Thursday, June 30

My webhosting company went down again, taking my site with it for nearly a week. I suppose I should be annoyed about this... but it's the first major downtime I've had with the company in nearly two years, and tech support has continued to be helpful, friendly, and inhumanly fast. I'm having a hard time working up any ire.

It hasn't messed up the recording of my novel revision progress much, though. This past week has officially been a Bad Writing week. Blah.

In other news, I got Dan addicted to EV Nova in a major way. Fortunately they ported the game to Windows, or I'd never have gotten my computer back.

Revision Progress: 257 pages (out of 370)
Changes: The biggie - and the one that kept me in a writing funk for most of the week - was a set of scenes. Originally it was a scene with the first problematic* telepath character, followed by a Thomas scene, followed by a (totally seperate) scene with the second problematic telepath character. Before I finished the book I had already gone back and moved the Thomas scene a day ahead, leaving me with two problem character scenes, one of which still had seams and dangly bits hanging off where I'd yanked the Thomas scene. Oh, and I killed the plot thread that the first scene was based around, but simply chucking it was not an option; I needed the tension it built for other bits of the book to make sense.

And then I had another problematic character who really needed to make a final appearance before her relationship with the MC went completely to shit. (As it is scheduled to do the morning after this scene. Woo.)

What I ended up with - after several days of crying, cat-vacuuming, or just staring listlessly at bits of paper - was blocking out a new scene with the problematic character which led into the scene with the first problematic telepath (and provided a reason for the tension), which in turn led into the scene with the second telepath. I marked some bits of the original scenes for salvaging into the new scenes and drew Blue Xs of Doom through everything else.

I felt much better afterwards, but it's going to be hard to hit my stride again.

The rest was mostly line edits... again, one of the scenes I blew though in a fit of inspiration, and again it was hard to find things to edit, which worries me. I got the second half of the manuscript in the mail from Gord today, and he didn't mark that section up much either, which is somewhat reassuring. And I threw out several paragraphs towards the end, which salves my conscience somewhat.

Up Next: Scene where the Evil Organization puts in its first on-screen appearance. I'm expecting some unnecessary dramatics and cliche bits to chop up.

* Where "problematic" means "poorly drawn or just plain two-dimensional."
01:42 PM - kat -

(Originally posted on June 22nd. Ironically, the only data loss that happened when my server went down again was this post. Lovely sense of humor the universe has.)

Why I love my webhosting company, in two easy emails. Note the timestamps.


To: support@infinityws.com
Subject: [MB User] Tech Support Question
From: "K. Feete"
Cc: kfeete@theculture.org
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 10:31:21 -0400

-----------------------------------------------------------

I'm writing because my website (katfeete.net) has disappeared.

I first noticed this on Sunday, when the domain didn't even exist; however, the Infinity homepage was also down, so I assumed it was a known problem that you were working on.

As of yesterday I get the cPanel "there is no website configured at this address" screen, and my public_html folder seems to have disappeared entirely from the FTP server.

Do you know when the site will be back up, and how much (if any) of my data was lost?


From: Infinity Web Services
Subject: Re: [MB User] Tech Support Question
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 10:32:47 -0400
To: "K. Feete"

-----------------------------------------------------------

Hi Kat,

I'm going to look into this.

We do have backups up to 1 month ago on your data, you may want to go
into cpanel quickly and download a backup before we attempt a restore.


Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Mike


--------------

I got a variety of interesting error messages through the day that suggested they were working on the problem. By 11 last night, my site was back. Total data loss: 0.

Go Infinity. Seriously, these guys have the best tech support and the best service record I've ever seen. If you're looking for somewhere to host your site, I recommend them.

In other news....

Revision Progress: 221 pages (of 337)
Changes: There's been a lot of these since I last posted, even though I took the weekend off. Threw out most of the suspect conversation and replaced it with more personal stuff, plus background on telepaths, though the conversation is just blocked out, not fully written. Removed one of the conversationalists and a minor plot thread from the next scene, making it feel less OMG full, and added a chunk of personal stuff between Joey and India instead; also ramped down the tension between them since it felt artificial.

The next two scenes required only line edits. I think. We're entering into the second half of the book and those two scenes were written essentially in one day each, at top speed, very intense and very fluid. And they're turning out hard to revise because I get so caught up in them I forget to read critically. Hopefully this is a sign of good writing and not me being blinded by my own prose.

Up Next: The next scene features a conflict that's absolutely essential to the plot. Unfortunately, said conflict is triggered by the plot thread I deleted earlier. I've got a bit of salvage I want to stick in its place, but doing so gracefully may be tricky.
01:13 PM - kat -

Friday, June 17

This is, it appears, my week for movies. We went and saw Batman Begins last night with some friends. It was a lot of fun; the acting was spot-on, the humor was subtle, and the plot holes and scientific impossibilities were... forgivable. This is Batman, after all.

Though watching it, I was once again struck by my original thought upon watching Episode I: "My god. I didn't know you could make Liam Neeson a bad actor." Not that he was a bad actor in this one - he was fabulous - but watching the early scenes where his character mentors Bruce Wayne you realize just how much Lucas threw away. It takes a very special kind of director to turn a golden acting talent into mud.

In other news, Charlie Stross's new novel Accelerado isn't due for release until July, but he's making a free ebook copy available on his website. Check it out! My copy is currently awaiting the magic of Free Time, but this is, after all, Charlie Stross. I know it's gonna be good.

Revision Progress: 174 pages (of 337) (Hey! Half done!)
Changes: Changed the scene-opening conversation so that it no longer references deleted plot threads. Junked a large portion of the scene-ending and replaced it with something better, to my joy: that bit has nagged at me with its mediocreness since I wrote it. Rewrote the next scene so that Joey isn't repeating so much, deleted references to the dead plotline, and cut a minor character from the scene since, what with me shuffling scenes around, she would otherwise appear in two consecutive scenes and I don't want to give her that much weight.
Up Next: The original motive for Joey having this next conversation got thrown out, and frankly the thing's a bit lame. Trying to decide whether it's worth salvaging or not.
11:49 AM - kat -

Thursday, June 16

Hey, the home team finally wins one.

The House handed President Bush the first defeat in his effort to preserve the broad powers of the USA Patriot Act, voting yesterday to curtail the FBI's ability to seize library and bookstore records for terrorism investigations.

May there be many more to come.

Revision Progress: 157 pages (of 337)
Changes: Moved the spaceborn scene to in between the two computers scenes, thus spacing out my subplots more happily. Discovered a dangling plot thread and went back through the manuscript for a while fixing it. Other than that it was all line edits - this section of text was surprisingly clean.
Up Next: Revise the skipped computers scene. Find some way to salvage the character-building conversation with Kalissa even though most of the stuff they're talking about is cut material.
12:02 PM - kat -

Wednesday, June 15

On Saturday, my landlord asked me if I knew many recipies with tomatoes in.

"A few," I said. "Dan doesn't like tomatoes much, so I'm limited by that. Why do you ask?"

"I went by the farmer's market today and they were offering a really good deal if you bought a crate."

At this point I should say that my landlord, while a nice guy, has the Deal Bug to a frightening degree. Witness the bag full of printer cartridges on the kitchen table, which may have been on sale but which don't, as far as we can tell, go with any printer he owns. Witness the insanely large collection of DVDs still in the wrappers. Witness the two four-foot tower speakers hooked up to the living room stereo. The other eight are currently living in the garage because, as Dan pointed out, if we hooked up all at once we would be in severe danger of having no windows, trees in the backyard, or neighbors who were speaking to us, although that last would be a nonproblem since even if they were speaking to us we wouldn't be able to hear them.

"I really don't think we can use up a crate of tomatoes," I said. "Have you already bought them?"

At that point he became vague and evasive and left rather hurriedly. I seached the house and was relieved to find no crates of tomatoes in the garage or basement, but alas, my original suspicions were correct; the tomatoes were on the doorstep yesterday morning. It appears they'd been living in the trunk of his car until now.

Dan has already announced that he's not eating anything with an unjustifiable amount of tomatoes in it, where by "unjustifiable" he means "any". I know from experience that my landlord will use maybe one or two. The final housemate doesn't cook. And I can't bear to leave them to rot.

*sigh* I suppose I remember how to can tomatoes....

Revision Progress: 143 pages (of 337)
Changes: Beefed up the computers blurb with salvaged material; beefed up the peace talks section of the same scene to give actual new information. Added more description.
Up Next: Glancing over the next scene, I notice I'm following a computers subplot/talks subplot scene with a talks subplot/computers subplot scene. Hmmm.
11:49 AM - kat -

Tuesday, June 14

About the only interesting thing that happened yesterday was roleplaying, where my character got to lurk. Well, actually not so much. She *thought* she was lurking, but let's face it, a big woman carrying a big sword wrapped in a big black cloak and "hiding" in a doorway is not, despite her fond illusions, inconspicuous. People were avoiding looking at her, but it wasn't because she was well hidden, it was because she was SCARY.

This character is *fun* to roleplay.

I'm also getting more and more interested in the Fading Suns setting, which is not as bad as it could be. At the moment I'm content to nick ideas from it for a "just for fun" space opera swashbuckling setting that's been perculating in my head for a year or two. And I promise to file the serial numbers off first. Honest.

Revision Progress: 133 pages (of 337)
Changes: Cut huge chunks out of the telepath conversation - man, I did a lot of dithering on this one. It is now shorter and better. Added some more background on telepaths. Cut slightly smaller chunks of dithering from the other two conversations in the scene.
Up Next: ... urg, Dan pointed out yet another problem with the format of the news blurbs. I'm going to go find some examples of how other people did it in hopes that will help. Then I need to add salvaged material to the next scene and fill in some of the *vague hand waving* I did for background on the talks.
10:21 AM - kat -

Monday, June 13

Yesterday was apparently Movie day: we went to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith with our housemate and his girlfriend. It's now in the same category as Pirates of the Caribbean for me: inherently trivial concept executed with such breathtaking perfection as to render it a classic. It is so very, very rare that a big screen movie shows such an finely tuned ear for the humorous. I felt like cheering.

We then had a long conversation which resulted, I forget how, in us combing the town for a copy of Real Genius, which we bore home in triumph and watched. For those who don't know, this is a very funny eighties spoof with an absurdly young Val Kilmer in it, and another film where Hollywood magically fails to fuck up humor. It also turned out that my landlord knew the guy cited as "Hacking Consultant" in the credits, which says a lot both about the movie and the house I live in.

I learned that by leaving the first season of Farscape for my housemate to watch I had so addicted him that he bought the second season. Hah! My plot worked. Productivity may suffer for a while.

And, finally, I ran into kourtneyshort at the movies and found out that she had planned and executed her own wedding inside of five days and no one had known about it but the parents. I am in awe. Congratulations, guys.


Revision Progress: 119 pages, of 337, which puts me roughly 1/3 of the way through after 2 weeks of work. Not too shabby.
Changes: More description, because I was slacking off on that. Decided Joey didn't need some of the info I was giving her just here and cut it; there's a later scene where I repeat the information which will now need beefing up. Realized the spaceborn were currently all male and changed a one-shot character's gender. Deleted the smuggler scene. Dan offered comfort with the idea I could always use it in another book... and now that I think of it, there's a nebulous plotline floating in my head that would benefit from it, and I'd have time to explore the characters properly. Yes!
Up Next: ... the problem is that now the spacer/Customs scene hangs a bit. Hmm. Let me check my notes. Then, it's deciding whether or not the upcoming stays as one really long scene or gets split up.
11:17 AM - kat -

Sunday, June 12

There's hope for religion after all.*

To be honest, I've known there was hope for religion all along; I know too many good religious people to think otherwise.** But knowing that only makes the actions of the Religious Right that much more frustrating. They're pulling so many good people in behind them... but let's face it; the whole platform is geared towards a return to the Good Old Days of the 50s, when rock hadn't been invented yet, abortion wasn't legal, good girls only put out in the back seats of cars and never told anyone, the black people were in their proper place (as were the women) and the Cold War was keeping everyone tractable.

Take abortion, for example. If the RR was really interested in the welfare of the children, they might be supporting programs like this one, that give poor, underage mothers a chance in hell of coping. They might be pushing for reforms of the adoption laws that would make adoption a viable option, or ad campaigns that trained Americans out of the idea that adoption was only for sterile couples. They'd be supporting the notion of planned parenthood and advocating birth control.

They're doing the exact opposite - which suggests that the RR has no interest in the actual welfare of these children. No, what they care about is returning to the Good Old Days, when sex was scary... for women, that is. Men were, of course, having sex quite regularly and fearlessly. But it was so much easier when you could seperate women into Good Girls and Whores. It saved you having to think about them except as categories.

Or look at it this way: while there's some very interesting religious science fiction out there (Orson Scott Card, anyone?), there's only one series that's in line with the RR: the Left Behind books.

The best, indeed the only, future the RR can imagine is one in which Armageddon has happened and they have been whisked up to heaven, leaving the unbelievers to scream and suffer in agony. In fact this screaming, suffering Armageddon is such a comfort to them that they've written upwards of ten books describing the horrors that beset the unbelievers.

This is their idea of a positive future.

And these people are running our country.

So it is a relief to me to hear someone saying

...it is time for Christianity to choose whom it will follow: an angry exclusionary God or the loving God who opens the path to wisdom.

Yes, please! More like you! I know you're out there. For the love of God, speak out!


---
* link nicked from oletheros.
** I myself am an agnostic in the old sense of "honest doubter." For those who're interested.

Revision Progress: 97 pages (of 337)
Changes: Finished up the scene with Joey's commander. Copiously revised yet another interview scene (are these all going to suck in draft? Damn) and blocked out the medical expo scene (which is going to be a delicate balance between "enough info that the readers are satisfied" and "not so much that the readers are bored. Arrg.) Revised the scene where Joey talks to the Ambassador with an eye to Gord's comments on translation; another delicate balance, but I think I've got it better at least.
Up Next: Revise the computers scene - which mostly means getting the right data in there. Cut the smuggler scene - I like it, but it just doesn't fit the main storyline - and find something to replace it. Depressing, because most people who read the manuscript liked the scene too.
10:35 AM - kat -

Saturday, June 11

*yawn*

Woohoo! We went to Wonderland yesterday! And, um, got back at midnight. Tired Kat. More tired Dan, who had to work at 8 am. Poor Dan.

The trip did not start off well. It was a University event, which meant we could take a bus, but unfortunately it also meant we were saddled by the event planners who thought we needed entertaining. Now, my idea of a really good bus or car ride is one where I sit quietly for an hour or two, staring out the window, lost in my own thoughts. And even when I'm not trapped in a bus I despise party games and team-building; it has pretty much the reverse effect on me, so that I pull farther and farther away from the group in a combination of contact embarrassment and a desire not to be associated with these idiots, whoever they are. Being stuck in a position where I can't run away (in the front of the bus, no less) while people I don't know demand I name the celebrity I want to sleep with and try to make me shout idiotic cheers is pretty much one of my personal hells.

To give the guys on the bus credit, the majority of the bus seemed to really enjoy the whole thing; even Dan probably would have had fun if I hadn't been trying to crawl under him and hide. The alienated introvert sitting in front was not their fault. To add to the misery of the whole thing, it is now more obvious to me than ever that I am not a college student any more. Dan and I had a good five years on most of the bus and it showed. I shared no interests with any of them, I had no desire to engage in conversation with them, and the overherd conversations made me pray fervently that I'd never been such an airhead as this. They wouldn't have been my crowd even in school, but my tolerance has markedly decreased. It was a gift from the gods when we got to the park and could escape them.

After that the day had nowhere to go but up, and it went very up - with me screaming the whole way, usually. We met up with a very cool friend of Dan's about an hour in; she and I bonded instantly over how horrible the bus ride was and continued to bond over what a fucking thrill-happy manic Dan was. This mostly took the form of us sitting behind him and threatening him with death for getting us onto this crazy machine while he laughed and the damn thing kept climbing - I still think the climb is the worst part of rollercoasters; so much time to anticipate the drop. I enjoyed all but one of the rides, in the end, though I chickened out at the last minute on the Drop Zone. Sorry, hon. Being dropped from a large height is just not my thing.

So we had fun, and the lines were much shorter - especially at around 9 pm or so, when we were able to climb right on several rides. And the bus ride back was mostly impromptu karaoke and not too bad. It was a good day.

Of course, I got no work done save for a short paragraph scribbled while we waited for the bus, so these stats are for Thursday:

Revision Progress: 88 pages (of 337)
Changes: Rewrote a conversation so that it was less "the story needed this" and more real; this ended up taking quite some time. Sneaking realizations are harder to write than they look. Deleted the rest of the scene, decided that salvage from the last chapter didn't work here after all, and wrote a short "Joey is polite in a way that comes back and bites her in the ass" scene instead, hopefully in a way that fleshes out her commander, a character I've had complaints about.
Up Next: Finish off the above scene in a way that still incorporates the reference to Big Bad Organization; revise a chunk of salvage, and then block out the medical expo scene I intend it to lead into.
01:50 PM - kat -

Thursday, June 09

The Conversation happened again:

*Dan wakes up*

Dan: *indecipherable*

Me: What?

Dan: *indecipherable, because it's Russian*

Me: Speak English, hon.

Dan: ...Fuck.

------

He gets annoyed at me for making a big deal about this (and probably for posting about it, but he's still asleep. The early bird gets the incriminating post) but the whole thing fascinates me. I am American and therefore monolingual. I've tried sparodically to learn other languages and gotten as far as "hello", "goodbye", and "I'm sorry, I don't speak your language" before giving up. It was hard.

The idea of being so fluent in two languages that you can swap between them unconciously blows my mind.

At some point I'm going to have to learn Russian. Dan's parents are good with English but not great and it's embarrassing to have people apologizing for their English when you haven't even bothered trying to learn their language; besides, there's books on our shelves I can't read and it drives me crazy. But the whole idea scares me. My previous linguistic forays have all been Romance languages. Russian is alien.

Why do all the things that are good for me have to be so damned difficult?

Revision Progress: 78 pages (of 337)
Changes: Swapped two scenes, deleted the scene that came after them (with a paragraph or two marked for salvage), wrote a short personal scene to round things off, and moved the scene that came before all these scenes to after them. Gah. Savaged by rutting weasels indeed.
Up Next: I've still got one scene from this string that needs a place, probably as front for the new "medical expo" scene. So figuring out where to put that scene and working in the other salvage are top priority.
09:11 AM - kat -

Wednesday, June 08

Well, I've been revising the novel for a week now, and I'm still thinking of sending it out. That's good.

Evidence to the contrary, I'm feeling pretty good about the story. I'm making a lot of changes, but they're not sweeping "Oh my God, this plot sucks, how can I salvage it?" changes, they're "Okay, this isn't in line with the plot, how do I fix it?" changes. I'm not changing the overall structure, in other words, I'm just cleaning up. This is in direct contrast to other drafts and so I'm feeling pretty cheerful about it.

So far.

My apologies to those of you who're sick of getting the revision blow-by-blow. There's really not much else happening in my life.

Revision Progress: 66 pages (out of 337)
Changes: Tightened dialogue. Realized the next scene consisted almost entirely of either vague hand-waving, "I don't know where to put this, I guess it can go here", or cool stuff that has no relevance to the story. And lo, there was much drawing of big X's through entire pages. Blocked out what to replace it with; gave the one salvagable conversation its own scene.
Up Next: Impliment some major shuffling I decided on yesterday. *thinks about it* Yup, that'll take up the whole day.
10:47 AM - kat -

Tuesday, June 07

My god. I had no idea Elfquest was still around. I devoured these things when I was a kid. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, they've got some stuff online. Treat yourself.

And speaking of online comics, I forgot to blog about Girl Genius turned into an online strip, so I guess I will now. It's by Phil and Kaja Foglio and it's steampunk and it's wonderful. Go read. Now.

Revision Progress: 55 pages (of 337)
Changes: Made a whole chunk of infodump more in-line with the story - I lost some info, but it's not so interruptive now, so overall I think I came out ahead. Tweaked the spacer dialogue.
Up Next: The final part of this conversation is Kat being self-indulgent and letting two characters she really likes play. I am such a dialogue junkie. Let's see how much of it I can cut.
10:52 AM - kat -

Monday, June 06

I tried a new recipe for making pizza on the grill yesterday. Results were mixed, largely because the grill ran out of gas and we had to resort to the stove. The pizza was good though.

Revision Progress: 48 pages (of 337)
Changes: "Tightening and fact-checking" turned into "rewrite the whole scene, with much wailing and gnawing on pens." The end result, though, is much better, and provides a good intro for the main spacer character - the previous intro was dull. Added another new scene which explains the absence of a minor character and foreshadows the Bad Guy Organization which shows up later in the book. Rewrote some of the murder expo as per Gord and his girlfriend Lime's suggestions, but another scene is probably called for to cover that fully.
Up Next: Revising the first long scene with the main spacer character - which will probably be where I make the big decisions on the spacer dialect. I predict more pen-gnawing. Considering how many new scenes I'm adding I can probably put "angst about length of book" on the to-do list....
10:49 AM - kat -

Sunday, June 05

My mother sent me a package of stuff I'd forgotten, and (wise in the ways of the border) she clearly marked it as "personal belongings".

Not clearly enough, it seems.

When I got my package it was swathed in COD markings and enough tape to seal shut heaven, and several mysterious bits of paper had been added. The thought process that occurred, I deduce from these bits of paper, went something like this:

a) This box does not contain personal items. That would be Too Easy.

b) We're not quite sure what this box does contain.

c) After some head-scratching we decide that one item is a "bag" (it was a tank top) and another is a "folder" (it was my diploma). We will write them down as such and mark them confusingly as "kit". We will ignore the largest and most valuable item in the box, a digital kitchen scale, presumably because it has "SCALE" written on the side and even we would feel embarrassed muffing that.

d) The final item confuses us deeply. It is a flat silicone rectangle. It has "Silpat" written on it, so we write it down as a "Silpat".

e) It also has "Made in France" written on it, so we decide the entire package came from France, rather than (as the shipping label states) Virginia.

f) We examine the box and discover that it bears markings from a company billed as "The Dairy and Food Experts". Ah-hah! Clearly, this mysterious "Silpat" is a piece of commercial dairy equipment, and we mark it down as such. What earthly use would a dairy have for a no-stick pastry mat? Why would "The Dairy and Food Experts" also send a "bag", a "folder", and a digital scale, not to mention bits of personal mail? These are not questions we bother ourselves with (although considering the "France" train of logic, I shouldn't be surprised.)

g) We decide the "dairy equipment" is worth $80, because this seems a sensible price for a $15 piece of silicone. We attach bits of paper saying to charge the receiver much money for importing expensive dairy equipment from France and send the box on its merry way.


... I should be grateful it got here at all, under the circumstances. But y'know, I'm not.

Revision Progress: 43 pages (of 337)
Changes: Discovered that the transition between conversations actually worked better without the lead-in. Hooray! Replaced two paragraphs of Joey vaguely describing her fighter pilot experience with two paragraphs of Joey describing her fighter pilot experience. Note lack of "vaguely". Replaced a sentence that's been bugging me since I wrote it. Added a scene describing the first set of peace talks and how horribly wrong they went.
Up Next: Some backtracking: I have, yet again, miffed the description and need to go back and add sounds and textures. Tightening and fact-checking on the first encounter with the spacers.
09:56 AM - kat -

Saturday, June 04

Went to a friend's for dinner last night, which was both fun and yum. I got to try my hand at homemade ice cream for the first time. Though the result did not freeze as quickly as hoped, they were still very, very good indeed. An ice-cream maker is definately going on my Christmas list.


Revision Progress: 30 (of 337) (yes, I was lazy yesterday)
Changes: Replaced "deasil" and "widdershins" with my brother's suggestion of "spinward" and "counterspinward". Considering dropping the "ward" and/or abbreviating the second to cee-spinward - we'll see. Scribbled a lot of stuff about government in the margins, some of which I didn't know until I scribbled it, and got halfway through adding the new stuff to the character intro scene.
Up Next: Finish character intro scene. Delete several bits that the new section have rendered superflous, which incidentally leaves me without a lead-in to the next scene. Hmm. Add "replace lead-in" to the list, I suppose.
11:01 AM - kat -

Friday, June 03

Most of yesterday was spent either biking around, revising the novel, or cooking. Mmm, cooking. I need to cook more.

I also participated in a roleplaying session for the first time in... four years? Five? Six years since I've been a player. It was good fun. Our GM was excellent and the people I'm playing with look to be good players - they roleplay, but they know to stop playing the role when the game is done. Bit of a relief after the last batch of drama queens I was a player with.

Of course, my character's helping. Usually I played a bard or healer, but this time through I ended up with a soldier, and she's turning out to be a lot of fun to play. Who knew?

Geeky line of the night goes to Dan, upon viewing a picture of someone's car with fuzzy dice in the window:

"I wonder if they make fuzzy d20s?"

Revision Progress: 28 pages (of 337)
Changes: Spent the morning brainstorming the attitudes of both parties coming into the interview scene; also wrote out what they know and what they think about it. I tend to forget how much that differs from what I know unless I write it down. Armed with this insight, I trashed about three-quarters of the interview scene, wrote a new scene in the margins, and called it a day.
Up Next: More brainstorming, as the party scene is a perfect opportunity for scene-setting which I have utterly failed to use. Rework a character intro; they are now discussing the murder rather than blathering. Make up new terms to replace the ones everyone's complained about.
10:17 AM - kat -

Thursday, June 02

Elizabeth Bear posted a link to a very good article on working with language. Since I'm messing about with language in my current story, it's not just good, it's timely.

Not that I'm creating a new language or anything - God forbid! No, my problem is what the article calls "the conceit of translation". In fact, two conceits. The first is that my alien can't speak our language and must go through a translator (and the translator is himself a bit of a rare bird.) The second is that I have a human subculture that's developed their own tongue - more a pidgin really, or what the article calls an argot - and speak standard human with a heavy accent. Which, yes, I render.

So far it's been moderately successful. That is, my beta readers have complained about specific mistakes, rather than telling me the whole translation thing was a mistake or screaming "No dialect! Dialect bad!", which is what I thought they'd do.

The problem is that I'm in over my head. I'm monolingual, for christssake. I know nothing about language. And yet I'm making it - as one of my readers pointed out - a central element to my story.

And thinking about it, I don't want to change that. I like what the language differences have done to the story. I think it's a better story for them. I want to go over them and make them better, not take them out.

And really, I've been in over my head with this particular story for a while now.

Sink or swim time.

Revision Progress: 22 pages (of 337)
Changes: More descriptions of people. Worked in the subs cultural info; changed the name of the telepath organization from dramatic-and-silly (StarMind) to still-dramatic-but-at-least-descriptive (Telepathic Talent Control); figured out their relationship to the whole and found a place to slip that info in. Made the body and surrounding scene more realistic (I hope).
Up Next: Find a better rationale for the next interview than "The story needed it to happen." It's annoying people.
11:04 AM - kat -

Wednesday, June 01

Ah, and here's the trick - I can't just post story updates, because that would be Dull; I must find interesting things to post about every day. Hey, maybe this will get me back in the habit of posting.

Unfortunately my life is not very interesting just now, so I will link to Peter Watts's science vampires in hopes of distracting you. I got the link from David Brin's blog, but Dan had seen the original presentation at Ad Astra. I have therefore in a way seen it three times - once when Dan first came back from Ad Astra and gave me a blow-by-blow, once on the 'net, and once while I was watching it on the 'net and Dan was hanging over my shoulder giving me the blow-by-blow.

Curse his good memory anyway.

Distracted yet? Good.

Revision Progress: 15 pages (of 337)
Changes: Disambiguated the subs so people now hopefully know what they are. Changed "seeing a seperate view in each eye" to "seeing layered views" as per my brother's suggestion. Added more description as per everyone's suggestion. Read up on crime scene procedures and hopefully made discovery of the body more realistic. Added an exchange that gives two characters a reason to meet up later, rather than relying on Brownian motion, which will hopefully make the conversation they have when they do meet up more interesting.
Up Next: Check a few more facts on dead bodies, look over Gord's suggestions for making the translator realistic, work in why subs and bodmods are frowned on.
09:58 AM - kat -



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