So, I got a few books the other day. A couple of themes here. The Bad Guys are for my son, who says he hates reading, but he has already finished three of these. I got them four days ago. I don’t know if he has any clue how happy I am about this. I’ll be getting the last three in the series today so he can get them done before the movie comes out on Friday.

Space battles is the other theme. I don’t plan to write many space battles, but I don’t want them to sound horrible. After some looking around the internet and asking people everywhere, I decided on The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell, which made the top of a list of good space battles on GoodReads. The Honor Harrington books were also up there and I have the added bonus of her being a female space protagonist, which might give me a comp, maybe. I hope. Finally, I got the first Expanse book. This was a top pick of my husband, who felt the space battles in the show were the most realistic he’d ever seen. I’m assuming they are similar in the books and I’ll find out. I was also eager to read it because the show is awesome.

I wrapped up my purchases with the Asimov magazine. I want to read more sci fi short stories and there are a couple of magazines out there to keep me busy.

I picked up the space battle books because of a recommendation someone in my critique group gave me. Yes, I joined a writer’s critique group. Mostly, it has gone well. The pros are that people are receptive to the storyline (or what they’ve heard of it so far) and they generally like my writing. The cons are that I’m too tight of a writer, which was no surprise. Science writing (not scifi) is tight and I need to find ways to loosen up. The way information is presented in the critique group is too spaced out. People forget what happened last week and only get 2000 or fewer words each week. Not enough words to progress very far and too much time in between to remember things. It’s also hard for people to connect with the characters with both of those issues. For example, I don’t have a good physical description of some of the characters for a few chapters. I wanted it to be that way and it reflects when the main character, Sophie, sees them clearly for the first time. But since they only get a little bit each week, they are getting a bit annoyed that they don’t know what the characters look like. Some of that I should be addressing and other parts I can’t do anything about.

Another pro of the group is the variation of opinions on certain things. One person wants Sophie to be strong and independent, not one to freak out and cry. Another person wants her to be accurate to 11-year-olds (she’s 11). I’m trying to put her somewhere in the middle of all that. She’s independent and overall a strong person who is also 11. I think some of the things she goes through would make anyone curl up in a corner and cry for a while regardless of age and so once in a while she will.

Anyway, I’m off topic. In my story, there is a mention of battles and one of the guys suggested looking through accounts of the current war in Ukraine for descriptions of battle to use. I think he may have not realized I was talking about battles in space. Regardless, it gave me the idea to read up on space battles and now you know why my book selection this past week was heavily themed.

Other things: I’m almost finished with Chuck Wendig’s The Book of Accidents. It’s very Stephen King-like. I don’t like it as much as Wanderers, which was amazing, if I haven’t mentioned it before, but it’s still good.

We saw The Secrets of Dumbledore this weekend. Not my favorite movie in the series. I’ll avoid spoilers, but I wasn’t impressed with the story line and didn’t understand why certain scenes were happening or why they were deemed important. The crab shuffle was funny and my son crab shuffled out of the theater and entertained some of the people in the room.

Update on my book: I have decided (again for those who know I’ve been all over the place on this) to make my book into a series. This was advice from an agent who reviewed the first ten pages for me. She seemed very enthusiastic, but like the critique group, only has a limited view at the moment. Still, she felt it would work best as a series and I’ve felt that way for a while. So my job lately has been to expand the section that would be book 1. Problems I need to address include expanding the storyline to fit a full length novel, building the world more, building a stronger conflict, climax, and resolution. I’m not really changing the storyline at all, just making it fuller. It’s something I feel is totally attainable in the story. Still, I’m not the fastest editor and I get bogged down in the fine details of editing/rewriting. I need to try and spew out the ideas and then come back and change things. Yep, that’s what I should do. I’ll try to see what I can do today and this week.

Current word count: 27,312

Word count goal: 90,000

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