Category: Life (page 1 of 2)

Top Ten Reading Goals for 2018

Hello my friends,

Today I decided to take part in the Top Ten Tuesdays Link up. I do have a few other ideas for blog posts, but they’re more or less stuck. I lost the notes for one and I haven’t come up with the core element for another. So resolutions it is.

I’m not always much of a New Years resolutions person. I’ve heard enough stories about people giving up on them while it is still January, so sometimes I don’t feel it’s worth doing. That’s probably to my loss because plans have to be made sometime and the beginning of the year isn’t a bad time. So my reading goals:

  1. Read less books. Yes, this sounds like a strange one, but over the last couple of years, I’ve been stuffing my mind with so many stories that they’ve just become a muddle.
  2. ​Read slowly and deliberately. The only reason I’m able to read so many books is because I skim and don’t leave time to absorb them. I don’t take the book in properly. It’s a bad habit I’ve had for many years, and it only got worse with digital books.
  3. Only read when I’m done with other work. This is probably the biggest one. Reading has been the bane of my productivity. It’s been taking up time belonging to other things. It’s the reason I didn’t write this post earlier in the day. The only exceptions to this is reading the Bible and listening to audio books. Depending on the work I’m doing listen can help me along.
  4. Read more blogs. I used to follow quite a few other writers, but I’ve got busy and not kept up with them. It’s more for networking than learning that I need to do this, but I know there’s a lot of things worth reading out there.
  5. Write more reviews. This isn’t a new goal, but it’s a common failing. I know reviews are worth a lot to authors, but it’s so easy not to write them. Yet it’s isn’t difficult to write a very short review for the majority of books. I like giving my whole multi-sided opinion and recommendation for a book, but I don’t always have to. I’ll likely not do review for the books I could care less about, but I should attempt the ones I’m not sure how to feel about. Writing makes the thoughts clearer.
  6. Read a SpecFaith article at least once a week. There’s a lot of good in here.
  7. Read a Creation.com article at least once a week. I can always do with some science or apologetics to keep my mind active. I ought to read the Creation magazine more too.
  8. Finish all the non-fiction books I’m partway through. I can’t skim books on theology or any detailed topic. They require concentration and focus. That also means they take quite a bit longer and I do have a very long non-fiction list. (Thirty-six on Goodreads, not counting books on writing, and there’s more than that on our bookshelves that could be listed.) So this year i am going to focus on getting through at leas the ones I’ve begun. The possible exception is Augustine’s City of God which I got half for the purpose of getting the really long book achievement on Audible. It is fascinating at points, but thirty hours, is thirty hours, and there’s a bit more than that left.
  9. Take notes when I read. I think a lot while reading, but there are so many thoughts and brilliant lines that escape me later. I need to find a way of making notes without constantly distracting from my reading, and then it’ll be good. I do have a journal I’ve used for that purpose already, so that’s not a problem.
  10. Get to the point in my Greek studies that I can read sentences not just one word in ten (and that is only due words we use in English and a few extremely frequent words).

Now all I have to do is remember and do these things and everything will be, well not perfect, but likely better. Remember the signs.

Recent (or not so recent) Happenings

Here’s a long overdue update for my blog. I know I’ve been far too quiet for a while, but I’ve been busy. November was taken up by NaNoWriMo and October was full of my preparations for that and for the Omega writers conference.

Yes, I went to a writers conference. It was about a three hour drive away and I went all by myself. It was a great experience. We had sessions by Margie Lawson on literary techniques and using psychology and visceral feelings to pull readers in. I’m focusing more on the plot level with my writing at the moment, but it will be very useful when I get into editing.

There was also a workshop on writing for the YA and middle grade audiences by Alex Marestang who has written for Disney. We heard that he just emailed the conference organizers asking if he could do anything to help.  The organizers had never heard of him and looked him up to make sure he was legit because offers from complete strangers are not common. He had never been to Australia before and I’m not sure how he heard about the conference. But it’s not the first time he’s just sent off a letter blind. It’s actually how he got his job at Disney. He just sent them a letter asking if there was anything he could do to help them.

So that was his first point. Sending letters offering help to random companies might be a good idea. Maybe. Actually I think statistics on the best selling YA and middle grade books was first, followed closely by the elements that make them work.

Alex Marestaing also spoke at the awards night for the CALEB prize. He talked about finding your voice. That was an inspirational talk. Your words are powerful when they have something behind them. An emotion, an experience, something you beleive in strongly. You must believe what you are saying before you speak out with it. Otherwise it will be half hearted.

The awards evening was good too. I won one round of a game we played in the middle of it and happened to be sitting next to the winner of best Picture Book, and the runner up overall. CALEB stands for Christian Authors Lifting Each-others Books and it’s an Australasian book award. They have a category for unpublished manuscripts which I aim to enter in the future.

I also made contact with a few other writers and some editors and publishers. I’m not at the stage to be looking for a professional editor or pusher, but these friendly contacts will be useful even if they are with editors who do not understand the fantasy genre. I still made friends even if they’e not directly useful friends. I do need to work on my networking skills a bit more.

I also bought a stack of books. One novel for myself, a writing book by Orson Scott Card, Narnia, Middle Earth and the Kingdom of God by Mark Worthing (which is a fascinating book about the history of fantasy in regards to Christianity, and the only book I’ve read so far). a book about Martin Luther also by Mark Worthing (That one was a present for a brother), Phantastes by George Macdonald updated with more modern language and style by, once again, Mark Worthing (present for another brother). Also another book I haven’t given to anyone yet and won’t mention.

There were also a bunch of books by various Realm Makers authors which I would have loved to have bought, (even though I had read some of them). I had a budget though, and decided to stick with Australian authors. (Except for Card.) The three by Mark Worthing were published by Stone Table Books (or the parent publisher Morning Star). Of all the publishers there, that was one I thought really might fit some of my books.

I also heard about one of Stone Table’s upcoming release. It’s a book called Playing God by Morton Benning a.k.a. Ben Morton who was representing them at the conference. It’s a kind of crazy sounding story answering the question: What if God was a self absorbed jerk named Jeff? Or something like that. It’s not quite my usual thing, but I’m putting it on my wish list. And go look at it along with other less crazy books here: stonetablebooks.com

​NaNoWriMo Report

Well I wrote 50,000 words. And I started using a useful tool called 4thewords.com It helps me make my word counts and has kept me writing something everyday even after November is over. Even though it’s usually quite late by the time I do it.

However I didn’t finish anything. A Brigand, No Longer still wasn’t very ready to be written. I have scenes, and I have extra outlining and I even have an explanation of what was wrong with some of the choices I made with what I did write. I had character problems. Aydel was being unreasonably stubborn. Sure, her head is stuffed hard with cotton, but there’s no reason for her to be quite so angry with God after the ending of the last book. And Joane came around far too quickly on that one issue and it clashed with everything else.

But all in all, that’s fixable. I still got some good words down, and I do have a much better idea of what’s going on. New side plots and character relationships are coming to life and complicating the whole thing beautifully. And I shot out a basic outline for the prequel. Writing that’s going to be fun someday. And difficult. Silly me thought it was a great idea to invent another language, and smart me recognizes that it wouldn’t make sense to not have another language. So I’m stuck using it now even though there’s only a few dozen words so far.

The Future

I’m going to be getting back into more regular posts. And I really mean it. I’m also going to work on editing more of Girl of the Rumours, and I’ll work on SubM when I need breaks.

That is that and good bye.

The Relativity of Age

Hello friends,

I have a short, musing post for you today. I’ve been thinking about growing up lately, because it’s my birthday about now. A slightly significant birthday. I’m having a party. I might share something more about it once it’s over.

I remember back when I was nine and mad a new friend. She was almost thirteen and quite mature. In my eyes she was almost too grown up, and I really didn’t have much in common. I played with her younger brothers instead.  (they tried to send me away, but being told she had lot’s of cool music really didn’t matter to nine-year-old me.) We did become friends though, and I figured out that thirteen was grown up. I thought that was when I’d be allowed to do various thing my older brothers did. (despite the fact they were older than that)

When I did turn thirteen, I didn’t feel very grown up at all. I didn’t want to be a teenager. But I did think sixteen (incidentally the age of my my friend) was quite grown up. But the same thing repeated when I was sixteen. I felt a little mature, but not very.

At eighteen and nineteen, I still felt that way. I wasn’t sure who I was. I was beginning to write, and had figured out some of what I wanted to do in life, but I wasn’t very confident. But it was around this time I started to look back. I had friends and brothers a number of years younger, and I had trouble believing how grown up I saw myself at their age. They’re just kids. How on earth would someone have a crush on a fifteen-year-old boy? It seemed ridiculous looking back.

Since then, I’ve started to see them as a little more grown up. I’ve been surprised by the insight-fullness of some pre-teens. I’ve mistaken people’s ages to be younger or older. I’ve had people get my age wrong. And from this I’ve come to a conclusion. Age might be an absolute things, but how it’s perceived and what it means is relative. It’s affected by your own age, the circumstances and personality of the person, and your own experiences.

I’ve got to a stage now, where I might say someone from three years younger than me to about five years older is about my age. If they’re  younger than me, I might forget their age, and group them with the fifteen year olds, but that group mostly consists of people who were fifteen two or three years ago. It’s hard to keep track when you only know people online.

As for myself, I do feel fairly comfortable with the age I am. I’ve realized that just because I’m not as far along in life as someone else, that doesn’t mean I’m not good at acting my age. I don’t need to act my age. I need to be the person God wants me to be.

Falling Through the Cracks

This is something I wrote a few months back to describe the way I was feeling. I thought someone else might find it encouraging. It’s not quite free poetic verse, but certainly not an essay or story.

Falling through the Cracks

Sometimes life can feel a little bit hard.

You don’t know where to belong.

Everyone else goes and does things with friends, but…

You feel you’ve fallen through the cracks of the social circles.

 

Sometimes it come from trying to extend yourself to much.

Bits of your life are so disparate that the cracks are inevitable.

But you keep trying to do everything and fall right through them.

 

Sometimes it’s your ambitions that have disappeared.

You had great plans and dreams, but they never quite happened.

They’ve fallen into the crevices between daily demands.

 

Sometimes it’s important day to day things that aren’t getting done.

A desk covered in papers, writing left till Friday;

Simple things like emailing a friend take forever to do.

They fall through the cracks of stupid distractions.

 

But the cracks can be mended. You can be pulled out.

There is a rescuer, a mender, a bridge.

Follow his ways, and you wont be lost;

There’ll be no more cracks to fall through.

 

Right now, I am feeling more on track than I was when I wrote this. I’ve made more friends, I’ve got some ideas of how to move towards bigger plans. I’m still struggling in the day to day, but the worst of the distractions are gone. The rest is just the competition or duties, writing, sewing, learning, and serving. It’s all stuff to be done.

 

Yep, this is random.

New chicken. She’s called Sylvia after Petra’s forgotten sister in Lady Dragon, Tela Du.

Random Things I Learnt in May 2017

χαιρετε

That’s a new Koine word I learnt. It’s translated rejoice and is also used to say hello. Transliteration is ‘chairete’. Which makes me think of ‘charity’. However the word translated ‘charity’ in the Bible is αγάπη (agape) which is selfless love. And in the middle of researching that I discovered the greek word for cookies, μπισκότα (biskóta).

But enough of the greeting. I didn’t mean to get into the subject quite so soon as that.

I’ve found since my post on my study intentions that I lose interest if I set my research subject up beforehand and don’t have any motivation than presenting a report on it. So, instead I’m going to sum up what I’ve learn at the end of each month. I don’t have a lot for May because I didn’t think of recording at the time and my mind is a bit of a muddle today (a week ago when I wrote this) But I still learnt things.

In Greek:

Upsilon is hard to pronounce. Both the name of the letter and the letter itself.

Saint and sanctify have the same root in Greek. (I suspected that was the case, but didn’t know.)

There is only one kind of article. In English we have two. The definite (the) and the indefinite(a). Koine Greek only has a definite article, but it has multiple forms because like most languages it’s more complex than English. (English has it’s one complexities, but they’re mostly from inconsistencies of pronunciation and spelling as opposed to grammar. But them as a native speaker, I have it easy.)

Music:

Concertos always have three movements.

Some people don’t appreciate flutes as much as they should.

Clarinets come in different sizes

Writing:

Procrastination is really easy.

My secret project, SubM, is prone to theological discourses.

Copywriting is really hard. Even when it’s just explaining my editing services.

If I, living in Australia, do an editing job for someone in another country that is classified as an export.

Reading:

The first few books of The City of God aren’t as complex as I expected. Also Augustine is very thorough. He demolishes the arguments the pagan Romans had against the Christians, them he turns to history and shows how the Roman’s gods didn’t help them. Them he turns to another bit of history and shows how the gods didn’t help them their either. Repeat that several more times also showing the depravity of the gods and how they didn’t help other people groups either. I’ve learnt some history. I’m ready for something new.

Also Patrick Carr has a definite style to his stories. There’s always someone evil who has gotten some unknown and prohibited power. And they’re hunting the hero down, while he tries to figure out  what’s going on. They usually move in before they’re seen. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. Just because I’ve noticed his style, doesn’t mean  his books are unimpressive. They’re wonderfully deep.

I’m hoping to get back to my regular posting next week. I’ve just been feeling a little overwhelmed by life lately.

 

I decided to study this year…

This is a post that’s been a long time in the coming. I’ve re-written it, lost the rewrites and then changed it even more.It’s a personal post, not much about books, but I felt I needed to write it.

One of the things that has been on my mind a lot since the leadership course I did is my education. You should know that I was home educated and always have been. In the last two years my studies slowly stopped. I didn’t graduate as I believe we should always be learning. And I certainly have learned since then. I’ve been informally studying writing and I’ve been reading books. But I’ve been a little lazy with it.

That is going to change. During this course I was encouraged to go study at university by both lecturers and fellow attendees. I was a little surprised and somewhat resistant. I had never seriously considered the university path. I plan to be a mother, not a career woman and my parents have taught me how to learn all I want to know. Besides, I don’t know what to study. I’m interested in so many things.
But I promised I would give it serious thought. There were some good reasons given, counters to some of my objections. After much thought, research and prayer, I came to a decision. I should study. Since God has gifted me with a mind with the power of understanding some difficult and abstract concepts and well as the ability to remember random details that seem important (read: sound interesting to me at the time), I really ought to do something more with it. I shouldn’t let it stagnate or get too caught up in the imaginary world of my own fancies. So I am going to study. But not at university.

Yes, not at university. I have reasons for this. I did write out a long list of arguments, but it seemed to strong and I  wondering whether I really believed all of them myself. So I’ve made it shorter.

Firstly, studying at university isn’t going to get me closer to having a publishable book. It would sideline my writing for a few years. Also I’ve heard that an English degree can be one of the worst things for a writer and especially an editor. If there was some kind of in depth Christian fiction writing course I might think differently.

Another factor is that I don’t really like the university system and the way it’s becoming the default for most young people. Also I don’t want to be immersed in an ungodly environment in the way I would in a mainstream university. I want to reach out and help people, but asking the world to fill my mind with their ideas doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’d either have to stay silent on some of my convictions, or get into trouble for speaking my mind.

Degrees aren’t really worth as much as they used to be anyway. I was taught to teach myself and I’m
not worried too much about my lack of credentials. If I really had to go get myself a job I think there’s smarter ways of getting one.

I’m not this crazy though.

I have a streak of non-conformity and wanderlust. Maybe I look normal, but I do write fantasy books and daydream a lot.v Anyway if I could afford university up front, I’d probably do missions work or travel or just help out at a lot of camps and conferences instead.

Lastly, I’m not so desperate to get married that I’d go to university just to meet people. This might not appear to be worth mentioning, but I was given that as one reason to do it so… we’ll I’m not so it doesn’t matter. Going other places for that purpose however…

Now you’re probably all wondering how studying on my own works. Firstly, accountability. I’m sharing my goals here so that I can’t be lazy about them. I’ll be sharing parts of my work as well. The plan is to have it slightly separated from the rest of the website. I don’t want to subject anyone to watching my education if they’re not interested.

So here is what I’m going to be studying:

  1. Biblical Greek. This is a vague idea I’ve had for just over a year. It’s a couple of months since it became serious and a few weeks since I made a start. I bought the Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, Workbook, and Flashcards by William D. Mounce. I’ll be going through the course on  billmounce.com along with some material from NTGreek in Session. (The basic letters are fascinating, by the way)
  2. I will be doing cultural studies. Basically I’ll pick a country or people group, study them for a couple of months and write up something about my findings. I’m not sure what the time frame for that will be, but because I have several interruptions coming up in the next few months and this is going to take a little settling into, I’ll give myself until the end of May to do my first study which will be on Myanmar/Burma.
  3. Music appreciation. I’m not sure that I’ll do this much, but I do like listening to most of the great composers and some modern compositions. That won’t be stopping.
  4. Theology, Philosophy, Apologetics and History. This will be through reading and occasionally writing up my thoughts. It will be wide branching, going into politics and biographies well as the aforementioned subjects.. Basically a lot of nonfiction of various sorts. I’ve been given a long list of books and some instruction on reading. Also my dad has a large collection of books. I’ll be reading some of them. Current books are The Institutes of Biblical Law and The Insanity of God. (In the time I’ve been writing this, I listened to all of Mere Christianity.)
  5. Conferences and Seminars. If there’s an opportunity to listen to great speakers and interact with people of like minds, I’ll take it.
  6. Online Courses. I’m taking the Theme Mastery course by Kingdom Pen and something called User Experience for the Web on Open2Study. The Theme Mastery course has been amazing for the first ten lessons. The other not so much, but it can’t hurt.
  7. Other reading. I’ll be reading a variety of fiction, both modern and classic, as literature and cultural study. It’s not going be as big an intake as I’ve had in the past, but I hope to get more out of it.
And that’s about it. Congratulations for making it to the bottom. It might look like a lot and I admit to feeling a little overwhelmed. But if I get my time under better control, it shouldn’t take away from my writing and editing much. Especially since I’ve been a bit lazy about it lately.
I just want to add a special thank you to my fellow CHQ students. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. It might not be the effect you expected, but you have been a great help to me. I may have learned a little Greek anyway, but I doubt I would have bought the books that I did. Thank you.

Yes, I Want to Change the World

There, I said I’d have another post this week. I’m hoping it’ll be a little different to most of the blog posts I’ve seen these last couple of days. January is in every second title. If I was doing that it would be late anyway. It’s February in Australia. Shortest month in the year. So I had better get onto it.

I’m much better at dreaming about the future than keeping records of the past. But mostly just dreaming, no planning. And I’ve been learning that to lead people anywhere you need to know where specifically that is and be able to look back to where you came from. I’m not sure I’m a leader, but as I said in the title, I do want to change the world.

Actually, I’ll rephrase that. I want the world to be changed. I want it to become more conformed to God and I want to be a tool for him to use. Specifically I want to touch people’s hearts and help them to the see the truth. I want to do this through my writing, and with everything else I’m called to.

Maybe it’s not a good idea to state outright what I’m trying to do. People might catch on and avoid my writing, but it helps me to write about it. Besides, one author might change the direction of a few people’s lives, but not the whole culture. There needs to be many of us. I want to be working alongside others. Alongside you. Writer or not, God can use you to make a difference.

How do we do this? What am I specifically doing? I don’t know. The course I did last week strengthened the call I felt to do something. It brought forward some of the issues in our culture that ust be grappled with. I gained a clearer way of thinking about some issues, a completely new understanding of others, and many ideas to incorporate into the worlds of my stories. It gave me a direction for learning more, told me who God was and who I was. But it didn’t tell me what to do or even what to think.

About 1% of my handwritten notes from last week.

At the simplest level, I must be faithful to whatever God has placed in front of me, I must be willing to take opportunities he offers, and most of all I must trust in him and keep close to his teachings whatever I do. After that there are the ideas I have been given for stories, the imagination I have been given, the unique circumstances that give me my particular view of the world (as opposed to all the other unique views). I must use those gifts and I must do it to the best of my ability. Our God is not a God of mediocrity. He does everything perfectly.

I do have a basic plan for what I wish to do with my writing though. I am attempting to shed the light of the gospel on certain circumstances, to provide examples of both good and bad actions, to use the grandeur of a made up story to bring clarity to the simple, but difficult issues of life. I want to reflect the way God made this world to work, and to show the goodness of what God has revealed to us.

I am also trying to show the glory of God in his creation, to evoke a beauty we can forget to notice in the world. The life of a forest over the brilliant depths of a gorge, The sweetness of birds singing by a trickling brook, and the devotion of a mother to a child. I can picture them now, a dark haired  woman looking down on a child in her arms. There is a slight expression of weariness in her face, but such a glowing look of joy as well. The baby sleeps, its little face scrunched up in peace and happiness.

I will also have to show the flip side of that. The horrors of destruction, the anguish of the death of one beloved, the remorse of a wrongly made choice. I cannot show the glories of perfection without contrasting the utter darkness we fallen humans can create. I won’t focus on it, I might not even get a close look, but I cannot try to lessen it, or shut it out. I must be honest.

And that is my plan for changing lives through my writing. It’s probably not the same as yours. You might never write for the public. You might think my ideas are crazy. But please, whatever your thoughts are, always be ready for God to use you. Learn new skills, try to do everything with excellence, be aware of what is going on in the world, most of all keep close to God. And maybe we’ll be changing the world together.

Beautiful Books: Goals and Interruptions

Hello readers, writer, friends and- I don’t think there are enemies reading my blog. If you are, please say hi.

I was starting to write about what writing I’d planned for this month and what was really happening when I remembered the Beautiful Books link-up was waiting for me. Since it is one on goals I’ll try to make it fit together.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished the first draft of my first novel, mostly re wrote it, wrote most of a second one, and started brainstorming a sequel. Not entirely in that order. It was a good year.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

Finish Lady of Courage, get Girl of the Rumours reading to critique partners or maybe even beta readers. Probably write its sequel, though that depends on whether it is ready to be written when I have time.
As for this month, I had big goals: I was going to be writing 40,000 words, mostly on Lady of Courage. Anything else including blog post would be counted too. Otherwise my blog won’t happen with a high word count goal. I thought I might do a little bit of outlining on A Brigand, No Longer, but nothing else was expected.

The Secret Story

Then two things happened. First I was given a shiny new idea that get’s better the more I think about it. It’s a secret project I can’t talk about much, but I’m doing world building. And I’m not just mashing up bits from our world though there is a bit of that. I’ve finally veered off into what couldn’t be in our world.

It’s amazing how starting with nothing allows for more consideration of ideals. I’m not making a utopia, but I can put in more of my ideals for life, work education and government. I can actually make a clearer reflection of the truths of our world I believe to be important. I knew that stories allow one to do that before now, but I hadn’t experienced it so fully.

So because of that I haven’t gotten much work done on Lady of Courage. This week I’m forcing myself to get back to work on it.

The second interruption is one that actually has an impact of my word count. I’m going away for a week.  It’s an intensive course on planning one’s life to impact the world. I’ll be writing, but it’s not the stuff I count. So my goal has shrunk.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

I think this means add more details. Girl of the Rumours is still in a fairly rough state, but the only big changes are content added to the middle and  the climax. The rest needs some continuity checking, some serious evaluation and a little polish.

I’m hoping doing that will help me sort out what happens in  A Brigand, No Longer. For it I’ve just got a bunch of ideas that  I’m not sure how they fit in. It’s likely there will be a third book, but the ideas aren’t clear enough.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017? 

I haven’t gotten much feedback on my writing so far. I’m hoping the critique process will really help me figure out my weaknesses and strengths. From there I’ll be in a much better place to write.

Describe your general editing process. 
I’ve hardly done enough editing to turn it into a process. For my first book the first edit was when I copied it from note book to computer. There were subtle changes I added as I copied. There were bigger things that happen though out it. When I actually begun that I’d just figured out the main line of the story and had to change the whole beginning to fit it. Then I go back over and tidy things up. I refine my characters.
For my other books it’ll be a little different, because it is already on the computer. But I’ll still be re writing things I’ve thought better of and making other big changes.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out? 

Well it’s not quite finished yet. But I’ll put it at 6 overall.
What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
The complex threads. A lot of them were dropped and the subtlety was lost. I’ll need to add them in and tie it all together. Also the political scenes could really do with smoother intrigue.

What do you like the most about your draft? 
The themes of friendship and communication that are coming though. And the sacrificial themes. That’s something I didn’t fully realize until I wrote this.There’s a lot of love and mostly not the romantic kind. I’m also loving the teenaged brother inventor. He’s fun.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever? 
More editing. Then some critiquing will have to come, then more edits. Rise and repeat several times. Then I’ll think about querying.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

    Let is sit for a month or two. Then read it over. Don’t think about it too much in between. Work on something else. But do come back. It’s worth it. Also write yourself an ridiculous. encouraging letter that will help you keep on when the editing seems hopeless.
    And that’s that. Except I haven’t shared the new name I have for the larger country Girl of the Rumours takes place in. Verlis is the main setting, but it’s just a province. The whole land is called NéaElefthéri. Ne-a el-ef-THAIR-ree. NéaElefthéri. There is a chance you can talk me into explaining it.
    So do you have any excitng new writing developments? Or just a stubborn unmoving goal to move towards? Tell me about it.

    6 Non-Writing Things I did in November

    Hello friends, This is going to be a short post because I’ve been busy lately and I’m out of practice. Besides you would all rather I wrote my stories than my blog posts anyway, right?

    1. Work

    Yes, boring and not even something that takes a lot of time, but I did make sure it happens. That’s actually why I finished NaNo early. The last day of the month, or in this case the last two days are the busiest for me work wise.

    2. Scripture in Schools

    This is the reason two days at the end of the month were busy. On the 30th I helped with Christian Education in schools for the first time ever. It’s a great thing to do. These kids have so many questions about God and the Bible and a surprising number of answers too. Here’s an example of what kind of conversations I’ve been in:

    Boy 1: How do you draw God?Me: God is really too big and complex to draw, etc.
    Boy 1: Is he really that big?
    Boy 2: Yes. He made the whole world in seven days.
    Boy 1: Okay, that’s big.

    3. Sewing

    This was only when I needed a break from writing but I started sewing a dress. finished it on the 2nd of December.

    4. Baking

    Mostly bread as usual. We did have to buy a few loaves, but that was mostly lack of planning, not lack of time. Sourdough takes time. And I helped with the shopping several times, another normal activity.

    5. Building and Garden

    I don’t remember any details, but I certainly did some. We’re renovating our bathrooms at the moment, so there’s plenty to do. (and when they’re done that’ll be the end of about 13 years of renovations. Which means we can work on the roof, the carport and the extension.)

    6. Celebrations

    These are weekend things, so probably didn’t have a lot of impact on my writing time, but they did happen, A dear friend got married and one of my brothers had a birthday. Just simple things. Except that the wedding was outdoors and I didn’t use sunscreen.

    And now I’ll go onto talking about this month. I’m still working on Lady of Courage, doing a bit of outlining to figure out what else needs to be written. I also did another exciting thing I won’t get to mention elsewhere. Another brother had a birthday and we went on an overnight hiking trip. Exhausting, but doable. I enjoy physically challenging myself occasionally and it was fun.

    August Wrap-up and Future Plans

    I’ve never actually done a wrap up post except for when I’ve done Camp NaNo. I may never do one again. But this time I am.

    My writing has been quite slow this month, but I’ve made a bit of progress. Girl of the Rumours is now sitting on 42,000 and has somewhere around a third to go. I’m not quite sure about the pacing yet. so that could change things. My goal is to roughly finish this draft by the end of the month, so that I can prepare for NaNoWriMo the next month. As for how that will go, I really have no idea.

    This month I took the bold step of giving my first chapter to a couple of writer friends for feedback. It was mostly encouraging. One person found my main character a bit annoying and immature, which I was afraid of, so I know I need to do some fixing there. The other reader seemed to connect with her fairly well though. And I now know a few other ways I need to tweak my characters to make them across right.

    The marking are hardly visible to the camera.

    One of the best parts was actually getting mailed  a printed copy of the chapter covered with red pen marks. Calling that good might sound strange, but it really was. Firstly, some of the marking were really positive. Secondly, I knew it was far from perfect and I got to see what improvements another pair of eyes can make. I’m less worried about it being badly written, editing will improve it. And there wasn’t really a huge number of marks. Just looking at it again I can see other improvements.

    There’s a chance I’ll be looking for beta readers in February. But that really depends on how much time I spend on other projects. I had hoped to have Lady of Courage at least half written by now, but I hadn’t planned on doing all these rewrites. And my NaNoWriMo project could flow on into December if it goes well, but isn’t short.

    Now that come to the question of what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. Joane, from Girl of the Rumours, had caught my attention so much I decided I needed a sequel to continue her story. Once I got that idea into my head, I came up with other reasons a sequel is needed. So that’s what I’m hoping to do and that’s why I’ve had to do these rewrites. It’s hard to write a sequel if the first book hasn’t got a certain ending.

    Another thing that might slow my writing down is my sewing. I’m making a fancy dress which I’ll be wearing to a couple of weddings. It’s been really fun so far. Over the last couple of weeks I drafted a pattern and sewed up a test in cheap fabric. (Though both it and the dress fabric were actually gifts.) Then on Friday I dyed my fabric to change the dreadful salmony pink, to a pretty lavender. That was fun and a bit smelly. And yesterday I cut it all out and did the same from a purple sheet for a underlining. And that’s enough because this isn’t a sewing blog.

    Lastly I’m participating in a challenge all September. Read no fiction. That should give me more writing time, and more time to read the kind of serious books I get a lot of ideas from. I’ll let you know how that goes. It might help me refocus on what’s really important.

    God bless you all and you have an amazing week

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