Row80 Check-In Dec 5th

Salt Lake Christmas

It rained a lot recently, but no snow, so no winter wonderland pics. When it does snow I’ll have to take a lot of pics to keep in stock. Fortunately I was downtown Monday night and was able to snap this little gem. If Salt Lake does one thing right, it’s Christmas decor. In one particular area of the city called Temple Square, there are likely more than a million lights to be seen as well as nativities from different countries, luminaries with seasonal greetings in dozens of different languages, and even an area where you can watch the story of the nativity unfold (though these days it’s a bit campy and outdated, it’s still fun to watch). The lights are first turned on the day after Thanksgiving and remain up until New Year’s Day.

The rest of the downtown area too, it seems, tries to compensate for Temple Square’s million+ lights. Fortunately most of the city and Temple Square have switched to LED lights, so our city’s power bill is likely more manageable. It’s a tourist draw for us, however, so it’s money well spent.

Okay, enough of that holiday cheer, onto the goals:

  • Write at least 3 short stories intended for publication.  I’ll probably try my hand at several more than three, but the hope is to find three gemstones among the rocks.
    On hiatus.
  • Read the helpful books to prepare me for the editing fest that will be late November early December on SHADE.
    Got a little more Story read on Monday and tweeted a couple good quotes, but not much more progress than that. Pitch Wars has really shaken things up for me. And though I’ve submitted my materials, I’m still working on polishing SHADE so that if I gain a mentor I’m presenting her with my best.
  • Have read all 201 available Anton Chekhov’s short stories, sprinkled with Hemingway and Bradbury.
    I’ve read 50 of 201 Chekhov short stories. No new progress.
  • Polish SHADE to pure awesomeness.  Lots of excellent progress to report. I’ve been doing the whole switch fonts and edit backward and I’ve found a good chunk of typos and strengthened a lot of sentences. I’m more than 3/4 through the whole book. I didn’t love the ending I had originally, but now having gone through it again I’ve got new ideas to make it better. Plus so far I’ve been able to cut nearly 2,000 words, bringing it down to the 96,000 word range. 95,000 would be better, but I’ll settle with 96K. I just want it to stay under 100K. Apparently that’s when it gets too risky for an agent with a new author. Not that you won’t get published, just that it’s riskier. Read this blog post by agent Jennifer Laughran for a more in-depth explanation.
  • Don’t Dessert December. It’s hit or miss. I won’t lie, the holidays are the hardest, especially when one of your co-workers brings in the most delicious fudge chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tasted! Ack! But I have Kung Fu tonight, so hopefully I can burn a little of the cookies off. I think I’ll be happy if I can just maintain through January 1st.
  • The Holiday Book Read! Like I said, Pitch Wars is overtaking my life. Once I have SHADE polished up this round, I’ll head over to the library and grab some books. Have any recommendations for me? I’m especially interested in any stories along the same vein as the one I’m writing. I’d like to study the professionals and see if I can’t improve. For those unfamiliar with SHADE’s plot, check out this blog post for more info.

How about you? Are you participating in Pitch Wars and how do you think your chances are? Have you learned a lot? How are you doing with December desserts? Trying hard or giving up? Let me know in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Row80 Check-In Dec 5th

  1. I’m more worried about the sweets in January, that’s when my parents are coming out to visit.

    I’m nervous for the pitchwars results, but the way I see it at least we all got to talk to other writers who are either in the same place as us, or know what we’re going through. Almost like an online writing conference. 😉 So no matter what my chances are, I feel like I’ve won at least a little.

    …mathematically though our chances are around 5%…I think. ; p

    • It’s 5% if all things are equal, but I doubt every entrant’s story is as polished as it should be for entering this contest. Plus I think we’ve given ourselves a little better odds making ourselves stand out via Twitter and blog posts. No one can say we didn’t give it our best efforts. But I’m nervous too. I want this mentorship, but if not, I know other paths will open and perhaps all this contest was meant to do was get me ready for other things coming down the line. I think we both have much stronger query letters, and that right there is a win.

      Another actual writing conference would be nice. Seems like there’s a couple decent ones in Salt Lake sometimes. Maybe if one’s worth your while you’ll have to come and we’ll play. I’m fairly certain the BFF would be cool if you guys stayed at our place. You’d have to share a bed with each other, but free lodging, right? It would be fun to see you guys again too. Maybe someday. In the meantime, more Pitch Wars fretting—and editing. I’m nearly done polishing SHADE. I’m kind of glad in a way we have until the 12th or so. It gives me time to give it a little extra shine.

  2. I got on the scale the other day and I was like
    (O_O)
    and a little
    (;¬д¬)
    but then I was all
    ヘ(_ _ヘ)
    I’m trying to be good most days (appropriate portions and sticking to my runs), but I know the day I bake those rum cakes
    ლ(´ڡ`ლ)

    Fight the good fight and keep the polishing strong!

    • Yeah, I have a few tasty treats that if I make I’m totally in trouble. I actually went to the store the other day and bought tons of raw veggies. I’m chomping them down to maybe even things out.

      I love your cute little faces btw, especially the last one. 😀 Polishing is going all right. I had to write new material this morning and didn’t get very far before I absolutely had to leave for work. Stinkin’ day job… 😉

      • The faces come from a Japanese emoticon site that has almost every emoticon known to Japan (I guess). I think I found it by googling Japanese Emoticons when looking for the wikipedia page of emoticons.

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