Enjoying the monsoon

Against all good judgement I am currently traveling in south and southeast Asia during monsoon. The rain is delightful, but I feel I am stuck in a bamboo steamer in between the rains. Family events and friends have kept my husband and I busy, hence the long break since the last post, but I have been reading all along the way.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky is great! I picked it up after I saw it among the Arthur C. Clarke Award nominees. Look for a longer review when I get home. The story covers millennia, and it passes two different storylines back and forth like a baton as events unfold. One of the stories revolves around humans traveling across unimaginable distances of space, which is made possible by deep sleep in freezers. Even though I would hate to miss the journey, it is an appealing idea after a nine-hour bus ride across Cambodia.

Update: I just realized a certain Peace Corps worker, a.k.a. my daughter, made off with my copy of Children of Time when she returned to her village in southern Cambodia so I will be ordering a new copy so I can write a decent review!

Rewriting and rewriting again, and again

Thirteen months after I finished the first draft of my work-in-progress (WIP), I am now close to finishing the second draft. The novel is more complete, but it’s still a long way from being published. If first drafts are like ghostly, disembodied voices, second drafts are shape shifters! As soon as I address one problem, I find 10 more hidden in sections that had earlier seemed perfectly good and decent prose.

I was trying to explain to my husband why I was walking in circles and talking to myself, and he told me I was just too close to my work. Too close? Well, sure. It came out of my head. You really can’t get closer.

Maybe I need another reader. Is it time? The thought of showing this to anyone right now is terrifying. You writers out there: at what point did you bring in beta readers or critique partners?

Before I do that, I’m going to do some editing. Yep, gonna’ let that inner editor out before she busts a blood vessel. Oh joy! This will be a summer of penance. I will be reading chapters aloud, which is really the best thing I can do to force myself to deal with each and every awkward line, cliche, repetitive description, tense shift, and other forms of bad writing. And after the flagellation of novel and self, I will rewrite. Then rewrite again.