Tuesday, June 03, 2014

In Process -- May 2014

First Draft
“Limering”. Around 59,000 words.

“Wind/Water/Salt”. Sometimes I feel guilty that I ignore this wretched thing for days on end. Then I have an epiphany and I can work like crazy. This month’s epiphany was who the real bad guy is, so I had to go backward and seed that in a bit. So so much for this being a “don’t look back” draft. I am 2/3 through, though. Now I’m trying to work that character into the end of act II.

This month I came up with a stupid new rule for myself so I would finish some things. That’s because I’ve got three projects hanging around since 2013 (two I started in December, but still). If I finish one thing and finish a stage of another, I can start a new project. Here’s how it went:
“Portree” (Martin Storey Scottish Collection). Finished. Ran out of the main color (black) so I did the neck in pink instead. It looks fine. Probably better, actually, since I don’t really look that great in all the black I wear.
 “Kaffeklatsch” (self-designed).  Finished the second ball of yarn so I could start something else. Started the second sleeve, which unfortunately used the rest of my US1 needles, meaning I couldn’t start the sock I wanted.
“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Sewed and cut the steeks, then started the first sleeve. Finally, after about six months of letting it sit. 
“St. Anthony’s Ribbon” (self-designed). Still slogging away on the first sleeve.
I also finished sewing a shirt I started about two years ago. I was hung up on the buttonholes. Pathetic.

Monday, June 02, 2014

What I read -- May 2014

China Mountain Zhang” by Maureen McHugh. It kept winding up on my list, which is stupid, so I just requested it from the library. Problem solved! The trigger actually was an Atlantic article about other literary references that might better explain the NSA/Snowden thing than Orwell. In Orwell, everyone is surveilled pretty much equally. In Zhang’s world, only certain people really have to worry about surveillance, which is more true of our current situation. Zhang was a really well-drawn character, and I was happy to see him come to an optimistic end.

“The Blue Blazes” by Chuck Wendig. His blog is one of my daily stops. I had meant to read “blackbirds” by same, but I didn’t buy it, and then this one was on (one day only!) for 1.99 on kindle, so I bought it instead. Twice actually, by accident. I started it, then I got some library books so I set it aside, then I started it again. If I read this to see if his advice was worth taking, um, yes, yes it is. The plot moved along swimmingly. Every time Mookie would foreshadow something terrible happening, it would come out worse. The characters all resolved in such satisfying ways. Brilliant.

“Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones. Absolutely fabulous. In the Q&A at the back, she said Howl was based on her teenaged son spending two hours in the bathroom.

“Range of Ghosts” by Elizabeth Bear. The whole series is out now, so this is a good time to read them! One thing that seemed really right was that sex leads to pregnancy. That is so obvious, and so often overlooked in stories. Also, the horses seemed believable. I'm looking forward to things being explained in the subsequent volumes, especially about Bansh.