I'm gearing up to become a super hero. Last weekend, I attended my first yoga workshop. No chanting or tea breaks, just three hours of asanas, one after the other. Tai chi and critique group kicked off this week. My winter writing workshop starts next week. Yup, the new year is off to a great start.
Last year, five beta readers took the time and trouble to read my manuscript for Peace Court. They had a lot of say. I've been spending these past few weeks trying to make sense of them or, at the very least, to pull them all together into a single overview. Nerd that I am, I've chosen to use an Excel spread sheet with columns for each beta reader and rows for every line against which a comment has been placed. That's turned into an 88 page document on top of 5 pages worth of general comments and my own secret weapon: the change notes.
Change notes is what I use to keep myself moving forward in the editing process. In this case, I have a 20-odd page document that lays out the narrative arc for each of my main characters. That might be a full-blown scene, a bit of dialogue, or just some vague notes pointing in a particular direction. More hope than change and that's a good thing, too. Hope gives me energy. The energy to read, to write, and to start over. To bundle up that energy and hurl it at you. Kamehameha!
I've got three Kamehamehas for you this week, enough to create a crushing turtle wave. Energy ball #1 is inspired by a conversation last week about authenticity. I'm not talking about identity politics or even social hygiene but the way we tend to diss hyphenated food. Chinese-American food, for example, can only be a watered-down, bastardized version of real Chinese food. Right? Wrong? Welcome to the Food Fight.
Republican Fever has nothing to do with the current state of American politics. It refers to that brief period of time (1912-1949) when the Republic of China ruled on the mainland. It's the era of Eileen Chang and this is my review of her posthumously published novel, Little Reunions.
Junot Díaz is an author whose reputation proceeds him: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Is it possible to separate the author from his writing? Find out in my review of This Is How You Lose Her in Original Sin.