Semicolons!

And ellipses. This time around, I have too many semicolons — and in some instances, they actually are superfluous. Instead of having too many ellipses, there have been instances in which ellipses have been added.

So far, this round of edits is pretty interesting.

It’s like Christmas, only nerve-wracking.

Got the first round of edits back on First Flight. I downloaded them, but I haven’t opened the doc, yet — I’m waiting for my nerves to settle.

I’ve done this before, so I know it’s going to be fine. I’ve probably already fixed a fair amount of stuff that’s going to get flagged, too. (I may have even removed some of the ellipses that I didn’t get rid of the first time around, heh.)

Okay. Deep breaths and a pointy stick, to prod Small Mind back into its cave.

Pot Luck 3: Mail & Travel

Mail: I got my editing queue letter, yes! First Flight is now in line to be poked, prodded, tweaked, scrubbed, nudged, and otherwise manhandled into better shape. (As much as I may whine about people messing with my ellipses, I really do appreciate my editors. Thanks for helping make my stuff better!)

Also, I learned all about acknowledgements and thank-you blurbs, which is spiffy. Now all I have to do is figure out what I want to say in mine.

Travel: is exhausting. And I’m not even the one leaving town! Well, not right this second, anyway. Fortunately, in about 10 hours, the travelers will be off and things will calm down again.

All right, I’ve got to try to get to sleep, now. Tomorrow: more tweaks, putting together the soundtrack for First Flight, a nap, and who knows what else.

And now for Ylendrian Empire news!

Because there can never be too many reminders of how awesome Michelle and Reesa are. So!

Kellen Frey would like to tell you about his favorite places in the ‘verse.
– Reesa and Michelle have a new free read: Want, Take, Have, which features Tal, Van, and Kellen celebrating their anniversary, woot!
– Michelle and Reesa were also interviewed over at Friskbiskit.
– If you like dead-tree versions of books, The Slipstream Con in PRINT is now available for preorder at Amazon. (And no, no one knows why Reesa is the only author listed–not even Reesa! At least the cover has it right.)
– Reesa and Michelle are also working on Tal, Kellen, and Vanya prequels. <-- This? Makes me squeak with glee. It's undignified, but what else is new?

You can have my adverbs and adjectives when you pry them from my clammy, tightly-curled fists.

Why you want to wait until I’m in full rigor is beyond me, but hey. To each their own, right?

I don’t understand– No, that’s not true. I understand why people get annoyed by thesaurus abuse, and I understand why people get annoyed by an overabundance of pedestrian adverbs. What I don’t understand is the absolute lack of compromise that I see in OMG NO ADVERBS/ADJECTIVES OR YOU SUCK!!!! “writing rules”.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that Kristen Lamb may be the one and only person I’ve ever seen to author a list of “writing rules” who actually explicitly states that it’s boring adverbial phrases like “she smiled happily” that need to die in a fire — but something like “she smiled, gleefully wielding her scalpel” is acceptable.

See, the thing is, you canNOT write without adjectives. Since I’m a highly visual person, I find examples to be far more illuminating, so here! Let’s have another experiment:

This is the first two paragraphs of my Sailors story, with every adjective, adverb, or other remotely descriptive word removed:

Everyone lined the railing. Tevseth was searching.

There. Tevseth caught sight of Kelvi, watching healers helping the men.

No adjectives, no adverbs, no prepositions. What do we learn from this? Well… There’s a railing… And some people, two of whom we’re maybe supposed to start caring about, but…

But what railing? Where is it? Who’s Kelvi, why should healers bother helping the men, what is it that Tevseth sees? Why the hell should we give a tin-plated rat’s ass? Who knows? I sure don’t — and if someone wanted me to read their story and this is what greeted me? I’d be clicking the ‘close tab’ X or the back button without bothering to see what happened in paragraph three.

So here, try those two ‘graphs again, this time with the dreaded and deadly descriptors (but no alliteration):

Everyone who could stand lined the railing as the Sea Dragon limped into the harbor, two and a half weeks late. Tevseth could see the crowd on the docks—most waving, some jumping up and down—and leaned forward, searching for one familiar figure. It wasn’t until they were manuvering into their berth that he found him.

There. Gold-brown hair glimmering in the sunlight, green eyes he couldn’t see yet, a wiry body half a head shorter than most and a full head shorter than himself. Tevseth’s throat went tight as he caught sight of Kelvi, standing toward the back of the crowd and watching the town’s healers helping the badly injured men off the boat.

There. Now we know where the railing is and what it’s attached to: on a boat! We also know why people are at the railing — they’re finally home. Tevseth is looking for someone among the crowd — not an easy task, because the crowd is just as happy to see their sailors as the sailors are to see home — and we know when Tevseth finds him. We immediately know that Kelvi is important to Tevseth (physical reaction); we also see that Kelvi is watching the healers because there are injured men that need help getting off the boat. We can guess that Kelvi is probably looking to see if Tevseth is among those who can’t move under their own power, but that’s not nearly as obvious as the rest of it.

And all of that information is conveyed through the use of adjectives, prepositions, and at least one adverb. Oh, and italics, but I’ve covered those elsewhere.

So no. I’m going to just keep on ignoring the screams and wails of THOU SHALT NOT when it comes to adjectives and adverbs, because I am trying to tell a story, here. Something made up out of whole cloth. Fake. Factitious. Fiction. If I tried to do it without adjectives, adverbs, or any other descriptors, you’d have something like “There was man.” and that is IT. Not really a story, there, not as it is.

(Edited to remove another prepositional phrase.)

Pot Luck II: Net Access; Endings And Beginnings

Net Access: I have some! Finally. Long story short: always write down your ridiculously complex/utterly random network password in your best handwriting, and make sure your numbers do not look like letters. Your guests will thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

Endings And Beginnings: I’m not going to make DSP’s Higher Learning anthology’s deadline. On the one hand, that’s fine — I’m not entirely sure that they’d take my story (not enough college-y content) and I’ve been waiting for an ending to present itself to me, which it hasn’t. On the other, I’m disappointed, because it’s a sort of failure. I could present an itemized list, complete with graphic examples, of the factors that brought me to this point, but in the end it all boils down to the fact that I didn’t do the work.

I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to make the deadline for Mr. Plakcy’s Sexy Sailor call, either; again, it’s the ending that’s tripping me up. The characters and the story are just kind of standing around, being mopey, and I can’t figure out how to poke them with a stick to make them get a move on. Again, part of that’s my fault–the story presented itself to me with the twin themes of the quick and the dead–but it’s not easy to write a character who, when nudged, says “Look, I’m not interested in much of anything right now. Talk to me later, okay?”

On the other hand, I’ve started a couple of things–a seriously random thing involving dragons, and a couple of less-random things for a couple of different sub calls. Also, I am considering starting something new (yes, yes, I know) involving naga. I don’t have anything more concrete than that, at the moment. I’ver already written about a humanoid squid, how much weirder can it be to write about half-human/half-snakes? (Yeah, I know about the reproductive systems of (certain) snakes. I have to admit that that’s part of why I’ve only got a gauzy sort of impulse hanging around in the back of my head, at the moment.)

And now I should go away to write. That would be good…