What's up at Ravens March.

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Archive for March, 2018

Posted by Dirck on 29 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,481 words typed.

Say, that wasn’t much of a week, was it? Oh, but it was busy. You see, this fellow…

The darling Hercule

…has been going increasingly mad from loneliness since the death of his closest and final chum, Oberon.  It’s not that we humans neglect him, but we do not speak his language well. Last weekend, we finally found him some companions.  We had been looking for either siblings or a cat that was very friendly to other cats.  We ended up finding two of the latter:

Names TBA. We’ve just met them. Also, someone else took this picture.

They are, as far as anyone knows, not related.  But they clearly get on well with other cats.  They were, in fact, required to be adopted together by the rescue group whence we got them.  The older one is great with cats, but shy with people, and thus was hard to adopt.  After he had provided support to the younger during a phase of convalescence from the illness which took his mother and litter-mates (which sounds like Victorian melodrama, but is all too true), the idea of separating them seemed monstrous.

Of course, when brought into our house, they vanished like a dew.  I spent part of Sunday convinced that the little fellow had been killed by some unknown hazard in our basement.  By last night, though, they were both at least visible, and the big guy has apparently convinced Hercule that no one is going to get eaten by anyone else.  Progress toward a happy household.

However… none of this has a lot of bearing on the low word-count.  What brings that about is the fact that one of the words typed this week was END, all by itself at the bottom of a page.  Very nearly 90,000 words, which is a great deal more than I thought the manuscript ran to and a pretty good number for a novel.

This years-ago version of my son is SO PROUD of his dad’s persistence!

This doesn’t mean I’m done, alas.  There’s a little polishing of the whole before it gets put in the hands of feedback providers, then reacting to that feedback, then hiring a professional editor to do some horrible things to my ego… at the end of which I will start sending query letters out.  If this seems a timid and over-baked approach… well, yeah, but since it’s the first novel (bar the ones I never even tried to publish) I’d like it as shiny as possible before pestering gate-keepers with it.

It is done enough that I can get on with some other projects, though.  Hoorah, hoorah!

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The Cold Depths of Space

Posted by Dirck on 23 March, 2018

Let me start with a still photo.  Outside my window at The Regular Job, right this moment:

Yep.  Three days after the vernal equinox.  That’s Canada for you, I guess (portions of south-west coast subject to exemption).

ANYWAY, let’s use that as a jumping off point.  Snow, wind… these are as nothing to the hostile depths of space, right?

Two final observations:

  1. I am very affected by the end.  I blame a confluence of good acting and a very subtle trick of the writing;
  2. Because I am a Canadian and used to harsh conditions, I was slightly distracted by the fact that he never put on his damn hat.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

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Posted by Dirck on 22 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    3,416 words typed.

My effort to get some work done on weekends was done in by attending a writing workshop.  Still, that’s a pretty good week, and I think it’s rather more words than are left in the first draft.  If I didn’t have a couple of {INSERT SCENE HERE} markers lurking about midway through the current draft, I would be entirely certain of having it settled by this time next week.  That marker is, by the way, how I dodge any hint of writer’s block; put the foot down on the gas and shout “I’ll deal with it later!”

It’s still looking pretty likely.  Then, I think before I give it a final skim for utter illegibilities prior to unleashing it upon my well-loved beta readers, I’m going to put in a couple of weeks of down time, leaving it to rest like a steak fresh off the fire.  I may even talk about some pens, despite the mad clamour of short stories that desire my attention.

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Heroic Posing

Posted by Dirck on 16 March, 2018

Having (very nearly) slain the metaphorical dragon of my site’s collapse this week, I’d like to offer the trailer to a movie you should see if you haven’t… although not for the reasons which might occur from the trailer.

There are two important lessons from this.  First, never trust a trailer.  Second, people who win Oscars as Best Editor earn them.

Today’s pen: Pelikan 140
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 15 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    4,723 words typed.

I have the brazen effrontery to be slightly disappointed with this week’s production.  One day was a little shy, because a change in the precise manifestation of a character’s motivations had some serious effect on a particular scene, almost of “Oh, right, Pennywise does NOT just hand each kid a loot bag and a balloon giraffe here” proportions.  That said… man, oh, man, am I ever close to the end.  It’s not impossible, if I work like a whole platoon of steam-driven digging robots, to see me done by this time next week.  More realistically, though, two weeks.  At which point I will tip over and catch fire (in the way a steam-driven digging robot might).

Also, for the purposes of 99.9993% of anyone visiting my site, I have it sorted out.  There’s some decoration on the headers that resists correction, but all the pictures, text, and links are useful… to the extent that they were before the problem started.

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Get Outta Here

Posted by Dirck on 9 March, 2018

I may have phrased that poorly.  It’s just that to see the film for today, you’ll have to just click on this link:

San Francisco Before The Fire

It’s quite worth it to see what a bustling North American metropolis looked like around the previous turn of the century.  The person who brought it to my attention noted that it was an era of getting dressed completely; no tossing on t-shirt and sweats for those folks!  What struck me particularly is the fearless attitude of pedestrians in a setting where transport is largely horses or trolleys.  Watch if you will the fellow who disembarks from a cable-car carrying a baby– that’s a guy who is confident in the strength of the pedestrian right-of-way.

Today’s pen: Waterman Super Master
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 8 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •   4,983 words typed.

Funnily enough, I was thinking on Monday that I’d be apologizing for the light count on the week because the weekend session was less spectacular than the one previous.  The words have been pouring out the ends of my fingers this week, mainly because unlike some earlier weeks I’ve whined about the current patch of first draft hasn’t needed quite as much polishing.  Plus I can actually see the finish line, bobbing along on the far horizon.

The completion of this draft will see a looooong hiatus of while I press a (purely notional) gun to the heads of dear friends and demand that they read it and give honest feedback regarding flaws I have grown blind to, which rather lets the meaning out of “finish line,” but I will at least be able to turn my hand to other works while they struggle through the unexpectedly deep drifts of prose I’ve emitted.

In other happy news, I’ve passed the half-way mark of fixing pages over on the site.  As of this moment, only 233 posts remain to be converted back into pages and have various \ extracted from their text… and a couple of dozen of those are actually just posts, announcing updates on the site itself.  By this time next week, things should be mostly back to normal.

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Huzzay!

Posted by Dirck on 2 March, 2018

I was mentioning yesterday the need to sequester myself with my own computer for some hours on the topic of my site’s semi-collapse.  That was to do with the media library showing as entirely empty.  As the ongoing presence of pictures here indicates, the files are still there, they’re just… hiding.  This should be something which can be overcome.

The other problem I was facing was the pages themselves.  They’ve all turned into blog-posts.  It was looking like what I would have to do is:

  1. Edit out all the odd garbage characters that somehow appeared in them;
  2. Copy the post;
  3. Paste it into a new page;
  4. Edit the title of that page so it was the same as it had been previously;
  5. Repeat 630 times.

Well, item 4 was proving very problematic, so I was overjoyed to finally discover in the WordPress Codex (yes, this is a thing) that there is an available semi-automatic thing which will turn posts into pages.  The process had become less labour intensive, and in the case of item 4, possible.

So I rejoice.

I do wish that the WordPress Codex were a little more forthcoming.  It’s not like it’s the Liber Ibonis or De Mysteriis Wormis, after all.

Today’s pen: Pilot Elite
Today’s ink: Diamine Syrah

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Posted by Dirck on 1 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  4,685 words typed.

Why, yes, I did let writing come between me and what counts for sports in my world (which is: twiddling my thumbs in a specific way to make pixels do stuff) last weekend.  It has had a useful effect, hasn’t it?  Please don’t say “You’d be done long ago if you’d done that sooner” because I’m exquisitely aware of this.

No forward movement on the site, alas.  There’s a couple of things that I will be trying this weekend, because I need my home computer for several hours at a stretch to try it rather than stolen moments of Regular Job access.  I might have done it yesterday afternoon, which I took off after commiting very few words of novel indeed, except I did that thanks to Mr. Migraine abducting me.  Moaning and vomiting took up the whole time between lunch break and bedtime.

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