August 21, 2016

The End of Summer: Life Update

Summer has come and gone, and despite the fact that school is here again, I'm super excited for fall! Since I was semi-absent from blogging over the summer, I thought it would be nice to let you all know what I spent my summer doing.

First and foremost, I finished editing Outcast Shadows! Aside from simple matters of word choice and syntax, most of the edits involved making sure that two separate groups of characters in two locations would take the same amount of time to complete their allotted actions. This was more complicated than it sounds, and involved sketching a map of Ataxia over Europe (for scale), figuring out how fast a magical airship might travel in a day, and how long the events of each chapter took. I ended up shaving a lot of unnecessary time off of the story, so it makes a lot more sense now. There were also several scenes where I added or deleted sentences in dialogue or changed a couple paragraphs of action, which might not seem like a big deal, but it actually majorly altered the feeling of those scenes. I really love Alistair, who I only felt luke-warm about before. All around, it was a roaring success.

In addition to this, I also outlined and wrote a few paragraphs of an upcoming project (that might appear on this blog someday), and brainstormed even more of the intricacies of an alternate-history fantasy mystery I've been meaning to write. One thing that helped me start on new material (finally!) was a local writing group that I happened upon after being invited to a different local writing group that has since vanished like Brigadoon. It turns out that Flagstaff actually has three writing groups, not counting the ones that only meet for NaNoWriMo. Who knew? Anyway, this writing group has the format of chatting and sharing about projects for the first half hour, and then writing silently for the next hour. It's a nice format that forces everyone to focus only on writing. The coffee shop where we meet also has infinite cups of tea for only $2.77 (Okay, infinite refills of hot water, but it amounts to the same thing). Infinite tea is the most important part of any writing process.

On the opposite side of the writing front was reading. Our local library ran a summer reading program which was sort of like Book-It, but for all ages, the prize being a free book at the library's annual sale and a $10 gift card to a local used bookstore. People over the age of 18 were required to read for 48 hours over several weeks. My summer reading list (with a five star rating scale) was:
  • The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith ***
  • Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark (who is a non-Catholic)*****
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo *
  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling *****
  • Oolong Dead by Laura Childs ***
  • The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith *****
  • Miscast Spells by Rose Corcoran ***** (I mean, how many other stars would I give it?)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas **
I also read manga:
  • Ajin by Gamon Sakurai ********** (No, the number of stars is not a typo. I feel this is a spiritual successor to Death Note, with a similar cat-and-mouse game and interesting world building, only it's much more fast-paced. If you're okay with violence and gore, I highly recommend it!)
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations by Kenji Kuroda and Kazuo Maekawa ****
  • Nichijou by Keiichi Arawi *****
I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I actually really liked it, which seems to be a somewhat unpopular opinion. Perhaps it was because I was so dissatisfied with Deathly Hallows, but I thought this addressed a lot of things that bothered me about the last book, so it almost fixed some of the problems I had with the main series's story overall. It was not without its flaws, including a small plot-hole and some attitudes of Rowling's that I continue to find troubling, but overall I thought it was a very satisfying read. On a side note, many people seemed to dislike it for being a play, but I've been reading plays since high school, and participated in drama club, so I didn't mind the format at all.

Finally, and most excitingly, I was accepted into the University of Arizona's School of Information and Library Science's graduate program! I'm officially a grad student! I've been out of school for five years, so I'm nervous about taking classes again, even if they are online (they start today!) Fear not though, gentle readers, for I won't be too busy with classes to update this website. Over the summer I prepared many blog posts for the upcoming semester, so many, in fact, that starting September 5th onward, I'll post every week!

I hope you all had as nice a summer as I did, and I look forward to your continued readership this fall. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are back. Still looking forward to the next book, and definitely glad to hear it got edited alright.