Monday, November 26, 2007

Drewbie Downtime

We learned this weekend that the Drew Monster can handle two guests in our guestroom but as soon as additional guests take up space my office, he gets a bit off. Of course, we didn't figure out he was not dealing well with this until we couldn't calm him down for lunch on Friday. He'd been fussing a lot every time we had to stop playing somewhere outdoors and go back home. And usually we could get him calmed down within 15 minutes of getting home and he would go back to being his chipper self. Not so on Friday. Finally, at a loss, I took my father, stepmother, and grandmother out and abandoned Mark to El Boyo Diablo. Seconds after we left the house, Andrew calmed down to ate a good lunch and took an OK nap. Dinner on Saturday was very similar. We were a bit squished into a booth, and Drew could not settle down--he even swiped napkins and silverware off of the table and tried to dump a glass of water. Mark took him out for dinner and romping at the McDonalds across the street, and he was fine after that.

It was so strange to see Drew act out in this way. Yesterday after everyone left and today, though, Drew has been fully back to normal. It's interesting that just one extra person and one other room being occupied did him in, though. Next time we have that many guests, Mark and I will be sure to schedule in some Drewbie downtime with either one of us alone in the house at least for an hour. And we'll look for similar signs of overstimulation when we have any overnight guests in the house in the future (which will be this weekend, actually; Mark's brother John is staying with us so he can run a marathon down in Tucson on Sunday).

Given Mark's introvertedness, I shouldn't be surprised that three guests and two rooms off-limits at once rubbed Drew wrong. Hell, it's probably a tall order for any toddler used to it being just him and Momma most of the time in the house. Mostly I'm just happy that the bouts of cryfests and crankiness and acting out so unusual for him (or at least, unusual for how long they went on) seemed to be unique to the stress of the situation, and not a sign of the coming norms.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eat Well. Be Safe. And Shop!!

My dad, stepmother, and grandmother are due in any minute now, so I'm going to sign off for the Turkey Day weekend. I might be back on Sunday. Or not.

While I'm gone, take a look at these fine new products from Holly Lisle. This is a great time to work through a writing block or to stock up on products to help you nail your 2008 writing goals.

Just the How to Beat Writers Block course:

Just the 21 Ways to Get Yourself Writing When Your Life Just Exploded book:

The bundle of both above items as well as all of the "Create A" Clinics (a seriously good deal):

Holly's got a lot of great new things in the works, and the How to Beat Writer's Block audio course (plus bundled goodies) is the first of those. Her clinics have been great writing tools for me (I can't speak highly enough of the Create a Language Clinic), so check these out and maybe tell people where to shop for Christmas (if you do that, have them go through an affiliate--not necessarily me--so you can give someone else a holiday bonus; I recommend Lazette Gifford, click on either Ruins or Muse in her sidebar to take you to the shop through her link).

Process Examination #15: In Which I Finally Hack My Brain (Or a Portion of It, Anyway)

There's more going on here than just looking back at the mess of Act One and realizing why it's 40K long and mostly pretty dry stuff (that would be the logic stranglehold). Now I'm trying to figure out why I can't seem to drag myself on with the novel. I think I pieced together some of it last night.

I fear letting a first draft of a novel be really, really rough. I can't let myself write full-on crap just to get to the end and have a complete story unit to look at, analyze, and perfect into an actual novel. Not at 100K words a pop, at least. With short fiction, this isn't a problem. Take PPR: the original draft of that story was 8K words, and I kept only 2K of them in the revised story, which ended up being 29K total (yes, I finished it Monday night; now to let it alone for a couple of weeks before I tackle the next round of revisions). That's 25% of the original story that stayed, and it comprises only 7% of the current draft. Translate those percentages into the 100K words of a novel's first draft, and yikes! That's a lot of words that get cut and take a while to create in the first place. It doesn't sit right with me to be so wasteful and inefficient with something I have so little time for in as it is.

But I looked closer at the comparison to PPR. Those original 8K were quite rough indeed, in the sense that my big reveal at the end was 2-3 pages of infodump that would have been much more satisfying revealed in the course of the story with my MC getting enough pieces of the puzzle to put some of it together herself. Also, the central conflict needed a good deal of work to make sense beyond my initial sketch. And the two characters in conflict were neither of them likeable, though they were interesting. While it was fun to write that way and part of me wants to see if I can tweak those 8K into a different interpretation than the one I went with, I overhauled the story into something with a good arc, with good character tension each step of the way, with a logical though not transparent plot and narrative flow, and with a complicated ending that didn't make things overly nice and tidy like I'm beginning to hate in some books. For some reason, just because it's a novel, I'm expecting the first draft of THUMB to deliver all of that already. I'm not giving myself permission to fail in order to see how to succeed with this story because that means risking a lot of words and time in creating those words.

How to fix this? I've started this a little. The past 2K of THUMB that I have dragged kicking and screaming out of my fingertips are definitely not going to stay in their present form. It's pretty much all infodumping on my gee-whiz tech in the story, but I wrote it because it provided a chance to get my MC showing her stuff, it led to some fun dialog and character action, and I know I'm going to end up keeping snippets in some fashion because at some point, I'm going to need a "Here's Where I Geek on Future Tech" scene. Today, I'm hoping to grit my teeth and summarize a bunch of activity as my characters get the ship ready to roll so I can finally write the fun piece that officially kicks off the conflict of Act 2. Hopefully I will keep giving myself permission to write outlines and sketches and distillations to keep me moving along.

I think part of the problem has been in trying to hit a word count goal in the first draft of a novel. It keeps me tied into the concept of "this is a lot of words, and I may lose a lot of them." Short fiction has shown me that my first drafts are very exploratory and take as much or as little as they need. And I find it very interesting that THUMB gummed up right around the 35K mark. I think I lasted to about 45K in SoZ before I came up against this wall. That time I forced myself through it, not thinking about the story or what the block could be telling me, and I got thoroughly off-track. There may be a very good reason that my first novel, HD, is told in three parts of about 30-35K a piece over the course of thirty or so years and many critiquers have complained that each part feels like it's trying to be a novel on its own and not part of a whole. A draft beyond 35-45K is outside of my natural comfort zone, apparently. And a draft that actually gets the novel out of Act 1 is problematic, as well, it seems.

I would find this more fascinating and helpful were it not for the fact that it took one complete but very broken novel (100K words) and three aborted attempts at novels (135K words) and myriad pieces of short fiction (hmmm, maybe a total of 100 or 150K?) spread out over five and half years (actually, seven if you count the very first 10K I wrote in HD before I considered myself serious about this writing thing). I don't like taking this long to figure something out, especially if it's about myself (though I have taken longer, and will likely take longer still in the future), and especially if not knowing the piece of information delays events that will get me closer to the dream of writing full-time.

Ah, well. I'm just going to have to get over that, aren't I? At least I did figure it out. Isn't that why I'm doing this series of posts anyway?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sing Along, Sleep Along

The Drew Monster has started to sing. It's usually when the Backyardigans theme is on, and the singing is mostly in the vowel of "Ah" and the same note, but he is singing. He's pretty intense with it, too, as if he can tell that the sound he's producing isn't quite up to par with what he's hearing and he's trying to match the two better.

This warms my heart to have Andrew doing something that is clearly in alignment with my interests. I don't know if he's just mimicking the TV or if I've done enough random singing around him that he connects singing with me as well, but it's nice to know that, even if only for the next month or so, we'll have this little thing in common and laugh about hitting bad notes together.

As for another thing we've discovered he had in common with his father, I am less than thrilled about it. Drewbie suffers from occasional night terrors. Actually, he's more prone to them when waking up from a nap than during the night. We had somewhat suspected this after a few episodes over the course of the past year, but yesterday's nap made it very clear.

This wouldn't bother me nearly so much if I didn't have firsthand experience of what his father's sleepwalking is like. What I wouldn't give for the sedate getting up and shuffling to the kitchen and then shuffling back that seems to be the general consciousness regarding sleepwalking. No, as I've detailed here before, Mark likes to bolt upright out of bed, spring to his feet, vault over furniture, and run screaming through the house during his episodes. And I've recently learned that night terrors is often a genetic thing and will evolve into sleepwalking in the preteen years.


The good news is that keeping a regular schedule with plenty of time for sleep seems to keep the night terror episodes at bay. And staying low on the Stress-O-Meter seems to stave off the full body antics of the sleepwalking episodes. Life doesn't always let you keep a consistent schedule with good sleep hours or keep the stresses low. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that High School Drew and 15 Years Older Mark don't have simultaneous bouts of high stress, low sleep periods. I might have to lock them into separate, well-padded rooms.

Friday, November 16, 2007

WGA Strike

Just in case you aren't aware, the screenwriters of America are on strike. I could try to sum up the reasons for it, but, really, just watch this lovely YouTube video brought to you by the folks who write for the Daily Show. If you already know about the strike, then you've likely seen this. I know I've seen it linked to in about five different places today alone. I've watched it most of those times. It's funny. It's informative. It puts things into a great perspective. As someone who gets her news from the Daily Show, I can only hope the matter gets resolved soon.

One thing I'm curious about (and wondering why the corporations pushing against the writers aren't talking about) is how profit from DVD sales and internet downloads breaks down to pay the production costs. I mean, asking for 2.5% of the profits to go back to the writers sounds ridiculously low. But if 95% of the profits has to go back into production costs, then maybe, just maybe, I might understand reluctance to part with that 2.5%. Of course, then I would also wonder about their business model.

It would be very amusing if, during the court battles Viacom and other coporations are bringing against YouTube, their language to justify yanking residuals from writings is used against them to tank their piracy case. I wonder what whether the lawyers involved are sweating this possibility. That might be what gets this strike resolved.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Convenient Lacks

I had meant to post this a good two weeks ago, but I got distracted halfway through composing, then decided I wanted to answer the Global Warming Debate with my response, then I realized that I just wanted a quick sketch of my reactions to this article. So here's the post, at long last.

Via Holly Lisle, I read this interesting article about inaccuracies in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Given that this article comes from an organization "dedicated to sound public policy based on sound science" that strives to separate reality from rhetoric, I found the following three things very interesting.

1) The author chastises Gore's rep for saying "[Global Warming is] a complex issue" but not referencing all of the scientific papers on which they based their 90-minute video on the movie's website on the page devoted to the science behind the movie. The author of the article then proceeds to only reference one of the two articles the site referenced and doesn't bother to back up its refutations that cannot be found in that one source. If you're going to accuse someone of sloppy scientific arguments, it's best not to make their same mistake. Especially for this loaded topic, it makes you look really bad.

2) Many times the article explains that the environmental impacts the movie attributes to global warming are actually caused by some other way in which humans have destroyed a part of the local environment. The fact that the article mentions those impacts at all is a mark in the author's favor, but the fact that those impacts are left to stand as refutations of Gore rather than exhortations (or even just links, dammit) for policies (or even just their opinions on policies) that can stop such damage makes me wonder about what I'm reading.

3) Several of the inaccuracies listed after the first nine that were upheld by a British court are just repeats. For example, Error #7 is that the movie claims Hurricane Katrina is manmade, and Error #11 is that the movie claims that Hurricane Caterina is manmade. (By the way, for an institute that claims to eschew politics and rhetoric, the explanation of Error #7 is remarkably political, and also wrong. Wrong in the sense that the Democrats didn't cause Hurricane Katrina. The author is clearly trying to say that the Democrats were responsible for the levees breaking and inflates the rhetoric severely in doing so.) Also, Error #28 is that the movie blames global warming for the spread of tropical diseases and Error #29 is that the movie blames global warming for the spread of West Nile. Conflating the number of errors with cheap word tricks or refuting a point in such a way that all similar points of that nature are clearly covered by that refutation (i.e. if someone consistently misspelled words that a spell-check would have caught, I wouldn't say, "I found 22 misspelled words in this document." I would say "This document was not spellchecked." I think the latter is more damning, actually.) again makes me think you have an axe to grind rather than a cogent scientific argument to make.

It's too bad, really. I get so steamed with all this talk about global warming because, looking at the matter from a geological perspective, I think we've got a lot more data to collect before we go blaming anyone other than nature for causing it. In the meantime, science has already shown without a doubt how much damage we our doing to our environment on a more micro scale that may or may not stretch to a macro scale in the future if left unchecked. Why is it OK to dismiss smog and acid rain and local water pollution in favor of fear-mongering over water world? We've got enough environmental problems that we know for sure we've brought upon the world ourselves. Let's get back to those, please, and start where we can actually prove we can make a difference. Seriously, I'm beginning to suspect that global warming was a concept invented by Big Oil and such specifically because it distracts from the reality of the problems in our backyards that they've already been shown to be causing.

By the way, I'm getting really sick of these car commercials from, IIRC, Mercedes and Lexus that show these super environmentally friendly, alternative fueled cars, with the voiceover something along the lines of "Ready for the world, when the world is ready." Idiots, we're clearly ready for it, unless by "ready" you mean that you need a certain demographic willing to drop 1,000,000 for that car so as to make the car profitable. But I have a feeling "ready" means something more along the lines of "when Big Oil isn't going to crush us for daring to mass produce cars that don't require their product."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Process Examination #14: It Seems Cruel That Logic Should Let Me Down

I hadn't intended to take a day off from writing today. The easiest source of blame is Emma Bull's Territory, a story that absolutely sucked me in and refused to let go until I read the last page not an hour ago. But I have to be honest and admit I was looking for an excuse to step away from writing today. I didn't really need to, at least, not where PPR is concerned. It's just that the stutters and stalls and hiccups of THUMB have me all twisted and turned, trying to figure out where things went wrong this time.

As I mentioned yesterday, logic is what did me in. Or, rather, strict adherence to a logical flow of time and events and patterns. I've been writing THUMB in such a way as to cover just about every single waking minutes in these characters' lives, highlighting the dialog and character interactions and downplaying the action. Finally, in the past two days, I figured out why: I had set up a POV rotation pattern that I slavishly followed, forcing events to unfold in this step-by-step way, revealing what happened as the clock ticked on because that's exactly what that POV pattern demanded I do unless I wanted to pass too many important things by. For example, I couldn't skip ahead a couple of days in Jasper's POV because that would mean having to summarize and infodump on important things that had happened during those days in Elzie's and Rafe's POV. And I couldn't not have the Jasper POV scene because I had set up a structure based on it being there.

Logic has been my friend for a very, very long time. I suspect it still is, but it's laughing at me for taking it so literal. The laughter wouldn't hurt so much were it not for the fact that literal logic would get me to a completed draft, but it would take a good deal more than 100,000 words and a couple of months. And the revision process would be murder. Literal logic is not the way to write novels. Rather, it's not the way to write this novel.

So I'm trying to shift gears and ease the POV pattern and loosen my stranglehold on logic for Act 2. And I'm trying to do it without going back to rewrite Act 1. And I'm trying not to think about the fact that writing short fiction, even a novella, seems to be easier for my brain to parse. I want to write novels. I have tons of novel-length stories in me to tell, and I have to tell them. And I'd rather not take years to get each one out of me.

Part of the reason I started this series of posts was to, obviously, examine my writing process in frequent, honest terms that would help me navigate my way from the beginning of a story idea through to the point that I decided to cut the cord and send it out into the world. I can think of a number of different ways to interpret this crossroads I feel is before me and, in so doing, pick a direction. All of them, if I wrote them out here, would likely sound extremely plausible. All of them would point in different directions.

So why don't I cut right to the chase? Any falter now feels like it's admitting I can't finish a novel. That was the Awful Troof I feared back when I set aside SoZ for this crusade. And here I am, roundabouts the end of Act 1, with 40K words in the story, hitting a speedbump that has me looking back at the starting line and wondering if maybe I should try this race over again.

Damn. It. To. Hell.

No. Screw this. I'm going to finish this damn book. And I'm going to do it by the end of January, as I know I can. I'm going to take the ideas I've got to get me to the end and, by golly, use them to get me there. They may not be perfect, they may not work as well as something I'll figure out later, but they will get me to a completed draft and then I'll fix the stupid thing, no matter how painful that process is going to be.

Take that, logic.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Period of Silence Brought to You by...

Errand Friday, TusCon 34 Saturday, Christmas Shopping Sunday, and Tired Monday. And I almost didn't post this today because I've been so rigidly locked into schedules and pattern and logic in so many aspects of my writing life that I had a hard time not posting a Process Examination post even though I have stuff to talk about (regarding that rigidity of pattern, actually). So I'm going to break the confinement of the blog schedule and post on that tomorrow. Maybe it will help me break the confinement in my writing tonight.

TusCon 34, by the way, was a fun day. The Con is smaller than my only other fan con experience, Mile Hi Con, but fun nonetheless. I tried on a corset for the first time at a booth in the dealer's room. A very interesting experience, and if I had had $500 to spare, I would have bought an absolutely gorgeous corset/skirt combo that I wisely didn't even try on out of fear I would whip out the credit card before I could stop myself. Also, Emma Bull is great fun to hang around. I'm looking forward to starting Territory tonight, which she graciously signed for me (I used my lunch break to wander to a Borders in town to pick it up after I learned that they didn't have copies for purchase at the con; that's what I get for confusing a writing conference with a fan convention--one day I'll learn, but I've only got a couple of each under my belt at the moment).

Christmas shopping on Veterans Day weekend, however, was not fun. We did hit a lot of great sales and got the gifts we wanted for everyone on our list (except for each other and most of Drew's stuff), but the crowds were thick and the mall had chosen this week to renovate the play area, thus taking the wind out of Drewbie's sails.

It feels very weird that we are only nine days away from Thanksgiving. I've got family coming in town for it, so I'm eager for the holidays. But we're still flirting with the low 90s here. I can count on one hand the times I've worn jeans in the past two months. The only time I've put on a long-sleeved anything since March has been during early morning camping or hiking excursions. I even ordered a peppermint mocha at Starbucks the other day and was disappointed that, while yummy, it didn't taste as good as I remembered from a nippy winter day in Colorado. I will get adjusted to the weather. It's just going to take longer than I had thought.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Onion Makes My Day, Part # 1397

My only gripe is that it's a short piece. More, please! I eagerly await the installment titled "First Person Narrator Witholds Evidence from Self" or somesuch.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A New BPAL Discovery

After realizing that putting the BPAL fragrances on my wrists led the scents to rub off onto my keyboard and back onto my wrist in an odd, not entirely unpleasant olfactory experience daily, I began refraining from putting the stuff on my wrists at all. Instead, I swiped it on my neck and dipped a little in my decolletage, such as it is.

The difference in smell is remarkable. It's much more "pure"--as in it smells more like what is in the bottle. It also lasts longer and stays "intact" as a cohesive fragrance longer. Namaste is still my favorite, but the others improved dramatically by leaving my wrists alone.

I am curious to try this simple experiment with the other perfumes I have. It could be an odiferous stretch of days for the men in the house.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Process Examination #13: It's All a Placeholder for the Real Thing

Sigh. I'm trudging my way through the first draft of THUMB, and I've realized that there is so much I have to fix. Just about every scene has something that is my shorthand for "make this not suck in revision." It was not a shiny happy moment when I took stock of Act One and realized most of it fits into that category. But still I keep slogging, although it's harder to do so when you're staring at a scene that is just mired in Suck, when you're having characters talk about conflict and action rather than actually putting them in conflict and action.

Of course, it's not all bad. Even in the "slime, filth, putresence" stage, I see the gems still, which means that there are likely more of them than I'm letting myself see at the moment. And all this talking head phenomenon I've got going on and the punches I'm pulling so my characters aren't cut too low too soon (I know where they're going to end up by Acts 3 and 4, so I'm trying to be a little nice to them right now; Bad Author! Bad!) is helping me see where the story's lacking, what I need to fix. I even managed to figure out a better way to do a certain plot and character point last night because of all the vast amounts of suck surrounding me. (By then, though, it was my bed time, so I only managed to choke out about 150 words in that new direction. Thank God PPR is going well so I'm not feeling completely stupid in writing.)

I think I might have even mastered part of the trick of changing plot or characters in mid-story and not having to go back and revise. We'll see as I keep moving forward, though. I feel driven to finish this draft without getting stuck in loops, so I'm going to keep pushing on, asking questions when I stumble to make sure I don't get too far away from the story and the characters that I have to scrap 82K like I did with SoZ. (I know I've said that before. Writers pay attention to refrains, sometimes we even figure out what they mean before our readers do. I'm pretty sure the essence of this motif is this: Me want finish book! Now!)

One thing that might help me through this is to actually track the Things That Suck as I notice them in a document so I can have a revision guide. Of course, that also runs the risk of starting out my revisions in a very negative light. Must ponder.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Drewbie Goes to the Beach

We went camping on Lake Havasu this weekend. It's yet another beautiful area of the state. In fact, most of the drive from Casa Grande to the western border and along it was gorgeous. (The part that wasn't was a stretch of the Phoenix bypass route and a bit of I-10 getting out of Maricopa county. Come to think of it, a good chunk of I-10 treks through one of the ugliest bits of the state that I've seen. I-10 from the westernmost reach of Phoenix through to central Tucson is not the best way to see the beauty of the Arizona desert, though it does have its nice spots even there. Picacho Peak and the distant mountains of the central valley come to mind.)

Most of the state parks over along the Colorado River and Lake Havasu are focused on boating and water activities and are designed primarily with RVs in mind, but we did manage to find a nice shady secluded spot in one park to pitch our tent. The Colorado River valley had some very fascinating mountains around it, mostly on the California side. It was still fairly warm, barely dipping into the 50s at night, but it was just cool enough that we were able to get a fire going without feeling too ridiculous. The Drew Monster thought it was cool.

But the best part of the trip was watching Drewbie go nuts in the lake and along the shore. The water was cold but warm enough that he was able to play in it for about an hour, taking breaks on the warm sand in the sun to warm up for stretches. He went nuts with the little waves, splashing his hands in them, trying to figure them out. Then he would have fun digging up wet sand and carrying it over to where Momma was sitting to proudly deposit it in front of me.

Of course, nothing could quite top his discovery of the ducks in the lake and on the beach. He chased them all over the place, trying to herd them into the water if they weren't there, getting somewhat alarmed when they took off into the air.

We'd like to go back when the water is warmer so the Drew Monster can really go nuts in the lake and river, but it's quite clear that the warmer months will mean very large crowds and lots of boats and jetskis and such. We'd have to pick our travel time very carefully.

Still, it was a great trip and a real treat to watch El Boyo Diablo cavort on a beach. Pictures will likely be posted soon.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Maybe I Should Wait to Watch This...

Via Jacquandor, I read this fangirlsquee about a new Joss Whedon show on FOX. And it sounds really awesome. Like the kind of thing I wish I had come up with first so I could play around in this universe without stepping on someone's copyright toes. I just might fully understand writing fanfiction with this show (assuming it lives up to this killer premise). Here's the show blurb:

Echo (Eliza Dushku) [is] a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.

Exciting, no? But there's that whole "it's on FOX" thing, which means that seven-episode committment could be all they give us, and we might not even be able to FIND all seven episodes because the timeslot is going to be like playing hot potato, and they certainly aren't going to air those seven in order or anything. And I'm sure they're going to promo to the sex quotient ad nauseum and drive away non-Whedonhead viewers. And there's the added issue that I just don't really like Eliza Dushku very much--I think she clunked on Tru Calling, but that show had a lot of other problems, so I might be giving her bad taint by association.

Anyway, I'll watch the premiere, but I'm going to have to unhook the "gimme good SF" fangirl in me to do so cuz I don't want to get too attached to a show that doesn't have good odds of surviving.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hey! You! Take This Candy!

I thought about saving this for my usual Monday Drew Monster post, but it's just too much fun to wait to share this. Plus, we're going camping this weekend, so I'll likely have lots of new material for a Monday post.

Being new to this neighborhood (and far removed from the concept of trick-or-treating; we've been living in apartment housing that didn't get any of that for the past seven years), we decided not to take Drewbie out for Halloween, opting to stay at home and have him help us hand out candy as we gauged the time window and the age ranges and such. Turned out to be a good choice.

Drew absolutely had a blast handing out candy. He helped Momma pour the candy bags into the plastic jack-o-lantern he's been carrying around since his birthday. Then he demanded I let him sample one of each type. Then he discovered he LOVED the lollipops and had to fish them out of the jack-o-lantern and keep those separate.

When the doorbell rang, he would do his half-dance, half-run thing to the door and open it himself. Using his non-favorite candy, he quickly picked up on the concept of dropping a piece into each bag that got shoved under his nose. Then he'd wave and say, "Bye!" and shut the door as the trick-or-treaters walked away.

The real fun was when there was a lull in between visitors earlier on in the evening. He got tired of waiting for someone to ring the doorbell, so he ran to the door, flung the door open, saw an unsuspecting three-year-old and her parents down by our driveway and went tearing out to them, holding a prized lollipop aloft. Also enjoyable were the times when the trick-or-treaters would be turning to leave with their loot, but Drewbie decided he wanted to give out more candy. He would stand in the doorway and hold out a piece of candy and say, "More? More? More?"

The entire night, he had such a look of purpose and order. There was a process, by golly, and he was going to do his part. He wasn't very interested in the costumes as he mostly zeroed in on the candy bags. He had so much fun dishing out candy that we might have a hard time convincing him that its actually more fun to go trick-or-treating next year.