Book 3 - still being written

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now I'm gonna need some authoritative cheese for *this* whine.

Postby hgladney » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:00 am

Spoiler: For the excessively stressed already, skip this one, you don't need the hassle. It just kind of amazes me, so I had to write it down.

Some days are more amazingly over the top than others.
Flew back last night from LA, get home 9 pm. Co-worker drops me off at home. At very same moment, family pulls into the driveway. They start unloading a small upright freezer from the van. We do not talk about the trip, or any of that, everybody's too tired. They proceed to tear apart the kitchen to put it in. (I could kid and say they went to Sears for an iron, and came home with a few extras, but honestly, when the iron fritzed on them, they went with the full intention of buying a freezer, too, and they did.)
My interview outfit gets ironed for me, which is service beyond the call of duty, and I'm incapable of doing it myself, although I had a quite reasonable flight. We're not talking the trip from hell here. We're just talking tension from anticipating possible problems like the last few trips from hell, some years ago, and it hasn't been like that. Compared to most people, I'm quite relaxed on airplanes, I choose to relax as much as possible, deliberately.
Go to work late (as approved) and try to get ready for job interview.
I know I don't have that business process stuff down nearly well enough. Focus! Focus! Doesn't matter now that I haven't had time to look at any of this since May, when I took over somebody else's horrendous mess. I haven't even had time to pass nice notes or memes or minor jokes at work since May, f'goodness sake, forget leisurely activities like *reading* things that don't have red flags all over them.
Also, don't scrunch up the ironed shirt and scrape it over the pencil marks on the desk calendar. Also, being a member of the "Wear Your Lunch Club" is Not Fashionable Today, okay?
Okay.
I had trouble eating a little salad anyway.
Re: that busy thing, I'd hoped to do a little more actual work than just clear away emails and voicemail, turn in travel expenses, and discuss taking off more time with boss to accomodate my other sister's expected surgery and need for family babysitter next week. For g'dness sake, it's not like I have the huge extended families that some folks deal with, where somebody's always in trouble or sick or pregnant or something.
No, not happening.
Bringgggg!
Not next week. Today. Sister (the other one, besides the one who sometimes goes into emergency for a chronic leg condtion) is going in for emergency surgery this morning for a biopsy gone infected, not tomorrow. Her 4-year-old twin boys will need supervision today, after school, 2 hours away from us.
Mad rearrangement of two weeks schedule for all concerned.
Family scrambles, such as NO extra key for the car that will stay with me and they get new key cut (no locksmith had blanks for it on many earlier attempts. Today? They find one. It works. Magic.)
They swing by work, drop off the key. (Given intervening road construction, not as easy as it sounds, either.)
The phone keeps going, people drop by and not just to chat, I wade grimly through alligators, grab the information I need to actually do the travel expense stuff right, pound it into submission against an inability to even *see* the tiny print properly, and get the bloody blasted hellacious snapping thing off my desk.
It comes back, of course, when another staffer has a question and points out it needs something else done to it before submitting.
I pound it into submission *again*.
Midday is consumed by doing simple things that don't require me to connect too many dots, and there are many of these.
It must be Halloween, nothing will stay *dead* around here.
The interview?
Sigh.
I made the usual rookie mistake of diving into great detail on the first few questions, to which one writes down answers to in a limited time ahead of the actual interview--and never getting to the end questions. Just got too deeply into those first ones, and couldn't manage to struggle free to the next, and the next, with anything like the power (or the thousand-league boots) it would have taken.
Likewise, on the actual interview.
By the end, at 5 pm, the interviewers are drooping, hoping to get the heck out of there, and I sound much as I do in my online comments.
These people include my branch manager, who is a crisp organized woman with a friendly manner and a formidable memory for tasks let undone.
I'm also making several mistakes that Toastmasters tries to train you out of--repeated ah, ums, and blithering noises with hand gestures, for instance, and completely failing to organize one's thought processes in advance of opening the mouth.
I can manage to speak fairly easily without advance planning for a little 2 minute attempt. I also sounded great with the planned material worked out. I suspect there were some hellacious bloopers in there, too, but I sounded absurdly like I knew what I was talking about.
For about half the time.
Take the script away, I'm starting to struggle to focus.
If they could talk, they wouldn't be XX--insert career choice of your preference here. Anything from cartoonist, dancer, actor, to writer.

They asked good questions. Open-ended stuff. Stuff you can expatiate upon until the cows turn blue and the spoon runs away with the platter.
Okaaay folks, freewheeling time. The whole business process questions? No diagrams will surface in my head. No visuals. Nothing. None of the words even come back. I know this stuff, and it's just not there. The hard drive is making these grinding noises, and they can probably hear it too. A large blue screen of death, alternating fritzing sounds and static.
Houston, we have a problem.
45 minutes, with half of it flying with my pants on fire and smoke pouring out of the fuselage, is a bit beyond my league as yet.
I have the horrid suspicion that my branch manager manages it to a nice smooth 3-point landing all the time, with nobody the wiser, so I know it can be done. I also know my branch manager was disappointed with that part of the effort.
I'm certain of this. I'm equally certain they think I may be incapable of traveling without making a big whoop out of it, which would knock me out of the running.
As I am not immediately leaving to deal with the sister's surgery, mentioning anything about that as an excuse is silly and will just sound lame, so I don't.
It's not even like I'm going to be penalized if I don't get this position, except it's a more immediate promotion. I can stay where I am, where I am just becoming comfortable with the demands involved, but it's a longer and less certain process to make that promotional jump I absolutely need to have for the money, just to keep the house from falling apart on us. I don't have the money to jump to another house of comparable size if this one has any more problems.
And given some of the neighbors, if It gets worse around here, we may have to.
That doesn't matter to an interviewer in the least, it's a distraction.
How hard I work doesn't matter either--at that point, it's plain I haven't kept up with all the other organizational stuff that other people have had time to do, and I haven't been willing to sacrifice to do it on my own time anyway, grimly, against all odds.
That's what it takes to move up out of some jobs, the williness to fight out of there with every last bleeding fingernail.
I'm a little tired of the comic-book style bared teeth and bleeding gums competitive grimace stuff. Also, I don't find it helpful with the people I work with, for the most part, thank goodness. Relaxed works much, much better.
This failure to cram stuff into my head--cramming for tests used to be easy for me, you see--may reward the existing people for overloading me. Oh goodie, they get to keep me, overloaded and all, because I can't pull free of the sucking bog.
However, my suspicion is that the new unit (totally new, no existing structures really in place) will be a whole vast uncharted *new* bog demanding everything we've got, and then some.
It doesn't matter much why, excuses don't cut it, and I made no effort to explain.
I pull together the business references they ask for, send those off, and leave about an hour later than usual. Besides having to nail down a few other undead things that kept wandering round, demanding that I help the co-worker who kindly drove me home the night before, this little effort was doing the same thing. It took awhile because I couldn't focus on which subfolders I needed.
It's an interesting sensation, feeling like you've been finely tapped with thin sticks over your entire body, rolled, mashed, pureed, and laid out to dry like one of those fruit leathers.
The questiosn they asked are pretty much gone into the white void too, along with whatever answers that I gave. I don't remember exam questions afterward. That's an interesting sensation too.
I'm afraid I crawled onto the transit train, found the car in the lot, drove home, doctored the cat (which is why somebody has to stay here, too), crawled into the soft woobie blanket of email notices of comments on IBDoF and lj, and didn't even attempt to tackle working on the book.

Hey, some people would find this merely life as usual. And do it with a laptop slung over one shoulder, and work on the book in the restaurant during their lunch hour.
Must go now and doctor the cat again. He sits down and yells when he needs it. And then he doesn't like it when you do.
Wish me luck.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Kvetch » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:17 am

/me sends soothing electronic chocolate (best I can manage, sorry!)
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Postby clong » Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:08 am

Going through that kind of experience is tough, Heather. Hopefully the interviewers recognize that many people do not perform as well in a stressful team interview environment as they would on the job. The sheer amount of energy and quality of thought that you put into your first couple answers may well be more impressive to them than short, superficial answers to everything. And your branch manager should have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. If she thinks you are a good match for the job she should advocate for you. Good luck!
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Postby hgladney » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:40 pm

Kvetch wrote:/me sends soothing electronic chocolate (best I can manage, sorry!)

/me accepts it gladly!! Thank you, I appreciate it!
clong wrote:The sheer amount of energy and quality of thought that you put into your first couple answers may well be more impressive to them than short, superficial answers to everything. And your branch manager should have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. If she thinks you are a good match for the job she should advocate for you. Good luck!

Thank you! Your comments are very helpful. I hadn't thought about how the force of the first impression might stick, I was worried that it might fade. I figured that the branch manager already had some ideas about me already, and the supervisor of the new curbside unit has quite a good acquaintance, having seen me in meetings and various workshops and so on. (They had another person on the panel of 3 who didn't know me at all.) I have made it clear to everybody (including my current boss) that I'm fine where I am, that I understand (and prefer) their focus is on picking the best mix in the new unit and for the branch as a whole, regardless of individual excellences. (Well, I said it simpler than that, and not during the interview itself, but you get the idea.)
As you can ask for feedback on your interview from the panel, to improve your skills, I did that this morning; won't hear back until after they've picked the people. That allows them to view it as good practice for me, that I intend to get better at that process. I was also able to tell the supervisor that my sister came out of surgery okay yesterday, that it had me a little scattered, and without it being way too lame-sounding.
I do feel better about it now, whichever way it goes.
If I didn't care about it, or about their opinions, I'd probably do a lot better.
Thanks, too, for reading the eye-burn length there!
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Happy Halloween, briefly!

Postby hgladney » Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:15 am

Saw a fair number of trick or treaters tonight, because we were out barbecuing on the driveway, some in witch-hats and some in Ren Faire garb.
All this was prompted by a comment that I'd listened to an NPR report discussing how you can get the cars to slow down on your street if you're out in front doing something out there--sit on the sidewalk reading a book, for instance. Well, sitting out front by an odd-looking barbecue chopping up storage veggies for root stew, with intricately-carved foam pumpkins lit by fake candles, and a lot of real candles--that definitely slows them down.
Around here, the food is always fabulous when you cook it this way.
I don't know why restaurant char-broiling is just not the same thing as sitting out in the cold, roasting garlic and squash and getting those invaluable burnt bits on the meat yourself.

Have been working a little bit on the book, editing some minor confusions, smoothing them out (including some of the later chapters I'd already sent out ot beta-readers) over the weekend, but not as much as I'd hoped.

I don't tend to get a lot done right before, during, or after trips. Part of it is not having a real good way of hauling along existing material so I can work on it easily, but I know from experience that I tend to get impatient with my own work while still in mid-trip. Part of it is the pure disruption, just picking up and processing new information.
Two trips bang on top of each other is a little rich after nothing for nearly a year.
Next one is this week, heading down to Bay Area mid-week, away until Sunday, partly giving my sister a break with the twins.
I always come back with new understanding and insights and ideas, but tired.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Sean Whitton » Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:57 pm

I need to do some more proofreading - sorry Heather! Thoguht you were on a conference? Or am I a week behind>
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Postby hgladney » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:20 am

Yep, ran off to play--just as well, found out the computer was kasplut just before I left.
Inhouse tech nerdgrrl got it back up just tonight, swapping out spare parts--turned out to be cheap ram stick failing and shorting out to the case, as best I understand.
So, I had a night or two thrown back onto the pile of books I dragged home, and *still* wanted to be back online anyway.
Some people are never happy, ya know?
Yeah for nergrrls who fix things with baling wire and spare scraps!
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:02 am

Home, computer is up, network is running a bit slow, but I had chocolate. On some of it, definitely past tense--have I mentioned that Paul Newman's Sweet Dark Orange Chocolate is pretty yummy?
You heard it first here.
While computer was down, I'd been thinking in vague fuzzy terms about editing down and whacking boring bits out. Will try to get some work done on battle scenes, while waiting for beta-readers' comments on earlier sections.
Also, as we already knew, clong rocks bigtime.
Thanks extemely, clong, for your insightful and supportive remarks, I think it might make for a much better mss!
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:27 am

Well, I have got some work done on battle sequence, though it's still waaay too long, and got down what I think is gonna be some nifty stuff, this weekend.
More on the "adding more stuff", not so much on the "cut out the extra verbiage" end.
Although if I feel any worse, I may just get impatient enough to whack out great swathes and call it good enough.
This is because (BTW, do all writers whine this much?) I also have a lousy rotten cold with much snurffling and drinking of hot liquids and wasting of tissues. Out of nowhere.
Probably nothing to do with recent trips, particularly, and more to do with regular public commuting for work.
Not how I planned to spend my weekend at all.
But hey, put on that chirpy cheerful smile!!
:clap:
Gee, now I can really write that "puny, wimpy, weak, tired, overboiled-noodle feeling".
Even when it's not called for.
So long as I don't try to bend over to pick up anything.
That would be bad.
I hate it when my face makes those gurgling noises.
And threatens to fall off my head.
whine
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Kvetch » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:39 am

/me sends electronic chocolate.

I *hate* that kind of cold. I got one a few weeks ago, and I've yet to catch up with the work I didn't do.

Mmmm. Fight scenes good. Naga kill anyone in an inventive way this time?
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Postby hgladney » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:06 am

kvetch wrote:Mmmm. Fight scenes good. Naga kill anyone in an inventive way this time?

Well, now that I think about it, yeah, he did. And then he has to get himself out of the resulting mess--err, problem--he's created for himself.

Later Note: I was tired when I wrote this, so I did not expand upon it here as amusingly as I might have. For that matter, I didn't expand on it amusingly as I might have in the original text, either.
And perhaps it could really add a nice black humor twist if I did. Wry comment might add something, now that I think about it, but it'd have to be either a running gag firing yet again, or else something radically original.
If you go over to live journal and read a certain writer known there as matociquala, you'll see entries about writing in general--and jokes while writing historical fiction, particularly those associated with Elizabethan dramatists--which will raise your standards on what's really funny.
Also, on how much writing "productive" really means.

I have not been very productive in the last two weeks, and as far as getting work done is concerned, it doesn't much matter if I again blame the season's first headcold.
Most people assume a cold is no big deal.
This is no longer true.
I do not get the whole comical version of the cold experience. I skipped the amusingly trivial part. I never used to get colds, I never had ear infections, I was for all practical purposes immune to chilling. I was a serious polar bear in this area, though I daresay some of our upper Midwest forum folks might have pretty stiff standards, such as skinnydip ice-diving at New Years', and other absurdities. (Heat, now, is a whole other problem, but that's a rant for another time.)

The last ten years, though, we're talking something where, six weeks later, after crawling to work a month too soon, you still get dizzy if you bend over too quickly. My version runs without any pneumonia or bronchitis. Goodness help those folks whose colds do migrate instantly into lung problems.
This is a serious dent on the world's productivity, even though many bosses still pretend it's something you get in kindergarten.

Flu shots ain't cutting this stuff a bit.

This makes me wonder if it's not so much my fan belt cracking and the plumbing falling to bits (in a warning sign that my warranty is a wee bit antique now)--perhaps it's really those worldwide epidemics getting nastier.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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Postby hgladney » Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:07 am

Well, I'm trying an experiment.

I started looking for chunks of exposition that make my eyes glaze over when I'm tired.
(PS--editing when exhausted is one way to understand readers in the same state.)

I haven't excised these passages from my archival rewrite (major revision 11, if anybody is counting).

I started identifying these passages in the first two chapters (I still have to do it on Chapter 3). I copied them across to another file to see if I can reduce duplication on any given subject.
Boil it down to a denser chicken stock, perhaps.
Yes, I know, some folks would just say gleefully, "Whee! Let's toss out all that work!"

What I've found happening to me is that something in a later draft will call it all up again, like the undead you just can't kill.
Something in the story wants to call up that information.
But when I can't remember the wording I so carefully honed on the first version (like a song lyric you almost remember) it keeps bugging me. Sometimes I did rediscover an archival version of the original, and on comparison, realized the second time round was far uglier than the original.
BTW, yes, this experience is totally contrary to the general advice to kill it and if it matters it will come back *better* than before, because now you're more sure of where you're trying to go.

Copying the biggest chunks of info-dump (Chapters 1 & 2 so far) into a separate file, and just to keep related bits together forced me to start sorting it into a sort of logical essay-like order. Or even narrative-like.
Just, no action, very little dialogue.
Strange, it's still very Naga-tinted.

There's several alternate ways the big chunks can be hooked up together, rather like collections of Legos, or Lincoln Logs (for you oldtimers) which slightly different effects, and slightly different chains of logic. It could easily function as a hyperlinked text with several alternate routes, for example. Hmmm...If I'm not going to use them in the book itself, they could be fun hyperlinked background on the website.
The question is whether to use any, all, parts, or much-reduced soup stock boiled down from them in the main fiction.
I'm having a hard time deciding on that.
For one thing, that b** cold is still with me.
If the aliens want to buy shares in snot-farming, I'm gonna be popular. As it is? Not.
People at work react as if I'm Jabba the Hut, slime and all.
:twisted:
Doesn't matter much, truth be told, because it's all over the building already, so it wasn't me gave 'em this crud to begin with. Sounds like a cube farm full of Billy Crystal clones practising their old Jewish guy imitations.
:roll:
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby clong » Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:04 pm

That makes sense to me Heather. While the background stuff is interesting, much of it has no relevance to the plot (at least not through Chapter 17, anyway). Another suggestion is for Naga to begin the book in relative ignorance about the Sharinen, and then have to seek out information about them after the pseudo-Girdeth tells him they will be part of the key to victory. And I have already suggested the idea of moving some of the background stuff into recollections of lessons from Reti.
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Postby Aunflin » Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:22 pm

This is all very interesting. Unfortunately, I haven't found any of your books used, Heather (since I can't find any new and I'm always leary of getting used books online sight unseen...), but your stories sound interesting. And I enjoy your often long, rambling posts...

(I have no idea what I'm trying to say--other than that I shouldn't have left that bag of apples in the pantry, forgot about it...and now have a literal army of fruit flies buzzing around my apartment... :roll: )
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Postby hgladney » Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:33 am

Aunflin, somebody who keeps amphibians, reptiles or tropical fish in your area would probably be looking longingly at your collection of wild flies. Just in case you know somebody of that sort...
Also, I don't know if you're already aware of these & tried them or not, but used copies sometimes are available very cheaply at half.com (associated with eBay) or abebooks.
Both show books from a gaggle of various small used dealers.
This is abe:
http://www.abebooks.com/
On Abebooks, if you do a search on my name, it shows various dealers in different towns with both books about $1-3, with most of the cost being shipping, about $3 for the first book. If you get lucky, they may be local to you, and you could just walk in and ask for it! At any rate, it shows a number of these dealers.
Half.com also functions like that, rather than eBay-like auctions. It seems to run a bit more expensive than the abe books dealers.
You have to hunt for the search box at the top past the ads!
http://books.half.ebay.com/
Last edited by hgladney on Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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I'm so happy

Postby Falcon-Rider » Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:14 pm

I first read Teot's War about 5 years ago after scanning my brothers bookshelf for good reads. I think I've read it about eight times since, my brother even let me keep his old worn copy. I finally got a copy that is in decent shape of both Teot's War and Bloodstorm for Christmas last year (there may have been a little force involved in the actual ordering... of course I had to show my dad how to use Amazon >.>).

Anyway, I really enjoy your books and I have to admit everytime I go into a book store (especially used ones) I check the 'G's. I stumbled across your website today (during my CES 101 class... I was paying attention to the incredibly boring movie... really :butter: ) and found my way here. I am so happy to find out that Book 3 is in the works- especially since you felt the first 17 chapters were good enough for beta. I'll be patiently waiting to buy a copy of it whenever it makes its way to the shelves. I wish you the best of luck and much chocolate to help you with your writing! :D

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Postby Sean Whitton » Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:01 pm

Kvetch is going to lend them to me!

I can't wait.
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Postby hgladney » Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:59 pm

Falcon-Rider wrote: ...Anyway, I really enjoy your books and I have to admit everytime I go into a book store (especially used ones) I check the 'G's. I stumbled across your website today (during my CES 101 class... I was paying attention to the incredibly boring movie... really ) and found my way here. I am so happy to find out that Book 3 is in the works- especially since you felt the first 17 chapters were good enough for beta. I'll be patiently waiting to buy a copy of it whenever it makes its way to the shelves. I wish you the best of luck and much chocolate to help you with your writing!...


Thank you very much for the kind words & encouragement! (Yes, chocolate helps when the chapters aren't good enough. Yes, it shouldn't matter, but it helps, and I have some tonight, so I'm good. I'm up for it.)
No, it shouldn't take me 20 years to write the sequel, but as you'll see in other posts, it isn't the same sequel as it used to be.

Also, I'm always glad to liven up a boring movie!
I agree that there is probably no writer born who doesn't think that all those sadly wasted movie resources would have been better spent filming their story and their characters and their cool but very topical (i.e., short-lived) plotline, instead of something deathlessly educational about red blood corpuscles or hyperbolic curves or the life cycle of the cotton boll or disgusting diseases of the colon or the really twisted lives of metamorphic rocks.
I mean, c'mon, if we have to do sine curves in 3-D, couldn't we have a little frilly bit on fractals or somethingpleeeease?
:lol:
The really amusing part is that you find yourself, as a writer, going back to some of those resources sometimes to get information to ground and enrich the stories.
Okay, maybe the hyperbolic curves were a red herring as far as relevance to this particular book. But, you know, I'm not entirely sure...

So, welcome to the forum! We're glad to hear from you, and we all love hearing feedback.
I've found folks here are very supportive and extremely helpful. Great place to hang out and ask questions.
This is the place for reccies on new great books, to rate the authors you've read, to bring in names of books & authors we don't already have in the database, to ask what that obscure thing was that you can't quite remember (but it was really great, and you're trying to find it again!)

There's also a number of surprising things wandering round here.
Turns out those AdeptScholars and etc. like other things besides merely books. Seems they like to eat, too. We have a lot of dangerously good cooks round here--check out some of the threads on food.
We also have a lot of people who are extremely skilled at being very silly.
On that one, the phrase we're looking for here is "volleyball thread", need I say any more to the rest of you, you know who you are... :clap:

We also have some pretty expert techie nerd geeks, when those pesky computer questions come up. You know, this sorta thing:
:cry:
I don't think we've formalized that into any sort of thread, it's more a "play as you go" thing.

As for moi, I've been posting here as a sort of progress journal and writing resource and reference desk.
When I'm banging my head against some subject about which I know far too little, I holler round here for help. I generally get it, too.
When I run across very cool links that might help out other writers, I post those here too.
This comes out of the tradition that, as I had good advice as I was getting going, so too I try to pass along what I learned to other folks who are in need of aiding and abetting.
I won't say "aid and comfort" there, because frequently my advice isn't very comfortable, but I do try to make it something that people can act on.
Besides, as my beta-readers may tell you, I need all the help I can get, honestly.
But their comments will result in a much better book, if I can just get it done.
:roll:

xyrael wrote:Kvetch is going to lend them to me!

Now there's a real friend!
OF course, your best friend is the one who returns them after reading. Or buys said friend a new set, after loaning them onward.
But I digress...
:lol:
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:35 am

Well, I didn't get a lot done on writing this weekend, but I got some done on other neglected housekeeping parts of my life.
Part of this was not any credit to me. I just took advantage of the power being out to go over the filters and impellers on my fish tank thoroughly, and clean up the mess around it, and so on.
So now my work space should be more pleasantly, erm, workable.
It's certainly better lit, as my in-house techie geekgrrrl has replaced my old half-dead 4-foot shop t-12 light with a new cool T8.(In the background, you might hear the wailing refrain, "she blinded me with science...") Blink, blink. Umm, gee, notice all that dust??
So it's all more organized, and a lot less dusty.
I also get to look at my lava lamp working, which may be a brief interlude before mess pushes it back into cold oblivion again, but for now it's got space to heat up and bloop. (It doesn't give off much light. It just acts as a mild space heater.)
It's also been a weekend for going back to the home improvement place repeatedly. Not just expensively so (which is bad enough) but embarrassingly so. Really, this isn't normally the sort of town where the clerks get to know you this well...
Part of this is called "project creep", which means acquiring new tasks that you just thought of. The familiar home form: "Honey, while you're up there, would you mind..."
The other part is getting down into the wall or up the ladder and going, "Oh my blessed spangled garters, what on earth is this horror!" when you find another mess that has to be dealt with.
It's a bigger project than you knew it was going to be. The home form of this is, "Honey, look, it's all icky and rotten. Hey, I thought you said that was a 20 amp circuit. Isn't this box only rated for 15 amps?"
Then there's the bigger project taking tools you didn't have. Tools you'd been meaning to get for awhile. Tools that might keep you from electrocuting yourself or others.
We still have to put a GFCI socket back behind my tank, as we're using GFCI extension cords for now.
WIth fingers crossed. "Honey, how do I know if this socket is really turned off or not?"
If you don't know what that is, please ask somebody else to fix your outlets and lamps, okay?
I also notice that we are not alone in this unexpected impatience with the accumulated status quo. I notice there's an awful lot of cleaning up the house type entries on my flist over on live journal.
Not so much before Thanksgiving, but afterward, they're *all* fed up with the accumulation of junk, and by golly, this was the time to throw it all away, sort it, stack it, wash it, scrub it, and clean behind its ears.
So there.
Don't stand still, you might get waxed or something.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Sean Whitton » Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:04 pm

She's been firing images at me as well! This is brillaint, we have a hige library from which to draw now.
Formerly known as 'Xyrael'.

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firing images--is that worse than hot lead?

Postby hgladney » Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:56 pm

harmonicas are wailing in the background.
kching, kching, kching.
Draw, pardner.
I'll see your squinty, gooey, gum-haired grandkids' pix over on Flicker, and I'll raise you three orchid pix, a dozen weedy elemental horizontal garden pix, some really strange riverscapes, and some really gross fish tank goo pix--and what's more, I can draw 'em from right on thisy'ere server while your'n overloaded collection of unnaturally conventional offspring are still loadin'.
Bang.

Don't mind me, I was awake reading One Bullet Away, the Nathaniel Fick nonfiction book on becoming a Marine officer and fighting in Iraq, until 5 am.
One of the things he talks about is what happens to your brain when you're exhausted, cold, short of food, and hyped on adrenaline at a contant poisonous pitch for days.

So I finally finished reading that and got about a 20 minute nap, and then I got up and went to work, and then I came home (dozing off now and then on the train home) and then fiddled with important hyping stuff like cell phone companies, and now I've had some really good chocolate--Endangered Species Chocolate Company, in Talent, OR, believe it or not.
Who needs drugs to achieve truly wierd states of mind when sleep-dep is so cheap and easy?
So it's anybody's guess what might fall out of the whacked free association circuits in my brain.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:10 pm

Haven't been round talking very much for the last few weeks, I realize. It'd be nice to report I got a lot done on the book.
I think I actually have, most of it invisible.
Which is kind of frustrating to report, but there it is.
One of my lovely readers came back to me with some ideas that I found both challenging and intriguing. Yep, the sort of idea that gives you a cald creeping grue all down your backbone--and then that sinking feeling, that "oaaah noooo," that you know you oughta do it, but it's not gonna be easy. And you're not sure how you can make it work.
Until you do.
Just shift this here, and this over here, and suddenly it all runs downhill like a carefully planned stack of dominoes.
Well, a big chunk of it did so far, anyway.
I'm still trying to see if it'll work on the tricky bit where the dominoes try to jump the bridge, so to speak. But I think it'll work.
Did I make it sound easy?
Sorry.
How very misleading of me.
This sudden break happened after a couple of weeks trying to work at other areas and coming back to poke at it now and then. Just because I'm not getting anywhere on one section doesn't mean I'll let it just sit there and defy me. I can go off and tinker with the later bits of book. There's no shortage of other bits that need work.
When I can't even handle that, I'll work on something else. Yes, I go off and two-time. Sometimes I throw ideas into this sort-of vampire novel which has been gradually collecting material. Oh yeah, and if it's really bad, and I get frustrated with that one, then I shift onward yet again to a chunk of murder mystery. To be fair, maybe once or twice a year those stories suddenly have a temper tantrum and pull something new, which drags me away for a day or three or a week.
Now, folks who write to deadline refuse to yield to this sort of thing, casting aside all such temptations, and indeed, it is wonderful how money will concentrate your mind on what really matters.
Others will argue that it just makes sense to have a few stock pots going on the back burner all the time, pretty close to serving in bowls and everything, if anybody's interested.
Makes you sound like a desperate scriptwriter in a pitch meeting that's not going so well..."Heeey, what if Spiderman gave Batman the kryptonite, and then they fought Superman in the Fortress of Solitude, and then, and then--"
All right, that's enough of that.
I'm more pragmatic about it, not so far-sighted. It helps me function to have other things to think about than constantly eyeballing the risk of my complicated egg-thingie with layers and bits and carefully-rolled little nibbles ever so slowly crisping into charcoal right there, in full sight, on the front burner. Now, don't rush it, either!
I tend to assume the back of my brain is working on it, and fiddling with the seasoning in the other pots is just the only visible movement.
Some folks remark, prissily, that they would feel unsure that it best serves these other stories if those are only functioning as "therapy" for the main event.
Can you see the prissy face there?
:roll:
Ahh yes, but this is writing, and nobody ever learns how to do it.
I could view it as attempting to progress on related issues across several simultaneous fronts.

For instance, it does help in reminding myself that I do too know how to write fast-moving dialogue and action when I've been bogged for weeks in big chunks of heavy, complicated, connection-heavy exposition.

To be fair, some of the other ideas are just very cool in their own right. My feeling about it is that I'll get those stories pulled together when they've become the main event. In the meantime, bits of them are pretty frustrating too.
I'm still trying to figure out how to legitimize a story that started off very fannish (cough! cough! ahem!) and took a sudden jerk sideways into absolutely cold science fiction projection of hypothesis. I've no idea how to get the actual characters out of the mess that the idea creates, and some cheapshot deus ex machina isn't going to cut it. It's going to take something very skiffy-ish to fix it. Which isn't where the style of the story started from at all.
Probably lightning bolt time, right?
Not to mention the little problem that it is, hmmmm, how to put it, at least as heavy-handed on the gratuitous mention of leather as Laurell Hamilton ever indulged in. It's suddenly not at all one of those embarrassing "Plot? What plot?" things. It suddenly has more actual underpinnings than most fantasy novels do, and the darn plot sneaked itself in there right within in the space given for live journal comments. I didn't know I could do that. Are you allowed to do that? You can't just do that. Whaaa hoppen?? I'm a novelist. You can't do that!
Watch me.
So, yeah, learn something every day.
Which brings us back to updating y'all on that third Teot draft.
About a week ago, out of this twisty, frustrated, getting-nowhere sensation, my poor weak sinus-addled brain was suddenly struck with the lightning bolt:
"What if I run that scene where they meet the lanky new rider-guy named Sevas before they ever get down to Birchwoods Hold?"
You heard it here first.
It's not based on the interaction of the characters at all. It's a plotline rearrangement. I like it precisely because it does affect the characters in rather minor ways, but those all look like an improvement so far. It's a tweak on plotline.
Something in my brain understood a plotline, for once.
This has not been typical for me.
I can stare at a tangle of character motivations just fine. If your Hero does X, which makes your Bad Guy all wicked pissed, what will Bad Guy do about it? Well, Y, of course!
All fine, but that's not actually plotline.
Plotline would be if you had the intersection of Other Good Guy doing something Well-Meaning (in their ignorance) but that is, under the actual circumstances, Completely Stooopid and Dangerous.
Probably involving clock parts that tick a little too ostentatiously, if you want my honest opinion.
:roll:
I can also stare at Y, and suggest that maybe all kinds of fun things will happen if Batman brings along that innocent li'l chunk of kryptonite to Superman's sooper dooper sekrit hiding place.
I just have a little trouble figuring out that we only have five more minutes of screentime to use up the rest of the fx budget, and there's got to be explosions, it's what people expect.
What people expect?
What has that got to do with it?
Yes, I heard that coughing noise in the back there. Yes, you know who you are. I'm just going to ignore it, at present...
But what I'm always hearing myself say, on these occasions, is another pained fannish protest: "You have a chance of doing something like, say, zed, sked, and double dead, and you wasted it on lots of silly fountains of snow going up in the air?"
Yes, that explains most movies, doesn't it?
Terry Pratchett talks about stories, sometimes, and their demands, what the stories themselves expect, in things like Witches Abroad.
He's got a whole lot better lock on it than I do.
I always start off with images and characters, and run around after them frantically trying to make sense of what they give me and connecting the dots. "But what about X?" I say, ever so innocently. That's usually material for more plotline than most stories can handle, honestly.
However, when faced with a bit of complicated confectionary that's starting to slump in the kitchen, it's no good throwing up your hands, wailing for help, and declaring you just don't do that, your mom was the one who always did the meringues.
Plotline is probably a conscious foremind editorial sort of function--as best I understand it. Where the images and people and sounds come from, that's much more the province of the right brain, as in the art book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
That right-headed part works all right for me. Not always there when I want it, not always great, but it shows up for work now and then.
It's the left brain that seems to have such annoying plotline amplyopia.
(Yeah, so, some people need to wear neck-braces.)
But somehow I'm not used to thinking of myself as having a lazy brain, edit-wise. I edit a lot. (Just check out the edit numbers on this post, for instance--and you may find more typos that I haven't caught, explaining why I ought to edit.) Most people have too much editor-noise in their heads, and manage to stop themselves in their own tracks before they even get started.
But I've been aware for awhile that I wanted to do a stronger job when plotline structure needed work.
Apparently this y'ere sort of stuff is how it decided to get going.
This one only took weeks of banging my nose against the wall.
Gee, yeah, I think I was puttering around in the bathroom when this atypical plotline-based brainstorm hit, why do you ask? Hmm. Yep, it also might have involved something to do with having colds and running a temperature, come to think...No, I was not hallucinating!
I never do that. (That's what we have characters for, you know.)
So, just now I'm slowly starting to lay out some rearrangment of draft (first typing fingers there said "drat") chapter order from what the beta-readers have been seeing, and finding that so far it's moving along much better, like I just unjammed some of that crickwater that's been building up for awhile.
That's all good.
The part where multiple colds or flu have been blowing through and I don't much care whether I'm supposed to crawl out of bed to go to work, that's not so good.
I don't call in sick and stay home just to work on the book, for one thing. It screws up too many tight schedules and makes life harder later on, and "not thinking about that mess at work" makes it all that much harder to concentrate on the fiddly bits, such as continuity problems, while writing.
Adding a stuffed face that might just fall right off if you bend over to pick up things kind of completes the picture...
Or maybe all that junk falling off would feel better?
Of course I might be healthier if I did sign off on regular vacation days off to write, but I'm just now starting to build up real-job vacation time, and I haven't got used to it.
Must think about that.
Then there's sneaking feeling that you get when you are in fact responsible for a few things, and the people there need you to do that work, and it makes a difference whether you did it or not.
It's not like being a little anonymous cog-part. More like being a U-joint, perhaps.
You could be replaced, but it'd be a major pain, and honestly, heading toward the point where it's nearly more than the car is worth--just to stir in a few more greasy metaphors into the general mess.
Last edited by hgladney on Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby wolfspirit » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:17 pm

All I'd like to point out is that it is hard to have as much of that kind of leather as Laurell Hamilton.

That is impressive.

And sorry on not keeping up on other things for you. Life has thrown me a pair of curveballs semi-recently, and I"m just now beginning to live for today and teh day after today (but not any farther than that), so I haven't had much time to look anything over (I swear, some day I'll find this "free time" thing people are talking about).

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Postby hgladney » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:46 pm

When you find it, will you let the rest of us know?
Superman's probably hogging it all, isn't he?

PS--oh yes, it's incredibly frustrating having all that leather flapping about trying to go pro, when it started off as a silly present for somebody who appreciates a lot of things that they never thought would become mainstream.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby clong » Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:01 am

Sounds like you are making good progress, Heather. I like the Sevas before Birchwoods idea. I think you will end up with a more compelling book. In the end, maybe Naga will need to solve a kinky vampire murder mystery to save Drin from the sekrit kryptonite stash in Shara?
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