Stephanie Burgis
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Blackberry Picking
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This afternoon has been hot and humid, but we dragged ourselves out for Nika's walk anyway, and were paid off by a bumper crop of ripe blackberries growing all through the forest. We picked a big bag-full (or rather, I picked some, then gave up and sat on the grass with Nika, soaking up any excuse for a breeze, while Patrick heroically braved the heat, thorns, and brambles to pick more), and Patrick's planning to make a blackberry-apple crumble this evening. Very good news.

I'm starting to feel a bit discouraged about my novel revisions. Not about the novel itself, necessarily--I keep stumbling across bits I love and am proud of, along with the other kinds--but about my ability to critique my own work. The first time I read it through, after two months off, I scribbled notes to myself but didn't take the time to do major fixes because I wanted to get a sense of the pacing as a whole. Unfortunately, now I'm back in the state I was originally--completely immersed in my own writing mindset, incapable of objectivity--and most of the time when I see a note saying "Smooth this section out!" or "Fix this!" I think--"huh?" Because I honestly don't see a problem anymore. I'm too used to it.

I'm going to go ahead and finish this round of self-revision anyway--if nothing else, at least I'm fixing lots of historical details and (I hope) resolving the consistency issues in timing for the book. But I've pretty much given up on turning this into a middle draft. I think I'll have to wait for other people's critiques before I can even know what the big problems are to attack...or how to do it. Ah well.

I've been re-reading Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write, which is always reassuring and good for inspiring new story ideas and extra writing hours, and yesterday, after about ten minutes of reading it, I figured out how to restructure my stalled short story (tentatively called "First-Born"). Also, yesterday I did a mongo revision frenzy and revised three short stories. I sent out two of them to markets and reserved the third for Patrick to do a crit on, because I'm still a bit unsure about it--whether it works, whether it can be made to work, etcetera. (Is it a girl? Is it a boy? Or an alien?) (Oof. Tiredness is no aid to my humor.)

I'm tempted to try to draw a parallel between revision and blackberry picking, but in my current mental state (not enough sleep for a long time), that's just not happening. Which should probably be a relief....

The good news is that Patrick and I had an awesome Date Night last night, and ended it with luscious leftovers from our favorite Indian restaurant, so dinner tonight should be splendiferous!

And now back to more revising....

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