Archive for March, 2003

3/6/03: Still in the potato field

Word count: 2240 Finishing up a customer support document at work, so I didn’t get home until way late. Got another 500 words written on Chapter 1, developing Clarity’s character a bit, but all the characters are still in the potato field. I plan to bring down the boom on Clarity real soon. This morning, during the time between when I woke up and the alarm went off, I had a horrible thought, something along the lines of “omigod, my Daleks can’t climb stairs, how the hell are they going to conquer the world?” The problem being that the disease is too easy to stop. I’m not sure if I have a real solution, but I have something (it involves limited bandwidth). I’ll let it percolate some more.

3/4/03: Potatoes

Word count: 1705 Started in on Chapter 1 this evening, after a long period of staring at the wall wondering just where Clarity is and what she is doing when she learns of her father’s death. Finally put her in a potato field in Eastern Washington. Why potatoes? I don’t know. But it gave me a chance to show a Tauran eating a raw potato. Also today, I learned that I will be one of 3 readers in the inaugural performance of the Portland Reading Series. I’ll be reading a story of mine called “Charlie the Purple Giraffe was Acting Strangely: A Serious Story about Funny Animals.” The reading will be held at the Tugboat Brewery, 711 SW Ankeny Street, on Monday, March 10, at 7:30pm. Neat!

3/3/03: And so, it begins

Word count: 1164 Yesterday I had coffee with Mark Bourne and discussed the aliens. He came up with the idea that “seeing is believing” is the core of their philosophy and culture. If you don’t see something with your own eyes, it doesn’t exist; if you haven’t met someone personally, you have no preconceptions about them. Major transgressions are punished by the gouging out of eyes; less-major transgressions may result in “internal exile” caused by people refusing to see you. Minor transgressions result in diminished attention. Rather than “face”, their culture is ruled by attention, the fundamental coin of respect. Visibility equals attention; attention equals influence; influence equals power. No one can have direct influence over more people than can be gathered in one room at a time, but indirect influence can extend further (again, networks of small hierarchies). Theoretically, no government can extend beyond the limits of sight, which makes high places extremely valuable. The moon is the Eye of God, which sees all and is seen by all; this drove their space race, the race to literally claim the high ground and achieve the pinnacle of perception. My idea about the magnetosphere didn’t work for him, but then he’s not an expert in that area. He suggested, though, that perhaps they don’t use radio because communicating over the horizon is gauche. Hmm. Tonight I wrote a first draft of the Prologue. Woo hoo! Word counts from now on reflect only actual novel, not notes and outline.

2/28/03: Insanely complicated

Word count (outline and notes): 15471 I wanted to start drafting by the end of February. I didn’t make it. But I did spend this evening thrashing my first draft chronological outline into an insanely complicated spreadsheet (with color coding: blue is backstory, prologue, and epilogue; green is the alien plot thread; yellow is the human plot thread). So far I have not done anything to make sure the two threads complement each other well (balancing, echoing, mirroring, etc.). And I see that Clarity doesn’t have enough to do in the second half of the novel. At this point I’m prepared to run with this, knowing that things will change as the work goes on. I can shift incidents between chapters, and even between threads if I have to, to get the balance right. Looking over the outline, I’m excited. It looks like a rip-roaring story; the alternating plot threads seem to keep the tension up nicely, with a turning point at the end of just about every chapter. I hope to begin drafting this weekend.