Headed for the Trunk (Writing Update)

I'm buried in work, so I'm afraid I don't have anything witty or insightful to offer as a lead-in to this month's writing update.

Instead, I'll just leave this here:


Writing update for November:

I started the month tightening up the two workshop manuscripts for my first MFA residency in January. I'm reasonably pleased with the first (a GARDEN OF THE STARS story), though it probably still needs a few minor tweaks. But I've revised the second (A SMUDGED AND CROOKED LINE) so much that I'm no longer sure it's any good. Unless I receive a glowing response from the workshop, this one's probably headed for the trunk.

I spent the remainder of the month on the Herculean task of compiling all my notes for GARDEN OF THE STARS. As usual, this type of organization gets me excited to start writing. Which is great, since I'll need that excitement to push through the initial fear of fucking everything up. 

I also used the last week of November to read through my grandfather's unfinished memoir, then interviewed my father to fill in the gaps. The whole experience was fascinating, and extremely gratifying. This will likely mushroom into a much larger project over the next couple of years, as I clamber up through the other branches of my family tree.

Writing goals for December:

I have a ton of reading (and critiquing) to do this month in preparation for my first residency, so I'm keeping the writing a bit on the lighter side. In the next week or two, I plan to finish compiling all notes for GARDEN OF THE STARS, and put together a preliminary outline for the first novel. After that, I need to do a quick pass on the revised chapters of A RAVENING FIRE (which I threatened to do last month) so I can feel more confident trunking them.


Books read/listened to in November:

  • ACACIA by David Anthony Durham. Epic in every sense of the word. I'm intrigued to see how the rest of the series unfolds.
     
  • THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh (audiobook). Complex, beautifully written YA. I can't wait for the next installment.
     
  • THE HIDDEN FACE OF EVE by Nawal El Saadawi. A fascinating exploration of women's subjugation in the Arab world. Ms. El Saadawi's willingness to question the status quo, not to mention her unflinching bravery in the face of ruthless gender tyranny, is truly admirable. A difficult read, but a necessary one.

Reading/listening list for December:

  • KINDRED by Octavia Butler.
  • THE MANGY PARROT by José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi (abridged).
  • BINTI by Nnedi Okorafor.
  • AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir (audiobook).
  • NO GOD BUT GOD by Reza Aslan.
  • WRITING THE OTHER by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward.
  • THE HANDBOOK OF NONSEXIST WRITING by Casey Miller & Kate Swift.
  • HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE AND HOW TO READ ONE by Stanley Fish.
  • SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING by Verlyn Klinkenborg.
  • ARTFUL SENTENCES by Virginia Tufte.

Honestly, that seems like plenty of books for one month, but it's entirely possible I might need to add a few more to the list.


I'm exhausted already.

Peter