Doldrums

0820 – More in the sense of the lack of winds than any glumness* – I’m waiting for the weekend so I can begin my reread, and it’s going to be difficult. I read a new book last night – good but odd, and I doubt I’ll go looking for the sequel, but it’s left me thinking (since it came from my TBR) that I need to actually start *reading* some of the books I own.

But I really want to do some rereads! I’m just about ready for Codex Alera again, and (same author) I think it’s time to redo Cinder Spires. Then there are the other Valdemar ones (I may also have pre-ordered a different one which will be out in a couple of weeks), as well as *all* the standalones (and presumably, series starters) that sit waiting eagerly to be picked up next.

…I think I just guilted myself into reading my TBR.

*not least because Storm Doris is currently blowing a hoolie** outside

**Manx expression, should be fairly clear what it means***

***unlike ‘skeet’, Yessir

0920 – TFW you wrote 5k in a location and never bothered to mention its name once. Why did I do that? Why??

1121 – I’ve written my daily allowance, but I don’t want to stop. It’ll have to wait; I’m venturing out into the Weather later for stationery…

1256 – Fist pump! I love it when I get something tricky right the first time! Even when it’s only address label mail merge and printing. ūüėÄ

Abandonment

0829 – Oh no. I think I’m about to abandon my draft of Ice & Earth, as I’ll have to rewrite swathes of it to conform to the new standard of magic.

I could turn straight to redoing Steel Fist, or begin on The Pattern Book, but maybe I ought to have a break from fantasy and work on something that will never depend on magic. Whatever I end up drafting next, it needs to be plotted before I begin; I think I’ve finally found the method for not getting completely bored of what I’m writing.

How I Write (Apparently):

  1. Plot in broad strokes
  2. Break down into scenes
  3. Name a few characters
  4. Put scenes into template spreadsheet, also the names I have
  5. Write a bit against a scene according to my timetable
  6. Put it in order (will mostly be right in the spreadsheet)
  7. Put scenes into single file in specified order
  8. Review

Frustration

0828 – I didn’t get much written yesterday, though my plotting triumph remains an achievement. I’ve now got a reading problem: the new Green Rider book is out on Thursday next week**. Rereading the series (working back at the rate of one a day) will commence on Saturday. Problem is, I’m going to finish Calamity today, leaving three full days without something to read*. My other half suggested a reread of Warbreaker (he’s a Sanderson fanboy, in case you couldn’t tell) but that doesn’t cover more than a day, and I really ought to make a dent in my TBR.

Cue grumbling as I yank out the two things I haven’t finished yet. Bah.

*The horror! This is not to be borne!

**Danged transatlantic releases, making me wait two whole extra days for a book, even if it does have a waaaaay nicer cover

1634 – I’ve hit my writing target and rearranged my Uber Nerdy Calculation Word Count Tracking Sheet (again), this time to reflect a) more realistic word counts, b) my second draft of Steel Fist (replotted for Knitting {haha; *wipes tear from eye* as if I’ve *actually* taken that into account yet!}) and c) the expansion of Hidden Purls into a four-part series.

Mental plotting: I’m on about the tenth revision of one crucial scene in Leonora; I can’t decide exactly where it should take place, but I know exactly what must happen in it… when will this be done? Usually writing one version down is enough to make it congeal in my head! #whingewhinemoancomplain

Angry Bunny

1059 – Extremely Cross with the current state of my work laptop – it keeps crashing on me!?!?? This, after my mouse battery died so I’m on the trackpad and keep reaching for the mouse #fml

1206 – People with no sense of urgency despite copious explicit warnings are a source of aggravation to me.

I did a bunch of writing and plotting yesterday, but I don’t feel as though I’m going as well as I could; there’s basically a whole story to plot before 1st April for Camp NaNo, and I don’t think I’m going to achieve much of a word count unless I mystically spend most of march finishing my current draft.

I also planned a full rewrite of my 2015 NaNo, which will hopefully become a properly readable story. You know, when I get to it. Which will be ages. It’s a pain that I’ve decided to make all of the magic cohesive, since it’ll mean rewriting everything, but since there aren’t any properly finished drafts, that’s probably not as big an upset as I feel. Though redoing my 2016 NaNo isn’t going to be pleasant…

…or the one I’m currently doing, which was actually kind of the inspiration for the change in the first place, indirectly.

Making Life Harder For Myself Since 1990.

Also, I need better working titles. “Ice and Earth” is unique, but not interesting. I think they should be¬†at least indicative of something that happens in the story…

It’s a toss-up whether I get any writing done today, what with all the adulting I can’t seem to stop doing* and reading I need to do**; why don’t I have a job with shorter hours? Working full time in an office is bleh.

*please send help!

**I agree to ‘swaps’ with my other half; I’ll read one (series, usually) of his if he’ll read one of mine. This one isn’t for anything I’m gung-ho about, but the next one will finally get him reading one of my faves! *dancing in chair*

Also I’m pretty certain what my next tattoo will be – keeping it smol this time (so I don’t have to save up for months to get it) and significant. After that, though, what about a Generation Snowflake? The only way to make people shut up about that stuff is to own it, after all…

1544 – Happy Bunny!

I love my best friend! Just reading over our convo from yesterday was enough to inspire me to plot not one but *four* stories for Hidden Purls! I now add the tag… *drumroll*

The Pattern Book.

Yay! Plotted out by chapters, with characters named and threads forming; I’m on a roll ūüėÄ

Impotent Fuming

1012 – I was doing so well this morning! Then I encountered a bug in Word: opening a file apparently automatically closes the one you’re working on… which is particularly annoying when you’ve written about a thousand words since opening it. Thank logic for autosave, but I still lost a few paragraphs. Bah.

1049 – finally made it to the end of that scene, nervously saving every paragraph. 1600 words today, yay! Now to attack something else this afternoon, after I do the boring boring shopping…

Definitely Not At Home Here

1038 – I’m off work this week, currently visiting the other half at his very looooong course in Pompey, having seen Stonehenge and Scotland’s loss on Sunday. We didn’t do much of anything yesterday (except go and see the next best thing to Deadpool in the cinema*) and today looks to be similarly relaxing except for the whole I’m-actually-going-to-crack-open-my-laptop-and-do-some-writing thing.

*No, it definitely wasn’t 50 shades anything; it was clearly Lego Batman

In other news, I appear to have begun the writing bug [snick snick] in my small person; he is embarking on a HP fanfiction entitled ‘The Chamber of Objects’. If all goes well, he can commiserate with me on the writing process by the time he’s about eight :). Then again, code.org does seem to be holding his attention as well…

Speaking of coding, it’s been a long time since I did anything but tinker with html, and I’ve been thinking about dipping my toes back in to turn my EPIC SPREADSHEET OF DOOM!‚ĄĘ into an application with database instead of a Great Enormous Beast which will fall over if I keep making tweaks to it.

Probably not worth doing at the moment; I’m also toying with doing some knitting (partly because of the Knittingverse and partly because there’s this one lace scarf pattern I did once which was Wonderful and I can’t find it for love nor… well, I haven’t actually tried money yet, but I can’t find it on the internet.

So, probably going to console myself with rewatching movies of men in skirts and sandals (Troy, Gladiator, 300, etc.), rewatching LotR (much better than the Hobbit ones, despite excellent British cast in latter) and writing.

Pants, I should go and do some wording while Small Person is languishing over his bath.

1110 – 825 words later, I feel as though I’m allowed to go and look at a different story now.

A Good Yarn

1041 – Yesterday’s aside of knitting-related magic spawned a whole new approach to my entire world setting, as well as SIX new stories. That’s fun, and nice, and all, but I was 1k from reaching 2% of my entire planned word total – and now I’m 12k away! Bah.

On the other hand, I’m still on track, and have done a wee bit more wording today; enough to hit my target at least. I’m slightly concerned about the way the target drops off; the one big weakness of Writetrack is that if you get up above target, it doesn’t project a finish date at current rate.

Also, expect knitting-themed puns for a while.

Insidious Knitting

0921 – It seems I’ve inadvertently made knitting a thing in Ice&Earth. There’s no particular reason for this, though I ought to point out that I myself am a knitter [awkward AF for a lefty], but I think I’m going to leave it in. There’s not enough epic fantasy with mundane activities traditionally assigned to women…*

…and now I have two images to convey: the grandmother (probably in a war-room) whipping out her knitting during a break, and the fishermen who knit their protective ‘jumpers’ between sailings.

Magic system where you knit the thread into the shape you need and then cast off… visual of a battle where the magic is ‘cast’ as from a fishing rod… pants. That’s a new idea I need to write down.

{you just read a prime example of the way I come up with new ideas; never know when that might be useful. But knitting fishermen and grandmother generals are MINE!}

*counter-examples wanted: comment or message me. I want to read these things!

1120 – Aaand I told my best friend and now Hidden Purls is my NaNo 2017 project. Unless I cave and do it over a holiday or something.

1155 – OK, what did I do with my backups?!? Where have my backups from the last week gone? Eep!

UPDATE – they’re apparently safe and sound but not on my USB stick. *heaves giant sigh* at least my paranoia is paying off…

A Burst of Enthusiasm

1048 – Hit today’s target [more than] twice over, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. Unfortunately, Leo keeps yanking my attention – especially when driving to and from work – so I need to start plotting that out soon or risk total distraction from IAE.

Admittedly, my main issue with Leo is that {in my head, at least} the entire cast has regional British accents (from Nirish to Geordie), which are beginning to leak over into Aelyn’s family. It’s only a matter of time before they all start doing it – and then where will I be? Struggling to write dialogue, that’s where.

1248 – Broken 2k, and not even really on purpose. I sort of took it as a challenge that my by-scene average word count was so low and have apparently begun to increase it… and in the process have laid the groundwork for later Plot Points.

1313 – Almost at 3k – we’ll overtake my (non-)draft of the Edge soon. This is kind of fun…

1449 – broke 3k, no longer have any begun scenes under 500 words. Not bad; now to write some which haven’t been started and keep that base number up. My scene average is 1080, which is nice but doesn’t get me to my target.

I’m Probably Lighter Than I Was Last Week

0718 – So I was ill yesterday, following a visit by my parents over the weekend. It’s at least twice as bad when one’s other half isn’t around to at least offer sympathy, though honestly mine isn’t very good at that. At least I didn’t irritate the bear by clambering over him as I dashed to the loo to throw up. [I am now largely devoid of digestion, hence the title]

I can keep drinks down now (I haven’t braved food yet), so it’s back to work today. Fingers crossed there’s nothing too strenuous to handle… though there’s a solid chance I’ll have to cover a couple of interviews.

I (obviously) didn’t get any writing done over the weekend, and yesterday I just slept, basically. Which puts me behind by two days, as well as full of a headache *whinge*

Today’s goal: write to the target. Nothing more. At least I’ve done enough housework that I shouldn’t have to run around adulting until tomorrow at the earliest ūüôā

0923 – I’ve hit my target, and my head feels like I’ve been hit. Make it stahp! *sigh* Anyway, back to work…

1504 – I’ve successfully kept some food down! Yay! Just need to manage some adulting tonight, do a weeny bit more writing, and I’ll practically be back to normal. Won’t be touching alcohol for a wee bit though…

1702 – I love writing. I get to collect lines like ‘necromancy and probably human sacrifices’. Also [warning: sappy] I realised today that there are several megs’ worth of Completely Unique Content on my laptop – stuff that literally doesn’t exist anywhere else but inside my mind. That, more than anything else, is why I do this. [end sappy]

Totally A Grown Up (Not!)

0945 – I was reduced to leaning on my seven-year-old this morning for the required logic and reason to find my keys. Despite doing Boring Grown Up Things last night, I still somehow managed to put four completely different pillowcases on the bed [I maintain that’s not my fault; the other half has clearly been hiding them] and wake up late this morning. Snakebites notwithstanding…

Today, I have almost reached my target on I&E, though it feels a bit like I’m wittering. I still need to flesh out more of that one plotwise, but I keep going off to Leonora in my head. It doesn’t help that I know the plot of I&E backwards but am still kersploring where Leonora will go.

Fingers crossed I manage to tidy the house enough tonight – and eat something. And change small person’s sheets. Crowning throne! Why is it that people always want to visit when/right after my other half has abandoned me for training?

Oh – in case it wasn’t clear: I refer to my various stories by their working titles because a) The One With The Thing That Happens has already been done and b) that would give the plot away and c) there are Simply Too Many.

…OTOH, titling an epic fantasy something like The Thing That Happened To The Main Character might be an interesting way to go.

1014 – I’ve hit the count AND have a much better idea of where I’m going at the moment; all to the good.

Semi-Adulting

0822 – I’ve literally done more adulting this morning than in the last three days. I’m *exhausted*.

On the other hand, I’m also woefully behind on writing, so I need to make sure I get as much of that done as possible today.

Perhaps writing down the scenes from other stories might encourage me? No, you say – it will just distract me? Pants.

0853 – So my subconscious, ever-present desire to avoid wording (kind of) has Paid Dividend: I have discovered that my book list [which details pretty much every word I’ve ever written] is woefully short on counts I’ve done on some stories. Including one, which I’ve semi-drafted already, at 23k and climbing as I add in the files I’ve got. Fingers crossed I locate more words on more stories as I go through; this is the tracker I’m using to see when I reach the coveted million.

1130 – I’ve written a few hundred words on Leonora {thbpbpbpt} and updated the word count for The Edge [it’s over 40k!!!!], and am determined to get *something* done on Ice&Earth this afternoon, though it may only be a couple of c. Very impressed with my tracking spreadsheet now, though it does put me in mind of needing a program. If I’m not careful, I’m going to end up with a spreadsheet for each story, the master sheet, and fifty hundred million* text documents with the actual writing in, as well as the original I’m-just-vomming-my-story ones. You can see why an application might be a good idea, yes?

…then again, maybe just an organising web page. Much less hassle. Though how I’d automatically add a link to each file…? Help!

*it could get that big. Text files (by which I mean Microsoft Word documents) are only a few kb each

1403 – I’m really very proud of myself – it turns out I’ve actually written over 300k so far!

Not that I’m anywhere near my targets:

That’s pretty rubbish progress (rate is a % btw) – but I’m still celebrating the total word count. Woohoo!

Add to this I actually went home at lunchtime and did the adulting I told myself I would do [and then some], and you get a fabulously productive day.

1728 – I’m actually even further on than the above! Look:

This includes one with about 3k written which I hadn’t even added to the list! So excited right now…

2005 – partway through year 2 homework, a pile of washing up to do, and I’m finally getting around to Grand Tour – I live a rockstar life. Yeah, I’m not getting any more writing done today.

Need More Words

1534 – I wrote a massive amount yesterday, but that doesn’t give me any breathing room since I’ve still got a very long way to go. I will attempt to hit my target for the day, but I suspect I’ll be scrabbling to catch up on Monday [which I have off; woohoo!].

I’m still in dire need of artwork (interim is acceptable) and a proper title – any ideas? Or does that part come right at the end? {Regarding artwork – I’m thinking for internal use only; in the extremely unlikely event that I reach publication with this, I will throw out whatever art I have in favour of a professional}

Tonight – Eurovision: You Decide. To choose between the lesser of ‘who cares?’ – let’s be honest; Britain’s entry is usually terrible. We ought to do a proper contest for selection, the way the Swedish do.

Routine Approach

0836 – Once again, I spent my weekend reading and not writing. Perhaps I should allocate my targets to take that into account? I got some done on Friday, though I neglected to blog, and I’m sure today’s goal will have jumped a bit again. I need another vomming to reduce it – probably tomorrow.

0840 – adjusting my target weights to remove the weekends has pushed my daily target up by 250 words… so I will definitely need to vomm tomorrow.

1406 – I’ve hit the day’s count now, and have no idea how I’m going to maintain this pace… unless I make a concerted effort to do a whackload one weekend. Bah.

1659 – It kind of feels like cheating when you include stuff from a year ago in your current draft count – but then again, I *did* write it and it *is* for this story, so… fair enough?

Push On

15:40 – I’ve hit my target for today’s word count (and broken 1k as well, thank goodness {AND broken 20k on Ice & Earth}), but it wasn’t on any new scenes; this was all extending the too-short ones. On the other hand, I’ve achieved this without resorting to doing it all at the end, so that’s a plus.

Today is the small person’s birthday, so the early evening will likely be dedicated to cake, candles and his choice of activity. Later, since my lunchtime reading was once again set aside by the demands of, you know, the job, I will be frantically reading Blood Mirror in hopes that a) I will finally be able to associate one of these books with its own title, b) I will finish this and be glad, and c) potentially [read: not a chance unless I stay up waaay past my bedtime*] get onto Closer to Home.

Other Things I Need To Do: still washing up {snore} and yet more laundry {yawn(yawn[yawn**])}.

*When I was 17? Midnight. These days? Circa 9pm.

**<Hippo Yawn>

Juggling

10:41 – I’ve hit my target word count for the day (a paltry 1047), so I can focus on other things, like getting a birthday card for the small person {whose age necessitates both a large number and a badge with the card}, wrapping presents, and chipping away at the monumental amount of housework which still needs doing.

*sigh* Adulting is hard.

*double sigh* I’m only about 40% through the fourth Lightbringer book, which means I won’t be able to leap straight back into Valdemar tonight ūüôĀ

Distracted by New Things To Read

14:54 – I wrote nothing over the weekend (again), but managed a scene (over 1k) today, which is progress. The main reason I haven’t written was my distraction by New Things To Read (Heralds of Valdemar and then the Collegium Chronicles, both by Mercedes Lackey). I had a major blonde moment and didn’t realise I had a New Thing To Get Excited About until I was into the final¬†Collegium book – or 7.1/8 through the lot. Well done, Kat.*

I’ve tweaked a couple of ideers** [sic.] {as if I’ve ever misspelt something that badly} in the last few days, and (as happens surprisingly often) have merged a couple, including the one I’m writing at the moment. That should give me some interesting context when I get further down <they’re in adjacent lands in the story now>.

It also occurred to me that I might manage relatively coherent reviews of Things I Read Which I Like (5 points if you guess the tense correctly) as a way of codifying tropes I like to see, storytelling devices which work, and generally help with reading critically {something I can’t help but do now, and it extends to watching things as well. No longer is Sherlock anywhere near as much of a mindf***¬†strenuous mental exercise, and the DC TV series are even more of a joke [aaaaangst; aaaaangst and despaaaair]}. This, naturally, irritates my other half when he shoves A Book He Liked under my nose and I don’t get excited like he did *toothy grin*.

*I may have purchased another trilogy set in Valdemar, which I am waiting for with a mix of devastation severe book hangover and anticipation. Now comes the difficult task of acquiring paperback editions of the things I only have in ebook…

**10 points for identifying the relevant reference!

the traditional publishing industry and why it should die, a rant

Let’s be clear: I hold no ill will towards the multitudes (read:small but very well-connected) of people who work hard at producing quality pieces of paper-based entertainment for the literate masses*.

This rant covers the slow death of the industry model which has clung to life despite the easy availability of new technologies and formats and employment and resources to assemble A Book from someone’s typo-ridden submitted manuscript.

Slow death, you say? It’s the only proper source of decent stories!

Well, kind of. But not really. Storytelling (that media-spanning** beauty) is A Thing which we [consumers] all Consume [see?] whenever we read, watch TV, go to the movies, or even look at the news {in whichever medium}. This writer does not profess an opinion on the factual content of the latter.

Ah, you say. You meant that traditional publishing is the only way to get worthwhile books?

Still wrong. Let’s completely ignore the non-fiction (by which I refer to textbooks and references rather than biographies, as they come under storytelling) titles which are usually the farthest thing from traditionally published, and focus on fiction.

We all know by now that a teeny-tiny fraction of writers will ever Make It Big. Some of us have read Statistics Which Indicate that it is possible to make a modest <read: at the breadline> living from writing (assuming one is either the owner of a paid-off home or in possession of a very understanding partner***) without ever becoming a household name****. Fair enough, but that’s not the point, is it?

In an age where we can access {not quite} the Sum of All Human Knowledge from a device we carry in a pocket {not quite that, either; my 5-inch screen is apparently incompatible with women’s clothing pockets}, why does the publishing industry not expand? Why aren’t there even more people getting in on the beautiful cacophony***** that is literate content?

Short answer: there are. They don’t make money.

Long answer: no-one but the distributors are making enough money to muscle in on the market. *coughAmazoncough*. There are millions upon millions [the British Billion, as it happens] of ebooks available through the major platforms, and as a result of their price control measures there isn’t an appetite to spend money on books. This applies to the traditional industry and the self-pubbers alike, but for one of those groups there aren’t multiple people to pay with the (still paltry) royalties.

This lower accepted level of earnings (and yes, the platforms themselves are truly to blame for this, though I don’t hold it against them because Availability of Content for Not That Much Money {future rant: the problem with being an Anglophone outside the USA: book edition}) makes it harder still for the traditional publishers, so they’ve merged, and merged, and merged again. The upshot of that? They stay in business. The other side? Fewer books, fewer opportunities to read new authors, less breadth of content.

They’ve held on through sheer snobbery: certain persons <regrettably including my other half, the Twenty-Something Grumpy Old Man> have an ingrained aversion to electronic-only content. I like paper books as much as the next bookworm, but I pay a lot more (as in, Amazon’s pricing bands mean I rarely never pay more than ¬£5 for an ebook, and regularly ¬£8 or ¬£9 for a paper one [when I-Need-To-Read-It-NOW!!!-itis doesn’t necessitate paying OVER TEN OF MY ENGLISH POUNDS for a hardback pre-ordered so that I receive it on release day]) for the privilege of holding a distinct document in hand.******

{future rant: why I like ebooks}

{future rant: why I like paper books}

I own an ereader AND¬†a smartphone AND¬†a laptop; I can read books wherever I am without weighing myself down. I buy a lot of independently published ebooks, but I also occasionally buy from publishers. (The reason I know this? I see some books I have electronically in paper format when browsing my local bookshop. Still weirds me out. Some covers look fantastic on a screen and pathetically out of place on paper. The reverse to all old-fashioned fantasy covers <no, let’s be fair: all old-fashioned fantasy covers look utterly dire in all formats. For some reason American publishers still like using those styles{future rant:book cover design practices}>.)

Before I get *completely* sidetracked, the Reason I Think That traditional publishing should die is this: it should cease to call itself an “industry” when it’s merely a subset of the actual industry and strive to be the cream of the modern working crop; outsourcing and using technology like the best of the independents. This wouldn’t prevent gatekeeping (snobby term for choosing what makes it to publication), and would encourage better writing, better production, better competition between publishers, and probably a better experience for the writers [since people would stop expecting to be able to live on an advance and look at continual earnings potential].

Comments, complaints, casual insults? There’s a button below.

*{future rant: gatekeepers and how to keep them}

**let’s all make a pact to use ‘medium’ (the singular of ‘media’, as you are already well aware) wherever possible to Confuse And Irritate

***or you’re Batman or, I don’t know, Lara Croft? Inherited wealth, anyway

****I can’t think of any one writer who truly deserves that title, though; not from disparagement so much as the niche nature of storytelling. Fiction is a restricted audience; especially genre fiction

*****Read Spellwright by Blake Charlton. Do it. Then read the other two. You’ll see why ‘cacophony’ inspired this aside when you get there.

******That’s all a book is: a very nicely formatted (and proofread) document.

Oh No! I’m A Real Adult!

Had a startling revelation today. I’ve had this idea in my head that life is a series of attainable milestones. As I achieved one, I could look to the next and live my entire life in the same manner. There was a vague blur in the future after ‘buy a house’, but I assumed that I would create a goal once I reached it.

The revelation I had was this: sometimes the goal isn’t attainable, quantifiable, or even feasible. Most people don’t have this goal progression at all. I myself won’t have it, and I probably shouldn’t focus on it as a way of structuring my life.

This was prompted by my other half admitting that he’d never intended to have children, or at most one, and even then it would be in his mid thirties. We’re in our mid-twenties and have been together since we were eighteen. This has given me a lot to think about, not least how normal people manage to look at the future without cringeing – the same reaction I have, in fact, when faced with any area full of people without a specific task to get me through it.

Beyond ‘buy a house’, it’s probably going to be ‘do up this room’, ‘do up that room’, maybe even ‘career change’. The issue with that? It’s not getting bigger and better. It’s not true progression. And I don’t want to put all that energy into working for someone else anyway.

My small person has previously said that he thinks the age of twenty is old. Until today, I hadn’t realised I was thinking exactly the same way.

I’m Going To Call It… Prolific Tuesdays

Tue – I don’t know what it is, but I always seem to do better on a Tuesday than any other day of the week for word count. Being able to do more time at the weekend never translates into actual writing, and Thursdays for some reason are almost always a wash.

Thu – Given I began this on a Tuesday and am finishing up on the Thursday, that’s fitting. I wrote a little yesterday but the Tuesday thing seems to be holding true. Today’s goal: get just one more scene done. Just one. If I can keep hitting my daily target (and every time I exceed, WriteTrack nicely reduces the remainder for me), I’ll be done with this in no time.

10:25 – Charging through these bits, but I don’t expect to actually finish plotting this for ages. I like the flexibility of deciding scenes as I go, but there are bound to be hiccups down the line…

14:53 – Apparently I was wrong about Thursdays… I’ve been forced to faux-plan another story, since I wrote 1k words on it after an Idle Thought, though I’d already broken 1k on Ice&Earth. Pas mal. {sssh! I’ve written like, twenty more words on the one that isn’t my Current Project}

Also: I like my rants. They give me the freedom to forget arcane things like “structure” and “reason”, and allow me to make a series of points without any expectation that I’ll back them up with evidence. I’ve just been writing next week’s, and it’s spawned loads more future rants. *pats self on back* good job, Kat.

genre distinctions and the bastard child of proper fantasy, a rant

So, I recently ranted about Star Wars NOT counting as Sci-Fi {because in a civilised society, we don’t}.

The problem is, pretty much all SF (speculative fiction) which isn’t tropetastic [and some which is] can be arguably Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Alternate History. That’s not even counting the numerous {and oddly done} subgenres.

I have a particular bugbear about the categorisation of things like urban fantasy (the titular bastard child) being shelved in the same place as pure, worldbuilding fantasy {though that’s arguably my petty self whingeing about not being able to find stuff I like in a bookshop} and even YA dystopia [yes, I’m aware YA covers a broader area, and no, I don’t care <these days it’s mostly a moneymaker for that particular¬†chimaera {my goodness, it took a while to confirm that proper (read: British) spelling}¬†of a subgenre anyway>]. <– look at my nested brackets!

This, added to the fact that for a long time (since I was like, 12) the shelving procedure of my local bookshop [once Ottakar’s on Strand Street, then various Waterstoneses* in various parts of the UK] has been to lump Sci-Fi with Fantasy, a source of enormous annoyance and confusion to me {yes, everything is a source of annoyance and confusion to me. Hence the use of ‘enormous’}.

My problem [and the source of fuel for this rant] is as follows: since there seems to be industry-wide collusion not to tag books (a la Twitter or Tumblr) with subgenres or tropes {dragons, aliens, portal to another world**, etc.}, I have to spend a frankly ridiculous amount of time sifting through the books in the relatively tiny section for SF in search of something I actually want to read.

That’s not even getting into the thorny issue of whether you read some of the content before buying {I stick with the blurb, which results in the occasional Dire Pronouncement when someone mystically manages to completely mis-sell the story**, but feels less like cheating} or go on the quotes from other authors on the cover (ew, no), or even just pick up something else by your favourite [I do this, but never in a physical bookshop; if I’m that interested in someone, I order online].

This problem persists in online bookshops (like I bother going to more than one!), as all of the subgenres tend to filter out, and you can’t choose more than one. There’s still no tagging, and the blurb-content differential can actually be worse for some ebooks, but at least I don’t feel as though I’m due some bad luck for downloading a sample.

What I want to know is best divided into two questions.

  1. Why do publishers think that everyone who reads one kind of SF must read the others***; and
  2. How has the GIANT of internet book retailing not yet capitalised on the use of tags?****

I’ve gone off on a tangent; apologies. Back to the main topic-ish: Urban Fantasy, the bastard child of Proper Fantasy. I have no tolerance for lack of proper worldbuilding, though in honesty I like urban fantasy when written with something original and more than a passing nod to good writing. I can only take it in small doses, however, so I tend to consume it with my romance doses.

That doesn’t really cover the issue, however; Portal Fantasy is for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do A Proper Intro. Dark Fantasy is for People Who Write Horror But Want To Be Taken Seriously. And “Low Fantasy” is for People Who Are Edgy. And really, why can’t it be made clear (with the exception of stuff which attempts to pull a bait-and-switch and turn tropes on their head {which on reflection ought to be labelled ‘Literary Fantasy’}) to which category a story properly belongs? I’m not even asking for discrete shelving here [‘discreet shelving’ is another matter, and highly relevant to explicit and purple¬†materials*******], merely some kind of organisation which doesn’t rely on the potential buyer reading every. Single. Blurb. To find out whether they want to spend their hard-earned money (and Obligatory Birthday Book Tokens*****) on this thing. This lying, misleading thing. How has this business model sustained itself?******

Please don’t mistake me: there is always joy to be found in searching through books, even if it ends without a purchase, but that doesn’t mean that the process can’t be made a little more enjoyable (and efficient) for the consumer – and cheaper (and more efficient) for the producer.

{future rant: book cover design practices}

*sic.

**this has happened to me a stunning number of times, but doesn’t stop me feeling like a thief if I crack a tome before I’ve handed over my paltry salary in pursuit of ever-more-absorbing escape.

***I loathed the thought of picking up Sci-Fi until I discovered space opera, and I still can’t conceive of alternate history filling my shelves.

****if you’re already using a keyword search, how difficult can it possibly be to allow certain things a distinct filter? I appreciate that the programming is different {I work for a software developer}, but it’s not actually a world apart.

*****Much, much less fun now that they look like bank cards rather than bank notes

******Short answer: captive audience. Long answer: {future rant: the traditional publishing industry and why it should die}, to be followed by {future rant: gatekeepers and how to keep them}.

*******Purple being a beautiful euphemism for Activities Which Make You go Purple From Exertion********

********I need to figure out how to superscript symbols in WordPress. Comments welcome.

Nose Back to the Grindstone

08:40 – I didn’t write this weekend, setting me back a fair bit on my target. Nonetheless, I can get moving today, and already have 65 words down. Only 90% to go!

I’m also still struggling through Lightbringer (book 3 now; I can never remember the titles). It’s not that the writing is opaque (though it is), or that the story isn’t moving (‘sluggish’ is a pace, right?), so much as that it seems to be utterly endless. There’s no new page for a chapter, which is merely irritating to begin with and then contributes to a sense of continuity – one chapter becomes another, leading to the feeling that the story is ongoing and unending. That nothing ever seems to be resolved (all the arcs are ENORMOUS) doesn’t help.

Whinge over. Once I’m done with this, I can nip back and reread something fluffy before tackling my actual¬†#tbr instead of my other half’s idea of what it should be.

09:41 – I learned a new word today: Derbarian (someone from Derby)!

12:38 – A couple of hundred words in, I’m missing the sense of purpose that got me through NaNo. I need some other kind of external motivation… suggestions? Comment!

15:40 – Two things – I broke 10,000 words on Ice & Earth {yay!} and I just had my appraisal [not that bad, tbh]. It went fairly well, despite a few meanderings about the property market and the gains of buying a house (my boss, not me; I tend to get into a mental rant about the constriction on supply whenever I think about it {future rant: the British property market and why I hate the self-serving hypocritical attitude of people who buy to let}), though it did call to mind the fact that I’m concealing my intention of never reaching management. I’m happy pootling* along until I finally make money from writing and can spend my days doing that instead. Don’t judge me, I have dreams like you (no really)**.

IAE [look at my cool abbreviations, like I’m some kind of TLA expert*** or something] is going more slowly than I’d anticipated, given my high output last week. I need some kind of strong motivation to keep going until it {the first part, at least; I have the makings of a proper epic fantasy here} is complete. But what? I’ll let you know when I have the answer.

In other news, I managed to decide in advance what I was having for lunch today, and prepared accordingly, so yay me!

Also, don’t you hate it when there’s a book you’re reading and you get torn from it? I think bookworms have an addiction to immersion, which is why we get hangovers upon finishing. The series high is higher, which is why the slump is so much worse.

*It is so a real word

**Just much less touchy-feely. Continue in comment

***FWIW, TBH, etc.

Keep The Ball Rolling

08:28 – I wrote quite a lot yesterday (including a rant which won’t go up for a while) so am Quite Pleased*. There’s no need to write today – but I want to. I really want to keep going on Ice & Earth (the subject of yesterday’s verbal vomming) until all my impetus peters out.

16:22 – Wrote a bunch {739 words} this morning, nothing this afternoon yet. As I’m planning on boring boring adulting this evening, I may not get any more done *sobs* so I’ll have to content myself with having planned out loads more sceney bits to write…****

21:16 – not long after that last, I went and wrote about the same again, so feeling pretty good now. That could be the snakebite (following Port {and dinner full of duhmplings…}) though.

 *Very British Things To Say, #17**

**That would make a good list! {future list: Very British Things To Say}***

***I like lists.

****This allergy I have to writing after I’ve planned it is going to sink my ambitions of writing full-time unless I get over it somehow

The Saga Begins

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away…

Just kidding; it’s not *that* saga at all.

08:35 – It’s my first day back at work after Christmas (though it’s still ¬†*officially* Christmas for another three days) and I’m well-fed and ready to get started. Of course, I’ve had more than a few good ideas over my break, including a couple of fully-plotted ones (whoops). For now, I will attempt to hit the weekly targets I set myself last year…

…which begins with making my lunch the night before (fail, though I’m going home to make a bagel so still not spending money) and writing 500 words over two days (haven’t written one in January yet; odd scenes don’t count unless part of current project). I’m also supposed to exercise once a week and not buy any books. Honestly, the exercise one will be harder (I’m conscious that most of my spending lapses are on food and books) but I *will* do this! Even if it means dragging myself out to run around in the cold and wet¬†one night a week, then coming in and pouring myself wine as a reward (curbing alcohol doesn’t kick in until March).

Mostly, I want to write. I need to write. I like writing; I just never seem to motivate myself to write at home. Possible ways to trick myself into it without spending money? Maybe take the laptop for a drive and refuse to come home until I’ve forced out the word count. That could get cold fast, though. Perhaps try setting up in the spare room; making it my writing room and emerging when I need caffeine. That’s a more likely prospect, anyway.

…Just looked at the actual list (here). I need to woman up and get on the scales to measure the changes I make… and a selfie wouldn’t be a bad idea either. I don’t need to share it with anyone, just keep the record. Should probably brush my hair at some point.

Reading Update – I’m currently going through the Lightbringer series (Brent Weeks) as part of making my other half read something out of his comfort zone (Anne Bishop’s Tir Alainn*), and I’m almost done with book 2 (of 4). Stayed up a wee bit late last night reading – I need to get that under control.

16:34 – Whoops. I wrote 5,700 words on Ice and Earth. Today’s image is more accurate to today (as opposed to the year) than I’d thought; doing a little at a time produces a lot.

The words kind of fell out, as though I’ve been doing so little that it all decided to vomit up in one go. Ironically, it’s pretty good work; often, I try to force it and end up with a stilted mess, but this is coherent. Win!

19:51 – Update: I’ve just broken 7k. Not bad at all.

*he’s ahead of me and smug about it, AND he’s laughed aloud a few times. Now to sacrifice my time on the altar of Sanderson (he’s a fanboy) so he’ll read Green Rider (Kristen Britain).**

**No-one pays me for anything fun – I just shove my favourites in people’s faces until they give in and read them… I can’t sell a story at all.

***let’s also point out how apropos the title is – this post contains more words than my two-day target!

****purple italics for asides… but only the ones I didn’t squeeze into the main paragraphs… ūüėÄ

The Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy, A Rant

It drives me up the wall whenever people refer to Star Wars as Sci-Fi.

Yes, it has all the trappings of good space opera (advanced weaponry,¬†spaceships and FTL to name a few). Yes, it is full of action and relies on the technology for the setting to work. And yes, there is a big blur instead of a line – in fact, it’s a full spectrum – between Sci-Fi and Fantasy.*

So what has got my goat?

It’s actually space fantasy. There’s magic [the force] (I will fight you on this), there’s a frankly unsustainable interstellar (just about pan-galactic, as it happens) empire [which somehow doesn’t preclude widely varying forms of planetary government?]***, and there’s a whole host of unlikely (and downright illogical) species, all of whom seem perfectly capable of interacting with one another despite all reason.*

Let’s make it clear: I love Star Wars. I just don’t confuse it with actual Sci-Fi, like Battlestar Galactica, the Honorverse or even Firefly.* **

{future rant: genre distinctions and the bastard child of proper fantasy}

*Yes, I like listing things in threes. Yes, it is repetitive. Yes, I will keep doing it.

**Also: yes, I like space opera. I like it much better than, say, near-future dystopia. Which seems to be everything I can find other than space opera. Please comment with exceptions.

***Finally; yes, I love parentheses and brackets. Can I name all three of them? No. No, I can’t.

{([KVA])}

shut up, it looks pretty.

Scrabbling for Purchase

08:35 – I have waay too much to do today. Best get on with it; I have hope that I’ll actually get some writing done this evening, unlike yesterday when I attacked the mountain of folding to be done. Stuffed drawers later, there’s still loads of washing up despite my efforts, and I have no idea what I’m eating for dinner tonight.

My tasks for the day are pretty creative, so I’ll try and get the juices flowing (as far as I can when designing an advert and creating Christmas messages for the people whose presents will be late)…

13:30 – An advert, two gradients and a unified note design later, I’m all pictured out. I need to do some writing on Windsteed, though I’m no longer hopeful of being able to get some time tonight. Then again, I managed a lot last night and still didn’t do anything productive after 8pm, so…

As an aside, I reorganised my folders to gather all worldbuilding materials together, which will significantly expand the size of my regular backups (since I’m not backing up the folders with movies, music, etc. in them; just my creations). The good side of this is that I shouldn’t be left casting about aimlessly should something happen to my cloud storage OR my laptop.

I do prattle, don’t I? Proper words coming after writing, which will come after work ūüôĀ

18:32 – First time in ages back on my own laptop. I always forget how nice it is to type on. Just under 400 words to hit my daily target; Probably another 4-500 after that to actually finish the scene.

Bounce

14:04 – I had a nasty financial shock this morning (all my own fault, as usual). I have a plan to deal with it, and I only have to make it four days (including today), but it’s shaken me. Unfortunately, I seem to do much better in crisis mode, which isn’t helpful when planning things like expenditure.

I’ve written 952 words so far today, and am feeling only slightly as though I’m riding a tiger. I can definitely do this – especially since WriteTrack¬†allows me to mark days as target: 0. Not to mention that I’m off next week, which will hopefully let me steam out a few k per day. The more I do, the better I’ll feel, and the less I’m likely to spend money.

The goal: spend so much time writing over the next week that I really do finish in early March, despite not having begun until over halfway through December. Other half leaving me again for 3 weeks in February will hopefully contribute to my productivity as well…

Bustling

10:30 – No, I didn’t get any writing done last night. Our boiler broke (at last), I had a butt-ton of washing up and cooking to do, and by the time that was all done I was thoroughly tired.

I won’t get any done tonight either; my sister is coming for a visit. Tomorrow, she’s still here, though I might squeak some in the early morning.

On Sunday, I have to do my last minute Christmas prep, though I’m hoping to use Sunday opening hours restrictions to find some time to get going. It’s not as though I *don’t* want to do this…

The print of this year’s NaNo arrived yesterday – I am slowly but surely building up my collection. Perhaps this time next year I will be able to print¬†a completed, edited, cover-designed¬†novel…

Over The Hump – Kind Of

09:23 – I’m sore and tired and the notable lack of alcohol this week (as a kind of impromptu ‘dry’ challenge) has apparently decided to make it harder to sleep. I thought I was only using alcohol as a crutch to avoid dealing with my hypersensitivity – turns out I was actually using it to sleep too…

10:45 – today looks like being actually busy for once, which is nice, but I’m super hungry ūüôĀ I will need to do some tidying tonight in preparation for my sister’s visit tomorrow, but that will definitely eat into my writing time.

17:24 – No longer expecting to do much of any writing tonight, though my hope will never die. All I need to do is 738 words today, which should be eminently possible. That’s most of one scene – hardly anything!

Still Plotting (muhahahaha)

09:18 – I’m working on the outline for Windsteed, and fully expect the final expansion to be done in time for beginning to write it tomorrow (since I already have the first few chapters expanded).

Things remaining: make a map of Cerola, make a draft cover for Windsteed, decide on a proper reward for completing things on time (admittedly, I should start with allowing myself to read the screenplay of FBAWTFT since that would have been my reward for hitting 60k in November).

Also decide what kind of word count I’m after. I’m loosely aiming at 130k, though I’ll be happy with 80k if it means I *finally* finish a story entire. Then to the pruning later (after I’ve faffed about and finished Rav’n) and after that I can move on to the next one, Wavesteed.

Alright, enough waffling. Get back to work!

11:22 – I’m cleaning up my photos on Onedrive (though I’ll need to take roughly a WHOLE ENTIRE DAY to actually sort my photos by month; this is separating stuff I’ve saved from actual pictures of my life) and it’s thoroughly satisfying. The amount of rubbish in there (corrupted files, etc.) is ridiculous.

11:32 – boss is having a bitch fit again. Why is this my life?

12:05 – Aaand it’s over for another month. He’s really condensing the pre-board-meeting tension; that’s the third month running it’s been shorter than the one before. I used to get about five days of it; now we’re down to a couple of hours. Progress!

14:45 – erm… I was writing down what happened in one scene of a totally unrelated story (before I forgot it; it’s great and full of angst)¬†*cough*TheBridge*cough*, and I wrote down 816¬†words just on what happens afterwards. Inspiration doesn’t seem to strike me so much as biting down and holding on until I’m infected.

FYI, I don’t do a word count on non-narrative stuff, i.e. while I’m outlining. That stuff isn’t relevant. Actual written story content is. Though I also have 761 words outlining said relevant stuff before the narrative starts. Just sayin’.

The Plot Thickens (Literally)

08:39 – I am almost halfway through expanding the plot I began yesterday to event level, which will then be followed by the insertion of who is where and when, and what they’re doing/wearing/snippets of what they’re saying. Once all *that* is done, I will be ready to start writing.

Then I can apply this¬†method to the other things I want to write, until there is a nice little pile of plots I can look at whenever I’m not writing and feel really guilty about…

Lost Another Weekend

08:34 – Did I write over the weekend? Of course not. I buckled down on Saturday and attempted to… and then I realised that it’s not likely I’ll bother with Dangerous Company now that NaNo is over, so I cut it off.

Which leaves me with a small quandary. Do I write the story my friend and I came up with on Friday? Do I carry on with the one I started in October (which is a bit of a hairball of mine, albeit not *the* hairball)?

10:38 – I’m now busily plotting out my *big* hairball story, with the view that I need to write a ridiculously detailed outline before beginning. I’m estimating about 10k of outline per book (there are three) so far, and as such won’t be struggling for what to do next when it comes to actually writing it. On the other hand, there’s a solid chance I change my mind about exactly what the plot should be, so I don’t expect this to be the final version of the outline.

I’m also going to take a different approach to this one; storing works in Scrivener makes it a massive pain to catch up from any device other than my personal laptop, so I’m going to write in Word from here on in – then organise it all in Scrivener. I will maintain separate files for scenes, which should make things much easier on me in editing.

12:20 – I’m up over 1,000 words for the part 1 plan, and I’m only expanding chapters down to scenes and events yet. When I start to add themes, locations and snippets, it’s going to get big quickly.

14:36 – Compiling my goals for the year ahead – updating that page as I go should prove sufficient disincentive against failure. I need to do some kind of reward for success; one which costs nothing and won’t set me back on any other goals.

…perhaps I need a goal to treat myself every week – one hot relaxing soak, followed by an early night. That ought to get me into the habit of not drinking…

Friday, In Which The Muse Strikes By Accident

13:16 – I didn’t write at all yesterday, but I’m not that bothered because LOOK! A distraction!

My best friend/stalker/muse extraordinaire gave me an epic idea which followed on from an earlier idea we’d kicked around (featuring time travel, failed attempts at avoiding massive mistakes, and a notable lack of sympathy), and now I have the beginning of an outline.

…so that story is apparently happening, whether my carefully planned schedule likes it or not.

And yes – time travel is a key component. Also our teenage selves. And an apple, for some reason.

Featured Image Credit here.

December is a bit of a wash so far

08:25 – I didn’t write a word last night and I unintentionally pulled an all-nighter reading because I wasn’t sleepy. I am determined to get something done today, even if it’s just one phase, because I blue miss the feeling of accomplishment.

I’m still waiting for the print of last year’s NaNo – The Steel Fist – to arrive, which will hopefully inspire me to continue as proof of what can be achieved. The dream: one day, I will have an entire shelf on a bookcase dedicated to my own titles…

Back to reality: I need to word. Wording adds up to editing. Editing adds up to novelling. Novelling adds up to writing full time.

…and yes, I’m going to make a graphic of that. New featured image!

14:54 – 70 words into a phase, which will be continued from home I expect. I’ve managed to lose precious enthusiasm, which needs to be forced back into place (a lot like the seal on our washing machine, which occupied my first evening back with my other half and hurt his fingers) with some dedicated time. I’ll hie myself upstairs *without* an internet connection until I’ve bashed out a few k tonight.

Might be worth planning my next projects a wee bit shorter though… and it probably bears attempting to keep my phases to no more than 300 words. Challenge accepted!

16:10 – 763 words down, and I’m into the achy flagging stage. I hit the wall about half three, and it’s probably going to take effort to get home without drifting off. Need motivations!

Adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit