Only Five Days Left

I’m doing pretty well with editing my novel (at the moment, at least). I just finished a really fun scene, and now things are getting worse for my protagonist. The important thing, though, is that I finally have that confidence again about my writing, and am eager to continue diving into my messy scenes and clean them up.

One thing I’m a little worried about is that there are only five days left of NaNoEdMo insanity. Sure, it will be nice not to worry about putting two hours a day into editing, but that means I’ll only slack off when April rolls around. After NaNoWriMo ended last year, I only had two-thirds of my book done, and no matter how hard I tried working on it in December, I only added a measly three thousand words to the first draft.

I had January Novel Writing Month to save me with finishing my novel, but I have nothing for editing. Setting my own goals only proves to be a drastic failure, as I need to have the community of writers to turn to, even if I rarely post things myself. Just reading about what others are doing and what troubles they’re having make me feel like I’m a part of a big writing family.

Does anyone out there have a similar problem? If so, what do you do to keep yourself motivated about writing or editing?

Spring Butterfly

A freshly emerged male Falcate Orangetip butterfly.

Today, the first of my overwintering pupae hatched. It was the little male Falcate Orangetip that I raised from an egg last year.

I found him this morning clinging to the glass of the aquarium, letting his fresh, damp wings dry after just shortly eclosing. He’s an absolute beauty! Those stunning marbled wings and the bright orange spot on his upper wing tip mark the true arrival of spring (Falcate Orangetips are butterflies found only during the spring).

I also used the opportunity to use the new flash I received for Christmas to take his picture. I do a lot of butterfly photography, so it just seemed right to use the flash on him. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the various settings, hence the dark background. The pic was taken in my bedroom while the little guy rested on a piece of drift wood.

Afterward, I tried getting his picture outside. I almost lost him, but in the brief time he sat on a garlic mustard flower, I was able to get one last photo of him before the wind blew him away. You can really see the bright orange on his wings, although the photo doesn’t do him justice.

The same male, resting on a garlic mustard flower.

Falcate Orangetips live in the eastern US and are found in wooded areas. They can only be seen in spring, as their life cycle takes about a year from egg to adult, so now is the perfect time to enjoy them!

Novel Editing

This month, I’ve been doing something called NaNoEdMo, which stands for National Novel Editing Month. I’m using it as a motivator to get my novel edited, although I know now for sure that the entire manuscript won’t be completely revised this month, as I’m really slow.

One thing that I don’t like about editing is the constant feeling of doubt. The creative part of writing is fun, as I get to learn about my characters, watch them do crazy things (sometimes too crazy), and overall feel the immense satisfaction of spilling my thoughts onto paper. But with editing, I have to change things that don’t belong, cut out the really stupid crazy things my characters do, and get depressed about the horrible progress.

Things were especially hard with the scene I was working on. Before I even started my book, this scene had been in my head for so long, and I loved it so much, that I thought it was going to be the most enjoyable scene to write. However, every time I tried to write my novel, I would always get stuck on that scene, get so depressed, and then scrap everything and start from scratch. I had already written the scene at least four different times, excluding the fifth version that I wrote during National Novel Writing Month last November.

So, I finally reached that scene after editing the beginning chapters, and boy, was it hard. I knew from reading it that the NaNoWriMo version was the worst version yet, and I hoped to change that with my favorite pen (one that my dad got for me when he was in Japan on business) and my favorite writing spot (in the woods on a log where there is an opening above, perfect for letting in the sun on cool spring days).

After about thirty minutes of reading, thinking, scratching out, writing in margins, scratching again, reading again, drawing arrows, and more marginal notes, I discovered that the sixth version was even worse than the fifth. I was supposed to be improving when editing, right?

I was so frustrated that I decided to procrastinate and waste some time on the internet. I stumbled upon this post, and realized that I wasn’t alone with revision troubles. After reading it, I decided I’d try harder on editing that annoying scene, and it gave me the sense of confidence I needed to keep going. I began typing up the horrible changes to the computer, and realized, “Wow, I can just add this little bit of description here, and make it better,” and, “Actually, this should come first,” and “Oh, I definitely should add this bit of dialogue in here.”

Before I knew it, I stopped looking at the sixth version on paper and started typing up my thoughts anew, as if I had never written the scene before. The seventh version of the scene is the best ever. When I finished, I felt confident about my novel for the very first time. I could actually see my finished manuscript in my hands, all polished up and ready for my family to read.

Sadly, this happy moment lasted briefly. Since I like to write and edit late at night, the great joy only lasted until I fell asleep. By morning, the confidence had faded, and I’m still trying to gain it back.

Friday’s Tornado

I’m so thankful that we weren’t hit with Friday’s tornados, although it was pretty close.

After the weather alert radio warned us of a tornado, we grabbed our pets, laptops, and a few special possessions and headed to the basement. We watched the storm through the back door windows, while keeping an eye on the weather radar on our computers.

It was really scary. We normally get one or two tornado warnings a year in the spring time, but mostly they are warnings of “storms that could possibly produce tornados.” But this storm was different, mostly because big pieces of sheet metal, siding, and insulation were falling from the sky into our fields!

Quarter-sized hail soon followed, and I feared that it would crack the windows. The pelting was really loud, and, combined with the roaring wind, it was hard to hold a conversation with my family.

But soon the worst of the storm passed, and we were safe to go back upstairs. Our house didn’t receive any damage and everyone was safe. I later went outside to pick up some of the debris, and found all kinds of things. Papers from destroyed towns, siding, a huge piece of sheet metal with peeling green paint, a really torn up shoe, and lots of bits of pink and yellow insulation.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost all of their possessions or lost loved ones to the storm.

First Post

Mother Great Pyrenees with her mixed-breed puppy

Well, I think it’s about time I start a blog. Everyone seems to have one now, so I might as well join the crowd.

I thought I’d kick off the new blog with a short post about our new three-month old puppy, Otto. He and his mother had wandered onto our property about a week ago, and, after many phone calls, we discovered that they had been abandoned. We took the puppy in, while some neighbors are caring for the mother. If we didn’t already have three other dogs, I think we would have kept the mother too.

Otto is doing great right now, and he’s quite the playful little boy. While we have to babysit him all day, he is by far the easiest puppy we’ve raised. Although he does have a habit of sneaking shoes into his bed and chewing on them when no one is looking…