I've been remiss in not mentioning this to my f-list before, but if you're looking for a thoughtful and consistently updated blog about Christianity and Speculative Fiction, with a good variety of reviews, essays and talk about the craft and business of writing SF for the Christian market, Speculative Faith is a good place to start.

And last Friday (which I foolishly chose out of a handful of available dates, forgetting that it was the weekend of American Thanksgiving and hardly anybody would be reading) I had the opportunity to do a Guest Blog for them about why I chose to write for the general rather than the "Christian" market.

Primarily of interest to my co-religionists (as Lewis would say), but there it is.

***

And now, more to shore up my own weak resolve than anything else, I am going to announce that December is going to be a No-Social-Networking month for me.

I have a major deadline coming up for Ultraviolet, and the more time I devote to working on that, the better -- plus, we all know how many other things go on in December, especially when you are involved in church activities, kids' music lessons, and are hosting your family's Christmas dinner.

So that's it. I am disappearing for the entire month of December, apart from checking e-mail and answering any really urgent requests that come up.

Have a great month, everybody! See you in January!
My third round of revisions on Knife, the Hunter are DONE. It took a phone call to my editor to be sure I understood what the problems were and got some ideas on how to fix them, but once we'd talked that through, making the changes wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd feared.

In case anyone's interested in the process, here's my revision experience so far:

REVISION #1 (December '07-February '08):
Work required: Major structural and plot changes, changed main characters from adults to mid-teens
Length: Reduced from 104K to 94K
Total time to completion: Nine weeks (working 2-3 hours a day)

REVISION #2 (April '08):
Work required: Streamline and clarify plot, full line edit to fix pacing and clarity issues
Length: Reduced from 94K to 74K
Total time to completion: Three weeks (working 2-3 hours a day)

REVISION #3 (May '08):
Work required: Several additions and clarifications, minor line edits
Length: Only slightly reduced to 73K
Total time to completion: Four days (working 3-4 hours a day)

Coming up next should be copyedits, where a new editor looks at the ms. and marks it up for punctuation and grammar, while also noting continuity and fact-checking issues. And once that's done, oh glory, they'll send me galleys and I'll get to see how my story will look in actual typeset, book-quality print!

And also: *wrings hands* OUCH.
My husband is a wonderful person and I will love him until the day I die.

Not that I didn't know that already, but when he said to me last night, "Where can I take the kids tomorrow so you can have time to write?" I was reminded all over again why, reader, I married him.

Anyway, it turned out that it was much more practical to let him stay home with the kids (and keep the van) while I went out on the authorial town, so I let him drop me off at a promising-looking café where I hoped I would find sufficient peace (and breakfast, and lunch, and generous amounts of tea in between) to write.

It turned out to be perfect. The café had plenty of room, the chairs were comfortable, the food was excellent, they had a plug-in for my laptop, they let me sit there all day, and by the time I packed up and left at 4 p.m., I'd revised three whole chapters. (Though it helped that I promised myself a slice of Chocolate Mousse Mudslide if I got at least two chapters done.)

I can't wait to go there again!

Seven chapters down, fifteen to go -- though these early chapters are the easy part, there'll be a lot more rewriting later on. But still, I am pleased. It looks as though I've got a good chance (Lord willing) at making that May 1st deadline after all.
I received my second round of revisions on Knife today, with a few more suggestions for clarifying and streamlining the plot, plus line-by-line edits. The letter was six pages long, and the manuscript was marked up on nearly every page. Eep!

No, really, it's all good -- that is, I can see how all the suggestions my editor has made will play into making the book clearer and more readable, without sacrificing the elements of the book that are truly essential and/or dearest to my heart. But it's going to be a lot of work. And I only have until May 1st to get it all done -- so forgive me, dear friends, if you don't see as much of me for the next three or four weeks!

Before I go, though, I must let my yea be yea (as the apostle James would say), and give you at least a brief review of [livejournal.com profile] elizabethcbunce's lyrically written yet very real-feeling novel A Curse Dark as Gold.

Superficially this book is a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin legend, but in execution it's far more than that -- it's a novel of character and of family, it has the feeling of a historical novel with its seamlessly interwoven (ha) research into the craft of milling cloth, there is a strong mystery element, a well-drawn romance, and it's also a ghost story. Lots of different threads there! And yet the author weaves them all together beautifully.

The behavior of Bunce's characters is not always easy to watch -- Charlotte undergoes severe testing and struggles both externally and internally, and there were times when I wanted to grab her by both shoulders and shake her for her stubbornness -- but they are believable and consistent, and the resolution of the various character arcs feels earned rather than contrived. There's plenty of tension and action to keep the reader engaged, and the style is lovely and evocative without losing readability in the process.

And even though the major elements of the Rumplestiltskin legend remain intact, the author layers them with a story all her own and puts a fresh twist and perspective on the old fairy tale that keeps the reader in just the right amount of suspense. Well done, [livejournal.com profile] elizabethcbunce -- and her fabulous editor [livejournal.com profile] cherylklein!
As of 10:00 p.m. EST tonight, my revisions on Knife are DONE.

I plan to hang onto this draft for a couple more days at least, but by the end of the week it will be in my editor's hands. Huzzah!
As you can no doubt tell by the generally profound silence on this blog of late, I have been working very hard on my first set of editorial revisions since I got them in mid-December.*

It's been a lot of work, but I think it's going well )

Of course, having said that, I know what's going to happen with the next set of revisions; my editor will be forced to pry the manuscript out of my hands because I want to keep fiddling with it forever, and even as it goes to copyediting I'll be running after her moaning, "But wait! I just thought of how to do X and Y so much better!"


--
* For those who never tire of hearing how slow publishing is, I'll mention that the book was bought in mid-July, and that the contracts were signed in September. So yes, almost six months just to get those revisions -- but in my editor's defense, she had a lot of high-priority projects on the go, plus at the time my book wasn't scheduled until 2010.
So here I am about to prepare my mid-revision lunch, and I'm holding a heavily pre-buttered piece of garlic bread in my hand and looking at the toaster.

MY FIRST THOUGHT: Hey, I bet I could just toast this right in here... (pops it in)

MY SECOND THOUGHT: No, because THAT'S HOW GREASE FIRES GET STARTED, YOU MORON. (pops it out)

I'm so glad myself and I had this little talk. But it goes to show how distracted I am by this book right now.

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