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Posts Tagged ‘Skrip’

Posted by Dirck on 21 February, 2019

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 18 February
  • 19 February
  • 20 February
  • 21 February
  • First draft of “The Curse of the Dragon”
  • 17 manuscript pages

Why, yes, I did get a little writing done on Monday. I also during the week off, finished the second draft of “Cannon Fodder” but failed to come up with a better title for it. The working title is both inaccurate and a spoiler, so it really must go.

I also believe I have figured out a treatment for Parker 21s with cracked hoods. If the one I’m using today (and one I sent back to its owner, who offered it up to the cause of mad science) hold up through a whole writing cycle, I’ll try to document the process to share with the world. I should say, though, that the process is cosmetically imperfect… but what is mad science without a hideous offspring which hardly dares show its face?


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Posted by Dirck on 17 January, 2019

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 14 January
  • 15 January
  • 16 January
  • 17 January
  • First draft of “Nicest Guy on the Cinder.”
  • Second draft of “Fresh Milk.”
  • First Draft of “Cannon Fodder.”
  • 11 manuscript pages.
  • 290 typed words.
  • 4 manuscript pages.

You would be correct to chastise me for not bowing to one of the great commandments of writing. The first of the (oh, dear) three stories underway this week took a turn into “Two People Talking in a Room” which can make for a good story, but it’s quite what I’m after. The second is one that frankly hasn’t had time to gestate properly, despite how long ago I dumped the first draft out of my head… so I started yet another today. It, happily, is unrolling in a willing manner, so I should be able to stick with it until it’s ready for someone else to tell me what needs fixing in it.

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Posted by Dirck on 10 January, 2019

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 7 January
  • 8 January
  • 9 January
  • 10 January
  • First draft of “Nicest Guy on the Cinder.”
  • 17 manuscript pages.†

†I would like the Department of Heroic Effort to take notice of this, because it happened despite incipient cold and a migraine which spread itself across three days.

Looking back at some of it, now that a semblance of coherence has returned, I’m surprised to find that this weeks production is actually pretty good. Perhaps I should do all my writing while breathing through one nostril and wearing a slowly tightening belt over one eye…

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Posted by Dirck on 3 January, 2019

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 31 December
  • 1 January
  • 2 January
  • 3 January
  • Scrambling in pursuit of a functional iPad.
  • Baking for a family New Year’s Day meal.
  • Second draft of “Preserve My Fondest Memories.”
  • Apparent success†
  • see below
  • 1179 typed words, and complete.

I decided to try a new thing with baking– flaky rolls. Since I had some success, I’ll share.

First, make up a batch of rough puff pastry dough (which sounds like it should be swaggering along an alley in a Carebears setting, does it not?). I amended that recipe in using common Canadian all-purpose flour and salt of unknown provenance, and rather than carefully “rubbing in” the butter, I just let my stand mixer molest the butter into the flour until it was in smallish bits before adding the water..

After the final rest and chill of the dough, roll it out, then cut it into twelve squares about 10cm on a side. With each square, fold the corners into the middle and press then down so they stick together (this is purely decorative; I expect more or less the same results from just folding in half along whatever axis tickles your fancy). Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment, brush with beaten egg, and cook at 375F for about 35 minutes. It’s almost like croissants, but with substantially less faffing about with rising– I finished this in under an hour and a half, and you really can’t get croissants in less than eight hours.

As a bonus, there’s the trimmed edges of the dough which you can… if you’re inclined… form into twists, throw on a sheet of their own, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You could even, if feeling very charitable, tell the other members of your family about having made these little side-treats.

† No sign of the misery the initial iPad offered. Indeed, 747 words of this week’s production were banged out using tablet and its Bluetooth-enthralled keyboard, as a proof of concept effort. I may soon become a stereotype writer, lurking in a corner of a cafe and clattering away for hours after ordering a single inexpensive beverage.

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Each Month a Decade

Posted by Dirck on 31 December, 2018

Didn’t the last year feel that way to you?

But let’s avoid politics. I’m going to do what I did at this time last year and show you some almost meaningless stats regarding my writing endeavours:

Now… that looks like a couple of slack years, but there was the novel-writing wheeze that I was pursuing, wasn’t there. To the 2018 “Completed Words” we might add, if feeling recklessly charitable, the 89,374 words of the second draft on the novel. We do not feel thus charitable, since the second draft sits quietly, still awaiting the work that will render it worth foisting even upon beta-readers, but it does make the words/year count of the past two years seem a little less sparse.

It is that as-yet-gestating novel that occupies most of my thoughts in the current retrospective mood, because I have over the past few weeks been thinking about the effect of the effort of creation which it represented on me and the other stuff I’ve been at since I embarked upon it. The column to the right is the one that gets me. 2016 was definitely The Year I Got Serious, and the fact that in the following two years I finished so little is… embarrassing.

If it were just the numbers, though, I’d give the embarrassed aspect of myself a slap and a point out that great heap of words lurking in the background. There is, I come to realize now that I’ve given it some thought, some lingering effects of spending a lot of writing time not finishing something. I’ve had more trouble grinding out the stories that followed the novel’s typing-up than is quite right, and when I haven’t been having trouble pushing the thoughts out of my head and onto paper, it’s frequently been because I’ve been lapsing into poor habits I’d believed to be behind me.

I think, I hope, that I’ve gotten things back in hand.  The latest item on the front-line, “Preserve My Fondest Memories,” has felt a little more like soaring over the slopes of Helicon, bourne up by the good-will of the Muses, than it has like trying to pull my own teeth (which has definitely been the case with a couple of this year’s efforts). I’ve had a couple of encouraging personalized rejection notes back on a couple of submissions rather than the all-too-frequent form letters†. However, the fact that running up the novel as far as it has gone thus far has had this effect on my general attempts to carve lumps of language into pleasing shapes makes me wonder if it’s something I’m quite up to.

But because I’m also The Amazing Self-Defeating Man, there’s a lot of world-building gone on for one of the other novel-sized notions I have drifting around my mental orbit. Sigh.

I mentioned preparing technology in Friday’s oddly-placed progress report. I have, with the urging of my wife (who is at very least a catspaw of the Muses if not an occasional avatar), bought an iPad to replace the increasingly rickety tablet I got four years ago, at the same time as the camera I still occasionally use to good effect. I have allowed myself the foolish magical ideation that the iPad is the solution to some of my creative woes. It will pair with the bluetooth keyboard I own, something Rickety couldn’t manage for more than thirty seconds at a go (a bit of a creative flow throttle, that).

However… I also apparently got a dud, so high-minded plans for creative flow on Sunday went out the window with a marathon session of chat with Apple Support. The upshot is that my plan from Saturday of “take it back to the store” now has Official Apple Sanction, without which the story bluntly declined to do a return. I think the Apple Support people were very pleasant and anxious to help… but it does sour the mood somewhat that it took several hours of

  • Try this–
  • Did it before I contacted you, but why not again?
  • OK, what about this?
  • It made a noise, but not the right noise. Still no screen.
  • (long pause for thought) How about this other thing?
  • (ten minutes of downloading later) Nope.

before the admission of a hardware problem and allowance to return a not-working object. I hope the one I pick up today is less… unique in its attributes.

But what about the pens? Won’t somebody think of the pens?!

Oh, yes. They’re not forgotten, although I’m starting to worry slightly that age-related modifications to my vision might see me have to drop repairs for others… sometime. The main problem I face in the direction of pens is financial.

Particularly since I just bought an iPad.

It takes money to get pens. Pen repair is not vastly lucrative. You will remember my big coup of 2018 was a Montblanc…

An elderly, slightly beat-up Montblanc of a model hardly anyone has heard of.

…which cost very little. The other additions to my site have likewise been on the cheap side, not unlike the Sterno of last resort for a drunkard who can no longer afford brandy. The problem with these little darlings is that they are not particularly re-sellable, and so count as a pure outgoing. I could for example flog the Montblanc for somewhat more than I paid, having cleaned it out and set its point to rights, but without inflated shipping cost shenanigans, this Pelikan…

…would still show up as a red item in the accounts if I sold it at correct market value. Ditto various WIng Sungs and Jin Haos I’ve used to quiet the monkey on my back.

It’s not like I need to feed that beast, of course. There is not, in my case at least, a stylophilic equivalent of the DTs. But there’s the sensation of not serving my site and those who look at it, even though I realize in my brief periods of lucidity that the V’Ger impulse to learn all that is learnable is foolish at best, and utterly ridiculous when being turned upon a consumer product still in production, with new models popping up all the time. If I wanted to make a site that shows all the variations of a certain class of object, I probably should have gone with something like flintlock-equipped firearms in active military service (which, I’ll bet, has a more recent date of final appearance than I suspect).

There’s also a matter of how much energy and time I am able to devote to the whole pen game. I’ve only got so much at hand, it seems to be waning (time more than energy, which given the subjective length of this year surely counts as a paradox), and there are other things I want to apply it to. My writing, of course. My family, obviously. Stuff like that.

I get this way at intervals, though. I’m sure this mood will pass eventually. Heck, I’ve got updates for the site that just need a bit of polish even at this moment. Let me drop a hint:

She probably is short, but there’s no reason to shout about it.

Happy new year to you all, then, and may it find the passage of time returning to a more sensible pace.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer NoNonsense Old Timer (part of a costume for a party tonight)
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

†Which are generally kind in their formulation, which I do appreciate. There is no evident will to wound among sub-editors.

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Solstice Bonanza

Posted by Dirck on 21 December, 2018

The light, at least north of the equator, is as scant as it will be for a whole year. HOORAH!

To observe the day, and lower us all gently into the last shopping Saturday before Christmas, some films. First, for the unreformed Scrooges of the world, here’s a look at the worst jobs to do with the season (some, for you who hold the reason for the season to be axial tilt, are from pre-Christian Europe)

And in keeping with the theme… more or less… I’ve been pursuing this month with ghost stories just because it’s the dark time of the year, here’s another Blackwood story, told by someone else entirely.

If you’ve been out in the cold too long, this is a very… familiar… story.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

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Posted by Dirck on 8 November, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 5 November
  • 6 November
  • 7 November
  • 8 November
  • Second draft of “Palmer’s Folly”
  • Third draft of “Palmer’s Folly”†
  • Third draft of “Kick a Cat…”
  • 465 typed words.
  • Additions and removals, which stuffed in a further 348 words.
  • Rounding of high points, filling of gaps.

†This story has really been dodging me, and I’m not convinced it’s done– while it’s now in a state that others can see it, and it produces more or less the effect I was after, but I was struck last night as sleep descended with a much more betterer approach to the whole damn narrative. This one in its current form and “Kick a Cat…” may have been mere experiments of writing, destined to lie on a shelf forever (unless I become famous, in which case they might disappoint readers of a posthumous anthology).

‡I’m not given to saying this, but I’m really not enjoying my time with this pen– it and my hand don’t work well together. I won’t condemn the model as objectively bad, since it’s doing pretty much everything a pen ought, but I think I’m going to retire it from my lineup. I have, fortunately, other pens I may resort to.

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Posted by Dirck on 26 April, 2018


Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 23 April
  • 24 April
  • 25 April
  • 26 April
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • 29 manuscripts pages.

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Posted by Dirck on 19 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 16 April
  • 17 April
  • 18 April
  • 19 April
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Lucky Day,” a draft-and-a-half flash.
  • 26 manuscripts pages (four of which didn’t work at all).
  • 999 typed words.

Just a little note on the pens to finish off– I found myself wondering why the Parker doesn’t get into the cycle more often when I filled it on Monday morning.  Two hours later I was reminded.  There’s a factory-original vent hole in the cap at exactly the level of the point, ensuring without fail that it will dry out before next use.  Someone at Parker UK in the mid-1960s really dropped the ball.

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Posted by Dirck on 12 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • Second draft of “The Monster in the Cabin,” which is, despite appearances, a much better title.
  • Bag of Bones,” which is a result of a Steal-a-Title Challenge I decided I should get in on.
    • 3,627 words typed.
    • 1,040 words.

I will admit that I’ve actually spent some moments giggling and clapping at the scale of the latest story– not only being able to get to “show it to the readers” stage so quickly that I can actually remember what the weather was like when I began, but being able to hold the whole of the narrative in my head easily.  All the more giddy to find I had sufficient think-tokens left in my reserves to work on a second story at the same time!

Something else I got around to setting myself up with this:
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
I’m not going to give it any more time on this branch of my online existence than this mention, but over at the writing preserve, it’s now an inescapable fixture in the sidebar.  I do not expect it will make me a rich person.

…but I will hope, every so slightly.

The sharp-eyed will notice that I’ve done away with the “Duration” column of the chart.  I know none of you care how long I’ve been at the task on a given day, and I’m finally convinced my own inward monitor that however long it is, it’s long enough.

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