Looking for Planets and other stories

After a year and a half of writing and rewriting, I'm down to Anne Mini's prescribed pre-query final test: reading the manuscript in its entirety, in hard copy, and out loud.

While I expected to catch a few repeated words that way, the read-through has thus far proven even more helpful than I thought. It's giving me the perspective to find things that hid during months of jaded staring at a computer screen. Things like: is it really clear who's speaking in this dialogue? Is that line actually necessary, or is it slowing down the scene?

Ms. Mini's prescription has my full recommendation. And I'm devoting as much time as possible to that read-through this weekend, because... I'd like to start querying next week.

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Once I'm in the query process, I plan to go dark on this novel until I have something real to report. Also in my plans: putting it and its sequels aside, and working on my other story. Maybe pretending this is November and speeding through a first draft.

Much as I love my little story, I'm so excited to work on something unrelated right now. So. Excited. And those twelve short chapters of a middle-grade urban fantasy, begun nearly three years ago, long for completion.

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Late winter and early spring in western Washington State frustrate amateur stargazers to no end. Lou and I haven't been able to take the telescope out in a couple of months, and I've not managed to learn the constellations rising after Perseus.

But the sky cleared last night, and at nine-thirty we set it up on the darkest side of the house (we turn all our lights off, but the neighbors... not so much.) Saturn has risen above the rooftops, and with the 10mm lens in, we could see the rings. It looked kind of like this:

Kind of. This is my attempt to recreate it by means of Paint.net.
Also, some of the constellations made themselves distinctly tough to trace last year. All of a sudden, Leo and Virgo look down at me like "You know, we're really not that hard to find."

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Writers' link of the week: Austin Kleon's How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me). It's a superb illustrated piece on some of the most important lessons any creator can learn. Granted, I still think my work is better when I type rather than write by hand. I do. But in nearly every other case, I wholeheartedly agree with him.

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Music of the week: Jimmy Wong combines the stories of Orpheus, Eurydice, and Lot for a great original song:

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Funny of the week: Harry Potter tries to get Hermione Granger to read his manuscript. By Tahereh Mafi.

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To-do list:
  • Print and read chapters 4-13 of novel out loud
  • Clean house
  • Make quiche
  • Write up reviews for Ella Minnow Pea and Wheel of Time book 5 before I forget too much
  • Get some exercise (it's sunny! I can go for a walk!)
  • Spend a little time on music practice
  • Blog

Happy weekend!


  1. Good luck with the read through & the querying. Although the hardest test is trying to do a read through talk through with a cat on your lap. Do that & you'll know you've covered the hardest base. :)

  2. Thanks, George! Oh, and you're totally right. Maia has absolutely no respect for whatever I might be working on, nor for what lap space it might require. :)

  3. Call Briana...ooops, nope, that's on my list...call Jenna! :)

  4. Haha! It totally should have been on the list... I've been thinking about calling you. Guess it's That Time again! We'll have to catch up this week. :D


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