Friday, May 23, 2008

Four Pretty Whole Days

A three-day weekend is a real gift to a writer with a day job. A four-dayer is a windfall. My outstanding boss announced yesterday that we get an extra day in addition to Memorial Day. Huzzah! I'm taking Tuesday.

The day before one of these weekends is a bit strange. Usually, I'm swamped. But since I'm covering upstairs for Giovanna today, I did all my last minutes yesterday. So I'm here basically to answer the phone and check emails. And the day before a holiday weekend is notoriously slow. Lots of free time to ponder 96 hours and what to do with them. Of course, I'll clean the house. And mow the lawn. Not too much time there--5 to 6 hours if get really picky and wash windows and trim around the edges. Maybe check out Territory Days in Old Colorado City. That's a few hours. Run to Home Depot for a new screen door for the patio. An hour. Sunday dinner with the gang. Let's face it--that can take 6 hours if they finish early with critiques. Maybe a movie. Three hours total. 32 hours for sleep, if I'm lucky. That leaves 45 hours. Wow. 5 pages an hour if I'm cooking, say 2 if I'm having to dig for it. At worst that's 90. At best it's a really short novel.

Now we all know that ain't gonna happen because I'm going to watch television and check everyone's blogs and email and call my aunt and talk for who knows how long (our record is over three hours), but there's still a big possibility to knock out a lot of revisions.

I'm psyched.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Critiquing isn't something that has been happening often for me anymore. I gave out MMG last summer for feedback, got it, that's it. [and after reading that I realize what a huge slacker I am for not getting the damn revisions done] I read FJR for Jenny and a couple chapters of things here and there. But formal, every month you've got to submit and/or critique x number of pages just hasn't been on the agenda for a couple years now. (Wow! It has been two years. Time flies when your involved with Pirates.) So now critiquing is back on the menu.

A few of us who have one novel done, and maybe languishing, and are well on the way to finishing another have decided to get serious about this thing. 6 people. 3 a month submit between 50-100 pages. Not "you can submit" but "you will submit." Yikes. Now 50 pages in 2 months is less than a page a day. No sweat, huh? Right. And we have an obligation to do our best critiquing of what the others submit. Potentially 300 pages a month to scrutinize.

What's funny is how everyone was "I really need this" and "This is going to be great" "what a cool idea" in the initial planning stage. And it is great. And I did need it. And it's kinda cool. But the enormity of the thing is setting in. The faces were much more serious last night. I already had enough pages of Vesta to submit, but it took me a week to get them in the shape I wanted. I am worried about next time around, though. I've decided that since the book isn't done, I'll wait until I get the feedback to work on the next part. One of the nice things about every other month submissions is that you can react to the feedback. But that leaves only one month for 50 pages. And I've set myself a goal of trying to get closer to the 100 so I can finish faster. Because, well, that's just me. Serious. Enormous. Needed.

I have another critiquing duty this month, too. PPW has asked me to be guest critic at their Open Critique event on Wednesday the 28th. People bring in the first 5-6 (I think) pages. Everyone there reads it in the group. Then the other participants give feedback. I'll be the clean-up batter and say why I would or wouldn't accept it as an editor. Let's hope I remember my critiquing newbies tact.