Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Physicists do it at the speed of light.
Cosmologists do it in the first three minutes.
Mathematical physicists understand the theory of how to do it, but have difficulty obtaining practical results.
Quantum physicists can either know how fast they do it, or where they do it, but not both.
Particle physicists do it energetically.
Particle physicists to it with charm.
Aerodynamicists do it in drag.
Astrophysicists do it with a Big Bang.
Astronomers do it all night.
Astronomers do it in clusters.
Astronomers do it on mountain tops.
Astronomers do it with white dwarfs and red giants.
I added my own:
Medical physicists do it in fractions.
Medical physicists do it on the table.
Medical physicists do it with doctors, nurses, therapists, dosimetrists…
Medical physicists do it with Quality Assurance.
Medical physicists do it with modulated intensity.
Medical physicists do it theraputically.
Okay, enough. Sorry. Can you tell I'm working late and procrastinating? *w*
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
All for a book I may have 40K left to write on, and which I certainly won't be querying until next year in any case.
*sigh* Why do I do this to myself?
Tonight, being too restless to actually write, I thought I would look up Sir Ewan Cameron's children to see if I could swing that.
Check this out.
Ahaha! No birth year given, but if you click the link for her father Sir Ewan's listing you'll see she was the youngest of his daughters (by his first wife, at least). Her younger brother, the later Lochiel himself, is listed in one of my sources (Prebble's Glencoe: Story of the Massacre, I think) as being in his teens at the time. So that would make her probably not much older.
And I love how it says the contract for her marriage was signed in March 1696, etc. So maybe, if she were supposed to marry someone else in 1692 but they got themselves outlawed/condemned before the contract was formalized, and so that was dissolved and it took a little bit to arrange another marriage for her to Grant of Glenmoriston...
Sometimes stuff falls into place so neatly it kind of weirds me out. *g*
While reviewing my swelling spreadsheet in order to organize my most recent fragments into some kind of chronology, I was struck by the number of significant bits I have yet to even think about/visualize, much less write.
I'm nowhere near done. *headdesk*
I think this thing is going to top 120-125K before all is said and done on the SFD. It will eventually get pared down to a nice, tight, less-than-100K MS but until then it means I'm not "almost" done or 4/5ths done, it's more like back to 2/3rds done and where I was two months ago.
So much for September. October? Eh, a girl can dream.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The keening wail of a child brought his head back around, and his eyes found young Geordie huddled on the ground next to the body of a dog, its black and white fur stained red with blood.
"Oh, no…" Her voice was quiet behind him, full of sympathy.
"Geordie, lad," he said. "What has happened here?"
"They…they shot him!" Geordie wailed between sobs. "They shot Aodhair!"
He swore violently. The lad continued to greet, and he gripped his shoulders. "Are they still here, in the glen? Are they in the village? Tell me, lad, and quickly!" His voice was harsher than he meant, but he had to know. A hiss of indrawn breath behind him indicated the lass's disapproval.
"N-nae…I dinna think so." The boy looked down, stroking the top of the still head between the ears. "He was a good dog, was Aodhair. Why did they have to shoot him?"
He gentled his voice, despite the tension thrumming in his veins. "Because they are Campbells, and bastards as ye said, aye? I ken it doesna make it easier to bear, but ye must listen—listen to me now, lad. It isna safe here. There are Campbells to manage, and we need all the men we have back in Glenstrae to protect it, should they come again."
Frantically, she put her ear to the boy's chest, listened for a heartbeat, a gasp of breath. There was none.
"Oh no, no…"
A sound from the bed, a rustle as the woman turned to look at her. Bloodshot eyes found her own and bored into her with feverish intensity. She couldn't hide the truth from her face; her own shock was too new and too raw.
The woman turned her head away. She might have been crying, save Elspeth knew she was too dehydrated for tears. Still, the frail body shook quietly for a few moments, clutching the even smaller body of her son.
God, what do you say to someone who's just lost a child?All she could think to do was place a comforting hand on the woman's and bow her head, let her have her grief. At length the bony shoulders stilled. Elspeth looked to the woman's face and was startled to see a wild, distant look in her eyes.
"Do you…do you want some water?" she asked, with some alarm.
Eyes now closed, the woman's head shook from side to side.
"We'll take you with us…back to Glenstrae. You can recover there."
The head shook more violently. The low, ragged voice, forced through a throat parched and raw, issued once more from cracked lips.
"[There is naught more for me here, naught for me to live for, now.]"
The woman spoke to her, directly, and this time she managed to make out some of it. A phrase, an explanation—nothing to live for.
No husband, no son. Had she loved her husband? Had the son been the only thing that bound her to this life, made her keep living after he was gone? Dying of a broken heart had always seemed so tragically romantic but now, as she faced the reality of it, she realized it was merely tragic.
So...am I in for it now? Tragic, historic, worldbuilding detail or senseless deaths that will get me flamed by readers?
History books called to her, tormented her. They could ease her burden somewhat, tell her she had done the right thing, that he had lived a full and happy life...or they could tell her the opposite. Knowing would make it final. But not knowing was driving her insane.
Ultimately she looked, but she kept herself from looking too closely, still afraid of what she would see. She skimmed pages, letting names jump out at her, only half-reading the sections that followed. [...]
A few heart-stopping times, her eyes found the name Alasdair MacGregor--alternately Alistair or Alexander and McGregor, McGrigor, or MacGriogar--and she forced herself to read on. But it was always the story of his [great]grandfather, his namesake, and the betrayal by the Colquhouns and Campbells after the Battle of Glen Fruin. So she took a breath and kept reading.
Beyond that, little to nothing of the Glenstrae branch, save that chiefship of Clan Gregor had shifted to Glengyle in the early eighteenth century. After Andrew, perhaps? She hoped; despite not knowing him well, she genuinely liked Alec's brother. But what of the second son? History, it seemed, did not remember Alasdair Colin MacGregor of Glenstrae.
But she did.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
And then we had a playgroup event this afternoon with our son. Much fun and massive quantities of fried chicken and other picnic foods were had by all. But no writing.
So I didn't get anything more than my usual writing time. And in all that I only got about 500 words. BUT I made progress. I've been combining and rearranging chunks and I now have the overall general shape and flow of Act I, and everything has been placed into a chapter. There will be 11 total. Chapter 7 is done (if I haven't mentioned that yet) and 8 and 9 are largely in place, just need some filling and smoothing. I know what goes in 10 and 11, and need only to write a few scenes for them.
So my (revised) marathon goal - to get Act I whipped into shape - is partially achieved. We'll see what I can do at work tomorrow and then tomorrow night. I'm going in to work late on Tuesday (have to stay late, too, but them's the breaks) so I can stay up tomorrow night and work later than usual, since I'll have the chance to sleep in a bit on Tuesday. We'll see how far I get, but though I am definitely keeping pressure on myself to keep moving forward, I'm relaxing a little bit with my draconian word count expectations, etc.
Oh! And I got all my laundry done! (I've been putting it off for about two weeks, so that's big. Heehee.)
In her talk yesterday, J.R. Ward said something that made me feel better. Two things, actually. The first was that the hardest time she ever had writing was when she was working; holding a full-time job left her hardly any time to write, and she doesn't have kids. She only managed about 2 hours a day. So with my 50-55 hours a week and 18-month-old, the fact that I usually manage about 3-4 hours makes me feel pretty darn good. (Even if I sometimes expect too much of myself - see above. And even though I don't do anything around the house any more. And even though I'm likely to c-r-a-s-h next month, or whenever I get this darn draft done and give myself a break.)
She also said she didn't write at all in law school, because the workload was just too high. So props to you, Jen. *w*
The second thing she said was in drafting, the important thing was to get the bones of the story down and worry about the details like sensory descriptions and exact clothing and all that stuff later. Which is kind of what I've been doing lately, and my plan for rewrites was in fact to go through each scene and add that stuff intentionally. So I feel a little justified. I mean, I totally respect and look up to those people (and I know more than a few) who can work that all in on a first pass - kudos! But I don't feel like such a hack for not having it in all my scenes yet. *g*
Yup, you heard right.
I didn't write at all yesterday. And it felt good. I was exhausted from staying up so late Friday night, and I know both the quantity and quality of my writing suffer when I'm exhausted. So I took the night off and caught up on a few more of the September X's (I'll get through them, slowly but surely - the mention of sex has brought everyone out of the woodwork, it seems). Got to bed relatively early. Meant to get up and write but decided I deserved a lie-in. Got a full 8 hours of sleep last night. *gasp!*
I decided that, even though it's a marathon, it's not like I haven't been pushing myself lately anyway. August about killed me, and September won't be a walk in the park. I've been averaging nearly 1000 words a day. The end - finshing the rough draft - will justify it, but I do want to remain functional when all is said and done. To quote the Kit Kat commercials: I deserved a break today.
Which is not to say I didn't to anything writing related; I attended my first meeting of the Kentucky Romance Writers . It was very informational and I'm glad I went. It's nice that they meet at a local (for me) library - many drive up from various parts of the state. Now I just need to join RWA national and then I can become an official chapter member too. The guest speaker was NY Times Bestseller J.R. Ward and she talked about her path to success and answered a lot of questions, ranging from the use of a pen name (my question) and psycho stalkers to her writing schedule, chunk vs. outline, etc.
The coolest thing? All attendees scored signed ARCs of her latest book, Lover Unbound, coming out next month. Bonus.
Also, they are holding a book signing next month in a part of my old stomping grounds. Many authors, J.R. Ward included, will be at The Bookstore in Radcliffe on October 13th. So if you're local and interested, stop by.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Only problem is, this is all rewrites for an existing scene (my September X). It had to be done, but was meant for later. It gets me no closer to either of my goals for the marathon or the month.
Ah, well. Now I am exhausted, and going to bed. I'll deal with commenting on the 10-12 new X's I haven't gotten to yet later.
Tomorrow it's back to chapter 8, or whatever pops up, and hopefully some new wordage.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Tonight I got about 1200 words - 1193, to be exact - and I'm okay with that. I could push myself for the rest of the 700-some-odd I need to make the elusive 80K, but it's midnight and I want to be able to function tomorrow.
Besides, I realized I'm about to cut almost as many words as I just wrote, so I'll be right back here tomorrow. Ergo, I'm still not updating my wordcount meter. Progress is not measured in words alone.
To that end, my new goal for the marathon is to be "done" with Act I. Meaning, have everything contiguous and divided into chapters from the beginning to the trip to Glasgow. That will be well over 36K - probably closer to 40K - of the MS in first draft. No more chunks. If I can get beyond that into Act II with the kidnapping and rescue, so much the better. But it won't involve just writing - there will be cutting. So even if I do manage 10K new words, the overall wordcount may not show it.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
"Crossing out is an art that is, perhaps, even more difficult than writing. It requires the sharpest eye to decide what is superfluous and must be removed. And it requires ruthlessness toward yourself — the greatest ruthlessness and self-sacrifice. You must know how to sacrifice parts in the name of the whole."~Yevgeny Zamyatin
In my headlong rush for wordcount, I've managed to set myself back by cutting large chunks of existing MS. But all for good cause.
At the end of Chapter 7 (that bane of my existence) and beginning of Chapter 8, there was a sequence that I had bits and pieces of, but every time I tried to work on it I got bogged down. It seemed too convoluted. Over the past few days it's started to feel like a ball and chain. Last time I felt like this about a plot point, it was Elspeth's wheel and kiln and I knew I needed to cut it. So I did.
I spent tonight revising what I had of 7 to remove the element (not too much work, actually) and sliced-n-diced the extant bits from 8. We now transition (relatively) smoothly from A&E returning to Glenstrae to find the village has been attacked by Campbells looking for her, to him hieing off to rendezvous with his father and brother at Achallader and leaving her to face the clan alone.
All told, I cut about 1800 words. No more Campbells returning, no English lieutenant (so much for most of the work during my all-nighter Friday), no search for the "missing prisoner" and Elspeth being put on the spot. But the pace feels right. And I already have more momentum. So I'm okay with it all.
New words for the day...probably at least 1500. But since some are replacing another extant scene and the remainder were for the new chapter 8 (I'm on chapter 7v4 and 8v3 at this point...*sigh*) my wordcount is actually now slightly lower than the meter shows. But I should catch back up tomorrow and then I'll update it.
Writing marathon starts on the forum tomorrow. I was crazy and said I wanted 90K by the end of it, but that was before cutting all this wordage. We'll see where I end up. Onward and upward.
(Postscript: the post title was taken from Hugh Robertson's demonstration at Fergus, in which he referred to the broadsword blade as the "hacky, slashy, poky-poky" part. I enjoyed that description enough to appropriate it, and it was more fun to say than simply "slash and burn.")
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I gave it my all (you will note the timestamp of this post; I have not been to bed) but ultimately didn't quite reach my goal. I got darned close, though. 1600 isn't such a huge deficit to make up, and over 18K in a month is nothing to sneeze at. I had hopes this past hour of at least reaching 79K, but now my brain is shutting down and I'm calling "uncle."
The good news is, I finished chapter 7 (finally!) and moved into chapter 8, after getting a decent preliminary feel for my English lieutenant. This was a tipping point, and I'll be working linearly again for a bit unless/until something else pops up.
So now I'm going to doze for an hour or so before getting up to head out to Indianapolis. DH's aunt and uncle are having a Labor Day cookout up there, and the whole family is going.
Monday I'm sleeping in. Then I have to go into my office to finish a few things for Tuesday (even though I didn't leave work until 7:30 pm tonight *sigh*) and while I'm there I'm going to spend several uninterrupted hours writing.
I remain firm in my commitment to finish the first draft by the end of September. Ideally by the 20th, for Sven's sake, but if I go over, I go over. I have a feeling I may go beyond 100,000 words on the first round. In which case, that's more than 20K in 20 days (or a month). We'll see if I can pull it off.