Editor’s Note

I’ve decided to split up my Writing Journal entries into two parts. Part the first, where I write about my own writing thoughts, will still be called Writing Journal. Part the second, where I react to something that Nikki has brought up as an issue in my writing, will be called Editor’s Note.

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 04 May.

In Chapter 3, shortly after the caravan of survivors battles its way through the advancing line of Locusts, they stumble on the Homeland. Nikki raised the point that since we had shortened the timeline, she wasn’t sure if they now had enough time to be as organized as they are written to be.

I went back through it, skimming for the battle and the Homeland. I was relieved to find that I at least had it in the right order. The Caravan wanders into the Homeland directly after the battle, which means that the line of Locusts had been through only hours before. My first read through had me thinking it was fine. The barricade was hastily constructed, Schuler was just setting up his command and control in the TV shop, so they hadn’t had much time to put together any sort of infrastructure. They were just using what still existed from before.

Right?

For everything to still be functional, the Locusts can’t have made it inside. For the Locusts not to have made it inside, several things need to happen. There have to be borders to be guarded and patrolled. That means that in the week since the meteors landed, the Homeland must have come together as a like-minded community, in reaction to some outside force. Even then, to have enough defenders gathered to keep the locusts entirely at bay is a tall order.

Schuler has to have his wake-up call. Before, his wartime experiences burst through the years of alcoholism, depression, and homelessness when the Locusts attacked the suburb he was wandering through. He can’t have rallied and protected the Homeland in the hour since the wave went through. Even saying that an advance scouting party of Locusts had come through and triggered Schuler feels half-ass, and unlikely to produce the desired result.

Talking to Myself

  • Don’t gorge on carbohydrate-heavy food. You will be depressed a half hour later. Rice, noodles, bread, whatever. You’re just going to make the people around you suffer, not to mention how you’ll feel. You’ve tested this, seen that it’s true, now stop.
  • Do not ignore that you have seen both Gil and Ani in person this week.
  • Stop panicking about school administrative drama. Either the school will be open or it won’t. You will do what needs to be done for your children if and when something happens. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look at options, though.
  • Editing sucks, but it doesn’t have to take the joy out of writing. Don’t let it. Embrace the story.
  • Like the Bloggess says, depression lies. Don’t listen to it.

My Summer Vacation

Two years ago, I was able to get away from Lansing and take my family to a house in Caseville, MI on Lake Huron. It was amazing, it was relaxing, and it was just what I needed. I wrote two posts about it:

Last month, we had the opportunity to go back to this amazing little beach house – Better at the Beach. It was just as perfect. Well, almost. The polar vortex was going to drive summer temperatures down for just two days that week – the days we would be vacationing. We couldn’t swim, we couldn’t have bonfires at night, but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

Dad had procured a growler of locally brewed beer from Thumb Brewery; I’m told it was delicious. My brother and his fiancee arrived, and flew a training kite for kite surfing to the cheers of the kids inside. Steve and Jo of Pumpkinfest fame came by with good food and great company.

The next day, the wind had died down enough for the kids to fly the kites Dad had gotten them. I don’t need to mention how jealous I was of Aidan’s kite (above), but I didn’t need to, because he shared. When it came time for the kids to have quiet time, Nikki, Killian, and I were kicked out of the house to do some shopping, just like two years earlier.

This year, we toured more places than last. Cottage Outfitters had an extensive selection of things made in Michigan and in Caseville. The upstairs was a gallery of restored, found, and modified furniture. Nikki very nearly picked up a beautiful small table made of woven branches, but it was not to be.

We’d stopped by Caseville Gifts & Books two years earlier, and had picked up some treasures from their enormous selection of used books. We snagged even more this year, along with some for the kids. Killian bought the first Caramon and Raistlin trilogy from the old Dragonlance books, and finished it in a few days. Geek points!

Of course, we couldn’t miss Brew Moon. Because coffee. And macaroons. And no-bake cookies. And coffee.

When it was time to go, we swung by Lefty’s Diner & Drive-In for lunch. This place is FUN. The foot-long coney dog gave me pause, and the jalapeno burger made Killian sweat. If I remember correctly, breakfast there two years earlier had been just as fun.

If you get a chance to go, I recommend it. So do my kids!

More photographic evidence here.

Penguicon Post Mortem

Holy crap, what an amazing time.

I attended quite a few technical panels this year, so that I could learn things that might level me up as an Ops Engineer. That mission was a success, and I came away with pages upon pages of notes, as well as a couple of panel suggestions for next year. It may not be your typical technical conference, but there was a whole lot of generalist and introductory information available.

I did get to see a bit of the literature track this year, and was impressed (as usual) with what i found. There seemed to be less debate about whether or not self-publishing was viable, and more debate on how to go about it properly and professionally. Thumbs-up to that.

I missed out on the retro gaming room. Unfortunately, I had booked that entire day with panels, except for the first hour that the room was to be open. Unfortunately, the people running the room were late in setting it up, so I missed out. I heard it was fantastic, and hope that it will return next year.

Cosplay wasn’t limited to anime characters that I was unfamiliar with this year! There was a Kaylee from Firefly, and there was a G1 Soundwave, complete with heat-sensitive rubsign! Her chest piece was even playing the video of CGI Transformers dancing to Gungam Style!

I successfully handed out the last of the Remembrance ribbons. That is, until I find more in wacky storage locations throughout the house. I’m fine with pretending that they’re all gone in the mean time. On the other hand, I received more ribbons than I ever have before. More than once, I had to adjust the badge lanyard to prevent my ribbon chain from drooping too low. Now that I’ve moved it into my journal, it takes up four pages. The bottom ribbon, and now my favorite, says “RIBBON HOARDER.”

The best part of Penguicon, top to bottom, was seeing old friends and making new ones. While Alex, Peter, and I did the Three Musketeers thing through much of the con, I ran into a ton of old friends, was introduced to a slew of awesome people, and even got up the courage to introduce myself to a blogger I’m a fan of, and compliment his nails.

Photographic Evidence!

MAY THEY LIVE FOREVER…

…AS GODS.

Did you get a red ribbon at Penguicon with this URL written on the back? Then you’re one of the lucky few to receive the last of my ribbons from my original release of The Remembrance. In 2006, when I debuted the novel, I made three different convention ribbons. The first was a green one, with the text SQUIRREL KING. The second was a purple one, with the text THE REBUILDER. You have one of the third ones. With each ribbon “release,” I set up an associated page:

SQUIRREL KINGTHE REBUILDERMAY THEY LIVE FOREVER

Most of those pages are outdated, and though you can technically still buy a copy of the book there, I would advise against it.

Why?

Because I’m rewriting it. My wife is using her editorial chainsaw to hack it to bits, and I’m putting the pieces back together, usually according to her amazing advice. The floor is covered in stuff that’s been cut out, and I’m writing a lot of new material for it. The goals are to be able to better relate to the characters, close plot holes, and make more sense as a whole. Those clumsy stumbles in a first novel, where you can’t help but throw the reader out of the story? Yeah, those are enemy number one.

Why again?

Because I want to submit it for traditional publishing. I want it to be the best novel it can be, and it’s just not there. It never has been. It’s always been a “first novel.” I need it to be a “good novel.” I want it to be a “fantastic novel.” I want to put it through the crucible of traditional publishing and see if it will come out the other side.

And when I finally finish its sequel, written over the span of at least eight years, I want to be able to apply what she and I have accomplished to the new story, and keep doing it as I write into the future. I want to learn this lesson.

So, while you can technically go and grab a copy of The Remembrance, I’d rather you check out some of my other work over there in the side bar. One’s a novella and the other is a short story, both at more recent steps on my storytelling journey than the first novel was. In the next few months, a new novella will appear there. I’d love it if you came back and checked it out, as well.

I hope you had a great time at the con, and I hope to see you again!