my baby lives on a boat

Philadelphia in the distance from the bow of our boat

read all about it at my new blog devoted to, you guessed it, raising a baby on a boat:

www.babyonaboat.com

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gazing at a baby

Freja Alice

Is this blog still alive? Yes. But not right now. Philawriter is taking a long siesta because nearly 100% of my attention is focused on my new 7 pound bundle: Freja Alice. She was born on March 18 at 7:50 PM and is beautiful. I spend most of my time gazing at the baby, not at the internet. I’ve put my novel on hold and the only writing I’m doing is in my journal. So, for now, this blog is sleeping. Heck, the baby sleeps most of the time (except at 3am), so the blog is joining the sleep-a-thon.

99% say no?

I’ve sent out draft 2 of my manuscript to my readers (thank you readers!), leaving me with some time on my hands. Rather, leaving me with some time to do publishing research. What’s next?

  • review edits and suggestions from readers–implement
  • create a list of agents to query
  • write a query letter (which needs a synopsis and title)
  • brainstorm a title (no small feat!)
  • write a synopsis

I’m excited to be at this next stage of the novel-writing process. I’m trying not to be daunted by statistics I find on agents’ websites: “I reject 99% of all query letters that cross my desk.”  I keep telling myself that I can’t get rejected (or accepted!) until I send in some queries.

Long term:

  • query agents
  • wait for responses (anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months)
  • hyper-edit the first three chapters (if an agent likes my query, they’ll ask for the first three chapters)
  • research self-publishing
  • self-publish?

It’s a process. There’s a learning curve. But I’m taking it one step at a time and trying not to think about that 99% statistic.

and then it ended.

I wrote the ending to my novel. For the second time. And for the second time, it was anti-climactic. I typed in the last words, re-read the last paragraph I wrote, hit command-S, sighed, and closed my computer. And I went down to the galley and started to make dinner. It wasn’t until half an hour later when Hans came home that I realized I had finished my latest round of edits.

You’d think that when you finish editing a large piece of work that you’d feel satisfied, accomplished, proud. Nope. Not me. Not with this manuscript. I think because I know that it’s not really finished. I’ll read it through from start to finish again, find more changes to make, make the changes, pass it over to a reader, the reader will propose more changes. And I’ll make those changes. Again.

When do you know when your manuscript is finished? Will I see fireworks? Will a the lights flash? Will the 1812 Overture suddenly start playing? And if none of those things happen, when do I say: “it’s finished.”?

(As I write this, I know it’s not finished. I just remembered a small plot detail I need to add to chapter 3. Will that ever end? Or will I wake up in the middle of the night five years from now with the brilliant idea that I need to add a dagger to the green room with Colonel Mustard?)

reading the fine print

There is much medical research that touts the benefits of eating a diet high in Omega 3s and DHA, especially during pregnancy. One of the best places to get your Omegas is through fish. Not only does eating fish help lower depression during and after pregnancy, but it is also shown to aid in eye and brain development of the baby. Okay. I’m on board. Time to eat my omegas.

Except…except…I don’t really like fish. I loved fish when we were sailing in the Caribbean and we hauled fresh tuna and mahi aboard for sushi and tuna tartare. But big game fish are off limits during pregnancy due to increased levels of mercury and other toxins. I’ve tried wild caught salmon, catfish, tilapia–yuck, yuck, yuck. So what about taking fish oil supplements? A recent study (which, for the life of me, I can’t find) argued that you have to actually eat the fish to get the benefits. Other studies now show that there is no correlation between enhanced levels of DHA and baby brain development. I say tomatoe, you say toematoe?

Regardless, eating fish is a healthy, low-fat way to get protein. I’m trying to make an active effort to get some canned tuna (ok as long as it isn’t albacore) or sardines in my diet a couple times a week.

open-face sardine melt on homemade whole wheat bread. Cabot, seriously sharp cheddar.

I was excited when I found this new brand of sardines in the grocery store: Wild Planet, wild sardines. The box and their website purports that they are “sustainably caught along the California coast.” Great. But then turn the box on its side and look at the fine print: “processed in Vietnam.”

Are you kidding me? They sustainably catch the fish off of California, ship it to Vietnam for processing, and then ship it halfway across the world to Philadelphia where it ends up on my plate? Sure, they may be practicing sustainable fishing methods, but Wild Planet is not practicing sustainable processing and delivery methods.

Don’t even get me started on the canned yellowfin tuna you can buy at Trader Joes.

 

that wasn’t hard

That wasn’t nearly as hard as I had anticipated (which is good because I can’t count how many inner-monologue paragraphs filled with questions I have in the manuscript that need to be edited).

From this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment to start unpacking and getting settled into her new home. How long would it take for Green Island to feel like home? Had she made the right decision? The island was so small—1,000 people? That’s about how many people lived in her apartment building and the one next door to hers in New York. And what was she going to do with her time? Go to beach every day? Get a job at Bananas like Alley suggested? What did everyone else do on the island? Sam pushed the anxiety to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on her bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking clothes than on her sudden life change.

To this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment. She wanted to unpack and get settled into her new home. She caught herself—she was getting settled into her new house, not her new home. This small apartment on a remote Caribbean island of merely 1,000 people—about the same number of people who lived in her apartment building in New York City—was not home yet. It was simply a roof over her head. It was, of course, a roof with a long porch, comfortable chairs, hibiscus blooming outside, palm trees down the hillside, and an expansive view of the town and harbor. She loved the apartment, but had no idea what she was going to do with her time. She could go to the beach every day, but that would get boring quickly. Alley’s idea of working at the bar intrigued her—at the very least it would be a great place to meet new people—but she’d never worked in a bar before. Sam pushed her anxieties to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on the bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking  her clothes than on her sudden life change.

writing challenge of the night

How do I convert this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment to start unpacking and getting settled into her new home. How long would it take for Green Island to feel like home? Had she made the right decision? The island was so small—1,000 people? That’s about how many people lived in her apartment building and the one next door to hers in New York. And what was she going to do with her time? Go to beach every day? Get a job at Bananas like Alley suggested? What did everyone else do on the island? Sam pushed the anxiety to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on her bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking clothes than on her sudden life change.

from lots of rhetorical questions the main character is asking herself…

to a block of text that conveys her anxious state of mind without leading questions?

Stay tuned . . .