alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

So I had this idea a while back that instead of putting together a status post in the morning I would get going on things and then take stock after an hour or two. My thought was that this would give me a more accurate appraisal of my state of affairs/spoon levels/inspiration, and let me make more realistic plans for the day.

It was a pretty good idea, but two things happened: there were the days when I started doing things and got on a roll and never went back to do the status post, and the days where lacking any clear starting signal or rudder I just kind of drifted. I think there will always be the "adrift" days, that's one of the hazards of creative work, and there will always be the days when I just don't have the spoons, but little rituals like the status posts are part of my strategy for minimizing them.

So today's news is that I'm going back to status posts as the day-kicker-offer.

Tomorrow I'm going to have some more introspection about writing methods.

State of the Me

Holy crap, have you checked the weather in Nebraska lately? 111 is a pretty decent hand in draw poker but it's crap for a heat index. (Note: I'm pretty sure I've used that joke already this year.)

Fortunately we have decent A/C and I have my living space set up a bit better than last summer.

Plans For Today

Got a chapter of Tales of MU on the way, and some other things fighting around in my brain for some time. I guess this is another reason status posts are a good thing, they help me figure out what I'm doing with my day/week.

Friday

Jul. 8th, 2011 01:41 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Gah... haven't accomplished nearly as much this week as I'd hoped. My sleep schedule hasn't changed in coming from Hagerstown to Omaha, but my sleep has definitely suffered. I tend to sleep so much better when I'm there than anywhere else. Basically, last night was the first really decent night's sleep I've had since, oh, last Thursday. From here on out I'm going to start using my sleep supplements again... I avoid using them when I'm having a terrible time sleeping because they don't put me out like magic so if I can't sleep at all then I end up feeling imprisoned in concrete fog.

I've spent most of the week alternating between trying to wake myself up and trying to get to sleep. The writing I've attempted has ended in cases of Blank Page Syndrome. I got a few things organized, very little written.

Last night I took the step of getting everything in my room with an LED turned off/unplugged, so that when I turn off the lamp by where I sleep I'm in total darkness. It was a very near thing before, but there's a pronounced difference between nearly total darkness and total darkness, especially when you've been lying in it awake for a while.

So, not exciting news: I'm still an insomniac and I've made my room darker.

State of the Me

See above.

Dreams From Last Night

Involved a weird kind of downloaded-consciousness-based time travel controlled by an agency trying to make sure time/destiny/whatever runs smoothly and/or just messing with people... sort of a cross between the Adjustment Bureau and the History Monks, with some overtones of The Matrix and The Sims.

Plans For Today

Rest, recharge... write a little. I'm hoping I can knock out a chapter of Tales of MU but I won't know until I actually start writing if that's realistic for today or not. So no announcements until it's underway.

...

That's probably a good plan in general. Do an hour of writing and then make plans for the day.

Thursday

Jun. 30th, 2011 11:40 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

The news for today is that I'm really not a fan of apartment living. All day yesterday there was hammering and pounding, and today I had to deal with a lock that likes to chew up keys and spit them out sticks... I suspect it might need lubricating. It's kind of a scary experience to be home alone in a place you don't actually live, step out for five minutes, and then face the prospect of not being able to get back in. I had the thought that I'd have to call Jack at work to call the apartment office so they could let me in and then I realized I hadn't brought my phone with me because I was only stepping out for five minutes. What's Jack's number? I don't know, my cell phone remembers things like that.

In other news, Cracked has once again managed to post an extremely useful article. This is part of why they make a great humor site... there's more than just entertainment value there. I'm not saying they're the most insightful or trustworthy information source out there, but they kind of fill the same interesting/obscure/useless trivia niche in my life that GURPS sourcebooks and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader has filled, and then every once in a while there's an article like this one that aids introspection.

State of the Me

Profoundly lethargic. I woke up today and Jack told me I looked exhausted, even though I had a restful night's sleep. I attribute this to being keyed up most of yesterday because of the hammering.

Dreams From Last Night

Long and complex and involved. Okay, first of all, my older brother had put together a consortium of artists/animators and wanted to make a cartoon, and he wanted me to write a story about a group of immortals cursed by God/some cosmic God-equivalent who came from different past civilizations and banded together to fight crime to try to find out where they came from and why. In my dream, I called the story "The Wandering Few", a play on the not-at-all-a-little-bit-anti-Semitic legend of the "Wandering Jew", and in my dream, this seemed very clever.

Also in my dream I was playing a video game based on the Doctor Who episode "A Good Man Goes To War", only it had David Tennant's Doctor and his allies instead of being a mix of Doctor Who characters from across time and space were all the non-Mario characters in Super Mario Crossover. In two dimensional 8 bit form, and pretty much the same size they appear on a typical computer monitor.

And at one point in the dream I asked Jack if we could go out for milkshakes at the local ice cream parlor and he said he'd rather have fried ice cream, which he was pretty sure he could make at home using the end of the Edy's Girl Scout Cookie flavored ice cream we have at the apartment and a common kitchen frying pan. (Spoiler Alert: Of course this wouldn't actually work. Fried ice cream relies on using a big industrial strength deep freeze to freeze the ice cream very deeply and industrially, and a commercial fryer to fry the coating very quickly.)

Plans For Today

Primarily focused on Tales of MU, though there may be some random blog posts. I'm developing a bit of a headache so I don't want to make too many grand plans.

Tuesday

Jun. 28th, 2011 09:27 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Yes, I'm restarting the status posts... I should have been doing them all along. Part and parcel of the whole lost momentum/writer's block thing that came out of being sick is a tendency to keep starting things (information posts as well as stories) and then lose my nerve, rethink the whole thing, and erase them.

Some bullet points:


  • I'm flying back to Omaha on Saturday, weather allowing... there has been some flooding and Omaha's Eppley Airfield is among the most threatened regions. In the event of flooding my understanding is that we'll land somewhere else and be bussed in, but there isn't a wealth of big commercial airports in the area so it may be a bit of a long ride.
  • The relaunch of Star Harbor Nights is proceeding. I'm going for a more structured approach and I'm trying to get the whole ready-aim-fire thing in the correct order for once, so I think this is going to be a big project for the early fall rather than a summer thing. Especially as I'm now playing catch-up on things I wanted to be doing in the early summer. There may be a few more SHN flash stories and longer one-shots between now and then, and I'll certainly be blogging more about my plans.
  • On the subject of playing catch-up: no, there was no newsletter in May, and no installment of Kin and Distant Relations, either. There will be a newsletter this week, but KDR #1 might well go up in July. It'll be the same 13 installment deal as promised. There may be some months that see two to make up for the missed ones, or it might just run through August of next year.
  • Also on the subject of the newsletter: after looking at what happened at the end of May, I think making the newsletter monthly makes it too big of a thing. What I mean by that is that in order to feel like a once-a-month newsletter has value, I need to pack it full of... well... a month's worth of value, you know? But that means that I need to work on it a little bit every week (I did a bit of that in May) or risk flubbing it if I get suckerpunched by something at the end of the month. The fact that I want to deliver value-for-value hasn't changed, but I think the way to make sure that happens is to focus on the delivery a bit more. So I'm going to be sending smaller newsletters, weekly or every-other-weekly. Give myself a smaller goal to focus on.
  • Tales of MU will update this week, but it'll be a single update week. I'm doing better but I'm still not at 100%. I feel like I should be doing more but I'd rather have a week of building speed and hitting targets than a week of spinning my wheels and missing them.


Personal Assessment

Doing good. The very last vestiges of the Summer Cold That Won't Die seem to be leaving the apartment.

Emotionally: well, this has been a trip where just about anything that could go wrong has gone wrong. There's been illness. There's been interpersonal drama (not mine, but near by). We've had canceled and missed outings to Washington, D.C., and Staunton, VA. My favorite restaurant... not the reason I always look forward to coming back to Hagerstown but one of the things I always looked forward to about coming back to Hagerstown... closed its doors for good between my last visit and this one.

But with all that? It still feels like this has been a good trip. I've enjoyed being here. I would rather have been here dealing with all that than not be here at all. On a practical level I feel like having been in a not-huge apartment with Jack and Sarah when everybody's sick as dogs for a couple of weeks is a good thing to have gone through now... like, it would be hard to arrange that in advance, but it's the sort of thing that you normally don't find out about how it goes until you're actually living together.

Dream From Last Night

I was on an airplane that actually served meals and they were doing this "concept restaurant" thing where everything was all eco-whatever and surrounded by healthful adjectives. One of the selections was a cup of algae.

Plans For Today


  • Get at least a thousand words of the next chapter of Tales of MU.
  • Write at least two blog posts. Seems like a silly and frivolous goal, but blogging is writing, and it's letting thoughts out of my head, and blogging prolifically always seems to go with writing fiction prolifically.
alexandraerin: (Default)
It's been pointed out to me that I didn't say so much as a word on Twitter for days after announcing I was sick. I'm sorry to anyone who was worried unduly... I never like making "Yep, still sick." updates, as that feels... I don't, like I'm complaining or rooting for sympathy. I didn't expect to be down for as long as I did, and in fact I wasn't really conscious of how many days were passing since I spent them almost completely offline.

Also, I'm very conscious of the fact that I had an unrelated illness the week before WisCon, and so now I've got two weeks with very little to show for it in terms of writing and getting day-to-day/monthly stuff done. Guilt springs eternal.

In any event, I'm back now, and writing again and I'd like to say a little bit about the flash story I posted yesterday, "The Sweat of their Brows". It owes a considerable creative debt to Rhysling-nominated poet and law student [livejournal.com profile] popelizbet and her writings and researchings on the subjects of artificial intelligence and civil rights... specifically, her paper Out of the Chinese Room, Into the Courtroom: Personhood, Rights, Duties and the Conscious Computer, presented at the Terasem Movement's Sixth Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons, which is, in fact, a thing. Lizbet re-presented her paper in meatspace at WisCon 35, and in the course of discussions on it I had several seeds of ideas for stories that might end up as Fantasy In Miniature shorts or in the finished version of Game Theory. A lot of them had to do with unexpected ways in which artificial minds might hamper progress, or at least fail to devote all their superhuman potential solely to the cause of advancing humanity in ways we find meaningful. Those who read the Game Theory draft in my newsletter will perhaps recognize this theme.

Simply put, I find any of the typical fictional outcomes of astronomical increases in computing power--broadly, these would be relative stasis, apocalypse, and human immortality--to be terribly realistic. Just looking at the changes that increases in computer technology have wrought in my own lifetime is enough to convince me of this... the society I live in has been markedly changed by the internet, smart phones, and other advances in personal computing, but neither the dramatic end of the world nor a bright shiny utopia has been ushered in.

The rest of this may spoil the story for those who haven't read it, so I'm putting it under a cut. )

So that's where that story came from. Today I'm going to finish and post the next chapter of Tales of MU. It's not going to be quite the same chapter that would have been written if I'd finished it the week I started it... at that point, I could see the way clearly to the point I wanted to bring it with some rather substantial rewrites that would make the whole thing a lot more conversational. Now... not so much. The chapter's been left as it is too long and it's somewhat ossified. Yesterday I tried to reshape it into what it would have been and spent hours accomplishing little. Today I've spent an hour so far moving forward instead of backwards and added 1,000 words. And so it goes.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Hey, all. I'm not doing a full status post right now because I'm still waking up. Plague has come to the House of Jack. Well, not plague, exactly. More like a pernicious upper respiratory illness. Jack has it the worst. I've kind of been yo-yoing, thinking I was okay or on my way to okay and then having another bout.

Today I am determined to get back to work, starting with the chapter of Tales of MU that has been half-finished since before WisCon... wrapping it up should be a good warm-up, I think.

Tuesday

Apr. 12th, 2011 09:17 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I'm now on the "long tail" themed panel at WisCon, which is scheduled for Friday afternoon. That's good because it gives me one panel on Friday, one on Saturday, and two on Sunday.

That's really it for the news today. Today's a big writing day, which means it's a day for doing great things, not spinning great plans.

Personal Assessment

Slept well last night, which seems to be the single greatest indicator of my day-to-day cognitive abilities. I'm still waking up as of this writing (9:30), but I'm not going to be putting virtual pen to virtual paper until 11:00 so I think I'm in good shape.

Dreams From Last Night

Kitchen dreams inspired by the writing of C.S.E. Cooney. My subconscious is going to have to start giving her screenwriting credits, I think. If she dreams of residuals, this is probably why.

Plans For Today

Writing Tales of MU. My specific plan there is to dispense with the remainder of the weekend and Monday morning, and Mackenzie's first class. If all goes according to play I should finish the day with a multi-several-thousand word chunk of writing that can be divided up into two chapters, for Wednesday and Friday. The chapters may get slightly smaller than they have been from here on out.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today:

Today's news, like the bit about being on Kindle (P.S.: Fantasy In Miniature is up there, too, now, though I'm not going to push it until it's had some regular updates again.), is something to be filed under stuff I should have gotten on top of sooner but didn't really know about.

My plans for The Gift of the Bad Guy involve selling the e-book for about a dollar. Lulu.com is no longer a viable solutions for one dollar e-books, as they charge a 99 cents base price for them and tell you with a straight face that this is to pay for bandwidth and such. Maybe the price of such has shot up a lot in the past few years, but bandwidth just doesn't cost that much. When I learned that, I Googled micropayments and microtransactions to find out who could give me a transaction fee rate that wouldn't eat as much of $1 as PayPal does (which was like $0.33).

And I learned that PayPal will give me such a rate.

I'd seen people mention PayPal's micropayments option before, but when I went looking for it in their back end I couldn't find it. I figured I'd just misunderstood and they were talking about the fact that you can take micropayments with PayPal. Well, it turns out that they do have a separate micropayments option, but the reason I couldn't find it is it isn't even there. You have to go to a separate site (note: this site doesn't work with some browsers, such as Chrome and reportedly Safari) and ask for them to switch your account over. It takes up to two business days for approval. I sent my request over the weekend and found a positive reply waiting for me this afternoon when I woke up.

What does switching my account to micropayments do? It makes every transaction I receive in U.S. dollars from a person in the U.S. cost me a flat $0.05 + 5%. International rates vary the base fee but have the same basic idea of making small transactions affordable. This means on very large transactions I will pay a few dollars more than I would have if I hadn't switched... like a $300 transaction will cost about $4 more in fees... but for every transaction not over $12 or so, I'll be making more money.

Like a dollar transaction. Instead of taking home 67 cents every time someone sends me a dollar, I'll be pocketing 90 cents. And everybody who buys a one dollar e-book for me, I'll be getting the equivalent of a 90 percent royalty. As the size of the transaction increases, the advantage over the regular rate decreases, but the percentage I'm paying out from the occasional large transaction is going to be way outweighed by the savings on all the little ones.

This is big news. My income--both potential from the e-books and actual money I'm making now--just went up today.

Other people doing the crowdfunding dance on your own websites: if you don't know about this already, get in on it.

Other news:

  • My housemate got herself a Sony e-reader yesterday, so I've got another platform to test e-book formats out on.
  • I'm officially setting the release date of The Gift of the Bad Guy, which is book one of the Gifters Saga, for March 14th. That's later than I intended to, but I want to take the time to get this right as it's my first one. It will give me time to solicit feedback on the formatting (after the free sample goes up) and make adjustments based on it.


Personal Assessment

I slept a lot, and am pleased to find myself feeling pretty normal today... not groggy and dead to the world, but also not so crackling with energy that I couldn't sit still or sleep.

Dreams From Last Night

I was barefoot in a park after a rainstorm, at a picnic/cookout with my family. My mother couldn't believe I was barefoot and kept asking me if bugs weren't biting my feet, which they were, but only when she asked about them. A bunch of people (including me) had devices that were very clearly electronic books but which were supposed to be new MP3 players in the dream. After I got tired of being bitten by bugs, I went home, which was just up the street. Neither the street nor the house was actually familiar to me. It was like one of those single-developer neighborhoods where all the houses are built from stock plans. Once home, I danced around the kitchen to music from my Kindle iPod until my mother came home and told me she was glad her children were there.

Tasks For Today


  • Write a flash story.
  • Do some more character tags for Tales of MU.
  • Work on the next chapter of Tales of MU.
  • Apparently spend over an hour of my own time compiling and formatting a post that lists all the nominees for the Rose And Bay awards, links to their works, and links to the individual voting posts because it didn't occur to anyone to do this before for some reason?


Item removed: big dent in last TGotBG chapter. Got bogged down in other things. Productive day, still.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Well, the derby closes tomorrow and it's been a runaway success. I guess it's the magic combination of audience participation, competition, rooting for a favorite character, and supporting an author. Like most good magic it probably would not bear repetition lightly or well, but there just aren't that many parts of the story I'd be comfortable selling in this way. In this case I had no clear preference and I could see things going any of a few different ways while still being true to the story and the characters. That doesn't happen very often, and even less often with this kind of lead time and importance.

Personal Assessment

I was woken up once in the middle of the night by the grand dame cat of the house, Princess, being strangely affectionate... by which I mean she was being affectionate, and that was strange. When I got back to sleep I slept a good long time. Yay for generic Ny-Quil knock offs. I've woken up with no more than a touch of the sniffles, like what I had when I first reported them. Good sign, I suppose.

Dreams From Last Night

I was living at the dollhouse (my current domicile) but it was my family's house. i woke up and was in a hurry to find a clean (men's dress) shirt and a tie to go to work at the business that I worked for the last time I lived with my folks. I found a shirt, but the most I could find was a "tie cork", which is an object that existed in this dream that looked almost exactly like a tie but it was meant to go in back of an actual tie and hold it in place. It was not made out of and did not resemble a cork in any fashion.

While I was trying to figure out if I could pass off two tie corks as a properly corked tie, my mother came home and started arguing with me if i I still worked there or not, since it's been so long since I'd gone in. I told her that was why I had to go in today, and she told me they were closed today anyway. So we went out to breakfast, and I forgot to lock the side door after we went out and felt anxious about it the whole time. When we got back, the house had indeed been burglarized, but the burglars were conscientious enough to only take my desktop computer from the downstairs room, as a sort of object lesson.

Plans For Today

I'm a bit more than halfway done with chapter 486, and feeling better/more clear-headed than I have been all week, so finishing that up is job one.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

The big news is that I have medicine. It's over-the-counter but it's helping. I went out yesterday and got a big value box of the store brand version of DayQuil/NyQuil Sinus. The trip outside took up my afternoon and left me pretty wiped out afterwards, but the plus side of that is that i slept really well last night.

(The NyQuil probably helped there, too.)

I've needed new pillows for a long time, and there were some on clearance. They were actually advertised as being great for stomach sleepers, and they are. I'm sure that helped, too.

Personal Assessment

Don't know why it didn't occur to me to get some cold/sinus medicine sooner. Well, actually I do know, but "don't know why it didn't occur to me" is pretty much a very long-winded way of saying "I am pretty absentminded and I completely forgot about the most obvious thing." Okay, so that's pretty long-winded, too. Have I mentioned lately that I don't do conciseness well?

I've still got a tickle in my throat but sinus pressure is decreased and my nose isn't dripping so much.

Joints okay, back okay, slept okay. It's a pretty good day in general.

Dreams From Last Night

None distinct. Apparently NyQuil cancels out valerian in that regard.

Plans For Today

I'm hoping to be done with tomorrow's chapter. I've also got a post in the works about my plans for Gift of the Bad Guy, which will touch on some of my larger plans for the coming year.

Status 2.0

Jan. 29th, 2011 10:10 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
I had a looooong nap this afternoon. Apparently I was still on a sleep deficit. Quite by chance, I fell asleep with relaxing music playing, something I haven't done for some months... I have to add that to my routine, as it really does improve the quality of my sleep.

I had a very odd dream, the second one in recent history involving George W. Bush as president. I don't get it. In this one he was on vacation and could only find solace in carelessly (and destructively) reading rare books, comics, and manuscripts. If I put more stock in dream analysis, I'd say my brain has labeled him the embodiment of conservative political impulses and this was about austerity measures threatening public libraries and arts and education, but I really don't think the human brain actually works that way.

I woke up with a sore throat. Not great.

The roommate derby, as I've found myself thinking of it, is going really well. I didn't expect to see much of a response before Monday, as even when I update the story very late on Friday the site tends to be quiet over the weekend. Some people are attaching comments in the "Purpose" field of the PayPal form, and some of them are quite heartening and/or entertaining.

Hazel's supporters seem to feel that her role as Two's friend should be taken into account. The biggest recurring theme among Steff fans seems to be that she'd be most entertaining. The most commonly cited reason for Dee, who has taken on a lead due in large part to support from monthly sponsors, is that her presence would be beneficial to the others... though one person rather perceptively noted that Two's presence might be beneficial to Dee.

It'll be really interesting to see how this all turns out.

Saturday

Jan. 29th, 2011 10:58 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today:

I'm kicking off a bit of an unusual fundraiser today... letting readers literally vote with their wallets as to who will complete the rooming quartet with Amaranth, Mackenzie, and Two. This is an idea I've been kicking around for a while. It seems like fun, and otherwise I would seriously probably just pick one of them at random. I can see too many interesting possibilities any which way.

And I need to give the fundraising a bit of a boost. Dollhousehold finances are kind of tight at the moment... one housemate moved out and kind of left my other housemate/the actual mortgage payer in the lurch on some back rent. I pay a set rent but we generally have a friendly arrangement when it comes to timeframe and paying for shared/household goods, but in light of the present circumstances things will be more comfortable if I can step up a bit.

Personal Assessment

Slept fine. Sniffles of yesterday seem to be on their way out.

Dreams From Last Night

Indistinct.

Random Link

Yesterday I spotted an ad on Tales of MU for something calling itself an anti-epic, which intrigued me, insofar as I've begun to think of myself as a teller of anti-stories. Not in the sense that what I tell are entirely unlike stories... I mean, a positron (antimatter electron) is not the thing in the universe that is least like an electron. In many ways they're very much alike. I mean "anti-story" in the sense that Andy Kauffman was an anti-humorist, or Dada is anti-art. Andy Kauffman's work was humorous and Dada produces works of art... but these forms, these media have conventions and expectations and baggage attached to them.

We're told that stories have a beginning, a middle, an end, a protagonist, an antagonist, exposition, rising action, a climax, falling action, the Professor, and Mary Anne... but obviously it's possible to tell a coherent narrative that's missing one or more of these things. Adhering too tightly to these conventions... well, I've said before that I think the existence of a maxim like Chekhov's Gun leads to a vicious cycle, where the more closely it's followed by a generation of artists, the more audiences expect it to be followed and feel confused or cheated when they perceive a violation. That's true of any storytelling convention.

So, I haven't actually started reading Guts and Sass... I just spied it yesterday... but the About section says this:


Without much conscious input from me, Guts and Sass grew an intention to be an anti-epic. It has many of the conventions of epic fantasy, but I feel that it isn't. I've tried to let Guts and Sass be as true to life as it can be, considering it's more fantastical elements and that I have never directly experienced many of the events in the story. Within you will find war, political intrigue, invasion, magic, pirates, swords, and potions. You won't find any heroes, glorified romance, saving the day, or clean-cut answers. You'll also find human dysfunction, illiteracy, non-civilized cultures, gender-crossing, gender-transitioning, sex that isn't love and love that isn't sex, homosexuality not defined by modern gay identity, and other subjects that may or may not blow your worldview. (I say this especially to my parents, who, God help me, I have told about this website).

One thing about Guts and Sass is that it is paced by life. You won't see every moment in these people's lives, but the moments you do see will happen in a reasonable amount of time. That's a wee bit slow for many people, but I prefer it. It's kind of like getting to know someone and savoring the sexual tension and foreplay instead of going straight to the orgasm (which has it's own charms, at times).

Guts and Sass is about one of thirty long-term stories in my head. Once it's done, there will be another, and another. I don't think the bowl will ever be empty.


What can I say? It speaks to me.

Plans For Today

In light of the shaky week I've had, I'm going to go ahead and start Monday's chapter today. We're into some very deep spoilery territory now, so there's not going to be a construction post.

There could be as few as two chapters left in the volume proper. There's probably more like four or five.

(There will be a fast-forward epilogue that I am going to endeavor to do in a week, whether it's one long thing or several short ones, I'm not sure yet.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

As I mentioned briefly on Twitter yesterday, I'm going to a Monday and Friday update schedule for MU for the time being. My plan had been to figure out how many chapters I could do in a week consistently and then have the update schedule be one chapter fewer than that so I'd build up a backlog as I went, but as so often happens I got distracted by thoughts of what I should be able to do and ignored what reality was telling me I was able to. Multiple weeks in a row of writing three good chapters on a timely basis should have told me that this, at the present time, is my limit, but I kept thinking that if I managed three last week, I should be able to do four this week and therefore three should be my production schedule.

So for now it's going to be Monday and Friday. If I find myself writing more and building up a huge backlog, then I'll revisit the schedule.

One of my dreams last night involved the Daughters of the Moon festival in Tennessee, which made me sad upon waking because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to afford to go back there this year. Being in a long-distance relationship means I have to prioritize my travel monies a little differently, and it's more important that I make it to WisCon in May.

Personal Assessment

I slept pretty well last night. Nothing much else to say.

Dreams From Last Night

Numerous. The most memorable of them involved a big MMO-y style fight against an evil overlord type and his bone dragon in a tavern. The whole thing had a very strong video game feel... there was a strong sense that the tavern was meant to be a safe place, and the evil overlord had violated some fundamental rules of reality by appearing there in the first place.

Random Link

Okay, this is not my usual indie shilling here, and it's probably old news to most people, but since I just found about it yesterday, I'm going to make sure that everyone out there knows about the audio streaming site Grooveshark. It's a great way to check out music, and to set up playlists that you can bring down from the cloud at any web-capable computer. There's a mobile version that costs money, but it's free to use from a PC.

Plans For Today

Write a chapter of Tales of MU that will go up tomorrow.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

So, last night my mother emailed me and Jack called me at almost the exact same time (phone rang as I was reading the email) because I'd kind of had a low profile online over the weekend. I've been distracted by a hard-to-pin down story that I've wanted to write since Wednesday, and I eventually realized yesterday that what I have in mind isn't really something that works as a third segment in a folk tale story, it's a considerable project.

This is a lizardfolk story, one that has been "translated" by human missionaries. I want to do it up properly, incorporating what I've established about their culture and language, and show the parts that have been simplified or altered or misunderstood by the human tellers.

I believe that what I have in mind is within my capabilities, but it's not worth letting it eat my brain and life right now, when I'm working on the also sort of pretty ambitious leap forward with the main story. So it's being tabled for now. Maybe inspiration will strike when I'm not expecting it.

Personal Assessment

Okay. Sleep was a bit delayed last night, so I took some melatonin. I've taken it every night since I realized my insomnia was back but it's still not an ingrained habit again. Slept from around 3:00 a.m. until about half an hour ago, so that's pretty good.

Dreams From Last Night

Fighting a bunch of enemies from the video game Borderlands using abilities described and rated in TSR's Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game from the 80s. FASERIP!

Random Link

Daron's Guitar Chronicles began taking shape in the 80s and grew into an expansively detailed bildungsroman. The author, Cecilia Tan, couldn't find a market for it even after editing it down in size considerably. Now it exists as crowdfunded weblit.

It's a great example of two of the advantages the internet gives us: that it lets stories be as big or as small as they need to be, and that it helps connect readers to material that might speak to them but might would be considered very "niche" by the traditional publishing industry. (The internet also helps do this with traditionally published material, to a degree.)

Daron's Guitar Chronicles, in other words, is a long tale made possible by the long tail.

(Tip of any one of my innumerable hats to [livejournal.com profile] tithenai for inspiring the "long tale" wordplay.)

Plans For Today

Next chapter of Tales of MU, and I'm going to do a bit of revising on Gift of the Bad Guy, primarily expanding (who am I kidding? I mean adding) descriptions and fixing incongruities. Good practice for when I do the editing pass through Tales of MU.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Yesterday while prepping to write, it hit me how close I actually am to my presumed endpoint for Volume 1. And something else hit me about two different things that I was planning on putting in the remainder of the volume, and I didn't know and couldn't see how exactly they would fit together in any kind of way. One of them is something that would happen as part of the current set of events. Another thing is just something I always wanted to happen during the first year or semester of Mackenzie's schooling, something that would not do to just elide over in the fast forward or refer back to later. But the two things coming right on top of each other did not seem to work.

(Sidenote: When I describe problems this vaguely, I'm often surprised to find that someone pops up with advice that's either equally vague, like, "Well, you could try doing the thing before you do the thing." or is incredibly specific based on what they think I'm talking about but really just kind of random, like, "Have you considered parking the hippo on top of the dumpster?" I understand the very human tendency to want to get in there and solve a problem, but please rest assured that in this case you just don't have the puzzle pieces you need. You are excused.)

I've mostly got it sorted out. Mostly. In fact, the act of typing the first paragraph of this post pretty much solved it for me. But I'm having to rethink a few things, as I discovered last night. And then I discovered I was le tired, and the writing wasn't happening.

I'm still rethinking today, because I honestly had not realized how close things are and I don't want to miss anything else. So I think the actual story will continue next week. In the meantime, I have some folky tales kicking around my head.

I can't recall if I've mentioned this before, but I've been thinking of ways to do something nice for sponsors/subscribers without violating some of my basic principles. One of which is that the story should always be free, and if there's information or parts of the story that you have to pay to get... well, that sort of changes things, doesn't it? But wheels are turning.

Personal Assessment

This makes three nights in a row of fractured/interrupted sleep, and unlike the preceding two nights there's not anything I can point to (blanket issues, cats fighting) as a cause. Time to break out the pills tonight.

I deleted a kind of rude question out of my Formspring about why I do this section, and this right here is exactly why: so I know when the same problem persists for three days, or a week, or whatever, and can choose to act on it.

Dreams From Last Night

I was a speech writer for President George W. Bush, who I felt oddly sympathetic towards. There was some kind of a scandal or crisis, and he felt the need to flee the White House to Camp David in two very tightly-crammed helicopters with his closest staff, including me, so he could regroup. He was so dispirited by whatever had happened that when I found a very shiny penny, head-side-down, I picked it up and considered telling him it had been heads-side-up and was a lucky penny, just so he'd think things were turning around.

Also there were problems because we'd basically piled into the helicopter with nothing but the clothes we were wearing, and we had to make it through a long weekend. I had two socks that didn't match because I'd still been getting dressed when word came that we had to get to the helipad.

It was a strange dream.

Random Link

Gallant studies hard in school because he wants to be a doctor some day. Goofus slacks off because he thinks his webcomic will support him.

Plans For Today

Reply hazy, ask again later. Three nights in a row of subpar sleep. I had a good, long streak of not having to deal with this feeling.

Wednesday

Jan. 19th, 2011 10:58 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Not really news, but I love the weird, random conversations that happen on my Formspring sometimes.

Personal Assessment

Went to sleep early last night. Sleep was fragmented, but sufficient. I was too tired to get my blankets properly arranged so I kept losing some of them. Feelin' okay so far today.

Dreams From Last Night

One involved a quiz show where the last question was "What other weapon was used by the rebel leader against the giant robot in Inception?" The answer was a mop that shoots rockets.

I don't remember the rest of my dreams, though I know I had them... in particular because I kept finding myself awake and thinking, "Man, I don't think I've slept at all tonight." and then realizing what I'd just experienced/thought/did right before that could only have been a dream.

Random Link

Sea Captain Date. To quote one of the great existential philosophers of our age: Is this real life?

Plans For Today

Well, it's Wednesday and I'm feeling pretty good, so there ought to be a chapter of Tales of MU up by midnight or so.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today:

Pretty much see the preceding LJ entry for the most significant thing that happened over the weekend. It's also why I didn't have a status post on Friday, though I'm happy to say it didn't stop me from writing. I pretty much spent large portions of the weekend just Dealing With Stuff. I'm behind on some things that I wanted to get done, but I'm not going to beat myself up over them. I think it'll be a few days before I really hit my stride again, but it won't stop me from doing the writing I've been doing... just set me back a couple of days in my attempt to move past that.

Personal Assessment:

I don't have rhythm, but I have music... who could ask for anything more than rhythm?

Seriously, this is in "no news is good news" territory. No aches. No pains. No illness. I slept quite a bit more than normal this weekend past.

Dreams From Last Night:

All jumbled up, particularly because it's been a few days since I've recorded any dreams here.

Random Link:

None today. I hasn't had the brain.

Plans For Today:

Get a chapter done for Tales of MU. I also have about a dozen or so Formspring questions in my inbox, and I'm going to answer a bunch of them. Feel free to submit new ones as I'm in an answerin' mood.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

So, yeah. The water line to the dishwasher here is not working. We suspect a freeze, though there's no evidence of a burst pipe (knock on wood). I discovered this yesterday in a pretty disconcerting way, as I started the dishwasher and then walked out of the room to do some writing. That's what you do with a dishwasher, right? That's the point of the thing. Possibly if anybody actually ever read the manual that comes with one, it would say to never leave the thing running unintended or you void your warranty and forfeit your soul to the Great Gray Beast Who Devours Souls With Cheez Whiz or something. I don't know.

The point is that I came back in the kitchen around the time I expected it to be done so I could unload it, and there was this smell, so I opened it up and there was this acrid smoke. Kind of panic-inducing. I quickly realized that there wasn't actually very much smoke at all, it just made an impressive stench. Also, the dishes were dirty, and the ones that hadn't been put in there wet by me were dry as a bone.

I believe the smoke and odor came from debris (including gel soap that was plopped unceremoniously down on the dishes at the front corner of the washer) on the heating element at the bottom, debris that would've ordinarily been washed away during the washing portion of the cycle. I'm hoping so, because the alternative is that something burned out inside the washer. My housemate says this has happened before, there's insufficient insulation in that one spot. If there is something wrong with the plumbing or the machine, she has a home warranty policy that should make it quite a bit less expensive, but it will still suck so let's all hope and pray and cajole the fates (nicely) that it's not the case.

This is, of course, the reason for the placeholder post on Tales of MU. Being home alone and having a major appliance belch smoke in my face is not the sort of thing that helps me settle down to the business of writing entertaining stories. I gave it a bit of a stab, but it wasn't going anywhere. I'd forgotten the stuff I came up with during my prep session and couldn't settle down and focus.

Personal Assessment

Doing pretty good. My sleep schedule is still weird. It's migrating to the point where I'm going to bed later and later, which is the opposite direction I thought it would take to get back to normal, and will probably take longer to get there. But it will get there.

Dreams From Last Night

Brainiac bubble bondage. I blame DCUO.

Link Video For Today



Apparently, acceptable names for a Tesla coil employed as a musical instrument include "Zeusaphone" and "Thoremin". With no disrespect to my Asatruar friends, I'm inclined to favor the former as "Thoremin" sounds a bit like something the TV would tell me to ask my doctor if it's right for me.

Plans For Today

Finish up the chapter I was writing when the dishwasher suffered a temporary elemental inversion. Fortunately a brief conversation with Jack reminded me where I had been going before being distracted by all the shock and panic.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I'm drawing a blank on what's going on anywhere in my life. The only thing worse than trying to write one of these things just after waking up is doing it just before falling asleep. Well, I suppose doing it just after falling asleep would be worse still.

Self-Assessment

Yesterday my leg was very iffy, due to the bout of cramping I had the day before. You ever get the kind of nocturnal leg cramp where something in the back of your leg spasms and you end up with what feels like a knot the size of a golf ball in your calf? They're sometimes called "charley horses", but there's another sort of leg injury that also goes by that name. I'm sort of intermittently prone to those, and they don't always happen when I'm asleep. The worst part about them is the whole thing, but the second worst part about them is that they leave the tissue there feeling all torn afterwards. I know how to deal with them, though. It's better today. I'm only mentioning it here so I have a record, since I didn't post yesterday.

Yesterday was also a nice inadvertent experiment in whether or not my streak of somnia (as opposed to the in-variety) would be disrupted if something happened to utterly fuck my sleep schedule. The answer: no. I slept okay, just at a really odd time, even for me. Like noon to after eight, maybe. I did try to get my sleep schedule back on track today, but I didn't try very hard... there was DC Universe Online to be checked out.

Today? Well, physically fine. Mentally fine. My sleep schedule is still in a kind of inconvenient place. As in, I'm just starting to get sleepy now, which is a little under 24 hours from when I fell asleep yesterday. This means when I wake up my choices are going to be go online if I want to be able to talk to Jack at all today, or wake up and start writing furiously immediately in order to get a chapter up before midnight. I think I'm going to do the former, and then do my writing after he goes to bed, and then try to go to sleep myself sometime more morningly.

Dreams From Last Night

I don't recall any, but you may be interested to know that right now my brain is reassembling all the random background noise (computer fans, heater, etc.) into the voice of a radio broadcaster announcing a football game in another room. Auditory hallucinations are nature's way of telling you to go to sleep.

Random Link

The Ray-Gun Revolution, a D&D Gamma World adventure by Caoimhe Ora Snow. The in-jokes and references in it are hilarious, if you're old enough or historically inclined enough to be familiar with the era being invoked. Her blog is full of Gamma World content, including homages to Knight Rider and Doctor Who.

Plans For Today

Covered that upstream, I think. I'm going to go fall down.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...but due to a combination of factors of being up all night the night before (non-insomnia related, I slept plenty the day before and after) and the necessity of venturing out into the cold and snow for groceries, it ended up being a dead day. Regular status post and work tomorrow.

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