Can’t NaNo. Moving Furniture.

Today was a busy little day. I got up early and actually did… some more work on my revision. It’s becoming fairly obvious what my priorities are. I want to finish my revision. I want to finish it on time, and then start querying the hell out of it.

Oh, yes… and I’d like a new project to help me escape the general tension of querying the hell out of anything.

I came up with a newer, shinier idea than the one I’m working on for NaNo. That’s always a good sign that NaNo may be over. For me, at least.

And I moved the furniture. Not all of the furniture, but a serious preponderance of the furniture. I rearranged the living room so that the furniture is now set at an angle to the walls. The general living room-y goodness is mostly intact. Well, let’s be honest. A change is always nice. Right now, it’s also a fabulous excuse for not having done much of anything today.

My new power supply arrived this afternoon, and I got it replaced in record time, so there will be no more dire warnings about the unstable old power supply. I think a moment of silence is in order, since that’s the last remaining part from the original build. I’m so attached to that machine, I’ll probably be swapping out parts when I’m a hundred and ten.

I finished up another scene from my revision–must type–, and wound up with a freebie or two. You know what I mean… pages that I don’t have to revise because the relevant information wound up being included in an earlier part of the manuscript. Not too bad, all said and done.

Extroverts Should Come With A Warning

I got into one of those conversations today.

You know the ones.

Yup. The kind where you’re with one of your extroverted friends, and you have no idea on this earth where the third person came from or why you are talking to them. They’re just sorta there because you’re out walking with (well, what do you get when you cross the cutest baby in the world with a Labrador retriever?)

Oh, yes. That’s right. An infestation of strangers.

This particular conversation started with the number of businesses that are closing (all of them), and the whole “Buy local” thing.

And as an extrovert, new person announced that “our mayor” has been really pushing the buy local thing.

And as you might guess from some of my previous posts, it’s working. We’ve opened three empty store fronts and a new vacant lot in the past couple of months alone.

I told her I was buying groceries on the internet.

She told me she likes to squeeze her fruit.

(Yes. Yes, she did.)

So, let’s talk about those empty store fronts, shall we? The question I keep hearing is how we get people to buy local.

As if that’s a marvelous option. And you know, I do have options. Should I squeeze my fruit at  Empty-store mart, boarded-up world, or Vacant-Express? Don’t get me wrong. There are grocery stores locally, but they’re not locally owned or anything. They’re gateways to non-growth. Work there so you can buy there so you can work there. There’s a larger version, involving more of the town, but that’s it. An endless cycle of stasis.

And when those storefronts were open? Well, it wasn’t the greatest selection. In fact, the best bookstore in town when I was a kid was the remainders bin at Pamida.

I just don’t see the good ol’ days looking backward.

Here’s the thing. I have access to more because of the internet. Not just more choices (although the fact that I can order a case of random weird delivered to my door doesn’t exactly make me sad.) but more people. More potential customers. A business in my small town–thank you, sweet baby Tim Berners-Lee– has access to millions of potential customers, and not just the handful that are here, and the opportunity to sell to niche audiences that simply weren’t unified enough to have purchasing power until recently.

I don’t have to buy the remainders bin books, if what I really want is a book in Spanish or French, or Classical Assyrian.

And I don’t have to figure out what will sell to a geographically limited market of a few thousand people.

Indie publishing runs on that principle. There are enough people who read Sasquatch porn that if you just figure out how to reach them, you can earn a living. Or… you know… whatever your niche is.

Small, independent art galleries… I don’t have to take the art to New York. I bring New York to the art. Or… I bring the internet connected world to the art.

I can stream videos directly to my home that my local Blockbuster wouldn’t have dreamed of stocking. Wanna binge watch Korean romances with me? No problem. They come to my living room these days.

Wanna have a writers’ group that specializes in people who are actually writing novels? Yeah. That’s on the internet, too.

And frankly, I don’t see it as being a contradiction. Small towns are worth revitalizing. They’re good places to live, and they’re worth saving.

But the question isn’t how you get people to “buy local.”

It’s how do you help local businesses to sell global.

Revise or Rewrite?

Lately, the question with basically everything I’m working on for my revision seems to be do I revise what I already have, or do I rewrite it from scratch. I think I’m doing pretty well with rewriting. It seems like the answers are just coming to me, right now. Or, maybe it’s the step back I’ve taken to focus on Nano for a while. I’m not sure what the revision will look like after I finish the current rewrite. I have a happy feeling it may actually wind up being shorter than I thought it would be.

I had an enormous plate of nachos today. They were all covered in carne assada and by the way, the chips were fried fresh in the store. And just in case you were wondering… it was a half order. It was still bigger than my head, and it made me happy. Pretty sure there was enough food there for me and two of my closest friends.

So, anyway… the revision is progressing.

The nano project? Well, this is the second day I haven’t added all that many words to it. (Zero would be not many, right?)

I’m not sure whether there’s something wrong between me and the nanoproject, or something wrong with the project as a whole, or if I’m just more interested in the revision at this point.

But the core set of characters are people who have been sloshing through my brain for a while, now. And maybe I should still be able to turn them into something beyond the… uhm… fifty pages or so that I have.

And no, I’m still not sure what they’re supposed to run into out in the middle of space like that.

I probably should throw in a bunch of kids so they can whine about are we there yet? (No, not for another three generations, but you’ll really love the place, when you’re eighty.) And then, the parents can throw them out an airlock when they get really annoying. (Oh, look! conflict!)

Right now, I have one child. Well, uhm… slightly less than that. I have… **gets out calculator** about 17% of a child.

Oh, shut up.

You already knew I write science fiction.

Chiseling Away and Building Up

My nano notebook gained an index, today. Nothing major, just a couple of index cards (one for each of the major projects I’m working on, right now) that have the name of the project at the top, and a list of dates and scenes that I was working on. They live in the pocket at the back of my notebook, and in theory, I should be able to track down scenes from that, after I’ve misplaced them.

I did some math, and one notebook = right around 50 k. (If I’m allowed to count notes, and plotting, and if I hit 250 words per page… well, that’s pretty close. I also realize that if I’m trying to stay on track, the idea of fill this notebook pulls all the goals from all the different projects together.

Today was a rewrite day. I’m pulling a scene from my revision apart and putting it back together, using entirely new parts. As it turns out, the wrong person got beat up in the first draft, and in the revision, I’m fixing that. I would rather not beat up the new person, but there you go.

More heart-stopping assault and battery.

The new words are going in the nano notebook. Hence, the index cards.

I’m hitting a little patch of backstory, and I’m debating how much of it to keep. Some of it may be the solution to my pacing problem. More than that, and it may become a whole ‘nother pacing problem.

The question is… whose backstory do I include? It’s all the same event as seen by multiple characters. I have it written in several different forms, and I’m not sure whose version is the most important or the most relevant.

I have two main options, and I think the choice is probably already made in the back of my mind somewhere. I’ll see if I’m thinking the same way in the morning.

Nano-procrastination and nicknames

I’m getting to a point where I’m drifting away from my nanostory. I don’t know what comes next. I like the characters and the setting, but the plot… Well, if you’re doing Nano, you know about the plot. And my revision is a nifty excuse for not working on it.

Or, maybe we could say that my revision is the priority.

But then… Really? A bigger priority than space-faring cannibal engineers? What am I thinking?

I’m thinking about nicknames, today, and whether there’s a gender-based difference in how we use them. Maybe it’s something cultural. But it hit me, today that there are those of us who use (randomly selected, unsanctioned) nicknames to mean that either you are friends, or you would like to be friends, and then, there are those of us who mean I don’t know you, and it’s not worth the effort to get to know you. Yes, I had an encounter. The guy in question is both male and straight-up American. Maybe it’s a situational difference.

So, keep your ears open for me, and give me your thoughts on how you hear people using nicknames over the next few weeks.

In general, I despise them. With a hierarchy of course. Some nicknames/pet names are more of an abomination than others. But I’m fairly sure that most people are actually capable of learning my real name. Or, you know… “hey you” works in a pinch. This was someone I don’t know substituting a term of endearment for the name he doesn’t know. I’m wandering off on a tangent.

So, anyway… the revision is moving, although I do need to look at some pacing issues, now that I’ve done some jumping around.

NaNoWriMo Day 12: Dreams and So Forth

Ever have one of those dreams where a beloved children’s book author takes pity on you and takes you out for Chinese with the rest of his family? I’m not sure exactly where we went afterward, but I’m pretty sure you get the general idea. One standard belonging and camaraderie dream coming up. Nothing says you belong quite like having to suffer through family with someone. (Or, uhm… well, it was actually a very nice imaginary family.)

So, look at me. Apparently, I do get REM sleep from time to time.

And, apparently, I have mad desire to belong issues going on. So, will everybody still love me, if I decide to write children’s books about space bunnies?

I got up early today, and worked on my revision. More revision at lunch, and additional revision, after I got home.

And yes, that makes this the first day I’ve missed writing anything for NaNoWriMo, unless I settle down and come up with some kind of plot twist in the next hour or so.

I really must run. I’d like to put in at least five or six words before I conk out for the night.

Nanowrimo Day 11: Something Goes Here

One of the benefits of writing by hand is that it slows me down and makes me think about the words I’m putting on the page. And one of the downsides of writing by hand is that it slows me down.

I don’t know what it is about 1,667 handwritten words that seems so much longer than 1,667 typewritten words, but there it is. I am not getting all of the handwritten cannibal-space cadet words that my nano challenge requires. There is also the added typing, which is a few days behind.

I also find myself running into a very limited number of conflicts that you can have on a spaceship, and even fewer if you limit yourself to the five people who are on board that spaceship. (Plus or minus a few characters… uhm… yeah. Don’t look behind the curtain.

And then, there’s the Scrivener thing. Which goes with they typing thing. And I still don’t particularly like Scrivener. I’m still looking for the spark that everybody else seems to get with it. It’s not as intuitive as YWriter, and while it may be customizable at some point, I’m having trouble imagining what the customizations would be for me. Then again, I’m not really the kind of person who has a big old bundle of research notes on the computer.

And, in the trend of electronics dying around me… my fitbit lost it’s one button, today. No. I don’t know how. And there’s a break that’s a little hard to even describe, but I think it’s probably going to be fatal.

And coming soon…

Karen replaces the power supply for her pet computer. I’m not sure, but I think that may officially mark the very last of the original pieces I built the thing with in the first place. It’s had a good run. I don’t know if anybody’s interested in pictures of the process, but if you have a preference, let me know.

Let The Typing Begin

I got up early this morning, and started to type. I mean type, not write new words out of my head in a typer-ly way. I have a few NaNoWriMo pages left to type into the fabulous Scrivener program (okay, so closer to fifty) And we’re finally going to get to the root of how many of my handwritten pages equal how many words.

I have been putting this off since day one.

The answer turns out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 words per page, which means that to be on the safe side, I need to be writing about eight pages a day.

And how many pages per day have I been writing? Well, I think I’m averaging in the four to five range. That doesn’t include organization for the nano story, of course, and I haven’t been counting revision work, either.

I would probably have a lot more words, if I were typing from the beginning.

I still believe that the words that I do have are much cleaner and more usable than the words that I’d be doing with start and stop typing.

The place where I’m doubting myself, though, is whether my morale might not be higher with a few more words on the page. A green bar or two from time to time wouldn’t hurt me, and the idea that I can finish my 50k by the end of the month might not be bad, either.

Yes, I know, objectively that it’s not really 50k, if I wind up throwing large chunks of it away, and I know that I’ve been chasing that cleaner manuscript ever since I started manuscript number two.

Of course, if I keep this up, the notebooks I’m using are always going to be available, and the word count should remain pretty much the same. (Unless I can weasel my way into a few more words per page.) And I definitely have that color-coded, quick glance to see how a day went thing going on.

It may just be time to suck it up, and say that since this is what works for me, Nano may have to become a primarily social activity.

What do you think?

NaNoWriMo Day 9: The Artemisium Has Arrived

After a long wait–and a shipping mistake–and another long wait, the Artemisium Absinthium that I’ve been waiting for finally arrived today. And it barely made it into the house, because, well… an ounce of dried leaves, another ounce or two of ear-wrap, and a manila envelope don’t do all that well in a stiff autumn wind. I had to fish the package out of the bushes.

But, it’s here.

Now, let’s be honest. This is an experiment, not a commitment, and as such, I ordered the smallest possible package from Amazon. As it turns out, an ounce of artemisium absinthium goes a long, long ways. A serving is half a tea spoon to a tea spoon, and this… well, it’s a lot of volume. Probably about two decks of playing cards worth. (Some bending would be necessary.)

And my first response is that this stuff smells really, really good. It smells like something you’d put on a turkey. In the neighborhood of sage for the smell.

So, double checking what the always reliable sources on the internet say, we have half a teaspoon of artemisium steeped in about a cup of boiling water.

For five to fifteen minutes.

Yes, I had to read that part twice.

Okay. So, I aimed at five minutes. I’m not saying I’m cautious with drugs–dewormers or otherwise–but let’s go with the lowest possible dosage of the thing for starters. Five minutes, half a teaspoon of artemisium, and fingers crossed.

On the low end of five minutes, I tasted it.

And it does not taste the way it smells. Well, maybe it does, but my first impression was that it was like drinking very, very watery ear-wax.

A couple of sips later, when I had not acclimated to the stuff, I added some splenda. Well, it’s the only sweetener in the house, and I’m pretty sure you’d lapse into a diabetic coma, if you tried sweetening this stuff with real sugar.

I’m not–in general–all that squeamish about bitter. I mean, I actually like aspirin (poster child for accidental poisonings here) and I’ve been known to chew acetaminophen or caffeine when I’m just too lazy to get a cup of water.

Just so you’ll know what I mean, when I say “This is bitter.”

As in slightly more bitter than the stuff you use to keep the cat from chewing on things. (And guess what I’m doing with the rest of it).

The splenda helped, but there’s still an aftertaste that seems to get caught between your tonsils.

The after-after taste (read burps) is actually more or less what I would have expected from the original sniffing of the artemisium.

I did not make it through the entire cup, and I’m fairly certain there’s absolutely no measurable affect (although I do maintain that I do not have worms.)

I am also in a fairly upbeat and positive mood.

I doubt we can attribute that to a few sips of wormwood tea, but the new experience was well worth it. I may, at some point, try it again, using some of the fabulous pointers that I completely ignored, this time. Then again… I’m having trouble envisioning a little licorice tea as being that sweet.

Do I feel more creative?

Maybe just from having confirmed that I am, in fact, the kind of person who tries new things.

Fighting Off… well, something.

I was pretty well out for the day. I got in some work on my revision, and maybe a couple of hundred nanowords, but overall, more sleep than I’ve had in a week, and less writing than I would have hoped for.

It is possible that working at home is not for me.

It is also possible that cutbacks to library funding mean that I have nowhere to go until 10 in the morning, by which prime writing hours are over.

I’m still eyeing that drop-in membership at the co-working space, but to be honest, it’s a lot of money just so I can have someplace not home to write in and a bunch of non-writers to write around. It’s also… **ahem** a slightly creepy building to be in alone early in the morning.

I’m debating whether I actually need more sleep, or if I’m falling asleep out of boredom (very possible, since the book is starting to sound like case studies of insects) or if it’s just that winter hibernation thing kicking in. (Pops another round of vitamins.) Perhaps if I were actually sitting at my own desk in my own house, instead of curled up on the sofa…

My new scene in the revision is going incredibly well. The trick was to remove every single character I possibly could, and especially the ones who were doing the most talking in the first version. I should write that down somewhere.

And there’s always the perusal of literary agents for the “list” later on. I’m still debating the size of the query batches I should be sending out.