We have this long blank wall in the hallway.

From time to time I thought of putting decals on it or something, but it seemed like too much effort for a space we only ever spend seconds at a time passing through.

Then we found this set of skeleton keys, and it seemed a good place for them.

They make me inexplicably happy when I walk down the hallway now. But I have a thing for keys.

In other news, I’ve finally reached the end of my first pass revision-wise. I still have a long list of beta notes and adjustments to make, with more to come, but the major changes are done so the rest should ideally be minor things and polishing.

The full draft will be finished by the end of the month. Summer in the Revisionland Hotel has been interesting, to say the least.

5 things for august 5th

  1. Nathan Bransford’s post on  “Lost” and the High Narrative Price of WTF. Nails a lot of my lingering LOST issues.
  2. My new Droid Incredible is my friend. My fancypants friend who confuses me with all its skillz & I’m still learning to type on properly, but I love love love having a phone that does more than make phone calls. Not that I can do much more than make phone calls and tweet on it right now.
  3. I am officially sick of summer and it can be glorious, glorious autumn any time now. Seriously. This humidity can die. The kitten flop-o-meter was off the charts today.
  4. I am, as you probably guessed, still deep in Revisionland. Like, Inception-style multi-level deep. It’s going really, really well, but there’s still a good long ways to go.
  5. I love when, in the midst of researching, I find historical things that walked right out of my imagination, like this House of Worth evening gown, circa 1898-1900.


This post is going to be about revising. It will not be anywhere near as good as this post about revising, but I figured I’d give it a whirl anyway. I’ve gotten fairly familiar with how this process works for me, and as you all know by now, ’tis the summer of revision around here.

I started with my agent notes, both e-mailed and scrawled in my almost-illegible handwriting from a phone call. I read them. I re-read them. I highlighted specific things that really jumped out at me.

I talked to two of my dearest betas about it. I wrote down what they had to say. I read & re-read.

I pulled out my old notebooks, ones that dated back to ’08, and looked for things that I hadn’t used that I might be able to work with now. I pulled out a couple of pages worth of notes.

I took all of these notes, from agent and betas and the 2008 version of me, and transcribed the stuff I found most useful into a new notebook.

I started adding snippets of new scenes, bits of dialogue, hypothetical questions.

I made a gigantic timeline. I got a dry erase board to hang by the desk. So far it just looks cool and office-y, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy later.

I had more discussions with betas. I started having revelations. I began pulling possibilities from lists of ideas.

Now, I’m taking all of this stuff and developing it into full scenes. I’ve hit the writing stage, the really writing stage, after several weeks of this pre-writing process.

So far, I have not once looked back at the previous draft.

Why? Well, I already know what’s there. What I need is what’s *not* there yet, so I’m finding those things elsewhere, in notes and conversations and daydreams and at the bottom of cups of tea.

So I can take the new and layer it back over the old.

I’ve come to realize that I need to see it in my head as a different book, first. I have to find the shape of the new draft before I can mold the old draft into it. I can’t just go into the old draft and start pushing it around and filling in holes.

I have to develop the new draft and then work backwards. I need that picture, that vision of the new version, in order to get there.

This is how I revise. I have to get to the point where my brain can see where I’m going, and then it’s just a matter of writing to get there.

That’s not to say I know exactly how to get there, there are still hic sunt dracones parts of the map, but there is something resembling a map now.

I just got this beautiful book of Jerry Uelsmann photography. He does these gorgeous layered photos, made with multiple negatives in a darkroom, nothing digital.

It’s amazing stuff, and being in the head space that I’m in right now, it’s reminding me of how I revise. I’m finding new images to layer over the old ones. Not to obscure what was there before, but to elevate it into something else.

summer in the revisionland hotel

I have extensive notes from my agent (my agent, yay!) in hand and I am gearing up to spend the next several weeks in the Revisionland Hotel. A summer of tiki torch nights and umbrella drinks and writing writing writing.

And it will be writing writing writing, because more than “change this, take out that” which might be nice and simple in comparison, for this next round of revising I get to dig deeper and add more and elaborate on what I have already.


It is a combination of daunting and exhilarating. And I’m not sure how to do it yet, but I’ll figure it out.

So I am taking my own notes and pondering and mulling and trying to get things done while I note-take and ponder and mull, like the paintings I can finally start on because I have black paint again, and reading other people’s books (go read Rock Paper Tiger ASAP, it is marvelous and compelling and it will make you crave dumplings).

And today I got my latest BPAL order, which is always a happy occasion. I have moths & butterflies (bottles of Gypsy: Bourbon vanilla, Egyptian musk, tonka, white sugar, and cardamom & Paper Kite: Coconut, white sugar, angelica, and black pepper) and a Vanilla-based Chaos Theory, #95 to be exact.

Trying the chaos first. Beyond the clear vanilla the mystery notes are remaining mysterious. I think there might be white musk in there somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure. Overall, it is this gorgeously blended scent that’s bright and warm and creamy, even the vanilla that was so obvious in the bottle has calmed and faded into the background as a steady undercurrent.

And while I’m sitting here huffing at my wrists, I realize this is what the book needs.

The base notes are there. Maybe some of those bright top notes, too. But it’s those nuanced middle notes that take it from “that smells like vanilla” to “ooooooooh, what is that?” that it needs now. The in-betweens that tie everything together and make it richer as a whole.

Because I can make writing analogies about anything.