matociquala: (muppetology animal deadlines)
Karen woke me up at 5:45 this morning in order to write down two pages of draft introducing a villain and including the sentence, "Managing a person as needs managed is like managing a horse with no manners."

So I wrote 500 good words before dawn this morning, and feel like Hemingway. Of course, it was 500 words of a book that's not under contract, when I have four unfinished books that are.

A thin, dry snow is falling, and it's time to wake up now, and cuddle kittens, and to do the work I am actually supposed to be doing.
matociquala: (bear by san)
My muse is apparently back from a long vacation and feeling a little manic and eager to get back to work.

And it's really nice to have my creativity suddenly flooding back, and be so full of ideas and bits of dialogue and stuff just being handed to me, after literally years of having to go out, as Jack London said, and get it with a club.

But I do kind of wish she'd stop being quite so "LOOK IMMA LET YOU FINISH THE ACTUAL WORK YOU NEED TO DO TO PAY THE MORTGAGE BEAR BUT HEY FIRST STOP A MINUTE AND WRITE DOWN THESE TWO BITS OF DIALOGUE FOR TWO DIFFERENT KAREN STORIES AND ALSO THIS IDEA AND HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND DRAGONS PLEASE."

I've actually been working on reorganizing my notebook-keeping tactics in order to deal with the sudden flood.

I guess I'm back.
matociquala: (bear by san)


How a professional do.

Except now I gotta write the damned thing.
matociquala: (spies sandbaggers sense of occasion)
Things accomplished today include being sick; revising the sargasso lighthouse apocalypse story, which is now called "Margin of Survival" and is officially the most depressing thing I have ever written; working on the library story, which is now called "En Libres" and needs two more scenes to be done; and... something. I'm sure I did something. Oh, I swept, which was desperately needed.

Now I'm going to watch last week's Agent Carter and be sick some more. 

I'm tired of being sick now. It can end.
matociquala: (froud magician)

So I flew down to Galveston to run in the Galveston half-marathon with [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange on Sunday, and also to do Writer Things and confab with her and several other colleagues about Writer Stuff. Many plots were discussed.

On the way down, I caught this amazing triple rainbow over Chicago:



This is what the sky over Galveston looked like at sunset on January 31st:



The day of the race was supposed to be rainy, but instead it was mostly quite sunny, and around 70 degrees. Which is a little on the hot side when you are running 13 miles.

These are our before faces:



And this is the view of the beach along the race course:

 


Doesn't look quite real, does it? The water and sky were the most amazing hazy agate colors. Absolutely breathtaking in a subtle sort of way. We ran through several old Victorian neighborhoods too, and the houses were lovely. A half-marathon is a great way to tourist!

And these are our "after" faces:



Yeah, it got hot. We were delighted to find a kind guy handing out handfuls of ice to runners at the 11 mile mark. We filled up our hats, and it was a serious relief.

Then I came home to this:



...got some snow.

Here's some tea! Before I left, I was drinking from the Royal Albert morning glories:



And the tea on Thursday was Constant Comment. Because I like it, and I'm not too much of a tea snob to say so.

Today, I lifted--I'm starting a new powerlifting program, and I'm getting serious about the self-discipline, because honestly that half marathon was a LOT harder than such a flat course needed to be, and all my clothes seem to have shrunk--and grocery shopped, and cleaned the kitchen, and made dinner for the house. And then I wrote a bunch of words on the micro robot story, which still has no title but which I think I will finish tomorrow.

Today's first pot of tea was Stash's Portland blend, and the second pot was Stash's Wedding Tea. I have a new teacup! It's a Royal Doulton pattern called White Nile, and though it's not eggshell-amazing translucent like my other Royal Doulton cup, it's very understated and pretty.



Now I'm going to practice some guitar and read for a while before bed.

But before I go--for your delectation, a selection of Galveston signage! Texas never disappoints.



Cthulhu runs a restaurant. Sorry it's blurry, but there's an octopus with an Illuminati eye on that sign, and the text below OLYMPIA GRILL reads, "Since 1500 B.C."

...all right then.

Then there was this one:



You don't say.

matociquala: (massive hangover ogham)
This is a new icon, which is from a 9th century Irish manuscript, and says "Massive Hangover" in Ogham.

Actually, it says, "Ale has killed us," but it's the spirit of the thing.

I've written around 16000 words in the past seven days, and I'm unbelievably wiped. But I've delivered one of the immediately pressing projects, at least in draft, and now Tomorrow Is A Rest Day.

I have finished a whole pile of stuff for Worldspinner this week, and also done a ridiculous amount of promo writing for the Karen Memory launch, which is only a week and two days away! (And this Tuesday, during which we are expecting a snowpocalypse that should make up for not getting almost any snow at all this winter, is at long last the trade paperback of Shattered Pillars, so yay, buy my book.)

At least it's a day without too much typing. Because I have to work out the plotlines of two stories--the sargasso lighthouse story and the robot termite story--which are the next two deadlines. Also, half-marathon in Texas next weekend, which due to a combination of insufficient world reserves of willpower, work, travel, and a kind of nagging but not very severe virus the couple weeks after New Year's, I am totally unprepared for.

And then I have Boskone, and after Boskone [livejournal.com profile] truepenny will give me back the welves ([livejournal.com profile] casacorona has come back with an edit letter, and Sarah gets the first pass, and then it goes into the secret grinding heart of Tor Books to be made into hardcovers)

Sometimes, you just have to get your teeth in and keep gnawing and gnawing and gnawing until you gnaw the heart out of the thing. Like a fox with a really big Spartan to get through.


Since it's been a while since we shared some chatroom antics, here they are:

[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: *squints* I wonder if someone holding a grief with their recently-grieved chest is crying in their grieving heart, or if someone holding a grief with their recently-grieved chest is drying up in their grieving heart.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Oh, Hesiod.
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: *votes for drying up their grieving cavities*
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: (For extra fun, none of those three iterations of grief look remotely the same. No one does synonyms like the Greeks!)
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Well, the textbook translation agrees.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: I just thought crying made more sense.
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: grief is conceived of in the medical writers as astringent, so.
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: drying!
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: (ancient Greeks: weird.)
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Oh, THAT'S what's in those little packets.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: No wonder it says DO NOT EAT.
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: do not eat grief.
[livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb: leads to indigestion
matociquala: (phil ochs troubador)

Okay, the last iceberg for December is in my sights. I've actually seriously got my teeth into this trawl through the Whiskey and Water ebook for OCR artifacts. And yeah, they're everywhere. Sorry guys: fix coming soon.



tea today: Upton Mango Indica
teacup today: Royal Albert confetti roses, which is my girliest teacup. The one behind it, which currently holds water with lemon, was bought on Martha's Vineyard from a local potter in Oak Bluffs.

I also finished the orange peel today and mailed a bunch off to a fairly random list of people (It came out delicious--even my mom liked it, and she is not into candied peel of any kind)

Weather continues [X] frightful, which is wreaking havoc with my outdoor exercise. Supposed to be nicer Friday and Saturday, though. 

And the other day I finally went back and beat the Portal bossfight, because I had bailed on it years ago and just watched it on Youtube. Apparently I've gotten better at hitting that E key, because I actually got the damned hovercore on the seventy-eleventh attempt. Now I never have to do that again.

And now, back to picking through Whiskey and Water and listening to Leonard Cohen.

matociquala: (comics invisibles lord fanny)
What writers get up to when we're supposed to be encouraging each other to work...

[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Can I still say "sullen red light" or is that overused?
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: It doesn’t strike me as cliche.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Though it might depend on context.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: It might be overused.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Why is the light always sullen?
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Alternative?
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Why never morose?
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Heh
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Because it's grumpy.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Grouchy?
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: It could be a grumpy red light.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: That would not seem cliche at all.
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Misanthropic red light.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: A hangry red light
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: I would fear the hangry red light.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: We all would.
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: heeee
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Crabby red light. Put-upon orange light
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: ARGH
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: Contumacious purple light.
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Oh. The light could be purple.
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: But then it can't be bruised.
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: welted?
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: Inflamed?
[livejournal.com profile] matociquala: a purple and red light suffering from cellulitis and blood poisoning.
[livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange: No wonder it's sullen.
matociquala: (criminal minds diana reid crazy)
It must be an epic fantasy, because I am suffering POV inflation. But there are no existing POV characters present for this plot-necessary scene.

Of course, the existence of this scene and the POV character in it implies an interesting narrative thread that I am going to have to go back and put in.

And this is why my second drafts are always fifteen percent longer than my rough drafts.
matociquala: (can't sleep books will eat me)
I love it when my outline note is "What clever thing happens here?"

Thank you Past Self for all the guidance.
matociquala: (criminal minds fate)
In which [livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb, [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange, and I talk about Hobbit Monopoly.

This is the same conversation where we found ourselves quailing before the inevitability of Bilbo/Smaug, given the actors involved.
matociquala: (criminal minds elle reid gideon daddy is)
CONvergence, what little I got of it after I recovered enough to go out in public (about 30 hours) was excellent. Great good fun, and I at least got to spend a little bit of time with several friends, including people I hadn't seen in five or six years. I may have been very underslept for my Sunday morning panel, because I did not want to go to bed Saturday night. Ahem.

I seem to be mostly recovered from the Evile Virus (tentatively, a mild case of West Nile. I recommend against it.) and my stamina and pep is coming back. Someday, between conventions, I may even exercise again.

Today has been much recovery, although I've gotten a stunning amount of work done (I'm trying to get ahead on my Write-a-thon commitment, as Readercon starts Thursday.)

Tomorrow, [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch and I get on a plane and head east for Readercon. Right now, I think I'm going to try to get some words on the story I'm working on with [livejournal.com profile] truepenny.

There ain't no rest for the wicked.
matociquala: (criminal minds boom)
As you know, Bob, I am participating in the Clarion West Write-A-Thon fundraiser. I could totally use some more sponsors. It's a good cause, and my sponsorship page is here.

So today I vivisected the bits of false start, stole all the good dialogue from them, changed the POV (this is the third POV this story has been in, and there are only three characters) and wrote a whole bunch of new stuff all around it.

This brings me up to 5000 words total, and means I have about 3000 words in which to find and execute the climax.

Since I don't know how it works, except for one image, this may require tomorrow mostly being A Thinking Day.

I'm coming more and more around to the idea that at this stage of my development, word quotas are a bad idea for me. They tend to cause me to push out ahead and write words that aren't actually useful, which is annoying and frustrating.

This interests me, because getting a solid word count used to be a major motivator for me--proof that I had actually done something useful with my time. I tend not to notice the work I've actually done. I've had to stop tracking the wordcount ,though, because if I took a day off I would feel awful about it. After the writeathon, I'm going to go back to trying not to care how much I'm working, as long as I'm working and meeting my deadlines.

However, since I am way ahead on my 250-word-per-day commitment, I am feeling pretty confident in taking a day to think tomorrow... unless I wake up with a solution.

I mean, I kind of know how it goes, but... I don't know how the protag actually protags yet.
matociquala: (comic tick ninjas hedge)
[18:43] [livejournal.com profile] matociquala: I'm not afraid of animals.
[18:43] [livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Just abandonment.
[18:43] [livejournal.com profile] matociquala: This explains ALL of my books.
[18:44] [livejournal.com profile] leahbobet: Bear, that was almost a Softer World comic.
[18:44] [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat: It just needs a photograph and a mouse hover-tag!
matociquala: (lion in winter broken because you're bri)
More editorial process...

Neither one of them spoke, and Tsering imagined the sound of her footfalls dying away into the mist as she passed.

Neither one of them spoke, and Tsering imagined him watching after her, listening to the sound of her footfalls dying away into the mist.

Neither one of them spoke, and Tsering imagined him watching after her, listening to the sound of her footfalls dying.

Neither one of them spoke, and Tsering imagined him watching after her, listening to her footfalls dying.

Neither one of them spoke. Tsering imagined him watching after her, listening to her footfalls dying.

Neither spoke. Tsering imagined him watching after her, listening to her footfalls dying.
matociquala: (iggy pop chairman of the bored)
Oh, I crack me up.

I have reached the point in working on Shattered Pillars where nothing else holds my attention, but I am still avoidant and catwaxy and can't focus on it for more than half an hour at a time, and it often takes three or five tries to get myself into a scene and writing it.

Still, I'm chipping away. Interesting things are happening, and plot development, and character stuff. Skipped parts of two scenes (I know what the scenes do in terms of structure, but what actually happens and changes in them is still an open question.)

Eventually, this thing has to gather up some momentum and start rolling downhill, crushing all obstacles, right? Although I'm already into that part where I start nervously looking at the remaining page count and how much more stuff I have to fit in... and rocking worriedly on my seat bones.

You'd think the chipping chipping chipping and the head full of ideas would be mutually exclusive, but they're not. Instead it's painstaking, like drystone work, getting these odd shaped bits to fit in the tightest and most durable and shapely fashion.

Ah well. It gets there when it gets there.
matociquala: (writing steles burning)
Another paragraph as she was built.

The bearers were a matched set, bronzed almost as dark as Aezin by the relentless light of the sun.

One of the bearers stood with a canted ankle bronzed dark as Aezin by the relentless light of the sun.


The bearer on the front stood with a canted ankle bronzed dark as Aezin by the relentless light of the sun.


The bearer on the near front quarter stood with a canted ankle. It must have been he who stumbled. Red dust palled them to thighs bronzed dark as Aezin by the relentless light of the sun.


The bearer on the near front quarter stood with a canted ankle. It must have been he who stumbled. Red dust palled them to thighs bronzed dark as Aezin; their sweat had dried too quickly even to leave streaks.


The bearer on the near front quarter stood with a canted ankle. It must have been he who stumbled. Red dust palled them to thighs bronzed dark as old metal; their sweat had dried too quickly to leave streaks.


The bearer on the near front quarter stood with a canted ankle. It must have been he who stumbled. Red dust palled them to thighs bronzed dark as old metal; their sweat had dried too quickly to streak.

The bearer on the near front quarter stood with a canted ankle. It must have been he who stumbled. Red dust palled all of them to thighs bronzed dark as old metal; their sweat had dried too quickly to streak.
matociquala: (muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit)
today's quandary:

"each one broader and more beautifully muscled than the next--"

or

"each one more broad and more beautifully muscled than the next--"

or

"each one more broad and beautifully muscled than the next--"

...sigh. I dunno. Fortunately, I can decide in revisions.
matociquala: (superhuman)
I just hit 201 pages and 40,050 Microsoft words/50,250 manuscript words on Shattered Pillars, counting outline notes. Since the book is supposed to run about 500 pages long in standard manuscript format, this is a very good sign that it might in fact be getting finished on deadline--especially since I am almost always slower on the first half of a book than the second half.

In any case, I've moved from the phase where I have no idea how I'm going to come up with enough stuff to fill a whole book to the phase where I'm like, zomfg there's no way I can cram all this plot and cool shit into another 300 pages. Which is also always a very positive sign that this is all going according to plan.

And I'm actually kind of enjoying what I'm writing. I think this wilfully not closely tracking wordcount thing is working out. I'm keeping an eye on my pages, but somehow that's currently stressing me out less.

I'm going to write as much as possible tomorrow and Friday, and then I am taking the weekend off. Among other things, there's a tub to finish fixing, and a chest freezer to lug to the basement, and a big branch broken mostly through high up in a tree in the side yard that needs to be removed the rest of the way before it becomes a class-A widowmaker. Also, there's an 11/11/11 party I want to go to Friday night. ;-)

Also, it'd be nice to have a day off to do some kayaking and see my friends and stuff. As long as I can still be assured of knocking this deadline out of the park.
matociquala: (superhuman)
I just hit 201 pages and 40,050 Microsoft words/50,250 manuscript words on Shattered Pillars, counting outline notes. Since the book is supposed to run about 500 pages long in standard manuscript format, this is a very good sign that it might in fact be getting finished on deadline--especially since I am almost always slower on the first half of a book than the second half.

In any case, I've moved from the phase where I have no idea how I'm going to come up with enough stuff to fill a whole book to the phase where I'm like, zomfg there's no way I can cram all this plot and cool shit into another 300 pages. Which is also always a very positive sign that this is all going according to plan.

And I'm actually kind of enjoying what I'm writing. I think this wilfully not closely tracking wordcount thing is working out. I'm keeping an eye on my pages, but somehow that's currently stressing me out less.

I'm going to write as much as possible tomorrow and Friday, and then I am taking the weekend off. Among other things, there's a tub to finish fixing, and a chest freezer to lug to the basement, and a big branch broken mostly through high up in a tree in the side yard that needs to be removed the rest of the way before it becomes a class-A widowmaker. Also, there's an 11/11/11 party I want to go to Friday night. ;-)

Also, it'd be nice to have a day off to do some kayaking and see my friends and stuff. As long as I can still be assured of knocking this deadline out of the park.

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