Darkness on the Edge of Town

It’s the Second Day of Work Camp, and it’s raining.

Apparently I slept through some good thunder storms, which is great with me, ’cause I needed a good night’s sleep.  I was still up a couple of times in the middle of the night, but only for a few minutes before I drifted back to sleep.  And for some reason I had a dream where I was riding a ferry alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, and we were going to work on an island, and he had some kind of phobia about being on land that was surrounded by water–which, if you think about it, means he’s totally screwed no matter where in the world he goes.  Maybe that’s why he likes going into space:  no water surrounding you.  Or being a dragon living inside a mountain; you don’t see the water.

The dreams were crazy.  There was something else in there about a friend’s daughter wanting to have sex with me, and a friend was coming to visit me, and she was expecting me to rub myself against her in ways that would make her feel most excellent.  Well, then.  I don’t often dream of being asked for sex, but when I do, I have it happen twice in one dream.

Though my friend never did show up in my dream–she only spoke to me on the phone.  Bummer.  Maybe tonight.

I made it through the first day of work unharmed.  Today I should have computer access, so I shouldn’t feel too much alone.  I can’t complain:  I have an office of sorts:  a large cube with high walls, and I door I can shut.  It’s still a bit funky, but compared to the broom closet I was in back at The Job From Hell, this is like being moved to a hotel suite.  Maybe that’s why I hated Indy so much:  I was stuck in a closet and I needed to come out.  Get it?  Come out!  Hoo, ha, I got a million of them this morning.

Finally, after hours of my network trying to download my Scrivener update, I managed to finished editing Chapter Nine of Couples Dance.  It was maybe two thousand words down the fairy hole, but that brought everything in line, and I’d forgotten about the entire end of the chapter after the reading of the journals.  That’s what happens when you stay away from your work for too long.  At the same time that’s what you need, because the story isn’t fresh in your mind and you can become amazed by it once again.  Or disgusted.  Depends on how well it was written.

The big push tonight will be to get through as much of Chapter Ten as possible, wrap it up tomorrow, start on Chapter Eleven, and then breeze through Chapter Twelve.  Looking at this, I mentally note that if I’m not out running around this weekend–and I don’t expect that to happen–then I can finish this edit by Saturday.  Maybe line up a few beta readers, get that ball rolling, and work on something else in the mean time.

Hey, it’s getting light outside.  Still raining, through.

I’ll take it.

Foggy Morning Blogging

I would say this is the first early morning in the new place today, but yesterday was much like last night.  I fell asleep early, about ten PM, after a few hours of edits and watching Breaking Bad, then was up at like three-thirty in the morning.  Toss and turn, then fall back to sleep, then toss and turn some more until I finally decide to crawl out and face the day.

It’s foggy outside; the first fog I’ve seen in a while.  I know it’ll burn off soon, but it’s strange to not be able to see the mountains out beyond my window.  Though it’s more than I see normally from the Real Home.

Today has all kinds of uncertainly for me.  I check out the new route, which is loaded with construction.  I check out the new job, which could be great, or could suck a ton.  I get into the new routine, which could be as boring as the last routine, and the one before that.  I’m hoping that’s not the case, because I don’t want to fall into the same trap I had back at the Job From Hell, which was depressing and soul sucking–but is, at the moment, going through so much bad shit that I can’t help but smile a little and hope the right people are getting heat from a blast furnace.

In short, I don’t want to feel as if I’m wearing myself out.  I want a lot more than that.

One good thing I that over the course of a couple of days I managed to edit about seven thousand words out of Chapter Nine of Couples Dance.  Big chapter, and with the edits comes some cutting and some adding.  The adding has one so far, and while I don’t believe the chapter will end up around ninety-eight hundred words, it’s going to be close to ninety-seven fifty.  I have a published story as long as this chapter, but I’m so much better at editing now than I was two years ago when I wrote that other story.  The process seems to flow these days, and doesn’t feel as if I’m getting teeth pulled every time I sit and read something.

I have to count that as a win.

This week I’ll start rounding up beta readers, because by this time next week edits should have finished, and it’s time to put eyes on this mother.  Warn people that there are parts that will be freaky, but I don’t want to know if they found the story disgusting, or too strange–I just want to know where it needs tightening.  I know it’s strange, and I know there are some parts that are over the top, so no news there.  What I need to know where the errors are, because I want this clean before publishing.  I don’t want to publish, then fix, then publish again . . . then fix . . .

Then comes, “What to do next?”  Well, I know that answer, but I’ve not spent any time thinking about that story.

I’ve too much happening now, and it’s got me in a fog . . .

Back to the Business

Hello, Panara, my old friend.  I’m here to blog with you again.

The trip went smoothly.  Ten hours of traveling–really, it was only a few minutes over ten hours that I consider it so–a lot of flat-out blasting down straight lines of highway in Indiana and Ohio, and a lot of twisting and turning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  There were time when I felt like I was blasting right down the old Nurburgring again, though the huge number of cops would have prevented me from opening the throttle and hitting a hundred-plus.

Still, it was a good drive, and I managed a couple of pictures of passage through the first tunnel while R.E.M. was blasting on the stereo.  There was something just slightly on the edge of surreal with that moment, but it’s what made it memorable.

I’m more or less set up now, safe inside my little room, with TV and Internet.  I can catch up on Breaking Bad tonight, and watch Project Runway on Thursday.  I’m sure by this time next week I’ll know if I did the wrong thing, or if I’m going to enjoy the next six months.  Tomorrow may be a pain in the butt, since my main route into work is being worked up–everything here is being worked upon, it seems–so I’m going to look at a few alternates today.  Driving through Hburg feels a lot like driving through Indy, though if I hadn’t known where the Panara was located, I wouldn’t have found it driving down I-83, because there wasn’t anything on the side of the road telling me the Panara was here.  Hey, Penny, the rest of civilized world marks their eatery locations.  We even do it in Indiana, but that might be for the benefit of the meth heads who are up all night after getting their Linlu on.

Duke is in the headphones, and I need to make a run to Costco and Target later today.  After that . . .

We know what comes after that.

No editing was preformed in the course of the day, but I had too reason for that.  Though for a moment I considered pulling over on the Penn Turn, hitting a service center, and powering up the laptop for an hour of getting through the current chapter.  But, no:  I’m not that crazy.

Not much.

Thursday night I managed to edit about three thousand of the ninety-seven hundred words in Chapter Nine.  It wasn’t until I started editing it the other night that I realized the chapter is as big as my smallest published story.  It was just one of those things that kept growing as I wrote, because I needed to get a lot of information in the chapter, and it wouldn’t have done to split it into different sections.  Which means this one chapter makes up almost one-fifth of the story–so I better get it right, yeah?

The feeling here is different.  I still have my financial issues, and I really need to find a place to hole up that cheaper than my current digs.

But I’m on my adventure.

Now if I could get some sleep tonight . . .


Late Night Downloads and Star Smashing

Crazy times yesterday, let me tell you.  So many things happening all at once, and coming to a head today and tomorrow.  It keeps a girl busy, you know?

Though there’s been little mention of the activity, the editing on Couples Dance continues.  Two-thirds of the chapters are now clean and done, with four remaining–which means not a lot of work, right?  Wrong!  Three of the four chapters are among the biggest in the novel, accounting for almost half the story–about twenty-four thousand words total.  That mean there is considerable editing ahead of me, even if it is only four chapters.

Up to this point the editing has been great, and I’ve learned to look hard at what I’m doing and make certain things are right and tight.  I’ve caught a few bad quotation marks, lost words, stuff that just doesn’t seem right.  I’ve removed the “suddenly”s and “very”s from the story.  I’ve even taken a couple of passes at two chapters because I was certain tenses were all messed up, and I wanted to sleep on the story before looking at it again.

Editing is fun.  Really, I wouldn’t lie.  Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, because it is, but your story needs this work.  It needs your eyes to fix things like spelling and tenses and things that, when you read them, simply don’t make sense.  The editor on the other end of the Internet can’t always know what you, the write, wanted to say, and you lose time if they’re sending you a block of text with the notion, “The hell is going on here?”

That’s time taken away from the work in progress you’ve got before you at that time.  And you don’t want that.

Not only that, but once more I’m up early with things bugging me.  This article I’ve spoken of–well, a couple of them, actually–I’m laying in bed and it’s like four AM, and there are idea flowing through my head that simply won’t let me sleep.  And out of nowhere comes this thought:  “Hey, if I make that Lensman sunbeam gun, will that 9.15e10 megatons per second of energy it generates really destroy a planet?”  Most people wake up imagining some warm hotness lying next to them; I’m thinking about blowing up planets with a sungun.

You know where this is going, right?

Once the computer was up I start the Google, looking for a calculator to convert megatons to joules–and, what do you know, I find it.  I plug in the above number and end up with 3.82836e26 joules of energy.  Now, you’re probably wondering how do I know if this is enough energy to blow up a planet?  Because I wrote an article some time back about using energy weapons in science fiction, and I gave the amount of energy needed to overcome the “binding energy” of Earth’s gravitational field and let the planet come apart completely.

And that number is 2e32 joules.  Now, it is said that the energy from the Sunbeam is designed to melt the planet, so if you look at the energy being delivered, yes, indeed, in about a minute or two you’ll deliver enough energy to melt an entire planet to the point where it’ll pretty much come apart.  Maybe.  It might be a little more than that, but the concept is workable.

I’ll leave the proof of concept to you.

Stepping Into the Big Dance

No, it wasn’t my intention to edit a little over eight thousand words yesterday.  But things happen, right?

After writing up yesterday’s post I pulled up Couples Dance and began looking at Chapter Six, the midway point of the story.  it’s the first “big” chapter in the book, going just over eight thousand one hundred words.  One could consider it a bit of an info dump, but I like to think of is as more of a “Mr. Ullman Moment”, named in honor of Stewart Ullman, the manager of The Overlook Hotel in The Shining, who tells Jack everything he needs to know about all the nasty, horrible crap that happened at The Overlook back in the day.

That’s pretty much what happens in Chapter Six.  One of my main characters wanted to learn about the notorious past of his house, he has a secondary character look this stuff up, and here it all is, dude, just like you asked.  It’s a fun chapter, even though they talk about death and misery, and maybe a little . . . naw, not going to give that away.  I had fun writing it–

I had more fun editing it yesterday.

I’m rereading everything, trying to not only catch errors, but rewrite things where needed.  I wrote this novel over a year ago, and there’s many things about my style that has changed since–not to mention that I know a bit more about this game than I did in the first three months of 2012.

In the prior five chapters, all ten thousand four hundred fifty words, I’d found mistakes, changed up a few lines–even deleted paragraphs.  Oh, noes!  Yeah, I started cutting things, but don’t get too bent out of shape, the cutting wasn’t that bad.  When it happened it was because things either needed cutting, or some major changing.

Since I had other things on my plate yesterday I figured I’d do about a third of the chapter, maybe half if I was in the mood, then do the rest today.  That was my plan–

My plans have a habit of going to hell quickly.

I get into the chapter, and start reading and writing and editing.  It’s coming along rather nicely, and I feel none of the ennui I sometimes get when I’m editing, because lets admit it:  editing feels a lot like having to eat those vegetables you don’t like.  It’s a necessary bore at times, but you do it because you must.

By the time I finished that first entry, I’d looked at maybe three thousand words.  Maybe.  Not sure, but I do know I’d cut about fifty words from the chapter.  Then it was off to do other things–

Last night, after eating and a few other things, I decided, “Hey, I’ll give it a look, edit a little bit,” and started working on the chapter about six-thirty PM.

About nine-thirty I was finished.  As was the chapter.  All edited, all nice and clean, more or less.  I found mistakes, I deleted fluff, I rewrote lines that needed rewriting.

Now up next:  the crazy sexy.  I love it.

Ride the Camp Kaiju Ashore

I’m told that today is the day that the Camp NaNo winner goodies are in the truck and heading up the dirt road, but I don’t see the damn thing yet.  I’ve checked the site twice this morning, but I must be way too early (it’s six forty-nine AM right now), because the truck isn’t here, and the goodies are lacking.

Or maybe Jason got the drivers last night while they were having sex.  You can never tell.

I’m considering what to do with said goodies, because there’s only one I wish to use, and I probably won’t be able to use that one until the software is released, maybe next month, maybe in October.  The last two NaNos those goodies have gone unused and eventually vanished into the aether, though I once gave a friend my Scrivener fifty percent off code so they could enjoy the software, which they put to good use.

Maybe this year I’ll hold my own version of The Hunger Games for the code.  Call it The Hungry Writer Games, and accept submissions for best and most creative death scenes written in five hundred words or less.  Spend two weeks getting them, then narrow the submissions down until there is only one person left standing, who then rips me off for my goodies.  May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor, penmonkeys.

Enjoyed the movie yesterday.  Plenty of jager on kaiju action, and the beatdowns were brutal.  And may I point out that a mecha head, like the bridge atop of the saucer section of a Federation starship, is the dumbest place to put your cockpit.  Sure, it looks cool riding around in the head, but when all but two of the jager pilots died, it came because the head is right there just asking to be abused.  Head shot, head shot, head shot . . . Guillermo del Toro obviously thought the BattleTech hit table was a load of crap, or he rolls boxcars with loaded dice, cause he showed little mercy to the cockpit crawlers.

Also, when they were fighting in Hong Kong I sort of got an idea where some of the action was taking place, ’cause I kept recognizing landmarks there.  It’s been a long time since I was last in the Fragrant Harbor, but I still look at the place on Google Maps, and dream.

After returning from the movies, however, my novel Couples Dance was on my Seagate drive telling me that it’s not going to edit itself.  Yeah, those lazy ass characters, they won’t do anything on their own, so I gotta pull it up and get in there and do some work.  Now I’m getting into the longer chapters, and Chapter Five is around thirty-six hundred words, so I expect to get about half way in and stop . . .

Right.  How did that work out?  About an hour and a half later I was through the whole chapter, having re-written here, deleted a few things there, and ended up adding a new Scrivener status:  “Recheck Revision”.  Because I found some tense issues, and I want to breeze through it again and make sure I’m not bouncing about in time like a faulty TARDIS.

No, I leave my time travel for my science fiction novels, not the erotic horror . . . or do I?


The second chapter of Couples Dance is down and done–as much as it’s going to be for now.  I’m certain there’ll be another pass though when this is over, but for now I’m pretty happy.  Sort of happy.  Kind of happy.

Yeah, I’ll take what I have.  Right now it feels good.

The first four chapters are really pretty small as far as the story as a whole is concerned.  Each is between fifteen and eighteen hundred words, so I’ve got a short story to start setting up things for the strangeness to come.  It’s the chapters that come after, that are eight thousand and six thousand, and ever one that’s nine thousand words, that are going to take some time.  Those are the ones that will require a day, or more, to get cleaned up and somewhat rewritten.  Seeing as how I have ten chapters to do, I’m guessing since a few chapters will require multiple days to edit, I could have another two weeks of work ahead.

On this story.  No word on what’s coming next.

Well, I do know what’s coming next, and that work is coming along, at least visually.  My three-dimensional layout for my school is getting bigger and bigger each day, and as I get better at this modeling thing, I can always make better trees and forests, and my building can start to look more like buildings and not some gray blocks on a green surface.  It’s fun to do, to build this thing that has lived in the bowels of my memory for some time, but damn, does it take up time.  You can write, or you can make things relating to writing.  This is definitely the “Make things relating to writing” part, because I’m not writing when I’m working on this landscape.

At least Blender doesn’t kill my system like a few other modeling program have.  Though once I get a few thousand trees laid out, I may need to go to a bigger system.

In a way this school has become another character in my story.  Not that I don’t have a few already:  there is, as they say, a cast of dozens waiting to walk upon the stage and have their say.  Most will be small players; some are going to set up shop and be around for most of the stories about my kids.  But as I lay out this place known as the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning, I see how it’s turning into more than a place where teachers get up and go through their daily routines, and the kids look for places to hide and make mischief when they’re not studying their butts off.

The school has become something organic.  It is more than a collection of buildings and grounds; it’s a tangible thing.  I am building its personality as surely as if I were making characters notes in a file.

People ask, “What do you do to get to know your characters?”  That’s an easy question to answer:

You do whatever is necessary to turn them into living, breathing creatures.

Even when they’re made of dirt, wood, and stone.