What's better than a 4th of July barbeque and fireworks? Sleeping the day after! Yes, that's my plan for this afternoon. I know I ought to be pounding out those revisions or playing with the kids in the backyard. But heck, it's not everyday you get a Monday off and besides, those clouds outside are looking pretty ominous.
Before I get to my weekly progress report, I need to make a plug for one of my favorite adult series of all time - sorry that this slips a bit from the YA theme of this blog, but I really feel that I must share my enthusiasm. The book is called The Land of Painted Caves and is the sixth in the Earth Children series by Jean Auel. Some of you may be more familiar with the first title in the series, The Clan of the Cavebear. I've also inserted the picture for the DVD of the movie (which I don't really recommend as it wasn't all that good, but the picture is cool). The sixth book will be released in March of 2011 - nearly a year away! But I am so psyched for this. I think it's been like 10 years since her last book came out. I've read this entire series about 4 times. It's almost become a tradition for me to start in the fall when it's just starting to get cold and the leaves are turning and you want to just stay on the porch wrapped in a blanket and read. The story follows the progression of Ayla, one of the strongest female characters I've ever known, and recalls her trials and tribulations of being a young woman in Neanderthal europe.
Things I like about this series 1. it always makes me hungry *huge grin*, but more importantly it shows just how smart early man was and how he invented things and used everything around him in order to survive. 2. The main character is smart, powerful in her own way, strong, and yet extremely humble. Of course she's beautiful and doesn't believe it when others tell her this - but she has a valid reason for believing so, so it all works. 3. The society that Auel has created is very female-oriented which makes sense because some of it is based on the early "earth mother" carvings that were recovered in Northern Europe from that time. 4. Did I mention how hungry this book makes me?
I have to say that when I started reading this series as a teenager, it was the sex that drew me in - there's a lot of it - but over the years, I've gotten to the point where I actually skip those parts in favor of learning more about the climate, the culture and the story that unfolds. Soo... if you're looking for something a little different, check out this series. I highly recommend it.
On to my progress report for the week:
1. I worked a bit on my excel spreadsheet. It's been really helpful so far, and I think it nay be beneficial for my fellow writers to at least consider doing something similar. I started to write a detailed explanation of what this really is, but since this post is already getting a bit long, I think that I'll wait until Wednesday to tell you about it, so stay tuned.
2. I got comments back from a BETA reader - and that went over pretty well. What surprised me the most is that many of the things she had to say were things I already kind of knew. I guess I just really needed someone to confirm what I was already thinking, which is nice because it shows that I know what to look for. Nonetheless, I have a long list of things now that I need to work on. I think the hardest of these changes will be making my MC's mother into a more intriguing character.
3. I re-wrote my last scene - beginning with the last scene first might seem kind of silly, but I knew what I had to do with it and I worked out a little problem I had. Nomes, you will be very happy to know that Seth now has a very big role in the last chapter. :) Changing it the way I did actually also fixed something I had in there that I didn't quite like, so I'm doubly happy with it.
4. I finished This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I have two more books of hers coming/in the process of being read and then I'll do a three piece review.
5. I actually did a little bit of research on agents - which is more challenging than I thought it'd be. What surprises me is that many agents who seem to be very popular don't have a lot of books that I recognize, and I'm not really sure what to make of that. I'm finding myself more attracted to the agents who make an extra point to say they are interested in shaping the author's career - and to those who also represent MG fiction because I would eventually like to do a MG book. But, I'm still building my list. I've only really just started to do this research and I have a lot more to do in the future.
So that's my week. If you care to share what you did this week, feel free. I'd love to hear what others do during the revisions process and I always like to get a good book recommendation. And now for that nap I was talking about... an hour ago.