thanate: (whirlpool)
All the last little details of the construction have kind of blown up again. We have... possibly full primer coats? (I haven't finished checking yet) and plaster dust vacuumed, and floors are going in the downstairs tomorrow. The electrician is putting up light fixtures. But we bought the fixtures, despite their being listed as covered in the estimate (I think this is just Holly forgetting something & we'll sort it out-- being able to make those choices is ok by us.) Unfortunately, the cool outside lights [personal profile] grauwulf picked out are too big to seal against the siding manufacturer's idea of the right size for outdoor electrical boxes. Investigations are ongoing into whether this can be circumvented, or whether we're going to have to put something cheap in now and hack together some other solution for later. As I wandered around trying to find the box from the ceiling fan this morning, I discovered that the roof is still leaking ever so slightly along the new/old shingle join. Also, starting to mold slightly. Poor Tracey is up on the roof in the rain looking into that. I shall have to catch him before he leaves to give him that box of cookies.

In any case, there was a small former-VPer meet and write-in at Teaism last night (previous to which I went to the DC aquarium and discovered that albino alligators have glowing pink eyes!!! I will not now buy an alligator taxidermy form to cover in white lace & hollow out for LED eyeballs. Really.) and discovered that there is a metro stop on the green line within sight of teaism's door, which I had no idea existed. Meetup was fairly nice, though the split between write-in and socializing probably could have worked better. [personal profile] jazzfish and I stayed another half-hour or so to do some actual writing... in my case because at the time everyone else bailed, I had ended with this:

“You are the one who does not belong, foreign witch,” he said, trying to force her arm away from him. “You are an unnatural creature, inflicting harm against the nature of the River and our city upon it, and you must be stopped before you [[corrupt the queen?]]” She stopped his arm with magic this time, and then the rest of him as he tried to jerk the arm back, so that he wouldn’t hurt himself.

“Whatever you are threatening, you cannot do it. If I have to turn you into a statue, or the fish that you apparently wish to become, I will do so to keep you from harming this woman or her son further. You have misused the principles of sorcery and brought harm against yourself those you claim to represent. Now go away, and do not trouble anyone in this house.”

She released him, and he reached his hands toward her eyes, as if he would claw them out. So she turned him into a fish. Righty, then.... Mara is not very good at fight scenes.


(Then I went and got mochi, in the hopes that it would help. It hasn't helped this bit yet, but I did go on to something better.)

ETA: This discussion might also be useful to me, for future reference re:Mara.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
All the last little details of the construction have kind of blown up again. We have... possibly full primer coats? (I haven't finished checking yet) and plaster dust vacuumed, and floors are going in the downstairs tomorrow. The electrician is putting up light fixtures. But we bought the fixtures, despite their being listed as covered in the estimate (I think this is just Holly forgetting something & we'll sort it out-- being able to make those choices is ok by us.) Unfortunately, the cool outside lights [personal profile] grauwulf picked out are too big to seal against the siding manufacturer's idea of the right size for outdoor electrical boxes. Investigations are ongoing into whether this can be circumvented, or whether we're going to have to put something cheap in now and hack together some other solution for later. As I wandered around trying to find the box from the ceiling fan this morning, I discovered that the roof is still leaking ever so slightly along the new/old shingle join. Also, starting to mold slightly. Poor Tracey is up on the roof in the rain looking into that. I shall have to catch him before he leaves to give him that box of cookies.

In any case, there was a small former-VPer meet and write-in at Teaism last night (previous to which I went to the DC aquarium and discovered that albino alligators have glowing pink eyes!!! I will not now buy an alligator taxidermy form to cover in white lace & hollow out for LED eyeballs. Really.) and discovered that there is a metro stop on the green line within sight of teaism's door, which I had no idea existed. Meetup was fairly nice, though the split between write-in and socializing probably could have worked better. [personal profile] jazzfish and I stayed another half-hour or so to do some actual writing... in my case because at the time everyone else bailed, I had ended with this:

“You are the one who does not belong, foreign witch,” he said, trying to force her arm away from him. “You are an unnatural creature, inflicting harm against the nature of the River and our city upon it, and you must be stopped before you [[corrupt the queen?]]” She stopped his arm with magic this time, and then the rest of him as he tried to jerk the arm back, so that he wouldn’t hurt himself.

“Whatever you are threatening, you cannot do it. If I have to turn you into a statue, or the fish that you apparently wish to become, I will do so to keep you from harming this woman or her son further. You have misused the principles of sorcery and brought harm against yourself those you claim to represent. Now go away, and do not trouble anyone in this house.”

She released him, and he reached his hands toward her eyes, as if he would claw them out. So she turned him into a fish. Righty, then.... Mara is not very good at fight scenes.


(Then I went and got mochi, in the hopes that it would help. It hasn't helped this bit yet, but I did go on to something better.)

ETA: This discussion might also be useful to me, for future reference re:Mara.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Next week is going to be a bit hectic, so I got myself caught up and then ahead on the wordcount this weekend. (And then bought myself a ridiculous number of things from sock dreams. Soon there will have to be a culling, so that the socks do not take over the world. Um, again, that is.)

My computer is presently living on the table in the sewing room, which is more useful than my desk by virtue of the displacement from ordinary concerns, if nothing else. Beside it, I've got a kitchen timer set to 26 minutes (I was going for 25, but it's the kind where you have to punch in each minute manually & leaving it at 26 was easier than going back and starting over.) which gives me roughly half-hour writing blocks, and I've been doing surprisingly well with pressing "start" and then working through the whole time block with scrivener on "full screen." It's not quite as focused as 15 minutes of write or die style typing, but I also find that this gives me a little more space to think, and don't end up going off on subconscious-driven tangents if they don't actually belong. (There's a nice long one in the middle of last year's effort that probably needs to go.) I've also been keeping a quarter-sheet of paper (the normal size for my miscellaneous scrap of paper obsession) between the computer and my tea, on which I scribble revision notes and things to look up later-- it's almost full, but I'm already rolling a bunch of them into the bits I'm writing now.

And then when the timer goes off, I finish the rest of what's presently in my brain, check wordcounts, and get up and walk away from the computer. It's working pretty well; one block will get me between 400-500 words, so three or four half hours makes a day's word target. And I have permission to do the dishes, or go outside and plant absurd quantities of daffodils.

The book... well, when I began, Mara had regressed into the grief & isolation she started off with in the last book she was in (not unreasonable) but it took me a bit too long to drag my head out of that. [personal profile] sartorias pointed out that one of my VP submissions spent an awful lot of time very far outside the heads of the characters, and thinking about it I realize that I do spend a lot of time on that line between standard 3rd person and objective. This is all very well for little fairytale short stories (though I *may* have gotten some kind rejection letters from editors who didn't care for it...) but theoretically this book is supposed to be YA. And it's totally about a girl who's lost just about everything and still has to work out her peace with that so she can save the world. Which is a perfectly good YA storyline if I pay attention to the fact that she's 18 and lonely, and then have her actually talk to people. So, I'm working on that. If I'm particularly lucky, I won't run out of linear storyline before I hit 50k, so I won't have to go back and redo the earlier bits (probably at least a third of the eventual novel) before this NaNo thing is over. But we shall see.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Next week is going to be a bit hectic, so I got myself caught up and then ahead on the wordcount this weekend. (And then bought myself a ridiculous number of things from sock dreams. Soon there will have to be a culling, so that the socks do not take over the world. Um, again, that is.)

My computer is presently living on the table in the sewing room, which is more useful than my desk by virtue of the displacement from ordinary concerns, if nothing else. Beside it, I've got a kitchen timer set to 26 minutes (I was going for 25, but it's the kind where you have to punch in each minute manually & leaving it at 26 was easier than going back and starting over.) which gives me roughly half-hour writing blocks, and I've been doing surprisingly well with pressing "start" and then working through the whole time block with scrivener on "full screen." It's not quite as focused as 15 minutes of write or die style typing, but I also find that this gives me a little more space to think, and don't end up going off on subconscious-driven tangents if they don't actually belong. (There's a nice long one in the middle of last year's effort that probably needs to go.) I've also been keeping a quarter-sheet of paper (the normal size for my miscellaneous scrap of paper obsession) between the computer and my tea, on which I scribble revision notes and things to look up later-- it's almost full, but I'm already rolling a bunch of them into the bits I'm writing now.

And then when the timer goes off, I finish the rest of what's presently in my brain, check wordcounts, and get up and walk away from the computer. It's working pretty well; one block will get me between 400-500 words, so three or four half hours makes a day's word target. And I have permission to do the dishes, or go outside and plant absurd quantities of daffodils.

The book... well, when I began, Mara had regressed into the grief & isolation she started off with in the last book she was in (not unreasonable) but it took me a bit too long to drag my head out of that. [personal profile] sartorias pointed out that one of my VP submissions spent an awful lot of time very far outside the heads of the characters, and thinking about it I realize that I do spend a lot of time on that line between standard 3rd person and objective. This is all very well for little fairytale short stories (though I *may* have gotten some kind rejection letters from editors who didn't care for it...) but theoretically this book is supposed to be YA. And it's totally about a girl who's lost just about everything and still has to work out her peace with that so she can save the world. Which is a perfectly good YA storyline if I pay attention to the fact that she's 18 and lonely, and then have her actually talk to people. So, I'm working on that. If I'm particularly lucky, I won't run out of linear storyline before I hit 50k, so I won't have to go back and redo the earlier bits (probably at least a third of the eventual novel) before this NaNo thing is over. But we shall see.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Well, I did have to ask the new guy why he was talking to me after the fourth time he completely failed to take the extra long pauses and curt answers as a hint. No, really, I live here; I'm not just sitting around to provide you for opportunities for small talk. Go work, so you can go away. Thanks. (Yes, I really am that rude when pushed; whether that's a failing or not depends who you're talking to.)

In any case, I was going to talk about good stuff. Let's see:

*we have heat vents, functioning, in every room of the house. Crazy. (now if only they'd managed to install the new ones in the old rooms without drilling about 4 extra randomly placed holes around them... it's really quite odd.) There will be no further weekend & evening calls from duct guys. Yay!

*Hot chocolate with amaretto. This is slightly frustrating to me, as I am not used to wanting consumables that are not appropriate to anytime, but it is now evening & I am not going anywhere further, and I am drinking heavily: large glass of hot chocolate, made with milk, with possibly slightly more than a shot of amaretto. Ooh. (uh, yeah, I still don't really drink or anything.)

*I have worn my exciting lacy white jacket *twice* this month so far. (Notes to self: Cool clothes are for wearing, not forgetting about in the back of the closet.)

*Got several very cool pieces back from the ceramics firing. (but there's also some of that I want to complain about, so yeah.)

*And while external factors and feeling like I'm about to come down with a cold or something factors have combined to sabotage my wordcount, (nodding off over the keyboard is really not helpful!) I have mentally achieved several novel things:

~figured out what this book is about (as opposed to where the characters were going physically: Mara goes looking for a god, and eventually works out that that's her now. Also I'm starting to get a sense of what she is & isn't good at, when she's not completely screwed up by everybody dying on her, which is where she was last book)

~partly banished that horrible horrible horrible commercial (on during football games-- some travel thing, with the stupid parents who leave their infant with their ancient grandparents on no notice to fly off to Florida? No, really, that thing has kept me awake at night I have such a visceral hate reaction to it. Not ok on any level, ever.) by reminding myself that I'm writing a book about someone who travels across a continent with her infant, who would be horrified by the suggestion that she would leave him somewhere she wasn't going to be. Besides, why would she have to? (this would be an advantage to your base cultural assumptions including that clothing is optional)

~And I've had my first post-VP moment of a lesson I wasn't quite ready for at the time turning up and applying. I'd seen it before on [profile] kateelliott's blog, but Steve Gould handed me a piece of paper, now taped into my writing journal, with her advice: "The first draft doesn't have to be good or even coherent. I just has to be DONE!" I've written novels before, and my novel process works just fine going from start to end, with or without outline depending on how much of where I'm going I know ahead of time. But I've never tried to write a trilogy before, and even by book three, I'm still kicking at the bonds of the fact that my first drafts seem to have beginnings and ends and great gaping torn nylons style holes in the middle, and possibly not enough plot coherency to go around. But I think this is just because I can't hold a whole trilogy worth of plot & background research in my head a time (yet!) and once I get to the end of book 3 I'll have enough sketch of the bits and arcs to put the beginning back together properly. Much of which I knew in words before, but I do hate writing something I'm pretty sure won't actually work. Rewriting is not my thing, but I think this is how to make this particular thing work.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Well, I did have to ask the new guy why he was talking to me after the fourth time he completely failed to take the extra long pauses and curt answers as a hint. No, really, I live here; I'm not just sitting around to provide you for opportunities for small talk. Go work, so you can go away. Thanks. (Yes, I really am that rude when pushed; whether that's a failing or not depends who you're talking to.)

In any case, I was going to talk about good stuff. Let's see:

*we have heat vents, functioning, in every room of the house. Crazy. (now if only they'd managed to install the new ones in the old rooms without drilling about 4 extra randomly placed holes around them... it's really quite odd.) There will be no further weekend & evening calls from duct guys. Yay!

*Hot chocolate with amaretto. This is slightly frustrating to me, as I am not used to wanting consumables that are not appropriate to anytime, but it is now evening & I am not going anywhere further, and I am drinking heavily: large glass of hot chocolate, made with milk, with possibly slightly more than a shot of amaretto. Ooh. (uh, yeah, I still don't really drink or anything.)

*I have worn my exciting lacy white jacket *twice* this month so far. (Notes to self: Cool clothes are for wearing, not forgetting about in the back of the closet.)

*Got several very cool pieces back from the ceramics firing. (but there's also some of that I want to complain about, so yeah.)

*And while external factors and feeling like I'm about to come down with a cold or something factors have combined to sabotage my wordcount, (nodding off over the keyboard is really not helpful!) I have mentally achieved several novel things:

~figured out what this book is about (as opposed to where the characters were going physically: Mara goes looking for a god, and eventually works out that that's her now. Also I'm starting to get a sense of what she is & isn't good at, when she's not completely screwed up by everybody dying on her, which is where she was last book)

~partly banished that horrible horrible horrible commercial (on during football games-- some travel thing, with the stupid parents who leave their infant with their ancient grandparents on no notice to fly off to Florida? No, really, that thing has kept me awake at night I have such a visceral hate reaction to it. Not ok on any level, ever.) by reminding myself that I'm writing a book about someone who travels across a continent with her infant, who would be horrified by the suggestion that she would leave him somewhere she wasn't going to be. Besides, why would she have to? (this would be an advantage to your base cultural assumptions including that clothing is optional)

~And I've had my first post-VP moment of a lesson I wasn't quite ready for at the time turning up and applying. I'd seen it before on [personal profile] kateelliott's blog, but Steve Gould handed me a piece of paper, now taped into my writing journal, with her advice: "The first draft doesn't have to be good or even coherent. I just has to be DONE!" I've written novels before, and my novel process works just fine going from start to end, with or without outline depending on how much of where I'm going I know ahead of time. But I've never tried to write a trilogy before, and even by book three, I'm still kicking at the bonds of the fact that my first drafts seem to have beginnings and ends and great gaping torn nylons style holes in the middle, and possibly not enough plot coherency to go around. But I think this is just because I can't hold a whole trilogy worth of plot & background research in my head a time (yet!) and once I get to the end of book 3 I'll have enough sketch of the bits and arcs to put the beginning back together properly. Much of which I knew in words before, but I do hate writing something I'm pretty sure won't actually work. Rewriting is not my thing, but I think this is how to make this particular thing work.
thanate: (whirlpool)
(Don't mind me, I'm just brainstorming.)

Finished chapterizing & resorting the first Greatwood book for beta reading on Saturday afternoon (Goal #2, for those keeping track.) I continue to be bad at actually re-writing things, but I think I've either self-justified or re-fiddled all the problems I see, and will await what people who are not actually resident in my head think of things before fussing further. Also, having finished (pending a last skim through to make sure I didn't do anything terribly stupid while breaking out chapters) the compulsion to blather about it has mostly passed off.

So then we come to this NaNo thing, for which I'm planning on doing book 4 of the same set. (Or rather, book 1 is stand alone, and followed by a trilogy, which could reasonably be followed by at least one more standalone, but I'm ignoring that bit at present.) So, book 2 is about 3/4 done (missing some middle) and needs more plot because I did a little too much haring off after cool stuff and not enough adding plotlines to the very simple over-arc. I want to try re-ordering timelines and method of telling to see how much of this turns out ok in a different format. (It's also the only book that's not structured as a journey, which doesn't help.) But, much as I'd love to start tinkering now, book 3 from last year's NaNo sorted out a lot of what needed to happen in book 2 for narrative continuity, and I think book 4 will be the same way. So!

(So I shall overuse "so" as a transition a lot... I blame Kelly Arford.)

Books 1 & 3, and much of 2 take place in a deliberately pseudo-European and near eastern (Byzantine) fantasy landscape. In the great before-time this was connected all Pangaea-like to the rest of the world, but the middle of the continent got destroyed in a war amongst mages & gods, leaving a northern continent and a southern continent which aren't aware of each other's continued existence. The southern continent starts off with a huge equatorial rainforest, very loosely based off of SE Asia (because I wanted solitary great apes) but with at least one culture doing prehistoric amazonian soil amendments. I also want some plains and desert, seafaring canoe type people, and at least rumors of islands uninhabited by anything but birds off the coastline. Presumably the equatorial jungle is at the north end of the continent (or it would be close enough to the other continent that they would probably have noticed each other by now... unless of course there's something lingeringly wrong with that bit of sea) but that's most of what I've got.

This means a great deal of mulling over cultures I know comparatively little about (good references for pre-industry SE Asia & related, either pictoral/video or cultural, would be lovely if you can think of any!) and trying to decide how much what I'm trying to do is based on fantasy distortions of reality (hence giving myself permission to make stuff up & mix&match wholesale) and how much I want to stick with playing off of actual cultures and just tweaking them to fit my universe. Should all this ever make it to a decently-sized readership, someone's bound to be offended either way (at least judging by what one reads on the internet) and on the whole I will be content if I feel like I have believable characters & societies in a mix of culture & phenotype. But I also don't want to end up tap dancing on all the wrong stereotypes-- unless it's in a recognize & subvert kind of way. Contemplations ensue, and I still have my draft from book 2 to re-read.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
(Don't mind me, I'm just brainstorming.)

Finished chapterizing & resorting the first Greatwood book for beta reading on Saturday afternoon (Goal #2, for those keeping track.) I continue to be bad at actually re-writing things, but I think I've either self-justified or re-fiddled all the problems I see, and will await what people who are not actually resident in my head think of things before fussing further. Also, having finished (pending a last skim through to make sure I didn't do anything terribly stupid while breaking out chapters) the compulsion to blather about it has mostly passed off.

So then we come to this NaNo thing, for which I'm planning on doing book 4 of the same set. (Or rather, book 1 is stand alone, and followed by a trilogy, which could reasonably be followed by at least one more standalone, but I'm ignoring that bit at present.) So, book 2 is about 3/4 done (missing some middle) and needs more plot because I did a little too much haring off after cool stuff and not enough adding plotlines to the very simple over-arc. I want to try re-ordering timelines and method of telling to see how much of this turns out ok in a different format. (It's also the only book that's not structured as a journey, which doesn't help.) But, much as I'd love to start tinkering now, book 3 from last year's NaNo sorted out a lot of what needed to happen in book 2 for narrative continuity, and I think book 4 will be the same way. So!

(So I shall overuse "so" as a transition a lot... I blame Kelly Arford.)

Books 1 & 3, and much of 2 take place in a deliberately pseudo-European and near eastern (Byzantine) fantasy landscape. In the great before-time this was connected all Pangaea-like to the rest of the world, but the middle of the continent got destroyed in a war amongst mages & gods, leaving a northern continent and a southern continent which aren't aware of each other's continued existence. The southern continent starts off with a huge equatorial rainforest, very loosely based off of SE Asia (because I wanted solitary great apes) but with at least one culture doing prehistoric amazonian soil amendments. I also want some plains and desert, seafaring canoe type people, and at least rumors of islands uninhabited by anything but birds off the coastline. Presumably the equatorial jungle is at the north end of the continent (or it would be close enough to the other continent that they would probably have noticed each other by now... unless of course there's something lingeringly wrong with that bit of sea) but that's most of what I've got.

This means a great deal of mulling over cultures I know comparatively little about (good references for pre-industry SE Asia & related, either pictoral/video or cultural, would be lovely if you can think of any!) and trying to decide how much what I'm trying to do is based on fantasy distortions of reality (hence giving myself permission to make stuff up & mix&match wholesale) and how much I want to stick with playing off of actual cultures and just tweaking them to fit my universe. Should all this ever make it to a decently-sized readership, someone's bound to be offended either way (at least judging by what one reads on the internet) and on the whole I will be content if I feel like I have believable characters & societies in a mix of culture & phenotype. But I also don't want to end up tap dancing on all the wrong stereotypes-- unless it's in a recognize & subvert kind of way. Contemplations ensue, and I still have my draft from book 2 to re-read.

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