stillsostrange: (Dark City)
Floodland (O book, what is your real title?)

Words today: ~900
Words total: 2500
Reason for stopping: a nice number
Darling: Some days Simon found her youth charming, and others exhausting. Today, he suspected, watching her drop weightlessly into a chair and fling one slender leg across the arm, would be one of the latter.

I sketched out some broader strokes of worldbuilding, though not nearly enough. I will be plagued with bracket notes for some time yet. At least I have the three main characters' names--mostly--and I know who one of the antags is, if not why.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
Floodland, which is not its title at all, but the only working title I have

Words today: 1200
Words total: 1200
Reason for stopping: time to figure out what's going on
Darling: If Lucia could have slept on trains, she might have died peacefully.
Tyop: n/a

I have a ton of worldbuilding to do before I can even figure out my plot, but at least my MC is being talkative. She is everything I could want in an MC: worn down, damaged, ruthless, cynically hopeful, observant, and fashion-conscious.

Now I need that worldbuilding, so I can have dirigible battles and shadow monsters.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
LiveJournal updates remain thin on the ground, but I have not died. I had a lovely visit to Massachusetts last week to run around (literally) with [ profile] matociquala and dance with [ profile] readingthedark and meet other delightful people. And then I brought [ profile] matociquala back to Austin with me, where we danced and hiked and signed books and danced some more.

After some delays on the insurance end, our old car was finally declared totaled (and hopefully given a Viking funeral). Today we brought home a new Honda, which with any luck will live a long and full life like my first Honda, not die a tragic and self-sacrificing death like the last one.

In addition to great busyness and some brain-eating personal stuff going on, I've been unposty because of a lack of novel progress and frustration therewith. But--cross your appendages--I may have had An Idea tonight. It's actually an old idea (spies in fabulous hats), but I'm starting to figure out what makes it tick. If I can get a surge of worldbuilding built next week, I should have a solid foundation. I hope.
stillsostrange: (Bleak)
I am contributing to the decline of LJ with my lack of posts. Not that I ever posted much of substance to begin with.

Friday: Rest day? I can't remember now, but that seems likely.
Saturday: ~ 3 hours gothercize
Sunday: rest day
Monday: 1/2 hour core class, climbing
Tuesday: 2 miles elliptical, 1 hour session with trainer
Wednesday: 4 hours dayjob
Thursday: 4.5 hours dayjob

(24 miles out of Hobbiton, as the treadmill treads.)

It's mid September and I've just noticed that the Krewe DCM (which has organized Austin's Halloween parade for the last five years) hasn't updated all year. This fills me with dread. I also have no idea what I'll be wearing. If Agent J opts for a Disney-themed costume, at least I can reuse the Gothtopus.

I figured out what I was sticking on with regards to D2. It is, of course, that characters. It took me nine years to drag one book out of these recalcitrant bastards--we'd best not see a repeat of that.

I've also been working on the oh-so-rare art project this week. I may post pictures of that for you amusement soon.
stillsostrange: (Sif)
Friday: 6 hours dayjob
Saturday: 6 hours dayjob
Sunday: 7 hours dayjob, ~3 hours gothercize. Dancing on a holiday weekend--I suspect my lungs are still coated in other people's sweat.
Monday: 5 miles elliptical
Tuesday: 1 hour session with trainer
Wednesday: 1/2 hour core class, climbing
Thursday: 1 mile stair machine, 1 mile treadmill, 1 mile some other sort of cross training machine thing. I don't even know. What I do know is that I love none of them like I love my elliptical machine.

(22 miles out of Hobbiton.)

Something beautiful happened Wednesday. I'm not suddenly sending V3s, but I did sail up an overhang that has defeated me for more than three freaking years. I was so stunned to have sent the route that I turned around and sent it again. I'm surprised a choir of angels didn't await me with hosannas at the top of the wall.

Also, my endurance running is getting better, but a mile on the treadmill still leaves me red and gasping alarmingly. I need a slow zombie apocalypse if I'm to have any chance at survival.

Sequels. These things are hard. The Bone Palace existed before I ever wrote TDC, and was always its own separate thing. But D2 builds almost entirely off Dreams, and needs to further an overarching plot while still doing its own stuff. I find this very strange and unnerving. Also, it means I finally have to figure out what the overarching plot is.
stillsostrange: (Byakhee)
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 7 hours dayjob
Sunday: 7 hours dayjob
Monday: 1 hour yoga, climbing
Tuesday: 1 hour session with trainer
Wednesday: Climbing & powerhouse (Alas, no dancing.)
Thursday: 1 mile treadmill, 1.5 miles elliptical, 1 mile stationary bike (these suck, I have learned; I shall shun them from now on), assorted weights. Then I came home and made a protein shake. What have I become?!

(13.5 miles out of Hobbiton, as the treadmill treads.)

"White Wedding" and Ministry's "Nature of Love" are both songs to which I am incapable of stopping an elliptical workout. So if iTunes plays them back to back, I'll go an extra half mile. Apparently what I really need in life is Al Jourgensen following me around shouting "Go!" Though that might be a bit strenuous for him these days.

Sorry for the exercise spam. If it's any consolation, I'm currently brainstorming Dreams 2: Byakhee Boogaloo, so I might start spamming about that soon. It may contain a crippled WWI fighter ace who keeps a byakhee in a box.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
I'm working on Prayers To Broken Stone, and coming to the conclusion that it's no longer the right title. This isn't surprising, considering I've completely changed the main characters, if not the last incarnation of the plot. This is the book also known as La Ghoul Nikita (Or: A Travelogue With Ghouls), and has gone from being slow and elegiac to a lot more thrillerish. A title that reflects that might not hurt, and might get me through the current revision burn I'm suffering on the first three chapters.

[Poll #1858116]
stillsostrange: (Muse)
After [ profile] fadethecat agreed to split the take with me, I finally broke down and joined a CSA. Full of enthusiasm and determination to not waste food/eat out less, I actually cooked with this produce today. Breakfast was a green tomato omelette, and dinner was roasted beet and fennel salad and wilted beet greens. (And chicken from the grocery store, because I have limits.) Not only was this all delightful, but I actually consumed more than 100% RDA of potassium today. I don't think this has ever happened before. Either 118% causes organ failure, or I'll be able to fold space tomorrow.

Now I have zucchini, summer squash, and kale to get through, and still more fennel. Luckily, I just found a recipe for Portuguese fennel soup.

The Poison Court

Words today: 1028
Words total: 4350
Reason for stopping: end of chapter
End line: "There's a dead man in the garden."
Deaths: That guy in the garden.
Mean things: Inconvenient corpses

I would like Derek Jacobi to narrate all my transitions.
stillsostrange: (Ginger Snaps Back)
In a display of wonderful timing, Trent Reznor has made the Karen O cover of "Immigrant Song" available for download. It's like he knows what my book needs.

The Winter Road (The Ashen Throne? I can't decide! TWR is a better title, but TAT is more pertinent to the book.)
Words today: 1633
Words total: 12229
Darling: To be safe, she brought her boot down hard on his sword hand, feeling the crunch of bone through leather, and kicked the weapon away with her toe. I'm not happy with the construction of the sentence, but I love it when Isyllt is a bitch.
Mean things: Two weeks without a bath, assassins in alleys, gunshot in an enclosed space, watching your boyfriend get shot. (Isyllt isn't the only bitch here.)

Downum's Law: The time spent writing combat scenes is inversely proportional to actual combat time. But after spending hours on a five minute scuffle, I stumbled over an unexpected twist. I may rethink it, but a moment of auctorial nastiness could serve to leave Isyllt alone and off balance, and allow me to conserve characters.

When you find yourself giggling and clapping after shooting someone in the lung, writing or serial murder are really the only life choices left to you.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
I'm tired of coming up with alternate names for The Book Which Must Not Be Named, so I'll finally clarify the crazy book scrambling that's been going on around here since July.

Having delivered the three contracted books in The Necromancer Chronicles, I now have to come up with a proposal to show Orbit for an option novel. Either they like it (optimal, since I've been very happy with Orbit), or they pass and Fabulous Agent shops it elsewhere. My editor had some suggestions for possible option novels, which led to all my frantic scrambling to find a project that would make us both happy.*

In October, my editor left Orbit. Reader, I wailed; I tore my hair and beat my breast and rent my garments. Then I decided that since he wouldn't be the one we pitch the option novel to, I would be a shameless hack as practical as possible. So I started working on the fourth Necromancer Chronicle, The Winter Road, also known as Big Gay MacHamlet and That Damn (un)Norse Book.** I'm also revising Dreams, so I have two completely different projects to spread the insanity between.

I'd hoped that Orbit would assign me to a new editor fairly quickly, but since it's December and I haven't heard anything, I'm guessing that won't happen till next year.

So that's what's going on now. Any questions?

* I ended up with several different ideas I like, so it was a productive scramble.

** Unless it becomes The Ashen Throne, which is growing on me right now.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
A character started talking to me on the way home from the gym tonight, so at least I end November with a good wordcount.

Big Gay MacHamlet
Words today: 1452
Tyop: n/a
Darling: n/a
Mean things: ambition, bad memories, cold toes

10596 / 100000 words. 11% done!

I didn't mean for there to be a creepy Flowers In The Attic vibe between these characters, and yet there it is. Oops. On the upside, I just cast Stellan and Alexander Skarsgård as !Polonius and !Laertes, respectively. That tends to brighten a book. Now I need a matching !Ophelia.
stillsostrange: (Byakhee)
Oh, November. My love-hate relationship with you and wordcount continues. But since it's been a while since I had a word meter...

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters (until someone comes up with a better title)

1448 / 80000 words. 2% done!

That is all of the first scene rewritten. Now it has dialogue, and characterization, and foreshadowing, and people doing things other than sitting on couches. Amazing, I know. The next scene is pretty solid as is, except for bad dialogue. After that the heavy lifting starts.
stillsostrange: (Byakhee)
The time has come once more for me to do battle with my very own bête noire, the novel known as Dreams of Shreds and Tatters.

Many of you who haven't fled screaming, Dreams is my adolescent mess of a novel. Not meaning I wrote it as a teen, but meaning it was my first novel after I put away the Dread Juvenilia. I wrote it with serious intent, but made a terrible mess of it in the process.

In 2008 I started a fairly serious revision. I rewrote vast swathes to get the prose up to snuff; I figured out better characterization and pacing; I trashed pointless scenes. I was within several chapters of the end when I got distracted with selling TDC.

Looking at the last revision now, I have to concede that the structure has serious problems. I still love the story, but it needs new guts on its bones, or maybe the other way around. I need to stop revising a bad book and write a better one. I kinda wish I could find a new and better title, to help sever ties.

I'll be in the corner crying if anyone needs me.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I have three chapters of That Book Thing finished, but need at least one more to have a proposal-sized chunk. My current trouble is controlling the flow of information--usually I'm told to clarify things, but this time I'm trying not to let the first chapter turned into a bolus of exposition that would choke a horse.

Austin's Midnight Madness scavenger hunt--which I'm helping run this year--is on Saturday. I've started making my clues, and need to put together prop packages for the teams. And buy a wig. And make sure all my cohorts have fedoras.

I've bought the first round of supplies for my Halloween costume, but haven't begun assembling it yet. Next week will be a frantic wing-making rush. And I need to find--Cod help us all--a pair of leggings.

The pile of gravel in my driveway is much smaller (we can park one car in it), but not yet vanquished.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
Shatter your illusions of love?

That Unnorse Book (Which is turning into something more like Big Gay MacHamlet. Moar ghosts! Moar witches!)
Words today: 2194 (New words. That doesn't count rewriting two scenes from Chapter 1)
Words total: 7728
Reason for stopping: End of chapter 2
Darling: “If you have any advice for me, swan of blood, I would welcome it.” Kennings! I love kennings! Kennings for everyone!
Mean things: Still not enough queening, politics, creepy visitations in the middle of the night

Named things: The capital of Riven, one advisor, one family, one guard, one captain, one ship
Things still to be named: Not-Elsinore, other families

In addition to the joy of kennings, I realized that any given character might have up to five names: first name, patro/matronymic, aett-name, epithet, and title. That won't get me any hate mail at all...

I've rewritten Chapter 1 three times now. The first attempt was poorly paced, and the protag wasn't doing much protaggy--mostly she was being passive and not making decisions, which isn't a great hook. In the second draft I gave her stuff to do, and that helped, but something was still wrong. Finally I realized that there wasn't enough forward motion, and part of the problem was that the MCs, having already made a decision, were wasting valuable page time waffling over that decision. I hate that when I encounter it in other people's books, so I had to kill it with a stick. In draft three I skipped the waffle stage and opened with the forward motion. I feel better about it now, so hopefully this version will stick.

According to Viking Answer Lady, Fetbreiðr--"foot-broad"--was the kenning for a real sword. This means Vikings had buster-swords.

Determined as I am to end the ugly dust bowl in my back yard, today I bought 6.5 cubic yards of pea gravel, which will be dumped in my driveway on Thursday. Then the trick will be carting it to the back before my HOA has an apoplexy.
stillsostrange: (Bleak)
Title Redacted Not Actually Big Gay Hamlet
Words today: 1400, -ish. That includes rewriting large chunks of chapter one before starting chapter two.
Words total: 6126
Darling: Her first wedding gown had been crimson silk, bright and bloody as victory.
Mean things: too many marriages, not enough queening
Things that still need named: the capital of Riven, land of the Notthegoths; the king of the dead; the fortress that is not Elsinore (or Helsingor)

I'm pretty sure chapter two is really chapter three, but I'm not sure what goes between yet. Also, I have a lot of scheming people, but no clear antagonists yet.

Hopefully now that I'm done with various other distractions till January, I can get three solid chapters knocked out of this thing. And a fake synopsis.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
It's that time again. Time for me to ask for music recommendations.

The project in question is Norse/Old Germanic flavored, with themes and motifs including winter, revenge, exile and homecoming, family, ghosts, obligations, and more ghosts. And some Big Gay Hamlet thrown in for good measure.

So far the soundtrack includes:

And One - Krieger
Android Lust - Stained (Winter)
The Crüxshadows - Winter Born/Valkyrie
The Cure - Cold
Das Ich - Das Dunkle Land
Ego Likeness - Seance
Faith No More - Paths of Glory
Funker Vogt - Refugees
Heimataerde - Endlos/Gib Mir/Wiedergaenger
Joy Division - Dead Souls
Ladytron - Melting Ice
National - Anyone's Ghost
The Sisters of Mercy - Walk Away/Driven Like the Snow
Suicide Commando - Hellraiser (VNV remix)
VNV Nation - Cold/Kingdoms (Restoration)/Joy/Procession/Honor
:Wumpscut: - Wir Warten/Auf Der Jagd/Hold/Die In Winter

Any suggestions?

Oh, and have a Spider pony while I'm at it.

stillsostrange: (Default)
I did more than make character ponies yesterday, I promise. Here is yesterday's wordcount as evidence.

Title Redacted Big Gay Hamlet
(It's only a loose interpretation of Big Gay Hamlet, but still. There's a ghost.)

Words yesterday: 797
Words total: 4656
Reason for stopping: end of scene/chapter

A couple of faithful beta-readers looked at the chapter yesterday and informed me that the pacing was wonky and it didn't have enough exposition. (Yes, I can actually under-exposit sometimes. They also said there wasn't enough setting.) Since I'm writing this for a proposal, draft cannot in fact suck, so I'll be going over this again to try to get it right.

This week I also traded in my ancient-but-noble 1999 Honda Accord for a 2009 Civic. I felt bad abandoning the Accord at the farm dealership, but it's awfully exciting to have a modern car, that does modern things like play CDs and iPods. And accelerate without wheezing.

Today is home inspection take two, having replaced all our smoke detectors. The old ones were nearly old enough to vote. Hopefully this will go more smoothly.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Writing has been curtailed over the past few day due to frantic housecleaning. We got the house clean in time for the home inspection, only to learn that our smoke detectors are mostly dead. Don't worry, the guys says--just buy new ones and plug them in. Only we learn that the ones we can buy now (same brand and everything) have totally different plugs than the old ones, and rewiring will be needed. This is why none of our projects get finished quickly.

But at least writing happened after the abortive inspection.

Title Redacted
Words today: 1223
Words total: 3028
Mean things: skinny asses on hard chairs, lack of sleep, childhood memories

Today's excitement was writing a lullaby in a conlang. Or, more specifically, translating a lullaby into a conlang. Which isn't very connish as langs go--I'm afraid it shows its pilfered origins a little too much. But still! I made up a lullaby! I feel accomplished.
stillsostrange: (Sif)
Title Redacted
Words today: 1653
Words total: 1653
Darling: "There's a ghost in the garden. If it stays there much longer it will kill the tomatoes."
Mean things: interrupted sleep, familial expectations

I received some news today that's affected my choice of WiP, above and beyond my natural flakery. I'm going to be all cryptic and shit four a couple of weeks, just to be safe, but while the news is a little scary, the change in projects is actually pretty soothing. (This one has a title, a soundtrack, and an epigraph out of the gate.) We'll see how long that lasts. I'll try to be more forthcoming when I have more details.


stillsostrange: (Default)

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