Sunday, December 30, 2007

Second Draft

These dendroglyphs from the Chatham Islands are nearly characters in their own right in my book... Isn't this one beautiful?

This is a picture I took in the Chatham Islands. Not really much more to say about it, really, except that I loved seeing this on the sand.

I'm 45 pages into my second draft, and so far, it's easier than the first one was. This makes me a little wary because I've heard so many writers say that the revisions were the hardest part--cutting out mass quantities of writing and then adding new scenes. I'm not doing this all that much...which begs me to question, am I doing this the right way? Am I creating a novel that's worthy of reading or am I just kidding myself?

Maybe it's easier because I'm not messing with plot and storyline as much. I'm just making things smoother, less cliche (I hope), and adding some info here and there as needed. Hopefully, things will come out nicely in the wash (ah! a cliche!) and I'll have a real story here.

Jim has Tuesday off (like most people), so it'll give me some more time to work. I also found out there's a "Kid's Day Out" one day a week here where you drop off your kid, pay $20, and pick her up six hours later. It's a daycare I can afford, and since it's just once a week, I won't feel guilty about it. She needs interaction and loves playing with toys we don't have.

Of course, she's got tons of toys at home now that Christmas has come and gone. Elizabeth's favorites seem to be her Little People Noah's Ark, her rocking horse, her play laptop, and her baby doll. To her father's delight, she also likes playing with the Duplo's (Lego's) we got her. Everything else came from the family.

After Wednesday, I'll be able to post pictures because we'll finally have internet connectivity. It's been difficult setting it up here, for some reason.

Wish me luck with the re-write!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing day--I did!

There are two main reasons I wanted to blog today:

1) Jim and I saw "I am Legend" two nights ago. Actually, I only saw about 2/3 of the movie because I spent so much of it cowering. I actually had to go to the bathroom to remind myself what was real and what was not. It terrified me, and in the end, I was disappointed. It didn't seem to have much in the way of plot. The acting and special effects were very good, though. Still, I was shaking for a long time after the movie was over. I think I actually cried in fear. We should have seen "Enchanted" instead.

I am probably in the minority, though. I bet most people love it and aren't afraid at all.

2) I finished my first draft yesterday...and it was so darn anticlimactic. I was like, "Oh, I finished. I should be jumping for joy." The truth of the matter is that it's not REALLY done. I still have about a month of re-writing before I send it off to the editor. I guess when I print it off, and the major revisions have been made, and I put it in the mail, THEN I should celebrate. And start my next book.

Things I got for Christmas:
1. A body-blanket to wrap myself in while writing.
2. 2 G of memory for my computer.
3. The new Leapoard OS for my Mac.
4. A lap-desk to put my dana on while writing so I don't strain my neck.

All of it was perfect!

I got Jim an RC helicopter. He's currently out in the yard looking for a piece that flew off. (He's crashed it a few times--thank goodness he doesn't fly real helicopters this way.)

Now, we're going to take Elizabeth to see "Alvin" and then if things work out, we're going to see "Enchanted" by ourselves. (We have to make the most of our babysitting time.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Off to Neverland

(I just wanted to say that.) Actually, we're headed to Blacksburg, Virginia tomorrow for Christmas.

I wrote one hundred words today, which makes me laugh. That's all I got done in the twenty minutes Elizabeth slept. I'd have written more if I'd gone straight to it instead of making myself some hot chocolate first.

Some amazing news: she slept for eight hours last night. At 5:20 a.m., Jim went in to make sure she was still alive. She woke up about ten minutes later. I'd much rather have a full-night's sleep and wake up early than wake up at 3 a.m. for an hour. This was the first time I've gotten to sleep six hours in a row for a year and a half. It was heavenly.

I will be writing in the car (Jim's driving), if I have to. Either that, or I'll be reading The Golden Compass out loud so he can finish it before we get there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Until Christmas

I have until Christmas to finish the first draft.

Crazy like Howard Hughes crazy. I'm repeating myself and finding all sorts of dirt in my house that needs to be cleaned before I pick up my pen and green tea.

(Well, no, I don't really write in pen first.)

We're going to Blacksburg, VA for Christmas this year, to be with my husband's family. It might snow! Jim and his mother have been concocting some sort of surprise gift for me. I can tell b/c when she calls he muffles the phone with his hand and speaks in curious fragments of sentences.

Hmm. Well, I may not know what it is, but I know what it's NOT.

We're working on night-weaning Elizabeth in the hopes that she'll learn to sleep through the night. So far, it's improved the situation but hasn't cured it. She woke up only once last night, but it was for over an hour, and she cried. I'm sure time will be the biggest cure--humans eventually wean and eventually sleep for long stretches without needing mom and dad to help them back to sleep.

Oh, and another Elizabeth note: she's very much under the Standards of American Girls Weights, and the pediatrician we had last week felt it was entirely my fault. Apparently I am both starving her AND forcing her too crudely to eat. How in the world can anyone DO that? Shove the food down their throats until they give in? The Queen would never stand for that. And she does eat. Today she had bits of ham and baked beans. Isn't that fattening? (It's scary though---I end up eating right along side her. Some day I'm going to have to eat a salad instead.)

Ok. I need to stop writing and get to my WRITING.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Billions of Books

We are here in Maryland. California, Maryland, to be exact. (Just south of Hollywood, MD.)

In one of the rare moments I have when Elizabeth is napping and I'm in-between boxes, I decided to get online--mostly so I could purge my frustrations... Ugh. I didn't realize we had so much stuff! Where does it all go? Why must we have a box of nothing but electronic cables of some sort? Why must we have an old 12-inch monitor? (We don't even have a TV!) Right now, I'm in my new writing room. I've got the two bookshelves in the right spots now and most of the books unpacked, but there are still boxes of books and no more shelf space. I've doubled-up on the paperbacks, too.

Tomorrow we're going to Ikea (a two-hour drive) to get Elizabeth a bed and some furniture, as well as some other things to store our stuff in. We've got a table and two chairs on their way (we sold our old one before we left SD), and a computer armoire coming on Monday. I haven't been so excited about furniture before...but I'm thrilled because things will be put away and the house will be settled.

Then I can get back to writing. Isn't it ironic that I'm about a week away from finishing, and I have to unpack a house during naptime? There's no way I could write right now, though, with everything all over the place. Soon...soon.

On the really bright side, I will have my own room to write in! Just an 8x8 room with two bookshelves and a rocking chair upon which I shall do my composing. We're keeping the computer in the living room because I tend to get distracted while writing...and I only need that for editing, which I can do outside of my little special room.

This townhouse is really cute. It's smaller than our last one, but feels cozier and more livable. We even have a little back yard and a bay window in the kitchen. :-) The neighborhood is really just a bunch of townhomes, but they're all so cute! I can't wait until the snow melts so Elizabeth and I can check out the playground.

Again...why do we have so many books? There's got to be a way to thin them down. I don't really need two shelves of Russian and Japanese grammar books anymore.

Oh! I forgot! On Wednesday, when we were just two hours from our new home, the car overheated. It was snowing large wet flakes, but there was smoke coming out of the engine. So we spent five hours in a small town in which Elizabeth busted her lip after slipping on melted snow (she looks like I whacked her with a mixing spoon). We got a rental car and finally got out of there. Tomorrow, before Ikea, we will go and get our car back. Stupid car parts.