One of the romantic things about living in Japan is just how much life changes with the seasons. Decorating color schemes change to match the prominent flora, and conversations about seasonal foods do not start and end with pumpkin spice lattes. The cuisine actually does change based on the produce cycle. This is the time of roasted sweet potatoes sold from trucks that meander through rural streets, and simmering hot pots.
Of course, greetings change with the season, too, as I was reminded this morning.
On the bus ride home from work today, as Saint Saens’ “Danse Macabre” played appropriately on my iPod, I put the finishing touches on my first revision notes fore Banner of the King! Boy, was that ever a long and boring process. Tomorrow, I begin the possibly longer process of applying said notes to my manuscript.
Here’s how I’m going about the first pass editing, presented not because I think it’s the right way to do things, but because . . . eh, for the hell of it. S’why I blog anyway.
Earlier this week, my boss came back from a meeting of the 10th Anniversary Committee and pointedly commented that only one person in the office had contributed to the committee’s fundraising effort, and that was him. The room was suddenly awash with “Oh, right, that” faces, but I just looked confused. I arrived on the job after the fundraising campaign began and nobody mentioned it to me, but that’s not an excuse. Even if they had, I wouldn’t have donated. The only difference is that it would have been a deliberate decision. I don’t donate money to anything unless someone can show me exactly how my money will be used for a concrete contribution to a cause that I believe in.*
Setting aside the waste of time that is celebrating an institutional anniversary, the only thing I’ve seen out of the committee so far is a statue. And statues are bullshit.
Because I’m in the mood for a [fill in genre of your choice], and you sound like you’re actually listening.
The problem is that I am listening and I’m highly suggestible. Always have been. My psychiatrist, a nice Scotch fellow, tells me that it’s the result of being raised by someone who never missed an opportunity to ram her opinion down everyone else’s throat. Go through that long enough and you learn to bury your own opinions and desires deep inside and just nod along because it means that the conversation will be over soon. But that’s a defense mechanism that can be taken too far- you forget to let the other opinions slide off, and you lose yourself deep inside.
I had these lofty expectations when I started this thing, I think. I was going to write insightful crap about my journey as a writer, share my experience with all of you, and leave a record of the path of one aspiring writer on his way to stardom- or wherever this train goes.
Turns out, that’s hard work. So, I’m going to try something different.
For the first time in a decade or so of being sent on work trips, I finally visited a city that I’d want to go back to. I was in Prague for business (EAIE 2014!), but I still managed to have some fun, and to stumble on the truth shattering a long-held family belief. Hint: It has to do with the Polka.
I’m back! No, really.
I took my Windows XP machine offline back in April when Microsoft stopped support because I had no interest in risking my precious novels. Since then, my only internet access has been a Nexus tablet- also my primary writing device. Well, that works fine for rough drafts, but for anything that requires any small amount of editing, nothing beats having a mouse available. I’m still too fat-fingered to go entirely touch screen.
No, I haven’t dropped off the edge of a cliff or anything. It’s just that it’s a lot harder to get an English OS computer here in Japan than I had expected, so I’m stuck in tablet exile, which makes blogging really tedious.
But I am still writing, about halfway through Betty’s Boys, my military sci-fi project, and also on the first editing pass of Banner of the King. First of how many? Dunno. For me, at least, this is a lot less intuitive than writing was, but I will get through it. Banner will see the light of Amazon!
Until then. Or rather, until I get a new computer…
Boy, I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. I certainly hope that I never have to.
After completing Banner of the King the first time, I decided that I’d learned so much from that writing process, that to go back and edit from the beginning would be too much. It would be better to just rewrite it. Reflecting on the rewriting process 260k words later, I don’t think that was the right call, because, guess what? I learned so much from this writing process that . . . you know where this is going, don’t you? But I’m not doing it again.
Maintaining a sense of wonder is an important characteristic for a writer, particularly one who wants to appeal to a younger demographic. I can’t hit the “wonder beats” if I don’t feel that particular emotion myself. Unfortunately, I’m a jaded, cynical ex-intel guy who sees the dark side of most everything, so I have to overcome that while I’m writing. My best asset for that effort: Nina, my almost 2-year-old daughter.