Archive for March, 2007

3/25/07: Home, safe and dry

Word count: 28663 | Since last entry: 7477

Back from the Rain Forest Writers Village writing retreat — four days in the woods, writing and hanging out with writers. It was awesome and relaxing. I wrote a lot (159 words Thursday night, 2221 words Friday, 2379 words Saturday, and 1418 words Sunday for a total of 6712 words for the weekend) and finished the chapter I’d been working on just five minutes before closing ceremonies started.

The chapter’s too long and too heavy on the exposition, but I have time to whack it back a bit if that’s what I choose to do. Which I may.

A snippet:

If only Keelie could find a doctor of her own kind. “Reesa told me you’d heard a rumor about a new ship. Maybe they can help.”

G’ni leaned forward with a rustling sound and pitched her voice low. “I wouldn’t be asking too many questions about that.”

“Why not?”

“Bad feelings are gathering around this ship. The rumor goes that this type of ship was seen just once before, over fifteen years ago. The people offended nuum and the Drur were forced to destroy them.”

Keelie’s chest tightened. She was not quite fifteen years old. “Were there any survivors?”

G’ni spread her hands, a gesture indicating ignorance or equivocality. “Some say no. Some say there were a few. Enslaved by the Drur, perhaps. It’s certain that no one has seen any of them for many years.”

Attendees at the retreat included Jay Lake, Louise Marley, J.C. and Barb Hendee, Susan R. Matthews, and about two dozen others, all writers (except for a couple non-writing spouses such as Kate). I knew about half of them already. There was a whiteboard with word count for the weekend, and several people also posted their progress on socks. For some reason all of the knitters present were working on socks. It got to the point that some writers noted “2300 words, 0 socks” as their progress for the day.

Apart from the writing (with early-bird, night-owl, and, um, middle-bird sessions) there were a few laid-back programming items such as How To Find An Agent and Overcoming Writers’ Block Using Runes. I skipped almost all of those in favor of more writing time. In between sessions there was much eating, with Jay and writers Barb and J.C. Hendee as special guest cooks.

The resort itself was charming and rustic, though we saw very little of it on account of the continuous rain, ranging from drizzle to downpour. It was what we’d expected, being in a rain forest and all, but it was still a great relief when the sun came out on Sunday morning and we saw the mountains on the far side of Lake Quinault for the first time. Up until that point the world apparently ended in a gray blur at the water’s edge.

One other highlight of the weekend was the Ranch House BBQ, on highway 8 at about mile post 15, which Jay has mentioned as having the best barbequeue outside of Texas. We stopped there on the way up, just to try the food even though we’d already had lunch. We stopped there again on the way down, even though we’d already had lunch. It was that good.

Jay has posted some photos from the weekend in his journal.

Big props to hosts Patrick and Honna Swenson for putting together a fabulous weekend!

3/15/07: All the running I can do and I’m not even staying in one place

Word count: 21186 | Since last entry: 1154

Had a nice time at Potlatch. Got to take some of our out-of-town friends to some of our favorite restaurants. Appeared on some programming. Had a reading. A good time was had by all.

Apart from that my life has pretty much been eaten by the Day Job. We’re just a few weeks away from the Feature Complete milestone and I’ve had a lot of questions to answer, bugs to fix, and email to deal with. We also had a bunch of customers in on Tuesday and Wednesday, with another bunch of customers due in next Tuesday and Wednesday, and there was plenty of prep work and wrap-up for that. And it’s annual review time, with the concomitant paperwork. And I have two other projects (one big, the other minor) that are supposed to be done by the end of the quarter. Which is two weeks from today.

It’s nice to be wanted, but I’m getting a bit crispy around the edges. I’ve been falling behind on my personal email and blogging (reading as well as writing), I have three rejected manuscripts to put back in the mail, and I haven’t done any writing since before Potlatch — too brain-dead in the evenings. Nor tonight either.

Nonetheless, many writing-related things have happened without any effort on my part:

I am a very lucky guy.

2/28/07: …and then a miracle occurs…

Word count: 20032 | Since last entry: 177

Went to start chapter 4 and discovered that the quickie outline I wrote has Keelie doing just about nothing in her half of this chapter. But I can’t move the action of chapter 5 forward because Keelie has to wait for Rachel to do her thing in the other half of the chapter first. Must find something for Keelie to do that isn’t just stalling for time. I have some ideas.

Meanwhile, “Titanium Mike Saves the Day” has been reviewed in SFRevu (“a great little piece”) and Tangent Online (“an entertaining and engaging work”).