Thursday, April 26, 2007

Feminism and Writing

I read this first thing this morning and have been letting it percolate, trying to come up with coherent thoughts. Actually, I had coherent thoughts immediately upon reading it. I spent the day trying to string them together into a coherent response. It seems I'm not up to the task. So here are the thoughts:

    I'm very grateful that, when I decided to take reading seriously (more than just as fluffy break from all that Serious Stuff I had to read for school), I started with Anne McCaffery and Melanie Rawn.

    I'm very grateful that, when I decided to take writing seriously, I was taking a non-fiction writing course taught by a woman who directed me to a writer's organization and encouraged me.

    I'm very grateful that my first interactions with professionally published authors involved Holly Lisle, S.L. Viehl, and Carol Berg.

    I'm very grateful that my first experience with a professional editor was with Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

    I'm very grateful that my first experience with an agent was with Kristen Nelson.

    I'm very grateful that it wasn't until I was four years into my journey of taking writing seriously that I first comprehended negative gender issues in my genre when Harlan Ellison groped Connie Willis at the Hugos.

    I'm very grateful that I was raised in a family and an environment that I more often felt I was treated differently because I was smart, not because I was female and that it never occurred to me that my gender alone might cause issues.

    I'm very grateful that it wasn't until I was a sophomore in college that I began to understand the more insidious ways our society perceives and enforces gender differences; it means I'm less likely to unconsciously enable the perceptions and enforcements, and that becoming aware of it when I did I felt more empowered to Do Something.

    That being said, I probably wasn't nearly as removed from sexism as the above indicates seeing as how I am an Air Force brat (and the military ain't exactly known as a feminist beacon) and, out of a class of 24 biochemistry majors, I was one of five women. Mostly, I never quite processed myself as Other (not Other because I'm a girl; I processed myself as Other because I was a military brat, or because I spent nine years in a foreign country) or allowed society's labeling of me as such to stick or get in my way. The times it reared its head, I would more often than not personalize the encounter to make it more about my personality vs the personality causing the problem and found a way around it.

    No matter how I managed to get through life without really letting gender issues bug me, it's not helping me deal with how I'm categorized now that I'm a mother who works from home part-time. My professional life is hidden compared to when I worked full-time out of the home. No one asks me "So what do you do?" anymore when I meet new people. They ask about Andrew. They ask about domestic things. They may ask if I still work or perhaps they'll ask what I do in my free time or what my hobbies are. I wasn't quite prepared for this subtle shift in how I'm perceived. (Nor was I prepared to deal with interacting with other mothers only in context of being mothers; one of the most uncomfortable conversations I had was at the mall's play area with a mother who had sat down next to me and whose child was interacting with Drew in some way; I could feel her hunger for adult conversation, and her absolute frustration that, when presented with the opportunity, she could only talk about her child; I could feel that hunger and frustration because it mirrored my own.)

    I get fanfiction in that it's a response to art. It's the context of that response where I falter. For me, I get a response from art and I almost immediately remove it from the context that generated the response and put it in my own creative context. I may have to think on this further.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rejected Novel Dedication #4

To the upstanding citizens of Springfield:

Thanks for not pressing charges. As you can clearly see in the following pages, the time travel agency I set up on Main Street was purely for research purposes. I apologize for any misunderstandings, but my work ethic required me to keep the agency seeming as genuine as possible. Please accept my gift of personalized, signed editions of this novel as tokens of my appreciation and as a symbol of my sincere regrets that so many skeletons were tossed out of closets during the affair.

By opening the box of books, you waive all rights to sue me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hugging Drew a Little Tighter

Things came to a head today with Mark's company. He's now one of only seven people left, two of those being basic administrative functions and another two being the folks who, yanno, run the company. That's right, Mark is one of three, count 'em, three scientists left. Granted, the company wasn't too big to begin with, but wow. Mark is also their most recent hire. Suffice to say, they are mighty impressed with his work and skills.

That being said, there are a lot of people who weren't so lucky. And having been there just eight weeks ago, we're feeling the bittersweetness of all of this. Yes, Mark has significant job security, gets a promotion, and a raise. Yes, I can go back to working part-time (but that'll probably take two or three weeks while I wrap up projects I took on to bring me to full-time). But Mark and I can't quite get into a celebratory spirit. The folks that Mark has worked with for the past six months are in tight spots now (including one coworker whose wife will have labor induced tomorrow for their second child; thankfully the company was able to arrange things so they have health care for another seven weeks yet, then I think her employer's bennies are able to kick in). We were not the only young couple with a young kid and a new mortgage at the company.

So we'll breathe a sigh of relief, and I'm cooking a special dinner tonight. But we're also going to hug each other and Andrew a little tighter tonight, a little longer. Our great fortune is tied into the misfortune of others. Not quite the way we envisioned Mark getting job security and his first "real world" promotion and raise.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Driven to Watch at Least a Few More Episodes

Ah, the power of a single actor. It was the prospect of watching Nathan Fillion more than anything else that lured me to TiVo the first three episodes of Drive. And while I think it strange that in an entire hotel function room full of people, not one person is sane enough/not comprised enough to go to the cops, the premise isn't boring me and the characters aren't annoying me. Though it's got a problem in series continuity, I guess. Not sure I'd want this one iteration of the race dragged out for more than twenty episodes, and I don't know how they can spin the reveals at the end to be able to "reset" things so we'd want to watch another race with new characters for the next season. But for right now, I'm enjoying the show. And it's fun watching Nathan Fillion play basically the reverse of Captain Mal Reynolds (this time he's a reformed bad guy having to reach back into his past to do the right thing instead of a reformed good guy running from his past to do his own thing, which was often the right thing but just as often an illegal thing).

As for Painkiller Jane, though, I'm a little less optimistic. Here, the premise is fascinating, and they nabbed one helluva leading lady. But the execution of the premise is fairly flat and at times not quite believable. Granted, this is only one episode in. I'll watch at least two more episodes (barring something unforgiveable to the extreme in tonight's episode) and then figure out if we want to use up DVR space on the show.

I'm the same boat with Stargate Atlantis. This show can't make up its mind what it's about. I thought it was supposed to be all about the ancients, yet we've seen precious little of the exploration of Atlantis itself and precious little of the ancient aspects of it (beyond the "cool setting" aspects). In fact, it was an episode of SG-1 that focused completely on the ancient side of an Atlantis piece of technology. WTF? And the big cliffhanger that the ancients were back was given all of two lines in the season's return, and it's noted that basically the ancients were all destroyed by the replicators, who in turn were all destroyed by McKay, for all intents and purposes. Add to this that wraith either haven't done much or have been ignored or have been written off when things were getting interesting, and I don't know what I'm supposed to be watching this show for. Other than to see Shepperd "kirk" out, and that really doesn't interest me. Here's hoping that bringing Carter in from SG-1 after that show ends will make Atlantis about something again.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Changing Writing Skills Creates Changing Reading Tastes (and Vice Versa)

Recently I've realized that I've been demanding more from the books I choose to read. I don't want them to "merely" entertain (though if they can't do that, it's a non-starter, obviously). I want them to leave me thinking, but not in a "uh, wha?" way. At the same time, I'm demanding more from my writing. I've got to get the story down in an entertaining fashion, but I want more depth of thought than I asked of myself before. Well, that's not saying it quite right. I want more depth of thought without being painfully obvious about it than before. In short: I want more subtlety mixed in with my vastly entertaining reads and writes.

It's hard to say what came first: the desire for greater depth in reading material or the quest to create greater depth in my writing. I don't suppose it matters all that much; reading and writing should go so hand-in-hand for authors that the distinction of what is influencing what should be blurred. And, actually, when I think harder about it, it is a blurring of the two that prompted all of this. Within the past two years, I have been wanting to find author blogs that talked about the craft in different ways than what I had been hearing for a few years already. "Different" in this case meaning to go beyond the basics of character, plot, manuscript formation, query letters, etc. I felt I had learned and extrapolated and advanced my knowledge about as far as I could go with the folks I had been reading at that point. (This is in no way a criticism of them; in fact, it's because of them that I developed to the point that I knew enough to know what I wanted beyond what they offered, if that makes any sense.)

So I started tracking down the blogs of authors who had won genre awards or garnered critical acclaim or industry buzz. I read a bit to see if I enjoyed what they had to say, and then I read a bit more to see if I could learn anything from it. In some cases the answers were yes, in some cases no. The ones that "stuck," I started to look for their books as well. And both my reading and writing tastes and preferences began to change.

I've noticed it predominantly in my revisions for Pinewood Fog. I'm doing different things with research and incorporating my research in different ways. I'm revealing less in direct ways and more in subtle ways, but without resorting to odd sentence configurations, obscure word choices, or other literary language entanglements. That is, I've figured out that you can maintain transparency of prose without producing a transparent narrative. (Whether or not I can apply said knowledge is another matter entirely, but at least now I understand the concept and can start working toward achieving it.)

As for my reading taste changes, it reminds me of the time I stopped reading mysteries in college because I could only see the formula, not the story. Now I'm starting to recognize the difference between character-driven and plot-driven stories, and I'm realizing that I really don't like plot-driven stories. The story doesn't live for me anymore. It becomes a long, drawn-out calculation. Sure, the numbers and variables may be dressed up in fancy fonts and colors, but they're not really doing anything. They're just holding a place, serving a purpose, getting you closer to the equals sign so you can see the solution. This is different from recognizing a formula, because there the calculation is always the same, just the numbers are different. In the plot-driven stories that are starting to bother me now, the calculation and the numbers are different, but it's still just plug and chug. In a character-driven story, the numbers and functions come and go as suits their own purposes (just had a vision of a + sign thinking, "you know, I'd really like to add a 4 and a 5 today; that would be fun," and then running off and doing it), and it feels more like the writer has captured a snapshot of when all those numbers and functions collided in a very interesting, unpredicatable fashion.

OK, backing away from the strange math metaphor now.

In short: In reading about new ways to approach writing, I applied those approaches to my writing and my reading. This means that, while I can appreicate what a formulaic or plot-driven writer is doing and see the skill and challenge in it, I no longer connect with it. It's kind of like watching previews for Grindhouse. As soon as I saw the shot of Rose McGowan arcing through the air and firing a rocket or something out of her prosthetic leg, I thought two things: 1) I can see why someone thought that would be neat and challenging to accomplish and I tip my hat to the effort and creativity, and 2) I can see clearly that this is not a movie I would enjoy watching.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kerfuffles 'R Us

Over the weekend, there were a couple of "internet slapfights" (nabbed from one of Elizabeth Bear's journal tags). One involved science fiction & fantasy, the other involved romance.

The romance one is about the rape romance subgenre, and Jenny Crusie's excellent response to the debate is the only link I can drum up at the moment. (That doesn't mean it's not being slugged out on the internet, it just means that romance isn't my genre and I have no idea where to go to get the good genre dirt. I tried a few likely suspects, but didn't get far. Plus, I wasn't invested in it. While I've never read a rape romance [nor do I have any wish to at the moment; that sort of character redemption isn't my thing], my first novel did involve a rape scene, though the perp was a villain and not the hero.)

So I approached the debate as summarized by Jenny more from a censoring is bad/write what the story requires perspective. In fact, I think the only genre where you should really be concerned about content influencing your audience is in YA, and that doesn't mean that certain things should be off-limits. Rather it means that the content better be handled very well and be very appropriate to the story and it probably isn't a bad idea to have a discussion about said content as an author's note at the end of the novel or on the author's blog or something.

As for the science fiction & fantasy thing, man. Where to begin? To summarize, the upcoming Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) election has sparked an at times rather heated series of debates among those who are concerned with that org and the future of the genre in general. Needless to say, I've been following a lot of the discussion with interest since this is my genre. Things turned decidedly, well, ironic when the outgoing SFWA VP, in an explanation as to why he didn't run for Prez and thus may have inadvertantly created the previously uncontested ballot situation, went on a rant about how the internet (or, rather, the results of the internet's popularity and constant presence) is "pernicious" and that people who publish their work on-line for free are "rotting the organization from within." He calls these folks "webscabs" and "pixel-stained technopeasant wretch[es]."

This provoked many responses, mostly outraged. The best, though, is from Scalzi, and he tackles the issue based on the meager argument the outgoing VP provided and cited some excellent examples. In the volume of comments and posts (not going to link them all; mostly you can read the comments from the couple I linked to get a good cross-section), a few folks are trying to bring things back 'round to a debate on the future of electronic publishing and digital media and what, if anything, we should Do about it. But they are so few and far between that I think the VP may have realized some of his error and has since rescinded the term "webscabs." The rest, however, I believe stays.

It is unfortunate that a writer, someone who works with words for a living, chose to express himself in a way designed to insult those with whom he disagrees and to demonize that which he doesn't like/fears with no substance to backup his rhetoric. It is especially unfortunate because a debate as to whether or not the internet effectively "sublimat[es] the private space of consciousness into public netspace" and, if so, whether or not that is pernicious, is a great debate to have, particularly within the genre. But then again, maybe that debate has already been waged and the matter concluded--though not, apparently, unanimously.

(Indeed, even discounting the verbiage, the VP doesn't really seem interested in having the debate--on The Internets is Bad or on Free eBooks are Bad. His only real example about the perils of modern web-based tech is this: "A problem with the whole wikicliki, sick-o-fancy, jerque-du-cercle of a networking and connection-based order is that, if you "go along to get along" for too long, there's a danger you'll no longer remember how to go it alone when the ethics of the situation demand it." Seeing as how there's an entire generation who basically grew up on the 'net yet has an acronym for "going it alone"--IRL--as a distinction from the internet, I'm not buying his argument before he even gets started. And regarding the e-pub stuff, he asserts his opinion as fact that free e-books are taking away his business/money/bargaining ground with traditional publishers, and offers no evidence of such.)

And in true, modern fashion, the offended folks decided to bite their thumbs at the VP. They've created T-shirts and icons with "webscab" and "pixel-stained technopeasant wretch" in unapologetic fonts. They've even created a day to celebrate their wretchedness. While I can understand after seeing all the response why the VP may feel the internet is pernicious, I don't think it's a substantive argument for his cause. After all, the power of the internet is only reminding him that he feasted on his own foot in this case. He didn't have to email someone else and ask that person to post the rant.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rejected Novel Dedication #3

To God:

Thank you for giving me the ability to fulfill my dream of writing this novel.

Next time, do you think you could make it happen a little faster, with cover art that's a little less chartreuse, and with cover copy that doesn't give away the ending?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Andrew's Blue Period

The Drew Monster has a favorite color. It is blue. Not light blue. Not sky blue. Just straight primary color blue. He loves to color with his blue crayon. Unfortunately, Momma was so happy to see her little boy excited about coloring that she let him color while she was working and thus not able to monitor him. This led to Drew deciding that the walls were blank canvases. Then Mark painted over them with the right color paint but the wrong bin, so we have these great matte walls with random patches of glossy finish. It's not as noticeable as the blue crayon, which is why Mark hasn't gotten around to repainting the patches with the flat paint.

Meanwhile, I learned my lesson and have had to take a hard line on where Drew can and can't bring his crayons. If he's coloring, he has to do so on the coffee table in the living room. He can't bring his crayons when he goes running off to play somewhere else. He's usually very good at putting down his crayons when he's ready to do something other than color. We'll see how long that lasts. And, of course, he doesn't get to color unless I'm right there to watch. This means he can't indulge in his artistic urges while I'm working.

That's OK, though, as he tends to want me to color with him. And he'll keep giving me new crayons to use so that I get about five or ten strokes in with one color when I have to switch to a different one.

However, he has found an alternative to coloring. One of his books has become a new favorite. It's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and the artwork is in bright colors with brushstrokes that are clearly visible and thus look a little like Drew's own coloring. He asks us to read that book to him repeatedly.

Our little Drewbie's quite the well-rounded guy. He has an innate sense of order when it comes to how things should be done, where things should go, but he has no problem dumping his toy basket out all over the floor and sitting in the middle of it. He climbs over anything that gets in his way, but he's also at times content just to sit in my lap and watch me work or sit next to me on the couch when I'm drained from chasing him all over the house. He loves his puzzles and figuring out how things work, but he also enjoys randomly opening up a coloring book and scribbling all over it in blue crayon. He also cuts a mean rug whenever a show with music comes on the TV.

This kid is having a great time exploring his world and figuring out this thing called Life. I hope that, no matter how he changes or what he decides to do, that he keeps that enjoyment. Because then, no matter what obstacles get tossed his way, no matter what I screw up as a parent, no matter what, he'll be OK.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Revision Slog

Ugh. So the last two major additions I did for Ghost Story/Pinewood Fog have been very heavy on exposition. But one of those chunks is actually a good bit of storyshowing for some of my characters, so I might not be as bad off as it feels. We'll see what happens when I start typing things in.

One thing that's really helped me in this revision is a concerted effort to think about what the scene is in its draft form, what I want it to be in its finished form, and then jot down notes on how I think I can get it there. Then dive into the revisions for that scene. And when I think about where I want the scene to be, I'm getting very theme and character focused. This is all to the good.

This hasn't been an easy revision, but I definitely don't feel lost like I have during other revisions. I feel like I've really grown as a writer here. Of course, applying these concepts to something bigger than 10K might prove a stumbling point. We'll see when I start going over SoZ's +80K. That ought to be fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


No, not for me. For the contest I griped about for using scamtastic verbiage and tone in a newsletter. Actually, this post is long overdue, and thanks to author Steven Savile for leaving a comment on the above-linked post and thus reminding me the internet is a small place. At any rate, it's time to give credit where it's due.

Back in November when I received the newsletter that got me fired up, I forwarded my complaints to the folks who run the contest. I got a prompt reply thanking me for my email and telling me that my concerns were passed along to the folks who control the newsletter. That was the last I heard of it.

When I received the next newsletter, I was very impressed with the improvements. The sales pitch element was toned down and the content focused on the contest and how it has helped other writers. There was even a direct call for feedback about the newsletter content and such. Of course, there was no way for me to know if it was my email that triggered the change or something else. Still, I felt all warm and fuzzy. Even when some of the more recent newsletters went back to a stronger sales pitch tone, they at least didn't use the smarmy scam-type set up that got me angry before.

So for anyone who read my original post about the Writers of the Future Contest's questionable newsletter and was swayed to think less of the contest, please consider it redeemed. And if you're considering submitting to the contest, here's a quote from Steven:

I can definitely chart a turn around in my sales and upturn in career since the win back in 2002, and have no trouble being their poster boy for the contest. I went full time as a writer two years ago and am contracted up for a good two or three more.

If you'd like to get more specifics on Steven's experience, you can submit a question to him via his website. He responded to me (I was responding to his comment on my blog...ah the joys of tech) very quickly and candidly.

As for me, I will be submitting Ghost Story/Pinemeadow Fog to the Writers of the Future contest probably by the end of the month once I've finished revising it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rejected Novel Dedication #2

For an upcoming erotic fiction book:

To You.

No, Cedric. Not you.

Not you either, Jeff.

Dennis? Are you kidding me? Never you.

And, George, you may think you're all that and a bag of chips, but, let me tell you, that was the most boring two minutes of my life. Puh-lease.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Drewbie See, Drewbie Do

Andrew has been quite the copy cat lately. It really started three or four months ago when he learned that trash goes in the trash can by watching Momma and Daddy throw things away. So he thought he'd help keep things clean. Now he even helps by throwing stuff away in our garbage bin, taking an item such as a small bag of dirty diapers and carrying it from his room, to the garage door, through the garage to the garbage bin. Even this morning taking it to the curb before the garbage truck came by.

Yes, it's very cute, and quite helpful. Most of the time. Drew now refuses to eat unless he's sitting in a big boy chair at the table. This wouldn't be too much of a problem except our kitchen table is a tight fit for just Mark and me and we have no booster seat. Hopefully this weekend we can fix this, assuming all continues to go well with Mark's job.

One way in which the mimicry will be beneficial in the future is in the bathroom. Drew got a training potty when a friend's kid nixed the concept. Everytime Momma goes to the bathroom in the boy's bathroom, Drew sits on his training potty. He even lifts the potty's lid. He even bends over a little, imitating the way Momma has to contort herself so as to empty her bladder.

Drew the Impersonator is also wildly entertaining when it comes to sitting on the couch. He'll pull the afghan into his lap (shunning his own blanket for this occasion) and fold his hands and sigh. Not sure if Momma or Daddy does this often enough for him to pick up on it, but it just seems so adult that he has to have learned it from us. Same way with resting his chin or cheek in his hand.

But the most frustrating aspect of this toddler trait is when we cook. Drew can't stand that he isn't able to do what we do when it comes to making dinner. He has to be held by one of us, usually the one who's cooking. We'll probably buy one of those stepping stools so he can get up to our level (well away from the knives and the stove), see if that helps.

It's a bittersweet thing to watch Drew learn by imitating. On the one hand, I'm proud of his abilities to understand our actions and replicate them discriminately. On the other, I never know what he's going to pick up on next and what sort of headache it might cause.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Full-time Check-in

This week I worked full-time from home. It wasn't a pleasant experience. Hopefully everything will work out with Mark's job by next weekend, and I can go back to my regular part-time schedule. Or, at least, if Mark is again unemployed come next weekend, he'll be home to take care of the Drewbinator while I work. 'Cuz working and managing Drew all by myself for eight hours everyday...let's just say both Drew and I get cranky real fast.

Despite the crankiness, though, I did get a lot of good work done, and Drew could flip a switch from being upset to being run-around-the-house giddy as soon as my work day ended. Clearly this is doable, just not preferable.

As for the writing, I got back into revising this week and really enjoyed myself. Hopefully by next weekend, I'll have done some first draft creation (though not for Shadow of Zehth as I'm still trying to diagnose my problems there). It would really be nice if, by the end of May, I could get myself back on a regular schedule for my writing and get myself back on track with SoZ. That would be very nice. Here's hoping Life stops getting in the way.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why Revision's Important

This is old news, I'm sure, but I'mfinally getting around to posting my thoughts on the Battlestar Gallactica season finale.

In a word: bleh. It didn't really follow from the previous season's (and previous episodes) build up and references. If anything, it made the Cylon world even more complex than it was before, but not in a good way. It only served to highlight the failings of this season and the direction the show's taken. I'd be more interested to see where they were going to go with this were it not for the disappointmenting revelations behind past last-minute shocks, such as the New Caprica jump at the end of Season 2. And Starbuck's destiny (I'll grant that the episode in which she died may not have been intended to reveal that--though it really should have because the episode sucked without it--and, given that she's suddenly alive again, it's possible that we'll learn of the Import of her Fate in the next season, since she's talkin' more Earth biz).

One thing I found very enlightening for my own skills as a writer was how the entire two-parter finale felt like one of my first drafts. Lots of plot twists for no reason, lots of character conflict that comes out of nowhere, lots of vaguely hinted at backstory that doesn't really make sense in context. This is why you gotta revise. Need to step back, look at the whole, remind yourself of who your characters are and why they are doing the things they are doing, and then start cutting the stuff that doesn't fit.

For example, Lee's sudden fixation with the law didn't strike me as something true to Lee Adama. Rather, it seemed like an obvious writerly manipulation to get the characters into a better position for plot purposes, to invent tension for tension's sake. And then, as soon as the plot and conflict no longer require Lee's passion for the law, off Lee goes back to being a Viper pilot without anyone really batting an eye. I'm betting that the whole "but you turned in your wings" discussion will be handled in five minutes of dialog that really doesn't own up to how they got into that situation, and then everything will be A-OK.

BSG doesn't need to stoop to such tactics. They've already got enough unresolved tension and conflict among the characters--and enough plot twists, too. The fact that the show goes to such lengths to force the plot into another twist and force the characters into even more contentious relationship makes me feel like I'm reading an organically plotted novel in which the author has no idea what the end point is so he keeps going, "Hey, that sounds cool!" and writing the shiny new stuff in so he doesn't have to look at the old mess he's left behind and work his way out of it. Not to mention the inability to research the shiny new stuff appropriately. (Let's summarize, shall we? Baltar's trial was led by a tribunal of five judges, the prosecution's case the weakest the evidence allowed, the defense co-chaired by a Viper pilot with absolutely no legal training never mind passing a bar exam, and said co-chair was inexplicably put on the stand as the defense's entire case in order to reveal the Admiral's prejudice and turned into an impromptu closing argument that went on forever that everyone's cool with? Clearly a society that has FTL tech but 20th century medicine is also going to have 19th century law.)

In short: I'll be watching Season 4 (which is supposedly the last) just so I can further diagnose the failings and learn from them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

When Sciences Collide...

I'm having fun with the revisions to Ghost Story, which I think I may be renaming to Pinewood Fog (maybe). It involves taking basic physics and chemistry, which I recently reviewed while trying to nail down the magic specifics for Velorin, and melding it into a very broad and probably misunderstood concept of neurology. Add in a smattering of philosophy, and we have the first scene of the story. I have no idea if it works. In a perfect world, I would be a recognized expert in chemistry, physics, neurology, and philosophy and would know if I was talking out of my ass. In an ideal world, I would be able to send the scene to such experts and have them tell me if I'm talking out of my ass. In the real world, I have to submit this story (after more reviews and one or two beta-reads) and hope I don't get heckled too badly by fans (assuming it gets pubbed).

Regardless, I'm having fun with it, and I like the ways I've used the science and philosophy. It does serve to remind me, though, that reading more non-fiction would be a good idea.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Initiation to Motherhood Complete

I am now officially a mother. I have called Poison Control over something Drew put into his mouth. Rest assured: he's fine. He had managed to get his grubby little hands on a tube of diaper rash cream, which he then opened and squeezed some of the cream out. When next I saw him, he had cream on his hands and face and all around his mouth, but very little seemed to have actually gotten inside his mouth.

I got him cleaned up and consulted the back of the tube for what to do if the stuff was ingested. It said to call Poison Control. So I did, and they said that the worst that could happen was he would vomit, and then only if he had eaten a lot. For the next hour, they told me to make sure he never laid down on his back (so he wouldn't choke on any vomit) and to give him some water.

Check and check. No vomitting, no strange behavior. Our first and hopefully only brush with Poison Control turned out to be completely preventative.

I feel like I've passed some sort of milestone.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Home at Last

Got in late Friday night. Our flight was delayed two and a half hours due to a mechanical problem. (The cockpit door wouldn't seal. I've put up with 9/11-induced security measures that have made my life rather inconvenient without batting an eye. But waiting an extra 2.5 hours with an 18mo old after we've been separated from Mark for nearly three weeks made me more than a little pissed.

No matter, though. We are back at home with Mark. Now to get him through this project so he can stop working nights and weekends.