Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In process -- October 2012

First Draft

“Fairfax”. Around 130K, and I’ve just finished the climax, moving towards the denouement. Should finish this in November. Then what?

Work-related Story Prompt Project
·         66885: Interleaved fields show different inputs

NaNoWriMo planning
·         Outline
·         Logline
·         Characters
·         Research
·         Sign up
I got bogged down in a dilemma here. Nano is 50,000 words, though in 2009 I wrote almost 62K. “The Clairvologist” (terrible working title) is going to be at least 90,000 words. So I have to figure out what I can write now, so I can feel like I can say “the end” at the end of November and feel like I completed the challenge. I guess having done it twice, I’m not even considering not being able to write the required 50K. 
 Update (Oct31, 11:45PM): I realized that teh thing that's going to be dropped is the research. Oh well. 

·         66885: Interleaved fields show different inputs – second draft. 

“Night Garden” (Bome) fair isle cardigan. Finished!
Biohazard (pullover) designed by me! Body done to armhole, started first sleeve.
CTH’s Marielund. I’ve had the stuff for this for years and years (at least four years). I will have no trouble wearing this one, so I might as well make it, I figured. The back is done. Sure looks narrow! I guess it will stretch out when I wear it, being ribbing and all.
“Ceremonial Armour”. Cardigan knit from a photo in a Kaffe Fassett book. Cast on.

What I read -- October 2012

“The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch. I’d heard so many good things, I was curious. I read it on my kindle, which was kind of an amusing experience because it doesn’t for some reason tell the page count or page number correctly. When I was about 60% done (it does update that stat, but seems to think the book is 8000 pages long) I looked on Amazon to find out how long it really was. Hmmm... 736 pages? It didn’t feel like that. I liked the way it switched between childhood and adulthood in sections, though sometimes the worldbuilding seemed excessive. One thing that annoyed me was I felt like I was being strung along with the love interest character, who never appears in any scene, even the flashbacks.

“Percy Jackson 1: The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan. The voice got on my nerves. We were chatting about it in the restaurant, and the trainee server heard us and said, “Oh, I read the whole series. Way better than the movies.” I asked why she’d read them, and she said she’d thought she was a crap reader in school, but now she’s an adult, she can totally enjoy it. It made me sad that school left her with that feeling, because it’s so lame, but happy that she’s over it. There’s something wrong with the way school works, if it leaves people feeling that way.

“The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman. A classic, but for my non-science brain, it held up.

“Percy Jackson 2: The Sea of Monsters” by Rick Riordan. These seem really suited to fans of, I don’t know, Fairly Odd Parents or some other show I might find on YTV.  The pacing and –um- shallowness seemed like an animated series to me, which may be fine for the audience.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not allowed

Last night I wrote a little story from a pile of notes I’d accumulated over a couple of weeks. It took about two hours, which is actually pretty slow, considering that it’s 949 words long. The weird thing is, I feel guilty for liking the little thing.

Oh, it’s not perfect. I have to fix the bit in the middle where I omitted to say what was going on, and there’s a lot of stuff at the top that could be trimmed down because while it sets the tone, it doesn’t necessarily progress the story or draw people in. I started copying and pasting the frame so I have to update that now. And I rewrote the ending on scrap paper in bed at 2am so I could fall asleep.

Also, the structure has a conceit that might make the story only entertaining to me. I wonder if that’s why I like it – because I suspect I’m the only one that will get the joke.

UPDATED 22/10/2012: 
Until I read the thing. And then I hate it like everything else. My voice annoys me. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If only my house was cleaner, I'd be better at circus

So I was at my Chinese Poles class yesterday, and there's this girl who can do all the moves. Our instructor asks her, what else do you do? How do you work out? Because you're really strong. And she says oh, you know, sweep, sweep, mop, mop, shine on, shine off. 
Maybe being a house cleaner is a better job for a would-be novelist than this tech writing thing. 


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

In Process -- September 2012

First Draft

“Fairfax”. Around 120K, this had better end soon. 

One of my colleagues was somewhat worked up because it was performance review season and she’d read an article about how Steve Jobs pushed employees to take it to the next level and get out of their comfort zone. In the day job, no one does that for us. Our boss is part-time and big on “exception management” where if no one is complaining about us then everything must be fine.

I’m of the mind that it’s not exactly our boss’s job to push us to write better manuals, and anyway, we all three have different ideas of how that should be. One of us (not me!) wants more time to copy edit things. The other wants... I don’t know what, if I could provide it I would, I think someone to point out structure problems and missing content. I think I want a better immersion in the products that we write about. A lot of my manuals describe what to do, but not why. No one is really going to do that, and we don’t have time to deeply read each other’s work.  If I had time, I might try to figure out how the different products I work on interact with each other (interoperability – I do a lot of stuff that chains together one item to the next).

We’ve been to meetings where this one manager who is a frigging genius at troubleshooting. We love to sit in the room and watch as he rules out different scenarios and makes a list, verbally off the top of his head, things to try. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what he did (what his role was within the company). I saw him as a manager-at-large, but as we’ve evolved he’s now the managing director of a team I work with. What’s the difference between him and us? He thinks about this stuff at home, when he’s not here. He cares about the technology. He probably has a home entertainment system and chooses an eReader based on actual technical specifications, not on what was the first one I saw in the store.

In among the differences between the three tech writers on this team, comes the idea that we need to engage ourselves.
I am extremely unlikely to get into case mods or building a home entertainment centre at any high level, or even reading phone or laptop reviews. I don’t go to industry meetings, nor would they mean anything to me if I did. I’ve been to one STC meeting like ever, and one course because it was free (I won it sort of). None of my friends are corporate-external clients of my industry (this is not even true, but I never talk “shop” to the one person I know in the industry). How can I get me some of what that manager has?

I write.

What I’m going to do is make (for a little while anyway) story prompts. Every week I’ll write and edit a flash or a short and send it away. The story prompt will ask me to look at some technical thing in a little bit more depth. So, even if I never sell a thing, I’m engaging in my industry mentally and thinking about its future.

I’ll try this for October, and then November is NaNoWriMo, so I won’t do it then. But December...


Third draft finished! No longer an embarrassment.


“Night Garden” (Bome) fair isle cardigan. 15 rows of body to go, and then it’s just edging. Maybe done by November?
Biohazard (pullover) designed by me! 10 inches of body.