Archive for November, 2004

11/23/04: Launch into action!

Word count: 120967 | Since last entry: 2274 | This month: 8785 Eighteen hundred words tonight! Plumped down in my writing chair right after dinner and didn’t get up until I’d written a scene in which Clarity and Jason launch into space, lasers blasting all around them, as they move into orbit for their final confrontation with Raptor. Zowie! And a million toy balloons save the day. That last detail is something I hadn’t had in mind until just today, when I realized that the ordinary human populace (represented by Garrett) had to have a part to play at the climax. It also solved a plot problem without unnecessary violence. I’m quite proud of it. And in case I don’t get to post tomorrow… Happy Thanksgiving!

11/21/04: Lost some momentum, but the kitchen looks great

Word count: 118693 | Since last entry: 672 | This month: 6511 So much for writing every day in November. I just missed two days in a row, and only got any writing in today through sheer cussedness (200 words during intermission at the symphony). But the kitchen looks gorgeous — we spent most of the weekend shopping and unpacking. We have most of the pots and pans in place, all of the spices, and most of the sauces. We bought a very nice teak step stool (necessary now, because we’ve made all the cabinets taller to compensate for the decreased width that gives us more elbow room) and a gorgeous, gorgeous bamboo cutting board which will live on the granite countertop because it is so very pretty. But we gave up on finding the telephone we wanted locally and ordered it from the web. Okay, I admit it — I am a good little consumer. New posessions make me happy. But we’ve also put a lot of old stuff in the “garage sale” box as we’ve been unpacking. There has been much discussion of the question “where does this want to live?” for various objects — we can’t put everything back where it was in the old kitchen — and all the answers are provisional and subject to change. But the new layout is very, very practical; it works exactly the way we hoped it would when we laid it out, as we found when we prepared fried rice tonight. Kate was easily able to reach the spices without getting in my way at the stove. Also, the bright halogen lighting in the new stove hood makes everything on the stove look delicious and wonderful. I feel like I’m in a cooking show. We have never had any kind of lighting over the stove, believe it or not, and have been cooking in our own shadows as long as we’ve been together.

11/17/04: Love and trust

Word count: 118021 | Since last entry: 907 | This month: 5839 Nothing yesterday. Tonight, wrote a scene with Jason and Clarity, in which they establish that they no longer love each other, but they do trust each other, despite everything. This sets up Jason dumping a bit of information on Clarity which she is not yet in a position to understand. I have to keep some surprises for the very end… Only a couple thousand words to go. It feels almost like a short story now, apart from the seventeen tons of backstory providing momentum. Jo Walton says something about the arrowhead and the shaft, which I cannot quite comprehend at the moment but I think it may be relevant. Long day. Tired now. Going to sleep.

11/15/04: Down to the wire

Word count: 117114 | Since last entry: 1264 | This month: 4932 I haven’t exactly written every day since my last post. Most of the weekend was spent on kitchen stuff — we know exactly what we want in a garlic keeper, step stool, telephone, etc., which entails much going into stores, pointing, describing, and being met with blank looks. Despite this we did manage to obtain nearly half the objects on our list. We also unpacked several boxes, and tonight we achieved the triumph of the first meal cooked in our new kitchen! Okay, it was just a little sauteed onion and ground beef mixed with bottled pasta sauce, over bowtie pasta, with frozen corn warmed up in the new microwave. But we actually cooked! Our first home-cooked meal in over two months. And there was much rejoicing. I have gotten some writing done, though, and most days that didn’t have any writing in them had “writing-related activity,” like writing the synopsis of the chapter 9 and copying chapter I for critique. I also got some feedback on chapter 9 (the crit group meeting was sparsely attended), generally positive though one critiquer said she wished Jason wasn’t such a “cranky little man” and Clarity was “more of a fighter” (despite all the work I’ve put into them, sniff waah). But there’s little to be done about those problems at this point, with just one chapter to go. It continues to be the case (as it has since the very first critique at Wiscon last year) that nearly every reader has a different, strong opinion about which character is the best and which is the one they just want to drop-kick. I’d be happier if every reader liked every character (liked them as well-written characters, I mean — some of them are pretty unlikeable as people) but I’m prepared to accept this mixed bag as an indication that the characters are at least complex enough for people to have different opinions about, depending on their individual perspectives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Things are moving really, really fast now, plot-wise. I’m finding that the things that need to happen just whiz by, pieces slotting into place and the characters running as fast as they can to keep up. The chapter still might be a long one, but it might not. Most of the secrets I’ve been keeping from the reader (and, in a few cases, wondering about myself) for as much as two years are out in the open now, with just a couple of revelations to go (such as: Raptor’s hidden motivation, though it might be obvious by now to some). I’m still not 100% sure how some details in the final climactic scene are going to play out, but at this point I’m confident it will shake out in the actual writing of it. Must sleep now. 8am meetings every day this week, oh joy.

11/10/04: Okay, I lied

Word count: 115850 | Since last entry: 1684 | This month: 3668 I thought I finished the penultimate chapter yesterday. I was wrong. When I went to write the first scene of the final chapter I realized it had to be told from Jason’s PoV, so I went back and stuck it at the end of the previous chapter. Also wrote 200+ more words of notes in the final chapter. Sienna surprised me tonight with a Han-Soloish self-centered mercenary act. But, given the way I’d treated her, it was the appropriate thing for her to do. I couldn’t just leave her standing around, anyway. And she made it up to Jason at the end. Also tonight: started unpacking boxes in the new kitchen! Woo hoo! There are still a few details to take care of — we’re still waiting for the screen door and faucet handles, the countertops need to be refinished, and the microwave turned out to be too big for the space designed for it (oops). But everything else is done, so we’re moving back in. Yay!

11/9/04: Done with the penultimate chapter

Word count: 114166 | Since last entry: 938 | This month: 1984 Usually I post here whenever I write — if you haven’t heard from me lately, you can assume I haven’t been writing. But in this case I have been plugging away, generally in the last half-hour or hour before going to bed (and going to bed way later than I should) so I haven’t had a chance to post about it. I have been successful in writing a little something every day. I’ve done a couple hundred words most days, except for Sunday night after OryCon when I managed just 41 words in a bleary half-hour before I admitted I was too tired to produce anything useful. But bit by bit I have reached the end of the chapter. It’s a short one, but intense, and it ends with the reunion of the main characters of the two plot threads. I will look the chapter over tomorrow and maybe tweak it a bit before printing it for Saturday’s critique. Only one (long!) chapter and an epilogue remains now. On Saturday night of the con I didn’t do anything on the novel, but I stayed up until 2am with Sara outlining a story tentatively titled “The Push-Button Unicorn.” This is an idea that I had some time ago which I decided should be a collaboration, because Sara knows more about horses than I ever will but has little experience with short stories. We’re both really excited about this story. The convention was generally good. I had a full house of about 20 people for my reading on Friday afternoon, with reasonable crowds for all the panels and other items I was on. I got in some good lines at several of them, like the comment at the Mad Scientists panel on the Fantastic Method (regular scientists use the Scientific Method, which involves many experiments with a mix of successes and failures, while mad scientists use the Fantastic Method, in which you do one big experiment at the end of the book — if you’re the hero, it succeeds, and if you’re the villain, it fails). I was also in Opening Ceremonies (in which I died four times) and Whose Line, and though I thought neither of them went particularly well I had people coming up to me all weekend saying they’d hurt themselves laughing. Go figure. I also signed about a half-dozen copies of the zeppelin anthology. Add that to the half-dozen I signed at World Fantasy, and the fact that Wrigley-Cross Books in the dealers’ room sold out (18 copies), and you can tell that this book is generating some real excitement. I’m so happy to be in it, and I’m looking forward to reading the other stories. The downside of the con was that I was so busy on programming and such that I missed many of my friends and barely got lunch at all. But I did have many good dinners and conversations and hugs, and racked up a sleep deficit that will take weeks to repay, so it must have been a good con. And I just found out today that an editor to whom I pitched this novel three years ago is still interested in it, and is actually in a position to buy more fiction now than he was then. Opportunity! Gulp! But now to bed.

11/3/04: I have to write, it beats screaming

Word count: 113228 | Since last entry: 1046 | This month: 1046 I started and deleted several journal entries today, trying to express my rage and anguish over the elections, but in the end I decided that everything I wanted to say had already been said by others, in the blogs and LiveJournals I’ve been reading obsessively for the last several days. My failure to come up with anything I thought worth posting might be partially explained by the fact that I went to sleep around midnight and snapped awake at 4:30. Heck of a way to go into a convention (OryCon starts tomorrow). So today I decided to withdraw from the political world for a while. I listened to music on the radio, not news, and when I got home from work to find Kate, home from Phoenix at long-awaited last, I said “let’s watch The Court Jester.” And so we did; yea, verily, yea. There were substantial bits in there that neither of us remembered; I wonder if we’ve ever watched the disc before? After the movie I wrote on my novel. It feels so pointless, and yet in some ways it is therapeutic, because (see the entries from way back around the beginning of 2002) this novel is in part about my anger with the lies and manipulations of those in power and the idiocy of the general public. And besides, it’s NaNoWriMo, and though I’m not formally “doing” NaNoWriMo, my goal is to write a little something every day and I didn’t even miss Election Day. So I wrote another couple hundred words, for a total of over 1000 words in the first three days of the month. Slow and steady is the way to make progress. Slow and steady. And don’t forget to breathe. Oh, one tiny bit of good news: I just sold Swedish rights for “The Tale of the Golden Eagle” to magazine Nova Science Fiction.

11/1/04: Back from Phoenix

Word count: 112182 | Since last entry: 2327 | This month: 9721 The above word count represents a half-chapter written on the plane to and from World Fantasy Convention. The “this month” total is for October. WFC report coming soon. Must sleep now… Oh, and though I am not doing NaNoWriMo I have decided to write something every day. And it would be a shame to break the streak on day 1. So after writing the above paragraph I just wrote about 200 words (not reflected in the word count at the top of this entry). And now I really am going to go to sleep. But first, one more thing: