Twelve Hundred Shy


I just updated the HARRY spreadsheet (where I keep track of all the nodes and the months that they went up), and the word count cell informs me that I’m 1200 words shy of 100K. Oog. The original plan was that this would be a short piece. So much for that plan.

One month left. I can see the end. I know what happens. I really do. And all the pieces fit. And, more delightfully, I think there’s one more reversal I can do, and do again later. It’s like those two-sided jigsaw puzzles. It’s a horse! No, it’s a field of daisies! No, it’s a horse in a field of daisies!

Psychic Possession


I’m working through a line edit of SOULS, just to clean it up once more before I turn it in, and the protagonist, Markham, has moved into my dreams. Had one last night where a newborn infant had been possessed by the vengeful spirit of its asshole father and I kept trying to save the child, making with the slippery in the dream. Markham finally pitched the baby off a cliff. There. Done. Stop trying to save what shouldn’t be saved.

I mean, I know the innocent soul was gone, and I knew that the only thing within that tiny body was foul and filled with revenge, but it was the cold finality with how he acted that made me stop dreaming and get up. And it didn’t help at all that he was responsible for the man’s death in the first place.

I . . . uh . . . yeah. Talk about “killing your darlings.”

Killing the Darlings


I’m in a bind tonight. I’m having to redraft Dream 11 of HARRY, and I’ve reached a point where I can shove a huge chunk of draft 1 (the whole point, really) into draft 2. The trouble is that draft 2 is more ephemeral and draft 1 is much more psychologically invasive. Two very different people narrating. There is much in draft 1 that I want to hang on to, but I think I am going to have to kill all these darlings. All 2318 of them. Drat. I’m going to sleep on it, and see if they’ve found a better ordering in the morning. Something suitable for salvage. Otherwise, it is off to the pulp mill with the lot.

Though this bit, oh man, I do want to save this bit:

(You do understand that oneiric texts, much like thoughts, are never the product of one identity. What I say and what I mean are as fluid as who I am. This is both a clue and a diversion. The Magician points his right hand toward the sky, while pointing at the ground with his left. In order to understand the trick, which hand do you watch?)



Since darinbradley has spilled the beans (and not that it was a real secret secret), I would like to point the six of you who don’t read his LJ to:


Which may seem like just another pointer into the World of Harry Potemkin (and right now you would be correct in that assumption), but it will be unfold into something else, in a little while. But, for now, you get a preview of the art for Chapter 11 (thanks, nvonflue), and a sneak peek at the fun goodness that we’ll have at WFC. (The page auto-generates the art grid, so if you don’t see something new, just refresh.)

[And here you thought Harry’s story was going to be done at the end of the year. “Wrapped up,” maybe. But done? Mmm, not so much.]

Getting Back On The Horse


I have managed to Not Write since returning from Viable Paradise. There are a couple of projects chirping for my attention (SOULS! HARRY! the VP story!), but hey! the train has wi-fi now. What’s new on the Internet this morning?

Charlie Stross at EMP


Charlie Stross was in town last night, doing the whirlwind book tour for Halting State. Instead of reading at the University Bookstore (as most SF/Fantasy authors do), he read at the EMP/SFM theater. Ah, bigger venue, you say. More readers, you think. Might want to show up early to get a seat, you posit. [If Gehry’s Guggenheim at Bilboa is, like Ballard opines, not so much a piece of architecture as it is a frozen moment of art and light, then Gehry’s EMP is a ragged piece of flotsam that has been tagged a few times by local artists before being left out in the rain to rust. But, we’re all about experimental architecture here in Seattle. Really.]

I went over about an hour and a half early, and was pleasantly surprised to find street parking about a block away. It was a quiet Tuesday evening at the Seattle Center (which is quiet most nights, actually–the central area is dominated by a park and a fountain which are only crawling with people when the weather is nice, and as it was the typical fall drizzle, there was no one out), and I wandered through to the Queen Anne side of the Center to visit Easy Street Records. I haven’t been for a few weeks and, wonder of wonders, it was still there, and not much had changed.

On the way back, in the shadow of the Space Needle, I passed an old hippie who was playing ambient space music on a butterfly-shaped guitar. He had a dented colander out for change. It was a such a great image that I dropped a buck in his tin–usage fee, for I’m sure the image will show up in a story sometime in the future.

Charlie read several sections from Halting State, giving us enough bits to acquire a feel for the various viewpoint characters in the book (three of them, each told in second person; I know, like one wasn’t hard enough?). He’s got the opening chapters online, of which he read Jack’s chapter (3) and a few other snippets from a little later. Overall, he pulls off the second person narrative viewpoint really well. Really really well. Afterward, he took a few questions from a surprisingly reticent (though thoroughly geek-ified) crowd.

Cory Doctorow’s rundown of Halting State is that is “a hilarious post-cyberpunk police procedural . . . a Big Ideas book about the future of economics, virtual worlds, the nation state and policing, while managing to crack a string of geeky in-jokes, play off a heaping helping of gripping action scenes, and telling a pretty good love” (over at BoingBoing).

I am going to have to try very hard not to dive into the book today ’cause it is singing to me from the other room right now, little bastard.

Hypertext Novel update: part 10


While I was gone, Old Man Farrago put up the 4th Installment of the Wainscot: Fall. It contains work from Forrest Aguirre, Michael Jasper, Yoon Ha Lee, Timothy S. Miller, Jenn Reese, Mark Cox, and Lise Goett, as well as Dream 10 of the The Oneiromantic Mosaic of Harry Potemkin.

Part 10 of 12, gang. We’re closing in on the end. Harry goes into the Subtext on this one; and we get to see the Twelve Houses (er, Thresholds), more conversations with Nora, and a series of good-byes–from Nora’s father and the few remaining oneironauts. And, buried in there, is the first hint of the end, which is also the beginning of something . . .

Anyway, wordy goodness. Go wander about.

Oh, and nvonflue does phenomenal work with the art. Again. I’m going to miss our monthly back-and-forth when the project is done.

Post-Viable Paradise


Last week’s blog silence was different from the regular silence that has been the norm around here because I was at Viable Paradise–a week of writing madness in Martha’s Vineyard. Yeah, don’t get too excited. I spent most of the week down in the basement of the Island Inn getting broken down and rebuilt. Me, and 27 others.

It was quite the experience. I’m familiar with (okay, I thought I was) what goes on at writing workshops, but this one was . . . well, I was really ready for it, I guess. It’s been a long time since I’ve hung out with a bunch of other writers in that sort of environment and, while parts of it were very draining (I can do without a full day of lectures on craft for a little while now, thank you very much), most of it was completely invigorating.

Okay, so here’s the quickie rundown. 10 Things I Learned at VP:

1. Shut up and write the fucking book already.

2. No, really. All that research you think you need? That’s called stalling. Zip it. Get a-typing.

3. There’s no such thing as a stupid idea if it helps you finish the first draft. Those are called Stupid Writer Tricks, and if your friends spot them, then you need to fix ’em. Otherwise? Clever enough, monkey boy, move on.

4. While it is good to have a successful and impenetrable strategy as a scientist when playing Thing, it is even better to have some plan (any, really) for what to do when you get Thing’ed.

5. You will get Thing’ed. This applies to more than just role-playing games. This is called “being knocked out of your comfort zone.” This is what your instructors call “forcing growth.” They will smile at you when you whine about it, and they will smile at you again when you come back later and thank them. One of those is because they love you, and the other is because, well, you really were whining (see #1).

6. I will, forever more, laugh like a 12-year adolescent at very inappropriate moments during the last two Acts of Richard III. As will everyone else from VP XI. The rest of you will not be in on the joke. It is probably best to just ignore us when it happens. Or leave the room.

7. You cannot control the things you cannot control. No, really. No, stop it. You just can’t. Trust me.

8. Cory Doctorow is the Internet, and he still sleeps 7 1/2 hours a night. The secret is “multi-threading,” and I need to learn it. ‘Cause this 4 hours of sleep a night, 12% caffeine by volume thing? Not a good long-term solution.

9. I went with three chapters, an outline, and the aggregated weight of several years of half-finished scenes. I came home with two lines, and a better idea of where the book is going. This is called “cutting for clarity.” This is also called “trust.” As in: you know what the fuck to do (again, #1 above).

10. The last night, we all gathered in room 50 and told “origin” stories. The heckling was full of jokes about storytelling craft, interconnected world-building, and plot structure (as well as rolling archetypes that flitted from tale to tale). And the stories were all completely true and outrageously exaggerated. This is what we writers call “fun.” It is also what we call “home.”

Miss you guys.