Done! Sort of…

March 28th, 2010

So I’m just shy of 97,000 words in Biohazard and I’m calling it a Zero Draft. I didn’t exactly finish it, though.

It’s more of a “I’m calling it Quits” than “Finally I can type The End” sort of Zero Draft, and it’s because:

  1. I know how it ends.
  2. No, seriously, I know how it ends.

The actual act of writing the ending is difficult, though, because I’ve hit The Wall. It’s the “I have to fix all the other things before I can write a satisfactory ending” Wall.

It’s the same sort of Wall I keep hitting when I write a Zero Draft, and it happens even if I have an outline. It happens more often when I don’t have an outline, and I have to go back and rewrite more often.

Rewriting is a pain in the [censored]. I don’t hate rewriting. I just prefer to get it right the first time. Or as close to “right” as I can get it. I also hate outlines, because the story never sticks to the outline past a certain point, so I have to continually re-outline. Which is better than rewriting.

Which is, unfortunately, what I have to do now before I can write the ending. On the plus side, I have pages and pages of notes of things that need rewriting. On the downside, I know exactly what needs fixing.


I’ve never met anybody who does that

March 24th, 2010

Nothing’s worse than having the end in sight — or at least within 10K — and knowing that, once I type “The End”1, I have to go back and cut giant chunks2 to make room for what should be there.

This last week — and every day until I’m done — I’ll be an irritated jumping bean. You just try to fix something at work that insists on staying broken3 when all you’ve got on the brain is The Book. All I want to do is write it. Finish it.

Then go back and put in the bits that need to be in there.

The plan was — finish Biohazards no matter what problems I hit along the way, put it aside for a couple of weeks, rewrite the first 50 pages of NKNK (and get those to my crit partners), then go through Biohazards to rewrite and revise. But I have Biohazards on the brain, so I’ll be pushing NKNK until that’s done.

1 I don’t actually type “The End”.
2 Even if it means cutting darlings. I don’t want to cut them, but if they have to go, they have to go.
3 And has been broken for nearly 2 months now. Broken things aggravate me. Particularly when I can’t fix them.

Steampunk Tattoos

March 16th, 2010

Steampunk is very in as a genre right now. It’s gone from a little facet of culture and really permeated society. Books, movies, art, fashion…

And tattoos! Check out this post on Weburbanist. I rather like the artwork on the shoulder tat, gearwork bird, way down on the bottom of the page.


March 15th, 2010


Original, projected word count: 90,000

Current word count: 70,000-ish

Cramming 40,000 more words into 20,000: Priceless



March 13th, 2010

I bet if I go back through my journal and count the number of times I write, “Yeah, I know I haven’t posted recently, and I’ll do better, I promise, but don’t worry I’m still around and reading other people’s posts and keeping up with my RSS feeds”, I’ll be embarrassed. Because I hate sounding like a broken record.

What I should be doing is writing down the topic ideas I get during the day in a notebook, then I can pick and choose one to write about for a blog post. What I actually do is think, “Hey, that would be a good idea for a blog post”, then promptly forget about it and go back to work.

It doesn’t help that I don’t have a notebook to write in, and if I do, it’s rarely on me. So, yeah, useless.

And since my brain is in full-on writing mode, all my ideas are about the book. Tying up plot lines. Making sure all the big items are there. Having “Oh that would work!” moments that lead to “Oh crap I have to go back and rewrite that part.”

(I don’t actually go back to rewrite. Just make notes to myself for when I get to whipping the book into shape once it’s done.)

So that’s the excuse this time around for not doing blog posts.

The goal I’ve set for myself is to finish Draft Zero of Biohazards by the end of March. Given my current word count, regularly reaching the minimum daily word count, and having just completed a hard chapter to write, getting that Draft Zero done should be within the realm of possibility.

Now let’s hope I didn’t just jinx myself by saying that…

Contest for Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Writers

March 11th, 2010

Queenoftheskies posted a link to this contest on her blog (thanks!), and not only am I participating, I am spreading the word.

The “Dear Lucky Agent” contest has three great prizes, where first place is a 20-page critique by the agent judge and a one year subscription to Writer’s Digest. Second and Third places are the same as the first place, except instead of 20 pages, the critique is the first 10 pages.

In order to enter, you:
1. Must have a completed novel-length urban fantasy or paranormal romance
2. Must be willing to submit the first 150-200 words (by email)

No purchase necessary! But first, help spread the word of the contest as described in the contest rules.

If you’re entering, good luck! The deadline is March 14, 2010.

Memory, lack of

February 23rd, 2010

I usually have a good head for remembering things. Heck, I play a memory game with a friend of mine and I (almost) always beat him, even though I don’t know half the things he’s naming.

The game works like this.

One of us starts with “Two Drow walk into a bar…”

Yeah, it’s based on D&D (though I’d say more GURPS, since that’s the game system we played at the time), and it stems from an old, quasi-forgotten joke on the best way to start a game with assorted (and conflicting) character types.

The second person adds another character to the list. It becomes, “Two Drow and a dwarf walk into a bar…”

And we have to remember the list in sequence until we’ve got an enormous list, like:

“Two Drow, a dwarf, two golems, a mechanos, an unicorn, seven leviathan, a two-headed hydra, a lich, a troll, a hill giant, an elf, a slyph, a werewolf, an air elemental, a seven-horned demon, and a dragon walk into a bar…”

Ad infinitum.

Anyway, it’s a fun game. Silly, and we come up with silly characters, but that’s not the point. The point is, I (almost) always win the game, and I have a good memory.

I remember all these things visually, but when it comes to numbers, I need to come up with an equation. So for a combination lock, I make up a mathematical formula to remember the sequence. Even if it’s a mathematical formula that defies all mathematical convention (and rules), it works because I can remember things that way.

Which is how I remember a combination to a combination lock that I’ve had for 13 years.

I have a second combination lock, one that I use at the gym. I don’t use the gym for 2 weeks because I’m alternatively on vacation and not feeling too hot on our return. Two weeks. That’s not enough to make me forget something, is it?


AFTER I lock my stuff in the locker, do my workout, and come back, I discover that I don’t remember the combination.

I remember the numbers involved, but not in what sequence. For a combination lock that has a NN-NN-NN code, that’s six possible numbers, and a gut-stabbing amount of possible combinations.

Not a problem! All I have to do is remember the formula!

Yeah, I don’t remember the formula.

And by some fluke of turning the combination lock by rote, I got it open, took out my stuff…

But I wasn’t paying attention, and I really don’t know what the combination is. Still.

A science post

February 20th, 2010

Not too long ago, someone posted a question to a scientific community, paraphrased here:

Is man-made climate change occurring?

I’m not surprised by the question given the flood of news reports and scientific evidence coming at people from all direction. There’s a lot of data out there. It’s enough to give me a headache, and I’m a scientist!

Granted, I’m not a climatologist. I’m an analytical chemist. Part of my job involves looking at reams and reams of data, often while forgetting to blink, and up to the point where my brain starts to implode under the strain.

But anyone familiar with numbers or who works with numbers on a routine basis will be able to look at a set of data and recognize a pattern. They might not know what the pattern means, be able to interpret the data, or apply the results for a specific purpose.

What that means is, without context, it’s only a bunch of numbers. And interpretation is completely subjective. In my opinion, that’s something of the problem we’re seeing with the flood of information about the state of climate right now. It’s all coming at people far too fast, without taking all the data points in context.

If you haven’t read Michael Crichton’s STATE OF FEAR, you should. If memory serves, it’s in this book that there’s an example of selectively applying data to come to a conclusion by narrowing the context.

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Geez whiz

February 20th, 2010

I’d started my last post, the one about the dogs, with every good intention of posting on a more regular basis — “more regular” defined less as the consequence of eating daily fiber, and more as an event occurring with more frequency than the appearance of a blue moon.

Dogs, general things, and work-related stories were among the suggested topics for blog posts, and I’ve already done the dog thing once. So general things and work-related stories for the next few, and hopefully those will come sooner than later.

I’ll have to come up with a list of topics…

Gratuitous Dog Post (with pictures)

January 28th, 2010

So I’d asked, people answered, and the loudest of the few votes was for “More Dogs”.

I haven’t posted about the boys in a while. Solo is healthy and active and still able to outrun Deuce if you give him enough room to really hit his stride. Deuce is healthy and active and a very much a fan of playing Keep Away with Solo.

I’ll talk about Deuce first, even though, logically, Solo comes first, but…

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