Deadlines


It’s been, what, two weeks since my last post? I’ve been busy. Some dumbass assigned my students essays, plus their usual weekly writing, and I’m the one who has to grade it all … much of it has to be graded twice. Yeah, I took the AP class with a guy who showed us how to grade an essay in two minutes, or whatever, but I’m a looooong way from grading AP quality work. I stare at some of those essay for a long time and just wonder, “How did you get passed on to high school with language skills like this?” Too often, “editing” means rewriting their essays, and they refuse to learn from what I show them, repeating the same mistakes on the next project. It gets really frustrating.

The sophomores had to do a research essay on an author I assigned; each kid got a different author, ranging from Herman Melville to George Eliot to Brian Keene. I wrote a sample essay for them and we went over it together. I pointed out what was necessary in each of the five paragraphs. I showed them what I wanted for source citations. What’d I get? Everything from cut-and-paste from Wikipedia (complete with hyperlinks still in blue and underlined) to parents named as sources to the most common … no sourced named at all. Or they said Google was their source. Aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

The juniors had to write their autobiographical essay, about one event in their lives. You would not believe the number of opening paragraphs I had to write for them. They are juniors in high school and cannot write the opening paragraph of an essay about their favorite subject … themselves.

All of my essays are worth a minimum of 300 points. Grading is made easier because, despite the high value placed on the essays, more than a dozen of my 75+ English 2 and English 3 students just don’t bother to do them at all.

I don’t think I mentioned on here how much Kim hated Inheritance. She said it’s the worst thing I’ve written. She thought the ending was unbelievable. However, if she could spend my planning period with me, listening to teenage girls talk about the things they’ve done and how desperately they need to be with guys they know are bad for them, I think she’d become a believer. Anyway, I’ve sent the book off to a publisher. The publisher agreed to look at it despite a full schedule, but said it might be a couple of months before they get around to reading it. This same publisher bought a short story from me a few years ago … a story Kim also hated.

Speaking of deadlines (I was; look at the subject line), March 31 came and went. Ulrik is not out yet. I haven’t seen the galleys yet. Haven’t seen the galleys for Murdered by Human Wolves, either. The last I heard was the Ulrik might be a couple of weeks late, but layout was about finished on MbHW. I believe there’s a review of Ulrik in this month’s Grim Reader column of Rue Morgue magazine. I’ll be interviewed on the Fangs, Fur and Fey LJ community later this month. It’d be nice if the book was out …

After dancing around with The Puppet King for a while (again), I put it aside (again) and went back to The Fetch. I’m actually pretty excited about it this time out. The manuscript is over 15 years old and is very, very rough, but I like the story. I’m well over 100 pages into it and am always wishing I had more time to work on it. Someday I’ll go back to The Puppet King. I really want to make this the first of a good sword-and-sorcery series. The Fetch, by the way, is about astral projection, repressed anger, and a coming-of-age story. Kim’s reading it as I rewrite it; so far, her commentary has been much kinder than when she read Inheritance.

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