The New Year's Post

How do you spell it?

Answer: The 31st of December is called New Year's Eve.
: The 31st of December is the day before the new year. Therefore it's the eve OF the New Year. That OF denotes possession. The New Year "owns" that eve, and that's why there's an apostrophe.

Answer: The 1st of January is called New Year's Day.
Why?: It's the first day OF the New Year. That OF denotes possession. The New Year "owns" that day, and that's why there's an apostrophe.


1. Make the changes to Aundes Aura that will be suggested by the editor.
1. i. Publish Aundes Aura.

2. Write and publish a novella/novelette.

3. Pass my Advanced Diploma of Music.

4. Not let take-away or other food put me over my weight threshold.
(I'm not going to tell you what that threshold is, because I'm skinny and you might tell me that I don't need to watch my weight. But I like being skinny and I want to keep it that way.)

Got any writing resolutions?

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The Next Step

Two days ago when I finished the second draft of Aundes Aura, I didn't know what to do next. How would I approach the next round? How much do I really need to change, anyway? What if it's good how it is?

With the previous suggestions from people on Critique Circle to get a beta reader, plus two more suggestions after my blog post, I've decided to have my friend beta read it for me. I've tried reading friends' work before and haven't got to the end, so I don't have high hopes for this, but I'm moderately confident in it.

Later down the track, I may find some people on Critique Circle or Kindleboards to swap beta reads with. In any case, my editor is scheduled for February, so the book will be going to her then. Her suggestions will be the last changes I make.

First Round of Edits Done! Plus, my secret revealed.

Yes, I've been working moderately hard and have managed to get through the first round of edits on Aundes Aura!

Now I find myself at a loss as to what to do next. As I go through the next draft, what should I be focusing on? I've cut all that needed to be cut, and I've done a lot of tightening, especially in the first ten chapters (they needed it more). I've filled out all those pesky square brackets that held the place for transitions to be written.

Aundes Aura is currently 57,590 words. But what do I do next?

My current thought is to add more description, some appropriate character introspection . . . I don't know.

Since it's looking in pretty good shape, one suggestion from some Critique Circle friends was to give it to some beta readers. I could do both -- but with the edits, I'm just not sure where I'm supposed to go from here.

Either way, here's my secret. I've acquired an editor! She'll be editing the book in late February. Whatever the book's state, she'll be getting it then, and her changes are the last ones I plan/hope to make. Until then, my friend wanted to look at it after this round was done, so that's where I'll start.

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December Revision Update #2: Battle-Plan

It's very motivational to know someone's working when you should be. It makes me work.

Since my last post on Thursday, I've revised another three chapters. On Friday I took a break, but on Saturday I jumped back in and revised two chapters, eating through another one today.

This is partly thanks to my new Twitter buds, @johannaharness and @JCRosen. They participate almost every night in #amwriting "sprints", which include editing. They go for a whole hour, where on my own I usually just do a 1/2 hour.

One great thing about this editing is that I'm certain I'm not skimping on it. What I'm actually doing is being time-effective. Not only am I actually progressing with it, but this approach means that I'm really focusing on what matters at this point: removing the big-picture stuff. Those internal monologues that make me say to my MC, "Dude . . . you're an IDIOT!" Gone. If not gone, then re-worded to something that isn't glaringly obvious, melodramatic, stated in the last page, stated a few chapters ago, clearly stated near the start of the book, or out of character.

So I'm an over-explainer. Which is just perfect because I'm also a sparse writer.

But it's all good! This is what revision is about, and I'm making my book way better! In fact, you should see the last chapter. I didn't need to do much at all to it, but what I did do made it better.

I predict less vicious cutting in the coming chapters, as this is the point where I stopped writing certain subplots, and all the characters to be deleted now have been.

Now, I want to put this progress into perspective.

It took me 8 months to edit 9 chapters.

It's taken me 4 days to edit 5 chapters.

Oh, but I was studying during those 8 months. You know what? No! I now know that half an hour can take me through half a chapter. An hour can get me through almost a whole chapter. And if I'm tired out during the week, I can get through at least 4 chapters on the weekend.

It used to take me hours to get through one chapter. Why?
1. I was focusing on the wrong thing.
2. I wasn't focused!

MY CURRENT GOAL: Get through this round of revision (big-picture) by Saturday!

Once that's done, I'll be going through and seeing where I can deepen things, raise the stakes or make things more challenging, which will take a little more time.

However, those should be as approachable as this big-picture pass has been, since there won't be instances left and right, but only perhaps a few scenes every couple of chapters.

December Revision Update: Make Them Fail

I'm so proud to announce that tonight I powered through the editing of 2 chapters! Even wilder, this was in the space of three 30 minute sessions.

About a week ago I discovered "sprints" on Twitter, where someone initiates it and then whoever wants to join in writes or edits for an hour and comes back with their results.

I procrastinated from editing for hours today, until it was almost midnight. Finally I decided to do one of these sprints by myself, announcing it on Twitter for the fun of it. I was surprised to get through 8/13 pages. I thought, hey, if I do another one at the start of the next hour, I should be able to finish it. I did, and because I had time left, I started on the next chapter, getting through 6/12 pages. After another hour or so of procrastination, I set the 30min timer again and finished the chapter.


Now, to be fair, in these sessions I mostly read/skimmed over the work and put markers for paragraphs or sections that needed to be removed, with just a few changes to wording. But I also managed to catch an inconsistency, one perk of doing quick editing.

I think this is helping me with big-picture editing, which will play a big part for me as once I'm through this draft, I'll be going through and adding things — one or two chapters, and maybe a scene here and there. I think it's good that I've done the cutting and line-editing of the earlier chapters, because they needed it, but now I can actually get to the end of these edits soon enough so I have plenty of time to add in the things I want and double-check the tightening.

I'm sure the 30 minute sprints will help me get through the other kinds of edits as well.

Especially since this month my friend and I are going to be doing productivity sessions. Which are basically when we both sit down and work on just our projects for an hour, and later, another hour, etc.

Just the fact that I know now I can get to the end soon, just having removed what needs to be cut, gives me ridiculous amounts of hope and excitement about what comes after as that's when I get to start creating again — exploring the less explored areas, searching for any chapters that could possibly be added, and as I've read recently as a tool for adding to the plot:
Finding a place where the characters overcame their obstacle too easily (or it could have been harder) and then making it harder for them and raising the stakes.

My simple interpretation of this was, Find somewhere they succeeded and make them fail.

I have some exciting news on the way. (Exciting for me, anyway, and if you might read the book at some point, it's good news for you.) For now, I can safely say that Aundes Aura will be released in 2013.

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

Here at The Dark Corner, Real Life is both our best friend and our worst enemy. Look to him for inspiration, but don't let him get in the way too much.

If he does, bribe him with cookies.

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