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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

and you'll still think of famine and you'll still think of train fare

and you won't mind the wrinkles because you'll know how they got there.

truepenny: murders her darlings

(via sillyricepaper) Microsoft Word Grammar Checker Are No Good, Scholar Conclude

pecunium: She was older than the airplane, and blind in one eye; she was born with a cataract. In 1983 she had it burnt out with a laser.

slithytove: I imagine that I will make a good corpse, some day. Eternity in a narrow pine box? Not a problem. Perhaps there will also be continuous banging from outside my coffin, as they build euthanasia cubicles, rolling roadways, teleportation terminals and space ports over me.

Today's words Word don't know:

Arcana, Rumpelstiltskin, Thinsulate, slicer, sower, Wotan, blackamoor, unpicking, Wicca, thornbreak, jowled, flippered, maned, untaken, bicolored, tapwater, repurposed, piercings, Sabbat, toppy, rushy, daren't, Shamanistic,
itchily, beaky, caped, stirruped, carnelians, hummus, waitstaff, Gothy, MacDuff, spined, viny, busk, hyperplasia, guesser, rucked
(I noted a while back that it didn't know ruched, either), lychee, blousy, Katzenstein, elsewise, bathwater, hostas, dormered, prismatized, (it does know clothespress, though. WTF, over?), twinged

Progress notes for 14 April 2005

Whiskey & Water

New Words: 1,561, one shortish scene and the beginning of a big setpiece scene. One that I've been looking forward to for weeks, frankly.
Total Words: 35,904
Pages: 162

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
35,904 / 160,000

Reason for stopping: Time to go to work. Also, I need to think about what happens when Matthew and Morgan wind up in the same room again, after all these years.
Mammalian Assistance: I walked into the bedroom and Mebd was hugging my pillow. I feel loved. Also, Mith likes garlic lime curry chicken. A lot. And Marlowe thinks my desk is for roosting, today.
Stimulants: garlic lime curry chicken, Prince Charles tea.
Exercise: gothercise tonight.
Mail: nomail
Tyop du jour: a little chamber under an angle of roof with two dormered windows that prismatized sunlight through the bevels on dozens of watery diamond-shaped pines.
Darling du jour: a crackle-faced servant like a garden gnome in a mud mask
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Ed Sanders, Tales of Beatnik Glory; Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver, Sarah Monette, Kekropia
Interesting research tidbit of the day: alder bark
Other writing-related work: none.

So I'm still thinking about omni, and one of the cool things about it right now is how it stretches out over so much space. I'm a bit concerned that this book may develop some boundary issues, but I'm trying very hard not to panic and limit its growth, because it's not sprawling. It's not getting away from me, in other words.

But it's still pushing outwards, though, at 35K, which tells me I haven't finished the setup yet. I'm still moving pieces onto the board. So I think my initial estimate of ~160K is going to prove about right.

Actually, since it winds up plot threads that were originated in four other books (Blood & Iron, One-Eyed Jack, and the two Stratford Mans) I shouldn't be surprised that it's giving me so much breadth. And that probably contributes to what I said the othe day, about it being cobweb-shaped. Because the varios threads that run through it all intersect some other threads, and shuttle back and forth between a couple of anchoring points, but it doesn't do that thing that Hammered and her sisters do, where there's a core velocity moving the book forward bang bang bang and the subplots follow like seagulls circling a trawler.

Rather, this is a book that's in a lot of ways very much about the scenery. And I find myself writing a lot of parallel scenes, or fragments of scenes.

And normally I have problems coaxing my books to expand, to challenge their boundaries. They're often, if anything, too tight, especially on early drafts. This book keeps reaching out to add new pieces and new angles, to look at things differently, to cast another angle of light and reveal another tangle in the threads. I don't know if that means it will need cutting at some point--usually, I underwrite 10 to 15% and have to go back and add, explain, nuance, color, shade, tint.

That was my mistake on the first crack at the opening of W&W, by the way. I was focusing it too tightly on the protagonists, and it's a book that needs room to unfurl.

Interestingly, the core story is Matthew's more even than Whiskey's--Matthew is emerging as the stronger of the two protagonists--which doesn't invalidate the title, actually, but changes what I thought this book would be about when I first came up with the concept, back in 1988, when it had the working title A Glass of Rain. (The Promethean Age books are my oldest working universe; some of the core characters, including Elaine and Whiskey, date back to high-school era juvenilia, and I've been playing with the idea of the Prometheus Club since the early '90's)

I think I've found my feet on this one for the nonce. It's a good feeling. I think I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

little old lady got mutilated late last night...


Word's Grammar Checker hates me. I use sentence fragments, on purpose. I use complex agreements of subject and verb (like that one) I use semi-colons, and better when I'm not doing stream of consciousness writing, which is (excuses, excuses) what most of my LJ writing is, and I loathe, with a pink and purple passion, the overuse of the word, "that," in writing, believing it can almost always be excised, or replaced with, "which," or some other useful pronoun.


p.s., it had no complaints about the above, rating it 54 percent reading ease and a 12.0 grade level of readibility, whatever that means.

I've gone and tweaked it a bit, but I still can't see a good way to fix that semi-colon.

The damned thing is aimed at remedial 9th-grade level students, and middle managers.

But I repeat myself. *g*
So what are your Promethean Age books, and how are they connected?

I've been worrying about omni and scope this week. Specifically, I'm worried about the next story in the chute because it's inherently large (the myrmidons mess up get involved in the war of the Seven against Thebes -- the subject of whole epics, and that's without my additions). And my narrator for these tales is scopehanded: he digresses at the drop of a hat -- usually to a purpose, but it still adds to the storycreep. And yet, in the tale I just drafted, I deliberately reigned him in, kept him focused on the story at hand (and backstory), and ended up with the longest one yet.

It's as if complexity allows density. Scope allows reflections and refractions, and interference patterns. Keeping the story in the channel just makes the flood higher, and last longer.

Or maybe this was just an inherently longer story, despite the (relatively) smaller cast.

So what are your Promethean Age books, and how are they connected?

They're urban fantasy/alternate history/secret history/historical fantasy, revolving around the catchphrase "All stories are true." They concern the activities of a group of human Magi (the aforementioned Prometheus Club, a good Elizabethan sectret society name) to take control of the archetypal underpinnings of the world--to master the stuff of story, in other words, and in doing so 0wnz0r the Western world, and the activities of the creatures of story and archetype and legend, who would rather not be so controlled.

That's the very simple version. They grew

Blood & Iron is a riff on balladry and Tam Lin and Arthuriana and Vlad III of Wallachia and Tolkien and so forth. One-Eyed Jack deals with urban legends and media archetypes and fanfiction, specifically in Las Vegas. The Stratford Man's bent is probably pretty obvious.

There are still two books (at least) unwritten--a Victorian one, Balm & Oil, and a WWII Russian industrial war fantasy, Unsuitable Metal.

And of course, Whiskey & Water, the current book.


It's as if complexity allows density.

I like this paragraph a lot, and I think so. The question is, can you get both density and transparency going at once? Now, that would be a trick.
The question is, can you get both density and transparency going at once?

If you're Borges, or Calvino, or Nabokov -- they seem to have the trick of lead glass.


werewolves of London again...

Re: the grammar checker - that's why the first thing I do every time I install Word is to turn the grammar checker off, as otherwise I spend way too much time being annoyed with it. Microsoft's time might be more wisely spent on adding some of those perfectly good words to Word than on developing an almost useless grammar checker.