Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Vote Counts

If you live in California, New York, or Oregon, you can vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, and not worry about throwing a vote away.  But as an Ohio resident, I can tell you in all seriousness, my vote is VERY IMPORTANT.  According to Nate Silver's 538 forecast, Ohio has a 50% chance of being the tipping point state; that is, it is as likely as not to be the state that gives Obama (or Romney) the needed electoral votes to remain (or become) president.

I've got to admit, all this attention has been nice.  Every other day, one of the candidates or his running mate has visited my state, from Cincinnati and Dayton to Columbus and Cleveland.  Even in the third debate last night, which supposedly focused on foreign policy, the candidates were wooing Ohio.  That talk about "getting tough on China"?  It was actually about Ohio.

The race has certainly tightened over the past three weeks.  But I'm confident Ohio will do you proud, President Obama.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cutting and Pasting

My manuscript, upwards of 80,000 words, was a decent first draft.  It was a full story with complex, mostly well-defined characters, and a plot with only a few holes.

I've been working on my revision for a few months, though it's really picked up momentum the past few weeks.  This is for a multitude of reasons.  My progress had slowed because, I think, I began to equate the completion of a first draft as some kind of accomplishment.  It didn't matter that it was flawed, that it wasn't published.   The bound manuscript sat on my desk like a trophy.  I was going for a promotion at the library, and so I focused on the possibility of a shorter commute and increased responsibilities, not on my "side project."

But I didn't get the job.  It was a disappointment, but also a relief.  I like my current location and my coworkers.  As an introvert, it takes me a long time to become comfortable somewhere, and I'm finally comfortable where I am.  It was a disappointment, a relief, and a kick in the pants telling me, You've got to DO the things you want to DO!  I want to write, so I must write.  It's as simple as that.  If I'm not going to fix my manuscript, then I need to start something new; and I'm not ready to dismiss this story and these characters I've nurtured for over the past two years!

Second, I gave my full manuscript to six beta readers: My mom, my fiancé, my best friend, an English professor (and good friend), a former coworker/friend/writer, and my friend/writing partner.  Each provided me with different kinds of feedback that's been invaluable as I move forward.  I'm going back through the manuscript, starting on page 1, and making some of their suggested changes.  This involves adding and removing commas, finding synonyms for words I had unintentionally repeated, and restructuring the timeline.  Most of this I can do on the computer, with two documents open.  I edit as I go, then paste the fixed sections into a new document.  But sometimes there just isn't enough room on the computer screen.

Hence, sitting on the floor, tearing pages out of the spiral-bound manuscript, cutting my precious sentences, rearranging them, and taping them back together.  Anyway, I'm about 1/3 of the way through my editing process.  I hope to be finished by the end of 2012... Wish me luck!  If I'm not posting here, it's because I'm working to achieve that goal.