Saturday, April 30, 2016

Two Month Update - Checkpoint #2

Here I am again, reporting on my progress on 2016 goals. This is number 2 of 6.

For blog writing in the past two months, I've slowed down to an average just a smidge above one post a week, either in this blog, or in one of my other three blogs. This is fine as I try to concentrate on other efforts.

I performed slightly better in the area of editing my novel Justice. In the past two months, I've edited six chapters, bringing me up to Chapter 13. I had hoped to be up to Chapter 16 by now, but I'm still well on track to finishing by October. Plus, I'm starting to hit the really exciting part of the novel, where it appears I had been more engaged, and where it appears to need less editing.

For magazine submissions, I only submitted to three more in the past two months, bringing me up to a total of five. It's kind of funny, but I'm starting to have to wait for responses. I currently have only four marketable short stories (that haven't yet been published anywhere), and three of them are tied up under consideration. I suppose that could be a good problem to have?

The next two months: I could feasibly finish Justice. I have ten more chapters left and nine weeks. If there are two particularly short chapters next to each other, I could do both in one week. But I need to work more on my music publishing company, so I'll back it up to eight chapters, bringing me to Chapter 21, and leaving the last two chapters for July.

I'll try to catch up with the magazine submissions by submitting one each week until I have all four stories tied up. Then when one becomes free, I can send it off the next week. (Or maybe one will be published. That would be cool.)

I'll also keep up with the one-post-a-week rate in my blogs.

How are you doing on your writing goals?

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Dark Forest: The Epic Continues

Cixin Liu does it again in the second book of his Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. The one word to sum up The Dark Forest is "epic."

The first book establishes that an advanced race has started a 400-year journey to our planet with the intention of wiping us out. The second book covers the first 200 years, detailing how the Earth prepares for the oncoming onslaught.

Just like with the first book, it took me about 70 pages to finally get a grasp on what was going on. The first pages are spent presenting the main characters with vignettes that don't seem to connect with each other. But then it all starts to come together with Luo Ji emerging as the main character, someone who unwittingly finds himself at the center of Earth's strategy.

Not only do we get a story of Earth coming together to fight a common enemy, but we also get the stories of individuals who struggle with their missions, who wonder if the Earth is really worth saving, and trying to live a normal life.

The book is full of epic imagery, and it does a wonderful job of staying within the realm of "real" science. The images were so vivid and believable that I often had to remind myself, as I went around doing my daily duties, that there was not indeed a group of aliens headed our way.

The book comes to a satisfying end and sets the stage for the next 200 years. Unfortunately, we English readers will have to wait till September 2016 for the translation of the last novel. Or, as my Cambodian friend tells me, "You could always learn Chinese."

I strongly recommend this series. Pick it up and prepare to be amazed.