studious

Drafting Done! Also, Call for Players



I finished the first draft of Birthright today! \o/

It needs All The Editing still: this is the roughest draft I've ever finished. But I told myself that I would take a break from this book once I finished the draft, so I do not plan to begin editing it for at least a month or so.

I talked to Bard about its book series, Mating Flight, and it struck me that an astral dragon mating flight might make for a fun RP setting. For those not familiar with the setting (available at Amazon! First book here! also serialized on sythyry), a "mating flight" consists of 9 dragons: 3 females, 6 males.  The females compete for the right to choose first for a husband among the males, and the males compete to be the first dragon chosen.  The dragons have vast magical and physical powers, and are stereotypically interested in hoarding rare and valuable items, in controlling territory (which only mated pairs may do), and in amassing honor (more-or-less defined as "demonstrating one's physical prowess" and "respecting the rules of draconic society".)  The mating flights stereotypically compete based on physical and sexual prowess.

If I ran this as a game, players would make up some of the dragons on the flight, and NPCs would fill out the rest.
I will see how much interest there is and then decide if I want to run it, and talk to the players about how they want the game structured. Some possible options:

  • Mating flight entanglements and competition: PCs compete with other dragons of the same sex for the highest position in the flight and the highest-quality mate.

  • Mating flight trainwreck from within: for whatever reasons, the PCs and/or NPCs are unfit for a standard competition. Dragons try to hide their faults and make a show of it, and the story is mostly about "will they succeed in disguising their weaknesses or will they have to find a way to make the life they want work?"

  • Mating flight trainwreck from without: External forces derail the mating flight, forcing the dragons to deal with the petty  problems of other people, instead of their own petty problems.

Other possibilities also open!

Note: while the mating flights do compete on sex, I would not expect the game to have explicit sex any more than the books do. It'd be about relationships and character choices, not erotica.

I backed the Kickstarter for Storium ages ago, and never gave the site a try. So I might try running a game there. Use of the site is free, though I think there's some advantages to having a paid account. If Storium looks too awkward to use, I'll use a Google group for it, as I've done in the past. In either case, it'll be a play-by-post game, and I'd expect players to post once or more per day.Past experience has been that my games run with great enthusiasm for a few weeks and then peter out before the story arc is complete. So think of it as about the journey, not the destination. O:)
If you'd be interested in playing an astral dragon, leave a comment! Or you can email me (my Gmail account is LadyRowyn) or tweet me on Twitter, or whatever's convenient.
studious

July in Review

Writing
I set a goal for July's Camp Nano of 20,000 words, and beat it handily, with 26,700 words on Birthright. \o/

The Business of Writing
After meeting my Camp Nano goal and taking a month off from The Moon Etherium, I went back to finish up the edits. It's now in alinsa's hands for layout. We're shooting for a late September/early October release

Art/Other
I painted the cover for The Moon Etherium. I am pretty sure I did some other doodles and sketches, but I'm writing this on my phone and don't feel like looking it up. To be honest, "I painted a cover" is a lot of art for me for one month anyway.

Life
Since I returned from my vacation near the end of June, the following things have happened:

* My air conditioner died during a weekend of 95+ temperatures and I had to call for emergency repairs.
* I had a tooth extracted
* Half the ceiling in my den collapsed and no contractor wanted to touch it because the job was "too small" to be worth their time
* After two weeks and contacting six different contractors, I called a friend who used to work in construction. He agreed to do it.
* Lut and I moved everything in the den out of the den. Our computers and the reclining loveseat we use in front of them is currently set up in living room. The set up is basically functional. I have to clamber over the couch to get to my side, the light switch is hard enough to reach that we just leave it on, and the front door has gone from "hard to use" to "what front door?"
* While trying to move the loveseat, I strained a muscle in my back.
* While attempting to repair the hole, we discovered that the rest of the ceiling was also unstable.
* My friends pulled the entire ceiling down.

It's now halfway through August. I have a ceiling in the den again! It is aaaalmost finished: it needs one more coat of paint.

Then we can move everything back into it oh heaven help me. x_x

Anyway, what I'm saying here is HOLY COW I CAN'T BELIEVE I GOT SO MUCH DONE THIS MONTH WITH ALL THAT GOING ON.

I mean, I keep thinking "ugh work on this book is going so slowly compared to The Moon Etherium" but. Still. I wrote almost a thousand words a day and that's not counting the 15-20 hours I spent on editing TME. Or the cover, which took another 15 hours or so. Girl. You are not slacking. Quit it.

Goals for coming month

I ... think I'm going to finish the first draft of Birthright? I've written, I don't know, another 14,000 words or so thus far this month. I think I have four-six scenes left. Even if that balloons out (and my scene count skill has vastly improved since I started joking about it last year), and even with WorldCon and an anticipated Zero Productivity Zone for the next five days, I don't think this is gonna take more than ten days to finish.

And then I will have a first draft of Birthright.

O.o

Granted, it needs ALL THE EDITING and it's pretty broken in places. And the book that preceeds it also needs lot of editing so the two work together better. But. Still. This is the book I have started and quit writing a half dozen times in the last decade. The prospect of having a finished draft, no matter how messy, is weird. Attractive! But weird.

These last few scenes aren't gonna write themselves, though. Back to the word mines!
studious

Oh Right: WorldCon!

I will be at WorldCon this year! As I've mentioned a couple of times before, and probably should've mentioned again before the day it starts. Oops.

I'm on two panels:

Love And Trophies: Friday evening 7-8PM
Austen and Shelley: Sunday afternoon 1:2PM

Other than that, I'll be wandering around doing usual con things, starting this evening. (I will not be staying late into the night at the con tonight or tomorrow, but might be on Friday and/or Saturday)  If you'll be there and would like to meet up with me, you can message me here or on Twitter -- I'll have my phone with me and will check in regularly, I'm sure (I get notifications on it and am as likely to see them as phone calls or texts.)

Hope to see some of you there!
sledgehammer

Home Contractors Never to Contact Again: Crestwood Painting

So, since my ceiling collapsed, I've contacted six different contractors.  I have thus far gotten exactly zero estimates. Response has been:

  • Two contractors who called me on 7/7 and said they would call back to make an appointment. Never heard from them again.

  • Two contractors that I left messages for and never heard from.

  • One contractor that made an appointment, showed up on time, told Lut how he'd recommend fixing it, and did not give Lut a price. He said he would write up an estimate for me and send it.  That was a week ago. Never heard from him again.

And then there's Crestwood Painting, whom I'm going to call out because I am especially unimpressed by them.  On Thursday morning, 7/7, I used their web form to make an appointment.

Yesterday, I got a confirmation email from them that they would be out, to remind me to be home for the appointment at 1:30PM.

Today, three hours before the appointment, I got an emai saying "oh, your job is too small for us. We're cancelling the appointment."

Because at no point in the last 11 days could anyone look at my message and see what my request said.  Bear in mind that they didn't get any new information from me: they are responding to my original request for an appointment.

Also, PRO TIP: do not have your system send reminder for appointments you're not going to keep. >_<

In the meantime: I have no freakin' idea how to get my ceiling fixed, since "contacting firms that say they do ceiling repair" is obviously not the way.

I'm gonna try my friend who used to work in construction.  Maybe he can tell me. Oh, I could try calling my insurance agent, too.  (I have a high deductible so I doubt insurance will pay for anything, but perhaps they'll know people who don't just say they do repairs but, y'know, ACTUALLY DO THEM.)

Right now, Terry's suggestion of "just never look up" is looking better all the time.
studious

Every Day

"Camp NaNo" takes place in April and July; it's a variation on Nanowrimo where writers set their own goals.  Because some of my acquaintences do it, and because I'm writing a book anyway, I set a goal for July.  I haven't been nearly as industrious on Birthright as I was on The Moon Etherium, so I set a modest, easily-achievable goal of 20,000 words.  I made that goal yesterday.

My brain, this month, has been measuring my productivity by the day.  If I write a thousand words or more in a day, then I've done enough for that day. If I don't write at least that much, then I'm a failure. There is no carryover; writing more on the previous day makes the previous day more successful, but today I still have to write a thousand words anyway. I begin every day as a failure and end every day as a success. The "it's 8AM why haven't you written anything yet FAILURE" train of thought is weird.

Everything about this is weird. I keep flashing back to 2002, where I'd struggle and whinge about how hard it was to write 500 words in a day.

In one way, it's easier to write faster. I can look at the draft and think "I'll be done with this in a few months".  When the end point is years away because I'm only writing a few hundred words a day, it's harder to get motivated to write even those few hundred words.  "What difference does it make? It's going to take forever to finish anyway."

I've written a couple hundred words of Birthright this morning, so now I'm going to slack off and play with dragons or somesuch. I'll write a hundred words later, and then another couple hundred, and eventually I'll get to a thousand or more and be SUCCESSFUL!

Until tomorrow, when it starts over again.
downcast

Obsolescence

I didn't try to get Pokemon Go when it came out, but as more and more people on my Twitter feed talked about it, I decided to take a look.

It turns out I can't run it on my phone: my model is too outdated.  This is not a huge shock: I first got this phone three or four years ago, and the model was first released in June 2010. It'd be silly to upgrade just to play Pokemon Go, but it has struck me that my phone is no longer particularly good at doing the things I have always done on it. Twitter "upgraded" its native app to a version that runs so slowly on my phone that most of my Twitter usage from the phone now is "replying to direct messages".  The app can handle this. It can't really cope with reading my feed any more.  No client Twitter apps will run on my phone.  Evernote runs but loads slowly.  Google Docs is even worse. The browser is painful to use, too. I don't even like to read books on it any more. I did a factory reset a few months ago and only reinstalled the things I use all the time, but it didn't help. Everything is slow and crash-prone.

So I did a cursory web-search for my primary and inflexible requirement of a smartphone: a side-slide keyboard. One article dated June 2016 turned up
ten "current" models, and I was briefly heartened.

Then shaterri pointed out that only one of those was more recent than 2013. The one that's from 2015?  Has a physical keyboard, but it's a vertical slide, not sideways.

A less-cursory search did not turn anything more recent up.

I type at 45 wpm on my smartphone. I write books on my smartphone. I have tried using virtual keyboards and found them painfully, horrifically slow.  Maybe if I practiced with Swype or something I could get up to a reasonable speed? Because 10-15 wpm is not a reasonable speed.  That is a give-up-and-do-something-else speed.

But it's kind of horrifying to think that a signficant part of my work process is dependent on a style of device that's fallen so far out of favor it may never be manufactured again. I guess, in a year or two when my smartphone's performance goes from "bad" to "unusable", I will have to learn to get really really good with Swype or tote a laptop everywhere or something.

But I can't use a laptop while waiting in line at the store or taking a walk or using my exercise bike.

Ugh. -_-
  • Current Mood
    obsolete
Me 2012

Weekend

This weekend I:

  • Ran three loads of laundry

  • Put away two of them (the last one is towels and can wait in the dryer until the next time I happen to go downstairs).

  • Put anti-flea powder on the carpeted stairs to the basement and vacuumed them. My indoor cat has fleas.  WHY. I got the anti-flea stuff from the vet for the back of her neck 6 weeks ago and have given her two treatments so far, but the fleas Will Not Stop.  I am keeping them in check by flea-combing her daily and vacuuming the whole house every day or two, and have sprayed several times. But the basement stairs are attached to the area where I keep the litterboxes, so I hadn't done them. When I did laundry I realized the steps were flea-ridden.  UGH.

  • Scheduled an appointment with a contractor to get an estimate for replacing the fallen ceiling section.

  • Started and mostly finished a cover painting for The Moon Etherium.

  • Watched Disc 1 of SyFy's "The Expanse".

  • Went out to eat on Saturday

  • Wrote a hundred words of Birthright

It's that last one that's making me feel like I did nothing at all this weekend. Spending ten hours on a painting doesn't count for my brain. Stoppit, brain.  Just stop.

It's not that late on a Sunday but I kinda want to just go to bed.

Anyway: no new disasters so far this weekend! \o/ So there's that. 
Me 2012

On Cover Art for The Moon Etherium

gnibbles did a cover for me!




The aspect ratio is off, so not quite appropriate for the final book, alas. }:) Although in complete seriousness, I like a number of things about it. She's using the skyline of the Sun Etherium at the top and the Moon Etherium at the bottom to frame the figures, which I had not thought of and which looks cool. And her rendering of Ardent (the satyress on the left) is charming. ♥

I am ambivalent about my skillz as an artist, particularly when it comes to realistic illustration. Silhouettes I can handle. Full color ... eh.

But I have, once or twice, done full-color portraits that approach the general vicinity of the skill level I want for The Moon Etherium cover. Moreover, the final image is going to be mainly seen at 150x250 or 300x500 or so. So I was thinking, maybe if I start with a really big file and then shrink it down a lot, it could be mistaken for professional?

I am unconvinced by this reasoning.

Still, I kinda felt like drawing this morning, and I really did not feel like writing, so I took some reference photos of myself, did a sketch, and started to color it. Not in the slapdash fashion of my quick doodles, but a serious attempt to make it look good, no matter how long it takes.



I didn't really keep track of time, but this is probably 2-3 hours in. I am abandoning it here.

Interestingly, I'm quitting not because I feel like I've proved to myself that I'm not good enough: the jury is still out on that one. From the technical "does this look like a picture of a person?" perspective, it's not that bad.

From the "does this look like an appealing character?" perspective, though, it's not working. I think Gnibbles's painting has more heart and spirit. Mine looks ... off. Not just "I need to futz more with it" (which I do), but it just looks fundamentally not-very-attractive. Possibly I could fix it without restarting entirely, but I think re-doing the underlying sketch and coloring anew will be less frustrating.

EDIT:

Revised version-in-progress! Got to about the same place as the earlier one, after 2.5 hours, and am much happier with it. Not wild about how it looks at thumbnail size, though. I may need to do the headband in a different color so it doesn't blend with the horns at mini-size. Or change the horn color.

studious

June in Review

Health/Fitness
I was not totally idle while I was visiting friends (Sophrani and kagetsume) and my parents for a week, because my father goes for a two-mile walk every morning and I went with him.

Still, lots of rich restaurant food and less exercise than usual, so a mediocre month for that. Also, my bike broke at the end of the month. -_-

Writing
I put together about half of an outline for The Sun Etherium while I was visiting my parents. I was not happy with what I had so far and didn't feel like it was gelling, though. So I put it aside and hauled out  Birthright again towards the end of June, and wrote perhaps 4000 words of it.

I had a good conversation with alinsa about the problems I had with the climax of Birthright, where she gave me some enormously useful ideas. \o/ I may actually finish the draft this time! (Let's not talk about the edits. *shudder*)

The Business of Writing
I contacted two different artists about doing the cover for The Moon Etherium. Both asked for more details about it. Neither got back to me after I provided details, not even to say "No, thank you". In other news, trying to hire an artist is every bit as awful as I expected it to be. -_- Hey, okojosan, I don't suppose you want to do a fantasy/romance book cover?

I wish I could mock up a cover image that I liked even as much as I like the cover for RA, but no luck so far. I will probably try another professional or two, then give up after they also ignore me and use one I do myself. v_v

I did a lot more editing on The Moon Etherium while I was in North Carolina and before. I need to do a final read-through and there are a few more changes I might make. I decided to let the book lie for a while before that. Maybe a month. We'll see if I make it that long.

Art/Other
Not a lot. A couple of pencil sketches that I liked, a few color doodles that I didn't, another cover mock-up for The Moon Etherium.

Gaming
My mother addicted me to Spider Solitaire (it's more interesting than regular solitaire, I promise).

I plaed some Hold 'Em poker with my father's poker group, which was fun. ♥

Socializing
I spent a week in North Carolina visiting friends & family!

Happiness
My vacation was surprisingly relaxing. Usually I come back from vacations feeling like I need another vacation, but this one was mellow and I had lots of time to myself to rest and play with electronics. And edit my book. It was good.

Home has not been so good, what with everything falling apart. -_-

Goals for coming month
I decided to do Camp NaNo and set my goal at 20,000 words on Birthright. I'm at 9500 now, so that's going fine. Also, I am back to counting words, since I did that with The Moon Etherium and it worked great and even came out at estimated length.

In other news, I now consider a thousand words a day to be a modest, easily-achieved goal. Kind of "minimum effort if I want to consider myself to be trying at all". So that's a thing.

Depending on how writing Birthright goes, I may or may not get back to The Moon Etherium for my penultimate editing pass. We'll see.
downcast

Coda

The man who put my lunchbag on the bus told me that he saw someone else looking through it, and didn't know if anything had been taken. "That's all right," I told him. "There's nothing of value in it but these." I waggled my leashed keys. "Which are only valuable to me."

This morning, I checked the top pocket of it, where I sometimes keep $20 for emergencies. I'd thought it was empty because I'd spent it without replacing it. But no, there was $20 still in it. Apparently, whoever went through it was only looking for identifying info. ♥

*

I called Rick at the bike shop at 4PM yesterday. "I forgot to mention, but the back tire had fallen off the wheel when I tried to change it and discovered the broken axle (or broke it). Will you check and make sure the tire and/or tube is okay?"

"It's holding air fine," he assured me. "Been inflated for two hours, no problems."

He repeated this when I picked it up 90 minutes later.

This morning when I got it out of the garage: completely flat.

*

I kind of feel like the universe is telling me, "Quit dreaming about retirement, quit living in fantasy worlds, and just PAY ATTENTION to the real one. Like a real adult."

I don't know. I've been trying to keep a positive attitude but it's wearing on me. v_v