Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yute progress, and elvish angst.

Quite a while ago, I wrote a scene for the book that I knew would come waaaaay later, and it sat at the bottom of my document (along with various notes and reminders) waiting for the main flow of writing to catch up to it. It was missing a few names and details, but I loved it.
I kept on writing, and knew that scene was coming up. Finally, I flowed into it. It needed a lot of edits to fit just right, but it still went well. It's a scene of one of the significant confrontations, and puts one of the major storylines on it's path to closure.

Dang I'm being ambiguous. I don't know how many spoilers I want to make public... heck, in the first edition of Lifehack, I didn't even want to reveal until the last second possible that there was a human to blame for all the zombies, but that was silly.
At some point, I'm going to have to give away some big plot points to make the book sound interesting. Otherwise, the back flap of the book will read:

In a world, where something happens, and other things don't, one man, or woman, I'm not telling, will have to do some thing or things. Or try not to do them. In the process, he or she may find love, adventure, and a big sammich. Or he/she won't.

I might call on my volunteer editors to help me decide some of that.. We'll see. Right now the book is only 160 pages. I was hoping to get to 230-ish.. I think that's still very reasonable, when I consider all that still have to be tied up, and that this is only the first draft.
A few people said that Lifehack seems to rush though the story. This was a fairly conscious decision. Personally, I hate books that ramble on and mosey through at a snail's pace.

I think of Tolkien's epic descriptions of Strider going out for a smoke into the sullen alley, where the smell of burnt greasy burgers drifted over from the burger king 3 blocks away, and the sky had 384 stars visible in it, which we will all now name in elvish song, whilest Strider picks his nose with his left pinkie finger, which to the draven folk is considered a fell err, ever since Nosebleed Hemophelicutter died at the great nosepick in the first age. At this point, Strider might have gotten as far as patting his pockets looking for his pack of smokes, and the smoke break goes on for 47 more pages, and NOT A ****ING THING ABOUT HIS SMOKE BREAK HAS ANY ****ING IMPORTANCE TO THE STORY.

Ahem. Point is, I like to get to the point sooner rather than later. Still, I'll probably elaborate on some parts when I revise.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obsedssion mode: On

Cassidy Stanton. , for those of you seeing my blog in a medium that chooses not to import the images)
This pic is almost three years old now. Time flies when a little girl lands in your life. But anyway, this pic pretty representative of Cassidy.

I tried for a while to peg her as some kind of composite of Regan and Alisia from Lifehack, but she just isn't. Yes, she's military, like Alisia, yes, she's a lesbian, like Regan, but that's about where it ends.
So what's she all about? Part way through the book, she could have answered that without a moment's hesitation, but then something bad happened. At the point Im at writing it right now, she's a bit numb, content to allow her misfortune to define her, and what she does.
I do know how many of these events will play out, but I don't know what shape that will leave Cassidy in. I never worried abotu Regan in the same was I worry about Cassidy. Regan is pretty darn irrepressable, in most aspects. But right now where I'm writing, Cassidy is snapping. I've allowed some bad stuff to happen in Watching Yute, and I don't know if I can realisitcally have Cassidy recover.
She's resisting it.

In other news, my wife, kiddo, and 'Radar' return today, after having been gone across the continent for most of the week. I've managed to get myself MOSTLY into a normal sleep timetable again. My other hosted student, (the one from germany, to whom I've not yet assigned a codename) returned yesterday from her trip to whisler. Sounds like she had a good time.

I saw - oops.. correction, they just got home, I'll whine about the BSG finale later...!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The week alone. Writing Yute, watching Watchmen, and the L word.

Thursday morning, 3 am. My wife and baby (toddler?) have been out of town since Sunday morning, and will return Saturday afternoon. They’re escorting ‘Radar’ as she checks out a couple universities on the other end of the country.
This leaves me solo for nearly a week. “I can write my head off!” I thought. Well, yes. Not as much as I thought, since I got a homework list that has eaten into my writing time. Still, it was stuff that would be difficult to accomplish with kiddo bouncing around.

A few hours were spent when I went alone to go see Watchmen. I don’t know if I’ve been to a theatre alone before. For a few moments, I worry that I looked like some lonely loser with no friends, but it was midday, and my friends have these freaky things called jobs.
Watchmen itself was really neat. Three things I heard about it were verified for me. It is NOT for kids. Do NOT see it with your parents, regardless of your age, and I can now see why they say the original comic was genius. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read it despite knowing about it for over a decade. If the movie is any indication, it is subversively political, dramatically gripping, at the same time insightful (and slightly self mocking) of superheroes.

As for Watching Yute. So far I haven’t attained the kind of page count boost I’d been hoping for this week, but what I have gotten out has been good. Freedom to churn ideas back and forth casually without the fear of a smelly diaper walking in the door, or the tight timeline of sychning meals and sleep with other people is good for creativity.

I’ve reverted to my ‘natural’ semi-nocturnal sleep cycle. (go to sleep around 4 am, wake up around noon) This means I’ll have to get back into the regulation timetable on Saturday.. I can’t decide whether to try to ease into it, or to keep going like this, and just suck it up cold turkey when the time comes.. but given it’ll be the weekend, I guess that’s a little flexible.

Anyway, the pagecount is now nearing 160, (again at a 6”x9” trade paperback format), and judging from the place in the story, it’s quite probable that Watching yute will be about the same size as 230-ish page Lifehack.
I was hoping very much to have it done for the next Vancouver sci fi convention, but taking into account time to refine, and pass through my volunteer editing staff, an October release might not be possible. We’ll see. Can’t rush it just for Vcon.

Oh, I finally saw an episode of “The L word”. As it turns out, it was the final episode of the final season. (no spoilers ahead, just in case) I knew very little of what was going on, but pieced a lot together by context. I can see why “Shane” is a fav character among many of the real life lesbians I know. Shane’s kinda hard to describe. All in all, I can’t say I liked the show. I did read that the final episode was a huge disappointment to longtime fans, but it seemed like layer upon layer of gossip, mistrust, and “she said, she said”. And for a final episode, it left a tone of loose threads untied, and unleashed a new huge mess that could have been the topic for a whole season.

I guess I’ll stick with Battlestar Galactica. There’s still a good five years left in that show, right? Right? Huh? This friday? Really? And it’s over? Oh…… ok. On to Sarah Connor then.

PS: My cat is going crazy. I don't know if it's my changes to the timetable around here, of if she misses the ladies, but the cat has gone nuts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yute not so overdriven this week... BUT...

Well, due to some Optimist club homework (I'm the pres! Why do *I* get homework!) which was slowed by some vision problems. (more on that later...) much of my computer time has been taken up... but the bulk of that task is over, allowing me to refocus on yute.

Oh yeah... refocusing. In 2002 or so, not too long after my accident, (cyclist meets mustang, falls in love with a wheelchair he'll spend the rest of his life with, it'd make a great movie) the vision in my right eye started to go. Quickly. Within days, I was essentially blind in my right eye. Depth perception? Ehhh..... well, we'll go see the doc anyway. I had something with a huge long latin name, concerning pressure on my optic nerve. He gave me a few scans, and some drugs, and things started to clear up. I got most of my vision back within days, through a bit out of focus. Over time, the focus has gotten better and better, but never quite perfect. He said if I'd waited longer, the cure would have involved a needle being inserted past my eye. YUM! Oh, and it could all be a sign of potential in my future for MS. Just what I need.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My left eye starts up. As if I was wearing dirty glasses. That came on pretty quick, but not blinding. None the less, the idea of needle/eye interaction got me to a doc sooner rather than later.
Optometrist: "I dunno, looks good, cell me back after the weekend if it hasn't improved."
Well, it either got SLIGHTLY better, or I was just getting better at dealing with it. Reading and doing anything on the computer was still a HUGE pain. I called him back, and he setup an appointment with a specialist- the same guy I saw last time. It's near the end of this month.
If my vision improves much more, I might go in there, and he'll ask "What's seems to be the problem?"
"Waiting lists, appearently."
But if neither eye was going to feel like focusing, I may as well get used to the idea of glasses. That's fine, as long as it's not that kind that seems to be fashionable now.. with the thick side arms. That looks pretty cool on girls, but IMO, they look kinda... starbucks troll on guys. I'm kinda married to my sunglasses... I hope I can find similar frames.. and flip-down shades, I guess... those aut-shading lenses are too slow for me.

Anyway, back to Yute... Next week my wife Michelle, kiddo Caitlin, and my hosted student from Korea, 'Radar' (netsafe codename for her) are taking a trip to Ontario and Montreal to check out schools for Radar. Radar is a responsible young lady, but it would still be daunting to make this trip alone.
As a result, I have nearly a week to ATTACK Watching Yute. Just don't get me started on the difficulties with a list credit card, and the car rental Michelle has in Toronto.. ugh...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yute in overdrive...!

As I find with any creative process, there’s often a time in the middle of a work, (especially on larger projects) where there’s doubt. Is this going anywhere? Is there any meat beyond the basic concept?
There is also (hopefully) a moment where that doubt is shattered, and the full substance reveals itself, waiting to be fleshed out. Today was that day for Watching Yute. I was worried that a certain spoilerific moment in the plot would be the mark of a downhill slide.

On the contrary, that moment will define so much more than I originally pictured for the book. The characters are very much writing the book for me now.
This spoilerific moment will have to be hinted at in some way in the future, and plastered on the back of the book. I’m just not sure in what manner I’m going to do this just yet.

I’ve set myself a deadline which I hope is realistic. The Vancouver sci-fi convention is in October, and I wanna show up with a new product under my arm. Maybe some posters, too. I have about a hundred pages to go, then volunteer editors again… but I think it can happen…..!
Also, I’ve found a few more ways to link Watching Yute to Lifehack and Echoes.. ways that are more than cheap cameos or name dropping. The time Yute spent on the backurner has been quite worth in, in fermenting ideas.

Just another mention... is a fair chunk prettier than before, and the retail of the tradepaperback of lifehack has dropped to 15.95...!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lifehack price drop! Caitlin yappin, site facelift..

Thanks to discovering a new manufactirer, the trade paperback of Lifehack is now down by about $5, to 15.95! Click here to buy right now! whee! do it!

Those of you unaware of what the novel is about, you can head to my personal site, , which has just had a bit of a facelift. It also has some excerpts, my art, and a mixed bag of other junk.

It'll also tell you that the old sources for the $5 e-book and the "Priced insanely" Hardcover are still available... the ebook is cheapest, and has no shipping charge, but... unless you have extra ink, or like reading off the screen, the trade paperback's your best option.

By the way, littleBIGplanet people, I'm up to level 14, and a new tutorial & junkyard level, so go search ozero...!

be gentle.

In Caitlin news, she's getting yappier and yappier. Most words still dont come out WELL, but a lot are coming out. She pretends to read, holding a book, jibbering. She's go up to you, poke your eye, and tell you it's an eye, all kinds of cute crazy things.