Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Novel critique


I had a really good sleep last night, I'm getting used to the CPAP again.

After doing some office work, I went to the gym. Listened to Queen and hiked through 54 minutes of the USA (started in Yosemite but I think I teleported all over the place. Sierra Nevada? California? Are those all in different areas?). I didn't sprint but I felt pretty good. Solid sweaty workout.

Then almost immediately afterwards, walking down the stairs, I started to feel really trembly, shaky in the legs, and weird. This happens occasionally. I don't seem to have good control of my blood sugar levels sometimes, and this dates from well before I became pre-diabetic. Strenuous exercise and/or poor food management can bring on a little episode. At least I think it's caused by low blood sugar. Maybe it's low blood pressure. Or something else entirely? But eating seems to help.

Anyway I didn't have any food with me, I should take a banana to the gym just in case. I bought a packet of Doritos for quick carbs. Chocolate can be good too except the high fat means it takes longer to absorb. Fruit is better, if available, for an instant sugar hit. Came home and had a proper balanced lunch. Still feel pretty wobbly and sick for an hour after finishing my workout. I didn't even have a shower for a couple of hours, I didn't trust myself to stand up for so long on a potentially slippery floor. But eventually I was ok.

Then after taking Jasmine to dance class it was time for my novel critique group! I'd been through a similar process a couple of times for short stories but this was my novel, my magnum opus, my baby! It went well. The group said some very nice things but also pointed out plenty of areas that needed work. They were mostly in agreement with each other, which was helpful, and I nearly always agreed with them too. They were either things that had worried me all along or else things I accepted as soon as they were pointed out. So useful to have input from people a bit less emotionally involved than I am.

There were a couple of times I felt the reader had missed my point, or where different readers had different opinions, but overall it was great. I never felt personally attacked or got defensive, and I am now fizzing with ideas of things to work on. My writing guild has a lot of experience and many published and awarded authors, one of my readers is moderately famous (Russell Kirkpatrick, who has his own Wikipedia page). You'd normally have to pay a lot of money to get this kind of advice, all I have to do is read and critique their work in exchange.

Only problem there is little chance it will be ready in a month, which is when I am going to a social event full of people in the publishing industry. I was hoping to be able to have it polished and ready just in case someone said, "oh sure, email it to me" and I could bypass the swampy mire of the "slush pile" of unsolicited manuscripts. Well, you never know.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. I'm giving myself an ok despite the Doritos and a handful of hot chips (and no vegetables) with dinner. I ate healthy the rest of the day, including only a couple of grapes for supper at the critique even though the table was covered in yummy things.
Exercise: Great. Session at the gym and a total of 9,650 steps.
Water: Terrible. Worst day for ages. 4 glasses. Just got too stressed and busy in the afternoon and evening.
Sleep: Great. Lovely sleep.
Mental health: Great. Nervous and excited all day, but not distressed.


  1. My mother in law was diabetic, she had to shoot herself every day with insulin. Every where she went, she always had candies in her purse for emergency. Do you wear a medical bracelet for your pre-condition?

    If it's not top secret, what is your novel about?

  2. I don't think pre-diabetes is an official condition, more a warning of what is to come if you don't take action.

    My novel is about a young magic user who has to team up with her kidnappers to defeat a greater foe - a dragon who has learned how to drain the magic essence and life force from humans.

    There, in one line!

    1. I like to reserve a copy of your book... I don't know if you know him, but I'm a fan of Terry Goodkind and I read all his books from the series "The Sword of Truth". Great stuff!

      One of my daughter is also a writer, she is really appreciate on Reddit (You know Reddit/NoSleep?) her stories kept being put on the podcast, she has also sold a story to a magazine. Not bad for a pass time. I'm sure that she will be writing a book in the near future.

      I think the bracelet is a good idea, you had really bad symptoms of a sugar plunge, who knows if the next symptom is not a full diabetic coma, but I'm not a doctor... just someone that worry.

    2. I loved the early Sword of Truth books, some of the best fantasy ever, but I feel they gradually went downhill and I haven't bothered to read the last few.

      I've never used Reddit, is it all podcasts?

    3. No the podcast is only certain story that they select. Reddit is really popular, one of its member is Bill Gate! You can check it out:
      In it the most popular sub-directory is: There is a lot of stories that are not so good but there is some jewels poping up from time to time.