cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
"I'm getting opposite feedback on this boyfriend-type character, and it's clearly divided along gender lines. Men think he's kind of a jerk; women think he's too perfect." - Yesterday, while editing at T&E's. (There, [ profile] discoflamingo, it is now On The Internets.)

At that point, I was working on the heartbreaking editing of "Writ in Snowflakes and Sunshine." It's heartbreaking because I already fully marked-up a copy lo those many months (years?) ago--and then lost it. For a very long time, I postponed re-editing it, in hopes that I would find the lost marked-up manuscript. It was not to be.

So now, as we enter winter again, I start editing once more. It's a winter story; I want to get it out to submissions within the next couple of months.

Yesterday, I worked on it while waiting for Phil to finish reading Circus of Brass and Bone, Episode 7, and giving me critiquing notes. This has to be the most frustrating part of writing serially--the lack of time to collect a decent number of critiques and to let the manuscript sit before I go back and edit. I know it affects the editing quality.

It was a fun day of coffee shops and then T&E's house, of editing and chatting and maybe not getting as much editing done for it, but definitely getting more enjoyment out of it. When I've been working from home for a while, leaving the house is a necessity. Driving home after the ice storm was a different kind of fun--the "oh my god we're all going to die" kind.

(Day 21 of 30)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
Edits to Vicesteed are ALL DONE. Finally!!!

I don't even want to think how long this took--part of that was because of significant time-eating life events like multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy, and part of that is because it took me far too long to realize that really, I needed to make editing the focus and not try to just allot an hour on the weekend to it and focus on other writingy stuff during my regular writing time. (This is why I have another novel that's 30,000ish words along, and I've written several short stories in the meantime.)

Now, I'm not actually for-reals done with Vicesteed yet. I need to apply the final coat of polish in my traditional read-aloud draft, but that should take less than a week (fingers crossed). Then, mandatory stop. I have to declare a process and an end-point to the editing, or I could fiddle with these things forever. The read-aloud draft is a bit of an indulgence, at that. And I need to edit my summary for agent queries and then send out the rest of the queries to the agents on my A-list. I've already sent out some "query letter only" queries.

And I managed to talk myself into (very subtly) setting up a Vicesteed sequel with the ending. Which I hadn't planned on doing. But during the last part of the edits, when I figured out that I needed "enforcers" to keep the tech level restrained, I came up with Jacquard House. And they're totally going to be running an investigation of this outbreak of forbidden tech. And there may happen to be a "cute librarian"-type archivist who discovers that the original purpose of Jacquard House has been twisted. And there may be secret factions within. And just possibly the asteroid bombing of Old Earth didn't destroy it as thoroughly as these people think. Ahem. I guess that book, if it's ever written (I don't write sequels unless I sell the first book, for obv. reasons), would be called Jacquardian.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
It is odd how one remembers the different and unique words linked with a particular scene. When looking for a particular fight scene, I know that the keyword to search for is "giraffe." I am amused.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
In my imagining of the distant future, Reader's Digest still exists. And they have a humor section called "Aliens Do the Damnedest Things."


Unfortunately, story readers don't have this context and so find a line like "So write Reader's Digest" to be incredibly anachronistic. And they're right, because the story doesn't have space for the explanation, which would ruin the joke anyway. But! Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
12/07/2009 - Monday
* Performance advice from a poet:
* Posted writing logs.
* Meh freewriting.
* NanoWriMo (though it's past the WriMo now).
* Redmarked "Writ in Sunshine and Snowflakes" AKA "Ice Mother"

Deleted from "Writ in Snowflakes and Sunshine"

Old wordcount: 6,684 words
New wordcount: 5,747 words
Dead darling: When she woke, night had fallen. Light pollution and cloud cover turned the winter sky a strange ochre color. For a moment, she longed so passionately for the star-spangled black skies of her childhood that her chest ached.
Reason darling killed: Taking a nap just kills the tension, and this didn't fit in anywhere else.
Notes: I'm a bit worried I'll have to kill the first half of this story because it's not hook-y enough, even though that would mess up characterization, pacing, and atmosphere. Grumph.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted writing log.
* Freewriting warmup documenting Bitwise's bespoke mallow story.

12/09/2009 - Wednesday
* Notified Critters, tweeted, and posted to Facebook, Livejournal, and MinnSpec about "Salvaging Scottwell" publication.

Read WritersWeekly
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
As I was editing "Writ in Snowflakes and Sunshine," I stumbled upon this critique of it, which is one of the most entertainingly eccentric critiques I've ever gotten.

Hi there Abra, just a breeze of thought, here, my initial impression
of your story; I guess more having to do with substance than its
technical layout.

To let go with feeling or to thaw and understand the ice of the
heart, so encapsulated and so cold, sometimes hard to define yet
structured language can be as ice, not allowing those deeper
meanings to appear and prosper amid the warming sun-lit art of paper
and pen, I see a young girl, frozen by image and transparent in her
attempt to understand and identify with her immediate surroundings.
Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
10/31/2009 - Saturday, Halloween!
* A detailed approach to self-editing, plus, um, scarf stuff!

10/29/2009 - Thursday
* Posted writing log.
* Penthius freewriting about the music genome.
* Submitted "Dining on a Dead Girl's Dime" to Vestal Review. Wondering if I should change the title to hint more strongly that this is an Orpheus & Eurydice retelling. Sort of. Because nobody, but nobody, figures that out on first reading. I'm...too subtle for my hat...too subtle for my hat...what do you think about that?


Oct. 31st, 2009 11:02 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • Free-to-download (creative commons) Halloween music mix:
  • It seems appropriate that I'm looking up the timing for rigor mortis on Halloween
  • Stocked with Halloween candy, including evil durian candy for no-costume teens demanding candy.


Oct. 24th, 2009 11:03 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • There's soldiering through, and soldering through, and I think I'd prefer the latter.
  • Highly entertaining recipe for bizarrely awesome Chilli-Dog Casserole:
  • Still a favorite: "Her thoughts ran in circles like a cockroach with one of its antennae cut off."
  • I've cut 40,000 words and I'm still at 165,000 in Vicesteed. Tra-la-la! Need to get to 110,000.
  • Oh, yeah. I stopped revising here 'cause I was fretting about that extensive rewrite. Now I remember.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
  • 10:18 - Left house to go to work without wallet or bus pass. Realized when bus arrived. Adulthood FAIL.
  • 11:09 - Splashed boiling water all over myself while making tea in the breakroom. One of those days.
  • 15:42 Dear past-editing-self: But I don't *want* to go back and check all descriptions of a thing!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
05/05/2009 - Tuesday, full work, with downtime
* Posted writing log.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting about elves.
* Redmarked (purple-marked, if you want to get technical) some more of Vicesteed Chapter 17. Cut the interrogation scene that produces no useful info not also produced elsewhere.
* Realized that yesterday I uploaded Vicesteed Chapter 27 to MinnSpec...and that it was the same chapter I'd loaded up for the last meeting. Fixed that, replacing it with chapters 26 & 28 (partial--dratted partial chapters).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
05/03/2009 - Sunday, no work
* Posted writing log.
* Worked on redmarking Vicesteed Chapter 17, including rearranging a conversation interrupted by a page and a half of description. ::face-palm:: Word to the wise: you don't really want to intersperse more than a sentence or two at a time in a section of dialog.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
05/02/2009 - Saturday, no work, spent day hanging out at Cahoots.
* Posted writing log.
* Penthius freewriting, "Girl Needs An Anti-Gravity Belt"
* Redmarked Vicesteed--decided (with much trepidation and double-checking and reading through later chapters of Vicesteed) that Chapter 16 was entirely unnecessary, and began redmarking Chapter 17. The excising of Chapter 16 will remove maybe 10,000 words and a plot point. I'm saving the rough draft and critique notes in case I decide I *do* need that murder attempt to keep the tension up after all. But it's not essential to the plot, and I do need to drastically cut the word length.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
05/01/2009 - full work, with some downtime
* Posted writing log.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting, based on "Bartender Turns Wine to Water" headline.
* Finished making editing changes to Vicesteed ch. 15. I would post a deleted scene for your delectation, except that I forgot my thumb drive on my desk at work. Very bad Abra, no biscuit, fingers crossed extra-hard that it's still there on Monday.
* Sent Vicesteed ch 1-7 to MinnSpecers who expressed an interest critiquing the whole book.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
While making editing changes, I discovered this strange editing mark that I could not make heads or tails of. And it was from my own previous handwritten notes, so presumably I should have been able to read it. "It looks like a duck," I thought. "But that doesn't make any sense. Maybe it's a lazy, tilted D with a squiggle on one end? But what would a D mean?"

I pondered. And I made editing changes. And finally, I remembered the answer.

It was in fact a doodle of a waterfowl. An auk, to be precise. Bird doodle => auk => awk => awkward. I had used the mysterious waterfowl doodle to indicate when I thought phrasing was awkward.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
03/27/2009 - Friday, full work
Surely I did something?

03/26/2009 - Thursday, no work
* Read WritersWeekly newsletter.
* Posted writing log.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting, "Newshunter."
* Wrote 3-sentence pitch for Book In A Nutshell Contest ( and posted it to get feedback.
* Finished redmarking and made editing changes to Vicesteed, ch. 14.

Deleted from Chapter 14

Old chapter wordcount: 5,198
New chapter wordcount: 4,021
Vicesteed Draft 1 wordcount: 207,877
Vicesteed Draft 2 current wordcount: 178,412
Notes: This was a pretty minimal edit (for me). I mostly cleared out redundancies and excessive flushing.
Reason for deleting scene: See previous comment about excessive flushing.
Which deleted scene is it anyway?
Her flush was turning into a veritable blaze. She wanted him to go back to acting normal, to stop embarrassing her. She wanted him to never stop saying such sweet things.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Well, this isn't so bad.
Editing when things are going well

Huh, I wonder what I was thinking?
Editing when I can't quite figure something out.

Oh, no! I wrote a steaming pile of crap! Nothing can save this!
Editing when things are going badly.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
03/04/2009 - Wednesday, no work
Deleted from Chapter 12
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
751 / 5,593

Old chapter wordcount: 5,593
New chapter wordcount: 4,842
Vicesteed Draft 1 wordcount: 207,877
Vicesteed Draft 2 current wordcount: 186,901
Which deleted scene is it anyway?
The choice of costumes had been presented to her, but her initial suggestions were rejected by her father as inappropriate. Admittedly, perhaps the notion of herself as a mechanical golem or a marionette was not suitable for a costume ball ostensibly devoted to pure entertainment. Rosemary had restrained herself from suggesting that she dress up as livestock or dry goods, given that she would be on the marriage mart, as she had heard her father say bluntly to Hannah.

Before her father had expired from exasperation, Rosemary had remembered the leaflets and suggested the idea of a sylph of the sea of space. The swirls of color against the black of space would serve as notice both that she had been bereaved and that she was recently out of mourning. Her mother's ropes of pearls would mimic the spirals of the galaxies, and costume jewelry would complete the desired effect. Of course, her simple costuming ideas had been rejected as being far too plain, but the idea of the costume had been accepted.

It held a wry appeal for her. She pictured herself as a maiden bound forever to the void, finding consolation only in the wreckage of ships that were lost.
Reason for deleting: Unnecessary recap of unnecessary interaction, and it didn't fit in the plot flow. I may move some of the description to a later point, if needed.
Notes: This chapter was pretty good, as reflected by the low percentage of cut material.
Critiquers being unintentionally funny:
* About a person's posture: "perhaps reinforcing the prone position by comparing the fingers to the brass buckle of a trunk?" (There were no trunks in the scene, either, so I'm entirely confused.)
* A suggestion to replace "the touch of silk": "the feathery abrasiveness of silk."
* A guess at the theme of the story: "This seems to be a save the humans from the robot/clones sort of story." (I can see how they might think that from one chapter taken out of context, but this is hilarious.)
* A hope that the main character's desires "will come to fruitarian."
Other writingy stuff. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 23:15 Poor sick husband is *still* sick. And beginning to get cranky about the whole thing.
  • 12:07 Most of my chapters have been 3-6k words. This one is *14*k. What was I *thinking*??
  • 13:39 "Cat, what is best in life?" "To lurk behind my human and pounce on her braid as she does sit-ups."
  • 17:49 Hamster-directed Roomba:
  • 21:47 Grappling class was me and the guys tonight. There was nervousness about girl cooties.
Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
03/03/2009 - Tuesday, no work

Deleted from Chapter 11
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,484 / 6,686

Old chapter wordcount: 6,686
New chapter wordcount: 4,202
Vicesteed Draft 1 wordcount: 207,877
Vicesteed Draft 2 current wordcount: 187,644
Which deleted scene is it anyway?
The cobblestone's blue glow died. She felt the lurking predators swim closer. She stumbled into a run, heading for Verity's Lyre. She ran through a haze of pain. She fell once but forced herself to her feet immediately. A flash of light shot out from the spaceship and blinded her. She kept running, stretching her hands in front of her so that she wouldn't run into the ship. The things that lived beneath the cobblestones kept pace with her. They nipped at her heels. They only had to wait until she fell and did not get up again.


She ran.

The blindness receded slowly, like a veil being pulled away. She saw shapes. She saw the ship ahead of her. She saw something moving out from the ship. Without even thinking about it, she veered towards it and kept running.

Through the black veil of fading blindness, she saw that they were stairs lowering from the mouth of the spaceship. She reached it when it was still a couple of feet above the ground. She pulled herself onto the stairs with her last reserves of energy and
Reason for deleting: Inconsistent spatial relationships.
Notes: That might be the highest percentage cut from a chapter so far. Well, it was a pretty bad chapter! I rewrote the "telling" recap of infodump to a conversational infodump. Um. Improvement? Took out a lot of overly dramatic struggling to get somewhere. There's plenty left. Also added geodesic domes to explain why nobody on the other planet *noticed* that there was this illegal colony. And I got below 190,000 words total!
Other writingy stuff:
* Downloaded another MinnSpec manuscript to crit.
* Posted writing log.
* Got payment and comp copies of Art Times issue that has "Periwinkle Eyes" in it (March 2009).
* Updated pub news to LJ, Twitter, LinkedIn, and website.
* Went to submit Serenade of Blood & Silver to Amazon Breakthrough Contest and found they'd already filled up and closed. Note to self: don't expect them to be open until the deadline.
* Finished crit for another Minnspec member and sent that off.
* Posted looking for rooms/rides for Convergence and Wiscon.


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Abra Staffin-Wiebe

March 2019

1718 1920212223


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 26th, 2019 01:46 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios