Novel at First Draft But Printer Pushing Up the Daisies

Finished my last zero draft pass on the novel. In these several zero draft passes, I ended up adding approximately 1.8K words. The novel is now officially at first draft and ready for critique. Yay!

However, our trooper of a printer gave up the ghost several months back, and we’ve been limping along with a backup printer–accommodated somewhat by the cosmos which has not required us to print out many documents recently. But now, as I discovered after printing out the first thirty pages of Demon Queller, the backup printer is officially kaput as well.

Sigh. Time to buy a new printer.

Guess I should be grateful that our primary printer, an Epson Stylus inkjet, lasted for so long. Haven’t needed to get a new printer in around ten years; that’s a pretty decent run. But I’m irritated that we need to now.

So, any recommendations for a low-frills, low-maintenance, workhorse-esque inkjet? Otherwise, we’ll probably end up getting another Epson. (The backup was a Canon, and it was not a workhorse.)

Released from Jury Duty and Novel First Draft (Almost)

So I was not selected for a trial yesterday. Thank Jeebus. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be when they asked if I had State Farm insurance or any other affiliation with State Farm. I figure eleven years working at their corporate headquarters would qualify as an “affiliation” and was crossing my fingers that it would put me out of the running. Looks like it did.

Now I’m curious what the case is about but really, really glad I wasn’t selected for it. The only thing more boring than insurance law is tax law, and I will see plenty of both in just a couple months. I absolutely don’t need a jump start.

In other news, I got Matthew’s feedback on Demon Queller. He liked it! Whew. Yeah, yeah, family opinion and all, but I know he’ll be honest with me if something sucks, and I trust his instincts. It’s why he’s my eternal first reader. Also, he’s legally obligated to keep speaking to me regardless of how bad a manuscript might be that I force him to read.

Got some tweaks, minor edits, and a little rewriting to do based on his crit, and then it’ll be officially at first draft and ready to send to critiquers.

Also started on a short story, the one I’m writing for the DAW anthology. 800 words. Working title, “Kiyohime.”

Returning My Sister’s Face E-book Due Nov. 25 and Locus Review of the Dragon and the Stars

Got an email from Vera of Norilana. Looks like we’re aiming for November 25th as the release date of Returning My Sister’s Face in e-book format. Just in time for Christmas shopping :).

Also saw that The Dragon and the Stars was reviewed in Locus by Gardner Dozois:

[T]he fact that all the stories draw upon “the rich cultural heritage of China” to tell stories of the fantastic makes it interesting, and gives us some milieus not commonly used, making almost all the stories worth reading…The best stories here are by Tony Pi, Emily Mah, Brenda Clough, Eugie Foster, Shelly Li, and Eric Choi

Finished the last zero draft editing pass on Taijiya and it’s now being first-readered by Matthew. Commencing nail biting.

And heard from the editor of the DAW anthology I was invited to submit to. Seems the publication date got bumped up by a month and therefore so did the deadline. I love deadlines, the way they stress me out and make me sweat. Sad thing, I actually mean that.

Editing Pass on Taijiya Zero Draft Done!

Finished my editing pass on the zero draft of the not-brainy-but-no-longer-stupid novel, a.k.a. Taijiya, last night. Made my November 1 deadline! *woot*

Ended up adding something like 1,400 words. Funny thing, when I do editing passes on short works, I tend to cut-cut-cut.  Most of the content edits I did on Taijiya involved fleshing out scenes.

Also thinking of changing the title to Demon Queller, which is actually what “taijiya” means. Not sure which conveys “medieval fantasy set in Japan” better. Kinda feeling that it’s a toss-up between, “Taijiya? What in heck is that about? Pass.” And “Demon Queller? Isn’t that horror? Pass.” Or maybe I should throw my Scrabble tiles back into the bag and pick a new batch…

Still want to do another read-through/edit of certain sections, check some continuity issues, massage a scene transition that seemed rough but couldn’t put my finger on why—that sort of thing. Then I’m foisting it on critiquers.

Editing Editing Editing and an Anthology Invite

Immersed once again in editing Taijiya. There’s a certain déjà vu feeling to it. At least this editing pass is going a bit faster than the last one–as it should–but there’s still huge swathes of clean-up and twiddle-some rewriting needed. Made it to chapter 9 today (out of 43). Wonder if I can finish this edit before November 1.

In other news, I got invited to submit a story to another DAW anthology. Yay! Of course I replied “yes!” The theme is wicked intriguing but, uh, I don’t think I’m supposed to say what it is.

The editor wants my idea pitched to her by mid-November with the deadline being mid-February of next year. Hoping the short story writing gears aren’t all creaky and awry, as I’ll need to get most, if not all, of my story written by the beginning of January since I can’t count on being able to do any writing once the 2011 legislative session begins.

Gah! Where did this year go??

Novel Progress: Not There Yet But Oh-So-Close and Ruminating About the Nature of Chapters

Did not manage to make it to zero draft on Taijiya yesterday, but gods-monkeys-and-nematodes I’m close. There were more loose ends than I realized, and the denouement turned into the last chapter.

Funny thing about chapters, don’t really use them much in short works. It’s been a learning curve just sorting out where to start and end them for Taijiya. I figured they’d be where the scenes break–where I stick the little “#” in short works–and to some extent that’s true. But there’ve also been a slew of times when I’ve realized, “Oh, I should’ve started a new chapter here,” when I’m still in the same scene but I’ve had a break in pacing. To use a role-playing geek metaphor, it’s like coming to the end of an encounter but you’re still in the dungeon surrounded by baddies.

Put down 600 new words and did much cleanup of the 2.2K from Monday. Going to try to hammer out the rest of the chapter today. Never has a road to zero draft been longer.

Sick Tech and Novel Progress: New Working Title

Lost the weekend battling really annoying tech issues. My laptop got infected by some malware that, as its main obvious symptom, blocked my computer from getting to anti-virus sites and forums. It also wouldn’t let me download/install security patches and wiped out all my system checkpoints so I couldn’t do a rollback and restore. Glad I had my Droid or I would’ve been murderous-daikaiju-on-the-warpath-apoplectic. As it was, I was spitting mad.

My anti-virus program (Avast!) caught the infecting files after a full scan followed by a boot scan—which took overnight-plus-morning to run—but missed the deeper, DNS registry infection. Thought I might have to do a complete wipe and reload of my laptop (aaaghh!), so I started making a complete data and settings backup, which took huge swaths of time in and of itself, but fortunately I managed to stumble upon a forum thread that set me on the right track to hunting down and fixing the problem. Finally installed an anti-malware program from malwarebytes.org which cleaned up the registry, but I had to load it from a thumb drive from Matthew’s computer and rename the executable before I could run it because the $@!& malware blocked the site and wouldn’t let the program run otherwise. So very, very maddening.

But my laptop is now clean, backed up, and up-to-date. *snarl*

Writing Stuff

In better news, I made up for the utter loss of the weekend by putting down 2.2K words on the novel yesterday. I’m now past the scene I couldn’t write three+ weeks ago and only the denouement away from zero draft.

Holy Jeebus. I might actually hit zero draft today.

To mark the occasion, I’m going to stop referring to the WiP as The Stupid Novel and give it a proper working title: Taijiya.

Probably high time, anyway. One of my co-workers who reads my updates asked me the other day if my novel was indeed going to be titled “The Stupid Novel” and seemed disappointed when I ‘splained, “Um, no.” :oops:

Stupid Novel Progress: Full Circle Again. Ready. Set. Write.

I’m now back to the Scene-Which-Would-Not-Be-Written from three weeks ago on The Stupid Novel, and it has become The-New-Chapter…or rather, it will be The-New-Chapter when it’s done.

1.1K words today. And I am, once again, writing. Not rewriting. Not editing. Writing. Shiny new words.

Not exactly an occasion for confetti and streamers, but I’ll take it. Um, except I’m stopping for tonight to commit some fantastical imaginary carnage with my fantastic (but not imaginary) band of fellow adventurers.

Bad Morning Start. A Confluence of Doh!

Very annoyed with myself this morning. Somehow I managed not to copy the files I was working on from my laptop to my Droid before I went to bed, so I don’t have what I did last night on The Stupid Novel. I clearly remember doing a bluetooth file transfer and thinking, “Better make sure I get those copied over now because I might be in a hurry and forget in the morning!” But obviously I am delusional, because they’re not there.

Dammit.

I also recently reset the cloud sync program on my laptop to only sync when I explicitly tell it to because the last auto sync kicked in at an inconvenient time and confused me as to which files had already synced and which ones hadn’t. Of course, I didn’t remember to do a manual sync last night, which I realized when I launched my Droid-side sync app, thinking, “Ah, no biggie, I’ll just pull the synced files down.”

Dammit. Dammit.

And what really makes me want to stomp my feet and gnash my teeth is that I had plenty of time this morning, and I even had a little mental checklist dialogue with myself:

“Okay, hair combed, shoes on, keys in hand. Lessee, is there anything I need to pull from my laptop to put on my Droid?”

“Nope, got everything before bed last night.”

“Hurray! Off to work I go.”

Dammit. Dammit. DAMMIT!!

I sent Matthew an email to call me when he wakes up so I can walk him through doing a manual sync. I can still work on The Stupid Novel without last night’s wordage, so it’s not important enough to rouse him out of bed. But I’m really mad at myself and this morning o’stupid.