Goals: On Getting the Groove Back (Part 1)

Now something over three weeks into my full-time work as a self-employed writer, I’ve spent a good part of my time setting up:

Reading software manuals (Aeon Timeline and Scrivener, of which more later) and thinking about how to use their features to solve problems on my extant writing projects. Revision isn’t just tweaking commas; I have to check the architecture both for soundness and for beauty, and the timeline for consistency.

Creating easy-to-use tracking forms for writing, editing, beta-reading, research, and other business activity. I’m using Google Forms, and so far I’ve created and tested an Hourly Consulting form and a Work Log form. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about how I work and just how many projects are in play (25 of my own, and 10-15 each — past and present — for many of my colleagues for whom I beta-read).

Reviewing past projects. I found out rather late about a writing grant and decided to go out for it. The Reincarnations of Miss Anne, my most ambitious and least realized active project, was the logical choice. I’d been saying that I wanted to scout the locations as well as research from books; with help from a good friend with a car, I pulled the research archive boxes (three of them!) from storage and commenced to knock together an application.

I didn’t make that deadline. Continue reading

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 20 April 2014 (Character Interview: Inside the Jump)

I never explained our ways to anyone else until I went away to the Academy (“the Academy at Karis” as it is known in the Inhabited Worlds). Then I met Jehen and her half-sister Yasmin and half-brother Ferenc, which changed my life.

And theirs, not necessarily in a good way. But that’s a story for another day.

Until we meet the wider world, we think “our ways” are “the way.” You learn the geography of each of the Inhabited Worlds, and the spatio-temporal fabric of Ordinary Space and the Jumps, but in spite of the mathematics of relativity there’s the quiet bone-deep assumption that Karis is the true center. Other folk have peculiarities, not your own. 

And your own family, of course, is ordinary.

***

Character interview with the archaeologist and Expedition Chief, Martisset yr Astok, from NaNo 2013, Inside the Jump. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

As I’ve been posting excerpts from character interviews, it’s become clear that every one of these characters has a story. Currently I am plotting Ship’s Heart, whose events take place 15-20 years earlier than Inside the Jump, an action-adventure romance featuring Hernan and Taryn from Inside the Jump, and various short stories in this universe.

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 13 April 2014 (Character Interview: Inside the Jump)

My best friend — what a childish notion. I am very much older and wiser than anyone who would ask such a thing. I am one of a court; I remember those soirees and airship-parties when I was a student at the Academy (the grubbers are always cadets, but many of us are merely students, for we have choices other than the much-vaunted Road of the Stars).

There were always rivals, and any bond was more an alliance than a friendship. I saw naifs devastated by the first betrayal, but then they were naifs no more, or they did not survive in that circle.

Temn stood above it all, smiling with his beautiful ageless face. Let me be clear; he is not my friend. My ideal, my passion, the force that drives me, even after all these years, but not my friend. I could no more imagine confiding the secrets of my soul — not that I have any — to him than … to the Sarronny grubber with whom I was infatuated years ago.

***

Character interview with the interstellar diplomat Iric Desnaray yr Astok, from NaNo 2013, Inside the Jump. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 6 April 2014 (Character Interview: Inside the Jump)

It’s said that life Aboard-Ships is monotonous, and I only wish that it were so.

When Martisset yr Astok and Karisalay whose clan-name I don’t know refused to sit at table with myself and the Immortal — a diplomatic incident in the making — the Immortal departed as well.

I remained, because the grubber-captain, the female, has told us pointedly that “it’s not that kind of ship,” and her crew are not servants. Had we also retired, there would have been no supper.
Her brother, the night-shift, reminds me of a grubber I knew at the Academy, a handsome fellow …

… on whom I will not think, because it ended in embarrassment.

The night-captain has a fine singing voice; I hear drums, and a chorus of voices, with his raised among them. A fine figure of a man, mid-thirties, with a multiplicity of braids bound back in a bundle, ultramarine glow of the communication rig glowing like a line drawing of an ancient helmet on the planes of his cheekbones, the angle of his jaw.

A charming smile that flashes bright teeth —

But it is not that kind of ship, and I know better than to ask.

***

Character interview with the interstellar diplomat Iric Desnaray yr Astok, from NaNo 2013, Inside the Jump. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

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Goals: on writing with friends

It’s now day 2 of my life as a self-employed writer, and I’m already seeing how important it is to schedule time with other writers. This afternoon my buddy Becca Patterson came over to talk cover design and do some writing bouts, with a nice walk in between. We’re expecting snow late tomorrow, so we’re making time while we’ve got time.

There’s working at the desk and talking to on-line buddies, and then there’s running bouts and throwing ideas around with in-person buddies. And there’s no substitute for fresh air. There’s work and the breathing spaces in between; writing is a biological process like a heartbeat or breathing, with effort alternating with rest.

On the list for tonight: a bout of plotting for book 1 of the trilogy of which Inside the Jump is book 2, and some work on nonfiction projects, including reviews. (Coming soon on this site … a weekly review feature, whose details I’m still working out.)

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Goals (and an announcement): On Going Professional

For the last year or so I have been running this blog at a very minimal level, doing excerpts and lurking on other blogs without commenting. That’s changing, starting now, because I have left the day job that had been eating my life. For the next month, I will be working on getting my backlist edited for publication.

I start work at my new job tomorrow. I’ll be doing a weekly goals feature: what I set for the week’s projects, and how and when I got them done.

Coming in May … a whole lot of the stories you’ve seen excerpted here.

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 30 March 2014 (Character Interview: Inside the Jump)

Temn’s airship was piloted by AIs keyed to his nervous system; should anyone assassinate him, the ship would self-destruct. The food was delicious, and the fittings gorgeous.

I didn’t want to live like a grubber.

So Ship’s fare does not excite nostalgia, only a remembrance of that earnest dread of failure that I felt through all seven years of the Academy. Temn was still stinging from the refusal of Martisset the Elder. Not that multiple approaches weren’t made, from the time that Martisset returned from his tour of duty (that one being made by Temn’s parents) up until the very last, just before Martisset the Younger turned archaeologist.

Temn plays a long game, shall we say. I have been entertained by it, these fifty years.

***

Character interview with the interstellar diplomat Iric Desnaray yr Astok, from NaNo 2013, Inside the Jump. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

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