Writing -- 6717 words = 2 pts.
Editing -- 12,995 words = 2 pts.
Submissions -- 3 = 3 pts.
Betaed Novel for Friend -- 1 = 1 pt.
TOTAL = 8 pts.
The writing total is pitiful, especially considering how I did October through December. In my own defense, I'll say that I had TWO laptops in a row get borked out from under me. The first one's still a doorstop and the second one was only fixed (sort of -- it was fixed by turning off the TAP function on the touchpad completely) a few days before the end of the month. Still sucks.
The good news is that the time I spent not writing I spent (among other things) thinking about how the book was going, and I realized that approaching the ending action realistically wasn't working for me. :P I'm usually all about doing things right, but there's a volcano involved [cough] and the idea that the boys could just sort of magic an about-to-erupt volcano back into stable peace and quiet was pretty boggling. I've done some volcano research for this storyline, and I decided that they were able to prevent things from getting any further, but so far as it'd been stirred up already, it still was, and things were going to proceed apace, with tremors and news bulletins and alerts and some eventual lahars hitting a few small communities. Which is what would happen if Mt. Rainier had a significant but not catastrophic (that is, far short of Mount St. Helens) eruption event. Everyone around here has volcano insurance, and there are signs posted in dangerous areas pointing out volcano escape routes to take in case you have to evacuate; there's plenty of info on what'd likely happen and what people would do.
The problem is that this doesn't happen all at once, boom, like someone setting off a bomb. I had some other loose ends to clean up, and I did that, while the characters kept an eye and an ear on the volcano news on TV. But still, the wrap on the characters' active participation in the eruption was the action climax of the book, and I had several chapters written after that, with at least one or two more to go. All of that was, literally, anti-climax from the POV of the built up action/danger thread of the story, and the longer it got, the more draggy it felt. I could just see readers getting bored and impatient.
So I ripped out almost 10K words and decided to handle it differently. They needed to really wrap up the volcano problem right there, and I came up with a way to get it done without giving the characters a ridiculously huge amount of power. Now I still need to wrap up those other threads ASAP, but at least the volcano thing isn't draaaaaagging out like it was. Once I've written to the end, I need to go back and tweak a couple of things I've thought of as I've progressed, but that shouldn't take incredibly long. Then it's into submission and back to work on the next book, the one I did 50K of for NaNo.
I also have to write a short story for my upcoming Anthology Workshop; the assignment for that is due any time now, and I'm looking forward to getting it. This should be fun. :)
I'm doing one of the workshops Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch put on each year, and I'm pretty excited about it. It runs in early March, and I'll definitely be blogging about it when I get home. For the anthology workshop, we get a theme assignment in advance (like RSN) and we submit a story for it, as if we were submitting to an antho. When we get to the workshop, several professional anthology editors will tell us whether they'd have bought our story and exactly why or why not. We also have an option to write another story and submit it while at the workshop, and get feedback on that one as well.
This kind of info should be gold, seriously. I've been getting a lot of "Good story, well written, not buying it, enjoyed reading it, looking forward to seeing more from you" type rejections in the last year or two, and while they're an order of magnitude better than the "Thank you for thinking of us but this doesn't meet our needs" type, it's still frustrating. I feel like I'm standing right on the threshold, and there's some key thing I'm missing that's preventing me from stepping over. I'm hoping to get the information I need to take that step when I do the workshop.
Thanks to everyone who answered my questions about "Until Filled" anthologies. Taking feedback from folks in the three places I posted that query, I've decided that what I'm going to do is include all the Until Filled anthos in the next posting, in just over a week, with notations showing how long each one has been open (or how long I've been aware of it -- close enough) and which ones are being dropped. Anyone still interested can bookmark the page the antho call is on, but after this month I'm dropping anything that's been hanging open with no progress posts from the editor in a year or more. That means no update posts, no update edits on the original post, no replies to comments on the original post, for a year. I think that's more than reasonable, and feedback indicated that most folks who'd sub to an Until Filled antho at all were less likely to sub to one that'd been hanging for a long time. So one more month to let people bookmark what they want, and then I'm going to prune the listings.
If you're an editor of an Until Filled anthology and I drop your listing because I missed an update post or something similar, feel free to e-mail me at angiebenedetti AT gmail DOT com with a link to your update. As always, final decisions about what to include on the listing are mine, but if I've missed something, I want to know about it. (And note that I always check the Until Filled posts when I'm prepping a new post -- if there's no link to your update on that original post, or if it's buried somewhere hard to spot, maybe that's a problem. If you want submissions, especially on older projects, make it easy for writers to find your updates.)