Finishing it: my current project
So now that AQATSA is finished and all posted, I have finally been able to get moving again on that other writing project.
Okay, why be coy about it? No, sorry, it's not the sequel to Hogwarts Houses Divided (which I do still plan to write... someday.) It's a novel. An original novel. A science fiction novel. One I would like to get published.
Oddly enough, I have exactly the same feelings looking over my early drafts of this book that I do when looking over my fan fiction: "OMG this sucks!" With the addition of "Who am I kidding that this will ever be publishable?"
I also have exactly the same problems in writing it that I do when I'm writing my fan fiction: namely, I have scenes I want to include but I'm not sure how to connect them. I know how I want it to end, but I'm not sure how to get there. I have the characters and the setting all in motion, but big gaping plot holes that I don't know how to plug.
There is a part of me that wants to put it down and get to work on AQATWA, which would be, you know, something new and fresh to work on and simultaneously a return to the familiar. But I told myself when I started writing AQATSA that I would alternate between it and my original novel, and eventually found I couldn't really work on two projects at once, so AQATSA took over. So I'm trying to keep to my resolution not to start writing AQATWA until I have finished at least the first draft of the novel. My goal is to do that by the end of this year, and my informal goal is to finish it sooner than that. (Oh hey, that's also exactly what I said about AQATSA, isn't it?)
SF Novel currently stands at about 62K words. I am aiming to keep it under 100K words, or at least not much over, because unlike fan fiction, I don't have the liberty of being able to write as many chapters as I feel like writing. Unpublished authors are very rarely allowed to publish 200,000-word doorstoppers as their debut novel. Publishers won't invest in a book of that size unless they're pretty damn sure it's going to be a bestseller.
I have no idea if it will be publishable. Even if it is good enough (let's not go there again; yes, I know, a lot of you think I am publishable, and on my good days, I do too), it is, frankly, a rather old-school space opera that is based on an idea and an inspiration I had, and not much in fashion nowadays. Although it sort of straddles the line between adult and YA SF (which is to say, I did not start writing it specifically as a YA novel, but the protagonists are teenagers, which means it would almost certainly be marketed and shelved as YA nowadays). Depending on who you ask, YA SF is trending right now. On the other hand, chasing trends is a fool's game that many aspiring authors foolishly play. So I'm just writing the story I want to write and when it's done.... well, we'll see.
In any case, when I finish SF Novel, I will begin AQATWA. That way, even while I am still indulging in fan fiction, at least I can say I have a complete manuscript I'm trying to get published.
Kill it dead!
So, a little go.
This is beautiful. I was white. MFOG was playing at the 12-kyu level. I slaughtered it. That is a 79.5-point victory, yo.
The computer tried to invade in the upper right, and I just cut it to pieces. In the lower left corner, for some reason the computer let me invade and keep invading; I thought I'd trim a few points off its enclosure, and ended up taking the entire corner. I went back and played that sequence over, this time making the computer defend the corner the way it should have, and I still won by 34.5 points.
My play is still very uneven, though. I am starting to beat 12-kyu more often than not, but sometimes I still get massacred.
Anyway, here is a dead-stupid Life And Death problem for you. And by "dead stupid," I mean that I missed it. It is from an actual game I was playing:
I was black. I have that white group on the right side completely surrounded. Now, your objective: Kill it dead. There is one move that will instantly render it a dead group and it should be dead obvious.
Go on, think about it. Don't take too long.
Need a hint?
Either one of these moves will kill it dead. b is better, but even if you play a, there is nothing white can do to save itself unless you screw up, which I did. I played 'a', white played the point above 'a', and I, in "mindlessly following a pattern" mode, connected below, and then white played 'b'. Duoh! Just like that, white has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by making two eyes.
I still won the game, but I sure felt stupid.
Lastly, here's an object lesson is "making sure you kill it while you can" (or "It ain't dead until it's dead"). You might think the white group in the corner here is safely dead, and you'd be mostly right. Unless you fail to either finish off that lone white stone, or add one other defensive black stone. If you don't do that, white has a chance to bite you. Do you see where? I have several times lost a "safe" group because I didn't finish the job of killing off the group it was fighting, or else securing an iron-clad guaranteed two eyes.