Mission acc… no, better not say that.

Finished Phase 1 of the Great Flat Cleaning. Phase 2, which involves going through the spare room and throwing away masses of rubbish that I’ve stored in there for years, will wait until I get caught up with other work. Meanwhile, the rest of the place is more or less presentable and certainly clean enough to work in.

Quasi-regular posting will therefore resume this week. In the queue: another M*A*S*H post, another bit of Theyocracy from the McStudge, and (once I work out the details) a follow-up to ‘Ozamataz’ and ‘Legosity’. I also plan to get some solid work done on Where Angels Die this month, and maybe even get the Style is the Rocket collection on the market. Busy times ahead.

Life, Carbon, and the Tao

My essai for the first anniversary of L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Superversive blog is now up in full:

Part One: What’s so special about carbon?

Part Two: What’s so special about the Tao?

Reposted on SuperversiveSF in one piece.

Go, read, and I hope you enjoy.

In other news, I shall not be writing this week, as I have finally enlisted some help to do a top-to-bottom cleaning of my flat, which is many months overdue. The accumulation of books and papers was making it impossible for me to hoover up the dust, and the dust was making it difficult to do anything else. I have been living largely on a diet of antihistamines and facial tissue. Enough of that!

Sarah D: Mobile apps are not a web solution!

That paragon of outdated thinking, the Calgary Public Hobo Mausoleum Library, has drawn down the wrath of Sarah Dimento. She speaks wisely, as is her wont, and without profanity, which is unusual for Sarah in a wrath.

Key bit:

A single-purpose mobile app is about as useful as a unicycle. Sure, you might be able to ride it down the street, but it was never designed to get you much further.…

Back in 2011, every clueless CEO wanted a mobile app (that does nothing a website can’t already do) because they heard it was the latest, hottest thing and wanted to jump on the bandwagon. It was a terrible fad that had its day because it was a terrible idea. Yet here you are, in 2015, telling people, “Please use our unicycle instead of the bicycle we can’t be bothered to fix. Unicycles are still hip, right? Pleeease try out our unicycle. We lost our bicycle building budget over this!”

Read the rest.

No news

Wednesday: Worked on an anniversary post for L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Superversive blog, but did not get usable words finished.

Thursday: Sick day. Adjusting to the new meds is taking time. On the bright side, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with neck pains and headaches. On the non-bright side, I’m having trouble staying awake. This is expected to pass in a couple of weeks.

Today: Back to work, if I can get my brain back together. Has anybody seen my parietal lobe?

One step back, two steps forward

Wrote 1,000 words on the Orchard yesterday, which was an improvement in quantity but not in quality. Upon heavy reflection, I decided that the work was structurally unsound, ripped it out, and recast the scene. (Thanks to my alpha readers, Sarah and Wendy, for insights that sped the fix along.) Today I put in 2,000 words, replacing yesterday’s output and getting a little further on with the story. We are now at a chapter break, with a Reveal, to wit: How Greyhand got his name.

I had been hoping that each episode of the Orchard would run about 15,000, but this first one seems certain to be over length. I am just over 12,000 words in (before cutting), and barely halfway through the outline. Looks like the series will begin with an extra-length episode, however much I slice it.

More trees!

Hat tip to The Passive Voice, who says:

An Adobe commercial from 2013 that one commentator has compared to the current state of publishing.

Sounds painfully accurate to me.

In other news, I made good only 700 words on the Orchard yesterday. Going over the notes and plans and getting up to speed on the story takes time, alas. Also, my new medication for the neuralgia makes me sleep longer hours than normal. I think it’s called Ami-Trip-To-Zombie-Land.

Challenge to self

Some of the 3.6 Loyal Readers may recall the opening chapters of Where Angels Die, which I posted on these pages almost a year ago:

The Summons
The Taken
A Battle of Souls
The Food of Demons

After the deaths of my parents, I was so stricken with depression and illness (and practical troubles concerned with the estate) that I found myself entirely unable to write any fiction, except for the odd squib like ‘Kundenschmerz’ and ‘Magic’s Pawnshop’. That deep fog seems to be lifting; I have been able to write fairly regularly this month, and now I should like to try getting back to work on something more ambitious (and perhaps profitable).

So I have decided to spend this coming week in a sort of marathon, seeing how far I can get with the draft of ‘the Orchard of Dis-Pear’, which, you may recall, is my private working name for Where Angels Die. This is, in a way, a forgiving project with a flexible terminus. I mean that with eight projected episodes, each of about 15,000 words, there are plenty of points at which I can stop, if need be, and say that I have definitely Accomplished Something. If I only get the first episode drafted, that will be a significant improvement on what I have done so far this year. If I go further, so much the better.

I shall not be putting up the first draft on the blog, so posting will likely be sparse and spotty for a time. However, I hope to put up short notices about any progress I happen to make.

Your patience, encouragement, and well-wishing is much appreciated. Pray ’em if you got ’em. Thank you, and I hope to see you all soon at Angel Keep.

This day in scribblery: September 16

Another piece that may be of interest to at least 0.9 of my 3.6 Loyal Readers. This first appeared on LiveJournal on this day in 2006:

Genesis 3: Reality, responsibility, and The Eye of the Maker


In other news, last night I returned from a three-day excursion to the interior of British Columbia. I saw many old familiar sights, and some old forgotten ones, and a few new ones, and one desultory forest fire, and met some new people (whom I shall, in all probability, never see again); and I return somewhat refreshed. I make a note of this for my own purposes, since this blog is the closest thing I keep to a journal, and otherwise I may wish to recollect some aspect of this trip and not be able to remember when I made it.

It’s not ALL about the seat of the chair

Now that our Evil Alter Blogger has had his say about those who sneer at prolific writers, I figure it’s time for me to say something on the matter in propria persona. Herewith, I reproduce a comment I made over at the Passive Voice, which the gracious Carbonel thought well of.

One Scath muses aloud:

I’ve been earning a living as a writer releasing 2 books per year. Wonder what will happen if I up that to 4 per year?

I respond:

Either (a) you will more than double your income, because you are attracting more readers and have twice as many products to sell to each one; or (b) your income per book will suffer because you are rushing yourself to meet an arbitrary production schedule, and not giving the ideas long enough to cook. Or some combination of the two effects. It depends entirely on you and your internal process.

Like most writers I know, I find that the process of coming up with good story ideas is not one that happens solely whilst one is applying the seat of the trousers to the seat of the chair. I can usually come up with enough stuff in twenty-four hours to keep me busy at the keyboard for four or five hours writing it down. I find that if I force myself to spend more hours at the keyboard, I often end up forcing out rubbish just to fill up the time.

Of course everyone’s mileage differs; but that ought to be the real lesson – everyone’s mileage differs. There is nothing inherently wrong with having the fixings in your mind to make one decent book per month, or one per quarter, or one per year, or one per lifetime. (Very few of us can manage one per month. That much time at the keyboard leaves very little time for having enough of a life to feed a fluent stream of new ideas.) The only thing that is unequivocally wrong is trying to base your schedule on someone else’s idea of how much you should write.

If Patty Pretentious says you should write only one book every ten years and it will be a literary masterpiece, she’s almost certainly wrong. If Harry Hackworthy says you should crank out a book every two weeks, just as fast as your fingers can type the words, he is almost certainly wrong. If Sammy Statistics says you should write 1.21 books per year because that is the aurea mediocritas at which the average Great Writer writes the average Great Book, he is almost certainly wrong. Writers, especially great ones, cannot be aggregated in that way.

There’s a reason why Polonius did not say, ‘To the Huffington Post’s own self be true.’ Or even, ‘To thy critique group’s own self be true.’

12 years

It was only in January, 2013, that I set up a WordPress blog to replace the creaky old static Bondwine site; but a lot of the material here goes back into the mists of antiquity. Today, for instance, marks the 12th anniversary of the oldest essai on this site: ‘Sturgeon’s Law School, or, Why do people with good taste create bad art?’ Upon rereading it with a cold and fishy eye, all these aeons later, I find that it stands up tolerably well. If you haven’t given it a look before, you might do today.