Book Review

Book review: Altered Carbon

It’s time for my mid-month (or slightly later in this case) check-in. I am working on several projects this month. I am writing the short story of the month, prepping for “Writing Camp” in July which I am doing with one of my sisters, so I am super excited, and I am starting a letter writing project with another sister.

In addition to these things, I wanted to break from my tradition of having my second post be about my writing struggles for the month and do something I haven’t done in quite awhile (so bear with me) — a BOOK REVIEW.


This month I read Altered Carbon. I read it because my sister recommended the show to me, but I prefer to read than to watch tv. Anyway, I LOVED IT!! I highly, highly recommend it.

I felt like I was “reading” a graphic novel. It was violent and gritty. The fight scenes were bloody, graphic, and really well written. (I enjoy a good fight scene).

In addition to being violent and brutal, it’s a detective story mixed with a dystopic sci-fi tale. It takes place on Earth in a galaxy that has been colonized and has changed because people don’t have to die anymore. They can be “re-sleeved” and placed into other bodies, even synthetic ones.

 I don’t want to give anything specific away. Go and read it.


Tech Problems

tumblr_mg3a3yAx9D1qlpcoso1_500I did it! I meet my weekly writing goal. My current word count is roughly 21,500. I also did the math, and to be finished with a first draft of 100,000 words, I need to write close to 3700 words a week.

So, next week, I am going to aim for a bit more progress.

Goal for next week: 26,000 word count.

This means I need to write over 4,000 words, but I think it’s a good idea to push myself. I am trying to hold myself accountable.

As far as this week went, it was a good week. I didn’t encounter any problematic writer’s blocks. But I have been thinking about one sci-fi writing difficulty.

Technology woes.

I am writing a sci-fi novel, and like other sci-fi novelists before me, I am creating a unique world with technology that doesn’t really exist. So in addition to naming the fictional tech, I have to explain how it works without boring any potential readers to death.

Another problem that creating fictional tech brings up is trying not to be too similar to any story that’s already been written. So, I’m avoiding glowing laser swords and children fighting ants in space.

Until next time! Happy reading and writing everyone.


The Name Game

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted, and I admit that I have made little progress on my novel this week. I am actually stuck. I hit a block while working through my chapter 1 revision ideas.

I cannot decide what to name the main male character in my novel. When I originally wrote this story I named him Richard M. Deluka, but now I’m not sure I like the name and every time I sit down to write I find myself debating what to rename him rather than making any real progress.

I am pretty sure that I would like to keep the last name as Deluka, but I think I might change the first name. I have also considered the name Stoddard. What do you think?

Basically I have spent the last five days stuck on this problem and I can’t sort it out for myself. This may sound silly for someone who wants to write a novel, but I actually hate creating names for characters. I feel like their names carry with them connotations of past people and characters who they share a name with. Maybe I just need the following…


In fact, the only time in my entire life that I have been sure about a name was after I read Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth. I knew as soon as I read that book that if I ever had a daughter I was going to name her Zadie. (And I did).

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

In addition to moving past this issue, I am going to create a weekly goal for myself. I am thinking a certain word count would be good. Realistically speaking, I think I can manage 5000 words a week and still finish my novel this year. My ultimate goal is around 100000 words. (I did not pick this number arbitrarily). I did some research a while ago about the length of sci-fi novels and 100000 was the recommended number for a manuscript.


Here I Go Again

keep calm

Yesterday I finally took the old draft off the shelf and pulled my notes from various notebooks and stuffed it all in a folder and took myself to the library for some quiet time to read through my original draft.

I have to admit I was a little surprised by how anxious I felt about reading my own work. It’s been almost 2 years since I worked on the first few chapters of my novel. I was thinking about how it’s going to be challenging to simply pick up where I left off. Think about it. Since then I’ve read somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 books. And whether I want it to or not, that much processing of the written word has influenced the way I now think. Before I even read a single word of the old draft, I started to think of ways of changing it or scrapping it and starting a different story.

Instead of being completely intimidated though, I decided to make myself read it.

I read through the first 3 paragraphs and right away I solved a problem I had the last time I was working on it. My novel is what most would consider a sci-fi novel, and the last time I worked on it, I was wondering how to make the solar system useable.

A part of my brain was working yesterday that said, “Who cares if it’s a made up solar system? It’s fiction.”

I think this realization was a direct result of last Saturday being Star Wars day. (I watched all 3 original Star Wars movies. So, even though I’m sure someone has said or thought this before, Thank you, George Lucas, for Endor, Tatooine, and every other made up planet in the Star Wars universe.)


So with that problem solved, I made some notes for later writing and continued reading.

Much to my surprise, only a few more paragraphs after that, I had another idea about adding backstory for my main character. And even more shocking to me, I wrote something.

It’s been two years, but my old story and I are friends again. I didn’t just write a sentence either, I wrote like 4 whole pages. (I have a weird drafting style. I like to work on the computer and with pen and paper. I go back and forth between the two, but I find that I feel most connected with my writing when I do it by hand.)

At this point, I am excited to begin working on my novel again and because I am still basking in the warm afterglow of a creative break through, I feel like my goal of finishing this year is possible.

With that in mind, I am going to work on a schedule or something to keep me on task. For this week, my goal is to read all the way through the old draft and make notes.