Monday, January 09, 2017

What I read -- December 2016



“The Magician King” by Lev Grossman. So I could finish the series. It’s a heist story! I liked how he handled time, POV, and backstory in this one. It was smooth. This series hit a sweet spot for me. I guess I read the same things as LG growing up.

“In the Labyrinth of Drakes” by Marie Brennan. Well, I thought I might as well just finish this series off too! Ed got it for his birthday.

“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab. I finished the previous book on Christmas, but we weren’t giving out gifts until the 27th, so I was left with nothing to read (we’d gone away, and my sister’s house isn’t exactly filled with the sort of thing I might choose to read). I asked the boy for an early Christmas present, but he said he’d only do a trade, and I hadn’t gotten him any suitable trading item (lesson for next year), so I asked my sister, and she went and hunted under the tree and gave me this. It was on my list. V.E.Schwab might be my new favorite author. There weren’t any unnecessary words in the whole thing. I loved the two main characters, and the revelation about Lila’s eye… well. I hope in subsequent volumes she doesn’t become some major magic wielder or anything, that would be so unsatisfying. People who choose to go a different route than their “potential” marks them for are somewhat missing in the fantasy I read.

“Karen Memory” by Elizabeth Bear. The boy gave it to me for Christmas. A neat thing about reading it has been I follow EB on Twitter, and she’s been working on another story with some of these characters, so I’ve gone from feeling like an outsider to an insider. I started reading, thinking the steampunk elements were kind of stupid, but then they became integral to the story, so that was good. The character was great. Bear sure makes her suffer!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

In process -- December 2016



1st draft
More Writing Excuses!
 
Editing

“Rabbits”. Fixed that descent into madness thing. I really like the idea of this story, but it needs so much work!
“The Magician’s Ex-Apprentice”. Typed. 2nd draft: removed repetitive crap and implemented marginalia. This cut maybe 700 words out of the story which never should have been 5500 words in the first place.
“Vulgar Pony”. Typed and commented on the bad intro. Seems I have learned some things.
“Wind/Water/Salt”. I wanted something to put on OWW serially and this seemed the best choice, so I went over the first three chapters and posted the first one so far.

You see how I have a lot of projects here? It’s a problem. I constantly switch stories in and out of “active” state, and I don’t necessarily think that for me at this point in my life this is a bad process. But. I spend far too much time looking for things, trying to figure out which is the last draft I was working on, whether I’ve printed off a new draft. And since I back up all my drafts on my computers, the paper isn’t even necessary once I’m done with it. So I’m working on a system that involves a notebook where I collate information on everything, plus a more rigorous filing system with a tidier workspace. There’s nothing inspirational about having sheets of paper everywhere.

There might be a general clutter problem, beyond just the writing. I need to have less yarn.

Connecting
Critted 6
Got back 2

Circulating
1

Knitting
Ann Boleyn (1998).  Finally finished that first sleeve. I started the second one, but got maybe 7 rows in, which is good because it’s a start. I’d really like to finish the second one in January.
Gift. Finished.
Mittens (for me!). Finished.
Cecile (Louisa Harding). Finished.
Okracoke cardigan (Shirley Paden). Started as a carry-around because it looked reasonable to keep track of, a little more interesting than boring sleeves, and somewhat portable. I’ve got about 3 inches of back. After the first pattern repeat I noticed that, much like when I knit Morrigan’s sleeves several years ago, on the reverse side I twist the twists the wrong way and it’s not as crisp as it could be. But I decided not to start over this time, because really, if you’re looking that hard at the bottom of the back of my sweater, what’s wrong with you!
Shorts (knitting lingerie style by Joan McGowan-Michael). Second time knitting these, wrote down my pattern alterations this time. I’ve done about an inch.
I also sewed a jumper.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What I read -- November 2016



“The Essence of Budo” by Dave Lowry. A friend lent this to me back in maybe February, and it was time I gave it back. And also why leave stuff around the house if I don’t need to? Probably I shouldn’t read more than one of his books in a year because this seemed… the same as the previous one. They’re interesting and well-written, but I felt like I’d read some of the essays before.

“The Grace of Kings” by Ken Liu. It was the oldest thing in my library queue, so I set it to active and… well, it’s really fat. By the time I was 200 pages in I was engaged in the story, but I had a hard time keeping track of the characters. I was having a hard time with the style, and then I realized he’s turned something I’m always trying to purge from my writing into a strength. 

“Voyage of the Basilisk” by Marie Brennan. I will be completely honest: I did not finish this book in November. It just feels kind of lame to have only read two books, so I waited until I finished this one. Ed got it for his birthday, and asked me if I’d read this yet, so I figured I’d better. I liked it better than book II, I don’t know why. I hope December goes better than November did, or 2017 is going to be grim.