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Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer’

Posted by Dirck on 10 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages.

A short week, we having celebrated “OK You Can Have A Long Weekend In August” Day on Monday.  That last entry was actually run out at home, making it one of perhaps a half-dozen generated there.  I expect I’ll be doing some work on the novel tomorrow, rather than my usual lunch out, to satisfy my own sense of devotion to the work.  Here, have a look at how things stand:

I am, as it happens, right in the middle of the climax.  This is fantastic, from a standpoint of the climax landing just about exactly where I’d hoped it would, but it is also amazingly frustrating because I have all the words surging about in my head right now, and if I could actually convince the whole world to ignore my existence for… I’ll say a solid five hour block of time, I could get it all out in a single session rather than stuttering along for a few pages before Mr. Slate yanks the pteranodon’s tail to announce the end of lunch.  And I can’t just say to the family “I’m not actually here” in the evenings, because my wife has a role in a stage production of A Turn of the Screw and rehearsals are every damn  night this week– the son wants a companion and the wife can’t drive.  I got duties.

But enough lamenting.  The end is nigh!  Hoorah!

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Posted by Dirck on 3 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 22 manuscript pages.

If you hear a slight humming noise, it may well be me in my excitement at being so close to finished the first draft. The climax is not quite underway, but the fuse on it is burning and about to enter the touch-hole.

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Posted by Dirck on 27 July, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 22 manuscript pages.

That’s a rather better week of it.  The summit is at last in view, too– I’m only about 90 pages from my goal.  This is good news, because what little I know about pacing is shouting at me that delaying the climax much based on where the story stands now is not wise.

I also want to be slightly self-congratulatory about this weeks perseverance, as yesterday saw an honest parade of painful stupidity at Regular Job.  I was able to grunt through it for the noon writing session, but at the cost of forgetting completely to reply to some emails from people seeking work on their pens.  I’d best get at that, eh?

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Posted by Dirck on 20 July, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 15 manuscript pages.

Yes, that is a crappy output. Not only did I not manage to get the binder open once during the vacation, I returned to find a more than usually tall pile of Regular Job awaiting my return (more than is usual for post-vacation, that is), and I forgot about a first-aid re-certification course that ate the whole of this week’s Wednesday.

On the up side, the course reminded me of all sorts of quotidian, mundane horrors to leaven my writing with.  Brr.

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Posted by Dirck on 29 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 18 manuscript pages (thin air up here.  Thin indeed).

The annual summer silence is about to descend on this enterprise, as my two weeks away† from The Regular Job begin on Monday.  Of course, the way things have been running lately, the interruption will be almost imperceptible.  As it ever the case, I’ll hope to get some writing done around the expectations of family and fabric of the house without expecting to.  This will make for a good deal more physical work than last year, carting the giant heap of paper home and then shifting it out of the way while doing whatever it is that gets in the way of writing is; we remember that another translation of codex is “lump of wood.”

We will try to overlook a more colloquial use of the word by native Latin speakers; blockhead.  I’m sure I shall feel like one in a fortnight when I’ve failed to advance the work beyond its current state, however much I hope to.

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Posted by Dirck on 15 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 21 manuscript pages.

No profound thoughts this week; I do find myself having to tamp down impatience to be bloody well done this first draft, and not just because I’d like to get onto the back-up-able phase and silence worries about fire, flood and nesting rodents.  The calendar pages are flying off the wall!  Other stories want writing!

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Posted by Dirck on 8 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 26 manuscript pages.

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Unfashionable Political Views

Posted by Dirck on 5 June, 2017

A funny thing happened here over the weekend, and of course, “funny” can be variously interpreted.

…as in “unusual or uncommon”:  I got about thirty times the usual amount of traffic.  The behind-the-scenes stats reveal that this is a result of sudden notice being taken by people considering fountain pens on Reddit.  More to the point, people were looking at an old entry in which I write in a fairly loose manner about my Soyuz accordion-filler, and coincidentally about western perceptions of the way things got made in the old Soviet economy.  We can put this down to a freak spasm of the internet, of course; the all-seeing eye of humanity’s collective online presence passing over something of mine in such a way that I actually noticed it.  Apart from the strange up-tick of status, no big deal in the grand scheme, although there is an odd inward twinge of pride mingled with performance anxiety.

…as in “amusing”:  Because my stats let me look at the Reddit entry… well, I looked.  And then I had a giggle.  At least one of the commenters there urges me to get over the fact that there isn’t a Soviet Union anymore, I guess because I express doubts about capitalism being substantially better than Marxist Leninism.  The giggling is that someone would think I was pining for the good ol’ days of the Cold War based on the fact that I’m not convinced that capitalism is super-awesome (on the basis of income inequality, environmental degradation, and that even the IMF isn’t enchanted with all aspects of current fiscal thinking), or even, good heavens, that I was pining for a chance to join the fellowship of the long queues for black bread and dodgy vodka.

Seriously, no thanks.  In as much as my memory stretches back that far, I also remember the sort of literally life-or-death risks people would take to get out of the Soviet Union and its satellite states.  I may not be a capitalism cheer-leader, but if what called itself communism in the USSR is the alternative, I’ll definitely stick with what I’ve got.

For the record, I think we’re in the throes of some kind of socio-economic paradigm shift brought on by corporate capitalism’s inclination towards cannibalism; I’m not much happier about that than I am with the current state of play, because paradigm shifts tend towards discomfort.  I’m also in no position to suggest what that shift is towards, since they’re inherently opaque from one side, and I just hope that when it settles it’s something a little more humane than what we’ve got currently.  If I were to express a hope, it would be utterly Utopian, something like Scandinavian socialism writ large with some of the more benign aspects of the Federation of Planets thrown in… but that’s wishful thinking.

And, no doubt, I will offer some amusement for someone else, now that I’ve written all that down.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Stylist (a company that practiced (GASP!) profit sharing with the employees!)
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue (giving away my paradoxical inclination towards monarchy as a foundation of government!)

PS: I also have a notion that the failure of my humour to transmit properly might be down to a shift in the terrain.  In 2012, when that entry was written, post-Soviet Russia wasn’t an entity we were taking anything like as seriously as we’re taking it in 2017.

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Posted by Dirck on 25 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 12 manuscript pages.†

†Apart from having to spend most of Monday prostrated before an effigy of Victoria, d.g. Reg., Def. Fid., Imp. Ind, as required by Canadian federal law and thus getting no writing done‡, I find that the air up here as I approach 60,000 words is getting damn thin.  I’ve sent a team of Sherpas back to the last supply cache to drag up a few extra cylinders of inspiration, but until they get back I’m moving fairly slowly.

‡In all honesty, I was mowing the lawn and pushing my son on the swings.  While it’s not getting the book finished, both are valid (and in the latter, important) uses of my time, so I thank Her Late Majesty for imposing a day off in the best part of the year upon me.

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Posted by Dirck on 18 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 21 manuscript pages.

I’m about, according to my own estimates, 70% finished the first draft.  This is not going as quickly as I might have hoped, although it’s not going quite as slowly as I’d feared.  I found another gap in my research today, which I should be able to comfortably fill in during the second-draft process, and this lead me off on another tangent of thought….

Part of me is beginning to yell at the other parts regarding the mechanical approach to the writing I’m following.  “Hand-written first draft?  Fine for a 4,000 word story, but on this scale… what is wrong with you?!”  I don’t think I’m going to listen to it, because as this late stage to shift to the the sort of writing production that most normal people seem to pursue these days, banging away on a keyboard rather like I’m doing right this minute, doesn’t seem possible without jumping right into the second-draft process.  Which would mean leaving the back 30% of the thing in a nebulous form while I re-write what already exists, only picking up the weaving when I travel back to this point… and I don’t know that the narrative would survive this sort of interruption of its gestation.

HOWEVER, for those who are (still, somehow) interested in this process, and for Future Me who will one day be writing another novel (I have vague outlines for at least eight, so I’d best pick up my pace), a couple of thoughts on this hand-written first draft stuff.  On the negative side, it is taking a long time, and it means second draft will also take a long time, since that won’t just be amending stupidities, but will be an entire re-write to transform marks on paper into an electronic format that editors and publishers will actually look at.  Also, as it stands now, my very-literal manuscript is a unique object; no redundancy, no off-site back-up.  This has been a source of some concern for about the past month and a half, as the imp of the perverse keeps painting pictures of fire, flood and brief-case theft.  I find that the difference of scale between a 4,000 word short story and an 80,000 word novel radically alters my ability to look at these potential disasters and greet them with an indifferent shrug.  I might well toss myself into a lake if the current heap of paper were to meet with a bad end.

The benefits of hand-written creation are still present.  I don’t go back and fiddle with specifics, so the flow of the work remains (generally) good.  I might be closer to done now if I had hit the keyboard ab initio, but I might also be only half as far along, having allowed myself to spend a full day getting one paragraph just so because the text is so malleable when it’s electronic.  Hand-writing harnesses the power of laziness in this regard, or perhaps lashes it to the power of cheapskate-ish-ness, because to do that sort of thing now would be a lot of fruitless scribbling and wasted paper.  At this point, though, I think I may have enough practice with rushing ahead on extruding the basic concept of the scenes without giving into the urge to fix things that aren’t quite the right shape that I may be able to conduct the practice in a keyboard-driven environment and thus be able to attack novel-length projects with better efficiency.

I guess we’ll see when I’m done this one.  Which… sigh… won’t be very soon.

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