Saturday, November 7, 2009

A list of ten things from a long ten days

1. Since I last posted here, my computer has died. It's well past the expiration of its AppleCare plan, it's not really worth attempting to salvage, and getting it fixed would cost as much as another computer, so it's currently sitting in its messenger bag on the floor. Poor old Sophie. She had her hard drive die and half her insides replaced in March, then she was forced to take notes on subcommittee meetings and surf fanfiction all summer, and now it looks like her logic board's gone bad. It's been a rough year for the old girl.

2. I'm currently using my 2004 G4 desktop as my primary computer. It's running OS X 10.5 and is hooked up to a 22" monitor and a 500GB external hard drive, so it's kind of like Number 5 trying to hang out with Cylons, but y'know, it works.

If anyone got that reference, please let me know so we can arrange a high-five later.

3. Partly because of the computer issues, I haven't made much progress in anything except knitting lately. And thanks to daylight savings, which ensures it's already dark out when I get home from work, I don't have any pictures of my recent knitting.

4. One piece of writing advice that's always stuck with me is something Neil Gaiman blogged about: "You never learn how to write a novel," Gene Wolfe once said to him. "You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing." This is absolutely true. I struggled with the first draft of Or Your Money back because all the longer stories I'd written before were installments of the Series What Ate My Life. I knew how to write those novels, to let epic fantasy plotlines sprawl across the page - what I didn't know how to write was a quiet coming of age romance with no explosions or psychic eviscerations. By the end of the first draft, I sort of figured it out, and I was so proud of myself for that.

I got cocky. Now I'm learning that you can't learn how to revise a novel, just how to revise the novel you're revising. The novel revisions I've done before have focused on hacking down massive forests of text - upwards of 50,000 words - but this revision requires small bits of pruning and a lot of new additions. My chainsaw of revision is useless here. I need shears and potting soil.

5. To further earburn Neil Gaiman, I'm already at the point in the revison where his NaNoWriMo pep talk feels appropriate to re-read. Substitute the "writes" with "revises" and you've got my mindset exactly. I get the "This is the worst thing I've ever written, maybe I should quit writing and become a lawyer/florist/sherpa" thing during every first draft and every major revision.

6. What did the hot dog say when he won the contest?

(Answer: I'm the wiener!)

7. I have a whole drawer full of candy leftover from Halloween. Most of it is Laffy Taffy.

8. My Christmas knitting is starting to move along. I'm sure I won't get it all done in time for Christmas - especially taking breaks to knit stuff for myself - but I'm pretty sure I can finish what I need to finish for the people who actually care about it being on time.

9. I've finally figured out an age/maturity level test for whether a person is old enough for me to date. If I say "DuckTales" and they respond with "WOO-OOH," it's cool. If they stare at me blankly, they're too young. Or they're not that into TV, in which case I'd probably drive them nuts, anyway.

10. I'll take and post pictures of WIPs when I can.

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