Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Soon To Be 2009

Not only am I wrapping up another month today, I'm wrapping up a whole year. Shoot, that's a lot.

This year I started teaching, got a dog, joined the CWC, started the bar novel, stopped working at the bar, started the Cass stories, and wrote about eight of my ten thesis stories. I've been busy.

This month, my whole thing was to break out of my usual routine. Between being on break from school and revising my thesis, I've managed that in spades. I've never been a huge fan of revising, but now I'm getting over some of my intimidation, thanks to going through about 100 pages to revise them over the weekend. Whew, that was crazy.

Also this year, I've had a couple of firsts. This year, during the bet with John, I wrote more words in fewer days than I ever have before. During this past weekend, I undertook the single-most massive revision ever. The thesis is the longest cohesive project I've ever finished a full draft of.

So, while I haven't gotten the big book deal, or cured cancer, I think it was a pretty good year. I pushed or crossed a lot of boundaries, and once you do a thing the first time, it becomes easier to do it again. That makes me optimistic.

Here's hoping you all can also find many things to be proud of from 2008.

And now, on to 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Yikes. Thesis revision was intimidating. Total count: 33,200 words, approx. 116 pages. Good grief, this has been a lot of work. The hardest part wasn't necessarily even the writing itself, either, it was trying to get my themes unified and figure out how I could connect ten different stories (with ten different sets of characters and settings).

As of half an hour ago, I finished whole-thesis-draft #2. No time to spare, either, as CWC is tonight. I hope everybody likes the binders I stuck the draft in. I didn't get the introduction finished like I wanted, but I did do edits on all ten stories. It's all mush in my head now, but I know I made it at least a little better.

I feel like I should get an ice cream, or at least a round of applause.

Extra kudos to Jenny, who just did the same thing and is up for critiquing tonight.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gotta Call It Something

I used to know exactly what to call my thesis, but then I changed direction with it and now the most-fitting thing I can think of to call it is "the thesis." The title for this one is killing me. I have a couple options:
The Lost McKades
The Lost and Found McKades
Lost Birds
To Find a Falcon

Yet, none of them strike me quite the way I want them to. I'm thinking that since I'm still tweaking things, that the title is waiting to come to me when I finish revisions. Or, maybe this is one where I'll need to rely on other people to find the obvious. I'm hoping that if I stay stuck, the CWCers or Juan will be able to peg it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Since I need to be working on my thesis, I've decided to transcribe some of the Cass stuff from my notebooks. Hey, it may be procrastination, but at least it's writing procrastination. Besides, I think it'll help me get into the right mindset to tackle rewrites.

In thinking about the Cass stories/novel, and after reading Dead Until Dark, where I found the narration annoying in spots, I've decided to shift Cass out of 1st person present tense into 3rd person past tense. It makes transcribing difficult. I'm trying to read one tense and type another. Doesn't work too well. I'll get a few sentences down fine, then suddenly realize I've written "says" instead of "said." Ugh. If only there was a Word function that could shift everything for me. That'd be so cool.

P.S. Okay, I've gotten through most of the first chapter, and it's bizarre. After so long of thinking of Cass in one tense, shifting her to the other just sounds wrong and awkward in my head. I keep telling myself it's bound to get better once I finish transcribing and get into writing more from scratch.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Catch Up

A few days ago, Jenny asked me how my re-writes were going.

My response, "What rewrites?"

A full week of Christmas break, and I still haven't dived into thesis revisions. Instead, I've been playing catch up. My house is now cleaner than it's been in a long while, my dog is recently bathed, and I've had some decompression time spend making jewelry.

Tomorrow, I think, will be the day to get around to the diving.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Grades Day

Today was the day that grades were due. This meant a big rush of grading over the weekend. This meant I had to have all my grades for both classes calculated and turned in by 5:00.

This also means that as of now, I'm done with fall semester. That makes me happy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Editor Ali?

A few days ago I noticed that one of the craft blogs I read a lot is in need of a new editor. Today, I saw the notice was still up and decided that maybe I should be that new editor. It's one of the more intimidating writing things I've done, trumping even submitting work to magazines, because they don't just have to like me for one story, they have to like me ad infinitum.

If I get the job, it'll be a great experience for my writing because I'll have a regular writing commitment - 5 posts a week, no excuses.

I don't know how long it will be before I get a response. Not too long, I hope. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Shawn's Defense

I just went to Shawn's thesis defense, which is the second I've gone to and the first for a creative thesis. I've got to say, she was totally badass. If I hadn't had conversations with her about her frustration during the revision process (esp. about the introduction part), I would have never guessed it from how cool and smooth she was today. Go Shawn!

It, like the other defense, was also helpful for me in practical terms. I met with Juan today and told him that I have to have the whole thesis ready for the CWC at the end of December. Now I'm comitted, not just with the group, but also with Juan. The clock is ticking, it's time to knock out that dang preface.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Like Baz

I just got home from seeing Australia at the movie theater. It's definitely a Baz flick. You've got the outside filmed inside, loads of attractive stuff to look at, love, and, above all, a mythic/fairy tale feeling overall. This stuff is larger-than-life, guys. And, if nothing else, you know this, because the drover is just that, The Drover, i.e. a man with no name. Oh yeah, and there's voice-over and magic.

Now I won't say there's nothing to nit-pick, because there are certainly imperfections. (Like, why did __ have to die? That was pretty pointless.) But, at its heart, it's the kind of movie that I like. It sucked me in.

Why'd I like it? Because of how its over-the-topness balanced with its realism. It seems like the two shouldn't fit, but they do. The fact that I have a crush on the continent of Australia itself doesn't hurt, granted, but even aside from that, it's good Baz stuff. He's good at making fairy tales real. Instead of fantasy versus reality, fantasy becomes reality. It's like magical realism all over again.

I think I'm going to have to watch my all-time fav. Baz movie, Moulin Rouge, again soon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mix Up Redux

For December, I'm going to revisit one of my favorite standby challenges - the mix up. Since December tends to be a busy and/or generally mixed up month for most people, it seems appropriate. Your routines are going to get rearranged and I challenge you to embrace that and run with it.

Writing-wise, this is your month to change up your writing. Write in a new space, at a new time, or with different tools. If you usually write on a computer in your home office, this is the month to take a notepad and pen to the coffee shop, etc. Or, write in a different coffee shop, take a writing tour of all the coffee shops within a certain radius of your home. Whatever you want, it's your pick. Just make it different.