I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2018 and checked in with GoodReads and it has me down for 20 books already read and I’m a few hours away from number 21. I’m surprised I’ve read that much. It doesn’t even track the short fiction I’m trying to keep up with because I’m supposed to be writing and submitting short fiction but I have to admit I haven’t written much in the past couple of years. Constant rejection is a bit of a burnout and every time I try to explain it to myself I begin to sound like a crybaby MRA and so I tell myself to shut up about it. Write or don’t, but quit bitching about past failures.
Another part of the challenge this year has been to read a more diverse group of authors. The breakdowns so far
- Men/Women ratio: 12 to 8 (I reread all of Ken Scholes’ magnum opus, so author-wise it’s 8 and 8)
- White/Not White ratio: 17 to 3 (Again, Ken is 5 of that thirteen, so 12 to 3) – I’m not sure how some of these authors would qualify
And Apparently there was one missing by a white male author that was a novelette. It didn’t get marked as read but it came out in January, so there’s a skew to the numbers again (and even more stuff read than I thought imaginable).
The highlight of year so far is Devon Monk’s Scissor Kisses simply because I love these characters and how the interact. It’s been pure joy reading the Ordinary Magic books and stories. I finally read The Great Gatsby because why not get a classic in the cycle but honestly I didn’t know what to make of that book. There’s nothing likable about any of the characters but at least John Green set me right on my opinion of the book. I read Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of The Force Awakens in an airport.
The books that I had greater hopes for were a book 2 in a series where I really enjoyed book 1 but really, by the end of it, there was too much drama and assholing to really enjoy the central mystery of the book, so I decided to stop. Right after that was another book that looked good and had promise but the first person POV was a underdeveloped Han Solo knockoff and he grated on my nerves, so there’s another series not happening.
And here’s where the trouble may begin. I do not fully understand the non-binary gender thing and gender fluidity and gender as a social construct thing. I don’t get it. Being a man is vital to who I am as a person. I want to understand more so I decided to try some fiction to help explain it to me. Several years ago I read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and the constant use of female pronouns confused me more than anything else. Ada Palmer’s Too Like The Lightning managed a better job of it by poking a little fun at me as a reader (on this and a whole lot of other topics) but didn’t bring about any revelations. So I turned to a YA book from the James Tiptree, Jr. Honor List and basically learned that there are no good men, nothing good about being a boy or a man, and men are lecherous, manipulative, or completely useless. That doesn’t make me want to continue that series either.
I am looking for recommendations. If Robin Bates has taught me nothing else, he has taught me that fiction can teach me anything.
Thursday was a bad day, and I ended up writing for half an hour later in the evening and that made the prospect of getting out of bed Friday morning to continue writing a little too much to bear, so I didn’t. I didn’t write during my lunch hour and I didn’t write Friday evening. I decided against it. I gave myself a day off.
This can be a dangerous thing to do. An hour a day on a novel is not too much to ask of myself or to schedule but I needed a day off, so I took on. I also plan on writing two or three hour-long sessions today and maybe two tomorrow, so that will make up for lost time.
According to my wordcount, despite skipping yesterday I’m still ahead of the game and I’m on pace to write 50K assuming I actually have that much material. I have a feeling that despite my carefully balanced plotting to pantsing ratio will still not leave me enough material. I’m also thinking “novella” here so 35K-40K is more reasonable length. I’m overwriting in my head to give myself plenty of room to cut down. I have learned over the years that not every word I put in a file is important. Dumping wordcount is healthy. Loving your words, especially those first-draft pre-coffee words, can be dangerous. The more words I add, the more gems I’ll have and hopefully less re-writing when February rolls around.