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Sort-of-Nanowrimo 2015: All Of The Editing

It’s that time of year again!

Around the world, many a brave, foolish soul is starting a brand new novel for National Novel Writing Month. Not so with me…

NanoEDITmo

Enjoying my sharp design skillz, heh?

 

I’m still kind of participating, because how could I not? But, for the first time in all my years of Nano-ing, I don’t have a wordcount goal. YIKES.

That’s because, right now, I’m editing The Paradise Swarm.

I have plenty of ideas for new stories but stopping my edits to write something new would just be giving in to the temptation of the Shiny New Idea (sooo tempting!) and leaving this novel hanging.

I know what I need to do now is FINISH THIS BOOK, if only to gain the experience of getting to the end of a novel.

I’ve completed five Nanowrimos, and taken a good chunk out of two more, it’s something I know I can do. I haven’t completed a novel yet, so I’ll work on that.

Here’s how it is going to work

My plan is to do 50 hours of edits in November: it’s a big chunk of the work, more than an hour a day, and obviously I like that it keeps the magic number 50 in the equation.

I’m not sure how to log it on the Nano website, or even if I should – some people have suggested I put down 1,000 words for each hour of editing, since that would give me a win once I reached 50, but I’m not sure about that idea.

I write quite slowly and I know I’d never reliably 1K an hour all November long, so it doesn’t feel quite write to equate 50 hours of work with a Nanowrimo win when I normally put in about double that amount of time.

My Book Progress

Luckily, this new progress bar widget I backed on Kickstarter just funded, so I can use this as well as (or instead of?) the wordcount feature on the Nano website.
MyBookProgress looks pretty nifty so far, although it doesn’t have an option to log hours at the moment – I’ve suggested that for a future update. So, for now, I’ve set my goal as 50 scenes edited in November, which is a bit more of an ambitious goal than 50 hours – but ambition is no bad thing, especially not in November!!

The Paradise Swarm
Phase:2nd Draft
Due:4 years ago
9.1%

I’ve only done an hour so far (coincidentally, I did a full scene then as well if a short one), but I should be able to do more this evening!

The Nanowrimo Tag

If you’d like to hear more about my Nanowrimo experiences in general, check out the Nanowrimo Tag:

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Convention-Fest 2014!

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, the past fortnight had been filled with conventions and various other geeky things. Everybody else probably had their con reports done ages ago, but I got ill with a pretty darn impressive bout of con-plague right after coming home from Loncon, so I haven’t had time yet. So now that my insides have forgiven me for my wicked convention ways (all the snacking, all the coffee, none of the healthy stuff…), here are a few highlights of my con experience!

photo 1I went to Nine Worlds right from work on the opening night (Thursday 7th) and stayed until Sunday night. I had an absolute blast there, particularly as a bunch of my close friends & writing group buddies were going, and I also knew a bunch of other people from the London fannish scene. I’d booked the week between Nine Worlds and Loncon off work, so I used it to chill out and work on structural edits to The Paradise Swarm. I’m so glad I did this, I don’t know how I would have been anything but zombie-Claire for all of  Loncon if I hadn’t.

photo 3Then on the morning of Thursday 14th, I trekked down to the Excel Centre with a massive suitcase to attend Loncon3, which was my first WorldCon. I was also on staff, meaning I volunteered ahead of the con and had extra responsibilities for specific things (in my case, the Party Maven team! We walked around the Fan Village in the evenings being helpful and liaising with Ops. Shame I didn’t think to bring a pedometer!). I ended up doing way more than I’d expected which was really good fun although a bit taxing.

After I went home on Monday and searched my suitcase quite thoroughly at the front door, it became clear I’d lost my keys at the con! Luckily someone had brought them into the lost and found at the Excel and the staff there was extremely helpful, letting me send in a courier to get the keys back to my house.

On Tuesday, it was back to the office with me, with what I thought at the time was a little bit of a cold. That night, I went to the awesome George & Robin event at the Freemason Hall in Central London, which was super cool, because ROBIN HOBB!! GEORGE R. R. MARTIN!! The interview was really super interesting, especially when they started talking in more detail about the writing process and how they approach their work. I also got a gorgeous signed hardback of Robin Hobb’s latest novel, Fool’s Assassin, which is about Fitz! It is literally shiny.

photo (2)Of course, after that, my ‘little bit of a cold’ morphed into stomach flu and I had to take some time off sick. I’m feeling better now though, and I don’t think I’ll ever plan two back-to-back conventions like this. It was epically good fun, but I kind of feel like I’ve entirely lost the following week.

For 2015, I’m hoping I can make it to my first EasterCon and go to Nine Worlds again, as they are both in Heathrow and neither is too long, meaning I can take a few days off AFTER each con to recuperate. I’m never going back to the office the day after a con again!

Con Highlights:

Panels!

I went to a lot of panels over the last couple weeks so I couldn’t name them all, but there were some outstanding ones. At Nine Worlds, I loved The Vampire vs Werewolves vs Dragons vs Warlocks debate, which had authors debating the merits of each (dragons won); Paul Cornell’s Only a Moment panel; and the Costume talks in the fandom track, which had @Hello_Tailor discussing the impact of film/TV costumes on the narrative, and @whatkatie_did talking about stealth cosplay! At Loncon, my favourite was hands down the Diversity in YA panel, which had great panelists and moderation. I also really enjoyed the various Kaffeeklatsches and Literary Beers I got to attend, with Emma Newman, Mur Lafferty, Seanan McGuire & Mary Robinette Kowal.

Cosplay!

dariajaneI cosplayed all three days at Nine Worlds! My costumes weren’t the most involved I’ve ever had, but they were generally well received. In the end I got enough of Nine World’s new ‘Awesome Cosplay’ tokens to win a little goody bag with candy, a toy dinosaur and an ‘Outstanding Cosplay’ badge!!

On Friday, @Jenepel and I went as Daria and Jane, which was tons of fun, except that I wore a wig and contacts and pretty much no one recognised me as me. I kept having to point as my name tag and be all “Hi, we’re friends!”. On Saturday, I wore my Sally Skellington dress but without the white sleeves or face-paint. I think that worked well as a compromise between cosplay and looking like myself! On Sunday, I was Tank Girl, which was THE BEST to make, but which I forgot to take a picture of! Must dress in it again soon for photo-op!

Books!

photo 5I got some free books in my Nine Worlds welcome pack, at the Gollancz party there and from the Helsinki in 2017 bid (because I’d just supported it). I also bought lots of books, so now I have a nice stack of them. I even got a few signed. :)

New people!

I got to meet so many new people, from fans to writers I’ve admired for ages, with everyone in between; I can’t possibly name-check everybody (without forgetting some people and being rude). I knew fewer people at Loncon, but volunteering and being chatty do really help! Because a bunch of my friends were at Nine Worlds, hanging out in the bar there was great fun (except for the price of everything!) and led to meeting even more people. I had nice chats with people after the New Voices panels too!

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Editing The Paradise Swarm

As you may have seen on twitter a few weeks back, I finished the first draft of The Paradise Swarm. It’s riddled with plot holes and doesn’t quite have an ending, but it’s done! Honestly, I was starting to doubt I would actually get even this far.

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off, and now it’s time to whip that novel into shape. I know editing makes some writers want to tear their own hair out, but I enjoy the process immensely. Being able to take the book apart and put it back together again better to make it look like I was really smart in the first place is just exhilarating.

Anyway, Phase One of Operation Editing is to read the novel critically and make notes. I’m putting the manuscript through Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course, which I tried once before and found really useful. It’s an in-depth course which is going to take a long time to work through, but I know it’ll make the book heaps better.

So far, I’ve made notes on the first six chapters and I’ve found some stuff there that’s not too shabby. Of course, there is a lot that needs fixing (specifically, a lot that is not at all subtle), but by and large, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I can’t lie, the amount of changes to be made is slightly terrifying.

Here are a few things I know for a fact I’ll have to do:
editingarkane

  • Re-write at least two chapters in a different PoV, most likely many more than that.
     
  • Write in the characters’ motivations and reasoning for deciding to work together. Currently the reasoning is very obviously “So that plot can happen” and that’s not going to fly.
     
  • Add all the things that my past self put in brackets for my future self to add in. Darn past self, I hate her.
     
  • Fix the made up science! Luckily as the novel happens in the 1850s, it’s okay for the characters not to properly understand the made-up science.
     

EEP!! So much work to do! I’m going to see my family in a few days and flying out early in the morning. I’m hoping to get some work done as I’m travelling and while I’m on holidays.

Please let me know if you’ve got any advice from your own editing experience, or if you know any good resources I should check out! And wish me luck…

MATN

Introducing Many A True Nerd

As if life weren’t busy or exciting enough lately, I’ve just started work on a new awesome (and time-consuming!) project.

I’d been wanting to write about a whole host of geeky things for a while, but couldn’t find a home for my writing. There are many awesome geeky news sites out there, but the ones I liked & thought I had a shot writing for didn’t really focus on the subjects I wanted to cover.

Some would have TV and games, but not crafts and baking; some would have geeky things for the home but not boardgames; some would have books but nothing else, etc.

Add to that the fact that I know so many talented and nerdy writers, and an idea started to form. I’m obsessed with creating and maintaining websites, and I’m also a proud grammar pedant. In fact I’ve been editing @AlastairJRBall online serial The First 500 for some months now and I love doing that. I thought, if there isn’t a platform exactly like I want, I should just create it.

I could start a new site, dedicated to the type of geek news me and my friends are interested in. That could mean basically anything. Really silly or really in-depth things, from gifs to interviews, from reviews to let’s plays, from opinion pieces to recipes, in any and all fandom. I’ve heard too much crap about who is a ‘real nerd’ or a ‘fake geek’. I don’t think these distinctions are helpful or based in much truth. The geek world I know is varied and fascinating and that’s what I wanted to explore with this new site.

When I started telling my friends about this idea, they rose to the occasion even better than I had hoped. Jon wanted to try out new online marketing strategies and make Let’s Plays; @AlastairJRBall wanted to write about cinema, @NickMB about comics; @LorelaiSquared had just done awesome interviews of the Welcome To Sanditon cast and crew; @Jenepel wanted to help with a potential podcast.

I’m so, so excited to add another little brick to the big, bad interwebs, in the shape of our new online magazine, Many A True Nerd. Please check out the website, twitter feed and the YouTube channel and do all the like-comment-subscribe-follow thinggies if you do like it.

We are also looking for new writers, so if you are interested in writing for Many A True Nerd, email us at manyatruenerd [at] gmail [dot] com.