Month 2 Day 2

My first books were sheer fantasy and there is a freedom to writing fantasy;  if you need a small, venomous fish whose bite triggers hallucinations to waylay your heroine, all you have to do is describe one.

Steampunk though, is altered history, so, while you can imagine that Rufus Porter established the first “airline” in 1848, you have to pay some attention to the reality of the times. If you want his dirigibles to expand service to include a bi-weekly run to Mars, some idea as to how he managed it has to be shoe-horned in without derailing the momentum.

A system for reminding yourself to check whether or not iced tea was widely available in 1893 or what year the Japanese national anthem was composed – incidentally, yes, and 1868 – becomes indispensable.

And while using research as an excuse to read a book you can’t otherwise justify has its pleasures, it is possible to feel a bit “bogged down”, maybe even just a bit tired of it all.

Committing myself to punching through the “bog” has paid off. I’m rediscovering how much I love this story, how utterly insane, fallible, noble and human its characters are.

I’m remembering why I do this. Word count for the day 1070 words.

Month 2, Day 1

I did quick estimate on the possible length of All Points South – the work in progress for boot camp. I have about 38K words and I figure I’m about halfway there and will need about 30K to 40K more.

That would be about 10K a week. About 2K a day for 5 days of the week because I never get in 7 days.

Today I made a little over 1K.

Serious organization is going to need to happen.


Goal Posting

I set out in the middle of this month with the modest hopes to read three related books, sort the chapters I had, and rough out a sketch of the rest of a work in progress.

The books are read – although I found three more that could only help, but those will be read at the end of the day.

I broke my writing into chapters – now I need to sort and polish that bit.

The rough sketch? It’s taking shape, but to meet deadline, I will need to finish it today.

Still, knowing I need to get it done has nudged me past the sticking points sooo …

I am thus far very glad to have chosen to join up. Let’s see how I feel writing under deadline.

Turning Out

There is one thing more discouraging than a work of fiction which you know will end badly, and that would be a work of non-fiction which you know will end badly. That’s why I never saw Titanic.

I have joined the YA Buccaneers Boot Camp.

I have posted goals for March – reading (or re-reading) three books relevant to my WIP, setting out a sketch of the story up to the end of said book and organizing the last hundred pages into chapters.

One re-read is finished. The second is waiting and I am battling mightily with the third.

It’s a battle to read because I know it ends badly. Hawaiian history, nineteenth century.

Happy endings get dismissed a lot; they aren’t considered especially realistic. Honestly, as far as a lot of history is concerned, they aren’t.

Humans need hope, I think, much as they need food, or air, or water. If you know the end, you know whether or not there is any reason for hope.

If not, then somehow, you have to find that something that keeps you going, even if, the time you’ve allotted for sketching a plot seems impossibly short or the book you promised you’d read is difficult.

A Musing on Boot Camping

Oscar Wilde once said something about wanting to be worthy of his imported ceramics. I’m nowhere near as ambitious; I just want to be worthy of the motto on my tea mug.

It says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I don’t know if setting one’s writing goals out in the public eye is within the comfort zone of most people – it isn’t yet in mine. And yet…

I would like to finish my work in progress. Quite specifically, book one, second series – and then, the other books inspired by the first series, and then, the other books to finish the second, and then there is this third idea and suddenly one lifetime doesn’t seem nearly enough.

Tweeting and hashtagging seem to be part of this endeavour and I am not conversant in either. Remind me to list the slog of things I did not know how to use when I started writing; it has the makings of another book in itself. I’m still learning how to use this site!

And I am very much a pantser who works on inspiration. And yet…

YA Buccaneers Spring Bootcamp.

Doesn’t look as if settling down into a familiar, comfortable second half century is in the cards for me.

The Best Laid Plans..

There were plans for this weekend, plans that involved taking full advantage of a break from dead-on vortexy weather and hauling out to one of our favorite spreads of public greenery to toss a quilt on the most likely freeze-dried verdure and indulge in the sort of anachronistic pastimes our little nuclear unit likes to indulge in. Drawing. Writing. Flying model airplanes. That sort of thing.

Didn’t happen.

For one thing, the offspring, Resident Young Adult, had homework to finish despite having slaved mightily at it for much of Saturday. Said work involved having Internet access.

For another thing, there was The Chandelier. First of all, let me say that I like The Chandelier. I always wanted something like it for the dining room and that if I had purchased it myself it could have stayed safe in the box and writing would have happened regardless of whether we had picnicked or not. But I didn’t buy it, my father did. Right now he’s downsizing, from the house he has been renting, to a senior-friendly apartment. The Chandelier, which made the last move with him, isn’t going to fit.

It’s a Bohemian confection of spun glass and dripping crystal which has no business sitting for any length of time on the sideboard of a house possessed of three humans and three cats, not one of whom can lay claim to an iota of athletic grace. Ergo, job number one this weekend was hanging it, ASAP.

But the dining room still has its original – albeit flood-damaged, that’s another story – wallpaper. Hanging, de-hanging and then re-hanging was out of the question. So nearly all waking hours these past forty-eight have been spent on, ascending, or descending ladders with scrapers, spritz-bottles, scrub pads, or else wiring stuff and fiddly-bits of glass in hand in the sort of frenzy that leads to two Aleve at bedtime.

No writing happened. I’ve long suspected that one of the reasons that there are so many women writing today is that the working hours can be adapted around the needs of others.

Luckily, the writing community is still out there, regardless of one’s own electro-decor kerfuffles. Nathan Bransford with yet another spirit-lifting post, this one about not-having-to-write-every-day. Thank you again Nathan. And Elizabeth Briggs posted about the YA Buccaneers Spring Writng Bootcamp. About which I knew nothing.
Thank you Liz. I’m off to go find out.

A journey of a thousand miles begins…In your mind.

Writing brings with it the mixed blessing of losing the option of reading purely for pleasure.

Astral Voyages, Goldberg and Spirit Guides,Webster, might have been interesting to pursue at some time but as they were allotted space on the bedside pile purely as research and that story–having been finished– is no longer in progress, they go on indefinite hold.

American Colossus, Brands, as it concerns the latter nineteenth century and counts as research towards a WIP, stays, even if it is dismaying to read how much things remain the same.

Victorian Secrets,Chrisman, could count as research but, honestly, should count as a pleasure read. The author’s only failing is a youthful tendency to be a bit quick to judge. I think she makes up for it twice over: with her enviable patience with the strangers who pester her and with her tendency to introspect and examine concepts brought into question by her lifestyle changes. I’ve already finished it though.

More on this subject later.

Not, I suspect, the final frontier


Perhaps the best place to start this blog is with a sort of statement of intent.

Some Mid-Century schools had a Multi-Purpose room.  I want this to be a multi-purpose website.

There’s room for a lot of interactive play on an author’s site. So although I will write about writing and about books other than my own,  there will also be content for my readers – maps, charts, glossaries and whatever else turns out to be useful.  I hope to post some short pieces as well.

Since I’m as much a textile nerd as a book nerd, I have plans to post patterns for objects inspired by my worlds; knits, embroideries and other crafts, especially the stuffed sea creatures I’m working up that are just too cool not to share.

I would love for an art exchange to develop here.

I don’t know where all of this will lead. I’m looking forward to finding out.