Archive for May, 2005

5/24/05: D’arth of news; Wiscon schedule

Not much to report, really. I’ve seen Revenge of the Sith twice — spectacular special effects, but it lacks heart, and wow can Hayden Christensen not act. Even when he’s Darth Vader, and James Earl Jones is providing his voice, his body language is flat. (Um, I suppose that might be considered a spoiler… in some parallel universe where the end of All The President’s Men is also a surprise.) Anyway, apart from that I have a couple of pieces of good news which I am not yet at liberty to discuss. And I should be packing for Wiscon right now. Speaking of which, my schedule is: Friday, 10:15-11:30 pm, Conference Room 2: Reading (“Big Jumps and Long Tomorrows”)
Sunday, 2:30-3:45 pm, Wisconsin: Insider Futures: Business in Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sunday, 4:00-5:15 pm, 607: The Transformation of Sexuality Hope to see you there!

5/16/05: Happy camper

I had a meeting rescheduled today, so I had some time to deal with the sick Mac. First I called Apple, where (after the first call was cut off just as the operator answered, grr) I got a knowledgeable and companiable tech who walked me through all the potential software solutions until she agreed with me that it looked like a hardware problem. So then I used my local Apple store’s web page to schedule a slot at the Genius Bar — which it promptly gave me for ten minutes hence (the store’s about half an hour away). Fortunately, by the time I got there my name was just coming to the top of the list. About 15 minutes later I was walking out with a brand new Mac. All was wonderful when I got it home, until I tried to connect it to my Wi-Fi network, which not only failed but I managed to knock the whole network off the air trying to fix it. I was terribly distracted while we went off to our neighborhood SF book group (this month’s book: The Year of Our War, which we all thought was a bit shallow and the main character unsympathetic), but when we got back I used the DSL modem’s setup disk to reinstall it from scratch and all is now cool. Spent the rest of the evening installing Tiger. Now I’m back to where I was Sunday when the DVD drive failed. At the moment the new Mac is downloading software updates, and I’m going to let it have fun by itself, for I must sleep now.

5/15/05: Not a happy camper

So I went down to the Apple Store today and I dropped a couple thousand bucks on a new iBook and a new iPod and all the associated software and accessories, including AppleCare for both because I know a lot of people who’ve had problems with their iBooks. Got it home, started it up, installed Tiger (which came in the box, but not preinstalled), got it talking to my Windows Wi-Fi network. Most impressive when it printed a test document. Tried playing a CD and a DVD. Way cool. Stopped, had dinner. Lovely carrot curry. After dinner, looked for compiler. Ah, it’s not installed by default. Inserted the Tiger startup disk, clicked on the “About XTools.pdf”. Disk whirred and ground for a few minutes and finally bombed out with error -36. Ejected disk, inspected, reinserted. This time it whirred and ground for a few minutes, then simply ejected the disk. Tried a couple more times and never got it to accept the disk, except for the time it whirred and ground and then decided to keep the disk without it appearing on the desktop — nor would pressing the eject key convince it to let go. Restarted and held down the trackpad button, which made it spit out the disk, but it still won’t mount. Same behavior seen with three different factory-fresh disks — Tiger, Office, and the diagnostic disk from the AppleCare package. Naturally, it waited until after 8pm Central time to do this. And I’m not going to be able to take it in for service tomorrow. Grr.

5/9/05: Posted

Put my novel manuscript in the mail today! Yay! Now I will take at least a week off from writing. After that it’s short stories for the rest of the year, though I may also do some research for novel #2, a fantasy set in an alternate WWII. Also, my short story “At the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of Uncle Teco’s Homebrew Gravitics Club,” which originally appeared in the OryCon 25 program book, has been posted at Infinity Plus. You can read it here (for free!): We have started getting a box of organic veggies delivered to our door every week again. Dinner tonight was a pizza with spinach, fresh mozarella, and caramelized onions, made from a recipe that came with the veggies, on pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. Simple and very, very good.

5/8/05: It’s a completed manuscript!

Editing hours: 69.5 | Since last entry: 6.9 | Percent complete: 100% Final manuscript word count: 124,247
Final manuscript page count: 584
Synopsis word count: 3460 It took me over an hour to browbeat Microsoft Word into formatting it properly (why, oh why, doesn’t find and replace with paragraph styles impose all of the style’s font settings?) and over five hours to bash out the synopsis. On the synopsis, what I intended to do was a light edit on the synopsis I’d written for the Lupton contest last year. What I wound up doing was just sitting down and telling the whole story from the beginning, one paragraph per chapter, trying to get in as much emotion as possible without running too long or losing any important plot points. What this banzai first draft lacks in panache, I hope, it makes up in verve. I’m not as concerned about the synopsis as I would be if I weren’t sending out a complete manuscript at this point. I looked at the manuscript occasionally while writing the synopsis, but mostly I just re-told the story from memory. In some cases I simplified, combined, or omitted incidents to make it smoother; in a few cases I admit that I wrote what I wanted to have happen in a scene instead of what’s actually on the page. It’s a lot like the synopsis of Les Miserables in the booklet of the CD of the musical of the novel… it bears a resemblance to the original in the same way that a postage stamp bears a resemblance to an enormous painting like “Whistler’s Mother” or “Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” But, with luck, I’ve captured the flavor of the original — the same shampoo in a smaller bottle. And so Remembrance Day is done… by which I mean I am letting it go, rather than that I feel I’m really finished with it. I would still like to rewrite a couple key scenes near the end, where Jason reveals all to Sienna and, for some inexplicable reason, she doesn’t kill him. I would still like to raise Jason’s fanatacism in the months leading up to Remembrance Day, to make him kill with his eyes open instead of by accident. Clarity’s chapters still need more description. The aliens should still be more alien. Nonetheless, it goes in the mail tomorrow morning. And I’m not going to touch it again unless I get an editor saying they will buy it if I make certain changes, or it’s many years from now and I’ve decided to revise this old trunked novel based on what I’ve learned from the many bestsellers since. And so to bed.

5/6/05: Done!

Editing hours: 62.6 | Since last entry: 5.0 | Percent complete: 100% Blew off a square dance to get in three hours of editing tonight, on top of scattered half-hours throughout the week. The total of 5.0 is really just a guess. I completed my editing pass tonight! And many of my readers will be pleased to note that I put Flea in the penultimate sentence. He just appears — he doesn’t have any lines — but at least they will know he’s alive and free. Damn him for being such an appealing character. I never meant for him to be as important as some people found him. (Though I’m glad they like him.) Having completed the editing pass, I went through my to-do list checking things off. There’s lots of to-do items undone, but they’re all either too small to worry about or too big to do anything about. But in the same folder I found a few pages of comments from my first readers that I said I would do something about “later.” So I’m going through those now. I’ll finish those up, edit the cover letter, and do a real quick pass on the synopsis this weekend. Should have the package ready to go in the mail Monday. I am so ready to be done with this novel.

5/2/05: Nearly there…

Editing hours: 57.6 | Since last entry: 2.5 | Percent complete: 98% Back from my annual spring trip to Palm Springs. Had a grrreat time; deepened some existing friendships and made a few new ones. Very relaxing too, with weather sunny but not too hot. Editing time above is an approximation — the total of half an hour here and half an hour there in various airports and airplanes. Most of my airplane time was spent critiquing, novels for my crit group and short stories for Wiscon (which is only four weeks away, yay!!) I spent a bunch of the editing time going back and re-polishing Jason and Sienna’s last scene together, but also amped up the emotion at the first appearance of the Vaccinator and addressed a few nitpicky details (such as, how can Jason sign to Clarity when his arms are being held by the guards?). Left off editing at a key point where the Green Hills soldiers let Jason bring the Infector with him onto Raptor’s flagship — that’s implausible. I have a better and more dramatic alternative in mind but I simply ran out of time to write it. I will almost certainly complete this final editing pass this week. Then I have to revise the cover letter and synopsis — the cover letter’s in good shape, but the synopsis could easily take weeks of work. However, since the first couple of people I’m going to send the novel to have requested the whole manuscript it’s not as critical as it might be. I’m just going to power through it and put the package in the mail as soon as I can.