Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Egyptian Elections

(Photo: Al-Akhbar - Ali Garboussi)
My husband (who's Egyptian) and many of his friends voted for a new president last week. There were no violent incidents and everything seemed to go off without a hitch -- pretty good for a country having it's very first presidential election.

Since then, I've begun hearing complaints at home and on TV talk shows. There were 14 candidates and it seems my hubby and others voted for different people, none of whom are the top two, who'll be in the run-off election. They're amazed (and a bit ticked off) that their favorites didn't do better. 


Just because you have a vote in the new democratic system, doesn't mean your guy (or the 'best' guy) will win. It doesn't mean life will be the way you imagined it from now on. It means the Majority Rules, whether you like it or not. This is something American know well, and Egyptians will have to learn.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Revising Your Novel in Stages

I'm on a number of writing forums and one of the complaints I hear most often is about how hard it is to revise. (Yeah, okay -- I'm the one doing most of the complaining.) Feedback from betas and CPs is a great way to start. They let you know the 'big picture' errors and can find those niggling writing habits you aren't even aware of. But when you look at the entire ms, it seems like you'll never get through it. Here are some steps to help you.

1. Yes, revisions are harder than the Twelve Trials of Hercules, so just suck it up and get started. 
2. MAKE A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL MS AND EDIT ON THAT ONE ONLY. Put the original in another folder in case you need to go back to it.
3. If there are any big problems (plot holes, missing scenes, character-arc catastrophes), hash those out first, figure out where they'll go in the ms, and write rough drafts of the fixes using a different color-font.
4. Start on Ch 1, read through your beta/CP notes, and rewrite as you go. It's hard to kill your darlings, so don't force yourself to make big changes at first if it doesn't feel right. 
5. When working on a chapter, don't try to fix everything at once. Divide up what you need to do into stages, like cutting excess description first. When that's done, go back and get rid of cliched prose. After that, concentrate on the voice (or whatever your weaknesses are.)
6. At some point, this chapter will become your worst enemy and you'll contemplate deleting the whole wretched thing. When you find your finger hovering over the delete button -- GO ON to the next chapter or go watch TV. This stage of the revision is completed if you want to keep your sanity.
7. When you reach the end of the ms, celebrate, eat cake, and crow in all your forums! You did it!
8. Now, go back to Ch 1 and begin it all again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bocra, Fil Mish-mish

                                         From: www.freepik.com

Bocra, fill mish-mish means tomorrow at apricot time. It's a way Egyptians say "Yeah, that's gonna happen." *snort*

I thought of it today as we waited for the plumber. He didn't show. Last week, we waited for the A/C guy ('cause, naturally, all the freon leaked out of my less-than-a-year-old unit). That guy eventually showed up -- three days late -- repaired a pipe, and left a hole around it so I see sky through the wall now. He said he'd be back to fix that, too. Uh-huh.

Yup, there's definitely a different sense of time here, a certain surfer-dude 'whatever' mentality. I wonder if it's all the sun? Maybe it really fries brain cells. Just in case, I'll stay in here, at the computer, and just look at the sun through my new little hole...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Summer Already?

It was only April 15th when I was hooting about Spring in Egypt. The temperature was lovely, and it was great here despite some allergy troubles. 

But here it is -- less than a month later -- and the temperature broke 95-degrees today (35 for the Celcius crowd). I have to turn on the A/C to sleep now. In another month, I'll be a permanent ball of salty, sticky dampness even with the A/C on.

I don't do a lot of writing in the summer (May through September). Hot weather makes me grumpy, and I find all my characters get grumpy, too. Ah, well. I shouldn't complain about 95-degrees. In July, it will be so much worse...
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