NaNoEdMo Eve (again?)

February 28, 2014

Well, it’s the last day of February, so tomorrow will be March 1st, and NaNoEdMo is starting all over again. My approach to revision and editing has changed a lot in the last year, (mostly on account of Odyssey,) but I’m still looking forward to getting 50 hours worth of editing in over the month.

So far, my revision possibilities list is fairly brief:

  • The Angel’s Charlie. I started working on the Holly Lisle HTRYN program with this manuscript last March, and then never really got back to it. It’ll be nice to get back to that.
  • “Gotta have that look.” Hopefully I can get the revision of this to a place where I’m happy enough with it to submit it to Team Ambitious by mid-month. (It’ll need to be good, since they all saw a draft back in the summer.) Then maybe I can submit it in the spring, get it working for my Race Score.
  • Expand “Orpheus and the Cameraman” for the Abyss anthology. Since the anthology call is for novellas of at least 10k, and my current draft is just over four thousand words, (from a first draft of 2k,) that’ll be a lot of expansion and new words, but I think the premise has enough to support that, and it’ll be nice to get to write some new scenes while still technically editing for March.

I just finished the last of my modest goals for Feburary, dreaming up some story ideas that I’ll be tossing out when the A to Z challenge starts in April! Of course, I still have to figure out some of the trickiest letters in the alphabet, but there’s time for that.

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Screens off before bedtime!

February 24, 2014

Okay, I hadn’t really heard about melatonin supression before yesterday. The basic idea is that blue-rich light from electronic devices like LCD screens and televisions screws up our brain chemistry if we’re exposed to it a lot late at night, and keeps people from getting a good night’s sleep.

Now, sleep is very important to me. And I’ve been noticing some problems with it lately. So I decided to give this thing a try yesterday. I didn’t muck around with apps to adjust light levels or amber goggles, just set a deadline to turn off all the LCD screen devices, and gave myself a bedtime an hour later.

It was a little odd trying to steer clear of my computers, the television, my smartphones, tablet, etcetera for that hour, but worked out pretty well. I did some cleaning and dishes in the kitchen while listening to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on an old audiobook player that doesn’t really have enough of a screen to worry about. (It does have blue backlight, actually, but I figured it wasn’t bright enough to make a difference if I wasn’t staring at the readout for the whole hour.) And I enjoyed a nice bedtime snack while listening to some music.

I felt like I got some good sleep, and I’m going to try it again tonight, so I need to wrap-up this post quickly. I think one of the benefits for me may not be about blue light, just that without all my fancy devices, I won’t be so tempted to procrastinate and stay up later than I meant to! 😉


Weekend Writing Warriors – Orpheus and the Camera Man 2

February 23, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

It was time for a change, so I started sharing snippets from my my modern fantasy short, Orpheus and the Camera Man

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Snippet 1

Tony leaned over and fixed Marshall with a hard stare. “Why didn’t you ever tell me you had a high psi rating?”

“Well . . . I haven’t known for long, never learned to do much with it, and it hasn’t exactly come up in conversation, man. Why is it coming up in conversation now?”

“The Roads to the Afterlife, man! I’ve been consulting holy men, trying to find out what happened to Felicity. She’s stuck in the Greek underworld, possibly an attendant of Hades’ court, and they bargain with mortals, sometimes. You’ve read the story of Orpheus, right?”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/


More Complex

February 21, 2014

I’ve been thinking about a passage from a story all week.

The story was “Immersion”, by Aliette de Bodard, and I read it via the Escape Pod-cast, last weekend; mostly while walking out in the snow on Sunday morning. It’s a great tale about technology and culture, but the passage is this:

“[It was] conceived by a Galactic mind… every logical connection within it exudes a mindset that might as well be alien to these girls. It takes a Galactic to believe that you can take a whole culture and reduce it to algorithms; that language and customs can be boiled to just a simple set of rules. For these girls, things are so much more complex than this… they’ll never ever think like that.”

Maybe I’ve got the Galactic mindset already, because what I immediately thought after listening to that passage was “Does it make sense to talk about ANYTHING being ‘more complex’ than algorithms?” I’m not talking about particular algorithms here, but about the concept of ‘algorithms’ in the abstract.

If you’re not familiar with the term, an ‘algorithm’ is a defined set of rules for solving a problem, suitable for a computer to follow. (Though you don’t have to be a computer to use them; most recipes for baking or cooking are algorithms, for instance, as well as driving directions or other instructions to give to people.) In the field of software and computing, an algorithm is generally distinct from the specific program written in a particular programming language which implements it.

And not all algorithms are simple, by any means. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are algorithms used by Google, for instance, so complicated that no one person understands all the details of them, only the broad outline and their particular specialty component. Algorithms can, in theory, solve a lot of problems if they’re provided with the right information. There’s a field within computer science about unsolvable problems, or problems that we suspect can’t be solved without taking too much time to be practical beyond simple cases, but even then, you can get a long way with the right algorithm if you let go of the idea of the ‘perfect’ solution and are satisfied with something in the right ballpark.

And when it comes down to it, I don’t really think we, as people, have special powers in our minds that computers could never match or compare to. The human brain is a wonderful thing, yes, and we haven’t written algorithms that can math a lot of what we can accomplish. But that’s just because we’ve been working for thousands of years at culture, language, and customs, and only a few hundred years at writing algorithms.

I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Though if we succeed in making computer programs that can write their own software and fiction, I may be out of work for a while. 😉


What’s Up Wednesday, weary of winter…

February 19, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to great stories from Escape Artists and a couple of Audible books, including ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. In print, I’ve been reading more of “That Touch of Magic” by Lucy March, “Knot Gneiss” by Piers Anthony, and “Secret Circle: The Captive” by LJ Smith.

What I’m writing:

Well, I did some last-minute revisions to my Kitchen Scale stuff and sent it off to apply to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, and I wrote a 5000+ word fantasy/comedy/heist story for the Codex ‘Mega Weekend Warrior’ contest over the weekend. Now I think I’m going to focus on critiquing other people’s writing for a little.

What inspires me right now:

Mary Chapin Carpenter lyrics! Women destroying all kinds of genres. 😉 Jesse Tyler Ferguson — I’ve been watching both ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The Class’, and it’s been cool comparing his performances in two very different comedic roles over nearly eight years.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went to a write-in over the weekend with some local writers. Tried to get a family gathering organized for Family Day here in Ontario, but it didn’t come through, so I ended up working from home for a good chunk of the holiday, so I can get the time back later. Getting ready to move the day job to a new office. Riding the bus in to work as much as I can, so that somebody else has to deal with the winter driving.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Weekend Writing Warriors – Orpheus and the Camera Man 1

February 16, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

It’s time for a change, so I’ll start sharing snippets from my my modern fantasy short, Orpheus and the Camera Man

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Marshall Frey looked up from his humanities essay notes to see Tony Santoro standing on the other side of the university library table.  “Hey, bud.  How’re you doing?”  Tony just shrugged.  “It was–well, it was an interesting funeral service.”

Tony laughed bitterly as he sat down, and a few images flashed through Marshall’s mind of the Celtic wake for Felicity.  Marshall met Felicity in high school, and they’d been friends for most of that time; hooked up once, but decided that really wasn’t a good idea.  Felicity had only met Tony a few months before she found out she had inoperable cancer.

“I don’t see why they gave her Last Rites with that foul Irish Trickster,” Tony said after a moment.

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/.


What’s Up Wednesday: Umm…

February 12, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to plenty of great podcasts from Escape Artists, plus ‘Sandman Slim’ and ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. On the e-reader I’ve been reading the new Lucy March fantasy, ‘That Touch of Magic’, and short mysteries from “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”

What I’m writing:

Completed another flash fiction for the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Making some progress on the ‘Kitchen Scale’ stuff, both on the synopsis and my sample pages. Not sure if I’ll make my original goal of applying to Kij Johnson’s workshop by the 13th, but there should still be room if I take a few extra days.

What inspires me right now:

Old sitcoms like The Class, Married with Children and Malcolm in the Middle. Hanging out with awesome writers on Codex, and figuring out that I’ve met some of them in person at Young Gunns. The new souper-seekrit Team Ambitious IRC room…

What else I’ve been up to:

Avoiding the winter weather when I can and stressing myself out when I can’t, sigh. Hanging out with family a little. Playing around with programming projects, like adding song sorting to my Android music rater.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Weekend Writing Warriors – Measuring Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale 10

February 9, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

This week, I’m continuing with the sample chapters of my unfinished Nano. Thanks to everybody for your feedback on the snippets I’ve shared so far, I’m going to be working to revise that scene this week as my sample pages for Kij Johnson’s novel workshop.

This time, I’m skipping ahead, but it’s still Vanessa and Gordon talking about their past:

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Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3 Snippet 4 Snippet 5 Snippet 6 Snippet 7 Snippet 8 Snippet 9

“Why did you come to Balance? I mean, you said that you were here when this was a growing ghost town.” I tried to think of what the community must have been like then–probably at least a third of the Libran construction had been finished, if not more, but without enough Earthlings to fill more than a few percent of that. Had they clustered in the buildings near the eight-way, to start with, looking for the security of fellow Earthlings against the oppressiveness of all those empty, alien-made buildings in the images of old Earth?

“Probably a lot of the same reasons as you. I thought there were opportunities here, to build a career and make plenty of money. I’ve got family connections in the hotel and hospitality business, like you do in restauranteering. I’ve turned my own hotel into a stable money-maker, and invested some of the profits into other deals; like this building for you.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.blogspot.ca/.


Sharing some more sketches (and a fanvid!)

February 8, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about drawing here on the blog; in fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done much drawing. I gave myself some goals in December and reached them, but I also realized that it was a little depressing to work on drawing in the winter without much natural light. But I do have some sketches that I wanted to share with you before I forgot about them entirely.

Drawings 041

 

A September exercise out of the ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ workbook; my own knees and feet in perspective. 😉

Drawings 042

 

 

 

I think this was my first try at the ‘books on a table’ still life perspective exercise. I probably have another whack at it around somewhere, because I wasn’t that impressed, but I couldn’t find it when I was taking stuff in to get it scanned. Read the rest of this entry »


Late IWSG: procrastination and February blahs

February 6, 2014

First, sorry that this is late. I’ve actually been having some issues about juggling ‘What’s up Wednesday’ and the IWSG the past few months, since they both fall on Wednesdays. I don’t want to skip either, but I don’t like blogging twice in the same day or trying to combine two topics in the same post, so… what can ya do?

So, yeah. Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I knew what I had to focus on this week, and next week. Time’s running out for applying to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, I got some great feedback on my synopsis from Team Ambitious, so… I mucked around, watched television, and didn’t really tackle it until this evening.

I’m not quite sure why I couldn’t rise above procrastination. This winter has been a bit tough on me, energy-wise. I can keep on with the day-to-day, and I’m reading like nobody’s business, but actually getting stuff written has been harder. Also, the feedback that my critiquers sent out was rich enough in detail to be a little overwhelming, and this was the first time in months that we weren’t able to swing a Google Hangout for critiques. So I didn’t have the little ceremony of the virtual critique circle to help me come to terms with the response, just a few files in my email. Maybe it took me this long to come to terms subconsciously with what I absorbed when I skimmed through the files, and that’s something I had to do before I could tackle the work consciously. (Looks back and forth shiftily.) Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.

But at least I’m making progress now.


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