Archive for November, 2003

11/26/03: Plugging away

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 182 | This month: 11876 Just a little writing tonight, squeezed in between packing to go out of town and going to bed early (we’re hitting the road bright and early tomorrow). I feel good about the Jupiter story. It’s got a light breezy feel, kind of a Texas tall tale of the far future, and I think I’ve found a way to get a dramatic ending without being either nihilistic or sappy. A real Analog story. It’s about 2700 words now, probably going to be around 4000 when I finish this draft, which means it can be tightened to about 3500. Might even finish the first draft on the trip. If anyone is reading this… have a happy Turkey Day! I’ll be back late Sunday night, but might not post again until Monday.

11/25/03: Took a day off

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 582 | This month: 11694 I decided to take yesterday off. Tonight, despite attending a Barenaked Ladies concert (they rock!) I wrote almost 600 words. Yoo rah. I have other things to say here, but at the moment bed calls.

11/23/03: A productive day

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 515 | This month: 11112 Plenty of chores today — laundry, groceries, unpacking from OryCon — and a symphony concert, but still got over 500 words written on the Jupiter story (which I’m now thinking about titling “Interview with the Photographer”) and still got to bed before midnight. I’m pleased. It’s going to be a challenge to finish the Jupiter story and chapter 5 before the next crit group meeting, with Thanksgiving in there. But I just discovered I will be out of town for the next crit group meeting, which casts a different light on things. What to do? I’m going to sleep on it.

11/22/03: Pretty much the same

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 207 | This month: 10597 Like yesterday, I had a busy day, didn’t start writing until way late, and wrote only a couple hundred words (just to keep up the streak). But I received my critiques on Chapter 4 — they still like the book, though they reminded me of the problems I already know about (Jason’s a wimp and Clarity isn’t alien enough) as pointed out some new ones (there isn’t enough physical description of the aliens, especially of individual aliens; there’s no indication why it would be a bad thing if the Green Hills bunch took over; Clarity goes into the task force meeting knowing nothing about the humans she’s meeting with, she would have been thoroughly briefed; the new human characters Flannery and Vance need to be better developed). All good stuff for the second draft. For now, I’m continuing on the Deconstructing Jupiter story. I had been having some trouble coming up with an ending (unusually for me, I started writing without knowing the end of the story), but now I think I have one in mind. The question is: can I destroy the Earth and still have it be an upbeat ending? At the moment I think I can, and it’ll certainly be a hell of a climax (many writers threaten to destroy the world, but not many follow through on the threat). There are all sorts of cues in what I’ve written so far indicating that Something Bad Happened, and I can amp those up to build tension. This’ll be interesting. Also today I picked up my new glasses — my first progressive lenses, but it’s not nearly as traumatic as I had been warned it might be. They’re kind of weird, but not much weirder than my last pair of new glasses, and my near vision is noticeably better than with the old ones. The bad news is that they came with a big scratch in one lens, which will have to be replaced. This evening I attended a party where I didn’t know anyone, but had a nice long talk with syndicated humor columnist Marc Acito, who just sold his first novel, and the movie rights — a real Cinderella story. He was very encouraging, said he liked my pitch. Must sleep now!

11/21/03: Didn’t think I could keep that up…

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 217 | This month: 10390 Kate’s out of town, so I worked late, did my critiques for tomorrow, did some convention-related web stuff and other chores, spent too much time reading friends’ weblogs ( makes this far too easy), and didn’t even start writing until 11:00. Still, I do get a silver star for writing something. More tomorrow, I promise.

11/20/03: Deconstructing Jupiter

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 1037 | This month: 10173 Couldn’t decide between staying home and writing tonight and going to a square dance. Kate finally suggested that she could drive and I could write in the car to and from. It worked great! I also wrote a little bit in the breaks between tips, and a little more after we got home, for a total of over a thousand words. Woo hoo! Note that the “word count” above has not gone up (that’s the novel word count), though the “since last entry” and “this month” counts have. The difference is what I’ve written so far on a short story for an anthology called Cosmic Tales of the Far Future, which is invitation-only and probably already full, but it’s a great market and even if I don’t sell this story to this market it’ll get my work in front of the editor and I’ll have another story in inventory. Working title is “Deconstructing Jupiter.” The whole story so far is told in the same breathless voice as the last paragraph. I’m trying to portray this particular hunk of the far future as a time just as exciting as the Wild West or the early days of the Internet. I may wind up cutting a lot of the words I wrote tonight, but I’m getting a real feel for the time. At this rate (which I doubt I can keep up, but maybe…) I’ll be done with this story in less than a week and I can get it and another chapter done in time for the crit group meeting after next. We’ll see. For now, life is exciting! Voom!

11/19/03: Tidying up

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 0 | This month: 9136 No actual novel words, nor short story words, today. But I formatted and printed out the completed chapter D, added 345 words to the synopsis (summarizing chapter 4) and printed that out, and made copies, so the package is ready for Saturday’s crit group meeting. I also resubmitted a story that bounced back from The Edge (UK magazine) to Argosy. So I’m giving myself a silver star for writing-related effort.

11/18/03: Sienna’s big speech

Word count: 45058 | Since last entry: 518 | This month: 9136 I hadn’t quite meant it to come out this way, but the last scene of the chapter turned into Sienna’s Saint Crispin’s Day Speech. I had fun playing with her tone of voice and body language, but I didn’t really indicate how her listeners responded. I’m relying on the reader to respond for them. This may be a mistake, but that’s the way it is for now. My other concern is that the level of bombast ratchets up too far too fast, but we’ll see what the crit group thinks. That’s the end of the chapter, so I get a gold star and a green star for today. Tomorrow I start on a short story, and critiques. Go me!

11/17/03: Broken streak

Word count: 44540 | Since last entry: 346 | This month: 8618 OryCon was fun, but the weekend went voom! About a dozen people came to my reading, most of my panels were well attended, Opening Ceremonies went well, and Whose Line was a riot. But I only hit about three parties (including the Baen party, where Sara and Jim and I sat in the back room talking — mostly about my novel — for hours) and attended maybe a half-dozen panels other than mine. I’m not quite sure where all the time went. Certainly not sleeping. Alas, I’ve broken my streak of writing every day this month. I wrote a couple hundred words on Friday before the con, and a couple hundred tonight, but nothing on Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday after the Baen party I did write nearly 500 words of notes on a new direction for Jason, to make him a more active character (but that isn’t reflected in the word count above). It involves scrapping the current Prologue and writing a new chapter in its stead, in which Jason takes some kind of direct, physically dangerous action. Many of the events of chapter A (to be renamed chapter B, and so on) would still take place, but the power dynamic between Jason and Sienna shifts radically, and the changes would echo down through the novel with decreasing force. For example: If Jason steals the biocomputer in the new chapter A, he’s not still going to be alive and free in chapter B unless he knows about the government’s omnipresent audio monitors before that. So Sienna can’t tell him about their existence in chapter B, and the whole “Jason researches the audio monitors” scene — with its cool technology — goes out the window. Ponder ponder ponder. I’m not going to change it now, though. Must finish first draft first. I have just one more (short!) scene to write in chapter D, then I have critiques to do and a short story to start. It may be mostly short stories for the next couple of months, actually, though I hope to keep plugging away at the novel as well. (Ha.)

11/13/03: Enter the Infector

Word count: 44194 | Since last entry: 521 | This month: 8272 Just introduced “the Infector”, a gizmo that I believe will be the maguffin (is there an official spelling or capitalization for that word?) for the whole rest of the book. The scene feels pretty flabby to me. Partly this is a result of writing in small bits rather than long stretches. Partly I’m still damn tired — though I got to bed early last night, I woke up well before the alarm clock. I’m not going to catch up on sleep any time soon, though, because OryCon starts tomorrow. I do intend to write every day at the con, though I’m not going to be posting my daily word counts here until Sunday evening at the latest. Wish me luck!