Writing, Revising, Resting, and a Writing Workshop

Way back in February, I wrote a post about how I struggle to finish projects. Since then, I haven’t written anything here. Life got busy. Again. In about a week I’ll be disappearing once more as I take part in a week-long intensive writing workshop. I’m very excited and can’t wait to tell you all about it when it’s done. Before then, however, allow me to catch you up on what I’ve been up to since last winter.

Photo of the author sitting on a leather couch with an open laptop resting in her lap.
Transferring hand edits into Scrivener. A slow but effective process for me.

A Spring of Revisions

I had a very productive spring. I got lots of writing done, even got through a full draft read of The 42nd Queen complete with revision notes and line edits. Over my March break–two weeks thanks to teaching at an independent school instead of a public school–I transferred the first 12 chapters of hand edits into my Scrivener document. At the time, I was working on an iPad and using the Scrivener for iPad app.

A Summer of Recovery

Then, I got sick. Sick as in I needed surgery. The month of April vanished in a flurry of getting the rest of my year planned out and set up for the interim sub who would fill in for me for the final six weeks of school once I went out on medical leave. Then came May and the actual surgery. Then came summer and recovery, physical and mental. To my credit, I wasn’t entirely unproductive. Nothing like not being able to get up and walk around to inspire you to write. Or read. I did a lot of reading and listening to audiobooks.

In June, I bought a new laptop. Thank Thor! No more wrestling with the clunky Scrivener for iPad app!

Sadly, when I transferred all my files to my new laptop and synced all my cloud accounts, those first 12 chapters of hand edits… yeah, they vanished into the digital ether.

Cue the sobbing.

Kidding. I didn’t cry, and I only panicked for a few minutes. All was not lost. The original, unrevised digital draft still existed. Unfortunately, I had committed the grievous mistake of throwing away the physical pages of my hand-edited draft as I’d entered them in the digital version. So, while I still had all my revision notes for chapters 13 onward, those first 12 chapters needed to be re-revised.

Cue the heavy sighs.

I re-printed the first 12 chapters and sat down to attack them… again. I’ll never know how my “do over” revision compared to the original, but I’m happy with the end result (if not with the extra time it ate up). By the end of August, I had all 12 chapters re-edited and the edits re-entered into my Scrivener document. And, I made sure to hold onto the physical pages, just in case.

Also, Some Story Submissions

I sent a few short stories out on submission over the summer, too. 

My surgery–the mad scramble to get all my ducks lined up prior to it and the long, slow recovery afterward–gave me an odd case of writing amnesia. Somehow, I forgot about several finished short stories waiting to go out on submission. In early August, I remembered them.  

Submitting short stories for publication is a slow process though. The average response time for most venues is 3+ months, with some variation in both directions, of course. Clarkesworld Magazine, where I’ve slushed, has an average response time of 2 days. That’s a remarkable outlier though. Over the years, I’ve developed this strategy: submit a story for publication, log it using the Submission Grinder, and then forget all about it. 

 

 

 

Which is how I got a big surprise in September, though it wasn’t related to a story acceptance.

Applying to Writing Workshops

One of the many things I read over the summer what an article by author S. L. Huang titled The Ghost of Workshops Past: How Communism, Conservatism, and the Cold War Still Mold Our Paths Into SFF Writing. The article was fascinating. Truly thought provoking. In her discussion of writing workshop critique methods, she mentioned several well-known, highly respected SFFH workshops. Some of them, I have applied to (unsuccessfully). The Odyssey Writers Workshop and Viable Paradise, for example. Others, such as Clarion and Taos Toolbox, I know of but have never applied. One writing workshop mentioned, I hadn’t heard of–the Futurescapes Writing Workshop. Curious, I investigated.

Futurescapes Writing Workshop

I learned that Futurescapes had a 200-page intensive writing workshop in November. It would be 100% online and was remarkably affordable (affordable being a relative term for a highly competitive and well-known writing workshop, anyway). Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. As my summer drew to a close, I applied to the program. Then, as is my cultivated habit, I forgot all about it.

A Fall Full of Surprises

Summer ended, and I went back to teaching. I continued to chip away at my revisions, entering hand-edits into Scrivener a page here and a page there, whenever I found a pocket of time to do so and could stay awake.

Near the end of September, an email appeared in my inbox from a guy named Luke Peterson from the Futurescapes writing workshop. Oh right, I thought. I remember applying to that. I wonder if this “thank you but no thank you” email will sound anything like the ones from the other workshops.

It did not. It sounded much better. I got in.

My scream of shock and delight woke my entire family. However, my elation quickly turned to panic as I read further and discovered that I had two weeks to get all my hand-edits entered into Scrivener so that I could submit a non-first draft manuscript for critique. 

The Race to Revise!

The bad news. I did not succeed in transferring all my hand-edits before the October 11th submission deadline. I did my best, but two weeks just wasn’t enough time.

The good news. I submitted a 70% revised excerpt. Not too shabby, considering that when I received my acceptance email at the end of September, I had exactly 20% of my revisions entered. 

And now, finally, you’re all caught up on what I’ve been up to over the past several months. I’m taking a time out from reading workshop manuscript excerpts and drafting editorial feedback letters to drop this post. Don’t worry, I’ll have them all finished before the workshop starts.   

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, happy writing!

 

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