Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mickling along. Close to 800 words tonight. Clearly, I won't come close to making the optimistic deadline I set a mere two posts ago.

I think that at this point, instead of filling in the holes in the ms., I need to start rereading it from the beginning and mulling over the notes I've made about plot problems and the elements I've haven't yet pinned down. There's more of that than I'm comfortable with.

At the same time, the book now feels to me like a big novel - in scope and in terms of what's at stake for the characters, I mean, rather than number of words. It's looming large. That's rather nice. I like my books to feel big to me.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ratcheting the quality knob

Just under 1200 words tonight. This is good, and I hope I'll be able to keep it up, but I know I won't.

In the previous post, I said I wanted to be done by December 18, and I also estimated that the book, now at 120K words, would end up at 150K. In the comments to that post, an anonymous poster* pointed out that I was saying I'd write 30,000 (good, final) words in 23 days.

Hmm. That does seem unlikely. So maybe I won't make that deadline. It would be very convenient if I did, but of course I can't let that take precedence over the quality of the end result. In addition to the new words, I do have a lot of fixing up to do. My file of notes to myself has grown unnervingly large. Taking care of those will take some time and may include some beating of head against wall.

The title of this post refers to something that happened at one of my previous places of employment. It was a (very major) software company, and we were all working madly to get the next version of one of the main products ready to ship by the dumb, arbitrary deadline (pulled out of thin air by the marketing department, as is normally the case in the software biz). One of the high-up managers said in a meeting that we had to make the deadline, and if we thought we couldn't do all the necessary stuff in time, we would just have to "ratchet down the quality knob." Wouldn't customers have loved to know about that!

Well, I ain't gonna ratchet down no quality knob with this book. Or any other.

* The post shows as anonymous now, but I just switched to the new version of Blogger, and I don't know if that caused poster IDs to vanish.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Talk about yer blister to yer eye!

Three and a half weeks since I last added any words to Time and the Soldier. Sheesh!

A bit over 2700 words today, which is pretty good. That largish number is due to my having had today off. I had yesterday off, as well, but Leonore and I used it to entertain ourselves rather than work at anything. We saw the new James Bond movie (much fun) and then went out to eat. But today, I wrote. Tomorrow and Sunday will be filled with the usual weekend chores, but I hope I can keep some of this momentum going.

After my previous bit of writing, I entered a weird kind of non-writing, lethargic, dull period that I can't explain. Then came the election, which put everything on hold for a few days. Then I got a flu shot at work and reacted badly with what might as well have been the flu. First time that's ever happened to me. I hope it's just due to this year's batch of vaccine and not some new age-related phenomenon.

During this hiatus, I was actually thinking plottishly, coming up with the stuff I spent today writing. So I can claim that, in a sense, I've been writing all along. But it's a sense that didn't result in anything that anyone else could read, until today, when I actually converted it all from potential stuff in my mind to real stuff on pap-- er, magnetic domains.

TimeSold is progressing nicely enough and the blue parts continue to diminish. Rereading chunks of it over the last couple of days, I realized that I'm going to have to move some parts around. I'm jumping around in the story too much. That was intentional, originally, but I've overdone it. In particular, the death of a major character happens much too early. Then, later in the ms., I go back some years in time and rehash parts of her life. It's unsatisfying and lacking in impact. Fixing that during the rewrite will be challenging.

I do have a self-imposed deadline. Leonore's break from her teaching begins on December 18, so that will be a perfect time for her to begin proofreading. (She's great at catching typos and prose infelicities.) Then I can incorporate her suggestions and have the book ready for the agent hunt by the first of the year. That fits with my schedule of having the book on the bestseller lists by the winter of 2008. Well, okay, that last part isn't included in my self-imposed deadline.

Currently, the wordcount, excluding the blue parts, is just over 120,000 words. So the final book could end up at 150,000 words, after all, as I was saying in one of my early posts. That's a bit longish.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Perils of Confusing English Words

Leonore and I just came back from a quick Chinese lunch. My fortune cookie said:

You will be fortunate if you accept the next proposition you hear.

The next one! Jeez, I'm so old that I can't remember the last one, or even if there was a last one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Okay, so what have I been doing? Not writing, obviously.

Last Tuesday, I spent an hour and a half at the dentist's office, having an old, cracked crown removed. Painless, really, except for the shot, and the new drills and saws and whatever he was using are virtually soundless. Nonetheless, I found myself shaky and depressed afterwards, and I realized it was a mild form of PTSD, resulting from the hours I used to spend in dentists' offices as a kid in South Africa, having my rotten teeth drilled with the old, slow, loud drills - and no effing anesthetic, because it was such a macho culture and they didn't believe in numbing you for anything short of an extraction. Fifty years later, I still remember staggering out onto the pavement, dizzy, disoriented, sick, and trembling. I not only remember, I feel it all over again, even after a dentistry session that should be non-traumatic. I should add that the dentist we have nowadays, Dennis Duvall, in Lakewood, Colorado, is outstandingly good, the best dentist either of us has ever had. Nonetheless, that reaction persists.

So I went home and e-mailed work that I was taking a sick day and sat around surfing the Web and feeling sorry for myself. Also drinking bourbon, one of mankind's greatest inventions, although not so great as beer, tea, and cheese. Then I wrote just over 300 words and felt as though I'd run a marathon.

Since then, I haven't written, but not because of the above dental thing, which I put here just because I wanted to whine about it. Instead, I've been obsessively reading news and political blogs about the upcoming midterm elections, feeling hopeful but fearing to hope. Will the fascist swine steal this election, too? Duh! Of course they will, to the extent they feel safe doing so. They don't dare lose, because a Democratic Congress, or even just a Democratic House, which is more likely, will surely hold hearings into their corruption and evildoing over the last few years. I hope those hearings include investigations of how the bastards stole the last three national elections (2000, 2002, and 2004), although I fear that the Democrats will once again make their old mistake of being gentlemen instead of going for the gonads.

When male wild boars do battle, the winner uses his tusks to castrate the loser. Hah, hah! Won't be seeing you here next mating season, sucker!

That's what I want the Democrats to do.

Metaphorically, of course.