January 7th, 2007

wicked fairy bowie

what was written on your bones before you got born

Progress notes for 7 January 2007


New Words:  1,210
Total Words: 13,593
Words for the Year: 10,707
Pages: 68
Deadline: Sometime in June or July, I'm guessing
Reason for stopping: quota, end of scene

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
13,593 / 110,000

Stimulants:  lapsang souchong, more ginger peach tea
Exercise: gym yesterday, gym today, gym tomorrow. Also some yoga. And a walk to the store.
Songs mutilated: This thing that I am doing with the guitar is starting to result in something that resembles music. It is *bad* music.
Mammalian assistance: none

Reviewy thing for Shadows Over Baker Street.

Reviewy thing for Carnival.

Today's words Word don't know:   raddled, unhealable, squinch, cryostasis, sunward
Darling du Jour: Ironic cruelty, that she felt the cold sting along the ghost bones of her wings.
Mean Things: phantom pain. untrustworthy symbiots.
Tyop du Jour: Bust it would take too long to crawl along them.
Jury-rigging: I have come up with the coolest plot twist ever and I am only on page sixty something. And I figured out how the book ends, on the rowing machine.

There's always one more quirk in the character: Perceval can apparently compute trajectories and relative velocities in her head.
Other writing-related work: critted Amanda's story, for values of laying my hand upon its head and pronouncing a blessing upon it.
Books in progress: Liz Williams, Snake Agent; Phyllis Ann Karr, The Arthurian Companion
The Internet is full of Things: but I didn't look at any of them today.
The glamour!: I still have not taken out the trash.

writing carnival

Carnival is apparently a PKD Award finalist.

This is the first I've heard of it. Hello.

(I mean, so not going to win. But wow.)

The nominees are:

MINDSCAPE by Andrea Hairston (Aqueduct Press)
CARNIVAL by Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
SPIN CONTROL by Chris Moriarty (Bantam Spectra)
CATALYST by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Tachyon Publications)
RECURSION by Tony Ballantyne (Bantam Spectra)
IDOLON by Mark Budz (Bantam Spectra)
LIVING NEXT DOOR TO THE GOD OF LOVE by Justina Robson (Bantam Spectra)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday,April 6, 2007 at Norwescon 30 at the Doubletree Seattle Airport Hotel,SeaTac, Washington.

iggy pop chairman of the bored

See, you guys never should have told me you preferred frequent short posts.

You are so doomed now.

My monthly column is up at Storytellersunplugged.com.

This one is about how cool I used to be but aren't anymore.

I keep thinking I've accomplished nothing today, but actually I cooked chicken and answered an interview and went for a walk and called my mother.

Now I need to read, package up stuff to send to patient people who for some reason put up with me, and try not to fall asleep on the sofa. *fumbles for the teapot.*

Did I mention the windows are still open, and stayed open all night?


writing literature vonnegut asshole

Why it works, and how.

I figured out why the "send in a man with a gun" trick works.*

It works because it forces an escalation, and much (I might even say most) of the time, escalation is what stuck plots need. (Also, it's good, if you are looking for tension, if you can force an escalation in each and every scene. But along with the escalations have to come small resolutions, or the escalation gets boring.)

So. To explan it in the simplest and most mechanistic terms I can: in each scene, resolve something small, and make something bigger worse. (Until you get to the climax and the denouement. Because then, the rules change.)

Every scene in a tightly plotted novel involves at least one change, and often several.

Or, another way: So you're a captive. (dilemma) And your boyfriend comes to rescue you. (resolution) But he gets caught. (escalation) And he's going to be executed. (escalation) So you figure out how to get him out. (resolution) But your clever plan winds up with you suspended over a pit of lava. (escalation)

Escalation is the ---but!

*this advice applies to thriller plots, and other plots dependent upon narrative tension. In long form, this is what I write. In short form, there are other things I do.
animation wallace cheese

noted for future reference

You know, it's not that Meyer lemons are less tart than regular lemons.

It's that they taste like oranges that are as tart as lemons.

Also, I really need to train my guilt gorilla to understand that getting het up about deadlines that are six months in the future when my entire life is deadlines is probably a counterproductive use of my stress responses.

In other news, if Rien wants me to write this scene, she's going to have to give me an opening line, isn't she?
  • Current Music
    Gordon Lightfoot - Canadian Railroad Trilogy
bear by san

the things we do for art

See, there's this thing writers do, where they repeat cliched description rather that digging for authentic, telling detail. But sometimes the attempt to come up with an effective description bogs down in not having the appropriate sterile instruments for a spot of self-mutilation:

[18:55] matociquala: is blood really salty?
[18:55] stillsostrange: some people's
[18:56] stillsostrange: it depends
[18:56] matociquala: I should just stab my finger.
[18:56] stillsostrange: I think maybe it's more salt from the skin
[18:56] stillsostrange: Mine is more coppery.  Steven's is more irony.
[18:56] matociquala: My skin's not very salty, unless I am sweating.
[18:56] matociquala: Mine is kind of umami-sweet, I think.
[18:57] matociquala: with overtones of copper penny. *g*
[18:57] stillsostrange: Now I wonder
[18:57] stillsostrange: maybe it's not salty
[18:57] stillsostrange: maybe fiction has lead me astray
[18:57] stillsostrange: Mine is metallic and sweet
[18:58] stillsostrange: Maybe vampires bite a lot of sweaty people
[18:58] matociquala: I think of it as seaweedy.
[18:58] matociquala: I wonder if Rien knows what seaweed tastes like.
[18:58] matociquala: I bet you would have algae tanks on a generation ship.
[18:58] stillsostrange: I wish I still had some clean razorblades.  I would check.
[18:58] matociquala: LOL
[18:59] matociquala: Yeah, I was just thinking I don't have a clean enough needle.
[18:59] matociquala: What we do for our art.
[18:59] stillsostrange: I can never draw blood with a needle

[19:08] matociquala: *goes to stab finger*
[19:08] stillsostrange: hee
[19:08] stillsostrange: see, the stabbing hurts me way more than slicing
[19:09] stillsostrange: I'd much rather slice my arm
[19:09] matociquala: I'll stab my wrist instead, really
[19:09] stillsostrange: I still have a nice scar from high school.
[19:10] stillsostrange: oh, found a razorblade
[19:11] matociquala: I'm not bleeding well, dammit.
[19:11] matociquala: stupid platelets.
[19:12] matociquala: I could just shave my legs.
[19:12] matociquala: that would no doubt result in blood.
[19:14] stillsostrange: hee
[19:14] stillsostrange: that always works for me
[19:14] matociquala: I think I am settling on seaweedy and metal-sweet.
[19:15] matociquala: the internets think it's umami-sweet-metallic
[19:16] stillsostrange: I think this razor is dull
[19:16] stillsostrange: or I really suck at this
[19:17] matociquala: We fail self-injury
[19:17] stillsostrange: yes
[19:17] stillsostrange: I lose at the blood-letting
[19:18] matociquala: Nobody thinks blood is salty.
[19:18] matociquala: vampire fiction lies.
[19:19] stillsostrange: oh woes
[19:19] stillsostrange: I'm going to blame this on the razor
[19:20] stillsostrange: But I can probably use it to take off my old flaking window stickers. :P
[19:20] stillsostrange: I'll surely cut myself doing that
[19:20] matociquala: Report back, if you do.

So, what do you say? Has anybody here ever coughed up a nice lungful of bright red froth? Because that's what I need to describe....

(gee, and I wonder why Rien wouldn't give me an opening line.)

writing plot octopus

there is no hell, like an old hell

Progress notes for 8 January 2007

I suspect this book may have no redeeming value at all, and I don't care. It's fun.

On the other hand, I thought One-Eyed Jack was fluff, too, and look what happened there.


New Words:  809
Total Words: 14,411
Words for the Year: 11,516
Pages: 72
Deadline: Sometime in June or July, I'm guessing
Reason for stopping: quota, end of scene

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14,411 / 110,000

Stimulants:  linden flower tea, rooibos with Meyer lemons and honey, curried garlic-lime chicken on rice
Exercise: I did not go to the gym, but I walked to the grocery store for a pistachio muffin. Alas, the  grocery store was closed. Is that right or fair? (Yes, it is Sunday, I know. I will try again tomorrow.) Also, I kneaded dough for steamed red bean paste buns.
Songs mutilated: No guitar today. I had one of those fluttery days when time vanishes.
Mammalian assistance: Mebd is snuggled against my thigh.
Mail: Nothing much, except being nominated for that award. Eeee!

Reviewy thing for Shadows Over Baker Street.

They love me in Australia. Where they have beaches. And books. And it's summer. As it also apparently is here.

Today's words Word don't know:   seaweedy, symbiont, stubbled, nanocolony, ow,
Darling du Jour: I love any book that consistently lets me type things like "Swallow it. You're spitting out your symbiont."
Mean Things: a lungful of vacuum and a rogue nanotech colony. Also, lost.
Tyop du Jour: her colony would heel
Jury-rigging: yanno, I am so making this up as I go along. I'm not supposed to admit that, am I?

There's always one more quirk in the character: Perceval hates to cry.
Other writing-related work: answered more interview questions
Books in progress: Liz Williams, Snake Agent; Phyllis Ann Karr, The Arthurian Companion
The Internet is full of Things: no, it isn't.
The glamour!: still have not taken out the trash. And now I need to do laundry too. But I'm making steamed buns!

(yes, I'm early. I did tomorrow's work tonight.)