Archive for November, 2003

11/12/03: Tired, tired, tired

Word count: 43673 | Since last entry: 198 | This month: 7751 Although it’s been a really productive month, I’ve been making the time to write by staying up late, and today it caught up with me in a big way. I was just kind of dragging around the office, yawning every five minutes. So tonight I wrote a bare minimum, just a few paragraphs to keep up the streak, and now I’m going to bed early.

11/11/03: Demo, continued

Word count: 43475 | Since last entry: 264 | This month: 7553 OryCon business took up a chunk of this evening, but I did find the time to write something. Largely edits and tweaks on yesterday’s scene, and a few hundred more words. Fixed a logic error. God, I’m tired. I think ten days of cumulative lack-of-sleep is catching up with me…

11/10/03: Demo

Word count: 43211 | Since last entry: 734 | This month: 7289 In tonight’s exciting episode, Jason demos the computer virus to Sienna. A rip-roaring, spine-tingling scene of low-resolution computer graphics. Okay, even in a thriller there have to be a few hundred words of exposition. Cope.

11/9/03: A breakthrough analogy

Word count: 42477 | Since last entry: 530 | This month: 6555 It’s a breakthrough for Jason, not for me. I finished up the current section with the scene I began on 11/6, in which Jason explains packet-based wireless communication to Chopper using a handful of bullets and a magazine as a visual aid, and Chopper uses the analogy to suggest a solution to Jason’s problem (without really understanding the problem itself). The trick was to come up with something Chopper would reasonably say, and that would point Jason in the direction of the solution but leave the key insight to Jason. It helps that I can change the technology to match the analogy — a power I don’t have in my day job! The transition between the end of the sex scene flashback and the beginning of the technology-analogy discussion is clunky. I may revisit it tomorrow. When I see NaNoWriMo participants writing 2000 words a day (which they have to, to achieve 50k words in a month), I look at my 500- and 600-word days and think “I could do better”. But those 500 and 600 words a day really add up, when you write every single day. At this rate I’ll be finished with the current chapter before OryCon, and then I can work on a short story for a while. It may be crap, but I feel way productive. And, frankly, I don’t think it’s crap. Oh, it may be kind of infodumpy and in need of tightening, and Jason’s motivations are muddled and the aliens aren’t alien enough. But this is a first draft, dammit, and these things can be corrected in rewrite. Onward!

11/8/03: Sex!

Word count: 41947 | Since last entry: 716 | This month: 6025 Wrote a moderately explicit sex scene (in flashback) with Jason and Clarity. Is it gay sex, or straight sex? Even the characters aren’t sure. It’s certainly transgressive. I suspect some heads will explode in my crit group. It’ll be interesting to see how the various people react to it. At this point my major worry is that the whole chapter’s too info-dumpy. But I hope that putting the information on the aliens’ reproduction into a sex scene will hide that particular problem. If only all info-dump problems could be solved so easily!

11/7/03: A little bit of smut

Word count: 41231 | Since last entry: 512 | This month: 5309 Came home from tonight’s square dance tired, but determined to write at least 500 words. I must confess I was checking the word count pretty often, and stopped as soon as I passed 500 even though the scene was chunking along nicely. I’ve gotten into a flashback, showing how Jason and Clarity met at a sex party. It’s already a fairly nasty scene and I’m wondering just how explicit I want to get. I’ve been reasonably tame so far, by my standards, so I probably won’t get completely explicit, but I want to leave no doubt in the reader’s mind about what gets stuck where by whom. Could I blow a sale for the whole novel on this kind of thing? Maybe not one scene, but the whole bisexuality-polyamory-alien-love thing? Possibly. But this is the book I want to write, and I think one can get away with a hell of a lot these days. I suppose I’ll tone it down if an editor asks me to. (Would I change Jason’s orientation? I’d like to think I would not, but if a contract with a major publisher were riding on it I might. But I feel the right publisher wouldn’t ask for that change.) I think I’ll write the rest of the scene with a fairly high level of detail, then scale back later if necessary.

11/6/03: Talk talk

Word count: 40719 | Since last entry: 676 | This month: 4797 I’ve automated my “words since last entry” and “words for the month” counters (above). Tonight’s writing was a hunk of conversation between Jason and Chopper in which Jason outlines the software problem he’s fighting, using a handful of bullets as a visual aid. Chopper is just about to (unwittingly) give him the insight he needs, but I’ve decided to stop for the evening before hitting a reasonable stopping place, to make it easier to pick up tomorrow. I may also twist the scene around a little, because I want the two of them to talk about Clarity as well as the software problem, and knowing Jason he’ll want to charge off and start coding as soon as he has his insight. But if they talk about Clarity first he’ll be too upset to code. Maybe Chopper brings up the code problem to try to calm Jason down after he gets all upset talking about Clarity? Hmm, that might work.

11/5/03: Diminishing returns

Word count: 40043 Less than 400 words written after returning from tonight’s square dance, bringing character Chopper (remember him? He was introduced way back in Chapter A, then “wanished”) back on stage in what I anticipate will provide a transition to a useful flashback. I’m a bit dismayed by the fact that every day so far this month has produced fewer words than the day before, but there’s nothing on the calendar for tomorrow so I hope to get more done then. For now, I’m going to bed.

11/4/03: A Sterling silver star

Word count: 39675 A total increase of 410 words tonight, including some tightening of last night’s output to the tune of 100 or so anti-words. So I only get a silver star for the day. But tomorrow I should top 40,000 words, which is a significant milestone. I’ve been reading Zeitgeist by Bruce Sterling, which may explain why the last couple of days’ output has shown Jason in a bleary, grungy, gritty, sleep-deprived haze of computer code. The fact that I have been dividing my time at work between two projects, 70% on one and 70% on another (and yes, that does add up to more than 100%), and I got maybe ten hours’ sleep total this weekend, might have something to do with it too. But what the hey, it addresses (or tries to) some of the critiques I got this weekend. Work with what you’ve got, that’s my motto. In other news, the new battery arrived and my phone is now back up and running. Huzzah!

11/3/03: Another gold star

Word count: 39262 Only 610 new words tonight — but that’s enough for a gold star. I’m sticking up silver stars for 100-500 words, gold for 500-1000, red for 1000+, and an extra green star when I finish a chapter or story. I spent most of the evening doing laundry and putting the manuscripts of Chapter 4 in the mail to the members of my crit group who weren’t there on Saturday. I also got a couple of story responses in today’s mail. One was a reject from MarsDust of a short-short (my 500-word story from the first night of Clarion, still kicking around). I sent it back out to Story House Coffee; they print short-shorts on their coffee labels and are located just a few blocks from here. The other was from Asimov’s. It was in my SASE, and when I opened it up I saw it wasn’t even on letterhead — just a cheap Xerox of letterhead — so I knew it was a rejection, but I hoped for a nice personal note. “Good to see something by you,” it said, “and thanks for letting me see this story. I like this, and I’ll take it.” I had to read it twice. YAHOO!