What a summer it’s been.
Getting out of my funk after dealing with my dad this summer has taken me a minute. Since I haven’t heard from him in over a week and a half, I’m going to believe and hope he’s doing well. While all is forgiven on my part, I’m not a glutton for punishment (GFP); so, I’m not going to bother him. (I know, after my last post, you’d think I were a GFP, right?) If Dad wants to call me, he knows my phone number. And if I want to, maybe I’ll even answer him. Or not. My choice. (Okay, I’m not fooling anyone. Y’all know that if Dad calls, I’m going to answer the phone, right?) *sigh*
That, however, is only one issue out of the many, many things I’ve been dealing with this past summer.
Other crazy goings-on have included:
- our cable and internet service provider going bonkers (y’all just wouldn’t believe!), and
- Wayward Sparkles (which y’all have watched me…ahem…deal with…and continue to deal with.) I apologize profusely to Barbara and anyone else who continues to have problems reading and commenting on my blog! and
- our house which may or may not be cursed but is most assuredly falling apart in very scary ways — like, it would appear the entire front half of our house is breaking away from the rest of the house. Why, house? Why? Okay, I know why, but please, please don’t do that, anyway! (We haven’t had rain in well over a month and it’s very dry and hot in our area of Texas. You’ve heard of the 40 days and nights of The Great Flood? Thus far, it’s been 41 days and nights of The Great Drought. So, literally, we are having the exact opposite of The Great Flood in our area!)
- There are other ridiculously absurd things, too, of course.
Because that’s how my life rolls.
Okay, I almost started going down the path — again — of what’s wrong in my life, but I’ve stopped myself and I’ve chosen to focus on what’s write! I MEAN, what’s right! And while I didn’t mean to type the word “write,” that’s part of what is both wrong and right with what’s going on with my writing. See what I mean? I accidentally used the wrong word but, as it also happens, it’s also the word I wanted but didn’t know until just now. (Okay, and now I need to generalize that same positive energy to every other aspect of my life!)
What’s right with my writing is that I finally finished the first draft of my first book, and I’m now going through the process of my first major edit/re-write of the entire thing. So on one hand —
Which brings me to the gray area of this post, though, because is my second draft of editing and re-writing a true positive or just one more example of me trying-to-fight-my-way-out-of-another-paper-bag crisis, which includes a great deal of cursing, procrastination and not knowing what the hell I’m doing? At least my book has an intro, as well as a first, middle and ending to it.
AND A TITLE!
Which is semi-secret. I really like my title, though.
Ooh, also, I need to write my dedication page!
(Note to self: write dedication page tomorrow.)
Also, I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that it was her understanding that most books take no less than five re-writes/drafts before they’re ready to go to the publisher.
Say what, now?!!!!!!!
Fuck. I’m in so much trouble, y’all! My friend didn’t tell me how those drafts broke down, either. What I mean is: clearly, the first draft is just getting the book into book form with words, chapters, title, all that jazz, right? Okay. I’ve done that.
So what does the second draft entail? The third? The fourth? And the final draft? Also, are there sub drafts to each of these draft-drafts along the way? God, I hope not!
Also, what takes a normal person five drafts will probably take me at least ten. That’s my fear. Okay. I’m taking a breath here. We are going to stay positive. And when I say “we,” I mean “me.” I’m going to stay positive. Because fear is not positive. Therefore, fear is not my focus. Only, now that I’ve brought “fear” up and told myself not to focus on it, I can’t help but focus on it. DAMMIT!!!!!!
I’m just going to shut my eyes and breathe for a moment. Breathe, just breathe. That’s it. Now I’m going to open my eyes.
I will finish this book in five-ish drafts or less, y’all.
So, full confession — if there is a mistake to be had while writing my book, I’ve made it. For instance, I was writing my book in terms of pages. My goal was to write around 300 to 350 pages because that seems like a nice length for a book.
Then I found out — I was doing this all wrong! I kept thinking as I kept churning out chapters, why don’t I have enough pages, yet? Then I found out that what I consider a page is equal to a lot more than a “published” page. Whatever that means. Now I forget what the equivalent was, maybe 1 1/2-ish pages? 1 1/4 pages?
That’s when I found out, apparently, one is supposed to write in terms of words. Not pages. Whatever it was I read whenever I quickly Googled “how many pages are in a normal-sized book?” Google suggested that a book is somewhere between 80,000 to 100,000 words. The last I checked, I was around 93,000 words and some change. So, again, YAY! I’m in the ballpark of where I should be for a bonafide book. Also, y’all know me, I’m in the process of editing. That can only mean one thing —
This sucker is gonna grow in terms of wordage.
If “wordage” is a word. If not, it should be. Oh, awesome! I just looked up “wordage” and, apparently it is a word. And I used it correctly! Again, YAY!
That’s how many “yays” in this post now? Or is it “yay’s?” The second one looks better to my eye, but I’m not writing a possessive, I’m just trying to make it plural. It, however, seems to me that when I was growing up, we would write the plural forms of letters like A, B and C and numbers like 1, 2 and 3 using an apostrophe. Also, there were certain words you always used apostrophes with in order to denote its plural form; although, I don’t remember what those words might have been now. Or maybe I’m remembering incorrectly. (The older I get, the more I forget stuff like that.)
Either way, times change; so, you can be going along writing what was once “correct form” only to find out that the way you’ve been writing is now obsolete. Why do those who come up with the rules of grammar and punctuation do this to us?
Pick a fucking style, grammar police, and stop changing the rules, will ya?
For instance, we no longer double space after a period. I grew up using the double space. Then when I was in college, we’d switched from using typewriters to computers and, especially when writing a scientific paper, how many spaces to use after a period got to be very confusing. None of my classmates at the time knew the answer. Back in the early 2000’s, I want to remember the professor said to double space. Also, she was impressed I’d actually thought to ask that question because those who didn’t double space would be dinged; and it would be reflected in their grade. So, there’s that.
Also, I went to secretarial school a very long time ago, and those instructors were also unforgiving when it came to using proper punctuation and grammar. Not that I seem to remember most of that now. Also, I bet you no longer have to double space when typing up a scientific paper. But I could be wrong.
Do not use anything I write here as the guide or rule to follow in writing, y’all. Especially if you’re looking to get a good grade on any of your papers. For instance, some of what I’ve written above are fragments and not true sentences. That will get you dinged by the grammar police.
That reminds me, I have an entire story about a vague comma that cost me two friends at secretarial school.
(Note to self: remember to write story about vague comma, etc., this week!)
And, yes, there was such a thing as secretarial school back in the 1980’s. I’m not sure they’ve survived as a whole — secretarial schools, that is — or should I have used “are?” Dammit. (No, “is” is correct. I’m not that far gone, yet.) I know the secretarial school I went to closed down a very long time ago, though. See, I used an apostrophe in “1980’s” and “2,000’s.” My whole point is — I’m never sure about grammar anymore because I never know whether something’s a hard-and-fast “rule” or a “guideline” and considered more “stylistic” and up to the writer to use as long as it’s used in a consistent manner. Neither do I know whether something must be written using the citation style of
Or none of the above. And don’t even get me started on semicolons. Or ellipses. I was using ellipses in my informal writing. A lot. Then someone told me I was using them incorrectly. So, now I use a very long dash (usually) and —”en” dash vs. “em” dash vs. ellipsis can all just go fuck themselves.
Also, when my husband was the boss of his company, he HATED semicolons. I told him it’s just because he didn’t know how to use them correctly. I do. Likewise, when I started writing informally — like here on my blog — one of my writing instructors said that we shouldn’t use semicolons. She said that editors hated them. So, what the literal hell, y’all? Oxford commas are fine but semicolons aren’t? Why the fuck is that? And who was this instructor to speak for all of the editors out in the world?
BTW, I hate using Oxford commas and will restructure my sentence rather than use one. Again, however, as a writer, I want my grammar to be consistent. So, anyhoo, I just looked up whether to use an apostrophe after Yay, and I’m more confused than I was before.) *sigh*
This is a rabbit trail that never ends, y’all! So, I’m going to stop with the grammar shit.
Also, I wish they had a School House Rock for all of my questions. *singing Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here…* Oh, here’s a Grammar School House Rock on subjects and predicates that I don’t ever remember seeing on Saturday mornings while watching cartoons. Score!
For whatever it’s worth, I should really look up what I’m supposed to do after I get my book into really good shape, which probably means finding a really good editor. Holy guac, y’all, did you know there are twelve types of editors and editing according to “Grammarist?” I don’t think I can afford or even need all twelve types, but you never know.
Also, how do you tell if someone is a really good editor or not when you want them to look over your work? Huh? I think that’s important to know. What makes someone an expert in grammar, who you do want, versus some wannabe editor, who you don’t want?
Why did I ever think I wanted to become an author? Oh, God!
Also, there’s trying to figure out whether or not I’ll need an agent (I think I will); and how do I go about doing that — not to mention — should I go the traditional or non traditional route of publishing?
BTW, The answer to the non traditional route is hell no!
While that might work for others, I have no skills whatsoever in marketing or publishing; therefore, this would not be something I would even remotely consider. There’s self-sabotage, y’all, and then there’s suicide. Trying to go the non traditional route for me would amount to writing suicide. It’s been a trying decade or two since I started writing for “fun,” but I’m not suicidal. Yet. I’m realizing why “creative” types are sometimes stereotyped as a little or a lot whackadoodle or wackadoodle, if you prefer. Cuz, if you didn’t start out that way…
Positive, I’m staying positive!
So, if you have some really good advice on any of the above or can send me to a really good site that answers all of these questions I have or you know of a good book that answers the most current “on trend” grammar and punctuation I should be using or you have anything else to add, that would be amazing!
And music —
So, I was actually trying to find another Eminem song, the one where he sounds like Pee Wee Herman, and I ended up with this one instead. And that reminded me there was a psychological study done that suggested that when it comes to music, apparently, psychopaths (in general) seemed to gravitate toward this song. Ha!
Okay, here’s the song I was looking for, “Just Lose it.” My daughter’s been playing this a lot lately and now the song, which I call the Pee Wee Herman Song, is stuck in my head. Okay, Lauren just told me there’s a bad reference in this song to things I don’t condone and will never condone. I’VE NEVER LISTENED TO THE WORDS OF THIS SONG, LAUREN! WHY ARE YOU PUTTING SONGS IN MY HEAD THAT ARE REALLY, REALLY BAD? The only thing that sticks with me in this song is the Pee Wee Herman part, y’all. And that part doesn’t even use words. I’m disregarding everything else in this song and suggest y’all do likewise.
the quintessential feel good, summer song!
Okay, now I have the Adverb School House Rock song stuck in my head. At least that’s one of my favs!
Have a great rest of August 2023, Wayward Friends!