raeli to school (the one day a week I do the drop off), take baby Jem in later to visit Raeli’s school for the Book Week Parade, take Jem to daycare in the afternoon, spend the next two hours doing a small amount of work such as editing two chapters and possibly posting some dolls, then pick up Raeli and take her to gymnastics.

Heh. Possibly all my days contain awesome achievements, just of different varieties. Thank goodness all my favourite podcasts have new episodes out. It makes the drudge work so very undrudgey. I look forward to housework now!

Weekend of Ups and Downs

A mixed weekend, many highs and lows. I ran away from my family on Saturday to do some work on my book at the State Library in Hobart (it stays open an hour and a half longer than my local on Saturdays) and worked up a storm. I haven’t been in there for years, and was pleased to see how gorgeous it is now! It was my childhood library and it was exciting to see what a nice space it is.

Then I swung by to vote before going home. No sausage sizzle! Either I was ripped off or it was over well before 2pm which seems a bit lacking in forethought. Sadly this proved to be an omen for how the rest of the election was going to go.

The family had breakfast for dinner and settled down to watch the election results unfold. Towards the end, the only thing that would have made me happier was if they had cut back to Kerry O’Brien and Stephen Smith and they were in their pyjamas, having a pillow fight.

I was glad to see how well the Greens did in the Senate, but otherwise the whole thing was extremely demoralising. Oh, the stress and lack of closure!

At least Arsenal came to the party by giving us a 6-0 win over Blackpool. Happymaking 😀

Today there was more work. See how you haven’t been missing much by me not blogging about my daily activities? WORK IS DULL TO HEAR ABOUT. Five more days and my structural edit is done, done, dusted, leaving me a few days to plan, shop and prepare for Worldcon. I think maybe I need a new coat. We’re going to be tramming all over the place and mine has bits falling off it constantly.

I will post my Worldcon schedule separately. I’m excited about lots of the items (though unfortunately wasn’t able to make the ones I was programmed for on Thursday) and especially that we are doing a “live” Galactic Suburbia episode on Friday morning.

State of the Writer

I became snappish and strange this weekend, every time someone asked me how the writing was going. It’s not their fault that the question makes me want to scream and jump out the nearest window. I can’t even roll my eyes and complain that they didn’t just check my blog, because I have been quite happily using the books meme to completely avoid blogging about what I have been doing lately.

There’s a simple reason for that. I’m being hammered. It has been deadline after deadline, many of them bleeding into each other, with little chance to take a break in between (at this point ‘break’ just means ‘loss of momentum meaning work is twice as hard when I start again). I don’t want to blog about it. I’m boring myself, let alone my audience!

The good thing is that I am marking progress. I’m currently in the middle of the structural edit to end all structural edits, and it’s doing amazing things for the book, but it feels like my head has been turned inside out and bashed with large pieces of furniture. Yes, this is still the best job in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not haaaard some days.

Today was my one full time work day, and it was great, hugely productive, but now I have a week of snatched hours ahead of me, and only one or two of those precious full days left before D-Day. I can’t just relax and say ‘oh, no daycare today, I guess I can’t be expected to get any work done.’ One of those deadlines is zooming up in front of me, and it’s the non-negotiable variety, so it’s all hands on deck, every hour counts.

I was expecting to be free of all current work commitments by Worldcon – and instead, that date is now November 1. Sometimes the further away deadlines are scarier than the close ones. At least the close ones mean that the end is in sight.

See, and now the whole thing has turned into one colossal whinge, which is exactly what I didn’t want to do. Back to talking about other people’s awesome books for another week, I think…

(at least I’m not still writing a PhD thesis or something crazy like that)

I’m the Bloody Queen, Basically I Rule

What a difference a weekend can make. Check that – what a difference a weekend in which one’s five-year-old is being entertained elsewhere can make!

I ripped through the last thirty chapters of edits on Saturday, and spent Sunday cleaning up the manuscript, checking & creating timelines, compiling & checking the final doc, etc. I emailed the whole thing back to the publishers early this morning, once my brain was together enough to compose an email.

The structural edits were due back this Tuesday, and given that I was so far behind that I thought I was going to be working right up to either 5pm or midnight, depending on how desperate things were (only a few days ago I was seriously considering asking for an extension, gah) I have ended up two days ahead of myself. And you know what that means?

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Day in the Life of a Mama Writer

If I was to document the perfect day in the life of myself as a writer, it might very well be today. Not that it was a perfect PERFECT writing day, which would involve writing brilliant words in between sipping mint cocktails and lounging around afterwards doing “research” with piles of books without having to think about my children once, but it’s the perfect writing day for where I am right now in my life.

I started work once my honey left with Raeli on the school run, putting Jem down for a nap after not-too-long (and she WENT) and after weeks of struggling through every chapter it was brilliant to power my way through the chapters I had planned to work on today. I took a phone call from the local free newspaper, who were interested in doing an interview with me (thanks to [info] godiyeva who called them and dobbed me in for this, I’m sure I would have got around to it, but not any time soon).

I hit my editing milestone, got the baby up from her nap, took her around to the newspaper office for the interview (she was a total hit, and got into the photo they took and everything – I’m not entirely sure I had to be there). I then picked up a celebratory curry for our lunch and took it home – Jem approved of chicken korma and rice, and particularly liked the pakora and naan, but I think I misjudged the spice a bit (it’s bad when they smile with tears running down their faces, right?) and ended up shovelling pureed apple into her to balance things out.

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