September 21st, 2005

bear by san


There are two serendipitous kitties, not one. This explains why the food vanishes so quickly.

They have it worked out. There's the sandy marmalade I've been seeing, and a smaller brown tiger tabby. The orange one runs recon for the brown one. The way it works is, the orange one sneaks up and starts eating, and then Brother or Sister joins it.

I am trying my favorite cat taming trick, which is to put the food out, and then go sit down about fifteen feet away with a plate of my own, and eat. Which is how I saw the brown one.

O Devious Monkey!

The orange one wouldn't eat in front of me, but just kept hovering around the corner, and checking to see if I was gone, so I came back in. But the brown was either desperate enough or convinced enough that the monkey had its own food to keep crunching away.

If they're both boys, they may wind up being Napoleon and Illya. *g* Since there's a blond and a brunette, and they've got each other covered.

In other news, I'm enjoying the Adams-Jefferson letters enormously.

The stylistic idiosyncrasies amuse the hell out of me, much like following a mailing list debate you're not participating in. jefferson doesn't much bother to capitalize, you see, and Adams, is Beset, by Commas, and Considers that the More of them, the Better. I'm finding I have to read them out loud to myself to get a sense of what they're saying, much like reading Elizabethan stuff. Otherwise I just wind up staring at the orthography.

I haven't hit Abigail's letters yet. Further details will follow.

This should be a fun story to write, though I need a better title than "1796." I've never written an epistolary story before. This should be fun.

From last night:

[22:15] matociquala: I think I'm going to bed with Thomas Jefferson now.

[22:15] matociquala: Yeah, me and the rest of the newborn nation, I know.

[22:15] melinda_goodin: really?

[22:15] melinda_goodin: must be crowded in there

[22:15] melinda_goodin: :-)

[22:15] matociquala: Boy got around, what can I say?

[22:16] katallen: heeee
bear by san

all the cool kids are doing it.

truepenny on why revision is a good idea

pbray on keeping the reader's trust.

Okay, I'm really going to humiliate myself here, because we're reaching back into the rankest of rank juvenilia for my exhibits in the Revision Parade. I wrote the first bits of Blood & Iron(then called Daoine, later called Shadowhand, eventually called Bridge of Blood & Iron, before settling down at last to the nicely euphonious Blood & Iron) when I was in high school.

Thankfully, those version no longer exist.

Since I started writing everything on a computer, however, it's become my habit to save every day to a new, dated file. So I have very comprehensive backups.

This one, is from a text file dated 10/21/1994. I'm reasonably certain it's an extract of the LEWP file that contained the second word-processed version of the story, the first having been done on a Macintosh circa 1992. So this one should be the oldest extant version.

They all start the same way, mind you, except the last one:

Like this:

'I am half-sick of shadows,'
said The Lady of Shalott

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Okay, I feel dirty now.

Somewhere in here there was a comic-book script version, which I will not subject anybody to. Because I am a good and generous bear. However, somewhere along the line I got the idea that it would be really cool if I could integrate the thing I was trying to do with the graphic novel script, which is to say, show the unreliable narrator--show the contradictions in what Seeker said and what actually happened--and I went for third person.

Unfortunately, my skills were not up to the task of what I was attempting.

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Would you believe I'm actually cutting these before the action gets really confusing and overwritten? I know. Sad, isn't it? You might say I went through a stage of unrestrained purpuritue here.

And believe it or not, by 1997 I had already made several paying sales, and actually thought I was pretty good at this writing thing.

Oh, the innocence of the young. :-P

And then, when I started rewriting this--after the I had written four other complete novels, including the first draft of Hammered--in 2003, I hadn't yet really learned to look at what I'd written and see what was wrong with it. So all the line of direction problems remained the same, and the flaws got painted over, but not actually straightened out.

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Oh look at that, cute ickle baby Matthew. I didn't remember he had ever been a brunette. Go figure.

And then, some headpounding about why the book was broken later, the idea of using more than one POV emerged. And thus--

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Still wedded to that stupid trying-too-hard opening line, though, I see. And still not actually pausing to explain the action. But the writing, mercifully, has improved. Line of direction still sucked, though; I was editing paragraph-by-paragraph, rather than actually watching the flow of the action.

And I really was screwing up those internalizations something fierce.

This is actually a really good example of why it's not good for one's learning process to rework the same manuscripts over and over again, because you can see very plainly the problems that persisted from one draft to the next, even though my *new* work was improving. One tends to be blind to one's own stupidities.

I think I got away with it in this case chiefly because I *was* walking away and working on other projects in the meantime. Specifically, between the first draft and the last draft of B&I on this page, there are 12 other complete novels and a bushel basket of short stories--and a lot of editorial and critique and rewriting work. It's a bit different to walk back to an old story after a rest than it is to keep working on the same damned thing.

Here's the version that will see print next year, minus some twiddling on the manuscript--

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So, you see, it is possible to learn. Sometimes it just takes ~12 or 13 years.
bear by san

(no subject)

From Steve Gregory's blog on Weather Underground:

SEP 21, 2005 5:15PM CDT

RECON Report 904mb -- -10mb drop in 1 hour -- that is a record.

Eye 20NM across - (Katrina's lowest pressure was 902mb)
Thermal eyewall; 21°deg / location 24.4N/.86.5W -HEADING 280° 9KTS...


The latest RECON, and confirmed measurements from NHC - report RITA's central pressure is now down to 914mb. MAX sustained flight winds are 161Kts, with sustained surface winds of 165mph -=- and gusts to 185mph. The thermal eyewall temp difference is an astounding 21°C The pressure has been dropping at 6mb/hr which may be s some form of record of it's own. Furthermore, there are no signs yet that Rita has finished intensifying.

Things being what they are, I think Making Light makes a pretty good news aggregator for storm coverage.

I don't think anybody needs a lecture about getting the hell out of the way of this thing. And those of us out of the way already, we know what we need to do.
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