February 7th, 2007

criminal minds reid and garcia shit

oh, screw it.

I got nothing. I'm going to go shower and then stare at the Undertow page proofs until I figure out what the hell the crisis is, here, because I don't like anything I'm coming up with. If a hundred pages of that doesn't bore me into brilliance, I'll walk down to the grocery store to buy filo pastry and goat cheese and oyster mushrooms, and see what I've got. Three and a half miles should unstick my head, right?

This is the price I pay for a really good, fluid writing night last night, the kind where one is snickering at one's own jokes and cheering on the characters in one's head.

Today, I am still stuck on the thing I have been stuck on for days. (Of course, having just typed that, I got an Inkling. But I am going to have to Develop the Inkling, I suspect. Hell, I may even name it Inkling. So you all can larf and larf when you get to that page.)

1564 words last night, bringing us to a total of 269 pages. Also, 848 words on the essay.

412.8 miles to Rivendell.

ETA: And fifteen minutes in trhe shower, and I got the scene. La.

Eta2 And the scene is written, to the tune of 1249 words, which gives me a whopping 3661 words total on two projects, and the book standing at 274 pages. My lord, only a 125 pages or so to go.

How am I ever gonna pull this off?
bear by san

how writing a book is like training a dog

(or: part umpteen in an occasional series on how writing is like everything else.)

When first you undertake to train a dog, there are a lot of things you can try: dominance, fear, behavioral conditioning. But the most effective technique, in my extensive amateur experience, is that of making the dog want to be trained.

Get him working with you, and you are halfway home already.

And to do that, the very first thing you have to do is establish trust. The dog has to feel safe with you. He has to understand your limits, his limits, the relationship. He has to believe that you will behave in a consistent, predictable, and trustworthy manner. He has to believe you will not hurt or abandon him.

The way to do this is by delivering on your promises, offering consistent rewards for good behavior, and by making your expectations clear.

This is the same way we tame a reader. We lure him in with treats and romps and games of tug-a-war and snuggling on the sofa.

The second phase is attention training, For this phase, we must have come to understand our dog. You see, while we were taming the dog, encouraging him to bond with us, training him to trust--so we were coming to be tamed as well. We know him now; we know his moods and his limits. We know what he loves, and what he does not love.

We know his heart.

For every dog, there will be one ideal reward. It may be food; liver tidbits or pieces of turkey. It may be play; a tennis ball, a squeaky toy. It may be the praise of a voice or a clicker.

It may just be your hand on his neck for an instant.

To earn the dog's attention, we make sure that he knows that, at any time, we could produce that Best Treat. That we have it on us. That it's right here in our hand. And any second, we might give him a reward. We might give him a reward because he's being good and attentive, because he has come perfectly to heel, because he is lazing about by the door watching us with big eyes. There are only two rules: he doesn't get a treat when he's not paying attention, and he doesn't get a treat when he's being bad. Of course, in the process of this, we train the dog to be hyper-aware of us at all times. To be engaged and looking for his reward.

And he trains us. We become aware of the dog. We maintain that awareness always. He is with us, beside us. He's being a good dog. He gets the kind word and the pat. And we learn to be conscious of him.

The dog thinks he's training us. "When I am like this, I would like a treat." And nobody can ever have enough treats, especially if those treats are kind words.

When he is relaxed in our presence, and when we have earned his attention, then we can try some tricks. He'll work harder, because the attention itself has become the reward, because there's a joy in working together to get the job done. You'll work harder, because the dog deserves it, because his work is your reward. He'll be able to follow any course you set for him--always respecting his limits--and you'll be able to use those rewards to motivate him to try harder and harder things.

It's all about trusting each other.

sf farscape leather

we're here to rescue you

Whew. And that was day one of the deathmarch. Six pages of Pinion written, a hundred pages of the Undertow page proofs gone over, and the first three chapters of the A Companion to Wolves CEM corrected. Now I am going to goof off for half an hour and then watch Mythbusters and Criminal Minds.

So that tomorrow, I can get up and do it again.

This schedule is expected to persist through Sunday, more or less, because I have engagements Friday and Saturday that might prevent me from getting through that many manuscript pages each day.

Even on the three thousandth read, A Companion To Wolves managed to suck me in by page 32. It's all pacy and actiony and fun, and Isolfr is such a brave little toaster. I am noticing some cool stuff I had forgotten, and which we left very quiet, at the back of things. Like the fact that Skjaldwulf is probably, oh, twenty-eight or so, and he's one of the old, stringy, phlegmatic dudes.

These guys have a rough life. Most of them don't make it to thirty.

Of course, all the world will be too hung up on the gay to notice, but hey. I'm happy that we remembered to put that in there.

And now, I am off the clock.