thanate: (octopus)
1) Has anyone familar with Baltimore-ish a recommendation for a restaurant we might want to go to for our anniversary dinner next friday? The rules so far are that it be someplace at least slightly nice/interesting that we haven't been before. This year somewhere fairly nearby (southern Baltimore/Glen Burnie/Columbia/Ellicott City is probably our ideal range) with assured parking, open for early dinner, and not so upscale that they'd mind us bringing the baby along would be preferred. (We have theoretical babysitting options, but aren't quite mentally ready to deploy them yet.)

2) Does anyone have useful knowledge about acquiring paving stones for garden settings? Ideally what I want is something with the look of the natural-pieced slate walkways (ie not square pavers), possibly in a stone that has better traction when wet. However, I do NOT want to support fresh quarrying if there's an option that doesn't do so... and if there is, my internet search skills are completely inadequate to the task of finding out about it. (Also not a fan of the recycled plastic pavers, as they reputedly will float away in heavy rains, which is also a problem with the mulch paths I have now.) Anyone have thoughts? Besides stalking craig's list, that is?

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (octopus)
1) Has anyone familar with Baltimore-ish a recommendation for a restaurant we might want to go to for our anniversary dinner next friday? The rules so far are that it be someplace at least slightly nice/interesting that we haven't been before. This year somewhere fairly nearby (southern Baltimore/Glen Burnie/Columbia/Ellicott City is probably our ideal range) with assured parking, open for early dinner, and not so upscale that they'd mind us bringing the baby along would be preferred. (We have theoretical babysitting options, but aren't quite mentally ready to deploy them yet.)

2) Does anyone have useful knowledge about acquiring paving stones for garden settings? Ideally what I want is something with the look of the natural-pieced slate walkways (ie not square pavers), possibly in a stone that has better traction when wet. However, I do NOT want to support fresh quarrying if there's an option that doesn't do so... and if there is, my internet search skills are completely inadequate to the task of finding out about it. (Also not a fan of the recycled plastic pavers, as they reputedly will float away in heavy rains, which is also a problem with the mulch paths I have now.) Anyone have thoughts? Besides stalking craig's list, that is?
thanate: (whirlpool)
I have itty bitty caterpillars in three flavors, some of which have even deigned to eat maple leaves, which seems promising in terms of managing to keep them when I go off to Readercon. I also seem to be holding out at two naps a day ridiculously tired (which there may be a reasonable reason for, but it is still irritating) and spent much of the weekend actually finishing library books, which I've been really rather awful about recently, by which I mean the past six months or so.

But what I really want to know about is how other people handle the revision process. I mean, I know there are those of you out there who re-write whole chapters or books at a time, sometimes semi-compulsively, or make huge changes to character arcs or plotlines. What I mostly don't get is *how*? Maybe this is one of those rhetorical world-view questions to which the main answer is that that's just how some people's brains work, but if anyone is willing or interested in talking about either reasons or mechanics of re-drafting, I'd appreciate a variety of viewpoints. (I mean, up to and including whether you work with a previous draft in front of you, or work entirely from memory.)

I am a great tweaker of words & things, both while I'm writing and afterwards, but the only time I've re-written anything from scratch was the novel and a half that got thrown out with my old harddrive, where all I had was a few notes from the initial writing process to work from. And both endings came out pretty significantly different. I think. Not that I can go back and compare.

The thing I'm struggling with right now is actually not so much re-writing as a plot arc that didn't gel the first time, and doesn't want to do it now, either. I have enough "stuff" to cover to fill up most of the quarter book it's supposed to fill, but jig-sawing it all together and getting rid of the stupid bits without losing the useful parts of the stupid bits... anyway. I suspect the answer is just to set my timer and Do Something but I'm still trying to poke at my brain and find out what's likely to come out of it.

Anyway, thoughts on rewriting/revision, or even on why you don't revise much either, appreciated. (and you don't need to think if yourself as a "real" author to play.)

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (whirlpool)
I have itty bitty caterpillars in three flavors, some of which have even deigned to eat maple leaves, which seems promising in terms of managing to keep them when I go off to Readercon. I also seem to be holding out at two naps a day ridiculously tired (which there may be a reasonable reason for, but it is still irritating) and spent much of the weekend actually finishing library books, which I've been really rather awful about recently, by which I mean the past six months or so.

But what I really want to know about is how other people handle the revision process. I mean, I know there are those of you out there who re-write whole chapters or books at a time, sometimes semi-compulsively, or make huge changes to character arcs or plotlines. What I mostly don't get is *how*? Maybe this is one of those rhetorical world-view questions to which the main answer is that that's just how some people's brains work, but if anyone is willing or interested in talking about either reasons or mechanics of re-drafting, I'd appreciate a variety of viewpoints. (I mean, up to and including whether you work with a previous draft in front of you, or work entirely from memory.)

I am a great tweaker of words & things, both while I'm writing and afterwards, but the only time I've re-written anything from scratch was the novel and a half that got thrown out with my old harddrive, where all I had was a few notes from the initial writing process to work from. And both endings came out pretty significantly different. I think. Not that I can go back and compare.

The thing I'm struggling with right now is actually not so much re-writing as a plot arc that didn't gel the first time, and doesn't want to do it now, either. I have enough "stuff" to cover to fill up most of the quarter book it's supposed to fill, but jig-sawing it all together and getting rid of the stupid bits without losing the useful parts of the stupid bits... anyway. I suspect the answer is just to set my timer and Do Something but I'm still trying to poke at my brain and find out what's likely to come out of it.

Anyway, thoughts on rewriting/revision, or even on why you don't revise much either, appreciated. (and you don't need to think if yourself as a "real" author to play.)
thanate: (whirlpool)
Working on second drafting some of these books, and I want to know what else is out there that I ought to be considering, contextually. Can you think of any books/short stories/AV media/etc that deal with the following topics? Works in English that I can get hold of preferred, of course:

*Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine, for you later scholars), preferably fantasy inspired thereby. I've been re-reading Gillian Bradshaw's historical versions, and have Guy Gavriel Kay's Sailing to Sarantium out from the library. The only other thing I think of is The Dragon Waiting, which is not at all useful to me.

*Ancient river/desert cultures that aren't Egypt, real or fictional. I have a lead on something Southwestern American, but haven't tracked down the book yet.

*Normal-ish people who become gods & have to deal with that. I have NK Jemison's Inheritance Trilogy, but that's all I think of at the moment.

*Tree of life/wisdom and/or magic apple myths besides Eden, Freya's tree, and the greek stuff (Atlanta, apple of discord)... fruits that grant magical whatever from tropical cultures particularly appreciated, invented cultures also ok.

Any suggestions appreciated-- thanks!

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (whirlpool)
Working on second drafting some of these books, and I want to know what else is out there that I ought to be considering, contextually. Can you think of any books/short stories/AV media/etc that deal with the following topics? Works in English that I can get hold of preferred, of course:

*Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine, for you later scholars), preferably fantasy inspired thereby. I've been re-reading Gillian Bradshaw's historical versions, and have Guy Gavriel Kay's Sailing to Sarantium out from the library. The only other thing I think of is The Dragon Waiting, which is not at all useful to me.

*Ancient river/desert cultures that aren't Egypt, real or fictional. I have a lead on something Southwestern American, but haven't tracked down the book yet.

*Normal-ish people who become gods & have to deal with that. I have NK Jemison's Inheritance Trilogy, but that's all I think of at the moment.

*Tree of life/wisdom and/or magic apple myths besides Eden, Freya's tree, and the greek stuff (Atlanta, apple of discord)... fruits that grant magical whatever from tropical cultures particularly appreciated, invented cultures also ok.

Any suggestions appreciated-- thanks!
thanate: (bluehair)
Two weeks into the Master Naturalist pre-readings and I'm already highly irritated by reading the PDFs on my computer. Ideally, there would be someplace I could lease an e-reader of some sort from, because actually buying one seems like more of a commitment than I'm prepared for, but I'm guessing this isn't really an option. So... who has data points or recommendations?

Features I want now:

*ability to read irritating PDFs in a handheld, non-glare format, with good color to B&W translation (ie, ability to read the over-fancy powerpoint slides at the top of the page as well as the notes at the bottom.) I suspect everyone does that.

*ETA- ability to handle pages designed for 8-1/2x11 sizing in a manner that I can still read.

*good battery life, not NiCad batteries (which I apparently drain by being near-- don't think this is a problem these days)

*something that won't irritate my eyes, which are far too sensitive about these things. (probably not an i-pad?)

Features I can imagine wanting eventually:
*easy transfer of documents to & from my laptop (mac, presently running system 10.6.something)
*some form of editability or commenting as I read
*wide array of readable formats
*no DRM come in & delete my books crap
*5-10 year device life (or more!)
*large HD/storage capacity (possibly not an issue either?)

Also of note, grauwulf has an anti-sony preference, and I'm not sure I want to buy into Amazon.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Places I should have looked before asking people?

(real content will return, I hope later this week)

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (bluehair)
Two weeks into the Master Naturalist pre-readings and I'm already highly irritated by reading the PDFs on my computer. Ideally, there would be someplace I could lease an e-reader of some sort from, because actually buying one seems like more of a commitment than I'm prepared for, but I'm guessing this isn't really an option. So... who has data points or recommendations?

Features I want now:

*ability to read irritating PDFs in a handheld, non-glare format, with good color to B&W translation (ie, ability to read the over-fancy powerpoint slides at the top of the page as well as the notes at the bottom.) I suspect everyone does that.

*ETA- ability to handle pages designed for 8-1/2x11 sizing in a manner that I can still read.

*good battery life, not NiCad batteries (which I apparently drain by being near-- don't think this is a problem these days)

*something that won't irritate my eyes, which are far too sensitive about these things. (probably not an i-pad?)

Features I can imagine wanting eventually:
*easy transfer of documents to & from my laptop (mac, presently running system 10.6.something)
*some form of editability or commenting as I read
*wide array of readable formats
*no DRM come in & delete my books crap
*5-10 year device life (or more!)
*large HD/storage capacity (possibly not an issue either?)

Also of note, grauwulf has an anti-sony preference, and I'm not sure I want to buy into Amazon.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Places I should have looked before asking people?

(real content will return, I hope later this week)
thanate: (whirlpool)
A question for writers and readers: Do you find it odd when a first person narrator describes his or her own facial expressions?


I keep running into people who do, and I find *this* very odd. I was trained as a kid in the parents commenting on what expression you're making method ("If you keep pouting like that, a little bird might come and perch on your lip."* or "Oh look at that grin!") and probably learned some expressions (scowling, for instance) better by what they felt like than what they looked like. This may or may not still be true, but I am definitely able to describe my own facial expressions, and have been known to do so by way of emotional shorthand.

I can't possibly be the only one who thinks this way, can I?

ETA- by "describe" I don't mean in great detail, just "I smiled," or "that made me frown," &ct.


*Why this is a bad thing, I'm not sure; in retrospect the "your face might stick like that" seems a much more credible threat. Perhaps it's mostly intended to make cross children smile?

Xposty from dreamwidth.
thanate: (whirlpool)
A question for writers and readers: Do you find it odd when a first person narrator describes his or her own facial expressions?


I keep running into people who do, and I find *this* very odd. I was trained as a kid in the parents commenting on what expression you're making method ("If you keep pouting like that, a little bird might come and perch on your lip."* or "Oh look at that grin!") and probably learned some expressions (scowling, for instance) better by what they felt like than what they looked like. This may or may not still be true, but I am definitely able to describe my own facial expressions, and have been known to do so by way of emotional shorthand.

I can't possibly be the only one who thinks this way, can I?

ETA- by "describe" I don't mean in great detail, just "I smiled," or "that made me frown," &ct.


*Why this is a bad thing, I'm not sure; in retrospect the "your face might stick like that" seems a much more credible threat. Perhaps it's mostly intended to make cross children smile?
thanate: (whirlpool)
We begin with three girls, almost done growing up in an village of an idealized* late-medieval-ish society. Our narrator, Caroline, is the blacksmith's daughter: clever, cheerful, and good at the mundane things women do to keep life tidy and comfortable. At sixteen, she hasn't yet figured out her calling in life, and so she assumes that she's ordinary because she's good at ordinary things. Her sister, Mathilda, is a couple years older and has always been the difficult one, full of endless curiosities and poorly-thought-out magical experiments. Their triad has recently been broken up by Mathilda's going off to the magic school in the city, and it's left a hole in Caroline's life that she spends a lot of time talking around because she doesn't quite want to talk about it head-on.

And then, there's her best friend, Jessamine. In the lost version Jess was called Alison (because she's the innkeeper's daughter) and I'm sort of thinking of reinstating that for reasons of naming consistency. In any case, she's drop-dead gorgeous, daydreamy, and is far more interested in gossip and inventing stories than in living in a small town, even in the inn where she's bound to see everything the place has to offer. The sixteen year old solution to this is the girl who wants to marry the prince and live happily ever after; the ten year old solution is the girl who decides she is the princess, hidden away instead of long dead. Right now, she's stuck with the latter, having (presumably) come up with it at an early age and made the mistake of telling Caroline. On the whole, this is all a bit of a side-note; Jess is the Belle who wanted so much more than they'd got planned, didn't get it, and eventually moves on with her life while her friends grow up to move worlds. We see her once, and after that she's pretty much just background for Caroline to refer to. This doesn't make her unimportant; her crazy dreams and ambitions are definitely a cornerstone of how Caroline has constructed her own identity, but I'm wondering if the 16-year-old (and more ordinary to YA) daydream wouldn't be a better character trait to drop in and paint with a few broad strokes.

Thoughts? Which would you prefer to read about?


*There's a reason for this, too, but it's not a large part of the first book.

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (whirlpool)
We begin with three girls, almost done growing up in an village of an idealized* late-medieval-ish society. Our narrator, Caroline, is the blacksmith's daughter: clever, cheerful, and good at the mundane things women do to keep life tidy and comfortable. At sixteen, she hasn't yet figured out her calling in life, and so she assumes that she's ordinary because she's good at ordinary things. Her sister, Mathilda, is a couple years older and has always been the difficult one, full of endless curiosities and poorly-thought-out magical experiments. Their triad has recently been broken up by Mathilda's going off to the magic school in the city, and it's left a hole in Caroline's life that she spends a lot of time talking around because she doesn't quite want to talk about it head-on.

And then, there's her best friend, Jessamine. In the lost version Jess was called Alison (because she's the innkeeper's daughter) and I'm sort of thinking of reinstating that for reasons of naming consistency. In any case, she's drop-dead gorgeous, daydreamy, and is far more interested in gossip and inventing stories than in living in a small town, even in the inn where she's bound to see everything the place has to offer. The sixteen year old solution to this is the girl who wants to marry the prince and live happily ever after; the ten year old solution is the girl who decides she is the princess, hidden away instead of long dead. Right now, she's stuck with the latter, having (presumably) come up with it at an early age and made the mistake of telling Caroline. On the whole, this is all a bit of a side-note; Jess is the Belle who wanted so much more than they'd got planned, didn't get it, and eventually moves on with her life while her friends grow up to move worlds. We see her once, and after that she's pretty much just background for Caroline to refer to. This doesn't make her unimportant; her crazy dreams and ambitions are definitely a cornerstone of how Caroline has constructed her own identity, but I'm wondering if the 16-year-old (and more ordinary to YA) daydream wouldn't be a better character trait to drop in and paint with a few broad strokes.

Thoughts? Which would you prefer to read about?


*There's a reason for this, too, but it's not a large part of the first book.
thanate: (octopus)
We're looking at a new set of plan options, and the new company has a boatload of supposedly good ones, and I'm the kind of mostly healthy ex-Navy ex-dependent who hasn't really needed doctors much since I was too young to be paying attention to the details, so it's possible that my eyes glaze over more than usual when faced with coverage summaries, given my relative lack of context.

For those of you who use your healthcare, what's important to you? Particularly with reference to possible kids & the having thereof... What features do you love about your plan (current or past), what do you hate, what's turned up suddenly to cause you headaches, etc.

Any input much appreciated!

Xposty from dreamwidth, but yes, I'm still here.
thanate: (octopus)
We're looking at a new set of plan options, and the new company has a boatload of supposedly good ones, and I'm the kind of mostly healthy ex-Navy ex-dependent who hasn't really needed doctors much since I was too young to be paying attention to the details, so it's possible that my eyes glaze over more than usual when faced with coverage summaries, given my relative lack of context.

For those of you who use your healthcare, what's important to you? Particularly with reference to possible kids & the having thereof... What features do you love about your plan (current or past), what do you hate, what's turned up suddenly to cause you headaches, etc.

Any input much appreciated!
thanate: (octopus)
Today has been relatively useless, not to mention full of headache and having to write awkward e-mails. (Also, avoiding all the other forms of communication that I ought to be making with other people, as I have a growing stack of thank-you notes & things to reply to...) However, I seem to have managed to paint myself into a bit of a corner, plot-wise, and brilliant ideas are not currently coming to me. Anyone else have any thoughts on solutions to this dilemma?

There isn’t a good way to make it so no one can fictionalize you without making it so your family and friends can’t tell stories about what you did last week as well. In a situation where having people write fiction about you causes you to live whatever adventures they dream up... how do you prevent it ever happening again?

Real content will one day follow. Not sure what day yet, though.
thanate: (darkkerrigan)
Posit an enchanted forest that hasn't had a good caretaker for a while. Odd enchantments begin to build up in little tangles of strange and often hazardous magic. So far we've seen a harp of bone that drowns people and a possessed sacrifical tree, as well as various talking animals (particularly wild pig sisters), a witch with a house on chicken legs, and a weaver of fates.

What else would you find that ought to be dealt with or neutralized to make the place safe for passers-by? All suggestions welcome.

(and next year... I totally want to start a tradition of having a hallowe'en party/NaNo kick off. Also, if anybody else is on the NaNo forums who I haven't got on my "buddies" list yet, do let me know who you are!)
thanate: (whirlpool)
So, a poll:

A couple of ten-year-olds are trying to summon a ghost, using a pentagram done in sidewalk chalk on the driveway, filled with symbols taken from a chapter at the back of a library book on occultism that talked about Aleister Crowley and some other stuff from earlier in the same book. They're not allowed to light candles, so they've got an assortment of flashlights, a battery-powered candle, and a solar garden light on the points of the star, and one of them (the one who read the library book) cobbled together a summoning charm. Also, they keep getting interrupted by inconsiderate adults to do things like eat dinner, or have cookies.

Does it work?

**ETA-- they're using the full name of the particular ghost they want, so I think the odds of getting something else by mistake are slim to none.
thanate: (Default)
1) What blogs (if any, or course) do you read because you consider the writers to be good essayists? (livejournal or otherwise)

2) Does anyone have experience with gel and long hair? Pretty much the total of my knowledge is that one is supposed to put "some" in when wet, it's theoretically supposed to hold curls or shape, but too much will make your hair "crunchy." Further enlightenment would be appreciated.
thanate: (octopus)
If you were wandering around in an enchanted forest, who, or what, would you expect to see?

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