Brenda Cooper

Finished First Draft, 2008 Goals

I finished the first draft of THE DOWNBELOW GIRLS this past week and sent it off to a pile of first readers, including two teens as well as the usual suspects – hopefully they’ll have good insights since they’re the target audience. It always feels really great to finish to that extent.

Of course, nothing is ever polished enough. I’m working on the page proofs for READING THE WIND and still finding awkward sentences and extra words, and at this stage, there’s not much that can be done. Page proofs are really about finding typos. But on the whole, I’m happy with it. The timing is great – the next book I’m writing is the next book in this series.

Also went to a sort of writer’s reading group I belong to this Saturday – we read bestsellers and try to figure out the techniques used – why the books are bestsellers. One of our reads this month was Tony Hillerman’s The Shapeshifter. He is a true master at the understated hook, the pleasant read that makes you want to keep going, the art of having a single sentence or description do three or four jobs. For example, he can make a description provide setting (say describing a mountain and the moments weather), character (by the way it’s decribed through his character’s eyes), mood (through word choice, for example), and maybe also foreshadowing.

2008 Goals:

Write ten short stories, at least five of which are NOT anthology stories (I love writing for anthologies, but I’ve been ignoring my favorite markets like Analog and Asimov’s)

Finish the sequel to READING THE WIND (working title WINDS OF CREATION)

Decide what to write next and be 1/3 of the way through – hopefully the fourth and final book in the series, but that depends on what sells and when what is due…

I won’t bother to subject you all to the normal stuff about weight and exercise and food – we all have those, right? Wink.

I’ll check in with these goals quarterly and the end of the first quarter should see one story done and me 60,000 words or so into WINDS OF CREATION.