Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I read -- November 2011

“The Guns of Avalon” by Roger Zelazny. Book 2 of the Chronicles of Amber. I didn’t notice so much in book 1, but Zelazny really paints nice pictures and makes incredible economy of words in these.

“Persuasion” by Jane Austen. When I go to the library, I like to take something out to be supportive, so when they didn’t have whatever the next Jim Butcher book is in the Desden Files, I took out this. Also, I have a DVD of it, and I prefer to read the book first. Anyway, this was a Penguin edition, and it had an over-explaining introduction and footnotes that didn’t seem necessary to me. A lot of the footnoted words were comprehensible in context, and I mean, who really cares that the particular coach they’re talking about is better than a convertible because the top can go either way? I love Jane Austen, and this book was charming.

“Sign of the Unicorn” by RZ. These are so short I almost feel guilty counting them each, rather than reading the whole five-book series as a single book. But, I’ve started this way so I guess I’ll continue. The first time I read these books I remember skipping over the Hell Rides sections because they were boring and didn’t make sense and didn’t further the plot. This time through, I’ve been reading them, and they are actually really interesting, some of them, in what they tell about character. Corwin is basically a god; he and his siblings are a pantheon. He’s hundreds (or more) years old, and yet he makes decisions that are sometimes really young-and-stupid seeming. I say this because I feel like the message, sometimes, is that no one ever feels like a grown-up, even when they are.

“Cascadia’s Fault” by Jerry Thompson. Ed got it out of the library and talked it up so much I picked it up when he was done. We’re all going to die! Cascadia is the fault line that is going to keep pressing on the western edge of the North American plate until the rockies flip up like a tiddlywink and land on Toronto. There you had it, you heard it here first. I’ve seen the author’s documentary “shockwave” that is about the same topic, so I had no trouble visualizing portions of the story. The organizational structure seemed forced, though. It was quite rigidly chronological, and I felt like the author might have written, for example, all the sections with the woman emergency planner at the same time, and then cut them up. This left me occasionally confused because critical details and complete thoughts didn’t appear until later. Not that I have any amazing powers of structure (see all my posts on The Toothbrushing Club for examples).

“The Hand of Oberon” by RZ. I really thought there was something fishy about Ganelon, that’s all I’ll say. He sure picked up new skills quickly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flash fiction challenge: Frog prince

The challenge is here. This is something I had lying around that I wrote originally in March 2009. Maybe I'll post the whole 650-word version tomorrow.

The bouncy ball was bisphenol-b. When the princess accidentally tossed it into a well, it sank to the bottom.

A frog croaked, "I'll fetch it for you, for a kiss."

"Okay," the princess said.

"Kiss, then ball," the frog said.

Their lips touched. The frog grew and the green localized to tights and a jacket; obviously a prince. The princess forgot about the ball.

They didn't live happily ever after. As a frog, the prince had absorbed a lot of pseudo-estrogens. His vestigial third leg gave the princess the willies, and his sperm count was insufficient to provide heirs, anyway.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

In process: October 2011

First Draft

“Fairfax”. Started month with about about 28,000 words, in the midst of Chapter 11. Now I’m in Chapter 14, with about 36,000 words. That’s a third of a book!

And now I will espouse for a moment on why I write a page a day.

A couple of nights ago, I’d done like 4000 words of the Dowsing rewrite and I wasn’t totally into writing a page (roughly 280 words) of Fairfax. But I had to, so I sat down and started writing. I wrote a couple of paragraphs of description, and then the POV character said something that totally surprised me: he said (without giving anything away) he missed the clothes. He didn’t miss the lifestyle of what he was looking at, but he did miss the clothing.

I was totally shocked and surprised, because right there, with those four words, he gave me all of his backstory. I knew who he was right now, but I had no backstory for that character, and because I was dragging my way through that block of text, he gave me a gift, “this is who I used to be.”

Editing

“Rabbits.”
Took this off OWW, didn’t really work on it.

Fairfax Chapter 1. Since this started out as a flash fiction, not even really a short story, there was a lot of stuff to add. The ending needed to be opened up, the characters fleshed out, and the setting defined. Also, it ended a different way than I thought. But I wanted to get it up on OWW. To make essentially Draft 2 of it as a chapter (the “final” version of the initial flash fiction served as Draft 1) I added 900 words. With all the flash stuff I’ve been doing, it’s been mostly cut-cut-cut, so this was a neat change.

“Dowsing”. (short story, 5K). I’d done a bit of work on draft 2, changing the POV and adding some logic to the worldbuilding. Then I read that Lovecraft/Derleth book and just started over. I wrote an outline (!) and a completely new story with the same elements as the old one, so I don’t know what to call this. Is it a rewrite? I’m typing it (going to finish it tonight) and then do a couple of editing passes, and then I’m going to get it on OWW, maybe by the end of the weekend.
Toothbrushing Club. (Middle Years novel) I’m going to have a draft 2 proper by the end of November.

See, what I decided was, the last thing I need in my life right now is another completely unedited manuscript. So, tempting though it was to just power my way through Fairfax or something for 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, I decided to do NaNoEdMo instead this month. I need to finish some things. Next year, I’m doing it, though, for sure. And I’ll have some finished stuff too.

Being reviewed

“Karate Zombies”.
Got it back.

Knitting

Loppem (Norah Gaughan).
This is my anti-Morrigan, knit in fluffy white yarn on big needles. Finished.
Fair Isle Argyle socks. First started – KPPPM and some regia silk I had lying around.
Double Heelix socks. Done.
Blackwork socks. First started; this is where I start my Christmas knitting. I’m taking the motifs from PGR’s ethnic socks and stockings book.