I had a dream about these guys, and then I was sitting in a boring meeting, and, well.
Monday, May 04, 2015
“The Top of the Volcano”. Wound up with a 6000-word draft for a 3000-word planned story. Wrote an outline halfway through, think that helped.
“Spinnerette”. Short story, exercise in pastiche. It was planned to be 2000 words, but I wound up with 4000. Of course. Dean Wesley Smith would hate me. I think I went a couple of pages past the end.
“Before Breakfast”. Probably a working title, but anyway. I wrote 500 words and then realized I needed characters and interaction, and it turned out they were both women not men, which changes everything. Who knew!
“Wind/Water/Salt”. Chapters 28 to 34 edited. Also made some minor changes to earlier spots to make the later stuff make sense.
“Lucky Kate”. Typed up the middle that I rewrote a while ago, culled some bits out to make it make sense.
Went to workshop day at ad astra. If I’d stayed longer I might have made some friends. I did three workshops. The first one was Getting out of the slushpile, and it was really good. Then was lunch, and then was Writing Diversity, which was also good but not all about me. This workshop made me like Leah Bobet more. She came across as very human. The third one was fixing your Story Gremlins, and I would have gotten more out of it if I hadn’t done three workshops, or even if there had been a break between 2 and 3 maybe.
So I learned a couple of things:
1. I should build some empty space into my conventioning, rather than try to pack everything tightly together. Go to the con suite, chill, not have a plan. The best things happen when I don’t have a plan.
2. My novel doesn’t suck, it just needs more editing down.
“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). 26 rows to go on the body.
“St. Anthony’s Ribbon” (self-designed). Ignored.
Vinterlys (Norsk Strikkedesign). Second sleeve now 7 inches long, did a couple more inches on the body.
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Finished two inches bottom ribbing in the car. Will work on this seriously when vinterlys is done.
I have too many projects right now. Two of them need to be done.
Friday, May 01, 2015
“Deryni Rising” by Katherine Kurtz. Kari Sperring wrote an article http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150330/sperring-c.shtml about her, and I realized I have about ten of these, none of which I remember actually reading, so I pulled them out. They were given to me by a friend who moved to England and couldn’t take all her books with her. I got a strong sense of déjà vu, but it’s not in my notes, so maybe I’ve just read (as Sperring said) so many of her descendents that it all feels familiar. But I really think I must have read this book about 17 years ago.
It took a chapter or two to get used to all the adjectives.
The women annoyed me. A lot. The two female characters who appear in more than one scene are so awful, and all the men are so awesome, that I was really mad that a woman wrote this book. Considering how many more of these I own. I could go on and on about how much I hated Charissa and Jehana, but I won’t. Neither seemed allowed to act in a rational manner.
“Acceptance” by Jeff Vandermeer. Not just to be complete, I really wanted to see how things would turn out.
I got to the end and kind of wondered if I’d missed something, so I read some of the reviews, and it turns out I didn’t. Some storylines are tied up, but there’s one large ambiguity which I’m okay with not being tied up, I always worry that I’ve missed something important. And since no one in my house has read these books, it’s not like I can talk to them about it. Thank god for the internet.
“Taltos” by Steven Brust. This is book 4, and book 3 was a little painful to read, so I gave myself some time off. I love that these are presented not in chronological order, and I love the narrative voice. It does things that make action sequences quite delightful.
“Phoenix” by Steven Brust. Combined with the previous in “The Book of Taltos”, cleverly enough, so here we are. It was a great, fun read. Ed picked it up when I was done.
Monday, April 06, 2015
“Evening Glory”. 13000 words and draft? It’s a mess, and writing the last page I sort of felt like I’d written the first portion of a novel, rather than a short story. This might be a disappointment I’ll never look at again.
“The Top of the Volcano”. Short story, 3000 words of what was meant to be a 3000-word story, and it’s only half done. I need to accept perhaps that my writing process involves writing twice as much as I need (though some of that is really notes to my future self that I can take out once I know I’ve hit those points) and editing is all about carving away the excess to get to the good story underneath. I did write myself a lovely outline (at about 2500 words) so I can get to the end.
“Wind/Water/Salt”. Last edits for this draft to chapters 9 and 11, and then moved on to 14-17. Then things started picking up and I didn’t have to move so much and the process started being a bit more like I imagined it should be, going through deleting the boring, repetitive bits, the spots where I get all explain-y.
And then I realized that my POV rotation switched at Chapter 23, so I had to fix that, which I did by going back to the beginning again. But it was doable. And every time I move everything around, things get a bit better. I just finished tidying chapter 27.
“Lucky Kate”. For days when I’m not working on WWS, I pulled this out. There’s a good story here now I think.
“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Second sleeve done, started body. I made a pile of the nine balls of contrast that need a specific background, with the goal of getting all those nine balls put away. That would mean the body was half done. And I realized that there were 162 rows left in the body as I’d designed it, and if each row took 15 minutes, then that was 40 hours of knitting, on that project alone. Two of the nine balls are still sitting out.
“St. Anthony’s Ribbon” (self-designed). I set it aside for a couple of weeks to figure out what to do about the neckline and binged on Ceremonial Armour instead, and didn’t pick it up again. I think I need to delete a few rounds.
Vinterlys (Norsk Strikkedesign). First sleeve done. Second sleeve started.
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Ignored, since I wasn’t supposed to start it anyway.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
“The Brides of Rollrock Island” by Margo Lanagan. The first section was a challenge. You know sometimes you read something and you think “I wish I’d written that”, and other times you read something and you think “I could never write that”? This book was the second type. I have a hard time being mean to my characters. Margo does not have this problem. The sense of place was brilliant as well – so well drawn, and yet it could be Scotland, or Newfoundland, or Maine… This was a different way of coming at lovecraftian horror, really. Wow.
“Authority” by Jeff Vandermeer. So I read http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/01/from-annihilation-to-acceptance-a-writers-surreal-journey/384884/ and thought I should read on in the series. And then my library got flooded.
“Red Spikes” by Margo Lanagan. I needed some short stories, and she had some! Short stories are always a mixed bag, I never connect with everything in a book, but the one about the budgie was truly fantastic. I want to force that story on people. And the one about wandering around purgatory, so cool. Her voice is something I can't imagine pulling off, but I love the themes she tackles.