Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Truck That Sauron Built

When I reserved the UHaul I didn't think it would be Cinderalla's carriage but even I was a bit shocked at what I got. My first clue of impending doom should have been when they asked me if I could drive a stick shift. That's not a problem for this ol' farm boy so I said sure. Then around the corner comes this wheezing, grinding 30' long jalopy that looks like it was originally used by Jed Clampett to move the family to Californee. A walk around showed off its many scratches, bumps, dents, dings, and abrasions. I almost ran out of ink trying to mark up the contract with damge locations. After that I got to drive it home. Lucky for me this is all taking place in a three mile radius. I'll blog more about it later. (Probably when we set up the computer again, it's getting dismatled right after I hit 'publish' on this post.) Today we have another couple of trips to make and hopefully I'll figure out how second gear works.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Moving is Not Like Writing

We're moving into a house this weekend. I'd like to say that moving is a lot like writing but it's not. Moving is all about confusion, pain, and misery with nothing but eternal torment and no relief in sight. It's nothing like writing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Good One From Number One

Son #1 came up with a clever question tonight. What happens if you've been naughty and you ask Santa Claus for a lump of coal?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Writing Lessons From Gymboree

Today I made the mistake of going the the local mall and trying to return stuff that my wife had mail ordered from Gymboree. I was in good spirits, I had a box of neatly arranged stuff with all the receipts, and it wasn't too busy yet. This is like the times when you have a good amount of time ahead of you, your outline is pretty solid, and you can't wait to get down to writing. You feel in control and you know that good things are about to happen. So I wait a bit and set my box down, the very nice lady starts matching up items to lines on the receipts, and everything's going great. This is like the illusion that you're actually going to have a good time writing and everything is going to flow naturally from your fingertips. Next thing that happened was she asked for the credit card that the stuff had been purchased on. I reached for my wallet. She said it was an American Express. Odd, I thought, we seldom use our American Express. This is like the time when you sense that the paragraph you just wrote didn't quite say what you thought it should but you plunge ahead anyway. Then I hand her my American Express. She looks at it and says that it's not the same card and company policy states she can't return anything without it. The immediate flaming rage I feel is a lot like that helpless feeling that washes over you when you realize that you haven't got any chance of writing anything worthwhile at all and you might as well type 'all work and no play make Jack a dull boy' over and over and over again.

Moral of the story: Don't go to Gymboree under any circumstances.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Discovering Infinity

I was doing research on some last little points for 'Faith' this weekend. I found that the definition of 'infinite' is now: "The amount of material regarding the Roman Empire that's available on the internet."

I haven't even gotten through Wikipedia.

I'm trying to nail down a couple of things. I'd like a better name for my centurion and there seems to be a naming convention that I could use with a little inventiveness. I'm also trying to find out which Roman legion was stationed in the area and how they operated; central location v. independent detachments. Little is said about the centurion who's servant was healed so much must be assumed from the historical record. Now that the story is finished, I don't feel like I'm avoiding real work by researching the details.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Writing the Too Big Story

Many of us have this problem: every story we come up with grows to novel size even though we're trying to keep it short. I gave some more thought to 'Skyman' and all the things I came up with seemed to take the story well out of the 10000 word range. I know it needs more filling out in order to become a complete tale but I'm not yet sure how much I want to put into it. Anyway, another thing this points out, to me at least, is that I'm now at a point where I can start to visualize how many words it takes to tell a story. When I think of ideas I seem to have a word count running alongside my train of thought. 5000 to work through this situation, 2000 to set up this side character's arc, etc. I think that's an important tool for writers. How many times have we started something and realized that the idea couldn't be captured in a nice neat bundle? It happens to me a lot, except now it happens in the idea exploration phase which handily saves me a lot of wasted writing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back In the Saddle

Weekend is over. 'Faith' went from rough draft to first draft. Taught sons #1 and #2 how to play poker. (Son #3 just wanted to gnaw on the chips.) Visited Astoria, OR. Ate lots of hotdogs and s'mores.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Faith Complete

I finished "Faith" yesterday. Now I have three stories that are finished and awaiting rewrite. Luckily for me, I received a truck load of great ideas about how to jazz up "Skyman" and give it the punch I knew it was lacking. That's the big payoff from having the best beta reader in the free or oppressed worlds. When I fail miserably, she comes through.

This weekend will be a long one for me and the family. We're going to a cabin down in Long Beach, WA. No phone, no TV, no internet. Lots of family time. Good stuff.