Vanquishing the Google Monster, and Trying New Things

I spent my morning fighting a battle at the intersection of Google and GoDaddy, with the ability to change my web page* up for grabs. The Husband woke me up with this problem this morning, and I was not best pleased to have my muzzy brain challenged by Techno Bill before I’d had my tea.

But! We seem to have solved the problem, mostly because the Husband’s feet hit the floor in the morning with his mental acuity running at 110%, while mine runs… somewhat less so. Actually, when I first open my eyes, my ability to speak English seems to be at a 4-year-old level, as evidenced by my first words upon waking one morning earlier in the week: “I had a weird dream. I hided in a bookstore that was having a going-out-of-sale business.” (exact wording)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I even dream about books and bookstores.

With the Google Apps monster vanquished, I wrote an email to my Aussie friend and fellow SF writer AC Flory, in which I confessed my struggles with StoryBox2, which she had recommended to me. Well, not to me specifically. She recommends it to everyone. I thought I’d give it a try, and attempted to import the current version of The Fall into it, with resulting hilarity:

It didn’t import! [makes changes to file. tries again] It still didn’t import! [makes more changes. tries again] Ack! [closes program. deletes StoryBox file. opens program. tries again.] It still didn’t– [finger twitch] [click] Oh. Oops. There it is. *blush*

Going from Word 2010 to a real piece of writing software is rather a lot like going from a piano to a string instrument. Instead of everything laid out in a nice neat line in front of you, it’s in parallel rows, starting in a different place with each row. And then there are the extra bits, tuning pegs, strings, bridges, pedals (wait, what?). Suffice to say, creature of habit that I am, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around it, although I appreciate the capability to put all my research, along with my Tolari series bible, in one place.

I’ve been good; I’m still on vacation after pressing send on the Daughters re-edit yesterday. I only changed one word in The Fall. /preen

Tomorrow, however, it’s full steam ahead.

*If you followed the link, please be aware that it’s very, very under construction, dust everywhere, and doesn’t look anything like I want it to yet, but the underlying bone structure is present: it points to my blog and to my books.

Taking a Spork to Suralia

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Five chapters left to edit. I’m down to the very hardest part.

This time last year, I was struggling with the first edition of Daughters of Suralia. Talking it over with The Husband, bouncing ideas off friends, taking my husband’s old college roomie out to lunch to pick his brain because he was (and still is) a political science geek. Now, I’m working over pretty much the same material I overhauled then.

It’s like deja vu all over again.

Today, I’m working on chapter 20, which used to be chapter 19. The big changes began to show in chapter 17, which I had to split in half because it grew that much. I may or may not need to add/split more chapters to do what I have in mind. It’s hard to tell until I get there. This current chapter is comparatively short, so the material I need to add won’t necessitate splitting it into two.

It’s not coming easy though. I’ve got that “digging to China with a spork” feeling. Or maybe it’s more trying to reach Suralia with a spork, though the idea of digging–or rather, flying–through more than 146 trillion miles boggles the mind. And you thought it was a long walk to the corner grocery (thank you, Douglas Adams).

I’d best get back to work.

Trade Secret Giveaway

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Sharon Lee & Steve Miller are over on Clan Korval’s Home on the Web doing a free giveaway of an audiobook of their latest release, Trade Secret!

http://korval.com/2013/12/02/five-chances-to-win-a-free-trade-secret-audiobook/

Star-spanning galactic trader Jethri Gobelyn’s story continues in the
seventeenth entry in the Liaden Universe® series by master storytellers
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

In a universe full of interstellar
intrigue and burgeoning commerce novice Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn,
adopted by a Liaden clan after an ill-directed bow of honor insulted the
scion of a major Liaden house, is alive and whole to tell the tale.
Convinced that the adoption has saved his life and made his future he
settles into a comfortable and even elite routine, a Trader’s Ring his
goal.

Even as Jethri’s initiation into the mysteries and joys of
Liaden Festival bring him to manhood he’s forced to face Necessity and
the facts of life: his adoption has also invigorated a net of unfinished
Balance far more complex and potentially deadly than a simple Terran
blood feud. He must embrace his Terran birthright as well as his Liaden
connections while leaving behind the safety of the great Liaden trade
ship Elthoria to defend his honor and that of shipmates past and
present. Forced to sit Second Board as a back-up pilot on a Liaden Scout
ship, Jethri’s convinced he’s already at wit’s end—when several
familiar faces threaten all that he knows of himself, and all that he
wishes to do.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Liaden Universe®

At the publisher’s request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

PhilCon 2013: Day 3 – Back to the Present

Nothing like talking about sex at 10am on Sunday morning. Wearing Purple: Female Writers of a Certain Age was a blast. My own conclusion is that having your kids leave home is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and who said sex after 50 isn’t hot, anyhow?

The Future of Privacy at 2pm didn’t so much discuss the future of privacy as the outrage of the listeners at the NSA’s latest exploits.

We are back home and very, very tired in spite of all the fun we had. The heat went out in our room again in the wee hours of this morning, and we were awakened by cold air blowing over us from the heating vent. Oh joy. The husband immediately marched down to the desk and Had A Talk With Them. They sent up 2 blankets and a handyman, and there was heat after that, but no sleep. We were too angry.

The husband repeated The Talk with the day manager first thing this morning got one entire night knocked off our bill. We’re grateful for that, at least.

PhilCon 2013: Day Two – Time Warp the Other Way

My Saturday morning panel, They Aren’t Out There After All, was loads of fun. The rest of Day 2 was spent trying to convince the hotel that the heat in my room was out again.

Day 1 actually turned out pretty much like I predicted, except for fighting with the hotel all day about the [lack of] heat in my room. It took all day to convince the hotel staff that No, I’m Really Not So Stupid That I Can’t Work A Thermostat And The Room Is Really Cold.

They sent up a guy who opened the ceiling and discovered that Gee, The Heat Really Is Turned Off and turned it back on.

Friday night was, at least, warmer, although I had nightmares about how badly I slept in the cold Thursday night.

Honestly, I’ve had better nights of sleep in a Motel 6. I told them that, too.

Time Warp: PhilCon Day 1

I’ve got a panel at 11pm this evening, so I thought I’d write up my Day 1 summary ahead of time, cuz I’m probably going to be too tired after midnight. Unless I’m at a party. Does PhilCon have parties? (We’ll find out!)

Around 3 or 4 this afternoon, I picked up my registration with the con. I probably ran into various folks that I’ve seen before: hopefully Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (whom I got to meet in person last night at the end of their Trade Secret Book Tour), maybe Lawrence M. Schoen, and others. Much joking and hellos and hilarity ensued, and then the husband and I wandered off to check out the panels we’re interested in listening to, such as possibly Good Science Fiction Spoiled By Bad Science at 8pm, or “Wool” and the Future of SF Publishing, also at 8pm, or The Effect of Mass Media Science Fiction on Literature, also also at 8pm, or “Meet The Pros” & Art Show Reception, also also also at 8pm (see a pattern here? yeah, it’s going to be one of those cons, way too many good things going on at the same time).

After much ignoring of tummy rumbles, I ducked up to my room to snack on the fruit and yogurt I brought, then went back downstairs and hung around the con suite until it was time for my panel, “They said WHAT about my book!?” Misleading or Embarrassing Blurbs. After that, I checked my notes from the party board (does PhilCon have a party board? We’ll find out!) and if there was anything promising, I schmoozed and had a great time until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and toddled off to bed.

Day 1 accomplished. Day 2 will be even more fun!

Point of View

I’m trying a new thing in Farryn’s War: limiting myself to two point-of-view characters, and writing alternate chapters in each. As much as I like to head-hop, this is a challenge. I have to rein myself in and NOT write a scene from some interesting minor character’s point of view, though at least The Marann taught me to finish a scene — or even a paragraph — before switching to someone else’s head. But! But! There’s this really interesting character who just burst into the story, full-fledged and everything! And this other character whose head I’m dying to explore! What’s that fellow’s story? What’s he all about?

I’m not sure how far into the novel I’ll be able to continue the alternating chapter thing, but I should be able to limit it to just the two characters. All, of course, in my favorite voice, third person (he said, she said). Not that I mind reading books written in first person (I said), but I find it limiting as an author. Other authors, of course, view it as a challenge and write terrific novels in it. That’s fine — the world would be pretty boring if everyone wrote the same way.

I do find it disturbing as a reader, though, when an author switches point of view while writing in first person. I first encountered this technique last year, and it kicked me right out of the story. Writing a romance from alternating points of view is a common technique, but I’d always encountered it written in close third person. This book changed points of view with the beginning of each chapter — and stayed in first person. At first, at Chapter Two, I thought the protagonist had lost her mind. Then I realized I was in someone else’s head and spun my mental wheels for a paragraph or two, trying to switch gears. I stuck it out and finished the novel because the story was interesting, but the book as a whole was disorienting.

Then I encountered another novel in which the protagonist’s point of view was written in first person and the love interest’s was in close third. Again, kicked me out of the story and disoriented me. I sat staring at the first paragraph of Chapter Two for a bit, blinking. There’s really not a lot you can do in first person that you can’t do in close third, so if you’re already switching heads, why use first person at all? I’m not saying “don’t write in first person.” I would never say that. I just don’t see the point in using first person if you’re also using close third. It doesn’t make sense to me, just like using first person for multiple viewpoints doesn’t make sense to me.

Maybe this is just the crusty old woman beginning to show. I am middle-aged, after all, and getting set in my ways, waving my fist in the air and sounding the middle-aged battle cry of “Why do it a new way when the old way works?”

But I’ll continue to write in third person if I’m going to write in multiple points of view. So there. <grin>

Last Chapter Slowdown

As eager as I’ve been to get to the last chapter, now that I’m here, it feels strange. Tying up the last loose ends, picking up the trail of bread crumbs, less than 250 words of progress on it yesterday.

At 74,607, then.

How much foreshadowing to put in? The writing of this novel has sparked ideas for at least two more. One will get us off Tolar and out into human space–that story will be very different to what I’ve done so far, and it will stretch me as a writer. Gotta do some reading in a genre I don’t normally read! That should be fun and interesting.

Meanwhile, first things first, I must finish The Fall.

Then, I must write Stranded, which is perhaps 10% written and looks like it wants to be a YA space opera adventure (no romance).

Somewhere in there, my editor will probably bleed red pixels all over Daughters of Suralia, which I will then need to re-edit for re-release.

So there’s the next six months of my life. I’d better get cracking.