Revising with Holly Lisle update, Lesson One

December 8, 2011

So, the first read-through of “Children” is going pretty well. I’m up to page 78 out of 123, and hoping to finish the Despair worksheet tomorrow night at Starbucks Runnymede in Toronto!

This is the biggest part of the first lesson, mostly because it involves the full manuscript read-through. The idea is that you look for five different things as you read:

  1. Ideas that didn’t work well or fell apart as you were writing them.
  2. Characters that work for the book, or don’t.
  3. Elements of the setting that work well, or poorly.
  4. Places where you find yourself skimming as you read.
  5. Places where the story is working and you enjoy it as you read.

So for each of those spots, I write down a little code in hot pink pen in the margin of the page, and make a note in my excel spreadsheet. The code indicates that it’s worksheet 1B, with another letter a through e for each of those five cases, and a numeric suffix to indicate the spreadsheet line.

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The Runnymede Runaround – a picture file!

October 8, 2011

I may have mentioned the Runnymede Runaround before – the Toronto Script Frenzy/Nanowrimo crew meets every other Friday evening, year-round at a Starbucks Coffee near Bloor Street and Runnymede road, if the date is an odd number. They call it ‘Odd Fridays at Runnymede,’ or OFAR.

When I first found out about OFAR, during Script Frenzy, I plugged the Starbucks address into Google maps to see how I could best get there by public transit from work, and then how to get home. The routes I got make up the basis of the Runaround – an unusual loop-the-loop that takes me through Burlington, quickly across Oakville and Mississauga to Toronto, and back to Hamilton – without much retracing, particularly because of the way the GO train and bus routes work out.

So, I thought that yesterday, as I went on the Runaround, I’d take some pictures on my iPhone and show you a bit of what it was like.

First off, the morning commute goes more or less as normal – get out of my apartment, catch a bus across the street, which takes me into Burlington along the lakeshore. Then transfer to two other buses in Burlington, one which goes up Maple street and to the Burlington GO train station, and then another quick ride a few blocks to my office. (I didn’t take any photos during the morning.)

Left the office at twenty after four or so.

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My problems with Presto

June 4, 2011

Here in south-central Ontario, they’ve been talking for a while about introducing ‘the Presto card’ for public transit – it’s a single plastic card with an RFID chip in it, that you can use for lots of different local bus companies and other transit agencies. It’s a good idea, and I’ve had one and been using it for nearly a year now, I think, mostly with Burlington transit buses and the GO commuter trains, because those were the systems that I used that adopted it first. I thought it worked quite well overall, but just recently I’ve hit a few annoying ‘this should be working better’ moments.

First, Hamilton Street Railway went online with Presto in May, though there wasn’t a big announcement beforehand that May 1st was the day that all those Presto readers in the bus would suddenly switch from testing-only to live. (There were a lot of general info ads about them popping up in the shopping malls and so on, but I knew that it wasn’t live on the day that I first saw an ad, so they really weren’t that helpful specifically.)

But as May came to an end, I started to wonder if I should forego getting my usual plastic monthly pass for June and just go with Presto. A bit of digging, though, revealed the following issues:

  1. It seems that to get the monthly pass price for Hamilton on Presto, you can’t just load it with money as usual and have the system cap you out once you’ve used enough money on HSR fares to equal the monthly pass price. You specifically need to buy a digital ‘monthly pass’ and have that loaded onto your Presto card.
  2. The digital monthly pass can apparently only be purchased at the HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street.
  3. The HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street is only open from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  4. I work from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  5. My job is in Burlington, at least 20 minutes away from Hunter street in Hamilton.

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Odd Fridays at Runnymede are… odd.

May 13, 2011

So, I’m back to the Starbucks on Bloor street near Runnymede in Toronto, and not entirely sure if I’m having a good time or not. Ah well.

(I saved my draft after that opening paragraph, partly because I didn’t really want somebody to look over at my laptop screen and notice what I was blogging about, and partly because somebody mentioned the idea of doing a word war.)

I’m glad I went back to Runnymede. The last time, four weeks ago, was in the middle of the excitement about Script Frenzy, and that common goal kind of helped me bond with the TorontoNanoers gang who were there. This time – well, everybody was friendly, but I still had that sense sometimes when I go to a new social situation, that everybody else knows each other really well and are talking about in-jokes that I don’t get, so I just kind of stay quiet and do my own thing or listen. Usually, coming out a few more times with the same group helps me break out of my shell a little bit, because I get to know familiar faces and what to talk to them about.

Next odd Friday will be May the 27th. I’m not sure if I’m going to go back to Runnymede for that, but probably I should if I don’t have a really good reason not to.


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