a writing update

In the time since I last posted, some things have happened.

  1. I completed all four drafts of my first novel. I wrote it, rewrote it, edited it close in (grammar and syntax), then a final edit to fix all the inconsistencies and awkward parts and weak dialogue and dangling bits. That fourth one was a pain in the ass, let me tell you. But it helped a lot. For a first attempt, I feel that I didn’t do too badly, process-wise. Currently the final draft is out with my beta readers. Once I get their input, I’ll adjust things that need to be adjusted (like the first chapter, which has changed quite a bit with each edit, ugh first chapters are so hard) and then pass it on to the AMAZING person who has volunteered to copy edit it. After that, it’s rejection time! I’ve already started working on a query letter. It’s 15% exciting and 85% terrifying.
  2. I started a different writing project with my dear friends Jan and Steph. It’s called Widdershire and it’s an online repository of short writings. We’re having fun and if you didn’t already know about it, you should check it out.
  3. This past week I started my second novel. I am planning a trilogy, in fact, so book 2 is now underway. I have a general outline, which is a better place to start than a terrible twelve-year-old draft. I have new characters and a new setting. My plan is for the first book to be a somewhat upside down Chosen One story, the second to be an urban fantasy with a bit more edge to it, and the third to be postapocalyptic. I’m quite pleased with the ideas.
  4. I have finally found (well, actually Sam found) a babysitter so I have more writing and sanity time. There is no relief like the relief of a burnt out mom getting a break at last.
  5. I’ve been reading so much. Maybe I’ll do a roundup.
  6. I’ve been knitting a lot too, but with less to show for it. Everything I do seems to be fingering weight. It takes 5ever. I will never finish anything.
  7. Starbucks is definitely benefitting from my writing. What is it about coffee shops that makes it so much easier to concentrate? Unless, of course, a creepy-ass dude sits down beside you and stares at you for a couple of hours until you leave. That was so weird.
  8. The spring has been quite nice but the bugs and humidity and heat have started and I am coming to terms with the fact that I’m a weather princess, so I’ll go outside again in the fall. It’s easier to write indoors anyway.

what’s up in january twenty sixteen

Lucy asked this week if she was adopted. I may have laughed out loud.

This month in my life I am up to the following:

Writing – still working on the rewrite of my first draft. I’m about halfway through, and I’ve just worked through a seriously aggravating section. I have a new beta reader, bringing my team up to three. I feel pretty good about it. I’ve also started an unrelated secret writing project, and I’ll talk more about that later. Also, blogging! I’m going to try again. But don’t expect anything less than sporadic posts, as usual.

Parenting – it’s tough right now, not gonna lie. After six and a half years of this gig, I’m getting antsy to move on. But of course I’m a mom forever, so it’s not like applying for a new position. It’s just the diapers and snowsuits and tantrums and throwing  food stage that I’ve done three times and I’m getting fed up with. Probably related: I don’t have babysitter day this year. I’m going to bring that back, and hopefully it will restore my parenting joy. I love my kids to pieces and they’re absolutely the best; I’m just not the  best at day-in-day-out parenting. It’s taken me a long time to start admitting that. I’m still committed to my course, so I need to find ways to make it work so I don’t go postal and end up on the news.

Knitting – Happier things, hooray! I knit daily for Lent last year and I’ve pretty much never stopped. I don’t think I took two days off knitting in a row last year. I’ve currently got socks, a cabled cardigan, and a lightweight sweater on the needles. Stay tuned for a master post of everything I knit last year! I’m on a yarn diet for now, because my queue is massive and I have all the yarn I need for it. Of course, as soon as I said that, I bought two skeins from someone else’s destash, but it goes against all my principles to pass up $5 skeins of quality sock yarn.

Working out – I almost gave up running in the fall. I took a break when my knee started yelling, and then it was harrrrrd work to claw my way back. But I’ve started from scratch three times in five years, and I am NOT giving it up now. Running keeps the voices in my head to a dull roar. I’m trying to bring yoga back in with a 30-day challenge, after doing a bunch of research on how I felt about the yoga-as-cultural-appropriation debate. This article, and also this one, helped a lot. Unravelling issues of cultural appropriation are complex, but crucial. Also, I finally got a new yoga mat that isn’t shredding and is extra long, and that helps too. It’s ridiculous how many things are impacted when you’re a woman over six feet tall – yoga mats and running tights are but two of the issues.

Reading – I read twenty-eight books in 2015 and I think that’s pretty awesome. Also, it doesn’t include books read out loud to Lucy. Thus far (I know), my 2016 favourites have been Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m not exactly cutting edge, but I don’t care. Also, when I finished both of those, well past my bedtime, I had that beautiful terrible feeling of not knowing what to do with myself. That’s the marker of a good book. I hope with all my heart that I can evoke that feeling in my eventual mass market readers.

So there it is. My current interests and goings on. My goal for 2016 is to be honest with myself about who I am and what I can do, what I need and what is needed of me. I’d rather be perfectly self-sacrificing or perfectly selfish, but neither are right, or healthy. I think that if I can burrow right into honesty, 2016 will be a good year for my whole family.

on current events

Fear is a cornered animal, no longer docile, lashing out to protect itself

Suddenly the attacker drops a bomb on it to stop the aggression.

But the fear doesn’t evaporate.

It splashes, staining the heart and soul of everyone in the blast zone.

And the stain won’t come out.

It’s a virus spreading fear far and wide.

So the fear lashes out again, and the bombs keep exploding.

The fear spreads.

We have often let fear take the lead, make the choices, drop the bombs.

The repercussions ripple down the generations.

Maybe this time we could try something different.

phase 2 complete

(I’m referring to my novel.)

A month ago I finished the first draft, then left my computer at home while we went on our summer vacation to my sister’s wedding and my parent’s house over the course of two weeks. The idea was that I could take a break from thinking about it so that when I came back to edit it, the text would felt sort of fresh.

Mostly I was just freaked right out.

It’s one thing to write a bunch of words on a topic, and yes, I realize that sort of sounds like a humblebrag, but for me it was only moderately difficult to write 78 000 words about a girl who gets sucked into a fantasy world and cannot even deal. Trying to pound those words into something I am willing to flog to any agent or publisher I can find, with the intention that the notoriously rude general public can and should read them, is something else entirely.

Today I finished reading through the manuscript and scribbling all over it. This is a “read-through.” Now I need to go back to the text in Scrivener and apply all the notes I took, like “THIS CHAPTER IS TERRIBLE” and about five hundred places where I wrote “awkward, fix” in the margin. That was quickly shortened to AWK. There are actually a handful of pages where I didn’t mark anything at all, so I consider that a sign that it’s not a total disaster.

I think this next part is the scariest for me. Writing is sometimes difficult, but generally fun. The read through was fun, once I got into it. Trying to sort out how to solve all the plot holes and AWKs and details is going to be really hard and not much fun at all, or so it looks from this side. But we’ll see. After this stage I’m going to pass it off to some beta readers for feedback, which is exciting to me, so I will keep it in my sights.

And for the record I slashed at least 30 instances of “seemed” and 50 instances of “suddenly” and “really” each.

recent knitting

Well. I went to drop in a few pictures of the things I’ve knit since I last posted about my completed projects. Turns out I’ve finished a ton of stuff this year! All these pictures are on both my Flickr and Ravelry pages, so if you follow me in either of those places, none of this will be new. Also, this post is a beast.

First up: Eivor. I made this for Clara but it was too small. I gave it away to a special baby friend. I’m really proud of this; it’s the loveliest thing I’ve knit.


This is Ishbel. I made it for my seester for her wedding. I don’t like knitting shawls (even though I’ve made three this year!) but this one is pretty fun.

Sea Silk Ishbel

Sea Silk Ishbel

For my beloved goddaughter’s 7th birthday I knit her a Kerrera. The pattern is pretty intense but the finished product is awesome, and so cozy and soft. Also, it is pretty huge on her so she’ll be able to wear it for years. Fairy godmother points to me.

Guinevere's Kerrera Lucy modeled it for me and asked for one of her own right away, so I’m 3/4 of the way through a purple Kerrera for her. Lucky duck. Doing the giant hood and then the double garter edging again, which is all I have left, is making me crazy. 

Guinevere's Kerrera

I was originally going to make matching shawls for Meribeth and me for the wedding but that didn’t pan out. And Kerrera is reemphasizing that I do not love to knit the same pattern twice in a row, so I ripped it out and switched to Halligarth. But I didn’t gauge swatch and my knitting is looser than it’s supposed to be, so I had to do fewer repeats than the pattern called for, and it looks airier than the pattern. Which is fine, because I still love it. But at some point I want to knit another one to look like the sample. (It matched my bridesmaid’s dress perfectly. Booya.)



These are just basic slip stitch heel ribbed socks, but the yarn is amazing. They could have been a couple of inches taller. Still gorgeous.



I knit this hat in the week we were at my parents’ house in August. It’s my favourite colours and the yarn is just lovely.

Favourite Colours Phew. There it all is. I just really love knitting! On tap for the fall are: a few cabled hats for various hatless members of the family, buttons on Clara’s finished sweater, the rest of Lucy’s Kerrera, a super awesome colourblocked sweater for Rowan, a secret project, and a fingering weight striped sweater for me. What a lovely queue.