One thing about funemployment is that you find all kinds of amazing ways to entertain yourself and to avoid the grueling, soul-sucking work of looking for and applying for jobs. Chicago also continues to be gruesome weather-wise — my dad keeps informing me that we’re due for an Alberta Clipper this weekend, followed by another polar vortex. I’m thisclose to setting myself up with a light therapy lamp, because it’s just so easy to lose inspiration to do anything much more than hang out under the covers and loaf.
On the other hand, I’m trying and experiencing a lot of things for the first time, because hey, it’s better than facing the alsdjkfhalkjsfh number of tabs from Media Bistro in the other window, right? Continue reading “Things I’d never done before”→
At some point early on in the process of writing Innogen and the Hungry Half, I made an attempt at devising an ideal and reasonable production schedule, one that would more or less keep my usual stressors at bay. It’s so sensible, I’m amazed it came to me at all. The schedule looks like this:
Tuesday: Having published a chapter at 9 a.m., I may spend the day alerting readers of the update and taking notes to outline the next chapter.
Tuesday evening, Wednesday and Thursday: Write 1,000 words each day for a first draft. Each chapter tends to be about 3200 words, more or less. During this time I also bother Excellent Enabler with sections as they come, and she tells me what she likes and what could use improving.
Friday: After polishing the first pass, I then send the draft to First Beta, who gives incredibly helpful notes about structure, characterization, plot holes and other big picture issues.
Saturday: I write that week’s chapter preview, which I then schedule to post automatically sometime Sunday morning.
Saturday night or Sunday morning: I edit according to First Beta’s notes, and send the revised draft to Second Beta, who tackles word-by-word issues, smoothing out unclear passages, typos and other messy writing bits.
Monday evening: I edit the chapter with Second Beta’s notes, and schedule the post to go up the next morning. Then I kick back and congratulate myself for managing my time and resources so well.
Sadly, this has yet to actually happen: the real process involves a lot more procrastinating, obsessive outlining, endless and obscure note-taking and scrambling to make deadlines. Things are always finished much closer to posting than is comfortable. Weirdly, though, I like it, and miraculously, so do my friends, for which I am very, very grateful. And each week is an opportunity to get better! This entry is dedicated to anyone who has ever received a frantic last-minute email from me promising that this is the last time this will happen.
Last time, Imogen and Posthumus had a night on the town that anyone would want to sleep off somewhere private. Too bad that’s never an option when you’re the daughter of the king. What’s waiting for them on the other side of the alarm clock? Check back Tuesday to find out — for now, some hints and clues!
“The White Queen Sleeps/The White Palace,” Iain Ballamy, Mirrormask
Do yourself a favor and see this movie if you can; it’s not actually as dated as this trailer makes it look. Imogen is going to wake up in a world that’s askew. This track unnerves me every time I hear it; it’s just off and just eerie enough.
I’m also not going to deny that there’s any of Hedy Lamarr in Rigantona; it’s too neat a fit.
I see the corner of his mouth quirk, but his shoulders are tight. “It came out, though, that I changed when I was eight. He just thought I was living up to my potential.”
All right, we’re off to the races now. Come back on Tuesday to see how it falls together! As always, no knowledge of steampunk or Cymbeline is necessary to enjoy Innogen and the Hungry Half, but if you’d like to read the play, MIT has the full text available for free online.
Confession time: I’m not sure what’s going to happen next week.
Sorry, that’s a bit of a fake-out. I know where Innogen is going. I’m just not certain how it’s going to get done. See, this has been an odd month for me; there have been a lot of holidays at work, and several times now I’ve had the luxury of spending four straight days pounding out a draft or gnawing away at notes or obsessively line-editing. But that’s all in the past now: my next weekday break will be Thanksgiving, which presents its own delights and challenges. (I get to see my parents! My dog! My nieces from Seattle! I… don’t know when I’ll have two minutes to myself!)
There’s time yet to set up a routine, as I tell myself, and that’s my goal for the coming month. If I can cut out my Tuesday activity (obsessively checking stats after posting a new installment) and replace it with planning and outlining, that means three or four days for drafting and two or three days for honing. One thing I admire about web comic creators is their ability to produce on a consistent — and quick — schedule. That’s discipline. Fingers crossed, I can follow their example.
Second confession: I am so grateful and thrilled and overwhelmed at the response to the first chapter of Innogen and the Hungry Half. To all who have read, and commented, and contacted me over Twitter and email and Tumblr, thank you. I can’t tell you how much your words mean to me. To those who have shared this story with your friends, loved ones and readerships, my undying gratitude! There will be more — if you’re digging the story, please keep spreading the word. (If you’d like to recommend this story to your network of choice, please know that it is one of several ways straight to my heart. I so appreciate any and all word of mouth. If you don’t like it, tell your enemies!)
“Not imagined, felt” was a big day for Imogen and co. (For the curious, this is the source of the chapter title.) Here’s a hint at what’s coming for her next.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about Aaron Sorkin. I’m stealing some key components of this story from The West Wing, and recently had the revelation that if Imogen is a much politer Josh Lyman, then Posthumus is clearly Donna Moss. That pleased me. But my first Sorkin show was Studio 60, and early in that run, Matt Albie, head (and sole) writer of a 90-minute comedy revue, realizes he has to repeat his feat every week. At first it’s exciting. Then he turns to pills and self-pity.
Maybe I shouldn’t think about Studio 60 right now.
Two links This was not intentional, but it’s been a heck of a week to do searches on Libya. I poked around and found a stunning slideshow of Roman ruins in the old city of Leptis Magna. They were published in the context of whether they might survive the war for independence, which has just taken a rather stunning turn with Gaddafi’s death.
In less charged news, I’ve been learning a lot about starfish lately — including the fact that we’re supposed to call them sea stars, as they’re not fish. Either way… just saying.
Dr. Cornelius advises the king on scientific matters, while the king funds his research, the shape of which seems Protean. At present, it involves open tubs of briny water, and a half-finished dissection somewhere close by. He looks somewhat shyly toward the mess.
Yes, I had to dissect starfish/sea stars in high school biology. My teacher didn’t give us any directions: we just came into the classroom and there they all were in a bucket, waiting for us. I made a complete hash of it, and felt awful for years after that I had turned what had formerly been a living, eating, probably sentient creature into an indiscriminate pile of mush.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these teasers. Come back Tuesday to see what they all mean!