Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Okay - I am quite used to being busy - but this is getting a bit silly! Since I last posted (and though it is only a few days ago, I have to say it feels like years and years have passed since I last made a few notes here...) I have completed a full set of revisions on the StableMates 7 manuscript. In this book, a new boy (Andrew) comes to Kenwood Middle School (Jessa, too, is now in Grade 7), Jessa continues to have problems adjusting to riding Jasmine, and she and Cheryl discover an antique pocket watch under an old shed near the Dark Creek Railway Trail.

As I did with the revisions to the Pony Express manuscript, I'll note a couple of examples of changes made to the StableMates book...

Editor Freda said: Jessa's reaction to hearing about Andrew's secret isn't strong enough (I just typed out his secret and then had to delete all that just in case you might someday like to read the book - Andrew's secret is, after all, one of the main storylines in the book). Suffice it to say that Andrew's secret is a bit shocking and Jessa (in the first draft) didn't get quite excited enough about what she hears.

Nikki's Solution: Added about half a page of dialogue which, I hope, will make Jessa sound more horrified than before. Also added a bit more of a physical reaction to support her words.

Editor Freda said: Molly needs to be more fully developed. Currently wimpy.

Nikki's Solution: I added a big confrontation between Molly and Jessa (in case you haven't read Book 6, Molly is the young rider who has been riding Rebel. Jessa can't stand her, especially since Jessa has been having such a tough time on Jasmine). The new scene is about three or four pages long and... Hmmm, I guess I shouldn't say what happens there, either, as it is sort of central to the plot, too - I can say that Jessa got so upset while I was writing this scene that I started crying as I wrote it! That girl is really getting to be quite troublesome!

Editor Freda had a couple of pages of notes and comments. I hope I have addressed them all to her satisfaction. I dropped off the revised draft last night. The timing was excellent because today I was able to pick up the Sarah Winnemucca biography (as well as another book about the Paiute War of 1859-60) from the library AND the book I ordered from the USA arrived in the mail today. Amazingly, Sarah Winnemucca was in Carson City at exactly the same time that my character, Jo was locked up in the Carson City Home for Unfortunate Children. Not only that, but when I thought they might meet again the following October, Sarah Winnemucca is in the hills not far at all from where Jo gets lost! So, I should be able to find a way to have them meet not once, but twice!!!! It feels like Sarah just wants to be in this book.

An aside: In case you are wondering, I do all of my revisions in longhand on the most recent draft. All new scenes I write out by hand. Then, I go back through the manuscript and type in all the changes, print off the new draft, read through it to check for errors, and then correct those (first on paper and then on the computer). This process is very hard on trees but I can't seem to work very well directly onto a computer screen. I blame this process for any awkward sentences or incoherent paragraphs I might post on this BLOG.

Other projects I've been busy with over the past few days: E-mailing teachers in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Comox, and North Vancouver to finalize dates for a week of school presentations in early March, 2002; corresponding with Malaspina College in Duncan to figure out how we might organize two on-line writing courses in the spring term (it looks like I'll be teaching two, five- week courses - the first called : Fiction Writing Workshop, and the second: Introduction to Freelance Writing; running errands and preparing my materials for air travel (I leave at the crack of dawn on Saturday for my Ontario trip); continuing to put a dent in my dreadful accumulation of emails; and, finally, doing my duty as a soccer mom - watched Dani's game and ferried her between practices, a field hockey tournament, and her team photo shoot on the weekend. Did I mention grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning out the summer house?

One final note before I sign off - Wonderful news yesterday- Here is a copy of the BC Bestseller List for children's books for last week:

Week of October 22, 2001

Children's Titles

1 A Pacific Alphabet (Whitecap Books)
2 Tarragon Island (Sono Nis Press)
3 No Cafes in Narnia (Sono Nis Press)
4 Rebel of Dark Creek (Sono Nis Press)
5 Cat's Eye Corner (Raincoast Books)

This is very cool! Thank you so much all you readers out there! You all made my day! My week! My month!

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