Beware the Ides of March

(ya, I know, this is the end of March not the Ides, but shit went down at the Ides, a little after the Ides, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)

Ah editing. Let me tell you, bouncing back and forth between editing one short story and another without even finishing a complete pass is not fun, at least not for me. I prefer to focus on one story, finish it or at least finish a stage before consciously setting it aside. I find even after finishing one story and moving onto the next can take me a bit to switch gears, especially compared to the long haul of focusing on a novel for months at a time. But the deadline is King and there is no sense wasting time. So while the Narwhals critiqued my Women in Practical Armor story, I commenced edits on the story for class (more like rewrites) and then once it was critiqued, I had to switch off in the middle. Fortunately I had offers for second readers on the Armor story, but that meant another mid-editing flip-flop.

And then the Ides came.

(I’m making this sound way more exciting than it is. I apologize for your impending disappointment.)

So about two weeks ago I get up (’twas a Wednesday, I remember it somewhat) and notice a little twinge in my back. Nothing major, but it’s a little sore and I’m not sure why, but the back was not a fan of work (sitting at a desk all day, twisting and reaching constantly over files). I thought maybe I pulled a muscle, just a little, or something, but it should go away in a day or two. Come Friday night the back is angrily protesting this whole cooking and doing dishes thing. My plan for the weekend was to make a big focused push on the story for class before Armor came back from second readers. It was a productive weekend alright, at watching tv and playing video games (Chrono Trigger!) while lounging on the couch on a pile of cushions to minimize my pain. Not what I had in mind. So Monday, still in pain, I went to the chiropractor to figure out what was what. Turns out that back pain was actually a dislocated rib. Don’t ask me how. Sadly I cannot even offer you sage advice about how to avoid this because I have no clue. In my sleep is the best guess. But it can take just a sneeze or a cough to dislocate a rib – the slight silver lining is the pain is far worse than the damage – so no one is safe! Seriously, don’t dislocate a rib, it SUCKS! I ended up having to leave my creative writing class last Tuesday because I was in too much pain, even brushing my teeth hurts (standing for more than a minute, leaning and bending is worse). And still in pain this past weekend.

Don’t ask me how she got here, I think the pain is making me delirious.

The good news: in spite of the pain I managed to edit the Practical Armor story and submitted it this morning. YAY! One thing off my plate. This also marks my 75th submission. Now I get to focus back on the story for class. Wohoo!

And in two weeks I’m off to Ad Astra (which god do I have to libate or sacrifice to for this rib to heal before then?) and hosting the Can-Con Caffeine & Candy party with Marie Bilodeau. This year instead of chocolate fountain we’re having a chocolate tar pit with dinosaur cookies to drown in it. Yes, you read that right! Cause that’s just how we roll.

chocolate dino death small


Slouching towards Spring

Dread February is finally over. Hopefully with March will come warmer weather because it has been brutal here in Ottawa. And if not (I really don’t want to think about that possibility) I will certainly have enough reading to keep me busy. This week I had my short story (an old one that has plagued me for years trying to decide what to do with it) critiqued in the creative writing class, kicking off what is going to be a very busy few weeks. Everyone in the class is having a short story critiqued, which means three short stories to read every week and write a critique letter for each. The critique letter was a little odd for me as with the Narwhals I we mark-up the story with notes, discuss our feedback in person and then just hand over the marked manuscript. We have 15 people in the class so that would be a lot of material to go through and carry home after class. Instead we distill our feedback into one to three pages in the form of a critique letter. Not too hard really, just the “letter” format threw me off at first.

All this reading and critiquing for class is on top of my normal slushing for BCS and critiquing for the Narwhals. I did manage to finish my short story I was working on in February and submit it to them this week. It will be critiqued on the 9th, leaving me a few weeks to whip it into shape for the deadline. In the meantime I am editing my short story that was just critiqued in the class. We have to submit a portfolio at the end of the class containing the original draft we submitted, a revision plan (sort of a critique letter to ourselves) explaining how we plan to address the feedback we received and edit the story, and a revised copy of the story with those changes in place. We don’t have to fix everything that was commented on as we may not agree with the feedback and the revision plan can address that as well and explain why the feedback doesn’t work for the story and what we intend to do instead.

Hopefully March will prove sufficiently productive. Deadlines are looming at its end.